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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Limbaugh supports "boot on the neck" of liberal women

Rush Limbaugh is a misogynist. His hatred of women should surprise no one who regularly listens to his show, and I devote a chapter in my forthcoming book, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason" (Thomas Dunne Books, March 2011) to Limbaugh's sexism. Yet even I was a little shocked today when Rush, facing criticism for his defense of the Rand Paul head-stomper, actually had the audacity to celebrate violence against a female protester.

In response to the physical assault of Lauren Valle by a Rand Paul supporter, Limbaugh immediate rose up to denounce the victim yesterday:

the man put his foot down on her shoulders in what looked to me like an effort to help restrain her, and then the guy was immediately shooed away. Now, nobody's condoning the manhandling of even a radical liberal woman or the rough handling or whatever. But why exaggerate what happened unless you're trying to score a propaganda point?

Limbaugh even repeated his bizarre claim:

Her head was not stepped on, her shoulders were. What would you do? What would you do if a person in disguise carrying a sign for a radical organization tries to push through the crowd to hand a political opponent an unknown object?

Only in the delusional universe of Rush Limbaugh can someone watch a video where a woman's head is stomped on (not stepped on, but stomped on twice) and claim that her head was not stepped on. To make matters worse, Limbaugh tries to attack the character of the victim, falsely claiming that her attackers somehow imagined that she was a threat while lying on the ground.

As Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC last night noted, "Rush inserts the mandatory phrase in there, 'no one is condoning the manhandling,' then every other word he says condones the manhandling, doesn't it?" Yes it does.

Limbaugh played O'Donnell's comment on his show today, but interestingly, Limbaugh never repudiated O'Donnell's critique. Instead, Limbaugh embraced the violence:

I thought it was good to put your "boot on the neck" of your opponent. We had our "boot" on BP's neck, said Obama, and many minions in his administration. But, you see be with there's outrage over the fact that I support this woman being stopped. There's total outrage, and yet when Maude Behar calls Angle a b-i-itch and tells her to go to hell, the media analyzes it and asks, "Will it help Harry Reid?"

Obama never said that. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did use this metaphor about keeping the pressure on a corporation, but obviously he never suggested physical violence against anyone. But Limbaugh did. He advocated violence against a woman even after being called out on the carpet for failing to criticize the violence.

And then he did it again, promising that the Tea Party would bring more violence:

the Tea Party people are just not going to play ball as always. They're not gonna sit around and try, "Hey, we're nice guys. Go ahead. We won't hurt you."

And then Limbaugh had the audacity to compare physical violence, which he supports, to a comment by Joy Behar about Sharron Angle: "I'd like to see her do this ad in the South Bronx. Come here, bitch! Come to New York and do it." I'm not a fan at all of the B-word, but it takes a lot of chutzpah for a man who himself uses the word to attack Behar for using it in a joke.

Limbaugh's opposition to the use of the term "bitch," equating it with a physical attack on a woman, may seem strange considering Limbaugh's public fondness for the word. In 2008 when a caller said about Nancy Pelosi, "she's a bitch!" Rush's response was, "All right." Not one word of criticism from Limbaugh. He concluded by praising the man and saying, "Bob, I appreciate the call."

Perhaps that's because Limbaugh himself likes to use the word. Limbaugh has referred to Hillary Clinton as "the B-i-itch."(March 31, 2008) When National Action Against Obesity president MeMe Roth said on CNN, "you're supposed to be working out every day," Limbaugh called her a bitch specifically for urging exercise: "Did you catch what this Roth b-i-itch said." And no, Rush, adding an extra "i" to the word "bitch" does not make you less of a sexist.

But Limbaugh's hypocritical attack on the B-word pales in comparison to his hypocritical defense of violence in Kentucky. Limbaugh hyped the hysteria about a few scuffles involving conservative activists, bizarrely claiming that "Obama is dispatching his own community organizer thugs -- AFL-CIO, SEIU people -- to intimidate citizens at these town hall meetings."

