Thursday, December 29, 2011

National Journal Criticizes Kinder's Tweets: Where was the Post-Dispatch?

The National Journal blog Hotline On Call came out with a list yesterday of the 5 biggest "Twitter Losers" among politicians in 2011. Out of all of the politicians in the country, Kinder came in #2 on the list, right behind Anthony Weiner. Here's what they had to say about Kinder:
Kinder never seemed to learn from his social media missteps, tweeting on multiple occasions about questionable things. In November, he re-tweeted a message about free wings at Hooters on Veterans Day while he was still considering a run to challenge Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. It was far from the first time Kinder's tweets were scrutinized. He had previously urged his followers to "vote for [a] hot wife in the Top 25 Political Mom blogs" a day after Missouri was hit by the deadliest tornado in nearly 60 years and tweeted about "hostage situation" in a government building in 2009 only to later discover the incident never occurred.
Fired Up Missouri has a lot more about Kinder's unprofessional tweets over the years. But what I find strange is that national outlets like National Journal and Politico were so willing to call out Kinder's ridiculous tweets, but the Post-Dispatch remained largely silent on them for the past several years. In fact, in 2010, the Post-Dispatch actually edited out any references to Kinder's tweets in a column by Tony Messenger.

Unprofessional behavior online or elsewhere from politicians of any political party should be fair game for the media.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ann Wagner's BFF Blames Tea Party for GOP Senate Loss

I wrote earlier in the year about Ann Wagner hosting a fundraiser for Dick Lugar, an establishment conservative facing a Republican primary challenge from tea party candidate Richard Mourdock. Now Lugar has taken it a step further, claiming that the tea party is the reason why Republicans didn't win control of the senate in 2008. Here's Mediaite quoting Lugar:
"Republicans lost the seats before in Nevada and New Jersey and Colorado where there were people who were claiming they wanted somebody who was more of their Tea Party aspect but they killed off the Republican majority.” He then added “this is one of the reasons why we have a minority in the Senate right now.”
I can we can see why the tea party would be in turmoil after a group of them chose to sell out and support Wagner.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My special Christmas phone call

  Several months ago I was watching college football at home when I heard a knock on my door. The other side of the door held a pleasant surprise. My friend, Dale, stood waiting for me. My immediate impression was that he was looking good. He had a healthy glow to him; he is an Irishman with a ruddy complexion but his glow looked different this time, he looked healthy. He had dropped weight, in order to preserve a terribly damaged knee. He always wears a smile and he stood in my doorway with his typical (goofball) grin. We have the kind of relationship that would appear antagonistic to observers. We bicker back and forth in all of our conversations- even when we are in complete agreement.

  "Dammit Dale, you just disappeared and didn't call me or tell anybody you were leaving... Get in the house. For some reason we worry about you, I wish you would have told somebody you were leaving. What happened? Everybody at camp is worried about you"

  "Never mind. You won't believe me."

  "I'll believe you this time, I never expected to see you sober. How did you do it?"

  "How did you know I've been sober?"

  "Well look at you. You're wearing nice new work boots. You're so clean I can see my reflection in your giant belly and you don't look bloated- you don't look like you're on deaths door."

  "Well I needed new work boots. I'm doing concrete work with my brother-in-law as much as I can. My knee lets me work at least every other day. I think I'll be able to work 5 days a week when I lose another 20 or 30 pounds."

  I'm an eternal optimist. I believe everybody has potential. Dale had made me question my eternal optimism at times; despite our friendship.

  His history seemed to have an unbreakable grip on him. While in Vietnam he faced court martial and incarceration for attacking a high ranking officer. After spending a week in the jungle killing people he failed to recognize any authority figure, so punching some officer that had never even killed anybody didn't seem like a big deal. After serving his time and returning to the jungle he had just enough time to severely damage his knee (his knee has been repaired as much as possible but he suffers from a lot of pain- he will always suffer to some extent). While on one leg and getting ready for his honorable discharge he had another violent outburst. I'm sure you've figured out what's next by now; more time behind bars and a dishonorable discharge.
  Dale saw coming home from the war as a fresh start. A new chapter. After a few months of unsuccessful job hunting he devised a flawless business plan. He would just find crack houses. Bust in the door with a few friends and let everybody know that if he didn't leave with all of the drugs, all of the money and anything else he wanted then everybody would die in a painful and gruesome manner. He's a very physically intimidating man. I imagine that if he had a gun in a persons face demanding everything of value most people would comply- I would.

  That worked well for a few years. People feared him. Nobody was going to testify against him. Nobody was going confront him- that would be insanity! The problem was that he was good at targeting drug houses. Too good. He was as good at locating them as the local police. I don't think he ever imagined the possibility that he was targeting the same people as the police. He was shocked the day he busted into a crack house and the police followed up with a raid at the same time he was conducting his raid. 

  Well, a seven year prison sentence seems like an eternity to me but Dale explained it to me simply; "If I got busted for everything I did wrong then I would have been gone a lot longer!" He vowed to himself that when his sentence was served that he would settle into a nice boring life. No armed robberies. No selling drugs. Just a job and weekends spent camping, fishing- really anything relaxing was good enough for him.

  After his release he reached his goals. He got a good job as an equipment operator at an industrial salvage yard. It payed a good wage. The benefits were good. He was able to stay off of his bad knee. Most importantly he could finally feel productive. He was finally able to take care of his family with honest work. Things were going so well that he even earned a promotion.

  When he learned that he was going to be earning more money he was ready to celebrate. He did what most of us would do to celebrate, he invited some co-workers to let him buy them a beer on a Friday afternoon at a neighborhood bar. The party was a hit. Dale is an outgoing guy with a great sense of humor. I assume everybody was having a great time while Dale kept everybody laughing. I'm sure it was a great night.

  A great night until it was time to leave. Dale was putting on his coat when he noticed a familiar face. It was the face of a drug dealer that he had robbed at gunpoint many years before. The man pulled out a knife and attacked. The two men fought. Dale was able to take the knife. "I just flipped out" was the explanation he gave me. By the end of the fight the other man had been stabbed in the heart, numerous times. Sadly he was dead by the time the police arrived.

  The next prison sentence was worse than the previous one. Dale might have been a violent man but he didn't want to kill anybody. His description of his depression is a horrible image. He became suicidal but lacked the conviction to follow through with his fateful decision.

  He found a pretty effective means of suicide after his release. Drink and then drink some more. Score some crack and you're halfway there. He spent several years slowly killing himself with vodka and crack. By the time I met him it was obvious that his life span was considerably shorter than it should have been.

  After I got to know him and we became close friends I remember one conversation that will stay with me until the day I die. We were standing on the shipping pallet front porch in front of his tent at the homeless camp. He put his hand on my shoulder and with tears streaming down his face he said; 

  "You know what? You seem smart- but you're not. You're standing in the middle of hell by choice and you're friends with me. I'm a convict, I'm homeless, I'm a drunk- I'll just end up getting you in trouble or ripping you off."

