Watching FoxNews makes you dumb


There I said it, if you look at FoxNews the chances are you don’t know much about anything. Sure the anchors there provide a certain amount  of gratification with their quick retorts aimed at people or issues we don’t like, but the business of news is non-existent at FoxNews. Rather what we get as a society is targeted opinion that too often isn’t informative, or even remotely true.

Such is the case with the latest pronouncement made by one Eric Bolling who earlier this month uttered the demonstrably proven lie, ‘How is it every terrorist on American soil has been a Muslim?’ How is it that in the year of our Lord, 2012 there are still people making such a ridiculous claim, except that they do so in exchange for a heckuva lot of money.  We’ve outlined here in the pages of Miscellany101 as many instances as the number of Muslims who were charged with terrorism in 2011…that number was 20 indicted .  In 2010 the number of Muslims indicted for terrorism in America was 26, and the total number of Muslims in America indicted for terrorism since 911 is 193.  Yet we’re told the threat is so large that congressional committees must be held, repeatedly, expenditures of money from an already cash strapped country must be allocated and inevitably the rights of American citizens must be abridged because of a threat that represents less than 5% of all domestic terrorism in America.  Did you catch that America?!?!?! Muslims account for less than 5% of all terrorism cases in America between 2002-2005…..not all of them…..5% of them.  So who makes up the other 95% of terrorism in America?!?!?  You do America!

Since September 11, the threat of internationally based Islamic extremist networks has dominated concerns of Homeland Security officials. And while authorities say the threats posed by homegrown Islamic extremism is growing, the FBI has reported that roughly two-thirds of terrorism in the United States was conducted by non-Islamic American extremists from 1980-2001; and from 2002-2005, it went up to 95 percent.

What’s duplicitous about Bolling and his inaccuracies is the above linked report is dated more than a year ago!!!  If  journalism was truly involved over there at FoxNews Bolling would have surely run across the above mentioned document, but there’s a large segment of the population that likes disinformation that reinforces Bolling’s misstatement.

Here are just a few cases we’ve mentioned that fit the definition of terrorism that Bolling probably knows about but doesn’t want you to know about. There’s the knife in the  mayonnaise  jar guy who tried to sneak onto an airplane in Kennedy Airport of all places; there’s the Atlanta editor who thinks President Obama should be killed because of his soft support for Israel. (As far as I know he nor anyone else who has threatened a standing president of the United States has seen the inside of a jail cell); the case of  a US soldier getting on TWO planes with military grade explosives is something that would raise alarms with anyone, but Bolling, since the perpetrator was not Muslim; nor did the US park ranger killer seem alarming to Bolling; the group in Georgia accused of terrorizing America to which two of them pleaded guilty was mentioned here on Miscellany101, but probably didn’t receive a ripple on Bolling’s radar; Gary Mikulich placed  a bomb next to a federal office building but according to Bolling he can’t be  a terrorist because he’s not a Muslim; of course we all know of the political assassination that took place in Arizona at the hands of a deranged Jared Loughner and resulted in the deaths of six people and the termination of the political career of Gabrielle Giffords.   We haven’t even begun to talk about how exaggerated and non-existent the threat of so called Islamic terrorism is to America.  However, in June, 2012 FoxNews is still publicizing the canard that every terrorist on America’s soil is a Muslim and we haven’t touched on the pro-life movement and its followers the likes of Scott Roeder who believe killing abortion providers, who are operating legally in America, is a way of bringing them to justice.  But it’s what Bolling doesn’t say that  is as onerous as what he does….the American Muslim community has steadily refuted terror and been a source of information for federal authorities investigating terrorism in their midst.  None of that matters to an organization that wants to vilify one segment of the American population and will go to any lengths to insure that.  The solution is as has been said here time and time again, kick FoxNews and main stream media to the curb and embrace citizen journalism.  Or you can be dumb.

The cry babies of the “Right” OUTED!


