The sheer number of patents in the U.S. is fueling frivolous litigation and drastic action is needed to make patents more difficult to obtain and easier to invalidate, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said Tuesday. > more ... (0 comments)
Some might say that this is a weird reaction but the fact that the evil loon who carried out the attacks in Norway last week is a radical right wing ideologue has me more disturbed than when I thought it might have been an Islamist group behind it.
A report that Norway’s bomb and gun rampage may be the work of a far-right militant confronts Europe with the possibility that a new paramilitary threat is emerging, a decade after al-Qaida’s Sept. 11 attacks.
One analyst called the attacks possibly Europe’s “Oklahoma City” moment, a reference to American right-wing militant Timothy McVeigh who detonated a truck bomb at a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
Police forces in many western European countries worry about rising far-right sentiment, fueled by a toxic mix of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry and increasing economic hardship.
But violence, while sometimes fatal, has rarely escalated beyond group thuggery and the use of knives.
That may have changed in Oslo and on the holiday island of Utoya on Friday. Seven people were killed in a bombing in the capital — Western Europe’s worst since the 2005 London al-Qaida-linked suicide attacks that killed 52 people — and at least 80 in a shooting rampage by a lake.
As I see it, lots of Important People’s eyes are on the ball of Islamic extremism, but far fewer eyes seem to be paying attention to the rise of right wing extremism in the face of the global recession.
At the beginning of this year, not long after they’d found the bomb on the bench in Spokane, a journalist named David Neiwert put together a list of nearly thirty acts of right-wing political violence that had taken place, or had been foiled, in the United States since the summer of 2008 — or roughly since Barack Obama’s presidency began to be seen as a genuine possibility. The list began with Jim David Adkisson, who killed two people in a Unitarian church in Tennessee because he was angry at how “liberals” were “destroying America.” It included two episodes in April 2009, one in Pittsburgh and one in Florida, in which men who were sure that Barack Obama’s government was coming for their guns opened fire on law-enforcement officers who had come to investigate them on other matters.
Some of the crimes on the list were briefly sensational — Scott Roeder’s murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, or Joseph Andrew Stack’s flying his small plane into a building in Austin in protest of the Internal Revenue Service, or the incoherent array of violent crimes committed by the “Sovereign Citizens Movement.” But most of them barely made the national radar at all. In December 2008, a woman in Belfast, Maine, named Amber Cummings shot to death her sleeping husband, James, who’d been savagely abusing her. Upon arriving at the Cummings home, investigators found Nazi paraphernalia and a stash of chemicals indicating that James Cummings was preparing to make a “dirty bomb” that he planned to detonate at Obama’s inauguration. Except in the local media, that aspect of the case disappeared completely. James Cummings and his bomb had nothing to do with Scott Roeder’s handgun or Joe Stack’s airplane.
It is a fertile time for such things. The country elected a black president with an exotic name. The economy, wrecked by a rigged game at the highest levels, continued to grind through a jobless recovery. The national dialogue grows coarser and wilder, and does so at a pace accelerated by technology. People sense the fragmentation — things are falling apart — even while they take refuge in those fragments of life that seem safest and most familiar.
I really hope we don’t need another Oklahoma City before people start seriously paying attention to all of the hatred and froth that has been stirred up on the right since Obama took office.
The first point to make here is that this is a major, establishment Republican body taking up the imagery of a violent, anti-government almost-terrorist in its campaign to gain political power.
The Republican Governors Association has embraced the symbolism of Fawkes, launching a rather striking website, RememberNovember.com [ed. note: warning: really creeepy!], with a video that showcases far more Hollywood savvy than one can usually expect from Republicans. Again, the Fawkes tale has been twisted a bit. This time, President Obama plays the role of King James, the Democratic leadership is Parliament, and the Republican Party represents the aggrieved Catholic mass.
The politics and substance aside, this strikes me as a remarkable bit of political messaging, not just for its cinematic quality. The RGA, under the control of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, is clearly stepping out of the stodgy, safe territory it normally inhabits. It is aiming to tap into the vast well of anti-government fury now coursing through the nation. Who would have guessed that Barbour would embrace the symbolic value of the same would-be mass murderer as the Wachowski brothers?
As Josh Marshall noted:
I find this completely bewildering. The Republican Governors Association is embracing the mantle of a 17th century radical who tried but failed to pull off a mass casualty terrorist attack to kill the King of England and all of Parliament…. Nothing shocks me anymore. But this shocks me.How the fuck can “serious”, “important” people seriously do something like this in this day and age!?
9/11 changed everything? Yeah, my ass.
The second point here is that someone at the GOP might have considered the contemporary screen adaptation of the story of Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta.
In this movie, England has come under the bootheel of a fascist, far-right government.
Guy Fawkes is represented by the mysterious “V”, a “terrorist”/”freedom fighter” who devotes his life to freeing England from the oppressive far-right government.
The movie even makes a delicious parody of our own Rush Limbaugh. Louis Prothero is the chief government propagandist in the film who launches into radio and television screeds against undesireables and those people he casts as enemies of the state.
I wonder if any members of Congress will release a statement about how they “empathize” with the anti-government terrorist who sent white powder to an IRS office today:
OGDEN, Utah – Hazardous materials crews and the FBI were on the scene Monday at the IRS building in Ogden, Utah, where several people were subjected to decontamination showers.I’m sure Rep. Steve King will be on the case soon:
Two people were taken out of the building on stretchers for “medical emergencies,” but their conditions “do not appear to be related to this incident,” said the the FBI, which is leading the investigation. It released no further details.
The IRS confirmed that “an unknown substance” was discovered but also gave no further details. Local news reports suggested that a suspicious white powder may have been found in mail delivered to the facility.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told a crowd at CPAC on Saturday that he could “empathize” with the suicide bomber who last week attacked an IRS office in Austin, and encouraged his listeners to “implode” other IRS offices, according to a witness.
The staffer, who requested anonymity because she’s not a communications specialist, said that King, an extreme right-winger with a reputation for eyebrow-raising rhetoric, appeared as a surprise guest speaker on an immigration panel at the conservative conference. During his closing remarks, King veered into a complaint about high taxes, and said he could “empathize” with the man who flew a plane into an IRS building last week.
During the question and answer session, the Media Matters staffer asked King to clarify his comment, reminding him of his sworn duty to protect the American people from all sworn enemies, foreign and domestic. In response, said the staffer, King gave a long and convoluted answer about having been personally audited by the IRS, and ended by saying he intended to hold a fundraiser to help people “implode” their local IRS office.
Update: Hopefully we’ll be treated to a relative of this anti-government malcontent calling him/her a “hero”:
The daughter of a man who crashed his small plane into a building housing offices of the Internal Revenue Service called her father a hero for his anti-government views but said his actions, which killed an IRS employee, were “inappropriate.”
Joe Stack’s adult daughter, Samantha Bell, spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” from her home in Norway. Asked during a phone interview broadcast Monday if she considered her father a hero, she said: “Yes. Because now maybe people will listen.”
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