Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Toxic Distraction

I posted Toxic Talk (3/01/09) and Dancing with a Snake (1/29/09) to refer to the inflammatory rhetoric coming from so called conservative or extreme right wing elements of the Republican party. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a report noting the rise of right wing extremist groups and extremist group recruiting (Actual Report PDF) as a result of the economic difficulties and the election of an African American as President. I’ll let others discuss the details of the report, which is already provoking strong reactions. This post instead reflects on the right wing "humor" available for purchase on T-shirts, in this case, at The image shows six shirts literally for sale at the Web site right now.

I’m not laughing.

The McCain campaign discovered to its detriment that fanning these kinds of flames kindles nastiness we don’t want kindled. The kooks that consider Timothy McVeigh a hero start to emerge from the woodwork and fantasize about the contribution they might make to society. I’m not that concerned (yet) about a repeat of Oklahoma City, but I do fear for Obama himself. I won’t even try to describe the aftermath of something happening to him, but it includes cities on fire and catastrophic loss of political and economic functionality, not to mention life. It would dwarf anything in American history save the Civil War and the birth of the nation itself. The good news is that The White House understands this and the Secret Service is on a mission from God.

More applicable to the pragmatic politics of the day is the extent to which the GOP allows the extremist language to enter into its discourse, or better said, to what extent the GOP nay saying and its incessant barrage against the Obama administration gets lumped together with the toxic material. I know and respect (locally) several Republicans including elected ones who care about others, authentically want the world to be a better place, and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing shirts like those shown here. That said, if the GOP does get associated with "I’d Rather Be Waterboarding," an association strengthened by Cheney’s television appearances and further reinforced by news that the GOP is suppressing the release of torture memos, the party is in serious trouble.

The GOP faces quite a conundrum. Their base consists of lunatics. How does one keep the lunatics yet present a credible philosophy that can get to 50%? If they tell the lunatics to pound salt and start advocating reasonable positions (drop the homophobia, admit the government should govern, serve all instead of only the ultra-rich, tell Limbaugh he’s what he is with no apology, etc.), their credibility rises dramatically. What are the kooks going to do, vote for a democrat?

The Republican party needs to swallow the short term pain of a divorce and end a bad marriage that painfully binds its intellect. It should allow the monsters to forge their own party, the KTA (Kill Them All). KTA could march in the streets with their "Let God Sort Them Out" and "Thank God for Aids" shirts and perhaps get 6.66 percent of the vote. KTA would die quickly, and the GOP’s best minds would be liberated to pursue the reason it represented before this toxic distraction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoepfully it will be the Republicans hanging themselves.

4/15/2009 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

The Mecca Weather Forecast is SICK. It is worse the repugnant and beyond repulsive.

It is literally nauseating, and the people who think like this - I won't even say it.

Only Dick Cheney is as close to pure evil as Ann Coulter, a truly despicable creature.

I think you chose a good word: Toxic. This filth is toxic. It is poison. If there is any good news, it's that we now see it for what it is, unlike during the eighties.

4/15/2009 8:45 AM  
Blogger TexPatriate said...

My head hurts.

I am not a lunatic, and those shirts just. . . *speechless*.

BUT -- I have a question for you. Why give them this kind of exposure ? The kooks are out there, have been out there, and will always BE out there. Why lend them your credence by linking to their insanity ?

*steps into her Kevlar-lined flame suit*

(Oh, and I *DO* mean "insanity", by the way -- moderate Republicans are human beings. These people. . . just worry me -- and I don't necessarily believe that Coulter is a "people", either. She may just be made up of pure hate all stuck together in skin, much the way that Cheney is pure evil with a wrapper.)

4/15/2009 9:15 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

Good post, X4mr.

TexPatriate brings up a good point. Why the exposure?

I think the exposure just points back to our lazy, incompetent mainstream media that choose to "report" whatever can be sensationalized.

If MSM were not exposing the latest loudmouthed, crazy, psychotic wingnut, they might have to report something important.

God forbid that they would actually try to do something useful like educate Americans on why the world economy is going up in flames. That would mean they would have to be professional investigative journalists, and there aren't too many of them left.

Oh, yeah, and what is going on in Iraq these days?

On one hand we see the GOP in total meltdown, unable to even recognize the need for a complete overhaul. Some may think this is good because the country needs time to recover from the damage they have done.

On the other hand, the vacuum is being filled by the absolute worst of their so-called supporters, and like X4mr says, some of them are dangerous.

9/11 certainly removed the spotlight from Tim McVeigh and his kind, but what happened in Oklahoma City is something we should not forget.

4/15/2009 10:40 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Some have already formed their own party. It's called the "Constitution Party".

4/15/2009 11:45 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Maybe I should post this over here too. It's the manifesto of the guy who shot up the church in Knoxville last year to kill liberals.

4/15/2009 11:47 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Jesus, Stephen. That manifesto is disturbing as hell.

