April 25, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Even Under Obama, Our Two-Tiered Justice System Rolls On Edition

Why Are Glenn Beck and His Media Colleagues Walking Free While Minnesota’s ‘RNC 8′ Are Prosecuted for Terrorism?

Real Texans, natives from those parts of the state not dominated by the alligator-cowboy-boot luxury of the oil-pump Petrograds of Dallas or Houston, claim that, even in its death throes, a poisonous snake is still dangerous. Poke it with a stick and, with it’s a final ounce of waning spite, it will snap and try to kill as it writhes its last.

Such is the case with the fading right-wing media and their cohort in the Republican Party, their only hope for continued relevance encapsulated by the fervent wish that the increasingly popular President Obama fail miserably, and take the country down with him. These neocon elite know, even from their musings of history by the dim firelight in Plato’s cave, that a successful Obama spells the end, at least in their lifetimes, of the modern ‘free market’ corporatist-conservative movement blueprinted by Milton Freidman and his acolytes, and set into motion by Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and the two Bush presidencies, culminating in the Dubya-initiated disaster of our current economic crisis, the inevitable historically-repeated result of stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

But the Limbaughs and Becks, Hannitys and O’Reillys are also battling with each other for ratings from a dwindling, aging audience, causing them to engage in a war of words wherein they must out-do one another in issuing paranoia-laden proclamations in a voice of sullen outrage, bray archaic Cold War bombast or, in the case of Glenn Beck, display the tearful, fearful ramblings of a man losing his mind.

Not that any of them actually believe any of the guff they spread daily – they are mental itinerant workers who are well-paid for peddling a continually shifting ideology – when Bush said we are not at war with Islam, he was statesmanlike and diplomatic; when Obama does it, he’s surrendering to our Muslim enemies. When Bush ordered Shock and Awe bombings of Baghdad that killed innocent Iraqi teenagers, that’s understandable – the unfortunate ‘collateral damage’ of war; when Obama orders the three teenage pirates threatening the life of an American citizen shot, he’s killing kids. When Clinton was in office, seemingly his every movement, even firing staff in the White House Travel Office, was worthy of a special prosecutor; when Obama talks about holding those accountable who illegally ordered torture, he’s turning the country into a banana republic. And on it goes, an endless stream of swill offered up by the millionaire shills for the entertainment division of the Fox funhouse mirror of political propaganda, toiling in the fields planted by Edward Bernays, Joseph Goebbels, H.R. Haldeman and unsung laborers in behavioral psychology and mass marketing who devoted their professional lives to convincing the public to buy products they don’t need and adopt political ideas that empty their bank accounts and lower their wages, while tempering their minds to accept ever larger loads of pernicious claptrap that serves the profitable interests of the wealthy moguls who bankroll the whole anti-democratic, anti-Constitutional neoconservative operation.

Every day, in the safe confines of the radio or cable TV studio, these media evangelists of the New World Order wrestle with indomitably evil straw men, unleash torpedos of invective at liberal ghost blips on the radar, launch fusillades of bile at comic book enemies from the Eisenhower era, crucify those they detect as suspicious of Jesus’ divinity or conservative Republican provenance, and, most hilariously, mount fearsome attacks on the mythical Left-Wing Media, the corporate conglomerate parents of which are owned by wealthy capitalists who invest on Wall Street, seek further tax cuts for their upper-income bracket, deregulation for their companies, pay good money to lobby politicians, and, in many cases, own a piece of the outlet that broadcasts the daily doses of outrage and hate to the lower caste of ignorant, addled Proles seeking an easy leftist scapegoat for what has happened to their country in the wake of the misrule of the elite Republican right.

Never in these perorations of perpetual victimization and incipient doom at the hands of the Mighty Army of Marxist-Leninist-socialist-liberal-progressives who lurk among us is a ray of obvious truth allowed to shine: If the liberals and their media are so powerful, how is it that the Republican Party has dominated national politics for the past 30 years, becoming resurgent even after the disgrace of Watergate? How is it that they continue to be taken seriously, out of proportion to their numbers?

With enormous help by the ‘liberal’ Big Media, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the upper crust, this modus operandi was successful until the water of Katrina filled the streets of New Orleans in 2005. Then, even the vast majority who generally ignore politics to tend their daily lives had to take note of the crushing reality: The President of the United States was doing absolutely nothing to help the victims of a massive flood, not even immediately making a standard speech of reassurance, and all the king’s men seemed to be as incompetent as their leader at assessing and handling the situation. Suddenly, to the dismay of the Right-Wing Noise Machine, the suckers were beginning to wake up.

