dubya morality syndrome

Posted by on Jan 16, 2009 | 0 comments

The term “moral clarity” gets tossed around a lot in political rhetoric, especially from the conservative side, but it’s pretty difficult to find it actually being practiced. It’s as if the very definition of morality has been turned on its head to mean what Bush (and his followers) want it to mean, rather than adhering to any actual definition of morality. And, if the definition is not actually clear, how can it be acted upon?

“Moral clarity” has been used for too long as a propaganda tool by the right, to the point where it has become unrecognizable and meaningless. The gap between rhetoric and action is just too deep and wide, and that gap is at the root of nearly every issue we face from the economy to terrorism. Without true moral clarity, you can’t “win hearts and minds” as the saying goes. And, without hearts and minds, you’re dead in the water.

It’s a contradiction that liberals have been harping on for years (and I’ve written about it as well calling the Bush Admin out for choosing PR over policy for starters) and it is an important discussion the nation needs to engage with great intensity if we are going to reestablish our footing and our vision on a wide range of issues.

True moral clarity requires strong leadership, bipartisan engagement and a defined vision that allows an actionable response. The Bush White House has shown none of these attributes the past 8 years.

The brutal truth is that the outgoing president has never been a man of moral clarity in regard to policy and its implementation. Rather, he has been a steadfast apologist,  proffered an eliminationist perspective and practiced the skirting of Constitutional law and human rights to secure political power, enforce American hegemony around the world and conservative “values” at home. It’s universally seen as a failure to some degree because of this very moral contradiction. Not surprisingly, the President shows not one iota of understanding of this fact. In his farewell address last night, George W. Bush, said the following:

As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace. (emphasis added)

There’s a basic moral contradiction in Bush’s statement above: Is it moral to create the circumstances (invading Iraq under false pretense) where innocent Iraqi’s are murdered in order to advance the American ideology of freedom and democracy? Further, is it moral to kill some Iraqi’s to free the rest from oppression and despair?  Or are those an exception to Bush’s moral clarity?

Over at Washington Monthly, Steve Benen notices the same hypocrisy at work in a later very similar statement from the address when the President said:

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I’ve always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right.”

Writes Benen:

When reflecting on his two terms, in other words, Bush’s argument is that he didn’t deliberately fail. He acted with the nation’s best interests in mind? He did what he thought was right? Well, of course he did. What president goes around trying to undermine the country, making decisions he hopes are wrong?

The president, in this sense, set the bar as low as it can go. When parents tell a little-leaguer, “It doesn’t matter if you succeed, just do your very best,” it’s the right way to offer support to a child. Similarly, Bush seems to think having the right intentions, as he perceives them, should count, regardless of the results. He’s effectively asking the nation, “How about an ‘A’ for effort?”

I’ve heard quite a few Bush defenders of late quibble with the notion that his presidency should be considered an abject failure. But how much debate can there really be when Bush’s pitch to Americans can be boiled down to, “I gave it my best shot”?

Not much of course.

Now we have to find the path of true clarity. Rather than getting lost in moral ambiguity, apologia and eliminationism, we need to embrace non-partisan good old hard work and the power of intelligent ideas and programs that we know through experience actually work.

And, as far as morality is concerned, we need to disengage from the old tribalist and nationalist jingoism and patriotic threat mongering that has defined the past two terms. The problems before us are dire and serious. The time for partisan politics as usual is long gone.

And, for starters, how do we actually apply moral clarity in a world of such profound violence and atrocities?

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the israel and gaza show

Posted by on Jan 12, 2009 | 0 comments

itchy and scratchy

(Updated below)

One hundred years from now the great lesson of the past 60 years of violence between Palestinian’s and Israeli’s will be brutally simple: violence begets violence. For when that simple truth is forgotten (or ignored), violence becomes the only language that is understood. Violence becomes the dialogue and thus the reason for fighting at all. The original reason for the conflict fades away, seemingly unimportant. History is fraught with similar examples. Chris Hedges refers to it as “the language of death“.

It has reached the point where the hypocrisy of both sides claiming the moral high ground while also killing each other at the drop of a hat has become both glaringly obvious and appalling. It’s also obvious after 60 years that war is not going to bring about peace in the region.

