A Maryland father laid his soldier son to rest in 2006 surrounded by protesters from Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, who believe soldiers die in combat as punishment for the U.S.’s permissive attitude toward homosexuality. They carried signs that said, “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The Supreme Court is now reviewing whether protesting the funerals of soldiers is protected by the First Amendment. A Baltimore jury awarded the soldier’s father $10 million in damages, but the case was later thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The judges said the signs were not referring directly to the father and his son. Snyder v. Phelps will be argued next October.
Read more here.
As our very own DavidB related yesterday, Frank Rich of the NYTimes wrote an interesting editorial about Andrew Joseph Stack III, the pilot who crashed his single engine airplane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas. Rich was fascinated by the right’s reaction to this act domestic terrorism – in some cases they came close to praising the suicide mission as an expression of patriotism. For example, Steve King (R) of Iowa said, “It’s sad the incident in Texas happened, but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary. And when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the I.R.S., it’s going to be a happy day for America.” No one condemned the comments of King about the plane crash that resulted in the death of a single 68 year old postal worker.
Rich continues on and speculates that the political atmosphere is as poisonous now as it was in 1995 when Timothy McVeigh launched his attack on a Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. I remember that time well and during that period I had a job where I often drove home late at night and to occupy myself I listened to A.M. talk radio. The nuts were out in full force back in that day and I wonder if truly we are having a re-emergence of that painful partisanship.
I hope Rich is wrong. See the editorial here. What do you all think?
From the StarTribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul:
Dear Pat Robertson,
I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I’m all over that action.
But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I’m no welsher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth — glamor, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven’t you seen “Crossroads”? Or “Damn Yankees”?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there’d be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox — that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it — I’m just saying: Not how I roll.
You’re doing great work, Pat, and I don’t want to clip your wings — just, come on, you’re making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That’s working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the foremost preachers of radical Islam, who influenced at least three of the 9/11 hijackers, the Fort Hood shooter, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the underwear bomber), was once in U.S. custody, but was released, according to newly released documents.
“America’s Osama bin Laden,” has been a longtime FBI target and was detained at New York’s JFK Airport in 2002 on a felony arrest warrant but quickly released to Saudi custody, which insiders believe is a result of his high-level connections in the Saudi Arabian embassy.
Al-Awlaki has long since fled to Yemen where he continues to train new “martyrs.”
What is left out? Oh, I know — a solution!
In a Newsweek article Jon Meacham states his case for “WHY DICK CHENEY SHOULD RUN IN 2012.”
He says, “A campaign would also give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way. As John McCain pointed out in the fall of 2008, he is not Bush. Nor is Cheney, but the former vice president would make the case for the harder-line elements of the Bush world view. Far from fading away, Cheney has been the voice of the opposition since the inauguration. Wouldn’t it be more productive and even illuminating if he took his arguments out of the realm of punditry and into the arena of electoral politics? Are we more or less secure because of the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does the former vice president still believe in a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda? Did the counterterror measures adopted in the aftermath of the attacks go too far? Let’s have the fight and see what the country thinks.”
Other questions we might be able to settle —
- Would his war criminal record be a selling point with today’s new anti-war right?
- Since he embodies the America of old white men, could that myth be dispelled?
- Can Cheney prove he is actually alive? It’s rumored he died of his last heart attack and some are saying they’ve seen his long-form death certificate — complete with the seal!
- Is he truly devoid of knowledge of recent U.S. history, history over which he himself presided? He led the charge into Iraq in 2003 even after having warned in 1991 that such a strategy would lead to a quagmire. The U.S. wars of the last six decades (including the four for which Cheney shares responsibility) have all been marred by mishap, bad intelligence, flawed geopolitical analysis—and lack of necessity.
- Is it true he supported the McCain / Palin ticket because he knew only that keystone cops duo could have made the tragic incompetence of the previous fools look good in the history books?
What would be his campaign promises and slogans, would he emphasize his lack of civility, his well-known health problems, would he continue to loudly defend torture?
Where might another McVeigh—or worse—spring from?
The many fringe elements the Republican Party represents are angry they lost and getting more threatening and dangerous to society every day. Right-wing tea-partiers, death panellers, birthers, skinheads, white supremacists, militia enthusiasts, paranoid fringe, and even average citizens who are encouraged by the rants of right-wing talk radio and Fox News are more than restless, they’re bordering on dangerous.
The Anti-Defamation League is tracking about 200 militias, up from 50 in 2002, according to Mark Pitcavage, the ADL’s director of fact finding. “The single greatest factor in the agitation is Obama, Pitcavage says, adding “I see so many parallels today with 1994.”
Billy Roper, the head of White Revolution, a fast-growing white-nationalist group, says, “For years, white Americans were just concerned with watching sports and drinking beer and being consumers,” Roper said. “They were like bad puppies. Obama is like the rolled up newspaper smacking their butt. And now they’re baring their teeth. We’re at the stage kind of like the original 13 colonies around 1760. We’re at that awkward stage of the revolution when it’s too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the bastards.”
Ammunition manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand, the exaggerations become more outrageous on a daily basis.
Read more here.
How bad do you think it is now? Will it get worse? How can it be controlled?
The economy, Afghanistan, the charges of radical leftist/communist/Marxist/Maoist agenda, all the controversy around reforming health care and the inexplicable opposition to anything Obama should indicate success for Republicans in the 2010 mid term elections. All those factors should also point toward this president likely being a one-term president. If you listen to the people who seem to be Republican spokespersons, that’s what they will tell you will happen. But if you study the numbers, that’s not what’s going on.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story that contends Tea Party activists are energizing the Republican Party, but all that enthusiasm comes with a price: They may be scaring away the moderates that would help the GOP retake the House in 2010. With closed primaries, the smaller “more pure” Republican party will nominate only the most far right-wing movement conservatives they can find, further alienating moderates.
Yes, the loudest of the Republicans are predicting a big comeback and just may be the reason the party stays out of power until they get their heads on straight.
I will not go back there. I am referring to the WE Blog. I got into a flaming response with Anti (the only poster who posted there in oposition to another poster). I am done with those folk. I will not read there and will definitely not post there.
Please join me in this drive toward sanity…
I want to arrest a preacher today! But only after I give legal cover to as many pedophiles as I can! These patently absurd arguements are being provided by the religious right as to why GAY people should not be given Hate-Crime protections. It is tantamount to saying: “I will lose my religious freedoms, if I am not free to hate!”
I mean this would really piss me off if it wasn’t such stupid crap! No, stike that. It pisses me off BECAUSE it is such stupid crap!
Read more here.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Well, well, this will give the gun nuts some more fuel for their fires! Should keep them busy with all kinds of conspiracy theories — the case won’t be argued until next year.
The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether strict local and state gun control laws violate the Second Amendment, ensuring another high-profile battle over the rights of gun owners.
The court said it will review a lower court ruling that upheld a handgun ban in Chicago. Gun rights supporters challenged gun laws in Chicago and some suburbs immediately following the high court’s decision in June 2008 that struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia, a federal enclave.
The new case tests whether last year’s ruling applies as well to local and state laws.
A fascinating article by Glenn Greenwald, at Salon.com, not only attempts to categorize (not an easy endeavor) Glenn Beck. Along the way, Greenwald has much to say about the political climate in the states today. To say the bulk of the protesters (teabaggers, etc.) don’t have a clue about what exactly they’re protesting is oversimplification.
Last night during his CBS interview with Katie Couric, Glenn Beck said he may have voted for Hillary Clinton and that “John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama.” This comment predictably spawned confusion among some liberals and anger among some conservatives. But even prior to that, there had been a palpable increase in the right-wing attacks on Beck — some motivated by professional competition for the incredibly lucrative industry of right-wing opinion-making, some due to understandable discomfort with his crazed and irresponsible rhetoric, but much of it the result of Beck’s growing deviation from GOP (and neoconservative) dogma. Increasingly, there is great difficulty in understanding not only Beck’s political orientation but, even more so, the movement that has sprung up around him. Within that confusion lies several important observations about our political culture, particularly the inability to process anything that does not fall comfortably into the conventional “left-right” dichotomy through which everything is understood.
Some of this confusion is attributable to the fact that Beck himself doesn’t really appear to have any actual, identifiable political beliefs; he just mutates into whatever is likely to draw the most attention for himself and whatever satisfies his emotional cravings of the moment. Although he now parades around under a rhetorical banner of small-government liberty, anti-imperialism, and opposition to the merger of corporations and government (as exemplified by the Bush-sponsored Wall Street bailout), it wasn’t all that long ago that he was advocating exactly the opposite: paying homage to the Patriot Act, defending the Wall Street bailout and arguing it should have been larger, and spouting standard neoconservative cartoon propaganda about The Global Islamo-Nazi Jihadists and all that it justifies. Even the quasi-demented desire for a return to 9/12 — as though the country should be stuck permanently in a state of terrorism-induced trauma and righteous, nationalistic fury over an allegedly existential Enemy — is the precise antithesis of the war-opposing, neocon-hating views held by many libertarian and paleoconservative factions with which Beck has now associated himself. Still other aspects of his ranting are obviously grounded in highly familiar, right-wing paranoia
This came in an email from our friend Mary — the heading is the words she used.