Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roy Blunt Continues to Vote for Big Bank Bailouts

Roy Blunt has taken a lot of heat from genuine conservatives (but not poseurs) for his hypocritical vote in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the multibillion dollar bailout of the big banks who crashed our economy. For someone who claims to be a true believer in the free market, it's pretty strange that Blunt was so willing for fork over billions in taxpayer dollars to prop up greedy banks.

Apparently, that criticism has had no effect on Blunt, because today he voted to continue TARP payments. The financial reform legislation was originally going to include $19 billion in taxes on the banks, but Republicans thought that this was just too unbelievably unfair to the poor, helpless bankers who run our financial system, so the legislation was instead changed to provide $11 billion by ending TARP early. The bill passed the House of Representatives today, but Blunt and all but three Republicans voted against reforming our defective financial system and against ending the TARP payouts.

Apparently, Roy Blunt is a firm believer in socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

Ed Martin Personally Demonstrates the Corrupting Influence of Oil Money

Like all good members of the modern GOP, Ed Martin is not content to merely talk about corruption in politics. No, he's determined to personally demonstrate it for us.

Here's Ed Martin on his blog a couple weeks ago:
Big Corporations have learned that it is easier to suck up to the Big Government agenda and earn special consideration in laws and enforcement. Big Government believes it can use corporate cash to buy elections. We need to support efforts to disentangle Government so that it no longer favors individual businesses and industries, but simply and evenly serves the common good as defined by the Constitution.
To prove just how corrupting Big Corporations' money can be, Martin then spent the next several weeks shamelessly defending BP's destruction of the Gulf Coast environment:
Even with millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, Ed Martin has unapologetically defended Big Oil, saying that “drilling for oil isn’t what caused this accident.” (KMOX, May 28, 2010)

What’s more, despite mounting evidence that BP caused the devastating spill by deliberately ignoring industry standards and cutting corners in order to maximize their profits, Martin thinks the solution is LESS oversight of Big Oil, saying that corporations like BP should be allowed to drill “anywhere, anytime, anyhow.” (KMOX, May 28, 2010)

In fact, in Martin’s view, the BP spill wasn’t caused by BP breaking the rules in order to make as much money as possible --- no, in Ed Martin’s world, this spill it was caused by “overregulation over the decades as government encroached where it does not belong.”
And, just like Ed Martin had predicted, he was rewarded for his pandering to Big Oil with a fundraiser hosted by Stephan Brauer, one the major funders behind Newt Gingrich's "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less" campaign. So Ed Martin publicly defends Bil Oil in public, and in return he gets a nice "cocktail fundraiser" from Big Oil boosters.

I'm convinced: corporate money really does have a corrosive influence on politicians. Thanks so much to Ed Martin for illustrating it once and for all.

Senate Republicans Block Assistance for Homeless Veterans and Families

Given their patriotic rhetoric, if the modern GOP had even a shred of compassion, you would expect them to show it at least on issues that involve veterans. So what do you make of the fact that they're blocking a bill that would, "expand assistance for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children and would increase funding and extend federal grant programs to address the unique challenges faced by these veterans"?

Think Progress quotes a Reid spokesperson as saying the following:
Republicans have their priorities backwards — according to them, it’s OK to give tax breaks to CEOs who send American jobs overseas, but not to help out-of-work Americans and homeless veterans.
But homeless veterans don't have lobbyists who will donate large sums of money to your campaigns. Duh.

Media Continues Attempts at Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation of Tea Party

Let's review the recent history of the St. Louis Tea Party. Their rallies have shrunk to tiny fractions of their original sizes, to the point where they have started repeatedly making excuses for the small crowd sizes. In the April ballot initiative that they chose to call a test of their organizational strength, they were only able to get 37% of county voters to vote against a new tax, raised less money than my birthday cause on facebook, and only ever got a maximum of 25 people (and that's being generous) to come out to a support rally. They've been hampered by infighting and unanswered questions about the group's organization. Furthermore, their "new" projects like Ensuring Liberty and Conservatives of America have shown no signs whatsoever of having any political impact.

In fact, the only thing preventing the St. Louis tea party from fading off into complete obscurity has been the media's willingness to hand them a microphone whenever they ask for one, in ways that they never did for similar progressive organizing initiatives. The most recent example of this is the coverage of the fact that the tea party managed to get a whole 40 people to buy group tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals game. Both KSDK and the Post-Dispatch covered this amazingly exciting event.

Of course, there are progressive social events every single week that are more interesting and get a larger turnout that don't ever seem to get covered. But of course, this is the tea party, so makes it totally new and exciting, right? At least, it would if it was still 2009.

Ed Martin to Schmooze With Fellow Republican Insiders

Ed Martin is the perfect embodiment of the St. Louis tea party leadership: he pretends to be an "outsider" trying to "revolutionize" politics when in reality he wants nothing more than to return to the George Bush years marked by military aggression, pandering to corporate interests, and, ironically, no reduction in our deficits whatsoever (in fact there was a huge increase). More evidence of this will be on display tonight as George W. Bush's close friends Stephan and Kimmy Brauer are hosting Ed Martin, along with fellow Republican relics from the Bush years Matt Blunt and Jim Talent, for a "cocktail reception" schmooze fest at the "main house" of the Brauers' estate. The Post-Dispatch reports:
Of course, the support has strings attached; the event makes it easy for Carnahan's campaign to tie Martin to some of President Bush's old buddies, a liability that could come back to hurt him.
Uhh, yeah. That's because Martin is and has always been a political insider in the Republican Party.

The Importance of Progressive Organizing Outside The Democratic Party

Before I start, I should note that, much to the chagrin of my more radical friends, I've always supported the Democratic Party in elections and have never subscribed to the theory that they are "inherently flawed" or "just as bad" as the Republican Party. I'm a believer in the maxim: "More and better Democrats." We need more Democrats because Republicans are inevitably opposed to the things that progressive people care about. And we need better Democrats because, as we saw during the health care debate, all too often even the members of the Democratic Party will stand in opposition to the stated principles of the party if they are getting leaned on by Big Money or if they get too suckered in by the latest Fox News spin.

And though I've always voted for Democrats, I think it would be nearly impossible for any progressive person to think that the Democratic Party on a local, state, and national level doesn't have serious problems that are an impediment to needed changes. With 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House, Democrats stalled so long that they were forced to seriously water down healthcare reform. They also failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, an extremely important bill that would have restored some fairness to negotiations between workers and their employers (who right now have no reason to negotiate in good faith). This weak strategy is not only bad for enacting progressive legislation: it's bad for Democrats' chances of reelections.

So with all of this in mind, I want to emphasize the importance of having groups that are not directly affiliated with the Democratic Party organizing for progressive values. What do I mean by "organizing for progressive values?" I mean groups that fundraise, get out the vote, advertise, hold events, and persuade based on their stated values. And what do I mean by "not directly affiliated with the Democratic Party?" I mean groups that are not affiliated with any particular candidate or Democratic Committee. These groups presumably will support Democratic candidates, but it's important that they have the freedom to move resources around as they see fit. If a particular Democratic city official is not living up to the values of the group, then the group has the freedom to support a primary opponent. Or, less dramatically, the group has the freedom to shift their resources to support some other candidate in a different campaign that they think does a better job of living up to their ideals.

