June 11, 2009

Make no mistake. Muslims created this atmosphere where hatred of the Jews is okay and must be "tolerated" as a legitimate point of view. The shooting today is just yet another manifestation emanating from that viewpoint--another manifestation of the welcome mat that Muslims rolled out for fellow anti-Semites of all stripes to no longer be afraid to come out of the closet.

- Wingnut blogger Debbie Schlussel.

Aren't you tired of listening to crazy, hateful people treated as normal and even credible every time you turn on your teevee news? Yeah, me too. Joan Walsh talked about this delicate subject on Hardball last night: Yes, people themselves are responsible when they pull out a gun and shoot people - but do we really need television talking heads whipping them up into a frenzy?

And why is it that the right wing is so eager to blame music and movies "from liberal Hollywood" when kids who do crazy, violent things, yet people who are indoctrinated with year after year of Fair and Balanced Wingnut Poison are somehow invulnerable to its effects? Don't think this ended with von Brunn's capture yesterday. There were far too many people sitting at home watching the news and cheering him on.

More from Walsh:

If there's a through-line between any of these acts of terrorism and the right-wing rhetoric that abets it, of course, it's the one linking Bill O'Reilly to Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Tiller. O'Reilly more than demonized Tiller; night after night he called him a baby killer, compared him to the Nazis, and suggested that he must be stopped. Roeder stopped him, all right. If I were O'Reilly I'd feel terrible for putting a private figure in my public sights night after night, simply for doing his lawful job. But O'Reilly has no conscience, so he's proud of it.

And there's clearly been an uptick in rhetoric suggesting that white men are having their rights abridged by the Obama administration, especially since his pick of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. In a debate with Buchanan a couple of weeks ago, he told me that what was happening to white men was exactly what happened to black men — he didn't give me any examples of lynching — and that it was open season on white men. Wealthy Sen. Lindsay Graham suggested an average white guy like himself wouldn't get a fair shake from Sotomayor, and now even the new face of the GOP, Michael Steele, has said the same thing. If I were a marginal, unemployed, angry, racist white man right now, I'd be hearing a lot of mainstream conservative support for my point of view. Can that help create a climate for more violence? I don't know. I hope not, but I don't know.

What should happen now? Ironically, a great example of the right-wing echo chamber's bullying came when they managed to smack down the release of a Department of Homeland Security report about the rise of right-wing extremism. Judging from the right's rhetoric, you'd have thought Janet Napolitano was suggesting rounding up Rush and his dittoheads and putting them in an old Japanese-American internment camp or something. But in fact, as Susan Page explained today on "Hardball," the calm nine-page report merely looked at warning signs for extremism, based on history: They include a prolonged economic downturn, the demonization of immigrants, the election of the first black president, fears about losing the right to own guns, a banking crisis inciting age-old paranoia about "Jewish cabals" and the return of many veterans to the States suffering from PTSD and other conditions while getting insufficient care.

Presciently, the report said the top perceived threat was a "lone wolf": "White supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy — separate from any formalized group — which hampers warning efforts." DHS, meet James von Brunn, whose wife divorced him because of his hatred, racism, paranoia and violence.

But the right-wing echo chamber went nuts about the report. Rush called it "crap," thundering, "There is not one instance they can cite as evidence where any of these right-wing groups have done anything." Rep. Michele Bachmann crowed: "To me, it looks like the extremists are those running the DHS." John Boehner called it "offensive" and said, "Unfortunately, Secretary Napolitano still has a lot of explaining to do." Newt Gingrich harrumphed that "the person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired." And Rep. Peter Burgess said Napolitano herself should "step down, and let's move on."

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