Question of the Moment June 2, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, reproductive rights, Terrorism, wingnuts.
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Given what we know of accused terrorist and murderer Scott Roeder’s acquaintances, including his connection with convicted felon Cheryl Sullenger*, shouldn’t the rabid anti-terrorists types on the right be freaking out about what has all the appearances of a terrorist group?
Or do such standards only apply to people of color?**
* Sullenger was convicted of conspiring to bomb a clinic, which makes her pretty clearly a terrorist in my view, and, I’ll charitably assume, in the views of wingnuts who were so eager to label Bill Ayers a terrorist.
** To be clear, I think Operation Rescue is a terrorist group, in that they engage in intimidation and violent rhetoric against doctors performing legal procedures, and that their denunciations of Dr Tiller’s murder were mixed with talk of “reaping what he sowed” and other language that is very, very close to incitement to violence. Readers of this blog know I’m a fierce defender of free speech, even speech as odious as calling doctors “murderers” and comparing them to Nazis. But I think its time that people like those who encourage Roeder to be accountable for their actions. If what they’ve said rises to the level of incitement to violence, they should be prosecuted, and even where it does not, we must hold them responsible for their violent rhetoric, to the full extent of the law.
Free speech means they can say what they want; it does not free them from the responsibility of answering for what they choose to say.
Remembering September 11th September 11, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Morality, News and politics, Terrorism.
As others have pointed out, one of the great tragedies of this anniversary is that the man responsible for the 2001 attacks remains free, and Dubya doesn’t give a shit. Him and his Republican war-monger buddies couldn’t care less about actually stopping terrorists. They’re too busy pushing their Imperialist project in Iraq.
Which brings me to the real subject of this post: the other September 11th attack: September 11th, 1973. For those of you who don’t know, in 1973 the US, through the CIA, covertly sponsored a coup which resulted in the death of democractically elected Chilean President Allende. As the US has done repeatedly in left-leaning democracies, we ensured the destruction of the democracy and brought to power a vicious dictator who was more sympathetic to our militaristic agenda.
The facts aren’t in doubt, but you’ll rarely hear anyone talk about it, any more than you’ll hear about how the US trained and armed the Taliban or how we backed Saddam Hussein against Iran.
None of these actions make sense as actions to support Democracy, and they can only be understood as Imperialist actions, where the US forcibly attempted to protect its economic and military interests abroad even–perhaps especially–at the expence of democracy.
Simply put, US foreign policy since at least the advent of the cold war has been aimed at increasing US influence, often at the direct expense of liberty.
We should mourn the deaths of those who died on 9/11/2001, but we must also remember to mourn the many who have died as a result of the US’s misguided and evil foreign policy which propped up religious extremists, dictators and murderers and tore down genuine democracies.
Remember 9/11/1973. If we hope to truly defeat the terrorists and make the world a better place, we could start by supporting true democratic values abroad. If we choose to live up to the values we profess, rather than enforce what seems most politically advantageous, we will not train any more bin Ladens, will not prop up any more Husseins, will not murder any more democratically elected leaders–in short, we might truly be a force for good in the world, rather than a perpetuator of evil.
Big Goddamn Hero still being dishonored by the military March 27, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Keith Olbermann, News and politics, Terrorism.
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Here’s the story, in case you’ve been living in a cave or, like the President, not reading newspapers:
- After 9/11, a patriotic citizen is among many who volunteer to serve their country in the military.
- Because this particular recruit is a rich, famous athlete, this gets a lot of attention.
- The athlete is killed in action.
- The military says he is killed by bad guys.
- He was actually killed by friendly fire.
- The military continues to lie, change their story, and manipulate the public, all while using the athlete’s death as a recruitment tool, and as a means of selling an unjustified war.
- The hero’s family asks for answers, and is consistently and systematically lied to.
You’re no doubt aware I’m talking about the sad case of Pat Tillman. Tillman was, as the title of this post suggests, a Big Goddamn Hero, as is every man and woman who puts themselves at risk to protect the lives of others. As a soldier, as a man who gave his life fighting for his country, he deserves better than the lies the military has offered. Like all soldiers killed in action, he deserves to be treated with great respect. More than anything, he deserves to have his memory honored, not polluted with lies designed to advance an agenda he did not agree with. Tillman’s mother has repeatedly said that he was opposed to the war in Iraq and thought it illegal.
I’m trying to be calm about this, to be rational. I want to make it clear that Tillman died a hero, just as everyone who fights to protect others. I also know that if the military is lying about his death, they’re no doubt abusing the memory of other soldiers as well. There can still be good from all this: if Pat Tillman’s high profile results in real change in the military, if it will make it impossible for four generals to know about the real reason for a soldier’s death and to cover it up, then that will be a start.
We must honor the memory of those who die to save others. The lying has to stop. It is beyond an injustice, and it makes me sick to my stomach.
I encourage those who blog to reinforce this point with me. It is not a political issue, it is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of respect for those who are KIA, and we must make sure that is echoed loud and long. If you agree with me on this, I’d urge you to mention it on your blog, and/or leave a comment here. We need to create a stir about this the bloggosphere has about so many other important issues.
It’s time for the lies to stop.
How should the Israeli/Palestinian conflict be reported? February 4, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Israel, Middle East, News and politics, Palestine, Terrorism.
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What’s interesting to me here is that any effort to blame Israel for anything brings a reflexive response that the writer is anti-Semitic, or at least favoring the Palestinians. This is shocking: anyone who can look at that conflict and not see that blame lies not just with Palestinian terrorists and leaders who coddle them, but also with Israeli tactics including land-grabs and missions involving certain collateral damage, the West’s one-sided acceptance of Israel despite its undemocratic actions, and the Arab leaders who put pressure on both Israelis and Palestinians in order to draw out the conflict.
