Tag Archives: Rush Limbaugh

They hate them and bait them. No wonder a Democratic congresswoman was shot in Tucson

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot yesterday, I immediately thought that ultimate responsibility for the shooting lay with the hate-speech of America’s right-wing media, its pundits and their allies. After all, seemingly insane ideas and impulses have to come from somewhere.

The sheriff of Tucson, Clarence Dupnik, was spot on when he said “Arizona has become the Mecca of racism and bigotry”. Recently the state passed anti-immigration law SB1070 which permitted the police to stop and search anyone they suspected of being an illegal immigrant. Indeed, the sheriff of Maricopa County, the notorious Joseph Arpaio has been at the centre of this firestorm. But Arpaio is currently facing charges of abusing his power. His views on immigrants are well known and he is even lionized in this country by people who really ought to know better.

Since the complete deregulation of broadcasting under Reagan in the 1980’s, American television and radio networks no longer have to pretend to be unbiased. The deregulation of the airwaves allowed the likes of Rush Limbaugh and others to indulge in their favourite past-time of free-form hate-speech. They bait liberals and welcome listeners on air who call for their deaths.  Ann Coulter’s books, for instance, depict Democrats as “dangerous” and  “stupid”.  Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News typically subjects liberals to hectoring and abuse.  The language and tone used by these so-called broadcasters often verges on the violent.  Their sole aim is to dehumanize their opponents.  During the congressional election campaign, freaky Sarah Palin produced this crosshair picture on her website.

Note that the picture has Gabrielle Giffords as one of the ‘targets’. The Daily Mirror says,

Controversial Republican politician Sarah Palin hurriedly removed a map of America with a cross-hair target over Mrs Giffords’s Congress seat from her Facebook profile.

I don’t think the FBI will be visiting her any time soon but this sort of thing is clearly irresponsible and dangerous. But is Britain free from this liberal/red/whatever-baiting? No. Recently, Hannan and Delingpole of the Telegraph have run blogs that bait and smear their opponents. A recent blog from Delingtroll asks “Why did God give Liberals annoying, whiny voices”? Make no mistake this sort of thing comes directly from the American right. His book, 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy has a title that could have sprung from the foetid brain of Ann Coulter.  Yet Delingtroll and Hannan both claim that only left is capable of hate. What these two wannabe hate-jocks want to do is to remould Britain along the lines of the US. I suppose we can be grateful for the fact that no one in this country has used the sort of imagery that Palin has used.

The response from the Telegraph’s Toby Harnden is characteristically dishonest,

Paul Krugman of the “New York Times” suggests darkly that Giffords was shot because she was “a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona” and “violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate” (those reponsible for such a climate being, of course, Republicans).

Harnden is in denial. He claims to know what motivated the suspect and uses hearsay to support his thesis,

Former classmates talk of “nonsensical outbursts” and a person “on his own planet”. His favourite reading apparently included “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto”. My colleague Jon Swaine has a summary here of the raving of a person who most people would judge to be a complete nutcase even if he hadn’t gone out and shot people.

Harnden’s stablemate Jon Swaine claims to have the inside track on Gifford’s assailant, Jared Loughner.

Ms Parker said Loughner had encountered Miss Giffords once before in 2007 and had “asked her a question and he told me she was ‘stupid and unintelligent’.”

However she added that when she had known him, Loughner seemed to be liberal or Left-wing.

How convenient. But this looks like bullshit,

The YouTube account stated that among Loughner’s favourite books, most of which were much-loved classic novels, were Mein Kampf andThe Communist Manifesto.

Only in Hayek’s fevered mind could these two books be mentioned in the same breath. Oddly enough this ‘link’ only appears in the right-wing press. In fact, the New York Daily News doesn’t mention the Communist Manifesto at all.

Loughner lists the Adolf Hitler autobiography, “Mein Kampf,” among his favorite books in an online profile, a list that also includes classics such as “Animal Farm” and “The Odyssey.”

Someone is making things up on this side of the Atlantic. I wonder why? Indeed the Murdoch-owned New York Post also repeats this line about the Communist Manifesto while adding that Loughner likes The Wizard of Oz.

