White Terrorist Apologia

Professor Juan Cole has written a powerful piece on White Terrorism that explains why Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner’s shooting spree was a political act.  Loughner was undoubtedly mentally ill.  He was rejected by Army recruiting because of drug use.  Disturbing accounts of his behavior while attending community college are now being reported by the press.  He was clearly a ticking time bomb with access to high powered weapons.   All of these, however, do not change the basic political nature of his closing diatribes on MySpace and on Youtube.   The right wing is trying to use one cite of The Communist Manifesto as a favorite book to frame him as a leftie when evidence is becoming more clear that he was probably an extremist libertarian. The two most outspoken libertarians at the moment are Glenn Beck and Ron Paul. They are not leftist or Democratic. They are happily situated in the Right Wing of the Republican party.

Apologia for white terrorism is every where today and coming from the usual suspects.  High among them is any media outlet with Rupert Murdoch financing and ownership. Remember all the right wing outrage over the Homeland Security report citing the possible increase in young, white male domestic terrorism?

(U//FOUO) The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.

I’ve included Glenn Beck’s reaction to the report.  Listen to the characteristics he describes as harmless and considers patriotic,  then think, hmmm, does this sound like the Tucson Shooter to you?   Do you honestly believe that some young man starting to go over the edge to insanity can’t listen to this and feel empowered?  Jerrod Loughner looks like the archetype for  lone wolf extremist.  The Feds are currently  investigating his ties to Pro-White racist organizations. Specifically, the “American Renaissance”. Jerrod Loughner’s rants were parcel and part of the current Bircher Bunch’s diatribes against the Federal Government

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Sunday Reads

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)


Yesterday was a trying day for many people…the reports of US Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords assassination attempt and the deaths of innocent people was very distressing. So I am just going to jump in with the latest on this horrible shooting.

Cops Hunt Second Man Believed to Be Involved in Congresswoman Giffords Shooting

“We are not convinced that [the gunman in custody] acted alone, there is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual, and that individual is involved,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.

Police said a suspect was taken into custody, and Dupnik described the alleged shooter as mentally unstable. Though the sheriff did not name the suspect, he was identified by multiple law enforcement sources as Jared Lee Loughner, 22.

Dupnik declined to provide more information on the second individual who he would only describe as “white” and “in his 50s.” Authorities have photographs of the person of interest and are “actively pursuing him,” the sheriff said.

There is so much information coming in on this shooting, that I am just going to post a list of  links and a few selected quotes below.

From the New York Times:  Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics

While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.

Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.”

“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”


“It is fair to say — in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric — that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired,” said a statement issued by the leaders of the National Jewish Democratic Council. Ms. Giffords is the first Jewish woman elected to the House from her state.

On Crooks and Liars, there is this video: FOX News cuts away from ‘Giffords vigil’ when Sarah Palin’s name is mentioned.

Fox News started covering a vigil that was happening at the steps of the capitol in Arizona in honor of Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot earlier today. As soon as a young man mentioned Sarah Palin’s name, FOX News abruptly cut to commercial. It’s sickening. FOX News will do anything to protect the investment they have made in Sarah Palin, even at the expense of Rep. Giffords.

Newsweek: Disturbing Signs About the Gunman Alleged assailant said to have struggled with mental issues, had a troubled past.

CNN’s Political Ticker:  Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party

The Hill’s Blog: House postpones healthcare vote after attack on Giffords

C-Span: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in Critical Condition After Shooting Gunman killed six others, including Federal Judge John Roll

AP via Fox News: Sheriff: Suspicious package at Giffords HQ

Open Channel MSNBC: Few assassins fit the ‘profile.’ Most had no mental health treatment, made no threats

On Suburban Guerrilla, is this heart-wrenching post:

Christina Taylor Greene, dead in a political drive-by shooting at the age of nine. Dear God, what has all this hate done to our country?

In a final heartbreaking irony, Christina was featured in a book called “Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11.”

This is a tragedy, the loss of this little girl is so upsetting.  If you have children, whether they are adult children or young,  mine are 12 and 13, to hear about something as sad as this is especially hard. We can’t help to think of this killing with respect to our own children. The thought of this happening to my own kids, I cannot even begin to imagine what Christina’s family is going through now.

More about Christina Taylor Greene is posted over at FDL, Jane Hamsher writes:

Officials have released the name of the 9 year-old girl killed in the shooting of Gabby Giffords and 18 others in Tucson today. Her name is Christina Taylor Green, and a neighbor had brought her along to the Safeway to meet Rep. Giffords because she thought she would enjoy it.

Christina has recently been elected to serve on her school’s student council, and was active in baseball and ballet. And according to the NBC DC affiliate and the Sydney Morning Herald, she was born on 9/11 and was included in the book “Faces of Hope, Babies Born on 9/11.”

I’ve tried to hold back from commenting much today on events, trying to figure out what went on and how the pieces fit together before drawing conclusions. But it is just incredibly tragic that a young girl whose birth was supposed to symbolize hope and rebirth for America in the wake of 9/11 met her demise as she was shot in the chest in the midst of an undeniable culture of violence that continues to hold us all in its grip.

