According to the denizens of the rabid right, the polls are all wrong and the election is controlled by a nefarious plot to cheat Mitt Romney out of an election he would win easily if things were on the up and up.
That’s the message from the bowels of righteous right Republicanism these days.
“I believe if the election were held today, Romney would win by four or five points,” Dick Morris claimed on Fox News last week. Morris predicted Romney would win Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
But don’t polls show Romney trailing in all four states?
That’s all part of the plot, Morris says.
“People need to understand that the polling this year is the worst it has ever been,” he added.
Rush Limbaugh, whose relationship with reality is tenuous at best, says the polls are driven by the grand conspiracy.
Said Limbaugh to his listeners last week:
They are designed to do exactly what I have warned you to be vigilant about, and that is to depress you and suppress your vote. These two polls today are designed to convince everybody this election is over.
To bolster their fantasies, the Romney partisans flock to a laughable web site — unskewedpolls.com — which alters the final results of polls by adding more Republicans to the mix and giving the GOP candidate a mythical lead.
So Limbaugh cites the skewed polls as fact. So does Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the tea party favorite who flamed out in the GOP primary.
Then they use the Internet to spread their falsehoods as fact.
Professional pollsters tell Capitol Hill Blue that this strategy is insulting to those who poll for a living.
Republican polls Bill McInturff, a respected pro whose partner is Romney’s pollster, says the number one job of any good pollster — Democrat or Republican — is to “get it right.”
“It’s the Prime Directive of pollster survivial,” he adds.
Just another example of how the “Information Superhighway” is — in reality — just the “misinformation cowpath.”
And that cowpath is littered with a lot of bullshit.
It’s no secret that we at Capitol Hill Blue hold politicians, political parties and partisans in low esteem.
Actually, that’s an understatement. We think politicians, political parties are scum of the earth and those who buy into their fantasies are delusional at best.
America doesn’t need another politician at the helm.
We don’t need a celebrity.
We don’t need a pre-packaged, consultant-molded, TV-friendly candidate.
We need a leader.
Is there one out there?
Not in the current, pathetic crop available for election to the House, Senate or White House.
Sadly, the choices for those to represent us and/or to lead this nation will be made by brain-dead voters who long-ago abandoned independent thought and make their decisions now based on blind party affiliation and minds filled with propaganda from the raving lunatics who masquerade as purveyors of information.
Conservatives genuflect at the feet of loons like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity while liberals accept slanted garbage from Rachel Maddow on Keith Olbermann of the left. Olbermann, thankfully, is off the air for the moment but he will be back, just like a bad check or diarrhea.
Political parties don’t recruit leaders. They select celebrities or “game changers” who lack the skills necessary for the job. That’s how we ended up with Barack Obama in the White House and pretenders like Sarah Palin.
We can’t say this often enough: America cannot be saved by those who think of themselves as Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals or any other political stereotype.
Months after he clinched the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney is still struggling to win over skeptical conservatives.
And the longer he waits to name a running mate, the more time conservative activists have to try to coax him to name one of their own — such as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
“Why Not Paul Ryan?” asks an editorial in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. Ryan heads the House Budget Committee and is author of a House-passed budget that would slash federal spending and overhaul entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Romney’s latest problem with conservatives flowed from a spokeswoman’s reflections this week on the benefits of the Massachusetts health care law. That Romney-proposed law remains a touchy topic, since it was a model for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul — which Romney now condemns.
In criticizing an outside group’s ad linking Romney to the cancer death of a laid-off steelworker’s wife, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told Fox News, “If people had been in Massachusetts under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.”
Some conservatives called that a tacit endorsement of an Obama-like health insurance mandate. “That’s a potential gold mine for the Obamaites,” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show.
The president’s campaign refuses to ask the group to pull the spot.
Responding, Romney told Bill Bennett’s radio program “Morning in America” on Thursday, “I don’t know what happened to a campaign of hope and change. I thought he was a new kind of politician.”
Romney’s continuing need to stroke the Republican base could complicate later efforts to sway crucial independent voters his way.
Romney raised cash in New York Thursday while his campaign prepared for a bus trip through battleground states and a decision on a running mate. Obama campaigned in Colorado for a second day.
