Domestic Terrorist Hits IRS Building. Police Refuse To Call It Such.

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Terrorism, Video

I guess it’s only terrorism if you’re a Muslim?

From Fox News:

A pilot furious with the Internal Revenue Service crashed his small plane into an Austin, Texas, office building where nearly 200 federal tax employees work on Thursday, igniting a raging fire that sent massive plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the seven-story structure.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the incident was a single act by a sole individual, who appeared to be targeting the federal building. He refused to classify it as terrorism.

“I call it a cowardly, criminal act and there was no excuse for it,” Acevedo said at a news conference.

But wait, it’s not just the police. Newly elected Senator Scott Brown actually used this opportunity to push the Republican agenda…

Congratulations Massachusetts!


This entry was posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 and is filed under Terrorism, Video. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

61 Responses to “Domestic Terrorist Hits IRS Building. Police Refuse To Call It Such.”

  1. Simon Says:

    Justin, to be fair, PBS, NPR, and President Obama all refused to brand it terrorism, so the cops are in good company.

    Nevertheless, this was domestic terrorism. No ifs or buts. Violence with a political agenda is terrorism.

    It’s frightening to see this attack in tandem with the public threat to hang Senator Murray. Difficult and vile as it is when one sees such comments online, it is one thing for people to be so dehumanized as to say such things in the safe, comforting, enabling blanket of anonymity. It is quite another for them to feel liberated to say such things publicly, in person. People have said worse about Palin online; it is clearly only a matter of time before they feel sufficiently liberated from civility to say it in person. And it is a short jump thence to actual violence. It starts with dehumanizing opponents.

    This isn’t a left-right problem. The problem is that extremists on both sides seem to be wallowing in violent rhetoric that is now threatening to boil over into violent behavior. Murray was threatened by a tea partier, it seems, but if the anonymous rhetoric one sees in the leftosphere jumps the fence into in persona speech, and thence action, we have a problem. Underlining this point segues nicely back to Brown: he seems off-base in claiming this guy for the tea partiers. It was far from clear to me, reading the letter, that this guy is a tea party type; indeed, the rhetoric seemed a closer fit for the “anti left”—i.e. anti-corporate, anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-globalization… Anti pretty much anything, really. His main beef seemed to be that he was hurt and angry about his business, marriage, and life generally having panned out badly. Lots of self-pity, lots of blame, very little taking of responsibility.

  2. bubbaquimby Says:

    I disagree. This was the act of a lone crazy not some organization out to do harm. I mean there is a difference between a serial killer and a hired hitman. Both kill people but there reasons are very different.

    Calling it terrorism dilutes the real terrorist threats. This involves dealing with a certain psychological profile. The threat is now gone, now it’s a matter of backtracking and finding out why and what steps to possibly identify if you can get someone like this help. While real terrorism is backtracking to findout the source of the threat and if they can do additional harm.

  3. Simon Says:

    bubbaquimby, where are you getting the assumption that a lone crazy can’t commit a terrorist act, that a terrorist organization is a prerequisite to a terrorist act?

    This was terrorism, plain and simple. It was a violent act done in support of a cause: violent, ex visceribus rei, and in support of an act in light of his purported “testament.” That is all that is needed.
    Tim McVeigh acted, for all intents and purposes, alone*; was that not terrorism? If a lone Islamist with no connections to any organization shouts “Admiral Akbar” or whatever it is they say, and opens fire in an attempt to massacre his fellow soldiers; is that not terrorism?

    _____
    * One associate was convicted and others were alleged, but their assistance roles hardly amount to an “organization.”

  4. kranky kritter Says:

    If we draw ourselves into the question “is this terrorism,” and then proceed to debate in those terms, then we are prone to miss certain things. And also prone to fail to make important distinctions.

    So why not use this case to explore and refine our understanding of terrorism, and to make distinctions between different types of terrorism?

    I am perfectly fine identifying this guy as a terrorist. There was at least semi-random targeting of other folks for violence. Yet I understand how other folks are approaching this from a viewpoint which notices that the nature of the threat here is different from say Al Queda.

    Muslim extremists like Al Queda are political movement terrorists, so the nature of the threat that they represent to others is constant and ongoing. The terror that they invoke lingers because we presume that they will act again, and are eager for new opportunities to do so.

    Folks like McVeigh and this current guy are what I would call “personal vendetta terrorists.” They are acting on the basis of an extremely idiosyncratic world view that they don’t really share with others in the same way as say members of al queda. Sure, there are some ideas they may share with others, but what they have cobbled together in their diseased minds is not wholly shared by anyone else. The whole of their personal grudge generally features personal wrongs. Or else it involves some romantic fantasy where the person has cast himself (virtually always a male) as the avenging hero righting some societal wrong. The latter fantasies tend to fester in concert with extreme, longer-term isolation.

    I don’t think McVeigh or this guy or the unabomber are very different from the mailman that goes postal or the fired tech worker who slaughters his former co-workers. All of these folks are seriously mentally ill, and probably psychotic. [And let me stress that I don't say that as an excuse for them, only to highlight that such folks are batshit crazy not just in the figurative sense but in the literal clinical sense]. Quite possibly, the people around them were somewhat aware of it but lost track of the person as they withdrew further and further into their twisted private world.

    This is not to say that the personal vendetta terrorist bears no association to the political movement terrorist. Indeed, anyone with the capacity to devolve into a personal vendetta terrorist makes an excellent recruit for any organization that seeks to do political violence based on some self-righteous fairytale about having been wronged. All it takes is a charismatic leader to focus their minds to some self-righteous goal while concurrently providing the desired social attachment through other group members. A cult of some sort, in other words.

