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Monday, September 17, 2012

Defending a Con Man's Right to Run a Con

If the honor wasn't already taken by wingnut blogger Jim Hoft, fellow wingnut blogger Glenn Reynolds would be a solid contender for the title of Internet's Dumbest Man. They both deal in histrionic dishonesty and over-the-top fake outrage, aiming their posts straight at the most gullible, paranoid, and idiotic readers on the web. If their websites went dark overnight, the world would be a much less stupid place.

But, like Hoft, Reynolds serves a purpose -- both are excellent examples of just how insane the right wing in this country has become and both of these would-be Glenn Becks demonstrate the strident, limitless idiocy that characterizes the wingnut blogosphere. If I were to write a counter post for every stupid and just plain wrong post just one of these two morons wrote, I would never post anything else -- there are only so many hours in a day. So it's not my intention to straighten out the readers of this Reynolds post, but rather to show just how unfathomably stupid those readers must actually be. Anyone who joins in on the hero-worship of known con artist and meth cook Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is a proven idiot, but this goes far beyond that.

Long story short, Reynolds believes (or pretends to believe -- I'll take him at his word and assume he's dumb enough to believe it) that President Obama must resign because of this:

By sending -- literally -- brownshirted enforcers to engage in -- literally -- a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated [his oath of office]. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.

He won’t resign, of course. First, the President has the appreciation of free speech that one would expect from a Chicago Machine politician, which is to say, none. Second, he’s not getting any pressure. Indeed, the very press that went crazy over Ari Fleischer’s misrepresented remarks seems far less interested in the actions of an administration that I repeat, literally sent brown-shirted enforcers to launch a midnight knock on a filmmaker’s door.

But Obama’s behavior -- and that of his enablers in the press -- has laid down a marker for those who are paying attention. By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office. I hope and expect that the voters will agree in November.


Yes, Glenn Reynolds really is that dumb (remember, I'm taking him at his word and assuming he means the things he writes).

Nakoula is, of course, one of the people responsible for a video that's sparked Muslim protests around the world -- including one in Libya that resulted in the deaths of American personnel. He's also a felon on probation. And that means that the free speech rights that Reynolds is so freaked out about don't actually exist. The man is serving a sentence for a crime (fraud, by the way) -- he doesn't actually have First Amendment rights. Or any civil rights. Technically speaking, he's a prisoner -- the only rights he has are human rights. When you commit a felony, you forfeit civil rights. He can't own a gun or vote, either.

But Reynolds' idiocy is far, far deeper than this. Demanding President Obama resign for violating rights that don't actually exist is one thing, rushing to the defense of someone who was clearly trying to rip off the sort of people who read your blog is another entirely. And it is so clear that this is the case here.

The video in question is supposedly the trailer for a longer film. Directed by soft core porn producer Alan Roberts, the trailer for Innocence of Muslims is almost certainly the only part of the movie that actually exists. For one thing, the actors had no idea the video was even about Mohammed and Islam, but rather thought it was about war in ancient Egypt:

"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer," they said in a statement to CNN. "We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., told Gawker that in casting notices the film was referred to as "Desert Warriors." She also said that "Dr. Matthew" was the pseudonym actors were instructed to use instead in place of the name "Mohammed," which was later haphazardly dubbed over their voices in post-production.

So there was clearly no movie-length script. If there was, the subject of the film would be obvious. No script means no movie. What's apparently happening here is that Nakoula and Roberts were running a con -- Nakoula is, after all, a con man. They produce a "film" that confirms every bigoted belief haters have about Islam (Mohammed is portrayed as a child molester, for example) and then get bigots to finance a movie that doesn't actually exist, so they can get "the truth" about Islam out there. The riots and the attack on the Libyan consulate got it press before they were ready and now the whole con is coming apart at the seams.

And the police -- under the direct instruction of Obama, according to Reynolds -- picked Nakoula up for possibly violating the terms of his probation, which include a ban on internet use. Since the video was uploaded to YouTube, it's pretty goddam clear that there was some internet usage going on there. It would be a dereliction of duty not to bring him downtown for questioning. Those brownshirted deputies Reynolds is so worked up over are investigating an actual crime -- something Glenn thinks shouldn't happen. Nakoula should be free to run his con on Reynolds' readership, because liberty -- or something. Police are trying to save those readers from falling prey to this guy's scam and Reynolds is so convinced that this is the worst thing ever that he wants the president to resign over it.

This is aggressively idiotic. You couldn't be dumber if you actually tried. But for Reynolds, it just comes naturally.


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