Libertarian Texas Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul Sunday said victims of tornadoes that spread death and destruction across the South and Midwest don’t deserve federal aid.
Said Paul on CNN’s State of the Union:
There is no such thing as federal money. Federal money is just what they seal from the state sand steal from you and me. The people who live in tornado alley, just as I live in hurricane alley, they should have insurance.
“To say that any accident that happens in the country, send in FEMA, send in the money, the government has all this money…it is totally out of control and it’s not efficient,” he said.
Paul also appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and said he isn’t buying right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh‘s apology for calling a law student “slut.”
I don’t think he’s very apologetic. He’s doing it because some people were taking their advertisements off his program. It was his bottom line that he was concerned about. Yes, I think he should have apologized. I had said he used very crude language. And I think he gets over the top sometimes.
Limbaugh last week called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she supported President Barack Obama’s new policy on insurance coverage of contraceptives.
Limbaugh’s comments brought an onslaught of complaints from both the right and the left along with cancellations by advertisers on his radio show.
Said Limbaugh in his “apology:”
My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh apologized Saturday to a Georgetown University law student he had branded a “slut” and “prostitute” after fellow Republicans as well as Democrats criticized him and several advertisers left his program.
The student, Sandra Fluke, had testified to congressional Democrats in support of their national health care policy that would compel her college to offer health plans that cover her birth control.
“My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir,” Limbaugh said on his website. “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”
Attempts to reach Fluke by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful.
Fluke had been invited to testify to a House committee about her school’s health care plan that does not include contraception. Republican lawmakers barred her from testifying during that hearing, but Democrats invited her back and she spoke to the Democratic lawmakers at an unofficial session.
President Barack Obama, whose landmark health care overhaul requires many institutions to provide birth control coverage, telephoned her from the Oval Office on Friday to express his support.
The issue has been much debated in the presidential race, with Republican candidates particularly criticizing the Obama plan’s requirements on such employers as Catholic hospitals. Democrats — and many Republican leaders, too — have suggested the issue could energize women to vote for Obama and other Democrats in November.
Limbaugh was not swayed by Fluke’s statements before the House panel.
He said on Wednesday, “What does it say about the college coed … who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.”
He dug in a day later, refusing to give ground.
“If we’re going to have to pay for this, then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke,” Limbaugh said. “And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we’re getting for our money.”
He also asked the 30-year-old Fluke: “Who bought your condoms in junior high?”
And on Friday, still defiant even after Democrats beat back Republican challenges to the new health care law, Limbaugh scoffed at the Democrats’ talk of a conservative “war on women.”
“Amazingly, when there is the slightest bit of opposition to this new welfare entitlement being created, then all of a sudden we hate women. We want ’em barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,” he said. “And now, at the end of this week, I am the person that the women of America are to fear the most.”
By Saturday, six advertisers had pulled sponsorship of Limbaugh’s show and Republicans distanced themselves from the comments.
Republican Newt Gingrich said reporters were more excited to talk about Limbaugh’s language than Obama’s record.
“I think that’s a vastly bigger issue than anything a radio host says,” Gingrich told reporters in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Even so, Limbaugh decided to yield late Saturday.
“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week,” Limbaugh said in his statement. “In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.”
But he also said the entire debate was “absolutely absurd.”
“In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom, nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a presidential level,” he said.
Limbaugh’s critics were not swayed by his statement.
“In all seriousness, this isn’t an apology. It’s a public relations statement. It’s hollow and deceitful. Don’t be fooled,” tweeted the account StopRush, the effort online to pressure advertisers to abandon the popular host.
And even after the apology, some advertisers still planned to abandon Limbaugh.
“Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show,” Carbonite CEO David Friend said on his company’s Facebook page. “We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”
The latest furor involved putting in place a requirement in the president’s health care law mandating that religious-affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities include free birth control coverage in their employee health plans. Georgetown, a Jesuit institution, does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan.
Many Republicans and some religious organizations accused Obama of waging a war on religion. As protests mounted, Obama said religious employers could opt out, but their insurers still must pay for the birth control coverage.
In his apology, Limbaugh repeated his aversion to the rule.
“I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities,” he said. “What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?”
