Facts vs. Narrative, Utoya Edition

by matttbastard

Norwegian journalist Magnus Nome was in the good ol’ US of A when self-styled counterjihadist crusader  Anders Breivik decided to escalate his murderous fantasies about Eurabian conquest from Outer Wingnuttia into the real world.  Thankfully, CNN, Fox News et al were ready to provide informed, accurate, up-to-the-minute coverage of events on the ground:

The news coverage over the following days taught me a lot of interesting new ‘facts’ about the innocent nation of Norway.

1. Apparently we don’t lock our doors at night. Wrong. We do.

2. There is no public debate about immigration. Wrong. Immigration generally, and Islam specifically, have been high on the agenda for more than a decade.

3. We’re all white. Wrong. Norway has become an increasingly diverse society since the early 1970s: almost a third of Oslo now has non-Norwegian origin, more than one in ten being Muslim.

4. Owning a gun is practically illegal. Wrong. Hunting and sport shooting are popular recreational activities, and Norway ranks high in gun ownership.

5. The Utøya victims were all white, and the terrorist did not kill any Muslims. Wrong. The victims reflected a diverse Norwegian society. Several of the dead were Muslims, several were of African or Middle Eastern ancestry. This information was available. It is extremely disrespectful to airbrush them out of the story to make it more coherent.

As they say, read the whole damn thing, especially if everything you know about Norway — and about Anders Breivik & far-right nationalism in Europe — was learned via teh cablez.

Image: apgroner, flickr

Quote of the Day: Inevitable Consequences

by matttbastard

The Wichita Eagle:

Warren Hern, a Colorado physician and close friend of Tiller’s — who described himself now as “the only doctor in the world” who performs very-late-term abortions — said Tiller’s death was predictable.

“I think it’s the inevitable consequence of more than 35 years of constant anti-abortion terrorism, harassment and violence,” he said.

When Obama was elected last fall, Hern predicted that anti-abortion violence would increase, he said. Because Obama supports legalized abortion, Hern said, its foes “have lost ground…. They want the doctors dead, and they invite people to assassinate us. No wonder that this happens.

“I am next on the list.”

Related: Must-read article from the always-excellent Ann Friedman, in which she puts the assassination of Dr. George Tiller into the broader context of the concerted criminal harassment (sometimes deadly) of US abortion clinic workers:

It’s apparent that we need someone at the federal level who is paying attention. After all, Tiller’s assassin was not acting in vacuum. Even if no national anti-choice group directly ordered him to fire that gun, he is a product of a culture that thrives on systematically threatening reproductive health care providers and women who seek abortions. Militant anti-choice groups like Operation Rescue — which has endorsed intimidation tactics in the past — released statements yesterday condemning Tiller’s assassination.

But after years of sending the message to its avid base that Tiller was a sub-human monster, a press release expressing dismay at the killing does little good. On the sidebar of the Operation Rescue blog, near where the press release appeared, was a small image featuring Dr. Tiller’s face, some very sinister-looking flames, and the words “America’s Doctor of Death,” linking to a detailed dossier about all of Tiller’s offenses. Other groups keep databases of reproductive health providers’ addresses and phone numbers, all but daring their members to conduct harassment campaigns.

Elsewhere: Contra the disingenuous spin (h/t Mandos) from the forced-birth set, Jill Filipovic and former Religious Right icon Frank Schaeffer both join Friedman in placing the blame for Dr. Tiller’s murder squarely on the collective shoulders of the ‘mainstream’ anti-abortion movement. As Schaeffer (who readily acknowledges his role, along with his late father Francis and former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, in establishing the anti-abortion movement) puts it:

The same hate machine I was part of is still attacking all abortionists as “murderers.” And today once again the “pro-life” leaders are busy ducking their personal responsibility for people acting on their words. The people who stir up the fringe never take responsibility. But I’d like to say on this day after a man was murdered in cold blood for preforming abortions that I — and the people I worked with in the religious right, the Republican Party, the pro-life movement and the Roman Catholic Church, all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

