Tag Archives: terrorists

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next time, the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat,” Rall reminds us and further reminds us that “Nothing in our outdated Constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics.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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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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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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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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Will the Paris attacks bring back the ‘war on terror’? (The right hopes so!)

Hollande: Several dozen dead in attacks around Paris

Associated Press photo

ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a Paris Starbucks yesterday because the Starbucks’ cups were not sufficiently religious. (Kidding! That’s called political satire. The caption for this news photo is: “Victims lay on the pavement outside a Paris restaurant, Friday, November 13, 2015. Police officials in France on Friday report multiple terror incidents, leaving many dead. It was unclear at this stage if the events are linked.” [It is fairly clear now that they were linked.])

I hate ISIS. Always have, always will, and my general feeling toward the members of ISIS long has been pound them into the sand.

It’s not that the members of ISIS call themselves Muslim; it’s that they oppress and slaughter those who do not share their insane religious beliefs — you know, they do what the “Christo”fascists here at home would do if they could. It’s not the specific religion of the members of ISIS that bothers me; it’s their theofascism, their insane, self-righteous, yes, evil belief that their insane religious beliefs give them the right to treat others any way that they please, in the name of a non-existent “God.”

That said, it’s important not to reduce it to black and white, good vs. evil. It’s important to try to view the entire context.

France, along with Britain and the United States (and Spain and some other European nations), has a long history of colonization and of meddling in the affairs of other nations, including in the Middle East. It’s much more complicated than that the members of ISIS are just “evil” and want to strike out at us “good” (that is, “Christian”) Westerners, because that’s just what “evil” people do: strike out at “good” people. No, it isn’t just that “they hate our freedoms.”

Yes, I bring up the ghost of Gee Dubya because I’ll be frank: The United States of America has been rotting from within for many, many years now. This domestic rot started no later than during the Reagan era. “Democrat” Bill Clinton did little to nothing to reverse this rot and decline, and then we had eight long, ruinous years of another George Bush, and now we’re still in another eight years of the Clintonesque/do-nothing/Democratic-in-name-only Barack Obama era.

Thus far in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the main focus, quite appropriately, has been on domestic issues.

Then ISIS goes and attacks Paris, killing at least 127 people. (ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks of yesterday, anyway.)

The French seem prepared to strike back, which is quite human and is understandable, but which quite possibly will start a back-and-forth blood bath that will drag on.

Which will mean that very quickly, the focus in the United States of America no longer will be trying to reverse our domestic rot, but once again will turn toward “terrorism,” because we Americans, first and foremost, don’t want to be bombed or riddled with bullets when we’re out and about shopping for overpriced shit that we don’t need in our mega-malls, drinking our caffeinated hot beverages from our not-Christmas-enough Starbucks cups, or watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster or Oscar bait at a cineplex.

Our chance of being slaughtered by a fellow “Christian” citizen is much higher than is our chance of ever being cut down by an “Islamofascist” “terrorist” (or by an “illegal”), but no matter; we Americans never have been good at calculating actual risks vs. vastly over-inflated risks. (After all, They hate our freedoms!)

I am sorry that dozens of human beings were slaughtered in Paris yesterday. I don’t believe in killing innocents* in order to try to score political points, whether those innocents are killed by “Islamofascist” “terrorists” or by the U.S. military (funny how when the United States government kills innocent people in order to make political gains, which it does routinely, that’s never called “terrorism” [nor is the mass-murderous Israel even capable of “terrorism,” because, like the United States, Israel is “good”]).

While I understand the stance of ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalists that France and other Western nations are evil because they long have participated in the colonization of and military attacks upon predominantly Muslim nations in the Middle East, the “Islamofascists” apparently also dislike the Western nations more or less equally because the Western nations aren’t backasswards like the Islamic fundamentalists are, such as with their misogyny, their homophobia, their sexual repression and their religious intolerance (including severe but awfully selective scriptural enforcement) to the point of routine violence against “apostates.”

