Take Five (Asshats en Regalia edition)

ONE: Hateful Twitch

Apparently it’s just not good enough for Michelle Malkin that Trayvon Martin is dead; she wants him vilified, as well.

Last Sunday afternoon, Malkin’s new “Twitter curation” site Twitchy posted a graphic featuring two photographs, one of a smiling George Zimmerman in jacket and tie, looking every inch the fine, respectable young man his rap sheet suggests he’s not, and the other of a shirtless, droopy-trousered African American kid flipping double birds at the camera.

In a crude attempt at sarcasm, some text below the photos reads:

MEDIA BIAS

Because nothing says fair like putting a mugshot looking photo in “county orange” next to a 5 year old picture of the victim as a child. But hey, two can play that game.

Here’s Twitchy’s considered wisdom on this, as it now appears:

Recognize these two people? If you don’t, we’ll help you out. The man on the left is George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering the boy on the right, Trayvon Martin. The mainstream media won’t show you these two photos because they convey a message that no one else wants to take into consideration.

Why the strike-throughs? Because the person in the second photograph is not Trayvon Martin. The photo was quickly exposed as a fake, one that might have originated at the infamous neo-Nazi site Stormfront. Twitchy accordingly struck through its assertions and added this flaccid “apology” Sunday evening:

Correction, 8:56 pm ET March 25, 2012: We made a mistake. The photo on the right is not of the Trayvon Martin who was shot by Zimmerman. We apologize to our readers and to the Martin family.

Oh, hey, no sweat! After all, Twitchy wasn’t the only site to run the graphic and end up exposed as a purulent sleazepit; the right-hand side of the web is full of bigoted, deceptive, hate-mongering little shitholes. Although few seem to be quite as unjustifiably smug about themselves as Twitchy:

If it’s news, we’re on it. If it should be news, we’re ahead of it.

And if it’s rank horseshit deliberately intended to imply that Trayvon Martin might have deserved being shot to death, they’re fingerpainting with it.

Since I’m being generous, though, I’ll admit I have no idea whether Malkin herself had any involvement in posting this reprehensible trash, or whether one of her “kinetic staff of social media junkies” was the (ir)responsible party. But since Twitchy is just another monument to her gargantuan ego and she’s its “Owner, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer” I’m just going to go ahead and assume the worst about Michelle Malkin personally.

Twitchy has since moved on to fretting about why a Twitter account advocating the assassination of George Zimmerman is still up. I’m not going to link to her site; you can Google it, or simply follow its virtual stench.

(And to the cretin who came up with the graphic in the first place, the reason that ubiquitous Zimmerman pic you refer to is “a mugshot looking photo in ‘county orange’” is because he was wearing county orange and it is a mugshot. It was taken in 2005 after Zimmerman was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence. If you’re going to “play that game” you might want to make sure you can do so without making a goddamned fool of yourself.)

TWO: “This is a real hate crime…”

As morally impoverished and ideologically imbecilic as Malkin and her “kinetic staff of social media junkies” might be, they’re pikers compared to the freak show over at WorldNutDaily, where the likes of John Stossel, Pamela Geller, Jack Abramoff, Jerome Corsi, Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, Chuck Norris, Dennis Prager, Phyllis Schlafly, Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, Pat Boone and Mychal Massie, among others, work tirelessly to make the nation suck.

It’s de rigueur for WND to look at reality through the wrong end of the telescope, but site founder Joseph Farah ditched the telescope completely with his comments on the killing of Trayvon Martin:

… when the race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and race hustler-in-chief Barack Obama started exploiting the incident, I began to think we were being conned once, again, by the vicious, biased, America-hating, leftist-controlled press….

… the national news media are a hopelessly broken cultural institution.

They were ready to lynch George Zimmerman, who now appears to be no more than an upright Hispanic gentleman concerned about suspicious activity in his neighborhood – someone who probably did what he had to do in a very trying circumstance.

Farah goes on to regale the reader with the story of Allen Coon, a white 13-year-old in Kansas City who was purportedly chased and set on fire by two 16-year-old African Americans, one of whom allegedly said, “This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.”