  "I'll take my chances, Dale. I don't know why anybody would but for some reason I like your goofy ass and I know that you like me. It doesn't matter if we like it or not, we're stuck- we're friends."

  After his surprise visit to my house we have talked on the phone but only for a quick hello.

  He called me a few days ago, mainly to wish me a Merry Christmas. He is still sober. He is seeing a doctor and a therapist. He is losing weight. His knee isn't perfect but losing weight has made it possible to increase his work schedule. He is living down the street from his son, he evaluates (and probably scares) every boy that wants to date his grand-daughter.

  My irrational optimism seem justified. I can't predict the future. I never would have predicted that he would be doing so well now. If I was a gambling man I would bet the farm that he will never be locked up again. He will be healthy and sober next Christmas. And every Christmas after that. I'm don't consider my attitude to be optimistic this time; I think I'm just being realistic.

*names have been changed out of respect for my friends privacy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jeff Smith Is Using The Wrong Sense of 'Should' And Carnahan Should Run In Missouri's 2nd District

Hotline has posted a thorough analysis from Jeff Smith arguing that, with the newly redrawn Congressional district lines, Russ Carnahan should run for Congress against fellow Democrat Lacy Clay in Missouri's 1st District. Writes Smith:
So Carnahan shouldn't put too many eggs in his legal basket. Instead, he should be raising money and canvassing the new 1st CD.
As you would expect from a Political Science professor and former State Senator, the analysis is detailed and insightful. However, the fatal flaw in Smith's argument is that he's relying on a self-interested notion of 'should' where saying that a person should do action A is equivalent to saying that A is in that person's best interest. This certainly is a common usage of the term and one used to make many decisions. However, this isn't the correct notion of 'should' for a public servant like Congressman Carnahan.

As a Congressman, Carnahan ought to be making his decisions based on a moral 'should,' where saying that someone should do action A means that A is in the best interests of the country, in the best interests of the constituents, or in the best interests of the Democratic party, or better yet, that A is the right thing to do. And on any of these senses of the word 'should,' I think it's pretty clear that Carnahan should run for office in the Republican-leaning 2nd District. Yes it would be an act of altruism, since Carnahan's chances of winning might be slightly lower in the 2nd, but it nevertheless would be the right thing to do.

In fact, one doesn't even have to stray very far from Smith's own analysis to see this is true. First, as Smith has noted, the Democratic Congressional leadership is urging Carnahan to run in the 2nd. Now, Lord knows, the Democratic Party is not always the best judge of what's in its own interest, but the fact that they think Carnahan should run in the 2nd is at least solid initial evidence that someone has crunched some numbers and decided that the best thing for the Democratic Party is to put up a good fight in the 2nd District.

Second, as Smith acknowledges, there's no clear reason to think that Carnahan winning Clay's seat would make Congress any more progressive. Here's what Smith writes:
Although I've seen both congressmen in action, I don't have a strong opinion on who would be a more progressive or effective representative.
So while Carnahan might gain something by beating Clay, it's not at all clear what anyone else would gain (other than the pundits and insiders who would love to cover the race).

But finally, and most importantly, a heated primary between Clay and Carnahan could be tinged with racial acrimony and possibly jeopardize turnout in the general election. Again, here's what Smith writes:
It would be nice to have a high-minded debate about the direction of national policy in a time of gripping economic anxiety, but anyone who knows St. Louis politics or the two principals doubts the likelihood of that. It won't be a race between a modern-day Bobby Kennedy and Barack Obama. Instead, given both candidates' limited crossover appeal, observers should prepare for a racially polarizing campaign in the long, sad tradition of St. Louis politics.
Even without any intentional shenanigans, a bitter primary might turn off voters from a general election if they felt like dirty tactics were used in the primary. And in the reddish-purple state of Missouri, with important Senate and Gubernatorial races and a legislature that's on the brink of a fully veto-proof majority, we just can't afford to have people sitting at home during the general elections. And it's actually worse than that, because the reality is that there will be shenanigans, as sadly both people in the Democratic Party and Republicans have cynical reasons to stoke racial divisions among Democrats. A primary battle would very likely be a bloody fight, and that might be good news for pundits but would only create new scars in an already damaged St. Louis political landscape.

So while Smith is right that Carnahan's own short-term self-interest might be better served by running against Lacy Clay, it would be better for the citizens of St. Louis, for the Democratic Party, and, yes, for the country if Carnahan ran in the 2nd District against Ed Martin or Ann Wagner. He might be slightly more likely to lose in the Second, but at least he would be fighting for the right reasons.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

There's No Longer Any Reason to Cite PolitiFact

If you haven't heard by now, the internet "fact checker" PolitiFact chose the statement "Republicans voted to end Medicare" as their "Lie of the Year." The statement as far as I can tell is 100% true and, at absolute worst, is simply a statement that's true but only with the minor qualification "using a definition of the word 'ends' that most people would find perfectly reasonable."

The Republican plan would completely privatize Medicare for anyone under the age of 55. PolitiFact's argument that the claim was a "lie" was based on (1) the fact that people over 55 would remain in the same system they are today on the Republican plan and (2) Republicans would still use the term "Medicare" to refer to their new privatized system. Note first of all that their two explanations are in tension with each other; if they think it's important to note that the system is the "same" for people over 55, then they must think sameness is important. But if sameness is important, then Republicans completely changing the system (which makes it no longer the same) should undermine their claim that nothing was ended. So PolitiFact's explanations aren't even consistent with each other.

If two statements are inconsistent, that means at least one of them is wrong, but it doesn't guarantee that one of them is correct, and in this case PolitiFact is wrong on both counts. In regards to (1), the fact that Medicare continues to exist for people over 55 does not mean that Republicans haven't for all practical purposes ended it, at least on the assumption that we won't discover the Fountain of Youth in the next century. And changing the system to a private one where we are at the mercy of insurance companies alters it into a completely different concept than Medicare. Here's where some subjectivity comes in; if you think that all 'Medicare' means is "the government provides some money once you get old" then you might think the new idea still counts as Medicare; but people with a more sophisticated understanding of the system understand that the privatized version is simply not the same thing.

But more important than the fact that Politifact is wrong is that they inserted themselves into the 2012 elections and they were clearly agenda driven. There were other finalists for Lie of the Year that were clear, outright lies: John Kyl's claim that abortion services is 90% of what Planned Parenthood does, or the right-wing claim that the stimulus created no new jobs, for example. But PolitiFact apparently chose the above claim because they wanted to present the idiotic, childlike notion of "balance" that currently impairs modern journalism. Instead of searching for objective facts, many modern journalist simply search for opposing statements from two "sides." Likewise, instead of choosing an actual lie, PolitiFact chose a statement made by Democrats in order to "balance" the fact that outright lies from Republicans had been chosen in previous years.