Kudos to investigative, now op-ed journalist Robert Parry for nailing what’s behind the Right’s new victimology game being played out during the Obama Administration. Everyone is NOW up and arms about TSA and their behavior at airports around the country. Strange I never heard such outrage when TSA was ransacking through our luggage during the Bush years. Parry

the wallowing in “victimhood,” especially among relatively privileged groups like white American Christian conservatives, can be particularly dangerous because these groups hold substantial political and media power. Thus, they are largely insulated from the consequences when some unstable individual carries out violence in reaction to their angry propaganda.

We saw this in 1995 when right-wing anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building. Though some on the Left linked that terrorist act, which killed 168 people, to the hateful rants of right-wing radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, the mainstream Washington press corps quickly rallied to Limbaugh’s defense.

Similarly, within hours of the Tucson shooting, which left Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition with a bullet hole through her brain, former Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz was out with a commentary establishing a defensive perimeter around former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who had put Giffords’s district in a rifle’s crosshairs.

Like others on the Right, Palin also has favored violent rhetoric in discussing the need to strike back at Democrats who supported health-care reform during the last session of Congress, as Giffords had done. “Don’t retreat, RELOAD!” Palin urged her followers.
While deeming Palin’s language and imagery “highly unfortunate” and “dumb,” Kurtz absolved Palin and other right-wingers of any responsibility for the Tucson slayings and termed any linkage a “sickening ritual of guilt by association.”

“It’s a long stretch from such excessive language and symbols to holding a public official accountable for a murderer who opens fire on a political gathering and kills a half-dozen people, including a 9-year-old girl,” Kurtz wrote from his new perch at TheDailyBeast.com.

We can only imagine how different the reaction would have been if a Muslim political activist had made inflammatory comments toward members of Congress and one of those targets had been gunned down. The U.S. government would be devising novel legal theories to lock the Muslim up along with many of his friends.

You can find the entire article here and I strongly encourage you to read it!

Where’s the waterboard?


I’m against waterboarding because I believe it’s illegal, but many on the right clamored for it when we were fighting our war on terror against people with Arabic names who, it was said, posed a threat to our Republic.  The waterboard, that instrument of death, was pointed to as something needed to extract information from even the most diehard terrorist in order to save lives.  When it was presented in those stark terms even some “progressives” demurred in their protests afraid they would be seen as anti-American, traitors or worse, threats themselves and singled out for persecution.  (Regrettably, the latter  may have happened a time or two.)  It didn’t matter that America was a signatory to a law that said we were against torture and would prosecute anyone who committed it, we were told waterboarding was necessary.

After the latest assault on a sitting member of Congress and the murder of a federal judge at the hands of an assassin who resembles a skinhead in all appearances and who had made references to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, there comes news that another congressman has received ominious  threats from places unknown, raising the specter that more death and destruction might be visited on members of Congress.  How can we stop what looks like certain carnage?  Waterboarding and profiling are two solutions offered up by those on the right when they spoke of Muslims and jihadists who were threats to the American way of life and yet not once, except on the pages of Miscellany101 have these tools not too long ago embraced by many Americans, been mention in the latest discourse.  Unfortunately, neither has the matter of whether what Loughner commited is terrorism been discussed much in the media and for obvious reasons.

Terrorists can’t be white, non-Muslims and waterboarding or profiling (racial profiling) can’t be applied to them because it obscures the debate about what’s good and what’s bad for America.  White crime is tolerated and ostensibly good for America…we can build case law around it, institutionalize it and put people to work combating it yet maintain a civil society, or so it seems.  Terrorism many on the right maintain is the purveyor of dark skinned or Muslim people who  threaten  our very civilization and we must fight them by any means necessary, even illegal means that we visit upon them and sometimes ourselves. We have bemoaned that double standard time and time again here on Miscellany101. The right seems to relish, embrace it and heap scorn on those who point it out.

