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Two days ago, I wrote a diary that's part of a series I call "Forays Into Freeperville" where I got to the Free Republic and cull out some of the most over-the-top, insane comments I can find. It's not hard to find them, of course, and I suppose a bit of my soul dies each time I go there.

The last one I did covered the topic of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the odious Fort Hood shooter. I doubt there are many people in this country that will defend him. Certainly there are those who would show a bit of compassion and ask why he went off his nut and killed his fellow soldiers. But, at the end of the discussion, nobody is asking for him to be treated any differently than any other mass murderer.

But there's been a shift of late in discussions about due process and civil rights and how to treat criminals. Where we were once a country that prided itself holding due process and civil rights in high esteem, there is now an element on the conservative side that sneers when due process must be allowed to proceed or when civil rights are invoked. Indeed, these people see this as just being "politically correct". As if we're going through the motions to coddle the alleged perpetrator at the expense of rationality and the needs of the victims.

Good gods, when did this happen?

Here are a couple of examples of comments regarding Hasan that illustrate my point. They are taken from the comments to articles posted at the Free Republic and are, admittedly some of the more fringey perspectives you'll find. But they illustrate the concept very well.

This is from someone who calls themself TYVets:

As soon as Hasan the terrorist is well enough, waterboard him until he is drained of all information.

Then put him on trial.

To hell with niceties and political correctness.

This is from yorkie01 in response to President Obama's request not to jump to conclusions until all the facts are available:

Barry, you’re hardly in a position to hand out advice like this. How quickly you forget how fast you ran to Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates’ side or to Honduran former president Zelaya’s side. Your sophomoric zeal in favor of your positions is insane. Hasan, a muslim, was in a room filled with military men and women while he raised pistols and fired indiscriminately at our troops. This is Islamic terrorism striking terror in the hearts and minds of those affected as well as our nation. FBI, stay out of this! Military tribunal, no political correctness - apply Whabbi Sharia law tactics. End the pathetic sycophantical slobbering by our leftwing appeasers.

In the first example, the writer suggests that bans on torture are simply exercises in political correctness. The second writer has no need for the due process laws we have in this country, they would proceed directly to the punishment.

Honestly, one commenter, grey whiskers simply posted this picture:

Today I spent a couple of hours driving to a customer's location in North Carolina and had the dubious "pleasure" of listening to the Glenn Beck show on satellite radio. Glenn's out recovering from appendicitis surgery but the host, Pat, filled in nicely. A number of callers called in to rail against the political correctness of this country and one caller in particular was outraged that Hasan is going to get a military trial. In the caller's mind, Hasan is a terrorist and should be dealt with like we deal with all our terrorists, presumably tortured and then killed.

I'm struggling to get my mind around this. Why would conservatives, a group of people who hold our American Constitution in such high regard that it appears to be second only to the Bible, be moving away from the bedrock, fundamental elements that are outlined in the Constitution? If you read through my other diary, you get a real sense that things like a fair trial, a right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise and a number of other most basic inalienable rights are now some perverse subordination to the whims of liberals.

Many of these people are the same folks who will scour the 10th Amendment for the most tenuous of arguments to avoid having their states participate in health care reform. Yet when it comes to the very clear and obvious rules set forth in that great document, they see their use as something weak and undesirable.

I'm not sure what to do with this realization. I don't know if they are capable of hearing us when we point this out to them. Or if they are even capable of having a civil discussion about this topic.

But I do think we need to be vigilant.

The term "liberal" all but become invective in the hands of conservatives over the past few decades. That was because they used consistently and relentlessly as a way of negatively branding those they disagreed with. The expression "political correctness" followed the same path. We must be intensely vigilant that they are not able to do the same thing to the rights that we all share as Americans. Things like civil rights, due process rights and the right to never, ever, under any circumstances be tortured by your government must not only kept from being viewed as weak or "politically correct", they must be continuously be held in the highest esteem and constantly renewed. For these are the things that do make our country great and that distinguish us from our enemies.

I'm just sayin'...

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 08:52 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Since it would be moronic to ... (0+ / 0-)

      simply hope the Ft. Hood killer has no associations with others who've not yet enacted a killing spree of their own, by what method do we find out if other lives are in imminent danger?

    •  call them out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, luckylizard

      refer to them, and their statements and wishes as unconstitutional, unquestioningly, as a matter of course. Make the term stick to them. The unconstitutional desire to do away with due process... and so forth.

    •  Right-wingers have never read the Constitution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luckylizard, IreGyre, theatre goon

      They've never read most of the Bible either.  (Reading the entire Bible tends to make it impossible to be a Biblical literalist.)  I'd bet many have never read any of the Bible.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 10:13:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  spoon fed dribbles by their "Spiritual leaders" (0+ / 0-)

        and Political indoctrination outlets....Babbling point slogans and extracts with just the right amount of spin and "guidance" in interpreting the out of context gems...

        And even a fair number of their so-called "leaders" seem to either have only done the talk radio/fox news/Sunday school/ Monarch notes version of the Bible and The Constitution... or slept through class and/or forgot most of what was on the Liberty University multiple choice cheat sheet they used to pass the test and graduate....

        Or maybe it was the "close-cover-before-striking" mail order minister program that they got their ordination from that is to blame... "noise in, noise out" and so it spreads...

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:17:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is an improvement (5+ / 0-)

    Just a few years ago they were calling it "treason".

  •  Well, due process IS politically correct. (16+ / 0-)

    It's also legally correct, which is much more to the point.

    Not to mention being the sane way to deal with the situation.

    Of course, there are people I no longer expect sanity from.  

  •  well you know two things (15+ / 0-)
    1. They don't know what's in the constitution
    1. They don't really think it should be our guide to running the country.

    They're brownshirts. They admire power.

  •  the PC meme really honks me off..... (5+ / 0-)

    Hasan wanted out for his own deeply felt beliefs about the war.  He really wasn't going to go to war, and his response was to shoot people- good people who like him, joined the Army and tried their best to protect the country they love.  This sad, conflicted man did a great wrong.  What was PC about keeping him working with PTSD and sending him to Afghanistan to counsel troubled soldiers?

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 09:15:39 PM PST

  •  Do this idiots even realize that he wil face a (6+ / 0-)

    court martial? In other words, a military tribunal where he will be judged by a jury of his fellow soldiers?That the UCMJ applies here? And that if he can't prove an insanity defense, his only hope, he will face life without parole or a death sentence--because this is wartime?

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 09:22:47 PM PST

    •  And that waterboarding, or any other coercision (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, lazybum

      for information that could damage the reliability of information from him would be just plain stupid?

      Shooters usually don't survive mass-killings. They either commit suicide or are killed.

      Even if he didn't have a speck of actually useful information about any current or future risk to the US or to US citizens or other legal residents, he's a valuable source of information.

      Taint that information by messing with his brain, intentionally or unintentionally, and there's a lot of potentially valuable information that simply goes away or is so suspect it might as well have gone away.

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 10:20:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, or finish off his sanity... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, Cassandra Waites

        entirely with Red-State approved that he has even more diminished mental capability...

        and then the Red-Staters will be gnashing their teeth even more at not being able to have him executed after all the torture they seem to want ends up reducing a already apparently damaged sick man to a near vegetable state??

        It may be that the Red-Staters picked up one thing from the 60's... the old saying from then "If it feels good, do it"... and for them, literally and regardless of legal, moral and logical reasons... they go with their gut reactions and glory in them... It's all mob mentality... all the time, always with the pitchforks and torches... and when as is the case there really is no monster (or one not big enough)... they go out looking for one anyway and reliably find a target that they can magnify all out of proportion to reality to suit their own sick fantasies....

        Always ready for the defenseless target, the one they can have open season on... all restraints released and less likelihood that more rational people will intervene and spoil the witch-burning/stoning/Lynching...

        The "lynch mob" mentality is always out there... frustrated, held back by a partial lack of socially sanctioned targets that they can get away with attacking... Bullies need a punching bag... and when they don't get one often enough... the craziness builds up and get extra ugly when they finally get to stampede to the next available one...

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:57:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I keep hearing the Army (4+ / 0-)

    was being "politcally correct" in promoting him.  Absofrickinlutely unbelievable.  I don't recall every hearing of a nicey-nice Army making sure everyone felt good about themselves.  

    Politically correct, btw is different than stupidly ignoring the warning signs that this man was about to snap.  That comes from sheer desperation to keep the people they have and ignore any problems.

    All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Mohandas Gandhi

    by MufsMom on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 09:29:50 PM PST

    •  I heard about the presentation on Islam, (0+ / 0-)

      and immediately thought of the guy who got put into Guantanamo for having read a satirical blog posting about using a string and a bucket as a nuclear centrifuge. (Barbara Ehreneich wrote that post, her thoughts on the incident are here.)

      People have gone to Guantanamo for less than that presentation, and an investigation wasn't made into why he decided on that topic???

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 10:25:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is nothing new in American culture. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, Shahryar

    It's been out on an extended vacation for some years, but it's on its way back to work now.

