...Every day they show you they're actually worse.
The way you know you've really, really knee-capped the holy hell out of a right-winger and his or her talking points is when they go to the “civility” card—or duplicitously, as hinted at in Jesse's “sockpuppet” post, trot out the tongue-clucking “concern troll” routine—under their own names and others. And then? Then, if you've really wounded them in ways that put them verrrry much on the defensive, they absolutely lose their minds and go for broke—hissing, snarling, leaping and shitting, like rats backed into a spike-studded corner.
Well, we've seen gobs of that Grade-A lunacy in the last three weeks or so, with the hysterical, pearl-clutching ravings over General David Petraeus' easily bruised sensibilities after MoveOn correctly and pointedly asked whether he was acting as a truth-telling general, or as a shill, a mouthpiece for a failed policy, and betrayer of the trust of the American people for knowingly lying about things that are getting our soldiers killed.
So what happened next? Out came the concern trolls, mewling like stuck cats about tone and tenor—discourse and “coarsening of dialogue”. And then, as the hypocrisy of that meme fell to shreds in the face of their own behaviors...you guessed it—it was off the rails, and down the embankment to Batshitville as Rush Limbaugh desperately saw fit to impugn returning troops who served in Iraq and who dared publicly disagree with the Petraus-dent's opinion of the war by calling them “Phony Soldiers”, comparing them to brainwashed suicide bombers and dumb, wind-up bots (this from a man whose fans proudly call themselves “dittoheads”). This is the same “man” who thought it would be funny (Allan Funt he ain't) to jerk about in his custom-built, fat-fuck chair (nearly bursting a couple of pilonidal ass-cysts, I'm sure) and mock the tics and spasms of Parkinson's victims last year after Michael J. Fox's damning, pro stem-cell research ad near election time. Land a decent punch, not even a knockout—but a stunner on these bastards—and it's “Katy bar the door!” freakout time. You'd think somebody tied 'em down, tortured 'em, and left 'em to die somewhere.
But hey, this acid tab they've been popping since “The Math” went bad last November is a strong one, dude. 'Cause maaaaaaaaan...the freakout like, not only continues, dude?—But like...seems to be actually intensifying! Whooooa! Flash forward a week and a half, post Bush's veto of the SCHIP children's health insurance program, and it is there you will find the lowest of the right wing's low (nut-high to a gnat with a hernia)—led by the hateful, style-and-humor challenged, she-troglodyte Michelle Malkin, going after the family of the 12-year-old who deftly, and embarrassingly responded to Bush's veto via the Democratic response to the President's Weekly
Word Salad, Verbal Pig-Fuck, Rhetorical Ass-Hattery Radio Address.
Remember how Malkin lost her long-crumbled cookies when she got a taste of her own medicine after posting contact info for those U of Santa Cruz students? How she freaked out over the possibility that some crazed someone might track her creepy ass down—maybe even—“Gasp!”—stalking her?
Well guess what this no-life-having she-clown decided to go and do? Yeah...you guessed it. Cue Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction—minus the girlish charm. Via Crooks and Liars:
The wingnuts have been in full force attack against the family of Graeme Frost, the twelve year old boy that gave the Democratic radio address a couple of weeks ago. In their typical ignorance of the facts, Malkin and the rest on the right side of the blogosphere are trying to paint this family as phonies.Think Progress has noted the important facts the attack monsters are forgetting. So what would you do if you saw that face snooping around your house? That might be a good question for the Frosts:
(Crazycheerleaderskirtnut's bullshit starts here:) —LM
Update 2:50pm Eastern: I (Malkin) just returned from a visit to Frost’s commercial property near Patterson Park in Baltimore. It’s a modest place. Talked to one of the tenants, Mike Reilly, who is a talented welder. He said he had known the Frosts for 10 years. Business is good, he told me, though he characterized Frost as “struggling.” Reilly was an outspoken advocate for socialized health care without any means-testing whatsoever and an insistent critic of the Iraq war. Despite all that, he did agree with me that going without health insurance is often a matter of choice and a matter of priorities. Or maybe we were speaking two different languages.
I also passed by the Frosts’ rowhouse. There was an “01 - 20 -09″ bumper sticker plastered on the door and a newer model GMC Suburban parked directly in front of the house. I’ve seen guesstimates of the house’s worth in the $400,000-plus range. Those are high. But Mark Tapscott’s point remains: “[P]eople make choices and it’s clear the Frosts have made choice to invest in property and a business, but not in private health insurance. The Maryland-administered version of the federal SCHIP program, by the way, does not impose an asset test on applicants.”
(Back to C&L commentary here:) —LM
Now isn’t this the same Malkin who has complained about hate mail and threats? Ironically she did this on the same day that Free Republic decided to post the Frost’s’ home address. Of course this is also the same Malkin who tries to act like she is concerned about children. Well we see how much she really “cares” now.
