Friday, April 06, 2012

The Right-Wing War On Women Is Much More Real Than You Think

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Reince Priebus wants you to believe there's no right-wing war on women, at least not as far as the Republican Party is concerned. But he's not telling you the whole story.

The ugly truth is that the recent outbreak of viral misogyny among right-wingers is really only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the unpleasant Rush Limbaugh bloviation eruptions is a massive lava bed of festering male insecurities and psychopathic hatred of women -- and it's only bubbling to the surface now in relatively watered-down forms.

To understand this, you need to look at the festering pit of pathetic maledom that the "men's rights" movement has become in recent years. A recent piece by Arthur Goldwag in the SPLC's Intelligence Report delves these depths with aplomb:
The men’s movement also includes mail-order-bride shoppers, unregenerate batterers, and wannabe pickup artists who are eager to learn the secrets of “game”—the psychological tricks that supposedly make it easy to seduce women. George Sodini, who confided his seething rage at women to his blog before shooting 12 women, three of them fatally, was one of the latter. Before his 2009 murder spree at a Pittsburgh-area gym, he was a student — though clearly not a very apt one — of R. Don Steele, the author of How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35. “I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne — yet 30 million women rejected me over an 18 or 25-year period,” Sodini wrote with the kind of pathos presumably typical of Steele’s readers.

Other movement adherents have forsworn sex altogether, or at least romantic relationships and marriage; the acronym they use for themselves is MGTOW, for “Men Going Their Own Way.” “If you are willing to marry a woman — any woman — in the West then you must also be willing to become the next murder-suicide story when she threatens to file for divorce, steal your kids out of your life and extort you for every current and future dollar you will ever earn,” wrote one commenter at The Spearhead. “If a man kidnapped your children, stole your home, your wallet and your bank account, you’d be more than willing to kill him in self defense. Why is it any different when ex-wives do it with the full force of the law behind them?”

Some take an inordinate interest in extremely young women, or fetishize what they see as the ultra-feminine (read: docile) characteristics of South American and Asian women. Others, who have internalized Christian “headship” doctrine, are desperately seeking the “submissive” women such doctrine celebrates. Still others are simply sexually awkward, and nonplussed and befuddled by society’s changing mores. The common denominator is their resentment of feminism and of females in general.
As the piece explains, this version of manhood has irregular eruptions in a variety of locales around the country in the form of raging psychopaths who embark on murderous sprees against women:
Today, that kind of rage is often directed at all women, not only perceived feminists. “Women don’t need the powers-that-be to get them to hate and use men,” the blogger Alcuin wrote recently. “They have always used men; maybe they have always hated us too.” Added another blogger, Angry Harry: “There are now, literally, billions of dollars, numerous empires, and millions of jobs that depend on the public swallowing the idea that women need to be defended from men.”

“A word to the wise,” offered the blogger known as Rebuking Feminism. “The animals women have become want one thing, resources and genes. … See them as the animals they have become and plan … accordingly.”

And many are quick to endorse violence against women. “There are women, and plenty of them, for which [sic] a solid ass kicking would be the least they deserve,” Paul Elam wrote in an essay with the provocative title, “When is it OK to Punch Your Wife?” “The real question here is not whether these women deserve the business end of a right hook, they obviously do, and some of them deserve one hard enough to leave them in an unconscious, innocuous pile on the ground if it serves to protect the innocent from imminent harm. The real question is whether men deserve to be able to physically defend themselves from assault … from a woman.”
Yes, there really is a war against women going on out there right now. What we're seeing from the GOP birth-control caucus and the Rush Limbaugh element is only the public eruptions of a much nastier and uglier worldview -- all being fostered by our friends on the right.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Get A Grip: NRA Fearmongers Are Whipping Up A Nasty Case Of Extremism After The Election

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Hey, right-wingers: Let's have a little talk about the coming election.

We realize it's not looking so hot for your side, what with the clown-car primary season we've gotten on the Republican side and all. But really, if you lose, it's not the end of the world.

