It Wasn’t About the Cartoons

Juan Cole has a must-read analysis of the Paris massacre that unfortunately will not be read by the people who need to read it.

The horrific murder of the editor, cartoonists and other staff of the irreverent satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, along with two policemen, by terrorists in Paris was in my view a strategic strike, aiming at polarizing the French and European public.

The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam. France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world (ex-Soviet ethnic Muslims often also have low rates of belief and observance). Many Muslim immigrants in the post-war period to France came as laborers and were not literate people, and their grandchildren are rather distant from Middle Eastern fundamentalism, pursuing urban cosmopolitan culture such as rap and rai. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.

Do read the whole thing. Juan Cole also writes that the perps were radicalized by Bush’s Iraq War and the Abu Ghraib torture.

Without Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, it is not at all clear that Sharif Kouachi would have gotten involved in fundamentalist vigilanteism. And if he hadn’t, he would not have gone on to be a point man in murdering out the staff of Charlie Hebdo along with two policemen.

Iraq is a major Arab, Muslim country. Its capital, Baghdad, is special to Sunni Muslims because the Abbasid empire built it and ruled from it. Having American troops occupy it for 8 years, humiliate its citizens, shoot people at checkpoints, and torture people in military prisons was a very bad idea. Some people treated that way become touchy, and feel put down, and won’t take slights to their culture and civilization any longer. Maybe the staff at Charlie Hebdo would be alive if George W. Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney hadn’t modeled for the Kouashi brothers how you take what you want and rub out people who get in your way.

That last part is supposition, but it’s well-informed supposition. Just as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 triggered a massively wrong-footed reaction that served the cause of al Qaeda a lot more than it did national security, the Paris massacre was designed to cause a massively wrong-footed reaction that could radicalize Muslims in Europe. But you’ll never get a true Islamophobe to admit, or even see, that he’s being played.

See also “Muslims Around the World Condemn the Charlie Hebdo Attack” and “‘Religious Violence’ Isn’t Just Religious.”

Today in Panic News

I don’t want you to panic, but the Lt. Gov. of Texas announced that prayer rugs have been found on the Texas side of the border. The sneaky, nefarious payer rugs apparently attempted to disguise themselves as soccer jerseys. Don’t trust textiles.

On a more serious note, there is considerable panic over the workplace decapitation in Oklahoma, which strikes me as the work of someone with borderline personality disorder who watched the recent ISIS beheading videos a few too many times. This is a good argument for keeping some things off the Internet.

So far only Breitbart — the same crew who can’t tell the difference between a prayer rug and a soccer jersey — plus the usual suspects such as Pam Geller and Jim Hoft are reporting a direct connection between the perpetrator and actual jihadists.  This tells us with a high degree of certainty that there  is no actual evidence of such a connection at the present time, although that hardly matters to the unfortunate woman who was killed.

As Steve M says the mainstream press is downplaying this story, possibly because there’s not much to report so far except the grisly details. And the world is full of people with borderline personality disorder.


We Don’t Call ‘Em American Taliban for Nothing

It strikes me that the right-wing Christianists celebrating the Hobby Lobby decision are an unimaginative crew. This might be expected of people who combine dogmatic literalism with a myopic inability to perceive the difference between their own culturally induced bigotries and God. The degree to which they are shooting themselves in the foot is revealed in a New Yorker commentary by Steve Coll, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York.

Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, is a closely held, profit-making enterprise organized on religious principles. One of its principles, announced as public policy in July, 2012, is that children should not be inoculated against polio, because the vaccines violate God’s law. So sincere are the Taliban’s religious beliefs that its followers have assassinated scores of public-health workers who have attempted to administer polio vaccines in areas under Taliban control or influence. …

… If the Pakistani Taliban, aided by clever lawyers, organized a closely held American corporation, and professed to run it on religious principles, might its employees be deprived of insurance coverage to inoculate their children against polio? And would the Supreme Court, by the five-to-four decision issued on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, endorse such a move?

