“Unauthorized” Video from 09.12.09


See also: This post, which contains:

When I dove into the angry mob with a camera, I captured scenes of self-proclaimed “real Americans” declaring that the community organizing group Acorn was Obama’s version of Hitler’s SS; that the President planned to establish concentration camps for right-wing dissidents; and that Obama was raising a private army in the guise of a civilian volunteer force. The death panel rumor is just one of a rapidly growing array of conspiracy theories reverberating through the Republican base. Each one is more hysterical than the last.

Conspiracism has proven a useful tool for distracting many of the 9.12 Project participants I met from their own economic interests. Having been convinced through endless hours of right-wing media that government involvement in their healthcare would lead to totalitarian slavery, some demonstrators told me they were content to not have healthcare at all. Others said they would stop collecting their Social Security as soon as “the government gets out of my life.”

I’ve already purchased his book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. Can’t wait to read it.

  • HDC
  • soppho

    Everything about the 9.12 project makes me nuts, not the least of which being Beck as the figurehead, a man who once said on his radio show back in the day that he hates some of the 9/11 widows. Stay classy, Mr. Beck.

    Not to mention the fact that he contends we should all strive to be the people we were on 9/12. Okay, which part of that should we be playing out on a day-to-day basis? The part where we were all terrified? The part where we backed our president regardless of our political affiliations (hmmm)? I think it smacks of a certain degree of privilege; if you were the type of person on 9/12 that you’d like to invoke again and again, chances are good you weren’t terribly affected by the tragedy, i.e., grieving the loss of a loved one, recovering in the hospital, or so on. That’s not to say those are the only people who felt the weight of 9/11, but if you chalk it up to nothing more than a journey of personal growth, I think there’s a problem.

  • psavoie

    That video did a great deal to answer your question from the previous post. When I was the inauguration, I was taken aback by the diversity surrounding me. The lack of diversity in this video takes great steps toward proving why so much of this is about race…not healthcare.

  • zak

    I am at a total loss for words after watching that. Sure am glad I’m Canadian. We have our faults too, but nothing like these whackjobs.

  • SuzieQ

    Ignorance is curable, stupidity is forever..

  • Lesley

    Remember Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s coverage of the Michael Jackson trial? He’d have been a perfect addition to Max.

  • siobhan

    This makes me indescribably sad. “Before FDR people saved up…” and we can’t now? Healthcare shouldn’t be something we have to “save” for. Save for your house, your car, your vacation. Not the right stay healthy.


    I generally like Terry’s interviews…this one with Blumenthal could have been a little more probing but it does the job:

    Always enjoy your links…thanks for your efforts!

    • blurb

      I heard this. Fantastic interview. It’s what made me buy the Blumenthal book.

      Thanks for sharing the link!

  • Andreerah

    Really? The ignorance and hate just spews out of these people. They need to stop drinking the Glenn Beck Kool Aid. Although I find this video somewhat amusing, at the same time it frightens me.


    There are a few commentators in the media who suggest that this is the lunatic fringe of Americans. For the better part of 20 years, I have been associated with people all over this country that believe and regurgitate this stuff to one degree or another. It’s not the lunatic fringe, it’s everywhere, and now the mainstream of “conservatism” thanks to uncontrolled media consolidation and the intentional stifling of support for public education. Both religion and business abhor an educated demographic. Both have been driving the bus in the US for most of the past 30 years. This behavior is exceptionally disturbing, but certainly not surprising.


    In this interview on Democracy Now, Max Blumenthal talks about his book. Very insightful.

