Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Tea Party Summed Up in 48 Words

The Tea Party is a corporate-funded Republican campaign, laughably disguised with a big false mustache as “independent,” in which Americans who are upset by the president's skin color unite to demand that they be denied health care so that billionaires can receive more tax cuts in Jesus' name.

What's Wrong With Fox News, Vol. 3, Part 6,807

Next on Fox News: Driving a spike through your eye. Is it fun?

What's Wrong With Fox News, Vol. 3, Part 6,806

Sean Hannity scoffed at the idea of waterboarding being torture, and promised to undergo the "enhanced interrogation" technique for charity. The coward lied, of course.

To Dream the Quite Possible Dream

The U.S. stands virtually alone among developed nations in lacking universal health care for its citizens.
By Dan Hagen

See, the American people have to realize that universal healthcare is just a dream. 

It's too expensive. 

It's too impractical. 

It's impossible. 

No other country in the world has been able to establish it, except for Canada, Uruguay, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom. Australia, New Zealand and pretty much the entire civilized modern world.
I've got your "deregulation" right here.

Hagen Shrugged

Grant Bowler admires his achievement as idealistic industrialist Hank Rearden in "Atlas Shrugged"

By Dan Hagen
The “Atlas Shrugged” film from 2011 finally made it to Matt & Dan Theatre.
Not as bad as I was led to expect, just mediocre, which in this case is almost worse. A tight budget deprived the film of the big exterior scenes demanded by Ayn Rand’s sweeping, crazed romanticism. 
Taylor Schilling as transportation magnate Dagny Taggart
And the relationship between Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden lacked the necessary magnetism. Rand’s Übermensch heroes and heroines are supposed to possess attractive force on the scale of the gravitational pull between planets, and to burn with a passion like the hearts of suns. This, they did not do.
On the plus side, the screenwriters succeeded in making Rand’s didactic dialogue playable, something that failed to happen when Rand herself wrote the screenplay to Warner’s big-budget version of “The Fountainhead” in 1949. And my old friend Jack Milo is effective in his brief scene when he turns and, with a rueful stare, says, “What are you selling, pal?” My, what a question to ask John Galt.
Rand, at her best, speaks to the inchoate thirst for achievement that young people have, and offers them a vision of productive work that is both creative and heroic. At her worst, she is narcissistic, even sociopathic. I’m not sure the movie hits either of these high notes.
But the strangest thing about this film is that it suggests that Rand’s hyper-capitalistic, let-the-corporations-rule-all philosophy is the solution to the current America economic crisis when, in fact, it is in many ways the cause of it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Freedom Looks Like


RIP, Nora

Plenty of Heat, But No Light

By Dan Hagen
It’s June, and the temperature is hitting 103 here in central Illinois today. It’ll climb higher than 100 degrees in more than half this nation.
But what is going to have the right wingers in a fretful sweat is the necessity of dreaming up new ways to deny the scientific reality and plain fact of global climate change.
"The Sun Shines Over Cape Town" by Marion Boddy-Evans
They’ve become accustomed to indulging in the most fundamental and dangerous of human errors — confusing what you want to believe with the facts of reality.
It’s called emotion-driven motivated reasoning. You confirm what you already believe, ignore contrary data and develop fantastic, elaborate rationalizations to discredit any contradictory evidence. The right wingers huddle in the security blanket of dogmatic myth, pull it over their heads, and use it to try to gag anybody else who dares to tell them the truth.
For example, the conservatives’ great hero, Gov. Rick Perry, says climate change is a hoax drummed up by scientists to make money. That’s the kind of arrogant, cynical, know-nothing cretin many Republicans think would make an ideal president of the United States.
The key to this mentality, Nate Silver observed, “…is simply to find some tiny thing and focus all attention on that in order to persuade people that the bigger reality is untrue or irrelevant. 
"This is not an argument; it’s a technique. It’s a technique to persuade people not to examine all the evidence, since the source of the evidence — secular humanist scientists — are evil suspects and against God and in favor of making your gas bill higher. You can’t actually persuade people that way, of course. But you can fortify their resistance to examining all the evidence.”
Kind of amazing how folks can be skeptical about climate change, but not about Christianity,” Tom Gossett observed.
The Yale philosophy professor Brand Blanshard said, “Science … means more than a set of conclusions; it means also a set of methods and intellectual habits. The most important of these habits is adherence to a rule that is felt to be at once intellectual and moral, the rule of adjusting one’s assent to the evidence.
That obvious principle — that reality requires you to accept the plain evidence before you, not try to hide it or pervert it — was once taken for granted by all even minimally educated children in this nation. Now tens of millions of adults, maybe even a majority of Americans, willfully ignore it. To our great shame. To our profound peril.
You see, intellectual honesty is not merely admirable. It’s the necessary precondition that permits civilization to survive.