So this brings me back to the title of this post. We used to have good reason to cite PoltiFact in political debates. In fact, I greatly enjoyed Fired Up Missouri repeatedly mocking Ed Martin over his proclivity for using the death panels "Lie of the Year." But of course, from an ideal information-gathering perspective, there was never anything especially important about PolitiFact. If both a partisan blog and PolitiFact debunked a certain claim, say by linking to the actual language of a bill, both have provided the same information. Yet the point of linking to PolitiFact was that you could trust that their analysis was not driven by an agenda. In other words, in situations where you didn't have time to do a full analysis yourself, you might think you could put trust in a group that objectively looked at the information.

However, this assumption no longer holds any water. PolitiFact has shown clearly that they are willing to distort their analysis based on a twisted political agenda; namely, the agenda of achieving false balance by appeasing the Right side of the political spectrum. There's no longer any justification for thinking that you can trust their analysis without doing just as much research as you would when getting info from any other source with a partisan bias. In fact, there's a good argument to be made for linking to an otherwise identical analysis that comes from a source that doesn't falsely pretend to be agenda-free. PolitiFact could have been a useful contribution to political discourse in this country; unfortunately, by undermining their credibility, they have now lost that opportunity.

For some excellent analyses of the PolitiFact debacle, please see the work of Paul Krugman, Dave Weigel, Tommy Christopher, and Jamison Foser.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gateway Astroturf Initiative Badmouthing Tea Party To Other Conservative Groups, Claiming They Have "Alchohol Problems"

Jen Ennenbach, one of the co-founders of the new Gateway Astroturf Initiative (aka GIGLI), previously wrote the following about the St. Louis Tea Party:
For a movement that screams ”transparency, transparency, transparency!!!!” I certainly see none here. I see: Executive Director who was recently seated to the Board which stroked her ego; an unemployed lawyer, Benjamin Smith Williams (aka Ben Evans), who holds his Bar in New York, not Missouri, but still likes to act as legal counsel here; a loose cannon, John Burns who has been out of the Tea Party movement for over a year; another huge-headed blogger who likes to distort truth and is too chickenshit to put his name to half of what he publishes (Darin Morely); Co-founder Bill Hennessy, standing by silently, but driving this all behind the scenes.
But it looks like what she's saying about them behind their backs is even worse. Here's a message from Ennenbach to C. Steven Tucker, a leader of the Chicago Tea Party:

So very classy of Loesch's group to publicly pretend to be staying above the fray while privately smearing their former friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Transphobic RFT Reporter Strikes Again

At the beginning of this year, I posted about the criminal insensitivity of Riverfront Times reporter Chad Garrison.  Now he is at it again with this transphobic blog post.*

"Shemale" is an offensive term often used to describe transgender people.  The term is most frequently used in porn that fetishizes trans bodies.  Please comment on Mr. Garrison's post to let the RFT know that you do not appreciate transphobia in their publication.

UPDATE 12/21:  Thanks to your comments, Chad Garrison has changed the headline of his post.  I hope that he will continue to educate himself on issues relevant to the trans community, so that his writing for the RFT will be more sensitive in the future.

* Thanks to Anita Fitzwater for alerting me to this post.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Return of the RINO? Loesch Praises Romney, Huntsman, and Gingrich, Attacks Ron Paul

Gee, who could have predicted that the pundit who previously voted for Mitt Romney in a GOP primary, who praised Romney's individual mandate, and who is supporting ultimate GOP insider Ann Wagner would turn out not to be an authentic "conservative firebrand" after all? Loesch was on CNN this morning and has done a complete 180 degree turn on her branding plan as a "goth tea party rebel." It looks like someone is realizing that she'll still need to get paid after the GOP throws the tea party completely under the bus in 2012.

Notable comments from Loesch include her saying that Huntsman can be a contender in New Hampshire because "conservatives" like his "foreign policy experience," (3:00) and that the "only person who makes voters concerned" is Ron Paul. She later (5:00) said that the "grassroots" is lining up behind Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in Iowa.

You can watch it here:

More Missouri Conservatives Blocked and Insulted By Loesch For Asking Questions

As we all know, Dana Loesch is completely incapable of coherently responding to thoughtful criticism, whether that criticism comes from liberals or conservatives. In fact, she's often at her most obnoxious when blasting conservatives who make comments that aren't praising her. We saw one example of that with Nina's question a couple weeks ago. And now I've been provided with another example of her shutting down a conservative for simply asking why a tea partier would support Ann Wagner.

Here's the post from the man, Greg Z, who announced that Loesch had deleted his comments and blocked him from her facebook page:

And here are the harmless comments that got him blocked:

It's funny that Loesch is so afraid of honest debate. Interestingly, as I've mentioned before, other actual Missouri conservative activists seem to know that Loesch is a blowhard who's not to be taken seriously as a self-proclaimed "grassroots activist."

Other Missouri conservatives who were trashed by Loesch for having the audacity to disagree with her about something:
This is one of many reasons that Loesch's "Gateway Astroturf Initiative" is unlikely to be successful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Suprise! Gateway Astroturf Initiative's Scott Boston Is Big Ann Wagner Supporter!

As was mentioned previously, the mission statement for Dana Loesch's new group, the Gateway Astroturf Initiative (codename GIGLI) was copy and pasted by a former employee of the national astroturf organization, the Tea Party Patriots. And, wouldn't you know it, that employee Scott Boston just happens to be a big Ann Wagner fan!

You can see on his Twitter feed that he regularly RTs Ann Wagner's campaign announcements:

You get the idea. He also promoted Gateway Pundit's defense of Ann Wagner and attack on Ed Martin:

So the former employee of a national astroturf organization supports the GOP establishment candidate? Who woulda thunk it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gateway Astroturf Initiative Was Registered on Dec. 1, BEFORE Tea Party Publicly Criticized Jim Hoft

As pointed out by @VickyStL on Twitter, it turns out that Loesch's new astroturf venture was registered on December 1:

Why is this important? Because many on the Team Wagner side of the split acted offended by the 24th State post criticizing Jim Hoft's attack on Ed Martin. However, that post wasn't until December 3rd. In other words, it looks like Loesch and/or Scott Boston was planning this new group before anyone from the St. Louis Tea Party had ever publicly criticized Hoft.

Dana Loesch Defends Rick Perry's Gay Bashing Advertisement

Dana Loesch voted for Mitt Romney in a GOP primary and endorsed his individual mandate before she realized it was more profitable to be a goth tea party rebel.

She supported the St. Louis Tea Party before deciding that they were a drag on her career.

And guess what? She used to actually be friendly with the LGBT community, before she figured out that she had to pander to the most far right fringers in the country.

On Monday, Loesch defended the Rick Perry advertisement where Perry said that there was "something wrong with our country" because "gays can serve openly in the military."

You can watch Perry's advertisement here:

And here's Loesch's pathetic defense of the ad:

While we're on the topic, I thought this statement from Perry was the most sense I've ever heard him make:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whoops! Loesch's New "Grassroots" Group Lies About Cutting and Pasting Astroturf Mission Statement

So if you were going to announce that you'd just launched a new "grassroots" organization, wouldn't you at least bother to write your own mission statement? Not if you're Dana Loesch, who lost track of all meaning of "grassroots" and "astroturf" long ago.

