flewellyn: (Default)
So, here's something I don't get.

I've seen numerous news stories about various far-right groups and politicians decrying the entrance of refugee children into our country, screaming about how they are a threat to us, and how they're not our problem and should be sent back to the horrible poverty and violence that they're fleeing. I've seen commenters on various news sites and conservative blogs even cheering and crowing about the fact that many children have been drowning trying to cross the Rio Grande. I've seen video of protestors screaming "Not our kids, not our problem!" and "Go back where you came from!"

No doubt, most of the people saying these things would define themselves as good Christians.

Yet, if these children were unborn fetuses, these self-same "good Christians" would be all for doing whatever it took to prevent the women pregnant with them from having any access to abortion, no matter how dire the woman's circumstances of health or poverty, and insist upon using the power of the state to intervene to "protect" the fetuses. Because that's "pro-life".

But, apparently, there's nothing about cheering at the deaths of refugee children that is not "pro-life".

I mean, unless it comes down to the fact that what we have here are a group of people who are motivated only by loyalty to their own in-group, and virulent mistrust and hatred of anyone who is not like them or does not conform to their narrow and primitive view of how the world "should" work and how people "should" live. It would seem a large segment of the American public is basically living, mentally and culturally, in the early Iron Age, and has no rationally-based ethical or moral framework on which to judge reality.

...Nah. Couldn't be that, right? Right?
flewellyn: (Default)
So, foreclosures. They're happening a lot, a lot more than they should, and for bad reasons. We all know this.

I came upon this story here, in which a group of Occupy Atlanta people set up camp on the lawn of a police officer whose home is being foreclosed upon, to try and block the eviction. I applaud this move and any like it. But, it seems, the commenters were not all of the same mind.

I noted a number of posters complaining about this as somehow immoral, allowing people to "live in homes they haven't paid for" or something like that. Two things I have to say in response.

First, we know that the banks have been engaging in widespread fraudulent foreclosures. We know that the banks have engaged in fraudulent mortgage lending, and fraudulent securitizing of known high-risk mortgages. Given this fact, ANY foreclosure in today's economic and regulatory circumstances is highly suspect. So, why do they want to blame the victims, instead of the perpetrators? I suspect the "just world" fallacy, but I can't entirely rule out less savory mindsets.

Second, it is in society's best interests to keep people in their homes. Foreclosure should be a last resort, not a routine action, and loan modification, restructuring, payment assistance, even forgiveness of debt in extreme hardship are all preferable and very supportable actions by the banks, or by the government. Kicking people out of their homes and disrupting their lives is bad for society at large, and constitutes a much greater moral hazard than "letting" people "get away with" not repaying the full mortgage, if they are truly unable.

So, in closing, I say that this moralizing about "rules are rules" and "how dare someone get away with this" is entirely misguided. Contracts are not the highest moral law, and in fact, it is often necessary to abrogate them, and to forgive debts, when the social and economic landscape has become too unbalanced. The mentality that those less fortunate who need help are "getting away with" anything is highly immoral.
flewellyn: (Default)
Remember, remember, the Fifth of November...the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Paraliament and replace British democracy with a theocratic dictatorship.

Who in current American politics is like him, now? Hmm...who goes around brandishing guns and screaming about overthrowing the government because they don't like that their religious beliefs are the law of the land...?
flewellyn: (Default)
The wildfires spreading through Texas were apparently started by a dry piece of brush that caught when Rick Perry walked past.

He'd just given a press conference, and his pants were still on fire.
flewellyn: (Default)
I was just called a communist by a priest, because I insisted that rich people should pay their fair share of taxes to support the system that enabled them to become rich, and to help support those less fortunate than they.

Apparently it's now Church doctrine that it's great to help the poor, but bad to question the system which causes people to be poor in the first place.

Woulda been news to Jesus, I imagine...
flewellyn: (Default)
So, apparently, Osama bin Laden is dead. That's interesting, and I suppose it marks some symbolic victory, but what have we gained?

Our hyped up state of fear of the rest of the world, particularly the Muslim world, is not going to vanish overnight. Our excessive and unnecessary curtailing of civil liberties, resurgence of paranoid right-wing reactionaries, and broadening of the "national security state" will not be stopped by this.