    IMO, it’s all closely related to social attachment, and what happens to folks with social attachment disorders when they fall out of whatever social support systems have existed for them.

  5. Chris Says:

    Right but who knows if “real” terrorists (aka people who aren’t white) are psychotic or not. There’s a lot of crazy people in the world, and there’s plenty of christian churches where it wouldn’t surprise me if they started strapping bombs onto themselves too to wield some terror of their own.

  6. Simon Says:

    I wouldn’t say “plenty,” Chris, and I wouldn’t call them churches, but I can certainly agree one doesn’t have to look far afield to see ecclesial communities that are crazy or contain crazies and call themselves Christians and call themselves a church. We might dispute those appellations, but in terms of possibilities, sure.

    Still, it seems more likely that if violence erupts tomorrow, it will be from a crazy on the right who hates the government and/or the President, or a crazy on the left who hates Sarah Palin. I would not be at all surprised to see someone get stupid enough to act on that vile rhetoric directed at her. Two years ago, I’d have said it was more likely to be someone on the left attacking Bush or Cheney.

  7. the Word Says:

    Simon- You have now implied twice that people hate Palin and may do something to her to Balance out things against the over abundance of outright dangerous idiots on the Right. Can you give me a single example? She is an idiot and frankly I think anyone who takes her seriously has serious blind spots in judgement but I know of no one who has advocated violence against her. When you look for domestic terrorism whether it be blowing up clinics, assassinating doctors or stockpiling weapons, they are overwhelming right wing.

    The Right has enabled stupidity, bigotry, racism and ignorance.

  8. Simon Says:

    the Word, if you want to do quantitative comparisons, abortion has murdered some fifty million children since 1973, and the lion’s share have not been done by folks on the right. And as to Palin, if you don’t see the quantity and intensity of the hatred for her on the left, you aren’t looking very hard. Don’t ask me to slosh through your swamp looking for individual mosquitoes to prove the infestation.

  9. bubbaquimby Says:

    Simon,
    No I don’t consider what McVeigh did was terrorism. I think calling people personal vendetta terrorists really dilutes from what KK called political movement terrorism. While PVTs can be very dangerous and sometimes more in a single event. Overall to our country and national security concerns political terrorism or what I just call terrorism is the real threat.

    We really start opening up every single act to being called terrorism and I feel it really distracts people from the really threat. Otherwise like KK said you have to call abortion doctor killers, post worker killings, student killings and even the Fort Hood killings. That isn’t to say that they aren’t dangers or that their was warning signs. Some of those may even be similar to terrorist warning signs but in the end are different.

    And I known a common complaint right now from the left is that they won’t call this terrorism cause there wasn’t a brown person involved. While for most of the 20th century I think we can safely call what the IRA did was terrorism.

  10. Chris Says:

    I don’t know how many people actually hate palin, most are just incredulous that anyone takes her seriously. it’s a constant source of amusement to me at least, and probably lots of other people.

  11. WHQ Says:

    I think calling people personal vendetta terrorists really dilutes from what KK called political movement terrorism.

    This, as you I think you would likely agree, bubbaquimby, is a matter of opinion, so it may turn out to be something that there is no final resolution on other than agreeing to disagree. But I’m curious to know what your basis is for this opinion in practical terms. What specifically will happen if people call the Austin pilot a terrorist that will constitute a dilution of the concept of terrorism? What efforts will not take place in the pursuit of those you would categorize as terrorists if this man is considered to be a terrorist?

  12. Simon Says:

    bubbaquimby Says:

    No I don’t consider what McVeigh did was terrorism.

    Then your position is preposterous and possibly unique.

  13. bubbaquimby Says:

    I don’t think it dilutes from resources just on perception. Also it helps raise fears that there are even more terrorists walking around than there really are. Expanding the definition can give even more ammunition to Republicans, even though yes I think they are hypocritical that they won’t call this terrorism when if this guy did it for Allah than they would be all over it.

    Really it’s the whole problem with the War on Terror, it’s such a large and ambiguous concept.

    I guess I am alone in this thread but the administration and most terrorism experts agree with me that this isn’t terrorism.

  14. bubbaquimby Says:

    Simon,
    Not really. PA Homeland Security director in 2008 said the same thing.

    “Tim McVey [sic] is not a terrorist, just very angry with the U.S. government,” Powers said. “Oklahoma City bomber Terry McVey and abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph technically aren’t terrorists because they were not part of a larger organization aimed at overthrowing the government.”

    Personally I call him a mass-murderer.

  15. Simon Says:

    bubbaquimby:
    LOL — you googled “McVeigh not terrorism.” It’s result 1. I did the same thing, because I couldn’t believe anyone could be stupid enough to deny that what McVeigh did was terrorism. With all due respect to Colonel Powes, it turns out that two people are. Maybe a handful more. Nevertheless, the fact is that what McVeigh did is all-but universally regarded as terrorism. You and Powers are wrong, and almost alone in your wrongness. And what’s nauseating about it is that you’re artificially narrowing the meaning of terrorism on the pretext of preserving its meaning from dilution.

  16. Simon Says:

    And BTW: Of course the administration isn’t willing to call it a terrorist attack. If they did, they would be conceding that a terrorist attack took place on their watch, and they have a very strong PR incentive to not have that mark in their book. Of course, they can’t be blamed; there was nothing they could have done. This was an act of ad hoc terrorism by a lone gunman. But it’s natural that an administration doesn’t want to concede what they fear is a talking point. Nevertheless, right and left—from Patterico to Bradblog and further afield—concur that this was a terrorist act.

  17. bubbaquimby Says:

    I concede many would call McVeigh a terrorist but only because they aren’t being consistent in what they call terrorism today.

    I am not narrowing the definition, your expanding it. Why is it that this, the Virginia Tech killings, abortion doctor killers, etc aren’t called terrorists by the experts or the administration?