BREAKING: Dr. George Tiller Assassinated

by matttbastard

Oh, fuck:

George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Tiller was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. An anonymous police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

NOW do all the pearl-clutching conservative bloggers get why that fauxtroversial DHS report on far-right activity was so goddamn pertinent?! As GallingGalla just said on Twitter, “forced-birthers are TERRORISTS on US soil.” This latest killing of a health care provider, martyred for daring to provide women with a vital medical service (in the same week that, here in Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police decided to let another anti-choice assassin evade accountability), only reinforces that all-too-clear fact.

Seriously, this is supposed to be an expression of ‘pro-life’ sentiment?! Look, Operation Rescue can offer hollow denunciations all they like. They are still morally complicit and should rightfully be held accountable for their inflammatory rhetoric and tactics.

Fuck them and their deadly, pro-natalist fanaticism.

h/t Atrios

Update: Via Ann Friedman, Cara writes at Feministe:

This is the first time an abortion provider has been murdered in over a decade. I have friends who work in abortion clinics. This is terrorism. And right now, I just don’t have the words.

As my co-blogger (and Wichita resident) Sassywho just said over IM,

[Tiller] was a prisoner to [Operation Rescue's] tactics. And because “abortion is a divisive issue,” he wasn’t protected. I just fucking hope (!) that Obama gets that fucking message how framing it as such opens windows.

Sebelius better make sure he gets that fucking message.

Also, what Ann said:

I am also worried about what Tiller’s murder means for women in Kansas and elsewhere in the country who need the services that he provided. The simple fact is there are almost no doctors who provide late-term abortions, especially in rural parts of the country. I was in Nebraska several years ago to interview Dr. Leroy Carhart (whose challenges to abortion-restricting laws went all the way to the Supreme Court), and Carhart and Tiller were the only two late-term providers in their region. If one wanted to go on vacation or got sick, the other had to fill in. There was no one else. Perhaps it would be a fitting memorial to Dr. Tiller to contribute to Medical Students for Choice, and encourage more doctors with a deep commitment to reproductive rights to become abortion providers.

Signed. Off.

Update 2: Via Sylvia, KC Star columnist/blogger Mike Hendricks effing nails it:

At mid-day, police were still trying to figure out who pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller at his church on Sunday morning.

I’m betting they’ll find that person soon enough.

As for the murderer’s accomplices, we know them already.

They include every one who has ever called Tiller’s late term abortion clinic a murder mill.

Who ever called Tiller “Tiller the Killer.”

The groups who spent decades fomenting hate toward a man who simply believed that he was serving a purpose by being one of the few doctors in the country performing late-term abortions.

Hate. Not heated opposition. Not strong disagreement.

But blind hatred.

The kind of hate that would prompt some maniac to take a  gun into a church and shoot a man to death in front of friends and family.

The kind of hate that is on full display over in Freeperville (h/t AJ Strata, a right-of-centre individual who can smell the fucking coffee.)

Update 3: Police capture suspect in Tiller murder:

Police are not releasing the name of the suspect, but numerous media sources are reporting that a man named Scott Roeder has been arrested in connection with the crime

In addition to the links provided @ DKos, a quick google search brought forth this additional gem:

Roeder Cap

Lovely.

Update 4:  Must-read posts from Antonia & dbO.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

The Party of Batshit (We Report, You Decide)

by matttbastard

Via MMfA:

This montage illustrates exactly what Charles Johnson was talking about when he recently said that the guano loco-ization of Fox News “will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP—unless people start behaving like adults instead of angry kids throwing tantrums and ranting about conspiracies and revolution.” Yeah.  Angry kids at Columbine throwing (deadly) tantrums with AR-15s (get ‘em before Obama repeals the 2nd amendment!)

