No One Could Have Predicted

That an anti-Muslim flame-thrower would try to turn his followers’ fear into cash:

KPNX television reporter Brahm Resnik tweeted on Sunday that Ritzheimer had set up a GoFundMe page to raise $10 million to “protect his family or run against” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).


It is, of course, not impossible that Ritzheimer might be at risk.  See Hebdo, Charlie and Theo Van Gogh, e.g.  Obviously, none here wish Ritzheimer more than regular ridicule, and it is my devout hope that the Muslim community in this country continues to act as they have so far:  emphasizing that sheer dicktitude on display, and demonstrating the virtues of another path:

The contentious nature of Ritzheimer’s protest on Friday didn’t prevent some productive interaction between the two sides. From the Washington Post:

Jason Leger, a Phoenix resident wearing one of the profanity-laced shirts, accepted an invitation to join the evening prayer inside the mosque, and said the experience changed him.

“It was something I’ve never seen before. I took my shoes off. I kneeled. I saw a bunch of peaceful people. We all got along,” Leger said. “They made me feel welcome, you know. I just think everybody’s points are getting misconstrued, saying things out of emotion, saying things they don’t believe.”

Paul Griffin, who had earlier said he didn’t care if his t-shirt was offensive, assured a small crowd of Muslims at the end of the rally that he wouldn’t wear it again.

“I promise, the next time you see me, I won’t be wearing this shirt,” he told one man while shaking his hand and smiling. “I won’t wear it again.”

But to return to the defining thread of this kind of nonsense:  whether or not Ritzheimer may indeed face anything more than scorn, you have to be impressed — not in a good way — at hiseffortless pivot to the trough.  Rage and bigotry as a profit maximizing strategy.

ETA: Seems the campaign has been pulled.  Ah, well. It’s the thought that counts.
Image:  Gustave Courbet, The Man Made Mad with Fear, c 1843-44.

The Rough Beast Perambulates

The funny thing about making monsters is that they have this nasty historical habit of turning upon those they know best.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, state Senate President Andy Biggs (R) and “constitutional sheriff” movement leader Richard Mack were all on hand at an event on May 5 in Tempe, Arizona. The stated topic of discussion at the event, which was hosted by a group called the Arizona Liberty Caucus, was the “Dangers of an Article V / Constitutional Convention.”

Rhodes recalled serving as a Nevada delegate for former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) during the 2008 presidential campaign. He accused McCain and the “GOP machine” of manipulating the convention to sabotage Paul’s chances of winning the state’s delegates, according to a video of his speech posted by Right Wing Watch.

John Cain (sic) is a traitor to the Constitution,” Rhodes later said, misstating the senator’s last name. “He should be tried for treason before a jury of his peers — which he would deny you.”

“He would deny you the right for trial to jury, but we would give him a trial by jury,” Rhodes added. “Then after we convict him he should be hung by the neck until dead. But that was their candidate!

All that wacky fun “destroy the government” right wing nonsense is all fun and games until somebody reminds the monster that Republicans are part of that government, and that they haven’t exactly delivered on their promises to the fever-bright beast.

The monster is still necessary, representing a healthy chunk of Republican primary voters as it does, so it will get invited to parties and functions and generally treated well, rather than taken down.  But at this point that monster is well and fully in charge of the Republican party, and with more than a score of GOP hopefuls looking for 2016 glory, there is no shortage of red meat being thrown at it in order to feed it and make it stronger.

And so it will continue to rampage around, and the Villagers will pretend like one of our major political parties isn’t controlled by the kind of bloodlust that wants to see open conflict in this country, the kind that ends with lots of ropes, lots of bullets, and lots of bodies.

What rough beast, indeed.

Return of the Neo-CON

John Bolton (R-Coocoocachoo), the most hilariously ill-suited UN ambassador ever recess-appointed by a moron, wrote a NYT op-ed urging the Obama administration to just give up on all this diplomacy shit and bomb Iran already. Bolton says, “Even absent palpable proof, like a nuclear test, Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear weapons has long been evident.”

And that’s true: Iran has been on the brink of achieving a nuclear bomb for many Netanyahu Units, a measure of time in which “three to five years” can span decades. Sadly, Bolton concludes: “The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq” can stop Iran from getting a nuke.