    I am usually on your side Simon but one thing that always bugs me about you is your little tantrums you have with people that disagree with you.

  18. the Word Says:

    Simon-

    Your apologies for the empty skirt that is Palin and comments like this are why I no longer take you seriously.

    Abortion has murdered some fifty million children since 1973…

    If you truly believe that I would like you to ask for all of the women and the doctors who represent the 50 million to face the death penalty since most “pro-Lifers” are that in hypocrisy only and while you are at it go after all the families and friends who are accomplices. After all it is simply murder isn’t it? How many people do you think would be left in the country when you’re through?

    Then
    as to Palin, if you don’t see the quantity and intensity of the hatred for her on the left, you aren’t looking very hard.

    I really don’t see hatred. I’ll be the first to say I think she is shallower than a thimble and the fact that anyone takes her seriously doesn’t say much for the future of the country or their judgment, but I don’t know anyone who hates her. Stunned by the ignorance of it all but I know of no hatred but I do know many who find her indicative of all that is wrong with this country. Stupidity and ignorance are not what will get us out of the messes we are in. (No matter how much the GOP base glorifies and exalts it)

  19. WHQ Says:

    Why is it that this, the Virginia Tech killings, abortion doctor killers, etc aren’t called terrorists by the experts or the administration?

    I can’t for the experts or the administration, but I can see a distinction in that they did not symbolically attack the nation or actually attack a government building.

    No fooling – my captch: New macveagh

  20. the Word Says:

    WHQ You may have a point on Virginia Tech but if this is the definition (and it seems to sum it up quite well to me)

    terrorism, act of terrorism, terrorist act (the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear)

    Hard to see how the abortion doctor murderers don’t fit it like a glove.

  21. WHQ Says:

    Hard to see how the abortion doctor murderers don’t fit it like a glove.

    Given the definition you quoted, I agree, particularly because it includes “religious or ideological” goals as motives. Clearly, abortion-doctor killers are at the very least ideologically motivated, if not religiously or politically so, which I’d say they usually are, anyway. It fits right into the thinking that the cause is so great that it justifies any means, including murder. My previous comment was in response to a specific question, not so much a representation of my own thinking on what constitutes terrorism.

  22. the Word Says:

    It seems to me that terrorizing people to get your way is a fairly apt definition.

  23. Simon Says:

    bubbaquimby Says:

    I concede many would call McVeigh a terrorist but only because they aren’t being consistent in what they call terrorism today.

    They would call him a terrorist because he was a terrorist. They should call what happened yesterday terrorism. If there is inconsistency, it is in the failure to correctly apply the term to yesterday’s attack, not in a willingness to apply it to McVeigh.

    I am not narrowing the definition, your expanding it. Why is it that this, the Virginia Tech killings, abortion doctor killers, etc aren’t called terrorists by the experts or the administration?

    As I said above: Terrorism is violence done to further an agenda. It is not simply violence, as was the case at VAT. But as the Word correctly points out, it is hard to see why pro-lifers murdering abortionists is not terrorism.

    I am usually on your side Simon but one thing that always bugs me about you is your little tantrums you have with people that disagree with you.

    There’s plenty of room for reasonable disagreement. I have no problem with that. I’m not fine with absurd, wrongheaded claims which rest on arbitrarily and idiosyncratically redefine common English words to reach a preferred result or avoid a disfavored one. Terrorism has a well-understood meaning; whether you prefer my definition or the similar one quoted by TW, this was no less a terrorist act than those carried out by McVeigh, Hassan, or Atta. All were terrorist attacks, regardless of the many ways in which they differed from one another.

  24. Simon Says:

    the Word Says:

    Simon, Your apologies for the empty skirt that is Palin and comments like this are why I no longer take you seriously.

    You never took me seriously. Your pattern is incomprehension and disrespect for anyone who disagrees with you.

    If you truly believe that I would like you to ask for all of the women and the doctors who represent the 50 million to face the death penalty

    Even if I accepted your first premise (that mothers, or any subset thereof, should face some kind of penal charges for past abortions), I reject your second premise. While government “must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, … the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” Evangelium Vitae no. 56 (John Paul II, 1995).

  25. bubbaquimby Says:

    So wrongheaded that you are in the minority of people who make decisions and decide what is and isn’t terrorism. So absurd that the DoD uses this definition:

    “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

    A CNN poll today also showed that 67% of Americans are so wrongheaded to believe that no this wasn’t terrorism.

  26. Tully Says:

    Amusing to see Simon call legal abortion “murder” (a word with a specific legal meaning denoting criminality) while in the same breath decrying violent rhetoric that motivates criminal violence — such as shooting doctors in the head as they attend church.

    Instant credibility gap, that.

  27. Simon Says:

    bubbaquimby Says:

    So absurd that the DoD uses this definition:

    “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

    By which definition, what Stack did was terrorism. It was premeditated. It was politically-motivated, as his testament and target demonstrate. It was perpetrated against non-combatant targets, both in intent and effect (even if one assumed, incredibly but arguendo, that IRS employees are combatants, the other tenants of the building are indisputably non-combatants). It was done by a subnational entity (viz. Stack). And both the act itself and the broad phrasing of his testament evince intent to justify and thereby influence. Stack’s action was also terrorism under TW’s second proffered definition.

    It’s nice if 67% of poll respondents don’t think that this was terrorism, but it’s hardly surprising when (as Justin points out) opinion leaders are refusing to apply that term to it. I don’t think that more than one of those 67 percent would stick to their guns if you explained to them that in order to say this wasn’t terrorism, you must also be willing to say that what McVeigh did wasn’t terrorism.