Make sure to also check out Glenn Beck’s unhinged object lesson on how Obama wants to (rhetorically!) immolate “average Americans” via immigration policy (talk about inflammatory rhetoric).

Remember when we were all bemoaning the fact that an ‘extremist’ like Rush had the GOP establishment by the short and curlies? Compared to these characters, Limbaugh is looking positively rational.  And the Republican governor of Texas is “proud” to be associated with those eagerly giving a platform to the Birchers and the end-timers.

“[F]urther marginalization of the GOP,” indeed.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

More On The NDP And Bill C-6

by matttbastard

[cobbled together from various comments/forum posts, edited substantially for coherency]

Ok, so we’ve heard from the NDP (sort of). And if the NDP kills the bill, great.

But upon reflection (thanks, skdadl) I think my last post was itself too mealy-mouthed in reaction to what amounts to awkward damage control by the Dippers. The NDP dropped the ball and still hasn’t picked it up–period. Some may be comforted by Dewar’s non-response, but, rather than clarifying the Dipper position on C-6, I find it further muddies the water.

Dewar’s letter, and the response from some hardcore NDP partisans, rubs me the wrong way. “Muslims see this as a non-issue” was initially the preferred talking point of some Dipper apologists (we’ll leave aside the crass notion of Muslims in Canada holding monolithic views). But this is a misrepresentation of what has been said by some (some) leaders in the Islamic community who have spoken out in regards to the (non) issue. Here’s an example courtesy the Halifax Daily News:

The veiled voting controversy is a tempest in search of a teapot, says Saleem Ahmad, president of the Islamic Association of Nova Scotia. Framed in the context of “reasonable accommodation,” a national firestorm has been raging over the issue of whether Muslim women can vote while covering their faces with veils.

“It’s just the hypocrisy of the government,” Ahmad says.

“There was no controversy. The Muslim community never complained. The women would gladly take off their veil for a woman official.”

He points out that no one is required to show photo ID to vote, and postal voting does not require photo ID. Further, he estimates that 300 women in all of Canada wear the veil.

Hamzah Mangera, the imam at the Dartmouth mosque, agrees it is a non-issue. His wife, who wears a veil, happily removes it in private for female officials when using her passport to cross borders.

Mangera says the row points to a deeper issue of fears over cultural integration, as illustrated by the “code of conduct” produced by Herouxvile, Que., which informed newcomers that stoning women was prohibited and that women should show their faces in public, apart from Halloween.

Ahmad blames an outburst of xenophobia against Muslims, led by “that idiot down south” (U.S. President George W. Bush) and a lack of nerve among Canadian politicians to say it is not an issue, “rather than courting an easy vote.”

What has stirred up the tempest is Bill C-6, not the outcry against it. Face saving or not, the fact that some members of a purported social democratic party feel there’s even room for discussion is highly disturbing. The last thing we need is New Labour North.

Sinister Greg asked some pertinent questions yesterday that still deserve an answer:

Was Godin freelancing or did he have reason to think the party was behind him? Why did they sit on this for over 24 hours? Where is Jack Layton? Usually he can’t run to the microphones fast enough, why is he silent now? Why does Dewar say the party has not taken a final position on Bill C-6? Why not? Do they think they can somehow spin shit into gold? I think it is a bit rich too, for Dewar to say this bill was introduced for political reasons, when the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc egged the government on with their craven attacks on Mr. Maynard. Trying to slam the barn door now is just a laughable attempt at damage control.

pogge has some questions of his own:

There was no ambiguity at all in the Globe and Mail‘s headline: NDP supports show-your-face bill. And the story supported the headline. And there is, as of this writing, no correction attached to that story.

So what gives? Did Yvon Godin miscommunicate? Did someone else? Did the Globe reporter screw up?