You know that, we know that. It sucks to be you, but it is what it is. And it's not the apocalypse.

So we here in the world of normal people would like to make a request: Stop telling your followers that it is.

Because we know, with night-follows-day-certainty, that you folks have some violent and mentally unstable people lingering among your ranks. And we know with the same certainty that, after the election, these same people will begin acting out violently, usually leaving behind as victims we folks here on Planet Normal, if Obama does indeed win out, as is looking (thanks to GOP ineptitude) increasingly likely.

And it will be all because they believe the crazy-ass crap you guys spew in order to get them all whipped up and eager to vote.

The leading nutcase in this parade has been the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre, who has been warning his fellow right-wingers of a massive Obama conspiracy to destroy the Second Amendment:
If you want a glimpse of a genuine nightmare for America, just look at what’s headed our way.

But unlike a nightmare, this isn’t some fantasy. It’s a very real, very dangerous conspiracy of public deception intended to destroy your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

It’s targeted directly at you.

And it’ll succeed unless you recognize it, understand it, and take action now to stop it.
Gosh Almighty! What a nefarious scheme! And here's how it will work:
1. Neutralize gun owners and NRA voters as a political force in national elections, and thereby:

2. Win re-election to a second term in the White House, where they then will be immune to the will of voters and free to continue consolidating and misusing their ever-increasing power to:

3. Prosecute a full-scale, sustained, all-out campaign to excise the Second Amendment from our Bill of Rights through legislation, litigation, regulation, executive orders, judicial fiat, international treaties—in short, all the levers of power of all three branches of government.
Recall what he told the CPAC folks:

"[The Obama campaign] will say gun owners -- they'll say they left them alone," LaPierre told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday. "In public, he'll remind us that he's put off calls from his party to renew the Clinton [assault weapons] ban, he hasn't pushed for new gun control laws. ... The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he's actually been good for the Second Amendment."

"But it's a big fat stinking lie!" the NRA leader exclaimed. "It's all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and destroy the Second Amendment in our country."
"Obama himself is no fool. So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled," La Pierre declared.

"Sotomayor, Kagan, Fast & Furious, the United Nations, executive orders. Those are the facts we face today... President Obama and his cohorts, yeah, they're going to deny their conspiracy to fool gun owners. Some in the liberal media, they are already probably blogging about it. But we don't care because the lying, conniving Obama crowd can kiss our Constitution!"
Yeah, yeah, yeah. As Matt Gertz at Media Matters observes:
NRA leaders and advocates have been so hard up for evidence that President Obama is anti-gun that they have been citing an Obama-implemented rule that requires gun dealers in some states to report multiple sales of assault weapons to the ATF. That rule would not prevent a single person from getting a firearm.

The NRA's hysterical claim that President Obama plans to repeal the Second Amendment is a natural byproduct of the Supreme Court's finding in District of Columbia v. Heller that the amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Until then, the group could offer the similarly conspiratorial claim that gun bans and confiscation were right around the corner. With those ideas taken off the table even in theory by Heller, NRA has moved on to even more ludicrous conspiracies.
But look at what they're telling their gape-mouthed followers:
It might seem like a stretch to compare an election to one of the deadliest disasters in modern history.

This year’s election could prove the most disastrous in the history of this country. Why? Because this election will decide whether Americans remain free.

There’s no simpler, more accurate or exact way to say it—it’s all or nothing.
Either we defeat Barack Obama and retain all the benefits of our pro-gun victories over the past 30 years—from the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, to the Right-to-Carry revolution, Castle Doctrine, hunter protection and landmark victories in the U.S. Supreme Court—or we lose this election and lose it all.

Everything you and I, and gun owners across America have fought to achieve over the past three decades could be lost as a result of just one presidential election.
It’s not just firearm freedom that’s endangered—all of our freedoms are on the line.
Now, pardon me for saying so, but that's just looney-tunes ludicrous. And telling people that Obama is going to take away all of their freedoms if he wins re-election will leave a lot of people who actually believe this crap angry and frustrated beyond belief. And if they happen to have an unstable and violent disposition to boot, then they are going to cause problems.

