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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rush's Racist Rant and Fake Quotes

Rush Limbaugh's racism is becoming more and more obvious as he lets his hatred of Obama shine through in openly bigoted ways. And to push that racism, he's even turned to fabricating quotes that have never been uttered. On Friday, Rush declared on his show,

Obama has not built 'em the new kitchen that he promised or led them to believe that were gonna get in Tampa. And there are no new cars for everybody. And white people are not shining the shoes of black people. Well, I remember that Tampa fundraiser, that Tampa town hall, we had audiotape of some black people who said, "From now on you all are gonna be waiting on us." Remember that? That's what the election meant to some people.




Obviously, the idea of “white people” shining the shoes of black people was what the 2008 election meant to Rush Limbaugh, and he hates it. But for most Americans, the 2008 election was not seen through the prism of racial paranoia that Rush Limbaugh uses.

Limbaugh's racist fear of “white people” subservient to black people drew surprisingly little criticism, except from Media Matters and a few bloggers on the left.

On his April 25, 2011 show, Limbaugh said nothing about his lies about Henrietta Hughes or Obama and his supporters, nor did he over any evidence to support his fictional claims. But Rush did express outrage that Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, pastor of a church Obama has attended, in a sermon earlier last year “saw fit to compare me to the modern-day KKK.” It is indeed an outrageous comparison. The KKK is widely denounced for its racism by nearly everyone today; Rush Limbaugh's racism, on the other hand, is rarely criticized in any mainstream media outlet.

In fact, I can't find anyone in the mainstream media who bothered to report on the astonishing fact that the leading conservative talk show host in the country declared that Obama was elected to make white people serve blacks.

But Limbaugh's shining example of racism was only the beginning of his bigotry. I investigated his claim that black people said, “From now on you all are gonna be waiting on us.” It appears to be completely fabricated.

Here's the evidence. First, if you search for that quote on the internet, nothing comes up. I searched on Limbaugh's own website. I found no quote with the words “waiting on” or even “serving us.” It doesn't appear that Limbaugh has ever mentioned this quote before or anything like it. And if such a quote did exist, or anything resembling it, it's quite certain that Limbaugh would have played it. I've asked Limbaugh for any explanation or sources for his quote. He hasn't responded.

Next, I tracked down the event that Limbaugh is referring to where this quote was allegedly uttered by “black people.” In his Friday comment, Limbaugh says it was a “Tampa town hall” and refers to “new cars.” Because he's made this claim before about a Tampa town hall and new cars, it was easy to identify. And the story reveals another side of Limbaugh, his meanness and stupidity as well as his racism.

There was no town hall in Tampa. But there was an Obama town hall on Feb. 10, 2009 at Fort Myers, Florida (120 miles from Tampa) which Limbaugh often refers to when talking about “new cars.”

At this town hall, a black woman named Henrietta Hughes told Obama: “I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in. We need urgent. And the housing authority has two years’ waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help.”

Limbaugh immediately misunderstood what Hughes said: “There's another bite coming up here, a crying woman named Henrietta asks Obama for a car, for a new kitchen and a bathroom. I am not kidding!”

Limbaugh was completely wrong. Hughes had been living in a pickup truck with her son for a year, and she was explaining that she only had that small vehicle to live in, using park facilities for their bathroom.

She wasn't asking for a car, let alone a new one. She wasn't asking for a new house or a new kitchen or a new bathroom in her house. She was asking for help getting a place to live so that she could have a kitchen and a bathroom, and pointing out that the two-year waiting list for housing assistance meant that she would be homeless for a long time with no hope of getting any help.

Limbaugh declared, “It was a disgrace what was on display in Fort Myers, Florida, yesterday. It was an absolute saddening, shocking, depressing disgrace. And you have created that segment of America that has no faith in and of itself, no faith in this country, and thinks the only reason to talk to a president is to ask him for a kitchen, to ask him for a car.”

Limbaugh's condemnation of the woman (and his fabricated claim that she asked for a new car) was the real disgrace. Limbaugh repeatedly (and falsely) smeared this homeless woman's desperate plea for help, mocking her as a 21st Century welfare queen. On February 17, 2009, Rush said: “You saw evidence of it at Fort Myers town hall. 'Mr. Obama, get me a car, get me a car, get me a kitchen, get me a new house...'” On February 25, 2009, he said: “the dropouts of America thought they were going to have handed to them a plate load of goodies, like Henrietta Hughes over in Fort Myers.”