  28. Simon Says:

    Tully, a spade is a spade. Abortion is murder. Killing an abortionist is murder. You can argue—or rather, argue again, since you’ve already pressed the point many times over the years, and it hasn’t gotten any more convincing—that abortion can’t be murder since it’s legal and murder has a technical meaning in law, but it doesn’t seem productive, or likely to show some imagined disconnect between calling both acts for what they are.

  29. the Word Says:

    Simon-
    You wrote – You never took me seriously.

    You may believe that, but you would be incorrect.

    Your pattern is incomprehension and disrespect for anyone who disagrees with you.

    I believe the pot/kettle argument would apply here.

    Belief in Palin gets you the same respect I’d give someone if they announced they were a Scientologist or believed in Leprechauns. It’s a bias I agree. I could be dishonest and say your statements had no consequences.

    As to your other over the top statement.

    You chose the term murder. You even chose the term children. I didn’t put the words in your mouth. I believe murder is a crime without any statute of limitations so if you used the word you intended (and you seem to dance with the law) then it would be logical to want murderers(of children) and those who assist them to perpetrate their crime to be brought to justice. That is unless you were tossing around an incendiary term without even believing it fit the bill yourself.

    btw, Quoting the Pope on government has as much validity with me as quoting Scrooge McDuck on fiscal policy.

  30. the Word Says:

    Out of curiosity Simon
    Are War and the Death Penalty murder? If not, seems like you are disconnecting a bit yourself.

  31. WHQ Says:

    Abortion is murder.

    Argument by assertion. QED

  32. Chris Says:

    So when a woman has a miscarriage it’s a death in the family? Is every sperm sacred? Are women murders for not making use of every egg they ovulate?

  33. the Word Says:

    And would that make God the largest mass murderer for the miscarriages?

  34. WHQ Says:

    So when a woman has a miscarriage it’s a death in the family?

    Maybe. Sometimes. But not always. Often the miscarriage occurs before anyone is aware of the pregnancy. It would be odd to have someone in the family that no one, not even the “mother,” knew about. Someone you could possibly freeze for years and “bring back to life.” Someone without a brain or central nervous system or organs. But there’s really no distinction to be made, material or otherwise. They’re all people, once the magic moment has occurred (is it fertilization or implantation?). Oh, I guess fertilization if we’re going to count the ones in the Petri dish. Have you ever had lunch with a blastocyst? It’s really boring.

  35. Simon Says:

    # the Word Says:

    I believe the pot/kettle argument would apply here.

    It would not. Nice try, though.

    Belief in Palin gets you the same respect I’d give someone if they announced they were a Scientologist

    What is “belief in Palin”? I believe she exists—don’t you? I by-and-large like her, although not without a number of qualifications and caveats. I may or may not support her if she runs in the 2012 primary, depending on who else runs. I will certainly support her if she is the nominee. What I do not do, and what seems to irritate you, is dismiss and despise her.

    I believe murder is a crime without any statute of limitations so if you used the word you intended (and you seem to dance with the law) then it would be logical to want murderers(of children) and those who assist them to perpetrate their crime to be brought to justice.

    You’re reducing something complex to an oversimplified parody. Women have been told by the state and society for decades that abortion is not murder, that it is a choice, and so forth. Even if it was legally practical, it is unreasonable (not to mention unconstitutional) to formally prosecute people retroactively for actions that were not legally culpable when committed, and to some extent, which they had a good faith reason to believe were not wrong. Whether and how liability will lie for those actions are in the jurisdiction of a higher tribunal. Our interest should be what to do going forward.

    btw, Quoting the Pope on government has as much validity with me as quoting Scrooge McDuck on fiscal policy.

    I’m quoting a teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Church on a matter of morality. The execution (so to speak) of the death penalty can be called a “government” matter insofar as it is carried out by the government, but the antecedent question of whether the government is authorized to carry out the death penalty (or should do so in any particular case) is a question of morality. For as long as government is controlled by voters and voters are human and thus vote in accordance with heir morals, the morality of the death penalty will be a relevant issue. The Church cannot direct the state to abolish the death penalty, of course, but “[n]o member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law,” Humanae Vitae, no. 4 (Paul VI, 1968), and the state cannot impose the death penalty if voters and jurors act on that teaching to abolish or circumscribe the death penalty.

    Are War and the Death Penalty murder? If not, seems like you are disconnecting a bit yourself.

    I suppose that one could attempt a distinction on two grounds. One could argue that in both those cases (but unlike elective abortion), the use of force is made by the government on behalf of society as a whole, and the state has a kind of incipient and exclusive right to the use of force. Or one could argue that some wars and executions are valid as a kind of corporate extension of the natural right to self defense. I don’t know how much weight to accord those arguments, and particularly vis-à-vis the latter, in light of Evangelium Vitae it’s hard to see when it would be necessary to reach such a conclusion since a necessary predicate would be a putatively “necessary” execution.

  36. Chris Says:

    Yes simon, it does irritate us that you would vote for palin as president. because voting for someone that would completely rape the country is slightly irritating. But hey, you could always vote for Dick instead. He’s got a great track record.

    As to abortion… It’s not murder. Nice try though. I’ll think up some asinine moral values to perch upon you later today and post them up.

  37. Simon Says:

    That’s an ugly simile, Chris, and an atrociously inaccurate one at best. It does illustrate, however, the violent imagery that the left habitually uses in connection with Palin: she would not merely be a bad President, or even a terrible one who would do much harm to the country—she would rape it, an assertion of violence, violation, and power over the country against its will. Even when the Palin haters aren’t explicitly using violent language about her, the image always to be lurking nearby in that misogynistic blind spot of theirs.

  38. the Word Says:

    Simon
    You wrote
    What is “belief in Palin”?

