Reflection on the World Trade Center Attack

In 2005, I said this about the World Trade Center attacks: “I’m so glad to read personal accounts because that was what struck me about the media coverage from that day — and for about a week or so after — the grand hype machine had stopped, and all we heard about were real people.”

I’d like to think now that reflecting on the folks who died that day was they only thing we need to do, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The repercussions of that day have reverberated much wider than the 3,000+ poor souls who died in those buildings. The foundation of our country is shaking, continues to shake, from that day, and we as a nation have changed profoundly, in some dark and disturbing ways that threaten our nation, our people, our government, and our way of life.

Our system of government has certainly changed. We used to have a government of checks and balances. Now the executive branch is so powerful that it threatens to overwhelm the very freedoms America’s citizens are supposed to enjoy, and Congress and the courts struggle in vain to curb presidential military misadventures and government intrusion into the lives of it’s populace.

Our economy is on the brink of collapse and our middle class is in danger of extinction. Between corporate greed, the unchecked power of the presidency, the exploitation of 9/11 to justify devastating military spending, and wholesale shipping of American jobs overseas, regular Americans have a bleak future of grim hard work, suffering from lack of medical care, and preventable early demise to look forward to.
Our standing in the world has descended from the sole remaining superpower who could lead other countries to freedom and prosperity by example, to a diminished shadow under the rise of Chinese influence and a resurgent and very disturbing Russia. Once American principles of freedom and good works are now more readily associated with European countries as our moral standing is diminished in the wake of unjustifiable military actions and revelations of torture and prisoner abuse.

Our sense of national security has been completely wiped away; though we are probably in no more danger from terrorist attack than we ever have been, we’ve allowed our government to panic and fire wildly in perhaps every direction than where danger might actually be coming from, and though we’ve spent billions of dollars on security measures, we’re really no more prepared for national emergency we were on September 10, 2001.

For all the ringing cries over the past seven years of “don’t let the terrorists win!” we have indeed, let a handful of religious zealots armed with nothing more than box cutters and complete dumb luck alter almost every aspect of American government, lives and culture.

I’d say we helped them win.

God Hates Hate
Continue ReadingReflection on the World Trade Center Attack

Knoxville Terrorist was a fan of O’Reilly, Hannity, Savage

According to the Knoxville News:

Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals “who are ruining the country,” court records show.

Knoxville police Sunday evening searched the Levy Drive home of Jim David Adkisson after he allegedly entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and killed two people and wounded six others during the presentation of a children’s musical.

Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve Still requested the search warrant after interviewing Adkisson. who was subdued by several church members after firing three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the congregation.

Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”
Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because “he expected to be killed during the assault.”

Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly. For mental health rehab centers and options, people can check WhiteSands iop rehab and take their services.

The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

Continue ReadingKnoxville Terrorist was a fan of O’Reilly, Hannity, Savage

Eliminationist Quotes from Conservative Voices

What, really, is eliminationism?

It’s a fairly self-explanatory term: it describes a kind of politics and culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas for the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through complete suppression, exile and ejection, or extermination.

Liberal Hunting Permit
Liberal Hunting Permit

Source: Eliminationism in America: Appendix

“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus — living fossils — so we will never forget what these people stood for.” — Rush Limbaugh

“I would have no problem with [New York Times editor Bill Keller] being sent to the gas chamber.” — Melanie Morgan

“”[T]he day will come when unpleasant things are going to happen to a bunch of stupid liberals and it’s going to be very amusing to watch.” — Lee Rogers

“And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.” — Bill O’Reilly

“Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war!”– Michael Reagan

“Let’s start with the following New York Times reporters and editors: Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. , Bill Keller, Eric Lichtblau, and James Risen. Do you have an idea where they live? Go hunt them down and do America a favor. Get their photo, street address, where their kids go to school, anything you can dig up, and send it to the link above. This is your chance to be famous — grab for the golden ring.” — “The Political Insight”

Ann Coulter

“Some liberals have become even too crazy for Texas to execute, which is a damn shame. They’re always saying — we’re oppressed, we’re oppressed so let’s do it. Let’s oppress them.” — Ann Coulter

“We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee. … That’s just a joke, for you in the media.” — Ann Coulter

LINDA VESTER (host): You say you’d rather not talk to liberals at all?

COULTER: I think a baseball bat is the most effective way these days.

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”

“We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too.”

“They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America’s self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn’t slowed them down.”

“I have to say I’m all for public flogging.”

“I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote.”

“Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.”

“My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that’s because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.”

“In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he [Clinton] ‘did it,’ even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate.”

And Many Many more — read the comprehensive post at Orcinus.

Continue ReadingEliminationist Quotes from Conservative Voices

Terrorist opens fire in UU Church in Knoxville, TN

I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now that the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennesee was the target of a mass shooting. Two people were killed and 5 more are in serious condition after Jim D. Adkisson, 58, walked into a children’s Sunday school play and opened fire on the crowd.

Like many Unitarian Universalist churches including the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, and the church of the minister who married us, Andy Burnette of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Danville, The TVUUC was a “welcoming congregation” that believes all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, deserve respect and support, and are welcome members of the church.

