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An Uncivil War June 12, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Barack Obama, Democrats, Domestic Terrorism, National Politics, Politics, Republicans, Right-Wing Extremism.
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rt wing extremeHistorians that have examined the American Civil War inevitably place the issue of slavery at the center of the conflict.  Indeed, since the Missouri Compromise of 1820-1821, the issue of slavery and its expansion into U.S. Territories simmered underneath all political debate.  In 1858, upon accepting the nomination of the Republican party for Senator from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech wherein he maintained that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Lincoln said that he believed that the United States could not endure half slave and half free – that it must become all one thing or another. 

Though slavery as an issue was the catalyst for secession and ultimately, war, the real driving principal was States Rights vs. Federalism.   The slave-owning states had an economic and social interest in preserving the system of slavery.   As westward expansion began and gained momentum, migrants to the new territories also had an economic interest in expanding slave ownership to the newest areas of the United States.  Obviously, the ability to hold slaves would be an economic boon to an emigrant class that required cheap (or free) labor to build new communities and industry.  The federalists in the northern states, however, saw slavery as an affront to the power of the national government and its ability to regulate trade, commerce, and the national economy. 

Upon Abraham Lincoln’s election to the Presidency in 1860, several states immediately seceded from the Union.  The Civil War began when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, SC, in an effort to wrest control of the military installation from the Union. 

Why is this history lesson important today?  Because, basically, a segment of the population did not agree with the results of an election and caused the deadliest war in American history.

Since the election of Barack Obama as president there has been a well-documented rise in the activities of right-wing extremist groups, white supremacist groups, and Neo-Nazi fascist groups.  This follows on the heels of last fall’s resurgence of right-wing populism; the war against the “cultural elites” and liberal-socialist non-Americans living in cities.  This has been, of course, well fed and flames fanned by Fox News, Sarah Palin, and right-wing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck – the culmination of which has been the assassination of an abortion provider in Kansas and the murder of a Security Officer at the U.S. Holocaust Museum this week.

The right-wingers are frantically trying to run away from their culpability in all of this hate and violence.  Indeed, Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show yesterday that white supremacists are really leftists – their ideas are spawned by the “Israel-hating”, 9-11 conspiracy theorist left wing.

What the ……?  Can Limbaugh really be serious when he sits bouncing in his chair behind the mike telling white America that he hopes – for the sake of the country – that the President fails?  Can they be serious when Bill O’Reilly is painting a physician performing a LEGAL procedure as “Tiller the Baby-Killer” who will “execute your child” for five thousand bucks?  Can they really step back from their words when crazy Glenn Beck is telling them to stock up on guns and ammo because the president is coming to take your guns?

This type of speech is hate speech and its sole purpose is to inflame action on the parts of the people who hate.  Now, Limbaugh and others can say that they want these loons to express their hate in the voting booth, but even they must acknowledge that they have no control.  They are holding the wolf by the ears and are unable to let it go for fear it will tear them apart.

Limbaugh said that white supremacist and Neo-Nazi James Von Brun was obviously “mentally disturbed” when he committed his act of terror in the Holocaust Museum.  Isn’t any terrorist – domestic or otherwise – somehow “mentally disturbed”?  And suppose you had a neighbor who was schizophrenic and heard voices telling him to kill?  If you went to his house on a daily basis and talked to him about how the neighbors on the other side were evil and not worthy, shouldn’t you be held culpable if he took an ax and killed them all?  Would you be able to defend yourself by saying that you really didn’t think he would kill anyone?

That’s the point.  These right-wing hate mongers know the crazies are out there.  They call their talk shows every day.  Rush and Sean and Glen are fully aware that they’re fanning the passions of these people – that’s called RATINGS, people.

We are on the brink of another war in this country – but this time, it is entirely un-civil.  If you don’t believe it, look at some of these comments from a legal encyclopedia site on white supremacist groups:

I am a white man and proud of it. N*ggers are one of the big things that makes this Country and world worse. They should be put away along with rapists, pedophiles, and mexicans. White is the superior race and all should do as we instruct. You have a negro college fun, african beauty pageant and all of this bull sh*t. If the white man or woman had this it would be racist. N*ggers have BET(black entertainment channel). If we had WET(white entertainment)we’d be racist. From an early age we our taught we are bad for having slaves. This country would be better if niggers were slaves. Put away n*ggers and let the south rise again”

“I am a white woman who believes in the constitution of the United States and that the president has to be a united state citizen and if he is not he cannot be president of the United States, period!! The white race better wake up or you’ll find yourself a slave of the Jews!! Read and learn white people! quit trying to be whiggers!! thats just retarded. We should be white and proud and keep America like it was built on a christian nation under God!”

Read more: http://law.jrank.org/pages/11302/White-Supremacy-Groups.html#ixzz0IEXeoOGl&C

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Hucka-bridge to Nowhere June 3, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in 2012, Christian Right, National Politics, New York Politics, Obama Administration, Presidential Politics, Republicans.
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mikehuckabeeOn today’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough discussed a recent network poll about potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.  Leading the pack was former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at 23% with Alaska governor Sarah Palin close behind at 21%.  Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney scored in at 13% – an earlier CNN poll showed Romney leading the field at 21%.  Lastly, former Florida governor and presidential sibling Jeb Bush received 6%.

The MSNBC poll was taken among self-identified Republicans (apparently they found some); the CNN poll was conducted on the general voting populace.  What is striking about these results is that among Republicans, the religious ultra-conservatives win.  When polling all Americans, however, a more moderate Republican – Romney – comes out on top.  As Scarborough pointed out, 44% of Republicans prefer a candidate so outside the mainstream of America that he or she can not win. 

These are bad days for Republican moderates.  Not only is the party expelling and expunging them, the the Obama administration is picking them off for cabinet posts and party-switching.  In a brilliant stroke, the administration tapped NY Republican congressman John McHugh as Secretary of the Army.  This follows the selection of Utah governor (and potential 2012 rival) John Huntsman as Ambassador to China, the defection of Arlen Spector, and the choice of former Republican congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois as Transportation Secretary.  The selection of McHugh leaves New York’s 29 Congressional districts with only two Republicans — one of whom, Christopher Lee of Amherst, is sure to see his district eliminated after the 2010 census (due to a falling population, New York will probably lose 2 congressional seats). 

Lest you think that New York doesn’t matter because we’re all a bunch of screaming liberals here, think again.  Those on the right that may sniff at New York losing Republicans should realize that as recently as 5 years ago, New York had 10 Republican congressional seats; in the early 1990’s there were as many as 17.  Outside of the cities, New York tends to be very fiscally conservative while being socially moderate.   Since the Republican party went full-on socially conservative, however, even moderate New York Republicans can not win.  Indeed, there are no Republican House members in all of New England – and only two Senators.

The Republican party is self-immolating.  By allowing their non-elected spokespersons (Cheney, Limbaugh, and the entire Fox News network) to define them and keep their base whipped up, they are alienating moderates and Independents from their camp.  Since base voters are the ones that vote in primaries and essentially pick the candidates, they are dooming themselves to becoming a Southern regional party with little national significance.

I think Americans have had it with the anti-intellectual that you’d feel comfortable having a beer with as President.  We don’t need a former Baptist minister that eats squirrels and eschews evolution as President.  We don’t need an ethically-challenged former beauty queen as president.  We don’t need people that believe in God – but believe in torture – leading us.

Truthfully, Romney is the guy that – as a Liberal – scares me.  If he can figure out a position on issues and stick with it, he would be a formidable opponent.  Americans have a near-reverence for businessmen and Romney has a successful history in business.  As Joe Scarborough pointed out this morning, had Romney been the 2008 candidate for President when the economy melted down in October, he very well could be sitting in the White House today.  That gives me the shivers – like a bad dream.   But, fortunately for Liberals and Progressives, the Republican base will never accept Romney.

I’ll continue to sleep easy.