    Belief that she Is worthy of thought for any position of control over the lives of others, even yours. She has, by and large, been weighed in the balance and found utterly lacking. Would the GOP please choose a candidate who is not a sports star, a pin up, or a celebrity or the cutest chick at the bowling alley? Hard for me to take such people seriously, especially when the consequences of shallow intellect are so fresh in most of the world’s memory. If the Democratic Party ran Carrot Top for President, we’d be on similar footing but even when they run flawed candidates, they are not flawed to that level of shallowness.

    You said
    I will certainly support her if she is the nominee.

    Which is what is wrong with American politics. You’d support anything from the right. She is the embodiment of anything – absolutely anything.

    As to your charge of murder.

    You’re reducing something complex to an oversimplified parody.

    I believe I was pointing out that fatal flaw in your reasoning. I’m just asking you to back up the logical conclusion of your stated belief.

    You then said
    I’m quoting a teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Church on a matter of morality.

    I’d like to respond Whoop de frigging do to that. They have ZERO credibility on that subject. (Millions of living, breathing people in Africa are sentenced to death by their absurd condom policy) Make an argument but don’t hide behind their skirts and expect it to mean anything. Most of the world rejects those claims as do I. (I recently met the Bishop of Leicester and he specifically stated that he (and their Bishops) had no special level of morality over anyone else.) You think all but Catholicism is wrong and see no bias there at all. I just take it one step further to it’s logical endpoint. It is all absurd on it’s face.

    Are War and the Death Penalty murder? If not, seems like you are disconnecting a bit yourself.

    I suppose that one could attempt a distinction on two grounds. One could argue that in both those cases (but unlike elective abortion), the use of force is made by the government on behalf of society as a whole,

    Perhaps the state has decided since abortions have occurred since the beginning of time, that the law is what it is — for societies benefit.

    and the state has a kind of incipient and exclusive right to the use of force.

    Not buying that one Comrade although every horrible government relies on the acquiescence of people who should know better.

  39. Chris Says:

    Lols simon you are a chuckle and a half. Did you say you were a fiction writer, or was that someone else?

    I could care less if the president or anyone else has a vagina. I care if they can carry on a conversation at the very least and can hold down a job for longer than 2 years. She is so obviously not qualified to run this country that suggesting that you would vote for her shows how delusional you are. I can post up a link to a personal disorder evaluation website if you need it.

  40. Jacob Says:

    Simon: Personally I’m happy to see you’ve added “a number of qualifications and caveats” to your support of Palin. I remember a previous post where you came off as a bit frothy in your support for the woman.

    Whenever we have the abortion discussions I mention the fact that illegal abortion won’t save any unborn lives. It only adds a number of women to the death toll. I’ve asked you before to speak to this and you remain conspicuously silent. May I ask again?

    How do you reconcile the fact that governmental prohibition of abortion does NOTHING to reduce the number of abortions while increasing injuries and deaths of women? Isn’t it more humane to ensure legal, safe abortion access for the unfortunate women who feel they need to follow that path, while investing time and money in efforts that might actually reduce the number of abortions?

  41. Simon Says:

    # the Word Says:

    If the Democratic Party ran Carrot Top for President, we’d be on similar footing but even when they run flawed candidates, they are not flawed to that level of shallowness.

    You ran an even shallower candidate last time, unlesss you’re fooled by that fancy facade of a law degree.

    Which is what is wrong with American politics. You’d support anything from the right. She is the embodiment of anything – absolutely anything.

    Something that could equally be said about that empty suit you voted for last time around. Obama embodies everything and nothing, a blank screen (as he himself put it) onto which people project their desires, a rudderless skiff of a man who will wear whatever persona he thinks is politically advantageous today. For all Sarah Palin’s failings, she knows who she is and what she believes. The voters certainly didn’t know that about Barack Obama, and frankly, one gets the impression that he doesn’t, either. For all the world, he resembles a doll. Today the fire-breathing g-droppin’ populist; tomorrow the cool professorial type; yesterday the throwback liberal scold; at all points in between, a lost, confused little child.

    I believe I was pointing out that fatal flaw in your reasoning. I’m just asking you to back up the logical conclusion of your stated belief.

    Wrong: you’re asking me to pursue your assumptions to their illogical conclusion. It does not follow that past crimes must be prosecuted today, still less that they should have the death penalty imposed. That’s your assertion, not the logical endpoint of what I’m saying.

    I’d like to respond Whoop de frigging do to that. They have ZERO credibility on that subject. (Millions of living, breathing people in Africa are sentenced to death by their absurd condom policy) Make an argument but don’t hide behind their skirts and expect it to mean anything. Most of the world rejects those claims as do I. (I recently met the Bishop of Leicester and he specifically stated that he (and their Bishops) had no special level of morality over anyone else.) You think all but Catholicism is wrong and see no bias there at all. I just take it one step further to it’s logical endpoint. It is all absurd on it’s face.

    LMAO. Dude, you met the Bishop of Leicester? Do you understand that there is no Catholic Diocese of Leicester? I’m sure that the man you probably met, Bishop Stevens of the Church of England diocese of Leicester is a very nice and erudite man—but he’s an Anglican. The city of Leicester is within the Diocese of Nottingham, so its local ordinary is Bp. McMahon of Nottingham. How can you expect to be taken seriously on this point when you so evidently don’t understand what you’re talking about?

    I suppose that one could attempt a distinction on two grounds. One could argue that … the state has a kind of incipient and exclusive right to the use of force.

    Not buying that one Comrade although every horrible government relies on the acquiescence of people who should know better.

    Notice that I didn’t actually advance that argument. I merely noted that it was one argument that one could make to distinguish them from abortion, without passing on its persuasiveness.

