Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sack a Hammers Got Nutin on Them.

In some right-wing circles, there's a belief that Barack Obama's first book, "Dreams From My Father," was actually ghost-written by Bill Ayers. It wasn't, of course, but like the rest of the bizarre conservative conspiracy theories, reality doesn't much matter.
Birthers, meet Ghosters. The overlap is considerable.
National Journal caught up with Ayers at a book festival recently, and the '60s-era radical decided to have a little fun at the right wing's expense.
When [Ayers] finished speaking, we put the authorship question [on "Dreams From My Father"] right to him. For a split second, Ayers was nonplussed. Then an Abbie Hoffmanish, steal-this-book-sort-of-smile lit up his face. He gently took National Journal by the arm. "Here's what I'm going to say. This is my quote. Be sure to write it down: 'Yes, I wrote Dreams From My Father. I ghostwrote the whole thing. I met with the president three or four times, and then I wrote the entire book.'" He released National Journal's arm, and beamed in Marxist triumph. "And now I would like the royalties."
He pulled the same gag soon after with a conservative blogger.
In general, Ayers joking around about a silly conspiracy theory wouldn't be especially noteworthy, but as Dave Weigel reports, a surprising number of conservatives took Ayers seriously.
People he's duped so far: Jonah Goldberg, his mother Lucianne Goldberg, Tom Maguire, Dennis Byrne, Carol Platt Lieblau, and a bunch of other conservatives, some of whom try to split the difference by suggesting that Ayers is revealing a little bit of truth behind the sarcasm. How embarrassing.
Ron Chusid added, "The gullibility of conservatives, or more precisely their willingness to believe without bothering to fact check anything which confirms their biases, is amazing.... [T]hose guys will believe anything if it fits into their narrow worldview."
Now that the Washington Post and New York Times have taken a special interest in what right-wing voices are concerned about, I hope the papers are paying close attention here: a few too many on the right have poor critical thinking skills and will run with any story they hope is true.
  • John Cole adds, in With All Due Respect to a Sack of Hammers

    These guys are seriously unspoofable:

    I’m actually kind of pissed off that Ayers did not also tell her that Obama is a muslim, was born in Kenya, and was sworn in on the Koran the second time behind closed doors with Chief Justice Roberts.

Josh Marshall:  I Just Love This Story 
Just a classic, classic story. First, you've got show-boating, right-wing, anti-immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio (aka "America's Toughest Sheriff"). He teams up with Maricopa County prosecutor Andrew Thomas to arrest County Supervisor Don Stapley on charges which seem pretty thin and arguably political in nature. (They tried to prosecute him last year; but those charges fell apart. And in this case a judge found they lacked probable cause for the arrest.) But Thomas had to recuse himself because he works with Stapley in the country government. And they couldn't not come up with what in layman's terms we'd normally call a real prosecutor willing to take the case. (They tried to get the prosecutor for the neighboring county to take over the case but she declined.) So they decided to import TV lawyers-cum-DC GOP power couple Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing as outside "special prosecutors" to take the case.
Sounds legit, right?
And if all that weren't enough, fired US Attorney Paul Charlton is defending Stapley. So he's gotten his own taste of political corruption of the prosecutorial process.

It's tempting to think a measure like this one would pass unanimously. After all, it's not as if voters would elect monsters to the Senate, right?
In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and "warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job." (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court."
All Franken's measure would do is allow victims of rape and discrimination to have their day in court -- not exactly controversial stuff. When Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) accused Franken of pushing a "political attack directed at Halliburton," the Minnesota senator explained that it would apply equally to all defense contractors.
The good news is, Franken's measure passed, 68 to 30.
The bad news is, 30 Senate Republicans -- 75% of the entire Republican Senate caucus -- voted against this.
Perhaps I should be thankful that 10 GOP senators voted with the majority -- by contemporary standards, I suppose that's a lot -- but what possible rationale could three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus have for voting against this?
Let's not overlook the larger context here. Democrats are expected to try to find "bipartisan" support on practically everything. Some GOP lawmakers think health care reform isn't "legitimate" if it doesn't have 80 votes.
And yet, when the Senate considered a measure yesterday to give rape victims who work for U.S.-subsidized defense contractors a day in court, 30 out of 40 Republican senators said, "No."
The notion that the majority should be able to reach constructive, worthwhile compromises with this minority is clearly ridiculous.

Kevin Drum: The GOP Speaks
Conor Friedersdorf recently sent out an email questionnaire to Republican Party county chairmen throughout the country.  Sounds dull.  But it turns out to be surprisingly entertaining!  Here's a sampling of opinion from local GOP leaders about Barack Obama and whatever else is on their minds:
....He wants to totally change it to a socialistic nation....His swift moves towards socialism....We should point out that the Blank Panthers, KKK, and ACORN are the shock troops of the Dem Party....Obama's socalist tendencies....Stop kissing up to the RINOs, the left, and the socialists!....Is he for America or against us? Hard to tell with some of his far right [sic], socialistic policies or legislation he wants to enact.
....Dems can have an openly queer sitting as chair and nothing is held against the party or the individual....We are rushing into Sosialism and that is where we need focus our energies in poing this out not on how many hail marys did you say....Obama is all about race [...] He wants payback....We feel we are marching toward the end of our liberties without having a chance to catch our breath....Despite what he said, this is not a Muslim Country, we do not need a Muslim majority ruling America. This is one decision that was made under the cloak of darkness.
....I seem to remember a similar charismatic socialist somewhere in middle Europe about a third of the way through the last century.... I think the most worrisome part of the Obama presidency is the blatant adherence to the socialist doctrine....The most worrisome part is that the Obama administration my put us on an irreversible course toward socialism....We should stop all measurements of race and actively fight the race-pimps who live off of division.
This is obviously totally unfair.  I'm just cherry picking the most bizarro stuff I could find.  Still, it didn't exactly take much effort, and frankly, a lot of this stuff is actually more bizarre in context.  But here's my favorite line of all:
Einstein did not arrive at his theories of general and special relativity on the mandate of a government bureaucrat.
Yes!  In fact, by making him spend all his time at the patent office, the bureaucrats in Bern did everything they could to stop him.  Luckily, Einstein's entrepreneurial spirit was too strong for the jackboot of the Swiss government.
I'm pretty sure that Conor's goal was not to provide mockworthy material for smartass liberals like me.  But when life serves you lemons.....
 DougJ asks - Is This It?
We’ve spent a lot of time debating the possible existence of peak wingnut here. If this isn’t it, then it’s, at the very least, the Sistine Chapel of early 21st century wingnuttia (via Wonkette).
Update. Via the comments note that the black man in the blue shirt on the left is holding the Glenn Beck bible.

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