Associated Press reporter Ken Thomas in Bowling Green, Ohio, contributed to this report.
Stepping into an emerging culture clash over women, President Barack Obama made a supportive phone call Friday to a law student who testified before Congress about the need for birth control coverage, only to be called a “slut” by Rush Limbaugh.
For Obama, it was an emphatic plunge into the latest flare-up on social issues. Democratic officeholders and liberal advocacy groups have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women” because of GOP stances on contraception and abortion rights, and Limbaugh’s tirade on his radio talk show was seen as an escalation.
In addition to her call from the president, the third-year Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, was backed by members of Congress, women’s groups, and the administration and faculty at her Roman Catholic university.
Demands for Limbaugh’s sponsors to pull their ads from his show rocketed through cyberspace, and at least four companies, Quicken Loans, LegalZoom online legal document service, and bedding retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, bowed to the pressure.
Obama considers Limbaugh’s remarks “reprehensible,” according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. He said the president called Fluke to “express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks” and to thank her for speaking out on an issue of public policy.
“The fact that our political discourse has become debased in many ways is bad enough,” Carney said. “It is worse when it’s directed at a private citizen who was simply expressing her views.”
Obama reached Fluke by phone as she was waiting to go on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
“He’s really a very a kind man,” Fluke later told The Associated Press. “He just called to express concern for me and to make sure I was OK and to say that he supported me and to thank me for speaking out about something that’s so important to so many women.”
As for Limbaugh’s remarks, Fluke said, “I just thought that they were really outside the bounds of civil discourse.”
By calling Fluke and injecting himself into the Limbaugh controversy, Obama sent a message to more than one law student. He was reaching out to young voters and women — two groups whose support he needs in this re-election year. And he was underscoring that the White House, despite bungling its rollout of the birth control policy, sees it as a winning issue and welcomes Obama’s name next to it.
Fluke was given a chance to talk to Congress on Feb. 23, even though lawmakers were on a break and just a few Democratic allies were on hand to cheer her on. The previous week, a Republican-controlled House committee had rejected Democrats’ request that she testify on the Obama administration’s policy requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to health insurance that covers birth control.
Republicans have faulted parts of Obama’s health care reform as unconstitutional, including an initial requirement, since withdrawn by the president, that contraceptives be covered under the insurance policies of businesses, including those with religious affiliations.
Fluke said that Georgetown, a Jesuit institution, does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan and that contraception can cost a woman more than $3,000 during law school. She spoke of a friend who had an ovary removed because the insurance company wouldn’t cover the prescription birth control she needed to stop the growth of cysts.
On Wednesday, Limbaugh unleashed a lengthy and often savage verbal assault on Fluke.
“What does it say about the college coed … who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?” Limbaugh said. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.”
He went on to suggest that Fluke distribute sex tapes of herself.
“If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it,” he said. “We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
The backlash began quickly and showed no signs of abating as scores of Democratic members of Congress denounced Limbaugh and urged their GOP colleagues to do likewise.
The Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, responded through a spokesman.
“The Speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation,” said Boehner aide Michael Steel.
Later, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the committee that blocked Fluke’s original testimony, issued a letter repudiating Limbaugh’s comments but also excoriating the Democrats and their supporters.
“I ask that you join me in a broader condemnation of the attacks on people of faith … and the regrettable personal attacks that have come from individuals on both sides of the issue,” Issa wrote to Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Boehner and Issa are among the GOP leaders accused of waging the purported “war on women.” The topic has been cited often in recent fundraising pitches by many liberal advocacy groups, and they recently have shown more aggressiveness.
In early February, after a three-day furor, the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity dropped plans to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood, a leading abortion provider. And more recently, after incurring protests and ridicule, Republican politicians in Virginia backed away from a bill that would have required invasive vaginal ultrasounds as a pre-condition for many abortions.
Amid this controversy, polls show that Obama’s support among women has been increasing.
At Georgetown, more than 130 faculty members signed a letter praising Fluke for her “grace and strength” and condemning Limbaugh’s remarks. The university president, John J. DeGioia, did likewise.
He said Limbaugh and others responded to Fluke “with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.”
