Mojo - September 2012

GOP Rep. Appears on White Nationalist Radio Show

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 3:43 PM EDT
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.)

A North Carolina Republican congressman appeared on a notorious white nationalist radio program on Saturday to talk up legislation he coauthored accusing President Barack Obama of committing impeachable offenses. Rep. Walter Jones, a fiercely anti-war congressman who often breaks with his party on key votes, appeared on the Political Cesspool, a Memphis-based program hosted by ardent white nationalists James Edwards and Eddie Miller. The show has been condemned by groups like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center for promoting racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic beliefs. Jones is the first member of Congress to appear on the program.

An avowed white nationalist who says David Duke is "above reproach," Edwards has referred to African Americans as "heathen savages" and "subhuman" and suggested that slavery was "the greatest thing that ever happened" to blacks. The show's mission statement is blunt: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White and are against political centralization," it declares. It then outlines a series of issues the show exists to promote. "We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races," reads one plank. Another bullet point endorses the Confederacy: "Secession is a right of all people and individuals. It was successful in 1776 and this show honors those who tried to make it successful in 1865."

Edwards' rhetoric has caught the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which argues that he has "probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists." As the SPLC notes:

"The Political Cesspool" in the past two years has become the primary radio nexus of hate in America. Its sponsors include the CCC and the Institute for Historical Review, a leading Holocaust denial organization. Its guest roster for 2007 reads like a "Who's Who" of the radical racist right. CCC leader Gordon Lee Baum, Holocaust denier Mark Weber, Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm, American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor, neo-Nazi activist April Gaede, anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald, Stormfront webmaster Jamie Kelso and League of the South president Michael Hill have all been favorably interviewed on the "Political Cesspool" this year, along with former Klan leader and neo-Nazi David Duke, the show's most frequent celebrity racist guest, who has logged three appearances.

Edwards' bigotry runs the spectrum. As Media Matters has documented, Edwards has alleged that Jews "run Washington, Wall Street, and the news and entertainment media" and that they're "using pornography as a subversive tool against" Christians. He defended Mississippi voters who say that interracial marriage should be illegal. (He's called interracial sex "white genocide.") Jones is hardly the first prominent conservative to call into the Cesspool. Paul Babeu, a prominent anti-immigrant sheriff who was forced to step down as Mitt Romney's Arizona co-chair after a gay sex scandal, praised the host in a 2010 appearance on the show. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has also appeared on the show; Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) had been booked to appear on Edwards' show but canceled at the last minute, citing a scheduling conflict.

Jones, a shoo-in to win a 10th term in November, is an arch-conservative with an independent streak. An early supporter of the Iraq war—he even went so far as to rename French fries in the House cafeteria "freedom fries"—he had a change of heart (as we explained in a 2006 profile), in large part due to the burden shouldered by families in his eastern North Carolina district, which includes Camp Lejeune. (He supported Paul during the GOP presidential primaries.) Edwards, like Jones, is an avowed proponent of "noninterventionism" who, on his website, calls on the federal government to "stop interfering politically, militarily, and socially outside of the borders of the United States of America." On the Cesspool, Jones briefly discussed his bill, HR 107, which states that President Obama's handling of the military intervention in Libya is an impeachable offense.

Jones made a positive impression with his hosts, whom he engaged in friendly banter over the merits of musician Frankie Valli and the musical Jersey Boys. "This is your debut appearance and hopefully the first of many to come," Edwards said.

Multiple calls and emails to Jones' office on Monday were not returned.

Update, 9/11/12, 10:20 a.m.: Erik Anderson, Jones' Democratic challenger, told Mother Jones the congressman needs to clear the air about what happened. "It's unbelievable that a sitting congressman would think that's appropriate," said Anderson, a Marine Corps veteran. "I really would like to hear his reasoning for why he went on there. You just don't go on a radio show like that and not know who you're talking to. I've been on conservative radio shows, but never a white supremacist one." But he has one theory: "I've said [the impeachment resolution] was racially motivated and that's absolutely what it was for because why else would he go on that show if it wasn't?"

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Romney's Afghanistan Screw-Up and My Tweet

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 3:30 PM EDT
Fang Zhe/Xinhua/ZUMAPress

Mitt Romney is still entangled in the mess he created when he failed to reference (let alone thank) the tens of thousands of US soldiers serving in Afghanistan during his speech at the recent Republican convention. His big night in Tampa was mostly overshadowed by Clint Eastwood's improv act, but his Afghanistan oops also contributed to the bad post-convention bounce for the Romney campaign, with Romney trying to explain the oversight in the days afterward. It's been particularly intriguing for me to watch this story unfold, given that, as far as I can tell, I was one of the first, if not the first, journalists to note that Romney had inexplicably short-changed the troops in Afghanistan.