According to the latest news reports, Adkisson chose the church because he wanted to target liberals and gays, whom he felt were responsible for the current economic crisis, and for his particular economic situation. He left a 4-page long note in his car, and was also reportedly speaking out to the congregation as he was firing. He carried 76 rounds of ammunition with him, and intended to continue firing until the police arrive to kill him. Fortunately, he was subdued when one member of the congregation grabbed the rifle and 3 men wrestled him to the ground. The Knoxville News coverage has more information about the victims of the shooting.
My wife Stephanie is a third-generation member of the Unitarian Universalist church.

Continue ReadingTerrorist opens fire in UU Church in Knoxville, TN

What the liberal hawks got wrong

Slate has an interesting series of articles posted by several liberals who supported the Iraq war in its early stages, entitled “Why Did We Get It Wrong?” I applaud their willingness to recognize that they were indeed wrong, but I wonder why they’re not asking the other question — why didn’t they listen to the people who had it right? There certainly were a lot of them who did have the right answers, but they were pretty much shit on and ignored by Slate and lots of other liberal hawks.

Reading each of the essays is an exercise in skepticism, because none of their arguments really ring all that true. They sound like excuse-making after the fact. Among the cheap rationalizations, Richard Cohen’s argument stands out in my mind as particularly pathetic:

Anthrax. Remember anthrax? It seems no one does anymore–at least it’s never mentioned. But right after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, letters laced with anthrax were received at the New York Post and Tom Brokaw’s office at NBC. In the following days, more anthrax-contaminated letters were received by other news organizations–CBS News and, presumably, ABC, where traces of anthrax were found in the newsroom. Weirdly, even the Sun, a supermarket tabloid, also got a letter, and a photo editor, Bob Stevens, was fatally infected. Other letters were sent to Sen. Tom Daschle’s Capitol Hill office, and in Washington, D.C., a postal worker, Thomas L. Morris Jr., died. There was ample reason to be afraid.

For this and other reasons, the anthrax letters appeared linked to the awful events of Sept. 11. It all seemed one and the same.

Anthrax is never mentioned because people on the right want it swept under the rug. I said it at the time and still believe it — the Anthrax letters were sent by a domestic, right-wing Christian terrorist. It’s the only explanation that makes sense, given the targets of the attacks — liberal politicians, the figures prominently labeled as “liberal” media. Notice no one from Fox News got a letter.

Another telling clue is that false Anthrax scares had been directed at abortion clinics country-wide, including here in Indianapolis, for months and years before the real ones took place in 2001 and 2002.

(In fact, that’s where I first met the late Julia Carson — at a candlelight vigil on the Circle to call attention to the threats here in Indianapolis, sometime in 1998 or 1999. No one had called her and asked her to speak; she just showed up because she heard about the vigil and wanted to light a candle and stand with a group of women. I had a long conversation with her about Planned Parenthood, women’s rights, gay marriage and a number of other topics. She was funny, articulate and very kind.)

But back to the point — Anyone with eyeballs could see that the two threats had nothing to do with one another. I can’t imagine why Cohen is making the excuse that they’re linked. He suggests Saddam had “messed with anthrax” but I never heard any evidence of that. It was clear from news accounts the source was from inside the United States; that it wasn’t smuggled into the country, there wasn’t any evidence that any foreign-born person could have gotten close to getting ahold of the substance; all the links to the strain used were domestic, and people with right-wing Christian beliefs. His excuse is just silly, and strains credulity.

Continue ReadingWhat the liberal hawks got wrong

links for 2007-10-27

Continue Readinglinks for 2007-10-27

Al-Qaida has rebuilt, U.S. intel warns

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned. The conclusion suggests that the group that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to regroup along the Afghan-Pakistani border despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.
Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack on U.S. soil.
A counter-terrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal to be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

I thought we were “fighting them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here”? Is that not working? Gee, I wonder why.

Continue ReadingAl-Qaida has rebuilt, U.S. intel warns

Bush publishes info on how to build a Nuke

From the New York Times:

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”
Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
Early this morning, a spokesman for Gregory L. Schulte, the American ambassador, denied that anyone from the agency had approached Mr. Schulte about the Web site.
The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.
“For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible,” said A. Bryan Siebert, a former director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which runs the nation’s nuclear arms program. “There’s a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so.”
The government had received earlier warnings about the contents of the Web site. Last spring, after the site began posting old Iraqi documents about chemical weapons, United Nations arms-control officials in New York won the withdrawal of a report that gave information on how to make tabun and sarin, nerve agents that kill by causing respiratory failure.
The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who said that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees argued that wide analysis and translation of the documents — most of them in Arabic — would reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence.

Continue ReadingBush publishes info on how to build a Nuke

Chertoff: We Can’t Protect the Ports. Scientists: We Must Protect the Ports

At the same time that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is telling a Senate committee that we can’t afford to protect our ports from terrorist attack, and that we shouldn’t because Osama’s goal is to drive us into bankruptcy (New York Times article)….
Scientists are telling us that our biggest terrorist threat is a stolen nuclear weapon coming through the U.S. Ports system, and that to not recognize that this is a danger is an “ongoing failure of imagination” (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists).
Meanwhile, we’re all still taking off our shoes at the airport and throwing away our shampoo, while our goverment spends $100 billion dollars a year in Iraq.
This is the bit where the hero’s supposed to chime in with “I’ll protect the ports!” and we all say “my hero.”
What, that’s not going to happen?

Continue ReadingChertoff: We Can’t Protect the Ports. Scientists: We Must Protect the Ports