Tag Archives: Boston

This isn’t Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, either

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TK

No one photograph captures the totality of any one human being. Fucking duh.

A Massachusetts state cop has, apparently without authorization, released images that he took of the capture of the accused Boston Marathon bombing participant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in order to make a political point while blasting Rolling Stone for allegedly having tried to make a political point. (The image above is the image that has gone the most viral.)

“As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, I believe that the image [of Tsarnaev] that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty,” Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy huffed and puffed when he gave the images to Boston Magazine, continuing, “The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

I get it that Murphy has a personal and political interest in protecting the authoritarian, law-and-order, “good”-guys-vs.-“bad”-guys, violence-loving, white-male patriarchy of which he is part and parcel, but it was unprofessional (and, hell, for all that I know, also illegal) for Murphy, on his own, to release the images to the media out of his own personal and political passions, and BBC News reports that Murphy apparently has been relieved of duty for having released the images without authorization.

Good!

Murphy is allowed his wingnutty opinions, but, when it comes to whether or not D. Tsarnaev’s attorneys can argue whether or not he can get a fair trial, a fucking Rolling Stone cover probably won’t factor into that argument, but a state cop’s having released photos of Tsarnaev and having called Tsarnaev “evil” and “the real Boston bomber” certainly could. So Murphy’s actions seem to me to be reckless at best, especially if he is interested in actual justice, as he apparently claims he is.

Yes, in his right-wing rant that the apparently right-wing Boston Magazine published, the leaker Murphy also proclaimed: “Photography is very simple, it’s very basic. It brings us back to the cave. An image like this on the cover of Rolling Stone, we [who, exactly, is “we”?] see it instantly as being wrong. What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

While I agree that “photography is very simple,” that is the fucking problem. Murphy, apparently without any self-awareness of this, is guilty of the flip side of what he accuses Rolling Stone of having done.

I agree that one emo-looking image of D. Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone certainly doesn’t tell the whole story about the young man, but neither does one image (or even several images) of a sniper’s red-laser dot on Tsarnaev’s forehead tell the whole story about him.

Each of us is a complex human being who cannot be summed up in one fucking photograph.

And neither can even someone like D. Tsarnaev tidily and neatly be summed up in the single word “evil,” as Murphy so helpfully has done for us, and, of course, the difference between people like Murphy — authoritarian, self-righteous, patriarchy-promoting-and-protecting, hypocritically-violent-themselves types — and the rest of us is that while Murphy would deny that he contains any evil within himself at all, the rest of us acknowledge that we do.

And it’s those who deny that they have any evil within themselves at all who, in my book, are the most dangerous of all, which is perhaps why our plutocratic overlords love to have these sociopathic types in the U.S. military and in U.S. law enforcement (and, let’s face it, most of the time “our” laws apply only to us commoners, and not to our plutocratic overlords).

Update: Via Slate.com, this is a clarification of what has happened with Sgt. Sean Murphy:

Though he’s been relieved of duty, Murphy has not been fired. The status of his duty is to be reviewed next week. Two lieutenants in an unmarked cruiser and a sergeant in a marked cruiser arrived at Murphy’s home about 7:40 [last night] and, during about 20 minutes at his home, took the following: his gun, badge, ammunition, handcuffs, baton, bulletproof vest, cameras, police ID, license to fire arms, pepper spray, cellphone and computer. Murphy was also ordered not to speak to the press or discuss the capture of Tsarnaev with anyone else.

My guess is that he’ll get a slap on the wrist. At the bare minimum, in my book, he no longer should be allowed to photograph police activity.

Also, the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote a good piece defending Rolling Stone. Sure, you might say, of course he’s going to defend his employer, but nonetheless, he makes some good points, such as these:

… I think, on the whole, the people leveling these criticisms must not read the magazine, which is understandable. It would be beyond unreasonable to expect everyone in the country to be regularly familiar with the articles in Rolling Stone. On the other hand, pretty much everyone has heard of Rolling Stone, which is where the problem lay, in this gap between the popular image of the magazine and the reality of its reporting.

If indeed we were just a celebrity/gossip mag that covered nothing but rock stars and pop-culture icons, and we decided to boost sales and dabble in hard news by way of putting a Jim Morrison-esque depiction of a mass murderer on our cover, that really would suck and we would deserve all of this criticism.

But Rolling Stone has actually been in the hard news/investigative reporting business since its inception, from Hunter S. Thompson to Carl Bernstein to Bill Greider back in the day to Tim Dickinson, Michael Hastings, Mark Boal, Janet Reitman and myself in recent years.

One could even go so far as to say that in recent years, when investigative journalism has been so dramatically de-emphasized at the major newspapers and at the big television news networks, Rolling Stone’s role as a source of hard-news reporting has been  magnified. In other words, we’re more than ever a hard news outlet in a business where long-form reporting is becoming more scarce. …

If the Rolling Stone editors had brought Tsarnaev in to its offices near Rockefeller center, wined and dined him, and then posed him for that Jim Morrison shot, then yes, that would be reprehensible.

But that’s not what the magazine did. They used an existing photo, one already used by other organizations. The New York Times, in fact, used exactly the same photo on the cover of their May 5 issue.

But there was no backlash against the Times, because everyone knows the Times is a news organization. Not everyone knows that about Rolling Stone. So that’s your entire controversy right there – it’s OK for the Times, not OK for Rolling Stone, because many people out there understandably do not know that Rolling Stone is also a hard-news publication. …

[Regarding] the idea that the cover photo showed Tsarnaev to be too nice-looking, too much like a sweet  little boy[,] I  can understand why this might upset some  people. But the jarringly non-threatening image of Tsarnaev is exactly the point of the whole story. If any of those who are up in arms about this cover had read Janet’s piece, they would see that the lesson of this story is that there are no warning signs for terrorism, that even nice, polite, sweet-looking young kids can end up packing pressure-cookers full of shrapnel and tossing them into crowds of strangers.

Thus the cover picture is not intended to glamorize Tsarnaev. Just the opposite, I believe it’s supposed to frighten. …

I recommend Taibbi’s piece in its entirety.

It was clear to me immediately that Rolling Stone had repurposed an existing image of Tsarnaev for its cover. I have to wonder if Sean Murphy is so stupid as to not have realized that, or if he realized that but intentionally wanted to mislead others in his personal crusade against Rolling Stone, which his own words — his description of the image of Tsarnaev that RS used as “someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine” — suggest.

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Since when have we been at war with Dagestan? (Or, Orwell was right)

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No doubt, justice needs to be done in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Branding and then handling 19-year-old American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant,” however, would not serve justice. Quite the opposite.

It is the idea of the Gang of the Three — U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus of Arizona, closet case U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and newbie fascist U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — along with brazen Islamophobe U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, who also is a fucking joke of a statesman — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant”Guantanamo style.

This isn’t about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or the victims of the Boston bombing, of course. This is about the opportunity for self-serving Repugnican Tea Party traitors to once again use the occasion of a national tragedy to grandstand and try to concentrate their personal and political power.

Because, as both George Orwell and George W. Bush (and, I will add, Adolf Hitler, even though we’re never to mention him anymore because it’s always hyperbolic to do so, right?) taught us very well, there’s nothing like exploiting a nation’s fear in order to create hatred with which to fascistically consolidate your political power.

John McCainosaurus still wants us Americans to know what a huge “mistake” we made when we overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama over him in 2008 (McCainosaurus won only 45.7 percent of the popular vote and only 173 electoral votes to Obama’s 52.9 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes).

McCainosaurus, our self-appointed shadow president, still is raging that the much younger, uppity black guy who didn’t have Vietnam-era POW status to shamelessly exploit for political gain (“I was a POW, so I deserve [fill in the blank]”) won the White House that McCainosaurus deserved. It was McCainosaurus’! He was robbed!

And McCainosaurus also wants to remain politically relevant in the increasingly insanely right-wing state of Arizona, the South Africa of the Southwest.

Speaking of racists, Lindsey Graham hails from the first state that seceded from the Union before abolitionist Abraham Lincoln even was inaugurated.

Graham, a “bachelor” who obviously is gay (I’m gay, but unlike the evil loser Graham, I’m not in the fucking closet), obviously is overcompensating with the right-wing fascism thing because he doesn’t want his homophobic, backasswards state’s attention turned to his sexual orientation, which would be disastrous for his next election. It’s a psychology-textbook case.

Kelly Ayotte, who usually is just window dressing at McCainosaurus’ and Graham’s public pronouncements — three U.S. senators supposedly in agreement with each other looks better than two, and perhaps the addition of the junior senator from the blue state of New Hampshire is meant to offset the fact that McCainosaurus and Little Gay Boy Graham come from two of our reddest states — is only in her third year in the Senate, but apparently she believes that her association with the crusty McCainosaurus and the mincing Graham will pay off in her political future.

Peter King, a real piece of shit, is most known for his blatant support of the terrorist Irish Republican Army — because he’s of Irish descent, and so of course they can’t be terrorists — while he alleges that it’s the Muslims who are the real terrorists.

His repeated attacks on Muslims, culminating in his 2011 “hearings” on Exactly How Evil and Dangerous Muslims in the United States Are — I use quotation marks because an Islamophobe conducting a “hearing” on anything Islam-related isn’t there to hear anything, but is only there to pontificate the conclusions that he drew long before the “hearing” began — did nothing for “national security,” but only inflamed relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States.

Which is what King and his piece-of-shit ilk want, of course. They create the very same hatred that quite predictably results in terrorist attacks and at the very same time proclaim that they are going to keep us safe from terrorist attacks. They want to perpetuate the problem that they claim they are the best ones to solve.

They call themselves patriots. I call them traitors, because their insatiable quest for more and more personal and political power only gets more and more Americans killed, and the only good traitor is an executed traitor.

I start off with the Gang of Three and the piece of shit Peter King because, as I said, it’s all about the Gang of Three and the piece of shit King.

For U.S. senators (and at least one U.S. representative) to actually publicly proclaim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant” already is creating an unfair and hostile environment in which the young man is to be tried for Monday’s twin bombings in Boston. His defense attorneys already can show that there is a threat to a fair trial for him.

Of course, it’s not a fair trial that the fascists of the Repugnican Tea Party want (after all, it’s someone else; why care about whether someone else gets a fair trial?). No, it’s more political power that they want.

Expanding the definition of an “enemy combatant” is a slippery slope to hell.

First, you twist and warp and pervert the definition of the word “war.” “War” no longer is a formally declared battle between two nations that will use their military forces to duke it out in a combat that presumedly will result in a “winner” and a “loser.” No, “war,” in Orwellian style, is whatever the fuck you say it is.

The Gang of Three and their ilk claim that We’re still at war! They love that shit. They have loved that 9/11 (which always was, is and always will be a terrorist attack and not part of any real or actual “war”) happened. It gave them, in their minds, a perma-enemy that they could milk for personal and political gain for infinity.

About a quarter of the human beings on the planet identify themselves as Muslims, and they are spread all over the world. If we are “at war” with these people, then obviously that “war,” very conveniently for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and other assorted war-mongering fascists, never will fucking end.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen who identifies himself as a Muslim. It is the religion that he was born into. You most likely would identify as a Muslim, too, if you also were born into a Muslim family and Muslim environment.

It’s true that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn’t been a U.S. citizen for even a full year, having become a citizen on September 11, 2012. (I don’t know if he chose that date for its symbolism or if those who put on the naturalization ceremony chose it for its symbolism or if it was coincidence or what.)

But even if he became a citizen just a week before Monday’s twin bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon, the fucking fact of the matter is that as an American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.

And that means that he gets a fair fucking trial.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, apparently grew up in Dagestan (which is next door to Chechnya, and like Chechnya, is a part of Russia) and in Kyrgyzstan (a central Asian nation that once was part of Russia but that now is independent, and that, like Chechnya and Dagestan, has a Muslim majority) before they came to the United States about a decade ago.

Their parents left the United States and returned to live Dagestan, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly visited (visiting one’s parents is not, um, an uncommon thing for a son or daughter to do) before he later apparently masterminded Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. (I still surmise that the 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dragged his impressionable younger brother into his plot.)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn’t yet a U.S. citizen but reportedly had hoped to become one. But calling even him an “enemy combatant” (were he still alive) is utter bullshit, since we’re not at war with Dagestan (or with any other nation we know he visited after his family moved him to the United States), for fuck’s sake.

To call anyone (like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) who has been living in the United States for a fucking decade (or even longer) and who is a U.S. citizen an “enemy combatant” after he or she has been accused of having committed a crime here (yes, even an egregious crime) when the United States is not actually at war with any other nation also sends the message that No matter how long you’ve been here, you’re not a real American — even if you have gained American citizenship.

This dark path is diametrically opposed to the path that we should take, which is to give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a fair criminal trial. (Under the Obama administration, that probably will happen, but with Obama’s frequent pandering to the right wing and his frequent blatant, Bush-regime-like disregard for the U.S. Constitution, of course we cannot take that for granted.)

We didn’t declare domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh an “enemy combatant” and then strip him of his constitutional rights, even though he slaughtered and injured far more people in Oklahoma City than the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of having slaughtered and injured in Boston. No, we gave McVeigh a fair fucking trial.

True, McVeigh’s 1995 crime preceded 9/11 and the post-9/11 hysteria, but the fact of the matter is that the label “enemy combatant” chiefly is to apply to those who aren’t Anglo and who weren’t born on American soil and to those who predominantly identify themselves as Muslims, and that’s some fucked-up shit, to have one system of “justice” for the Good Old Boys, the so-called “Christian” whiteys who were born here, and another system of “justice” for the rest of us, the so-called “enemy combatants.”

Once we can call even one American citizen an “enemy combatant” when that citizen is not actually an operative for an enemy nation during an actual war, then we can call any American citizen an “enemy combatant.”

Any American citizen who expresses any view and/or commits any act that those in power at the time don’t like can be deemed by the powers that be an “enemy combatant” with whom they then can do as they please in the sacrosanct names of “national security” and the “war” on “terror.”

Killer drones, of course, will make the elimination of such so-called “enemy combatants” as easy as playing a video game.

Today, American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is proclaimed an “enemy combatant” who is stripped of his constitutional right to a fair trial and shipped off to Guantanamo or some other shrouded location, where God knows what will be done to him.

And you’re perfectly OK with that, because Hey, I saw the horrific images of the Boston bombing and I don’t ever want to get bombed! And Besides, you say, if you’re not guilty, then what do you have to be afraid of?

But tomorrow, like something out of George Orwell’s 1984, you say something to a fellow citizen that he or she perceives as unpatriotic. He or she dutifully reports you to the authorities as he or she repeatedly has been instructed to do by the authorities, and then the drones or the thugs come for you, you “enemy combatant,” and you are, as they say, disappeared.

Then, if you still are alive, as you sit in your tiny cell that is located God knows where, you kick the holy living shit out of yourself because  in 2013 you had had no problem whatsoever with American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being called an “enemy combatant” and stripped of his constitutional rights.

Update (Monday, April, 22, 2013):

NBC News reports today:

The hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged [today] with using a weapon of mass destruction – and the White House said he will be tried in a civilian court.

“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

“Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists.” …

Contrary to the wishes of the wingnuts, the U.S. Constitution prevails.

But of course the Obama White House just can’t resist pandering to the right — God forbid should Barack Obama be called weak. on. TERROR! — with the White House press secretary already proclaiming the suspect to be guilty by referring to him as “this terrorist” and heavily suggesting that “this terrorist,” too, will be convicted and incarcerated, has have “hundreds of [other] terrorists.”

Gee, in my Civics 101 class, I was taught that it is the job of the judicial branch, not the executive branch, to determine someone’s innocence or guilt.

This is why I couldn’t vote again for Barack Obama in November — he’s George W. Bush Lite.

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Boston bombers were tweeners — homegrown and from Chechen region

This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large on Friday, April 19, 2013. The ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which borders the Chechnya region in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, one of their uncles reported said. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young)

Associated Press image

Brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, right, have been identified by law-enforcement authorities as the probable perpetrators of Monday’s twin bomb blasts during the Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed many others. The brothers came to the United States from the area of war-torn Chechnya about a decade ago. The older brother was shot dead by police and the younger brother remains on the run. Despite having expressed his support of Chechen independence from Russia and his support of Islam, the younger brother on a social networking website reportedly listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So the Boston Marathon bombing apparently was indeed an act of domestic terrorism, but the apparent terrorists weren’t anyone we had suspected.

Those on the right, apparently, were hoping for an Arab terrorist or Arab terrorists, fitting in nicely and neatly with the 9/11 scenario (15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates [not one of them was from Iraq, I will add]).

There was the 20-year-old Saudi man — a college student — who was tackled by a bystander at the site of the Boston Marathon just after the twin explosions on Monday because of course the Arab-looking man in the crowd was the perpetrator (of course this young man was not the perp).

The right-wing rag the New York Post (which, along with Faux “News,” is owned by right-wing plutocrat Rupert Murdoch) yesterday ran a cover image of a 17-year-old high school track athlete (the one in blue with the blue duffel bag in the image below) and called him a suspect in the Boston bombing when he never was a suspect at all. The other “bombing suspect” in the image that the Post ran on its cover (the man with the black backpack) actually is the student’s 24-year-old track coach.

new york post

But the high-school athlete and his coach, who are from Morocco, look like the usual suspects — here is another image of them that the Post published, encircling their faces with big, red, attention-grabbing rings:

— and that, for the Post, was enough.

I hope that the young men wrongfully called terrorism suspects because they were At the Boston Marathon While Arab sue the Post for libel.

I, on the other hand, had figured that the perpetrator or perpetrators of Monday’s bombing in Boston probably were along the lines of a Zeke or Jeb or Cooter or Skeeter, a homegrown, white, “tea-partying,” anti-federal-government-and-so-of-course-also-anti-tax type, such as we saw with Timothy McVeigh. I mean, a bombing on Tax Day in Boston, home of the Boston Tea Party.

It turns out that the actual probable perps of the bombing apparently are somewhere between the two stereotypical terrorist types of the “Islamofascist” from abroad and the terrorist from home. There is more to be learned, but that’s where it stands right now.

The probable perps of Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston reportedly were two brothers from the area of Chechnya (also called the Chechen Republic, which is part of Russia), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan, 26, reportedly was shot dead during a police shootout that took place in Boston between yesterday, when the brothers’ surveillance-camera images were released by the FBI, and early this morning, and Dzhokhar, 19, a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, reportedly still is on the run. I hope that he is captured alive so that we learn more about the motives behind the bombing.

Being an American, I don’t know much about Chechnya, but there is Wikipedia, a blogger’s best friend, and from Wikipedia I see that Chechnya has a population of less than 2 million people, and that racially, the denizens of Chechnya are grouped as “Caucasoid,” Wikipedia notes, adding, “The majority of Chechens are dark-haired (medium to dark brown or black), but there are Chechens with blond or even red hair, while eye color ranges from blue to brown and skin tone is typically rather pale and light (though there are some Chechens with olive complexions).”

Arabs, anthropologically speaking, also are “Caucasoid,” but apparently among the Chechens there are some who look Anglo (all Anglos are “Caucasoid,” but not all who are “Caucasoid” are Anglo).

The right-wingers no doubt feel vindicated, however,  over the fact that (per Wikipedia) “Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya. Chechens are overwhelmingly adherents to Sunni Islam, the country having converted to Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries.”

But Chechens aren’t Arabs, the usual terrorism suspects in the eyes of many if not most Americans, and reportedly the Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States about decade ago as refugees from the war-torn Chechnya.

Because they (have) lived in the United States for about a decade, and because they came here when they were young, I still would call the Tsarnaev brothers homegrown terrorists, but, of course, not of the usual variety of homegrown terrorists.

My guess is that the older Tsarnaev brother influenced the younger, and that the older brother was quite unstable and the younger brother was quite impressionable, as younger brothers often are.

Yahoo! News notes that Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly had a wife and young child and that “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was remembered by former classmates as bright and personable, posted links to pro-Chechnyan independence sites on his social media page, and listed his worldview as ‘Islam.'”

Yahoo! News also reports that “in an emotional press conference,” the brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, “said his nephews had brought shame upon his family, and called them ‘losers.’ He said they were not ‘able to settle themselves’ and were ‘angry at everyone who was able to.’ He said he did not believe they were motivated by the radical politics in Chechnya or their Muslim religion.”

Again, hopefully the younger brother will be captured alive and will tell us exactly what happened and why. His role might have been only as an accessory to his much more radicalized older brother, it seems to me.

The take-home lesson in all of this, it also seems to me, is that any chronically angry young man, foreign or domestic, white-skinned or brown-skinned, identifying as a Muslim or a Christian (or as a member of another religion), can perpetrate an act violence or even of terrorism — chronic anger and testosterone are a dangerous, explosive mix — and that the best way to prevent terrorist attacks in the future is to address, seriously and significantly, that which causes chronic anger in young men.

Chief among those causes here at home, it seems to me, is a lack of economic opportunity in the United States of America. In the so-called land of opportunity, our young people are struggling. And, despite their hard work and their struggle, they are told that their lack of progress is entirely their fault — certainly not the fault of the plutocratic system of the haves and the have-nots that actually has their failure built in, that has institutionalized it, pretty much guaranfuckingteed it, in fact.

Before you claim that I’m full of shit, know that while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (according to Reuters) on his Russian-language social networking website posted links to websites promoting Islam and Chechen independence from Russia, he listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So while his Chechen birth gave him an identity as a Chechen/Chechen American and a Muslim, his most immediate personal concern apparently was “career and money.”

And over that issue, it seems to me, we Americans, who forfuckingever now have been perfectly complacent with our system of haves and have-nots that eats its own young, should be surprised — and probably thankful — that justifiably chronically angry young men of all identities in the United States aren’t blowing shit up all over the fucking place.

P.S. I have to note that while I find the pervasive presence of surveillance cameras in public to pose real threats to privacy, and to create an oppressive, Big-Brother-like atmosphere, one has to be impressed, I think, by the swiftness with which the apparent perpetrators of Monday’s terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon were identified by law-enforcement officials.

Once the FBI released the surveillance-camera images of the two suspects yesterday, it was just a matter of time before they were identified as the Tsarnaev brothers.

Update: I want to be accurate, so let me clarify: Apparently the Tsarnaev brothers might have come to the United States from Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, and the brothers are (well, one is and one was…), according to media reports, “ethnic Chechens.” I am not certain of the exact nation of the brothers’ birth, but apparently they were born in one or both of the two neighboring nations of Chechnya and Dagestan.

Per Wikipedia, Dagestan has a population of about 3 million and, like Chechnya, its primary religion is Sunni Islam.

From Wiki, here is a map of Chechnya and Dagestan:

And here is a map of the larger area, known as the North Caucasus:

File:Chechnya and Caucasus.png

Second update: According to NBC News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan and became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11 of last year, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was married to a U.S. citizen and had hoped to become a U.S. citizen himself, was born in Russia. The Associated Press reports that

Dzhokhar’s page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says that before moving to the United States, he attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On the site, he describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian.

The same AP story also reports that the two brothers “had come to the United States about 10 years ago from a Russian region near Chechnya [Dagestan, I presume], according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md. They had two sisters. As kids they rode bikes and skateboards on quiet Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass.”

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Our national Rorschach test results

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We didn’t have just a bombing in Boston yesterday, did we? We had a national Rorschach test, didn’t we? We have seen what we have been predisposed to see, haven’t we?

The folks at Westboro Baptist Church say that yesterday’s terrorist attack in Boston was God’s punishment for Massachusetts’ having instituted same-sex marriage. I guess that would be God’s very delayed reaction, since Massachusetts instituted same-sex marriage way back in 2004.

Sadly and pathetically, police have questioned a 20-year-old man from Saudi Arabia attending school in Boston apparently primarily because he was At the Boston Marathon While Arab. Reportedly a bystander who had appointed himself a modern-day Paul Revere tackled the Arab man, who apparently looked suspicious! because he was an Arab-looking man running away from the blasts — go figure! I mean, the normal human response would be to run toward the blasts, into harm’s way, right? And what was an Arab man doing at the Boston Marathon anyway?

(The young Arab man’s roommate says that he’s very most likely innocent. I have to agree. This very most likely is a case of racial profiling, it seems to me. I hope that the Paul Revere who tackled the Arab man is brought to justice — that he at least is sued by the Arab man, if not also criminally prosecuted for the apparent assault and battery.)

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (another paranoid, right-leaning white man) has posited that the U.S. government perpetrated the bombings in order to discredit and oppress the members of the so-called “tea party” and like-minded individuals.

Never mind that such a so-called “false-flag” operation would be incredibly difficult to pull off. Who would be willing to perpetrate it, knowing that he (or she) might be caught and prosecuted one day? And who would order it to be done, knowing that he or she also might be caught and prosecuted one day? Think of the number of people who would have to cooperate in such an operation. How would you ensure that none of them ever talked?

And never mind that the “tea party” peaked a long time ago and today is a but a shadow of its former self. You would go that far to try to weaken or destroy the “tea party” or any other political group only if it actually had a lot of power and influence.

That the wingnuts pre-emptively claim that yesterday’s terrorist attack is only being blamed on the wingnuts in order to discredit the wingnuts does not mean, of course, that homegrown wingnuts did not perpetrate the crime.

Taken all together, it sure looks like homegrown wingnutty terrorism to me.

Besides being Tax Day, yesterday also was Patriots’ Day, a day that is obscure here in California but that is big in Massachusetts and in Maine. (Indeed, the Boston Marathon is held in conjunction with Patriots’ Day.)

Patriots’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday in April. It was on Patriots’ Day in 1995 that homegrown wingnutty terrorist Timothy McVeigh, a disaffected young white man (if we want to do any racial profiling…), bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.

So: Tax Day. Patriots’ Day (Timothy McVeigh’s chosen day for his act of domestic terrorism, in which 168 people were killed). The city of Boston’s symbolism of revolution against oppressive taxation and an oppressive government (McVeigh believed that he was crusading against an oppressive federal government). Massachusetts being a dark-blue state, a bastion of liberalism. (My guess is that a homegrown wingnutty terrorist most likely would attack a real or perceived liberal population rather than a conservative one or even a mixed one.)

Again, I can’t see the “Islamofascists” having perpetrated yesterday’s terrorist attack in Boston. This looks like an inside job to me, and by “inside job” I don’t mean by the Obama administration or by any part of the U.S. government (as much as a fan of the center-right Obama administration and the center-right U.S. government that I am not).

A professional “Islamofascist” terrorist organization would have killed more than just three people, it seems to me. This seems like a much more amateurish terrorist job.

The only real question that remains in my mind is how many people perpetrated yesterday’s terrorist attack.

My guess is that at least two or three people were involved, but I suppose that we can’t rule out a “lone wolf” like then-32-year-old Norweigan right-wing nutjob Anders Behring Breivik, who in July 2011 slaughtered 77 people whom he considered the enemy because he perceived them (correctly or not) as liberal.

Ironically, Breivik hates Muslims, as do his Islamophobic cohorts here at home, yet it seems to me that as a gay man and a left-winger, I’m more likely to be killed by one of these domestic “Christo”fascists that I’m ever likely to be snuffed out by an “Islamofascist.” I am much more concerned about our wonderful homegrown terrorists than I am about terrorists from abroad.

These are the results of my own Rorschach test, but my test results, I wager, are much more likely to be shown to be the actual case than are the other results that I’ve been reading about.

Update: My bad: Apparently Timothy McVeigh picked the date of April 19, 1995, to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building because that date marked the second anniversary of the siege in Waco, Texas, in 1993. April 17, not April 19, was Patriots’ Day in 1995. (Patriots’ Day was on April 19 in 1993, however.)

McVeigh may not even have been aware of Patriots’ Day, it seems to me.

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My guess: It was domestic terrorism, perhaps over taxes

So today was Tax Day and deadly bombs went off in Boston, Mass., the site of the iconic 1773 Boston Tea Party, which was a protest against the British taxation of the American colonists.

Coinky-dink?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But I can’t see “Islamofascists” having pulled off this one. Given the not-too-subtle symbolism of it, I can, however, see right-wing, anti-tax domestic terrorists having done so.

If this is correct, it would be interesting to know whether the domestic terrorists (I’m guessing that there was more than one terrorist who pulled this one off) consider themselves to be members of the so-called “tea party” or not. (If memory serves, the “tea” in “tea party” is supposed to mean “taxed enough already.”)

If so, what horrible PR for the “tea party” this will be…

In any event, I’m all for making political statements, and while I can live with property damage, committing the murder and/or the maiming of innocent people in order to make a political statement is a shitty fucking thing to do, and of course any political statement is lost entirely among the carnage, which is all that anyone can see, such as the serious injury done to this man, who lost his legs in the terrorist attack in Boston today:

Associated Press photo

A cropped version of this photo was all over the Internet today; I found this apparently unedited version on liveleak.com. (The news photo has been glitchy for me, so if you don’t see it above, you can see it here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=eaa_1366058986)

I think it’s best not to sanitize the results of terrorism, whether it’s like the apparent domestic terrorism that we saw today in Boston, or whether it’s like the terrorism that the unelected Bush regime committed in Iraq in such noble names as “freedom” and “liberation” and “democracy.” Speaking of which, the photo above reminds me of this iconic photo from the Vietraq War:

Terrorism is terrorism, and no “good guys” commit terrorism. Only bad guys do.

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Assorted shit

Flub heard ’round the world

U.S. Congresswoman Bachmann, a potential Republican ...

U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a potential ...

Reuters photos

The insane ignoramus U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann shows what a true patriot she is by sacrificing herself to recite the pledge of allegiance and then holds aloft a tea bag while incorrectly identifying New Hampshire as the location where the first shot in the American Revolutionary War was fired. Utter stupidity and uber-jingoism are a dangerous mix, as we saw during the eight long, nightmarish years of rule by the unelected, fascistic Bush regime.

The larger point should not be lost in the reportage that Repugnican Tea Party whackjob Michele Bachmann yesterday told a group of Repugnican Tea Party traitors in New Hampshire that the American Revolutionary War started in their state — when, in fact, it started in Massachusetts.

Notes The Associated Press today:

Though Bachmann probably wasn’t the first to confuse Concord, N.H., with Concord, Mass., her mistake was striking given her roots in the “tea party” movement, which takes its name from the dumping of tea into Boston Harbor by angry American colonists in December 1773….

It’s not just that Bachmann, like the majority of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, are utter dipshits who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about — not even the basics of those things that they align themselves with, such as the American Revolutionary War (these fascistic white supremacists who want to drag us back to the Dark Ages are “revolutionaries,” you see!) and the contents of the New Testament. (Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, and he advised his followers not to fight against paying their taxes — which the “Christo”fascist Repugnican Tea Party traitors don’t mention when, say, they fight for more tax breaks for the rich and the super-rich. A simple oversight, I’m sure.)

The bigger picture is that the members of the Repugnican Tea Party wrap themselves in both the U.S. flag and in the Shroud of Turin — they claim the mantles of both patriotism and Christianity — when, in fact, they’re just fucking charlatans, are just aligning themselves, for personal political gain, with groups that they perceive to be large and powerful — because the stupid and the cowardly, utterly unable to stand on their own two feet, align themselves with groups that they perceive to be large and powerful.

The reason that Bachmann doesn’t know her material is that for Bachmann it’s not about the material — it’s all about Bachmann and her insatiable lust for power. The material is just the cover that she uses for herself in her fascistic quest for power.

Not to be hypocritical; while I know much, much more about U.S. history and the contents of the New Testament than does your typical tea-baggin’ traitor, it’s an awful lot of material and I certainly don’t have all of it memorized.

But then, unlike the members of the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party, I don’t go around acting as though I do.

TIME calls Wisconsin guv “Dead Man Walker”

Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker signs the ...

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs a bill at a ...

Reuters and Associated Press photos

Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, surrounded by his cabal of fellow stupid white men, signs legislation eliminating collective bargaining rights for public servants in Wisconsin. About two-thirds of Americans believe that public servants should have collective bargainging rights, according to a Bloomberg poll taken this month.

TIME.com quotes Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker as having said on Friday, when he signed the union-busting legislation that the Repugnican Tea Party rammed down Wisconsinites’ throats:

“Some have asked whether this is going to set a national precedent. And I don’t know… but if along the way we help lead a movement across the state for true fiscal reform, true budgetary reform to ultimately inspire others across this country, state by state and in our federal government, inspire others to stand up and make tough decision to make a commitment to the future, so that our children across all states don’t have to face the dire consequences we face because previous leaders have failed to stand up and lead, I feel that is a good thing.”

Wow. So to destroy labor unions and to give the corporations even more power to exploit their wage slaves is for the children! This is novel!

It’s true that our leaders have failed to stand up and lead. For instance, not a single Wall Street crook who helped put us into our economic cataclysm is behind bars. The Obama administration, in fact, puts Wall Street crooks in charge of national economic policy — just as the Bush regime did.

We do have a huge failure of leadership, but that failure is to stop the runaway greed of the rich and the super-rich, for whom the word “enough” is not in their vocabulary.

Scott Walker’s “vision,” to the contrary, is to make the working class and the middle class suffer even more for the crimes of the treasonous plutocrats and corporatocrats whom he treasonously aids and abets.

Walker calls the rich getting even richer and the poor getting even poorer “true fiscal reform, true budgetary reform.” And George Orwell is spinning in his grave.

Walker admits what we already knew, which is that the Repugnican Tea Party is on a “state-by-state” jihad to destroy labor unions.

As Rachel Maddow recently pointed out, the reason that the Repugnican Tea Party did not tell voters before Election Day 2010 that they would seek to destroy labor unions is that to destroy labor unions is not what the American majority wants.

A Bloomberg nationwide poll taken this month, in fact, show that about two-thirds of Americans believe that public servants should have the right to collectively bargain — and that about two-thirds of Americans believe that corporations have more political power than do labor unions.

And according to this poll, how do Americans feel about our public-school teachers, whom the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party has tried to make into Public Enemy No. 1? A full two-thirds of Americans support public-school teachers’ right to be in a labor union.

Thing is, it’s human nature to not realize how much you value something until its continued existence is threatened.

What WalkerCorp has done is made most Americans realize how valuable labor unions and collective bargaining are and that corporations have way too fucking much power and drastically need to be reeled in.

While Americans bought a lot of Orwellian shit during the eight long, nightmarish years of the unelected Bush regime, at this point, I believe, they realize that they’ve been punk’d repeatedly, and they reject the Repugnican Tea Party “argument” that the middle class and the working class are the cause of our nation’s economic problems and that they need to sacrifice even more.

“Wisconsin’s Governor Wins But Is He Still Dead Man Walker?” TIME.com asks.

The question is not whether Walker’s political career is finished, but when. If he is not successfully recalled — and unfortunately he cannot be recalled until January 2012 — he certainly won’t be re-elected in 2014.

And recall efforts of Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin state senators who can be recalled now already are under way, which should mean that if Walker does manage to finish his first and only four-year term, the Repugnican Tea Party won’t control both houses of Wisconsin’s Legislature for very long into his first and only term.

Is Obama lazy and/or cowardly — or politically smart?

The Associated Press reports that Barack Obama proclaimed in a speech in 2007:

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

Of course, the AP also reports that

So far, however, the White House has stayed away from any trips to Madison, the [Wisconsin] state capital, or other states in the throes of union battles. The Obama administration is treading carefully on the contentious political issue that has led to a national debate over the power that public sector unions wield in negotiating wages and benefits.

Questions abound.

Is Obama too lazy and/or cowardly to have inserted himself into the historic battle for the rights of the working class and the middle class in Wisconsin? Or did he and/or his handlers calculate that such an insertion might actually harm, rather than help, the cause — and thus they wisely have kept out of the battle in Wisconsin, regardless of Obama’s 2007 promise to “walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America”?

If I had to put money on it, my money would be on Obama being too lazy and/or cowardly to fulfill his 2007 promise, but I surmise that it nonetheless is better that Obama continue to stay out of it, whatever the reason(s) for his peculiar absence might be.

That way, what truly is a populist upswelling against the pro-plutocratic Repugnican Tea Party — I can’t recall that thousands of Americans in any state ever sustained a three-week protest in at least the past three decades — won’t be branded as simply a Democratic Party thing when it actually is about we, the people.

Battleground Wisconsin only peripherally has been about the Democratic Party. For the most part, it has been about the majority of the people in a state who have had more than enough abuse at the hands of the Repugnican Tea Party — and who aren’t sitting around waiting for the Democratic Party to save them.*

*That said, I laud the brave 14 Democratic Wisconsin state senators who did the best that they could to stand up for their constituents by vacating the state for three weeks. I laud their courage, their solidarity and their resolve, traits that utterly are lacking in most elected officials who call themselves Democrats.

Although the traitors who comprise the Repugnican Tea Party repeatedly accused these 14 Democratic state senators of not doing their jobs, they certainly did do their jobs: they refused to go quietly to the guillotine that the Repugnican Tea Party so lovingly had set up for them and for their constituents, who aren’t corporations but who are we, the people.

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