I mean, in its online statement claiming responsibility for the attacks on Paris yesterday, ISIS referred to Paris as a/the “capital of adultery and vice.”

ISIS further declared, “The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders’ campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris.”

ISIS also proclaimed that France “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.”

My impression is that France is at “the top of the list” for several reasons: One, it has more Muslim inhabitants (percentage-wise) than does any other Western nation; two, apparently there long has been widespread mistreatment of and discrimination against Muslims in “innocent” France; and, of course, France is much geographically closer to the Middle East than are other Western nations (especially the United States, of course), making France, logistically, an easier target for terrorist attacks.

My hope is that things calm down in France quickly, that tit-for-tat bloodshed doesn’t occur, and that the United States of America continues to focus on its domestic crises instead of returning to the days of the unelected, fascistic George W. Bush regime when the “war on terror” eclipsed everything, while the filthy rich continued to get even richer from stealing even more from us, the distracted-by-the-“war-on-terror” masses, and while things here at home continued to deteriorate while we focused on the “terrorists” abroad (yes, the billions and billions of our dollars that went to the war machine — mostly, to the treasonous war profiteers [a.k.a. “contractors”], such as the folks at Dick Cheney’s Halliburton — were billions and billions of our dollars that never went to our public schools, to our streets and other public infrastructure, to our health-care needs, to food, to shelter, to environmental protection, to job creation, etc.).

The Repugnican Tea Party would love for the national discussion to pivot from its current, rare focus on domestic issues and to return instead to the “war on terror.” Because that’s where the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are most comfortable, are most in their fear-based element: spooking the masses by some “enemy” “threat,” be it the often-brown-skinned “illegals” from south of the border or be it the often-brown-skinned “Islamofascist” “terrorists” from abroad come to kill us because “they hate our freedoms.”

This use of trumped-up/Trumped-up fear allows the home-grown, right-wing traitors (and yes, terrorists) right here among us at home to, even literally, get away with murder, to run rampant with their treasonous, right-wing crimes in a nation whose masses are distracted from wildly overblown concerns of harm from without, when the real harm, as almost always, actually is from within.

We truly patriotic Americans allow our nation to return to the right-wing mindset of a “war on terror” at our own peril.

We can stop it.

We simply do what we did not do last time: We stand up and we say: Oh, hell no!

*Yes, I get it that there are gradations of innocence.

One could argue, as the “Islamofascists” do argue, that merely to be a citizen of a Western nation that militarily attacks in the Middle East is to be guilty by complacency (if not merely by association), that is, the citizens of the Western nations, this line of thought goes, allow their nation’s military forces to strike the Middle East, and therefore, they aren’t innocent, but do have blood on their hands.

However, when it comes to revenge, I don’t believe in group revenge. If an individual grievously harms another individual, I can see revenge being taken upon the individual who actually perpetrated the harm him- or herself. But to hold an entire group of people accountable for harm done to other people whom they’ve never even encountered — harm that was perpetrated by other people whom they’ve never even encountered — is bullshit. It’s not justice. At best, it’s very, very sloppy revenge.

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Still waiting for the national backlash

As apparently at least one editorial cartoonist (see above) and political commentator Bill Maher have noted, this past week the Confederate flag has been lowered and the rainbow flag has been raised. (Which, as Maher quipped, must have made for a very weird week for U.S. senator and presidential Repugnican Party presidential aspirant Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whom pretty much everyone knows is a closet case.)

It’s a cute visual — one flag going down and another going up — but it’s not quite as simple as that.

We still have a long way to go in achieving equal human and civil rights for blacks and other racial minorities in the United States of America, and the image of the rainbow flag replacing the Confederate flag could send the message that we’re done with the racial thing, and so now we can celebrate the fact that we’re done with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender thing. But we’re not done with that, either, as I have just noted.

