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Memo to Alan Fine: YOU ARE DUMB.

I love election season. Normally, I'd have to read the news, search the web, think up dick jokes, the usual minimal effort that goes into crafting your daily dose of workplace distraction. But in election season, all I have to do is sit and wait and occasionally check my mail, because the Dumb gets shipped to my doorstep every single day! Glossy dumb! Full of bold graphics and blatant lies!

I love campaign literature. Especially negative campaign literature. Especially negative, bigoted, fearmongering campaign literature. Especially the campaign literature I just got from Republican congressional candidate Alan Fine. That's just one huge-fonted attack ad against Keith Ellison.

You remember Keith Ellison. He's the moderate Muslim progressive who won the primary here in Minneapolis despite being attacked for his unpaid parking tickets. So the other day, I open up the mail, and there's a glossy foldout. And on the front is a picture of a file folder labeled "Ellison, Keith" in what is clearly MS Comic Sans, which is how morons do handwriting on their computer and think they're clever.

Over the top of the folder is a fake Polaroid of Ellison. Complete with gratuitous drop-shadow that makes it look as if the photo is HOVERING one quarter inch above the folder. SPOOKY. And the folder is marked "CONFIDENTIAL" in a way which clearly implies it was stamped that way in red ink by a six-inch-wide rubber stamp - presumably standard equipment for those compiling classified dossiers.

Inside is the promised "confidential" information about Ellison and the Council for American Islamic Relations, a group Alan Fine would like me to believe is huddling in a tent with dynamite strapped to their waists even as I type.

Now, I know that Islamic terrorists don't support Ellison. I know this through simple logic. Keith Ellison is a huge supporter of gay rights. Islamic terrorists are NOT huge supporters of gay rights. Ergo, the terrorists would probably hate Keith Ellison if they were made aware of his existence. But Fine's charges don't need any stinking logic. They have out-of-context quotes! Here's Fine's claim:

"Congressional candidate Keith Ellison has accepted thousands of dollars from the leaders of CAIR - a group that Democrats say has deep ties to terrorism.

The first half of the claim is fine. He lists three members of CAIR who he says gave Ellison money, and a fourth he says spoke at an Ellison fundraiser. I'll give him that. Not that I think he's above lying, but these things are only bad if CAIR are actually terrorists. So what is his evidence for their "deep ties to terrorism"?

First, a quote from Charles Schumer, total quote being "which we know has ties to terrorism." No indication of depth of ties provided. Second, a quote from Dick Durbin describing CAIR as "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect." Unless Durbin was having dinner at CAIR's house and trying to be polite, that's hardly proof of "deep ties".

And finally, a quote from a lawsuit by the family of a 9/11 victim. Of course, people say all kinds of shit in lawsuits. Lawsuits are for making charges, not proving them. So, as I do in many of these cases, I looked up the people who hate CAIR the most, read the worst they could say about them, and then extrapolated backwards to sanity. CAIR supports Palestine. Which means, yes, they technically have ties to terrorists, but no, they don't actually want to see the Great Satan brought to its knees in fiery destruction.

Alan Fine would like us to believe that because three members of a group who think Hamas has a point gave money to Ellison's campaign, Ellison is "risky". So "risky" the word "risky" had to be printed in red letters to get across how "risky" he is. And worse than "risky", he's also "not for us", a construction which carries lovely piles of plausibly-deniable baggage.

But what, exactly, is the risk? Let's assume that the intended implication of Fine's pamphlet is correct - that Keith Ellison is some kind of Morocco Mole, trying to take down the government from the inside. As a freshman congressman from a midwestern state? He could do more harm to America on a spinach farm, for fuck's sake. Unless he gets another 217 crazy terrorist moles elected along with him, he can't do shit.

At the end of the day, I'm much more scared of having a congressman who thinks MS Comic Sans looks like handwriting than one who believes there is no god but Allah. They're both wrong, but only one of them is harmless.

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