We have killed a terrorist leader, but only after being terrorized by his specter for ten years. And let's not pretend that the worst elements of our own society, which have cynically used the (overblown, post-9/11) threat of bin Laden to gain power and influence, will simply go back to the margins like they should. The overt racism and religious bigotry, the rampant resurgence of overt misogyny, all galvanized by "us or them" thinking on the part of our leaders and fed by an extreme right-wing that has been seeking an excuse for years if not decades, these things will not fade away.

Nor will the paranoid overbroadening of police powers disappear. We still have Gitmo, the use of torture against civilians, two wars, warantless wiretapping and surveillance, and the overall abandonment of our moral high ground on the subject of human and civil rights on our national conscience. We have, these past ten years, fought monsters so hard that we have become monsters.

In the final analysis, Osama bin Laden has won. So why are we celebrating?
flewellyn: (Default)
You're familiar with the Five Stages of Grief? Well, this is in that vein.


  1. Denial: "Nothing's happening, it was cold this winter!"

  2. Conspiracy Theories: "It's all a plot by climatologists to get more money! Never mind that oil companies make more in a day of drilling than climatologists earn in their lifetimes!"

  3. Partial Denial: "It may be warming, but that's perfectly natural! No evidence it's anthropogenic! Any evidence to the contrary is still a conspiracy against business!"

  4. Positive Spin: "This will turn out to be a good thing! You'll see!"

  5. and finally,
  6. Enraged Acceptance: "Everything sucks now! Why didn't you WARN us?! Stupid scientists!"

WHAT.

Jan. 12th, 2011 01:27 pm
flewellyn: (Default)
So, Sarah Palin has spoken out about the accusations that she is contributing to a violent atmosphere.

And in doing so, used the phrase "blood libel" to describe those accusations.

Blood libel. Yes.

Two things.

First off, Rep. Giffords is Jewish.

Second, in many far-right circles (not mainstream conservative), there's a pervasive belief that Jews control the media. So, this use of an ancient antiSemitic trope casts Palin as the poor Christian woman being picked on by all those mean Jews.

Assuming, of course, that Palin was not just being stupid. I'm not sure I'm willing to believe that this was not deliberate.
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This isn't going to be a coherent essay, just a collection of thoughts without much order. Just FYI.

My first thought when I heard of the shooting was, "Great, I bet it's a teabagger, or a sympathizer." Of course, many people would say that was jumping to conclusions, and perhaps prejudicial. To which I would reply, "Have you not been paying attention?"

Based on his YouTube videos, Jared Loughner seems to have some aspects of his thinking that resemble paranoid schizophrenia. The problem with that being the answer people latch onto is that, most of the time, schizophrenics are not dangerous. Very few of them commit violence against others. They're far more likely to be victims than perpetrators. Also, schizophrenia alone does not explain why Loughner chose to attack a politician.

The right-wing media machine has a lot to answer for. They've been using outright eliminationist rhetoric for years, and the last two has seen it ramped up to frenzied heights. I am neither the first nor the most articulate to point this out, but when political and media leaders, people looked up to by a large chunk of the population, begin spouting violent and eliminationist talk, it has a disinhibiting effect on those people in society who are carrying resentments and grudges against those they deem inferior.

If leaders are saying "these others you dislike are scum, and vermin, and traitors, and should die", then some of those followers will take them up on the challenge.

Responsible leaders should know better than to try and unleash such forces; a violent political faction is hard to control once created, and can turn on its leaders. Our current crop of "Tea Party" reactionaries is anything but responsible, however, as they have done nothing but try to scrub the evidence of their culpability, deny and disclaim that there's a problem, and then in the same breath accuse "the Left" of being "just as bad". Usually, they cite as examples some random comments or posts on blogs by people nobody has ever heard of, or groups like the Weather Underground who have not been active for over 40 years and never actually killed anyone other than their own members accidentally, or isolated incidents that were immediately condemned by mainstream leaders (like the hanging of Palin in effigy, which got roundly denounced by Democratic leaders in California).

Michelle Malkin has gone so far as to list boycotts, peaceful protests, and angry letters to the editor as examples of "leftist hate speech". For some reason, I'm reminded of those MRAs who complain that a woman refusing to have sex with them is the same as them beating her up. Can't imagine why.