But when a left-wing activist was brutally attacked, Limbaugh cheered the violence as an example of how the Tea Party folks won't back down. It's a sickening reminder of what the conservative movement today stands for—and stomps on.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soros and Limbaugh, the “Foreign” Puppetmaster and the Conspiracy Nut

On his show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh denounced one of his favorite punching bags, financier George Soros: "So you want to talk a little foreign money in American politics? George Soros has admitted to donating $1 million to Media Matters for America, which is -- they call it a left-wing media watchdog. It's not that. It's just a bunch of propagandists, and Soros, a foreigner, has admitted he donated a million dollars to Media Matters."

Of course, since Media Matters for America regularly exposes Limbaugh's mistakes and bizarre comments, it's no wonder that he hates Soros for funding them and other liberal causes. But why would Limbaugh talk so much about "foreign money" when Soros has been an American citizen since 1961?

As Glenn Greenwald notes,
What is it about Soros exactly that leads right-wing commentators -- including their long-time leader, Rush Limbaugh -- to falsely brand this American citizen a "foreigner"?

It's notable that Rush never complains about the foreign money in American politics of Rupert Murdoch, an Australian who became a US citizen in 1985 only in order to buy American television stations and move the media to the right.

As I note in my forthcoming book, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason" (Thomas Dunne Books, March 2011), Soros is at the center of a vast array of Limbaugh conspiracy theories that range from Obama to football to the intentional destruction of the US economy.

Limbaugh saw a conspiracy in Obama's rise to the presidency, claiming that he "had to have a sponsor, had to have somebody orchestrating, directing it, so forth and so on." And Limbaugh had an easy answer for who was the puppetmaster, "You know what? It's George Soros. George Soros was in charge of electing Obama! George Soros and his people."

Just a few days after Obama's election in 2008, Limbaugh claimed: "Somebody chose Obama to run and was a secret sponsor....I think Soros is involved."

Such was Limbaugh's paranoia that he imagined a massive conspiracy linking Obama and Soros to the financial collapse that caused the Bush Recession: "Somebody had to tell him what was coming in 2007, meaning the crash in 2008. He didn't have any experience to know. Somebody had to know, somebody had to tell him, for that somebody to know they had to have a hand in it. Can anybody say George Soros? Pulling the marionette strings here of our leader of the regime."

According to Limbaugh, Soros is the puppeteer secretly controlling Obama, who ordered him to run for president and then staged the collapse of the housing bubble in order to help Obama win. Limbaugh said, "George Soros has said that one of his goals in life is to bring about the world financial crisis and profit from it" and added, "Soros may be running Obama." Everything about this conspiracy theory is absolutely untrue. Soros had nothing to do with Obama's decision to run for president. Soros never said what Limbaugh claimed. And Soros could not have possibly caused the housing bubble and the Bush Recession. Yet Limbaugh's website featured an illustration of Soros standing above Obama, holding a manipulator to control the president's actions.

Discussing Senate hearings on Goldman Sachs, Limbaugh declared, "Obama is one of George Soros' boys, and that could be one of the reasons why we're not seeing a whole lot of televised activity on the popular cable channels about this." According to Limbaugh's conspiracy theories, "George Soros continues to destroy the economy and profit from it."

Limbaugh said, "If you look at everything that Obama is doing, it's George Soros" and added about Soros, "his hatred of America is well known." In Limbaugh's mind, everything Republican is American, and anyone critical of conservatives is anti-American.

Soros is featured in a number of other Limbaugh conspiracy theories. When former George W. Bush spokesperson Scott McClellan published a book critical of some members of the Bush Administration, Limbaugh immediately saw a Soros conspiracy with McClellan's publisher, PublicAffairs: "so far six books have been bankrolled by George Soros. So there is a George Soros connection to the Scott McClellan book." Of course, Soros didn't "bankroll" McClellan's book or any other; he had written six books published by PublicAffairs.

Limbaugh even imagined that Soros was secretly made the primary owner in his failed bid to buy the St. Louis Rams: "I was told who it was, but now I'm wondering if it was Soros and I wasn't told."

Limbaugh's hypocritical attack on "foreign" money reflects the bigotry toward immigrants that has come to dominate the conservative movement. But his smear campaign against George Soros is just another insane conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is secretly trying to destroy Amerca.

Crossposted at DailyKos.