Friday, April 9. 2010
Political violence in the United States, of course, is hardly a novelty.
Well, see the problem with this is that John Hinckley Jr’s attack on Ronald Reagan had less to do with politics than with celebrity. He was a nutjob motivated, not by political conviction, but by the delusion that shooting Ronald Reagan would impress actress Jodie Foster. (He’d stalked President Jimmy Carter for the same reason.) There’s little evidence that Hinckley’s drive to shoot Ronald Reagan was fueled by opposition to Reagan’s politics.
Tim McVeigh on the other hand, was motivated by politics. Insane politics, perhaps, but still politics.
This false equivalency is just one part of what makes Matthew Dallek’s piece in The Daily Beast a classic example of a dozey moderate looking over history with his eyes resolutely unfocused. Like most people who promote the “all things being equal” myth about leftist and right wing political violence in this country, Dallek ignores an important difference, one that has historically made right wing violence more tolerated and, as a result, more lethal in this country. Members of the radical left could not count, as members of the radical right could (like the Klan in the American south), on covert sympathizers within law enforcement and the courts.
But the most glaring omission in the piece – and others like it -- is that we actually have today, in the United States, a working illustration of the dangers posed by right wing violence and the extent to which it can become normalized.
Moderates who dismiss the dangers of right wing violence often do so by hyperbolizing concerns about it into concerns about a massive right-wing government takeover. To read many of their arguments, those of us who criticize Fox News and take seriously the dangers posed by the rhetoric of Glenn Beck and others like him, are envisioning armies of American Brown Shirts marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, assassinating the president, and taking control of the government.
No, I don’t consider that likely. What primarily worries me and others who have followed right wing violence over the years is a resurgence of what we saw in the ‘90s, the firebombings and murders that peaked with Tim McVeigh’s attack on the Murrah Building in Oklahoma city.
But I also worry that the dismissive attitude about right wing violence towards liberals and perceived liberals could result in this violence becoming business as usual -- as anti-abortion violence has become business as usual.
Since 1993, nine people have been murdered in the United States simply because they worked in abortion clinics. Nine people have been injured, including a woman who was widowed in the same attack, and a nurse who was maimed and lost an eye. There have been 17 attempted murders. Prochoice America reported, in a January 1, 2010 report:
6,100 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977, including bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults, as well as more than 156,000 reported acts of disruption, including bomb threats and harassing calls.
That same report details the level of security that has become business as usual in clinics that provide abortions:
Clinics are spending thousands of dollars on bulletproof glass, armed guards, security cameras, metal detectors, and other security measures. Doctors are wearing bulletproof vests and arming themselves with handguns and other weapons. Some have even purchased armored vehicles.
The result, as that same report details, has been to severely restrict access to abortion services. What the far right has learned from murdering doctors and blowing up clinics is that terrorism works. You don’t even have to kill scores of doctors or injure hundreds of clinic workers. Just that “few” -- just those nine -- do the trick nicely.
And the reaction of many Americans? A shrug. A yawn. Oh well, that’s just the way things are, seems to be the attitude.
It didn’t have to be.
I can guarantee you that the lesson learned from the normalization of raw intimidation in this case has not been lost on the far right. We’re seeing now a grassroots drive to silence not only politicians, but liberals in general. In addition to vandalism and personal threats aimed at public figures, a doctor has boasted about turning away Obama supporters. An employer has boasted about firing Obama supporting employees. And incredibly enough, at least one Republican politician, Louisiana Representative John Fleming, has put his own stamp of approval on this idiocy, saying of that physician turning away Obama voters. “I applaud what he said and did.”
The only caveat he sees fit to add in the video embedded below is that the media might (Oh so unfairly!) make a doctor turning away sick people because he dislikes their politics sound like a bad thing.
It’s possible that Representative Fleming actually thought he was doing his bit to ratchet down Tea Party rhetoric, but his approach amounts to praising with faint damns – the same approach from the right that helped to normalize anti-abortion violence. Threats and harassment against either politicians or private citizens because of their politics cannot be treated as if it were acceptable or "understandable." It cannot be allowed to become normal.