On Thursday, aware of the firestorm he had ignited, Limbaugh was unapologetic.
“I think this is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious” he said on his show. “The left has been thrown into an outright conniption fit!”
On Friday, still defiant, Limbaugh scoffed at the concept of a conservative “war on women.”
“Amazingly, when there is the slightest bit of opposition to this new welfare entitlement being created, then all of a sudden we hate women! We want ’em barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,” he said. “And now, at the end of this week, I am the person that the women of America are to fear the most.”
Longtime Republican strategist Terry Holt suggested voters might see Obama’s response to an over-the-top radio host as “pure pandering” to woo women’s votes.
“This conversation seems to serve Rush Limbaugh and President Obama equally well,” Holt said.
Fluke, in Washington, issued a statement expressing gratitude for the support she’s received and resolve to continue speaking out.
“No woman deserves to be disrespected in this manner. This language is an attack on all women, and has been used throughout history to silence our voices,” she said.
“The millions of American women who have and will continue to speak out in support of women’s health care and access to contraception prove that we will not be silenced.”
Rick Santorum, one of the Republican presidential contenders seeking to oppose Obama, commented to CNN about Limbaugh’s remarks.
“He’s being absurd,” Santorum said. “But that’s, you know, an entertainer can be absurd.”
While campaigning in Ohio for the Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney was asked about Limbaugh’s comments and steered his answer away from the uproar.
“It’s not the language I would have used,” Romney said after a campaign event in Cleveland. “But I’m focusing on the issues that I think are significant in the country today and that’s why I’m here talking about jobs in Ohio.”
Associated Press Writer Kasie Hunt contributed to this report from Cleveland, Ohio.
1787 – America’s religion free Constitution signed into law
1967 – Mission Impossible premiers on broadcast TV
COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!
“Wow. That was neat.”
“Let me be straight with you – I like George Bush. I think he’s a man of principle, a man of faith. I think he’s got a backbone of steel and he’s a real, genuine, big-time leader … He’s a consequential figure for his time. We don’t see it right now.”
FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:
Is our citizens crazy?
Who are we?
How did we get here?
Where do we go from here?
What the effing hell is going on?
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Here’s a quicky quiz. Who said these wonderful words?
a) Sarah Palin
b) Newt Gingrich
c) Mitch McConnell
d) John Boehner
e) Jesus Christ
f) Niccolo Machiaveli
g) Joseph Goebbels
Here’s another, one that applies even better to today’s Tea Baggers:
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
a) Grover Nordquist, anti-Government a—hole
b) Amy Holmes, currently a GOP vagina free @_%#
c) Karl Rove, currently defanged vampire
d) Dick Cheney, former Vice and aid to former president
e) Koch Industry’s wholly owned subsidiary, Dick Armey
f) Jesus Christ, some make believe dude who never wrote a word in the bible
g) Phil Gramm, UBS’ wholly owned male prostitute and briber
h) Joseph Goebbels, the poster child for today’s Tea Baggers
OK. How about this one? Come on. This is EASY!
“Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character”
a) Michael Steele, GOP’s poster child for hiring the mentally handicapped
b) Michelle Bachmann, who waits for god’s permission to run for president
c) Sarah Palin, you betcha.
d) Sean Hannity, as his pseudo-Veteran’s Support group becomes part of a criminal investigation for fraud.
e) Glenn Beck, as his pseudo-Veteran’s Support group becomes part of a criminal investigation for fraud.
f) Sharron Angle, “How Dare you ask me real questions? That’s so unfair!”
g) Jan Brewer, “How am I a racist? Let me count the weighs.”
h) Joseph Goebbels, Confirmed sperm donor resulting in Rush Limbaugh’s birth (Google “Santorum” for the source of sperm)
Just three more, just for fun:
“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”
a) Michelle Bachmann
b) Sarah Palin
c) Sean Hannity
d) Bill O’Rarely
e) Rush Limbaugh
f) Napoleon Bonapart
g) Sharron Angle
h) Jan Brewer
“Women are nothing but machines for producing children.”
a) Christine O’Donnell
b) Nadya Suleman
c) Newt Gingrich
d) Sharron Angle
e) Joseph Goebbels
f) Napoleon Bonepart
g) Jesus Christ
h) John Boehner
“I’ll tell you who should be tortured and killed at
Guantanamo – every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress. ”
a) Dick Cheney
b) David Addington
c) Alberto Gonzales
d) Sean Hannity
e) Sarah Palin
f) Michelle Bachmann
Glenn Beck, the man behind Saturday’s rally at the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, has built an empire around his own voice that grew exponentially with his move to Fox News Channel and President Barack Obama‘s election to the White House.