At any rate, what we have here is an incipient movement towards genuine fascism in this country, and so far no concerted effort by our government to stop it. I have little faith in Obama trying to crack down on violent right-wing groups, as Clinton did, because apparently Obama is too committed to being bipartisan to recognize a genuine threat to public order. Well, maybe. He might surprise me.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, this election's been a mixed bag, but there have been some serious setbacks for progressives, and for the Democratic Party (which I note, right here, are not synonymous). The Democrats held on to many seats, but lost some others that seemed like easy victories. In particular, I'm thinking of longtime Democratic representative Earl Pomeroy, of North Dakota, who has done a great deal of good for the state, losing to a slimy, bullying, lying, dishonorable scumbag named Berg. And, in Kentucky, Rand Paul, libertarian asshat and employer of the head-stomping asshat Tim Profitt, beat Conway in what should have been a slam dunk for the Democrats.

The Democratic Party and the media are no doubt gearing up to assign blame already. The media, predictably, will say that this means America is a conservative nation and blah blah blah, more bullshit that they spout. Well, that'll be a mixed bag, because some (MSNBC and CNN) will try to analyze, while FOX will merely propagandize. The problem is, MSNBC and CNN will promptly pick up FOX's propaganda, being lazy. In the media, at least, Yeats remains right: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

But the media may say whatever. The real issue I have, and am going to have, is with what the Democratic leadership will say. I know what they will say, because they always do. They will blame their base for not supporting them, castigate progressives for being "purists" and not getting out the vote enough. They will do anything but look at themselves.

This election is YOUR problem, DNC. And it's yours too, President Obama. The problem, as always, is that the Democratic Party does not understand why the Republicans are successful when their party platform is antithetical to the best interests of the general public. The GOP, whatever its faults (and boy, are there lots!), understands rule number one of any party strategy: whatever happens, keep the base happy.

As it happens, the GOP's base is composed of two groups: the plutocrats that fund them, and the reactionary fundamentalists that comprise their electorate. The GOP knows better than to publically stray from the line these two groups want them to follow, although there's plenty of indication that they mostly see the fundies as "useful idiots". Still, they make sure to throw plenty of bones to the fundies, and never publically disagree with them, much less berate them for lack of support. Republicans know that if they want to win, they must must MUST keep the base happy.

Democrats, it seems, don't understand this. The problem seems to be that the Dems believe elections are about finding "swing voters", those mythical undecided people who don't seem to favor one party or one political position over another, but are supposedly crucial to victory. One of the key traits of a "swing voter" is that this person may favor some progressive, liberal positions, but also favor conservative ideas as well.

So, what do the Democratic leadership do, in election after election? Take the party base, which is solidly progressive, for granted, and "tack right" to chase after the swing voters. Where they do this, it consistently fails, for two reasons.

First of all, I have yet to see solid evidence that "swing voters" actually exist. Of course there are people who are liberal on some issues and conservative on others; hell, I'm one of them (although the vast majority of things find me soldily in the "very liberal/progressive" camp). But, people who are genuinely undecided? Come now. In today's polarized electorate, anyone who is undecided is either uninformed, or else not paying attention. Either way, they're not going to vote at all.

Second problem, though, is the big one: the Democrats keep abandoning the base! More than that, they actually harangue the progressive base for not supporting them, even when they try to "govern from the center" and betray the progressives on election promises.

Frankly, sometimes the relationship between the DNC and progressive voter reminds me of an abusive marriage: the party keeps throwing the base under the bus, and then saying "Where you gonna go? You ain't got nobody but me!" Perhaps this needs to change.
flewellyn: (Default)
Some time ago, I left a comment on a thread on Shakesville in which I outlined my observations of a certain type of debator, who is often found on the internet. This is the particularly precious kind of mansplainer who, not merely content to assume he knows better than women, assumes he knows better than everyone. About everything. I referred to this type as a "pseudosopher".

Some friends of mine have since told me I should post about it here. So, here is a somewhat edited version of that comment, in which I describe this strange and infuriating sort of person.

Pseudosophers are endemic on the internet. They are, in my experience, almost exclusively (cis-)male, so I describe them here with male pronouns. They are also mostly white, middle or upper class, and almost always heterosexual; often, they are atheists who used to belong to fundamentalist or conservative Christian sects. I have observed one or two who are Orthodox Jews, however, so the common thread here is fundamentalist thinking, rather than a particular religion or lack thereof.

The pseudosopher is an intelligent but unwise thinker who has bought into his own hype that he heard from parents and teachers about how "you're so smart, you can do anything!", and actually believes that being clever and rational is enough to carry the day. In doing so, he has fallen victim to a most debilitating memetic contagion. A pseudosopher is smart, though never quite as smart as he thinks he is, but also arrogant, often suffering from entitlement poisoning, and exceptionally lazy in some ways. Specifically, lazy in the sense that, while he may well put a great deal of effort into learning things that interest him, he will make the mistake of believing that the facility with which he acquires a decent layperson's knowledge of a particular subject equates with actual expertise. He may well have a field in which he is genuinely expert, commonly some form of science or engineering (computer science and IT are rife with them), but pride or intellectual laziness will make him reject the notion that this does not magically make him expert at all things.

A pseudosopher will also express a great veneration for logic and reasoning, purporting rationality and cold, logical discourse to be the highest and most important forms of intellectual pursuit and inquiry. Of course, he disparages emotion and empathy as silly and irrational, and thus unworthy of consideration. He will insist that he is always logical and rational, and deny that his emotions have anything to do with any conclusions he ever reaches, or anything he ever says to someone about anything, even while he transparently manipulates people around him in order to satisfy his (often woefully immature) emotional needs. He often believes, in particular, that women are inherently emotional, and thus unable to reason properly; since he believes reason to be the pinnacle of humanity, this naturally translates into thinking of women as lesser beings. In debates, he will resort to all sorts of fallacies while maintaining that, because he knows the names of those fallacies, he obviously cannot commit them; attempting to point them out to him will result in him becoming enraged and calling you "irrational" and "emotional", missing the irony completely.

This veneration of logic and reason above all else, of course, ties back into the laziness issue: because one can construct a valid argument from any set of premises, provided one uses the proper logical rules to reach a conclusion, the pseudosopher will treasure the ability to assume any number of absurd and insane ideas, and then proceed from those completely bogus premisese to a "logical" conclusion. In reality, as we all know, logic is useless without empirical observation; it is from those observations that we glean true premises, on which we can then build sound logical arguments, based not only in proper use of the rules of logic, but in actual fact as well. But, since that takes work, the pseudosopher prefers to simply look for existing memes (or invent new ones, though often that's also too much work) which suit his biases, adopt those as his "facts", and then base all of his careful logical arguments on them, regardless of their actual truth.

The final piece of the puzzle, of course, is entitlement, often accompanied by a large dose of paranoia. A pseudosopher generally believes that, because he is smart, he should automatically be successful, wealthy, powerful, beloved by the opposite sex (pseudosophers are almost never gay!), and so on. The fact that he is not these things, or if he is, not to the extent he believes he deserves, is never due to anything wrong with him; the cause, of course, is some external factor, often a conspiratorial group or political or social movement for which he has some preexisting antipathy. While some do go so far as to blame the Illuminati or aliens or something, most confine their paranoid delusions to actually existing targets: feminists, liberals, "the government", and organized religion are common culprits.

I've found that pseudosophers often gravitate towards Libertarianism as a political philosophy, because it appeals to all of these traits: it's a very logic-based, axiomatic philosophy, whose core principles are not based in empirical observation but are simply meant to be assumed true; it's a very good vehicle for paranoia, because the Libertarian pseudosopher can simply blame the government for any and all personal misfortunes or societal ills; it appeals to his sense of entitlement, because of its emphasis on property as the most fundamental right and the evils of people taking from him the fruits of his labor in the form of taxes, which he views not as the price of civilization but an onerous burden from which he derives no benefit (or none that he will acknowledge); and, because it's politically an "out-group", it allows him to claim persecuted "underdog" status without having to commit to any actually unpopular or risky political stances, or suffer any actual hardship.

(That said, I should add that you see a number of these types manifesting in radical socialist, Marxist groups as well. And, might I add, for the same reasons.)

The cure for this pernicious memetic disease is to somehow impart to the sufferer a sense of humility, coupled with at least a measure of empathy. Unfortunately, most of the pseudosophers I have met have been completely unreachable, as they don't even speak the same language as the rest of us. What they use will resemble English, but (especially if they are Libertarians or hardcore Marxists) with many common words redefined into "terms of art" that mean not what the rest of the English-speaking world mean, but what they want them to mean. They will not tell you that this is the case, of course, as this would both require effort, and some degree of empathy on their part, to realize that their understanding of something is not universal truth. Instead, they will mock you for not understanding them, while continuing to spout intellectual-sounding pronouncements that, on analysis, either make no Earthly sense whatsoever, or are utterly repugnant and unsupportable.

