Fall Wheat wallpaper

Fall Wheat wallpaper

Tom DeLay, former U.S. House leader, sentenced to 3 years in prison

Priest said he agreed with a jury’s verdict in November that DeLay had committed a felony by conspiring to launder corporate money into the state election, and ordered bailiffs to take DeLay – wearing a navy blue suit and his trademark American-flag lapel pin – to jail immediately. But he was released when DeLay’s attorneys quickly posted a $10,000 bond.

Priest also sentenced DeLay to five years in prison on a separate felony conviction of money laundering, but agreed to let him serve 10 years of community service instead of jail time for that charge. Priest acknowledged that DeLay – who said he had already raised and spent $10 million on his defense – would appeal the verdict to higher courts.

But he rejected DeLay’s contention that the prosecution’s novel use of a money-laundering statute – meant to target bank robbers, drug dealers and criminal fraud – was unjust.

Its use was justified, Priest said, because the crime for which DeLay was convicted was itself novel. DeLay was accused of approving the transfer of $190,000 in corporate funds to the Republican National Committee’s coffers in Washington and a return of the same amount in checks to state candidates.

[   ]…”I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did,” said DeLay, who had been silent in front of the jury even while he insisted on his innocence during numerous press conferences outside the courtroom.

Delay embodies the Right’s delusional conviction that they can do no wrong. Even if laws were broken, money laundered and the republic itself undermined by such behavior – it is all justified under the higher cause and near religion of Conservatism. That kind of arrogance is a flare, a warning that one is dealing with ideological extremists who are neither guided by or influenced by rationalism or decency.

Watchdog fired by Obama loses appeals case

A three-judge panel rejected appeals Tuesday by Gerald Walpin, a former federal watchdog fired by President Obama in 2009, likely ending his attempts to get back his old job.

[   ]…Two of the three federal appeals court judges who rendered Tuesday’s decision are Republican appointees. Karen LeCraft Henderson, who wrote the unanimous decision, was appointed to the court in 1990 by George H. W. Bush; David S. Tatel was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994; and George W. Bush named Thomas B. Griffith to the appeals court in 2005.

Walpin’s behavior since that incident has been anything but stable. His claim that he loved his job because he thought he was making a contribution to better government is remarkable. Republicans frequently want to have it both ways – to pick up a government paycheck as they use their government posts to spread the gospel of government is always bad in every instance. They seem to take these jobs, then perform poorly to prove they were right about how bad government is.

James Fallows wrote this post on Saturday and it has proved to be some of the most insightful analysis thus far of the Tucson murders, The Cloudy Logic of ‘Political’ Shootings

Shootings of political figures are by definition “political.” That’s how the target came to public notice; it is why we say “assassination” rather than plain murder.

But it is striking how rarely the “politics” of an assassination (or attempt) match up cleanly with the main issues for which a public figure has stood. Some killings reflect “pure” politics: John Wilkes Booth shooting Abraham Lincoln, the German officers who tried to kill Hitler and derail his war plans. We don’t know exactly why James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King, but it must have had a lot to do with civil rights.

[  ]…- Sirhan Sirhan horribly transformed American politics by killing Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, but Sirhan’s political causes had little or nothing to do with what RFK stood for to most Americans.

– It’s not often remembered now, but Manson family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme tried to shoot Gerald Ford, again for reasons that would mean nothing to most Americans of that time.

My impression of Loughner so far is that he is another Sirhan or Squeaky Fromme. There is only some incoherent fragments of ideology that seemed to have informed Loughner’s views. His reading material included a bit of the genuine far left and the extreme Right. Yet because of his apparent inability to write anything coherent I tend to have doubt he read more than a few lines from any book. Like Sihan and Squeaky politics were peripheral to his world view. That seems to be confirmed by this interview a friend of his did with Motherjones – Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords

Tierney, who’s also 22, recalls Loughner complaining about a Giffords event he attended during that period. He’s unsure whether it was the same one mentioned in the charges—Loughner “might have gone to some other rallies,” he says—but Tierney notes it was a significant moment for Loughner: “He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?'”

Giffords’ answer, whatever it was, didn’t satisfy Loughner. “He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question,’ and I told him, ‘Dude, no one’s going to answer that,'” Tierney recalls. “Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”

In the days ahead we’re likely to have more insights into what makes Loughner tick. Until then we’ll be treated to some of the most unhinged and dishonest back peddling and blame shifting I’ve seen by the Right. Some people have dared ask the question if Loughners action may have been influenced by the violent metaphors and rhetorician imagery used by the Right, i.e. gun sights targeting Gifford, talk of “second amendment” solutions if the tea nuts do not get their way. I think it is wrong and difficult to prove that listening to some of the same heated rhetoric the right has been using since the days of Watergate and G. Gordon Liddy has a direct connection, a hidden finger on the trigger if you will, to what one lone loon does. Especially in this case where the perpetrator’s grudge against the victim was based on some internalized litmus test concerning government and whether words have meaning. Though just as the Right is whining about its free speech rights to express violent rhetoric, it is certainly fair game for their opponents to use their free speech rights to wonder if the political and cultural climate created by such words contributes to an atmosphere in which violence is an acceptable solution to ideological conflicts.Micheal Moore makes a good point with this Tweet,

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web w/crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he b sitting right now? Just asking.