Snoop Dogg Endorses Obama With Profanity-Laced Tirade

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 2:34 PM EDT

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (more commonly known by his stage name Snoop Dogg and/or Snoop Lion) has joined the chorus of celebrities throwing their support behind President Obama. The veteran gangsta rapper offered a spirited political endorsement:

[George W. Bush] fucked up for eight years so you at least gotta give [Barack Obama] eight years. He cleaned up half the shit in four years realistically. It ain't like you gave him a clean house. Y'all gave him a house with a TV that didn't work, the toilet was stuffed up; everything was wrong with the house. [The American people] need to give Obama four more years.

If any of that sounds familiar, it's probably because Bill Clinton basically said the exact same thing at the Democratic convention last week:

No president—not me or any of my predecessors—could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it...[President Obama] inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, [and] began the long hard road to recovery...[W]e have to re-elect President Barack Obama!

Snoop Dogg/Lion—who insists that he is the reincarnation of Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley—has come a long way since 2008, when he accused then Sen. Obama of accepting money from the Ku Klux Klan. (Although Dogg/Lion also emphasized back then that "that muthafucker [Obama's] gonna be the president cuz McCain can't fuck with him. Hillary can't fuck with him. He's winning over white people, white ladies.")

Earlier this year, the rap icon publicly offered to start hitting the bong with Obama. He and the president have some strong, longstanding disagreements regarding the drug war. But that hasn't proved a deal breaker:

And the two go way back: Here's footage from 2008 of Barack Obama dancing to a recording of Snoop Dogg's hit single "Drop It Like It's Hot":

Rick Scott Rejects Health Care Funds That Would Keep Disabled Kids Out of Nursing Homes

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 12:01 PM EDT

Florida's Republican governor Rick Scott loathes Obamacare so much that he turned down $40 million in federal health care funds that would keep hundreds of disabled kids at home with their parents, rather than warehoused in nursing homes. So says the Department of Justice, whose civil rights division recently investigated the situation in Florida.

ABC News reported this weekend that, in a letter to Florida's attorney general, the Justice Department cited the case of a "5-year-old child, a quadriplegic after a car accident, who had been living in a state facility for three years. The mother wants to bring the child home but has been told the waiting list for community and home-based services was five to ten years. 'I cry all the time thinking of [my child]… There should be something out there to help children come home,' the mother told Justice Department investigators, according to the letter." If Florida doesn't move to remedy the situation, the Justice Department may bring suit against the state on behalf of the kids.

The Justice Department knocked the state for cutting millions from services for the disabled, refusing the federal money earmarked for transitioning people out of nursing homes, and for giving nursing homes a bonus for taking in kids, rather than making it possible for them to go home to their parents. It's hardly the first time that Scott has rejected federal money. In 2011, he turned down $2.4 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail projects. And, all told, he's rejected more than $50 million in federal health care funding. Think Progress tallied up the numbers in June and found that Scott had rebuffed, among other things:

– Part of a $40 million federal program to promote wellness, including helping those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, manage their health.

– $8 million for construction of community-health centers.

– $3.4 million for in-home visitations with at-risk families.

– $2.1 million to set up a consumer-assistance office to educate Floridians about health insurance and assist them in appeals when insurers deny treatment.

– $2 million for hospice care for children.

– $2 million to $650,000 to help low-income seniors pay their Medicare premiums and buy prescription drugs.

Scott has followed the tea party agenda to the letter, but it doesn't seem to be winning him many fans outside of those small circles. His approval rating, around 29 percent, is so low that Mitt Romney doesn't want to hang out with him in this contested swing state.

 

 

 

Romney Endorses Birther-Curious Congressman

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 11:21 AM EDT

Mitt Romney's Friday endorsement of proudly anti-immigrant congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) has raised eyebrows given Romney's struggles with nonwhite voters. (Most recently, King has accused of minority college students of feeling sorry for themselves.) But there's another reason why Romney's public embrace of King is noteworthy: Steve King is a total birther.