Loesch's new group, which calls itself the Gateway Grassroots Initiative, has a "mission statement" entirely composed of nationally-coordinated snippets from Tea Party Patriots language used by outlets around the country.

You can see a copy of their mission statement here:

It reads, in part:

Mission Statement

Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize fellow Gateway area citizens to secure a culture consistent with our three core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.

Core Values

• Fiscal Responsibility
• Constitutionally Limited Government
• Free Markets

Fiscal Responsibility: A fiscally responsible government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of his or her own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect. The runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington...
...and so on. A quick google search reveals that this exact same language (except for the "gateway" part) is used by numerous tea party groups across the country. If you pick pretty much any phrase in the group's mission statement, you'll see that it was used by many groups across the country. Interestingly, they don't all use the exact same language: they pick and choose what they want to cut and paste.

It's pretty clear that there's national coordination on the messaging of these mission statements. Because so many groups use it, it's not easy to see who's in charge, but several of the groups specifically refer to the Tea Party Patriots, a national astoturf group that has a mission statement basically identical to that of Loesch's new group:

Tea Party Patriots has been explicitly linked to former GOP congressman Dick Army's astroturf group FreedomWorks and was caught distributing a memo telling tea partiers how to disrupt town halls. So this mission statement appears to be straight from national astroturf organizations.

Maybe it wouldn't be a big deal if the group just admitted that they didn't write their own mission statement. However, ridiculously, they are claiming that they wrote it themselves. My interaction with Jen Ennenbach, one of the founders of the new group:

It's pretty embarrassing for them to claim that they just spontaneously came up with the exact same language as hundreds of other tea party groups around the country including a national astroturf organization. But I expect there will be many more embarrassing moments to come for this group.

Update: The group is even more astroturf than I realized.

The GGI group argued on Twitter that the statement wasn't astroturf because the guy who wrote the mission statements for the national group is actually the same guy who copied and pasted GGI's statement. In fact, Scott Boston on Twitter claims he wrote the original Tea Party Patriots statement, and I believe him. But this makes it even more astroturf, not less, because it turns out that Boston used to be an employee of the astroturf organization Tea Party Patriots! From his Linked In profile:
National Education Coordinator
Tea Party Patriots

• Identified and evaluated training materials for local organizers and coordinated distribution of materials from such organizations as Leadership Institute, American Majority, Heritage Foundation, National Center for Constitutional Studies and Encounter Books.
• Lead Coordinator 9/12 St. Louis, one of three large regional rallies that drew 15,000 - 20,000 people to the Gateway Arch, July-September 2010. Identified and secured speakers and entertainers. Wrote press releases, did radio and TV interviews, created content for the event website.
• Volunteer Liaison to Glenn Beck’s Staff, Restoring Honor Rally, July-August 2010.
• Traveled to Tennessee and Arizona to meet with regional coordinators, May 2010.
So yeah, so one of the "grassroots" group's founders was an employee of a Dick Army affiliated national astroturf group. Another, of course, is a CNN pundit and radio host. I look forward to their future lectures about the true meaning of grassroots.

Conservatives of America 2.0, Or Failed Conservative Online Project Number 3,452,297

In December of 2009, Dana Loesch announced a new project:
Jamie and I unveiled our new project, along with Bill Murphy, this morning. Introducing the conservative version of Conservatives of

I’ve spoken with so many people who have expressed a desire for better, tighter organization, an umbrella under which all our conservative groups could network and fellowship. Until now, no one had stepped up to take on this massive task.

Times are a’changin.
Conservatives of America asked gullible conservatives to pay $25 of their hard earned cash in order to become "members" of the site. The only thing that's known about where the money went is that it decidedly did not go anywhere that would help the conservative movement. Not only did the site not become the "conservative MoveOn," it didn't even become the conservative Chess Club of Greater Niagra Valley. It was a complete, unmitigated failure.

Now Loesch is back with a totally hip site that's the newfangled thing in happening conservationism. Will it be able to organize a rally with more than 50 people? Will it be like the St. Louis Blogger's Guild and the Tea Party: initially used as a platform to promote Loesch then sabotaged as soon as it no longer serves that purpose? And of course the biggest question: how long before they start asking gullible conservatives to throw away their money?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

K Street Can Thank Dana Loesch For Roy Blunt's Appointment To Key GOP Leadership Position

No, this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Dana Loesch voted for Mitt Romney in the 2008 GOP primary and said that she liked his individual mandate before realizing that branding herself as a "goth tea party rebel" was more profitable. Why would you think that?

This has to do with Loesch's tea party refusing to support a conservative challenger to GOP establishment poster-boy Roy Blunt. If you recall, Loesch originally told Roy Blunt that if he didn't support the conservative challenger to Dede Scozzafava, Doug Hoffman, in the NY-23 election "...we will vote you out! We will come at you with so much heat, you won't even know how to handle it!"

Roy Blunt ignored Loesch while his conservative primary challenger Chuck Purgason did endorse Hoffman, but not only did Loesch not "come at Blunt with so much heat," her tea party (before she threw it under the bus) actually refused to sign on to a letter from 28 other Missouri tea parties stating that Roy Blunt was not a tea party candidate (they did, however, endorse Ed Martin in the MO-03 primary). At that time, the St. Louis tea party was the most influential in the state, and their support could have made a huge difference for Purgason. And given Roy Blunt's huge margin of victory over Robin Carnahan, it's likely that Purgason would have won the general election had he made it through the GOP primary. Instead, the tea party got Roy Blunt and acted surprised when he still liked earmarks.

And now Roy Blunt, much to the chagrin of tea party bloggers, has been elected over conservative challenger Ron Johnson for a key Senate position. Erick Erickson at Red State says it's a victory for K Street over the tea party. No doubt it was, and K Street has Dana Loesch, among others, to thank, despite her half-hearted tweets to the contrary. Of course, now that Loesch is supporting Roy Blunt's campaign chairperson in Missouri's 2nd district and has thrown the local tea party to the wolves, her sycophantic relationship with the same old GOP establishment can no longer be considered surprising.

By the way, if Loesch is so darn "principled," why hasn't she ever defending her boss Andrew Breitbart against Glenn Beck?

Update: Looks like Loesch gave Breitbart two sentences to mention the Beck thing today on her show.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Update on St. Louis Tea Party Civil War

Bill Hennessy's wife Angela has written a new blog post defending Bill Hennessy from the Loeschbot attacks. As I suspected, Bill did most of the legwork on starting up the local tea party (though certainly with help from others), and probably would have been justified in just calling himself the founder rather than the co-founder, but graciously extended the title to Dana Loesch to help attract a different audience. Here's what Angela Hennessy had to say:
I know that I am shocked at the shameful display of infighting and hypocrisy. I am confused as to how people that I have called my friends can, at a moment’s notice, decide to pretend as if I don’t exist. I’ve let you into my home, my life, and have called you friend and without warning I am a nonentity. The end result is the establishment, political machine has fired up its work in discrediting the Tea Party, and those involved. I was, and am broadsided by this. This alone, speaks volumes about character.
I know that my husband has worked tirelessly for this organization, which he began. So we are clear, the creation of the St. Louis Tea Party in Feb. 2009 was wholly due to him; it began with a blog post. I know that he enlisted the help of many people and has called them friends and co-founders, and they are. They agreed, after being contacted by him, to stand hand in hand on the banks of the Mississippi River on that fateful day. The St. Louis Tea Party, the community, and my husband are forever in their debt. That being said, I find it disingenuous that Mrs. Loesch believes her meteoric rise has not been helped by the St. Louis Tea Party and all of us who have supported and stood behind her—but I digress.
You can read the whole thing here.