Too bad Bolton didn’t inform his boss that Israel had already nipped Iraq’s WMD program in the bud in the only way possible back when Bush, Cheney, Bolton and the rest of the blood-gargling psychopaths in the neocon chorus where beating the war drums in aught-three. Oops.

Post-Racial America Update

It’s a good thing racism is over in America (thanks Chief Justice Roberts!) because otherwise we’d have truly awful nonsense like this happening.

Cameron James Stout, 24, of Stover was arrested on Tuesday and remains in custody after an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital, prosecutors said.

An informant told a Morgan County sheriff’s deputy that Stout had asked him on Thursday for a high-powered rifle and assistance in a plan to shoot the president in the next few weeks, an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint said.

Over the next few days, the informant, a former member of the Aryan Nation, met with Stout and agreed to put him in touch with a high-ranking member of the organization who could help him obtain a rifle and plan the attack, the affidavit said.

Stout drew diagrams of the Washington, D.C., area and talked about possible positions from which he could fire at the White House or a church the president attends, the affidavit said.

The Missouri man also told the informant he had loaned out a .270-caliber rifle with a scope, but had gotten it back and planned to use it in the crime, the affidavit said.

On Tuesday, Stout told the informant and an undercover officer who was posing as an Aryan Nation superior that he planned to shoot Obama the next time the president appeared in Kansas City, the affidavit said.

Why, it’s enough to drive the US Secret Service to drink.

Putin In His Place

Apparently Vladimir Putin has hopped on his trusty bear steed and has ridden off into the Siberian spring for some me time, because the Kremlin seems to have accidentally misplaced him.

Everyone has their off days, but when you’re the proudly virile and uncontested leader of one of the most-watched countries in the world, your days off make people nervous. Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t been seen for days, and now people are beginning to wonder why.

On Thursday, Putin’s spokesman announced that the president would not attend a meeting with the Federal Security Service (FSB), which he usually attends. But no, Putin was “absolutely” healthy, Dmitry Peskov told Russia’s Ekho Moskvy, before adding that the president’s handshake was so strong it could  “break your hand.”

Putin’s absence at the FSB meeting comes just a day after he unexpectedly canceled a trip to Kazakhstan. “The visit has been canceled. It looks like he [Putin] has fallen ill,” an anonymous Kazakh official told Reuters afterward, prompting a flurry of  speculation.

To make matters more confusing, on Wednesday the Kremlin released an image of Putin meeting with the regional governor of Karelia. But local Web site Vesti Karelii reported that Putin actually had met with the head of the Republic of Karelia, Alexander Khudilainen, on March 4. In fact, reports that a number of events posted by the Kremlin appeared to have been recycled from earlier events. If this is correct, the last time Putin was seen in public may have been March 5, when he met the Italian prime minister in Moscow.

Getting worked up by an absence of a few days may seem silly, but these things happen in authoritarian regimes: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un disappeared for weeks last year, intriguing the world. In that case, Kim later reappeared with no real explanation and continued going about his business as usual (don’t be surprised if that happens in Russia, too). Russia isn’t North Korea, but it’s still an intensely personalized political system. Little of political substance happens without Putin’s personal approval, and it’s hard to imagine how the country would respond if he really were sick.

Possible locations of Vladimir Putin:

  • Undercover as a Starbucks barista in Des Moines
  • Arctic hunting trip to punch baby seals to death
  • Camping out at the Apple Store in NYC trying to get that $10k watch
  • John Cole’s kitchen, making waffles
  • Fighting time-traveling Nazis with Joe Biden (has anyone seen Joe Biden?)
  • Taco Tuesday in the GRU cafeteria
  • Center of the earth dino safari
  • I don’t know, over there or something
  • In his dacha playing Assassin’s Creed: Rogue all week
  • Personally liberating Crimea from Ukraine, by himself, with muscles
  • Under your bed RIGHT NOW
  • Ditching Moscow for SXSW
  • He’s really there, he’s just been wearing Groucho glasses and nobody recognizes him
  • Your mom would know where Putin is right now, bam!
  • Lost it when he heard about Leonard Nimoy and won’t get out of bed
  • Invisible Ghost Putin From Beyond The Grave
  • Has anyone checked the attic in the Kremlin?
  • On location filming Sharknado 3

Where do you guys think he is?