Right now, it seems to me, that the Democratic Party is responsible for most of the organizing that wins political contests in our region. I don't want to downplay the value of what they do or the importance of working on campaigns for the Democratic Party. After all, it is extremely important that Democrats win certain elections. For example, Russ Carnahan, Lacy Clay, and Robin Carnahan are all infinitely preferable to their likely Republican opponents. However, given that the party is responsible for most of the organizing, the politicians themselves are not necessarily indebted to progressive values. They're indebted to a whole host of people, but often the most salient can be the big money donations that they see coming in.

In contrast, imagine if most of the political organizing for elections was done by a progressive organization. Politicians would know that they can't win elections in Region X without the support of a coalition of people with a shared set of progressive values (presumably pro-union, pro-environment, pro-LGBT rights, etc.). The demographics of the people voting might stay exactly the same, but the mere fact that people with shared values are explicitly working together as a group can create a huge incentive for the politicians to support the goals of that group. And, I think, if this starts at a local level, these good candidates will begin to work their way up to higher offices.

This is why I'm very excited about the fact that people are working to rebuild the progressive group Democracy for America in St. Louis. DFA is a group that pushed hard for meaningful health care reform, that opposed the Iraq war and occupation (and demands clear goals for Afghanistan), and that supports a host of progressive issues like Net Neutrality. DFA is also a group that endorses progressive candidates in key elections, and can work to push the "more and better Democrats" philosophy without being wholly indebted to the insider conventional wisdom that is often self-destructive to the party.

Finally, DFA is also known for holding one of the best campaign training academies in the country, and this academy will be coming to St. Louis on July 10th and 11th. The academy will cover a number of skills, such as getting out the vote, secrets of fundraising, event planning, crafting a communications strategy, and running a field program. It will also provide a great opportunity to meet with other folks from St. Louis interested in working together on progressive organizing. I highly recommend signing up for the training, which you can do at this link. With all the bickering that goes on on TV and on blogs, it's often easy to forget that the real thing that wins elections is organizing. Progressives need to start doing a better job at it if we want to address the problems in our society.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dana Loesch Wants to Legalize Uzis and Rocket Launchers

A few preliminaries:

First, I actually think that the Supreme Court ruling that prevents Chicago from banning handguns is probably correct, in that it seems to be consistent with the right to bear arms. I might not like the consequences of the ruling, but it does seem to me to be consistent with the law.

Second, the following segment on Larry King live is just absolutely terrible in so many ways. Both the token "liberals" and the token conservatives make mind-numbingly vapid arguments. If this is where people turn to to get their information, God help us all.

But on to the substance! Dana Loesch was on Larry King's show yesterday offering her opinion on the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling. When James Carville sarcastically says everyone should get a bazooka, Loesch replied, "Can we do that? Because yeah, let's do." Later, Larry King asked Loesch to define "arms." Here's how she responded:
Loesch: How do I define arms. Oh gosh. I don't think there should be a restriction on firearms.

King:You said the 2nd Amendment is clear so arms would include machine guns, right?

Loesch: I hate the war and I hate the B.S. term, with respects to Penn whose show I like, the B.S. term "assault rifles" and "assault weapons." We're going to put the term assault in front of it because we don't understand that adding something cosmetic really doesn't make a gun anymore accurate. It's just cosmetic.

King:How do you define arms?

Loesch: I define arms by weapons period. I define arms by firearms, by guns. Period.

King: So guns would be a machine gun?

Loesch: Yeah. Sure. It freaks people out but I just don't believe in that restriction. I don't believe the government can act like a nanny.
You can watch the full "debate" here:

Also interesting, the day after this catastrophic low point in the history of television, Larry King announced that he's quitting his nightly TV show to spend more time with his family. Could this possible be a coincidence?

Emergency Rally for Jobs on Wednesday

Just got word of this:
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 2PM
Emergency Rally for Jobs

Last week Sen. Bond voted AGAIN against extending unemployment insurance for the hardest-hit jobless workers and emergency aid to states to prevent hundreds of thousands of layoffs. Tomorrow Join the AFL-CIO for an emergency press conference to tell Sen. Bond enough with protecting lobbyists over workers here in Missouri.

The press conference will take place at 7700 Bonhomme Ave, 63105.
It absolutely blows my mind that Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to protect the big banks that crashed our economy and took billions in taxpayer money, yet are willing to throw so many people under the bus during a recession. Truly shameless.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is Ed Martin Ducking Debate?

Below is the text of a post from John Wayne Tucker, the Republican primary opponent of Ed Martin, suggesting that Martin is desperately avoiding debate with Tucker. Recall that Tucker crushed Ed Martin in the Missouri Sovereignty Project Poll for the district, despite the fact that Martin repeatedly encouraged his supporters to vote for him.

Here's Tucker's post:
Where in the World is Ed Martin?
Where is Ed Martin?

The problem with politics is; well, it is politics. And many people running for office like to play funny games. There have been plenty of funny games played on me so far, but the most frustrating is the inability to pin Ed Martin down to a meeting with me. A Tea Party group had scheduled a meet and greet with Martin and myself almost a year ago and after agreeing to attend, flyers being printed and publicity paid for, he suddenly could not find time in his schedule. Today, I was at the Freedom Fights event in St. Charles where both Ed Martin and Roy Blunt were scheduled to appear. When I was able to finally be a part of this event ($295.00 to be a part of the event), Martin suddenly had another engagement. After Tweeting and Facebooking the standup, it was up in the air as to whether he would show. Finally, we were told that he would be there. He was in fact there. He worked the crowd, greeted his campaign workers and ten minutes before he was to climb in the ring with me and other candidates, he was missing again. Yes, he ducked out of the event!

Twice now, Martin has declined to meet me in a public forum. Once, it cost Tea Party members money. This time, it cost me campaign money. And still no public meeting with Martin. Frankly, it is difficult to see how a candidate who has no issues written on his website or anywhere in print that I have seen can expect the support of anyone. And now, he refuses to answer a few simple questions in a public forum where he expected his people to give up their Sunday and work for him. People paid money to come to the event to see him and we still do not know where he stands on issues. He has not completed the Abigail Adams Project survey or the Gun Rights Examiner survey. It took Martin 300 days to simply complete his FEC disclosure paperwork. What is taking up so much of his time? Is this transparency? Is he going to have time to return your calls or talk to you if he were to become a U. S. Congressman? The pattern here seems to suggest no.

Get in the Ring!

Oh yes, Roy Blunt didn’t show up either. Perhaps he and Martin were sipping a latte somewhere discussing their personal plans for fame and distasteful voting for the American people. There is not much time left in this primary. You can’t ignore me for the entire campaign Ed. I am passing you in success. You need to meet me in a public forum so we can find out just what the people are going to be voting for. Oh, but the people already know what I stand for. I have it clearly stated on my site, on all of the surveys I have received, and in my Pledge to America (a pledge so demanding that no politician in the world would sign it.). Come on Ed, you can’t hide forever.