In other breakup news, the Official Dana Loesch Fan Club (aka Jimi971 on Twitter) released a statment saying that Loesch is so principled and so famous that she could walk across the Mississippi River if she wanted to, which she doesn't. Oh, and he thinks that this quote in the original tea party press release was a horrible, mean-spirited insult:
The St. Louis Tea Party certainly benefited from Dana’s rising stardom and talent. And we can’t help but think our energetic and effective grass roots have propelled Dana’s career.
The nerve of some people!

Jen Ennenbach really elevated the discussion with this post:
For a movement that screams ”transparency, transparency, transparency!!!!” I certainly see none here. I see: Executive Director who was recently seated to the Board which stroked her ego; an unemployed lawyer, Benjamin Smith Williams (aka Ben Evans), who holds his Bar in New York, not Missouri, but still likes to act as legal counsel here; a loose cannon, John Burns who has been out of the Tea Party movement for over a year; another huge-headed blogger who likes to distort truth and is too chickenshit to put his name to half of what he publishes (Darin Morely); Co-founder Bill Hennessy, standing by silently, but driving this all behind the scenes.
Finally, for those who are really into this stuff, Loesch was interviewed by 97.1's Glover on Tuesday about the breakup. She basically said that she felt like she had emotionally left the tea party a long time ago. It seems clear from her discussion of this and her behavior afterward that she really doesn't care that much about leaving the group. Just like the times she decided to throw the St. Louis Bloggers Guild, Craig Mayhem, and Gina Loudon under the bus, she has no qualms about leaving the tea party once she decided it was no longer useful for her career.

G.O.P. job creation mythology

Ok folks, I'm irritated. I've got no time for pleasant chit-chat today. I'm ready to start ranting. Last night while chatting with a conservative blogger he stated that "Government can't create jobs". It's a mantra that I hear frequently. Everybody seems to accept this premise as fact and never takes the time to question or dispute such a ridiculous claim.

The only problem is that this statement is completely false.

Laurence O'Donnell made an inept attempt to dispel this myth with a 15 second rant on MSNBC.

While I certainly appreciate his effort it seems that citing 538 jobs in the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate is unlikely to resonate with struggling citizens. I personally would applaud creating 638 jobs and then demand more. The basic premise of his argument is much better suited to a Republican candidate telling voters that government is the problem.

The Works Progress Administration has been credited with creating over 3 million government jobs in 1938 alone- while avoiding competition with private firms. 3 million jobs- let that sink into your brain for a second...

Hopefully the size of that number got your attention. I'm not done. It gets better.

The Civilian Conservation Corps is credited with creating over half a million government jobs. While it's amazing that the C.C.C. was able to employ so many job hunters, let's not allow the employment numbers distract us from the great accomplishments of the program. The C.C.C. was crucial in combating the Dust Bowl with re-forestation being successfully used as a tool to prevent further soil erosion of precious farmland. With all of the talk of shovel ready jobs today it's worth noting that it took 37 days after Roosevelt's inauguration to hire the first employee. Yeah, 37 days. That qualifies as shovel ready in my book.

Lets not lose sight of some of the other notable accomplishments of the Americans that chose to invest in their America. Residents of California, Nevada and Arizona should have an enormous sense of gratitude to the United States Bureau of Reclamation- everybody seems to enjoy the drinking water and electricity. The Public Works Administration was responsible for constructing almost 7,500 schools, the Grand Coulee Dam, the Triborough Bridge, The Lincoln Tunnel- I could go on with listing accomplishments all day but if you don't get the idea by now, you won't ever understand.

I'm afraid that if I just think about or mention the multiplier effect I'll go into an epic rant and end up sedated in a padded room.

So what changed? When did investing in America and Americans become taboo? How did building roads and infrastructure become a nefarious socialist plot? Could it be that the wealthiest 20% of Americans that control 85% of the wealth convinced the rest of the nation that taxes are applied unfairly to them (taxes that they see as targeting them personally, not their warehouses of idle money- or is that spelled idol money?) and that is fundamentally un-American? The 20% of Americans that have accumulated the majority of American money warn that taxing their money is un-American and worse; dangerous. After all, they are the job creators- are we really willing to bite the hand that feeds us by taxing their money?

Sometimes I wonder if I am horribly confused. I think that Government can and has created jobs. I think that investing in America is patriotic. I think that investing in Americans is patriotic. I think it's good business sense to strengthen American infrastructure. I might be alone in this but I intend to contradict anybody that claims paying taxes to invest in America is despotic and un-American. I hope that people will at least consider the possibility that Government is indeed, the spender of last resort.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seniors, Community Advocates, Jobless Workers Hold Prayer Action at Rep. Todd Akin's Office, Urge Vote to Extend Unemployment Insurance

With nearly 35,000 Missouri families likely to lose unemployment benefits in early 2012, community advocates and faith leaders joined jobless workers to pray for an extension to unemployment benefits at Rep. Todd Akin's Ballwin office in St. Louis County. They called upon their elected officials to take immediate action so that families won't lose their unemployment lifeline and communities won't suffer the devastating financial impact. Extended unemployment benefits are set to expire December 31 unless Congress acts.
At Akin's office, constituents including faith leaders, jobless workers, OccupySTL members and other advocates held a prayer and a speaking program highlighting the stories of jobless Missouri workers and urging a vote to reauthorize unemployment insurance. "Unemployment benefits were the only thing that kept my family from losing everything," said autoworker Patsy Waller. "We're here to tell Rep. Akin that we're counting on him to put aside partisan politics and stop thousands of Missouri workers from losing their only lifeline."

Judith Parker mentioned a recent interview where Rep. Akin suggested that unemployment insurance discourages workers from looking for a job. "My son has been looking for work every day for two years," said Parker. "My granddaughter has leukemia, and my son desperately wants a job to pay for her care. Until there are enough jobs, we need to extend unemployment benefits to those that need them."

Chaplain Marshall Watkins, Jr. talked about the urgency of the cuts, saying "this is a moral issue, and our elected officials need to do what's right for those looking for work this winter." Workers gave Akin's staffer white flowers to symbolize those that will be left out in the cold this winter to share with their stories and prayers, since Akin wasn't able to be reached.

