Targeting Nonprofits: The Tides Foundation this time — with real bullets

First on Fox. One of the impacts of last week’s media firestorm over Andrew Breitbart’s most recent smear involving doctored videos (the ACORN deception was the first) was to overshadow another important story with a Fox connection.   The shocking tale of an “anti-government” gunman determined to launch an assault on Bay Area nonprofit organizations was almost totally buried.

The Shirley Sherrod story was beginning its week-long domination of several news cycles — starting with the Breitbart smear trumpeted on Fox, followed by her cowardly firing by the Administration, and finally her total vindication by mid-week when the full video of her previously edited speech was released. Meanwhile, a political assault of another, more ominous kind, was thwarted outside Oakland, California.

San Francisco Examiner:

Byron Williams, 45, of Groveland, was apparently headed to kill people at two nonprofits in San Francisco when CHP officers made an enforcement stop of his Toyota Tundra at 11:57 p.m. Saturday on westbound Highway 580 near Harrison Street.

When the officers tried to contact Williams, a 12-minute-long gun battle ensued. Williams, armed with three guns, including a .308-caliber rifle that can penetrate ballistic body armor and vehicles, eventually surrendered and exited the vehicle…

Williams was pulled over on his way to San Francisco to shoot members the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and Tides, an organization that advocates progressive social change through philanthropy, police said Tuesday…

It’s not clear why those two organizations were targeted except that conservative media commentators often accuse them of having left-wing agendas.

San Francisco Chronicle:

A 45-year-old parolee, described by his mother as angry at left-wing politicians, opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers on an Oakland freeway early Sunday and was hit by return fire while wearing body armor, authorities said…

Williams watched the news on television and was upset by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,” his mother said…

For those unfamiliar with the Tides Foundation, it’s a philanthropic organization that has provided funding to nonprofits engaged in economic and social justice work since 1976. The ACLU, of course, has for the last 90 years carried out its mission “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

Some obvious questions  arise: What “news” program was Williams watching that led him to conclude that the Tides Foundation had to be taken out in a hail of bullets? Why target the Tides Foundation? Where would he get such an idea to hit an organization little known outside the nonprofit sector?

The answer?  The odds are overwhelming that Williams had been watching the Fox News Channel.

According to research from Media Matters, since the premier of Glenn Beck’s show on January 2009, “Tides has been mentioned on 31 editions of Fox News programs, 29 of which were editions of  Beck’s show (the other two were on Sean Hannity’s program). In most of those references, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those Beck mentions occurred during the week before Williams’ shootout.”

Only on Fox

“By contrast, since January 19, 2009, according to our Nexis search, Tides was not mentioned on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, or PBS. Not once. This search is not perfect — Nexis does not include, for example, MSNBC’s daytime coverage. But the contrast with Beck’s coverage is stark.

If only the late historian Richard Hofstader could see the latest, and easily one of the vilest, manifestations of what he called “the paranoid style in American politics.” It’s easy to see how a paranoid personality like Williams’, when exposed to Beck’s all-encompassing world-historical narrative, might feel that his world was being turned upside down, that he had no other choice than to kill the people he been identified to him on Fox as the ones responsible for his feelings of oppression.

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Timothy McVeigh, Robert DePugh and the Civil War Pre-Enacters of 2010 (Part 1)

Today, we mark the fifteenth anniversary of worst act of domestic terrorism in American history, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by a racist, anti-government fanatic named Timothy McVeigh. The death toll was 168 men, women and children with hundreds more maimed and wounded.

Is there a New Mexico connection?

Hold that thought for a moment. We’ll get back to it.
But first here’s quick pop quiz.   Which one of these icons of the tea party movement — Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann – was responsible for the following urgent call to action:

Our nation has reached a point of no return… Today the chains of slavery lay lightly on our people but with every passing day the chains become stronger and the American people are more tightly bound. We must either break these chains soon while they are yet weak or else we must face an uncertain future, frightful to behold.