I am happy that the Confederate flag is imploding. Don’t get me wrong. Earlier this month I wrote that the public display of the flag should be banned legally throughout the United States, as Germany bans the Nazi flag, and I still believe that no one should have to see the flag, which I still liken to the Nazi flag, in public. The flag deeply unsettles me, and I’m a white man (albeit a gay white man), so I can only imagine how many if not most blacks feel when they see the Confederate flag — the flag of racist, white supremacist traitors and terrorists — displayed in public as a terrorist warning/threat in the guise of “heritage” or “history” or “culture.”

No, because the First Amendment is used as justification for continued hate speech (which in my book is not protected by the First Amendment since hate speech so often ends in violence against and harm to weaker, historically oppressed individuals), I don’t expect the public display of the Confederate flag to be made illegal throughout the United States any year soon — although it should be made illegal for the federal government or any of the state governments to display the flag in public (except in museums and the like), including, of course, on state-issued license plates — but public and political pressure is bringing the flag down everywhere.

Yes, Mississippi’s flag, which incorporates the Confederate flag in it, as a state-government-sanctioned image has got to go and be redesigned, but while we wait for that — and the illegality of all state-issued license plates bearing the Confederate flag — it’s heartening that in the meantime Walmart, Amazon, Sears, eBay and countless other businesses have decided that they will not sell anything with the Confederate flag on it (with the exception, of course, of such things as history books and DVDs of “Gone with the Wind”).

I can’t remember the last time that I saw any merchandise emblazoned with the Confederate flag here in California — where the Confederate flag does not fly — but it’s nice to know that it now is harder for white supremacists to buy their freak flags online now, and I’m guessing that Walmart’s Southern-state stores have offered merchandise containing the flag of the white-supremacist traitor, if not even the flag itself.

And let’s face it, since the United States is so hyper-capitalist and consumerist, when Big Business decides to do something, such as to ban the Confederate flag, it’s almost as good as the state legislatures and the U.S. Congress actually doing their job, and certainly the elected cowards who fill our chambers of power won’t be as scared now to follow what Big Business has started to do.*

I also was delighted to learn that a black woman in South Carolina yesterday skillfully scaled the flagpole on the state’s capitol grounds and temporarily took down the Confederate flag that mind-blowingly still flies there. Of course law enforcement was waiting for her at the bottom of the flagpole and the flag quickly was raised again. But the woman had made her point; she quite understandably doesn’t want to wait for the state’s legislature to take the matter up, because the time to do the right thing is always right now.

It’s a little complicated, though, I think, as she was spouting the whole time that “God” is on her side.

I’m on her side, but I have a problem with the “God” thing, since “God” is used to justify one’s actions and desires, whether they’re righteous or whether they’re evil. “God” always very conveniently wants whatever it is that the individual who is invoking “God,” the individual who is claiming to know the will of “God” (which to me, an atheist, is like claiming to know the will of Santa Claus), wants.

The religious right, for example, of course, tells us that the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, in declaring that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, violated the will of “God,” and that This! Will! Not! Stand!

Oh! Except that It! Will!

The right-wing haters always pitch a fit when the U.S. Supreme Court or the U.S. Congress advances equal human and civil rights, such as with Brown vs. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Loving vs. Virginia, and now, the newly minted Obergefell vs. Hodges.

Of course the hatred of and the discrimination and persecution against us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals will continue, but we continue to achieve full legal equality — equal human and civil rights.

The vast majority of us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals don’t give a flying fuck what heterosexuals and gender-conforming individuals think of us; we only care when heterosexuals persecute us, when heterosexuals make their own ignorance, bigotry and hatred our problem, when they stand in the way of our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

And this persistent, pernicious, pathetic right-wing “argument” that the haters’ rights actually are violated when they don’t get to continue to oppress others — similarly, the slave owners’ “rights” were violated when the slaves were freed, you see — isn’t working outside of the wingnuts’ echo chamber. The U.S. Supreme Court certainly didn’t buy it, and neither did the many federal and state courts below it when the haters tried to demonstrate any actual harm to themselves or to society at large by same-sex marriage. That was the haters’ legal task in the courtrooms — to demonstrate actual harm, because you can’t deny a group of people a right unless you can demonstrate that the granting of that right would cause actual harm — and because same-sex marriage harms no one, they failed miserably repeatedly.

