It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. We were warned. The Department of Homeland Security released a report (initiated by the Bush administration) that recognized growing right-wing extremism. Oddly the conservative media took umbrage at that report, but the two killers Scott Roeder and James Von Brunn certainly validated it. So where is this coming from?
Paul Krugman reported something extremely important Friday.
Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.These people are inciting violence for the purpose of regaining political control, the same political control recently lost by the conservative Republicans when their administration of government was determined to be a complete failure. The right-wing conservative media is stoking violence and hiding behind freedom of speech and freedom of the press to do it. Then they are denying they told anyone to go out and kill, even while they excoriate the Obama administration in terms not heard since they previously treated Bill Clinton the same way.
Now, for the most part, the likes of Fox News and the R.N.C. haven’t directly incited violence, despite Bill O’Reilly’s declarations that “some” called Dr. Tiller “Tiller the Baby Killer,” that he had “blood on his hands,” and that he was a “guy operating a death mill.” But they have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time a Democrat held the White House.
And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.
What the American right-wing politicians and media are doing amounts to terrorism. They are instigating and promotion it and letting their fringe elements individually decide when and where to act on it. Then they the pundits and politicians deny they approve of those actions even while urging others like Terry Randall of Operation Rescue fame.
There are limits to freedom of speech and the press. The classic example is that it is criminal to yell fire in a crowded theater. That's not free speech. It's a felony.
Dave Niewert has just published an excellent and timely new book on the American right wing extremists called "The Eliminationists." In it he makes the point that American conservative politicians used to advocate conservative policies, but they were generally law-and-order people who rejected crazy fringe ideas and condemned violence. Their rhetoric was that of sane careful administrators even if conservative. But that changed in the early 90's. Led by the talk radio rhetoric, the mainstream Republican conservatives adopted the rhetoric and many of the ideas held by the fringe groups such as the radical anti-abortionists (Eric Rudolph) and the militia and Patriot movements, so that now there is no difference in rhetoric between mainstream conservative politicians and the radical right wing militia groups and the anti-abortion extremists. The only difference is that the mainstream conservative politicians stopped short of picking up guns themselves and killing someone.
But the result of the increase in inflammatory conservative rhetoric on right-wing TV and radio has been seen by the fringe right wing movements as giving them from the mainstream culture permission to act on the extreme rhetoric and crazy stories.
Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler points out that this all happened before, the last time there was a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress. It included one crazy who crashed his light plane into the White House to try to kill President Clinton. Much of the extreme rhetoric and violence died down, though, as soon as Newt Gingrich orchestrated the takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994.
That's what this is all about. The right-wing has been kicked out of power because they can't run government effectively. They have no policies for America. But they have a way to regain power, and it is through terrorism, extremist rhetoric and sowing massive amounts of fear in the public. Then they offer themselves as the only possible cure for the very terrorism they are stoking. And the mainstream media lets them get away with it without comment. In fact, they spent two years (1998 - 2000) gratuitously trashing and making up lies about the Democratic nominee for President until the Presidential election was so close the right-wing packed US Supreme Court could swing the 2000 election to the Republican candidate. The trashing of the President and 2000 Presidential candidate stopped when Bush was elected. Bush got a love fest for eight years except during the proof of each of his worst disasters when the media couldn't avoid reporting negatively on him. Funny thing. It started again as soon as Barack Obama took office. It has started slow, as the media finds its stories and themes, but it was building process under Clinton also. But we are seeing the same pattern.
Think history will repeat itself? I do. It's not a conspiracy, it's cultural. The institutionalized powers and the super wealthy in America feel threatened and displaced by a Democratic party government that actually works to benefit average Americans. They will remove the Democrats. Again.