Those T-shirts are DISGUSTING beyond words. I'm with Observer about the weather report. I actually reacted physically. It made me feel nauseas.

X4mr will no doubt speak for himself when he gets a chance, but I think he's a "knowledge is power" know your enemy kind of guy. I also don't think he runs any risk of "lending credence" by citing his source with a link.

The DHS report and this post fit together, I think, and the Republicans really do need to get a divorce. They need to come out forcefully against this cancer. X4mr mentioned the organized efforts of Republican senators to roadblock nominations if Obama releases torture memos of the Bush administration. Think about that. Republicans are trying to suppress documents about torture.

I think that is a move in the exact WRONG direction. The Republicans should encourage the release of the documents, condemn torture and Cheney, repudiate Limbaugh as a hate-mongering quack, as x4mr suggests.

While it made me sick, I think x4mr's post is excellent and it illustrates the accurate reality that the Republicans have married demons, and the time has come for a divorce. Texpat is absolutely right (x4mr has said as much as well) that there are intelligent, respectable moderate Republicans. They need to take over the party and let the wackos join the "constitution" party.

4/15/2009 12:22 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Nav pretty much says it, but can appreciate Texpat’s question. I strongly lean towards exposing and discussing rather than ignoring. Ignoring / not taking seriously helped Hitler’s rise to power. However, I have a counter example that I think illustrates Texpat’s sentiments well. Back in the Northwestern days, I had an engineering professor, Arthur Butz, who believed and wrote a book that the holocaust never occurred. Northwestern is 40+ % Jewish, so you can imagine how his sentiments landed with the students. Butz kept inviting people to debate the issue, and very specifically threw the gauntlet down to famous holocaust survivor, actor and published author Robert Clary. Clary refused to debate Butz, citing a simple and elegant explanation, "I was there."

That nails it. There is nothing to debate, and as I think Texpat might believe, by agreeing to debate Butz, Clary would have granted him some ticket into the conversation that is not warranted, a "credence" that is undeserved. Fully aware of that example, I don’t think it applies here, and I highly doubt that exposing this content in this context helps it in any way. I think those who actually engage the piece (by that I mean reading it with enough focus to comprehend it – not a 3 second scan) will have the reaction I anticipate, i.e., Navigator having to work a little to retain his breakfast. We can certainly have different views on this.

4/15/2009 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Utterly disgusting. I just can't get my head around wearing a shirt that says, "Thank God for AIDS."

My god. Like the others above, the weather report is just ... yeah, speechless, Tex.

Unbelievable and deeply offensive.

4/15/2009 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Diana said...

I have to say it’s entertaining to see pansy ass x4mr and his liberal wimpi-poo readers get all panty twisted and butt hurt over simple T-shirts poking fun at their political correctness. Don’t you get the jokes? I laugh at your upset tummy, Navigator. What a gutless turd. The humor is no different from the liberal shows.

Those who know what truly made this country great, the free liberty of the individual without government interference, will do what is necessary to save the nation while you looters whine about it. X4mr acts all smarty about reading Ayn Rand, but apparently he didn’t understand a thing he read.

4/15/2009 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

To ignore or not to ignore...
Ignore Diana. Praise x4mr for a piece of outstanding biased journalism. I belive in biased/partisan jurnalism because it is naturally human, stirs curiousity, invites debate and -in reference to "Media Morphology"- keeps us from being turned into a big, colective cockroach.

4/15/2009 5:36 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Diana is a troll. "She" is not interested in any real exchange of ideas.

Diana - you are not going to provoke the readers here the way you would like. You waste more of your time than you waste ours because we know what you are.

Consider the above your last comment at this blog. Don't bother posting another.

4/15/2009 7:37 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Profuse apologies if I am wrong, Mariana, but are you OK?

Your last few comments tweak my "well being" meters. I am not referring to your opinions, and I won't elaborate. My email address is at my profile. If a chat would of value, I'm offering. You're good people and I wish you well. If I misunderstand and all is well, then I sincerely apologize.

4/15/2009 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The GOP faces quite a conundrum. Their base consists of lunatics."

Stuff like this tarnishes a lot of the other well reasoned stuff you write.

You guys are going to have to get the story straight, are we lunatics or cold calculating domestic terrorists?

I think your premise is incorrect. "The base" is regular joes who work for a living and who have to live within their own means and expect their government to do the same.

People of all persuasions wear all sorts of irreverent t shirts, that's the best you've got?

As for the DHS report, come on, you actually think that guys who fought actual terrorists to defend the constitution are more prone to domestic terrorism? Really?

Don't agree with you on this one x4mr.

4/15/2009 10:59 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Well, anon, wouldn’t expect you to agree with me on this one. Still, I can tell you’re no idiot, and okay, my language could use refining. Your base has elements of lunacy, as articulated by T-shirts and well published speeches by mouthpieces like Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh, and should I include Michael Savage and Glenn Beck? Do you deny that their rhetoric is associated with the GOP discourse, whose problematic implications are the fundamental point of my post?