St. Louis Activist Events for June 30 - July 4

This week's events:

Tuesday, June 30, there will be a fundraiser for excellent state representative candidate Byron DeLear from 6 to 6:30 at Norwood Hills Country Club, 3/4 mile North of Highway 70 on Lucas and Hunt Rd.

Also Tuesday, there will be visual arts and music at a fundraiser for the Yeyo Arts Collective from 8 to 10:30 PM at 2700 Locust.

Wednesday, June 30, Trailnet will be providing Breakfast for Bikers from 6:30 to 9:30 AM at the Old Post Office Plaza at 9th and Locust.

Also Wednesday, there will be a fundraising reception in honor of Mike Colona from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Friendly's Bar and Grill (3503 Roger).

Also Wednesday, there will be a fundraiser for St. Charles County Council candidate Cheryl Hibbeler from 5:30 to 8 PM at the Rednezvous Cafe & Wine bar (2700 South Main St.) in O'Fallon, MO.

Also Wednesday,
there will be a discussion of Green Jobs in the St. Louis Region with Rodd Nunn, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development for the St. Louis Community College system from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Jewish Federation Kopolow Building (12 Millstone Campus Drive).

Also Wednesday, Virginia Druhe will be reporting on her time in Honduras accompanying Radio Progreso at Papagayo's Market (6922 Manchester) from 7 to 9 PM.

Thursday, July 1st, there will be a sign-making party for Russ Carnahan at the campaign office at 7000 Chippewa at 3 PM.

Also, Thursday is the day for Drinking Liberally at the Premium Lounge (4199 Manchester) from 6:30 to 10 PM.

Also Thursday, Jobs with Justice and key allies will be hosting a Real Deal Training on how to talk about federal health care reform from 7 to 8:30 PM. RSVP with Amy Smoucha ( ) for more details.

Also Thursday, City Affair will be having drinks at the Moonrise Hotel roof (6177 Delmar) from 7:30 to 11 PM.

Friday, July 2nd, there will be a screening of Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story followed by a discussion from 6 to 10 PM.

Saturday, July 3, you can march with Congressman Russ Carnahan in the Webster Groves Parade at 9 AM (gathering at Selma and Lockwood).

Also Saturday, the Palestine Solidarity Committee will be meeting at 4 PM at the World Community Center (438 N. Skinker).

Sunday, July 4,
and every Sunday, there will be a vigil for peace on the corner of Lindell and Grand at 7 PM.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bill Hennessy Distances Himself From Other Tea Party Members

The Atlantic political blog has a post up about tea party members wearing the shirts of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The Atlantic cites a couple of my posts, stating the following:
Two blog posts at St. Louis Activist Hub, a progressive website in St. Louis, purport to show local Tea Party leaders Adam Sharp, Bill Hennessy (who runs the St. Louis Tea Party), and Jim Durbin (who runs the conservative blog 24th state) wearing SEIU gear.
Durbin and Sharp were wearing shirts, but I actually only said of Hennessy in my original post that he "posed with" people wearing the shirts. The Atlantic post goes on to say the following:
The reasons for dressing up in SEIU garb are unclear. Yes, handing out SEIU shirts is like handing out TSA uniforms in Kabul, and the anonymous consultant said the purpose was to cause mayhem. In the above photos, it doesn't appear much legitimate impersonation is going on. It seems more ironic--like the peace sign on Pvt. Joker's helmet in "Full Metal Jacket"--or, maybe in Sharp's case, just meant to confuse. Then again, it's hard to glean from these snippets.

There's another upshot of this seed of doubt: it's that if you see someone in an SEIU t-shirt causing trouble, they may actually be a Tea Partier. As Tea Partiers and liberals clash in public, one can no longer believe one's eyes.
However, what's really interesting from my perspective is the update of the post where Hennessy makes sure to deny that he was wearing a shirt:
UPDATE: Hennessy says he's never worn an SEIU t-shirt.
I'm sure this is true, but why exactly does Bill Hennessy think it's so important to deny that he was involved? Is he ashamed to be associated with Durbin and Sharp? And is he trying to suggest, in his non-denial denial, that he had nothing to do with the tea partiers dressing up in SEIU shirts. Because that is clearly false, as seen in photos from the event (Hennessy is in the black shirt in front):

Given that Hennessy is clearly encouraging the others to wear the shirts, why is he so quick to distance himself from them in the Atlantic? Seems consistent with a pattern of behavior with Hennessy where he tries to ratchet up the rhetoric to encourage other people to act obnoxiously, then tries to present himself as honorable when he interacts with the press.

Was Ed Martin's Smokescreen Created By Burning Oil?

Ed Martin has been working overtime lately trying to create a smokescreen to distract from the fact that he filed his financial disclosure forms 300 days later than required by federal law, presented a plethora of easily debunked excuses, and somehow still managed to file his forms incorrectly. This latest ethics flap is devastating for Martin because it highlights the core hypocrisy of his campaign: Martin is trying to run as the "idealistic political outsider" when in fact he has a long history of ethical lapses dating back to his time as the arrogant Chief of Staff who despised government transparency and open discourse. His latest bending of the law is just another example of how he appears to think that he should be held to different standards than "the little people."

A recent press release by the Russ Carnahan campaign provides some strong clues as to the real reasons Martin is working so hard to distract from his own financial disclosure forms. It turns out that Martin, a strong defender of the oil industry throughout the recent Gulf disaster, has many connections to Big Oil companies. From the press release:
With a track record of defending BP and calling for fewer regulations of Big Oil, Ed Martin didn’t want people to know about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in Big Oil stocks his family owns...

Last year, Exxon and Chevron – Big Oil corporations in which Martin’s wife reports owning between $101,000 and $265,000 in stocks – handed over a whopping $8 billion and $5.5 billion in dividend payments to shareholders. Exxon is the Martin family’s single largest stock holding.
The press release goes on to highlight Ed Martin shamelessly defending the oil industry that is destroying the Gulf environment even as I type this:
Even with millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, Ed Martin has unapologetically defended Big Oil, saying that “drilling for oil isn’t what caused this accident.” (KMOX, May 28, 2010)

What’s more, despite mounting evidence that BP caused the devastating spill by deliberately ignoring industry standards and cutting corners in order to maximize their profits, Martin thinks the solution is LESS oversight of Big Oil, saying that corporations like BP should be allowed to drill “anywhere, anytime, anyhow.” (KMOX, May 28, 2010)

In fact, in Martin’s view, the BP spill wasn’t caused by BP breaking the rules in order to make as much money as possible --- no, in Ed Martin’s world, this spill it was caused by “overregulation over the decades as government encroached where it does not belong.”
With serious connections to an industry that is one of the worst, if not the worst, examples of corporate abuse of power, it's no wonder Ed Martin is doing everything he can to distract from his financial disclosure forms.

Another Tea Party Conspiracy Theory Comes Crashing Down

Remember how the St. Louis Tea Party kept saying that President Obama and Senate candidate Robin Carnahan wouldn't appear in public together because Obama was too politically toxic, or because Carnahan was too politically toxic, or something? Well, we can put that one to bed, because the Beacon reports that Obama will be visiting Kansas City in a couple weeks to headline a fundraiser for Carnahan.