Via ThinkProgress, here's what King told a tele-townhall in late July:

We went down into the Library of Congress and we found a microfiche there of two newspapers in Hawaii, each of which had published the birth of Barack Obama. It would have been awfully hard to fraudulently file the birth notice of Barack Obama being born in Hawaii and get that into our public libraries and that microfiche they keep of all the newspapers published. That doesn't mean there aren't some other explanations on how they might've announced that by telegram from Kenya. The list goes on. But drilling into that now, even if we could get a definitive answer and even if it turned out that Barack Obama was conclusively not born in America, I don't think we could get that case sold between now and November.

King, who is locked in a tight reelection fight with Democrat Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, received a glowing endorsement from Romney on Friday at an event in Orange City, Iowa. "This man needs to be your congressman again," the GOP presidential nominee said. "I want him as my partner in Washington, DC."

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 10, 2012

Mon Sep. 10, 2012 9:35 AM EDT

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan--Paratroopers with 3rd Platoon, Company D, 2nd Brigade, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, switch security shifts early in the morning, Aug. 30, 2012 , in a compound in Mulakala, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alex Kirk Amen, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Study: No Negative Impact From DADT Repeal

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 8:53 AM EDT
Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. giving a presentation on DADT repeal training.

A new study on the impact of repealing the US military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy found no negative impact, despite dire warnings from supporters of the ban on allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly

The study, which was conducted by the pro-repeal Palm Center and was first reported on by Lila Shapiro of the Huffington Post, found no negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, retention and recruitment of servicemembers, and morale. The Palm Center conducted "in depth interviews" with 62 active-duty servicemembers as part of the study, which mirrors recent findings by the Pentagon itself. In May, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, commenting on DADT's repeal, told reporters: "It's not impacting on morale. It's not impacting on unit cohesion. It is not impacting on readiness." He added, "very frankly, my view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it."

The Palm Center also attempted to contact opponents of repeal, including 553 of the 1,167 retired military officials who signed a letter saying ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell would "break" the military, as well 22 "known public opponents of DADT repeal." In both cases, the vast majority those who had opposed repeal declined to be interviewed.

Among those contacted by the Palm Center was Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose final, angry jeremiad against repeal on the Senate floor warned that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would "harm the battle effectiveness which is so vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military."

There's no evidence that the Republican establishment has changed its position on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, despite the fact that opponents' dire predictions have not yet come to pass. The 2012 GOP platform states that "We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness." The language suggests the GOP is still committed to reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell despite the absence evidence that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly has had any negative consequences at all. 

15 Percent of Ohio GOPers Say Romney Deserves Credit for Bin Laden Raid

| Sun Sep. 9, 2012 10:52 PM EDT
We're pretty sure this is a photo of Mitt Romney planning the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

In what some (one guy on Twitter) have called "a stroke of comic genius," Public Policy Polling decided to ask Ohio Republicans who they thought "deserved more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. In what some (my colleague Tim Murphy) have called "the greatest thing ever," a full 15 percent of Ohio Republicans surveyed said Romney deserved more credit than the president. Another 47 percent said they were "unsure." This led to all sorts of funny quips on Twitter:

This is amusing, but no one should take it particularly seriously. Significant percentages of Americans claim to believe all sorts of crazy things, and it's possible that a large percentage of the people who told PPP that Romney deserves credit for the bin Laden raid simply wanted to say eff-you to the president.

The poll didn't offer an option for "the Navy SEALs" or "the troops," who undoubtedly would have blown out Romney and Obama if they were options. The news in this poll—as much as any one poll can be news—is that it found Obama leading Romney by five percentage points in Ohio. (The full poll results are here.) No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. Here's a reality check on the state of the presidential race: Nate Silver, the New York Times' polling guru, now gives the president a nearly 80 percent chance of winning reelection.

Corn on MSNBC: The Key Message in Obama's Speech

Fri Sep. 7, 2012 7:34 PM EDT

David Corn and Krystal Ball joined Al Sharpton on MSNBC to break down the underlying values that informed Obama's DNC finale and contrast the vision of America he put forth with the worldview that was on display at the Republican National Convention. Also read Corn's analysis of the speech, Kevin Drum's less enthused reaction, and the Climate Desk's close look at the section on climate change policy.

David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter.

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 7, 2012

Fri Sep. 7, 2012 9:17 AM EDT

Staff Sgt. Clayton Clute, a team leader with the 710th Explosives Ordnance Disposal Company on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., searches for simulated pressure plate mines buried in an overgrown field on JBLM Sept. 4 during a weeklong training to prepare the company for a deployment to Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Gaylord.