The current environment of political violence is untenable. It is destroying us, destroying the democratic foundations of our republic, turning even the most mild-mannered among us into something we don’t want to be. If it continues … well, let’s just say it cannot continue. I turn to Max Boot, writing for The Washington Post, to assess and analyze where this incitement is coming from, and to destroy those false equivalences that are being so glibly put forth.
Don’t blame ‘both sides.’ The right is driving political violence.
30 October 2022
It should not be controversial to say that America has a major problem with right-wing political violence. The evidence continues to accumulate — yet the GOP continues to deny responsibility for this horrifying trend.
On Friday, a man enflamed by right-wing conspiracy theories (including QAnon) entered the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and attacked her 82-year-old husband with a hammer, fracturing Paul Pelosi’s skull. “Where is Nancy?” he reportedly shouted, echoing the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, at President Donald Trump’s instigation. This comes after years of Republican demonization of the House speaker, a figure of hatred for the right rivaled only by Hillary Clinton.
The same day as the Pelosi attack, a man pleaded guilty to making death threats against Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Two days earlier, three men who were motivated by right-wing, anti-lockdown hysteria after covid-19 hit were convicted of aiding a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). In August, another man died after attacking an FBI office because he was so upset about the bureau’s search of Mar-a-Lago. “We must respond with force,” he wrote on Trump’s Truth Social website.
Then there are all the terrible hate crimes, in cities including Pittsburgh, El Paso and Buffalo, where gunmen were motivated by the kind of racist rhetoric — especially the “great replacement theory” — now openly espoused on Fox “News.”
This is where any fair-minded journalist has to offer an obligatory “to be sure” paragraph: To be sure, political violence is not confined to the right. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot in 2017 by a gunman with leftist beliefs, and in June, a man was arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh after becoming incensed about court rulings on abortion and guns.
Republican leaders cite those attacks to exonerate themselves of any responsibility for political violence. “Violence is up across the board,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Sunday, arguing that it’s “unfair” to blame anti-Pelosi rhetoric for the assault on Pelosi’s husband.
Violence is unacceptable whether from the left or right, period. But we can’t allow GOP leaders to get away with this false moral equivalency. They are evading their responsibility for their extremist rhetoric that all too often motivates extremist actions.
The New America think tank found last year that, since Sept. 11, 2001, far-right terrorists had killed 122 people in the United States, compared with only one killed by far-leftists. A study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies last year found that, since 2015, right-wing extremists had been involved in 267 plots or attacks, compared with 66 for left-wing extremists. A Washington Post-University of Maryland survey released in January found that 40 percent of Republicans said violence against the government can be justified, compared with only 23 percent of Democrats.
There is little doubt about what is driving political violence: the ascendance of Trump. The former president and his followers use violent rhetoric of extremes: Trump calls President Biden an “enemy of the state,” attacks the FBI as “monsters,” refers to the “now Communist USA” and even wrote that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a “DEATH WISH” for disagreeing with him. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has expressed support for executing Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.) has tweeted that “the America Last Marxists … are radically and systematically DESTROYING our country.”
That type of extremist rhetoric used to be confined to fringe organizations such as the John Birch Society. Now it’s the GOP mainstream, with predictable consequences. The U.S. Capitol Police report that threats against members of Congress have risen more than tenfold since Trump’s election in 2016, up to 9,625 last year.
The sickness on the right was on display after news broke about the attack on Paul Pelosi. While leading Republicans condemned the horrific assault, the MAGA base seethed with sick jokes making light of the violence and insane conspiracy theories. (Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza suggested that the attack was “a romantic tryst that went awry.”)
There was, alas, no sign of the GOP taking responsibility for fomenting hatred. Kari Lake, the GOP nominee for governor of Arizona, blamed “leftist elected officials who have not enforced the laws.” Naturally, Republicans accuse Democrats of being “divisive” for citing Republican rhetoric as a contributing factor to political violence.
It’s true that, by calling out GOP extremism, Democrats do risk exacerbating the polarization of politics. But they can’t simply ignore this dangerous trend. And it’s not Democrats who are pushing our country to the brink: A New York Times study found that MAGA members of Congress who refused to accept the results of the 2020 election used polarizing language at nearly triple the rate of Democrats.
So please don’t accept the GOP framing of the assault on Paul Pelosi as evidence of a problem plaguing “both sides of the aisle.” Political violence in America is being driven primarily by the far right, not the far left, and the far right is much closer to the mainstream of the Republican Party than the far left is to the Democratic Party.
Note to Readers: Typically, I include links that are a part of any post I reblog or copy, but the number of links in this piece would have required an extra hour that I didn’t have to format, so if you’re interested in seeing some of Mr. Boots’ links, you can do so on his original OpEd.
A headline from Daily Kos:
And I thought “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself” was one of the commandments. Wish it were…
Now that we can look at them, let’s see how MAGA scores….
- I thought Herschel and Don Sr. thought they were God
- What was that about Mount Rushmore?
- I won’t take the time to look up Fact Check
- I draw a blank here
- Not even on Fifth Avenue?
- Ho ho ho ho hee hee hee…
- Whoo! National secrets, anyone?
- Does false witness reFer to lying? Oh Dear…
- … Not even power, money and fame?
Excuse me for making fun of such a deadly situation.
Wise words from Keith…
Yesterday, yet another example of why we need civil discourse and leaders to emphasize it, occurred when an assailant broke into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and injured her husband, Paul. Whether someone disagrees with Pelosi’s views or even does not like Pelosi, there is no call for such action. Full stop. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Pelosi’s, but do respect her experience and capability.
Most of my phone calls and emails over the last two weeks to elected officials is to get them to help lower the temperature in our country. I even made a few phone calls to some of the biggest culprits who throw gasoline on fires stoking more tension. The calls before then, were more pleas to act to denounce those who are continuing to fuel The Big Lie.
Yet, leaders are not being listened to by those who need to clean…
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Early this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home was broken into and her 82-year-old husband was brutally beaten. Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time. This past summer, Senator Susan Collins of Maine had windows broken out in her home. Many members of Congress have received hate mail and death threats recently. As I read aloud the story about the attack on Paul Pelosi with my voice cracking and tears threatening to make a trail down my cheeks, I turned to my daughter and said, “This is NOT who we are!!!” And then, after a pause, I thought, but maybe it is now. Maybe the racism and greed and bigotry that have become such a part of this nation since its inception is turning us into monsters.
Senator Collins recently stated that “I wouldn’t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed. What started with…
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Thanks for letting me reblog! This is truly horrifying…
Thanks to Christine Langhoff for sharing this horrifying video.
It shows parents at Grant Middle School in Grant, Michigan, demanding the removal of a mural painted by a high school student. The mural was meant to make all students feel welcome.
But parents saw frightening symbols in it, such as a T-shirt that was a trans symbol, another that was a gay symbol, others graphics that were allegedly demonic or Satanic.
This country needs mental health services for adults who think that their children’s lives will be changed by seeing anything that offends parents. Do they object to textbooks showing the swastika? Really, there are many symbols to at could be interpreted in many ways.
Don’t they understand that children are shaped above all by their home environment?
I question the rationale for the writing of and printing of this week’s NY Times Magazine article,
A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into
View by David Wallace-Wells
The effect of the article, days before the election and with new troublesome issues being brought to light every week, let’s face it: what do you think the impact is? If the author and magazine editor really thought there was a real danger in climate change, would/could they have written/published such an article? And at this time?
I am tired and will not review all the news about continuing or escalating environmental practices by the giant corporations. There appears to be some widespread but meager meaningful initial response to the problem, but certainly not sufficient to warrant or justify such a reassuring widespread article. No Catastrophe in sight? I pray its publication does not reflect any of the current shifting shadows in our land. A small admission that the article may not justify its title entirely is one I picked out at random. Sorry, this is nervy of me but I am still aghast at the effect it will likely have on the future of the Earth, which is a pretty big deal:
….All of which suggests an entirely different view of the near future, equally true. The world will keep warming, and the impacts will grow more punishing, even if decarbonization accelerates enough to meet the world’s most ambitious goals: nearly halving global emissions by 2030 and getting to net-zero just two decades later. “These dates — 2030, 2050 — they are meaningless,” says Gail Bradbrook, one of the British founders of Extinction Rebellion. “What matters is the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and there is already way too much. The dates can be excuses to kick the problem into the long grass. But the important thing is that we’re doing harm, right now, and that we should stop absolutely as soon as possible with any activities that are making the situation worse.”
A lot, then, depends on perspective: The climate future looks darker than today but brighter than many expected not that long ago. The world is moving faster to decarbonize than it once seemed responsible to imagine, and yet not nearly fast enough to avert real turbulence. Even the straightest path to two degrees looks tumultuous, with disruptions from the natural world sufficient to call into question many of the social and political continuities that have been taken for granted for generations.
My comment: When the world is not moving fast enough to avert real turbulence, why this article at this time? I’m not questioning the author’s freedom of speech, just reflecting on the probable impact of it for so many fervently engaged grassroots individuals. Maybe something along the lines of “How Far We’ve Come but How Far Yet to Go” might be more palatable.
When I went to double-check the author’s name I came across a column by German Lopez, recommending the above-discussed article. Lopez’s column was titled “What was once the worst case scenario for climate change seems much less likely”
I have stated many times that in my politics I have formulated my principles and I have never wavered from them….until too many that ‘go with the flow’…..I am antiwar, I think we all deserve health care, and adequate education…on and on….
This is an excerpt of an open letter reblogged by lobotero, from Roger Waters that says it so well….
Today, we are standing on the edge of a precipice, staring into the abyss. The end of all life on earth is a very real possibility. The reins of power have been purchased by the oligarchs and ideologues and they are hell bent on the end of times. Make no mistake. This is not a drill.
Some say the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is the closest we have come to a nuclear catastrophe, but at least then, JFK and Nikita Khrushchev were in communication. In our current crisis, our leaders are not even talking to each other. We human beings must communicate with each other if we are to survive. We here in the West are drowning in a sea of pro-war propaganda and presumably the Russians are too. How are we the people to make sense in this maelstrom of misinformation? SUPPORT ANTIWAR.COM!!!!!!
“The Powers That Be,” our “Masters,” the self appointed “Ruling Class” want to keep us squabbling, at each other’s throats, to be used us as cannon fodder or slave labor. When a great journalist and truth-teller like Julian Assange is imprisoned for sharing vital information, the time has come to man the barricades, to stand shoulder to shoulder with all our brothers and sisters all over the world in defense of our beautiful planet home.
As I told the audience on every night of my recent tour of the United States and Canada and Mexico we will never sell out. We, and here I include my brothers and sisters at ANTIWAR.COM, will keep speaking Truth to Power.
No matter how much one hates the idea of diplomacy….there needs to be more concern for crap than the wars we start and we seem to start a new one every year.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”
Image Granny D, http://www.loc.gov — Portions from an earlier post by Nan, and more
Snooty talks with Poopy [poor folks]
“Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?” Ivanka once asked her friend, as reported by that former friend Lysandria Ohrstrom at <https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/11/ivanka-trump-was-my-best-friend-now-shes-maga-royalty> .
SNOOT: Good question!
POOP: I have a problem understanding your values.
SNOOT: No news you’ve got problems.
POOP: So you feel the same way as Ivanka?
SNOOT: Reading about failures is for the birds.
POOP: The poor are failures at…?
SNOOT: Upward mobility; power; respect; belonging; the elite; money; prestige; status; fame…
POOP: How about honesty?
SNOOT: Honesty is for the gullible, ignorant, and those who don’t know how to read the playbook.
POOP: Honesty’s no good?
SNOOT: They have to be protected from honesty; they might panic.
POOP: Who are these poor people, anyway?
SNOOT: Oh, you know–dropouts, addicts, gender-scramblers, blacks, refugees, the homeless, convicts, dirt farmers–the undercrust in general.
POOP: Are there no more good people?
SNOOT: Oh sure–Warren Buffet, The Koch brothers, the Waltons, Jeff Bezos, …I just read that one monied gentleman charges people $6500 to be airlifted out of Afghanistan. You see, the poor can’t even pay for their own lives. Who’d want to read about such losers?
POOP: What about the “salt of the earth” folks?
SNOOT: Peons! You know what to do with peons, don’t you?
POOP: Don’t say it.
SNOOT: If we paid everybody a decent salary, our corporations would fail, and they are the backbone of our economy..
POOP: How did your corporations get so strong-armed?
SNOOT: It’s a wonderful story. Let me tell you…. In 2009 SCOTUS heard arguments in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and decided the lawsuit in 2010, to give corporations, Unions and other groups the right to pump as much money as they wanted into the political system. It was a matter of freedom of speech–corporations could count as people, too, since they’re made up of people, and they have more money than the individual people, or any other group. See how clever we can be?
POOP: Sounds clever, but not democratic.
SNOOT: Of course it’s democratic! Didn’t you hear what I just said? Corporations are people, too, and have a lot more clout!
POOP: But isn’t that double counting?
SNOOT: No prob. It passed, that’s what counts.
POOP: What Supreme Court members voted to do that?!
SNOOT: Thought you’d never ask….The justices responsible for passage were
POOP: That was 2010? What was Granny D doing that year?
POOP: Thought you’d never ask…. Granny D turned 100 years old three days after the 2010 passage of the Citizens United ruling. That is especially sad.
SNOOT: How so?
POOP: Between the ages of 88 and 90 she walked 3200 miles, from California to Washington D.C. for campaign finance reform. Campaign financing was already a problem, even before Citizens United.
SNOOT: Smatter of opinion.
POOP: And she demonstrated at the nation’s capitol!
SNOOT: Got arrested, I hope.
POOP: According to Wikipedia, she did get arrested, and testified that “Your Honor, to the business at hand: the old woman who stands before you was arrested for reading the Declaration of Independence in America’s Capitol Building. I did not raise my voice to do so and I blocked no hall. But if it is a crime to read the Declaration of Independence in our great hall, then I am guilty.
The Citizens United decision argued that because corporations are simply associations of individuals, then corporations should have the same Constitutional rights as those people. But under the law corporations are more than just collections of individuals, as evidenced by the special privileges and rights they attain by incorporating—for example, The corporate legal structure makes a corporation liable for actions while shielding the actual humans behind the corporation and enables corporations to accumulate mass quantities of wealth. Although Corporations are things entities distinct from the individuals comprising them. Additionally, corporate interests are often contrary to the interests of the general public.
From <https://americanpromise.net/2021/03/we-the-people-real-citizens-united-to-save-our-republic/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwvaeJBhCvARIsABgTDM5jGVZZLTrYTzxdJjLtUJP4PNPX6zEN4GX55Do83uH1E0A6EcQpalIaApQMEALw_wcB> An amendment to the Constitution to reaffirm the promise of equal political representation for every American, not just the wealthiest among us. Legislative outcomes no longer represent the wishes of the majority of Americans, but rather serve the interests of the wealthy elite.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310, was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the relationship between campaign finance and free speech. It was argued in 2009 and decided in 2010. Wikipedia
Date decided: January 21, 2010
The Citizens United v. FEC 2010 Supreme Court case confirmed that it was legal for individuals, corporations, unions, and other groups to make unlimited independent political expenditures. Since this ruling, super PACs have played a significant role in national elections in the United States as there are no legal limits on the size of donations they can accept or political expenditures they can make. Due to the growing influence of money in politics, campaign finance reform has become a major issue for 2016 presidential candidates. Conversation about the influence of money in politics has erupted from all ends of the political spectrum sparking a dialogue among Americans about the need for reform. This research explores three proposed alternatives to reforming the current political system after the Citizens United v. FEC decision. Among the proposed alternatives are propositions for constitutional amendments, citizen funded elections, and laws to take away the lobbying power of corporations and special interest groups. This thesis provides an analysis of the proposed alternatives to Citizens United regarding the feasibility, practicality, and sustainability of each proposed course of action with the common goal of eliminating the corrupting force of unlimited and unrestrained money in the political system.
In a democracy, every eligible voter has one vote, and all matters of public policy are decided by majority rule. Most democracies set some things aside as beyond the scope of majority rule, such as the Bill of Rights in the United States. And many democracies have very undemocratic institutions in the middle of things — like our Senate, which gives the vote of a person from Delaware or Alaska about a hundred times more weight than the vote of someone from California.
Even in an impure democracy, a basic dynamic of politics is the search for votes. Those who seek power — in state government, in Congress, or as President — have to get lots of votes. And so people have a lot to say about how they’re governed, and that’s the basic idea of democracy.
Now you don’t need corporations to have your democracy undermined. Anyone with a lot of money has ways of doing that. Someone can use their money to buy or otherwise unduly influence the votes of the electorate. And, in a representative democracy, they can also just bribe or otherwise unduly influence the elected officials.
How ever rich individuals are, corporations can be richer. Today, with huge multi-national corporations, the effect of a single entity like a corporation can exert an incomparable effect on politics.
The Court held that corporations are persons, who have the right of free speech, and whose speech can take the form of money. So they should be able to do things they’d previously been kept from doing – in particular, spending all they want on political campaigns.
Meaningful…between languages and hearts
A short story in Vietnamese by Nguyễn Văn Thiện Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm Art: Đinh Trường Chinh
I’ve come to terms with how my face feels, but I was still unsure of its shape, an estranged spirit busking at a flea market, a samurai waving a knife gutting himself for fun, or some deranged fool arranging words dreaming of becoming a poet? Shrouded by a cloud of smoke and mist of desolation, I considered the placing of my face. Each time there was an itch, I took a glimpse at the mirror, it was a sad, defiant stranger.
I reside to feel my feet, but I was unsure if they belonged to me or to someone else. Whose feet tirelessly climbed dunes to reach the sea, whose feet entangled in the long grass dreaming of laying abandoned beneath the bluest the biggest sky? Whose feet chose to set foot…
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