Extremism in Too Many Forms

Obama is unser Unglück, sagte der Idiot.

Some guy was on WBEN’s Hardline with Debo show on Sunday talking lovingly about his metallic penis extenders guns. I have no idea who this person was, but he was discussing how the Heller Supreme Court decision guaranteed an individual’s right to bear arms, and that state licensing schemes are illegal prior restraints of one’s 2nd Amendment rights.  

I’ve seen a lot of gun-huggers equate the first and second Amendments and prior restraint, despite the fact that, e.g.,  an anti-government polemic in a newsweekly never put a hole in another person. These people might be interested to learn that the 1st Amendment is not interpreted as being without limitations. Likewise, Heller held that your right to bear arms is absolutely subject to limitation. States have the right to regulate the time, place, and manner of one’s gun ownership and possession. The absolutist on WBEN made no exception for ex-felons or the mentally ill, nor did he make any exception for the type of weapon. Maybe the radical gun-huggers want ex-cons to have the legal right to own grenade launchers, but thankfully the Constitution has not been so mangled by even the most activist right-wing court to allow that. 

By this time, extremist cretin and has-been one-hit wonder Ted Nugent has reneged on his promise to die or go to prison following President Obama’s re-election. Nugent has made himself the de facto spokesman for the extremist gun-hugging movement, and the reactionary tea-party right has embraced him.  Mostly, it’s because he says wildly hateful and ignorant things, and suffers no palpable consequences therefrom. Because of this, he escalates his rhetoric from time to time, and has most recently, surprisingly found some pushback after having called the President of the United States a “subhuman mongrel“. Some prominent Republicans located their courage in the lost & found, and gently criticized the driver of the gun-hugging clown car. 

Why was this beyond the pale? Because subhuman, or “untermensch” and mongrel, or “mischling” were specific terms used by Nazis to dehumanize Jews and other racial undesirables. So, the gun huggers who support Nugent’s plain-speaking hatred should be fully cognizant of the fact that they are expressly condoning and supporting Nazi propaganda. Nugent and his ilk are too unintelligent and ignorant cogently to express genuine disagreements with President Obama’s policies, so they opt instead for racism, and then cry foul when they’re quite appropriately identified as racist. Simply put, not all Obama opponents are racists, but it’s safe to say that all racists are Obama opponents, and it’s not inappropriate to point out when they overlap. 

Let’s be clear on another thing: lefties sometimes say stupid things, too. When they do, they are criticized and in some cases ostracized. In at least once case, Nugent was doing the criticism. A lefty saying something stupid does not excuse Ted Nugent.  Each stupidity stands on its own demerits. Rage Against the Machine are not Democratic spokespeople, but Ted Nugent is a Republican mascot. 

It’s odd that Nugent should be the cause débile in any serious debate over policy. Ted Nugent is an admitted pedophile, (he convinced one girl’s parents to let him be her legal guardian so he could bang her that way, because ‘Murka), and avoided service in the Vietnam war by feigning insanity and shitting his pants. He loves huntin’ and shootin’ stuff that can’t fight back, but when it came time to serve his country, Nugent, “just wasn’t into it”. 

Meanwhile, we have a slide back into Apartheid as the Kansas and Arizona legislatures voted to legalize the separate but unequal treatment of the LGBT community in those states. The bill in Kansas never made it out of committee, but the Arizona bill is on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk.  Both laws purport to legalize discrimination against gay people in public accommodations to protect bigots’ religious freedoms. Getting a tattoo and eating shellfish are just as prohibited in the Bible as being homosexual, but no state legislatures have yet addressed these matters.  Cowering behind a phony cloak of religion in order to justify your own bigotry, hatred, and fear is nothing new.  People used religion to justify slavery and racial discrimination. Hitler effectively created a new religion – with himself as deity – to justify the subjugation of a continent. Your religious beliefs may instruct you to hate or fear gay people, or to treat them as subhuman mongrels, but gay people are equal under the law. This is why church and state are separate. Nugent’s Nazi rhetoric and these pseudo-religious anti-gay bills are cut from the same cloth of ignorant hatred, and they serve to demean what America is and should be. 

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, it’s fun for fraternity pranksters to hang a noose and a flag of treason around a statue of James Meredith, the first black man to attend “Ole Miss”. Meredith, incidentally, is still alive and at 80 years old has more bravery and integrity in his toenail than these frat boy racists-in-training will ever have in their lives. 

University Chancellor Dan Jones said the ideas expressed by the vandals had no place at the university. But others have disagreed, saying the university should not necessarily punish free expression.