Meanwhile, good ol' Turd Blossom is coming to St. Charles to stump for Republican Congressman Roy Blunt.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jake Wagman Corrects Misinformation of Ed Martin

Jake Wagman of the Post-Dispatch recently wrote a post repeating the misinformation being spread by ethically-challenged Ed Martin, who was working hard to create a smokescreen in light of the fact that he filed his financial disclosure forms 300 days after the date required by federal law. A press release from Ed Martin stated the following, insinuating that Carnahan had chosen a non-union company to work on his home:
What was the settlement? And why did he use a non-union company? He has no problem taking generous donations from them.
Wagman followed this misleading statement, originally writing the following:
While Carnahan is likely pleased to have that legal action by him, it could come back to hurt him politically: The roofing company he hired does not use union labor.
However, the reality of the situation is that the insurance company forced the Carnahans to use the non-union company against their wishes. This is reflected in Wagman's latest version of the post where the last paragraph is changed to the following:
The roofing company he hired does not use union labor. However, a Carnahan campaign spokesman said that his insurance company -- not the congressman -- selected American Exteriors.

The work, Carnahan's campaign says, was to repair storm damage -- apparently from a tornado that hit the home.
Just another example of the fact that you shouldn't trust any information from an Ed Martin press release.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ed Martin Proud of His Shameless Attack on Mel Carnahan

It seems like the wires are crossed in Ed Martin's brain where he feels pride about actions that normal people find despicable. Yesterday, Ed Martin attacked Russ Carnahan's late father Mel Carnahan in a post on his blog. Here's what Martin had to say:
Missouri’s 3rd district has, for too long now, gone unprotected. The Carnahan family has a long history of not protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Mel Carnahan, when serving as Missouri’s Governor, three times vetoed partial birth abortion bans passed by Republican and Democrat legislators. These vetoes marked a low point in our state and national history.
Congressman Russ Carnahan has his own history and his own voting record on this issue, so there is no good reason for Ed Martin to attack his father, who died in tragic circumstances in 2000. The most obvious explanation of his behavior is that Ed Martin is vindictively trying to "get under Russ Carnahan's skin."

This theory is supported by the fact that Ed Martin is thrilled by the fact that other people have been offended by his attacks. Brian Matthews posted a status update on facebook saying that Martin's actions were shameless, and Martin "liked" the status:

Just like his fellow St. Louis tea party members, Ed Martin is motivated by hate and willing to do or say anything to try to gain power.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Important post by DaveJ over at OpenLeft:
Here is why it is so important to vote: Darrell Issa has eye on subpoena team,
Rep. Darrell Issa, the conservative firebrand whose specialty is lobbing corruption allegations at the Obama White House, is making plans to hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if Republicans win the House this fall.
The plan is to bankrupt everyone in the government with lawyer fees and tie up the administration so they can't get anything done. The accusations, lies and smears will dwarf the Clinton-era and the slime will destroy people's faith in government and democracy. That works for them. It helps put the big corporations in charge.
This dovetails nicely with the Breitbartian tea partiers who plan to use misleadingly edited undercover videos to selectively target Democrats and restore the same old Bush/Cheney crowd to power (notice how they never target Republican politicians). The cynical Right hates government, and so actively works to make it less effective, more corrupt, and just generally less good at governing once they are in power because all of that plays into their narrative. After Bush f'ed up Katrina, wingers said, "See, we told you that government doesn't work."

The 2010 elections are shaping up to be extremely important.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for June 21-28

This week's events:

Monday, June 21, there will be a Get Out the Vote canvass for Organizing for America from 5:30 to 8:30 (meet up at the St. Louis Bread Company at 21 Allen in Webster Groves).

Tuesday, June 22, Green Drinks, an opportunity to network with folks who care about the environment, will be at 6 PM at Bowood Farms (4605 Olive St.).

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International of St. Louis City is holding their monthly letter-writing meeting from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Hartford Coffee Company (3974 Hartford).

Wednesday, June 23, NARAL will kick off a phone bank for state senate candidate Joe Keaveny at 1 PM at 1210 Vandeventer.

Also Wednesday, there will phone banking for Genise Montecillo and Russ Carnahan from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at 7000 S. Chippewa.

Also Wednesday, there will be a fundraiser for the St. Louis Food Factory at Buffalo Wild Wings in St. Charles (1465 Bass Pro Drive) from 7 to 9 PM.

Thursday, June 24, the 27 Dresses Benefit at the Melting Pot (6683 Delmar) at 5:30 PM will raise money for Connect With. Wear an old bridesmaid dress or a tux to get a discount.

Also Thursday, there will be a reception and fundraiser for State Representative candidate Jim Stoufer from 6 to 8 PM at the Claycomo Community Building.

Friday and Saturday, the movie Reel Injun at the Webster Film Series examines Hollywood conceptions of Native people over the past 100 years.

Friday, June 25, there will be a Stray Rescue Volunteer Happy Hour from 4 to 8 PM at Luvy Duvy's Cafe (2321 Arsenal).

Also Friday, the New Belgium Brewing Company's Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour will raise money for Trailnet from 7 to 10 PM at the Soulard Market plaza.

Also Friday, there will be a Pride Comedy Show with Dieta Pepsi and Trish Busch at Nancy's Place (4510 Manchester) from 8 to 10 PM.

Also Friday, there will be a Pride Party from 8 PM on at 214 Springer Avenue (I think in Edwardsville).

Saturday and Sunday, it's Pride Fest 2010! Get the full information on two days of events here.

Saturday, June 26, as part of Pride Fest, the Pride 5K will kick off at 8 AM at Lafayette Park.

Also Saturday, there's a Mud Run to benefit the National MS Society starting at Harrah's (777 Casino Center Drive in Maryland Heights) at 8 AM.

Also Saturday, there will be a Vegan Meetup and Bake Sale from 8:30 to 12:30 at the Tower Grove Farmer's Market.

Also Saturday, join in the Morganford Pet Parade from 10 AM to 4 PM to find pet friendly businesses and local vendors.

Also Saturday, Hands Across the Sand St. Louis at the Arch (50 Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd.) from 11 AM to 12:30 is part of an international movement of people working for the protection of coastal economies, oceans, and marine wildlife.

Also Saturday, there will be a Golf Tournament to benefit Project COPE at the Normandie Golf Club from 11:30 AM to 6 PM.

Also Saturday, Naral will be canvassing for Jeanne Kirkton starting at noon.

Also Saturday, there will be a rally in support of seizing BP in front of Senator McCaskill's office (5850 Delmar) starting at 1 PM.

Sunday, June 27 is the Pride Parade! Many groups are marching in the parade including Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, NARAL, and PRIZM.

Also Sunday, NARAL is holding their annual meeting followed by a wine tasting from 2:30 to 5:30 PM at the Map Room (1901 Withnell Avenue).

Also Sunday, you can gather in the garden with the shareholders of Justice and Peace Shares from 4:30 to 6:30 Pm at McGurks (12th and Russell) .

Also Sunday, and every Sunday, there will be a vigil for peace at the corner of Grand and Lindell at 7 PM.

Monday, June 28, there will be an OFA Get Out the Vote Canvass in Webster Groves starting at 5:30 PM.

Did Gina Loudon Found the St. Louis Tea Party?

She sure seems to think so.

