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I received an irate private message from a right winger who read part of my newsblog and concluded that  I am mentally ill for suggesting (in his words), "Our president was a termite gnawing away at the foundation of our constitution rights. I am obligated to compliment my right wing foe for providing me with the Bush/Termite Analogy for future use in polemics.

My right-wing nemesis who has adopted the sub-literate nickname of Rexx Havikk (get it?) has a bad case of bloghorrea, an obsessive compulsive disorder that results in an insatiable need to post inane comments on progressive political blogs incessantly.

Mr. Havikk's strategic purpose was to "expose my liberal bias" because of my unprincipled  attacks on the Bush administration for ignoring the constitutional rights of American citizens. Rexx tells me that was the "Clinton administration was the real culprit" when it came to ignoring the constitutional rights of American citizens.

Rexx Havikk pointed to the Waco example, a frequent rallying point used by the right wing to point out the extra-constitutional excesses of  Bill Clinton. Mr Havikk wrote:

Hysterical nonsense.

Bush has done nothing to concern me...I am not afraid of him. he is no different than Clinton from my perspective....and I was not afraid of Clinton either...even though he and Janet Reno burned American children to death at Waco, something Bush has yet to do.

My response to Rexx Havvick was as follows:

Sorry Rexx, like Special Agent Fox Mulder, I want to believe, but the Republican X-Files case against Bill Clinton and Janet Reno is a ludicrous product of the GOP propaganda factory.

The GOP revised history is beginning to make Davey Koresh appear to be Davey Crockett making his last stand at the Alamo. Most non-insane Americans will roll their eyeballs in response to your hysterical nonsense. Go shop that Waco seige storyboard around the four prime-time networks, and maybe ABC or Fox will produce a mini-series about the Clinton's terrorist attack on the law abiding citizens of Waco Texas.  

I'm tired of listening to Republicans defending the heroism of David Koresh, a cold blooded right wing Christian pedophile, for the past decade. In each retelling of the Waco myth the GOP entirely ignores the fact that the  Waco standoff and crisis was created when Mr. Koresh opened fire and murdered four federal agents with a perfectly legal warrant to search the Branch-Davidian compound.

As far as I'm concerned when David Koresh opened fire and without warning gunned down four federal agents, it was lawful for Janet Reno to do anything in her power to gain entry to Branch Davidian compound and place Mr. Koresh and his cult followers under arrest for murdering a a federal agent.

Twelve years prior to the Waco seige, I living in Philadelphia on May 13,1985 and during the police siege of the residence of members of the militant black nationalist group Move. I was there when a police helicopter dropped a percussion bomb on the roof Move house because I was covering the story for a French publication that was interested in getting a first hand account of the breaking events in Philly that subsequently led to the bombing of the Move residence.

On May 13,1985 Ronald Reagan was POTUS and there was only one hurdle for Mayor Goode and the Philly police to jump in order to pull off the bombing.

It seems that the Mayor of Philadelphia needed to clear his plan to bomb West Philly with the White House. Reagan was so enthusiastic about the bombing proposal, he sent the technical experts on explosive devices to Philadelphia to build the bomb and advise the police on planning and executing a successful bombing of American insurgents living in Philadelphia. That bomb burned down six square blocks of residential housing in the Osage Ave neighborhood. Do you remember that event. Maybe you weren't even born then?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
[photos above and below] AP news photos of the Osage Ave neighborhood in the wake of the 1985 Move bombing by the Philadelphia police.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Neither of the photographs fully documents the scope of the damage done to the Osage area, a close knit black working class neighborhood. The day after bombing, Osage Ave looked like a the crime scene of a terrorist attack. Seven unarmed Move members and two children were killed by the bomb. The police apparently had full knowledge of the power of the bomb they were about to drop because they evacuated the entire neighborhood before they dropped the bomb. Of course that wasn't much of a comfort to the innocent people who lost their homes or apartments due to the impact of the bomb and the raging fire created in the aftermath of the bomb.

The sad historical fact is that the 1985 bombing of the Osage Ave residence by the Philadelphia police was the first time in history that Americans dropped a bomb on other Americans.