We must not let this society get to the point where merely voicing a liberal opinion is likely to put someone a higher risk for harassment – even possibly “legal” harassment, like being fired or turned away from medical care.
Monday, March 22. 2010
If anyone is wondering when the Republicans are going to say, “that’s enough” to their base, so far, it looks like the answer is, “never.”
"I think that when you use totalitarian tactics, people begin to act crazy…" Representative Devin Nunes on a recent incident where anti-Healthcare reform demonstrators yelled "Nigger" at Rep. John Lewis
But yelling “nigger” at a civil rights activist who faced down racists in Alabama during the ‘60s is not the worst of it. As I expected, in the wake of the passage of healthcare reform, admiring references to the Chilean military’s “solution” to Salvador Allende (a military coup, followed by the mass torture and slaughter of liberals and leftists) has begun popping up on various right-wing blogs. (And no, I’m not going up these sites’ hit counts with links):
The closest analogy that comes to mind is Salvador Allende the socialist senator turned president of Chile who defying Chile's constitution and will of its people rammed his leftist agenda down their throats believing it was good for them. Apollospeaks
Is Obama the new Salvador Allende? Salvador Allende was a Communist piece of human trash who secured power in Chile and proceeded to destroy a functioning democracy… Finally in 1973, the Chilean military overthrew him in a coup. Since then, Chile has returned to functioning as a democratic republic that has become the most prosperous state in Latin America and a model for the world in general. Theforgottenstreet
America must learn from history and realize that Barack Hussein Obama has placed us on the same unsustainable path that Allende did in Chile. ronbosoldier
In other words, “Do what we say and you won’t get hurt.”
It will be interesting to see when and if this emerges into the offline media. If so, my money is on Glenn Beck.
Friday, January 29. 2010
The defense had hoped to show Roeder was frustrated by Kline's failure to prosecute Tiller and was influenced in part by Kline's belief that Tiller was breaking the law. New York Times 1/28/10
It’s a relief to learn that Judge Warren Wilbert has ruled out the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter in the case of Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion activist who walked into a church and gunned down Dr. George Tiller. Wilbert has also ruled out testimony by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who’d tried, but failed to prosecute Tiller. The judge feared turning the courtroom into a “referendum on abortion.”
This, thank goodness, puts a damper on the defense’s hope of citing Roeder’s “frustration” as a factor warranting the lesser charge of manslaughter. “Do what we say, and nobody gets hurt" seems to be a steadily rising chorus on the right.
Sunday, January 10. 2010
In a pretrial hearing Friday, Kansas Judge Warren Wilbert said he might allow the defense to present evidence that Mr. Roeder acted in defense of others -- in this case, fetuses -- whom he believed to be under imminent threat. The judge said he would make that call as the trial proceeded, on a witness-by-witness basis.
Don’t most terrorists believe they are killing and destroying in order to save lives?
The likelihood of such a defense succeeding is probably remote, but I find it disturbing that it’s even being entertained as a possibility. According to this article, if this defense works, Roeder could get only about five years for planning and carrying out the cold-blooded murder of Dr. George Tiller.
If it’s being proposed, it’s because the defense attorney believes he could get a jury to buy it.
Which could in turn result in open season being declared on abortion providers.
Friday, August 21. 2009
When Lutes struck McAffee's Ford Escort with his hand, McAffee brandished the weapon to de-escalate the conflict, Davidson said. AP article, 8/20/09
Pulling a gun does not “de-escalate” a conflict. It ups the ante.
The gun-waver, Challis McAffee, is the GOP Chairman from Boise who, according to this AP article, has been very active in the “tea party” movement. “McAffee works for a contractor hired by Wells Fargo & Co. to document the condition of homes where mortgages are past due or in foreclosure.” Homeowner Robert Lutes, who had fallen behind on his mortgage, had confronted McAffee while McAffee was photographing Lutes’ house.
I don’t doubt that emotions get high when foreclosure is invoked, or that people working for banks are sometimes physically threatened. But when the best defense a friend can offer for you pulling a gun on an unarmed man is that the guy hit your car with his hand… Well, it’s just not real convincing.
This exaggerated sense of being personally threatened, however, is now what seems to be driving a significant portion of the Republican base. Consider actor Jon Voight’s recent comments on his way to a Sean Hannity “Freedom Concert.”
“Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country?" he asks, during an interview with The Washington Times.
"The real truth is that the Obama administration is professional at bullying, as we have witnessed with ACORN at work during the presidential campaign. It seems to me they are sending down their bullies to create fist fights among average American citizens who don't want a government-run health care plan forced upon them," Mr. Voight says. "So I ask again. Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country?"
This "question" is, of course, rooted less in reality than in the far right’s hair-trigger conception of “fighting words.” Those people brandishing loaded weapons at town halls have not, for the most part, been with ACORN, nor have there been widespread accounts of ACORN supporters getting into fistfights
And then there’s Joe the Plumber’s recent daydream – which got roars of approval at the right wing blogger conference he was attending -- about beating up Nancy Pelosi.
“When Pelosi and all those others talk about us being Un-American and disrespectful – I tell you what, I respect nobody who lies to me and manipulates me, takes my money, puts my children in debt, and they want me to be respectful towards them? Please! I’m not the most civilized person, those kind of people, I usually take behind the woodshed and beat the living tar out of.”
He offers the usual caveats, of course, about how he’s not advocating violence, (Oh mercy, no!) but he makes it pretty plain who he considers to blame for any violence that might take place… Rest assured that if Nancy Pelosi does end up getting beaten by some right wing thug with size twelve shoes, Joe Wurzlebacher will click his tongue and shake his head – and blame Nancy Pelosi, for insisting on being a liberal, and acting on that liberalism in the office to which she was quite legally elected.
These people sound as though they are talking themselves into doing something. They are presenting the mere voicing of liberal viewpoints and passing of liberal legislation as an unprecedented and unacceptable attack that warrants threatening the rest of us with guns and beatings.
They are laying the groundwork for the rationalizations and excuses that will be offered if and when something horrible does happen.
Sunday, June 14. 2009
As is my wont, I’ve been scuba diving through the increasingly entertaining-but-creepy depths of Free Republic. The other day I emerged with a doozy of a thread that offers a detailed view of the rationalizations being used by some Freepers in the wake of recent violence.
And the primary insight I gleaned is –
They think they’re in a movie.
That or one of those Chick Comics about the end times.
The thread opens with an essay by one Anthony G. Martin entitled “The Broad Perspective on the Growing Outrage in America,” a fascinating exercise in responsibility-ducking euphemism that sets its tone in the first paragraph:
An ill wind is blowing in America. We saw a foreshadowing of it during the Presidential campaign of 2008 when dozens of ordinary citizens across the country…
Yelled “kill him” or “terrorist” at Palin rallies when they heard Obama’s name? Called him a secret Muslim?
Well yes, but he doesn’t actually put it like that:
expressed their outrage during McCain-Palin rallies over the fact that the country was apparently getting ready to elect a Socialist as President.
See, they weren’t shouting inflammatory names and threats – they were “expressing their outrage.” Martin goes on to talk about how crazies who shoot people because they believe what the conservatives have been saying about Obama taking away their guns/Abortion being murder/Obama not being born in the US have nothing to do with the “conservative movement” and they’re just the most “extreme symptom” of a greater movement (which movement would that be?) and are “the weakest among us” (“us” being who, exactly?) – “And these acts of violence must be condemned in the harshest of terms.”
He condemns the violence! ‘Nuff said, right? Couldn’t be clearer. And he concludes with the following call for nonviolent (natch) protests:
That fear is now expressing itself in outrage and a growing willingness to mount a protest of historic proportions--not to perpetrate violence as do the loonies, but to send a clear signal to Washington that we, the citizens, have had enough of the push Leftward and are willing to bring it to an end.
So it’s posted to Free Republic and oh my, what a juicy thread blossoms beneath it. Yes, folks, the message has been received and Martin’s point about loonies out to shoot people having nothing to do with the conservative movement is…well…
It’s sure as hell not confirmed.
I’d like to emphasize that what follows are not exceptions culled from the thread. On the contrary, they pretty much capture its general drift.