And there have been the subsequent whiffs of strong coffee in the years since – further transfers of jobs overseas; plant closings destroying whole communities; stop-loss illegally keeping our soldiers in Iraq long after their terms of enlistment; privatized health insurance rising in cost while providing less care; an endless river of lies on everything from torture policy to denying past videotaped pronouncements, and the near-daily dose of some outrage or another perpetrated at the hands of a Bush Adminstration official or Republican politician, from the laughable hypocrisy of gay restroom solicitations or visits to a prostitute to hiring Justice Department lawyers based on their loyalty to Christianity and the Crawford Dauphin instead of professional competence and adherence to the Constitution. Then the economy, always at the point of tipping ever since the bumbling Bush squandered Clinton’s surplus to supply tax cuts to his wealthy family and their cronies, and then shamelessly started borrowing $2 billion a day from the Chinese to keep his leaky skiff afloat (the Titanic having already slid under the waves), sank to the bottom, with the whole house of cards created by Enronesque hedge-fund-derivative-credit-swap malarkey falling apart before the 2008 elections, requiring former Goldman Sachs CEO and unregulated ‘free market’ cheerleader Hank Paulson to apply the torniquet of socialist taxpayer bailouts to stanch the Wall Street bleeding and silence the screams of pain emanating from the spoiled Masters of the Universe when their bonuses for abject failure were threatened. Even the white Scott’s-Lawn manicurists of the suburban middle-class, a Republican mainstay whom the smug party elders believed would never vote for an egghead urban black community organizer over a certified beige war hero and his beauty-pageant co-pilot, took note of this final rancid Bush hypocrisy and abandoned the GOP in droves.

Which brings us to the current shabby state of the GOP and the right-wing corporatists for which it stands. As the April 15 teabag party protests — astroturfed graft-roots populism sponsored by such companies as ExxonMobil, reliable Republican billionaires such as Richard Mellon Scaife, and promoted incessantly by Fox News — prove, there still isn’t much of a crowd for what little the Republican Party has left to sell – more tax cuts for the wealthy, further deregulation, obstructionism, fear, and whole truckloads of misdirected hate and anger.

Even though these protests were advertised not just by Fox News, but the rest of the Big Media as well, from my rough count fewer than 50,000 people nationwide turned out, and some of those were Libertarians, militia survivalists and Ron Paul devotees who traditionally don’t support Republican candidates.

By contrast, over two million people showed up in more inclement weather to cheer Obama’s inauguration, and hundreds of thousands filled the streets of New York in 2004 to protest the Republican National Convention.

Of course, the Gucci-clad scumbags, yuppie creeps, clueless meatheads, and out-of-touch revanchists wearing teabag hats who still call themselves Republicans have every right to protest Obama and their government, in accordance with the Constitutional rights Bush’s GOP wanted to permit Junior to ignore at his convenience.

But what’s disconcerting here is why the influential right-wing media proponents of these bile-filled rallies and other anti-Obama activities are not held to the same yardstick as are the Republican National Convention protestors in Minnesota last fall.

Specifically, eight of the alleged protest organizers were arrested for violating the Minnesota version of the Patriot Act for supposed “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism,” the first such arrest under this law. The original allegations by police refer to such planned activities as sabotaging the St. Paul airport, firebombing police officers, and kidnapping Republican convention delegates (none of these lurid things happened), and they seized as ‘proof’ of the conspiracy such common household items as a charcoal lighter, empty glass bottles, paint, bleach, rags, nails, ‘flammable liquids’ (for the charcoal grill), a rusty machete and two hatchets. (The machete and hatchets are used to cut firewood up in the Great White North.) As an article at Infoshop News has stated, “Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants.” Police-paid informants who had a monetary incentive to lie.

As attorney Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has said, “These charges are an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the Defendants on trial. … The charges represent an
abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person
organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil

What’s worse is that the charges seek to hold the defendants responsible for acts committed by others during the RNC demonstrations at which they were not present.

Apparently, even Susan Gaertner, a Ramsey County, MN, prosecutor, is not sure if the 2002 terrorist law applies to this case, “It’s not clear to us what the Legislature intended back in 2002.”

While the RNC 8 have to wait until next September for a judge to decide their fate, the various blowhards and carnival barkers of the Right-Wing Media Circus and the panic-peddlers of the GOP have been fomenting revolution and hatred at every turn, as Media Matters has documented.

“Since January, Media Matters for America has documented numerous examples of conservatives in the media warning of socialism, fascism, communism, Nazism, McCarthyism, and Marxism, or using such language to describe President Obama or other Democrats.”
– From “Conservatives warn of social-fasc-commun-Nazi-McCarthy-Marxism,” Media Matters, April 9, 2009

“Numerous conservative media figures have called for a ‘revolution’ or have invoked violent rhetoric while discussing the Obama administration or government in general. In addition to encouraging violence, such violent rhetoric has also included suggesting Obama’s policies were doing violence to the American people and depicting Obama as a rapist, spousal abuser, or mobster.”
– From “Conservative media unleash violent, revolutionary rhetoric,” Media Matters, April 10, 2009.

When a 22-year-old neo-Nazi named Richard Poplawski killed three Pittsburgh police officers April 6 because he had been innundated by Fox News and the right-wing media deception that “Obama is going to take away your guns and your freedom,” why aren’t such prominent inciters as Glenn Beck held responsible?

After all, Poplawski was one of Beck’s viewers and Beck declared: “[Obama will] slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun.”

Beck also blared on April 1: “I was wrong. Our government is not marching down the road towards communism or socialism…they’re marching us to a brand of on-violent fascism.”

And, on March 31, Beck omninously warned, “[Obama is a] heroin-pusher using smiley-faced fascism to grow the nanny state.”

And Sean Hannity told his audience on March 30: “The federal government — and I don’t think I overstate this for our audience — is destroying our economic system as we currently know it,” and, “The administration is on a mission to hijack capitalism in favor of collectivism, to turn health care into a nationalized affair, and to redistribute the wealth of America. The Bolsheviks have already arrived, and they’re here.”

On March 31, Dick Morris told the Fox News viewers, “Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ — well, they’re beginning to have a case.”

On March 21, Fox News ‘analyst’ Andrew Napolitano said, “I would now argue that the Obama administration is trashing the Constitution in order to micromanage the economy, Soviet-style.”

On the April 1 edition of Hannity’s radio show, guest host Mark Levin offered, “I view it as economic child abuse. I’ve been calling it that for the longest time because our children are being compelled to work for generations that will be dead for money that’s already spent. Their opportunities will be limited. Their liberty will be limited. And we’re enslaving them to a future that our ancestors didn’t create for us.”

(Hat tip to Media Matters for the quotes.)

So, if eight Minnesotans planning a peaceful protest in Minnesota in which no one lost their life can be charged for conspiracy to foment a riot, and held responsible for the activities of others for which they weren’t present, why aren’t these right-wing blowhards receiving even a slap on the wrist for encouraging such nuts as Poplawski to commit heinous crimes.

Would such leniency be extended to liberals like Keith Olbermann or Thom Hartmann if they had made some of the same extreme statements quoted here that resulted in three cops being murdered? I think not.

Not many years ago, you could get arrested for calling Junior an idiot in a public library, or wearing the wrong t-shirt to a Bush event.

Today, no one is detained for wearing t-shirts that feature Hitler and Obama with the legend “Hitler Gave Great Speeches Too,” or falsely calling the president all manner of insulting names.

Of course, President Obama believes in the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech, so these Republican protestors are in no fear of arrest, unlike his predecessor, the thin-skinned ‘Decider’ who picked what rights will be allowed and apparently couldn’t stand the sight of a t-shirt supporting his Democratic opponent at his 2004 rallies.

The current version of the Republican Party of Dirty-Tricks Nixon, Amiable-Dunce Reagan, Poppy ‘New World Order’ Bush and his Rove-Enhanced Dim Son is dying, a “shrinking entity” as Steve Schmidt, McCain’s 2008 campaign manager aptly put it, but, like the near-dead snake, it can do some damage on its way into oblivion. But from the GOP’s benighted rattlings so far, they seem to be doing themselves more harm than good.

However, I have to think that some Republicans, even those who criticize Obama the loudest, are secretly gratified and comforted that he’s president — after all, most of the Bush Administration apparatchiks are still looking for work, lost money in the stock market, need to pay for their kids’ college tuitions, and are worried about losing their homes. And they know their rights are secure under Obama.

Recently, when Obama visited Baghdad, he received a much more enthusiastic welcome than Bush ever did – he has most of the military on his side because they know he’s on their side. It’s time for law enforcement to join the military in supporting their president and stop making knee-jerk arrests of left-wing protestors while ignoring the right-wingers.

Of course, no arrests should ever be made of any protestors. You can look it up — it’s in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
– From “United States Constitution: Bill of Rights,” Cornell University Law School.

Copyright 2009 R.S. Janes.

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