What's Wrong With Fox News, Vol. 3, Part 6,805

The corporate media hacks at Fox News and CNN get the biggest Supreme Court decision of the year wrong. Well, that's what happens to corporate media propagandists, necessarily. They develop a contempt for accuracy and fact that spills over to expose them for what they really are. They should try professional journalism sometime.
But what's accuracy, after all? Just one of those rotten old secular liberal values. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Of Pain and Power

A 15th century tribunal using ropes to elicit a confession in this engraving from a painting by A. Steinheil.

By Dan Hagen
In the 21st century, under the Bush-Cheney regime, the United States of America became a nation of torturers, and when you question the wisdom and the morality of that historical fact, the time bomb starts to tick.
That would be a fictional time bomb, of course — the nonsensical rhetorical device that is supposed to invalidate centuries of civilized moral agreement and the Geneva Conventions.
If some terrorist knew where a ticking nuke was planted, wouldn’t you want him to be tortured to find out where it was?
Or, as the right wingers’ true spiritual ancestors used to put it, “Ve haff veys of making you talk.”
Extreme examples make for terrible policy, a fact that any rational, honest person already knows. They’re excuses, not reasons. If you were in a group trapped on a mountain without food or hope of escape, you might finally dine on other people. Therefore cannibalism should be legalized, right?
Basing your ethical views of torture on a Hollywood ticking-time bomb scenario is about as intelligent and realistic as limiting your culinary choices to the menu available to the Donner Party.
So we have reached the point where torture supposedly “protects the troops,” but inconvertible evidence of American war crimes “endangers the troops.” That's the point at which I have to ask what in hell these much-protected troops are supposed to be protecting, because it sure as hell isn’t the United States of America.
Torture is not used to stop a ticking H-bomb in some ridiculous comic book scenario. Torture is used by authoritarian governments to produce false confessions to justify their quest for power. Everybody knows that, right?
Anybody remember José Padilla? This American citizen was arrested in Chicago on May 8, 2002, on “suspicion” of plotting a radioactive “dirty bomb” attack. Bush designated him an “enemy combatant” without legal rights and had him transferred to a military prison where he was tortured insane. The phony “dirty bomb” claims were dropped, and the now-mentally disordered Padilla was finally convicted in civilian court on criminal conspiracy charges.
All those torture war crimes committed by the U.S. government have gone unpunished, and that’s an engraved invitation for them to be committed again. Evil acts left unidentified, unexposed and unpunished are evil acts that will be repeated again and again, with greater and greater enormity. Bank on it.
In fact, there is no "war on terror." That’s just propagandistic pabulum. Nor is there any question that interrogation techniques like “waterboarding” are torture. The U.S. executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding as war crime torturers.
However, I do love these semantic weasel-word games, in which the right wingers require their corporate media puppets to use fascist euphemisms like “harsh interrogation” and “enhanced interrogation.” So torture isn’t torture anymore just as soon as we start torturing people. I presume that squirming rationalization sounded better in the original German.
As Joseph Goebbels observed, “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is, in fact, a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded to clothe ideas in disguise.”
Right wingers are moral cowards, willing to scrap every standard of civilization and torture people, both the guilty and the innocent, just because they have soiled themselves in panic over the danger of terrorism.
Yes, the U.S. will experience more terrorist attacks at some time. I would prefer that the people who face those attacks be the decent citizens of a democratic republic, not craven, morally bankrupt torturers who have squandered the promise and abandoned the meaning of their ancestors' heroic struggles.
The bullshit argument that the use of torture is about “terrorism” was exposed, inadvertently, by Fox News, the most vociferous of the corporate media torture advocates.
Fox News Business Host Eric Bolling asked his viewers to list people they'd like to see tortured, and of course they said Joy Behar, President Obama and Senate Democrats, among others.
Note that this ISN’T even about torture falsely described as an intelligence necessity, but about the REAL reason right wingers love it — as a sadistic, entertaining punishment of their innocent enemies. The mask slips, and the fascist skull grins out. Thanks for proving my point, you Fox torture lovers.
The right wingers want to torture people not because it’s effective — it isn’t, particularly — but because they like the idea. They relish the notion of inflicting excruciating pain on helpless people, because that would prove to them that they are powerful. They are always desperate to prove they are powerful, because they are secretly so afraid of life, of change, of the world, of reality.
Secretly, like all great bullies, they believe they are weak, and are terrified of that fact. The extent of the agony they want to inflict on others is a reflection of the depth of fear and weakness that they dare not examine in themselves.
Read here about how the U.S. teamed up with Muammar Gaddafi to torture the dictator's enemies. And cheer for your "shining city on a hill," patriots.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