Retiree Dave Meinell attended the action and urged Akin's staff to consider the congressman's voting history on Social Security, Medicare and other critical programs and how cuts to those programs worsen the unemployment crisis. "Older people like me are being forced to work longer and there aren't as many jobs for young people. Workers age 20-24 have an jobless rate of 16.7 percent, far higher than other workers."

The St. Louis prayer action was one of actions around the country this week in congressional district offices and in Washington, D.C.
For more information and to hear stories from jobless Missouri workers, visit UIStories/MO.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

101 reasons to become a St. Louis conservative

  I was listening to conservative radio a few days ago when I realized that I don't love America enough. It's obvious that in order to be a real American there are certain things that everybody must fear, although hate will suffice in most cases. I've taken a little time to list a few of the things that St. Louis progressives need to re-consider, as a public service. Check yourself and learn a little about patriotism.

Please note- If you don't fear or hate at least 85 items on the following list you may actually be French.

101. Social Security
100. Local control
 99. ACORN
 98.  The Riverfront Times
 97. Toyota Prius
 96. Lady Gaga
 95. France
 94. Gay adoption
 93. Voter fraud
 92. Elston McCowan
 91. O.F.A.
 90. Chicago style politics
 89. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
 88. Activist judges
 87. Don Giljum
 86. Dream Act
 85. The re-distribution of wealth
 84. Jesse Jackson
 83. Department of Education
 82. Health care rationing
 81. Repealing D.A.D.T.
 80. Organizing for America
 79. Barney Frank
 78. W.I.C.
 77. Fired Up Missouri
 76. Socialism
 75. S.E.I.U.
 74. Kenyans
 73. Bill Ayers
 72. Hollywood liberals
 71. Illegal immigrants
 70. Gun control
 69. Any sex position other than missionary
 68. Eric Boehlert
 67. Medicare
 66. Gotcha' journalism
 65. The Fairness Doctrine
 64. George Soros
 63. The war on Christmas
 62. M.I.A.C. reports
 61. Congressman Carnahan preventing you from worshiping God
 60. Media Matters for America
 59. Michael Moore
 58. Bill Maher
 57. Gay marriage
 56. The liberal media
 55. The E.P.A.
 54. Islam
 55. Andy Stern
 54. The Department of Energy
 53. President Obama
 52. O.P.E.C.
 51. Big Government
 50. The Nanny State
 49. Taxes
 48. Occupy Wall Street
 47. Keith Olberman
 46. Perry Molens
 45. The C.W.A.
 44. Cash for Clunkers
 43. Freddie Mac
 42. The Dream Act
 41.  Repealing D.O.M.A.
 40. Transgender people
 39. The NAACP
 38. Green energy
 37. Wind Capitol Group
 36. Rachel Maddow
 35. The gay agenda
 34. Death panels
 33. Adam Shriver
 32. Show Me Progress
 31. Charles Jaco
 30. Medicaid
 29. Raising the debt ceiling
 28. The global warming conspiracy
 27. The C.W.A.
 26. Gun control
 25. Communism
 24. Elizabeth Warren
 23. Green energy
 22. E.N.D.A.
 21. Black Panthers
 20. Abortion
 19. Muslim Brotherhood
 18. Fannie Mae
 17. Stop-light cameras
 16. Nancy Pelosi
 15. Palestinian statehood
 14. Medical marijuana
 13. The Fast and Furious conspiracy
 12. ForwardStl
 11. MSNBC
 10. Junk science
   9. Food stamps
   8. Political correctness
   7. China
   6. Anything L.G.B.T.
   5. Obama's Judicial nominations
   4. East coast elitists
   3. Sharia law
   2. Fascism
   1. Limp-wristed and cowardly Democrats

H/T to Russ Weiss for counting his numerous fears

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Loesch Suggests Her Pundit Career Has Nothing To Do With The Tea Party

After some serious infighting, the St. Louis Tea Party put out a press release about their breakup with Dana Loesch that was fairly gracious, all things considered:
Board President Bill Hennessy said, “The St. Louis Tea Party certainly benefited from Dana’s rising stardom and talent. And we can’t help but think our energetic and effective grass roots have propelled Dana’s career. But, as a local Tea Party organization, we need to focus on the grass roots going into 2012.”

Who can really argue against that? Loesch was introduced by CNN, ABC, and pretty much everyone who gave her airtime as a leader of the tea party.

But guess what? Loesch amazingly is suggesting that her punditry career has nothing to do with the tea party. A commenter asked her where her career would be without the tea party?

And here's how Loesch responded:

Dana Loesch: all class.

For the record, Nina's comment was deleted.

Update: I deleted Nina's last name. I thought it wasn't a big deal including it because she really didn't even say anything objectionable and basically just asked a question, but apparently the Loeschbots are so nuts they pestered her even for that innocuous comment.

Loesch Just Too Darn Principled To Work With Tea Party, Except When She's Not

The St. Louis Tea Party put out a press release today confirming what I reported yesterday: they broke up with Dana Loesch. Loesch, naturally, is convinced this proves how heroically principled she is:

Wow, she's like the William Wallace of CNN punditry! So Loesch claims she's "not keen on grassroots organizing for candidates?" I suppose that's technically true, since she seems to prefer astroturf organizing, but she certainly has been supportive of using the tea party to push for a candidate. Like when her family business took $5,000 from Ed Martin and she proceeded to ruthlessly attack his more conservative GOP primary opponent John Wayne Tucker without allowing Tucker an opportunity to respond. While she was attacking Tucker, she never once mentioned that Martin had paid her husband to make a commercial for his campaign.

And, of course, there's the fact that the St. Louis tea party appeared to have violated their 501(c)4 by using their money to support Ed Martin's candidacy with advertisements. Oh, and by systematically putting their logos on "Taypayers for Ed Martin" signs. Did Loesch complain then about organizing for a candidate? Sure didn't.

It's funny. Loesch threw the St. Louis Bloggers Guild under the bus when she no longer needed them. She threw her former website designer under the bus when she no longer needed him. She pushed Gina Loudon out of the tea party. And now she's throwing the tea party under the bus cause they're a drag on her minor celebrity status. Amazingly, it's always someone else's fault.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Loeschs Break Up With the Tea Party

They took their ball and went home.

I previously reported on Jen Ennenbach's leaked email stating that Chris Loesch, Dana's husband and a member of the St. Louis Tea Party leadership, demanded that the tea party stop using the logos he designed. Her statement:
Oh, also, Chris Loesch has requested an immediate cease of use on his logos. . .which include the St Louis Tea Party logo and the SOB (pirate looking) logo. So, if you have these up on any of your sites, please replace them with something else. He has never been compensated for the use of these.
This was a result of a fight between two different factions in the St. Louis Tea Party. One group (the Loeschs, Gateway Pundit, and Jen Ennenbach) supported GOP establishment candidate Ann Wagner (a candidate for the head of the RNC and the campaign chairman for Roy Blunt) and another group (John Burns, Ben Evans, Michelle Moore, Bill Hennessy, and Darin Morley) supporting nutty Ed Martin.