As Bill Maher quipped to the haters’ (especially the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants’) response to same-sex marriage now being the law of the land: “Fellas, you do realize that this is not mandatory? You don’t have to have sex with another man — it’s just an option now. OK, I just wanted to make that clear,” he said, hilariously adding after a pause: “They’re such drama queens, aren’t they?”

Indeed, the haters have been acting as though Obergefell vs. Hodges makes same-sex marriage mandatory for everyone, which even they, as insane as they are, know is a fucking lie (because they’re telling the lie in order to scare others to try to get their way politically [which is called terrorism]).

It’s quite simple: As I have noted before, if you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex (even if you’re gay or lesbian), or if you don’t want to get an abortion, then don’t get an abortion or don’t marry someone of the same sex. You have the freedom to follow your own religious convictions, as backasswards as they are, as long as you aren’t acting like the Islamofascists who comprise ISIS, trying to force others to follow your bullshit, troglodytic religion.

Because then, you’re just a “Christo”fascist, and I am governed not by the Koran or the Old Testament or the New Testament, but by the U.S. Constitution (and by other founding documents and by the laws of land, including U.S. statutes and U.S. Supreme Court caselaw, including, of course, the delicious Obergefell vs. Hodges). And I would battle an attempted takeover of the nation by “Christo”fascists just as I would an attempted takeover by Islamofascists.

Haters, you still get to hate; Obergefell vs. Hodges did not strip you of your right to hate others based upon your non-existent “God,” who is like a Santa Claus on crack. But leave the rest of us the fuck alone to pursue our life, liberty and happiness as is guaranteed to us, as is our birthright.

There will be no big national backlash because of Obergefell vs. Hodges. The terrorists who comprised the right wing risibly tried to raise this specter to spook the U.S. Supreme Court from doing the right thing, but with around 60 percent of all Americans supporting same-sex marriage, of course the U.S. Supreme Court was perfectly safe in doing the right, long-overdue thing. (Indeed, as I noted, the court wouldn’t have done the right thing unless it had felt quite safe in doing so. As independent from public opinion as the nation’s court [or, arguably, any court] is supposed to be, at least on paper, the political reality as to how far a court safely can stray from public opinion is different.)

Oh, there might be a nutjob (or two or three) like a Dylann Storm Roof who goes off and commits domestic terrorism against actual and/or perceived non-heterosexual or non-gender-conforming victims — this can happen at any time anyway, and it does — but we won’t see a national backlash to Obergefell vs. Hodges because the nation already is significantly segregated into political blocs anyway, replete with blue states and red states and with blue areas and red regions within the red states and blue states. To a large degree, those on the left and on the right mix as little as is possible anyway.

And before Friday, 36 states had had same-sex marriage anyway; before Friday there were only 14 holdout states. So it’s not like there wasn’t same-sex marriage anywhere in the nation, but that the U.S. Supreme Court just up and in one fell swoop went from zero percent same-sex marriage to 100 percent same-sex marriage in the United States. (That said, things did go fairly quickly, I suppose; Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to start issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples in May 2004, and just a little more than 11 years later, all states must now do so.)

So again, no, there will be no national backlash. Talk of such a backlash is just what the self-serving, treasonous, backasswards wingnuts want, since their Bible-based worldview increasingly is being rejected and relegated to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

Life will go on much as it has before. The years will pass. The old haters will die and take most of their hatred, bigotry and ignorance with them to their graves (and they have to have graves because they love unsustainability); fewer and fewer of us will be raised to be haters, and even those who do have some hatred in their hearts and minds will, because of the stigma attached to such hatred, for the most part keep their hatred to themselves.

The right-wing haters do their best to prevent progress, do their best to keep humankind bound in the rusted chains of the past, but with each passing day, their hatred is more and more unsustainable.