  42. the Word Says:

    Simon You wrote
    You ran an even shallower candidate last time, unlesss you’re fooled by that fancy facade of a law degree.

    You truly believe that Obama is shallower than Carrot Top. If that is so I truly believe you are an idiot. This was possibly the most foolish, over the top statement I have ever read from you. Being charitable, I thought it was just your judgment that was in question and that you were not an idiot. But no one but an idiot could truly believe the statement you made. As to Sarah you are fractally confused there as well.

    You said you’re asking me to pursue your assumptions (What do you see as an assumption? You said it was murder) to their illogical conclusion. There’s a reason there is a common phrase “getting away with murder” It is because as a society we feel that should never happen. You talking out of both sides of your mouth. You say it is the most heinous crime and then ah forget it… Gutless.

    As to the Bishop of Leicester, I get why you are confused. Yes, he is an Anglican. I didn’t say he was a Catholic. One religion is as nutty and unbelievable as the next until you kick it up to belief in witchcraft level as your girl Sarah does or go the space alien route like Mitt.

    I meant that in your confused world view you gave men in dresses from the Catholic Church some super powers of morality that they do not possess, haven’t earned and don’t deserve. Unlike abortion which is legal, pedophilia isn’t and it was practiced – sanctioned – and covered up by your beloved “arbiters of morality.”

    The Bishop to his credit, said that a position of superiority on morality was ridiculous on it’s face. You still don’t get it. It is all absurd on it’s face. Belief in the unbelievable should not be a point of admiration. You are starting to remind me of Cliff Klaven, a nutter to just roll your eyes at when you say something instead of to be taken seriously. Believe it or not, I didn’t always feel that way.

  43. Simon Says:

    Chris Says:

    Lols simon you are a chuckle and a half. Did you say you were a fiction writer, or was that someone else?

    I believe you’re thinking of Michael Reynolds. I haven’t (intentionally) written fiction since my teenage years, and that effort was so horrible that it barely deserves the title.

    I could care less if the president or anyone else has a vagina.

    I tend to think that her being a woman amplifies progressives’ hatred of her, because it gives a hint of apostasy: progressives feel entitled to the votes of women, blacks, and homosexuals, and so they reserve an especially intense fire for people in those demographics who refuse to toe the line and obstinately cling to conservative and libertarian views. Clarence Thomas is the most prominent example, of course. Still, while I think Palin gets some of the same treatment, I’ll happily agree with you that her gender isn’t the primary driver of progressive disdain for her. Part of it is that they hate her because she’s part of a culture that is everything that New York liberals aren’t: conservative, non-urbanized, life-affirming, joyful, humble, religious, and so on. She chose life, something incomprehensible to people who regard “choice” as a euphemism for “abortion.” so it’s partly cultural. But more than anything, I think, it’s that Progressives believe people like Palin are to be the happily ruled, not the rulers, and she has the temerity to reject the progressive’s aristocratic view of government.

    Still, we need not be detained by the why when the what is self-evident. Progressives loathe her, and as we have seen this week, we live in a kitchen where the cauldron of violent rhetoric is at serious risk of boiling over into violent action.

  44. Simon Says:

    # Jacob Says:
    Simon: Personally I’m happy to see you’ve added “a number of qualifications and caveats” to your support of Palin. I remember a previous post where you came off as a bit frothy in your support for the woman. Doubt it.

    Whenever we have the abortion discussions I mention the fact that illegal abortion won’t save any unborn lives. It only adds a number of women to the death toll. … How do you reconcile the fact that governmental prohibition of abortion does NOTHING to reduce the number of abortions while increasing injuries and deaths of women?

    You assert that “illegal abortion won’t save any unborn lives”—but that is not, of course, a fact. To be sure, banning abortion will not stamp out abortion, any more than banning any other activity results in a complete cessation of that activity. The crime rate isn’t zero. But what wold happen if we abolished the penal code and enforcement thereof? No one in their right mind would assert that doing so would have no effect on the incidence of now-criminal activities, yet that is the mirror-image of your assertion. Your theory inescapably rests on the astonishing assumption that criminal law is ineffectual—not that it is merely imperfect, but that it makes no difference at all. That position is untenable, and as I recall, the only “evidence” you could offer was an irrelevant and inapt survey of international abortion statistics.

    Consider, by way of analogy, prohibition. That may not be an auspicious analogue, and the analogy is imperfect (because the incentive structures at issue are different) but serviceable, if only for my present point (because in both instances, government prohibits a choice that had hitherto been within the volition of citizens for many years). The point is this: during prohibition, some people still drank, but that is a far cry from the shadow of your claim in this analogy: that governmental prohibition of alcohol did NOTHING to reduce the amount of drinking. Fewer people drank, and those who did drank less. Alcohol consumption collapsed. Obviously we can’t accurately say by what percentage, but let’s take the improbably low figure of 30%. Do you understand how many lives would be saved by a thirty percent reduction in the number of abortions carried out in the United States? Do you understand how many lives would be saved if the rate dropped by a reduction—by far the more likely result of criminalization—of 90%+? Inability to save all does not justify saving none.

    So if I haven’t addressed your claim before, Jacob, it’s probably because I had better things to do than explain what ought to be obvious: law isn’t ineffective, the necessary predicate of your position. And all of this, by the way, assumes that the legal change stands in isolation. But why would we assume that? You start from the assumption that demand for abortion is invariable regardless of its legality, but have you ever watched Mad Men? Demand for a deadly product is not a given, as Don Draper’s clients and colleagues probably joined you in assuming. Law is not the only thing that can be changed: Culture can be, too. In the case of tobacco, a long-term culture war combined with scientific evidence and various interventions of law undermined demand. In thirty years, smoking will probably be all-but illegal—or fully illegal in ten if Obamacare passes. While there will be very few holdouts, changes in law and culture will have all-but destroyed a habit that was ubiquitous fifty years ago.

