Saturday, June 13, 2009

INCITING THE LUNATIC FRINGE

That's what the conservative hardliners are doing. They are inciting the lunatic fringe of their party to commit the heinous acts such as the attack on the Holocaust Museum and the assassination of Dr. George Tiller.

The last time the lunatic fringe of the Rethuglican party was moved to take action like this was the last time we had a Democrat for president, Bill Clinton. At that time the right-wing hate machine got rolling and cranked up the scare tactics to get the loonies moving into action.

I was reading a post by Gordon at Alternate Brain about a column that Paul Krugman had written the other day. In it, Mr. Krugman explains just how the right is getting their lunatics stirred up to the point of exploding. Below you will find the entire column from Mr. Krugman.

Thanks so much for the heads-up on this Gordon.
BTW...I didn't mean to steal your thunder, just thought more people might see it if I posted it here, too. Thanks again, pal.


The Big Hate

Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s — a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Conservatives were outraged. The chairman of the Republican National Committee denounced the report as an attempt to “segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration” and label them as terrorists.

But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks prescient.

There is, however, one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.

Now, for the most part, the likes of Fox News and the R.N.C. haven’t directly incited violence, despite Bill O’Reilly’s declarations that “some” called Dr. Tiller “Tiller the Baby Killer,” that he had “blood on his hands,” and that he was a “guy operating a death mill.” But they have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time a Democrat held the White House.

And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.

Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s “totalitarian” agenda (although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening).

But let’s not neglect the print news media. In the Bush years, The Washington Times became an important media player because it was widely regarded as the Bush administration’s house organ. Earlier this week, the newspaper saw fit to run an opinion piece declaring that President Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself,” and that in any case he has “aligned himself” with the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

And then there’s Rush Limbaugh. His rants today aren’t very different from his rants in 1993. But he occupies a different position in the scheme of things. Remember, during the Bush years Mr. Limbaugh became very much a political insider. Indeed, according to a recent Gallup survey, 10 percent of Republicans now consider him the “main person who speaks for the Republican Party today,” putting him in a three-way tie with Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich. So when Mr. Limbaugh peddles conspiracy theories — suggesting, for example, that fears over swine flu were being hyped “to get people to respond to government orders” — that’s a case of the conservative media establishment joining hands with the lunatic fringe.

It’s not surprising, then, that politicians are doing the same thing. The R.N.C. says that “the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals.” And when Jon Voight, the actor, told the audience at a Republican fund-raiser this week that the president is a “false prophet” and that “we and we alone are the right frame of mind to free this nation from this Obama oppression,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, thanked him, saying that he “really enjoyed” the remarks.

Credit where credit is due. Some figures in the conservative media have refused to go along with the big hate — people like Fox’s Shepard Smith and Catherine Herridge, who debunked the attacks on that Homeland Security report two months ago. But this doesn’t change the broad picture, which is that supposedly respectable news organizations and political figures are giving aid and comfort to dangerous extremism.

What will the consequences be? Nobody knows, of course, although the analysts at Homeland Security fretted that things may turn out even worse than in the 1990s — that thanks, in part, to the election of an African-American president, “the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.”

And that’s a threat to take seriously. Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic. Politicians and media organizations wind up such people at their, and our, peril.

13 comments:

Seeing Eye Chick said...

After what FEMA and the Bush Administration did to the people in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina, I can understand their fears to a point. A lot of people during the last few disasters were unlawfully disarmed and then NOT provided with adequate assistance in regaining housing in the wake of disasters. MS and LA are just two examples.

That being said I will remind the rest of America that those incidents took place on Shrubya's watch, and often involved the poor, the elderly and the NonWhite. Meaning basically anyone who could easily be disenfranchised.

Since then new laws have been passed. Unlike Nazi Germany, I highly doubt at this point that Americans would ignore a Concentration Camp or a Re-Programming Camp. Right or Left there would be a whole lot more problems than Anti-Choice assholes and Sig-Heilers.

I believe the whole country suffers from cases of extreme nonTrust and misdirected suspicion and hostilities.

Washington is being run by Corporate America. Period. If you want things to change, then you have to change how our Lobby System works.

It doesnt matter what side of the line you fall on--for whatever reason, without a coherent voice of WE THE PEOPLE, Corporate America will never be reigned in, and by extension, neither will Capitol Hill.

As long as the Fringes are fed, and people fall for it, then the country will be polarized.

As long as parts of America see themselves as more deserving, special, chosen by god, or genetically suprior, then there will be no unified coherent voice.

The law is supposed to unite us. The Bill of Rights---those are supposed to unite us, OVER our government.

Some of these people kill out of hate. But its no secret that a great many people remove themselves from the democratic process out of fear, loathing and frustration. And without their voice we are all diminished.

Its not the Jews, or Satan, or whatever the flavor of Scapegoat is this month. Its just greed and avarice, pure and simple. The same things that have driven politics and the downfall of nations from the beginning of civilization.

Gordon said...

Great minds again, Gramps...

Grandpa Eddie said...

Seeing Eye Chick - I understand where you're coming from, but I think you have gone way beyond the point that was being made here.

Yes it is greed that drives politics. It is that same greed, and lust for power, that drives the hate mongers on the right to the point of fomenting violence through the extremist fringe that occupy the edges of their party, or those who are outside the party but can be easily whipped into a frenzy over talk of the govt squashing personal freedoms...even if it is all lies.

I don't remember anything like this being perpetrated by the left during the time Bush was in the White House, but I do remember this being done by the right during the Clinton years, as it is now with one difference. Now they have stepped it up and it has become much worse all because we have a black man in the White House. This has given the right even more ammunition to use to stir up hatred amongst the fringe element.

It's not just power and greed anymore. It's power, greed, religion, and color. And the right is working with lunatics who are still living like it's the 19th century, and they know it!

Grandpa Eddie said...

Gordon - You betcha!

Riot Kitty said...

I love Paul Krugman, and hadn't seen this yet - thanks for posting!

Grandpa Eddie said...

Riot Kitty - So do I.
I still think he should have been Treasury Secretary, too.

itdawnedonme said...

Thanks for your comments and for posting Krugmann's article. I was a bit surprised that he wrote it. He is right on. We need to call these media types out that distort the truth with their innuendo and lies. Beck and Hannity and Limbaugh and Palin are a form of terrorists...inciting hatred and violence in our country. We must continue to call them on it.

A World Quite Mad said...

I read this earlier. It's worth reading.

Repeat a lie enough and it becomes truth. Say it on television and simple minded people, of which I know quite a few will assume it's the truth.

BTW, the neocons are just still pissed because a black man is in the white house. That's the primary reason they hate Obama. G.W. can wipe his ass with the Constitution, can bankrupt this country, but he's white so that makes it okay. Certain people in this country are apparently stuck in the 1950s. Or the middle ages...

Nancy said...

We have that Three Amigos thing going on. I posted about this on my blog a couple days ago when I was in the Vicodin fog. Ha!

Krugman gets it so right. I saw a frothing anger and disbelief from the right on my hometown newspaper website starting several days after the election. They openly talked about "taking Obama out." The hatred for the Black Man in the WHITE House has grown to a sweeping crescendo whipped up by barkers who do it for money. Every word spoken by the Limbaughs, Becks and Hannitys have been repeated verbatim by the dittocrazies. Now, as if on cue, the pitchforks, guns and nooses are being dusted off and ready to be used at the beckoning of their crazy ass leaders on the radio and fox news. Fox news has now legitimized murder with no remorse. The First Amendment can only go so far. When the spoken word incites mentally deranged people to murder, someone has to stop the person yelling "FIRE."

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

"Repeat a lie enough and it becomes truth. Say it on television and simple minded people, of which I know quite a few will assume it's the truth."

It has to be a BIG Lie, the kind that not just anybody would tell, because they'd be afraid of being called out. So you gotta have an authoritative liar (think Cheney), and the means to endlessly repeat it, thoughtfully provided by the cabloids and the 24-hour news "cycle. That is the "Big Lie," in a nutshell.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Certain people in this country are apparently stuck in the 1950s

the irony being, of course, that many weren't even born until the 80s...

Gordon said...

The '50s and '60s pretty much sucked unless you were white. That must be what the stuckees therein want to get back to.

I was born in the '40s and for damn sure don't want to go back. We'd just have to do all that shit over again.

Grandpa Eddie said...

itdawnedonme - Krugman nailed it! You're right, we must stay on top of this and continue to call ALL the media on their distortion of the facts about the extremists.

Nancy - For some reason I missed your post on this.

These people are deranged and so are the ones who are inciting them.

Woody - The right-wingers learned well from their Nazi counterparts. The more they repeat a lie, the more people believe it as the truth.

Gordon - You're right, we don't need these asshats turning back the clock. None of us need to be going through that crap again.