I just checked and it looks like the Tea Party really did change their logos. This is what the old logo looked like:

Here's what the new Twitter logo looks like:

And here's what the "new" facebook page looks like (though it sounds weird calling the Gadsen flag "new"):

For the record:
  • Dana Loesch voted for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican primary.
  • She explicitly said that she liked RomneyCare.
  • She supported Roy Blunt over the more conservative Chuck Purgason for the U.S. Senate.
  • She supported Ed Martin over John Wayne Tucker, and in fact attacked Tucker on her show after Ed Martin paid her husband to make a commercial for him.
  • Now's she's supporting the ultimate GOP establishment candidate Ann Wagner over the comparably more conservative Ed Martin.
  • Oh, and she's "edgy" for some reason.

Tea Party Civil War? Email Accounts Disabled! Logos To Be Discontinued?

From the batch of emails forwarded to me.

Doug Edelman:
For the record, the TEA PARTY isn’t slamming Jim Hoft. 4 individuals are.
Jen Ennenbach (the former St. Louis tea party spokesperson):
That is absolutely the case. These four (plus a Mr Mom stay at home blogger) have gone rogue, cut off all communication within the STLTPC core, disabled email accounts, stolen intellectual property, and LIED. . .all in the name of a candidate. Sad. Oh, also, Chris Loesch has requested an immediate cease of use on his logos. . .which include the St Louis Tea Party logo and the SOB (pirate looking) logo. So, if you have these up on any of your sites, please replace them with something else. He has never been compensated for the use of these.

Also, someone might want to clue John Burns into the fact that my email has changed since he disabled my old address, so I'm not receiving his rants, except through forwards from others.. . .but hey, he's not rational right now, how could we expect him to think straight?

Sounds pretty bad.

Loesch and Hoft Demand To Be Taken Off Conservative Email List After Seeing Activist Hub Article!

At the end of a post documenting that members of the St. Louis Tea Party had criticized Gateway Pundit, I asked the following questions:
So, there are a lot of questions there, but my biggest one is this: will Hoft even acknowledge the criticisms? We all know he ignores arguments from almost anyone who disagrees with him, but will he be equally afraid of debate with his fellow members of the tea party? They also suggest that Loesch should give them a platform on her radio show or on Big Journalism to respond, and I think they have a strong point.
Well, I guess we now know the answer to these! A member of a conservative email list (that includes activists, politicians like Tim Jones and Susan Cunningham, and radio hosts like Loesch and Allman) sent out the version of that post that appeared on Little Green Footballs. Not only did Hoft refuse to answer any questions, he immediately demanded to be taken off the email list! Here's the text (forwarded to me anonymously):
That's a horrible dishonest piece. The fact that you sent that out in a mass email is deplorable and mean spirited.
Please take me off this list immediately.

Jim Hoft
I'm not sure what exactly was mean-spirited about it. The fact that conservatives disagreed with Hoft's claims?

Unsurprisingly, Dana Loesch was no less childish than Hoft. Here's her email:
I also ask to be removed from this list. Spreading Media Matters smears is hardly grassroots.

Haha, Media Matters? What does that have to do with any of this?

Why couldn't Loesch and Hoft simply respond to the points raised in the original article critical of Ann Wagner? Oh, that's right, because that would mean that they engaged in genuine debate, which is the thing they're most afraid of.

Tea Party Founder on When It's OK to Disregard Reagan's 11th Commandment

Republicans generally take Ronald Regan's 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican," pretty seriously. But in the context of the current tea party chaos over Ed Martin and ultimate GOP insider Ann Wagner, St. Louis Tea Party founder Bill Hennessy had this to say:
Since Ronald Reagan handed down the 11th Commandment—thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans—every Republican seems to hide behind it.

“You can’t talk about the people I poisoned! It violates the 11th Commandment.”


Never let blind allegiance to a misunderstood principle prevent the people from knowing their choices.

Read the whole thing here.

Did Ann Wagner Violate the Missouri Federation of Republican Women Bylaws?

According to a conservative blogger, Ann Wagner broke the bylaws of the Missouri Federation of Republican Women:
Ann Wagner was invited to be the keynote speaker at this year’s luncheon. She was asked to speak before she declared her candidacy for Congress. According to MoFRW bylaws, and as a club, at either the state level or local level, endorsing any candidates in the primary is not permitted. Once Ann declared she was running for Congress, I was told the woman in charge of the luncheon, she had called Ann to explain that her speech at the luncheon could not be a campaign speech. Following, Ann agreed to the terms and was kept as the MoFRW keynote speaker this year.

According to my friend, on the morning of the luncheon when Ann arrived in Columbia, she was again told that she could not use her address as a campaign speech. Again, Ann had agreed to the terms. But, as soon as Ann began speaking, my friend said it was painfully evident that she was going against MoFRW bylaws. Ann used her time speaking to further her own campaign for Congress.

My friend was dispirited that Ann blatantly disregarded the instructions given to her by the MoFRW board. As the MoFRW bylaws state, if one primary candidate speaks at a club meeting all the candidates must be invited to the event with each given equal time to speak. Obviously, Ann was the only candidate invited, it was impossible to give Ed Martin equal time and she knew that.

Furthermore, the blogger claimed that Wagner left the event immediately after speaking, not bothering to stick around for other women receiving awards from the group:

Disheartened, my friend told me that Ann left as soon as she was done speaking. Ann didn’t have the courtesy to stay long enough for the women to be honored and receive their awards. In addition, this was the first time a keynote speaker did not stay at the luncheon for the entire program.

Dana Loesch to The St. Louis Tea Party:

Throw me the idol! I'll throw you the whip!

They shouldn't have thrown her the idol.

Jen Ennenbach: St. Louis Tea Party Should Be Called "The St. Louis Ed Martin Coalition"

Former St. Louis Tea Party spokesperson Jen Ennenbach on her blog Cry Liberty:
It seems the Board of the St Louis Tea Party Coalition have hijacked the organization, and divided the movement, all in the name of a candidate. They should legally change their name to “The St Louis Ed Martin Coalition”...

(I guarantee you Darin [Morley] or Bill [Hennessy] doesn’t have the stones to pull this one over to the site!)

Is the Emmis Communications VP a "Money Man" For Ann Wagner?

97.1 FM host Dana Loesch is clearly supporting Ann Wagner against tea party favorite Ed Martin in Missouri's Second District GOP primary. And morning host Jamie Allman is privately defending Wagner from charges of crony capitalism. Could this have anything to do with the fact that the Vice President of Emmis Communications (which owns 97.1) John Beck has donated money to Ann Wagner and is hosting events for her?

My guess is that there are other reasons for Loesch throwing Martin under the bus, but nevertheless it's worthwhile putting this theory out there for future reference.

By the way, people who knew Loesch before she was paid to portray an "edgy goth tea partier" all said that she would throw the group under the bus as soon as it was convenient. It's starting to look like they were exactly right.