Coll acknowledges that before this could happen the Taliban would have to jump through some challenging hoops, such as their status in the U.S. as a terrorist organization. And the part about assassinating people would touch on other areas of law, unrelated to the Affordable Care Act, that might get them into trouble even in “murder at will” states like Florida. However, maybe if they came out for open carry … well, that’s another argument.

Here’s the meat of Coll’s argument:

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the Court’s conservative majority, sought to evade such thought exercises by predicting, without evidence, that there will not be “a flood of religious objections regarding a wide variety of medical procedures and drugs, such as vaccinations and blood transfusions.”

Why not? Is it because the justices do not intend to extend their reasoning to companies that hold religious views less proximate to their own Christian beliefs? Or because the judges believe that they can enforce what they imagine to be a rational or permissible resistance to reproductive rights for women, while blocking what they might see as irrational resistance to transfusions and vaccines?

In other words, as Dahlia Lithwick argued the other day, either the justices intend to show favoritism to “mainstream” (in their minds) Christianity, denying other religions the same privileges, or they think women’s reproductive health is a less serious medical issue than, for example, blood transfusions. There really is no other way to interpret Alito’s argument.

The Right argues that these medical procedures would not be blocked, because the employees could still obtain them and pay for them out of their own pockets. But here in Real World Land, the cost of such things could be out of reach, especially for employees making minimum wage. Add several children, and you might as well tell the employees they can buy a gold-plated yacht while they’re at it. Also, it’s not just the Taliban with issues about vaccines, is it?

And here’s the central issue:

Perhaps the Supreme Court’s majority cannot fully imagine that religiously motivated litigants—Muslim, Christian Scientist, Hindu, or other—as qualified and as American as the Hobby Lobby owners might ultimately use Monday’s ruling to enforce beliefs far outside of the decades-long campaign of Christian evangelicals and Catholics to limit the reproductive rights of women. If so, that is another failure of their reasoning, one that exposes what really seems to have gone on in this decision: four longtime adherents to the deeply rooted conservative movement to limit or ban abortion in the United States, joined by a fifth willing to defer to them, saw in the Hobby case an opportunity to advance their cause incrementally, and they reasoned to achieve that end—not, as their opinion claims, to construct a sustainable framework of religious resistance to public-health laws.

The Right is perpetually screaming that we are about to be placed under sharia law. Sharia law, as I understand it, is interpreted many different ways, and I don’t want to join into demonizing it here. But the Right doesn’t seem to appreciate that the Hobby Lobby decision potentially opens the door to exactly this — a company with Muslim owners could potentially enforce its Islamic views on the employees.

The pre-Hobby Lobby understanding of separation of church and state would have prevented sharia law from being involuntarily applied to non-Muslims in the U.S. That’s not quite so clear now. It seems to me that the only way the HL decision wouldn’t open the door to all kinds of religious impositions on employees is if the courts set themselves up as arbiters of what religious beliefs are legitimate and which not, First Amendment be damned.

I like this bit:

Because campaigners against reproductive rights have successfully mainstreamed their views within institutions like the Supreme Court, those views no longer seem radical even to many of their opponents. The Taliban have not similarly legitimized their philosophy because they are so indiscriminately violent and repressive, among other reasons. (Some religiously motivated radicals have assassinated abortion providers in the United States, but the gunmen are not commonly referred to here as terrorists.)

I argue from time to time that the only difference between our domestic right-wing extremists — and not just the religious ones — and Islamic terrorists is in degree, not in kind. Of course people who bomb abortion clinics or assassinate doctors — or even threaten to assassinate doctors — are terrorists. Here’s the dictionary definition of “terrorism”:

the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal
the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

So, yes, many abortion clinic “protesters” are terrorists. But we can’t call them terrorists because their opinions have been “mainstreamed.” A group doing exactly the same thing to banks that the Fetus People do to abortion clinics would be called terrorists. No question. So clinic protesters are allowed to get away with terrorism because some courts, and much of the public, sympathize with their cause, not because they aren’t actually terrorists.

Bottom line, extremist right-wing dogmatic Christians get a pass, because they are “mainstream.” I suspect Islamic extremism got its first footholds in the Middle East the same way.