On March 23, 2010, Limbaugh had once again lost track of where the town hall happened and simply invented a fake quote: “Shortly after Obama was immaculated, he did a town hall in Atlanta and a woman stood up and said, 'I need a new kitchen in my house and I actually need a new car, what are you going to do for me?'"

Limbaugh turned the Fort Myers event into a vast parade of black people demanding free cars: “Last time he was in Tampa all kinds of people showed up wanted a new car, they wanted a new dishwasher, they wanted a new kitchen. Remember that?” The story of one homeless woman asking for help finding a home had been turned by Rush into “these people” demanding all kinds of vehicles and appliances: “He went to Tampa and these people actually asked him for a new car and a new kitchen, a new dispose-all.”

When Limbaugh says “these people,” he means black people. Rush gave his particular racist interpretation of the Fort Myers town hall by describing what he thought Obama said ("My people don't want handouts, they want to work hard") and the crowd's reply ("Amen, bro, amen, amen"). Limbaugh's fictional “my people” and “bro” were obviously meant to refer to race. Obama actually said “people” aren't looking for a handout, not “my people.”

So it's clear that when Limbaugh on April 22, 2011 made this reference to Tampa and new cars, he was talking about the Fort Myers town hall. But that brings us back to the quote, “From now on you all are gonna be waiting on us,” which Limbaugh claims to have on audiotape. Nothing in any of Limbaugh's numerous comments about the Fort Myers town hall reveals any quote even remotely close to this statement. Nothing in any of the news stories and conservative attacks on the Fort Myers town hall shows that this quote ever happened.

The quote appears to be a complete fabrication, and it's time for Rush to put up or shut up. The media should be demanding evidence from Rush about this alleged audiotape, and they should be demanding an explanation for all of the fake quotes he's put in the mouth of Henrietta Hughes over the past two years. I challenge Limbaugh to prove what he says.

In my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, I devote many chapters to Limbaugh's fabrication of the facts, and a full chapter to provide clear-cut examples of Limbaugh's racial hatred. I defy anyone to read that chapter and these examples, and offer any rational proof that Limbaugh is not a racist.

Limbaugh engages in vicious racism and the complete fabrication of quotes to serve his bigoted agenda. It's time for the media and his conservative supporters to stop defending Rush's racism and instead acknowledge his bigotry and deceit as real.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Limbaugh's Lies about Earth Day

Rush Limbaugh loves to smear environmentalists at every turn. I devote a chapter in my book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, to Limbaugh's lies about the environmental movement.

But today, on Earth Day, Limbaugh took his deceit to a new extreme by claiming that Earth Day was founded by a murderer. Here's what he said:

Do you even remember, folks, Earth Day's founder, do you remember the story of Earth Day's founder? Do you even remember his name? Ira Einhorn. Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, April 22nd, 1970. Seven years later, the police raided his closet and found the composted body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk. Ira Einhorn, the father of Earth Day, killed and composted his girlfriend. And any time you mention this the Earth Day acolytes try to shut you up, and they don't want you having any success at besmirching the image of their great leader.
Except for the fact that Ira Einhorn was a murderer, pretty much everything Rush said is wrong. No one thinks that Einhorn was “the father of Earth Day.” The founder of Earth Day, as everyone knows, was Sen. Gaylord Nelson. The main organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970 was Denis Hayes. The first Earth Day was a nationwide phenomenon. The Philadelphia Earth Week was organized by a committee of 33 people, and it does not appear that Ira Einhorn was one of them.

In Rush's defense, some of the misinformation on his show came from a badly written piece by Remy Melina reprinted on MSNBC.com titled, “Earth Day co-founder killed, composted girlfriend.” That title alone should warn readers of the bias that would follow. (Interestingly, Melina's piece was reprinted from a tabloid-style website, lifeslittlemysteries.com, where other articles being featured include one titled, "CIA Cover-up Alleged in JFK's 'Secret UFO Inquiry.'")