Sadly, it’s very hard to not look at Israel as the more powerful aggressor and the Palestinian’s and Hamas as the underdog and oppressed, simply by virtue of the circumstances. Israel holds most of the face cards. (Please bare in mind that I”m in no way stating that the actions of Hamas are justified, but rather, that the line between the two sides has become blurred and, history will show, moot at this juncture.) As Glenn Greenwald points out responding to Israel’s comments that the military campaign in Gaza may be escalated and the dropping of leaflets “warning” the Gazan population of impending military actions:

It’s hard to imagine, short of full-on indiscriminate civilian bombing, how this attack can be “escalated.” Is there any limit at all to the number of civilian deaths that Israel is willing to cause? And, given that Palestinians are not allowed to leave Gaza and have no safe haven within the Gaza Strip, what is the point of dropping leaflets warning the civilian population of “escalation” other than, as Moyers put it, to sow further terror?

They can’t leave, even if they wanted to leave. And, there is a higher and much more historically unkind reality at work here: children are dying. Trapped like fish in a barrel. There’s no other atrocity that is higher on the historical scale than the murder of innocent children. Alas, it’s an atrocity that due to it’s horrific nature, for some reason often goes undiscussed and unnoticed until years later. It’s as if the horror is too difficult to deal with at the moment of it’s occurrence. Often our moral clarity on these matters is shrouded in apathy and economic and political hubris. As Mark at motormanmark.com notes:

On the eve of World War II, perhaps what we consider to be our most virtuous endeavor, when Nazi values first reached our shores, they were celebrated by many of our citizens. It wasn’t the moral crisis of German anti-Semitism that brought us into the war, but the threat that our power would be eclipsed.

As we participated in more wars, the killing of civilians became more and more acceptable, taking a larger and larger share of the civilian-to-soldier-deaths ratio.

Revisit the calm resolve with which we carpet-bombed Vietnamese civilians.Four million civilians died during that 12-year war, our attempt to pre-empt the feared (but still as yet unfound) domino affect of communism.

After the Mai-Lai massacres, President Nixon can be heard on his Oval Office tapes discussing the matter with Kissinger. The deed they are referring to is Mai-Lai. The person they are referring to is Maj. Wm. Calley, murderer of 109 civilians:

Kissinger: That’s right. What they (the anti-war protesters) wanted (as a reaction from the public to the Mai-Lai revelations) was a feeling of revulsion against the deed. In fact, the deed itself didn’t bother anybody.

President Nixon: No, they, matter of fact, the people said, “Sure, he was guilty, but by God, why not?” (Both laugh.)

Kissinger: Exactly.

We don’t know what Bush said in private about the US slaughter of civilians at Haditha, but we do know he and his military did not find the lives of the children killed by their invasion of Iraq worthy of even being counted.

When Israel bombed Lebanon pre-emptively during the summer of 2006 (purposely targeting civilian areas) with US-made cluster bombs–sort of a mini-Iraq invasion—which they excused as a response to the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers–UNICEF counted the children who died in the murderous hail. The number was 357.

How obvious has it become that real atrocities are underway in Gaza? The conservative Wall Street Journal feels strongly enough about it to publish an Op-Ed with the very unambiguous title: Israel Is Committing War Crimes … Hamas’s violations are no justification for Israel’s actions. Not very subtle.

News of the deaths of children in Gaza is slow to emerge, so public outrage and awareness is at a low level. Full censorship is being enforced in Gaza by the IDF, as is intimidation of the few journalists who are there. And, the United Nations is looking into alleged war crimes in regard to pecific incidents in Gaza.

The moral ground is very shaky here for Israel, if it exists at all any more. They have become that which they fought against. Has Israel come full circle in it’s zeal and passion to defend itself from all those who would do them harm? How far can a society go in fighting terror until it becomes a terrorist itself?

Over at Truth Dig, in an article titled “Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?”, Robert Sheer writes:

The high moral claim of the Israeli occupation rests not on the objective reality of a Palestinian threat to Israel’s survival, but rather on the non sequitur cry that “never again” should harm come to Jews as it did in Central Europe seven decades ago.

The basic argument is that Palestinian terrorists represented by Hamas are given to an irrational hatred of Jews so profound that it invalidates their movement, even when they win elections. That was not the view of the Israeli security service when it earlier supported Hamas as the alternative to the then dreaded PLO. Also, history is replete with examples of terrorists becoming statesmen, even within the early ranks of Jews fighting to establish the state of Israel.

