Get Ready for Rule by the Mob

Last week three yahoos stormed into an elementary school in Tucson and confronted the principal. One was livestreaming the event, and one carried “law enforcement grade” zip ties. The third was the father of a boy who had been taken out of class and told he was required to mask and quarantine. The child had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for covid, and the school was following county health requirements.

The three men decided that the school didn’t have legal authority to do such a thing. The fellow in charge of the live stream said he was prepared to “raise hell,” and insisted the school couldn’t take the law “into their own hands” by instructing a student to quarantine. He also wrote on Facebook that a citizen’s arrest was an option. Instead, the principal called the police. One of the three has been charged with tresspassing; whether the other two are also in trouble, I do not know. See also An Anti-Masker Just Tried to Zip-Tie a School Principal Over COVID Rules.

I bring this up because this is the pattern we’re falling into. Instead of the rule of law, we’re facing the rule of self-appointed vigilantes. The hideous Texas abortion law is another example. For that matter, the Texas voting repression law appears to allow partisan poll watchers to harass people who are voting. Wingnuts are assuming the power to make and enforce laws as they see fit. This will not end well.

Of course, this is not really new. Extremists have been bombing abortion clinics and murdering doctors in the U.S. since the early 1990s.

In the “stuff to read” department — I heartily endorse a column by Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Inquirer — We knew America would never be the same after 9/11. We didn’t know how bad. Just read the whole thing.

Worth a clip ‘n’ save — Ed Kilgore’s Trump’s Long Campaign to Steal the Presidency: A Timeline.

Better late than never, but not much — The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League admits that the ADL was wrong to oppose the building of Cordoba House, a.k.a the “Ground Zero Mosque.” “Today one can see how the Cordoba House could have helped to heal our country as we nursed the wounds from the horror of 9/11,” the CEO writes. Some of us saw it at the time, ten years ago.

6 thoughts on “Get Ready for Rule by the Mob

  1. Clair McCaskill did a brilliant job in talking about the Texas abortion of a bill today on Meet the Press.  (usually has no paywall access I think)  She was quite to the point and strident as to the ramifications of this type of law evading law mechanism.  Good point Maha, in pointing out how it encourages and validates a run amuck trend toward vigilantism and rule by domestic terrorists. Clair pointed out that Democrats could also use this type of vigilante encouragement act as a tactic, but explained quite well that it should be considered out of bounds by both parties and the SCOTUS.  It is a law that encourages and promotes terrorism.  

    We already have terrorism effecting the price of abortions.  Even where you have legal abortions the price of security for patients, staff, and even abettors is now quite high.  Fear of attack, harm, and even death by the hands of the wrongly righteous is not neurotic fear but reasonable situational evaluation of real risks one faces.  The history of the wrongly righteous in this matter provides ample evidence of criminal and terrorist behavior for some period of time now.  This is a new low in the Republican Party, (Nothing Grand about it with This One) at endorsing and facilitation Terrorism as an approved political tactic.  

    Note here pleas that I define Terrorism as behavior that uses act which generate extreme fear anxiety (and throw in loathing if you like) to gain political power.   Terrorism is a tactic of warfare.  Those who employ this tactic at a certain level by the definition used here, are Terrorists.  Putting the whole Republican party in that category is a little too strong of a judgement to make at this point in time, but the trend line for them is quite evident.  They need to find many more voices of moderation that they already have.  They seem to think Terrorists are those who do not share their religious beliefs and cultural norms.  This is IMO a very wrong, stupid, and maladaptive definition of the term which reeks of jingoism, misplaced elitism.  But is that not the way of the wrongly righteous.  Even when they are mired in a muddy ditch they promote the path they have taken.  –

     

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    • Putting the whole Republican party in that category is a little too strong of a judgement to make at this point in time, but the trend line for them is quite evident.  They need to find many more voices of moderation that they already have. 

      The GOP knows this terroristic activity is going on, in their name and by their supporters, and they remain relatively silent about it because they reap the benefits.  IMO this does not buy them the benefit of the doubt when considering whether the party is a terrorist organization.  They condone terrorist activities by their own that the party as a whole benefits from.

      "Terrorist" has taken on a racial connotation on the right and in general.  In America, to be a terrorist, you can't be white; you have to be "middle eastern," black or brown.  Groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and those that were involved in the plot to kidnap and kill the governor of Michigan certainly were terrorists.  "Militia" anti-government groups who have openly stated their goal is the destruction of the government have operated in the US for decades, blew stuff up, took hostages and killed people, and yet the FBI and law enforcement have been reluctant to apply the terrorist label, until recently, because they didn't fit the profile, as white people.

