05.24.10

Mapping anti-government violence in the US

Posted in Terrorism, Wingnuts at 1:08 pm by angela

I began the Right Wing Violence map shortly after the signing of the 2010 Health Care Reform act when the threatening behavior of protesters at the Capitol began to be reflected around the country.** The first incident reported on March 18th was the remark by House Minority Leader John Boehrner that a fellow Ohio congressman would be a ‘dead man’ if he didn’t vote a certain way. This was followed by spittle, epithets and threats from protesters towards Congressmen and women as they headed to the Capitol building to vote.

Well after too much coffee on the drive back from San Antonio, I sat down to catch up and update the map with a terrible story from West Memphis, Arkansas where two police officers were killed during a traffic stop.

Story

More than a year ago, shortly after the Obama Justice Department released the report on right-wing terrorism in this country—you know, the one that they ended up apologizing for having done, after outrage from Congress that they had no right to investigate right wingers who were armed and planning to overthrow the gubmint—I published a diary on DailyKos.

Terrorists in our midst

My point, of course, was that given the American character and the blanketing of our media by hate propaganda, violence by small groups and individual extremists is what we are going to see. Americans do not join an umbrella terrorist group, train, strap a bomb to themselves, and blow themselves up in a crowded public place. They plan to get away (well, they expect to, though their plans may be seriously deficient), and as a commenter put, they only decide to go out as martyrs in a blaze of glory when they are clearly trapped with no way out.

We call Muslims “terrorists”, when right wingers are out murdering their fellow citizens, including law enforcement officers, and these incidents are passed off as isolated cases. It’s like it’s not terrorism if they aren’t being directed by a foreign political-religious movement.

Violence by people who belong to an anti-government movement and insist they have the right to kill anyone they please? Not terrorism, it wasn’t directed by
al-Qaeda.

The “sovereign citizen” movement is a bunch of anti-law anarchists: they want you and me to fund the government to provide the services they love, and they figure that they shouldn’t have to pay taxes and are exempt from all laws.

This just means that there are a whole lot of unlicensed crazies out there driving unregistered vehicles on taxpayer-funded roads, ready, like the Kanes, to kill any law officer who tries to stop them.

This is the form that right wing terrorism continues to take in America.

But as Susan Collins says, we can’t stop real Americans who are known terrorists from buying guns. That would be interfering with their Constitutional right to one massacre per person I guess.

05.19.10

What is a “conservative”?

Posted in Wingnuts at 1:29 pm by angela

This is based on a little essay I wrote as a response to a Salon.com column by Cary Tennis, where he was responding to a woman whose intelligent, thoughtful father had apparently morphed into a crazed Beckerhead who fantasized about days of yore when “men wore hats”. I’m not sure if the hat thing is true or significant, but I am presuming that, since she made a point of putting it in her question, that it actually happens.

Conservatism is a philosophy of fiscal responsibility, which includes paying for what is necessary as we go through proper taxation in order to balance the budget.

Believing in conspiracy theories and wingnut talking points that are clearly untrue is not conservative; it has aspects of both a cult and a pathology.

If someone were to insist that they had been kidnapped by aliens and taken to another galaxy to be bred with plants which send them messages daily, we would not indulge them by saying that this is their “opinion”, and everybody’s opinion is equally valid and deserving of respect. We would take it for granted that there was some kind of mental illness going on with them.

And yet we treat right wing talking points that are nothing but lies generated by cynical paid opportunists as though they are a valid point of view.

Denying reality in order to maintain beliefs that are easily demonstrated as false is a characteristic of cultish religious faith. The constant shrill din of hate radio and Fox News voices insisting on ideological purity is typical of a cult – where members are trained to perpetually immerse themselves in their own propaganda in order to keep them from hearing inconvenient questions and entertaining inconvenient thoughts.

It is also intended to alienate them from those, like you, who care about certain cult members and might bring reality into the discussion. The ideology demands that your father force his ideas on you because they are Truth and you need to be converted to the Truth. It does not process the idea that you have already been exposed, examined it, and rejected it. It insists that what is needed is more repetition of the same talking points.

Like any other cult, the constant stream of sound and its demand that he belligerently confront everyone who may disagree with him are also intended to isolate him from those who might introduce heretical ideas into the equation.

I am sorry your father has fallen into this trap. I have lost friends, but thankfully my own father was reasonable and thoughtful until his death. If the two of you cannot reach some understanding about agreeing to disagree and not discussing politics, there is nothing you can do short of limiting your time together.

But one last thing: if your father served in Vietnam, that puts him at about 60 years or older. Unless his age is quite a bit older, he should not be reminiscing fondly about some time during his early childhood when men wore hats. Kennedy was the President who stopped the hat-wearing tradition. My father always wore a hat, but he was probably 30 years older than your father is, and it was kind of old-fashioned when I was a child.

Idealizing a time when men wore hats as a reaction to a President who died almost 50 years ago? Not a good sign for your father’s mental state.

04.08.10

Obama not “black”?

Posted in Blogging, racism, Wingnuts at 12:57 pm by angela

Yes, of course I put it in quotes. President Obama ticked “black” on the Census form under “Race”, and the “he’s dissing his mom and lying that he’s not half-white” folks are suddenly back in gear.

Amazingly enough, just such a blog post on OpenSalon, the “every blogger” wing of the news and opinion site, ended up getting promoted as though it was some kind of expression of original thought.

Earlier this week it was reported that the president had checked off “Black” on his 2010 census form question about race…

Though I do wonder why the president chooses to ignore his white half…the question Obama’s race selection raises for me has more to do with telling the truth…

Obama could have checked off both “Black” and “White” had he cared to be honest about it….

…The man had a white mother: get over it!

But when the president…makes a decision…to tell a half truth on an official US document he sets a bad example…

Clearly none of the commenters were aware of the history of the meme, but you would think that before Salon.com decided to actively promote a racist wingnut screed they would check into something like that.

Even if they were so desperate for teh google, you’d think they’d show a wee bit of discretion so as not to appear as pushing a racist point of view.

My comment:

The “issue” that everyone seems to be missing is that this “Obama is not black” meme has been circulating since long before the election.

It is all part and parcel of the “post-racialist society” myth that says that discrimination is a thing of the past and has been so for decades; that Obama is an “empty suit” who got where he is strictly because of affirmative action, and earned none of it; that the only people who voted for him were racist blacks and whites who were practicing “reverse racism” to prove they were, um, n****r-l****s.

It by necessity claims the lie that most blacks in America are 100% African in origin, and that you can tell by looking at someone exactly what percentage of each race their blood contains.

The question has been asked at least 36,000 times in the Politics&Government category of Yahoo Answers. Google on “Obama black” and you will find 90,000,000 pages to peruse, many of them hatefully racist.

There is nothing original in this post. It is just an attempt to legitimize something that is inherently illegitimate and bring it to those of us who have not frequented sites like red state, free republic, storm front, etc, where post-racialism occupies a place with birtherism, southernism, and other such philosophies.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Mary Ann.