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Posts Tagged ‘extremism’

Bricks, Bullets, Condoms, Threats, And Spit.

March 27, 2010 1 comment

Republican Response Weak Concerning America’s Unhinged Right Wing.  Cantor Even Plays Victim. Former Bush Speechwriter And The Neoconservative American Enterprise Institute Part Ways After His Candor.

The vandalism and threats over the Health Insurance Bill by stirred up extremists are starting to add up.  Let’s take a cursory look.  Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) must have thought he had passed through a time warp back to the days when he marched along side of Dr. King through the racist neoconfederate South of the 60’s for Civil Rights as he walked to Capitol Hill on Saturday, March 20th enduring the “N” word being shouted at him and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo) was spat upon.  In an account at The Hill Rep. Lewis was quoted

Asked if racial epithets were yelled at him, Lewis responded, “Yes, but it’s OK. I’ve heard this before in the ’60s. A lot of this is just downright hate.”

Cleaver’s office issued the following quoted at The Hill,

“This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the ‘n’ word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans,” the statement said. “That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting.”

Homophobic slurs were hurled at Rep. Barney Frank by the Tea Party protestors. Bart Stupak the anti-abortion congressman from Michigan received death threats on his answering machine such as these reported by the National Post ,

The anti-abortion congressman who voted for the health-care bill, was called a “bastard and a baby-killer,” a “baby-murdering scumbag” and warned he would die “either by the hand of man or by the hand of God.”

. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) was sent a condum with a typed letter saying

“Betty McCollum you’ve been dry f***** by the liberal party.”

and her office also received part of an American flag doused in gasoline and a letter addressed to her and fellow Minnesota Democrats Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken which said,

“Each of you receives part of a shredded American flag,” the letter read. “It represents Obama and your liberal filth. Open the bag, it’s covered in the stench you’ve brought to our government … Because of you, we are now a country of dirt, shame, corruption and slime.”

as reported by CNN political ticker. CNN Politics also reports

Early Monday morning, a glass panel at the Tucson office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was shattered, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said. It wasn’t clear how the window was shattered, but visitors have to go through a gated courtyard to enter the office, and staffers suspect someone may have shot a pellet gun at the glass, he said.

and

In upstate New York, two similar incidents were reported before Sunday night’s vote, according to CNN affiliate WHEC. A brick was thrown through the window of the Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters in Rochester, and another was tossed through a window of Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s office in Niagara Falls early Friday.

There is the case of Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va) brother as reported by The Cavalier Daily ,

The FBI and local authorities are investigating a severed propane gas line at the home of Bo Perriello, the older brother of Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Charlottesville. Officials have deemed the incident as a “deliberate act of vandalism,” which may have resulted as possible retribution for the representative’s vote in favor of health care reform, mistakenly targeted at his brother. ….

The attacks are believed to have originated with an Internet post by a member of the conservative Tea Party group, a nationwide political organization. Tea Party member Nigel Coleman posted Bo Perriello’s address on his Facebook page after the passage of the health care initiative, stating that he was not “holding back anymore!!”

There is also the case of road rage as reported by WKRN.com over an Obama bumper sticker, and cases of twittering threats and calls to violence as reported by WIRED.com and news.com.au .

Congressional Democrats have condemned the acts of vandalism and violent inciteful rhetoric and called on Republicans requesting an appeal to their voters to tone it down. Republicans have only tepidly responded. First they have pretended that there is some sort equivalence of the Tea Party from liberals or “the left”. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) was at the Tea Party protest in DC. Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va) went as far as to blame the victims of America’s far right thugs by saying that Democrats were (in a quote reported by the Washington Post),

“dangerously fanning the flames”

and then claiming he was a victim of malicous vandalism by saying his window at his campaign offices in Richmond was shot out. It turns out the window in question was not his, but the window of a political consultancy firm called Marcus & Allen. The report from the Sheriff’s office included the following:

that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds.

But one Republican decided to come clean and it isn’t any Republican in Congress. That Republican was none other than former G.W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, from the administration that gave America illegal preventive war, torture (against US and international law), wire tapping, secret government, an end to Constitutional guaranteed civil liberties, and an unpaid trillion dollar war which of course, makes the Republican and Tea Party movement rhetoric hypocrisy of the greatest order. In a written piece he did for CNN, he gave a view that the Health Care Bill was the Republican Party’s Waterloo, not Obama’s. In it, he said

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes, it mobilizes supporters — but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.

Now the overheated talk is about to get worse. Over the past 48 hours, I’ve heard conservatives compare the House bill to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 — a decisive step on the path to the Civil War. Conservatives have whipped themselves into spasms of outrage and despair that block all strategic thinking.

Or almost all. The vitriolic talking heads on conservative talk radio and shock TV have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination.

When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say — but what is equally true — is that he also wants Republicans to fail.

He also, has rightly pointed that the current Health Care Reform has had a Heritage Foundation connection. Also, in an interview with Terry Moran from Nightline , he said

Moran: “It sounds like you’re saying that the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, hijacked the Republican party and drove it to a defeat?”

Frum: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox. And this balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party.”

The neoconservative American Enterprise Institute of which Frum was a fellow decided it had enough of Frum’s candor and received a resignation letter from him after a meeting.

A former religious right leader turned Democratic voter, Frank Schaeffer, writing at firedoglake in a piece titled, “Republicans: Violent Losers” has summmed up the current situation with comparing today’s Tea Party movement and hate inspired media with that of the “patriotic” fascist movements of the 30’s and 40’s. In it he says and warns,

That day’s xenophobic and utterly ignorant Firster “patriots” lapped up the Lindbergh moonshine alternative reality. They also (like the Tea Party today) accused their President (Roosevelt) of “communism” because he opposed far right Germany. They too had their hate fed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh; in their day radio personality and fascist sympathizer Father Charles Coughlin…

The Republican leadership have literally gotten into bed with hate. And like all such bargains with the devil it was easier to begin their relationship with rube America than to end it.

Like Lindberg who lived out the rest of his life in ignominy — once we went to war with Japan and Germany — the Republicans will find little room to maneuver as the reality of the good that the health care reform bill will do sinks in with ordinary Americans. And if one of the Tea Party-type loons flies another plane into some federal building again – as recently happened in Texas to the IRS – and there is a huge tragedy, the Republican/Tea Party game will be over.

Either way: be it the next right wing act of domestic terror or the realization by the American public that the Republicans are just plain wrong on the facts; the Republicans are on their way down.

Ole Ole Olson at News Junkie has rightly called all this an “American Kristallnaght“. Another post by Cyrano at Democratic Underground sums up the thoughts and comment about this of a 90 year old holocaust survivor Cyrano visited while delivering supplies to elderly shut ins who said,

“The monsters never go away.”

To that, I say “Aye, ma’am. There be monsters out there. History recycles them and we have to live through their eras of darkness until we realize what is going on and decide they will not win.”

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Disgrace in Massachusetts. The Legacy of The People’s Champion Is Replaced By a Republican Backed By The Tea Bagger Movement.

The results of a presidential campaign built on PR branding called change  but after a year of governance has only delivered small change on the major issues of our time is producing worrisome results for Congressional Democrats swept into office to change the direction of this country.  This is reflected by the special election for the Senate seat of one of history’s most ardent defender of the rights and welfare of the average American, the “Liberal Lion” Ted Kennedy, whereby it was filled by a Republican backed by the far right tea bagger movement.  So what are the people that voted for change and a chance to stop the bankrupt policies of rolled backed tax rates on the richest Americans, tax breaks and crony capitalism for American corporations, the gutting of America’s meagar safety net, falling wages and destroyed pensions in the race to the bottom, shipping our manufacturing base overseas looking for modern day slave labor,  and massive militarism with 1000+ military bases in 135 countries, and deregulated predatory capitalism that has led to the American collapse starting in earnest in 2007?  How much darker is our future going to be with no real change in direction?  While Brown is not quite as radical as the tea bagger extremists that backed him in the election (along with some frustrated Democrats), he will not help correct the awful path of the ship of state.

Who to blame? 

In many respects, the Coakley campaign and intra-party squabbles are to blame.  The Coakley campaign ran an anemic campaign with limited campaign stumps.  It took corporate money from the health insurance interests which was another mistake probably seen as betrayal by many Democrats.  It even mispelled Massachusetts.  And then there is the party squabble indicated in the diary of “catlover72” at the Daily Kos which could have been a part of it.  Some of it says that during the primary,

According to my mom, the Western Mass Democrats got a lot more momentum in the primary because no one in Boston believed that Capuano could lose. Western Mass turned out, Boston and vicinity did not.

It went on to say,

Coakley, on the other hand, not only dropped the ball as everyone knows, but no politicians in Boston wanted their names associated with her after she won the primary. My mom isn’t high enough up the chain to know why this is (or maybe she is holding out on me because she doesn’t want anyone to read this and recognize her dishing the inside scoop – she is old school and thinks she shouldn’t be talking publicly about this).

However, one who is educated, not in the propaganda of these times, but political realities, knows there is a growing apathy among Democratic party voters and activists that were looking for definitive policy changes from the last couple of decades into something traditionally progressive such as reregulation of the financial industry, buttressing of the social safety net in hard times, and some creativity on the job front in the tradition of FDR and the New Deal, and not Jack Kemp’s “Reaganomics”. They see broken promises on the issue of healthcare. All this lies squarely on the shoulders of the “DLC”, a self appointed leadership group brought in under Clinton that is corporate in nature and seeks to shift the multinational largess of corporate donations away from the Republican Party. In this shift, the Democratic Party since the election of Bill Clinton has moved toward “free trade” policies, deregulation of business and the financial sector, privatization of government functions, chipping away at our social safety net such as social security and medicare/medicaid, ramped up spending on the military industrial complex and foreign interventionism, as good an any Republican of today. In doing so, the party on occasion has abandoned its traditional coalition of organized labor, civil libertarians and civil rights groups, women’s rights group and many others. Their influence is also probably responsible for tabling Kucinich’s impeachment resolutions of Bush and Cheney to die in committee. They have even adopted much of the language of Republicans calling fellow Democrats “the left” and “too liberal”. All of this is leading to growing apathy of Democratic voters who saw a candidate in Barack Obama speak like a New Deal Democrat but filled his cabinet and advisors, particularly concerning the economy, with Clintonite “New Democrats”. And they have seen the result in the way the financial bailout and stimulus package has been handled (except with the cash for clunkers program) as well a give away bill to the insurance industry instead of a public national healthcare program.

In the meantime, a Tea Bag movement financed by the rightwing infrastructure and radicalized by hate radio talk, political dishonesty, and a tinge of racism from the howling hyenas of rightwing media, has what Stephen Colbert humorously calls the American “backwash” coming too close for comfort in determining future governance. Even the mainstream press on occasion legitimizes some of this movement’s darker aspects.

Will historians writing about this era in the future call it “post modern America, the latest failed state”?

When Is Enough, Enough?

Currently the secret service is already strapped with all the death threats against this president. When is it time to shut this hate crap down?

I wonder what would happen if the US went back to the Constitution and the establishment clause the way it used to be? What would the extremists in America’s religious right do then? Look at the following from 1950: