The Least, First

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Gunmen prove Homeland Security right

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The Department of Homeland Security is formed ...

On April 7, the Dept of Homeland Security issued a report warning of the dangers of domestic terrorism from right-wing extremists.

Outraged, some leading conservatives demanded apologies and terminations.

A month later, the assassinations began.

Follow the story:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
April 7, 2009: The Department of Homeland Security releases a nine-page assessment document entitled “Rightwing Extremism […] [It] warned of “a heightened level of extremist paranoia” and “lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
April 14, 2009: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich:

The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired […]

April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Sean Hannity intentionally misrepresents the focus of the assessment as targetting “people who have pro-life bumper stickers.”
April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin:

The “report” … was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real. …By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives.

April 15, 2009: House Republican leader John Boehner demands an apology from the Department of Homeland Security for the report.

May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller [killed in Wichita church] … suspect apprehended is a right-wing extremist […]

June 10, 2009: [Lone gunman opens fire at] U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum … suspected shooter is a right-wing extremist […]

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Far-right speakers have continually pooh-poohed the idea that their over-blown exaggerations could stimulate some to actual violence.
The evidence is on the table.

Enough. Time to stop crying “socialism” (Sarah Palin) andif somebody doesn’t stop him, America will cease to exist… and Obama is “the focus of evil” (Alan Keyes) and “… the tree of liberty will be fed with the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the patriots.” (Rep. Michael McCaul). Time for Republicans to utterly reject demagogues and their hyperbole – for what right-winger would believe a Democrat’s plea?

Just as the world waited to hear from reasonable Muslims after 9/11, our nation should hear now from reasonable conservatives, who should be vigorous in their denunciations of the irresponsible, emotional, and self-serving claims of Limbaugh, Hannity, Gingrich, Palin, Malkin, Boehner and the lot.

Stop it. Tragedy has begun.

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Ever wonder why Rush is everywhere?

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Might the fact that the network gives his program away for free have anything to do with it?
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

NOVI, MI - MAY 3: Radio talk show host and con...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

If you do much driving in rural areas — e.g. between cities — “Boss” Limbaugh’s bloviations are often the only thing you can pick up on a car radio … Did Rush accrue hundreds of local radio affiliates across the country because his political views are mainstream? […]It’s because — ready for this? — Rush’s show … is given away for free to many local radio stations. […]

This shocker is because of a little-known practice in broadcast syndication called a “barter deal.” […]

Here’s how a barter deal works: To launch the show, Limbaugh’s syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks — the same folks who syndicate wingnut du jour Glen Beck — gave Limbaugh’s three hours away […]

So, a local talk station got Rush’s show for zilch. In exchange, Premiere took for itself much of the local station’s available advertising time (roughly 15 minutes an hour) and packed the show with national ads it had already pre-sold.

Think Gold Bond Medicated Powder.

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Ah. My faith in humanity is refreshed. Perhaps his half-true hyperbole has convinced fewer than his ratings would suggest.

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Written by Monte

April 16, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Palm Sunday Rebellion

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Here’s the last half of my Palm Sunday sermon.  In the opening, I talked about how obvious it must have seemed to Jesus’ Palm Sunday followers that he was beginning a military coup.  Find out why at Disclosing New Worlds.


Sagrada Familia #6
Image by Alex Millà via Flickr

There’s no question in their minds that Jesus is there to conquer. And Jesus has intentionally played the part. He knows the local puppet governor will hear. He knows the Roman military machine will hear. And he knows he’s throwing rebellion in their faces.

How will tyrants respond? Think of shouts of “Free Tibet!” in Lhasa.  Or the student uprising in Tienanmen Square. Or singing the Chechen national anthem in public in Chechnya. Peasants pitching rebellion are crushed without mercy.

Extra troops were in Jerusalem during the Passover, in preparation for this very kind of thing. Passover, after all, was about the liberation of the Jews from a foreign government. The Romans would be putting on a show of force.