Expressing a desire to lynch a black man is protected political speech? That’s quite a stretch. Slavery and Jim Crow were based on a belief that black people were subhuman. Also

Mr. Meredith, whose iconoclastic life included a stint as an aide to the arch-conservative Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, says the lessons of the incident have more to do with religion than race or higher education. “What has happened in America, particularly in Mississippi, is a breakdown of moral character,” Mr. Meredith, 80, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a lack of teaching of right and wrong and good and bad, the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. That’s what the problem is.”

Mr. Meredith said the “nonsense” episode would intensify his effort to have his likeness removed from the university’s campus.

“It’s a false idol, and it’s an insult not only to God, it’s an insult to me,” Mr. Meredith said.

Free speech, like the right to bear arms, isn’t absolute or limitless and the government has to tread lightly when punishing or restraining speech, but it isn’t completely without authority to do so. Just try saying “f_ck” on prime time network television. What I’d like to see is the media report the names of the people who committed this hateful act. It should perpetually haunt them on Google. They’re not charged with a crime, but they did rightfully get expelled from their fraternity and the school. 

It’s not Barack Obama or a private health insurance marketplace that is un-American; sharting Naziistic propaganda to de-humanize a sitting President is un-American. It’s not Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid who are extremists, it’s the 2nd Amendment absolutists who argue for the insane to own M1 tanks. It’s not gay people who are an abomination, but those who would relegate the LGBT community to second-class non-citizen status. It’s not integration and multiculturalism that destroyed r weakened America, it’s racism. 

Obama came to office promising to change America.  He did, in many ways.  Not the least of which? Inadvertently emboldening neofascist extremists and racists.

75 comments

  • I love people who cite Heller as their justification for unlimited, unrestritced, unregulated arsenal ownership. Clearly haven’t read it.

  • Think that was Ostrowski on Hardline

    • That’s too funny. I didn’t recognize his voice at all. I guess it figures, but I don’tr really comprehend why it’s a constitutional right for, say, lunatics to amass a powerful arsenal so as to defend us from the tyranny of 1st graders.

      • It was Ostrowski. His point as far as I could figure was not so much defending ones self from some thug, but the citizenry defending itself from a tyrannical government. A caller made the point that the founding Fathers envisioned the right to bear arms with flintlocks, to which he replied, the government does not have flintlocks. So in his world you match arms to arms I guess. He is the weirdest dude I know of.

  • I never understood how anybody could take seriously the ranting’s of a so called “composer” who writes songs with titles such as “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”…….

  • Arizona SB1062 codifies the separation of Church and State. It is an affirmation of religious freedom. I don’t agree with all religions, but I also don’t agree with forcing anyone to act in violation of their religion. As a customer, I would not want to give my business to someone who deals with me solely because the State says he/she must. Accordingly, I firmly believe every business has the right to refuse to do business with anyone for any reason. If a business owner wants to be an ass and refuse to do business for less than honorable reasons, then he will suffer through a loss of business. Legislating political correctness falls into the category of legislating morality. I don’t see an end to prostitution anytime soon.

    • So, every business owner whose premises are open for public accommodations should have a right to refuse service to a black person, or to require Latinos to pass a language test. That’s what America looks like to you.

      • I would be the first person to stop giving business to people like that, but I will defend their right to be an asshole. People reap what they sow and will suffer or adapt without the heavy hand of government. Real progress in that area needs to be voluntary in order to be substantive.

        • “Real progress in that area needs to be voluntary in order to be substantive”, that’s a nice thought but doesn’t jive with reality. If we had waited for volunteers we would still have segregated lunch counters, segregated theaters, whites only hotels, and a slew of other discriminatory practices. People do have a right to be assholes in private but once they enter the public realm that right is no longer valid.

          • The DMV is in the public realm, a business isn’t. A business is a private enterprise operated by an individual(s), not a collective. Forcing someone to do something against their wishes reinforces their prejudice and fosters resent. Do you really want to patronize someone who accepts your business because the law says he must? All the while, that person has no respect for you. I would rather know who wants my business and who doesn’t, and make my decisions accordingly.

          • I was referring to any public business/enity as in the “public realm” , might not have been the best choice of words. We have a long history of allowing discrimination in the private sector, that record has not only been contrary to the values we claim to revere but directly impacted the ability of certain groups to engage and prosper.

          • I know what you meant by public realm, that is a common view. I just don’t happen to believe that the private sector should be included in the public realm. Just like I believe that a business owner should be able to set his own smoking policies. Nobody is forced to go to a business. Government offices are different, there is no alternative.

          • Discrimination not only denies certain groups the opportunity to advance and succeed but unfairly limits access to basic necessities such as food, lodging, and just about every service imaginable. Say I am traveling cross country with my black/gay/Jewish family, is it reasonable to allow a business to deny us those necessities? Would we have to search each area for gas, food, lodging, repairs, etc. just to accomodate the racists, bigots, and haters? If you want to do business you must accept the reasonable expectations of a fair and decent society. We in that society provide all the infrastructure and protections that make that business possible, it is only fair to expect some reciprocity in return.