Beck has become a soundtrack for conservative activists and members of the tea party movement, angry and frustrated with Obama and other Democrats in a highly charged election year. Beck suggests Obama is a socialist moving the country away from its ideals of limited government. Beck’s critics contend that he exploits fear with conspiracy theories and overheated rhetoric.
Organizers say the “Restoring Honor” rally isn’t about politics. It’s to pay tribute to America’s military personnel and others “who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.” It also is to promote the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and services to family members of military members.
The event at the Lincoln Memorial — where 47 years ago King delivered his speech — is expected to feature 2008 vice presidential nominee and potential 2012 White House candidate Sarah Palin. Organizers have a permit for up to 300,000 people at the rally, although Beck has said he expects 100,000. Counter-rallies with the Rev. Al Sharpton and others also are planned.
Beck, 46, is a former “morning zoo” radio DJ who cleaned up after years of drug abuse in the 1990s and switched to talk radio. CNN’s then-named Headline News network gave Beck his first TV home, and he switched to Fox in January 2009, shortly after Obama was inaugurated.
His Fox show created an immediate sensation, as Beck spun his theories with an emotional fervor that Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert quickly dubbed “crank up the crazy and rip off the knob.” MSNBC rival Keith Olbermann likens him to Lonesome Rhodes, the rags-to-riches everyman who spoke to a nation before he was unmasked as a fraud in the 1957 film “A Face in the Crowd.”
In interviews, Beck sees himself more as broadcaster Howard Beale, the “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore” character in the 1976 movie “Network.”
He was the driving force in stories about former Obama adviser Van Jones, who resigned after Beck publicized some of his past statements. Jones was linked to efforts suggesting a government role in the 2001 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans.
Beck’s own statement last year that Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people” led to an advertiser boycott and protests from civil rights groups.
His Washington rally has attracted attention and criticism because it is taking place on the anniversary of King’s speech and in the same spot. Beck has said it will be the moment when “we reclaim the civil rights movement.”
His own Fox News colleague, Greta Van Susteren, said he should move his event. She said he should do it for sensitivity reasons, much as both she and Beck argue that an Islamic Center should not be built near the site of the World Trade Center, where terrorists struck in 2001.
“It does not help the country on so many fronts if we poke a stick in eyes,” Van Susteren wrote on her blog.
Beck has said he wouldn’t have picked the date if he had known about the anniversary. But he rejected attempts to move it, arguing that what he will say is consistent with King’s “message of focusing on the content of a person’s character above all else.” King’s niece Alveda King is scheduled to speak.
The size of the crowd will be a visible manifestation, beyond radio and television ratings, of how Beck has connected with people.
He was already the fifth most-listened-to radio talk show host when he moved to Fox, and he’s since vaulted to third “with a bullet” behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, says Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade publication Talkers.
More than his rivals, Beck has led the way in turning himself into a multifaceted brand. Besides the radio and TV shows, he goes on concert tours, he write books, he sells fans access to an “Insider” account for $74.95 a year and he sells his own advertising on his website.
“He’s a model for a 21st century talk show host and businessman,” Harrison said.
On his website, Beck offers access to “Beck University,” a series of lectures. He sells hoodies touting his “9.12 Project,” an attempt to recreate the national unity of the day following the terrorist attacks. He sells copies of his own Fusion magazine, so named for the “fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” that he calls his shows.
Beck and Fox colleague Bill O’Reilly occasionally bring their talk to stages with their “Bold & Fresh” theater tour.
And recently, Beck has begun a “morning prayer” podcast of inspirational messages that fans can access at 7:05 a.m.
On Thursday, he brought Father Terrence Henry of the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, to deliver a prayer — and promote Beck’s rally.
