[Note: My web service provider is telling me that sometime today somebody is going to do something to disrupt service for a few hours. This is a necessary something and cannot be avoided. I don’t understand any of this. I take it the site may be offline for a while, but it should be okay tomorrow.]
Well, the U.S. is now officially withdrawn from Afghanistan. The original purpose of this war was to reduce the threat of foreign terrorism to the U.S. We prefer our own home-grown terrorists, thanks very much.
Meanwhile, all power has been knocked out of our fourth largest port city by a climate-change super-charged storm. Not Islamic terrorists.
Our home-grown terrorists are getting more emboldened. For example, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Georgia anti-vaxxers:
In one south Georgia county, the anti-vaxxers tracked down public health employees through social media and harangued them with messages of hostility and misinformation about vaccines.
“Aside from feeling threatened themselves, staff realized no one would want to come to that location for a vaccination under those circumstances, so they packed up and left,” said Nancy Nydam, Toomey’s spokesman.
Why aren’t the thugs arrested? Oh, never mind. We know why.
This guy is running for Northampton County (PA) Executive:
PA GOP Gov candidate Steve Lynch today: “Forget going into these school boards with freaking data. You go in to these school boards to remove them. I’m going in with 20 strong men and I’m gonna give them an option – they can leave or they can be removed.” pic.twitter.com/A0M6SsOldI
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) August 30, 2021
He’s running on the “make men men again” platform, I take it.
See Greg Sargent, Madison Cawthorn’s vile lies about Jan. 6 reveal a big truth about the right. Cawthorn is a persistent liar about just about about everything, note. This is about Cawthorn’s lies that are intended to incite violence, specifically about the 2020 election and the alleged threat posed by the political Left. Sargent:
There you have the reigning ethos of today’s right wing laid bare: If we keep lying uncontrollably to our supporters about the totalitarian left’s repression of them, they just might resort to violence, and gosh almighty, wouldn’t that be just terrible!
The big truth captured here is that for many right-wing personalities, the lying about the left is prior and essential to their radicalization, abandonment of democracy and increasing embrace of authoritarianism. The former inspires and justifies the latter: Once you unshackle yourself entirely from any obligation to reality in depicting the leftist menace, it’s a short leap to envisioning and then justifying pretty much anything in response to it.
This has been true for a long time. The Right justifies its own violence by claiming the Left is more violent. There have been no end of studies showing that right-wing extremism is the most common source of political violence in the U.S., but we’re still giving righties a pass. In their minds, righties possess an inherent title to “America” and “patriotism,” which justifies their use of force.
Frank Rich writes that America’s Greatest Existential Threat Wasn’t Terrorism. The jingoism and warmongering that followed the September 11 attacks took us directly to Trump, Rich says.
We should also acknowledge that a pervasive question after 9/11 — “Why do they hate us?” — was the wrong question. Providing answers to it proved a full-employment program for pundits, but the question Americans should have been addressing instead was “Why do we hate each other?” That hate wasn’t just manifest in the virulent Islamophobia that tarred American Muslims with Al Qaeda after 9/11. Culture wars were rampant. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” Bush declared. Those were fighting words at home as well as abroad. Bill Maher was dropped by ABC after wisecracking that hijackers were not necessarily cowards. The writer Andrew Sullivan targeted the “decadent left” in “enclaves on the coasts” as potential traitors as the country careered into war. The NBC peacock logo was recast in stars and stripes lest anyone doubt that it was a hawk. GOP congressmen, precursors of today’s Freedom Caucus, demanded that the House cafeterias rename French fries “freedom fries” after France refused to sign on to the invasion of Iraq.
In his new book, Reign of Terror, the journalist Spencer Ackerman draws a direct line from the jingoism, bigotry, and xenophobia that erupted after the 9/11 attacks to Trump’s cynical political choice to feed a “white nativist appetite for a narrative of besiegement, replacement, abandonment, and betrayal.” This hideous strain of 9/11 fallout spread at an accelerated pace once Barack Hussein Obama could be conflated with terrorists by the opposition party — not just on the fringes but from the national platform awarded to its vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Trump knew what he was doing when he peddled a demonstrably fictional sighting of Muslim Americans in New Jersey cheering the fall of the Twin Towers — even as he tastelessly bragged, with equal falsity, that he had “spent a lot of time” with first responders at ground zero and that his building at 40 Wall Street was by default New York’s tallest thanks to the towers going down.
And here we are. Well, it’s good to finally be out of Afghanistan, anyway.