A subsequent investigation disclosed that a panicked policeman opened fire on the Move house triggering a daisy chain of other cops who opened fire in the belief that they were being fired upon by Move members. The only weapon found in the Move house in the search following the bombing was a rusty pistol that hadn't be fired in decades. The entire rationale for the bombing action was this false positive report that Move members were firing upon cops from inside the house.

On the other hand, in Waco Koresh had already murdered four federal law enforcement agents from by firing without a warning from within the Branch Davidian compound. Despite the fact that Koresh was clearly a murderous madman, Janet Reno was patient with him. It was only after 51 days gridlocked negotiations with Koresh that Reno had the FBI and BFT agents attempt storm the compound to arrest Koresh.

I just want to be clear what conservatives are telling us about David Koresh and the Branch Davidian stand-off. By the right wing revision of Waco history, Janet Reno over-reacted in Waco because she ordered a siege of the Waco compound using Flite-Rite pyrotechnic grenades.

Flight-Right pyrotechnic grenades containing non-lethal CS gas, routinely used by law enforcement agencies and police assault teams to break up riots and or enter buildings where hostages were being kept. Flight-Rite no longer carries pyrotechnic grenades as a result of the Waco fiasco.

The first plausible explanation for the Flight-Rite grenades causing a fire at the compound is that Koresh and his cult were keeping gunpowder or other volatile chemicals in storage at the compound a fact unknown to federal authorities because they couldn't gain access to the compound. The second plausible explanation for the fire was that Koresh ordered his followers to start the fires as either:
1) an act of mass suicide or 2) a diversion for some of the the cult members to escape the compound.

The right wing's theory is that Janet Reno over-reacted by using the Flight-Rite grenades after a heavily armed Koresh and his wackos murdered ATF agents serving a legal search warrant.

On the other hand, right wingers are telling us it was okay for the Philadelphia police with the support and technical assistance from Ronald Reagan's FBI to bomb the Osage Ave. residence of a black political organization that was unarmed and simply refused to allow police access to their private residence?

It's debatable whether Move was a destructive cult but there is no doubt that the Branch Davidians were a destructive cult with a history of violence. Six years prior to the Waco stand-off Koresh stood trial on the attempted murder of George Roden his rival for leadership of the Branch Davidian cult during a contest to "raise the dead." Koresh survived that trial but there were reports of pedophilia by Koresh and his followers, a couple of he said, she said rape accusations by former cult members and the rumor (which turned out to be true) that Koresh had two under age "wives" aged 11 and 14 years in his harem. Most troubling were reports that Koresh was mail ordering massive shipments of automatic weapons to resell to buyers who couldn't get a firearms license because they had a criminal record or a psychiatric history. The BAFT got a warrant to search the Waco compound when UPS and the Postal Service both reported to the local authorities that massive shipments of weapons were being sent to the Waco compound. Tho local authorities fearing Koresh's violent history and his cache of automatic weapons called BAFT to assist them on the case.

You right wingers are more delusional than I originally thought. You seem to be telling us, "Why let messy historical facts get in the way of good plot line of a docudrama where the so-called good guys win?"  You've been moaning for years about how Janet Reno was a big meanie to the pedophile whacko, cult leader Koresh who had so many illegal weapons in the Waco compound he was running a side business trafficking automatic weapons to anyone who want one.

But when the Philadelphia cops dropped a bomb on the residence of unarmed
black nationalists who were the equivalent of a neighborhood nuisance; that's okey dokey by the right wingers.

Six square blocks of multi-residential housing were destroyed and hundreds
of innocent residents were left homeless by the bombing of the Move house
on Osage Ave.in 1985 and not a word of protest from you freedom lovin' right wingers.

Instead the right wing hails the pedophile cop killer, David Koresh as a hero and a freedom fighter. If Koresh was a freedom fighter then right wing Republicans hate freedom and the American way of life as much the terrorist. The Republican Party's selective recall of historical events never ceases to amaze me.

Sorry Rexx, but when cast David Koresh in the role of a hero in the Waco siege you've lost your credibility of any American with common sense.

Originally posted to Mr Populist on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:25 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You have no idea what you're talking about (3+ / 0-)

    Powelton Village was the site of the 1978 MOVE standoff, not 1985, and I have never, ever read before that the White House had a role in the 1985 event.  

    •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne

      I have issues with the perspective in this article but 1985 and 1978 were the incidents. 1985was the bombing.

