Political correctness is deadly: right-wing extremism is our biggest domestic terror threat

Think Progress’s Ken Sofer and Molly Bernstein report on the REAL threats to the safety and security of American citizens today:

Though the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City happened nearly two decades ago, (17 years ago on April 19) right-wing extremist terrorism remains a significant domestic threat to American security. The Department of Homeland Security released a report in 2009 stating that the economic and political climate bears important similarities to the conditions of the early 1990s when right-wing extremism experienced a dramatic resurgence. These conditions, including the public debate around hot-button issues such as immigration, gun control, and abortion, along with the election of the first African-American president, present “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment,” the report said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano eventually ordered the report withdrawn because of significant political backlash from mainstream conservatives. But the report, which was originally commissioned by the Bush administration, also found that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

A look at terrorist incidents since the Oklahoma City bombing, including both successful and disrupted ideologically-motivated attacks, backs up the conclusions of the DHS report:

Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, as compared to 30 percent by ecoterrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists. Right-wing extremism has been responsible for the greatest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. in 13 of the 17 years since the Oklahoma City bombing.

After DHS withdrew the report, the department cut the number of analysts studying non-Islamic domestic terrorism. Daryl Johnson, the primary author of the report and a self-described Republican, soon left his post at DHS and said in July, 2011 that DHS has “just one person” dealing with domestic terrorism. The Department has largely been silent on domestic terrorist threats ever since.

Although current statistics show that right-wing extremism is on the rise through groups like the Sovereign Citizen and Patriot movements, domestic counterterrorism continues to receive few resources and little public attention. Though Islamic extremism remains a significant domestic security threat, current statistics and incidents such as Oklahoma City show that it is far from the only threat. In order to protect American citizens, we need to match our resources to the reality of our threats, not just the politically expedient narratives we have formed.

As long as the media and average people pretend that ‘both sides do it’ and decide that it’s okay for self-described ‘patriots’ to rabidly hate President Obama, Democrats, and the federal government — and as long as everyone continues to look the other way when right-wing attitudes manifest themselves publicly, in the form of open racism and / or violent rhetoric, we’ll be under threat as a society and a functioning country.

Ask yourself if the fictional right-wing, Fox “News” created, tea party celebrated ‘creeping Sharia law’ is more of a threat to our country than the very real and ongoing use of the Republican Party’s Southern Strategy. Recall Sarah Palin’s creative ‘sniper rifle symbols’ on Democratic U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the aftermath. Think of Breitbart-protégé James O’Keefe and his ‘pimp costume’ and ACORN and the fictional Democratic voter fraud issue (as we’ve learned, Mitt Romney, the presumed GOP presidential candidate, actually committed voter fraud).

Or look at the most recent example of our politically correct, both sides do it, national discourse:

The ‘outrage’ for the right was something said by a CNN commentator about a candidate’s wife and was, in fact, entirely true. The ‘outrage’ for the left, which should be an outrage for the entire country, was a thinly-veiled threat against the life of our sitting president, for purposes of demonstrating the speaker’s Southern Strategy bona fides in front of an NRA crowd. With our history of political assassinations and attempted assassinations, should we ever take such rhetoric lightly?

While you think about which outrage received the most national attention and why, you might also ask yourself how your silence on such matters not only contributes to the escalation of ignorance in our national discourse, but encourages some Beck- or Palin-inspired Manchurian candidate to prove his ‘Super Patriotism’ in the form of action. Sort of like this guy, who has been happily expressing his right-wing ideals in court all last week:

[Anders Behring Breivik] identified as his enemy the “cultural Marxists” who he said had destroyed Norway by using it as “a dumping ground for the surplus births of the third world”. Claiming Norwegians would be a minority in their own capital “within five years”, he blamed liberal politicians for bringing about Norway’s demise with “feminism, quotas … transforming the church, schools”.

The 69 people, many of them teenagers, who died on the island of Utøya when he opened fire on the youth camp of the ruling Labour party were “not innocent”, he claimed.

“They were not innocent, non-political children; these were young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values. Many people had leading positions in the leading Labour party youth wing,” he said, going on to compare the Labour party’s youth wing (AUF) with the Hitler Youth.

Meet the USS Gabrielle Giffords

producermatthew:

Meet the Naval ship that will be named for former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords [source: US Navy]

SOTU response — great speech!

Here is the transcript of President Obama’s SOTU, January 24, 2011. Count me among those who were very pleased with his speech — both the theme and the tone — and the direct refutations to the nutty attacks / arguments that have been coming from the rightwing in general and, specifically, from the Republican presidential candidates. I think our president speaks for most of us when he counters the GOP’s “class warfare” bullshit with what we’ve all been thinking:

Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes…Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right.

Some other reactions…

John Boehner’s office sent this out — before the speech had ended:

“Because the president clearly cannot run on his record, he has regrettably turned to the politics of envy and division. The “Buffett Rule” is a gimmick. We need to cut spending, not impose tax hikes that would destroy jobs.”

And that will pretty much wrap up the commentary of the entire GOP for you.

John Cole says,

But most of all, every time I hear him speak, I am still aware of all the things I disagree with him on, but think “That is a good man doing what he thinks is best.” That is really all you can ask for from someone, because as far as I can tell, I’m the only one who agrees with me 100% of the time. And as you all know, if you give me a week, I’ll disagree with myself.

We really don’t deserve him. We really don’t.

Josh Marshall says,

Great idea for Mitt to release his tax returns today. True stroke of genius. Because who could have predicted President Obama would make the Buffett Rule a centerpiece of his speech?

Marshall also writes that the President’s SOTU was a point-by-point refutation of Mitt Romney.

Hunter at DailyKos says,

I thought this was a good speech by Obama, yes. The difficult question is whether any speech (or any behavior by Obama, period) can make any change in the behavior of the current Congress. I think the most obvious answer to that is ‘no’. As we saw during the speech, even things that one might expect to garner perfectly bipartisan support (tax breaks for businesses that hire Americans? C’mon!) got a very partisan response. The GOP is so committed to their scorched-earth policy that I don’t really see them dropping it at any point during the coming year.

And Jed Lewison adds,

$10,000 bet: Republicans attack Obama for saying he wants to create “new American jobs.” The “old” ones are just fine, they’ll say!

From Bob Cesca,

He pitched government as a great equalizer, as an engine to both strengthen the American economy but to also force the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share, while also urging corporate responsibility. The Justice Department, for example, has been tasked with investigating the mortgage lenders who helped to cause the crash. The address was so completely opposite of the Reagan mantra “government is the problem” and a reversal of the Clinton proclamation “the era of big government is over.” At long last, a return to the values that gave us our robust middle class and a solid manufacturing base in the post-war era.

And a great summary of what the Republicans looked like, from a Sullivan reader:

I love how the camera shots of individual Republicans’ reactions reflect a three-second delay in which they have to decide “Am I for it or against it?” Clap? Don’t clap? Stand? Don’t? Sneer or scowl? A thoroughly confused bunch. That’s the state of America. Leaders can’t support good ideas because it might give credit to a sworn political enemy. Pitiful.

That person is kinder that I am. To me most of the Republicans, and especially Boehner, looked like they were either 1) in physical pain, 2) drunk, or 3) auditioning for a hemorrhoid commercial.

And this! It chokes me up.

Giffords: Yes.

“GIFFORDS: YES”   Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D- AZ) returns for a surprise visit to Capitol Hill last night to cast her vote for the debt compromise bill.  Ms. Giffords, escorted by fellow Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D – FL) and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, continues to recover from gunshot wounds suffered in an attack earlier this year.  (Photo: Tom Williams / Roll Call via the Washington Post)

via: inothernews

Giffords rehabilitation

“Every day, she gets a little bit better and the neuro-surgeons and neurologists tell me that’s a great sign, the slope of that curve is very important.”

Mark Kelly on his wife, Gabrielle Gifford, and her intensive rehabilitation in Texas

God is a member of the NRA. Obviously.

TBogg on Palin’s address to the Safari Club Int’l crowd in Las Vegas:

For God so loved America that He allowed Americans to upgrade the lowly muzzle-loading musket with laser sights and  pistol grips and cop-killing bullets and extended clips because, if man is truly going to evolve, he needs enough precision rapid-fire stopping power to weed out the weak… and possibly a few onlookers who aren’t quick enough to take cover. Natural selection, y’all.

Now if you didn’t already know all of this, Sarah Palin (who, as a shooter, couldn’t hit water if she fell out of a boat) is here to remind us that God would be very unhappy with us if we screwed up and maybe start restricting the availability of cheap high-powered easily obtainable weaponry:

“How important it is, for the [AZ victims] sake, for America’s sake, that we do not allow the evil acts of one mentally deranged murderer [to] change America’s way of life. We must not allow this tragedy to stifle our constitutionally protected rights, including our Second Amendment rights. Beware of what’s coming. I really do believe that God has shed his grace on thee. We can’t blow it. We can’t allow an atrophy of the foundation that is America, that is so exceptional.”

–Source

Which begs the question: What would Jesus carry?

She also said this about drilling in ANWR:

63-year-old veteran and Tucson shooting victim blames Palin, Beck and Angle

“Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled — senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all — even 9-year-old girls… I would put Sarah Palin in first place there. I think, really, she should be incarcerated for treason for advocating assassinating public officials. That map I saw that she published on the Internet had crosshairs on it and one of them was meant for Gabrielle Giffords.”

Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old disabled veteran and Tucson shooting victim blames Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sharron Angle for Tucson shooting

Sounds like blood libel to me. The villagers of Teatardtown should begin smearing a 63-year-old veteran in 3, 2, 1…

UPDATE * * * * * *

Fuller apparently snapped today at the end of a taping of ABC’s weekly “Town Hall” with news anchor Christiane Amanpour. He said “you’re dead” to a guy in the audience who was for gun rights and called the audience “whores.”  He was escorted outside and arrested.  Symptoms of PTSD?

UPDATE 2 * * * * * *

Tucson Shooting Victim Apologizes to Tea Party Leader for Threat

“I would like to tender my sincerest apologies to Mr. (Trent) Humphries for my misplaced outrage on Saturday at the St. Odelia’s town meeting,” Fuller said in the statement. “It was not in the spirit of our allegiance and warm feelings to each other as citizens of our great country.”

Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed to a county mental health facility after he photographed Tucson Tea Party founder Humphries and said, “You are dead” when Humphries began speaking at the event.

Fuller “is apologetic and very sad” about his outburst, DeRuyter said. “He wishes he could go back and do things differently,” she said.

Humphries said Fuller’s comment came when the town hall discussion turned to gun control.

.

Video of Jared Loughner shooting “emerges”

Does it seems weird that the FBI doesn’t want to show the jury video of Loughner actually shooting the victims at his trial?

And that it “emerged” yesterday that they even had video?

Also, it emerged Friday that the F.B.I had video of the episode taken from the surveillance cameras of businesses in the shopping center, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly because the investigation was continuing.

The investigator said the authorities were hoping the video would not have to be used at Mr. Loughner’s trial, because it would probably be painful for the families of the victims.

Limbaugh’s ‘straight shooter’ billboard is yanked

“In a statement to TPM, Clear Channel, which also manages the  billboard, said the ad “used the common expression ‘straight shooter’ to  describe Mr. Limbaugh’s candid and direct style.” The company also said  explicitly that it was KNST’s promotion department that created the ad,  not Limbaugh’s show. But after Saturday, company management decided it  might not be such a good idea to keep the ad up. “Clear Channel Outdoor management in Tucson quickly elected to take  down this ad - believing that discussion of its interpretation would not  contribute to the desire for healing in the Tucson community,” Clear  Channel said” Clear Channel Yanks ‘Straight Shooter’ Limbaugh Ad In Tucson

“In a statement to TPM, Clear Channel, which also manages the billboard, said the ad “used the common expression ‘straight shooter’ to describe Mr. Limbaugh’s candid and direct style.” The company also said explicitly that it was KNST’s promotion department that created the ad, not Limbaugh’s show. But after Saturday, company management decided it might not be such a good idea to keep the ad up.

“Clear Channel Outdoor management in Tucson quickly elected to take down this ad – believing that discussion of its interpretation would not contribute to the desire for healing in the Tucson community,” Clear Channel said”

Clear Channel Yanks ‘Straight Shooter’ Limbaugh Ad In Tucson

 

AZ Republicans Resign After Giffords Shooting, Citing Threats From Local Tea Partiers

 

Instead of saying “both sides do it,” it may be more correct to say that the Tea Party does it to “both sides:”

Think Progress:

Just hours after 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner launched a shooting spree at a Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) constituent event in Tucson on Saturday that left six dead and 14 wounded, Legislative District chairman Anthony Miller, a Republican, announced that he would resign his position. In an email to the state’s GOP chair, Miller cited “constant verbal attacks” after his election last year “and Internet blog posts by some local members with Tea Party ties made him worry about his family’s safety.”

[…] The newly-elected Dist. 20 Republican secretary, Sophia Johnson of Ahwatukee, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson of Tempe and Jeff Kolb, the former district spokesman from Ahwatukee, also quit.

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Tea-Party-armed.jpg

Updates on shooting in Arizona

The suspect has been identified as Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old former community college student.

UPDATE: KVOA has the names of those killed in today’s shooting:

-John Roll, 63, a federal district court judge.
-Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, Giffords’ director of community outreach
-Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ.
-Christina Greene, 9, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary -Dorthy Murray, 76
-Phyllis Scheck, 79

May they all rest in peace. My condolences and prayers go out to their families tonight.

—-  The Giffords shooting: Taking account UPDATED

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9-year-old victim of deadly rampage identified | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona The identity of the 9-year-old tragically killed in this morning’s deadly rampage is Christina Taylor Greene. Family says she was vibrant, excited about life, and she was the “best daughter in the world.”

9-year-old victim of deadly rampage identified | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

The identity of the 9-year-old tragically killed in this morning’s deadly rampage is Christina Taylor Greene. Family says she was vibrant, excited about life, and she was the “best daughter in the world.”

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“The anger, the hatred. the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become, sort of, the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

—- Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Pima Country, Arizona regarding the shooting of Rep Gabrielle Gifford [D-AZ] (via leftish)