Day: July 17, 2010

AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio Takes .50 Caliber Machine Gun To Desert, Looking for Undocumented

Could some secret experiment from the CIA or possibly aliens from outer space have been the cause of the batshit crazy reaction that conservatives/Republicans are having over race and immigration in this country? 

What else can explain this 360 degree about turn back into the 1950’s? 

Phoenix New Times

This just in: MCSO’s fearless leader Sheriff Joe is heading into the desert today to hunt for illegal aliens in the oven-like temperatures. And he’s breaking out the big guns, or at least one of them — a .50 caliber machine gun, in case they run into any of them-thar narco-terrorists.

His latest media advisory, which asks that this info be embargoed till 5 p.m., states that the sheriff’s office “will be launching a crime suppression/saturation operation this afternoon in a desolate desert corridor south of Gila Bend.”

“Desolate desert corridor”? That’s straight out of an episode of Scooby-Doo. Or it would be, were Arpaio not rolling out everything but his tank. (Whatever happened to that, BTW?) Maybe it’s too hot for the tank.

The embargoed release states: “The Sheriff has also ordered the deployment of his .50 caliber machine gun as a precautionary measure based on recent reports of heavily armed human and drug traffickers.”

Shucks, this is starting to sound like neo-Nazi J.T. Ready’s Vekol Valley patrol. Maybe the sheriff could give J.T. a call and ask him to lend a hand.

BTW, when Arpaio announces a “crime suppression” operation, he means a Hispanic-hunting sweep, where people are pulled over for broken tail lights and such so MCSO deputies can try to suss if they’re undocumented or not.

Hopefully, Arpaio won’t need to unleash the machine gun on some of those deadly scofflaws.

The media is invited to share the sheriff’s command post, which will be at “the end of Butterfield Trail near Gila bend south of Interstate 8 as it turns into the desert.”

Would love to make it, but he almost never lets me into his press conferences anyway. Plus, watching Arpaio’s hair wilt in the 111 degree heat while he stands next to a machine gun is not my idea of a story.

Update: You can read the press release for the operation, here. (This one was sent out after my blog post.) They were in the Vekol Valley. You know, just like the neo-Nazis. According to a KPHO report, the 100 posse members and deputies had collared only 11 people by night’s end.

Megyn Kelly: I Am Not A Racist

Oh really?

Newshounds

It’s more than a little interesting how Megyn Kelly suddenly ditched, or at least vastly dialed down, the coverage of the supposedly super-important story about the “real reason” the Obama Department of Justice dropped its voting rights case against The New Black Panther Party and a few of its members (think black-against-white racism). Kelly had been breathlessly hyping and rehashing every development as she strung out a series of accusations by a GOP activist, dubbed “DOJ whistleblower” by Kelly, for nearly three weeks. But when Fox News Democrat Kirsten Powers threw a spotlight on the racial agenda lurking ever so shallowly beneath the surface of Kelly’s “reporting,” she first threw an on-air temper tantrum and then suddenly ran away from the story. Well, not all the way away from it. At the same time that she stopped reporting on it, she appeared on The O’Reilly Factor Thursday night (7/15/10) and touted the importance of the case.

The day after her meltdown, Kelly (who never had the class to apologize for her behavior, at least not on the air) hosted what was clearly designed to be a self-vindicating segment about how her “discussion” of the case had led to unfair “pushback” of being called a racist. As I noted in my post about that segment, “discussing” is nowhere near an accurate description of the kind of biased promoting of this racially-charged story that Kelly has been doing.

Since then, there has been no or virtually no coverage on Kelly’s show of a story that had been previously teased several times an hour.

Kelly’s appearance on O’Reilly seemed more like a joint rehab endeavor on her behalf than a real discussion of the case, even by Fox News’ standards of the word “discussion.”

First, O’Reilly kindly set up Kelly as a victim of the “liberal press” which had the nerve to question Kelly’s nearly obsessive presentation of this questionable – at best – story as nearly incontrovertible proof that the Obama DOJ had played “racial politics” with the New Black Panther Party case.

O’Reilly began with a misleading swipe at ACORN: saying that more than 30 ACORN employees have been convicted without noting how many formal investigations have cleared the organization, itself, or telling the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers just how thoroughly the undercover videos – which Fox News previously salivated over the way it’s now doing with the “whistleblower” – have been discredited.

