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Archive for March 24th, 2010

During the Bush years, members of the far-right would often suggest that liberals were “with the terrorists” if we merely opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, or if we opposed the policies of the Republican leadership at the time. In fact, any negative criticism of the president whatsoever was considered unpatriotic “while troops were in harm’s way.” That was the line we heard almost daily throughout the previous decade: don’t undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were deployed in battle. Just don’t. Or Sean Hannity will crush you with his mighty hairline!

But in general, there was this idea among Republicans that liberals were somehow emboldening the terrorists anytime we suggested that it might be a bad idea to eavesdrop on American telecommunications, or that it might be a bad idea to torture detainees, or that it might be a bad idea to invade Iran after having already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to varying degrees of failure. Either we were with the administration, or we were with the terrorists.

We can debate at another time whether or not anyone is currently “emboldening” Islamic terrorists or putting the troops in jeopardy by constantly accusing their commander-in-chief of hating America, of hating white people, of hating freedom or of hating you personally.

The more important discussion during this groundbreaking week in American history is whether or not legitimate Republican and conservative leaders are instigating and inciting violence against the president, against Democrats, against liberals and, in some cases, against children.

And they are.

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Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

FBI Investigating Cut Gas Line At Home Of Dem Rep’s Brother

TPM Muckraker

Justin Elliott | March 24, 2010, 12:45PM

After a tea party organizer published the address of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) in a blog post urging anti-health reform activists to “drop by,” someone cut a propane gas line at the house, Politico is reporting.

Now the FBI is investigating what happened at the home near Charlottesville, according to Politico.

The development comes on the heels of at least five instances of vandalism — mainly in the form of smashed doors and windows — at Democratic offices around the country in the days around the House health care vote Sunday night.

In the Periello case, an activist named Mike Troxel of the Lynchburg Tea Party wrote a blog post telling activists to add a “personal touch” to their anger at Periello — who voted yes on the health care bill — by going to his house. But Troxel mistakenly posted the address of Periello’s brother.

The blog post was apparently published on the site virginia6th.teapartywatchdogs.com, which is now down. (You can read a cached version of what is apparently Troxel’s response to Politico‘s original piece here.)

And there’s one coda here, reported by the Danville News: Another tea party activist who reportedly posted Periello’s brother’s address online, Nigel Coleman of the Danville Tea Party, wrote in a blog comment after learning about the mistaken address: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”

(This post has been updated to include Coleman’s comments.)

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Eric S. Margolis, Khaleej Times Online, March 22, 2010

A fascinating scandal has erupted in Washington over the use of mercenaries (‘private contractors’ in US terminology) that is exposing the dark underbelly of America’s foreign wars. It has been that the Pentagon and other US intelligence agencies secretly fielded mercenaries in Afghanistan, Pakistan (aka “Af-Pak”), and Iraq to assassinate tribal militants.

US law forbids murder or using mercenaries. But, as the Roman jurist Cicero said, “laws are silent in times of war.”

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By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com, March 23, 2010

One does not normally see this truth stated so starkly in places like Time Magazine — from Michael Scherer’s interesting article on AIPAC’s current strategy to “storm Congress”:

The third “ask” that AIPAC supporters will make of Congress on Tuesday is to once again pass the $3 billion in U.S. aid provided annually to Israel. “It’s a very tough ask this year,” [AIPAC lobbyist Steve] Aserkoff admitted, noting the U.S. domestic budgetary and economic challenges. Among other major purchases, the Israeli government has announced plans to replace its aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets with new, American-made F-35 fighters, a major cost that Israel hopes will be substantially born for [sic] by American taxpayers.

Those would be the same ”American taxpayers” who are now being told that they have to suffer cuts in Medicare and Social Security because of budgetary constraints, who are watching as the most basic social services (the hallmark of being a developed country) are being rapidly abolished (from the 12th Grade to basic care for children, the infirm and elderly), and are burdened with a national debt so large that America’s bond ratings are being degraded by the minute. Why should those same American taxpayers bear the enormous costs of Israel’s military purchases (as Israel enjoys booming economic growth)? Especially if the issue is presented as cleanly and honestly as Scherer did here, and especially if Israel continues to extend its proverbial middle finger to even the most basic U.S. requests that it cease activities that harm American interests, how much longer can this absurdity be sustained?

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