The official story, told many times online and on air by tea party members, has always been that Bill Hennessy contacted Dana Loesch and they collaborated on organizing the original rally at the St. Louis Arch. Since that time, both Loesch and Hennessy have been referred to as "co-founders of the St. Louis Tea Party."

However, recently, Gina Loudon seems to be referring to herself as the "Founder of the St. Louis Tea Party." First, here's a clip in the Lincoln County Journal that lists her as such:

Not "cofounder." Not "officer." But "founder:" indicating that she was the sole creator of the group. Even more prominently, John Loudon listed Gina as founder on the main web page of their new money-making apparatus, the Ensuring Liberty PAC:

If Gina Loudon is the founder, that proves that the St. Louis tea party has always been an astroturf group. Gina Loudon operates a Republican PR firm and is a Missouri Republican Party insider. Her husband was a former Republican state senator.

On the other hand, if Gina Loudon isn't "the founder," she appears to be taking advantage of the group's name for shameless self-promotion. Should she really be representing herself as "the founder" if Hennessy and Loesch were the people who originally organized the first rally (likely with help from outside sources)?

Either way, it looks bad for the St. Louis tea party.

h/t Russ Weiss

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ed Martin Had Congressional Website for a Year Before Claiming He Made His Decision

If you recall, Ed Martin provided a litany of excuses for why he didn't have to follow the laws like the little people by filing his financial disclosure report on time as required by federal law. He claimed that he was really busy, despite having time to write 150 blog posts, organize trivia nights, and attend multiple tea parties. He claimed he didn't understand how to fill out the forms, despite the fact that he had to fill out the same kind of report as Matt Blunt's Chief of Staff. In Martin's defense, he might have a point there, since he still managed to fail in filling out his forms even 300 days after it was due by leaving out the fact that he's an officer in two organization. But is incompetence really an excuse for not following the law?

There's another excuse Martin gave that hasn't yet been covered. Martin claimed in one of his excuses (its hard to keep track of all of them), that he was just getting around to filling out his forms several months after the deadline because he only really made up his mind on September 30 of 2009 that he was going to run. However, the law seems pretty clear that you have to report your finances once you've raised $5,000: there are no exemptions for "not officially declaring" your candidacy. Furthermore, Russ Weiss had a great catch in the comments of this blog:
Martin claimed he announced his candidacy on Sept. 30. I checked for info on his campaign web site. Accordign to, was registered on Oct. 29, 2008. It seems to me that Martin had tons of time to explore, commit and file forms.

Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Name Server: NS1999.HOSTGATOR.COM
Name Server: NS2000.HOSTGATOR.COM
Status: ok
Updated Date: 29-sep-2009
Creation Date: 29-oct-2008
Expiration Date: 29-oct-2010
So Ed Martin gave several completely lame, easily debunked excuses for why he filed his financial disclosure form 300 days late, yet still somehow managed to fill out the form incorrectly. All this from a guy who's listed as the President of the Institute for Transparent Government.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gateway Pundit Thinks U.S. Should Apologize to British Petroleum

You've probably heard the news that insane Republican congressman Joe Barton apologized to BP, claiming that Obama getting BP to put $20 Billion in a relief fund to pay for damages amounted to a "20 Billion Dollar Shakedown." And surpising to no one, our own Jim "Gateway Pundit" Hoft of the St. Louis tea party was right there to defend Barton. Here's what Hoft had to say:
Of course it was a shakedown. It’s the Chicago way.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologizes to BP for the Barack Obama’s “20 Billion Dollar Shakedown.”
Well said, Congressman
h/t Media Matters.

Ed Martin Wrote 150 Blog Posts While "Too Busy" to File Financial Disclosure Form

As Matt Blunt's Chief of Staff, Ed Martin deleted emails that were supposed to be saved under state Sunshine Laws, and then fired and smeared an employee who asked him to follow the law. He now is trying to run as a candidate who really, really values transparency.

Ironic then, as Sean at FiredUp Missouri pointed out, that Ed Martin finally got around to filing his Ethics Disclosure required by federal law...300 days late. Martin was required by law to disclose the details of his finances within 30 days of raising $5,000, but after requesting numerous extensions he only got around to it on April 29 of this year, 300 days after he originally reached the threshold on July 10 of 2009.

Check out the litany of excuses "Mr. Transparency" used while stalling his ethics report:
In letters to the ethics committee, Martin said he needed an extension of 60 days because he was a “private citizen who is running his own business.” He later followed up with a request for a 90-day extension, saying he had just officially declared his candidacy Sept. 30.

“Before that, I was testing the waters and trying to decide,” he wrote. “I am a private citizen with my own small business and family (wife, three kids).”

In early February, Martin again wrote the ethics committee apologizing for the delay in filing, attributing it to his inexperience in running for office. He also asked a number of follow-up questions about the process, including whether his wife had to list all the boards on which she holds a position.
Wow, that's amazing. I didn't realize you could get out of ethics laws by being a "private citizen." Of course, I also hadn't realized you could request free hunting permits as the Chief of Staff.

But more to the point, between September 30 and April 30, while Ed Martin was waaaay too busy to deal with pesky things like ethics reports, he managed to write 150 posts on his blog . He also somehow found the time to hold a Super Bowl Party, a trivia night fundraiser, hang out with former football players, and of course go to tea party rallies, along with probably hundreds of other events. Naturally, there are lots of things you can do when you're running for office, but the law asks you to file Ethics Disclosures all the same.

But of course, as we've seen many times before, Ed Martin seems to think that laws are for little people.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Zzzz, Another Snoozer from 24thstate

Jim Durbin of the 24thstate blog tries his hand at video analysis again. And he fails, again.

Durbin's video of the arrest of Javonne Spitz and Brian Matthews helped get the prosecutor to drop charges against Matthews. However, Durbin is still sticking to his story that the video proves that the police report is true and that Matthews is a "liar." You can watch the video here:

Now, the following is what is stated in the police report:
As Captain Monteleone was assisting us with crowd control a subject, later identified as Brian Matthews, walked up to him and purposely fell onto the sidewalk in front of him. While laying on the ground Matthews asked people around him of he saw the police push him down. Captain Monteleone observed Matthews laying on the ground yelling that he was being beaten by the police, trying to draw attention to himself.
As can be seen from the video, this story is clearly false. Matthews did not "walk up to Captain Monteleone." He was walking in front of the police officer, leading Spitz away from the scene.

There is no video evidence whatsoever that Matthews was yelling that he was being beaten, despite the fact that the cameras were picking up sound from Spitz. Brian Matthews' point is that if this part of the police report is false, why should we treat the rest of the report as gospel? The police report was clearly flawed.

Durbin further claims that Matthews was "lying" when he was quoted as follows in the Post-Dispatch:
"I can't tell you how many police officers charged us from behind," Matthews said. "I was pushed to the ground by one. I was pushed into the back of somebody who was walking away."
However, Durbin, so blinded by ideology that he's incapable of even considering the evidence, apparently doesn't even bother to watch the full video. You can see in the video that after Matthews is on the ground the first time, he's trying to get up, and the video (1:15) does seem to indicate that he was pushed back to the ground:

Furthermore, you can see at the 1:16 mark that Matthews was pushed into the back of somebody: in fact, Matthews being pushed caused Spitz and the other officer to fall over. So Matthews' statement in the Post-Dispatch was true.