“Like Paul Revere, you are spreading the alarm,” Henry said.
At the request of President Bush, the Department of Homeland Security began a review of potential domestic threats. After an extended study, in April of 2009, it concluded that the biggest threat was coming from right wing organizations:
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that the combination of environmental factors that echo the 1990s, including heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms restrictions and returning military veterans, as well as several new trends, including an uncertain economy and a perceived rising influence of other countries, may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements. To the extent that these factors persist, rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength.
(U//FOUO) Unlike the earlier period, the advent of the Internet and other information- age technologies since the 1990s has given domestic extremists greater access to information related to bomb-making, weapons training, and tactics, as well as targeting of individuals, organizations, and facilities, potentially making extremist individuals and groups more dangerous and the consequences of their violence more severe. New technologies also permit domestic extremists to send and receive encrypted communications and to network with other extremists throughout the country and abroad, making it much more difficult for law enforcement to deter, prevent, or preempt a violent extremist attack.
There are three individuals who appear to be fomenting violence, and who happen to have superb access to the general public. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. It is easy to ignore these buffoons, like, offering to help Rush move to Costa Rica, using a vat of Viagra and Oxycontin as lures, replaying Jon Stewart’s dead-on portrait of Beck, or laughing at the transparent greed and stupidity that covers Sarah like a perfectly tailored Needless Mark-up suit. It would also be a mistake.
It is easy (since I do it so often) to pull out their own words and use them as evidence against them. But that is not enough.
As the DHS report points out, ” the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be a driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization.” This is not some dusty report that can be glanced at, then put back on the shelves. This is an accurate, even understated, warning about a clear and present danger that affects our country. Rumors that President Obama will outlaw the private ownership of guns or ammo continue to spread through the intertubes. Dipping my toe into that filthy, retch-filled stream, I can assure you that those people do believe in three things, guns, the bible, and that liberals/socialists/progressives/democrats are conspiring against them, working on destroying their freedoms.
If anything, the volume and the tone are increasing. The passage of health care reform has become their rallying cry, even though most of them would greatly benefit from it. Window breaking? Threats directed to the children and grandchildren of Democratic office holders? Believing that Obama is a foreign born Muslim, a supporter of terrorists, and the anti-christ?
When you sit down, and put all these elements together, it paints a very worrying picture, one of street battles, riots, and out of control mobs, terrorizing those who dare disagree with them. When (not if) that happens, every liberal, agnostic, democrat and anyone who favors some religious faith outside of their preferred conservative evangelical or baptist cult, better be prepared. I would even venture to suggest that lynchings might occur.
What is worse is that Rush, Glenn and Sarah are deliberately making things worse. Instead of telling their followers to behave, they spin fact with blatant lies, simply to rile and anger their base even further. If anything, these three have gotten worse over the past few days. Their followers are reacting as expected. It does not bode well for our future.
Honestly, where in any decent, civilized society is there room for Sarah’s latest tweet, “Don’t retreat, RELOAD?” While some may dismiss that as silly rhetoric, or even humor, it is anything but. One only has to recall some of the weirder moments during the last presidential campaign, especially the Sarah Palin rallies. Some of those people were not only whacked-out, conspiracy nuts, they were more than willing to take “justice” as they define it, and use whatever means necessary to achieve it, including violence. And they are armed.
Yesterday, I spent a scotch or three with one of my best sources into the minds of these right wing nuts. That’s because he proudly describes himself as one. Carries guns and a bible in his pickmeup truck, built a survivalist outpost in a Michigan forest, and is online frequently, with many like minded people. He gets all his news from Rush and Glenn, and he firmly believes that every statement they make is the gospel truth. He was as unconsolable as he was unreasonable, swearing, even screaming how Obama, “that fucking nigger African muslim” was taking away his freedoms. Like many in his group, facts are immaterial. On the issues of liberal politics, or a pragmatic, successful president, he and his fellow right wingers are as certain about their beliefs as the wildest home-schooling, bible beating, ultra-conservative evangelical is about the “theory” (insert extreme scorn here) of Evolution.
That raises the obvious question. What do we do? Do we radicalize our own followers, hoping that our far larger numbers will intimidate the nut jobs of America and force them to hide out in their survivalist caves and mobile homes? Do we arm ourselves?
