So, according to recent reports, the FBI under George W. Bush's administration paid a right-wing white supremacist and blogger to stoke the flames of hatred. One blog post called for federal judges to be killed, and even went so far as to provide the personal information (addresses, photos, neighborhood maps) of a three-judge panel in Chicago's 7th Circuit of Appeals.
The man in question, Hal Turner, made the following remark on his blog-
“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions."
That remark prompted this comment from an anonymous reader-
"im going to kill senator feingold on july 4th. may thomas paine smile upon me and alexander hamilton bless my cause. praise the lord and pass the ammunition."
So, one may be prompted to ask, what was the heinous offense committed by these federal judges to be targeted so harshly? Did they promote slavery? Did they accept bribes? Cheat on their wives? Work for Al-Qaeda? The answer is none of the above.
Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer were simply complicit in upholding a gun control law. The information above can be found in several private emails between Turner and an FBI agent, made public thanks to Anonymous, who most likely did it for the lulz. Turner's lawyer, Michael Orozco, has verified the emails to be legitimate.
Orozco's defense for his client relies heavily on the fact that he was paid "tens of thousands of dollars" by the FBI to disseminate hateful rhetoric on all hot-button issues for conservatives like immigration, gun control, and abortion. Orozco also noted Turner was also in frequent clandestine meetings with the Bureau, where he learned all about how to spew hate speech without crossing the line.
The story even reports how Orozco has rationalized his client's provocations of violence-
“It’s a protected political statement...He said they deserved to be killed. He did not say grab a gun and go out and do what is necessary.”
In fact, Turner is banking on his constitutional right to free speech as his primary defense.
So, if Bush's cronies paid a right-wing hatemonger (with taxpayer money, most likely) to spew hatred and he gets off on free speech, then what does this say about hatemongers like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, Lou Dobbs, and many others who capitalize on polluting the political discourse with unwarranted and factually insubstantial hate speech? Are they going to be further allowed to intentionally mislead and deceive their highly susceptible and intensely devoted audience?
Will Glenn Beck's ludicrous nonsense about "FEMA death camps" provoke more right wingers to bring an arsenal to a National Guard base, thinking it's what Beck described?
Will more "birthers" open fire and kill more people at the holocaust museum, incensed by the hate speech that their fellow white supremacists are freely allowed to propagate via the First Amendment?
Will more weak-willed people like Scott Roeder be propelled to shoot more abortion doctors at their churches, encouraged to take action by the radical right-wing groups of which they claim membership?
Will another anti-immigration teabagger like Shawna Forde be called to action and ruthlessly murder a family of illegal immigrants in cold blood, because people like Lou Dobbs stoked the fires that pushed them over the line?
While it's certainly clear now that the Bush administration paid a fortune to a right-wing hatemonger to spew his acidic rhetoric more effectively, and in turn pushing their agenda in a violent new fashion, I wonder how many more cases like this there are that we haven't found out about yet? Just how many white supremacists or otherwise influential and controversial right-wingers are being paid to proliferate hatred and deception?
Who's Signing the Checks
Many could look to Dick Armey's Freedomworks, who started the Recess Rallies that encouraged people to travel to town halls in groups, disperse amongst the crowd, and disrupt open dialogue on healthcare reform. Freedomworks was also behind the Tax Day Tea Party movement.
I've been researching on how the town hall mob campaign was also sponsored by private health insurance companies, hospital CEOs, Big Oil and Dirty Coal, and a bevy of wealthy conservative lobbyists who would like nothing more than to see their pockets get fatter while American families sink into poverty.
There are lots of fat checks going around right now, signed by the wealthy Wall Street interests of the right, going into the pockets of hatemongers and professional maligners and deceivers. It's up to us to read through the lines in the corporate media. More right-wing charlatans like Hal Turner need to be taken to task on the lies they purport, as do the people who finance them.
Friday Thoughts and Links
8 years ago