Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oslo proves that Right Wing Terrorism doesn't exist. /s

The Price of Eliminationist Rhetoric
It's early days in the aftermath of the Oslo bombing and I shall leave the actual motives of the actual criminal to the actual authorities who will have to decide how to decently dispose of the matter. As is often the case, I'm fascinated by the reactions of people who are shocked, shocked, to find out that an act of terrorism wasn't committed by a bonded and licensed terrorist. It turned out that Anders Behring Breivik  not a radical Islamist at all. reports that on Breivik's Facebook page he listed his interests as body building, hunting, freemasonry, stock analysis and the Modern Warfare 2 video game. Breivik said he had completed “3,000 hours of study in micro and macro finance, religion,” and describes himself as being both Christian and conservative.
Over at the CBC, this little nugget produced confusion among the readership:
“It’s not clear what his motivation is yet and the police haven’t really talked about that,” CBC reporter Nahlah Ayed said from the scene outside Oslo on Saturday. “What we do know from police is that he has been very co-operative and is very keen to express his point of view.”
In response to the new information that the perpetrator may have right-wing cultural and religious leanings,  "scapeloftruth" writes
""his Facebook page suggests he may be a Christian fundamentalist"
Surprise, surprise.==============
What precisely does that mean? 
Christian Fundamentalist? 
This is an Extremely RARE incident for a Christian , especially if it WAS religiously motivated. You can't say that for the Religion of peace now can ya. and to those who equate this with Timothy McVeigh, He was NOT a Christian and did NOT commit his crimes in the name of ANY Religion. 
This will be used by the left and exploited by Liberals to show That Christians commit Terror as much as Muslims and you more finger pointing and suspicion toward Non Muslims when there is ANY terrorism in Europefrom now on. 
This One Pyscho will distract people from the real Everyday Threats Europe faces from Islamists and he has , in the eyes of Bleeding hearts and Leftists , made us ALL equal in ideology and capability toward Religious Violence, which is 100% false and misleading. "
 "LiberalLoser" writes
Why would someone who is anti-Muslim immigration attack Norwegians? Why wouldn't they just attack Muslims?
It makes more sense that this man is trying to 'undermine' any anti-immigration policies happening in Norway.
That would make him a leftist, not someone on the right.

And any number simply say "his religion doesn't matter, he's clearly insane." Which should be what we say any time a politically or religiously motivated act of violence occurs, of course, but in practice, they are only "crazy" if they act violently in support of a cause the person speaking tends to sympathize with.

Case in point.

Article comment suggest it's perfectly understandable that things like this happen, with all them Muslims
coming into Norway.
Then, of course, this being the CBC, the point IS raised that it would have been rather difficult for him to kill so many people without access to a gun. Which is inarguable - but clearly, very strict gun regulations did not preclude a premeditated act of terrorism, which also included a large ANFO explosion.
Designed by a hobbyist machinist,
this air-powered selective-fire weapon
is truly lethal.

So of course, dragging the the need to have a  Long Gun Registry into this is beside the point - had he needed to, this fellow could have managed to create a functional automatic weapon with hobby-grade machine tools. You can't make physics illegal, and even if you regulate ammunition as many gun-control advocates suggest - well, have a look at this screenshot, a .30 calibre sub-machinegun.

If you are truly determined to kill a lot of people, it's possible to find a way to do it, rather easily. It becomes even simpler if you aren't concerned about legal or personal consequences. I've written about this sort of thing before, and likely will have to again...

Law-abiding citizens who are neither suffering from mental illness nor operating under some delusion do not generally kill people, even if they are farmers with tons of ammonium nitrate, hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel, guns, ammo, and long dark winters of boredom. If that's all it took, Saskatchewan would have a lot more craters.

So what we really must talk about is motivation. Why do people like Anders Behring Breivik resort to terrorism? How does it become part of their thinking, to the extent that he can calmly hunt down and kill children who happen to be at a politically sponsored summer camp?

Eliminationism is the belief that one's political opponents are "a cancer on the body politic that must be excised — either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination — in order to protect the purity of the nation"

It's crazy. But it's a depressingly common sort of crazy that leaves piles of bodies in it's wake, from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, to the Rwandan Genocides, to Waco, to Bosnia, to ... well, I'm sure you can think of other examples. And yes, you could indeed make the argument that Ruby Ridge was an example - as was Wounded Knee. 

No particular religion or political viewpoint that is required. All you need do is convince someone holding Belief A that people that have Belief B deserve to be killed for the "good of right-thinking people."

Sadly, that's easy enough to do, and done commonly enough that I think "crazy" isn't the right word. Unless we are to consider that sort of crazy to be a sort of "normal." Of course, if you start with someone who's a little crazy and a bit stupid, it's fairly straightforward to point them at people like Congresswoman Giffords or Dr. George Tiller and then, of course, disavow any responsibility for the acts of obviously crazy people.

But there seems to be a lot of money in Crazy Talk. Here's some golden oldies, courtesy of Orcinus- remember these?
Ann Coulter:
"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."
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
"God said ... rape the planet -- it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and striping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars -- that's the Biblical view."
"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."
You know, in a sane culture, people who say crazy things like that in public are given appropriate medication - not book deals and appearances on Fox.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Al Frankin Focuses on Focus on the Family.