One of the most prominent posts in the thread is by a writer who calls himself “Amos the Prophet. ” After reading Martin’s piece, Amos cracked his knuckles, took a deep breath, and pounded out a roughly 1,200 word post that includes the following:
This is the endgame of Gramsci’s and Alinsky's heirs and disciples. These are the murderous great-great-great-great-grandchildren of the French Revolution, cold-eyed with contempt for you and yours; spiral-eyed crazy with hate for what you believe in and … So, when it comes to the Constitution and rule of law, my pretties, they’ll not only sweep the pieces off the board, they’ll upend the table and put a bullet in you while they’re at it. As far as the Left is concerned, rules are for losers and history, godawful bloody history is my witness….... Change is coming, oh yes indeed - but it's not what any of that Marxist meat puppet's worshipers bargained for.
I imagine “Amos” saying this in a low, guttural whisper, sitting in a dark room lit only by the flashlight he’s holding under his chin. I also imagine him as being the possessor of an entire boxed set of Tolkein. There is something rather Middle Earth in this vision of worshippers of a “Marxist meat puppet” being exterminated as “enemies of human freedom.” Amos’ vision of victory seems to have overtaken merely voting Obama out of office, and surpassed even blindfolding Obama and putting him in front of a firing squad. No, Amos and his trusty army of humans, elves, hobbits, and dwarves, will drive Obama from the ebon tower his mindless minions created for him in the defiled ruins of the White House, smashing Obama’s magic staff into pieces and ultimately hurling him howling, and writhing within the folds of his unholy robes, into the black silence of the abyss.
Or rather “abysssssssss” as Amos the Prophet would say.
Four messages later, he’s still at it, though now he’s shifted to Raiders of the Lost Ark and doesn’t have time to proofread.
The eil (sic) spawn that you so clearly describe are cowardes to a soul. They will bray and use the force of law and exsecutive authority to require your allegiance. In the final struggle, however, when you refuse to bow they will melt into blubbering pools of slime.
Others prefer to imagine themselves as characters in either a Chick Comic or one of the original Omen films, as one wrote in response to “Amos”:
I am chilled. I am going to get a gun …
To which another poster replied:
I believe many Christians will be communicating by Holy Spirit. Have long believed that. Will see how HE will manage that.
(Great. Just great. They’ll be armed and listening to the voices in their heads.)
There’s the inevitable Clint Eastwood fan:
Just think William Munny in the last scenes of Unforgiven, commie muzztards do NOT wanna open that can, but they can and in fact are in the process...
A couple of other posters opt for the image of the heartbroken patriot, weeping for his or her country then bravely dashing the tears away squaring his or her shoulders, and hefting a rifle:
I haven't cried in a very long time. Haven't allowed myself because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop. I have so much worth living for that it is worth dying for. And I am crying now because I know what you say is true.
Of course, this decision to take up arms has been reached oh-sooo-reluctantly, but far-sighted souls who saw this coming….
Have grieved and cried . . . in some respects . . . for most of my life—since 1965—over these issues . . . at least now . . . SOME folks are waking up.
Since 1965, eh? This grieving and crying might not have had anything to do with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, now, would it?
Immediately after the election of 2008, many of my conservative friends were chanting something along the lines of, ‘We need to start focusing on 2012. We need to look toward Sarah [or fill in the candidate of your choice].’
Hope it’s not too lonely in that bunker of yours.
The melting motif reappears, in the baffling depiction of a presumably dangerous and vicious opponent who nevertheless folds at the first sign of resistance:
The Democrats will totally meltdown emotionally if conservatives start matching.
But be sure to bring your scripture!
The WORD of The Lord stops them and shreds them.. . . His angel armies also seem to play a part . . . and perhaps the saints with him on white horses.
Expect supernatural aid to be given to the other side too, observes another poster, who doubts the enemy’s willingness to melt because:
Actually, many of them are too arrogant and clueless to fear much. And, they figure they’ve got all contingencies and groups more than covered . . . particularly with their fallen angel armies assisting.