It looks like Durbin is trying to regain right-wing credibility because he was so embarrassed that his video actually helped prove the innocence of his sworn enemy. It didn't work.

But even if Durbin can't win back his right-wing cred, I still appreciate him. I appreciate the fact that's he's working hard to discredit himself right in time for the trial.

Despite Intimidation Tactics, Area Conservatives Still Asking Questions About Tea Party

The last time the conservatives at the Hillbilly Logic radio show asked questions about the St. Louis tea party, they were met with a wave of insults, insinuations, and stonewalling from the local tea party leadership. So, it's heartening to see that they're still willing to continue asking questions about how the St. Louis Tea Party works. The latest post on the HillBilly Logic blog raises a number of interesting questions. Here are a few highlights:

  • First, the post starts from the fact that Dana Loesch had some bad things to say about the Tea Party Express (which Kenenth Gladney participated in). Loesch apparently said the following about the express:
    I just do not like the way it is set up and I do not like the guy that runs it, he says some very caustic things...I am not just gonna not shine the light on it. I just think it is inconsistent and disingenuous.
    Interesting, then, that the St. Louis Tea Party's Gateway Pundit was happy to promote the bus when it came to St. Charles, and that the tea party also promoted the bus tour when Kenneth Gladney joined it.

  • Another interesting observation from the post is that the Ensuring Liberty PAC (the subject of the original controversy) describes Gina Loudon as the founder of the St. Louis Tea Party (in John Loudon's profile). This is at odds with the official tea party story that the group was formed by Hennessy and Loesch. And, combined with the fact that Bill Hennessy explained that former Matt Blunt Chief of Staff Ed Martin was one of the organizations "officers" from the first week of it's existence, it pretty much solidifies the astroturf status of the St. Louis Tea Party since both Martin and Loudon are Republican political operatives.

  • From these observations it's pretty clear that the Tea Party still has not been very upfront about how the organization started and how the leadership decisions are actually made. The blog highlights this fact by pointed out that almost no one had ever heard of Katie O'Malley, the head of the Ensuring Liberty PAC. Hennessy further claims, "If I want to do a project, I do it. Hoft wants to do one, he does it. Burns, Loesch, Louden, Moore, Sharp, Adams. We didn't know each other on 02/09/09. We just come together to support each other." But given that the local tea party has "officers" and a leadership committee, this can't be right. They have a group that signs off on what they want to promote and be involved in.

  • The author mentions that Hennessy suggested that he was a "plant" for asking questions. Given that Hennessy is prone to believe wild conspiracy theories, this is not too surprising.

  • They also suggest that Dana Loesch shamelessly promotes herself using the tea party to give her added "cred" in Fox News world. Gee, that thought never occurred to me, so I'll have to keep an eye out to see if that sounds right.

  • Anyway, glad to hear that there are some conservatives who are asking for a little more transparency from the tea party. For my part, I'd just like to see Hennessy explain why he claimed there was no money being raised for Ensuring Liberty a full month after he had been asking for donations.

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Leader of St. Louis Tea Party Thinks Obama is a Muslim waging "Stealth Jihad on the White House"

    So much for trying to pretend that they aren't conspiracy theorists. Check out what St. Louis Tea Party leader Bill Hennessy (Twitter name @whennessy) tweeted today:

    The link takes you to an article claiming that Obama told an Egyptian Foreign Minister that he is Muslim and that:
    once he overcame some domestic American problems (Healthcare), that he would show the Moslem world what he would do with Israel.
    The article was subtitled, ""Islamic Coup on the White House" and claims that Obama is engaging in a "stealth jihad on the White House."

    Wow. What amazingly unhinged nonsense being perpetuated by the self-appointed leader of the local tea party movement, who absurdly claims that his movement represents American values.

    I should note that unlike many in the tea party, I'm not a bigot who thinks that there is something wrong with being Muslim. However, the fact that folks like Hennessy are willing to believe such elaborate conspiracies about the President and even claim that he's trying to wage a "stealth jihad" tells you quite a bit about their true motivations. In fact, it might be argued that it tells you everything you need to know.

    Update: Yikes! Media Matters catches this nutty quote from Hennessy in Gateway Pundit's post today (in response to a video purported showing students proudly saying they are "Obama scholars"):
    Quick quiz: name five countries, past or present, where the youths were required to chant praises to their omnipotent ruler? Any five. Then add together the number of innocent people those regimes slaughtered for political expediency.
    I'm starting to think that the tea party is realizing that their extreme economic positions don't really motivate anybody, so they're going back to their bread and butter: trying to rev up fear of the Scary Other Who Wants to Steal All Your Possessions

    St. Louis Activist Events for June 14-20

    This week's events:

    Sunday, June 13, Byron DeLear is a progressive blogger and expert in green jobs running for MO House of Representatives. You can help phone bank for him today from 5 to 9 PM at the SEIU dialer on 5585 Pershing. Refreshments will be provided.

    Monday, June 14, OFA will be doing a get out the vote canvass from 5:30 to 8 PM. They'll be meeting up at the St. Louis Bread Company at 21 Allen in Webster Groves.

    Also Monday, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri will be speaking about his book The Price of Stones, about the founding of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School, at 7 PM at the Maryville University Auditorium (650 Maryville University Drive).

    Tuesday, June 15, General Wesley Clark (ret.) will be in town for a Breakfast Fundraiser for Congressional Candidate Tommy Sowers at 8:30 AM at the Central West End Pi (400 N. Euclid).

    Also Tuesday, there will be a Justice for Janitors rally at Kiener Plaza (Market and Broadway) at noon, standing up to Bank of America.

    Also Tuesday, there will be a pancake dinner by the campaign to elect Gary McKiddy for state representative at Lady Di's Diner (630 N. Kingshighway) from 3:30 to 9 PM.

    Also Tuesday, there will be a training for PrideFest - Gateway ONA volunteers from 7 to 9 PM at Eden Seminary, room 240.

    Also Tuesday, Dr. Frank Flinn from Washington University will be discussing Galileo and the Church: Was the Conflict Necessary at the Lee Auditorium of the Missouri History Museum at 7 PM.

    Wednesday, June 16, Cocktails for a Cause will be raising money for Food Outreach from 6 to 8 PM at Sanctuaria (4198 Manchester).

    Also Wednesday, the St. Louis Poetry Slam will be at the Focal Point (2720 Sutton in Maplewood) from 8 to 11 PM.

    Thursday, June 17, the inaugural event for Seeds of Change, an attempt to bring together people who care about the community, will be held at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (975 N. Watson Rd.) at 8 AM (coffee and pastries at 7:30). They do ask that people RSVP.

    Also Thursday, there will be a Happy Hour for NARAL from 5 to 6:30 at the office at 1210 S. Vandeventer.

    Also Thursday, FIRE DOG and Celia's Big Rock Band are performing at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust) from 9 PM to midnight.

    Through Saturday
    , you can donate to Brandy's Kidney Walk team to raise money for a good cause.

    Saturday, June 19,
    check out the Soulard Earth Festival from 10 AM to 9 PM at the Soulard Market.