      There are "voices of moderation" within the GOP but because of the party's embrace of its extremist, violent elements, they're afraid to speak up.  If there was a time or a reason the party leadership should step up to unequivocally disavow these elements, this is it.  Instead the number three republican leader in the House was removed from her position for speaking out.  

      So no, IMO, the GOP doesn't deserve the benefit if the doubt.  It acts like, and thus is a terrorist organization.

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  2. If we need to be getting ready for mob rule now, we're way behind the curve.  The GOP has been encouraging mob rule at least since 2010, when the encouraged the creation of the astro-turf tea party.  Remember how, back then, in response to the dire threat of a president who happened to be black, these people fanned out across the country like a plague of locusts, descending on legislators, law-abiding citizens and real patriots, devouring reason, comity and compromise, and threatening violent retribution if they didn't get their way.

    And a hat tip to the media, who's collectively lent a helpful hand in support of mob rule by casting these people in the most positive light, ignoring the their real threat and impact, to normalize their behavior.  

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    • Good points, and one could come to that conclusion.  I find the term terrorism to be too ill defined to state unequivocally what or who is a terrorist or not.  I recall reading that a world organization attempted to come up with a definition but failed to find  one that most could agree  upon.  

      So is this another one of those I can't define it but I know it when I see it words?  I have never liked terms like that.   We seem to have many terms for things people have never seen. like unicorns, big foot, and of course the Loch Ness monster.  We generally don't have a problem finding an agreeable definition for these things.  

      Is it not amazing that one can fight a war on terrorism, yet be unable to define it or even avoid it in a group they might be a member of, like the Republican Party.  I wonder what percentage of Republicans would self identify as terrorists or agree their party is a terrorist organization?  Of course they are the party of denial without question.  They might think acting like a terrorist is OK if your a Republican.  What a moral mess they are.  Let's just assume they are guilty until they prove themselves innocent.  I can work with that.

         

       

  3. Well, as the Big Lebowski so delicately said, "new shit has come to light".  Therefore I must amend my previous comment of this issue. 

    Business Insider ran an article today on actions surrounding threats associated with the Georgia election results.  Quoting Reuters, Raffensperger's wife Tricia received the texted threat stating: 

    "You and your family will be killed very slowly," and "We plan for the death of you and your family every day." 

    The president at the time was reported as encouraging and supporting these threat makers by the article.  

     

    "There was this one time I heard [Trump] suggest they might be exaggerating the kind of threats they were getting. But more often, he'd make fun of them and say they were bad people who were getting what they deserved," one former official told the outlet."

    Also:

    Another person close to Trump also told The Daily Beast that Trump remarked that if the officials wanted the threats to end, they simply had to grant him his wish.

    It is hard to contend that this does not constitute terrorist activity.  Since Trump is still acting as the de facto leader of the Republican Party, and it's members have not refuted this behavior, it is also hard to argue that the Republican Party as it now exists today is not a terrorist organization. 

    Until the party admits to it's untoward behavior and rids itself of members who ignore or encourage it, the Republican Party deserves the designation and should be treated accordingly.  Mob rule on steroids. 

    Trump Made Fun of GA Election Officials for Death Threats: Report (businessinsider.com)

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    • In order for mob rule to prevail, and I'm thinking of the threats against GA officials, two things must consistently happen. One, some of the threats must be carried out. Two, in almost every case of violence, the authorities must look the other way. 

      Note that this is how the KKK operated for decades in the South. It is also functionally identical to how the Taliban prevails. The Texas law is NOT terrorism – it's the state government, not anonymous people, and the threats are not violent. We should not get in the habit of calling everything wrong, "terrorism." Or everyone who is the opposition, "terrorists." 

      Here's a place that the federal government could drive a stake through the heart of right-wing terrorism. Make it a federal offense for officials to look the other way in cases of credible anonymous threats. So if a school board member receives death threats, and the local cops blow it off, that should be a federal felony. The FBI can't/won't investigate every instance where some idiot sends a threat. But if that school board member is murdered, or a family member is murdered, the FBI should get involved. The cops, as soon as they hear they may be criminally liable, will mobilize FULLY to try to get an indictment to appease the feds before the feds make indictments.

      There's not much that cops fear more than going to jail. For good reason. I was told while in prison that there's a general agreement not to kill a cop in prison. They are tormented like a cat who has a lizard and tortures it slowly for the game of chasing something. Not for five minutes until the cat inadvertently inflicts a lethal wound, but for decades. Solitary, for years becomes the only refuge for a cop, a different kind of excruciating torture.

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