The best cure is prevention: instilling a healthy level of introspection and self-criticism, while maintaining a good level of praise for actual ability and accomplishment, along with emphasizing the need to understand the mental and emotional states of other human beings, is the only means I know to prevent infection. This is mostly a job for parents and teachers, not participants in an internet discussion, so to the latter, I advise only awareness, and perhaps a certain level of detached amusement.
flewellyn: (Default)
When pundits or policymakers start talking about sacrificing the well being of various people to serve the economy, I know they are talking of doing evil. The economy exists to serve the people, not vice versa.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, as just about everybody has probably heard, United States judge Vaughn Walker overturned the bigoted and small-minded Proposition 8 in California, which rebanned same-sex marriage. I need not link to news articles on the subject, I'm quite sure everyone can find them all over the internet.

Nor do I need to announce that the right-wing hate machine is already screaming and crying over the supposed evils of this ruling, denouncing it as "overturning the will of the people" and "legislating from the bench". Of course they did. And of course there was the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth about immoral behavior and blah blah blah biased judge blah blah blah family values and all that crap. I'm not posting to rehash all of that.

One thing I did note about the objections, however, is something I've seen repeatedly from the fundamentalist conservative camp on all kinds of issues of social justice and equality. Look at the tirades that the bigots unleash, and you'll find a common thread: they repeatedly will say something along the lines of "This is not normal!" Or "they're trying to make it seem normal!" Or "You can't pretend that that should be normal!"

Normal. Normal normal normal. It's like a watchword with these people. They cling to it like a security blanket. If something is normal, to them, it's good. And if it's not normal, it must be forced to conform or eliminated.

Now, that's nothing new, I know. It's long since become a cliche among progressives to respond with "What is normal, anyway?"* But, honestly, I don't think that's a useful response. Because honestly? Normal as a concept does exist, and have meaning. Statistically and colloquially, it means the most typical set of behaviors or traits in a population. It's true that everyone is different, but commonalities exist, patterns and trends emerge, and we can indeed see that some things, some ways of being, are more common than others. And people know this.

So, when progressives say "What is normal?" or "There's no such thing as normal!" in retort to these people who so fetishize conformity, it's not really much of a retort.

I think it would be more useful, instead, to say to the people who harp on normality, "Why is normal good? Why is the most common way of being, the right one? Surely you're not suggesting that morality is a matter of majority opinion, are you?" The difference here is, rather than deny the existence of something that clearly exists (the concept of normal), we are instead questioning a connection which is not at all clear.

There is no logical reason to suppose that the typical, and the good, are at all related; in fact, the existence of institutional racism, sexism, classism, religious bigotry, and other hierarchical biases indicate to me that what is normal in society is quite often harmful.

The people I find who harp on normality as a good in itself, I note, are often Christians, or profess to be. At least in this country, that's predominantly the case. In such cases, I might remind them of a short passage from their holy book, namely Exodus 23:2: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."










* I usually respond with "It's a small town in central Illinois, next to Bloomington. My sister was born there." While this is irrelevant, it does point out the absurdity.

How "odd".

Feb. 19th, 2010 04:47 pm
flewellyn: (Default)
It's funny how, when Joe Stack flies a plane into an IRS building because he hates paying taxes and wants to strike a blow against the government, he's clearly a guy who just snapped.

But when Nidal Malik Hassan shoots up Fort Hood after enduring years of harrassment and intimidation by his fellow soldiers, he is immediately branded a terrorist and no talk of "just snapping" is tolerated by the media.
flewellyn: (Default)
I was challenged by a friend today to come up with one nice thing to say about George W Bush.

After thinking hard for nearly five minutes, all I could manage was this:

"I'm sure he's biodegradable."
flewellyn: (Default)
So, I saw at Shakesville a video and transcript by a deeply conservative, apparently Catholic, fundamentalist, asserting that if you use condoms, you will not be Raptured. This guy calls himsel the "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse", and insists he is "Co-Prophet of the End Times".

Several responses come to mind.

First off, "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" would be an awesome name for a heavy metal band. Or else an album. I could see Manowar, or maybe Mythic Slaughterbeast, putting out an album with that name.

Second, what the hell is with the fundie hate for contraception and disease prevention? Is their manhood so threatened by the idea of not putting their "holy spirit" in every possible woman that they have to ruin everything for the rest of us? (Rhetorical question. Of course, the answer is yes.)

But last, and more importantly, those silly fundie Christians who misread their Bibles! There's nothing about a "rapture"! What they're waiting for is the RUPTURE.