Notwithstanding a number of questionable aspects to the story, it has quickly become a popular touchstone for the right, a handy way of excusing Trayvon Martin’s death, because, golly, “Black people are bigots too!” You can even find videos of television news coverage of the attack posted on YouTube under titles like “Discrimination Against White People in America Exposed part 3.”

And Farah’s delight over the Kansas City attack is palpable: “This is a real hate crime…” Having arbitrarily drawn in the dots, Farah then goes on to connect them, equally arbitrarily (this is how it’s done, Michele Malkin):

By the way, it is entirely plausible, though it is too early to assume, that the perpetrators in this hideous attack were actually inspired by the media’s drummed up hysterics about racism in the case of Trayvon Martin.

If only the Kansas City incident hadn’t occurred a mere two days after the “upright Hispanic gentleman” killed Trayvon Martin and long before the national media picked up on the story, sure, it’s entirely plausible.

THREE: Birth, Wind and Liar

Happily, WND also has its lighter moments, one being its foundationless fixation with Barack Obama’s supposed ineligibility for the presidency. For no other reason than sheer devotion to America, and the ability to make a few bucks from this scam, WND contributor Jerome Corsi has tirelessly covered Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s cold case posse investigation into the President’s birth certificate.

WND’s first live-streaming video event was its coverage of the posse’s press conference on March 1. The site claims the stream drew “72,076 unique viewers” which is tough to believe; I’ve commented previously that the stream was so wretched I had to switch over to an ABC Phoenix live stream to watch the press conference. Joseph Farah, however, is just tickled:

“I expected this to be a big event,” said Joseph Farah, founder of WND. “But the final numbers surprised even me…”

Farah said he is encouraged with the experiment and plans to seek out other opportunities for live-streaming little-covered news events…

Oh, great.

Elsewhere on the birther beat, WND has been reporting diligently on one Adam Eugene Cox of Tennessee, who made some pretty nasty threats against Arpaio in what was ostensibly intended to be a defense of the President from the birth certificate posse. While a more obscure rightwing trash site describes Cox as an “Obamunist,” WND is content to simply call him an “Obama fanatic” and giddily quote the man’s threats multiple times:

“I plan to kill Arpaio first. He will be filled with a thousand bullet holes before the year is out. I promise you this. He won’t f**k with Obama. He will be buried 10 feet under and his whole family will be murdered along with him.”

On March 14, justice caught up with the “Obama fanatic”:

Cox pleaded guilty to harassment of Arpaio, and was immediately sentenced to serve nearly a year in a “bootcamp”-style program similar to probation, as well as ordered to pay court costs.

In any case, Arpaio still has his loyalists. One of them is Donald Trump, who printed out an AP report about the March 1 press conference and scribbled a quick mash note to the sheriff on it:

“Joe – Great going – You are the only one with the ‘guts’ to do this – Keep up the good fight – Donald Trump.”

Buoyed by this outpouring of billionaire support, Arpaio averred to the Arizona Republic that he’s in this for the long haul:

“I’m not going to drop this,” he said. “You don’t think I did a press conference and let it die? I’ll make a decision real quick where to send the evidence we have. There are not many options. You do know this is complex. Many conflicts of interest from the White House to the Attorney General. I can go on and on.”

Yes, you can, Sheriff, and even the National Review – of all organs – is getting a little sick of it:

Republicans who have chosen to associate with the birthers have done their party and their country a disservice. And as Sheriff Arpaio settles comfortably into that political mental ward, the same must be said of those Republicans who choose to associate themselves with him more broadly.

Ouch.

FOUR: Cool Story, Bro

Corsi’s already flogging another aspect of the wily Kenyan’s shocking, illegitimate rise to the very pinnacle of the Republic: Bill Ayers’ mom put Barack Obama through school. Cold case posse lead investigator Mike Zullo mentioned something about this in the March 1 press conference, but it was a bit garbled and by that point in the proceedings I was in absentminded transit from wildly amused to mildly bored. Now that I’ve read Corsi’s article on the topic, I’m not sure which reaction is more appropriate.