You see, this is why Focus on the Family hates those "lie-buh-ral edumacators" and "critical thinkers" and people who actually look stuff up.

They unfairly use these tactics to embarrass "Real Uhmurikins."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Start of the End of an Empire

Fox News GOP Merger - Faux News
Graphic courtesy New England Secession
The downfall of the Murdoch empire is well underway, and the conventional wisdom seems to be that this will be limited to "the Murdoch Empire." And in a sense, perhaps it will be - but you really must think in terms of what that empire entails.

If you think only in terms of media, you would be quite wrong. If you were to think in terms of influence and corruption - well, you would be closer to the mark. If you were to think in terms of "what would have happened had Murdoch been against the Iraq war" - well, now, you are starting to get the shape of it. But you'd still be out of scale.

Media and money influence in two ways - by what they choose to "invest" in and what they choose to ignore. And both depend very heavily indeed upon credibility. RJ Eskow writes in an Truthout Op-Ed:
History books record an empire's fall as a series of dates and events. Battles are fought, people resist, elections are called, arrest warrants are issued. But those are just details. An empire really falls in that moment when people stop believing that it's invulnerable. Whenever the spell is broken, whether it's by anger or just by awareness, the end becomes inevitable. It doesn't matter what happens to Rupert or James Murdoch now. They may return to positions of relative wealth and privilege or their lives may take unpleasant turns. Either way, the Murdoch empire has already fallen.
But what will that mean in practical terms? There was something very telling to be found in a discussion of Murdoch's "hands on" approach to the news and his choice of politics and his choice of candidates to support.
Neil, the editor of Britain's Sunday Times for 11 years, told a House of Lords committee looking into media ownership in 2008 that he was never in any doubt what Murdoch wanted, even though he could not recall a direct instruction telling him to take a particular line.
"On every major issue of the time and every major political personality or business personality, I knew what he thought and you knew, as an editor, that you did not have a freehold, you had a leasehold ... and that leasehold depended on accommodating his views," he said.
"Rupert Murdoch is obsessed with what his newspapers say. He picks the editors that will take the kind of view of these things that he has and these editors know what is expected of them when the big issues come and they fall into line."
In the 1980s, the Sun's MacKenzie would hear from Murdoch on a daily basis -- not quite to discuss exact headlines, but to make sure the newspaper would report the major issues as the press baron saw fit.

Nor is it particularly surprising (or difficult) to find out that he Murdoch hive-mind approaches political clients the way he approaches employees.
 In 1992, when Britain was unceremoniously ejected from the European Exchange Rate mechanism and forced to raise interest rates to double digits, then Prime Minister John Major called Kelvin MacKenzie, the editor of Murdoch's tabloid The Sun, to ask how he planned to play the story. Mackenzie famously told Major: "Well John, let me put it this way. I've got a large bucket of shit lying on my desk and tomorrow morning I'm going to pour it all over your head."
The Global Post goes on, a bit smugly:
Here is the important point: This is a story about journalism and its unique power — for good and evil Journalism is not like any other business — and it's product cannot be measured by normal business school taught analytics. The main product of journalism is not tittle-tattle and check-book obtained "scoops" about celebrities — as Rupert Murdoch has found to his cost. It is about digging out the facts about how societies are governed, about corruption, about eyewitness accounts of how the world works. Strong institutions — led by editors who are willing to give reporters the time and space — are necessary to fund that work.
And without their efforts and vigilance then parliaments and congresses and presidents can be cowed by all manner of powerful special interests, especially those whose idea of the journalism business is give the people what they want: tits and ass and a large dose of prejudice. 

A keen observation that misses one of the great truths of history, even as they note in passing that Murdoch's tabloids are read by at least 40% of the UK population. While upmarket papers are included in his stable, I'm sure their private briefs are more about what will not be covered than what will be exploited. The way you deal with thinking people is to avoid giving them anything to think about that leads them to think about what you are up to.

His taste in politicians runs to those who are controllable and who's politics appeals to his tabloid demographic; Those who have no thoughts of their own, or have some weakness that can be used to keep them on a leash. Interestingly enough, the currently leading Republican contender (or so we are told...) is Michelle Bachmann. She reportedly suffers from such debilitating headaches that she's probably incapable of actually steering the ship of state. She would need to rely on some quiet, grey Eminence.

But she does appeal to the mob.  And that, combined with built in leverage, is her appeal to Murdoch. And she's the only sort that has such appeal. So if you have wondered why those suppored by the media on the Right have turned out to be such a sorry, corrupt and shallow lot - well, consider the source of their support.

Nobody better has a chance with the yowling rabble - or the man who whips them into a froth.

The problem for Murdoch, Bachmann and the GOP is that the mob is ... a mob. And not only have they turned on Murdoch - they are likely to turn on anyone that reminds them of Murdoch.

Let me remind us all how this often works out.

The execution of Robespierre and his supporters on 28 July 1794


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