There’s at least one apparent fan of disaster/apocalypse movies, presumably the ones that star Kevin Costner and/or Mel Gibson and involve lots of sandy wastes and marauding gangs in leather. An earthquake is apparently being planned:
I think it will be mostly chaos in vast regions . . . the oligarchy will send Russia against the East Coast, through Alaska and Canada and the Gulf . . . and a large Asian country through Mexico and the West Coast. The New Madrid quake will have left super devastations from what was New Orleans to the Great Lakes. Some have felt that the mid-US would be a back and forth sort of no-man’s land until Armageddon. God have mercy . . . on all who Love Him. .
No, wait! It’s a Holocaust movie!
The Fuhrer is hoping for this so he can use his FEMA camps to lock up the American people. He and his staff were doing homework and research while in Buckenwald. He is probably conferring with his cohorts in the Congress right now.
The lock-ups will be briefer . . . than in Germany. Supposedly many of the death chambers can take the whole rail cars inside totally for the dirty work to be done. Then the cars just have to be emptied of the bodies for the new load.
Like I said, "ZERO wasn't exhibiting emotion in Buchenwald, it was nostalgia.
Sure, President Obama looked sad and solemn when he visited Buchenwald, but the Freeper Article of Faith about Obama’s innate depravity enables them to see beyond that façade. It’s an “insight” they apply, by the way, to the rest of us…
The Left smiles knowingly, smug in the knowledge that we, their mortal enemies, will march and vote, vote and march, while they steal, murder, and enslave.
Lest the reader find this too much of a downer…the poster adds, in a quote that would be perfect as a cheesy action movie tagline:
…And they push and push and push too far. The marching and voting stops.
What form of “justice” do these Freepers envision? Well, early on in the thread, one of them is pretty succinct and to the point:
The only protests that will work will be heads on pikes.
“Amos” of course, has been a bit more florid, with all his talk about the enemy being “just plain unfit to live.” He additionally provides us with a nasty little glimpse into his daydreams about how this ultimate victory will play out:
I guarantee you they will cower before us as they expect us to cower before them.
There are different ways to attain this glorious moment of murder victims cowering before your guns, of course. One Freeper suggests, with unexpressed apologies to Aryan Nations strategist Louis Beam:
We need to be "cells of one" which is why this most recent Jew Hater has them so spooked. No wiretapping will listen in to the private thoughts of one person. No surveillance will observe suspicious activity between one person. So the last bit you have is very good. When you make the decision that you have had enough, and that you are ready to do something for posterity then do so. Please "take two". Thank you for the time.
I believe the term for this is “leaderless resistance.” Timothy McVeigh liked the idea. So, apparently does a guy who signs off with the user name “costumed vigilante’ and replies to the observation that “justice will be exacted after Armageddon,” with:
I am never one to sit back and wait for the Almighty to perform a task.
Others like to imagine themselves as taking part in a bitchin’ crowd scene worthy of Leni Reifenstahl, with lit torches and everything:
What this country needs is another Million Man March on Washington DC. This time however we need to be fully armed and throw the treasonous bastards out of OUR Capital!
Look at all of us! We are a vast number of people! Collectively, all we'd have to do is "move" as a whole on D.C. and simply bring our BOBs and vow to "hang out" for a week! ...jam the place up solid!....flood the senate and house!....corner legislators!... Nobody would have to fire a shot. To even lock us all up would be a logistics NIGHTMARE. Do you think ACORN thugs would show up with the mood we would be in? Probably not. It would be a situation stressed with the prospect of extreme violence on a large scale.
“The prospect of extreme violence on a large scale?” Hot damn!
As for the prospect of the military being ordered to put down such a massive insurrection – not to worry! There are a few Freepers who apparently saw Seven Days in May and thought Burt Lancaster was playing the hero:
Not everyone (by a long stretch) in the military will obey such orders...once such actions begin, millions outside the military (many of them former military) will actively oppose it. The result of such a course would be horrific...but, sadly, tragically, would also be necessary if the tyrants and usurpers amongst us force it to that.
Yet, it seems clear, that the only genuine hope for a return to Constitutional government is for a military coup staged to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.
But the exchange on the thread that truly seems to sum up its astonishing combination of projection and dehumanization is the following:
Those people are in such a rush to implement their diabolical agenda that they no longer even try to hide their true intentions. It is like the masks and gloves have come off. They must believe that they have achieved some kind of critical mass, and that they cannot be stopped. I am just amazed (and angered) at all that is occurring - it seems to come at us from all directions, and it is difficult to keep up with all that they are doing.