One clear indication that the point of the discussion was Kelly, not DOJ, was O’Reilly’s lead-off question: “Why do you feel so passionately about the Panther story when… it’s a very miniscule organization?”

“It’s not about the Panthers,” Kelly said, “The reason that I’m passionate about this case and this story, Bill, is because I believe in fidelity to the law.” She went on a long tangent about how she looks at the law from a dispassionate, not ideological viewpoint. And to her credit, I’d agree with her about that – until now. But then she said, “What this whistleblower is alleging is that there is not fidelity to the law at the Department of Justice.”

That’s a true representation of the allegations. But from calling her source a “whistleblower” to fear mongering about black radicals with billyclubs showing up at voting precincts around the country, Kelly has taken her passion for “fidelity to the law” to a whole new level that was surely never imagined by any bar association that admitted her. Second, one would assume that anyone passionate about fidelity to the law would also care about fidelity to the facts. Kelly repeatedly distorted, selectively highlighted and ignored facts that didn’t fit the narrative of her GOP activist guest “whistleblower.” She has also nearly completely ignored the opinions of others (if she allowed them to speak at all) who have challenged that perspective. Why, for example, has Kelly not hosted Angela Thernstrom, the conservative voting rights expert who has completely and utterly rejected Kelly’s view?

In fact, Kelly’s distortions continued right there on O’Reilly when she complained that her liberal media critics “try to discredit (“whistleblower”) J. Christian Adams by saying he’s a conservative which, apparently, he is… That’s what you’ve got. He’s a conservative. Based on that and the fact that he was hired at the DOJ at a time when they tended to hire more conservative people, they dismiss his sworn testimony.”

Kelly was either so ill-informed it’s laughable or else deliberately misleading here and I’m not sure which would be worse.

As Kelly ought to know, Adams is no conservative. He’s a GOP activist, hired by a rankly political appointee in a Justice Department that came under fire for its politicization. The fact that Kelly either doesn’t know that or would describe Adams as a mere “conservative” without discussing frankly the larger picture of his background speaks volumes about either her ignorance about her own star interview subject or about her willingness to mislead her audience while claiming to care so much about “fidelity to the law.”

I can’t help but think it’s the latter. Because Kelly also went on to say, “(People) always say nobody testified to voter intimidation… That’s not true. I’ve read the testimony, unlike almost everybody who comments on this case.” Actually, that’s not what I’ve said or what I’ve read. What I wrote, based on information from Main Justice, is that NO VOTERS have come forward to say they were intimidated. Kelly told O’Reilly she had read testimony from poll watchers that voters had not come in. But as Main Justice noted, those complaints were from white Republican poll watchers.

As O’Reilly magnanimously (for Kelly) claimed that this is, in fact, a big story, nobody explained why – other than the fact that it looked like the Attorney General MIGHT have played racial politics. As “fidelity to the law” Kelly must surely know, attorneys drop cases all the time for legitimate reasons. Other than asking the Department of Justice, which, apparently, has refused to discuss the case with Fox News, Kelly seems to have done no independent investigation about when the DOJ might legitimately drop voting rights cases, how often it does drop such cases, what’s involved in prosecuting them, how many voter rights cases it has on its docket and, most importantly, how big a problem is voter intimidation against whites vs. voter intimidation against blacks? After nearly three weeks of focus on this case, I have yet to see Kelly (or anyone else on Fox, for that matter) even consider issues concerning voter intimidation against blacks.

The fact that Kelly and O’Reilly seemed to take it as a given that the bigger, more important problem is whites being intimidated out of voting says much more about their own racial attitudes than any of their reporting has said about the Obama administration. O’Reilly further showed his own racial stripes by adding that Holder “doesn’t deserve to be Attorney General… apparently doesn’t know the law, doesn’t care.”

McCain And Hayworth Pound Each Other At First Debate

Cat fight!

TPMDC

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had his first debate tonight with his challengers, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth and conservative activist Jim Deakin, hosted by 3TV in Phoenix. And one thing was made very clear, as if we didn’t know it already: McCain and Hayworth really don’t like each other, and they’re not trying to hide it as they head toward the August 24 Republican primary.