One of those was Menachem Begin, who went on to be an elected leader of the new state. But before Begin attained that respectability, back in 1948 when he visited the United States, a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook and Hannah Arendt wrote a letter to The New York Times warning that Begin was a former leader of the “Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.” The letter urged Jews to shun Begin, arguing, “It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.”

Begin’s new party was then participating in the Israeli election, and Einstein and his colleagues, many of whom like the physicist had been victims of German fascism, stated, “Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character.”

Those actions were then detailed in the letter. They included the systematic terrorizing of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in an effort to force them to flee the territory that Begin’s party claimed for the new state of Israel.

Clearly Begin and his political heirs, who include Benjamin Netanyahu, the most likely victor in the next Israeli election, evolved in their behavior. But I bring it up now to highlight the one-sided reporting of the current phase of this interminable conflict and to wonder: Where are the voices that reflect the uncompromising morality of Einstein’s generation of Jewish intellectuals willing to acknowledge fault and humanity on both sides of the political equation?

Unfortunately, those voices and the discussion have been threatened into silence by the great fallacious tactic: If you criticize Israel for it’s policy, you are antisemitic. It’s rubbish of course, but it works quite well to deflect any and all criticism of Israeli policy. It also chokes off all too needed discussion and basic diplomatic process. And, the unlimited power of hatred should never be underestimated. It allows for an entire spectrum of rationalization of inhumane ideas and practices that one would not wish upon themselves.

In many ways, it was inevitable. When Israel headed down the path of military dominance, the only end result of such a paradigm is alienation, condemnation and eventually destruction. In the history of the entire world there has never been a military power that has not collapsed, either from within by its own weight, or from outside by defeat. This isn’t to say that Israel should not defend itself. But the manner in which they do so needs to change.

Hard and strident diplomacy and economic reform needs to be put into place. The military solution simply isn’t going to produce a peaceful result. That money would be better spent on social needs in Gaza. Why is Hamas left to be the only one building schools and roads and water supply in Gaza and elsewhere? (This applies to Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.) As steadfastly committed as the Israeli’s are to their safety, liberty and right to exist, (rightfully so) the Palestinian’s are equally steadfast in their desire for the same, as well as to obtain what the Israeli’s fought for and already have: a free state. A homeland.

The Palestinian’s are not going to give up, ever, just as the Israeli’s are not going to give up. And, the idea of one side destroying the other is ridiculous and obscene, of course.

The era of arrogant posturing and bully pulpit politics has been proven to be a rousing failure. It only enables others in the Middle East to step in and take control. And, one has to ask: Is it in any one of the major players financial interests to end such a lucrative military standoff? Unlikely.

A new way has to be forged.


Via Think Progress, Spencer Ackerman takes note of the position of the  Haaretz editorial staff:

“This war needs to move immediately to the diplomatic track and agreements that will end the fantasies and delusions of both sides.”

Let’s hope sanity prevails.

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The politics of hate: McCain / Palin style

Posted by on Oct 9, 2008 | 1 comment

Historically, hatred is a powerful motivator for the conservative movement in the United States and we are finally seeing it all come to a watershed moment. (truth is, it’s always been a pathetic attempt at solidifying “the base”, and a long term suicide plan.) The years of right wing hate mongering are out of the dark corners and have gone mainstream, for a simple reason: McCain and Palin can’t win on the issues. And, they know it.

Sadly, hatred is the only tactic the McCain and Palin campaign has left. An argument can be made it’s all they ever had in the first place. And, they use hate to it’s fullest, and it works. Too well.

So, what are good American’s supposed to think when that hatred becomes public and vocal and ugly? We should be very outraged and take action, because we are witnessing eliminationist and fascist tactics and behavior right before our eyes. A few examples:

McCain is in the middle of one of his eliminationist rants, implying that Obama is a terrorist with the line: “Who’s the real Obama?” and an audience member shouts out “terrorist!” McCain says nothing. (Note that he reacts confused and annoyed to it. So, he definitely heard it.) Here’s the video:

And it gets worse. At a Sarah Palin rally, via AmericaBlog, the WashPo reports the following nearly identical moment:

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.
“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

Palin went on to say that “Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers’s living room, and they’ve worked together on various projects in Chicago.”

A person threatens the life of a presidential candidate (on the 40th anniversary year of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy being killed no less!) and nothing is said about it. No campaign statement refuting it. Amazing.

