Friday, June 09, 2006

The Ethics of Inciting Mob Violence

Tucson is at the heart of a battle being waged as diversion away from the slow cook coupe d’etat Bush & his buddies are staging.

It isn’t just the Orwellian unending “war on terror” that our government is using to create a hateful fervor in the masses, the government is creating absolute pandemonium on the border by creating a cultural “other” of the migrant laborers who cross our southern border so as to blame them for economic woes that they cannot tie to the Islamic world.

One of my favorite, factually rich blogs written by D. Neiwert suggests that “The entire meaning of the Iraq war -- and by extension, the "war on terrorism" -- is inextricably bound up in the psychological manipulation of the voting public through a relentless barrage of propaganda.”

MSNBC reports, “The Southern Poverty Law Center said the leader of the anti-immigration group Border Guardians has secretly urged the nation's largest neo-Nazi group of white supremacists to launch a campaign of violence against undocumented workers.

The manipulation of manufactured cultural icons is glaringly obvious in Tucson because we live in the real situations from which the media pulls stories for reconstruction and manipulation.

If you have read my entries of 6/1/06 & 6/8/06 you know that paramilitary provocateurs are masquerading as counter-protesters here in Tucson whenever there are counter-recruiting actions in front of the strip mall that houses recruiting offices on Speedway Blvd. These folks are aggressive and lewd at best and may be downright dangerous because they are pumped up on propaganda and take encouragement from the tolerance of vigilantes on the border, the Tucson Police’s apparent decision to selectively enforce the laws when it comes to 911 calls relating to recruitment protests, and the specific calls for violence against the “other” by the talking heads of the radical right.

There are many other cases of right wing wackos acting out in Tucson because of the media-hype about the folks the media derogatorily call “illegals.” The burning of the flag of Mexico during one of this spring’s immigration marches here in The Old Pueblo is a classic example of this.

While I feel it is imperative to address the escalating violence here in the streets, it is equally important to recognize that incitement to violence is illegal and even more dangerous when it comes from a respected representative of the radical right. Ann Coulter is the prime example of this sort of criminal behavior. Her venomous attacks on innocents and straw men reveal a disdain of truth that rivals that of Goebels. Why such hate speech is tolerated escapes me. The only thing I can point to is the parallel between the increasing selective enforcement of laws at all levels of our society that mirrors the increasing economic disparity between the haves and have nots in our Country.

Before you say that drawing comparisons between Goebels and Coulter is unfair or silly, please review the Bush family history and its connections to Nazism. The connection between the radical right and the use of propagandists to create and justify hatred and violence is nothing new. Ann Coulter is known for statements such as “Where are the skinheads when you need them?” While this much quoted example is from a couple or so years ago, she has escalated from implication to actually goading her audiences to act from a mob mentality and “take out” those who disagree with her. And then please read the entire blog entry of the Loyola college student who recaps Coulter when she was clearly encouraging her followers and fans to turn into common thugs as this excerpt from a Loyola college student’s blog entry attests:
I went to my seat and prepared myself mentally to take in Ms. Coulter objectively…. As I chuckled sarcastically at her [Coulter’s] remark, a girl turned around and gave me a dirty look. I sort of gave her a dirty look back and before I knew it, she told me to "Shut the fuck up." I was so taken aback by her comments, I said, "uhh, not you shut the fuck up." Then she turned more towards me and said, "I'll fucking kick your ass." I was so SHOCKED that this girl had the actual nerve to say this to me let alone on a college campus lecture, all I could say was well, "that's typical." I'm looking around me at the chaos and I see peaceful protestors getting yanked from the crowd, that I find security and tell them that a girl had just threatened me! He went to confront the girl and all of a sudden all of her friends were like "No, she threatened her!". You can only begin to imagine my shock and indignation about this girl's lack of principle and ethics. It really was the definition of mob action and what people will do when they lack the any sort of backbone...The protesting from the balcony only increased with time with shouts of "ANN IS A RACIST" to even an immature, yet mildly amusing, call for "Show us your tits." Ann addressed her supporters in the crowd with this statement. "You're men. You're heterosexuals. Take 'em out." She chided them further when they did not rise. Before you knew it there was about 25 students marching to the balcony to supposedly "take out" the protestors above. I saw a priest holding students back and deans and security warning the students to go back to their seats. Chaos erupted.
I found the initial link to the above description of Coulter’s in Orcinus, an award winning investigative reporting blog that rises to the level of real journalism and that often exposes the nefarious subtext of the radical right’s conservatism by writing about well-documented linkages between conservatives and hate groups.

