What we have here is a failure of political imagination.
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC’s William Gheen is out in force after we at People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch reported on an interview with Janet Mefferd in which he said that “extra-political activities” that he described as “illegal and violent” might be the only way for people to stop the “Dictator Barack Obama.” Gheen told Mefferd that the Obama administration is “putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they’re preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.” He went on to say that his group is now referring to the president as “Dictator Barack Obama” and said, “If you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”
Yes, I remember well the begrudging assent to unity we progressives gave to the Bush Administration in the aftermath of 9/11.
Aren’t you glad that conservatives are now responding in kind to Obama’s announcement?
Political Research Associates are all like “we told you so” on the front page of their website. Chip Berlet was on Democracy Now! this morning.
Is it a surprise that an angry citizen, John Patrick Bedell, attacked the entrance to the Pentagon? Was it a surprise that an angry taxpayer flew his small plane into an IRS office? These and other acts of violence are linked to a form of apocalyptic conspiracism rampant in the United States. Last summer PRA Senior Analyst Chip Berlet warned that the combination of burgeoning conspiracy theories coupled with rising populist rage and anti-Obama scapegoating would likely lead to some individuals acting out in apocalyptic violence. They would feel justified because they were acting “before it was too late” to save the nation from an imagined sinister plot. Berlet’s report was titled Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating.
What about the right-wing media foghorns? Convicted in the fatal shooting of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in a church in Wichita, Kansas, Scott Philip Roeder was a regular consumer of conservative talk radio, television, and websites. But did Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck—or any other commentator whipping up an audience with overheated demonizing rhetoric—actually help pull the trigger?
It’s not that simple, explains Chip Berlet, senior analyst for the independent think tank Political Research Associates (PRA), in a new study entitled Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, and Scapegoating. “They are not legally culpable for the assassination of Dr. Tiller, says Berlet, “but they must share some portion of moral responsibility for creating a dangerous environment.”
…No conservative could ever have become a Washington institution similar to Thomas. Instead, the GOP would have seriously considered such a person to run the country, provided the right kind of racism was on display.
In other words, their problem with Thomas isn’t that she’s in favor of uprooting an established ethnic community and shipping it out in the name of another group’s nationalist aspirations. She just chose the wrong group.
The right’s Helen Thomas hypocrisy - War Room - Salon.com
I have been out of the loop, to have missed this Helen Thomas controversy. Her words were at best, ill-considered and insensitive. I think that they are worse, and as the article suggests, that she did absolutely cross some kind of line. Calling for ethnic cleansing, particularly of groups historically the targets of genocide, goes against everything on which the world agrees with respect to human rights. I think that even if she had identified in her comments the ethnicities of more recent immigrants to Israel, who currently colonize settlements on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, she would have been on thin ice.
But this only serves to point out the right’s hypocrisy in supporting for higher office Huckabee and Palin, who have called for Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their own land. What about the sense of many progressive Jews that “Never Again” applies to everyone? Further, can Huckabee and Palin be unbiased in their own media engagements?
Let’s use one yardstick, shall we?
It’s not rocket science to subject survey questions to critical analysis.
12/17/2009 by Peter Hart
The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is getting attention for one rather unusual finding: that the right-wing Tea Party movement is more popular than either the Democratic or Republican parties. The point was made on MSNBC’s First Read website and on the channel’s Morning Joe program this morning (12/17/09).
Don’t buy it.