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This should come as no surprise. And it should be no surprise if it gets worse. The Kansas City Star reports:

Authorities in Wichita and some other cities across the country are investigating vandalism against Democratic offices, apparently in response to health care reform.

And on Monday, a former Alabama militia leader took credit for instigating the actions.

Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, Ala., former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia, put out a call on Friday for modern "Sons of Liberty" to break the windows of Democratic Party offices nationwide in opposition to health care reform. Since then, vandals have struck several offices, including the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita.

Are public calls for violent criminal activity acceptable? Is this terrorism?


Remember how, several weeks ago, Michael Isikoff rationalized away any concerns about someone flying a plane into a federal office building? One distinction he made is that white American terrorists–the Unabomber, the anthrax killer (!), the tax protestor–don’t coordinate with others who have the same enemy.

Isikoff's racist double standard:

The underpants bomber, for all his ineptitude, was equipped and dispatched by a foreign enemy—Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—whose ultimate leader (bin Laden) has declared war on the United States and who has demonstrated his willingness and intent to inflict mass casualties on our civilian population. That makes underpants man a terrorist and had he been captured overseas, would have made himan enemy combatant—and why the Obama administration dispatches the U.S. military and Predator drones to destroy the people who sent him here. Similarly, the Fort Hood shooter may have been a disturbed "lone wolf" but he was in ideological alignment and in communication with a member of the same foreign enemy.

And I'm sure it has nothing to do with underpants man being a black Nigerian, and the Fort Hood shooter an Arab-American. Isikoff's attempted rationalization seems to have to do with coordination. Probably because it had to have some semblance of a rationale.

And as for your point—haven't domestic groups declared war on the government and demonstrated a willingness to inflict mass casualties—well—I'm sure some domestic wackos have said wacko things, but I cant off the top of my head think of a serious domestic group that has openly declared "war" on the United States or one currently in existence that has a documented history of inflicting mass casualties on civilians or announced its intention to do so in the future—all of which applies to Al Qaeda.

Openly declared war? We can debate the meaning of "serious," but how about none other than Liz Cheney's group? As reported by HuffPo, last week:

Liz Cheney's group, Keep America Safe shot back at U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's comments on Tuesday that terrorists in court have the same rights as murderers like Charles Manson.

"Putting Charlie Manson in a civilian court didn't endanger any intelligence secrets," Debra Burlingame, a member of the Keep America Safe Board of Directors, told Politico. "When he draws analogies like that, that's when he loses people. It appears as if he doesn't know we're at war."

Emptywheel points to Isikoff's definition of terrorists as intending mass casualties, and reminds that the IRS protester did have such an intention, he just didn't pull it off. I would add that the Unabomber and the anthrax killer may not have caused mass casualties but they did, in fact, kill people. Isikoff's rationale seems based on something other than the intentions and deeds. And as for the new wave of attacks on Democratic offices? Mass casualties may not have been intended, but emptywheel points to their having taken place at Democratic offices as far flung as Wichita, Tucson, Rochester, and Niagara Falls, and points to the obvious:

But as to coordination to serve a mutual enemy? We’re officially there now.

Digby notes that Sarah Palin, today, tweeted the following:

Don't retreat. RELOAD.

Before talking about elections. Digby:

Creepy, eh?

Update: Maddow had a big story about this Vanderbeough fellow tonight.

It sure is a good thing the whole nutball faction in this country is armed to the teeth.

As usual, Maddow is on the story. But extremists successfully fomenting violence against the political opposition seems like a real problem. Even if the extremists are white, Mr. Isikoff.

Update [2010-3-23 23:15:13 by Turkana]: In the comments, buddabelly notes that the quote from Cheney's group refers to the overseas wars, rather than a domestic political war. Given Cheney's McCarthyite smears of DOJ lawyers, I took it a different way. I think buddabelly may be right, as to that specific quote, but there is no question that the Cheneys have been ramping up the fearmongering rhetoric.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 07:12 PM PDT.

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