  45. Simon Says:

    # the Word Says:

    As to Sarah you are fractally confused there as well.

    Oh, fun! I’ve never been fractually confused before. It sounds intriguing!

    Tell us again how Sarah Palin is an idiot. I bet she knows the difference between fractions and facts.

    You said you’re asking me to pursue your assumptions … to their illogical conclusion.

    Nope. I said that “you’re asking me to pursue your assumptions to their illogical conclusion.” And I declined to give chase. So far, you’re getting good marks in meither writing nor reading comprehension. But keep trying!

    There’s a reason there is a common phrase “getting away with murder” It is because as a society we feel that should never happen.

    We as a society also believe that ex post facto laws are unconscionable, and that people should not be criminally punished for doing something that was legal when they did it. While the old saw that ignorance of the law is no excuse, its bite has limits, because as a society, we believe it is the “citizen is entitled to fair notice of what sort of conduct may give rise to punishment,” McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350, 375 (1987) (Stevens, J., dissenting). Hence the rule of lenity and the vagueness doctrine: it is a “fundamental principle that no citizen should be held accountable for a violation of a statute whose commands are uncertain, or subjected to punishment that is not clearly prescribed.” United States v. Santos, 128 S. Ct. 2020 (2008) (slip op. at 6); cf. Sash v. Zenk, 439 F.3d 61 (2d Cir. 2006) (per Sotomayor, J.); United States v. Ocegueda, 564 F.2d 1363 (9th Cir. 1977) (“[t]he Constitution does not require exact specificity, but it does require that a law give reasonable notice so that citizens subject to it may conduct themselves accordingly”).

    In your simplistic worldview that brands me as “gutless” for refusing to abandon our longstanding view against ex post facto laws, you should shut your mouth and do nothing, because some future law may punish you for almost anything. Of course, even then, you might be screwed: perhaps a future law will punish you for doing nothing! Not for nothing has anglo-American civilization set its face against such laws, even when the conduct was heinous.

    And even if we were willing to prosecute people under new law for acts that were legal when undertaken, your position would still be untenable, since it prescribes the death penalty. It does not follow that if conduct is illegal, a given penalty must be attached, least of all the death penalty. As I have indicated, the Church teaches that the death penalty should only be used when absolutely necessary—that is, when no other sanction is available or adequate—and I accept that teaching.

    As to the Bishop of Leicester, I get why you are confused. Yes, he is an Anglican. I didn’t say he was a Catholic.

    You cited—I suspect misrepresented—his comments about his teaching office to counter what I said about the teaching office of the Church. This only works as a rejoinder, however, if he is a Catholic Bishop or was actually speaking about the Church’s magisterium. If neither hold, your reply is sleight of hand: it makes an assertion about what another ecclesial community believe about its own teaching authority, either because you don’t understand the difference or you hope other readers don’t notice it.

    One religion is as nutty and unbelievable…

    Well that answers the either/or posed above: you don’t understand the difference. The Catholic Church and the Church of England are different; your bigotry and incomprehension doesn’t change that fact, although I’m sure it makes it easier for you to ignore it.

    I meant that in your confused world view you gave men in dresses from the Catholic Church some super powers of morality that they do not possess, haven’t earned and don’t deserve.

    I give them no such thing. I give the Church’s magisterium the due weight to which it is entitled.

    Unlike abortion which is legal, pedophilia isn’t and it was practiced – sanctioned – and covered up by your beloved “arbiters of morality.”

    This is simply bigotry hiding behind ill-taken snark. Suppose a handful of government officials were found to have been diddling their charges (or even simply with their hand in the till); would you accept the abusive behavior of a few as proof that the entire government, both corporately and to the extent of every one of its employees, is necessarily and inherently corrupt? Both claims are ridiculous.

    Gee, I sure hope that in the future, lèse majesté against the Church doesn’t become a criminal act—otherwise, people like you will start clamoring for your arrest and saying people who disagree are “gutless”!

  46. the Word Says:

    NOT fractually confused

    Fractally confused (or fractally wrong)

    The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person’s worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person’s worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

    Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person’s opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

    If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet–in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums–your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.

    and to just point out one other thing. As “proof” that I’m confused you use an example of me quoting you word for word. You follow by repeating it back in exactly the same words and say that you didn’t say what I quoted and you had just regurgitated in the previous sentence… And now I will take the advice of the definition. Talk to you later Cliff.

    You said you’re asking me to pursue your assumptions … to their illogical conclusion.

    Nope. I said that “you’re asking me to pursue your assumptions to their illogical conclusion.” And I declined to give chase. So far, you’re getting good marks in meither writing nor reading comprehension. But keep trying!

  47. Chris Says:

    Simon – except that there was a study a couple years back in Europe that showed just that. Countries where abortion is legal vs illegal have identical abortion rates. Sorry chump, but you’re wrong.

  48. Simon Says:

    The word, I give you points for bravado, but “The word you’ve entered [fractally] isn’t in the dictionary“; “No results found for fractally.” You might conceivably substitute one error for another by claiming that you meant to say that I was fractually wrong, thus misusing an ugly neologism of recent vintage, but the far simpler and more plausible explanation is that you meant to say “factually confused” (which is a standard usage and makes sense), added an r in a routine typographic error, and are now trying to brazen your way out of it. Thanks for playing, but you get more points for just laughing off the typo. I’ve made them before. We all have. It happens. This alternative strategy’s amusing at first, but it’s not destined to win you respect.

  49. the Word Says:

    Not to mention that if the best argument you have is prohibition…

    A few years ago there was also a study that showed that a Dem President seemed to trend toward less abortions than a GOP President.