This is just classic Bad Speech: profoundly irresponsible, cancerous and toxic, inevitably tragic. It's not just the NRA, either. It's pervasive on the right these days. And we know that when the inevitable violent acts happen, you all will run away and claim you have no responsibility for them.

Well, this is Good Speech. We're calling you out on this. We're begging you to stop. Because rest assured: We will be holding you to account.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Feds Are Circling Around White-Supremacist Godfather Tom Metzger

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

You may remember those arrests back in 2009 of three leading white supremacists — Robert Joos, and Dennis and Daniel Mahon — for the 2004 bombing of the racial-diversity office of Scottsdale, Arizona, that seriously injured the office's director and inflicted wounds on two other people. Even though the trail had seemingly gone cold, dogged investigators finally ran these domestic terrorists to ground.

Now it appears that the investigators' relentlessness is about to bring down one of the nation's most prominent white supremacists, according to the SPLC's Bill Morlin:
Tom Metzger — a wily, iconic racist ideologue who has for years espoused “lone-wolf” terrorism — could soon find himself facing criminal charges filed by the federal government he’s excoriated for decades.

Federal investigators, fresh off a related mail-bombing conviction in Arizona, may be pressing for what could develop into a major Justice Department criminal case against “Terrible Tommy” Metzger, as he likes to call himself. Court records filed in three states show the investigators strongly suspect Metzger provided the Arizona bomber with explosive-making instructions, knowing they would be used in the commission of a crime of violence.

At 74, Metzger, who now lives in Warsaw, Ind., has “celebrity status” as the founder of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), court documents say, and is a dean of white supremacists. He’s the last vestige of a generation of revolutionary racist leaders in the United States that included the late Richard G. Butler of Aryan Nations and the late Robert Miles, a one-time Michigan Klan leader and convicted bomber. While those two and many other racist leaders were charged in various criminal cases over the past three decades, Metzger has managed to avoid any serious criminal charges in his 40-plus years of activism.

That may be about to change.
The documents Morlin has dug up make clear that the feds are poised to file indictments against Metzger in short order — because what's become apparent through their investigation is that the Scottsdale bombers were acting at Metzger's behest.

It's a great piece of reporting, so be sure to read it all. I particularly noted this tidbit:
On May 22, 2008, after finding partial DNA profiles on some of the Scottsdale bomb components, ATF agents with a court warrant swabbed the mouths of the Mahon brothers to see if they could obtain a match. Ultimately, they couldn’t make the match, but their visit raised alarms. Two days later, testimony at the later Mahon trial would reveal, Dennis Mahon called his mentor, Metzger.

“I won’t betray you, Tom,” Mahon said over the tapped phone.

“I didn’t think you would,” Metzger replied
Metzger, as Morlin explains, has a long and deep lineage in the white-supremacist movement, and a remarkably broad influence: In many regards, the Minuteman movement of 2005-2010 was Metzger's brainchild. It was Metzger, after all, who in 1978 came up with idea (reportedly inspired by Robert DePugh's radical-right 1960s militia organization that called itself the Minutemen) of a vigilante border watch as part of David Duke's Klan organization, and the first Klan Border Watch soon followed.

Here in the Northwest, Metzger is widely remembered as the neo-Nazi godfather who directed skinheads to assault blacks, leading to the beating death of a Nigerian exchange student named Mulugeta Seraw in Portland in 1988. That wound up putting Metzger out of business for a long while. But like all good zombie haters, he has never completely gone away.

A few years back he finally left southern California, where he had been a resident plague for years, and returned to his hometown of Warsaw, Indiana. He was most recently spotted running for Congress in Indiana in 2010.

Metzger's lifelong project has been to find ways to mainstream white supremacy. He may find that much harder to achieve soon.