Archive for June, 2014

Ah, the subtle racism (or not-so-subtle racism) of the modern white ultra-conservative, unsuccessfully shrouded in claims of fairness and voter fraud. When Eric Cantor lost his primary election to a Tea Party challenger, who spent less on his entire campaign than Cantor did on restaurants, the Tea Party was re-invigorated, several thinking they could now finally do what they dreamed: Unseat every “establishment” Republican they could.

One of the nastiest races this primary campaign season for the Republicans has been in Mississippi. For a little bit on how low it went, supporters of the Tea Party challenger snuck into a nursing home where the challenge-e’s wife resides due to Alzheimer’s in some attempt to smear the guy character-wise. And one of them later committed suicide.

But after Cantor’s loss, it looked like the Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniel, was going to beat the current Senator, Thad Cochran. In the last few days before the election, Cochran decided to start to reach out to the “black vote.” Apparently, the laws are such that in Mississippi, there is no party affiliation for primary elections, and so long as you did not vote in the other party’s election that was before this one, you can vote.

In response, McDaniel’s Tea Party was talking about putting in election monitors, bringing allegations of voter intimidation. WND didn’t report on that, but they did report on “NAACP Monitoring Tea-Party Poll Watchers.”

And in the end, McDaniel lost. Tea Partiers rallied against it, claiming their own voters were intimidated, that there was fraud, that Cochran bought the vote with Democrats, and so that, yes, in the 21st century, we are talking about the legitimacy of Americans of African decent’s right to vote.

Meanwhile, token black female (I was corrected last time — there are one or two other black writers that WND publishes) Star Parker wrote about this in what, at least tag-line-wise, is sensible: “How McDaniel Blew It in Mississippi;” the tagline is, “Star Parker: Conservative Republicans ignore blacks to their peril.”

Here is her thesis:

Incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran’s successful game plan, which drove his run-off victory over tea party challenger Chris McDaniel for Mississippi’s Republican Senate nomination, was unconventional.

But most incredible was the success of this game plan – to reach out to liberal black churches and get Democratic black voters to turn out and vote for Cochran – despite being executed in broad daylight.

Soon after Cochran lost to McDaniel in the primary, necessitating a run-off because McDaniel fell short of getting 50 percent of the vote, papers reported the intent of Cochran’s team to turn out black Democrats to overcome the thin margin by which Cochran lost.

McDaniel knew exactly what to expect. The Cochran campaign told him. Yet he remained a spectator through it all. His counter strategy was no counter strategy; he just continued what he was already doing – appealing just to Mississippi’s conservative, white electorate.

I generally agree with the basic idea: If you ignore a large constituency, you’re not going to win.

Many WND commenters disagree. Take the top-rated comment by “Rene Girrard,” who ranted: “Star, I’ll bet you voted for Obama. I’ll bet you’re part of the great hypocrisy in the black community. The black people are a strong church going culture and conservative by nature, but 90% still vote democrat. Somehow financial benefits and special job slots for blacks trump their Christian convictions? So what does it matter what McDaniel might have said to the black community?”

“ramblindon” claimed that there was voter fraud. “palinwhitehouse2016” (shudder) is actually musing about restricting the votes to whites-only, though I’m having a hard time determining if it’s a Poe or not:

It seems to me that America was a much more glorious and God-blessed country in a time, in living memory of some of us, when low information individuals were prevented from voting, across a lot of the country but certainly in the South, including Mississippi. Would it be so hard to re-introduce such laws again? Liberals might complain, but there is no doubt that we would be making a step back towards an America that readers of this site would love again.

While Star’s column was published on Friday, June 27, Leo Hohmann wrote his a day later: “Call for Volunteers to Overturn Mississippi Vote.”

As you may have inferred from the description above, it’s voter fraud that they think may have cost them the election. Remember, if a voter voted in the primary election for Democrats – which was held earlier – then they can’t vote in the Republican primary. So, that’s what they think (or are saying, but want to back up) happened:

McDaniel’s campaign said it is finding significant evidence of voter irregularities in Tuesday’s election and is mulling legal options.

Noel Fritsch, communications director for the McDaniel campaign, said the campaign is in heavy-duty research mode right now and will be making a decision soon on whether to file legal action.

“We’re examining all the data we are able to get a hold of, but we are having a hard time getting all of the data we need right now because about half of the circuit clerks are not cooperating with our requests,” Fritsch told WND. “Despite that, based on the data we do have, we have found a lot that is heartening for us. Our preliminary findings certainly indicate that a thorough examination is warranted.”