Einhorn was a crackpot who called himself an environmentalist to help get himself attention. In 1977, he murdered his girlfriend and hid her body in a trunk in his apartment, where the mummified body was later found. This is the “composted” girlfriend being mocked in the headline and the story. Since decomposed bodies have nothing to do with composting (in fact, the body was found underneath some Styrofoam packing material), the only reason for putting this word in the story is to try to demean environmentalists.

Melina's article claims: “Although Einhorn was only the master of ceremonies at the first Earth Day event, he maintains that Earth Day was his idea and that he's responsible for launching it.”

It's not clear that Einhorn really still maintains that Earth Day was his idea, since he's serving a life sentence in prison and it doesn't appear that Melina talked with him or did any actual journalism for her article. (Melina's bio, by the way, indicates that “Remy has written for the Long Island Press and Shut Up! Magazine.”)

A Philadelphia Inquirer article from ten years ago, easily found on the web, revealed that Einhorn wasn't the founder of Earth Day, nor was he the host of the Philadelphia Earth Day celebration. Instead, this article indicates that he was a nut with few environmentalist supporters, but many fans among mainstream reporters, corporate leaders, and even the police. Einhorn was a speaker at the event who angered the actual organizers of the Philadelphia Earth Day by holding on to the microphone for 30 minutes and refusing to give it up until he finally welcomed Sen. Edmund Muskie by kissing him on the lips.

Einhorn wasn't the master of ceremonies at Earth Day, nor was he the leader of any environmental movement. He was a slick-talking phony who mostly charmed corporate America, according to a Time magazine profile: “the suits responded with free lunches, grants, consulting contracts, four-figure speaking fees.”

Einhorn was a very minor speaker among a long list of famous speakers at Philadelphia's Earth Week, which was one of many Earth Day events across the country. It is horrifying that Einhorn would murder a woman many years later, but obviously no one could have known that, and nothing about what he did has any connection to Earth Day, nor does Einhorn have any actual role in creating Earth Day except in his delusional mind and the equally delusional attacks of the far right.

It's understandable why Rush Limbaugh is willing to make up fake stories to smear environmentalists. It's less clear why MSNBC.com is doing the same by reprinting articles from a website with dubious stories like this. What Limbaugh and MSNBC.com did today shows the kind of media bias against the environmental movement that persists even 41 years after the first Earth Day.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trump-Limbaugh 2012

Nothing embodies the conservative movement today more than the combination of Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. They're the perfect team: massive egos that know no bounds, and an endless capacity to spew insane conspiracy theories about Obama. Trump and Limbaugh would make the perfect Republican ticket for the presidency in 2012.

Perhaps the best indication that Trump might be thinking of running for president—and might stand a chance of winning the Republican nomination—is his appearance on Limbaugh's show, and the tacit endorsement from the far right's favorite host. Limbaugh is notorious for not having guests (because they interfere with his enjoyment of listening to himself), and Donald Trump may be the first political guest Limbaugh has ever had on twice in the span of two months.

When Trump appeared on Limbaugh's show Friday, he started off by giving $100,000 to Limbaugh's day-long charitable fundraiser. And his return appearance certainly had something to do with the fawning praise Trump gave the first time on Limbaugh's show: “I really enjoy your show and I really enjoy you. And a lot of people enjoy you very much, Rush. They just don't like saying it. They don't like giving you the credit that you deserve.”

The implicit support of Limbaugh for Trump may be the most important factor in Trump's dramatic rise in the polls among Republicans. For Limbaugh, Trump is exactly the wealthy celebrity buddy he loves. Limbaugh and Trump have played golf together. And unlike anyone with taste, a man like Limbaugh (who had a chandelier in the bathroom of his New York City penthouse) obviously loves Trump's ridiculous style. Rush, who relentlessly engages in product placement on his show, must admire Trump's willingness to sell anything. And the two like each other personally. According to Rush, “Trump's a funny guy.” He praised Trump for having “good old American can-do spirit -- and Trump's can-do spirit is backed up with Trump's can-do action.”

But one issue, more than any other, has made Limbaugh admire Trump: the birth certificate. Rush said, “He's tackling this birth thing head on. I mean head on. And they can't say that Trump is part of the Tea Party. He's not there. I mean he's a marginal Republican in terms of the way people classify, but I mean nobody is out there tackling this the way he is. I actually think, by the way, that Trump is providing a blueprint here. The way to beat Obama 2012 is to just go at him.”