…the legal government of the United States has been taken over by the foreign ideology of a socialist bureaucracy. The enemies of liberty have preferred to describe this as ‘political change.’

If we are to win this desperate battle in the short time available we must use every possible weapon at our disposal.

It’s a trick question. The answer is “none of the above.”  Of course, if you substitute “hopey- changey thing” for “political change” then it veers toward Palinism, if not Palinspeak.

No, the author of this rhetoric of extreme national emergency, the kind of thing we can hear daily on the Fox News Channel or KKOB radio in Albuquerque, was Robert Bolivar DePugh.

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Suck on this New Mexico, it’s Dick Morris of Citizens United on the phone!

“Please stay on the line for an important message from Dick Morris of Citizens United.”

That’s just part of what an untold number of New Mexicans heard in a campaign phone blitz this week.

By all accounts, the call was slickly produced and deployed.

The caller would ask for a specific person in the household. Let’s call her Mrs. Wellington. Once it was confirmed that Mrs. Wellington was indeed on the line, the caller would introduce himself:

“Hello, I’m Gil from Citizens United.”

Oh yes, this is the same Citizens United that won a recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision — Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission — which struck down much of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 law along with overturning Teddy Roosevelt era bans on corporate campaign contributions. By conferring on corporations the same rights as an individual (corporate personhood), the decision now allows them to open up their treasuries and completely buy up all television time, thus potentially drowning out drown out everyone else’s voices in political campaigns.

But let’s get to Gil on the phone with Mrs. Wellington. After a brief riff on how President Obama has “taken your health care away from you,” Gil asked Mrs. Wellington to stay on the line to hear an important message from “Dick Morris of Citizens United.”

Then a recording of the Fox News pollster/guru and noted toe sucking fetishist, Dick Morris, commenced.

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Freak Show Friday at Clearly NM

Whew!  That’s all I can really say after watching the clip posted below.

Recently there have been a lot of stories about Fox News host Glenn Beck.  Not news they want to have out there – the stories about advertisers pulling their spots from Beck’s program in the wake of his calling President Obama a racist.

But Beck is ramping it up. On last night’s show he made an announcement that he’s tired of being a victim and the gloves are coming off!  He’s tired of being a sheep! From watching his show, I don’t know when the gloves were ever on, but tonight he promised proclaim his plan to show Americans exactly how to “take back their republic.”

Yet what might be even more interesting, or should I say entertaining, was the chart of words Beck pulled out last night on his blackboard on which he deciphered a conspiratorial code.

By assembling the first letters of words like Obama, revolutionaries, ACORN, hidden agenda, etc., Glenn produced the word OLIGARH, thus spelling out the secret plan that unites them all — the supposed Obama oligarchy to come.

That’s right oligarchy, not “oligarhy.” When Glenn asked the audience what letter was missing, I’m sure most said “C”. They must have been surprised when he said “Y” instead.  Obviously he was doing this to make a point of asking why, but in the end he raised even more questions about his rationale for what he says on his show.

Yet the Y that’s missing for me in this picture is “why” is Glenn Beck wasting so many people’s time by still being on TV?  Why are people still taking him seriously?

Conservatism Heads for Fernando’s Hideway

We’ve all read about the controversy stemming from Fernando C. de Baca’s comments about Hispanics and African Americans, resulting in C. de Baca’s resignation on Thursday as head of the Republican Party of Bernalillo County.

While initial media stories focused on his original comment to the BBC, it’s his second comment that really caught my attention:

I feel strongly that Hispanics will not support, in my generation and the generation around my age, are not going to support the Democratic candidate for president primarily because there is a strong feeling that African-Americans during the civil rights movement took advantage, full advantage, of all the benefits and programs that the government offered, that were supposed to be offered to all minorities. But we were left behind, we were left sucking air, and we resented that ever since the 60s, and I don’t see how a black president is going to change that.

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