Monthly Archives: August 2008

I’m On To Denver

Then, after joining the non-airport bathroom related mile high club, I’m heading to Minneapolis. It seems likely that I’ll be credentialed for both conventions. I don’t really have any plans other than getting in the mix and reporting back here frequently. Hopefully, I will get to post a few videos, too.

The DNC has been pretty stingy with credentials, but not as bad as it was forty years ago…

Jerome Corsi’s Long, Strange Trip

How did a racist, conspiratorial crank become the GOPs anti-Obama point man?

How did a racist, conspiratorial crank become the GOP's anti-Obama point man?

These are good times for Jerome Corsi. Already notorious for his factually challenged book-length takedown of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Unfit For Command, the 61-year-old Corsi has another hit on his hands. His new book, Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality has made Corsi a hot commodity again on the right-wing radio circuit, the bane of the Obama campaign and catapulted to the top slot on the New York Times bestseller list. With his newfound notoriety, Corsi has brought his pathographic anti-Obama narrative to hundreds of thousands of readers–and millions on radio and TV–just as he did with Kerry. Corsi has become the court bard of the conservative movement. “The goal is to defeat Obama,” Corsi told the New York Times. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”

Corsi’s success represents the apotheosis of a long, strange trip from the furthest shores of the right into the national spotlight. During George W. Bush’s first term, Corsi was a little-known financial services marketing specialist. In 1995, according to the Boston Globe, he coaxed twenty people into a shadowy investment venture in Poland that ultimately lost them a total of $1.2 million. “It ruined my career in the brokerage business, and it was a sad story for a lot of people,” said Bradley Amundson, one of those enlisted into Corsi’s bungled scheme. The FBI opened an investigation but never filed any charges.

Corsi had dabbled off-and-on the fringes of conservative backlash politics for nearly three decades. In his spare time, which he appeared to have lots of, Corsi busied himself at his computer, firing off opinions on the far-right website Free Republic, marked by their sexual and racial obsessions.

In a comment typical of the dozens he posted under the handle “jrlc,” Corsi wrote, “Anybody ask why HELLary couldn’t keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?” In another, he ranted, “Isn’t the Democratic Party the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA–oh, I forgot, it was just an accident that Clintoon’s [sic] first act in office was to promote ‘gays in the military.’ RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters–it all goes together.”

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Feelin’ The Hate With Toby Keith Nation

Toby Keith likes to brag, “This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.” But when my reporting on the pro-lynching lyrics in his song, “Beer For My Horses,” began to complicate the promo tour for his forthcoming “Southern comedy” movie of the same title, tough-talking Toby whined to the media. “The song was a hit and the words ‘lynch’ and ‘racism’ has [sic] never come up until this moron wrote this blog,” he fumed to Contact Music.

When Fox News picked up Keith’s comments, Big Dog Daddy’s loyal fans bombarded my in-box with a deluge of indignant rants. While insisting to me that “Beer For My Horses” contained not even a hint of coded racial animus, Keith’s fans simultaneously revealed their simmering resentment of Jews, blacks, and “faggy liberals.”

Their hate-laden letters comprised the script for my latest video:

Toby Keith Nation Fights Back, a creative take on my hate mail

Keith claimed that “Beer For My Horses” was simply an anodyne ditty intended to evoke nostalgia for the Old West, where “bad guys” met justice at the end of a rope. “It’s about the old West and horses and sheriffs … and going and getting the bad guys. It’s not a racist thing or about lynching,” he said.

Why then did Keith sing so despairingly of car thieves, “corruption in the street,” and terrorists who blow up buildings? Why did he invoke the swarthy boogeymen of the modern right-wing imagination right before launching into a verse about the good old days when his “grandpappy” would “take all the rope in Texas…find a tall oak tree,” and “hang them high in the street, for all the people to see?” Maybe “Beer For My Horses” isn’t about the Old West after all.

But since Keith has invoked that golden era of “horses and sheriffs…and going and getting the bad guys,” it is fair to ask if he knows anything about the real history of lynching in Texas. Does he know that according to the Handbook of Texas, the Lone Star stood third among the states — just behind Mississippi and Georgia — in its total of lynching victims? Does Keith know that of the 468 people lynched in Texas, a whopping 339 were African-American (a partial list of black Texan lynching victims is here)?

Lynching was not, as Keith disingenuously claimed, a practice exclusive to gallant Hollywood cowboys played by Gene Autry (who couldn’t even ride a horse) and Ronald Reagan. It was a mode of organized terror employed by groups like the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction to restore white supremacy in Texas and throughout the region.

Keith should immediately apologize for his musical monstrosity. Then I suggest he perform a cover of “Strange Fruit,” the Billie Holiday anthem inspired by the anti-lynching poetry of Jewish school teacher Abel Meeropol. Holiday often cried (watch her here) as she performed her haunting dirge. On at least one occasion, she was so overcome with emotion she could not finish. With Toby Keith exploiting the South’s most barbaric tradition for big bucks, Holiday’s tears burn like salt on an unhealed wound.

Keith, Corsi, and an Update

You may have noticed that my blog is being redesigned. The process had gone slowly but I anticipate finishing up by early next week. Then I should resume regular blogging. I also plan to release two projects very shortly that I have been working on for the past week. The first is a humorous video response to Toby Keith and his fans, who, despite their denials of racial animus, seem to harbor extreme resentment of the usual evildoers: blacks, Jews, liberals, and gays (In case you haven’t been following along), Keith called a “moron” last week. I also plan to publish a piece in the Nation about Jerome Corsi’s activities on the farthest shores of the right-wing fringe. Already, I have documented for Media Matters Corsi’s planned appearance on a white supremacist radio show and his August 4 spot on the radio show of the 9-11 “Truth” movement’s godfather, Alex Jones. But these documents only scratch the surface of Corsi’s crankery.

Lynching Advocate Toby Keith: Obama Acts White To Win

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Last week, I reported for the Huffington Post that country singer Toby Keith had performed a pro-lynching anthem on the Colbert Report, and would be playing the same song soon on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a slew of nationally televised talk shows.

The lyrics of Keith’s song, “Beer For My Horses,” which I transcribed, could hardly be less explicit — “Hang ’em high, for all the people to see.” In my piece, I also noted the racially tinged nature of the song’s video and the forthcoming movie that Keith’s song inspired.

Toby Keith’s latest: Obama “talks, acts, and carries himself as a Caucausian.”

The response from right-wing blogs was swift and strident. whined that “The Liberal Lynching of Toby Keith” had taken place; Lonewacko claimed that Keith was actually “promoting lawful executions.” And Keith found an avid defender in Robert Stacy McCain, the disgraced former Washington Times reporter and avowed neo-Confederate who once allegedly ranted in the middle of the Times newsroom that slavery was “good for the blacks and good for property owners.”

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