If Loughlin was a Muslim, the Right would be on an all out Muslim hatefest. Loughlin would have been symbolically tried and hung already. We’re all supposed to play this tragic incidents game by the Right’s rules. They can build up a cultural lynching party for anything they see as an injustice, but moderates cannot even ask questions or wonder out loud. In that light I’ve never known a little thoughtful self reflection to be harmful. Rather than take a moment and merely entertain the idea that words might beget actions, the Right is trying to do what they accuse more moderate Americans of doing. They are shifting the blame to anyone to the left of Eva Braun. Michelle Malkin has worked up a list of people on the non-right, who have mostly said mean things and a few who have indeed behaved very badly. Some of the examples are absurd. A couple comediennes who make a living performing outrageous humor talking about kicking someone’s ass. Obama once using that hackeyed old expression about bringing a knife to a gun fight – because no right-wingers has ever used that phrase. Talk about apples and oranges comparisons. The media in its attempt to be balanced has once again bent itself into an obscene pretzel to point out the poor behavior of both sides – Loughner, Violent Rhetoric and Media False Balance

Yesterday in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that “both sides” are responsible for toxic political rhetoric:

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: It’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP.

…Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at the Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

Malkin and the other far Right extremists should have the courage to make it a contest. Who can name the most violent acts on either side of the political spectrum. The liberal side is not unblemished and I for one condemn those acts of violence unequally, but liberals are pikers, pests and amateurs when it comes to acts of violence over the past forty years. Rage on the Right – The Year in Hate and Extremism

Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called “Patriot” groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.

[  ]…The number of hate groups in America has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008 and driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period, the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president.

According to the latest annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these groups rose again slightly in 2009 — from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year — despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group. The American National Socialist Workers Party, which had 35 chapters in 28 states, imploded shortly after the October 2008 arrest of founder Bill White for making threats against his enemies.

At the same time, the number of what the SPLC designates as “nativist extremist” groups — organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants — jumped from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 last year. Virtually all of these vigilante groups have appeared since the spring of 2005.

In early 2009 the DHS issued two reports on political extremism and hate groups. Who posed the biggest threat?  The Right –  The Circle of Strife: Right-Wing Furious over DHS Terror Warning. Right-wing murders such as Poplawski, Cummings and Adkisson left no doubt as to who influenced them. They cited people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly – From Republican Rhetoric to Right-Wing Terror. Hate speech, which mentioned using murder as a way to fight back against “liberal tyranny”, was not just used by a few tea nuts on a corner somewhere but by well known conservative leaders such as Michelle Bachmann(R-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Peter King(R-NY) and Tom Delay (R-TX). It is largely right-wing conservatives who are organized into groups who espouse violence as a legitimate political tool.

If all the false equalvalincecies of the Right were not enough, there is the blame shifting. It figures that Jim Holt at gateway Pundit would be leading the charge. Holt is so desperate to make Loughlin into a liberal he is willing to post fake web sites created by other wing-nuts as proof – Shameless: Jim Hoft Falls For Fake Facebook Profile In Attempt To Link Loughner To Obama

In the wake of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Arizona, Gateway Pundit and Breitbart blogger Jim Hoft has been on a one man mission to prove that the deranged shooter was a “typical leftist nut.” This morning, Hoft posted what he seems to think is bulletproof evidence supporting this thesis, but, as is usually the case with him, it is merely evidence that someone as hackishly irresponsible as Hoft should have no role in our national political discourse.

Hoft headlines his latest post “Whoops! This Changes Things- Loughner’s Hero Was Barack Obama,” then proceeds to breathlessly exclaim that “Killer Jared Loughner idolized Barack Obama.”

He sources this scoop to “The Examiner” “via Free Republic” and links to a blog post by Anthony Martin at Examiner.com. In the portion of his post excerpted by Hoft, Martin writes:

Even more curious are Loughner’s ‘heroes.’  He mentions by name Venezuelan Communist Hugo Chavez, Latin American Communist mass-murderer Che Guevara, American Socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky, and even Barack Obama.

The link takes you to the Free Republic message board, where a commenter by the name of “Scanian” writes:

From facebook for a Jared Laughner from Tuscon, Arizona, the man named as the shooter. People who inspire him include Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Huo Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stalin, and Yassir Arafat. He writes “Fight the Right! Obama and the Progressives will overcome the tyrrany of big business and the racist Tea Party.


You’ll notice a glaring problem with this assertion: namely, that the shooter’s name was Jared LOughner, not “Laughner.” (The spelling of his name was originally misreported by several media outlets.)

On Saturday, several people created fake profiles for the shooter, including this one, captured by Voices of Central Pennsylvania, a monthly community newspaper. Voices wrote that the Facebook  page for “Jared Laughner” – since taken down – lists “People Who Inspire Jared” as including Obama and added: “With images of President Obama, various noted intellectuals and leftists, a statement indicating homosexuality preferences, and anti Tea Party and revolutionary slogans, it seems possible that it was a deliberate attempt to distribute disinformation.”

That Hoft would reprint the outrageous assertion that Loughner idolized Obama – based on a random commenter on a fringe message board that provided no evidence for his assertion – says a lot about his complete lack of journalistic integrity. It’s also completely in character for him.

Holt has scrubbed the post from his site, but MM has a screenshot. I did not think much about it at the time, but a few months ago right-wing bloggers were having a big circle jerk over a list of a supposed socialist organization with many Democratic members of Congress listed as belonging. This fake web site stuff has apparently become a common tactic among wing-nuts.