GOP: Gibberish On Parade

The Republicans always need a candidate who is fluent is flapdoodle. You know, Sharia speak. Flag pins. Freedom fries. Murka-Murka-Murka. Flapdoodle.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Convenient Termination of Dr. Dean

By Dan Hagen
Sometimes a single example is sufficient to summarize the compromise, cowardice and corruption of the corporate news media.
Case in point: Howard Dean’s “scream.”
Dean once made a funny noise in the middle of a screaming rally, and was instantly and universally declared unfit for office by the corporate media that looped it, amplified it and replayed it incessantly.
The so-called “scream” was shown some 633 times by cable and broadcast news networks in just four days following the incident, and that doesn’t include talk shows and local news broadcasts. But those in the actual audience that day said they were not aware of the infamous “scream.”
Yet people like the right-wing extremist quitter Sarah Palin and her loony counterpart Michele Bachmann constantly made inane, fact-free, ludicrous remarks, and were sagely discussed as serious presidential contenders. Their batshit-crazy pronouncements were made to vanish down the memory hole as soon as they babbled them. The corporate media is willing to treat Palin as a credible candidate when they know, through indisputable documented interviews, that she is in fact a cretin.
Diane Sawyer and others in the national broadcast news media later expressed “some regret” about the Dean story. CNN issued a public apology and admitted in a statement that they indeed may have “overplayed” the incident.
Gee, ya think? CNN’s “apology” was cover to save face after the hatchet job was done. America’s corporate masters wanted the most liberal candidate in the presidential race eliminated, and released their corporate media hounds to run him off.
It's a magic trick. The corporate media made the American left disappear, with a puff of back-room smoke and the sound of Dr. Dean making a “funny noise.”
Remember, we went to war to stop weapons that didn't exist, except in the fever dreams of the White House and the corporate media. Dean’s “gaffe” was equally nonexistent, except on the tube.
Working in concert, corporate media manipulators can make anything seem to happen, or unhappen.
And so, being dishonest, they do.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sense Is Anything But "Common"