Bill C-6 doesn’t exist in a vacuum. On its own, it may be a ‘non-issue’, but it takes on an entirely different meaning when taken in context with today’s increasingly xenophobic political culture where Muslims have been singled out for attention (especially in Quebec). As any person of colour can tell you (*waves*), it’s easy to shrug off blatant attempts at othering when one is privileged to be a member of the majority culture.

Now, to be fair, though ideologically I’m a social democrat and have only ever voted NDP (both federally and provincially), I hold no love for Jack Layton. I do try to restrain myself from reflexively ‘piling on’ out of spite when it appears he’s giving the Stephen Harper Party a pass (even though admittedly the temptation is ever present). But this issue in particular should transcend partisan loyalty (or lack thereof).

Should.

Over the past several years our neighbours next door have provided an all-too-visceral example of what happens when unapologetic nativism is allowed to be mainstreamed. I for one refuse to remain silent as this country continues its incremental-but-increasingly-apparent shift to the capital ‘R’ Right; the potential consequences threaten everything that makes (post ’67) Canada Canada. And when the party that best represents my ideals helps contribute to fascism’s creep (whether deliberately or unintentionally) I feel obligated to speak out, goddamn the optics–especially when those purportedly on ‘my side’ have reflexively defended the indefensible with privileged apologia like this.

To quote the ever-quotable skdadl:

The issue here isn’t ID by face. The issue is a neocon assault on voters’ rights, spun for the neocon base on sexist, racist, and paranoid-political grounds, and if Canadian leftists haven’t wised up enough yet to recognize this kind of Rovian shit and call it for what it is, then we are in trouble … srsly.”

Bottom line: why won’t the NDP take a definite position against legislation that is both (admittedly) unnecessary and (IMO) deliberately inflammatory?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

A Shotgun Divorce?

by matttbastard

I’ve been following the increasingly acrimonious Ron Paul-related blogspat between David Neiwert and Glenn Greenwald with great interest. Not particularly concerned with the substance of the dispute, though I will admit to being sympathetic with Neiwert’s position. With that said, as the battle lines continue to be drawn I believe there are broader implications at play.

From what I’ve read, Greenwald has always identified as a (left-leaning) libertarian, and to many libertarians RP represents the first viable presidential candidate since, well, the last time Ron Paul ran for the Executive. Still, the erroneous notion that Glenn Greenwald is a ‘liberal’ has become stone-set conventional wisdom among many on both sides of the aisle. Seems if one expresses a deep and abiding dislike for the Cheney Bush administration one might as well be a goddamn Commie (Pat Buchanan and Gary North: once far-right anti-Semitic isolationists, now objectively Maoist–just add 9/11.)

So, one shouldn’t be surprised to see Greenwald side with Paul in this particular dispute. Neiwert, a journalist who specializes in covering the USian far right, is an ardent proponent of Federal hate crime legislation. Greenwald, a former constitutional law attorney, is a genuine free speech absolutist (according to Wikipedia, white supremacist Matthew Hale was one of his more famous clients). Any affiliation Greenwald has with the USian ‘left-blogosphere’/netroots (read: partisan Democracts, though I wouldn’t place Neiwert in this category, either) should be considered a shotgun wedding of (in)convenience, much like that of Jim Henley or Arthur Silber, than indicative of a genuine ideological convergence (indeed, as Silber has noted, a number of USian progressive luminaries have been content to repeatedly play the useful idiot role on behalf of imperial Donkeys in Congress).

It will be interesting to see if Ron Paul proves to be the catalyst that hastens a schism among anti-Bush forces who share little in common besides a respect for civil liberties and the rule of law, along with a recognition of how much (perhaps irreparable) damage to civil society the War on Terror has wrought. As the specter of lame-duck Dubya (and Deadeye Dick) continues to fade, there appear to be a number of fundamental policy barriers separating liberals and libertarians that are, in all likelihood, insurmountable. At this point, it seems more and more apparent that, contra Markos Moulitsas, the ‘Libertarian Democrat’ will ultimately prove to be the jackalope of contemporary American politics.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers