Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Terrorism, nothing else. When it's a duck, admit it's a duck

Over the weekend I saw a brief "interview" of a Democratic and Republican pundit on CNN.  They were talking about the shooting at Planned Parenthood.  The Democrat made his points and generally kept his voice at a normal level, the Republican, as I see so often, continually interrupted the Democrat and the "journalist", continually raised his voice and was quite frankly very successful at shouting down any objection from either the person from CNN or the Democrat.  His point was that the "Black Lives Matter" movement was just as much a terroristic threat as was/is any right-wing group.

The assertion, beyond absurd on it's face about the "Black Lives Matter" movement, is also absurd in that it sought to deflect any serious discussion about the growing trend of radical, violent action by right wingers to get their way through intimidation and violence.  That violence is committed against civilians with the goal to both cause fear and to shape political policy.  There is no better definition of terrorism than that.  Robert Lewis Dear shot up the place, killed two civilians and a police officer to "no more baby parts" (sold) by Planned Parenthood.  That Mr. Dear is following a widely debunked meme' of the far right makes no dent on him, nor on the far right.  His ideology is that of the far right as evidenced by his acquaintances and his commentary.  It is so obviously so that Ted Cruz sought to perpetrate the big lie by calling him a "transgendered leftist."  Now, of course Mr. Cruz needed to somehow wrap in some attack on the idea of sexual identity, as if it had anything at all to do with this attack, but there is no evidence whatsoever that this guy was gender-neutral, seeking a gender change, was a transvestite or in any other way was transgender.

Per the NY Times (via ThinkProgress.org)       
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is the latest presidential candidate trying to downplay the role anti-abortion rhetoric may have played in motivating the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs Friday afternoon. When a reporter asked him at an Iowa campaign stop Sunday evening about suspect Robert Lewis Dear saying he was motivated by “no more baby parts,” Cruz countered that he’s also been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist.”

Cruz explained, “We know that he was a man registered to vote as a woman.” This discrepancy on Dear’s voter registration was first reported by The Gateway Pundit, a self-described “right-of-center news website,” under the claim that he “identifies as [a] woman.” Conservatives have since run with the claim that Dear is transgender.

There is actually no evidence to suggest that he is transgender, nor a “leftist,” nor any kind of activist. In fact, all of the available information suggests he was none of those things.

As the New York Times explained, Dear was very much a recluse, the type “that preferred to be left alone,” living in various single-wide trailers and cabins since his divorce in 2000. Neighbors did not know him well, and if they did, it’s because he would lash out at them when they tried to interfere with his business, like reporting him for mistreating his dogs.

The Times’ profile also identifies him as “generally conservative,” having been raised as a Baptist, but as someone who did not discuss politics much. According to his ex-wife, “he believed wholeheartedly in the Bible” and believed that abortion was wrong. He also distributed pamphlets criticizing President Obama to his neighbors in Colorado. On the voter registration form with the gender discrepancy, his party is listed as “UAF,” meaning unaffliated.

None of the people interviewed about Dear had anything to say about his gender identity. Nothing about his appearance nor any past reports of his identity suggests that he identifies as a woman. The voter registration form identifying him as female is the only discrepancy, making it most likely a typo and nothing more."

So, based on a typographical error on his voting record, despite the fact that he was married, despite the fact that there was no other evidence and despite the fact that on a couple of key issues AND the fact that the man distributed anti-Obama pamphlets, somehow Cruz can try to say with a straight face that Dear was "trangered" and a "Leftist Activist."  It's appalling conduct by Cruz.  It points to a man willing to say ANYTHING, repeat ANY lie, show that he has precisely zero morality when it comes to getting his way, and in that, he is the perfect example of how far off the rails the far right in this country has gone.

Cruz is playing to a base that laps up this kind of fomented rhetoric.  The kind that believes BS videos clipped together over years of interviews, like the O'Keefe videos, paid for by unidentified and quite likely wealthy backers, intentionally edited to mislead.  They hear the evidence about these falsehoods, but they just don't care.  They BELIEVE them to be true.  Like Mr. Dear does. 

Yesterday a FOUR men in Minneapolis were charged with various crimes related to their alleged shooting and shooting at several people at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.  It wasn't the demonstrators who were violent (though a few have been elsewhere), it was angry white guys with guns (and apparently for at least one, a license to carry).  The contention of the Republican pundit on CNN was that the movement itself was terroristic, yet his justification was made based on the actions of a couple of people who were angry demonstrators who lashed out in apparently unplanned acts, lashing out against harsh police responses.  Hardly similar to planning and then shooting up a clinic, or blowing it up, or assassinating a doctor, all done to make the people who perform legal medical procedures afraid to do so OR showing up at a political rally and shooting at people to "show them who is boss" or otherwise intimidate.  By contrast, the justification others have used to claim the BLM movement is terroristic is a video of some members of the movement shouting "Pigs in a blanket, fry em' like bacon." Of course, they DIDN'T bother to report about that video that it was done in jest in a conversation with a police officer.  They didn't also bother to report that no one actually DID fry any police officers.  While there is a growing sense of frustration with the enormous inequality in treatment of blacks by our justice system, the rhetoric and actions of people in the BLM movement has been widely AGAINST violent response and as far as I can find, no one, not one person directly affiliated with the BLM movement has been charged with a terrorist act.  A handful have been charged with clashing with police, but that's hardly the same as killing people to intimidate.  Unless we are going to start claiming that protest is terrorism, the BLM movement is about as close to terrorism as is the NRA, or the Tea Party, or the Open-Carry movements.  There are members who've done bad things, but the movements don't own those acts.  And, at least in the case of the BLM movement, they denounce the actions of the far right.

Yet, there are people in the far right who are not only willing to engage in deceptive rhetoric, they saying "something must be done", and through that rhetoric, they provide motivation/justification to the 1% of that fringe that are willing to engage in violence.  Furthermore, by attempting to shift the debate to supposed bad acts by the likes of the BLM movement, they certainly appear to be saying, "well, YOU'RE doing it, so why it is bad if other do so as well?"  Or at least saying, the left is doing it, which gives justification to violence by the right (albeit false justification), to retaliate, after all, they can claim, "We didn't start it."  Yet, the similarities aren't there, and even if they were, violent reprisal is STILL terrorism. 

Regardless of the rhetoric, it is time for the right wing (meaning the Republicans who are now so far to the right that they are virtually all the far right), it is time for the Republican party to admit that the far right has a terrorism problem.  It is true that it is a tiny, tiny fraction, but it is also true that it is THAT fraction, just like the tiny fraction of Muslims in Europe, which is engaging in violence for the purpose of political intimidation and change.  It is further time for them to stop trying to label EVERYONE else as a terrorist, it is time for them to stop using terrorism as their boogey-man, especially when they have a problem with their own base.  They have a log in their eye but complain about splinters.

The right wing has a terrorism problem.  It has fueled action by nut-jobs, and it is time that movement start being truthful about the fact that the REST of the country are good people (by and large), that blacks are almost universally law abiding, that whites kill whites far more often than do blacks, just like blacks kill blacks, and that it REPUDIATE the terrorist actions of it's nut-job fringe.  Failing to do so is nothing less than abiding terrorism.  And let's be clear, that IS what these attacks are.  They are violence and threats of violence "2nd Amendment remedies" to change the political landscape.  When a white guy confronts blacks protesting on the street, argues with them, and then gets out a gun to shut them up and shut down their protest, it's terrorism.  It's not just walking like a duck, it's not just talking like a duck, it's a duck. 

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