To which another Freeper replies:
Wow. I read your post over a second time and inserted Satan each time you spoke of “they” or “those people”. Chilling!
The masks have come off, all right.
And, yes, it is chilling.
Tuesday, June 9. 2009
Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, the family's lawyers, said in a statement that the clinic, Women's Health Care Services, will be permanently closed, effective immediately. Wichita Eagle 6/9/09
Especially when the powers that be refuse to call it what it is, or treat it as “terrorism.”
If anyone doubts this, or believes that we don’t have our own, home grown, Christian version of the Taliban, they should read the comments to this article, which include:
“Hallelujuah! The Lord does work in mysterious ways!”
Or, as some would say in another language, “Allahu Akbar.”
There will be more.
Thursday, June 4. 2009
”I was polite enough to give him the information. I had no reason not to. Who knew? Who knew, you know what I mean?" Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor and convicted bombing conspirator Cheryl Sullenger on the revelations that she was helping Dr. George Tiller’s assassin track Dr. Tiller.
Right Wing Internet radio host Hal Turner was arrested yesterday and charged with inciting injury to persons or property. He’d promised to publicize the home addresses of Connecticut officials in a controversy over the Catholic Church and lobbying laws. According to Turner:
"It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die…. If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this, I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too."
It’s nice to see someone who's been inciting right wing domestic terrorism being held accountable. I hope -- given the recent Rachel Maddow report documenting law enforcement’s habit of not acting on vandalism and threats aimed at abortion providers -- it’s not merely because Turner's targets were state officials rather than physicians and clinic workers.
In the meantime, another anti-Abortion “activist,*” Jill Stanek, has posted on her website photos and addresses of the two remaining physicians who do late term abortions.
She doesn’t go so far as to say “It’d be a shame if something happened to them,” but of course, she doesn’t need to.
Monday, June 1. 2009
And by "bad," I mean this is the level of intimidation clinics and clinic workers face.
Again -- why is the word "terrorism" not being used in coverage of anti-abortion violence?
Thanx to Democratic Underground.
Terrorism: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes. Random House Dictionary
I would hope the other murderers out there at Planned Parenthood and other death mills start looking over their shoulders a little wondering who will be next? Poster on the right wing website Free Republic, in the hours after Dr. George Tiller’s murder
Yesterday, less than a year after a man killed three people in a Unitarian church, Dr. George Tiller, a courageous and dedicated physician, was gunned down in the vestibule of the Lutheran Church he attended. Tiller’s clinic in Wichita is one of only three in the country that perform abortions after the third trimester.
It was striking to watch a CBS segment about the murder last night. The phrase “violence surrounding the issue of abortion” kept being invoked -- as if both sides were equally guilty, as if pro-choice activists have been bombing pediatric clinics and knocking off obstetricians. I’m listening to a CNN segment on the subject right now, and noting the glaring absence of a certain word, one that’s generally left out of mainstream news accounts of anti-abortion bombings or murders.
The word is “terrorism.” Here’s a quick exercise for online readers. Do a search for the words “terrorism” or “terrorist” in pieces on CBS, NBC, ABC, etc that deal with the Tiller murder. When such words do crop up in the coverage, they’re almost always enclosed in quotes, as if there were some question about whether or not they apply when the perps are white, conservative, Christian Americans.
Words have meaning. For some reason our media and our political class have spent the last twenty years pretending that ignoring the actual meaning of words is a sign of political sophistication. The violence underlying the right wing rhetoric on talk radio, on the Internet, on cable television has been laughed off as “hyperbole,” dismissed as mere bids for attention. “Just ignore them and they’ll go away,” we’ve been sagely told, even as the inherent violence of the language has increased and become more and more mainstreamed, echoed not just on obscure internet boards or local talk radio, but in bestsellers, and on nationally broadcast radio and television shows.
And then, when something like this happens, everyone pronounces themselves “shocked,” or “stunned.”
Here’s another word. Simple. To the point. Appropriate.
I don’t believe for one minute that anyone familiar with the abortion issue is truly “shocked” or “stunned.” I don’t believe any moderately informed American is even very surprised.
Outraged, maybe. Disgusted. Furious. Anguished.
And there are other words that apply too. Oh yes, folks, there are, and anyone who did a quick look-see at various right wing websites before they were scrubbed in the hours after the murder can see them demonstrated.
Gleeful. Satisfied. Celebratory. Hopeful.
Hell, go to Free Republic, (always a fertile source of comments other website administrators can't stomach) and you can still find a smorgasbord of messages on the murder that embody these terms.
No humane, caring person would ever celebrate the death of another human being, a monster, well now that's a different story.......
I'll celebrate this dirtbag's dirtnap.
actually, the fear this strikes may thwart some babykillers pressure ran all the clinics out of Mississippi...there may be one left..and fear does play a part
Maybe it's time for another "shot heard around the world".
Do I need to reiterate the criminal harassment Tiller endured for over a decade? The vandalism, the threats? The attempted assassination he survived? Do I even need to post the quotes that connect the dots? Other people already have, citing quotes from Bill O’Reilly in which he described Dr. Tiller as “executing babies,” equated him to Al Qaida and NAMBLA,” said that “if the state of Kansas doesn't stop this man, then anybody who prevents that from happening has blood on their hands as the governor does right now.”
No intelligent, informed person can believably claim to see the murder of Dr. George Tiller as a bolt from the blue.
And now, as the news cycle moves on, and this murder is supplanted by other stories, the moment of clarity, the instant where our pundit class furrows its middle-brow, scratches its head and goes “Heeeeeyyyy…” is passing. Tucker Carlson, classy as always, says of O’Reilly’s campaign against Tiller, “Every one of those descriptions of Tiller is objectively true. I sincerely think it's appalling that he was murdered. But Tiller was a monster, no doubt.”
Sure, Tucker, you’re “appalled,” as you praise with faint damns a doctor being shot dead in a church. And oh so sincere! No doubt you put on your frowney face as you wrote it.
In a few months something like this is likely to happen again. It may not be in a church, and it may not involve an abortion provider. But not too long from now, another right-wing terrorist is going to kill another perceived enemy, another liberal “monster.” And they will do it to a great extent because we have allowed the kind of rhetoric that portrays such a crime as understandable, even moral, Godly, and patriotic, to flourish.
No, I'm not in favor of censorship. I am in favor of argument and outrage, of calling people on it when they use hatred and stupidity as a political lever.
When it happens again people are once again going to pretend to be “shocked.” God forbid we acknowledge that right wing political terrorism is a problem in this country.
God forbid we face the ugly reality of the intent behind the “hyperbole.”
Monday, May 25. 2009
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
The above quote is frequently misused by people who imagine this was Shakespeare’s dig against the legal system. In fact, anyone familiar with Henry VI knows that it’s being uttered by a scoundrel who longs, not for justice, but for anarchy.
It’s fascinating to read that scene from Shakespeare and note how familiar his faux-populist demagogue, Jack Cade, and Cade’s followers are to anyone who’s ever examined political extremism.
There’s the anti-intellectualism endemic among extremist thugs of any political persuasion – a clerk taken prisoner and brought before Cade is hanged for admitting that he can write his name rather than merely making, as Cade puts it “a mark to thyself, like an honest, plain dealing man.” There’s the usual combination of paranoia and xenophobia -- “he can speak French,” Cade declares of one lord, “and therefore he is a traitor.” There’s the inevitable conspiracy theory – Cade spins a tale about being in line for the throne because his father was, in fact, a Plantagenet stolen away from his nobly born mother by a midwife and “ignorant of his birth and parentage, became a bricklayer when he came of age.” There’s even the “evidence” of Cade’s royal lineage pointed out by one Smith the Weaver, who triumphantly declares of Cade’s supposedly royal bricklayer father, “Sir, he made a chimney in my father’s house and the bricks are alive at this day to testify it. Therefore deny it not.” (Given this grasp of logic, today Smith the Weaver would probably be a 9/11 truther or an Obama birther crackpot.)
