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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Prominent right-wing blogger today calls for the murder of Supreme Court Justices - the Right fails to condemn it

If your only source for news was reading right-wing blogs, you would have thought that the most significant world event in the last few days was that some crazy woman who nobody ever heard of before (someone by the name of "Deb Frisch") left some vile comments on Jeff Goldstein's blog, a venue which itself is devoted to some of the most vile, deranged and psychosexually disturbed commentary that can be found on the Internet. Virtually every right-wing blogger spent the weekend focused on this solemn and grave matter, milking it for all it was worth. Many implied that this unknown commenter was some sort of towering figure of great significance among liberals, and exploited the drama to argue that the "Left" must approve of these comments because they didn't denounce the comments enough times or with enough vigor.

The blogger Misha of the blog Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is one of the most linked-to and popular bloggers in the right-wing blogosphere. He's the 42nd most linked-to blogger on the Internet, and he is in the blogroll of scores of right-wing bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin and Captian's Quarters Blog. He wrote a post today discussing the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan and here is what he said:

Of course, this is the same Supreme Court that earlier decided in Kelo that private property rights only matter as long as a private company doesn’t offer a better deal, above or below the table, to local authorities, so one shouldn’t really be surprised. The unelected, black-robed tyrants have a long history of not giving a fig about the Constitution if they don’t like what it says, not to mention a long tradition of usurping the powers of the legislative and executive branch by ruling by judicial fiat. . . .

Try doing anything to those mutilating darlings of the Supremes in order to extract life-saving intel from them, and then wait for the Supreme Whores to decide that you were “humiliating” them in doing so.

Five ropes, five robes, five trees.

Some assembly required.

He's advocating that the five Supreme Court Justices in the Hamdan majority be hanged from the neck until they're dead. His homicidal formulation is a play on the more standard call of the Right for American journalists to be hanged -- "Journalists. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required" -- another death call which, it just so happens, Misha also issued just a few days ago.

Misha's deranged pleas that journalists and Supreme Court Justices be murdered extends to his comment section, where one finds things such as this:

I said shortly after 9/11, NCLivingBrit, that the only way we would win this war was to turn the entirety of the islamic territories into a radioactive glass parking lot. I’d just as soon not see us do that, however. I just can’t sanguinely write off a few billion people that way, even if the world would be a better place afterwards. But unless the traitors within are eliminated, they will eventually bring us down.

And this:

Why has Bush been such a mighty disappointment (at least to me) in regards to this sort of action by the terrorist towel heads? . . . I think we could help the terrorist towel heads shed a few excess pounds via head removal system instead of Jenny Craig…

And this:

Winning the hearts and minds of muslims to democracy and capitalism is like separating the stink from shit. Good luck with that.

But what's so very confounding is that of all the countless right-wing bloggers who spent the weekend so very horrified about the comments of that influential political leader of liberalism, Deb Frisch, or who lamented that she wasn't condemned aggressively enough for her idiotic comments to Jeff Goldstein, none of them has condemned these calls by their fellow prominent right-wing blogger for American journalists and Supreme Court justices to be hung by trees until their neck snaps (indeed, one of the right-wing bloggers joining in the weekend sermons against this mean Deb Frisch rhetoric was that Beacon of Right-wing propriety, Misha himself).

What happened? They all seemed to find such disturbing rhetoric so upsetting, such cause for great alarm this weekend, when it came from an obscure person in some comment section, but they have not said a word of condemnation about these death calls from a prominent blogger on the Right. Nor have any of them condemned the calls by Misha's readers for Islamic countries to be turned into radioactive parking lots or for the death of the towel heads by other means. Why not?

Nor did they condemn another prominent right-wing blogger, Dean Esmay, when he presciently called for the hanging of NYT reporters way back in December, long before the johnny-came-lately noose advocates like Misha did so. Nor did they condemn right-wing radio host (and guest host for Sean Hannity) Michael Reagan's call for Howard Dean to be hanged. Nor, for that matter, have any of them condemned the calls by David Horowitz for the names, home addresses and security systems of NYT editors and reporters to be published on the Internet, nor have any of them condemned publication by right-wing blogger Dan Riehl of the satellite photographs of the home of the NYT Publisher (unsurprisingly, Riehl himself, along with Misha, was among the right-wing bloggers sermonizing this weekend about the terrible comments made to Goldstein). Nor have they condemned comments from the Grand Victim himself, Jeff Goldstein, that are reprehensible and revolting by any measure.

Let us stipulate that there are crazed, insane lunatics and repugnant individuals on both the Right and the Left. Any honest person would readily acknowledge that.

But while right-wing bloggers have to dig under rocks to find obscure commenters making reprehensible comments, many of the most prominent bloggers and opinion leaders on the Right routinely and blithely call for people's deaths, and some even post their home addresses on the Internet for anyone who wants help making those recommendations turn into a reality. The most popular right-wing authors sell millions of books by attacking their political opponents as treasonous and mentally ill.

Nobody needs to wade through the depths of comment sections to find this rhetoric on the Right, nor does anyone need to seize on totally obscure individuals and -- a la Ward Churchill or Deb Frisch -- absurdly try to transform them into some sort of political leader in order to impose responsibility for their moronic statements on people who never even heard of them before. One need only peruse the routine hate-mongering of the Right's opinion leaders and their prominent bloggers -- the Malkins and the Mishas and the David Horowitzs and the Ann Coulters -- and one will find more hateful and deranged rhetoric than one can stomach. And it is almost never condemned, including by those who self-righteously parade themselves around as Defenders of Civility and have the audacity to demand that others condemn such rhetoric when it comes from far less significant and influential corners.

Based on the grieving rituals we had to endure this weekend over Jeff Goldstein's sensibilities, I presume it's fair to infer that the silence from right-wing bloggers over Misha's calls for the deaths of journalists and Supreme Court Justices means -- as one of the most-cited sermons put it -- that "one might be tempted to think that this absolute lack of condemnation was a tacit acceptance of these tactics." One might be particularly tempted to think that given that such rhetoric flows not merely from obscure commenters on right-wing blogs, but also from the Right's leading bloggers and pundits, with virtually no condemnation of any kind.

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