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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.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Prominent right-wing Bolton blogger calls for murder of State Department officials

(updated below - Update II)

Pam Atlas, spawn of Little Green Footballs, personal blogger to Bush nominee/U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, hard-core Lieberman supporter, and general good friend to the right-wing blogosphere, yesterday called for the State Department to be bombed and for American diplomats to be murdered (emphasis in original):

Back to terror funding our enemy. Do they really believe by feeding the crocodile, they won't get eaten?

While those have been the Israeli and American demands of the Palestinian Arabs since Hamas won legislative elections in January, two diplomatic sources yesterday who requested anonymity said the State Department would be willing to accept a government that included some Hamas members if a majority of the cabinet agreed to the terms laid out in the 2003 road map document signed by both sides as well as America, Europe, Russia and the United Nations.

Accepting Hamas? Perhaps Hamas will blow up State. Someone has to.

“We are looking at creative ways to get around this,” one diplomat said. “I would not call this ‘Hamas lite,’ but if we could get a government of negotiators instead of terrorists we’d take it.”

First, kill all the diplomats (before they get us killed.)

Atlas, of course, is not the first person to advocate State Department bombings as a result of its "appeasement" policies in the Middle East:

Television evangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson's suggestion that a nuclear device should be used to wipe out the State Department was "despicable," department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday.

"I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain," Boucher said. "I think the very idea is despicable" . . . .

"I read your book," Robertson said. "When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer,' and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up.' I mean, is it as bad as you say?" Robertson said.

As I have said before, the ugly bile and extremism that fuels much of the right-wing blogosphere is a story waiting to be written. This week, for instance, it was revealed that the individual who sent white powder to Keith Olbermann, Nancy Pelosi and others was an active Free Republic poster and an avid fan of Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. The intense hate-mongering which is offered up in much of the right-wing blogosphere on a daily basis is the primary or even exclusive information diet for many people, and that is going to have consequences. Shouldn't they be examined?

For some reason, journalists are eager to talk endlessly about the handful of foolish right-wing extremists who march around wearing swastikas and Nazi costumes. That gets the media excited, despite their total isolation and lack of consequence.

But right-wing hate-mongering that is fueled by religious extremism (Christian and Jewish) is infinitely more dangerous and significant in the U.S. A strong argument can be made that religious fanaticism constitutes a significant motivating force for much of our foreign policy and certainly for the support of many people for those policies, including -- to one degree or another -- the President himself. Yet that topic makes the media very uncomfortable and it is therefore almost never discussed. It ought to be.

UPDATE: For those not understanding the point of this post, allow me to emphasize that I am not (a) arguing that Pam Atlas herself or anything she writes, in and of itself, has any sort of significant impact on anything or (b) advocating that she should be legally barred from saying things of this sort or even held legally accountable if someone inspired by her rantings acts on them (the First Amendment bars such liability and it should).

The point is that Pam Atlas, like Ann Coulter, is the exposed id of the Bush movement. She continues to be embraced by the right-wing blosophere because, for many of them, the sentiments she is expressing -- as extreme and attention-seeking though they may be -- are not at all objectionable to them because the same sentiments motivate them. There have been enormous amounts of ink spilled on the so-called "Angry Left" and the allegedly rabid liberal bloggers (mostly based on the fact that some delicate pundit received e-mails with bad words in them), but the pulsating and ever-increasing hate-mongering in the right-wing blogosphere has been all but ignored.

Independently, John Bolton has spent an unusual amount of time with her, including giving her an hour-long exclusive interview in the middle of negotiating a U.N. Resolution to end the Israel-Lebanaon war, making her extremism independently notable for that reason. Finally, for purely tactical reasons, there is much value in highlighting -- rather than ignoring -- the most extremist elements of the Bush movement. Why would anyone think it's a good idea, tactically if in no other way, to allow them to court the Pam Atlases of the world and be able to do so without any attention being brought to that? Opponents of the Bush movement should do all they can to tie people like Pam Atlas to it.

UPDATE II: This Glenn Beck interview of newly elected Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever to serve in the U.S. Congress, is one of the most reprehensible things I've ever seen on a television news program (outside of Fox). Watch the video; does CNN have anything to say about this? Hilzoy has some observations worth reading about this.

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