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Friday, November 16, 2007

Powerline's Scott Johnson Joins Swiftee at True North

Time Magazine named Powerline Blog of the Year in 2004. City Pages gave Powerline the Best Meltdown Award in 2005. Perhaps as an indicator of how low the GOP has sunk, Powerline's Scott Johnson has been reduced to blogging with Tom "Swiftee" Swift, one of the nastiest, sleaziest bloggers in Minnesota's political blogosphere.

If you have spent any time surfing Minnesota's political blogs, you will have come across the nasty comments of MOB troll Tom Swift, alias "Swiftee". Swiftee's modus operandi is to make the blogosphere as creepy and scary as this picture he posted of himself on his blog.

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Powerline blogger, Scott Johnson has joined up with a group of right-wing GOP bloggers calling themselves True North. True North also boasts of having Swiftee on their roster. Besides Swiftee, True North has a blogger who poses with an assault rifle. Phil Krinkie and David Strom are also on the True North team.

The following story will give you an idea just how nasty and sleazy Swiftee can get...

When the Minnesota Monitor's Robin Marty posted an ultrasound picture of her fetus on her blog, Swiftee posted an altered picture of it on his blog with this explanation on his Pair of Dice blog.

I noticed something awry right away. Given Robin’s obsession with partial birth abortion, I think that little bundle of cells needs some protection…

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Jeff Fecke's response at Shakespeare's Sister:

Back in May, my friend and then-editor at Minnesota Monitor, Robin Marty, announced she was expecting a child. It was great news for Robin and her husband Steve, and obviously those of us who know them were happy for them.

Now, Robin was and is a longtime supporter of abortion rights. Something about women having the right to determine what happens in their own bodies. Anyhow, like many pro-choice women, Robin was still able to enjoy her pregnancy, knowing that even though it was early in her term, the fetus that she carried was going, eventually, to grow into her child.... [snip]

...So like any good blogger, she posted an image of the first ultrasound.

At this point, enter Tom Swift, crazy Minnesota blogger and erstwhile GOP candidate for school board in St. Paul. (I won't link to him, and if he finds his way back here, Melissa, terminate him with extreme prejudice.) He blogs under the name Swiftee, and he created an image to welcome Robin and Steve's child into the world:

You get it? Because Robin was pro-choice, she might decide to abort the child she wrote about, so let's get it some protection.

Disgusting doesn't even begin to touch it. The insinuation Swiftee makes is that Robin would want to harm her child, not just as a fetus, but once born, too. It's attacking Robin, using the image of her eventual child to do so.

That's not the interesting part of the story, though. Swiftee's image got those of us on the left seething, but we let it go, primarily because we don't want to give him the traffic. But that seething got back to local blogger Mitch Berg, who styles himself as a "reasonable conservative," someone who believes in hitting his opponents hard, but fairly. And Mitch's response to Swiftee was what I remembered:

Is Robin and Smarty’s baby “fair game” for satirists, given that

1. she put the ultrasound out on her public website, and
2. she and her colleagues from the “Minnesota Monitor” rentablog she “edits” have stumped for abortion on demand and partial birth abortion, and fumed and phumphered when the SCOTUS shot the procedure down?

Well, I’d say “I hope not” - but of course, in the world of internet “cartoonists”[...]pretty much everything is fair game. If there’s an unflattering or embarassing pic of yourself out there somewhere online, it’s going to pop up sooner or later, intended to dink at some belief of yours or another.

So - did Swiftee “cross a line” with his cartoon? What line? Where? In the coarse thrum of the political blogging interchange, I’m not sure there’s a line left anymore; any line one person draws is someone else’s sport to cross, and ones’ best bet is to strictly separate the personal and the public (as, indeed, I do). The one that civil people try to observe when dealing with one another…

Very Pilate-like, Mitch was. But it was that line -- "fair game" -- that caught my memory. Mitch styles himself as reasonable, but if you cross out the official hemming and hawing, Mitch's meaning is clear: heck yes, the child of Robin and Steve is fair game. If you can make a political point by attacking the Martys, then by all means, go for it....[snip]

....Mitch was right: there is no line anymore, at least for the right. Everyone is "fair game." If they can advance a political point by attacking someone's child, they will do it. If they can take a political shot by staking out the home and business of an average American family that dares to have an opinion, they will do it. If they can attack a woman using her own ultrasound records for the sin of being both pro-choice and an excited expectant mother, they will do it.

They have no scruples, and they have no morals, and they have no point at which they say, "We may be crossing a line here." They want to destroy the left, full stop. And I fear that things will only spiral further before, as more wheels come off the right wing's trolley.

Here's another example of Swiftee's artwork depicting former Star Tribune reporter Eric Black and Eva Young.

Swiftee also has a long history of bigoted posts about gays.

You'd think somebody this creepy would be banned from Republican functions, but here are pictures showing Swiftee at a picnic with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Congressman Mark Kennedy.

Here's a video showing Swiftee and other True North bloggers protesting an anti-war rally:

Learn more about Minnesota's right-wing Republican bloggers at Minnesota MOBsters Exposed.