He’s come to wage war, all right – but no one is understanding what kind of war he’ll fight. The Romans are small potatoes to him – he’s waging war on death and darkness and power, and he’ll defeat them all.

But the crowd’s expecting literal war. And that’s not what Jesus does.

Hosanna filio David
Image by Lawrence OP
via Flickr

How strange it is that everybody there makes that mistake, and we study it, and wonder how they can have missed it. And then our generation reads Revelation’s war-talk and assumes without question that Jesus’ will return in the future to fight a violent war. As McLaren observes, when Jesus comes back to fight, his mighty sword comes out of his mouth! I want to smack my head. How could I have overlooked the obviously metaphorical language used there?

Could we still be like the 1st century crowd, expecting Jesus to bring war? Could we be making the same mistake?  Doesn’t it matter that warfare is completely inconsistent with everything Jesus demonstrated?

But here’s another strange thing: It’s all outside the city.

See the last verse? He goes to the temple, looks around, heads for Bethany. Once inside the city, the acclaim is gone.

Outside of it, the crowds adore him. Inside of it – in the seat of religious power and government power – nobody shows up. As Lawrence Moore writes at Disclosing New Worlds: Read the rest of this entry »

Brooks: it’s “incredibly stupid” to hope Obama fails

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David Brooks, a thorough-going conservative and an admirably ethical political writer, took a question on C-Span that was embedded with racial and (what will seem to some unstable characters as) murderous overtones:
clipped from thinkprogress.org

David Brooks
Image via Wikipedia

Today on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, conservative columnist David Brooks ridiculed those on the right who have said they want Obama to fail. During the segment, a caller — who claimed to be phoning in from “a club” in Georgia full of “all white folks, all millionaires and good Republicans” — begged Brooks to “come on board” with Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fox News to “get on Mr. Obama’s case.” “We got to bring that man down,” the caller said, adding, “We just cannot have eight years of this black man.”

BROOKS: It’s tremendously important to put color and prejudice aside and see him for what he is, which is just an incredibly impressive smart man. […] And I just think it’s incredibly important to root for the guy, whether you agree with every policy. […] But the idea that we shouldn’t be rooting for our president strikes me as not only, I don’t know about unpatriotic, it’s just stupid. We should be rooting for our president because it’s rooting for ourselves.

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It’s a wise admonition. Every American should decry talk like “We got to bring that man down,” and “We just cannot have eight years of this black man.”  That’s Klan talk, despised by people of good will across the political spectrum.

Brooks’ pleas to “put color and prejudice aside” and to cheer for whatever can be cheered for strikes me as remarkably sensible, and even good.   Conspiratorial animus rarely makes us better.

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Bishop of Chicago: Immigration Raids ‘Immoral’

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Jim Wallis tells of a nationwide tour urging immigration reform that stopped in Chicago:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

La Conscience (d'après Victor Hugo)

Image via Wikipedia

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops … used the occasion to call on the Obama administration to stop immigration raids and urged passage of comprehensive immigration reform […]
[T]he cardinal

“… sought to cast the issue in moral terms, calling it “a matter of conscience” and an important step to creating a more peaceful society. ‘We cannot strengthen families when people live in fear from day to day,’ […]

The continuing raids around the country [are] indeed a matter of conscience. We are taking parents from their children; we are separating families. This is not what in our tradition we should do. Protecting and supporting families and those relationships is crucial. The immigration system is totally broken and needs comprehensive reform, but it must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to “welcome the stranger.”

While I applaud President Obama for repeating his commitment to immigration reform last week, I join Cardinal George in also urging an immediate end to raids.

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It’s an excellent thought. Wrenching families apart is not only cruel, but unwise, even in practical terms. Hurt people hurt people. Strengthening families is, indeed, “an important step to creating a more peaceful society.”

If we’re kind – or even just smart – minimizing trauma will be part of immigration reform.


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