He said that as soon as the campaign has completed the research phase, “we will decide at such time whether any legal action will be taken.”

The article is much longer than that, going into lots of unsubstantiated allegations. In what many described as the nastiest primary in the country this year, I think it’s only going to get nastier. And, I think that it is going to cost Republicans – and especially the Tea Party – the black vote. In their 2012 post-mortem, the Republican party clearly recognized that they are, in general, the Old White Men party and they need to reach out to non-caucasians. It’s stuff like this that further alienate that growing demographic that may NOT be happy with Democrats … but when the Republicans are questioning their very right to vote, well, it’s a fairly clear choice.

Edited to Add (July 1, 2014): WND’s James Simpson points out that, “Mississippi GOP, State Sued Over Vote Fraud,” with some interesting allegations that – gasp! – a federal law about voting trumps a state law! I wonder if the hypocrisy was recognized here, since these folks are usually all about the “over-reach” of the Federal government into States’ affair.s

Edited to Add (July 3, 2014): Time is reporting that McDaniel is mounting a legal challenge to the primary election results.

Edited to Add (July 14, 2014): Washington Post reports that the conspiracies are being debunked, and McDaniel’s legal ground for a challenge to the vote is pretty much non-existent.


A bit over a month ago, some supporters of then-Mississippi Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel (see my post later today on why he is no longer a candidate … short version: he lost his primary), broke into a nursing home that housed the wife of of the candidate’s opponent, US Senator Thad Cochran. They photographed Cochran’s wife, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and released the photos in some weird, convoluted attempt to shame him.

The blogger was arrested, as were a few others in connection with the incident, including the attorney Mark Mayfield. Mayfield was vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, and he was charged with federal conspiracy charges — conspiring with the blogger (Clayton Kelly) along with Richard Sagar (a Laurel elementary school physical education teacher). John Beachman Mary was also charged, but he was not taken into custody because of medical conditions. Objectively, politically, Mayfield was the “biggest fish” in this alleged conspiracy.

On the morning of Friday, June 27, Mark Mayfield was found dead. The Raw Story‘s take on this was simply, “MS Tea Partier Who Conspired to Photograph Sen. Cochran’s Wife Commits Suicide:”The Clarion-Ledger reported that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.” Mayfield’s case was to go before the grand jury for possible indictment in early July.

It seems like an unfortunate end (for one of the four or five) to an unfortunate situation. But, WND is there for you, ready to get your fired up, just in the title itself: “Mississippi Tea-Party Leader ‘Commits Suicide.'” Yup, right there, just as WND insists on putting “gay” in “quotes,” we have “commits suicide” in quotes.

Several of the 36 comments doubt the official story, like this lengthy diatribe from top-rated “Christian1897” (27 up-votes; I inserted extra paragraph markings to make it more readable):

The “suicide” of one of the leaders of the tea party in Mississippi reminds me of the Clinton era when so many people opposed to Clinton, or trying to investigate Clinton, mysteriously jumped from windows or otherwise committed “suicide”. Lets face it folks, the leadership in Washington DC is Communist and Communists believe that “the end justifies the means” and will do anything no matter how evil, immoral, or amoral, to further their Communist agenda. And that includes murder.

This “suicide” needs to be investigated from top to bottom. When you are dealing with Communists you are dealing with murderers. They have murdered millions upon millions people in every nation they have ever controlled so the murder of one person means nothing to them. This also reminds me of the death recently of newsmen who were about to publish certain information on Obama.

The battle in Mississippi against A RINO Senator may explain the “suicide”. The election there was full of filthy dirty tricks by the left wing against the tea party candidate. Stand up patriots of Mississippi and see to it that this “suicide” is truly investigated because this is just like something the Communists would do to eliminate an opponent. The more power the Communists get, the more this kind of thing will happen.

Or there’s “Frank:” “another “suicide” arranged by the government”

Or “wearyconservative1946:” “This man did not kill himself but the whole thing will be swept under a rug, never investigated, and this is the last we’ll ever hear about it. Another democrat orchestrated fatality that falls under the radar.”

I dunno. Some RSS readers, such as the one I use, have been displaying my posts twice. Sometimes at the same time, sometimes the second time is a day later. This happens on a few other blogs I read. FYI, I have no control over this, since the site is managed by WordPress and their software. Unless someone who reads this is intimately familiar with how I could tweak this to change, it’s going to remain.

