IOKIYAR to Infinity.

Ok, so I know IOKIYAR is (and has been for ages) SOP in DC. Still, the manner in which the Village took Rosengate oh-so seriously (and turned it up TO ELEVEN) but is now suddenly backpeddling re: The Nuge’s semi-coherent call for Obama’s assassination (gosh, campaign surrogates sure do say the darndest things!*) is especially galling.

Steve M. breaks it down:

 [T]he press will shrug off Nugent because the press has been in denial for years about just how insane right-wingers are. No matter what angry, extreme, menacing, paranoid thing right-wingers are up to, the press is always looking for signs that it’s all just a silly phase, all just the work of a few outliers.

Mainstream journalists don’t want to admit that the vast majority of people in the right-wing base agree with every word Nugent said.

They certainly don’t want to believe that there’s any genuine connection between what Nugent said and Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney! Such an upstanding, responsible man! (Never mind that Romney has done the gang initiation and become one of the right-wing crazies. Never mind that his campaign actively sought out Nugent’s endorsement.)

The press acknowledged that Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke remarks were extreme, and mocked Santorum surrogate Foster Friess. But now it’s Romney we’re talking about — the guy who reassures the press that the GOP is perfectly safe and responsible. Unless Romney picks a Palinesque running mate, no one in the press is ever going to believe that any right-wing extremism has anything to do with him — or his voter base, even though what Nugent said precisely captures that base’s thinking.

I don’t believe the Beltway is starting to fall for Romney like it did McMaverick (tire swing!) But without question Village refs are far more easily worked by sharp-elbowed wingnuts than by progressive interests. Plus, Mittens’ rep as a flag twisting in the political winds perversely appeals to reflexively cynical Villager scorn for anything that resembles sincerity & passion (oh so savvy!)

Which is (sadly) good news for Mitt Romney and bad news for those who appreciate reality that is unobstructed by the fuzzy view from the bottom of some stenographic wanker’s highball.

*Politico may titter at wingnut incitement of violence towards members of the US Federal government — including POTUS — but the Secret Service sure doesn’t.

Quote of the Day: Alive and Living Now

by matttbastard

But let’s get one thing clear — being “pro-life” has absolutely nothing to do with compassion or saving the lives of babies or getting people to take responsibility for their actions. Instead, being “pro-life” has everything to do with ignorance and control. Being “pro-life” has everything to do with making judgments on what they know nothing about. If being “pro-life” were actually about being pro-life, then trustworthy health care, safe procedures, and birth control would be more accessible for all women, and the murder of a doctor would never have happened.

– Theresa, Pro-Life: Not About Life At All.

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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.

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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.

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Who Killed Anna Politkovskaya? – Steve LeVine

by matttbastard

Author Steve LeVine discusses the 2006 murder of acclaimed Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, arguing that her death, and the failure to find her killer, are indicative of Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin.

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Pakistan Update: “This Grotesque Feudal Charade”

by matttbastard

The Election Commission has postponed general elections, originally scheduled for January the 8th. Elections are now scheduled to be held on February the 18th, much to the chagrin of opposition leaders:

“It is risky,” said one Western diplomat, who would speak only anonymously, following diplomatic protocols. “Anything could happen because any straw or incident could ignite more violence or reaction against the government.”Condemning the violence and expressing his sorrow at the death of Ms. Bhutto, President Pervez Musharraf went on national television to explain the election delay and to dampen public anger. He acknowledged there was confusion over the way she died and said he had requested the assistance of a British team from Scotland Yard to help with a new and more thorough investigation.

“I myself want to go into its depths and want to tell the nation,” he said. “It is extremely important to bring the nation out of confusion. I am sure this investigation with the help of Scotland Yard will remove all doubts and suspicions.”

The postponement was the right decision, the president said, and he promised free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections, emphasizing the word peaceful.

The decision to delay the elections was immediately denounced by Ms. Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, now the co-chairman of her Pakistan Peoples Party, who had demanded that the voting proceed on time partly to capitalize on the expected sympathy vote. The other main opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, called this week for President Musharraf to resign and for a neutral interim government to be appointed.

An alliance of smaller opposition parties, which is already boycotting elections, announced that it would start planning protests across the country, suspecting that President Musharraf would keep postponing the voting indefinitely.

As noted by the Times, Musharraf also announced that he was bowing to international pressure, requesting outside assistance from Scotland Yard in the investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination:

The 30-minute speech was Mr Musharraf’s first major public address since Ms Bhutto’s death.

Mr Musharraf referred to “the pain and anger” of Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), especially in her home province of Sindh.

He paid tribute to his political opponent, saying: “I also feel the same sadness and anger – I respect the sentiments of the nation.”

He repeated official allegations that al-Qaeda was behind Ms Bhutto’s killing, and urged the media to “expose” pro-Taleban militant leaders who, he said, were orchestrating suicide attacks in Pakistan.

