Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rightwing tax day lunacy

Last night, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, made a guest appearance on Sean Hannity's show, simply named, "Hannity." It was the first interview Dr. Dobson made since he stepped down from his post at Focus on the Family. During the 15 minute interview Dobson and Hannity talked about everything from the trouncing the Republican party was handed by Democrats last November, to abortion, to marriage, to Christian influence on the United States.

If you haven't watched this tripe of an interview, as all of Hannity's interviews are, you can watch it here.

Hannity's borderline race-baiting commentary laid one attack after another on President Obama and the "mainstream" media, whatever that means. In total concurrence was Dobson. But it wasn't before long that Dobson's true colors revealed themselves.

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a document regarding the growth of rightwing extremism in the US. In the document, the DHS warns that recruitment to extremist groups are on the rise, primarily due to the fact that we now have a black president in office. From page 2 of the 9 page document we read:
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
Click here to read the document.

At one point in the interview Hannity targets the DHS for releasing a document that gives the rightwing a black eye, while inferring that President Obama is responsible for this document. He asks Dr. Dobson:
"The Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Dobson, is warning law enforcement officials about the rise in rightwing extremist activity...and I'm thinking, what do you think of that interpretation, especially coming from a guy that started his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist who bombed the Pentagon and capital and sat in Reverend Wright's church for 20 years?"
Dobson responded:
"Isn't it interesting that the media has jumped all over this when there aren't any examples of it? There are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. They're making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen. They were also saying today that when the troops come back from Iraq or Afghanistan that they're going to be a big problem because they have military training."
This proves to me that Dobson doesn't pay attention to recent events, or he is a liar - probably both. I can give Dr. Dobson two examples of right-wing, post-military paranoia that lead to the deaths of 5 people, and I don't even have to cross the Pennsylvania border, or even go back more than 2 weeks to do so.

On April 7th, an Iraq vet named Nicholas Horner robbed a Subway restaurant in Altoona. During the event he fatally shot 2 and injured 1. Horner just returned from Iraq after serving his third tour. And in Pittsburgh, Richard Poplawski shot and killed 3 police officers in Pittsburgh. Poplawski was kicked out of the Marine Corps after assaulting a drill sergeant. His mother stated that he had been stock piling ammunition, and was afraid that President Obama was going to take his guns away. Poplawski is also known to frequent racist websites.

No modern day McVeighs you say, Dr. Dobson?

So, an economic downturn leads to a rightwing nutjob robbing a Subway in which 2 people were killed, and the election of a black man leads to 2nd Amendment paranoia leaving 3 police officers dead. It turns out that the DHS does know what they're talking about after all.

One interesting note about that quote from Dr. Dobson; the transcript of the interview at Fox News quotes Dobson as saying, "Isn't it interesting that the media has jumped all over this when there are many examples of it?" It could be an honest mistake by the transcriber, but I seriously doubt it. Spin, is spin, is spin.

Later during the interview, Hannity and Dobson continue fellating each other, discussing how the Founders were Christian, and that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and that we are a "Christian nation." According to Dobson, Christianity has "influenced our law, our constitution, and our way of life." I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely sick to death of hearing this. If our country is a Christian nation and founded on the gospel, why are our laws based on Roman and Iroquois law, our alphabet is Roman in origin? If our country was founded on the gospel, why doesn't our Constitution mention God, Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Yahweh, Yeshua, or any variation thereof? It doesn't even mention the term "Creator."

Later on in the interview, Hannity says:
"What did you think of Barack Obama's comments that America is arrogant, apologizing for America, and seemingly even apologizing for the Iraq war by saying well, we're not at war with Islam? Well, no one ever said we were at war with Islam, but radical Islam. What does that mean to you if a president of the United States — it sounds to me like he shares Wright's views that America's chickens have come home to roost?"
Dobson responded:
"It almost sounds like Jeremiah Wright in that instance, and you know there's been an understanding by presidents down through history, from the very beginning, that that kind of criticism does not occur, does not go beyond the water's edge, and for him to be on foreign soil with people who have been very, very critical of this country and its president and its military and its people, for him to make that statement deeply offended me. And what bothers me more is there wasn't a greater outcry to it than I would have expected."
It's not like we broke international law when we invaded Iraq or anything, Dr. Dobson. I can't imagine why rest of the world would be critical of the most powerful country on earth.

In short, we are an arrogant nation, Dr. Dobson. Take off your crimson-stained glasses and look at the world with your own eyes for once.