Just How Stupid Is Jennifer Rubin, Really?

The inexplicably still employed Jennifer Rubin, still pumping Benghazi as a scandal, posted this in the early evening yesterday:

BREAKING: The president knew the truth about Benghazi

By Jennifer Rubin

In a blockbuster report, John Solomon, the former Associated Press and Post reporter, has ferreted out the president’s daily brief that informed him within 72 hours of the Sept. 11 attack that the Benghazi attack was a jihadist operation.

Please proceed, Ms. Rubin.

Citing officials directly familiar with the information, Solomon writes in the Washington Guardian that Obama and other administration officials were told that “that the attack was likely carried out by local militia and other armed extremists sympathetic to al-Qaida in the region.”

Overlooking the fact that there’s some space between “likely carried out” and “was a jihadist operation,” let’s look at what our old buddy David Petraeus told Congress yesterday. This is from an Associated Press story posted yesterday on the WaPo website:

Testifying out of sight, ex-CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress Friday that classified intelligence showed the deadly raid on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a terrorist attack but the administration withheld the suspected role of al-Qaida affiliates to avoid tipping them off.

The recently resigned spy chief explained that references to terrorist groups suspected of carrying out the violence were removed from the public explanation of what caused the attack so as not to alert them that U.S. intelligence was on their trail, according to lawmakers who attended Petraeus’ private briefings.

He also said it initially was unclear whether the militants had infiltrated a demonstration to cover their attack….

;;;After the hearings, lawmakers who questioned Petraeus said he testified that the CIA’s draft talking points in response to the assault on the diplomatic post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. Petraeus said that reference was removed from the final version, although he wasn’t sure which federal agency deleted it.

Adding to the explanation, a senior U.S. official familiar with the drafting of the points said later that a reason the references to al-Qaida were deleted was that the information came from classified sources and the links were, and still are, tenuous. The administration also did not want to prejudice a criminal investigation in its early stages, that official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the process publicly.

Even the John Solomon article Rubin cites explains what happened pretty well —

Most of the details affirming al-Qaida links were edited or excluded from the unclassified talking points used by Rice in appearances on news programs the weekend after the attack, officials confirmed Friday. Multiple agencies were involved in excising information, doing so because it revealed sources and methods, dealt with classified intercepts or involved information that was not yet fully confirmed, the officials said.

“There were multiple agencies involved, not for political reasons, but because of intelligence concerns,” one official explained.

The rightie blogosphere (collective IQ: 12) is still screaming that Obama lied to the American people. As Kevin Drum pointed out a couple of days ago, this is a conspiracy in search of a motive.

As best I can tell, the suggestion from the right has been that Obama didn’t want to admit that Benghazi was a terrorist attack because….well, I’m not sure, exactly. Something about how this would blow a hole in his claim to be decimating al-Qaeda via drone attacks. Or maybe it would remove some of the luster from being the killer of Osama bin Laden. Or something. But one way or another, the story is that Obama was deeply afraid of admitting that terrorists are still out there and want to do us harm.

This has never made a lick of sense. If anything, the continuing existence of terrorists justifies his drone attacks. And it certainly wouldn’t do him any harm in an election. The American public routinely rallies around a president responding to a terrorist attack.

Of course, if George W. Bush were still in the White House and running for re-election when this happened, he and his minions would be screaming TERRORISTS TERRORISTS TERRORISTS GONNA GITCHA IF I’M GONE BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA even if it meant throwing sources and methods under the bus.

If you didn’t already know Petraeus pretty much shot down the claim that the Obama Administration was engaged in some kind of political coverup, just watch John McCain immediately after the testimony:

He was deflated like an old, tired balloon. McCain’s no genius, but we now know he’s a few shades brighter than Jennifer Rubin. Given enough time he actually can add two and two together and come up with four.

Speaking of Domestic Terrorism . . .

I mentioned a couple of days ago that obstetric-gyncological clinics in the Atlanta area were being burglarized and set on fire. Arsonists have hit abortion clinics as well as practices that don’t do abortion.

