Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Man Behind the Obama Smears (The Nation)

Ari Berman at The Nation takes a look at the man behind the Obama smear campaign, and the "expert" Sean Hannity relied on for a recent Faux News expose on Obama's radical roots. Nutjob and anti-semite? Yes. Expert? Not even remotely.

Pathetic is the word that comes to mind.

The Man Behind the Obama Smears

posted by Ari Berman on 10/07/2008 @ 1:55pm

I don't normally listen to Sean Hannity, nor did I watch his Fox News special on Sunday, "Obama and Friends: The History of Radicalism." But I did read the transcript. To make their case against Obama, conservatives like Hannity are relying on a highly discredited cast of characters.

Take the example of Andy Martin, the "author and journalist" Hannity quotes extensively in his segment. "I think a community organizer in Barack Obama's case was somebody that was in training for a radical overthrow of the government," Martin tells Hannity. In Martin's view, Obama is just a puppet of radicals like Bill Ayers and Louis Farrakhan. "If you love the Cuban revolution and Castro and if you love what's happening in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez, you'll love Barry Obama--Barack Obama, as he calls himself--in the White House," Martin says.

So just who is Andy Martin? Well, for starters, he's the originator of the "Obama is a Muslim" lie circulating around the Internet, as my colleague Chris Hayes first reported last year. Here's a brief backgrounder on Martin, from Hayes' article, "The New Right-Wing Smear Machine":

During a 1983 bankruptcy case he referred to a federal judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race." Martin, who in the past was known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, is one of the most notorious litigants in the history of the United States. He's filed hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawsuits, often directed at judges who have ruled against him, or media outlets that cover him unfavorably. A 1993 opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, described these lawsuits as "a cruel and effective weapon against his enemies," and called Martin a "notoriously vexatious and vindictive litigator who has long abused the American legal system." He once even attempted to intervene in the divorce proceedings of a judge who'd ruled against him, petitioning the state court to be appointed as the guardian of the judge's children.

The New York Times mentioned Martin's background in an article today, but left out a few pertinent and damning facts.

"In his past, Martin also has expressed anti-Semitic views," the Chicago Tribune wrote in 2006. "When he ran for Congress in Connecticut in 1986, the name of his congressional campaign committee included the phrase 'to exterminate Jew power in America,' Federal Election Commission records show."

Martin wrote in a personal bankruptcy case in 1983, "I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did, when Jew survivors are operating as a wolf pack to steal my property."

Martin's had numerous run-ins with the law, in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and elsewhere. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported today:

In 1996, while running for a Palm Beach County state Senate seat, Martin was arrested after attacking a WPTV-Ch. 5 camerman during an attempted interview at the station's headquarters, while the cameras were rolling. In jail, he went on a hunger strike, claiming to be a 'political prisoner.' And after the election ended, he was given a one-year sentence and ordered to attend anger management classes."

Ten years later, Martin attempted to run for Governor of Illinois as a Republican. Here's what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote about him at the time:

There is the Andy Martin who touts to the media a long list of impressive, if vague, credentials: attorney, political reformer, consumer advocate, foreign policy expert and major player in the current political field.

And then there is the Andy Martin of official record: perennial candidate and lawsuit plaintiff; pegged by the U.S. Selective Service as mentally unstable; barred from a law license by the Illinois Supreme Court for irrational behavior toward the legal system; jailed on several occasions for his antics in court and on the campaign trail.
There's a bit more to read at The Nation, as if this weren't enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another interesting post. Keep it up. 30 days.