In Britain, there right have been calling for the BBC to be broken up for years alleging ‘bias’ as their prime concern. Recently Murdoch’s News Corp has sought to increase its share in BSkyB which would quite possibly create a news service that closely resembles that of Fox News. The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt appears ambivalent about a possible takeover. Though this Guardian story tells us that he held a private meeting with James Murdoch in June.  Probably because he and his fellow Tories know that once Murdoch gets his hands on BSkyB, the party will have its very own unofficial ministry of information. They can also distance themselves from any strident remarks made on the channel by claiming that BSkyB is a “commercial broadcaster with no ties to the state”.

Irresponsible broadcasting that makes use of hate-speech will inevitably lead to some people believing that they have some sort of  right to take another’s life because a shock-jock or demagogue tells them that ‘liberals’ are responsible for the nation “going to hell in a handcart”.

Loughner also killed 5 others including a 9 year old child and a federal judge.

UPDATE: According to this Murdoch rag,  Loughner was some sort of conspiraloon.

THE suspect being held over Saturday’s shooting of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords may have links to anti-Semitic race hate group American Renaissance.

An internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo quoted by FOX News Channel revealed the gunman – named by the media as Jared Loughner, 22 – is “possibly linked” to American Renaissance.

The group subscribes to an ideology that is “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti -ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” according to the DHS memo.

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Filed under Journalism, Media, Society, United States

Smears, lies, hatred and war fetishes

War and mechanized death. The futurists couldn’t get enough of it. 

Over the last few of months I have noticed a couple of Torygraph journalists making some very odd assertions. The claim being made is that “Lefties” apparently use the word “hate” when they mean” to disagree with” or so says Desperate Dan. He has used some of his blogs to wag his finger at what he sees as ‘hateful’ lefties. This one from October 26 is titled “Memo to my Leftie friends: you’d feel better if you didn’t hate so much”.   Then there’s this one from Oct 3 titled “Where would lefties be without hatred”? The factually-challenged James Delingpole also gets in on the act with this recent echo of Hannan’s twisted logic here. Like the kid who hangs around with the playground bully, Delingtroll is only there to sneer and to egg his pal on. He doesn’t claim to have influenced government policy…yet.

About these blogs. First, I seriously doubt that Hannan knows any real left-wingers, though it is entirely possible that he’s being sarcastic. Although recently he told his fans that Irish Socialist Party MEP and leader, Joe Higgins,  is “his favourite MEP”,  but he bemoans the fact that Higgins refused to shake his hand because in Hannan’s words, he (Hannan) is “a neoliberal”.  Stunning!  Second, the title presupposes that right-wingers don’t hate anything at all. We know that this isn’t true: they hate trade unions going on strike and they hate public bodies (quangos) like the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It’s that word “equality”, it sort of irritates them; gets them in a lather…they get in a right strop over it. And the spittle! They’ll shower you with it.

What Hannan and his wingman seek to do is to position themselves as morally superior to anyone that does not share their ideology. Their use of the word “hateful” is designed to cheaply smear their opponents and, at the same time, control discourse.  But in adopting this position of moral superiority, they are inadvertently claiming to have no emotions at all.  Presumably if they never hate anything, they are also incapable of love, empathy and compassion. But, as we already know, Randists are only concerned in themselves. Empathy sucks and as for altruism,  just don’t go there.

I first encountered this ideologically colonized form of the word “hate” eight years ago on American political fora like The Bully Pulpit on Delphi Forums where posters would routinely accuse anyone who criticized or mocked Bush of being “hateful”. This is really a form of political correctness, though your average right winger wouldn’t admit to it. The truth of the matter is that the Right have their own forms of political correctness: consider the reaction of the Right  to the defacement of Winston “Lively Terror” Churchill’s statue. The outrage was visceral: it was almost as if they felt their own bodies had been violated; the nation raped before their eyes.  Nationalist sensibilities are always politically correct.