Ohhhhhh, yes! She quite literally “went there”. I won't link to her foam-mouthed madness on the subject, or that of her Geico-Cavemen faced, aide-de-evil Mark Steyn. (I leave the takedown of that hackery to the estimable, and obviously cast-iron souled TBogg). But do you understand what this batshit fucking child was doing?!
Driving around, casing the house of a 12-year-old kid who told the truth and made the president look bad. She tells you, and her mouth-breathing readers/lynch mob what neighborhood the house is in. What kind of car's in front. Even what's on the front-fucking door. I am not one to wish ill will (publicly) on prominent figures...but I wouldn't have shed a single, solitary, fucking tear if she'd been set upon by a pack of guard dobermans patrolling the property, or been heatedly confronted by an armed citizen noticing her creepy stalking of their neighborhood and home. And of course, nary a word from her about her buddies at Free Republic posting the kids' address publicly—just rants about “If you don’t want questions, don’t foist these children onto the public stage.”
I'm gonna break this shit down for the Malkinites and other short bus-riding, class behind the boiler room rejects who don't or won't get it.
The SCHIP program affects kids. Got it? Kids like Graeme Frost—who was gravely injured and rendered comatose for a time due to a car accident. The SCHIP program helped his family—a family of taxpayers I might add—afford the care that got him healthy again. As he was directly affected by the program, his being one to comment on it, and rebut Bush's waffle-ey reasoning for ending it is not just fair, but common-fucking-sense if one wants to hammer the point home.
Now...I know they actually know that already. But I said it to make a broader point about the state of debate...of late.
When you challenge these clowns' awful policies in ways that their talking points cannot just shoot down—i.e., presenting a person to whom the public can easily and directly relate the situation to and have some empathy for...they. Can. Not. Fucking. Handle. It.
Again, Michael J. Fox hammers them on stem cell research by letting you see him as he is now, as opposed to the idealized him you remember, and telling you that stem cell research could perhaps help him and those like him? The truth. Plain and unsparing, with an appeal to basic human decency—and you get in response to that, a pill-popping, sex-touring, racist, cowardly blowhard mocking the man's physical disability because baby, that's all they have left these days.
You get returning soldiers who criticize Bush's stupid Mesopotamian meat-grinder for U.S. troops, and they are called “phonies”, and “dupes”, and equated with suicide bombers. By the same ass cyst-addled druggie and his pals on the right, too. Ironic in that a couple of the troops who did recently criticize Bush got themselves “blown up” in Iraq before they could even get home, and one who did get back here (after suffering a grievious head wound) and ripped the war—actually was injured by a suicide bomb in a car he drove next to in Iraq. Again, the appeal to basic human decency, via a directly involved spokesperson is like holy water-marinated garlic to these empathy vampires, who viciously lash out at he or she who has dared upend their talking point. Why? Because that's all they have left these days.
Finally, you have young Graeme Frost. Twelve years old. Who rebutted Bush's SCHIP Scroogery with his family's own, actual experience with the program, which enabled his parents to get him the care that saved his life and returned him to health. Who rendered certain idiots' beloved President, of “extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius...like a great painter” into a crayon-wielding clod on this kitchen-sink issue. And that being untenable, after seeing their boy-king embarrassed, that whackdoodle fringe decided to stake out the kid and his family's house and business, putting the contact info for both places where every nail-bomb loving wingnut could see it and potentially act upon it. Much the way wingnut racists recently sought to “spook” protesters and family members of “The Jena Six” by posting their personal info on the web and threatening them.. You appeal to people's better natures—their hearts and inner humanity. And when you touch them accordingly, and the other side sees their “battle” to fuck America over turning against them ever-so-slightly...they bug out like this. Putting a 12-year-old kid's life in jeopardy because he made their prseident look like the shitheel he is...because the way things are going for them, that's all they have left these days.
Or is it?
Not too long ago our own Sara Robinson pointed out something ugly and uncomfortable to think about that may be in our immediate future as a country. She said it in our roundtable discussion a couple of months back:
“I do believe there's a good deal of civil violence, and possibly a civil war, looming in our future -- probably within the next 5-7 years. Either the right wing makes its move to consolidate power; or else they get so furious over a Dem win in 2008 that they revolt. They never thought Clinton was a legitimate president -- and it's not a coincidence that militia activity exploded immediately after the '92 election. Dave Neiwert has expressed some worry that a liberal victory next year will send them to the barricades and trenches; his sources are already picking up chatter to that effect. It's something we need to anticipate, because it could get very ugly very fast. Right now, I think this is a more credible threat to domestic order than 9/11 2.0.”