    The Lynch Mob.

  •  Yeah, but you're not thinking like a fascist. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, Cassandra Waites, eXtina

    You can't understand a teabagger if you keep thinking like an American.

    Steps to thinking like Glenn Beck, the teabaggers, and the Fox Nation:

    1. Form an image of an evil troll in your mind. Maybe use the one that haunted your closet as a child, or maybe the ogres in the LOTR movies. Those are the Jewish bankers who stole your job and gave it to a black person.
    1. Now focus all your hate and all your inadequacy and all your failures in life on Obama. He's the reason you're such a creepy insecure emotional wreck.
    1. Ignore the fact that you just thought of Brad Pitt's rear end and got a shiver of excitement. That's just a meaningless blip on the radar. Concentrate harder on hating latinos by imagining them all with mustaches having sex with your 7 year old daughter.
    1. Now drop all of that and imagine being in a room full of naked blonde women tearing up your tax returns and ironing your boxer shorts. This is what you desire. This is what you desire. Blonde is good. Blonde is good.

    Repeat these steps 5 times twice daily whenever you're feeling stressed or frustrated.

    This is how you create a fascist.

    If you can't remember the steps, just turn on Fox News at 5pm and watch it until you fall asleep.

  •  "They" have a lunatic fringe, "we" have one too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Which is always true no matter who they and we are. By which in this case I mean that one could call them the American Taliban and have it go right over their heads.

  •  Not really a new phenomenon. (0+ / 0-)

    There have always been those who think that, say, if someone is arrested for something, they  must be guilty, and things such as trials are a waste of time.

    Places like Redstate and Free Republic just give them a place to discuss their opinions with others of the same mind.

    Like DKos tends to attract those who support little things like the rule of law, those sites attract those who would prefer a paternal figure to make all those decisions which require some sort of thought for them.

    If you dig zombies, and get the chance, go here and vote for Video#10. Thanks.

    by theatre goon on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 04:16:25 AM PST

    •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eclectablog, theatre goon

      At least since I can remember having conversations with conservatives, and the "PC" idea was in vogue, ie since at least the late 80s, they have felt this way.

      Its an anti-bureaucracy, anti-lawyer, frontier sort of point of view that you could find in any Western.

      While that attitude has always struck me as naive, that's not what is disturbing me now.

      What's disturbing is the idea that you can get useful information out of a person by torture. THAT is new, as far as a widely expressed point of view, cropping up after 9-11 and that damn "24" series, among other things.


      Sorry for shouting. We need to make that case strong and repeatedly.

      •  I'm not sure... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...that the actual ideas behind the "24-Mentality" are really new, either, but they are definitely going through a new round of popularity, and very likely a more widely-accepted popularity.

        I remember, back in my youth, hearing lots of folks expressing ideas like suspects to crimes should have confessions beaten out of them, or "let 'em go a few days with nothing to eat and they'll talk," and so forth.  Same idea, different veneer.

        I'm really starting to think there's very little new in the world, it just shows up again with a new twist or spin on it...

        If you dig zombies, and get the chance, go here and vote for Video#10. Thanks.

        by theatre goon on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:35:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  late reply (0+ / 0-)

          Oh, maybe you're right...maybe it just seems more prominent now because since 9-11 such dangerous precedents have been set, so prolifically....which I had hoped never to see in my lifetime.

          Whereas before, it was easier to laugh off sentiment of the kind, thinking that it would never gain mainstream focus. I think that the emergence of torture probably did get that mindset flared up a bit as the neanderthals sadists saw that they might start to get their way.

          Not that we weren't torturing, before 9-11...but it was better hidden, I think.

      •  They need to re-read the Ox-Bow incident (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        or if they can't read the book, see the movie... oh, but it's very old and in Black and white (and has liberals in it..).... gee.. maybe the lego-motion version or something? Anything to get the story into the heads of the shoot first ask questions later crowd... or it that: torture first, ask questions later.....

        How about a FOX miniseries of it?? An updated vehicle to tell the timeless tale of a tragic rush to misjudgment... One with the scantily clad Indian women and/or harlots with a heart of gold plus perfect hair updated John Wayne types who will save the good old boy innocents from hanging at the hands of the Liberal rustlers & Murderers... just in time... maybe a 3D version with Glenn Beck and other FOX heroes would get the Red-Stater types to sit still long enough and maybe learn something...

        oh wait... that would be a version that kills the whole message of miscarriages of justice and jumping to conclusions... value of due process etc... oh well... never mind.

        But even then... they would not think any of this applies to those they already "know" are guilty...

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:41:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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