That’s not to say that sometimes I don’t update posts. Occasionally I fix something, though more often on older posts – even months later – I’ll add an “Edited to Add” at the bottom that’s an update to the story, rather than doing a full new post on the subject. I did this a lot for August 2013’s, “Military Punishing People for Objecting to The Gay?”

So, set your reader to point out edits made to a story, quickly scan it to see if there have been any changes, and then please pardon the WP errors that lead to duplicated, non-edited posts.

The Supreme Court (of the United States) handed down several rulings last week, many of them truly significant in their reach. These included limits and capabilities of what the EPA can regulate, limits on Executive Orders, limits on Recess Appointments, a unanimous decision for civil liberties in that police now need a warrant to search the contents of your cell phone (which SCOTUS pointed out was now a “mini computer” with your life stored on it), and they eliminated the buffer around abortion clinics on First Amendment grounds (another unanimous decision, and one that I’m less happy with).

World Net Daily was ecstatic about the last one, posting no fewer than four stories about it. My view is perhaps best characterized by their snippet from The Guardian, which they included under their “Out of Left Field” section: “Supremes’ Ruling Protects Gauntlet of Horror.” Basically, a woman is going to have an abortion, making a very difficult decision, and she is harassed in the last few feet trying to get in the doors of the clinic. Harassed by people showing photos of bloody infant corpses, saying she’ll burn in hell, being screamed at through a megaphone, etc. What many states (16, I think, including Massachusetts which was the subject of the SCOTUS decision) have tried to do – to strike a balance between right to free speech and right to access to the abortion clinic – is to establish a buffer zone. You can scream and rant outside that zone, but those last few feet are off-limits. So at least you can get to the door without needing to fight through people.

Now, SCOTUS has ruled that buffer zone unconstitutional. Though I don’t think the decision invalidates the “bubble zones” that they upheld as constitutional, that are 8 ft from the clinic’s door. Personally, I don’t see how 35 ft is that much different from 8 ft — you can still see all the signs, hear all the protests, etc. It seems like more of a free-access and anti-violence thing to me, which was the whole point of the Massachusetts law (enacted in the wake of violence at a Boston clinic).

WND did a three-paragraph snippet from NBC News when it first came out (“Supremes Hand Huge Victory to Pro-Lifers”), and then Bob Unruh published his column on it (“Pro-Life Forces Consider Next Step in Free-Speech Fight”), and later in the day, Greg Corombos did his (“‘Huge’ Supreme Court Ruling ‘Boggles the Mind'”).


Interestingly, Unruh’s column only has nine comments, which is very surprising to me. His stuff about The Gay typically gets 20 times that. Corombos’ column got many more comments, with 164 when I wrote this post. I’m not going to get into the comments, they are what you would expect from WND.

What I’ll end with is what some of the more liberal bloggers (and Rachael Maddow) have somewhat ironically pointed out: SCOTUS’ hypocricy in this issue. The Supreme Court itself forbids all protests on the plaza to their building, roughly 252 feet wide. To quote Boston Magazine:

The court’s rules about protests on their grounds don’t apply to the sidewalks surrounding the building, but those areas are roughly 252 feet from the court’s doors. The buffer zone separating the plaza from the sidewalks is meant to keep the area clean and safe, and maintain “suitable order and decorum” on the property, according to the regulations.

It seems as though some of the anchors on FOX “news” are growing some balls — or, vaginas, as the Sheng Wang quote goes that has been wrongly attributed to Betty White. Earlier it was Megyn Kelly, telling Dick Cheney that no one had been more wrong on Iraq than he. And now, Neil Cavuto “blasted Republicans for a lawsuit announced Wednesday by House Speaker John Boehner that alleges President Obama is acting outside of the law with his executive orders. At one point he cut off Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., mid-sentence to go to a commercial break.” It was reported quite a lot on the blogs I read, but WND’s own anti-homo-in-chief, Bob Unruh, wrote about it for WND: “Cavuto Cuts Off Bachmann on Executive Orders.” It may have originally been entitled, “Fox Star Cuts Off Bachmann on Sizzling Topic,” based on the URL.

Many report it as being a shouting match between Cavuto and Bachmann. Cavuto took the point that the lawsuit Boehner filed against President Obama this week was just for show, that nothing would come of it, and that President Bush made much heavier use of Executive Orders to push through his agendas (agendœ?). Bachmann, a Tea Partier to her core, claimed otherwise. Here’s the conversation that WND quoted:

Bachmann had agreed to come on the program to answer questions about the lawsuit, which she said she had sought a long time ago.