I wish your party were about regular guys doing their jobs and living within their means who want their government to do the same. If that were the case, what’s all this noise about gays and guns and birth control? Don’t regular guys doing their jobs have a better game to watch? What happened when your party had carte blanche rule under Bush? Do you have any idea what it’s like for a person like me to listen to a Republican talk about fiscal responsibility? While Bush is president, you toss trillions with reckless abandon, but when Obama gets elected, oh wait.

Do you have any idea how you occur to me?

4/15/2009 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fine x4. I hear your points.

Just one more point. You are naming...they aren't exactly leaders..but they are popular people who make pretty darned good livings talking politics. Most radio hosts will tell you that you have to be controversial to be successful. So they take stands. They get paid a lot of money and sell a lot of Vermont Teddy Bears and Sleep Number beds. On a side note, with the sad state of much terrestrial music radio, you have the choice of hearing the same hundred songs (pick your genre) you've heard for thirty or more years for the millionth time or you can hear the day's news discussed and commented on...can you blame people for switching off repetetive music radio and hearing other people talk?

All I'm saying is this: the grassroots, the base, which is what I thought we were discussing, were none too happy with Bush's fiscal policy and the fiscal policy of many established R's in Congress--they lost their way. It hurt McCain because he was viewed I think as more of the same by the base, the hard working average Joes (and this is not some Joe The Plumber reference either) I mean average folks working. So the moderate wing keeps forcing people on us and they honestly are not doing so well lately.

I'm not going to get into the abortion and gay marraige debate with you. People have their views on these issues one way or the other.

I don't know how I occur to you.

I do know that the grassroots are looking, desperately, for someone who will use as few tax dollars as is necessary and, when they are spent make sure that it is efficiently spent.

Both sides have nut jobs in the orthodox wings of their parties, surely you can admit that. I don't like blatant bigots on my side any more that a lib likes an environmental activist who damages property or sets booby traps on their side. Both sides should shun these activities and perpetrators.

My point is that I disagree with your point that the base is a bunch of looneys or hate mongers. Appreciate your comment above that at least you see where I'm coming from.

4/16/2009 12:51 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...


I think x4mr is being generous with you.

I am less generous. I think you are completely full of it to suggest the base is a bunch a swell people earning their modest incomes. Bullshit. The reason Rush Limbaugh’s hate infested rhetoric and Ann Coulter’s toxic diatribes make so much money is precisely because this "base" likes to hear that crap. F head Limbaugh showed his true colors when he ridiculed Michael Fox’s medical condition, an act every bit as offensive as these T-shirts. If the base were as you suggest, that piece of shit would be out of a job. I will acknowledge from what you have written that you are not one of the people I am referring to here.

I think the subject of this post is the Republican Party’s relationship with the hateful Neanderthal rhetoric. Your party does NOT repudiate the misogynist meat heads, the homophobes, the Timothy McVeigh militia types, and so on. Instead, your party grovels to Lord Limbaugh and pretends the venom he spews is benign. It is anything but benign. I think what x4mr is pointing to was well symbolized by that idiot woman in front of McCain who said Obama was an Arab. In that moment, McCain did what the entire Republican Party should but will not do. He rejected the insanity.

Did you read the "manifesto" that Stephen provided a link to? It’s all there in black and white. Like x4mr says, the Republicans are dancing with a snake.

Also, it's interesting that NOW you're so called base is talking about fiscal responsibility. When it was Bush's ball game, YOUR PARTY just couldn't squander the trillions fast enough.

Also, what's up with suppressing the information about torture? YOUR PARTY is protecting Bush and Cheney. Instead, they should be calling for a war crimes tribunal.

As I said, you are not a part of it, but you are glossing over and discounting the very evil that this post is addressing.

4/16/2009 12:43 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

I just looked through about 50 pictures of these so called "tea parties." The signs some of these people are carrying are about as offensive as anything I've seen. They may as well be wearing white hoods and carrying flaming crosses.

These same imbeciles who accuse Obama of spending the country into bankruptcy (in addition to being Hitler) haven't much of a memory. They apparently never tallied up the present and future cost of the Bush Wars.

They are also clueless about the origins of the world's financial crisis. They wouldn't know a collateralized debt obligation, a credit default swap, or an asset to capital ratio of 35:1 if one were to crawl out their asses, but yet they blame Obama (now president for less than three months) for all of it. It's those damn bailouts. They've already forgotten or never knew about the Bush Administration bailouts.

Anonymous (12:51 AM), I totally agree with Navigator.

If there is any leadership left at all in your party, then you need to reign in the racist, ignorant filth that is rising to the top in the absence of saner voices.

One of two things is true:
1. The media are hyping extremists because it's easier for them than real investigative journalism.
2. This is the direction the GOP is headed.

Either way, you have a problem.

Public perception is being set, and perceptions are difficult to change.

4/16/2009 1:58 PM  

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