That's when God will take all the people, of all faiths, who believe that they are God's speshul snowflakes, and that this gives them license to behave badly towards others, and assume them bodily into the heavens.

Not Heaven, but the heavens. As in, low Earth orbit.

They will not be given any special means to survive in hard vacuum, however. That's why it's called "the Rupture".

And it can't come soon enough.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, yeah, sure, the health care bill passed the House. But, I am not cheering. With the Stupak amendment attached to it, it represents a giant step backward for women's health care. It wasn't enough for him, for the Republicans, or for 64 other Democratic representatives, that the Hyde amendment forbade the use of federal funds for abortions. No, they had to go a step further, and use the public option and the health care exchange to effectively prohibit private insurers from covering abortions, too.

Nor is there any guarantee of covering other women's health procedures, such as pap smears, mammograms, hormonal contraception, and the like. This amendment was a giant, extended middle finger to 51% of the United States population.

It remains to be seen whether the Senate does something similar, or if they act against this odious amendment. And there's always the conference committee, as well. But even the fact that this amendment passed, with the support of many Democratic reps (including my own!), is bad enough.
flewellyn: (Default)
Sometimes, when I voice my concerns that the wealthy have far too much power in our society, I am accused, along with other progressives, of promoting "class warfare".

I have only one response.

The wealthy declared the class war long ago. We are declaring that we have noticed.
flewellyn: (Default)
Okay, the latest Freeper/Birther/Obama's-really-a-half-breed-muslin/alien overlord/whatthefuckever meme flying around the wingnutosphere is that Obama can't possibly be a legitimate 'Murrican*' because, supposedly, he's...

...wait for it...

NOT CIRCUMCISED.

Seriously. Actual people have expended actual time actually speculating about this actual topic.

Now, of course, rational thinkers everywhere (which rules out most of the hard-right GOP base these days) would respond with two questions:

1. How in the blue peepin' hellacious eyes of Samuel W. Scratch would anybody other than his parents, his doctor, and his wife know about the Presidential member's cut or uncut status to begin with?!

and

2. For the sake of Saint Fuck of Fucksenbourg**, what the hell difference would it make? It's not as if men in America with both cut and uncut penises do not exist, side by side, living in perfect penile harmony.

This is so risible, so laughable, so beyond absurd, that the phrase "grasping at straws" doesn't begin to cover it. (And brings to mind rather less than welcome mental images, so let's not go there.)

My first thought, when I read this? "Wow...the shadowy corporate overlords orchestrating these insane shitstorms sure are getting awfully cocky..."







* As opposed to Merkin, who is not appearing in this picture.

** Saint Fuck of Fucksenbourg is the patron saint of fivenication. It's one better than fournication...
flewellyn: (Default)
Sara Robinson of Orcinus wrote an excellent summary of the terrorist activities of the radical right-wing, which have averaged one attack on American citizens every two weeks since January 20th. The campaign by the far-right against mainstream America, against every enemy they imagine themselves to have, has been relentless, and it has been openly encouraged, or at least condoned by the conservatives in the media, halfhearted condemnations to the contrary.

Conservatives in general do not, I believe, approve of such things; that is to say, I don't believe everyone in America who self-identifies as conservative, or even the majority of them, would look upon any of these attacks with anything but horror. But to hear the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and company tell it, these extremists are part and parcel of the mainstream of the Republican party. After each attack, they have shed a few crocodile tears, while continuing to insist that the rhetoric they spout, the rhetoric the extremist terrorists themselves use as their justification, is completely unconnected to the rapid upswing in violence. Yet they do nothing to try and actually discourage the extremists; if anything, they intensify their hateful rhetoric.

Well, we can add another attack to the tally. Three people connected with the anti-immigration group Minuteman American Defense invaded the home of a Mexican-American family and shot and killed two people, a 9 year old girl and her father. The motive is obvious: these people hate immigrants, especially Mexicans. The entire purpose of their movement is to "protect" America from the "menace" of Mexicans coming into our country.

It's a refrain we've heard a great deal from right-wing media pundits such as the aforementioned Limbaugh, Hannity, Malkin, Coulter, et al. And yet we are expected to believe that the mainstreaming of extreme right-wing hatred in our national discourse has no connection to the upswing in extreme right-wing violence.

I'm not buying it anymore. As far as I am concerned, the talking heads in the media who spout rhetoric that is used to justify domestic terrorism, are themselves guilty of aiding and abetting. Freedom of expression doesn't make it okay.

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