Now, if this happened at an Obama rally, if someone at one of his rallies shouted out “kill him” in reference to McCain, it would be over. That’s a fact. Think about the hate filled behavior of the McCain and Palin crowds for a moment, and the fact that a presidential candidate and VP candidate are literally promoting hatred with threatening results, and getting away with it with nary a mention of it, or outrage, from the press. Perhaps the bar is truly that low.

Of course, Sarah Palin is a right wing extremist who hates America. No one expects too much from a dumb sportscaster I suppose.

So, who are these hate filled eliminationist fascists at the McCain / Palin rallies? Well, not to put to soft a point on it: they are not bright, angry and ill informed. Generalists with just enough facts to be dangerous. Conspiracy theorists, malcontents, extremist, anti-intellectual, knee jerk assholes.

Watch the video from Blogger Interuppted:

These are the people who still beleive that Bush is a good president, and they are McCain’s base, and rallied around Sarah Palin as the VP pick with gusto and determination, knowing nothing about her.

We are at the cusp of taking our country back from these ignorant hate filled turds.

Nuff said.

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beating back the cult of anti-intellectualism

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

Via Sadly No!

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webuzz: obama, eco news and more….

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 1 comment

  • Obama is going to announce his VP choice soon, if you believe what you read. My guess is it’s going to be someone not on the “short list” we’ve been hearing so much about from the media. But, everyone’s buzzing like bees to honey. The gossip quotiant is stifling.
  • Ever heard of triclosan? Well, it’s in a ton of things that may be in your body or in your home or both. And, it’s a toxin. Go read about it over at Eco-Chick.
  • Obama stepped in the eliminationalist trap.
  • The decay of the free thinking press in the land of the free.
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    the mighty right wing machine rattles on and on

    Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

    The other day on Hardball on MSNBC, an interesting moment occurred.

    Chris Matthews and guests Howard Fineman and Andrea Mitchell started out discussing Obama’s looming VP choice, the various “front runners” on the “short list” (a completely made up list by the media, since no one has a clue, but they make it sound like they do.) and then they switched to discussing McCain’s choices for VP, (which they are equally as clueless about) in particular Joe Leiberman. It went like this:

    FINEMAN: Well, I don‘t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn‘t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him. The same with Sean Hannity. But they…

    MITCHELL: They wouldn‘t take him. They‘ve already said (INAUDIBLE)

    FINEMAN: They said they wouldn‘t take him…

    It’s an extraordinary admission that went entirely overlooked. Here are three major media players discussing how conservative media pundits have a powerful role in choosing who will be the Republican choice for VP. The equivalent simply does not exist on the Liberal side. Which Liberal media pundit has that much power? None. An important point to remember in these times.

    One of the basic tenets of the modern conservative movement is a hatred for the “mainstream media”. The “conservative wisdom” is that it’s riddled with Liberals and that Liberals control it. Far from the truth obviously.

    Yet, by their own logic, Limbaugh is the enemy, since he is a member of the mainstream media who literally has a role in controlling our lives and our government functions. Yet, they don’t seem to mind. It’s about ideology of course. It has nothing to do with the higher ideals of democracy and freedom of the press and everything to do with limiting the message to only those ideals they profess, limiting it to conservative ideas. It’s basic fascism and eliminationism.

    And, seeing it referred to in such a blase manner on Hardball was shocking to say the least.

    When I was a boy, I would read about how military and press people had control of the process of government in the Soviet Union, and it sent a cold, rippling shiver down my spine that I always remembered.

    That feeling has returned.

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    us versus them

    Posted by on Aug 22, 2008 | 0 comments

    A friend sent me a video that bothered me a great deal. It’s something I’d seen before, earlier this year. In a nutshell, it uses sugary music and mixes clean and dirty images to pound home the message that the evil Palestinian’s have killed 123 Israeli children since 2000. And, there are videos from the Palestinian side that demonize the Israelis for killing 1050 children, (Human Rights Watch numbers) using forceful rap music to present a different hipper attack, but one that is as dishonest and one-sided.

    It’s bothersome for a pretty elemental reason: there are always two sides to every issue. And, that’s part of the problem with grey propaganda of this nature: It’s meant to portray only one side of a very very complicated issue. Especially egregious considering that it’s horrific that children are dying while adults argue about who is right.

    Rather than get in a tit for tat who has suffered more, bigger numbers means bigger pain or higher moral ground argument, it’s best to remember that the fatal flaw in propaganda of this type is that it foments hated by hiding behind saccharine sweet music (or hip pop rap) and the faces of children juxtaposed with graphic horrors of destruction, of torn and twisted bodies. It offends on the most basic of levels. It’s only aim is to keep the fires of hatred burning. Yet, people eat the message up with a spoon, because it appeals to our basic fears and biases.

    Serious issues deserve serious thought. Not propaganda that reasserts hatred in the guise of sweetness and light, or by asserting that people kill to “be cool”. People kill because they are detached from reality. Eliminationist rhetoric and You Tube videos that propagate eliminationist thought are a symptom of the inability to move beyond fear and hatred. And, that’s a huge problem. Especially when it’s packaged in a way that makes viewers feel they are watching something of depth, when they are being manipulated.

    Both Israelis and Palestinians need to stop jockeying for the who has been victimized more award and start facing the bitter realities of what is going on and fight for solutions. Because they exist.

    Anything less is insulting to the memory of those who have died on both sides and ensures that more will die in the future. And, that’s tragic.

    And, unnecessary.

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    games cheney plays

    Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 | 0 comments

    Billmon (of Whiskey Bar fame) has been posting a little over at Daily Kos. (After a long hiatus from his own blog.)

    His latest is on the conflict between Russia and Georgia and the US role in it… It’s fascinating reading…

    The conflict caught many by surprise, but it’s been a “diplomatic” initiative for the Cheney Boys for awhile… These tools see all conflicts in the world as a opportunity to make money and increase US power. Nothing else matters. And, we are all pawns who will end up paying the price for their arrogance and short-sightedenss. This paragraph sums it up:

    If you caught Andrew Bacevich on Bill Moyer’s show the other night, you may have noticed that his biggest complaint was not that US foreign policy is misguided and destructive (although he clearly thinks it’s both) but that it is being conducted in a democratic vacuum — despite all the florid rhetoric about promoting democracy. We may still go through the motions of a republican form of government, Bacevich says, but the fabric has gotten pretty thin: or, in the case of our national revival of the Great Game in the Caucasus, damned near invisible.

    Read the entire thing. It’s where we are in the US now, and a bit of where we are going right before our eyes…

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    the green the bad and the ugly

    Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 | 0 comments

    A few from Starre… my fav Eco chick.

    She has a new book out. Get it now. Thank you. Come again.

    Finally, go green with Twitter…

    Just watch your back. We live in uncertain times. And, I’m not talking about getting blown away by some sicko dip wad while eating your ding dong at the school cafeteria, but that sucks too.

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    those who feed hatred try to excuse it

    Posted by on Jul 29, 2008 | 0 comments

    There is, of course, no excuse for hatred. It’s the elemental root of evil in our world. Some have long argued that hate has a role in focusing a fight, whether it be toe to toe or a war. But those who’ve fought and shed blood know all too well that hatred usually becomes a burden and usurps the true reason for the fight in the first place. (Assuming the reason isn’t hatred in the first place.) As said in the Dhammapada:

    Victory gives rise to hate,
    those defeated lie in pain,
    happily rest the Peaceful
    surrendering victory-defeat.

    Hatred loves generalities. Saying something like “liberals are evil” or similar is a generality that thrives on hatred. And, it’s an amazingly popular sentiment amongst many conservatives. One they see no problem with apparently. The eliminationist movement is alive and well in their world.

    Thus, a lot of conservative bloggers are making excuses for the nutjob who shot and killed two people and wounded seven in a liberal minded Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. It’s all the same approach, a variation on “the attacker was attacking a Christian church, not a gay or liberal establishment.” Sister Toldjah, who is too biased and obviously deceitful to post my comments to his post, goes for the “liberals kill people too” approach. Professor Glenn goes for the “he attacked Christians approach” and Instaputz hands him his head. (Instaputz has more here.) And, cause I like to save the worst for last: The ever incorrect Bob Owens, who’s site motto is: “Because liberalism is a persistent vegetative state” also goes the parsing route:

    While many in the political blogosphere will no doubt focus on the fact that Adkisson said he hated liberals and gays, the fact of the matter is that the didn’t target a gay club or local progressive political groups, he specifically targeted a church. He did so after expressing beliefs to neighbors in the past that he had an abiding anger against Christianity, an anger that appears rooted in his childhood. The church appears to have been targeted because it embodied at least three things this pathetic human being hated, not just the one or two things I know certain critics will single out as they view the world through their own warped prisms. (emphasis added)

    So, let’s see what the local police have to say through their “warped prism”:

    And, we know from local news that the church in question was indeed a “liberal church” with a sign outside that says “gays welcome”:

    Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

    “It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

    Owen said Adkisson’s stated hatred of the liberal movement was not necessarily connected to any hostility toward Christianity or religion per say, but rather the political advocacy of the church.