And let's go to Dave Neiwert's scary, but dead-on words about this...
Most of all, it seems, she (Malkin) likes the power: the ability to disseminate her point of view and have it be not only widely read but widely adopted as “factual” by a substantial number of people. (In Malkin's case, it's almost purely the power of propaganda, since that is primarily what she purveys.)
Malkin wants that power. She just doesn't want any of the responsibility that comes with it. And it can easily be abused. You can use your megaphone to lie shamelessly. You can use it to smear the good name of public officials. You can use it to rewrite history. And you can use it to intimidate the "little people" who don't possess the same kind of power. Because these potential abuses exist, a sense of ethics is obligatory for anyone who possesses this power. It's why the Society of Professional Journalists has a Code of Ethics that abjures such behavior.
...There is an entire section in the Code urging restraint when it comes to the media's power to intrude on and affect people's private lives. This is especially the case when it comes to handing out people's personal contact information: phone numbers, e-mail addresses, even home addresses. Because without that restraint, mass media can become an instrument of humankind's worst impulses -- including mass violence and genocide. Remember, most recently, what happened in Rwanda: the owners of talk radio stations, working in the interest of the moneyed class, used their megaphones to target individuals who were then slaughtered by mobs armed with machetes:
"In Rwanda," Gowing writes, "hate radio ... systematically laid the groundwork for mass slaughter from the moment it was licensed in July 1993." It also helped facilitate the genocide, as RTLM broadcast names, addresses and license plate numbers of Tutsi targets. "Killers often carried a machete in one hand and a transistor radio in the other," according to Power.
RTLM and the propaganda it broadcast did not happen by accident. Rather, the founding of the station in 1992 by Hutu hard-liners closely associated with the government and its subsequent activities were "directly promoted by government authorities" as "the political and military elite established RTLM as part of this broader strategy to thwart the impact of internal reform." Further evidence of this strategy is found in the fact that prior to the genocide the government distributed free radios around the country in order to allow Rwandans to tune into RTLM, and that RTLM was "allowed to broadcast on the same frequencies as the national radio when Radio Rwanda [the national state-owned station] was not transmitting." Though officially private, RTLM "was essentially the tool of Hutu extremists from the government, military and business communities."
I hate to say it. I didn't even want to think on it too much when Sara broached the thought, but that is where we seem to be headed right now. As their hands slip from the levers of power—power they need to exist—and as their pithy talking points fail to sway, and it appears that they may be held accountable for what they've done, these people will absolutely go there. They will whip up the drones—who are nothing without their leaders controlling everything into doing their dirty work.
Which is taking out their critics and opponents—by any means they-can-passive/aggressively-button-push-the-mob-to-use necessary.
It is NOT about debate with these people. If you disagree, you are deemed evil, and if you disagree and expose their lies you must be silenced and then utterly destroyed.
The Frost family has people whipped up by these demagogues calling their house. Quizzing the neighbors. Scoping out the car and appraising their home. And going about saying stuff like this.
“If federal funds were required [they] could die for all I care. Let the parents get second jobs, let their state foot the bill or let them seek help from private charities. ... I would hire a team of PIs and find out exactly how much their parents made and where they spent every nickel. Then I'd do everything possible to destroy their lives with that info.”
And there you have it. Where we are...where they are. Right now. It's a dangerous place. You go against these people and their policies—and do it effectively—and they will scorch the earth where you stand and every footstep you've left behind in a year. It's the end-game for that hardcore 25-27% (as perfectly noted by Driftglass) who believe whole-heartedly that we rode dinosaurs, and that Bush's great-grandfather to the 100th power tamed 'em and then whupped 'em extinct in ol' Texas. You can see it in the tics in their faces, the breaking pitch of their wails, the blood on their hands from the just-pounded and splintered tables before them. They've lost the debate—or rather, the shouting match on their end—and they're about to lose a lot more than that.
So the next time one of 'em comes back down to earth long enough from his or her fundiez muzt kill yu librulz high, and engages you for a moment after their eyes re-focus about the “incivility” on our end, just remember—very soon, they'll be back on that high they so desperately need right now. They'll destroy you, your mom, your husband, wife and kids while on it, because they've lost just about everything, and rational thought and basic humanity is not on the list of things to care about anymore.
There is “uncivil”, and then there is flat-out “dangerous”.
That's the difference between us.
We may say “fuck you”...but they want us dead and gone.
We're not going to that level. That's what this country is founded on. The right to dissent. And if they physically come after us for daring to stand up, then let the whirlwind be reaped. We've got fists too. And all the other stuff.
But until that time—a time I pray will never come, I'll take the comparative genteelness of verbal incivility over the destructiveness of thuggery.
And fuck 'em if they can't take it.