Dare we silence them?
Of all the constitutional protections we have, two of them top my list: Freedom of speech, freedom of (and from) religion. As much as I disagree with Beck and Limbaugh, I would fight to protect their right to spew the garbage they air each day. As anyone who has read my sermons before, as much as I attack religion, I also fully support the right of people to choose a religion as they see fit. So, silencing them is simply out of bounds. It goes against everything that we stand for. If we head down that slippery slope, we eventually have to select our censor, the person or group empowered to determine what is permissible speech. In no time at all, we will find ourselves victims of that very same censor. No, shutting them up would be counter-productive, and would eventually bite us in the ass. It would also anger and energize their followers and could even bring the eventual violence that we will face closer, faster, and without time for us to prepare.
One solution, only a partial one, is to come to grips with the situation. we have to realize the danger that we face, and the factors that can make it even more dangerous. We have to recognize that violence, domestic, American based, societal violence is not only possible, but probable. We also have to realize the truth about Glenn, Rush, and Sarah, uncomfortable as it may be. We have to admit that in doing what they do, these three musket-ears are superb spokespersons. They can and do energize a similar minded group of people who truly believe that their way of life is under attack. They feed bad (and worse) information intended to keep the listeners angry. We also must realize that a very large, extremely well trained group can easily be convinced to join them. As the DHS report states:
— (U//FOUO) Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.
As an aside, Rush and Glenn were broadcast to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis. Keep that in mind when you consider PTSD, mental and physical damage, the nonstop trauma, and emotional drain that living in a combat zone has caused our brave troops. Recall that they have far greater needs for social acceptance and interaction, something that has been missing, possibly for years for most troops. After receiving such one-sided news for so long, they are even more susceptible.
Once we realize and admit that we have a problem, various solutions come up. The DHS outlined its proposals in their report. It makes for good reading. But, we, the people, should also act. In fact, it would be foolish if we didn’t. Whenever the three musket-ears do or say something vile or unforgivable, we must call them on it. In public, online, to advertisers, to editors and producers. We need to protest them, in non-violent ways, and show them (and their followers that we will not be intimidated or kept quiet. A show of numbers, in public, does far more good than you might imagine. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary. A great example of how to out these creeps is in TPM today, An Open Letter to Conseratives, a great and accurate read. We need more of that kind of writing. We need to support talented writers like that who can get the message out.
We cannot stop with Glenn, Rush, or Sarah. Those three are simply the best known, and have a large impact on their followers. Our society is under attack elsewhere. At least Canadians showed how rational and committed they are to a civilized society. Their (calm, nonviolent) protest was so large that Anne Coulter cancelled her first college stop. If only she were greeted that way here. BRAVO, CANADA!
Or, take Texas. Please.
The Texas board that trashed US history, and rewrote it with a bigoted, religious, conservative theme is unforgivable. We cannot let it stand. We need to contact our own school boards and demand that they boycott those school book sources, until rational changes are made to those books. We need to gather in front of the publisher, and in front of members of the board, and express our outrage. Once those ridiculous changes make their way into our schools, the fertile minds of America’s youth risk serious, possibly permanent damage. Teach a child a fairy tale, and the science that disproves it is far harder to learn in later years.
If you wonder why Thomas Jefferson was erased from America’s history, perhaps this one quote will explain:
I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.
Yeah, that would do it.
Here are the final words in that DHS report. They are well worth considering:
(U//FOUO) A number of law enforcement actions and external factors were effective in limiting the militia movement during the 1990s and could be utilized in today’s climate.
— (U//FOUO) Following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, the militia movement declined in total membership and in the number of organized groups because many members distanced themselves from the movement as a result of the intense scrutiny militias received after the bombing.
— (U//FOUO) Militia membership continued to decline after the turn of the millennium as a result of law enforcement disruptions of multiple terrorist plots linked to violent rightwing extremists, new legislation banning paramilitary training, and militia frustration that the “revolution” never materialized.
— (U//FOUO) Although the U.S. economy experienced a significant recovery and many perceived a concomitant rise in U.S. standing in the world, white supremacist groups continued to experience slight growth.
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.