The “wingnuts” on the right have for the past decade managed to escape responsibility for any miscalculations on the political stage.  The WMD fiasco was dismissed because Saddam was a bad guy and we needed to get rid of him anyway, the encroachment on our civil liberties was proposed because it’s government’s job to take care of us, during the administration of Bush, and during Obama because liberals elected him into office and he is a socialist and that’s what socialists do.  The spiteful and intemperate political rhetoric is necessary because it’s a “war” of ideas and too the hearts and minds of the people.  It seems every excuse is made that absolves the right from any responsibility for any misfortune that has occurred over the past decade even though they were the party in power for over half the time.

Now comes the political assassination in Tuscon, Arizona right after the virulent election campaigning of 2010 where the political opposition rode on the backs of people who believe in conspiracy theories that rival those concocted after 911.  This murder didn’t come in a vacuum; it was sparked by a constant barrage of speech that equated a democratically elected  political party  with the equally repugnant foe of terrorists, jihadists and Muslims; some even calling the President a secret Muslim, whose goal is to promote a socialist agenda.  It was against these policies that the right was shaped and the makers of these policies were the focal point of everyone’s  rage.  Loughner who it was claimed by neighbors/friends targeted Congresswoman Giffords wasn’t the only one.  Byron Williams who had a shootout with authorities after planning acts of violence against the ACLU, a favorite target of the right and the Tides Foundation, said he wanted to spark a civil war and he pointed to a radio head pundit as being a primary source of his information and motivation.   Yet the right, the more vocal among them, claim no responsibility for this violent swing in politics even while others among them are asking for de-escalation in the rhetoric. Fat chance.

This is the group that claims when it comes to their enemies that everyone of them is responsible for the crimes committed by one of them; that the idea of collective punishment, something practiced by the Israelis against Palestinians, is a legitimate way of dealing with a threat, not just the kind that a Loughner, or a Williams or the unknown assailant threatening Congressman Renny Davis pose.  So there will be no talk of waterboarding anyone to get information from them about the impending murder of another Congressman, now will there be calls for profiling white males who look like Loughner, or Williams and we won’t hear not one suggestion that the motivating factors behind their rage be investigated  or asked to condemn their murderous impulses because in almost every case they, these perpetrators of terrorism against the homeland are just like the pundits and politicians who use these acts of government coercion on others.  That is the story of America and her injustices and it will plague us for as long as we continue to ignore it.

 

Can I get a hell yeah!


2 Reps. Say They’ll Now Carry Guns In Their Home Districts

In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others in Arizona this weekend, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) say that they will carry firearms when in their home districts.

“You never think something like this will happen, but then it does,” Shuler told Politico “After the elections, I let my guard down. Now I know I need to have [my gun] on me. We’re going to need to do a much better job of with security at these events.”

According to Politico, each lawmakers holds a conceal and carry permit, and Shuler is encouraging his staffers to get their own.

Chaffetz also suggested U.S. Marshalls should guard members during events.

“Perhaps they could better assess threats in the home district,” he said. “It certainly ought to be on the table.”

Chaffetz added that he may ask local police to attend his town halls more often. Neither lawmaker plans to carry a weapon while in Washington DC.

I like the idea of self-reliance coming from two civil servants.  I hope they are as adamant about the rights of their constituents to personal safety as they are for themselves.  Moreover, I hope they don’t see this as an us vs. them dilemma where they have to protect themselves from the voters, only from the criminals among them.  I take note of the bipartisanship in this initiative and hope it’s catching in more ways than one.  I like this senator’s approach to the issue of personal safety and wish more thought like him.

Terrorism strikes again


Six people, as of this writing, were killed in a terrorist attack against federal officials in Arizona on Saturday.  That’s probably how the news would read if the attacker(s) were Muslim, but instead the “attack” is invariably called a “shooting spree” or merely a “shooting” and any notion that this was politically motivated is even further dispelled with descriptions of the shooter being mentally unstable, deranged, almost apolitical or so crazy that one cannot make any political sense out of what he did.

