Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sarah Palin Blamed by the US Secret Service
Over Death Threats Against Barack Obama

From AlterNet:

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.


Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

Click here for the rest.

Okay, this is very frightening, but nothing new. That is, Sarah Palin has done nothing that right-wing radio hosts haven't done, again and again, before her. The racism is something of a new angle here, but this kind of libelous hate speech has been directed at Democrats and the left in general for many years. O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Reagan, Savage, all these assholes have called liberals traitors, murderers, terrorists, perverts, vermin, stuff right out of Goebbels' playbook.

The bottom line here is that, while all Americans have freedom of speech and can say whatever they want, there are consequences to extreme lies and libel. Many on the left have been warning for a long time that some kook someday is going to take all this vile rhetoric seriously, and start shooting up liberals. We've already seen such consequences played out at a Unitarian church in Tennessee.

This Secret Service report only makes the danger more credible: the longer the right wing engages in dehumanizing rhetoric aimed at liberals, the more likely it is that liberals will be targeted by psychotic right-wingers. I know how anti-social it is to compare Americans to Nazis, but there are some terrifying parallels here.

Given the free speech issues at stake here, I don't advocate adoption of the kind of hate speech codes we've seen at some liberal universities over the years, but it is important to note that slander and libel laws are on the books for some very good reasons. I think it's high time that liberals got serious about fighting this shit, hitting the corporations profiting from conservative lies where it hurts the most, in their pocketbooks. That is, it's time for a massive campaign of thousands of lawsuits.

Fuck these assholes.