    Also Saturday, OFA will be canvassing in Webster Groves (meet at the Bread Co at 21 Allen) from 10 AM to 1 PM. The will also be canvassing at those times in Barnhart, MO, meeting up at the Jefferson County Library Windsor Branch (7479 Metropolitan).

    Also Saturday, the Metro East Pride Festival will be from noon to 10 PM at the West Main Mall in Downtown Belleville.

    Also Saturday, and every Saturday, a group of activists protests outside of Pampered Pets at the St. Claire Square Mall in Fairview Heights, IL, because the store gets its dogs from puppy mills which have been cited numerous times for improper care of the animals. The protests are from 11 AM to noon, and you can find out more info here.

    Also Saturday, St. Louis A.N.S.W.E.R. is distributing a petition for the government to seize BP and will be holding a rally outside of Claire McCaskill's office (5850 Delmar) from 1 to 5:30 PM.

    Also Saturday, Mo House candidate Deb Lavender is holding a Trivia Night at the Kirkwood Community Center (1115 Geyer Road) from 6 to 10 PM.

    Also Saturday, Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplette is holding An Evening with a Starr fundraiser at Marriot Union Station Grand Hall (1820 Market) from 7 to 11 PM.

    Also Saturday, the Benton Park West Neighborhood is holding a Trivia Night Fundraiser from 7 to 10 PM at 3022 Oregon.

    Also Saturday at 7 PM is the official St. Louis World Refugee Day Meetup. Local human rights/social justice advocates/activists and passionate observers REPRESENT. This weekend is World Refugee Day and you can hear take a trip around the world without leaving town. Hear from refugees in St. Louis! New City Fellowship (3502 Grace Ave, behind Taco Bell on Grand/Gravois) presents a panel of refugees from Congo, Burma, and Nepal. Listen to them tell pieces of their story and hear music from their culture.

    Also Saturday, it's the third annual World Naked Bike Ride from 9 to 11 PM, beginning at the parking lot behind Commerce Bank, Juniata St. East of South Grand.

    Sunday, June 20, there will be a Meet'n'Greet for Missouri House Candidate Susan Carlson and a potluck from 7:30 to 10:30 PM at the Cervantest Co-op House at 6036 Pershing.

    Also Sunday, and every Sunday, there will be a candlelight vigil for peace at 7 PM at the corner of Grand and Lindell.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Tea Party Wildly Exaggerates Crowd Size While Claiming They Don't Care About Crowd Sizes

    As I wrote earlier in the week (BTW, thanks to the Post-Dispatch for linking to the post), the local tea party movement involvement has been shrinking so rapidly lately that even their own leaders have been forced to publicly acknowledge the decline in attendance and enthusiasm. In order to put a cheerful gloss on things, they've made half-hearted attempts to tie their decline to "the dip" concept proposed by Seth Godwin, which suggests that there's a period of decline that precedes every major reward. Of course, they don't provide any evidence that they're in a "dip" rather than a "dead end;" rather, they simply latched on to an easy graph that they could use to try to keep their dwindling membership motivated in the face of growing evidence that mainstream America does not, in fact, share their radical views. But anyway, it's not surprising that they're trying to get their followers to be at peace with the fact that the crowd sizes are shrinking.

    But given that they're doing this, isn't it a bit strange that they're still going way out of their way to massively exaggerate the crowd sizes at their events? Dana Loesch, Jim Hoft, and Adam Sharp, all claimed that yesterday's tea party rally in Warren County had 1,000 attendees. However, the official Warren County Patriots page only claimed "over 600":

    But a look at the photos and video shows a much smaller crowd than even that. The most generous crowd photo I could find was the following (from Keyboard Militia):

    Or, in this clip that pans the crowd during the speech from Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft, you can see that there are tons of empty seats:

    From that clip, it looks like there were probably two or three hundred people, tops (and that's being extremely generous).

    But those who did come were in for a special treat, as they got to witness Dana Loesch wearing...a Dana Loesch t-shirt!

    (photo from Gateway Pundit)

    One other mistake they're making: Hoft and Loesch seem to think that liberals noticing their decline in numbers will make them automatically complacent. However, everyone I know understands that the 2010 elections are going to be extremely difficult for Democrats, however strong the tea party movement actually is. Pointing out that the tea party numbers are shrinking is not an excuse for blowing off the elections: it's just something worth noting in light of the media narrative of "ooooh, shiny and exciting tea party movement."

    Anyway, it all just seems a little strange. If they are really at peace with their decline in numbers as a natural ebb and flow of movement building, then maybe they should stop trying so hard to shamelessly and desperately inflate their numbers.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Gateway Pundit Successfully Race Baits

    Jim "Gateway Pundit" Hoft has a history of linking to race-baiting videos from white supremacist organizations. He also was among the group of local tea partiers who misleadingly claimed that a "leftist" assaulted a Republican while failing to mention that the police charged both men with assault and that the Republican actually pushed the other man first. But Hoft was not content to just do the "union thug" routine: he had to make sure to include his trademark race-baiting headlines:

    Sez Hoft:
    Governor Spencer is a union organizer, a socialist and a black liberation activist. Spencer led the Greensboro K-Mart protests of 1995 and mobilized families, communities, and “the Pulpit Forum of Greensboro, a coalition of progressive clergy, to commit acts of civil disobedience.”
    And later:
    And, maybe you noticed this from the video… Governor Spencer has a black liberation flag bumper sticker on his car...And, that’s just what we know right now.
    And, as Hoft was well aware, his commenters were all too happy to take the bait:

    Then we have a guy pitching the theory that Obama is trying to create a secret army of Black Panthers:

    And why would I claim that everyone (especially Hoft) could have predicted this type of reaction from his commenters? Because we've seen it before, on multiple occasions.

    Fox and Friends Misleadingly Edits Video to Claim Tea Partier Was Attacked

    Not really a St. Louis story, but following up on my previous post...

    Fox and Friends presented a video they claimed showed that a man attacking "peaceful tea party protesters." You can watch their take here:

    However, not only did Fox and Friends start the clip at a misleading time, they actually zoomed in to hide a full shot of the tussle, which seems to show the Republican pushing the guy they claim was an attacker. Here's their zoomed in shot:

    And here's the actual video of how the tussle started:

    And of course they failed to mention that both men were charged with simple assault.

    "Fair and Balanced" in action again.

    St. Louis Activist in New Roger Waters Video

    Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor and venerable member in the St. Louis peace community, was featured in a video for Roger Water's new version of We Shall Overcome. Epstein is a leader in the movement to end the blockade on Gaza, and was part of the delegation to the Gaza Freedom March that was turned away by the Egyptian Government at the border.