I am sure we will be getting more information on this later on, be sure to check Sky Dancing Blog for further updates.

Because of the shooting yesterday, many might have missed this post by our own Boston Boomer. She has done some amazing detective work, fleshing out the criminal past of Darrell Issa (R-CA), the new Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

When Issa first ran for the House in 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle dug up some embarrassing information from his past. The paper revealed that Issa had either deliberately lied or greatly exaggerated his military record. [Link]

Please give this post a read…not surprisingly BB has more to come, it is very interesting and shocking and maddening.

Looks like the gears are turning in the Wikileaks Twitter Subpoenaes. From the Globe and Mail:

Mr. Assange said the U.S. move amounted to harassment, and he pledged to fight it.

“If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out,” he told The Associated Press in an e-mail.

Legal experts have said one possible avenue for federal prosecutors would be to establish a conspiracy to steal classified information.


“They are trying to show that Pfc. Manning was more than a source of the information to a reporter and rather that Mr. Assange and Pfc. Manning were trying to jointly steal information from the U.S. government,” said Mark Rasch, a former prosecutor on computer crime and espionage cases in the Justice Department.


“How do they prosecute?” asked Mr. Rasch. “The answer is by establishing a unity of interest between Pfc. Manning and Mr. Assange. Make it a theft case and not just a journalist publishing information case.”

Mark Conner, from AFP and Reuters has this to say:

Icelandic politicians have blasted US demands for Twitter to hand over a member of parliament’s account details. Birgitta Jonsdottir faces investigation as one of several people connected to the website WikiLeaks.

Politicians in Iceland have hit out at a US request for Twitter to hand over details of a member of the country’s parliament because of her connections with WikiLeaks.


The subpoena obtained by the US Department of Justice in mid-December was made public on Friday after San Franciso-based Twitter won a legal battle requesting a right to inform the individuals involved. Among the information sought are online connection records, session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, emails and residential addresses as well as bank and credit card account details.

I really see this as a step towards getting Assange a lovely windowless room next door to Manning, who is being held in solitary confinement in a maximum-security military brig at Quantico, Va.

The south is having another deep freeze the next few days. I have heard forecast that warn there will be 10 inches of snow in Atlanta. That means up in banjo land, we are really in for it. I’ll post some pictures, I wonder if we will have enough snow for a snowman like one of these:

Minx’s Missing Link File: From Harper’s Magazine this past week, In Texas, 41 Exonerations from DNA Evidence in 9 Years, I believe that Dak mentioned something about this last week.

In a Dallas courtroom yesterday Cornelius Dupree, who had spent thirty years in prison on a conviction for rape, robbery, and abduction, was told that he had been exonerated. DNA evidence had shown unequivocally that he was not the man who had committed the crime in question. The judgment came too late for Dupree, who had already served his full sentence; the court was merely terminating his parole status.


To its credit, the Texas legislature, taking note of the 41 exonerations produced by modern evidence since 2001, passed an act to compensate those who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Dupree will be eligible to receive $80,000 for each year he was imprisoned, plus an annuity, with a tax-free cash value of about $2.4 million.

The string of exonerations in Dallas are possible because of the personal commitment of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins, who announced after he was elected in 2007 that he would take a serious look at DNA evidence in cases in which prosecutors had achieved convictions. Watkins’s decision has not been popular with prosecutors, but it’s a simple fact that even conscientious prosecutors make errors in the rush to secure convictions, particularly for heinous crimes. And many prosecutors are more interested in building a career than in doing justice. Watkins can stand as a model for prosecutors across the country, and particularly in the Department of Justice in Washington.

Let me repeat that bit one more time: 41 exonerations produced by modern evidence since 2001. This is bothersome to say the least, just imagine the number of those wrongly imprisoned that have been executed…Texas leads nation in the number of executions since death penalty was reinstated in 1976. For some more info on capital punishment in Texas, give this link a click.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link: This week TCM showed a fantastic movie staring Peter Sellers, called I’m All Right Jack. You may have missed it, but hopefully TCM will have it scheduled again soon. They have some clips about the film on their website. It is one of the few movies where Peter Sellers plays the “straight” man. By that I mean that he is not the one cracking the jokes.

I’m All Right Jack (1960)

Producer: Roy Boulting, Director: John Boulting, Screenplay: John Boulting, Alan Hackney, Frank Harvey, Cinematography: Mutz Greenbaum, Film Editing: Anthony Harvey, Art Direction: William C. Andrews, Music: Ken Hare, Cast: Ian Carmichael (Stanley Windrush), Terry-Thomas (Major Hitchcock), Peter Sellers (Fred Kite/Sir John Kennaway), Richard Attenborough (Sidney De Vere Cox), Dennis Price (Bertram Tracepurcel), Margaret Rutherford (Aunt Dolly).

Exploding like a case of shook-up canned champagne, the British satire I’m All Right Jack (1959) is what happens when you tamp down a nation’s populace with centuries of emotional repression and monarchal injustice, years of seriously homefront-sacrificial war, and a decade-plus of cheery subsequent postwar commercialization and Americanization. The movie is a geyser of social frustration, all assembled and executed with the brightest of classic comedy grins, disassembling first the fading aristocracy’s seizures of rage and lostness in the postwar culture, then the new union class’s second-hand-Marxist absurdities, and then the new breed of Yankee-ized, anything-for-profit business owner.


The film’s plot – based on a short story by Alan Hackney – hinges on the absolute and almost cosmic guileless stupidity of one Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael), a Candide-like scion of old-money gentry who simply thinks he might like to go “into business”; given his gormlessness, he is encouraged to “work his way up” to a management position, and so Stanley interviews for various working-class factory jobs and gets none, and eventually lands a job at his uncles’ munitions factory, running forklifts and such. Of course, the family see Stanley as their toehold and spy amid the unionized workers, but Stanley is oblivious, just as he is oblivious to everything else, including the principles of union labor and rules. On Stanley’s one hand, we have Peter Sellers as Mr. Kite, an uneducated laborer-turned-Marxist ideologue and shop steward, sporting a Hitler mustache and a glowering suspicion of every management move. On the other, we have Terry-Thomas as Major Hitchcock, the front-line manager who must try to manipulate the union to increase profits. Real trouble begins when the guileless Stanley shows off his new forklift prowess to an undercover “time and motion” manager, unintentionally quadrupling the job-efficiency requirements for the entire factory.


But why has it been more or less forgotten? In some ways, I’m All Right Jack may be too intensely British in social context – in short order, U.S. audiences became ignorant of the particulars of the postwar British industrial scene, which was for awhile one of the most heavily unionized in the world and which was effectively deunionized, disastrously, by the Thatcher administration in the 1980s. But therein lies another glitch in the movie’s arsenal: can a satire take aim at *both* labor unions and corporate ownership? What is I’m All Right Jack actually saying, except that the extremes in both directions are absurd? Is mocking Socialist cant and labor solidarity – which were employed, however ineffectively, for the purposes of treating workers fairly and humanely – the same as making sport of exploitative greed? How can you satirize two opposing ideals at the same time?[Link]

Well, the film does give both sides of the debate between unions and corporate big wigs. It is a laugh riot, and I would say a precursor to many films depicting the epic battle of the workers and corporate management. If you ever see it scheduled be sure to give it a look see…it is fantastic.

If your bookmarks or RSS feeds are acting a little strange, remember we have a new URL for the blog. You can read about that here.

So what is on your reading list today? Be sure to share lots of links, and always put your 2 cents about them in the comments.

Wing Nut Scramble (Live Blogging a Shooter Tragedy)

You don’t have to have a doctorate in psychology to figure out that the latest spree shooter had serious mental illness problems. What’s odd to me is the sudden scramble–typical  in these situations–by ideologues ready to label his mental illness as a symptom of political ideology.  No where is this more rampant than the number of right wingers that are taking one mention of one book–The Communist Manifesto–as an indication that suspected shooter Jared Loughner was a leftie.  That’s pretty interesting given that WAPO is reporting that he’s a veteran. Loughner tried to enlist in the military but was rejected. (See update below.) They’re screaming ‘leftie’ while simultaneously scrubbing their sites of items like the Palin Tweet and the Palin Map of Congressional Critterz’ Districts–including that of shooting victim Congress Woman Gifford–with rifle sight images over the top.  Is this kind of after-the-fact scrubbing a mea culpa of sorts?  They’re sure acting like they own it.

Giffords has been a target of violent threats for some time now.  The threats have come  from the right wing and the majority have occurred since the HCR vote last summer.  Folks that say that this shooter’s acts–no matter how linked to his personal mental hell–can’t be put into the context of  encouraging and enabling violence haven’t been paying attention. Violent imagery and rhetoric is a loaded gun.  It’s the same denial that comes from anti-abortion supporters and their disconnect from the shooting of Dr. Gun. You encourage it.  You own a role in it.  It’s not the root cause of mental illness, but it establishes violence as a potentially heroic act.  Most psychotic people are crazy but not stupid.  They can feel the heroic myth. Many seek a way to go down with it.

But it’s worth noting that Giffords — who in 2006 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 36 — has, for more than a year, been the target of violence-tinged rhetoric from political opponents and of threats that appear to have come from right-wing activists.

Asked by the New York Post whether his daughter had any enemies, Giffords’s father replied: “The whole tea party.”

In August 2009, an attendee at a Giffords town-hall meeting dropped a handgun, leading Giffords’ staff to call the police. “We have never felt the need before to notify law enforcement when we hold these events,” her spokesman said at the time.

After Giffords voted in favor of the health-care overhaul in March, she said that vandals had broken the glass door of her Tucson office. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated, not just the calls but the emails, the slurs,” she told MSNBC at the time. “Things have really gotten spun up.”

Ben Smith has a brief thread up on the foot prints left in social media by alleged shooter Jared Loughner.  Some of them are bizarre rants about currency and the gold standard that are worthy of a Glenn Beck or Ron Paul fan.  There’s also some crazed references to correct English grammar and mind control.   Who knows which flake in the vast American Breakfast Bowl of ideology some of this stuff comes from?

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