He said new evidence was coming to light but that expert advice was needed, and he thanked the British prime minister for accepting his request for assistance.

“This is a very significant investigation. All the confusion that has been created in the nation must be resolved,” Mr Musharraf said.

Of course, one wonders what investigators will have to work with, considering the fact that most forensic evidence has been (literally) washed down the drain.

Analyst Arif Rafiq is also skeptical:

Clearly, Musharraf is most moved by the deterioration of law and order, which he sees ultimately as an attack on his power. The murder of a two-time prime minister near the seat of the army, in his view, is now a peripheral matter. If it was truly primary, he would announce an independent commission, formed in concert with the opposition, to supervise the investigation.

Moreover, if he truly believes that Baitullah Mehsud is responsible for the murder of a former Pakistani prime minister, shouldn’t he have announced that the army would make a renewed, aggressive attempt to apprehend Mehsud, try him before a court of law, and–if convicted–execute him? Is not the murder of a former prime minister, in effect, an act of treason?

My brain seems to be stranded somewhere in 2007. So, for now, I’ll simply encourage everyone to check out this scathing op-ed by Tariq Ali on how the PPP is contributing to the suppression of democracy in Pakistan, and Dave’s subsequent commentary, also on deadly point. Hopefully I will soon be able to also contribute something with similar substance.

Update: via Spackerman, Barnett Rubin effing nails it:

Many, probably most or nearly all, Pakistanis don’t see the “War on Terror” as struggle of “moderates” against “extremists.” They see it as a slogan to legitimate the military’s authoritarian control. Through the classic psychological mechanism of reducing cognitive dissonance, it is only a short jump from believing that the threat of al-Qaida is being manipulated to strengthen authoritarian rule, to believing that the threat of al-Qaida is a hoax perpetrated to strengthen authoritarian rule. A similar mechanism of reducing cognitive dissonance has led many Americans to accept propaganda that the “anti-American” Saddam Hussein and the “anti-American” Islamic Republic of Iran” must be allied with the “anti-American” al-Qaida.

[…]

The Bush administration’s terrible simplification has not only harmed U.S. security interests; it has also done perhaps irreparable damage to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some readers protest when I lead with the implications of such events for U.S. foreign policy, as if I didn’t think it worthwhile to mention the effects on those directly concerned. Believe me, I understand that Afghanistan, Pakistan, and all those other countries out there have purposes other than playing a role in scripts drafted in Washington.

But I am an American writing for a primarily American audience. I don’t think that Pakistanis are looking to me to explain their country to them. I am trying to use my experience and expertise, such as it is, to convince my compatriots, our allies, and the international organizations to which we belong, to change their relationships with other countries. Sometimes I appear on the media here (the US) or speak to non-specialist audiences. They always ask me to explain the implications for them.

There is a connection, however, between the foreign policy interests of the U.S. and the direct effect on, in this case, Pakistan. That is because the script writers in Washington impose their own terrible simplifications on the people whose behavior they are trying to affect, without understanding who those people are and what they want, often with disastrous consequences.

The current situation in Pakistan is a case in point. The Bush administration has decided that in the “Muslim world” a battle is going on between pro-American “moderates” and anti-American “extremists.” According to them, the “Muslim world” has a two-party system organized around how Muslims feel about America. In Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf is a “pro-American moderate.” Benazir Bhutto is a “pro-American moderate.” Therefore it is only logical (and in U.S. interests!) for the U.S. to realign Pakistan politics so that the “moderates” work together against the “extremists.”

This ignores a few problems. It is not just a random problem that the “pro-American moderate” institution headed by General Musharraf executed Benazir’s father and held her for years in solitary confinement. Despite Musharraf’s propagation of the PR slogan, “enlightened moderation,” the institution that he headed, and which put him in power, supported the Taliban unstintingly for many years and failed to deliver any results against al-Qaida when it would really have counted. This is the same institution that massacred hundreds of thousands of its own countrymen in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

[…]

The leaders of the Pakistan military, of which Musharraf is a typical example, do not see themselves primarily as “pro-American moderates” battling with “anti-American extremists.” They see themselves as responsible for building a powerful militarized state in Pakistan representing the heritage of Islamic empires in South and Central Asia against the threat from India and the selfish maneuvers of politicians (not necessarily in that order). In the course of doing so, they have enriched themselves and gained control of much of the economy and civilian administration. The military has always aspired to control the judiciary as well, and Musharraf has now restored to that institution the supine illegitimacy that it possessed under General Zia. This means of course that the use of institutional power for private gain by the military is legal (as the judiciary has no power over the military), while similar use of institutional power by civilians is “corruption.”

The military allies with the U.S. because that is the only way to get the weapons and money for their national security project and to prevent the U.S. from aligning with India. It has nothing to do with “moderation.” The “pro-American moderate” Pakistan military has used the “anti-American extremist” jihadis for its national security project.

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