Yesterday, 45-year-old parolee Byron Williams opened fire on Highway Patrol officers in Oakland, California. After a brief shootout, Williams, who was wearing body armor, was shot and is currently in an emergency room in stable condition at a local hospital.
In an interview with the local news, Williams explained that her son was unemployed, angry at “left-wing politicians,” and upset about Congress “railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” Williams went on to say that she kept guns in her house which her son stole. She also warned of a coming “revolution”:
She said her son, who had been a carpenter and a cabinetmaker before his imprisonment, was angry about his unemployment and about “what’s happening to our country.” Williams watched the news on television and was upset by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,” his mother said. [...]
Janice Williams said she kept the guns because “eventually, I think we’re going to be caught up in a revolution.” But she said she had told her son many times that “he didn’t have to be on the front lines.”
But a pox on your house if you would dare to place any of the blame on rightwing radio talkers or Fox News!! A Pox!
I guess this nutjob must have been getting such crazy ideas beamed into his head by aliens. Because you’d never see such paranoid garbage in any mainstream media outlet.
No one but a GOP strategist — discussing the recently passed financial reform bill — could describe his party’s ultra-cynical core strategy so well:
“This bill, in the minds of most Americans, is just a big amoeba,” said John Feehery, a Washington-based GOP strategist. “Because this bill is so complicated, it makes it easier for Republicans to oppose it, and by opposing it, call it a job killer.”Translated from strategy-speak:
Americans (and especially the people in our base) are drooling, barely sentient idiots. When we wave shiny objects and complicated bills in front of them, they quiver as puddles and yearn to have us fill their stupid, fecund minds with pleasant-sounding nonsense that comforts the frightened part of their brains in which they all permanently dwell.I agree with DougJ on this:
To my mind, this is one of the central problems of contemporary American politics: any reasonably complicated bill can be twisted into a soshulist, unAmerican, job-killing atrocity. The media doesn’t help, obviously. Conservative pundits are happy to help with the twisting, straight reporters mostly write “shape of earth, views differ”, and there’s always Charles Lane to tell us that, while, it isn’t truly a job-killing machine, there are legitimate concerns that we can read about in an American Enterprise Institute study.
Clearly, the only solution here is to make sure that all bills are no longer than the Constitution.
Disgraced former Congressman Tom Tancredo let loose with some really disturbing comments yesterday:
But I firmly believe this — it’s not just, you know, some dramatic statement a person would make to get press or something or ink. I believe this with all my heart — that the greatest threat to the United States today, the greatest threat to our liberty, the greatest threat to the Constitution of the United States, the greatest threat to our way of life, everything we believe in, the greatest threat to the country that was put together by the Founding Fathers, is the guy that is in the White House today.Make no mistake about it, these are the kind of words that contribute to a mentally unstable wacko someday making a decision to assassinate the President.
It’s hard to fathom how perfectly irresponsible the Republican Party has become.
It’s so funny – I was riding the elevator up to work this morning and saw a news bit that said that the first Muslim, Arab-American woman was crowned Miss America 2010. The first thing I thought was, “Hoooo boy, I bet the wingnuts are gonna get really pissed off over this!“
Last night, the Miss USA pageant crowned Miss Michigan Rima Fakih the 2010 Miss USA. Fakih, who hails from the large Arab American community in Dearborn, Michigan, is a Lebanese American and the first Muslim to ever win the crown. (Miss USA 1983 Julie Hayek was reportedly the first Arab American to get the title).
In winning the title, Fakih defeated first runner-up Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, who garnered headlines when she responded to a judge’s question about immigration policy by saying that she was “perfectly fine” with Arizona’s radical new immigration law. Just as they erupted over Carrie Prejean’s loss in the Miss USA contest 2009, the right is again alleging a liberal bias against Woolard. But many more right-wingers are enraged over Fakih’s crowning:
– Conservative radio host Debbie Schlussel blamed Fakih’s win on a supposed “politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate” in America and labeled her a “Lebanese Muslim Hezbollah supporter with relatives who are top terrorists.” [5/16/10]
– Right wing pundit and Fox contributor Michelle Malkin ranted that “Fakih’s cheerleaders are too busy tooting the identity politics horn to care what comes out of her mouth” and that “the Miss USA pageant didn’t want to risk the wrath of the open-borders mob.” [5/16/10]
– Conservative author Daniel Pipes, who was briefly appointed by former President George W. Bush to the U.S. Institute of Peace, opined that “this surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action.” [5/16/10]
– Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson complained that Woolard’s “informed opinion” may have cost her the crown, and said that Fakih may have won because we live in a “PC society.” [5/17/10]
Will someone wake me up when we become a serious country again?
Oh, and can someone please send me a link to an article (preferably in Reason), pointing out how all this anti-Muslim backlash is anything but feral, teabagger-style racist xenophobia?
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.
Kim Strassel managed to get under my skin Sunday morning. Somehow she landed on the This Week roundtable and tossed a smoke grenade on the topic of violent, anti-government rhetoric on the Right.
(http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/roundtable-financial-regulation-10406844 about 1 minute, 30 seconds in.)
The question was raised following former President Clinton’s remarks about how all of this reminded him eerily of the anti-government rhetoric of the ‘90s (which of course led to the Mura Federal Building bombing). Strassel’s ‘argument’ was that liberals seemed to think it was fine when Code Pink interrupted congressional meetings and back then it was just “public discourse” and “considered good.”
Just a small pet peeve. If one of the central arguments you dust off whenever someone argues a principled point with you is, ‘well the other side was bad once too,’ then you represent a not so serious political perspective. And if your points of comparison are substantially dissimilar, then don’t expect anyone to consider your perspective serious at all.
Look, I’m not arguing liberals are inherently morally superior when it comes to overheated rhetoric versus people on the Right. America has seen violent, anti-government rhetoric from the Left in the past, but now, as in the ‘90s, it’s primarily from the Right and the troubling thing is that conservative politicians are embracing these folks rather than distancing themselves. When Congressman Steve King sympathizes with the nut who flew his plane into the IRS building or suggests the Tea Party come to DC and take over the place and prevent the elected government from functioning, he should be ostracized by others on the Right. They should be coming forward to say this is unacceptable. Instead we hear crickets.
PS-I have yet to find a liberal that has a positive thing to say about the antics of Code Pink. No congressperson I know of thought their interruptions of hearings were a good thing. And as annoying as Code Pink was/is, I don’t recall them ever calling for a violent revolution.
All I have to say about this is that I will be very, VERY surprised if Obama can get through two terms in the White House without a single assassination attempt*:
* – To the Secret Service internet monitoring device reading this: This is a criticism of calls for assassination, FYI.
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