[Note: this post was featured on Crooks and Liars 7-29]
In Part the First, we followed Nixon from McCarthy to Reagan, and Reagan to Bush The Elder (chair of the RNC under Nixon). And we concluded with the cliffhanger:
… and for eight long years, Clinton was hobbled, body-checked, cracked back on. Which was when we learned what the legacy of the Fall of the House of Nixon was.
It’s a good place to start, since it so epitomizes what we’ve come to (The Knoxville News-Sentinel):
Police: Accused shooter hated liberals, expected to be killed
4-page letter outlines frustration, hatred of ‘liberal movement’
The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.
Jim D. Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”
Adkisson said he also was frustrated about not being able to obtain a job, Owen said.
The letter, recovered from Adkisson’s black 2004 Ford Escape, which was parked in the church’s parking lot at 2931 Kingston Pike, indicates he had been planning the shooting for about a week….
Desperate to avoid any association with the continual drumbeat of hatred and vituperation that oozes from GOP operatives like sweat from a fat man on a hot summer day, Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, attempts to spin the story:
July 27, 2008
HMM: Neighbors: Accused shooter everyone’s friend, hated Christianity. “The man accused of a mass church shooting this morning was described by his Powell neighbors as a helpful and kind man, but one who had issues with Christianity.”
– posted at 09:04 PM by Glenn Reynolds
Which, if you bother checking (he hopes you don’t) is an attempt to refute the letter found by the police using ONE neighbor’s anecdotal (and highly suspect, if you’ve ever interviewed the neighbors of an accused criminal) account:
“He had his own sense of belief about religion, that’s the impression I got of him,” said neighbor Karen Massey. “We were talking one day when my daughter graduated from Bible college, and I told him I was a Christian, then he almost turned angry.
“He seemed to get angry at that.”
According to Massey, Adkisson talked frequently about his parents who “made him go to church all his life … he was forced to do that.”
Adkisson has lived by himself in the neighborhood for four or five years, Massey said. She’s lived there seven years.
Does Reynolds know better? Of course he does. The trick of spinning the story into the “Persecuted Christians” false meme is so blatantly transparent that you have to wonder why it’s necessary to preach to the choir. Confederate Wanker, “Butt-Plug Bob” Owens attempts the same spin, after scrubbing his comments and turning them off:
While many in the political blogosphere will no doubt focus on the fact that Adkisson said he hated liberals and gays, the fact of the matter is that the didn’t target a gay club or local progressive political groups, he specifically targeted a church. He did so after expressing beliefs to neighbors in the past that he had an abiding anger against Christianity, an anger that appears rooted in his childhood. The church appears to have been targeted because it embodied at least three things this pathetic human being hated, not just the one or two things I know certain critics will single out as they view the world through their own warped prisms.
Apparently there are some people who want to go on a shrieking political bender about this tragedy (both right and left), but that isn’t going to happen here. Comments off.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 28, 2008 12:11 PM
Funny. That one woman becomes multiple “neighbors” and her opinion becomes authoritative — and Butt-Plug Bob now “knows” what the REAL issue was. Whose chain is he pulling: his or ours? Because, when you think about it, both Reynolds and Butt-Plug Bob have grasped at the most illusory sort of straw to spin their pre-conception of what MUST have happened, in a manner that advances THEIR narrative, rather than face the cold words on the pages that the shooter wrote. Fact is not an issue; only ideology is.
It CAN’T be our thirty-year diet of hatred against “liberals” that caused this. Nosiree. That might invite moral culpability, and if there’s one thing that these “moral” bastards of the GOP don’t accept, it’s personal responsibility — unless it’s stealing credit for something.
Of COURSE one homicidal nutcase doesn’t represent the ENTIRE GOP; he merely reflects the deepest fantasies of the Collective Obnoxious. But, it’s like the abortion bombers, the fringe unstable still reflect a deeply-held opinion by the Righties. If you READ their blogs, and LISTEN to their talk shows, they would like nothing better for us to be dead. “Liberals” (which is whatever happens to piss off a Rightie, and not any sort of accurately defined demographic group) are stupid, subhuman, worthy only of contempt, hatred, sneering, et al, etcetera, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
Of COURSE someone on the loony fringes is going to go off on “liberals.” The sad, ironic horror of it is that he can’t find a job in an economy that the Righties manage. And, there is no doubt, the anger was directed at many things, possibly even the sort of male anger that can’t be verbalized internally or externally.
Still, given a chance to projectile vomit his rage (and here the projectiles were shotgun shells), the hatred of “liberals” was at the top of his disturbed mind. Where do you suppose that hatred came from?
But, if we want to note what EVERYBODY’s suppressing, then we need look no further than this piece, which one doubts anyone will ever follow up on, from WBIR, the Knoxville local NBC affiliate:
A neighbor told 10News Adkisson described himself as a “Confederate” and a “believer in the old South.” She says Adkisson self-identified in this way to her on more than one occasion, but that she didn’t know what he meant by it.
Finally, it’s about the hate.
The real legacy of Nixon was a calculated, concerted war on facts, per se, and the constant demonization of some “other” as the “enemy” to be defeated by whatever means. Beginning in 1972, during the preamble to Watergate, Joe Coors (of the beer family) … well let The Heritage Foundation tell the tale:
The following is a statement from Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner on the death of Joseph Coors. The Colorado brewer made it possible for Heritage to open its doors with a $250,000 grant in 1972 to the think tank. Coors was the original funder of Heritage and subsequently earned the title of honorary trustee, founder and recipient of Heritage’s highest honor—the Clare Boothe Luce award.
“Without Joe Coors, The Heritage Foundation wouldn’t exist—and the conservative movement it nurtures would be immeasurably poorer. Thanks in large part to Joe, though, we can look back on a record of accomplishment that stretches back three decades.
“Joe was there when most people scoffed at the notion of launching a ‘conservative think tank’—when the very idea of a Heritage Foundation appeared risky. But he believed in good ideas, risky or not, and putting them into action. Fortunately, he thought The Heritage Foundation—a think tank that would aggressively counterattack liberal thinking in Washington …
Those same liberals that a fellow in Tennessee decided to blame for all his woes on Sunday.
The creation of the influential Heritage Foundation was probably the single most important event in the development of a national network of conservative policy-oriented institutions. Heritage was founded in 1973 by the anti-labor, racist, homophobic brewery magnate Joseph Coors together with prominent right-wing activist Paul Weyrich and wealthy right-wingers Richard Scaife and Edward Noble. The initial funding came from Coors ($250,000), Scaife ($900,000), and “significant sums” from Noble. Large corporations, including Gulf Oil, also made early contributions. In the early 1980s, Heritage reported that “87 top corporations” were supporters. By 1995, it had an annual budget of $25 million.
In 1980, Heritage published a 3,000 page, 20-volume set of policy recommendations called “Mandate for Leadership” that proved to be the intellectual blueprint for the so-called “Reagan Revolution,” including trickle-down economics, massive cutbacks in social programs and the Star Wars Defense Strategy, the gargantuan feeding trough for the military-industrial complex that even the Pentagon admitted was militarily useless….
Scaife. Coors. You’ll run into those names a LOT in the post-Nixon fundraising.
… the Heritage Foundation had substantial input into the writing of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”
Among other Heritage efforts have been the publications “Beware of the Union Label,” “The Case for Plant Closures,” “Upsetting the Balance of U.S. Labor Law: The Striker Replacement Bill” and “In Praise of Corporate Radiers: Junking Three Fallacies About Hostile Takeovers.”
Part and parcel to that “Contract with America” was Howie Rich’s bunch, the Term Limits crowd, who peeled off when no one could work with them in the mid-1990s. More on Howie in a future posting.
The “Party of Lincoln” Republican party effectively died in 1974.
You see, the GOP lost the 1974 off-year elections by one of the most stunning margins in American history. Nixon’s “silent majority” spoke with one voice, as if to say: “Throw the rascals out!” But the nation’s wealthiest had found their ‘loophole’ in creating “tax-exempt” foundations for them to pour their wealth into. And in the years that followed, their tax-shielded dollars worked to remake the political infrastructure.
A continual cycle of dinners, conventions, conferences and recruitment followed. Ideas were polled, tested, enacted into law. All fueled by a surprisingly small number of “charitable” donors.
They hid their money from the taxman by creating large “charitable” foundations, from which they and their kids drew unlimited salaries, and through which they could fund a thousand tax-free “charitable” endeavors, like the Heritage Foundation, who would “educate” voters and draft legislation, openly “conservative” but always labeled (for legal reasons) “nonpartisan,” as though union-busting et al were not GOP constituency issues.
They had found the ultimate tax shelter: all of Daddy’s money in a “Foundation” that not only allowed them to collect daddy’s money at whatever “salary” was prudent tax-wise, but to fund tax-exempt “foundations” to push their political agenda.
And what was that agenda? You’d never guess in a Month of Sundays, so I’ll just tell you: lowering their taxes. (And deregulating their businesses).
Some, like Scaife, worked through several front “charities.” Others, like the Bradleys only used the one to write six figure checks to a gazillion right wing “foundations.” If, as the Maine Policy Institute did last election, they got caught openly promoting ballot initiatives that their allies and funders had funded via other routes, neither Congress nor state officials would do anything.
Just look at the results: deregulation leads to the S&L crisis of the ’80s and the current banking collapse, and in both cases, the average taxpayer foots the bill.
And these foundations have come in line with the Rightie blogosmear, and the Rightie Noise Machine, and even (as we learned last week) confirmed that FOX News was directly accepting White House talking points and then spewing them each day with a fidelity that Joe Stalin and Josef Goebbels would have appreciated.
By claiming that the media was filled with “liberal bias,” they coined a license to operate their own, frankly biased media, which wasn’t bad, of course, since all the other media was “biased.”
Which comes to us from old Dick Nixon, who continually blamed the media for hating him. Nixon was the first to push the meme that the media was controlled by “liberals” (although I think he called them “Jews”) and that the GOP had to create its own, alternate reality to oppose them.
The story is STILL front and center, even this very day.
But now there’s additional evidence that casts doubt on the bias claims aimed — with particular venom — at three broadcast networks.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.
You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.
So, they bought the media. And created the foundations. And hid all that money from the taxman that you and I have to make up. You know, by bailing out the S&Ls and now, the banks (and Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, those sort of quasi-private, quasi-public monstrousities that Nixon loved so well, like AmTrak and the US Postal Service.)
The Scaifes and their money bought an impeachment in 1998. The hate helped. The media manipulations of Lucienne Goldberg, Emmett Tyrell and Tom Phillips are well known. But the point was that they managed to steal the Clinton term, and took over Congress after Clinton’s first two years.
In 2000, the whole apparatus functioned perfectly:
Voter disenfranchisement, disinformation, a coordinated chorus of catcalls and their own wholly-owned network, Faux Nooz, to complete the media trifecta: print, radio, television. And ALL blatantly biased — after screaming about the horrors of media bias.
Oh, and did I mention? NO DEBATE.
Politics is Hollywood for ugly people; but the GOP decided to turn politics INTO Hollywood: mediagenic candidates were sought out, with slick advertising campaigns designed to boost their dimple-ratings while tossing the lowest gutter slime at the opposition. Increasingly — using either the voices-for-hire of the gravelly voice of (male) doom or the dulcet tones of that female announcer currently dishing out Oregon Senator Gordon Smith’s Republi-sleaze (click on “Truth”) — slick, deceptive ad campaigns were created out of whole cloth.
Facts? We don’ gotta show you no steenking facts!
Candidates were sent to sophisticated media houses for Hollywood TV ads and stage-managed photo-ops. They hadn’t learned anything moral from Reagan, but they took his Madison Avenue meets Hollywood stagecraft message to heart.
They even patented a variation of L. Ron Hubbard’s old “dead agenting” attack:
The term “swiftboating” entered the political lexicon in 2004. And by then, it had become such a standard method of character assassination that my investigation of Howie Rich produced this standard GOP response: a smear job. (And HERE.)
And let us not forget last year’s WorldNewsDaily/Sean Hannity/Ted Nugent smear for my having had the temerity to take issue with Nugent’s July 4 slander of the Woodstock Generation. (They don’t seem to take criticism well. Ya think?)
Just think of what any monkey up-tree in the pecking order routinely faced.
Now, this isn’t to let the Democratic Party off the hook. During the same period they’ve been chaotic, flaccid, ineffectual, whiners and backbiters just as prone to attack their own as to “tolerate” the hatespeak dished out by the right. As Edmund Burke wrote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
They didn’t. Or, rather, the Democrats generally DID. Nothing, that is.
But after thirty-six years of Coors, Scaife, Bradley, Olin, Walton (of Wal-Mart, etc. cash, Lincoln’s old apocryphal dictum still holds: You can fool some of the people all the time (The 23 Percenters), and all of the people some of the time (the American voters), but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
When the economy is melting down and even Budweiser is for sale to the Belgians, even the reddest of RINO hunters has to take notice. (Well, except for the 23 percenters, of course. You can always piss on THEIR shoes and tell them it’s raining. Right Rush?)
Which brings us to the present day.
It was (yet another one) Michael Savage’s meltdown the other day that reminded me of what has happened:
Autism activists call for ouster of Michael Savage
Sunday, July 27, 2008
(07-27) 18:18 PDT San Francisco, CA (AP) –
A group of angry parents, activists and autistic children on Sunday called for the firing of talk show host Michael Savage.
Savage recently said on his nationally-syndicated radio show that autistic children are “brats” who haven’t “been told to cut the act out.” Savage also said most autistic children need to be told to “stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man.”
The radio host has not apologized for his statement, and instead said on his Web site that the “national panic” of autism was created by greedy doctors and drug companies.
Autism is a mental disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate. The government estimates about 1 in 150 children have some form of autism…
This is, alas, not really that unusual. What IS unusual is that Savage has managed to actually step over the line, when his brethren and cistern in Rightie Talk Radio make similar, ugly, offensive, hateful commentary every day of the work week, usually for three hours at a spell. We forget the sheer volume of (clueless, as in denying the existence of autism and, instead, asserting that they’re just brats) hatred that they spew forth.
Savage lives up to his phony stage name (his real name is Michael Alan Weiner) all too often. (Remember his firing by MSNBC for telling a caller to “get AIDS and die”?) The Savage Weiner will remain the Savage Weiner, one presumes.
But, as McCain’s meltdown this week seems to suggest (as McCain has abandoned all pretense of the “civil” campaign that he called for) that it’s all devolved into helpless whining.
Yes, the Rightie blogosmear has been reduced to snarking trivialities, without even the pretense that what they’re ginning up out of whole cloth has any actual priority or not.
The problem is that their brand of “swiftboating” depended on the natural delay in the media soup that allowed a false meme to fester and putrefy, as in the false accusation that “Al Gore says he invented the internet.”
The leftie blogosphere came into its own in 2006, and the old Rovian tricks are outed too quickly. Political sleight-of-hand doesn’t work when the eye is quicker than the blood-stained hand. The GOP is reduced to trivialities that are barely worth refuting. The Righties seem like a jeering, catcalling audience in a theater they’ve just realized is on fire.
And, as we awaken from our long slumber as a nation, we ask ourselves, how did it become OK to speak of your fellow Americans in this hateful manner? And can the GOP survive without hatred and war-mongering?
The news today is discouraging. THIS is how they’ve looted the treasury (whilst lowering their taxes; the “capital gains” tax being lower for getting stock dividends than for someone washing dishes for a living):
US deficit zooming to half-trillion as Bush leaves
By ANDREW TAYLOR – 3 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government’s budget deficit will surge past a half-trillion dollars next year, according to gloomy new estimates, a record flood of red ink that promises to force the winner of the presidential race to dramatically alter his economic agenda.