In short, there have been an amazing number of injustices committed in the region, and no one involved has clean hands. But this isn’t a popular position to take, because any opposition to the Israeli state’s action is interpreted in the West as an anti-Semitic, terrorist-loving position. For that reason we continue to uncritically support Israel no matter how obviously abhorrent its actions. Until we can face the true scope of the problem in the region, the problems will only worsen.
Best argument ever against atheism: religious people suck February 2, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Morality, Religion, Terrorism.
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…or so you would think. PZ Myers skewers Andrew Sullivan for a terrible argument. Sullivan (who used to be able to make coherent arguments) responds to an atheist pointing out that you don’t need to be religious to be moral:
But why is that more meaningful than flying a plane into the World Trade Center?
PZ rightly takes him to task, but I have one more thing to add: those men flew planes into the World Trade Center because they believed they would be rewarded by their god for doing so. If it were not for the promise of paradise, do you really believe they would have considered it a good idea to kill themselves and others were it not for the comforting thoughts of pleasing their god and being rewarded?
Now I’m not saying religion makes everyone into terrorists. Obviously there are lots of moral, wonderful religious people. Terrorists don’t make people like M. L. King Jr and Gandhi any less noble. But that’s not the point: Sullivans response to an atheist is to demonstrate how evil people can use religion to justify their actions.
So my response to Sullivan is simple: your example is a condemnation of religion, not atheism.
Conservatives are losing the battle against terrorism January 31, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism, wingnuts.
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Seeing Jane Fonda Saturday was enough to make me wish the unthinkable: it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again. Remember how quiet they were after 9/11? No one dared take them seriously. It was the United States against the terrorist world, just like it should be.
That’s some insight into the wingnut mind where one imagines 9/11 as a good thing, not just because you could buy crying eagle T-shirts and commemorative plates, but because it shut all those liberals with their facts and inconvenient truths up.
Ain’t it nice when wingnuts expose themselves so honestly? If only those terrorists would hit us again, then I could make people shut up!
What disturbs me about all this, aside from the obvious, is that Bush barely won in 2004 by scaring people about terrorism and implying that he was the only candidate that had the abilities to prevent it. The problem with this viewpoint was not only that it was wrong, but it was the opposite of reality. The reaction of members of BushCo to the events of 9/11 (seeking ways to make it a political opportunity to push for an already planned war on Iraq) plus attitudes like Gallagher’s makes it clear that conservatives don’t have the attitudes in place required to stop terrorism. For one thing, to really stop it, you have to start with the belief that terrorism is an all-around bad thing.
What’s more, the Conservative leadership has unquestionably made the world a more dangerous place. Afghanistan is sliding back to the Taliban at an alarming rate, the war with Iraq has created a new generation of terrorists and squandered the goodwill of the world, and Bush is trying desperately to provoke a disastrous and illegal war with Iran. We have made more people hate us, have given terrorists more places to hide, and have only reinforced bin Laden’s argument that US Imperialism is a threat to sovereign Muslim nations. Oh, and has anyone bothered to secure our ports or implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
If Democrats want to take the ground of terrorism away from Republicans, they should be repeating these facts over and over. If Bush could convince the American people that Saddam was behind 9/11 merely by repeatedly suggesting it, we can over time make the case that Conservatism is destroying our ability to fight terrorism.
That is the message I want to hear from progressive and moderate candidates. But will anyone step forward and lead the charge?
on tolerance, secularism and rationality January 15, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Morality, News and politics, Religion, Terrorism, wingnuts.
I hope you’ll bear with me for this post. In it, I will attempt to work out how we can, as decent, thoughtful human beings, promote democracy and rationality, while both valuing tolerance and refusing to give ground to fundamentalists of all stripes. It is my goal here not to find an ultimate answer to these problems, but rather to foster further discussion on this important topic. If you care about the roles of reason and faith in contemporary society, please read after the fold and leave a note letting me know what you think.
Bush to democracy, Iran, America, reason: Fuck you! January 12, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Dubya, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, News and politics, Terrorism.
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In a story that didn’t see almost any coverage here, but on Wednesday American forces raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq and “detained” its employees. As for what official status the building had,
Iranian and Iraqi officials said the building was an Iranian consulate and the detainees its employees.
The US military said it was still investigating, but that the building did not have diplomatic status.
This is a non-trivial debate, as if the building had diplomatic status this would be every bit as much an act of war as if Iranians had, say, seized an American embassy. But regardless of whether the building had such status, the timing of this raid (coinciding with Bush’s address and it’s threats against Iran) add to the already strong evidence that Bush is attempting to force an armed conflict with Iran, military appraisals, international law, the Constitution and the will of the American people be damned.
Looking for reasons to be optimistic October 2, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics, Terrorism.
Things are bad right now. Bush has received what he wants: a bill that ignores the Constitution and allows anyone, anywhere, to be detained without trial, on nothing but the government’s say-so. There’s no right to trial, no prohibition on any torture so long as Bush says it is okay. In short, you or anyone you know could be charged as an enemy combatant and held indefinitely without trial. I am not exaggerating.
In less far-reaching but similarly troubling legislation, we’re now passing laws designed to protect religious folk from the consequences of their unconstitutional actions.
We’re living at the beginning of a post-Constitutional age. Those in power have decided that they have no obligation to the law of the land, and no one in power seems truly willing to call them on it.
So I ask you, my readers: is there any good news out there?
Just in case you missed it September 25, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Iraq, Terrorism.
Defenders of the Iraq war, let’s here from you: what’s your defense of the “Bush Doctrine” now?