    The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers. (emphasis addded)

    Note that sentence directly above in bold. Ah. So, Sister Toldjah and Gleen Reynolds and Bob Owens and are wrong. At least they’re consistent.

    But wait, it gets worse. Apparently, the murderer was a fan of a number of right wing extremists such as Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity:

    Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

    Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”

    Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because “he expected to be killed during the assault.”

    Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

    The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

    Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

    Dave Neiwert has the definitive post on this issue, he explains it all with much more intelligence and historical perspective than I:

    Right-wingers love to “joke” about mowing down, rounding up, and otherwise “wiping out” all things liberal. It’s become a standard feature of conservative-movement rhetoric. And whenever anyone calls them on it, they have a standard response: “Aw, c’mon — it’s just a joke!

    In reality, of course, rhetoric like this has historically played a critical role in some of the ugliest episodes in American history, as well as thousands of little acts of xenophobic brutality: functionally speaking, it gives violent — and frequently unstable — actors permission to act on these impulses. People like this always believe they’re standing up for what “real Americans” think — and the jokes tell them that this is so.

    This was a violent attack on liberals. It was inspired by years of wingnuts talking about how much they hate liberals and wish they could do something about them. This man did. But watch the people who have been telling these “jokes” run away from any culpability for it.

    Nuff said.

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    Send Karl Rove to jail

    Posted by on Jul 19, 2008 | 0 comments

    Watch the video and sign the petition.

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    bush a liar or incompetent

    Posted by on Jun 17, 2008 | 0 comments

    In the LA Times, James Kirchick writes that Bush didn’t lie about the run up to war. He was simply given bad intelligence. So, Bush wasn’t lying, he was incompetent? Personally, I think it was both.

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    the elitist menace among us

    Posted by on Jun 12, 2008 | 0 comments

    Ridicule is the best weapon.

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    the obama is the antichrist list

    Posted by on Jun 12, 2008 | 4 comments

    The wingnut faithful have been amassing a pretty impressive list of what they see as “proof” that Barack Obama is evil incarnate. It’s the usual exercise in what the right wing does best: fear mongering. The concept that Obama is the “antichrist” has been a popular meme for awhile.

    It’s rather fascinating, because they can’t go after Obama for being a man of color, (at least not directly, but there are those who do.) so they pretty much throw the kitchen sink at him. Race is always implied and under the surface. The end run on attacking Obama is overkill of the highest order to be sure. And, most of it is guilt by association or basic “Obama is: “——” unless he can prove he is not.” An essential part of the right wing smear machine’s arsenal of propaganda weapons.

    So, I’ve decided to keep a running list of it all. Just for fun.

    I’m no doubt missing a lot of great examples, so, if you have any, please leave them in the comments with supporting links. Thanks.

    Obama is:

  • An implied drunk who has “fallen off the wagon” with… cigarettes.
  • A Marxist.
  • A dictator in waiting.
  • Not a “real” American because:
    – may have been born in Kenya.
    – middle name might be “Muhammad” and not “Hussein”.
    – middle name is “Hussein“.
    – first name was changed from “Barry” to “Barack”, not because he decided he wanted to change to reflect his pride in his ancestry, but to hide something nefarious.
  • Is a Muslim.
  • Is a Muslim Apostate.
  • Is a terrorist.
  • Is a “Manchurian Candidate“.
  • Is Jimmy Carter. (Proposal and in Practice.)
  • Is “naive“.
  • Is “corrupt“.
  • Was “too girl crazy” as a youth.
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    the eliminationist tactics of falafel bill o’reilly

    Posted by on Jun 12, 2008 | 0 comments

    Watch the two videos, contrast and compare. It speaks volumes:

    O’Reilly’s version of it:

    Note the fear mongering, the obsfucation, the cherry picking. Most of his viewers eat it up as the truth. Nuff said.

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