She argued the Constitution “is a stop sign for the president, as it is for the Congress, as it is for the Supreme Court.”

But Cavuto was having none of it, talking over the congresswoman.

“We spend too much time. … We need to fix whatever is wrong,” he said. “Seems to me there’s so much wrong here, [with Congress saying], ‘We’re going to drag your a– to court.’”

“Criminy,” said Bachmann. “Give me a second and I will tell you.

“I don’t know why John Boehner’s filing this now. I called for this going back to the State of the Union. Why he’s doing it now, I don’t know,” she said.

Cavuto continued pushing hard for instant responses.

“Where was your rage when Democrats were going after President Bush [over] executive orders?” he demanded. “This is a waste of time.”

“Rome’s burning, and you’re filing [lawsuits],” he said.

After the interview, he apologized to his audience for getting “a little heated.”

“Looks like I just cut off the congresswoman,” he said.

But he said he wouldn’t apologize for his “sentiment” or his assertion that “we are wasting time filing lawsuits past one another.”

As with the Megyn Kelly – Dick Cheney incident, the WND commenters are pretty much fully on the side of the conservative politician. And there are 1330 comments as I’m writing this, the story having been posted on June 25.

This past week, there were two more rulings on the side of marriage equality: Within about half hour of each other, a US District Judge Richard Young in Indiana ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (and did not stay his ruling), and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Utah’s ban on marriage equality as being unconstitutional.

WND had about two stories on it, and surprisingly, none specific to the Utah ruling. The first was a three-paragraph snippet from the Indianapolis Star (“Judge: Indiana ‘Gay’-Marriage Ban Unconstitutional”), and the second was an actual story published on June 27, written by Greg Corombos: “Same-Sex Marriage Headed Back to Supreme Court.”

In the former story’s comments, which right now number 208, it appears as though it has been hijacked by WND’s non-standard fare, with several of the top-rated comments being pro-marriage-equality. It’s only when you scroll through probably the first half do we get things like this, from “Demmi Greene”: “A banner day for wickedness lndeed, but God”s kingdom ‘will win out’ in the end. We have his oath.”

Greg’s story takes a bunch of quotes from Matt Barber, who posts on WND frequently, and whose latest stories that I’ve talked about include how porn is satanic and that being liberal violates all of the Commandments (you know … THE Commandments).

Granted, Greg’s article came out less than a day ago, but it only has 86 comments. Not horrible, but not great for a WND hot-button issue. While most of them are vile and repugnant, I wonder if WND commenters are starting to get weary of loss after loss.

“Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” —Mark Twain

A normal person might have thought that the whole “birther” thing was dead a long time ago. After all, President Obama is serving his second and final term, the conspiracy folks really did lose in making this a big public issue to sway voters or politicians, and, well, it’s a fairly silly conspiracy (what’s the requirement? Someone thought over 40 years ago that this little baby may grow up to be the President of the US some day so we need to forge his birth certificate?). But that doesn’t stop some people.

Nay, the Birther-in-Chief, Jerome R. Corsi – whose latest book claims that Hitler was alive and well, living in Argentina – has posted a new column, “Sheriff Joe Closing in on Obama Forger.”

That would be Arizona’s Maricopa county Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, the same one who was sued by the Justice Department for racial profiling.

Far-right people who believe in the same fringe conspiracies often flock to each other for the echo chamber effect, and this column is no exception, for it is billed as “an exclusive interview with WND.” In it, he explained being re-elected as sheriff is just too important, especially with the illegal immigration crisis and certain, “sensitive investigations” still in play.”

What “sensitive investigations,” you may ask? Well:

Arpaio also told Rusty Humphries of the Washington Times recently one of those “sensitive” projects was his continued investigation into Barack Obama’s allegedly forged birth certificate.

“If I was the governor, which I turned down a couple of weeks ago because I would have to resign, I’m not going to leave this office to somebody coming in when I have sensitive investigations going, including the president’s birth certificate,” Arpaio said. “I haven’t finished that yet.

“I don’t care where [Obama] was born. That has nothing to do with it,” he continued. “I’m concerned about a forged, fraudulent government document. From Day 1 I’ve been investigating that, now we have to find out who’s behind that. I’m getting close.”

Unsurprisingly, the echo chamber is strong with WND, and the column, published a week ago today, has 1481 comments. And, as usual, comments questioning the conspiracy were deleted by moderators. Echo chambers work better when someone doesn’t poke holes in them.