I’m looking at ghosts and empties

13 08 2013

So I was reading FrontPage. . .

. . .no, no, not what you think. I wasn’t juicing on the rightist crazy: I clicked over from Sullivan to read a rightist critique of a BOLSHEVIKS-IN-THE-BATHROOM!!!!! history of FDR, Truman, and WWII.

And then, as long as I was there—hey, it’s been years since I last stopped by—I thought I’d amble through the comments.

Oh my.

Which led me to wonder: Are there leftist crazy sites similar to those on the right? Something akin to Free Republic or FrontPage or organizations like American Family Association?

I mean, there must be—not because of any both-sides-do-it horseshit, but because political-crazy is a general affliction, and thus can infect anyone who sups from the political stew.

(And note I’m not talking about sites which go all-in in their criticisms of the other side: scorched-earth polemics aren’t necessarily nutty—although I think an inability to think in whispers or pauses might predispose one to the political-crazy.)

I’ve certainly seen individual commenters offer up leftist gibberish, but I don’t know how much purchase they have on the pink side of the spectrum. And conspiracists tend to get shut down pretty damned quickly. dismissed for their lack of reason and evidence, at least on the leftist sites I do read. In any case, the nutter and gibberers tend to write in the comments, not under the masthead.

The one group I can think of that might have some kind of wider play are the anti-vaxxers and anti-med-establishment folk; this movement isn’t really right or left, but it certainly has plenty of people who might otherwise fit within a left/liberal worldview.

But other than that? I dunno—I really don’t. But they gotta be out there, right? Er, left? Grr, correct? Correct.

You know what I mean.


Eliminationist rhetoric: bad

16 01 2011

See, this is what I’m talking about:

A few bits from Insurrection Timeline:

  • April 4, 2009—Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on its way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” Perkovic also commented that Poplawski carried out the shooting because “if anyone tried to take his firearms, he was gonna’ stand by what his forefathers told him to do.”
  • May 31, 2009—Scott P. Roeder shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI lists Roeder as a member of the Montana Freemen, a radical anti-government group. In April 1996, he had been pulled over in Topeka, Kansas, for driving with a homemade license plate.  Police found a military-style rifle, ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder, and two 9-volt batteries in his car.
  • July 13, 2009—Gilbert Ortez, Jr. kills a police deputy in Chambers County, Texas, with an assault rifle. Police were responding to reports that Ortez or his wife had fired shots at utility workers in the area. Police searching Ortez’s mobile home after a 10-hour standoff find more than 100 explosive devices; Nazi drawings and extremist literature; and several additional firearms.

Go to the website for many many many—sigh—more examples.

Tom Scocca makes direct connections between violent rhetoric and violent acts:

[R]egarding this crazy, evidence-free narrative about how right-wing media incited someone to violence? The one dictated to the leftist media by their bosses at the Democratic National Committee? Here’s what happened a little less than six months ago:

A California man accused in a shootout with California Highway Patrol officers in Oakland early Sunday told officials that he traveled to San Francisco and planned to attack two nonprofit groups there “to start a revolution,” according to a probable cause statement released by police.

Bryon Williams, 45, a convicted felon with two prior bank robbery convictions, targeted workers at the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tides Foundation, said Oakland police Sgt. Michael Weisenberg in court documents.
And where did Williams get the idea that he should load up his mother’s pickup truck with guns and go try to assassinate members of liberal organizations?

Williams watched the news on television and was upset by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,” his mother said.

Scocca credits a commenter, Andrew Brockover, with mention of this incident:

In July of 2008, unemployed truck driver Jim Adkisson opened fire with a shotgun during a performance of “Annie” at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, killing two people and wounding several others.

Adkisson attacked the church because he identified it as liberal, and he had specifically planned to go out and assassinate liberals. “This was a symbolic killing,” he wrote in a four-page manifesto. “Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate, + House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book. I’d like to kill everyone in the Mainstream Media. But I knew these people were inaccessible to me.”

I don’t blame Bernard Goldberg or the half-guv or various other right-wing bloviators for attacking and killing people. They clearly have not done so.

(And to be fair to Goldberg, I don’t think he’s engaged in eliminationist rhetoric. He’s a conservative critic of what he considers the liberal media, and that’s it.)

They’re not criminals and shouldn’t be treated as such, but they can be held responsible, in words, for their words.


Violent rhetoric and actions are hardly the sole province of rightists. Leftists have their—our—own sordid history of denunciation and assassination, bloviations and bombings, and we have made our own poor excuses for the likes of the Weather Underground.

This isn’t about “balance” and “both sides do it”; it is about history and evidence.

And the evidence today points right.