  50. Simon Says:

    Chris, I know the study you mean, but even assuming its accuracy and methological soundness for sake of argument (although neither are safe assumptions, it should be noted), it showed no such thing. It showed that there was only minor difference in incidence between various countries with various abortion regimes. None of those countries was the United States, and the study’s dataset didn’t even purport to study whether legal restrictions can or do have an effect on abortion—it merely collated abortion incidence in different countries. The study is a red herring. It’s simply irrelevant.

  51. Simon Says:

    the Word Says:

    Not to mention that if the best argument you have is prohibition…

    I cited prohibition as a practical demonstration that Jacob’s claim of the ineffectiveness of law on behavior is untenable. In that regard, to the extent it can really be called an “argument” (more of an example in service of an argument, really) it’s a good one: it demolishes the claim against which it was launched.

    Your snark doesn’t rebut that point. Nor does severing the example fro, its context: Prohibition certainly demonstrated that law alone is insufficient, but as I said, the cognate experience of tobacco demonstrates that law is an effective tool for change when it is part of a broader cultural campaign that is supported by science. The pro-life movement is much closer to the latter than the former.

  52. Simon Says:

    # the Word Says:

    A few years ago there was also a study that showed that a Dem President seemed to trend toward less abortions than a GOP President.

    Well, then let’s see it. Or do you mean the claim that was debunked here? Keep in mind that the only Dem Presidents since Roe have been Carter and Clinton, and statistics for Clinton will be difficult to attribute to the President when he faced a GOP Congress.

  53. Tully Says:

    Tully, a spade is a spade. Abortion is murder.

    I see from the thread response that the only person you’re fooling is yourself.

    Blatant hypocrisy is just that — blatant — and erudite wiggling and rationalizations and evasions won’t make it any less obvious. You condemned the rhetoric of violence in one breath and then employed exactly that rhetoric in the next. It’s yours. You own it.

  54. TerenceC Says:

    So an act of domestic terrorism morph’s into a discussion about whether or not Palin is an idiot? How did that happen? Just to throw some fuel on the fire – Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in evolution. Sarah Palin thinks that creationism should be taught in every classroom – even though there is no scientific basis from which to do so. She has said she does not believe in Climate Change despite overwhelming evidence that (regardless of cause) the global climate is changing. She is not opposed to abusing the powers of elected office despite what she says. She has no grasp of history or understanding of the constitutional basis of our republic – as has been proven numerous times from her mis-speaks. So she may very well not be an idiot – but she certainly does not know much about our country, our governing process, American history, economics, or politics.

    Terrorism is terrorism – regardless of nationality. It just proves that any target is possible if the terrorist is motivated and has the means to act – there really isn’t much of a defense against it in cases like this. So I guess if this was 5 years ago we would begin a process to undermine the society of Texas, kill all subversives, re-write their laws and traditions, and implement a system of elections to insure the correct people got elected so as to put an end to their dangerous beliefs………wait a minute…..

  55. Frank Hagan Says:

    The problem with calling every act of violence terrorism is that you open up the greatly expanded powers of the Federal government to ride roughshod over the rights of everyone associated with the person or event. Read this from the ACLU on how “domestic terrorism” is defined in the Patriot Act.

    This event meets the definition of an act of “domestic terrorism” in the Patriot Act. I find it amusing that those tending leftward are anxious and eager to declare it so while still probably harboring latent opposition to the Act (reaffirmed by the Obama administration as “necessary” and by the Democratic congress in a “mend it don’t end it” action).

    Public officials have to take time to evaluate the evidence before they make a pronouncement. They can’t rely on news feeds and twitter posts to declare something a terrorist event. The police probably want to make sure before they lose jurisdiction over the crime scene to the Feds. And they don’t want to alarm the people who, like many people in this thread, will not understand the differences between domestic and international terrorism.

    Making this a right-left issue in order to disparage “the other side” on the Donk is surprising. I thought we were better than that.

  56. Jay Says:

    Thanks Frank. I am also surprised to see this level of partisan hackery on Donklephant. I made it halfway down the comment pages before I got sick of the bullshit. As I scrolled down it became apparent that the debate was moving further and further off course. C’mon guys. I must say, however, that it was the best written and well defended hackery I’ve ever seen. Usually there’s more intellectualism in 2nd grade name calling than left-right political debates by “grown ups”.

    By the DoD definition posted above, this is terrorism. This guy had intent to harm people based on political motivations of one form or another. Done and done.

  57. frankhagan.com » A Few Months After Says:

    [...] Recently, discussion on Donklephant.com centered around a perceived bias on the part of the Drudge Report in not featuring the recent domestic terrorism attack on an IRS building in Texas. Concern was also expressed that police in Austin “refused to call it terrorism.” [...]

  58. A Closer Look At Times Square Bomb, Motives & Threat - Justin Gardner - Political Pulse - True/Slant Says:

    [...] A white male in his 40s? Hmmmm… [...]

  59. More On Faisal Shahzad, Times Square Bombing Suspect - Justin Gardner - Political Pulse - True/Slant Says:

    [...] I would argue that this seems no different than a lone nut getting angry and flying his plane into a building…except this attempt wasn’t successful. The media spent maybe a day or two on that [...]

  60. Donklephant » Blog Archive » A Closer Look At Times Square Bomb, Motives & Threat Says:

    […] A white male in his 40s? Hmmmm… […]

  61. Donklephant » Blog Archive » More On Faisal Shahzad, Times Square Bombing Suspect Says:

    […] I would argue that this seems no different than a lone nut getting angry and flying his plane into a building…except this attempt wasn’t successful. The media spent maybe a day or two on that […]

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