    Here's Waters on the song and video:
    Over the new year 2009-2010, an international group of 1500 men and women from 42 nations went to Egypt to join a Freedom March to Gaza. They did this to protest the current blockade of Gaza. To protest the fact that the people of Gaza live in a virtual prison. To protest the fact that a year after the terror attack by Israeli armed forces destroyed most of their homes, hospitals, schools, and other public buildings, they have no possibility to rebuild because their borders are closed. The would be Freedom Marchers wanted to peacefully draw attention to the predicament of the Palestinian population of Gaza. The Egyptian government, (funded to the tune of $2.1 billion a year, by us, the US tax payers), would not allow the marchers to approach Gaza. How lame is that? And how predictable! I live in the USA and during this time Dec 25th 2009-Jan3rd 2010 I saw no reference to Gaza or the Freedom March or the multi national protesters gathered there. Anyway I was moved, in the circumstances, to record a new version of ” We shall overcome”. It seems appropriate.
    Roger Waters

    Here's the video:

    Hedy appears at the 3:35 mark:

    Speaking of Gaza, there was a really interesting episode of Democracy Now last night that featured a journalist who managed to smuggle some video out from the flotilla (the Israeli government has confiscated all of the passengers video and film). H/T to this Daily Kos diary by Phoenix Woman for the link. Also, Max Blumenthal has been doing a stellar job of fact-checking the IDF on his blog. Finally, local activist Anna Baltzer, who was a guest on the Daily Show back in October of 2009, offered some of her thoughts on the flotilla last week.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Shocker: Tea Party Lynch Mob Jumped the Gun

    As I wrote previously, the local tea party freaked out recently claiming that a "leftist" had "assaulted" a "patriot" at a recent rally in North Carolina. That group included Dana Loesch, Jim Durbin, Jim Hoft, Adam Sharp, and, apparently, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. But the story, like pretty much all of their "leftist thugs attack tea party," tales to date, turned out to be false.

    In an interview with Stage Right, Nathan Tabor, the Republican who was supposedly assaulted, revealed that the police, after seeing the full unedited video, (7:45) decided to charge both Tabor and the other man with assault. Tabor later said (14:15):
    My local paper, who ignored the North Carolina GOP convention...calls me and says, "Hey Nathan, if you freeze this at such and such, your hand was at this guy's face, and his head's kinda going back, are you sure you didn't hit him first?...The liberal media, after watching the full, raw, unedited video, a 17-minute video clip and an 11 minute video clip from two different angles, they saw the hate and vile coming from this man's mouth about George W. Bush and Cheney [editor's note: gasp! the humanity!], they saw his foul language towards me and my family, heard my comments which were very civil and had the audacity to ask me if I had hit him first.
    So both the police and the media, who unlike the local tea party had access to the full, unedited tapes, concluded that Tabor was equally culpable (if not more culpable if he in fact started the fight). In fact, you can see from this video, it looks like Tabor (the white man with a video recorder) did start the fighting (note: yes, I did edit out the part where the guy punches Tabor, however, unlike the Tea Party I'm honest about what I edited out. I did it this way simply to show how it started):

    Once again, the hate-filled St. Louis Tea Party was ready to throw the book at a black man, whom Tabor made sure to say is affiliated with the "black liberation and black pride" movement (16:30), based on a completely edited video. And once again the facts appear to show that they're complete off base. If they even had any shred of intellectual honesty, they would update their posts pointing out that both men were charged with assault. But I'm not holding my breath.

    Tea Party Lynch Mob Reminds Us Why They Should Never Be In Power - Updated

    Update: Turns out both men were charged with assault. See update at bottom

    The local tea party is freaking out again about a video they claim shows "another" leftist violently assaulting a noble Republican patriot merely expressing his dissent. Here are a few excerpts from their predictable rants:

    Dana Loesch:
    Another tea partier punched, another conservative woman harassed by a man. Unflippingbelievable. #tcot

    Jim Durbin:
    I wonder what Media Matters will claim happened here. Will they take responsibility for the violent rhetoric that led his unhinged leftist with a hatred of all things George Bush to attack a citizen journalist?
    This video shows once again that violence is a tactic of the Left.

    Jim Hoft, in a post titled Leftist Thug Beats Peaceful NC Tea Party Protesters:
    Tea Party Protesters Violently Assaulted in North Carolina–They were asking for less government — The leftist thug beat them instead.

    Sharp Elbows:
    Obama THUG Attacks Tea Partier - Cameras Cameras Cameras People. The Lens is our weapon.
    The video in question follows a familiar pattern we've seen from all of these tea party stories: it is heavily edited, and the key clips conveniently start exactly where the "leftist" is doing something physical without showing what happened immediately beforehand. In fact, this video has two camera angles that both conveniently start only after the conversation already began. You can watch the video here:

    Update: YouTube Video was removed for some reason, so I'm putting up a video from a different source:

    So, I certainly don't condone the guy punching the Republican camaraman in the face, and I have no idea how the fight started. But there are a number of questions that are completely unanswered by the video that any reasonable person would want to know about before jumping up and down screaming that this was a violent leftist assault. First, the 2nd video angle clearly shows that the Republican holding the camera pushed the other guy before he was punched. It looks like he pushed him fairly hard:

    Now, the Republican claims in the video that the other guy pushed his wife and that he's "got it on video", but there's no evidence of that on tape. And it sure is interesting that the Republican's camera started in the middle of their conversation and then was shut off immediately before the other camera angle shows the Republican pushing the other guy.

    And, of course, we've seen this remarkable coincidence before. Here's a video from Bob McCarty that the local tea party all proclaimed was "leftist violence" before quickly moving on to other subjects after it was found out that the tea partier actually attacked the woman in the video:

    An extremely similar video: inexplicably edited in key places, with the video starting only at moments where the liberals look bad, and strangely leaving out al of the context. And in this case it turned out that the video was complete bullsh*t.

    And then of course we have the video from the Kenneth Gladney incident.

    Once again, the video miraculously starts immediately after both Gladney and McCowan were on the ground, with no indication of how they ended up on the ground, and the only altercation it shows is Perry Molens pulling Gladney backwards.

    Isn't it strange that in all of these cases we only get highly edited videos that inexplicably start and stop at places that completely block any of the context and prevent us from seeing how the altercations started? Strange, that is, unless you realize that the videos are pretty clearly being edited for political purposes. But that doesn't stop the local tea party from screaming about evil leftist violence to stifle dissent.

    Once again I ask: given that this is how irrationally the tea party reacts to partial shreds of evidence, calling people thugs based only on edited video clips, can you imagine how government would be run if they were in charge, or even if they had any influence over the people in charge? The tea party antics are not just comical: they would be extremely dangerous to our system of justice if they ever had an opportunity to influence it.

    Update: Check out the interview from Stage_Right about the incident: Turns out, according to the interview, that after seeing the full, unedited video footage, the magistrate decided to charge both men with assault. Hmm, that doesn't fit well with the tea party story.

    Furthermore, check out this quote from Nathan Tabor, the Republican whom they originally claimed was assaulted:
    My local paper, who ignored the North Carolina GOP convention...calls me and says, "Hey Nathan, if you freeze this at such and such, your hand was at this guy's face, and his head's kinda going back, are you sure you didn't hit him first?...The liberal media, after watching the full, raw, unedited video, a 17-minute video clip and an 11 minute video clip from two different angles, they saw the hate and vile coming from this man's mouth about George W. Bush and Cheney [editor's note: gasp! the humanity!], they saw his foul language towards me and my family, heard my comments which were very civil and had the audacity to ask me if I had hit him first.
    Yup, just another failed conspiracy theory based on a fake editing job, and of course all of the local tea party members fell for it.