Shakespeare’s famous, much abused quote comes to mind after reading today’s story in The Washington Post on the increased level of threats against judges and prosecutors:
The judge in the CIA leak case got threatening letters when he ordered Vice President Richard B. Cheney's former chief of staff to prison. A man near Richmond was charged with mailing threats to a prosecutor over three traffic offenses. The face of a federal judge in the District was put in a rifle's cross hairs on the Internet after he issued a controversial environmental ruling, judicial sources said…
Among the causes cited for the rise in violent threats against judges and DAs are “disgruntled defendants whose anger is fueled by the Internet, terrorism and gang cases that bring more violent offenders into federal court; frustration at the economic crisis;” Politics also play a part, specifically right wing politics – “the rise of the ‘sovereign citizen’ movement -- a loose collection of tax protesters, white supremacists and others who don't respect federal authority.”
Readers could come away from the article with the notion that this steadily rising nastiness is something that’s been bubbling strictly from the bottom up over the past six years. It’s all those criminal defendants, you see, some of them terrorists and gang members, who now have access to the Internet and can egg each other on. Or it’s fringe types, skinheads, Klan members, bunker dwellers, “and others who don’t respect federal authority.”
And to a great extent it is -- except that this contempt for “federal authority,” and in particular our judicial system, has gotten occasional encouragement from people at the top. Some of us remember that, back in 2005, there was a flurry of comments from well-known and influential conservatives strongly implying that judges who made rulings they disapproved of were enemies of the American people, and that the violent threats these judges faced was the natural consequence of an incensed population pushed too far.
Pat Robertson announced that American judges were a greater threat to this country than Islamic terrorists, telling George Stephanapoulos that an “out of control judiciary” is “destroying the fabric that holds our nation together.”
That same year, in the wake of a Supreme Court decision he disliked and the horrific case of a judge returning home to find her mother and husband murdered, Senator John Cornyn commented, “I wonder if there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in violence. Certainly without any justification, but a concern that I have."”
Tom Delay was nastier and a bit more direct, saying of the judge in the Terry Schiavo case, ““The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior….”
Nobody who’s followed the far right on the Internet, and the extent to which they’ve been pandered to by Republican leaders, is going to be surprised by the escalating threats against judges and DAs. The same people who were accusing peace activists of treason for engaging in nonviolent demonstrations are now buying up guns and ammo and talking almost openly about insurrection.
Under such circumstances it would be kind of surprising if judges and other authorities weren’t seeing an increase in threats.
Dick the Butcher lives, and in this life, he’s a blogger.
Saturday, May 16. 2009
The country is is danger! Who you gonna call?
So now someone has decided that the Thing To Do in the face of a perceived crisis is to deliver “reassurance” to concerned Americans while wearing a skull mask along with his Marine Dress uniform.
It’s not clear from this youtube video what exactly the “crisis” is. Apparently it has something to do with the US government, states rights, and the Second Amendment. To be honest, even if the narrator had come out and offered a point by point explanation about what exactly is bothering him, I’d have had to watch the video a second time to catch it because I was too distracted during the first viewing by the question, “why is this man wearing a skull mask?”
Not, “why is he wearing a mask?” Wearing a mask while issuing a message in your US military uniform that certain members of the military would support a violent uprising seems only prudent.
But a skull mask?
What is he trying to say here?
What ever could have made him decide that something kind of like this:
would reach the people he’s trying to reach?
Monday, April 20. 2009
Media Matters offers us a glimpse of what lies behind that quaint sounding word, “secession.”
On April 9, 2009, Governor Perry appeared at a press conference in support of HCR 50, which states:
The Republic of Texas, as The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented, was once headed by Richard McLaren. In 1997 McLaren kidnapped two of his neighbors -- whom another Republic of Texas member declared “prisoners of war” in the course of a week-long standoff with the police. Other antics of this organization include passing bad checks, plotting to murder President Clinton, and plotting an attack on a Houston Federal building.
Friday, February 23. 2007
Second Ariz. lawmaker tell colleagues of threats over immigration
A state representative who has urged his colleagues to show restraint in what mandates they impose on businesses to help curb illegal immigration said Tuesday that he and his family have received threats in connection with the issue.Where is the FBI? Wait, sorry, I forgot. You are only a terrorist if you are a brown person.
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