Allen Hulton, a retired Chicago mail carrier (who, Corsi is quick to emphasize, “was commended for 39 years of honorable service”) submitted an affidavit to Arpaio’s posse on November 12 of last year, attesting that Mary Ayers told Hulton all about Barack Obama, a delightful foreign student she and her husband were, according to Hulton’s remembered interpretation of her remarks, supporting financially.

But wait, there’s more:

Hulton remembers asking the young man what his plans were for the future.

“He looked right at me and told me he was going to be president of the United States,” Hulton says.

“There was a little bit of a grin on his face when he said it – he sounded sure of himself, but not arrogant. I know how people will say things because they have an ambition, but it did not come across that way,” Hulton says. “It came across as if this young black male was telling me he was going to be president, almost as if it were the statement of a scientific fact that had already been determined, as if his being president had been already pre-arranged.”

With Mary and Tom Ayers both dead, Arpaio, his posse and the wider birther movement are all fortunate indeed that Hulton’s memories are so sharp, so detailed, so breezily ominous, so ideologically comfy, and that neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this affidavit from the nuisance litigation and recombinant yellow journalism of its appointed rounds. Apparently Hulton even overcame a potentially fatal brush with Socialism in its most insidious form, Socialism preached by a rich guy:

Hulton recalls that he had one conversation with Tom Ayers, who was retired as CEO and chairman of Commonwealth Edison, shortly after the Ayers family moved into their home in Glen Ellyn.

“He asked me how I liked my job, and he started into what seemed to me a Marxist viewpoint on what it is like for the working man, trying to convince me that working people like me were exploited by their employers,” Hulton remembers of the conversation.

“As an American citizen, I appreciated everything I had, and I was not at war with people who had more than I had,” he says. “It surprised me to hear somebody who had been president of Consolidated Edison talking in these terms.”

Absolutely harrowing, Mr. Hulton. Thank you for your service.

FIVE: Maricopa County, Proudly Cock-Free

What with all the extracurricular shenanigans, I was a little surprised to learn that Arpaio still makes a pretense of being a law enforcement officer. Well, sort of:

When a tank knocked down his block wall with a boom, waking him from a sound sleep, Jesus Llovera scrambled out of bed and grabbed his jeans and a phone to dial 911.

He made it to the hallway just as his bedroom windows shattered. At his door, members of a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team in full riot gear told him to get on the floor.

He was handcuffed and taken outside, where action-movie actor Steven Seagal waited, clad in camouflage and sunglasses and hoisting a rifle.

“I looked up and saw his face,” Llovera said. “It was very strange.”

It must have been. What Llovera didn’t realize is that the fading action star fancies himself a sheriff’s deputy, and has an A&E reality show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, to prove it. Despite his questionable law enforcement credentials, the actor has been fighting crime on and off camera in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, but had to leave it temporarily unprotected when Arpaio (and/or A&E) needed him in Arizona.

Llovera was arrested on suspicion of possessing roosters, a violation of his probation on a previous conviction for being in attendance at a cockfight. But it seems the plucky Llovera is no chicken:

Llovera, 43, filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against the Sheriff’s Office and Seagal, claiming his arrest was orchestrated to make for good television. He seeks unspecified monetary damages to be determined by a jury.

The suit, which also names the county Board of Supervisors, says it fit a pattern of Arpaio “arresting and prosecuting individuals without probable cause solely for the selfish and improper purposes of achieving personal and political gain through publicity.”

The Sheriff’s Office insists in court documents that the use of a tank, a bomb robot and 40 deputies was part of its normal course of duties.

“The search warrant was going to occur with or without Seagal,” sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dave Trombi said before the lawsuit was filed. “The search warrant was not based at all on the needs of the production company.”

Fair enough, perhaps, but the needs of the production company were catered to in other ways:

Four cameras from the production company filmed the warrant execution and arrest. Arpaio’s office had alerted the media. Reporters and television cameras lined the southwest Phoenix neighborhood’s street…

And Seagal’s troubles don’t stop there:

The Arizona-filmed episode… was to premiere on the A&E Network on Jan. 4, but the season was pulled from the schedule and the channel’s website.

This isn’t the first time the show has been put on ice. Its second season was suspended after an executive assistant to Seagal accused him of sexual harassment, trafficking women for sex, and wrongful dismissal. The $1 million suit was later dropped.