Jared Loughner, right,  is the man and there’s nothing about his identity to lead people to suspect anything other than the obvious…he quite simply is a murderer, like so many who’ve gone before him in this country.  What’s special about him is not the crime…..America is as violent as apple pie; we are a Nation steeped in violence and in many cases we inflict it on others.  Just ask the Iraqis.  What’s special about Loughner is he committed this crime at a time when we have politicized murder and led the country to believe that only a certain group of people are able to carry it out; that they lie in wait to unleash it against us and that all of our efforts should be aimed at this group of individuals exclusively to identify them, flush them out and bring them to justice.  It didn’t help that tangential notions like places of worship, choices of food, articles of clothing, ballot initiatives in Oklahoma, etc.,  got put into the mix to further confuse and infuriate us our goal was shortsighted and pretty damn near illegal.

In 2009 after Obama came into office and HIS Department of Homeland Security came into power and identified the treat to the homeland as being from right wing extremism, a hue and cry went up from those on the right lambasting government for targeting them….in much the same way as Homeland Security targeted others before Obama and it’s been denial ever since.  Perhaps even today, with the identity of this latest terrorist, captured alive I might add, there is every effort to distance him from the ideology or way of thinking he embraced. I opined somewhere that perhaps we might waterboard this captured shooter to know the extent of his act; whether he was helped in any way by others who might be ready to pounce on the next government official, since for now such a notion is likely,  and I was half joking.  Remember when “waterboarding” was considered appropriate for some in our not too distant past?

Why we aren’t more honest with one another during hard times is a case study for psychologists. Speaking of which I would like to mention one who I think has nailed down what ails us today.  In a piece entitled ‘Rudeness is a Neurotoxin’, Dr. Douglas Fields says we are a product of our environment and today’s environment is one of ‘profane language, hostilities and stress from which we adults, raised a generation ago, were carefully shielded.’  In other words the lack of civil discourse, the in-your-face, put-on-your-man pants attitude is the blowback which causes us, Americans,  to be terrorist and makes it perfectly acceptable in our minds, or rather the minds of those so affected, to kill men, women and children….there was a six year old girl killed yesterday.  After being battered for the last 10 years about the power of words and how important they are in giving ‘aid and comfort’ to the enemy when many of us rallied against government intrusion into our lives and the lives of others who were of no threat to us or our interest, we no doubt will be told how the words that rang in the ears of this latest terrorist are of no importance in talking about his heinous crime, and that, no doubt, will make us all feel better about what happened.

But really folks, what we have is an American terrorist, a murderer….all murder, especially against an unsuspecting victim is terror isn’t it?  He even used the tools of terrorism…..his suicidal confessional on his My Space page and Youtube were some of the trappings he had in common with other terrorists but he’s distinct from them in he’s more acceptable as a murderer than as a terrorist, because terrorists have a special place in the American psyche that only people of certain persuasions can occupy and therein lies the problem.  We have made race, religion, the standard by which we make things legal or illegal or how we categorize crime and criminals.  Once again, despite all the trappings of being an advanced society, mature and wiser after  all these over 230 years, we still have the inclination to either raise or lower the bar depending on who the perpetrator/victim is.  Jared Loughner is either a terrorist or a murderer, and Major Hassan Nidal is either a terrorist or a murder and they both belong on the same page in American history with the same designation applied to them and if they’re not then we still too color conscious to be just.  It’s our call America.

 

UPDATE

One has to wonder whether the news that this attempted assassination was religiously inspired, anti-Semitic in origin might make the “terrorist” label more palatable.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.

“The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.

In this writer’s opinion, however, all of that is irrelevant.  It is now what it was then, an act of premeditated terror which resulted in the deaths of 6 humans and the maiming of many more.  Are the parents of the 9 year old girl killed by the assassin any more relieved from their anguish and grief that because one of the survivor’s of his terror was Jewish, therefore the crime which killed their daughter should be considered an act of terrorism?   Hardly!  The broadest most inclusive definition, ‘any actions that endanger human life or violate U.S. laws’ is indeed the best.  Not that it would mean anything more in terms of a punishment, but it removes the racist element of the term and hopefully makes truly combating and solving terrorism more urgent.