We progressives must continue to fight, as gains won can be threatened or lost later (look at voting rights and reproductive rights, for example), but, while we fight, we must keep in mind that, as Taylor Swift might put it, while the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, we must persevere and just shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, shake it off.

(If you’ve actually read this far, you kind of deserve a reference to Taylor Swift. Just sayin’.)

*Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that Big Business suddenly wuvs us. No, Big Business has calculated that the intangible and tangible costs of continuing to sell the Confederate flag outweigh any profits that they’ve been getting from selling it.

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It’s long past time to ban the treasonous Confederate flag throughout the U.S.

Dylann Storm - flag

White supremacist, mass murderer and nutjob Dylann Storm Roof burns an American flag in an image of himself he posted on the Internet. He much has preferred the Confederate flag, you see, from another such image. (Gotta love the Gold’s Gym shirt on such a cowardly pipsqueak…)

a_1

The nation of Germany wisely bans the public display of the Nazi flag or any other Nazi symbol. (Germany, in fact, “prohibits the distribution or public use of [Nazi] … flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.”)

Despite its ban on communications espousing (neo-)Nazism, Germany is viewed as a democratic nation that is not oppressive to its people. Germany’s ban is wise; it apparently is meant to prevent the resurgence of a system of right-wing hatred and terrorism that forever will be a stain on that nation.

Similarly, the United States of America should ban the public display of the Confederate flag. Period. (Other such dangerous forms of treasonous, terrorist communication also should be banned, but banning the Confederate flag would be a good start.)

The Confederate flag should, of course, be allowed to remain in museums and in history books. (Its continued use in Civil War re-enactments is, in my book, gray area, since these public events can be rallying points for those whose allegiance is to the Confederate flag — these can be white-supremacist rallies under the guise of “history education” or the like.)

Fact is, most public displays of the Confederate flag are treasonous. They are meant to signify one’s allegiance to an illegal, treasonous, breakaway, illegitimate, deeply racially oppressive “government” that was crushed by the democratically elected government of the United States of America long ago — and more often than not also to signify one’s white supremacism.

The Confederate flag is not neutral. Its public display is meant to strike fear and terror in others — as are the Nazi flag and the flag of ISIS, for example. There is an apt word for this: terrorism.

This is so indisputable that the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court just this past week ruled that the state of Texas did not act unconstitutionally when it refused to allow a specialty license plate displaying the Confederate flag. (Even wingnutty idiot “Justice” Clarence Thomas was on board with the 5-4 decision.)

Reuters notes in its reportage of the fresh U.S. Supreme Court decision: “During the oral argument in the case in March, a major concern for some justices was that if the state has no say over what messages to allow, it would pave the way for other potentially offensive messages, such as images of Nazi swastikas or statements promoting the Islamist militant group al Qaeda.”

Reuters also notes:

… The [Supreme Court] found that Texas did not infringe on the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment free speech guarantee when it turned away the application by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group says it aims to preserve the “history and legacy” of soldiers who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.

“Free speech is a fundamental right to which all Americans are entitled, and today’s ruling upholds Texas’s specialty license plate program and confirms that citizens cannot compel the government to speak, just as the government cannot compel citizens to speak,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

States can generate revenue by allowing outside groups to propose specialty license plates that people then pay a fee to put on their vehicle.

“I hate that we were turned down,” said Gary Bray, commander of the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“We deserve the rights like anyone else to honor our veterans,” added Bray, who said his group likely will submit a revised design.

The state declined in 2010 to approve the plate with the Confederate flag. The flag in question, a blue cross inlaid with white stars over a red background, was carried by Confederate troops in the Civil War. …

The “preserving history” and “honoring our veterans” “arguments” for the public display of the Confederate flag are bullshit.