“When you have learned something, my dear, it often feels at first as if you had lost something.”
— George Bernard Shaw
By Dan Hagen
I have come to loathe the term “common sense,” a foggy form of flattery for faux knowledge that ordinarily serves to disguise intellectual laziness and provide a veneer of respectability to pig-ignorant prejudice.
Sense is not “common.” Like everything else of lasting value in life, it must be earned by considerable effort.
With transparent defensiveness, America’s uneducated scornfully contrast their beloved “common sense” with something they smear as “elitism,” but which is actually well informed intelligence.
Yes, friend, when you have surgery, make sure it's not performed by one of those “elitist” physicians with all that fancy book-larnin'. Just grab your beer buddy, hand him a butcher knife and tell him to use his common sense.
“Common sense” informed people that the world was flat, remember.
But common sense marches on, and its champions even have their own TV news channel. What Fox News offers its audience isn't really information. Instead, it scratches the itch of their shame.
“(Fox News chief Roger Ailes) takes the shame of people who feel that they are being looked down on, and he mobilizes it for political purposes,” Tom Dickinson observed. “Ailes is a direct link between the Nixonian politics of resentment and Sarah Palin's politics of resentment.”
The Fox News fans fear they are inferior to better-educated, more cosmopolitan, less gullible American citizens, and are furious because they're sure that liberals look down on them for their self-imposed ignorance. Fox News reassures them that they're victimized and so much smarter than those smarty-pants smart people who lack “common sense.”
During the 2008 election, for example, thanks to a relentless GOP propaganda campaign aimed at know-nothings, craven and wretched reporting by the corporate media and the general willful, thundering stupidity of the American public, what we were offered as "issues" were such topics as Hillary Clinton's capacity to sob, Barack Obama's middle name, the fear of his "secret Muslim religion," whether he and his wife indulge in "terrorist fist bumps," and his bowling score.
That is what burned up the media oxygen on channels supposedly dedicated to “informing the public.” That was what the voters in this country supposedly wanted to discuss while deregulated financial fraud collapsed the world economy. And that’s because America is a land full of uneducated dupes who require a big damn dose of that “elitist education” they envy and fear and pretend to despise.
Of course I'm an elitist. Anyone worth his salt is, or aspires to be. I've worked and studied throughout my life for my career, for my awards, for my library, for my philosophy and for such understanding of human nature and the world as I have.
What I don't require is to be told by some lazy, loudmouth ignoramus who was frightened in childhood by a book that his whim-driven, knee-jerk "common sense" is superior to the vast, painfully acquired sum total of human cultural knowledge and science.
Stupidity and ignorance, the enablers of cupidity and self-destruction, have nothing to recommend them, my friends. All they really offer is ripeness for exploitation and blind destruction. I'm afraid civilization is inherently "elitist." The willfully ignorant will just have to get over it, or bring it down.
There’s no exception to the rule, not even when stupidity and ignorance are deliberately disguised through comforting nonsense phrases like “American Exceptionalism” and “common sense.”
“Ignorance is not bliss,” Philip Wylie said. “It is oblivion.”
Rejecting the fruit of the tree of knowledge and calling it “common sense” leaves you stuck in that well-known paradise that has traditionally been reserved for fools.

"Seven Brides:" The Dazzling Dance of the Sexes

Thosee lonesome polecats, from l: Jacob Lacopo, Sam Hay, Keegan Rice, Justin Ronald Mock, Zachary Gray and CH Palikowski.
By Dan Hagen
The battle of the sexes takes a somewhat literal turn in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the second show of the Little Theatre’s 2012 summer season. I was struck, in this production, by how relentlessly this musical focuses on gender relations, a rather politically incorrect parade of gingham girls and lion-hearted men.
Sophie Grimm (right):
Superbly controlled, naturalistic acting
Almost all musical comedies are a pas de deux of boy meets girl, but the emphasis is more primal in this show, a kind of tribal dance ritual.
Like hoot owls and polecats, the people here need not know their potential mates at all, and barely even meet them. A moment of mutual attraction is enough to seal the deal to the satisfaction of all concerned, to strike up the band for the wedding dance.
And yes, while the songs are serviceable enough, this is a dance musical, and has been since its inception as a 1954 film with celebrated masculine-themed choreography by Michael Kidd.
This production, directed and choreographed by Kelly Shook, is equally kinetic, and may well turn out to be the Little’s most engaging show of the summer.
Dance captain Sam Hay should share the credit for the pleasantly sweet swiftness with which this evening at the theatre passes. The brothers — Hay himself, CJ Pawlikowski, Justin Ronald Mock, Keegan Rice, Zachary Gray and Jacob Lacopo — stomp and spring their way through several numbers, dueling in dance, jumping over ax handles and, in Lacopo’s case, performing one incredible back flip. The Olympic choreography is as masculine as this kind of thing gets.
The story starts one day in 1850 when the eldest backwoods brother, Adam (Sean Zimmerman), goes to town to pick up supplies and a wife, pretty much in that order. Zimmerman’s voice is clear and thrilling, and his forthright manner instantly wins restaurant drudge and sunny survivor Milly (Sophie Grimm).
Here, as she did as Rizzo in Grease, the Equity actress Grimm uses her superbly controlled, naturalistic acting ability to lend even preposterous proceedings some emotional reality. My friend Jay Sain suggested that her singing voice and vocal styling reminded him a little of Rosemary Clooney, and I agree.
The best of several good numbers in the show is probably Grimm’s Goin’ Courtin’, which radiates both humor and energy as she teaches the charming brutes of brothers some fundamentals about the fair sex.
The most benighted of Midwesterners must feel like a sophisticate compared to these boys, and that gives the show a classier version of the kind of kick you might get from watching The Beverly Hillbillies.
Although their stage time is limited, the actors invest each brother with personality, particularly the amusingly stolid Benjamin (Pawlikowski) and the most misanthropic of this misanthropic lot, Frankincense (Gray). Gray also shines with his brothers in the sweetly muted, ax-punctuated moan of loneliness, “Lonesome Polecat.”
The youngest brother, Gideon (Lacopo), projects an appealing innocence that rings true, and that’s a real trick, given the fact that innocence so often comes off as sappy on stage.
He and Milly sense the stirrings of something more than primal urges and believe themselves to be in love with their chosen mates, a notion that Adam treats with the skepticism of a man who knows only nature’s rhythms. There’s no one girl, he tells Gideon. There are lots of girls. The three of them argue the point — true love or a string of lovers? — in the song Love Never Goes Away, a number that satisfyingly supplies no pat answers for the audience.
Anyway, the boys kidnap the objects of their desire (a lavishly lissome lot that includes Kelsey Andres, Ashley Klinger, Mandy Modic, Tiffany Sparks, Rachel LaPorte and Jennifer Seifter). By the way, I appreciate the fact that costumer Beth Ashby has color-coded the couples for us in bright, appealing outfits that match.
The mass kidnapping leads to complications that anybody but these bounding backwoodsmen could have predicted, but all is resolved with a shotgun Wedding Dance that probably expends enough energy, in each performance, to light up Moultrie County for a night or two.
Incidental Intelligence: This show has book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay and music by Johnny Mercer, Gene De Paul, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschorn. The cast also features Jack Scott, Glory Kissel, Marty Harbaugh, Connie Mulligan, John Tilford, Ashlyn Bennett, Abbi Kepp, Darrin French, Cary Mitchell, Jared Titus, Tony Edgerton, Lincoln Ward and Loren J. Connell.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has scene design by Jen Price-Fick, lighting design by Kimberly Klearman and stage management by Jane Davis. The music director is Joshua Zecher-Ross,
Performances will run today through July 1 with tickets ranging from $37.50 for adults and $35.40 for children under 12 and seniors 62 and over. Tickets may be purchased by calling The Little Theatre on the Square Box Office at (217)-728-7375 or online at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beware the Boogeyman