The deficit will hit $482 billion in the 2009 budget year that will be inherited by Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, the White House estimated Monday. That figure is sure to rise after adding the tens of billions of dollars in additional Iraq war funding it doesn’t include, and the total could be higher yet if the economy fails to recover as the administration predicts.
The result: the biggest deficit ever in terms of dollars, though several were higher in the 1980s and early 1990s as a percentage of the overall economy….
And, of course, the murderer-in-chief couldn’t let this chance pass him by (from tomorrow’s New York Times):
Execution by Military Is Approved by President
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
Published: July 29, 2008
WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday approved the first execution by the military since 1961, upholding the death penalty of an Army private convicted of a series of rapes and murders more than two decades ago.
As commander in chief, the president has the final authority to approve capital punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and he did so on Monday morning … an execution is not expected to occur soon, possibly not during Mr. Bush’s remaining months in office. The military death penalty has been dormant for so long that it was also unclear what the method of execution would be….
Some recall the glee with which Bush approached NOT commuting a death sentence for that woman in Texas when he was governor. But death doesn’t seem to faze this bunch. They relish it, in fact. There is a deep vein of cruelty that pulses in the heart of Republican politics, and that, finally, can’t be hidden, even when you can force your shooting victim to apologize to you for the inconvenience his face in front of your shotgun might have caused you.
Finally, it’s about the loot. And people see it now, as the Rovian architecture of the McCain campaign becomes apparent; as McCain hires as his deputy “Director of Communications” William Kristol’s head blogger, Michael Goldfarb, whose claim to fame was in calling for, coordinating and pushing into the mainstream press the smearing of Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp last summer.
And yet they whine and pule over every trivial thing, with nothing left in their quivers to fire.
And the GOP faces its Twilight for this cycle of history, having corrupted whatever message it ever had, the millionaires and billionaires who financed it experiencing the lowest tax rate in the industrialized world, and the greatest disparity in wealth since the Great Depression.
You lie for long enough and nobody believes you.
Meanwhile, Heimdall will sound his horn, calling the sons of Odin and the heroes to the battlefield. From all the corners of the world, gods, giants, dwarves, demons and elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid (“battle shaker”) where the last battle will be fought. Odin will engage Fenrir in battle, and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor will victorious, but the serpent’s poison will gradually kill the god of thunder. Surt will seek out the swordless Freyr, who will quickly succumb to the giant. The one-handed Tyr will fight the monstrous hound Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall, age-old enemies, will meet for a final time, and neither will survive their encounter. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long time, but finally Fenrir will seize Odin and swallow him. Odin’s son Vidar will at once leap towards the wolf and kill him with his bare hands, ripping the wolf’s jaws apart.
Then Surt will fling fire in every direction. The nine worlds will burn, and friends and foes alike will perish. The earth will sink into the sea.
After the destruction, a new and idyllic world will arise from the sea and will be filled with abundant supplies. Some of the gods will survive, others will be reborn. Wickedness and misery will no longer exist and gods and men will live happily together. The descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will inhabit this earth.
And we can only watch as the GOP is consumed with the flames of its own greed, lies, malevolence and festering hatred.
We’ve seen this movie before.
[Note: Illustrations are by Arthur Rackham, from his 1912 illustrations of Richard Wagner's "The Ring." Excepting the political cartoon by John Darkow, of The Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri 7-25-08]
UPDATE JULY 29, 3:45 PM PDT: When you dig a little, the true dishonesty of ideological spin in the Righties’ attempt to portray the Knoxville shootings as “an attack on a church” becomes clear. The Universalist Unitarian Church is … well, read this exceptional piece by RJ Eskow on The Huffington Post, “Monster: Who Really Killed the Knoxville Unitarians?“
And, The Moderate Voice seems to be following up on this post. Certainly a good parallel piece:
Sad State of the RNC
July 29th, 2008
by PETE ABEL, Assistant Editor