Now some of the obstetricians are saying they fear they are being targeted because they publicly opposed Georgia’s “fetal pain” bill.

“You hate to point fingers, but when you start to see a pattern I think it’s a little more worrisome,” said Dr. Richard Zane, whose Atlanta Women’s Health Group office in Sandy Springs was burglarized March 4.

Act 631, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this month, reduces the time period for when an elective abortion can occur from about 26 weeks to 20 weeks. Some doctors said restricting medical exceptions to abortions between 20 and 26 weeks would prevent them from treating mothers who are having difficult pregnancies.

The crimes began shortly after the January legislative session started. …

… The three physicians who were victims of burglaries and of Sunday’s fire in Lilburn do not perform abortions. However, they had all visited the Georgia Capitol this session to discuss the impact of the legislation on pregnant women and their unborn children, said Dr. David Byck, president of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.

The arsonists have been breaking into doctors’ offices and stealing computers before setting their fires. So far no one has been hurt. However, one fire was set during office hours while the clinic (which does do abortions) was full of staff and patients. Everyone was evacuated safely, but clearly the arsonists aren’t being careful not to kill someone.

The offices of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society were burglarized the night before a Senate committee was to discuss amending the bill to continue to keep private the names of physicians who have to report abortions to the state.

The intruders bypassed three laptops and appeared to make a beeline for two laptop computers in the executive directors office which stored the names and addresses of doctors.

Like that’s a coincidence? The ATF and FBI are investigating, and so far they are not saying for certain that the clinics are being targeted by anti-reproduction rights terrorists. If it turns out that they are, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the shriekers on the Right to condemn the arsonists, though.

Arsonists Target Atlanta OB-GYN Clinics

Someone may be making the war on women literal. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that there have been a series of burglaries and arsons in the Atlanta area targeting abortion clinics and OB-GYN practices that don’t do abortion. In other words, they’re going after any clinic or practice that deals exclusively with women’s reproductive health care.

The latest arson was the most brazen one, occurring during business hours Wednesday morning at Alpha Group GYN, which provides abortion services and counseling, on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta.

Another suspicious fire on Sunday occurred at the Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics Gwinnett office in Lilburn, which also was the site of a burglary on Jan. 26. The thieves stole a desktop computer.

Two other burglaries at obstetrics and gynecology offices occurred in March in Sandy Springs and unincorporated Suwanee. Most of the clinics do not perform abortions.

The FBI has begun an investigation.

Obama Behind Plot to Blow Up His Own Headquarters!

You’ve probably heard that a sting operation caught three young men who allegedly planned terrorist activities to protest the NATO summit in Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the three “allegedly plotted to firebomb President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s North Side home, as well as police stations and squad cars.”

Whether the three are guilty or not I do not know. What’s fascinating to me is the way this little issue is being portrayed by bloggers.

At Firedoglake, we read:

The NLG [National Lawyers Guild] attorneys representing the arrestees have not been shown any police records on any “month-long investigation.” The details I have been able to gather from speaking to arrestees personally make it seem like the police have, in the past 48 hours, fabricated all of these details about having some investigation in progress. Yet, the press get to see the records on arrestees so that the police can be sure people take the charges against the activists seriously and do not suspect police abuse or repression of activists. …

…It is important to recall that back in 2008, prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, eight activists were preemptively raided and ultimately charged with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism.” The national security state has a script, and when it comes to “National Special Security Events,” they stick to that script pretty well.

So that’s one perspective, which I neither endorse nor dismiss. Certainly there is a long history of police-state tactics targeting demonstrators, especially around large conventions and summit meetings. There’s more than a whiff of entrapment in this story.

Of course, there’s also a long history of hot-headed young men who want to blow stuff up. I’m making no assumptions here.

Rightie bloggers have another view, which is that the three indeed are deranged terrorists working on behalf of the Occupy movement. Per the Sun-Times article, the three found each other through an Occupy Chicago housing board. In the simple world of James Hoft, that makes them “#Occupy NATO terrorists.”

Hoft doesn’t mention the three alleged terrorists were allegedly planning to bomb Obama campaign headquarters. However, commenters brilliantly deduced Chicago + terrorism = Bill Ayers (example).

The Breitbrats also forgot to mention that the alleged terrorists were going to firebomb Obama campaign headquarters and Rahm Emanuel’s home. But the commenters wasted no time in deciding that Obama himself was behind the plot:

Hold on to your butts. Ask yourself, “Why did they decide to have NATO in Chicago, anyway?” Ya all are gonna have a knee-jerk reaction to these kids. “Stupid hippies,” and i don’t disagree. They’re responsible, yes, yes, of course, but THEY ARE ALSO BEING PRODDED TO VIOLENCE AND PROTEST BY THE INVISIBLE HAND. Obama cannot have his revolution without division, chaos, and flame.

Just another way for the Obama admin to launder (our) money for his homeys in Chicago.

Here you get the best of both worlds — it’s police oppression creating false terrorists, and the Obama Administration is behind it:

So, now our federal government has given up on the muslim terrorists and are going to create fake domestic terrorists at home? And you’re right!!! Why even have this in Chicago in the first place? Have you ever heard of “FALSE FLAG?” Just wait… something crazy is going to happen and Obama is going to try to emerge as the HERO to give himself an election boost… The fix is in for this NATO Summit. I’m so sick of this crap! These people (the feds) are so predictable!

BTW, I find the video highly annoying. There’s nothing productive about yelling the “F” word at a police station.

The “get a brain, moran” award has to go to the commenters at Weasel Zippers. Here at least the blogger headlines the part about blowing up Obama headquarters, and the commenters still think Obama was behind it. Sample:

thank you barak insane obama,
mmmm, mmmm, mmmm
you and ayers are great leaders
teachers, or terrorist tactics

The Weasel Zippers crowd are not famous for eloquence. All the comments are pretty much on that level.

See also Cannonfire.

Osama bin Laden, 1957-2011

I’ve been surfing around this morning looking at reactions to the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death. The executive summary: Hooray! followed by But it will make no difference in the 2012 elections. The campaign next year will focus on domestic issues, not terrorism.

See Nate Silver’s analysis of the political implications of the death of bin Laden, with which I largely agree. President Obama should get a boost in popularity that will disappear before election day 2012.

On the other hand, rightfully or not, the death of bin Laden ought to bolster public perception of President Obama as a serious commander in chief and someone who is “tough” on national security. This will be reinforced in a few weeks when we observe the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

It strikes me that none of the likely Republican nominees has much in the way of real or imagined national security credentials. I don’t think any of them served in the military or is associated in the public mind with any past national security crisis. And one of them is named “Tim.”

This event serves as a reminder to the public that the job of president is serious and requires more than just an ability to insult Democrats.

And while Sarah Palin and others can stand on the sidelines and belittle Obama’s foreign policies (which I do not necessarily endorse myself) all they like, as Nate says the death of bin Laden “neuters” the issue. Their whines and tweets and chest thumpings seem all the more pathetic now.

How will the Right respond? I predict they will belittle Obama for taking credit for the death of bin Laden in his speech last night. It was U.S. forces that did the job, they will say, not President Obama. They will probably try to give credit to George W. Bush somehow, with a nod to President Reagan. See also Steve M. I think most voters will perceive this posturing as sour grapes, though.

This is not to say that future events couldn’t change the current political dynamic, and drastically. It also is not to say that killing bin Laden changes anything in the real world at this point. He’s been more of a symbolic figure than a real leader for several years.

Update: Great photographs of the celebration in lower Manhattan.

Update: Fox News congratulates George W. Bush on death of bin Laden.

Update: Little Lulu slams President Obama for receiving credit for death of bin Laden.

Update: Recalling some 2008 campaign talking points.

Gitmo Files Leaked

Wikileaks has released information on Guantanamo detainees. And as a lot of us have been saying, many of the people held there were completely innocent.

An assessment of 780 people detained at Gitmo at one time or another shows that 220 really were/are dangerous terrorists. Another 380 were “foot soldiers,” low-level people with ties to various extremist or insurgent groups but who had no access to intelligence.

And at least 150 were completely innocent Aghanis and Pakistanis, some of whom were sold to security forces for a bounty. Juan Cole says, “Wearing a Casio watch could be a cause for arrest, apparently, because al-Qaeda types used them as timers.” And in many cases their documents contain no accusations against them. Yet they were held for months and years and “interrogated” just the same.

For example,

In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

See, righties, this is why some of us have issues with military tribunals. Several other similar stories have come out of the leaks.

The 172 men remaining at Gitmo have been rated ‘high risk,” but then so were a lot of other detainees who were eventually transferred and even released.

At least some of the remaining crew really are hard-core terrorists with ties to the 9/11 perps. But the issue is that, since evidence against them was obtained through torture, they can’t be properly tried. But they really are dangerous, so neither can they be released. No one has any idea what to do with them, except keep them at Gitmo.

Right-Wing Domestic Violence News: The Grand Silence

Before today’s review of “isolated incidents” of right-wing domestic violence, take a moment to view this bit of a curiosity from Glenn Beck, from a few months ago. Brad Blog has a transcript.

It’s a curiosity, because if you listened to it you may have thought you heard Beck saying “You’re going to have to shoot them in the head.” But, we learn from Patterico that he didn’t say that at all! Very curious, indeed. Are we all suffering a mass audio delusion?

Ah, here’s the explanation. Patterico objects because there is an unspoken implication that Beck was telling his audience to shoot someone in the head. But that’s not true! Patterico says:

When you read [the transcript], you will see that the word “you” refers to the leftist politicians in Washington and their pals in the media, and “they” refers to their radical leftist friends — who, Beck warns, actually believe there must be violent revolution . . . and if they don’t get what they want, they may start one.

Beck is warning the comfortable pols that the people who put them in power aren’t going to be satisfied with seeing just a little of their agenda accomplished. They want it all. Because they are revolutionaries at heart — people who have called for violence and never repudiated it. And if they aren’t satisfied, Beck tells the pols, they will come after you. Violently.

You’re going to have to shoot them in the head. But they may shoot you.

Johnson wants you to believe that the “you” is Beck’s audience, whom Beck is inciting to violence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

See? Nobody’s inciting anybody to violence. So if you’re a rightie thinking I was going to say something snarky about Patterico, you can go back to your regular favorite websites. Thanks much.

Are they gone? Jeebus, is this sick, or what? See also Steve M.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, Dave Neiwert has a roundup of Glenn’s greatest hits, which includes this bit.

Anyway, in other domestic violence news — you may have heard of the bomb left along a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane. I say you may have heard; this story hasn’t made much of a splash at all. But law enforcement officials say the bomb wasn’t an amateur job, but a sophisticated and deadly piece of work.

The Spokane bomb was packed with shrapnel and would have been detonated by a remote device, if it hadn’t been discovered.

Authorities are still checking out a long list of suspects, including the Aryan Nations. So far, the investigation appears to be focused on right-wing hate groups.

Dave Neiwert, who lives up in those parts somewhere, provided a background of right-wing hate groups in the Spokane area. And Will Bunch asks if right-wing media carping about the coverage of the Tucson shooting has news media spooked from covering the bomb attempt in Spokane.

Because, you know, if they could tie that bomb to someone named “Mohammed,” it would be all we’d hear about for days. But some right-wing racist yahoos? Nothin’ to see hear, folks, move along.

And police in Arlington, Massachusetts, have seized “a large amount of weapons and ammunition” from some guy who suggested on his blog that all members of Congress should be shot. After the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscan, he titled a post “1 down, 534 to go.” He told police he was just joking. Of course, I suppose it could be argued that since the guy advocated the shooting of all member of Congress, of both parties, that makes him a moderate.

Sorta kinda related — New Jersey’s job-killing governor Chris Christie may have blown his status as the Right’s new “best boy” by appointing a Muslim man to be a judge.