By Dan Hagen

"Terrorist" is just the contemporary way of saying "boogeyman."
It's a vague, ever-elusive word that justifies all – the summary assassination of U.S. citizens, the theft of our freedoms, the picking of our pockets, the silencing of truth-tellers, the spying on our every move, even the groping of our genitalia. 
Welcome to America, land of the prisons and the home of the panicked.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Finish the Hat

Sondheim's Finishing the Hat elaborates on this theme. Just click here to hear it.

Those Who Love and Live by Lies

By Dan Hagen
They like all the lies.
By now, it’s clear that America’s 21st century right wingers are the implacable enemies of honest, intelligent people, and will move against them at every possible opportunity, in every way possible — whether they are teachers, reporters, union members, politicians, scientists, philanthropists or Hollywood actors. Count on it. This fight is for all the marbles.
They don’t want the truth. They want lies, and they’re getting them.
The problem is that much of the white working class in 21st century America actually likes to be lied to, just as long as their prejudices are vigorously massaged by the people who are picking their pockets and robbing them of their rights.
These fact-fearing sheep like to think that absolutely all the answers can be found in their ancient Bibles, their 18th century economic theories and grandma's stack of yellowing Reader’s Digests.
H. L. Mencken described a group of Americans who intended “to repeal learning by statute, regiment the arts by lynch-law and give the puerile ethical and theological notions of lonely farmers and corner grocers the force and dignity of constitutional axioms.”
What I want to know is, how did Mencken ever hear about the Tea Party?
The Tea Partiers aren’t conservative, by the way. Real conservatives believe in paying their debts, not in threatening to default on them, and do not cheer for the deaths of their indigent neighbors. The Tea Partiers are radical right-wing populists being puppeteered by corporate fascists.
As Mike Dennison succinctly observed, “Republicans go after the thinkers for thinking, the poor for being poor, the teachers for teaching, the gays for loving each other, and the Democrats for caring about their fellow man.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012


By Julie Cadwallader Staub
I am 52 years old, and have spent
truly the better part
of my life out-of-doors
Poem published by The Mennonite
Nov. 3, 2009. Photo by Kirby Pringle.
but yesterday I heard a new sound above my head
a rustling, ruffling quietness in the spring air
and when I turned my face upward
I saw a flock of blackbirds
rounding a curve I didn't know was there
and the sound was simply all those wings
just feathers against air, against gravity
and such a beautiful winning
the whole flock taking a long, wide turn
as if of one body and one mind.