[Please note: I use the term “radical right” rather than religious right. The right is no more or less religious than the left and to use that term implies just that. To imply or make such a statement is blasphemous. To suggest that the relationship with or personal understanding of the divine of any member of the left is less authentic or genuine than that of the right contradicts one of the essential guidelines upon which our country was formed. We are one nation under God. God is not defined therein, and the reason God is not defined is that our founders understood that each person must have liberty to think and speak and believe as his or her heart guides. We must stop attempts to devalue, debase and deride difference. Open, healthy populations exhibit variation within any subgroup that is greater than variation between any two groups. Healthy living systems, and that includes political and religious systems, are grandly interwoven from rich variations of quantities and qualities of type and kind. The right is as diverse and beautifully faceted as any other group. So is the left. Diversity is a sign of vitality. Any system that becomes homogenous or monotonous is a dying system. Attempts to impose one viewpoint on a population are attempts to murder that population.]

Now I will get back to the overarching topic of this blog for today: The “overlooking” of criminal behavior and blatant disregard of ethical violations by radical right “leaders” who encourage further reprehensible, illegal behavior on the part of the common citizen.

Researching this topic yesterday I found several exemplary instances of this behavior by elected officials or those in government service well back into the 1990s. Most of these criminal acts went completely unpunished. My brief listing of them may be instructive.

1995 Contract with America puts out contract on House members.
Wanted poster released by Republicans has potential to incite violence: Democrats - 'Liberal Democrat Wanted Poster' sent by Republicans to their contributors.

"This racist and anti-government propaganda could put our lives in danger," Rep. Maxine Waters of California--one of 10 Black House members whose photo appears on the mailing--said in USA Today. "I am requesting the FBI and House security to advise me and other members of the risks we face because of this.
1998 Candidate for state legislature calls for assassination of the President.
Bob Davies, a Republican candidate for the Montana State Legislature, spoke at a Republican fundraiser and candidates' forum near Bozeman on October 9 and declared that President Clinton "should be shot." He also said Clinton was guilty of treason and should be executed for selling satellite technology to the Chinese government, and that his actions were no different than those of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Neither Montana Governor Marc Racicot nor any other official interrupted Davies, opposed his threats against the president, or reported Davies' comments to law enforcement authorities. Advocating attacks against the president is a federal crime, punishable by five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.
1999 State party leaders calls for death of health care providers
Missouri Republican State Committee member thrown off State Committee per threats of violence against abortion providers and distribution of wanted posters with the pictures of doctors who perform abortions.
2004 Police attempt to incite violence against protesters censored from media.

A blog from overseas clearly summarizes the police actions against any and all protesters at the RNC:
“More striking, perhaps, is what was not shown by the media -- the media reported that more than 1,000 protesters had been arrested for legally protesting, the media failed to mention that these protesters had not even begun their protest and were following the instructions of police at the time they were arrested. A senior newscaster from CBS, a major American network, even stated in a rarely shown clip that the protesters were not only acting completely peacefully but that they had conformed with all special requests made by the New York City police, only to be arrested for doing so.

It was not until a year later, in 2005, that there was any acknowledgement that police provocateurs were caught on videotape inciting violence among peaceful protesters at the RNC in New York in 2004.
2005 Right whips up frenzy to incite violence.
An increasingly prominent element of the frenzy whipped up by the Christian right in connection with the case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman on life support for the past decade and a half, is direct or indirect incitement to violence.

On March 25 the FBI and local police arrested Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, North Carolina, for allegedly offering $250,000 for the murder of Michael Schiavo and $50,000 for the death of Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed.

An FBI affidavit alleges that Meywes wrote: “It is my understanding that whoever eliminates Michael Schiavo from the planet while inflicting as much pain and suffering that he can bear stands to be paid this reward in cash.” The affidavit notes that the same sadistic email refers to the recent killings of a judge in Atlanta and family members of a federal judge in Chicago.
2005 Congress encourages violence against judges.
After the shooting deaths this year of a judge in his Atlanta courtroom and the mother and husband of another judge in her Chicago home… (Judges) say the pointed criticism of judges by Republican congressional leaders, which reached a crescendo during the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case, threatens to exacerbate the problem of courthouse security.

Gilmer, TX state District Judge Lauren Parish expressed concern about what these Republican congress members said. "The more I hear that rhetoric, the more I get concerned, because there are people who are extremists who might take that as a license to do things," Parish says.
Decisions about who can vote in Ohio are being made by Mr. Blackwell, a candidate for governor. Mr. Blackwell should hand over responsibility for elections to a decision maker whose only loyalty is to the voters and the law.
If we open our eyes we will see what is going on.

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