“Congressman Hayworth is a pretty persuasive fellow,” McCain said early on. “After he was voted out by his constituents he became a lobbyist, and after that a talk show host, and after that an infomercial late night star.” Hayworth was first elected to the House in the Republican wave of 1994, and went on to lose re-election after six terms in the Democratic wave of 2006.

“John claims he’s a Ronald Reagan Republican, and right out of the gate he’s violating the 11th Commandment,” Hayworth responded a short while later. (Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment was, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”) “Now I will admit I made a mistake making that informercial, but I’m willing to admit my mistakes.” By contrast, said Hayworth, McCain isn’t admitting his mistakes in voting against the Bush tax cuts, and in having supported amnesty for illegal immigrants.

McCain at one point criticized Hayworth for blocking reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then he added: “And by the way, I never supported amnesty.”

This caused the third candidate, Deakin, to laugh out loud. “I’m sorry, you never supported amnesty?” said an incredulous Deakin. “In 1986 you did support amnesty.” He then went on to give his own answer against bailouts, continuing to snicker at McCain.   Continue reading…

GOP ELECTION STRATEGY: AVOID ISSUES AT ALL COSTS

The Washington Post

Sometime after Labor Day, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner plans to unveil a blueprint of what Republicans will do if they take back control of the chamber. He promises it will be a full plate of policy proposals that will give voters a clear sense of how they would govern.

But will Republicans actually want to run on those ideas — or any ideas? Behind the scenes, many are being urged to ignore the leaders and do just the opposite: avoid issues at all costs. Some of the party’s most influential political consultants are quietly counseling their clients to stay on the offensive for the November midterm elections and steer clear of taking stands on substance that might give Democratic opponents material for a counterattack.

“The smart political approach would be to make the election about the Democrats,” said Neil Newhouse of the powerhouse Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, which is advising more than 50 House and Senate candidates. “In terms of our individual campaigns, I don’t think it does a great deal of good” to engage in a debate over the Republicans’ own agenda.

Others are skeptical that any Republican policy proposals will have much of an impact. “They really still have to have a sharp contrast with the Democrats,” said John McLaughlin, another leading Republican pollster whose firm counts both the House and Senate campaign committees among its clients. “They really need to drive that home before people will be willing to listen to what Republicans stand for.”

It’s not that Boehner (Ohio) is arguing for a cease-fire. The debate among Republicans comes down to this: The speaker-in-waiting, for all his love of political combat, thinks that voters will not trust GOP candidates if their attacks don’t also provide at least some substance. The consultants argue that public anger, if properly stoked, alone can carry the party over the finish line. In their view, getting bogged down in the issues is a distraction and even a potential liability.

One who begs to differ is the architect of the last GOP takeover of the House. “Consultants, in my opinion, are stupid,” former speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said in an interview. “The least idea-oriented, most mindless campaign of simplistic slogans is a mindless idea.”

The working title for Boehner’s promised agenda is “Commitment to America.” It is an unmistakable echo of the fabled 10-point “Contract with America” that Gingrich and his battalion of long-shot candidates signed on the steps on the Capitol in 1994, six weeks before they stunned the political world and won the House. 

Continue reading…

Same Old Song

TPMDC

Looking  over the Republican game plan for November and it’s hard to tell, absent any outside reference points, whether it’s from 1980, 1990, 2000, or 2010.

For 18 months, Republicans have been torn between their ideological nature, and their need to appear different from the party that ended the Bush era in the crapper. In a sign of just how confident they feel that their electoral fortunes have turned, that tension is seemingly now gone. In the last two weeks, unabashed Republicans have started revealing the details of their governing agenda — one that will be familiar to those who were alive between 1994 and 2006, and which remains broadly unpopular with voters.

In the words of Mitch McConnell, Republicans feel like they’ve gotten their groove back. After the jump we run through the top 5 Republican retro-grooves we expect they’ll be playing throughout the August recess.

1. Limit Social Security: Late last month, House Majority Leader John Boehner called for Social Security to be means tested — i.e., limited to those with limited resources — and for the retirement age to be raised to 70. On the latter point, he has the support of some leading Democrats.

2. Cut Taxes For The Rich: It is the near-unanimous position of the Republican party, according to GOP leaders, that Bush-era tax cuts that benefit the rich should be extended, without being paid for by spending cuts or tax increases in other areas — even as they deny unemployment benefits on the grounds that they cost too much. The tax cuts cost almost $700 billion; the unemployment benefits about five percent of that. Some Republicans say tax cuts ought not be paid for because that puts downward pressure on the size of government. Others say, against all evidence, that tax cuts raise revenue.