How do they do that?

Oh if we lived only in human society
with its cruelty and fear
its apathy and exhaustion
what a puny existence that would be

but instead we live and move and have our being
here, in this curving and soaring world
so that when, every now and then, mercy and tenderness triumph in our lives
and when, even more rarely, we manage to unite and move together
toward a common good,

and can think to ourselves:

ah yes, this is how it's meant to be.

They're Telling You What They Want

“The Republicans have begun to see that they have fallen into a trap of their own construction: the party of the rich, which catered to the yokels, is now in danger of being taken over by the yokels... Incoherent, celebrating violence, sentimental, paranoiac and resentful: it's all there cooking on the stove of high unemployment.”
— David Seaton

By Dan Hagen
Just listen to them. They’re telling you what they really want.
Whom did Fox News star Glenn Beck say he wanted to “kill with a shovel?” Whom did he “pray would burst into flames?” What remedy did Sharron Angle say would “turn the country around?”
On Fox News, on Aug. 6, 2009, Beck "joked" that he'd like to murder Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by poisoning her wine, then had the 
transcript scrubbed to hide his statement.
 Fox News host Bill O'Reilly suggested that the CIA should kidnap Senate Majority Leader Harry 
Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and perhaps even waterboard Pelosi, at a 
stop on his “Bold & Fresh” speaking tour on Jan. 23, 2010, in Westbury, NY.
 Fox News pundit Liz Trotta, while discussing the idea of assassinating Osama Bin 

Laden and Barack Obama, said, “Well ... both, if we could!” then laughed 
But hey, no sweat. Talk is cheap, right? It’s all just a joke, right?
That’s what they said in January 2011 after U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Dee "Gabby" Giffords, who had been targeted in cross hairs by Sarah Palin, was in fact shot through the head.
So why did Palin remove the cross hairs she had aimed at Giffords' district immediately after the shooting? Why did she censor herself if — as she was busy lying — they were not cross hairs at all but “surveyors’ symbols?”
Fearing violence from Tea Party activists right after the shooting, Arizona Legislative District 20 Republican Chairman Anthony Miller and others tendered their resignations. If Tea Party threats of violence and bull's eye symbols are harmless metaphors, why did these Republicans resign?
The obscure Tides Foundation was brought up several times on Beck's show, characterized as part of what Beck identified as a conspiracy by Obama and left-wing organizations to spread socialism. Then Byron Williams, an anti-government gunman, engaged in a shootout with police in Oakland, CA, while he was on his way to target Tides and the ACLU.
The Phoenix minster Steven Anderson instructed his congregation during the summer of 2009 to “pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.” The next day, one of his congregants showed up at an Obama event with an assault rifle and a handgun.
The Pittsburgh man Richard Poplawski shot and killed three police officers in April 2009, telling friends he feared that Obama planned to confiscate weapons. He expressed fear about a supposed plan by FEMA to herd people into concentration camps. He had seen it discussed by Glenn Beck on Fox News.
The Tea Partier Greg Girard was charged in February 2010 with stockpiling weapons, and possessing explosive devices including tear gas and pepper ball canisters. Girard had just previously written online that Sarah Palin is on a “righteous mission from God.”
How about Jim Adkisson, that devoted fan of Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and O'Reilly who shot up that Unitarian Church on a quest to murder “liberals?” What on earth could have inspired him, do you think?
President Obama — the man the right wingers insanely accuse of trying to confiscate their guns — has actually and bravely spoken at public events where right-wing loons are running around armed, ranting and raving about “refreshing the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.”
On the other hand, the president whom Charles Pierce has dubbed our C-Plus Augustus, George W. Bush, had people arrested in July 2004 merely for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts. And on the 4th of July yet. Yes, wave that flag of freedom, right wingers.
Connect the obvious dots on any of this publicly and you cue the Tea Pity Party, which suddenly trades its snarls for whines, never wanting to take responsibility for the political violence it so eagerly gins up.