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Archive for June 15th, 2008

Michael Reagan: ‘Take Them Out And Shoot Them’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Michael Reagan: ‘Take Them Out And Shoot Them’
I have little to no patience with the 9/11 Troofers — I’ve spent too much of my career debunking crazy-ass conspiracy theories not to consider them roughly the left-wing equivalents of the OKC and New World Order conspiracy theorists (and they have their strands of right-wing nuttery thrown in for good measure, like most of these folks) — but earlier this week another right-wing nutcase — radio talk-show host Michael Reagan — went completely ’round the eliminationist bend in attacking them

michael-reagan.thumbnail.JPGI have little to no patience with the 9/11 Troofers — I’ve spent too much of my career debunking crazy-ass conspiracy theories not to consider them roughly the left-wing equivalents of the OKC and New World Order conspiracy theorists (and they have their strands of right-wing nuttery thrown in for good measure, like most of these folks) — but earlier this week another right-wing nutcase — radio talk-show host Michael Reagan — went completely ’round the eliminationist bend in attacking them:

There is a group that’s sending letters to our troops in Iraq … claiming 9/11 was an inside job — oh, yeah, yeah — and that they should rethink why they’re fighting. Who — we ought to — excuse me, folks, I’m going to say this: We ought to find the people who are doing this, take them out and shoot them.

Really. Just find the people who are sending those letters to our troops to demoralize our troops and do what they are doing, you take them out, they are traitors to our country, and shoot them. You have a problem with that, deal with it. But anyone who would do that doesn’t deserve to live. You shoot them. You call them traitors — that’s what they are — and you shoot them dead. I’ll pay for the bullet.

Later on, he adds:

How about you take Mark Dice out and put him in the middle of a firing range. Tie him to a post, don’t blindfold him, let it rip and have some fun with Mark Dice.

Just on the face of it, this is vile and threatening speech that should earn Reagan his immediate removal from the airwaves; it clearly violates basic FCC standards. You can complain to the FCC here.*

But there’s a bigger issue at stake. I couldn’t disagree more strongly myself with the targets of Reagan’s eliminationism, but if they are engaging in treasonous communications, well, there are laws against that. If Michael Reagan wants to urge their criminal prosecution, he might be able to make a case for that; but urging people to take the letter-senders out and shoot them is another ball of wax.

Much as we might object to them, they are exercising their basic free-speech rights. Once you start deciding that we should start shooting people because you think they are “traitors” based on free speech we disagree with, then it suddenly becomes a lot easier to expand the definition and start shooting lots more people.

Especially when you start adding into the equation Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter and the rest of the right-wing gang that’s already shown an easy predilection for calling all liberals and antiwar protesters traitors. As Jeff Feldman says: Americans everywhere are tired of this.

We all remember Radio Rwanda, don’t we? Michael Reagan just brought us one step closer. If the public fails to stand up against this kind of violent hate talk, it will become a permission-giving precedent.

*Instructions for filing a complaint at the FCC site:

— Click on the button for “Broadcast (TV and Radio), Cable, and Satellite Issues.”

— At the next page, click on the button for “Unauthorized, unfair, biased, illegal broadcasts (does NOT include Obscene, Profane or Indecent material)” [because this complaint involves threatening speech, which is illegal]

— Select whichever form of complaint filing method you prefer on the next page and proceed.


Complaints Against Chicago Police Are No Surprise

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Complaints Against Chicago Police Are No Surprise

Whether allegations of police misconduct during a raid — including claims that several women were stripped searched in front of male officers and that officers “stole cash from a safe and coin-operated video games” — are true, they beg the question: Why did the raid occur?

Police confirm they began the raid with a flash grenade, and that it happened at 11:30 p.m. May 30, 2008 …. That night, just over 20 people were attending a party inside the La Familia Motorcycle Social Club, 2500 W. Fullerton, and the department says the officers, wearing body armor and wielding assault weapons, were responding to a tip that illegal drugs were being used or sold there.

Does the war on drugs necessitate that level of force at a private party? All because of a tip? What's the point? [more …]

Take a look at the video in the linked article. Imagine how terrified you would be if you were there and saw police barging in after an explosion, wearing body armor and wielding assault rifles. When the Chicago police declare “war” on drugs, they mean it. Do we want this senseless war to continue?

Yes, the “social club” is a gang. Yes, the police allege that they found drugs and weapons, although if that's true it's surprising that they only arrested two people: one for reckless conduct, and one on an outstanding warrant. The facts are in dispute, and the dispute can be settled by a jury. None of that changes the fundamental question: Is the war on drugs so important that the tactics of warfare are justified?

Police misconduct claims in Chicago are common; hundreds are filed every month. The Independent Police Review Authority, created to replace the ineffective Office of Professional Standards, hasn't necessarily improved the policing of the police.

[W]hile the agency's director Ilana Rosenzweig promised a finding within six months of an allegation, several high-profile cases, including the police shooting deaths of Aaron Harrison last summer and Freddie Wilson last fall, still have not been resolved. … An IPRA spokesman said the agency still has not hired enough investigators to handle its large caseload.

If Chicago police used better judgment about the need to conduct armed assaults, they would likely improve their troubled relationship with the community they serve.


Wanker of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Wanker of the Day
John McCain.

You See Deep Truths No One Else Does
I appreciate smart people. I appreciate experts. I appreciate that there are people who are smarter than me and more expert than me in every subject. I appreciate that I have plenty to learn from others, and am glad when it happens.

What I don’t appreciate are people who assume that many people in the room are much stupider than they are and deliberately or inadvertently make this clear. As in, “I bet a lot of you think X, but in fact you’re wrong!” when most likely not all that many people actually thought X to begin with because X was a pretty stupid thing. I’m talking about people who have a speaking, writing, or lecturing style which is always about projecting a bunch of misconceptions onto the crowd and then doing them the service of correcting their errant thoughts.


John McCain Makes Stuff Up

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

John McCain Makes Stuff Up
Is John McCain like George W. Bush, someone who has learned that the media is hesitant to call a Republican politician a liar?

What’s So Great About Beauty?
From soap ads to elections, looking good is way overrated.


Whoops! McCain Campaign Plays Song Written By Obama-Backing Dem Congressman

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Whoops! McCain Campaign Plays Song Written By Obama-Backing Dem Congressman
Is this John McCain’s idea of bipartisanship? At a campaign rally in New Hampshire yesterday, the McCain campaign played the classic 1970s song “Still The One” over the loudspeakers. One problem: The principal author of the song, John Hall, is…


The Daily Muck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

The Daily Muck
Weeks after FEMA attempted to confiscate the rest of their trailers used by victims of Hurricane Katrina, a CNN investigation found around $85 million in goods meant for those misplaced victims sat in warehouses for two years before being sent…


The Week In Blog: 50-State Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

The Week In Blog: 50-State Edition

The latest installment of The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv where Conn Carroll and myself discussed the 50-state strategy, energy, taxes and Iraq. Check it out below:


Bug research tries to create renewable oil

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:31 am by HL

Bug research tries to create renewable oil
Silicon Valley genetically modifies bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol.


Bush tells Brown not to withdraw from Iraq.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:30 am by HL

Bush tells Brown not to withdraw from Iraq.
This week, media reports indicated that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will soon announce a final timetable for the withdrawal of Britain’s remaining 4,000 troops from southern Iraq by the end of the year. In an interview with the Observer, President Bush, who arrives in London tomorrow, issued a “stern” warning to Brown urging him […]

This week, media reports indicated that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will soon announce a final timetable for the withdrawal of Britain’s remaining 4,000 troops from southern Iraq by the end of the year. In an interview with the Observer, President Bush, who arrives in London tomorrow, issued a “stern” warning to Brown urging him not to “announce a timetable for a British pull-out from Iraq”:

But while he said both allies obviously wanted to bring their troops home, this could only be ‘based upon success’. On the reported possibility of a formal timetable for major reductions, Bush was unequivocal: ‘Our answer is: there should be no definitive timetable.’

He pointedly noted that Brown had retreated last year on the scale of an earlier planned pullout – and that Britain still had 4,200 soldiers in Iraq rather than the projected 3,500. ‘I am confident that he, like me, will listen to our commanders to make sure that the sacrifices that have gone forward won’t be unravelled by draw-downs that may not be warranted at this point in time. I look forward to discussing it with him.’

Bush also delivered “a major policy address during his final presidential trip to Europe not in Britain, but France – which he called America’s ‘first friend,’” the Guardian notes.


At Obama’s Former Church, Hurt Lingers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 15th, 2008 4:29 am by HL

At Obama’s Former Church, Hurt Lingers
CHICAGO — They paraded through the summer-like heat last weekend in long dresses and suit coats, hundreds of families following the same paths that lead them to church every Sunday morning. They passed single-story houses and dilapidated parks before entering Trinity United Church of Christ on this…