3. Don’t Regulate Wall Street: Yesterday, Boehner added another item to his list of Democratic initiatives he says Republicans would fight to reverse. This one, though, is much more popular than health care reform. Boehner says just-passed rules meant to reign in Wall Street “ought to be repealed.”

4. Limit Corporate Governance: In their pursuit of a complete agenda, Republicans are fielding suggestions from their base voters. But for the most part, they’re listening to some of the most conservative interest groups in Washington, who are calling for lower corporate taxes, and gutting regulation.

5. Stop Federal Regulations: Just how do we know that the GOP is giving deference to their corporate interests? Because minutes after he met with the very lobbyists and trade representatives who publicly asked for less regulation, Boehner came out and called for a moratorium on new federal regulations. As Speaker Pelosi points out, this would put babies at risk. But more than that, as David Kurtz explains, it would strangle recently passed health care and financial reform legislation, and essentially bring the government to a halt.

 All before our very eyes.

Beck conspiracy theory: Financial reform will let Obama take over Fox News

 

 

Media Matters

Beck’s conspiracy theory: Financial reform would let Obama “take over” companies like Fox News

Glenn Beck suggested that the financial regulatory reform law would let President Obama “take over Fox” if he determines Fox News is being “too negative.” In fact, the law allows the government to seize only banks and other financial organizations “substantially engaged” in financial activities and solely if they are in “financial distress” that “pose[s] a threat to the financial stability of the United States.” 

While discussing the law with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on his radio show, Beck suggested it would let Obama “go in and take over Fox” if he said the company was “hurting the economy.” Bachmann responded, “Well, under this law, that would be possible now.” 

From the July 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Glenn Beck Program

BECK: How much of a stretch is it to think that a company that could be a threat to the economy — because that’s how really too deem to fail is kind of secondarily expressed in this bill — a threat to the economy would be News Corp. I mean, why couldn’t the president just go in and say, “You know what? What you guys are doing, what you guys are saying is hurting the economy; it is bringing things down. You’re being, you know, too negative.” Well, you could make a million excuses and go in and take over Fox. Couldn’t you? 

BACHMANN: Well, under this law, that would be possible now. 

Flashback: Beck and co-host Gray falsely claimed House version of bill would let government take over non-financial institutions. 

On the June 25 edition his radio show, Beck stated that while “Obama did inherit a bad situation,” “he has made it 1,000 times worse and created a situation to where the state can grab power like crazy.” He then pointed to the financial reform bill as an example of government’s “frightening” power, saying that under the bill, “they can grab companies” that “they think” are “a danger to the nation.” Gray added: “[T]hat’s any company that they deem big enough to harm the economy, they can take control over.” In fact, both the House and Senate versions of the bill allow the government to seize only banks and other financial organizations “substantially engaged in activities in the United States that are financial in nature,” and only if they “pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.” 

Continue reading

‘Republicans underestimate him at their peril’

Dave Weigel, writing for Andrew Sullivan’s column in The Atlantic, makes a salient point…

The Daily Dish – Dave Weigel

Charles Krauthammer tells it like it is:

The net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism. Both presidencies were highly ideological, grandly ambitious and often underappreciated by their own side. In his early years, Reagan was bitterly attacked from his right. (Typical Washington Post headline: “For Reagan and the New Right, the Honeymoon Is Over” — and that was six months into his presidency!) Obama is attacked from his left for insufficient zeal on gay rights, immigration reform, closing Guantanamo — the list is long. The critics don’t understand the big picture. Obama’s transformational agenda is a play in two acts.

There’s a popular spin among conservatives now that portrays Obama as a new Jimmy Carter. Just as an incompetent Carter made the Reagan revolution possible, Obama will fill the next Congress with Rand Pauls and Marco Rubios and make possible the ascent of the most conservative president ever — possibly one named Sarah. But if we’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s that even overpowering ideological control of Congress has its limits. A GOP Senate caucus of 40 members, the lowest since the 1970s, stopped card check. How exactly does a Democratic caucus of 52 (in 2011) or 45 (in 2013) members, in the best case scenarios for Republicans, fail to block a repeal of health care reform?