Rush and Trump share a mutual friend at the forefront of the birther movement. Joseph Farah, editor of World Net Daily and a leader of the birther nuts, has been advising Trump about the birther issues: "We've have been speaking quite a bit." Farah also was the ghostwriter of Rush Limbaugh's second book back in 1993. Farah has praised Limbaugh for siding with the birthers: "What that did is beyond Rush's impact. It also gives other talk show hosts license to talk about this issue.…Rush is kind of the standard of talk show hosts. A lot of people emulate what he does. He crossed the Rubicon on that show, and I'm very proud of him for doing it."

Limbaugh's embrace of Trump has been controversial among some of his conservative listeners who know that Trump isn't a real conservative. Limbaugh told one caller who criticized Trump, “you're sounding like the left does.” Limbaugh even defended Trump's political donations to Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojevich: “If you're doing business in Chicago, what are you gonna do?”

So far, Limbaugh has been nothing but obsequious toward the Donald. He's never mentioned how Trump in 1987 ran newspaper ads declaring that “The world is laughing at America's politicians,” a group that included Limbaugh's hero, Ronald Reagan. Nor has Limbaugh brought up Trump's book where he proposed single-payer health care. (Fortunately for Trump, Limbaugh doesn't read very many books.)

But Limbaugh's show made the Trump candidacy possible. By creating an alternative media universe where insanity has become the mainstream of the Republican Party, a crackpot like Trump can be taken seriously as a political candidate precisely because of the craziest theory he's ever publicly espoused: the birther myth.

Trump and Limbaugh, two nitwits with egos the size of the Trump Tower, have found each other. It's a love affair that America deserves to have on TV. Imagine what this reality show would offer.

Of course, Limbaugh would never accept a vice-presidential nomination. He doesn't want the scrutiny, or the hard work, of a campaign, nor would he ever give up his salary of $57 million per year. But if Trump runs for president, Limbaugh will be his symbolic VP candidate, the one attacking all enemies and reassuring conservatives that Trump is the real thing. Meanwhile, Republican candidates are reluctant to attack Trump out of fear that Limbaugh might turn against them. Limbaugh and Trump may seem like a political odd couple, but they represent the ugly future of the Republican Party.


Crossposted at DailyKos.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rush Limbaugh's Breast Obsession

Today, Rush Limbaugh focused on women's breasts. He brought up a story that he's been telling for decades, even though it's all a lie. According to Rush, there was a scientific study years ago that proved, “The higher the bust size, the lower the IQ at Tufts.” He declared, “I remember reporting on that.” No one, including Rush, has ever been able to show any evidence of any study at Tufts linking breast size and intelligence.

As I note in my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, Limbaugh has been pushing this nonexistent story for decades.

Limbaugh asserted on his TV show on May 13, 1994: "Now I got something for you that's true--1972, Tufts University, Boston. This is 24 years ago--or 22 years ago. Three year study of 5000 co-eds, and they used a benchmark of a bra size of 34C. They found that the--now wait. It's true. The larger the bra-size, the smaller the IQ."

However, no one at Tufts or anywhere else apparently did any study like this. Fifteen years later, Limbaugh again invoked this mythical study, but claimed that it proved “the larger the bust size, the higher the IQ.”

In 2010, Limbaugh complained that he had been criticized for talking about this study that no one has ever been able to find: “it's one of the things that's constantly pointed at as something I lie about, I just made up. I didn't make it up.” Limbaugh then reversed his position again on what this nonexistent study proved: “The smaller the bust size, the higher the IQ.”

Limbaugh also falsely referred to Tufts University as “a girls' school” (he corrected himself later, and perhaps it's just a coincidence that Limbaugh named his male dog “Wellesley”, the name of a famous women's college).

Limbaugh had brought up busts because he read a story today about Nancy Pelosi speaking at Tufts University. Coincidentally, breasts also have factored into some of Rush's most bizarre statements about Nancy Pelosi. After the 2007 inauguration of Pelosi as Speaker of the House, Limbaugh made strange statements on the air about Pelosi and the children of House Democrats at the inauguration, including Heath Shuler's two-year-old daughter. Limbaugh said about Pelosi during his little fantasy: "Maybe Pelosi breastfed him, I don't know, when the kid was pregnant. Who knows? She's capable of doing everything else."

Limbaugh's official transcript “corrected” what he actually said to say instead, “maybe Pelosi breast-fed her when the kid was -- who knows,” fixing Limbaugh's gender error about the child and his bizarre use of the word “pregnant.”

Limbaugh was particularly obsessed about imagined breastfeeding by Pelosi, a grandmother who was 66 years old at the time: "look at Ms. Pelosi. Why, she can multitask. She can breastfeed, she can clip her toenails, she can direct the House, all while the kids are sitting on her lap at the same time."

What motivates the idiocy of Rush Limbaugh? Is he trying to pump up his ratings by talking about boobs? Yes. Is he a sexist pig who regards women as little more than their physical attributes? Yes. After all, Limbaugh in 2007 said this about his cat:
She comes to me when she wants to be fed. And after I feed her -- guess what -- she's off to wherever she wants to be in the house, until the next time she gets hungry. She's smart enough to know she can't feed herself. She's actually a very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn't have to do anything for it, which is why I say this cat's taught me more about women, than anything my whole life.

Shortly after mentioning the imaginary Tufts bust study today, Limbaugh told his audience, “Don't doubt me.” Considering how much of Rush's show is completely fictional, it's amazing that anyone can believe in any of the nonsense he makes up on the air.

Bust size doesn't cause a lowered IQ, but listening to Rush Limbaugh does.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rush Limbaugh: Portrait of a Birther

On Friday's show, Rush Limbaugh finally came out publicly and admitted that he's a birther. He declared about Obama, “he's got a grandmother or aunt in Kenya who said she saw him born there.” Rush was so confident of this lie that he repeated it: “one of Obama's relatives, aunt or grandmother, swears that he was born in Kenya. She saw it. She was there at the birth.”

It's a complete lie, and was proven to be a lie more than two years ago. The truth is that Obama's Kenyan grandmother explicitly declared that Obama was born in Hawaii. However, a mistake by a translator earlier in the conversation with a birther gave the misimpression that the grandmother said something different. The mistake was revealed and clarified later in the tape, but birthers edited out the truth.

It takes a stunning level of stupidity to make these insane birther claims. And Rush Limbaugh has finally reached that level of stupidty.

As I note in my book about Rush, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, Limbaugh has always been an ally of the birthers. While he often made birther jokes (some are used as bumper stickers by birthers), Limbaugh also discussed Obama's birth certificate many times, with great seriousness. In the middle of a discussion of Mark Sanford in June 2009, Limbaugh suddenly brought up the birth certificate again: “A friend of mine said, 'Where was Obama born?' And I don't know. He's not a native Hawaiian. Where was he born? I don't know. Supposedly Hawaii, but we don't have independent confirmation of it.” In July 2009, Limbaugh was still endorsing the birther movement by referring to Obama as having “no birth certificate.” Limbaugh was leery of announcing that Obama had been born in Kenya, but his tacit endorsement of the birthers was still clear.

WorldNetDaily editor-in-chief Joseph Farah (ghostwriter of Limbaugh's second book, and leader of a campaign to put up “Where's the Birth Certificate?” billboards around the country) noted the importance of Limbaugh’s stand with the birthers: "What that did is beyond Rush's impact. It also gives other talk show hosts license to talk about this issue.…Rush is kind of the standard of talk show hosts. A lot of people emulate what he does. He crossed the Rubicon on that show, and I'm very proud of him for doing it."

Now, Limbaugh has finally taken the further step to confess openly that he's a birther, something that he probably was all along but simply was too cowardly to admit. The man who gave Limbaugh the courage to come out of the birther closet was Donald Trump. Rush spoke with great admiration of his fellow birther: “Donald Trump is providing a lesson on how to beat Barack Obama. Donald Trump is showing that the way to do that is you go after these people.”

Limbaugh's willingness to admit his birther beliefs reflects the radical transformation of the Republican Party that Limbaugh himself led. Limbaugh has spawned a new generation of conspiracy nuts who have been so dumbed down by years of being Dittoheads that even plainly idiotic ideas like those of the birthers have become the mainstream of the conservative movement. And now Rush Limbaugh feels the need to lurch even further to the right in order to maintain his status as the leader of the lunatics.

Crossposted at DailyKos.