  • pdedwards

    I work in Washington, DC and happened to go into the office on Satuday, 9/12. I must have had my head in the sand because it was a complete shock to me to drive into town and get caught up in the hordes of 9/12-ers out. I have worked in downtown DC for a total of 8 years and have been in the midst of many protests, rallies and marches – some of which I support and others which I don’t. This is the first time I have ever felt unsafe. These people (most of whom were overweight, middle aged, and white) were the angriest group I’ve ever seen march in DC. I passed more than one vehicle emblazoned with the phrase “Angry Mob on Board” and saw so many hateful signs being toted through town – racist and anti-democrat slogans and Obama portrayed as Hitler and, worse, an ape. As I sat in traffic, I decided to take some photos of the event – more so I could show my non-local friends and family what a scene it was than to comment on who and what I saw. As I rolled down my window near the Capitol, several protesters got right in my sight line and, in so many words, told me I had “no right” to photograph “their” event. Unreal. Later, I talked to a colleague who happened to ride the metro into work that day. He was in a car with all protesters and when the train stopped and the lights briefly went out (a not uncommon occurrence), people on the train actually started shouting that it was an Obama conspiracy. The President had stopped the train so that they could not make it to the Capitol to fight for “their” America. It was such a sad day for me, and a real low point for our country.

    • Lesley

      pdedwards, I hope you are reading. You are sure to get a kick out of this.

      Tea Party Protesters Protest D.C. Metro Service
      Protesters who attended Saturday’s Tea Party rally in Washington found a new reason to be upset: Apparently they are unhappy with the level of service provided by the subway system.

      Rep. Kevin Brady called for a government investigation into whether the government-run subway system adequately prepared for this weekend’s rally to protest government spending and government services.

      Furthermore, Ridership Numbers
      912dc doesn’t even figure in.

      It’s comedy gold, I tells ya.

  • mamakates

    Wow. I have to admit, I couldn’t make it through the entirety of this video. Disgusting! I can’t believe that this mentality is the norm among the people that oppose Obama. I don’t think that any other President has gotten this level of disrespect. I’m not sure any other President has tolerated this level of disrespect. People in support of Obama really need to start standing up for him. He is so fresh into his presidency and has not done anything that should deserve this uprising of hatred. I truly thought our country was ready for a Black President, but I am seeing now that maybe we aren’t. How unfortunate!

  • nobody

    Even if we grant that some of the President’s opponents are idiots, what would that prove?

    • blurb

      I would start with this:

      Their emotions surrounding healthcare reformed are less than reliable measures of national opinion.

      • nobody

        No one said they were. It’s just one point of view, of indeterminate size, with as much call for an audience as any other point of view.

  • ravenpen
  • undernova

    SWEET JESUS! I just moved to the DC area three months ago. I’m pretty sure that I need to avoid these types of gatherings. I’ve heard it’s a harder hit if I punch people with my elbows.

  • leesavee

    One of the previous comments is correct…this is not the lunatic “fringe”. And that is what frightens me the most.

  • TheNephew

    The only thing I am concerned about is that these people all talk about how their rights are being taken, and Obama is the next Hitler, and all that jazz. HOW in the world can these people logically argue that the government has taken away their rights, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, exercise the very rights that were “taken away” to protest against the President (yards from the Whitehouse!)! These people are completely free to exercise their rights to free speech, and clearly they have been doing so. And if they were arrested, they would still have all the protections of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments. They have the right to bear arms, and CLEARLY and EERILY have been exercising that right. What level of cognitive dissonance do you have go through to make these kinds of arguments? We still all say the pledge of allegiance. Religion is MORE THAN strong when compared to other first world countries, and, most importantly, these peoples rights are alive and well. It isn’t as if President Obama goes out at night and kidnaps peoples’ rights. For that reason, I can’t take their arguments seriously.

    I’m going to take solace in two facts. Most of those people don’t vote, or vote for people that can’t win. Never in my life have I been happier that we live in a two party system. Here’s how it works, Democrats have had a problem because most of the moderate Republicans lost their seats to conservative democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

    Because of that, the conservative party is much more filled with people who at least give SOME kind of credence to 9/12, libertarianism, “God in the Constitution”, birther movement, and other long since discredited arguments by serious political thinkers.

    As a result you have the Republicans attempting to tap into these passions, as a way of increasing their own numbers. BUT HERE is where the problem is. Even though I believe Republicans are wrong, they, on balance, are not willing to go THIS far into the well to bring in voters. As Congressman Joe Wilson shows, even Republicans have limits to how far their political philosophy, as a party, can go. I am sure, that noble Republican leaders, even though conservative, won’t seriously buy into these arguments in a way that pushes the party any more to the right.