The history of the Civil War isn’t going away. It’s there forever. It’s quite well chronicled and well preserved, in books (fiction as well as non-fiction), in films, in documentaries, in museums, in historical artifacts, in historical documents, in public monuments, in cemeteries, etc., etc. It’s not going to be forgotten if Jeb or Jethro or Zeke or Cooter or Skeeter can’t fly his freak Confederate flag in front of his trailer or on his monster truck.

And the “honoring our veterans” “argument” flies no better here in the United States than it does in Germany, if the neo-Nazis there were to claim that they only wish to “honor” Germany’s Nazi “veterans.”

You say Confederate “veterans”; I say traitors. Traitors don’t deserve to be honored publicly. At best, the Confederate war dead should be remembered only as actors in a dark time in U.S. history, actors who supported a treasonous, deeply racially oppressive, illegitimate “government” — which makes them far from “heroes.”

Speech is free until it becomes hate speech, which predictably can bring harm to others. Hate speech — which includes the display of hateful flags or other symbols — so often precedes unprovoked violence that is based in the hatred of what and/or how someone else is, not based upon anything wrongful and/or harmful that someone else actually has done.

Dylann Storm Roof of South Carolina is an abject nutjob, of which I have no doubt, but the environment in which he grew up — South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union after the democratic election of Abraham Lincoln as president and even before his inauguration — very apparently was instrumental in pushing him over the edge.

The environment in which Roof grew up included the widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag, which still flies on the grounds of the state’s capitol (to “honor” “veterans” of the illegal, illegitimate, treasonous and racially and otherwise oppressive Confederacy, you see). Even worse, Roof’s car sports a state-issued Confederate-flag license plate.

Even Repugnican presidential loser Mittens Romney has called upon the state of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds. (Unfortunately, he has not, to my knowledge, called for the eradication of the Confederate flag anywhere else in the state, such as on its license plates, for fuck’s sake.)

The widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag in the backasswards state of South Carolina no doubt contributed to the deaths — the murders — of the nine black Americans whom Dylann Storm Roof hatefully and cowardly gunned down in cold blood in their own historic church in Charleston on Wednesday night — after apparently having gained his victims’ trust.

Again, this is where free speech has become hate speech, and hate speech, because it so predictably can result in injury or murder, is not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It is long past time to ban the public display of the Confederate flag, the terrorist symbol of the traitor and the white supremacist — the homegrown terrorist — everywhere in the United States of America (including, of course, on license plates, and yes, even on clothing), just as Germany similarly bans the public display of the Nazi flag.

The traitors who still pay allegiance to the long-defeated-and-defunct Confederacy would be lucky that we’re only eradicating their symbols. After all, the only good traitor and terrorist is a dead one.

The South — as the neo-Confederates think it should be — never will rise again. Not on the watch of those of us who are the true patriots, those of us who are ready for another civil war if the treasonous terrorists make another one necessary.

P.S. It’s rare, thank Goddess, that I ever see the Confederate flag here in Northern California. I still remember that some years ago, when I was at a demolition derby at a fair at a nearby Podunky town, a truck displaying the Confederate flag actually came out into the arena. My jaw dropped. (After the stomach-turning display of the Confederate flag on the truck, I sarcastically remarked to those whom I was with, because it looked like it might rain: “Oh, no! If it rains, how will we have the cross burning?”)

Minimally, the state governments and the federal government should be banned from the public display of, the sale of, or any other promotion of the Confederate flag, be it an actual flag or an image of the flag. (California, thankfully, already has such a statutory prohibition.)

You can sign this online petition to be delivered to the legislature and the governor of South Carolina demanding that the state remove the Confederate flag from all public places. It’s a start.

I also encourage you to make (as I have) a donation to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the nine individuals were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday. You can do so by going to the church’s website and clicking on “Donate.”

I’m an atheist (who pretty much supports “Christian” churches only in that it’s churches’ First Amendment right to exist) and a gay man — and the black church historically has been pretty homophobic, with which I have a real problem — but this was some seriously fucked-up shit, and if we can restore this congregation to some of its former wholeness, we should.

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