Meanwhile, over at God's news site, Roy Moore attacked President Obama after he bowed to Saudi King Abdullah. While he was eviscerating the president, he took the liberty of drawing a correlation between Christianity and the Navy SEALS who rescued the crew of the USS Maersk Alabama from pirates last week off the coast of Somalia. If you don't know who Roy Moore is, he's the racist judge who was removed from office after refusing to remove a statue of the ten commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court. He's also in favor of teaching creationism in public schools, and an fervent opponent of evolution. Over at the Panda's Thumb, there is an interview between himself and Chris Matthews of MSNBC. It's eye-opening. You might want to read it.

Anyway, I'm wondering if Moore and his clones are willing to take President Bush to task when he bowed to him as well in 2005. Or the fact that the bin Laden family helped finance his now defunct company, Arbusto Oil. Or the fact that his grandfather, Prescott Bush, helped finance Hitler's war machine from Wall Street.

Probably not.

Happy Tax Day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's go time!

Three words...


Sunday, April 5, 2009

The 2nd Amendment considered.

It's always bad to hear about a police officer being gunned down in the line of duty, but when it happens in Pittsburgh it hits a little close to home.

Yesterday, a gunman in Pittsburgh decided that he'd had enough of the gub'ment, particularly President Obama, trying to take his rights away. Letting paranoia and fear get the best of him, he decided to take matters into his own hands by killing 3 Pittsburgh officers, 2 of which were fatally wounded in the head. After receiving a call about a domestic dispute, officers showed up at the residence where said gunman, Richard Poplawski, 23, lived. He was "lying in wait" for the officers, and he took their lives immediately when they arrived. Among the guns Poplawski owned, a .357 Magnum and an AK-47.

He's screwed. In Pennsylvania, killing a police officer is an offense punishable by death.

Of course, this incident is going to ignite a furious debate over the 2nd Amendment. Personally, I'm all for owning a gun for protection from braindead asshats like Poplawski, as well as hunting. But, this event is forcing me to think about the 2nd Amendment, and just to what extent Americans should be allowed to go to buy firearms.

Of the 203 countries in the world, the United States ranks consistently about 4th in the world in gun-related crime. The countries that have the highest rates of gun-related crimes are South Africa, Colombia, and Thailand. While the numbers of gun-related crimes in South Africa dwarf those of the US, we are still one of the most gun-crazed countries on the planet.

Given the severity of last weekends gun-related crimes in Pittsburgh and Binghamton, I am forced to ask a question: Although I believe in owning a gun for the aforementioned reasons, what in the hell does anyone need an automatic or semi-automatic weapon for? More importantly, where does it end? I respect the opinions (though sometimes begrudgingly) of people like Ted Nugent, but I would ask someone like Ted, does the Constitution give you the right to own any gun you want? If so, how much firepower is enough?

When I was in the Air Force, I was a weapons technician for the F-15C Eagle. Among the weapons this sweet baby has is the M61A1 Vulcan cannon. It has been in use in nearly every fighter aircraft since 1959, and is capable of firing 6,000 20mm rounds per minute. I've had to take this thing apart, clean it, and put it back together again for 4 years. It's a scary thing to be next to when fully assembled. Even more powerful, is the GAU-8, the main weapon of the A-10 Warthog. The rounds that this thing can fire are about the size of a beer bottle with a long neck - 30 mm.

So, the question I have for people like Ted Nugent is, should you be allowed to own guns like these? After all, if civilians can gain legal access to a military weapon like the M-16, shouldn't that allow me to own another military weapon? If the Constitution says that I should be able to have a gun if I want, should I be allowed to have an M61? What about a GAU-8, or even a .50 cal? Hell, while we're at it, I should be allowed to own an entire squadron of F-22s if I so see fit and could afford to do so.

The point that I am trying to make is that, while I believe in the Constitution of the United States of America, I also believe in common sense. For Ted Nugent and those like him, that common sense is often checked at the door. I also believe that the Founders did not have the foresight to see the trouble to come, and at the hands of those like Richard Poplawski, the 2nd Amendment becomes a frightening specter. For people like Poplawski, fear, ignorance, and prejudice truly go hand in hand, often with brutal consequences.

The irony of this whole event is that Poplawski has only damaged the 2nd Amendment that he supposedly loves. It is because of people like him that the 2nd Amendment will meet its demise.