    You might ask, “How do you know?” and thats a good question. After looking at voter records, the people who are LEAST likely to vote, are the people who swing WAY TO FAR to the left or to the right. Why? Because neither party, despite their conservative and liberal wings, can fully represent the political extremism that makes up some people’s ultra conservative or liberal leanings. These people tend to be ideologues and ardently extreme, by definition. Case in point, an extreme liberal, (even too liberal for me) might argue that we need to completely eliminate capitalism in America and go to a system of communally shared goods for ALL sectors of the economy. Or, an extremist conservative might say NO illegal immigrants, Mandated school prayer, and so on and so forth. These positions allow NO tempering mechanism. You either ardently believe this stuff or you don’t.

    Thankfully, as the above posts, the Senate bipartisan committee, and the President’s willingness to negotiate, all show, both parties, at their core, are about compromise. (whether that compromise breaks left or right is about who controls the government at the time, but compromise is why George W. Bush Jr. didn’t run the country into the conservative hell hole I thought he might, and its also why President Obama isn’t going to get a liberal utopia during his term(s)). Since extremists don’t compromise on their values, (go over those video tapes again and tell me if any of those people are willing to hedge their beliefs for any of their long term goals, I doubt they will), they won’t find any political comfort in either the Republican or Democratic party.

    Who does this leave open for the extremists to vote for? Nader and Ron Paul, and we know how successful THAT turns out. The end result is that maybe, maybe, a few congressional members might espouse these beliefs (case in point, Rep. Wilson). BUT by in large, our government is structured to ensure that this kind of skullduggery cannot become the driving force in American politics.

  • Joe128

    This made me happy and sad at the same time.

    I want the government out of EV-REE-THIIIING.

  • Lesley

    Blurb, a post I’d love to see from you is one that describes any communication forays you’ve made with right wing thinkers, especially those who’ve been brainwashed by Fox and other batshit crazy pundits who are tied to corporate lobbyists. I’d just like to hear your thoughts on what has been useful and what has been a waste of time.

    I’ve noticed in a few videos and bloggy places dialogue thawing the horrible hate-filled barrier and it’s given me pause.

    For example, in one video a patient liberal reporter asked tea party protesters about the czar issue, listened to what they had to say, then asked them if they knew Bush had appointed nearly 50 czars in his terms. Not surprisingly, because they only listen to Glenn Beck, they did not know this and also didn’t know about Reagan’s drug czar. They were quiet and you could see light bulbs going on. A flicker of hope went through me. These people were willing to consider what he was saying. One responded “I’ve always supported the Republican Party but I might have to reconsider that.” I can’t conclude she meant consider because she’d been lied to, or consider because Bush had czars too and she still hated czars. Still, she listened.

    If Fox and the lobbyists could tuned out and people could just get together under conditions of respect, active listening (with facilitators), no shouting permitted, with only facts as a basis for discussion, mght it be possible to bridge some of the divide?

    I know in my heart the us vs them hate fest is not going to solve anything. I also know there are evil people out there who are unwilling to think outside their narrow hate box. I don’t want to waste my time on scum like that, but neither do I want to tar all of the people caught up on the “right side” with the same brush because some of them are just pawns. Many of them are clearly uneducated. Uneducated people will go where they feel welcome and they don’t feel welcomed by educated liberals.


    Whoops. That blog address is supposed to be my name. Which is also Lorena, so at least it’s close.

    This is the first time I’ve posted on your blog, but I’ve stopped by to read frequently, and I have to thank you for slowly making me interested in this important political issues. This video (along with other factors today) inspired me to write on my own blog about my feelings on this. This is something I’ve never really done before, and I think it’s an important thing that I did so today because if I always sit quietly and try and not cause contention, then I’m not being part of the solution, I’m contributing to the problem.

    So, a long winded way of saying: thanks. This post, this blog, is now a favorite must-read of mine.


    Ignorant hippies. Also, the girl in the red can “not care” all she wants, with her weight she won’t be “alright” for long.