Tag Archives: Terrorism

Let’s not become just like the fascist terrorists whom we oppose

Updated below (on Wednesday, August 16, 2017)

“No one should get fired for his [or her] political beliefs,” writes fellow leftist Ted Rall in his latest column, adding, “Not even a Nazi.”

“I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent ‘Unite the Right’ hatefest in Charlottesville [this past] weekend are being outed on social media,” Rall continues. “Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. [The definition of doxxing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is here.] It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.”

Indeed, I also found it at least a little disturbing to read in the news that a guy who works (well, worked) at a hot-dog restaurant named Top Dog should lose his job (even if it’s a shit job, as it sounds like it is) not for any violence or other crime that he perpetrated, but for having been present and photographed at a political event.

“Firing a worker for [his or her] politics — especially when those politics are expressed outside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal,” Rall opines, and I tend to agree.

“Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.”

The difference, of course, is that someone with a John Kerry bumper sticker is much, much less likely to ever commit violence or otherwise violate another’s rights than is an avowed neo-Nazi, but, as Rall reminds us:

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find.

Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumper sticker on their vehicle.

Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.

For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. …

The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.

Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.

Rall acknowledges that “A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley, but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views.

“But,” Rall continues, “if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or [your employer from firing] you for whatever you happen to believe.”

We on the left do need to reflect upon our tactics beyond how good they might make us feel in the moment. Our gleefully gathering neo-Nazi scalps might come back to haunt us, as we are persecuted for our own political views in the tit-for-tat punish-people-for-their-political-views-by-making-them-unemployed environment that we have helped to create.

We on the left need to be careful not to become just like the enemy on the right. Firing left-wingers for not toeing the right-wing line long has been an evil tactic of oppression used on the right; they can’t just execute their left-wing employees, so how about trying to destroy them financially? It’s the next best thing!

All of that said, no one who appears in public has the right to privacy. If you participate in a march or protest or gathering of any size in public, there is a good chance that someone will take a photo or photos or video of you, and perhaps post them online, and you can’t claim that your right to privacy has been violated if someone does.

And then, of course, once an image or images of you have been posted online, online warriors on the right or the left can then identify you and out you, including post personal information about you that really is no one’s business.

Unfortunately, that is the risk that we take in a highly polarized political environment in which so much is posted on the Internet.

But still we must think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Because we can do something — and because others are doing it or because we figure that if we don’t do it, someone else probably will anyway — doesn’t mean that we should do that thing.

What of the young man who lost his probably-minimum-wage job? Has his job loss at the hands of the left taught him something valuable? Is it more likely that his job loss and public shaming will only entrench him further in his neo-Nazi views or that it actually will make him rethink his political views and how they might harm others?

Since the intention very apparently was not to induce him to see the error of his ways but only was to harm him in a retaliatory spirit and then to wave his scalp online for all to see — the person who outed him via the very presidential medium of Twitter bragged, “the first person I exposed no longer has a job” — I don’t see that the tactic will result in his rehabilitation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a real problem with the neo-Nazis. The mere sight of the Confederate flag makes me viscerally fighting mad; my feeling is that that symbol of treason, oppression and hatred should not be displayed in public.

But many if not perhaps even most of these neo-Nazis are salvageable. Most of them are young and misguided and, let’s face it, frightened and socially awkward, and most of them are in the same boat as are most Americans, like the guy who probably wasn’t exactly getting rich working at a hot-dog restaurant.

When and if the neo-Nazis physically harm others, such as the young man who ran many people down with his car on Saturday, killing one young white woman who had been a supporter of social justice and of Bernie Sanders* — and the young man very apparently** has significant mental-health problems, as you very probably have to have to be able to mow people down in your car –– then we must process them as the criminals that they are, but if we can prevent them from getting to that point in the first place, then we should.***

And my best guess is that going after their livelihoods isn’t going to rehabilitate them, but is only going to make them worse.

P.S. The Associated Press reports that around the nation Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces, voluntarily and involuntarily, and that’s a great thing.

Again, these statues glorify hatred, oppression and treason, and tax dollars should not pay for that, and nor should anyone have to see these monuments to hatred, oppression and treason (or the Confederate flag, which symbolizes the same things) in public spaces.

Hate speech (including, of course, symbolic speech like flags and statues), speech that exists largely if not primarily in order to terrorize others (usually already oppressed minorities) isn’t, in my book, free speech. Hate speech isn’t speech that is meant to express ideas or used as artistic expression; hate speech is speech that is weaponized.

Update (Wednesday, August 16, 2017): The Associated Press reports:

The president of the University of Nevada, Reno says a UNR student who gained notoriety for rallying with white nationalists in Virginia will not be expelled or lose his university job.

Peter Cytanovic, who also goes by the name Peter Cvjetanovic, was photographed with a group of demonstrators on Friday carrying a torch on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where a rally turned deadly the next day.

UNR President Marc Johnson said Tuesday the school “unequivocally rejects the positions and ideology” espoused by the white supremacists. But he says UNR also stands for the basic principles of the Constitution, including free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. [Emphasis mine.]

He says campus police and the Office of Student Conduct concluded there is no legal reason to expel Cytanovic or terminate his employment.

Indeed, had UNR expelled Cytanovic or fired him from his university job, he probably would have had a great lawsuit against the university, as it would be the state government of Nevada firing him for having exercised his rights under the First Amendment.

(To my knowledge, while private employers have wide latitude in violating our free-expression rights — and routinely do so with impunity — with government employers it’s something else. However, every employer should have to recognize the rights given to us under the Constitution.)

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Cytanovic participated in any violence or otherwise broke any law on Saturday, and therefore, as UNR concluded, there was no legal cause to punish him.

We don’t get to try to destroy someone’s life simply because we don’t like his or her viewpoints, although I’m guessing that Cytanovic is now a pariah among his fellow students at UNR.

*Bernie Sanders, unlike neo-Nazi enabler “President” Pussygrabber, whose first, knee-jerk reaction was to stupidly and inaccurately blame “many sides,” Bernie was quick to put the blame where it was due; on Sunday morning, Sanders tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a terrorist as she protested neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

**Yahoo! News reports of James Alex Fields Jr., who long has had a fetish for Nazi Germany:

… [Samantha] Bloom, a single mother who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, raised Fields on her own after a drunk driver killed his father, an uncle told the Washington Post.

Records from 911 calls reveal that Bloom had called police at least twice to accuse her then-teenage son of assaulting her and wielding a knife. Records from the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show that Bloom told police in 2011 that Fields, a young teenager at the time, had stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. During another 2010 incident, Bloom said that Fields had hit her head and locked her in the bathroom.

Bloom also told police Fields was taking medication to treat temper issues. …

***No, my viewpoint is not that we should coddle them. In fact, my own strong preference is to not have anything to do with anyone who I know is a white supremacist/white nationalist, and I don’t know anyone who is one.

But at the same time, I don’t have to try to identify people online and then ensure that they lose their jobs.

I don’t have to associate with these people, and I don’t, but I don’t have to try to go after their meager livelihoods, either, and I don’t.

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Transgender is the new Jew

His approval ratings perpetually mired below 40 percent, mega-coward “President” Pussygrabber now must resort to attacking the least of us: the comparatively tiny minority of Americans who are transgender.

Pussygrabber announced today (via the very presidential Twitter, of course) that “After consultation with my Generals [sic] and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government [sic] will not accept or allow … [t]ransgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military [sic].”

Reuters notes that there are “thousands” of transgender individuals in the U.S. military and that “Trump spokeswoman Sarah [Huckabee] Sanders said the administration has not yet decided whether transgender service members already in the military would be immediately thrown out, saying the White House and Pentagon would have to work that out.”

I’d joke that Pussygrabber’s biggest concern is that when he goes to grab another pussy, he wants to make sure that it’s the real deal, but this really isn’t very fucking funny.

The New York Times reports:

… The sweeping policy decision was met with surprise at the Pentagon, outrage from advocacy groups and praise from social conservatives.

It reverses the gradual transformation of the military under President Barack Obama, whose administration announced last year that transgender people could serve openly in the military. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, also opened all combat roles to women and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary.

Mr. Trump’s decision to announce a substantial policy change on Twitter raised immediate questions about how the shift would be put into effect and what would happen to openly transgender people on active duty.

The Pentagon referred questions to the White House, where several officials did not immediately respond to questions about the reasoning and timing behind Mr. Trump’s decision. …

The “reasoning” is to create a distraction from everything else that has been keeping the lame Pussygrabber regime mired in the political muck for months now, and to make a cheap appeal to the ignorance, bigotry and hatred of Pussygrabber’s base of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodytes, which, thankfully, is not even 40 percent of the American people.

And the “timing” is that more than six months into his presidency, the wholly presidentially unfit Pussygrabber continues to flounder spectacularly with no end in sight, so Why not attack transgender people? Everyone hates them, right? So it’s safe, isn’t it?

Except perhaps to a self-professed groper of genitalia like the “president,” it does not matter what is between someone’s legs. Character matters, and what matters in the workplace is whether or not one can do and does do his or her (or, in the common non-gender-binary parlance, their) job. (Clearly, that’s a test that Pussygrabber, probably the worst “president” in my lifetime, fails miserably. He does everything bigly, and so yes, he is a colossal fucking failure.)

To make employment decisions based on anything other than the individual’s qualifications and abilities is to discriminate against that individual.

I am confident that in the future, perhaps sooner rather than later, the federal courts overwhelmingly will rule that discrimination against transgender individuals (as well as non-heterosexual and otherwise non-gender-conforming individuals) constitutes illegal and unconstitutional sex discrimination, because it is sex discrimination — or, Congress will act to expand existing federal non-discrimination law to protect, explicitly, these groups of individuals (such as with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Or both will happen.

Ironically, “President” Pussygrabber very well might have sped up the inevitability of federal anti-discrimination laws being expanded to include non-heterosexuals, non-gender-conforming individuals and transgender individuals.

In the meantime, though, thousands of transgender individuals who already are serving in the U.S. military have just been told by “our” illegitimate “president” (yes, losing the popular vote by millions makes you illegitimate) that they no longer may serve in the U.S. military.

This – to tell a whole class of individuals who already are serving in the U.S. military that they no longer may do so – is unprecedented, and again, I expect it to go to the federal courts, and I expect the “president,” who doesn’t know his baby-boomer billionaire asshole from the U.S. Constitution, to once again lose in the federal courts.

This hateful message that transgender individuals may not serve in the U.S. military, coming from the “president,” also gives the potentially soul-crushing message to the many thousands of transgender individuals in the United States that it’s wide-open season on them.

This is ignorance, bigotry and hatred – and since this is meant for political gain, this is, in my book, a form of terrorism – that starts at the top.

This is Nazi-like bullshit: to pick out an already politically weak group of individuals for special persecution for political gain. Hitler did this.

Der Fuhrer Pussygrabber has to goas soon as is possible.

At this point, I don’t fucking care how that happens.

We have a neo-Nazi in the White House, this is intolerable, and this cannot go on.

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Let the treasonous terrorists in Oregon wear themselves out — for now

Men are seen through a window of a residential building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon

An occupier stands in front of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon

A bumper sticker on a private truck is seen in front of a residential building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon

Reuters photos

Self-appointed “militia” members, many wearing military garb and many armed, occupy the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. (These news photos were taken today.) This is treason and terrorism, not patriotism.

We’ve been here before.

As Wikipedia says of the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident, “The Ruby Ridge incident and the 1993 Waco siege, involving many of the same [law-enforcement] agencies and even the same personnel, caused public outcry and fueled the widening of the militia movement.”

So the takeover of a federal wildlife refuge headquarters in a remote part of Oregon isn’t a brand-new phenomenon. The Associated Press reports of this latest act of treason by stupid white men (emphases in bold are mine):

The man behind the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge [in Oregon] comes from a Mormon family that has been challenging government authority for at least two decades.

Ammon Bundy, like his father in previous confrontations, says he is following directions from God and invokes his family’s faith when explaining the anti-government movement he is attempting to lead.

In March 2014, Cliven Bundy was at the center of an armed standoff with federal officials over grazing rights on government land. Federal officials backed away from seizing the Nevada rancher’s cattle, but the dispute remains unresolved, and the Bureau of Land Management says the family has not made payments toward a $1.1 million grazing fee and penalty bill.

Now Cliven Bundy’s son has put himself in the spotlight, this time in Oregon in a dispute over someone else’s ranching operation. His armed group is pressing federal authorities to turn over government land to local control.

Wow.

Where to begin?

An armed insurrection against a legitimate government is treason. These are traitors, not patriots.

And because these traitors are using the threat of violence, even death, to achieve their political aim — which apparently is to make themselves into well-armed regional warlords with all of the political power instead of allowing our democratically elected governments at all levels (local, state and federal) to function — they are terrorists, because terrorism is the use of violence or the threat of such use in order to achieve one’s political goals.

We already have democratically elected public officials (at the local, state and federal levels) and we already have law-enforcement agencies (at the local, state and federal levels) and we already have a military. For anyone to announce that they are a fucking “militia” simply because they don’t want to follow the law is treason, and when they arm themselves in their attempt to subvert the law, as these fucktards in Oregon have done, they should be treated as the terrorists and traitors that they are.

That said, while it would benefit our gene pool and our nation greatly for these treasonous, gun-toting and thus terrorist Jebs, Zekes, Cooters and Skeeters to have their motherfucking brains blown out, what they want, of course, is to have such “martyrs” in order to draw more Jethroes, Bubbas, Enoses, Roscoes and Jim Bobs (and Clivens and Ammons) to their “cause,” which is just a descendant, spiritually if not also in many if not most cases literally, of the Confederate “cause.”

Again, this is nothing new, and it’s interesting that our usual terrorist friends of the Middle East, such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, just like our homegrown terrorists, not only want “martyrs” for recruitment purposes too but also claim that they are backed by “God.”

Don’t get me wrong; if even just one of these treasonous homegrown terrorists shoots or otherwise illegally significantly harms anyone in their illegal occupation of federal government territory, then I say, Open fucking fire on the piece(s) of shit. The only good treasonous terrorist is a dead one.

But for now — for now — there’s no reason to give these treasonous terrorists what they want: sympathy from their mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, similarly chromosomally impaired sympathizers — the figurative or even the literal sons of the Confederacy — who also hate the gubmint.

But we cannot and we must not allow this to become the norm: groups of treasonous terrorists (most of them right-wing, incredibly stupid and therefore incredibly fearful, Christofascist white males) announcing that they are now an armed “militia” that is taking over a piece of government (or otherwise public) property, land or territory.

This would be akin to just allowing ISIS or another Islamofascist terrorist group to take over swaths of our nation, only the theofascist terrorists are homegrown instead of foreign, and they claim to follow Christianity instead of Islam.

If the treasonous terrorists among us really want a rematch of the Civil War — and recall that the Civil War officially began when the traitors who formed the Confederacy attacked and occupied the U.S. military’s Fort Sumter — then I say, Bring it on, bitches!

We finally can finish the job that Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, never did.

Alas, it probably won’t come to that just yet. Indications are that the little boys who never outgrew their toy guns and playing dress-up most likely will tire out, give up, pack it in and go the fuck home, since they have such little popular support for their “cause.”

The Associated Press also reports:

Ammon Bundy came to Oregon hoping to rally support behind his cause, but his tactics have been broadly rejected by many locals, by the state’s main ranching group and by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which the Bundy family has belonged to for generations.

In a statement issued [yesterday], Mormon leaders said the Oregon land dispute “is not a church matter,” but they condemned the seizure and said they were “deeply troubled” by reports that suggest the armed group is acting “based on scriptural principles.”

The ranchers that Ammon Bundy came to defend rejected his assistance and [yesterday] voluntarily surrendered to serve a federal prison term on a 2012 conviction on charges of committing arson on federal land.

A leader of the group Oath Keepers — past and present members of the military, first responders and police officers who pledge to uphold the Constitution — issued a statement saying Ammon Bundy has gone too far. Many Oath Keepers were at the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff in Nevada.

But in Oregon, Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes said, Ammon Bundy had picked the wrong battle.

“We cannot force ourselves or our protection on people who do not want it,” Rhodes said last week on the group’s website. …

Maybe. Or maybe it’s that this is a(nother civil) war that the stupid white men really don’t want to start.

P.S. Many have noted that if black Americans had started an armed occupation of any government property, land or territory, they would have been dealt with very, very differently than have the white American fucktards who are engaging in an armed occupation in Oregon.

Wholly agreed, of course.

It’s telling that the AP story notes that the Oath Keepers, just like many if not most of the members of these “militias,” are “past and present members of the military, first responders and police officers who pledge to uphold the Constitution.” (Of course, they have a unique take on the U.S. Constitution, as does the entire right wing.)

Indeed, members of our law-enforcement agencies and our military — our official ones, not these treasonously self-appointed “militias” — tend to be right-wing and white, and therefore they tend to be much more sympathetic toward their fellow right-wing whites than they do with members of the left and with those who aren’t white.

We need to continue to work to make our law-enforcement officers and members of our military much more reflective of the American populace, and we need to continue to work to ensure fair, just and equitable treatment of all, regardless of their race and their political orientation.

Just as the peaceful, unarmed members of the left-leaning Occupy Wall Street movement weren’t allowed to occupy their public and/or governmental spaces indefinitely, neither may these hostile, armed occupiers of the right-wing “militias.”

P.P.S. Rolling Stone has a pretty good piece on the origin of the Oregon “militia,” which, it notes, has been dubbed “Y’all Qaeda,” “Yokel Haram” and, my favorite, “Vanilla ISIS.” (The participants, of course, are “Yee-hawdists.”)

“Taking up arms against the federal government is no laughing matter, of course,” Rolling Stone notes, and that’s true, but I think that we could use a good laugh right about now. Rolling Stone continues: “And if the militants were black, brown or Muslim, they’d likely be dead by now. But for a group of heavily armed Christian white dudes play-acting at revolution, things could hardly be going worse.”

Rolling Stone reports that “The would-be insurrectionists are undermanned, under-supplied and exhausted. They’ve been unable to provoke the confrontation with federal agents that they chest-thumpingly declared themselves willing to die in.”

Yee-ha-ha-ha!

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Live-blogging the third Dem debate

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Sanders and O'Malley resume debating with rival Clinton missing from her podium as she failed to return from a break at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester

Reuters photo

Tonight’s third Democratic Party presidential debate resumed for several seconds without Billary Clinton, who hadn’t returned to her center podium on time after a break. Apparently the Force wasn’t with Billary quite enough… Anyway, tonight’s debate may have boosted the on-fire Bernie Sanders a bit, but probably didn’t change the overall dynamics of the race; Bernie and Billary remain the frontrunners, with apparent veep wannabe Martin O’Malley remaining at a distant third.

5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time): The debate starts any moment now. It’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, and is being hosted by ABC News.

5:02 p.m.: Pre-debate chatter has included George Stephanopoulos claiming that the San Bernardino massacre is at the top of the voters’ minds. Really? Is it? Or is that the corporately owned and controlled media trying to tell us commoners what to be concerned about? I mean, they wouldn’t want us to be concerned about, oh, say, income inequality, would they?

Anyway, since Stephanopoulos worked in the Clinton White House, how impartial can he be?

5:08 p.m.: Prognosticator Nate Silver just gave a too-short cameo. He stated that whoever wins the Iowa caucuses on February 1 can expect about a seven-point bounce in the polls. Yup. That’s why I very much hope that Bernie Sanders wins Iowa. He’s already leading in New Hampshire, so a win in Iowa for Sanders no doubt would lead to a win in New Hampshire (on February 9), which probably would result in the collapse of Billary Clinton’s campaign.

5:14 p.m.: The talking heads are blathering about the Repugnicans’ presidential race. WTF? I don’t watch the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, as I won’t waste my time on their hate- and lie-fests, but I highly doubt that during the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, the Democrats are discussed.

5:26 p.m.: 5:00 p.m. was widely advertised as the start time of this thing, but apparently 5:30 p.m. is the actual start time…

5:31 p.m.: ABC’s live stream keeps freezing on me, so the times of my comments that you see here might be a bit off… The three candidates are on the stage now. Once again, Bernie Sanders is to the left of Billary Clinton’s left as you look at them. I still love that symbolism.

5:33 p.m.: Billary, who wants to be panderer in chief, speaks first. She mentioned ISIS before she mentioned Americans’ socioeconomic well-being. Typical of her.

5:34 p.m.: Martin O’Malley speaks second. He mentioned ISIS first, too. Creep. Democratic leaders lead the debate; they don’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party’s “lead,” don’t let them set the agenda.

5:36 p.m.: Bernie Sanders speaks now. He mentioned the economy first. That’s called leadership. Bernie also has spoken about climate change. He spoke about ISIS and combatting it and terrorism last, which was in order of our national priorities (well, OK, I’d put climate change first).

5:39 p.m.: Of course “Datagate” has come up. Bernie blames the IT vendor for allowing his campaign staff to have seen Clinton campaign data and states that the one staff member who is known to have looked at Clinton campaign data has been fired. (They just cut away to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose smug face I would love to wipe off of her head.)

Bernie, although prompted, has apologized to Billary for “Datagate.” She has accepted his apology and states that an independent investigation will be done of “Datagate” (“Datagate” is my word [and The Nation’s], not hers) and that we need to move on. Yes, we do.

(Bernie also has reminded us that during the first debate he “pardoned” [my word, not his] Billary for E-mailgate, and he indicated that he’d like “Datagate” not to consume all of the oxygen in the room, either, as the nation has much larger fish to fry. Yup. Martin O’Malley has concurred.)

5:45 p.m.: Now discussion of ISIS. ISIS is not our greatest issue, so I don’t think that I’m going to play along and regurgitate everything about ISIS here.

5:48 p.m.: O’Malley seems earnest, but he polls in the low single digits. Um, yeah.

Bernie reminds us that he voted against the 2003 Vietraq War, and states that he opposes unilateral American military action. He states that he believes that Muslims in the Middle East should lead the war against ISIS. Yup.

5:50 p.m.: Now gun control. I do agree with Billary on this issue, although it’s a new-found “concern” of hers. Billary states that we need to work with Muslims here in the United States to prevent their “radicalization.” Of course we do. (Of course, we need to work with the “Christo”fascists also to prevent their radicalization, since [9/11 aside] they kill many more Americans than do the “Islamofascists.”)

5:52 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that people do have the constitutional right to own guns. Yup. That said, Bernie says, we need “sensible gun safety regulations.” Yup. We need to strengthen background checks and “eliminate the gun-show loophole,” he says, adding that civilians do not need military-grade weaponry. Yup.

5:54 p.m.: O’Malley is acting like he’s in a Repugnican debate and is refusing to play by the rules of the debate. He’s being allowed to talk over the moderator. He’s being an asshole, acting like a candidate whose polling is trapped in the single digits…

5:56 p.m.: Bernie is adamantly defending himself against O’Malley’s attack. Go, Bernie! We need this in our champion. Bernie reminds us that any change in gun laws needs consensus in Congress. Unfortunately, my live streaming is going in and out now and I’m missing much of this discussion… I apologize for that…

6:01 p.m.: Billary just said that Donald Trump, with his Islamophobic demagoguery, “is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” Yup.

Bernie reminds us now that Americans aren’t concerned just about terrorism, but are concerned about their socioeconomic status and their children’s future. Bernie is very animated, talking about how while Donald Trump demagogues that Mexicans and Muslims are our enemy, “the rich get richer.” Yup. And wow. Bernie is on fire!

6:04 p.m.: Moderator Martha Raddatz, whom I’ve always liked (she is firm and stern but fair), just had to check O’Malley, something that the male moderator, whose name I don’t know (he looks like a vapid underwear model who fairly recently became a TV news “talent”) couldn’t do. As I’ve said before, O’Malley seems to be hanging in there only in order to become the vice-presidential candidate.

6:07 p.m.: O’Malley just awkwardly name-dropped the name of an American Muslim friend of his (kind of like saying that you have a black friend or a gay friend) and told a maudlin story about his Muslim American friend’s child asking his father if a President Donald Trump would remove them from their home because they’re Muslim. Jesus fuck, Martin.

6:10 p.m.: The discussion now is on refugees from the Middle East. O’Malley is eager to let us all know that he’s better than his opponents on this issue.

6:11 p.m.: Martha now asks Bernie Sanders why he doesn’t support boots on the ground against ISIS when in the past he has supported boots on the ground against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The U.S. can’t be the world police, he responds. Bernie says the boots on the ground should be Middle Eastern Muslim boots, not American boots. He slams rich Middle Eastern nations for not doing enough to combat ISIS, but squandering their resources elsewhere, such as on hosting the World Cup. Hell, yeah!

6:15 p.m.: Billary states that ISIS wants American troops back in the Middle East (especially in Iraq in Syria), “Americans soldiers on the ground fighting them,” giving them “a great recruiting opportunity.” Wow. I agree with her on this.

But Martha now follows up, reminding us that the small special operations forces that Billary supports against ISIS in the Middle East could end up like Vietnam, which began with small operations forces there… Billary calls that a “false choice.”

6:18 p.m.: O’Malley is talking. Does it matter? Just keeping it real… Well, OK, he has called ISIS a “genocidal threat,” which is fairly accurate. As I have stated before, I want ISIS vanquished, as I would want any mass-murderous theocrats vanquished, but the U.S. is rotting from within here at home, and we can’t return to the days of the unelected Bush regime in which it was All Terror, All The Time, while things here at home continued to disintegrate.

6:21 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he voted against the Vietraq War in October 2002 while Billary voted for it, and he charges that Billary is too much into “regime change.” He stats that “regime change” too often creates a “political vacuum filled by terrorists,” such as happened in Iraq because of the Vietraq War.

Billary fights back, stating that Bernie voted for regime change in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi.*

6:24 p.m.: The topic now is Libya, on which I’m largely ignorant. Billary now states that she opposes having Iranians in Syria, something I don’t know that Bernie Sanders ever advocated, if that is what she was implying.

“The destruction of ISIS” is our primary concern regarding the Middle East right now, since it was ISIS that struck Paris and apparently inspired the San Bernardino mass murderers, Bernie stated. (Again, there has been zero evidence that there was any actual coordination between ISIS and the San Bernardino mass murderers, so to me the comparison of San Bernardino to Paris is a very, very weak one, usually made by those [treasonous right-wingers, that is] who would love an actual attack on the U.S. by ISIS for political gain, such as how 9/11, which the unelected Bush regime had done precious little to nothing to prevent, was great for the Bush regime to use for political gain. [They were able to use it long enough to at least to “win” “re”-election in November 2004.])

6:27 p.m.: Martin O’Malley just got booed by the audience — quite deservedly so — after stating that he wanted to bring a younger generation’s perspective to the issue of the Middle East. Wow. It was an ageist statement, and perhaps the lowest that he has sunk in these debates thus far.

6:30 p.m.: Whew. Finally, a break.

Thus far I believe that O’Malley has harmed himself by having made an ageist comment and having made an asshole of himself by ignoring the underwear model cum moderator (whose name apparently is David) and talking over him.

I don’t see that either Billary or Bernie can be called the “winner” thus far. That is, if you’re a Clintonista, perhaps even a Billarybot, you’ll say that Billary “won” this debate, and if you are a “Berner,” you’ll say that Bernie “won” it. This pretty much was the same dynamic that we saw in the first two debates.

That said, Bernie has been on fire and has made no flubs or gaffes that I have spotted.

6:37 p.m.: Uh-oh — Billary was late in returning to the stage. They resumed without her. Awkward…

The subject now is the economy. Bernie says that we need “to tell the billionaire class, ‘You cannot have it all.'” He says we need a $15/hour minimum wage, equal pay for women, youth employment, job creation via infrastructure work and tuition-free higher education. Yup.

O’Malley is talking, but he pretty much lost me with his ageist comment. I wish that he would drop out already and stop wasting our time, but I doubt that he will. He really needs a new job, apparently.

6:41 p.m.: Billary states that income inequality is bad for our economy and our democracy. “You’re not going to hear anything about this” from the Repugnican presidential candidates, she stated correctly. She states, among other things, that we need to raise the minimum wage, but she doesn’t tell us that she supports only a $12/hour minimum wage, not a $15/hour minimum wage.

6:43 p.m.: Billary states that the super-wealthy should pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Yup. She talks about helping small businesses, which is a canard frequently used by those of the center-right to support capitalism, even though capitalism stopped being about small businesses decades ago and has been about large to gargantuan corporations for decades now.

6:45 p.m.: Bernie states that while corporate America might love a President Billary, as she just said that they should, as president corporate America will hate him. Go, Bernie! Bernie reminds us that he won’t take campaign contributions from corporations. Greed is destroying our economy and the lives of million of Americans, he just said forcefully. Again, he’s on fire tonight.

6:47 p.m.: O’Malley just stated that the way forward is not through Bernie Sanders’ socialism, “which the rest of the world is moving away from” (let the fact-checkers sort that one out [and O’Malley’s shameless red-baiting is pathetic and is just another symptom of his desperation]) or Billary Clinton’s “crony capitalism.”

Bernie pretty much just ignores the red-bating bullshit and Billary once again tries to deflect, indicating that the Repugnicans are the main enemy. Weak. (She’s used this rather pathetic tactic in the previous debates.)

6:51 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he has no super-PAC and that Billary has taken a lot of money from Wall Street over the years.

6:52 p.m.: The topic now is health care, including “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act). While “Obamacare” has made some improvements in our national health care system, such as no longer penalizing those with pre-existing conditions, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription-drug prices need to be reined in, Billary says. “We need to build on it and fix it,” she says (“it” apparently being “Obamacare”).

6:55 p.m.: Bernie calls for single-payer health care and proclaims that health care should be a right. I agree wholeheartedly. He points out that nations that pay much less for health care have better health-care outcomes than does the U.S. He states that under his plan, the average American family would save thousands of dollars a year on health-care costs.

6:58 p.m.: Bernie is asked how tuition-free college would work. He cites new sports facilities and overpaid college and university administrators as part of the problem of overpriced higher education. Bernie says a “speculation tax on Wall Street” would pay for his plan for tuition-free college.

7:00 p.m.: O’Malley touts “an income-based [student-loan] repayment plan.” I support a no-payment repayment plan — that is, student loans need to be eliminated altogether and we need to make higher education a right, just like health care. (We can afford to educate our people; we need only significantly pare down our bloated-beyond-belief military budget, which exists far more for fat government contracts for greedy traitors than it does for the actual defense of the nation.)

7:02 p.m.: Billary correctly states that the states have defunded their colleges and universities over the past decades and put the money elsewhere, such as prisons (and tax breaks for the wealthy, of course, I would add).

Billary does not support free tuition, however, she states. As I’ve said before, Billary wants a Band-Aid where an emergency surgery is required. She doesn’t go nearly far enough, which is part of her long history of progressive rhetoric but center-right action that preserves the status quo so that she doesn’t step on any toes so that the campaign cash keeps flowing to her coffers.

Billary Clinton and her fellow hypocritical baby boomers should want today’s college students to have it as well as they did when they were of college age, when the “greatest generation” gladly paid for their college education and did not saddle them with crippling student-loan debt.

7:08 p.m.: It just got a little feisty there between Bernie and Billary, but not rancorous, which is to the Democratic Party’s credit, I believe. I’m having live-streaming issues again, so I hope that I’m not missing anything right now…

7:10 p.m.: I guess we’re on break now. Harry Enten and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com are being interviewed now. I like both of the nerds and read them regularly. Silver says Billary’s lead in Iowa “is not that large.” He says Billary still “has vulnerability in Iowa.” He says that Bernie can win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wow.

I’m now having live-streaming issues yet once again… I missed what this Clair (spelling?) pundit had to say…

7:15 p.m.: We’re back to the debate. Now the topic is relations between law enforcement officers and civilians. O’Malley indicates that as mayor of Baltimore he inherited a deeply troubled city but that as mayor of the city and then as governor of Maryland he brought down crime and incarceration rates.

Bernie points out that we have 2.2 million, predominantly black and Latino, Americans behind bars. We need to end institutionalized racism and reform the criminal justice system, he says, adding that our law-enforcement officers need to stop shooting unarmed, predominantly black, Americans, and that the “war on drugs” needs to end. Police departments should look like the communities they serve and minimum sentencing must stop. We need more jobs and less incarceration, he said.

Bernie handled that question remarkably better than did Billary, whose repsonse was unremarkable and unmemorable, or O’Malley.

7:22 p.m.: Now the topic is drugs (primarily heroin and other opiates, apparently). Bernie says that addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Yup. He says part of a health-care overhaul must be fast and effective drug-addiction treatment. Yup.

Billary has “a five-point plan” to combat opiate abuse, she says. She advocates for greater availability of the drug Naloxone, which prevents opiate overdose deaths.

O’Malley is name-dropping again; apparently he has known people addicted to opiates. (When you’re unemployed, I guess, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people…) He advocates for a $12 billion federal program to combat opiate addiction.

7:26 p.m.: Martha Raddatz brings the discussion back to Libya. “How much responsibility do you bear for the chaos that followed elections” in Libya, Martha just asked Billary. Wow.

Billary doesn’t really answer, but claims that things in Libya are getting better now, adding, “this is not easy work.”

That wasn’t good enough for Martha, who never lets you off easily. She repeats the question almost verbatim.

Billary claims that Libyans were not responsive to offers from help after Gadhafi was overthrown. So I guess she blames the Libyans.

“Were mistakes made?” Martha, probably exasperated, asks.

Billary still won’t actually answer the question.

7:30 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that regime change often doesn’t work. Overthrowing a dictator is relatively easy; it’s hard to predict what will happen after regime change, he said.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley seems to share Bernie’s distaste for regime change. Before that, Billary made an odd remark that we need to both be able to support “strong men” in the Middle East and promote democracy. Whut?

7:34 p.m.: I guess this is the last question, and it’s a dumb one; apparently the question is whether or not it’s time to change the role of a president’s spouse, and it seems directed mainly at Bill Clinton, who would be the nation’s first first gentlemen should (shudder) Billary win the White House.

Bernie now is talking of his own wife, adding that she was a foster parent before he married her, and that as first lady of the U.S. she would be a “forceful advocate” for our youth.

O’Malley states that as first lady of Maryland, his wife was an advocate against domestic violence, but that as first lady of the nation she would do or not do whatever she pleased, that it would be up to her. (Why wouldn’t it be, Martin? Anyway, she won’t be first lady of the U.S. unless O’Malley becomes vice president and the president dies or otherwise no longer can serve in office, but OK…)

7:39 p.m.: A break now. We’re told there is “much more to come.” Oh, I hope not. This has been enough…

7:40 p.m.: Oh, good. George Stephanopoulos, of whom we’ve seen little tonight, thankfully, has said closing statements are close at hand. George and his ABC News companion are talking about the Repugnicans’ reponse to tonight’s debate thus far. I could give a shit what their response is…

7:44 p.m.: Closing statements now. Bernie first. “On our worst day” he and his two competitors for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination have more to offer the American people than the best that the Repugnican presidential contenders can offer the American people, he says. Yup.

Bernie says that he will bring about a “political revolution” in which millions stand up and say “enough is enough,” that “this country belongs to all of us, not to just a handful of billionaires.” (I quasi-paraphrase, but that’s pretty darn close.)

O’Malley now. He says tonight has been “a healthy exchange of ideas.” He says the Repugnican debates are filled with “anger” and “fear,” but not the Democrats’. Yeah. True that. Now O’Malley brings up climate change and reminds us that we live in “divided and polarized times.”

Billary now warns of a Repugnican taking over the White House in January 2017. She’s now pretty much fear-mongering, even though O’Malley just said that the Dems don’t do that…

Not that she’s wrong about what a Repugnican White House administration would do and how bad it would be for the nation, but she’s using the old Clintonian triangulating tactic of “Vote for me, because the Repugnicans are even worse and scarier!”

That lesser-of-two-evils tactic stopped being good enough long ago, if it ever was good enough. Read my lips: I. Will. Not. Vote. For. Billary. Clinton. Ever.

Jesus Christ. Billary just had the very last words of tonight’s debate, which were “May the Force be with you.”

Was that supposed to be funny? Did some nerdy, virginal intern come up with that, telling her it would make her appear to be hip? It was just awkward and a bit weird.

Anyway. The debate is over, thank Goddess. (While I still strongly maintain that it’s bullshit that thanks to Billarybot and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz we have gone from 26 Democratic presidential primary debates in 2008 to six this cycle, I probably won’t complain that I have only three more live-blogging sessions to go. [Twenty-six debates in 2008 was excessive, but we could have gone with at least 10 or 12 this time around. Fuck, at least eight.])

I don’t think that this debate will help O’Malley. We’ll see whether his ageist comment comes back to haunt him or not. (Not that his poll numbers could go much lower…)

“Datagate” probably is pretty much over now — it was a “scandal” that lasted all of two days…

I believe that tonight Bernie Sanders had his best of three-thus-far debate performances. He gets a bit repetitive if you follow him, as I do, but that also is called keeping on message, for which I can’t fault a serious candidate. And I don’t see it as his inability to be flexible, but I see it as his recognition that important issues easily can be sidelined with the corporately owned and controlled “news” media’s scandal du jour, such as the San Bernardino massacre, and that we can’t solve our largest problems if we’re constantly bouncing around from one smaller thing to the next. (The corporations and the plutocrats who own and love them don’t want us to solve our largest problems, of course, since they are our largest problems.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t excite me. Not only am I intimately familiar with her center-right/Repugnican-Lite record, but her rhetoric is so designed to appeal to and not to offend as many people as possible (including the Wall Street weasels who continue to give her campaign cash) that most of it is lifeless and uninspiring.

But that is lost on the Clintonistas, the Billarybots, I know.

Again, I don’t think that the race has changed based upon tonight’s debate. The race remains a two-way race between Bernie and Billary, the real Democrat and the Democrat in name only, respectively. If tonight’s debate helped either of them more than the other, my hunch is that it boosted Bernie a bit more than it did Billary, as for a long time now, I surmise, he’s had significantly more room for growth in support than she has had.

I think it’s telling that the only candidate who got booed tonight was Martin O’Malley, when he prickishly made his ageist comment. Could it be a harbinger of his dropping out? I wish, but, alas, it probably isn’t.

Perhaps tonight’s biggest takeaway message for me is Nate Silver’s statement that of course Bernie Sanders can win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Let us hope that Bernie does — and finally drives that long-overdue stake through the cold and slimy hearts of Billary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the many, many other DINOs everywhere.

*Fact check: Slate.com notes:

… Clinton’s statement that Sanders “voted for regime change” in Libya is questionable, since Congress didn’t vote on the issue, which was part of the whole problem: The Obama administration just announced late in the afternoon one day that it would establish a no-fly zone in Libya. (The Sanders campaign believes Clinton is referring to this nonbinding resolution that basically said Qaddafi is terrible and should go.)

Because the ABC moderators were frequently awful, Sanders never got an opportunity to respond. But he didn’t seem too upset with that, either. Later in the night, when the issue came up again, Sanders again didn’t jump in to defend himself against Clinton’s charge. …

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No! Not you, Syed!

Updated below (on Saturday, December 5, 2015)

Above is a selfie that 28-year-old Syed Farook had posted on Facebook sometime before he perpetrated yesterday’s gun massacre in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people in what appears thus far to have been an act of workplace-related violence. While the right wing, which pretty much ignored the recent act of domestic terrorism committed at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs (since the terrorist is a white, probably “Christian” man), will be all over this gun massacre, a look at the gun massacres committed in the United States since 1984 shows that the majority of the perpetrators have been white, native-born males, most of whom probably have self-identified, along with the majority of Americans, as “Christian.”

I was disheartened yesterday when I saw the name of the suspect in yesterday’s gun massacre of 14 people at a county-government holiday party in San Bernardino: Syed Farook.

Sounded awfully Muslim to me, and Muslims (along with “the illegals” from south of the border) already have been turned into scapegoats for all of the United States of America’s problems as it is.

Details will continue to roll in, but the Los Angeles Times reports today:

As authorities continued to comb through the home of the husband and wife responsible for a mass shooting at a San Bernardino holiday party, investigators and legislators from California to Washington, D.C., tried to understand what motivated the shooters.

Speaking at the White House [this] morning, President Obama said the FBI was now leading the probe into the attack at the Inland Regional Center, which left 14 people dead and 17 wounded.

Investigators have yet to rule out terrorism as a motive, but police have also said one of the shooters, 28-year-old Syed Farook, was involved in a dispute at the party shortly before gunfire broke out. Farook and his wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, were killed in a gun battle with police hours after the shooting.

“We do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes,” Obama said. “But we don’t know why they did it. We don’t know at this point the extent of their plans. We do not know their motivations.”

Farook and Malik were identified as the lone suspects in Wednesday’s shooting at the party for employees of the San Bernardino County Health Department. Farook was born in Illinois, but recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a woman he met online. He had worked at the health department as an inspector for five years.

Malik was born in Pakistan, according to a federal law enforcement source who requested anonymity.

The couple left their young daughter with the child’s grandmother in Redlands shortly before the shooting, saying they had a doctor’s appointment, according to Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles.

They headed to the [Inland Regional Center] soon after. …

Farook and Malik used a pair of .223-caliber assault rifles and two semi-automatic handguns in the shooting, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said [today].

The couple was dressed in “assault-style” clothing when police closed in on their Redlands home Wednesday afternoon, roughly four hours after the shooting. The couple fled, sparking a vehicle pursuit that ended back in San Bernardino. Both were killed in a shootout that involved roughly 20 police officers.

An officer was also hurt, but is expected to survive, Burguan said.

In San Bernardino, relatives of the victims were still trying to process how an event meant to celebrate a holiday turned into a bloodletting. …

It’s safe to conclude that Syed Farook was off of his rocker. My best guess is that his wife was following his lead, that he had her under his control. This tends to be a cultural thing in Islam: the submissive, obedient wife. (Keep in mind that Tashfeen Malik reportedly was born in Pakistan and met Farook in Saudi Arabia; she apparently was not Americanized.)

How much of the shooting (if any) that Farook’s wife did I’m not sure; I mean, it initially was reported that there were three shooters, and it turns out that there apparently were only two, so I have no idea as to what extent Malik participated.

Since Farook reportedly shot up his workplace’s holiday party after a dispute at the party, this (thus far, anyway) is indicative of workplace-related violence, not of terrorism. Terrorism has a political aim.

Robert Lewis Dear, for instance, is said to have muttered something about “baby parts” after he shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and is reported to have made anti-abortion and anti-government statements to law enforcement officials since he committed the act of terrorism. No doubt he listened to right-wing rhetoric, such as Faux “News” and the rhetoric of the Repugnican Tea Party “presidential” candidates themselves, the most guilty one probably Carly Fiorina, who probably knowingly falsely described abortion videos during one of the neo-Nazis’ “presidential” debates.

(Yes, lies uttered by high-level individuals can result in harm. We are responsible for what we say, especially when we have a large audience. I highly recommend Ted Rall’s recent column on this topic.)

Again, my best guess is that Farook had some screws loose. That said, native-born, “normative” Americans almost always claim that they always have treated every co-worker (or fellow student or other comrade) who is odd or different perfectly well, especially after a chronically mistreated co-worker (or fellow student or other comrade) finally snaps and goes postal, as it were.

We don’t know how Farook acted in the workplace and how his co-workers treated him. Someone with mental illness can’t handle workplace mistreatment as well as can someone who is fairly mentally healthy.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s possible that Farook was a paranoid schizophrenic or something like that and that his co-workers did treat him fairly well, but I wouldn’t rule out that he chronically was mistreated for being different, such as for being Muslim, for having a foreign-sounding name, and for having married a woman from the Middle East.

If Farook did experience anti-Muslim treatment at his workplace, perhaps especially after the Paris terrorist attacks of last month, well, there you go. That could set off someone who already isn’t mentally stable.

I recall the November 2009 gun massacre at Ford Hood, Texas, in which Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan claimed that anti-Muslim harassment at the base contributed to his rampage in which he slaughtered 13 and injured 32 others.

Those who knew Hasan described him as a nice, quiet man. But we don’t know what abuse he probably endured within the right-wing atmosphere of the U.S. military (and our military pretty much is overrun with “Christo”fascists, who love guns and killing more than they love “God”), since abusers are pretty good at perpetrating their abuse when they feel safe to do so, when no one in authority who might do anything about it is around (this is for “plausible” deniability, of course).

American wingnuts, especially in Texas, were outraged when the federal government decided to treat the case of Hasan as a workplace violence incident rather than as an act of terrorism — because Hasan (who is still alive and in prison) is Muslim. This reaction of theirs (their assertion that any act of violence perperated by a Muslim automatically qualifies as “terrorism” because the perpetrator is Muslim) demonstrates, I believe, the anti-Muslim sentiment and harassment that Hasan claims he experienced (I believe him that he experienced such harassment, especially at a U.S. military base in Texas).*

Similarly, thus far in the Syed Farook case the only evidence that we have is that this was an incident of workplace-related violence. As Farook and his wife are dead, we may never know for certain his entire motives, and thus we may never be able to conclude whether or not yesterday’s massacre was even quasi-terrorism instead of an extreme act of workplace violence.

While this latest American gun massacre was committed by a Muslim, for perspective you should take a look at the Los Angeles Times’ ongoing roundup of American gun massacres since 1984.

You’ll see that most perpetrators of gun massacres in the U.S. of A. are native-born males, most of them white, and that most massacres take place at workplaces and at schools, such as the infamous Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999, with the rest at public places, such as churches, such as the church in Charleston, S.C., where young white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof this past June shot nine congregants to death because they were black.

The moral of the story for workplace and school shootings, I think, is not to bully or pile on a co-worker or a fellow student (or a fellow member of the military or anyone else); it can have deadly consequences (maybe even for yourself).

Again, some people are wholly off of their rockers and can come to believe that they are being mistreated when on the whole they’re not, but often we do mistreat others, and that mistreatment can send someone who already isn’t very stable over the edge.

And let’s face it: We Americans by and large are a selfish, individualistic lot. When we see that someone is struggling, we don’t do much, if anything, to help him or her. After tragedy strikes, we plead ignorance that there had been any problem at all.

I have no desire to launch into a tiresome, trite discussion of gun control right now. While I don’t like guns and never plan to own one (but in general begrudgingly support the Second Amendment, keeping in mind that today’s incredibly lethal weaponry wasn’t around when the amendment was adopted), the underlying problem, it seems fairly clear to me, is that in this “Christian” nation we largely treat each other like shit — and we glorify violence.

(Militarism, along with capitalism and other evil -isms, has come to be considered part and parcel of American “Christianity,” even though the words of Jesus Christ contained in black and white in the Bible oppose such evils as militarism and capitalism; Jesus eschewed capitalism, having been homeless himself and having stated, among other things, that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, and Jesus was, of course, murdered by Roman militarism. Yeah.)

We can talk about gun control until we pass out from hypoxia, but until and unless we examine and then change our ways at a deep, deep level, the L.A. Times’ ongoing roundup of American gun massacres is only going to continue to grow.

We are, I surmise, perfectly OK with that, however, because these gun massacres keep happening at a rate at which they happen in no other developed nation on the planet.

Update (Sunday, December 5, 2015): 

Boy, we really, really want the San Bernardino massacre to have been an “Islamo”fascist “terrorist” attack, don’t we?

So all that we have is that Syed Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, pledged her allegiance to ISIS — on her Facebook page. Wow. There is no evidence that the folks who run ISIS were even aware of the existence of Farook and Malik, so we can’t call the San Bernardino massacre a “terrorist” attack if by that we mean that we have evidence of coordination by the perpetrator(s) with a known terrorist group, such as ISIS.

I mean, fuck: I can pledge allegiance to Satan on my Facebook page if I so wish; it would mean pretty much nothing.

As Vox.com points out, “the fact that Farook used to work in the same government department as the targets suggested a more personal motive.”

Yup. This still looks more like an incident of workplace-related violence than of “terrorism,” even though, per the New York Times, Malik reportedly made her pledge-of-allegiance-to-ISIS Facebook post on the day of the massacre. She was 27; perhaps she figured if she was going to go out in her husband’s workplace revenge, she’d go out dramatically. Young adults sometimes do things like that.

Recall that I have defined “terrorism” as the use of violence or the (credible) threat of the use of violence in order to achieve a political aim or goal.

Shortly after his capture, Robert Lewis Dear, the perpetrator of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, is reported to apparently have talked about preventing there being more “baby parts.” His aim, apparently, was to harm Planned Parenthood and its operations and/or scare women from seeking Planned Parenthood’s services.

That is a political aim and so it qualifies as terrorism.

Even Dylann Storm Roof, who slaughtered nine black people in their church in Charleston, S.C., in June, apparently had a political agenda: white supremacy and, apparently, the elimination of black people; perhaps he even wanted to start a race war, which certainly would qualify as a political agenda.

The political agenda, if any, of Farook and Malik, remains a mystery. Again, it might primarily have been Farook wanting to get back at a co-worker or co-workers, and Malik deciding to pledge her allegiance to ISIS on her Facebook page because why not? Or it might have been both of them fully considering themselves to be big, bad soldiers of ISIS, although there is no evidence that if so, they were anything other than so-called lone wolves.

And what, exactly, would be the political objective of shooting up your workplace’s holiday party? To shut down holiday parties? I don’t see a political objective, and thus it’s hard for me to see where my definition of terrorism would come in here. (Perhaps a “political objective” could be just killing any old “infidel,” but if so, that seems to be a very sloppy and unfocused, and therefore a fairly ineffective, political objective.)

We’ll probably never fully know what Farook and Malik had in mind, since both of them are dead.

But let’s not automatically call something “terrorism” just because it was perpetrated by a Muslim or Muslims. Words have meaning.

Thus far, we can call the San Bernardino massacre a massacre. We can call it murder. We can call it mass murder. But we don’t have nearly enough evidence to slap the overused “terrorism” label on it.

P.S. I just read a Reuters news article in which I found two notes interesting.

The first: “It was not clear if the [Facebook] comments were posted by Malik, or by someone with access to her page.” So even Malik’s Facebook pledge of allegiance to ISIS apparently is not settled fact.

And the second: “Farook family attorneys denied [yesterday that] there was any evidence either the husband or wife harbored extremist views.

“They described Malik as ‘very conservative,’ and said Farook also largely kept to himself, had few friends, and that co-workers sometimes made fun of his beard.”

The report that Farook’s “co-workers sometimes made fun of his beard” is not elaborated upon, but again, I have to wonder if he was subjected to anti-Muslim taunts from his co-workers, which might have been behind to shoot them up at their holiday party.

(No, I’m not saying that it’s OK to shoot someone who has taunted you; I’m saying that people usually act for a reason.)

Finally, while reportedly ISIS in its online propaganda claims that Farook and Malik acted on its behalf, there remains no evidence that there was any coordination between Farook and Malik and ISIS, and it’s entirely possible, it seems to me, that ISIS is happy to claim credit for any slaughter of any “infidel.”

P.P.S. (Sunday, December 6, 2015): This additional information from the Los Angeles Times:

… In 2014, Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia to marry a Pakistani woman he had met online, Tashfeen Malik, 29. When he returned, his co-workers teased him about the beard he’d started to grow. Before their baby girl was born this year, they threw him a baby shower at the office. But they never met Malik. …

One of Farook’s co-workers, Nicholas Thalasinos, 57, a Messianic Jew, wore a tie clip with the Star of David. He was outspoken against Islamic extremism, in person and on social media.

Two weeks earlier, he and Farook argued over whether Islam was a violent religion. Recounting the conversation to a friend, Thalasinos said that Farook insisted his God was peaceful but argued that Israel had no place in the Middle East.

Thalasinos liked discussing such topics. There was no indication that their interaction was anything out of the ordinary. …

That Farook’s co-workers threw him a baby shower, as widely has been reported, doesn’t exactly mean that they were all angels to him all the time, and I have to wonder if the reportage about Thalasinos’ religious commentary at the workplace has been understated.

I mean, reportedly “He was outspoken against Islamic extremisim, in person and on social media,” yet “There was no indication that their interaction was anything out of the ordinary.” (As I’ve noted, after tragedy strikes a group of people, everyone pretends like there was no conceivable precursor to it whatsoever. And they apparently search their memories for one nice thing that was done, such as a baby shower, to exculpate the entire group from any responsibility for the tragedy whatsoever.)

I don’t know — one worker slamming a co-worker’s religion isn’t out of the ordinary? It’s acceptable? If the target is Muslim? It isn’t harassment? It doesn’t create a hostile workplace environment? One’s religion is a federally protected class, such as one’s race, one’s sex and one’s national origin, from workplace discrimination.

Tellingly, methinks, Thalasinos was one of the 14 people killed in the massacre.

*Interestingly, there was yet another apparent case of workplace violence at Fort Hood in April 2014. In this gun massacre, four people, including the shooter, an enlisted soldier named Ivan Lopez, were killed.

Because Lopez was not (to my knowledge) a Muslim, no one, to my knowledge, has asserted that this was “terrorism.”

There has been, I suspect, a problem at Fort Hood of military personnel who aren’t white, “normative” Americans being harassed by those who are.

Continuing to blame the victims of harassment and to pretend that we were wholly innocent in our treatment of them will only ensure that these massacres continue to happen.

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Marco Rubio, the real Repugnican frontrunner, is the one to take down

Rubio releases first TV ad: ‘What happened in Paris could happen here’

Marco Rubio, Repugnican Tea Party U.S. senator for Florida, warns in his very first TV ad that “What happened in Paris could happen here.” He was excluding, of course, the slaughter perpetrated by white, right-wing “Christian” terrorists, such as the one who just shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. (After all, such terrorists are the Repugnican Tea Party’s base.) Rubio also assures American senior citizens that in return for their support, he’ll ensure that they get their entitlements (and ours) while those of us who follow them will be fucked royally out of ours.

As I’ve noted many times, never in my lifetime of more than four decades has a U.S. president not first been a U.S. senator or the governor of a state before he* ascended to the White House.

While perhaps anything could happen, especially in the American empire’s apparent waning days, I don’t see either billionaire fascist Donald Trump or “Christo”fascist nut job Ben Carson breaking that pattern.

In the polls right behind Trump and Carson, neither of whom is likely to get the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination — electability will become crystal clear to them when voters and caucus-goers actually vote and caucus (as was said of the Democratic Party’s 2004 contest for the presidential nomination, the electorate dated [Howard] Dean but married [John] Kerry) — are Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Nationally right now, per Real Clear Politics’ polling averages, Trump leads with about 29 percent; then Carson, with about 20 percent; then Rubio, with about 13 percent; and then Cruz, with 12 percent. (At fifth place, with only about 5 percent, is Jeb! Bush.)

In RCP’s polling averages for Iowa, that order is almost the same but the percentages are different; it’s Trump, 27 percent; Carson, 20 percent; Cruz, 18 percent; Rubio, 12 percent; and Bush, not even a full 5 percent.

In New Hampshire, the order is shaken up; RCP’s polling averages for New Hampshire are Trump, 26 percent; Rubio, 12.5 percent; Carson, 10.5 percent; Cruz, 9.5 percent; and at fifth place is not Jeb!, but John Kasich, at almost 8 percent (Jeb! is in sixth place, with 7.5 percent; it became safe to write off Jeb! a way back).

Trump remains the frontrunner in the polls, but his numbers (at not even 30 percent) aren’t nearly high enough to prevent him from cratering at any time now. And the polls cited above don’t reflect his latest campaign fuckups, not only falsely claiming that thousands of American Muslims cheered on 9/11 even as the World Trade Center collapsed and burned, but also his having made fun of a New York Times reporter with a congenital physical disability (and then, as Trump always does, brazenly lying that he didn’t say and do what he’d just said and done).

As others have noted, Trump & Co. largely politically can get away with their Islamophobic rhetoric; only about 1 percent of Americans are Muslim, compared to the more than 75 percent who claim Christianity. Just as the Nazi Germans bullied the Jews because the Jews didn’t have nearly the numbers to fight back, the American right wing, the neo-Nazis, now bully Muslims in the United States because the Muslims don’t have nearly the numbers to fight back.

(If you think that my continued Nazi references are over the top, there is the fact that Donald Trump, if he didn’t outright endorse a national database/registry of Muslims in the United States — like the Nazi Germans kept their registries of Jews in Germany [and then in the other regions that they occupied] — he definitely didn’t reject the idea, either. Yeah.)

But while “good” “Christian” Americans (especially those who vote for Repugnican Tea Party candidates) are perfectly OK with persecuting Muslims, just like Jesus would do, I still maintain that when Trump mocked a physically disabled man during one of his KKK rallies, he finally sealed his fate. He’s finished, most likely. It’s that the incident is too recent to be reflected in the polls yet. I expect Trump to be polling consistently below 20 percent soon. (If he wages an independent presidential campaign, Ross Perot style, if it’s not too late for him to do so, he will ensure a Democratic presidential victory in November 2016, so I encourage him to scoop up his marbles in a huff and run as an independent.)

Carson’s polling isn’t as good as Trump’s, and Trump’s polling isn’t strong enough for him to be a shue-in, and Carson’s many lies about his biography, as well as his creepiness and his being an abject nut job (as well as a theofascist), doom him. He won’t be the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee.

This leaves us with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Cruz, the reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy, is too widely despised, even by those within his own party, to win the party’s presidential nomination. He’s doing well in Iowa (just behind Trump and Carson), but Iowans are even more wingnutty that is your typical Repugnican. I mean, fuck: Prick Santorum won Iowa in 2012 and Mike Fuckabee won Iowa in 2008. Iowan Repugnicans aren’t exactly mainstream. In terms of who the eventual Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee actually will be, Iowa, for the past two cycles, has meant nothing, and I expect that trend to continue in 2016.

New Hampshire’s recent track record, however, has been spot-on. Mittens Romney won New Hampshire in 2012 and went on to win his party’s nomination. Ditto for John McCainosaurus in 2008.

Rubio polls second in New Hampshire right now, behind only Trump, giving him a shot at emerging at first place in the polls for New Hampshire in the near future.

Truth be told, I’d much rather that Ted Cruz win the party’s presidential nomination than Marco Rubio.

Why? Because Cruz is so despicable and creepy that there’s no way in hell that he’d win the White House in 2016, no matter whether he’s up against Billary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Marco Rubio, however, is just as mean-spirited and insane as the rest of the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes — recall that Rubio rode the “tea party” wave into office in 2010 — but he is able to come off to the unthinking/uncritical and the unperceptive (a majority of Americans) as a saner individual.

Old fucks love Marco Rubio. As Reuters recently reported (emphases in bold are mine):

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, 44, frequently plugs his youth on the campaign trail but his promise to restore the American Dream for a new generation seems to appeal more to older age groups.

As the U.S. senator from Florida rises in opinion polls of Republicans, his gains are coming from voters over the age of 50, and most from those older than 65, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

Although Rubio is running third overall behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson, he is tied with Carson with 12 percent among those older than 65, up from only 7 percent in late October.

Yet his support in the online survey is flat among voters his own age and younger. He registers at just six to seven percent among Republicans younger than 49.

In interviews with two dozen of the poll respondents over 50, 14 preferred Rubio after watching Republican debates this fall because they believed he was best able to stand up to his opponents while projecting a positive tone rather than acidity.

Two-thirds of those interviewed also mentioned being attracted to the Cuban-American senator’s personal history, which he has worked into key moments in each debate as Republicans fight to win their party’s nomination for the November 2016 election.

“Rubio’s initial bump in the polls is due to older voters really liking his story,” said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, whose surveys also found increases for Rubio among older voters in early voting states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Evoking the American Dream [which long has since become the American Nightmare], Rubio [whom I have nicknamed “Bootstraps”] often talks about his parents who fled Cuba for the United States, where they worked as a bartender and maid. He talks about being raised from paycheck to paycheck and working to put himself through college. …

Sixteen of the 24 older voters Reuters spoke to this week also cited Rubio’s relative youth compared with many of the other leading candidates as a positive attribute. …

Four of those voters even compared Rubio to John F. Kennedy, a Democrat elected president in 1960 aged 43. [I just vomited in my mouth.]

“I think he would be like Kennedy,” said Rhoda Pelliccia, a 76-year-old Republican New Yorker living in Florida. “Kennedy was young and look what he did.” [I vomited again.]

Reliable older voters

Rubio’s advisers say they are not surprised or worried by the disparity and point out that older Americans are a crucial group because they reliably go to the polls.

While pollsters say he must broaden his appeal and attract younger voters to secure the nomination, Rubio’s aides say the candidate has no plans to change his message and they believe younger voters eventually will come his way.

“Our message is entirely about the future, but a part of that is creating an America where parents can pass on a better country than the one they inherited,” Rubio’s chief strategist, Todd Harris, said. “Older voters understand that because they’ve lived it and it’s what their parents did for them.” …

All the same, Rubio is taking great care to address entitlement programs and the concerns of senior citizens, who often make up the bulk of audiences at his campaign events.

“I’m from Florida. You may not know this, but there are a lot of people in Florida on Medicare and Social Security,” he says, barely pausing for his crowds to laugh, as they realize how many older voters retire in the southern state. “One of them happens to be my mother. And I can say this to you right now unequivocally: I am against anything that is bad for my mother,” he said in Bedford, New Hampshire last month. [Awww! How sweet! How charming!]

Rubio vows not to change those programs for the already retired or for those nearing retirement age. But he acknowledges that they must change for future generations.

Ah, Reuters saved the best for last. Rubio, being a U.S. senator for Florida, sure knows how to lick senior-citizen ass, and he assures these senior citizens that while they’ll get their entitlements, those of us who follow them (such as this member of Generation X) will get screwed royally, even though we’ve been paying into and will continue to pay into these entitlement systems our entire work lives. (By “entitlement” I mean the dictionary definition of term [“a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract”], not the term as it dismissively has come to be used by the right wing, which wants to take everything from us commoners, even the entitlements that we already have paid for.)

According to the Pew Research Center, “By many measures, Florida — which has long attracted snowbirds and retirees — is one of the nation’s grayest states. Overall, 19.1 percent of the Sunshine State’s population is 65 and older, the highest percentage in the nation.”

So Marco Rubio, a Gen X’er himself (I don’t claim him as one of my own), is perfectly willing to sell his own generation, and the generations that follow his/ours, down the river for his own short-term political gain. (After all, he will get cushy retirement benefits for having been a U.S. senator; he’ll be just fine, so don’t worry about him!)

What’s good for Marco Rubio’s political career is not good for the nation as a whole. The state of Florida is not representative of the entire United States of America, and this idea that it’s perfectly fine to fuck over future generations is an idea that needs to be fought against vehemently. It already largely is viewed not only as acceptable, but even as “common sensical.”

And leadership is supposed to be visionary and future-oriented. Marco Rubio is anything but these things. He’s perfectly willing to sell out his own and future generations for his own personal political gain today.

Marco Rubio also is perfectly willing to join the other bullies of the “Christo”fascist right wing in bashing American Muslims, since, again, without the numbers they can’t fight back. His very first television ad, released earlier this month, ominously warns us that “What happened in Paris could happen here.”

Why, yes, it could, but, as has been established, if you are a typical American, you are about twice as likely to be killed by a white, American, “Christo”fascist terrorist than you are by an “Islamofascist” terrorist.

But Islamophobia sells quite well among the xenophobic Repugnican Tea Party traitors who are deathly allergic to truth, reality and facts, so Marco Rubio gladly will use fear tactics, as will every Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe, for personal political gain. (Hey, it got George W. Bush “re”-elected!)

Marco Rubio is not the nice guy so many believe he is, which is why I consider him to be even more dangerous than is Ted Cruz, who can’t pull off the nice-guy facade.

Rubio’s strategy of cornering the old-fuck vote certainly isn’t a winning long-term strategy, but for the time being, old fucks do vote in much higher percentages than do younger Americans. And Rubio has made it clear, from his campaign rhetoric, that he isn’t concerned about the long term, but only wants to assure the old fucks (in return for their campaign donations and their votes) that they’ll get “theirs” (which is his own plan, too — to get “his” and then get out; I use quotation marks there because Rubio and his ilk don’t want what’s just theirs; they want what’s ours, too, of course, and they don’t care whatsofuckingever that they’ll leave us with nothing — or even less than nothing, in terms of great debt).

We’ll see how long the pandering to the over-inflated fear of “Islamofascist” “terrorists” will last for Rubio and his ilk. I have no doubt that they’d love a terrorist attack (or even more than one attack) on American soil by a Muslim or Muslims any time from right now to November 8, 2016. Paris was great for their brand of politics, but xenophobic, nationalist Americans only care so much about what happens in other nations. And here in the United States of Amnesia, things like the Paris attacks have a fairly short political shelf life.

If you think that I’m overstating how strongly Marco Rubio is positioned politically, know that Real Clear Politics’ averages of general presidential election polling match-ups have Rubio beating both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Yup. RCP right now has Rubio beating Billary by an average of 1.4 percent and Bernie Sanders by 1 percent. He barely beats them, but it’s scary that he even should tie them.

(The only other Repugnican Tea Party candidate who also beats Billary and Sanders in the general-election match-ups is Ben Carson, who inexplicably does even better against them than does Rubio, but, again, Carson won’t be the nominee.)

Bluntly, Marco Rubio is the one to take down. The Repugnican Tea Party set ultimately will front him as their Latino Barack Obama — youth appeals in this youth-obsessed, adolescent-minded nation; Rubio assures the old fucks that he’ll cater to them, no matter the long-term damage to the nation; and the Repugnican Tea Party needs to try to regain critical ground lost to Latinos by El Trumpo — and while Rubio has Obama’s youth and smoothness, his agenda is dangerous: He’s perfectly willing to sell most of us down the river for his own political gain right now.

And he’s doing so with a youthful, perhaps even JFK-esque, smile.

*Yes, I’m more than ready for our first female president, but voting for Billary Clinton is like voting for a Repugnican. I don’t vote Repugnican.

Had U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren run instead of Bernie Sanders, I’d be supporting her right now.

 

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You’re a lot more likely to be killed by a Trumpian fascist than by an ‘Islamofascist’

Updated below (on Saturday, November 28, 2015)

At least three people, a police officer and two civilians, were shot dead at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs today. Details are still coming in, but apparently the gunman shot at least 12 people, at least five of them police officers, with a rifle.

Here is a news photo of the police taking away the shooter in handcuffs:

The handcuffed suspected gunman at the Planned Parenthood clinic is moved to a police vehicle in Colorado Springs, Colorado November 27, 2015. Police arrested a gunman who stormed the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday and opened fire with a rifle in a burst of violence that left at least 11 people injured, including five officers, authorities said.

Reuters photo

I’ve yet to see any information about the gunman, but from the photo he doesn’t look like ISIS and/or a refugee from Syria to me. He looks like a domestic terrorist of the usual kind — a white, right-wing, “Christian” male. You know, the kind who supports Donald Trump and is so stupid and aggressive that he gets into fights with his own kind at Trump/KKK rallies (when he isn’t too busy committing assault and battery on non-whites who dare to dissent at a Trump/KKK rally).

I’ve long known that as an American on American soil I’m much more likely to be killed by a white, right-wing “Christian” male than by an “Islamofascist,” whether homegrown or from abroad.

Americans have paid attention to the 130 people slaughtered in Paris earlier this month primarily because the terrorists who perpetrated the massacre were self-identified Muslims. Most Americans ignore terrorism perpetrated by “Christians” here at home, which they never consider to be part of a pattern and thus a real problem, no matter how many times it happens. Indeed, the terms “terror,” “terrorism” and “terrorist” remain reserved only for Muslims. That hasn’t changed since 9/11.

Also unchanged since 9/11 is that more Americans have been slaughtered by homegrown “Christian” terrorists than by “Islamofascist” terrorists. I’ve long known this, but it’s always great to see it in writing, so here is a timely piece by Global Post titled “White Americans Are the Biggest Terror Threat in the United States”:

White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States, according to a study by the New America Foundation. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror[ist]” attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists.

Almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists [since 9/11]. Of the 26 attacks since 9/11 that the group defined as [terrorist attacks], 19 were carried out by non-Muslims. Yet there are no white Americans languishing inside the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. And there are no drones dropping bombs on gatherings of military-age males in the country’s lawless border regions.

Attacks by right-wing groups get comparatively little coverage in the news media. Most people will struggle to remember the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that killed six people in 2012. A man who associated with neo-Nazi groups carried out that shooting. There was also the married couple in Las Vegas who walked into a pizza shop and murdered two police officers. They left a swastika on one of the bodies before killing a third person in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Such attacks are not limited to one part of the country. In 2011, two white supremacists went on a shooting spree in the Pacific Northwest, killing four people.

Terrorism is hard to define. But here is its basic meaning: ideological violence. In its study, the New America Foundation took a narrow view of what could be considered a terror attack. Most mass shootings, for instance, like Sandy Hook or the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting — both in 2012 — weren’t included. Also not included was the killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina earlier this year. The shooter was a neighbor and had strong opinions about religion. But he also had strong opinions about parking spaces and a history of anger issues. So that shooting was left off the list.

The killing of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina [in June] was included. The shooter made it clear that his motivation was an ideological belief that white people are superior to black people. [That] shooting has cast new light on the issue of right-wing terrorism in the United States. But since it can’t really use Special Forces or Predator drones on U.S. soil, it remains unclear how the government will respond.

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“Terrorism” is actually, I think, fairly easy to define: It is the use of violence or harm or the threat of such use for some political gain or goal.

The gunman who just today shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, for instance, no doubt is an anti-abortion nut job who believed that his violent act would hinder or impede women’s constitutional right to an abortion. That’s a clear political goal and the man used violence to try to achieve it, so it’s terrorism, plain and simple.

That said, of course, if you’re shot, you’re shot, whether it’s by a nut job with a political agenda or by a nut job without one (or by a nut job who is somewhere in between). The injury that was done to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and to 12 others who were shot and injured by white American nut job Jared Lee Loughner near Tucson in January 2011, for example, was just the same, regardless of Loughner’s motive (or lack thereof [a raving lunatic, I suppose, really has no motive, since the word “motive” connotes some degree of rational thought involved]). And, of course, the six people whom Loughner slaughtered that day are dead, regardless of his motive.

(Loughner reportedly did express the opinion that women should not hold positions of power [which I’d call a definite right-wing viewpoint], and thus he targeted Giffords, but overall his political views apparently were/are a nonsensical mishmash because he apparently is severely mentally ill and has severely disordered thinking. Still, it counts as terrorism to me, his having targeted a female elected official out of his belief that women shouldn’t hold such posts, if that report is correct.)

Again, of course, shot is shot and dead is dead, even if the gunman had no discernible political agenda at all, as apparently was the case with white American nut job James Eagan Holmes, who killed 12 and injured 70 when he shot up that movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012 in what Wikipedia notes was “the largest number of casualties in a shooting in the United States.” (A lot of massacres sure are committed by white American males in Colorado…)

In any event, we Americans lately have focused on the 130 slaughtered by “Islamofascists” in Paris not so much because we care about Parisians — because we don’t; we’re Americans, and while we might claim otherwise, we truly give a shit only about ourselves — but because we don’t want to be out and about in public, enjoying the fruits of our capitalist system that come at others’ (and the planet’s) expense, only to be riddled with bullets or to be blown up or otherwise to be injured or killed ourselves.

But because we Americans hold ourselves to be innocent — that’s part and parcel of the pathology of toxic, right-wing “Christianity” and other forms of theofascism: rank hypocrisy (being “God’s” “chosen” and so being unable to do any wrong) — we maintain that it’s always the “other” who is the real threat, the real evil, while we ignore the significantly bigger threat to us from the white, male, right-wing, “Christian” terrorists who are among us right now here at home.

So much do we ignore this larger threat, this clear and present danger, that it’s not within the realm of the impossible that Donald Trump, whose campaign demagoguery embodies what the white, male, right-wing, “Christian” nut jobs are all about, will win the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination.

And maybe even the White House.

 

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