Red (Tamale) Dawn


If you’re up for a really hilarious story on a lazy Sunday, check this one out. It’s about a cross border raid by one of Mexico’s most notorious drug gangs (Los Zetas) in which they stormed across the US-Mexico border and seized two ranches near Laredo. The ranchers, thankfully, were able to retreat to American-held territory with no injuries. Another significant level of detail is that the whole thing actually never happened, though that hasn’t stopped a lot of right-wing sites from going totally nuts about it. And a good chunk of the right-wing blogosphere has now decided that the complete lack of evidence that it ever happened actually means that there’s a vast government coverup. (One conservative blogger has wittily and memorably dubbed these folks “Laredo Truthers”.)One of my favorite quotes from the story is from the guy at the Laredo PD trying to convince everyone that they’re really not covering this up and that it didn’t happen. The ranches in question, Joe Baeza told our Eric Lach, are in “strategic proximity to nothing, when they have all sorts of availability of ways to get into the country beside the one piece of land.”

Joe Baeza, welcome to the right-wing fun house. And have we really seen those ranchers’ birth certificates?

At one level it’s the kind of misinformation on which so much of our politics ends up being based. So it’s nice to debunk it. And there’s no little humor value in seeing what sort of utter nonsense people are willing to believe. What strikes me even more though is my sense is that no one actually made this up — in the sense of consciously concocted a story they knew to be false. It seems more like an example of the sort of fantasies that get kicked up by the right-wing fever swamp — a bit of rumor mixed with paranoia, wishful embellishment and overheated retelling. (Echoes of Ted Petruna.)

In any case, give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of