      9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

      by NewDirection on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:48:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i remember that so well... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, palachia

      I remember that incident very clearly.  I grew up seven miles from Philly, and it was simply a horrifying thing to see happen before our eyes.  It feels as if it was longer ago than 1985.  

      Here is a link to Temple University's Student Newspaper "The Temple News", an article that discusses the events, and references an earlier standoff in 1978

      http://media.www.temple-news.com/...

      This excerpt from that article may resolve the date question:

      On May 13, 1985, a longstanding conflict between the group and Philadelphia police came to an end when the city dropped a bomb on the organization's Osage Avenue home in West Philadelphia, igniting a fire that burned out of control, killing six adults and five children and ultimately burning 62 homes. According to Washington, the Philadelphia Fire Department watched as it all unfolded, doing nothing to stop the blaze.

      Odom was the only black reporter working on the Philadelphia Inquirer's city desk when the 1985 standoff took place. She gave a brief history of the MOVE organization and their clashes with Philadelphia police in the 1970s and a detailed account of her experience covering the conflict.

      Hiding out in a vacant house across the street from the MOVE compound, and remaining on the scene for 27 hours, Odom said she risked her life to report the story.

      As she learned more about the conflict, Odom said she began to believe the Philadelphia police were gearing up to deliberately kill MOVE members in retaliation for the 1978 death of police officer James Ramp, who was apparently killed by "friendly fire" during a standoff with MOVE at their Powelton Village house.

      The entire article is really worth a read.  Its main focus is a panel discussion organized by Temple University's Journalism school entitled "From MOVE to Katrina: Covering Communities of Color in Times of Crisis"

      'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb

      by lcork on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:53:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My memory fails me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne

    You're right Powelltown Village was the site of the 1978 standoff and Osage Ave was the 1985 bombing. It's been twenty years since I was there and I've moved on several occasions since. I couldn't even tell you what my own address in Philly was back then. I will correct the information.

    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

    by Mr Populist on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:38:18 AM PST

    •  do you have a link (0+ / 0-)

      can you link to information that the Reagan Whitehouse provided the bomb information?  It was always my (admittedly limited) understanding that the PSP provided the bomb details.

      Montco (PA) Dems, get involved! Let me help you do it.

      by Brother Maynard on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:40:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Moreover (0+ / 0-)

      The neighborhood was evacuated because of the general siege, not because of the bomb, and the problem wasn't the bomb but the failure to put the fire out immediately.  

      •  No, Seriously (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skrekk

        You think that we should be conducting aerial bombing in America? Especially when there are innocent children involved?

        9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

        by NewDirection on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:55:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course not. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NewDirection

          Do you understand why there was a siege in the first place, though?

          •  I Don't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skrekk

            What's the reason? I know they had four arrest warrants. What were the charges? What does it matter? No version of justice should be attempted in a police action, that's for the courts. Assuming they have a decent sense of it:

            On May 4, 1980, Judge Malmed pronounced the nine members of MOVE (the MOVE 9) guilty and sentenced them for 30-100 years for the third degree murder of Officer Ramp. When Malmed was a guest a few days later on a talk radio show, Mumia Abu-Jamal called in and asked him who killed Ramp. The Judge replied: "I haven't the faintest idea." He explained that since "they call themselves a family, I sentenced them as a family."

            Ah, collective punishment. And two wrongs trying to make a right.

            Watching a television newsmagazine report on this as a child was a formative moment much like the Rodney King incident later, the little-seen documentation of the impact of the first Gulf War, and then, yes, Waco and Elian Gonzales and all the rest. I think the stuff in the nineties lost Gore the election among other things (there are always many many reasons for a win and a loss alike).

            I do understand the complexities and do not think engaging in a standoff with the authorities is a good way to look after your rights, those of your charges, or the nation's as a whole. But neither do I believe that militants doing the wrong thing entitles us to respond in the wrong way. I think that the authorities can afford to take it on the chin and do things patiently in some cases, and that when there are innocents inside who are not being threatened as hostages, and there is no imminent and compelling reason to expect a mass "suicide," that the thing to do is wait.

            Remember, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar... And you dissuade disproportionate action's like the Davidians' and MOVE better by remaining calm collectively. Craziness spreads. Cool heads prevail. Crazed application of force can, of course, seem to prevail for a very long time. There are--Still, and hopefully it stays that way--Vastly worse examples of singular events of gratuitous military/police force against citizenry, like Tieneman Square, in other countries. But the US is a world leader in people in prison, harsh prisons, and so on.

            On many, many fronts we are being badgered by the idea that this is necessary to respond to an unraveling of our social fabric and myriad threats of unprecedented proportion and evil. This is where one would ordinarily insert a disclaimer that of course we face dire threats... But we don't. Not as a nation. Not from any source but ourselves. Even the worst terror attack anyone has hypothesized couldn't effect the average citizens' health (much) or the stock market (much) or the workings of our infrastucture (much) unless we let it. Yet nothing has been done to steel people to that real possibility in such a manner that they could remain unaffected by it: Instead they are encouraged to cower. That's screwed up. The mantra should be that we will not flinch, in actuality, ephemeral "resolve" aside.

            We could win the drug war without firing a shot by recognizing that the disputed territory, the customer, is free for the taking.

            9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

            by NewDirection on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 08:36:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've always thought that the government should be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NewDirection

              there to protect its citizens - all of them, including Move and the Davidians.  And when it acts rashly as in these cases, we get blowback...like the Oklahoma City bombing.

              There was a distinct division in the Waco incident, where the competent negotiators at the beginning of the standoff were later replaced by incompetents, who allowed the events to escalate.  The first phase was a prime example of how to do things right; the latter of how to get people killed.

              •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                skrekk

                The OK City bombing was completely despicable whereas how Waco could happen is within the realm of people doing their jobs in our society. But regardless the point is to avoid Wacos and OK Cities and 9/11s and Iraq Wars, and all the rest.

                That means realizing that you don't bring out the rototiller at harvest time, even if those rotten veggies piss you off.

                9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

                by NewDirection on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 06:19:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a link (6+ / 0-)

    Link for Brother Maynard

    Citation:

    The commission report revealed the FBI provided Philadelphia's police department with over 35 pounds of military explosives in January 1985, due to a need "diagnosed" by federal agents.

    The civil case left the blame on local officials, yet with no accountability owed by them to the people, who were not allowed to examine recorded FBI involvement in the decision to bomb, nor the federal clearance that would have been necessary for the city to obtain such weaponry.

    It was pretty much an undisputed fact that the FBI provided the explosives to the Philly cops.

    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

    by Mr Populist on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 07:54:22 AM PST

  •  Folks, you fell for the shiny object ploy (0+ / 0-)

    I don't care what anyone else has done in near or distant history. Right now, today, we have a president who has already invaded one Middle Eastern country for no frickin' good reason, destroyed it, and mired it in civil war for perhaps at least a generation. That little project turned out so well, in his estimation, that he's right now fixin' to do the same thing in another country next door.

    Do we really need to be debating what Bill Clinton and Janet Reno did or didn't do?

  •  damn good post (0+ / 0-)

    what a beat down!

    you know what they say about reality...

    Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

    by hypersphere01 on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 08:22:13 AM PST

  •  Waco (0+ / 0-)

    The entire plan for Waco was in place, and the federal agents were in place to effectuate the plan before Clinton was inaugurated.
    It wasn't a great plan, and Reno should have stopped it.
    But
    Blaming Reno and Clinton for the plan is rewriting history.

  •  I'm not a Koresh supporter, but this is an (0+ / 0-)

    inadequate description of what happened; the BATF's inter-departmental squabbling with the FBI, and the Clinton administration's inexperience were as much to blame, and Reno's prior work in juvenile justice made her especially susceptible to bogus claims of child abuse made by a cult deprogrammer (which is not to say that there wasn't child abuse going on, but Texas Social Services hadn't found any).  Ultimately the government was guilty of conduct regardless of life.  What idiot would subject the Davidians, a millenialist cult, to non-stop high-intensity sound with the intent of preventing sleep and inducing paranoia?  Even the FBI agents who were the lead negotiators at the beginning of the siege say it was grossly mishandled at the end.

    The ATF had the ability to arrest Koresh without confronting the Davidians, since he worked at a store in Waco several times each week, and went jogging daily outside the compound.  It's clear that the ATF wanted a confrontation.  And it isn't at all clear who fired first.

    Kudos on your description of the Move bombing.

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