To be honest, I think these two wannabe shock-jocks spend too much time hanging  around American right-wingers. Delingpole has appeared on the notorious Alex Jones’s radio show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, Jones is a loud-mouthed conspiracy theorist and all-round paranoiac who has set himself up as a “9/11 Truther”. Here he is talking about his favourite subject: those horrid environmentalists.

I normally ignore Delingpole. He’s like the long-lost love child of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.  He’s a well-paid professional gobshite.  His use of the word “liberal” as a pejorative comes from directly from American right-wing commentators. The problem for Delingtroll is that this use of the word liberal is unlikely to catch on here in Britain – no matter how much he repeats it.

Delingpole apparently describes himself as a “Conservative libertarian”. He is apparently rather fond of wars too. Historically, there have been plenty of historical figures who have relished the whole meat-mincing madness of mechanized death.  They get moist just thinking about it. The last self-described libertarians to glorify and worship war were the Italian futurists…most of whom were killed or badly maimed by the very war they fetishized.  Here’s an snippet from their manifesto,

9. We want to glorify war — the only cure for the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.

They were nutters;  dangerous nutters who allied themselves with Mussolini’s fascists (Hayek didn’t see that one). You can read the rest of their manifesto here.

I think Delingtroll should lend a hand to the troops in Helmand  – we’d make sure he has a gun and some rations, of course. Fuck the tent and sleeping bag, if he’s that hard  he can sleep out under the stars. But he’d probably shit himself.

As they say in this part of the world, he’s all teeth and trousers.

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Filed under Language, Media, Society & culture, Tory press

The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’: some myths exploded

The US Right has got itself into a lather; the forces of ignorance have declared that a community centre in downtown Manhattan that is a couple of blocks away (approximately 2km in fact) is a hotbed of Islamic extremism. They also claim that the building of this ‘mosque’  is an insult to the memories of those who died in the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Of course it would wrong to suggest that all right-leaning Americans are as ill-informed and as ignorant as those people who currently call themselves ‘teabaggers’. Even Michael Bloomberg, the Republican mayor of New York City has spoken in defence of the building, formerly named Cordoba House, now called Park51. This is not a right/left issue, it is an fight between the forces of ignorance and those of reason and tolerance.

Let’s have a look at some of the things said about the building itself.

1. It is often called the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ but is in fact 2 blocks away.

2. It is not a mosque but a community centre that has a prayer space inside it.

3. The imam at the centre of this, is a man called Abdul Rauf has been accused of “not condemning terrorists”. This is not true. In an interview in the New York Daily News, Rauf said, “We condemn terrorists. We recognize it exists in our faith, but we are committed to eradicate it”, he added “”We want to rebuild this community. This is about moderate Muslims who intend to be and want to be part of the solution.” This article is even more explicit.

4. Right-wing commentators and demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin have repeated the lie that this ‘mosque’ will be used to ‘train terrorists’. Rauf is a Sufi and as such has attracted the ire of more fundamentalist groups. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that is concerned, among other things, with peace.

Here Limbaugh gives succour to the lie that Barack Obama is a Muslim because he appeared to support the idea. Funnily enough, Limbaugh hasn’t dared to take a swipe at Bloomberg.

For many Americans it is easier to follow the crowd and to consume their thoughts and ideas from a loudmouth opinion-maker than to engage in critical thinking.  I am currently involved in a discussion with one such person who has repeated a number of fallacious arguments about Islam; that it is unique for its honour killings, misogyny and so on. When it is pointed out that these things happen in other cultures and religions, the other person simply repeats the same lies, only louder – just like an English-speaker abroad who thinks they can get their point across to a non-English speaker by shouting at them. By the way, the same person tried to claim that the LTTE or Tamil Tigers were a Muslim group. When I pointed out this obvious gap in his knowledge, he chucked back “MILF” which means “Mother I’d Like to F*ck”. Cute but no cigar….


I found this interesting blog from Julian Kossoff in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph who says that most of New York’s Jews have no problems with the building of Park51. If America’s Jews can be tolerant, what’s the problem with America’s so-called Christians?


Filed under Islamophobia, Society & culture