Missouri Record Asks Why St. Louis Tea Party Isn't Supporting Ed Martin

Over at the Missouri Record blog, in a post titled Weak Tea In St. Louis?, Patrick Tuohey asked why the St. Louis Tea Party isn't supporting Ed Martin:
Yet in St. Louis the movement has remained on the fence in the Congressional race between Ann Wagner and Ed Martin....

So why haven't they taken up his cause? If the Tea Party movement doesn't rally around candidates like Martin, what has been the point of the last three years? If the St. Louis activists staked a claim in party politics in New York's 23rd, why not in Missouri's 2nd?
Actually, many in the St. Louis Tea Party leadership (John Burns, Ben Evans, Michelle Moore,and I believe Bill Hennessy and Darin Morley) have put their support behind Martin. However, others, including Dana Loesch and Jim Hoft, see more opportunity for personal gain in supporting Roy Blunt campaign chair and GOP insider Ann Wagner. But Tuohey's basic point is a good one: why did certain people go wild fighting "the GOP establishment" in New York yet roll over for the GOP establishment in their home town?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bill McClellan Unaware That Policy Is Sometimes Set in St. Louis?

Today's Post-Dispatch includes a column from Bill McClellan about Occupy St. Louis, or at least about some clown who spray-painted the word "Occupy" on a sign in Frontenac. Though I agree with McClellan that it was dumb to vandalize the sign, it probably was slightly over-the-top (as noted by @nextstl on Twitter) for McClellan to compare this to the Taliban blowing up 1,500+ year old statues. And then there was this amazing gem from McClellan:
Actually, I never quite understood the Occupy St. Louis part of the movement. Occupy Wall Street, I got that. I would have been fine with Occupy Washington. Maybe even Occupy Palm Beach.

But Occupy St. Louis? Who around here sets policy?

I'll have to consult with some local experts and historians on this, but I'm pretty sure there are, in fact, policies that are set in St. Louis. Some people refer to these as "local" or "St. Louis" policies. And on occasion, these policies might be thought to favor the interests of big businesses and the wealthy over the interests of the general public, which is exactly what the Occupy movement opposes.

St. Louis 99% Head to DC to Take Back the Capitol

Press release:
Workers, students, jobless Missourians and members of Occupy STL will head to Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5 to join with thousands of protesters from around the country to Take Back the Capitol and send a message that Congress needs to represent the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent.

Over the past few months the country has begun to focus on the growing disparity between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, and its impact on our cities and neighborhoods. Thousands of Americans will converge on Washington, D.C., starting on Dec. 5 to participate in four days of protest to make the voices of the 99 percent heard and counter the influence of the 1 percent.

“I'm part of the 99 percent that politicians in Washington have been ignoring, and it is time that Congress listens to us, not just corporate lobbyists from K Street and their campaign contributions." said Jonathan McFarland. "We're going down there to the corridors of power to make our presence felt. We need good jobs and an end to foreclosures now.”

The situation for the 99 percent is dire. Nearly 14 million workers in the United States are without jobs; median incomes for most workers have fallen 6.7 percent in the two years since the recession of 2009; and income inequality is at its worst since the 1920s. And while the middle class and working people are suffering, taxes for the 1 percent are at an all-time low.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Former Tea Party Spokesperson Says Tea Party Was Co-Opted By Ed Martin!

Jen Ennenbach, who for a long period of time was described as the "tea party's spokesperson," said on Twitter that the St. Louis Tea Party has been "hijacked" and "co-opted" by Ed Martin operatives with over-inflated egos:

As much as my natural inclinations tempt me to believe this is true, it doesn't entirely make sense. The tea party members criticizing Ann Wagner and others have not been speaking on behalf of the group, but have been making clear they're only speaking for themselves. Is Ennenbach criticizing them just for expressing their own opinions?

Dan Riehl Responds to St. Louis Tea Party Allegations

As I noted previously, members of the St. Louis Tea Party alleged that political consultant Chip Gerdes ghost wrote a blog post for blogger Dan Riehl on Big Government attacking congressional candidate Ed Martin. Here's what they wrote:
As mentioned at the top, Hoft was quoted in the first hit piece against Ed Martin that came out last August on Big Government. That piece, supposedly written by Dan Riehl, sparked a firestorm among Tea Party conservatives in Missouri. Upon questioning, Chip Gerdes, another paid political consultant, stated that he wrote the piece as a “warning shot” to Ed Martin because of comments that Martin made on a Christian AM radio station. If Gerdes is writing hit pieces for Ann Wagner and publishing them under Dan Riehl’s name, what else has he written?
I asked Riehl on Twitter how many of his posts had been written by political consultants and this is how he responded:

I then pointed out that I was merely quoting the tea party:

His response:

So Riehl is on record denying the claims by Burns, Moore, and Evans that political consultant Chip Gerdes wrote a blog post for him. It seems like the burden is now on them to provide evidence to back up their claims; otherwise there's no particular reason to take their word over anyone else's.

"Teaparty Cop" uses assault for political gain

 It seemed difficult for the St. Louis Teaparty to reach a new low but they never disappoint. I have to give them credit for maintaining their wingnuttery after the humiliation of a failed attempt to destroy a Baptist minister, the outrage of making  veiled threats against a U.S. Congressman or the shame anybody else would feel after teaching young children how to burn an effigy when motivated by hate and fear. The bar was set so low that it seemed impossible to slither under it again but, as everybody expected, they found a way.

 Thanks to St. Louis City Police Sgt. Gary Wiegert, we now know that the city police department feels no obligation to protect sexual assault victims. Recently Sgt. Wiegert explained to the victim, voters and concerned citizens alike that a recent assault was the result of Mayor Slay's leadership. Sgt.Wiegert's attempt to link the mayors decision to "back off" from arresting protesters to a daylight assault in a public park, shines a light on the contempt that he feels towards the protesters- protesters that apparently are not worthy of police protection. It is obvious that Sgt. Wiegert is attempting to serve as an unofficial spokesman for the city police despite any disclaimers; it is undeniable with blog posts titled "Tea party Cop Arrests Occupy Protesters".

 In addition to being a police officer Sgt. Wiegert is also a member of the St. Louis Teaparty. Actually calling him a member doesn't really explain his ties to the Teaparty. Teaparty lobbyist , Teaparty blogger or race-baiting Teaparty fanatic are actually better descriptions.

 Apparently all city issues are tied to local control in the eyes of the Teaparty. The connection between local control and every issue imaginable must be exposed- no matter how weak the link between the issues may be. The Teaparty is willing to use their voice to re-victimize an assault victim by claiming the existence of the occupy movement caused a terrible attack, even when the police failed to provide protection from outsiders. When the victim of the attack is a member of the movement blamed it is clear that this is another attack on the victim.

  We can only hope that the suspect gets a fair trial. We have to hope that police interference does not get in the way of administering justice. We must demand that the police don't embarrass the taxpayers anymore that they have already done.

 We are left dreaming that the Teaparty and police department show a little class in the future by considering the innocent victims before politically motivated finger pointing.