Posts Tagged ‘Wingnuts’

The Tiller Murder

Monday, June 1st, 2009

by Brien Jackson

Kansas doctor George Tiller was murdered in his church as he was passing out bulletins to arriving congregation members yesterday, culminating a campaign to harrass, threaten, and attack the doctor who was one of the few people in the country willing to perform third trimester abortions. He was shot by one George Roeper, a bit of an all purpose wingnut who was active in anti-choice group Operation Rescue, a tax protestor, and part of the sovereign citizen movement.

It’s of course ironic that the “pro-life” movement has spent so much time trying to get Tiller (Tiller was shot in 1993, his clinic was bombed in 1986, and he’s been the target of violent rhetoric for nearly 3 decades). Tiller’s practice was a tragic one, but not having a Tiller would have been just as, if not more, tragic. And it really does shine a new light on the wingnutosphere’s collective freak out over the DHS report warning law enforcement to be on the lookout for right-wing terrorism doesn’t it? Because that’s exactly what this is; terrorism, by any definition of the word. 

I don’t have a whole more to add because social issue stuff isn’t really my thing, other than that I hope this leads to something of a crackdown on both abortion clinic protestors and inflammatory rhetoric in the media. I respect people’s right to protest, but the abortion clinic protests are too often about harrassing both the doctors who perform the perfectly legal procedures and the women/couples who seek them. And while I don’t support “speech codes” or whatever, there needs to be more culpability for media figures who use inflammatory rhetoric to drive ratings, with no concern for the violence they’re inciting. I agree with Ezra, Congress should use this as a catalyst to act quickly on both fronts.

They Like It, They Really Like It

Monday, April 27th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

E.D. Kain, on torture apologist conservatives:

Beyond that, it seems very foolish – very short-sighted – for torture apologists to continue this charade.  It may seem necessary now, to many of them, to rewrite history or clean the slate or whatever – but in the end can this really be anything more than political suicide?  Maybe for the architects – the Cheney’s and the Yoo’s – it makes sense.  They face a real (if unlikely) chance at prosecution.  When the media finally starts using the word “torture” instead of “harsh interrogation tactics” and all of this comes spilling out – the pictures, the video recordings, etc. – is this the side you want to be on?  Standing over there in the spotlight with Cheney and Bush and Bybee and Yoo?

History is merciless.

There’s certainly a seemingly obvious incentive here for the conservative movement, and the Republican Party, to use the opportunity presented by the release of the torture memos to put some distance between themselves and the Bush administration, and many commentors have noted this. On the other hand, I’m not sure people aren’t overestimating this factor. It’s not, after all, the case that we really are just now learning all of these things, and movement conservatives are still reflexively defending all things Bush. This discussion has been ongoing since roughly 2002, and most of the “apologists” have been vigorous defenders of these “enhanced interrogation techniques” since day one. In other words, they’re not just defending Bush & Cheney, they’re defending themselves, and their own positions.

On the other hand, I think it’s time to start admitting the obvious; a lot of these people are just sadists who think that torture is good for its own sake. This is the mentality that’s on display every time a torture defender forgets the “ticking time bomb scenario” or something else they saw on 24 and veers into the realm of “well these are bad people, so who cares if we smacked them around” territory. This is a branch who feel that the detainees deserve everything they get, or worse, and so for them, torture is an end in and of its own right, a sick sort of catharsis. Consider Andy McCarthy, a man the conservative movement regards as a serious legal mind:

“As far as mental suffering is concerned, that involves at least the creation of a fear of imminent death,” said McCarthy. “While it’s a favorite talking point that people were waterboarded 180 times … it undercuts the fear that there was going to be imminent death. After the first or second time you get the point that there’s no death to be feared here.”

I’m hardly the first to point out that this makes no sense. After all, if the detainee does come to learn that he’s in no danger whatsoever from waterboarding the more he endures it, and presuming McCarthy accepts the notion that waterboarding does not induce “severe pain and suffering,” wouldn’t waterboarding someone 183 times in a month (just over 6 times a day, or once every 4 hours) be about the most ineffective thing you could possibly do? Wouldn’t the “interrogation technique” become ineffective by about day 3?

There’s simply no logical conclusion to be drawn from this, other than that Andrew McCarthy and the rest of the right’s torture apologists do, in fact, approve of the use of torture in general. That they realize the nature of American politics won’t let them say that in so many words doesn’t make it any less true. The interesting question is not why the right continues to defend the torture regime they whole-heartedly approved of all along, but how the American right got to this point in the first place.

Still Wetting Themselves

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

I really don’t get the right’s approach to Guantanamo Bay. You’d think they’d take the opportunity of a popular President closing the place down to let that little nagging issue fade off into the background with little fanfare. Instead they seem bound and determined to remind everyone why they don’t like Republicans, and that for all their bluster about how terrorists can “bring it on,” they’re really nothing more than very scared, very irrational babies. Like monsters under the bed afraid. Take Jim Geraghty’s argument for keeping detainees in Guantanamo Bay:

The options discussed so far are right next to a nuclear power plant in Southern California, right next to the facility for educational and training programs for foreign military students at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas*, and right in the middle of northern Charleston, South Carolina, three miles or so from an airport.

If a detainee were to escape Guantanamo Bay, they would have the option of running to Cubans or sharks, and getting roughly the same warm welcome from both. A detainee who escapes from any of the U.S. sites is within quick reach of terror targets, potential hostages, means of escape, etc.

Can someone explain to me how, exactly, someone is going to bust out of a maximum security prison in, one assumes, a prison issued orange jumpsuit, without any money, unarmed, etc., and then proceed to blow up a nuclear power plant? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like Geraghty’s been watching too much Burn Notice or something and he imagines that these detainees are some sort of amazingly sophisticated, highly trained, fighting machine. But let’s be honest, they’re not. They use IED’s and suicide attacks for crying out loud, not exactly the kind of thing you see former SEALS do on teevee.

Geraghty goes on:

It’s hard to picture militia members, the Crips, Bloods, or what have you doing something as extreme as, say, crashing a plane into the prison to faciliate an escape and/or provide martyrdom to their brethren.

The blind sheik has been in US prison for a decade without any attempt to spring him or “martyr” him. And again, the problem is that Geraghty just isn’t operating out of the real world. Ultimately al Qaeda is much like the mob, and there’s no honor among thieves. Bin Laden doesn’t give a damn about Khalid Muhammed or any other of his minions, they’re all expendable. But that doesn’t jive with Geraghty’s conception of these people as crazy radicals motivated by insane religion representing a highly sophisticated existential threat to the United States. And the problem isn’t that Geraghty and the rest of the right are stupid, per se, it’s simply that they’re not operating from reality. Instead, they’re working out of a right-wing cocoon where all of this nonsense is accepted as a given and never challenged.

After all, they think Jack Bauer is real.