          • The trouble with most of Michael’s takes is they don’t jive with reality. If we were robots his system would be fine.

        • Oh, they can be assholes all they want. They’re just not allowed – under the 14th Amendment to discriminate against people in public accommodations.

    • You’re assuming that A.) the business has competition in a reasonable surrounding area which is not always true in rural areas. B.) that this mentality isn’t collectively shared by the entire community in which the offended party would not be able to simply take their business elsewhere. How did these types of laws work out for pre 1960’s black people in the south?

      • If that type of mentality is collectively shared by the entire community, why would someone live there? Forcing businesses to deal with everyone still would leave a community filled with hate. Putting lipstick on a pig isn’t the answer.

        • Your family, job, maybe you like the weather, maybe you’re upside down on your mortgage and you cant sell your house? Maybe you have a disease that requires special medical treatment and the best facility is there? There is a host of reasons why someone lives where they live. That doesn’t mean that they deserve second class status just because the community has decided to discriminate against them. The whims of the majority cant deny the right of the minority to be treated as a equal human.

          We’ve done this as a country before. The same arguments were made for racial segregation, then sex segregation, then interracial marriage. It is the government’s job to provide everyone equal protection under the law.

    • Jim Crow laws had been in effect for NINETY YEARS when the Civil Rights Act was passed, but we should have waited another few hundred years for the free market to overturn them. Got it.

  • The government doesn’t require an individual to have a license to use their 1st amendment right, yet it does for one to exercise 2nd amendment rights. The 9th Circuit recently ruled that 2nd amendment rights extend beyond the home, giving the right to concealed carry to all gun owners. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will soon hear and affirm that decision. The burden of proof to deny someone the right to self defense should fall squarely on the government. Individuals should not be required to show good cause in order to enjoy their constitutional rights.

    • Peaceable assembly often requires a permit…..

      • Yes. Courts have baked a “reasonable time, place, and manner” restriction into the 1st Amendment, so absolutists arguing that no law or regulation can constitutionally restrict the time, place, and manner of gun ownership and possession are waaaay off base.

    • I can’t kill someone with my First Amendment rights. But I sure can because of the way the Second Amendment has been interpreted.

      • Directly, you can’t kill someone by exercising the 1st Amendment. INdirectly, you can incite someone to act by using your 1st Amendment rights.

  • I think Ted Nugent is the face of the die hard gun nuts . Ted is a hateful macho fool, exhibits paranoid delusions, has illusions of grandeur, has racist tendencies, lacks intellectural capacity, and is a coward at heart.

    • Ridgewaycynic2013

      Do you suppose it was the drugs?

    • Ted Nugent is being used as a red herring to distract people from a logical discussion of the 2nd amendment.

      • Ted Nugent does represent the attitudes of a good portion of the gun culture, take a look over at the Buffalo News comments to verify. The only distraction I see is the gun nuts in their refusal to accept facts, their refusal to tolerate any dissent, and their willingness to march in lock step like good little totalitarians. The gun problem like all others is multi-faceted, the only practical and effective way to solve a problem is by addressing all the factors, better and more effective gun regulation is a part of the solution.

        • Regulation is at odds with the Constitution. The only way to modify the right to bear arms would be through a Constitutional amendment. From where I’m sitting, it is the anti-gun crowd that won’t accept facts. More licensing and restrictions does not stop criminals. A person planning on robbing a store in NYS is not going to make sure he has no more than 7 bullets loaded in a magazine. If you are really concerned about crime, legalize drugs and vastly improve treatment options for the mentally ill.

          • I am not a Constitutional expert nor are you or the gun advocates that endlessly argue over the intricacies and legal precedents. I trust real lawyers and real judges to sort that out. I have no confidence or trust in old angry white guys dressed in camo to interpret the law. (not saying you are one, just pointing out the public face of gun advocacy)
            The majority of the “anti-gun” crowd have no vested interest, no real personal stake in the issue and therefore are capable of some objectivity. The gun advocates clearly have a selfish interest that clouds their objectivity and creates a strong bias, just common sense here.
            We can agree drugs should be at least decriminalized, the state has no right to decide what substances you or I choose to use but guns are different. Guns have the capacity to subject the rest of us to danger (unlike private drug use), that fact alone makes guns subject to more scrutiny.

          • How do you propose to pay for the improvement of “treatment options for the mentally ill”? Knowing your libertarian ideology, you expect the mentally ill themselves to pay for it on the free market, which would, of course, render the worst quality care (if any) to those least able to afford it. Usually, at this point, someone pipes in with some trope about “charity”, but charities have a tough enough time providing services as it is, so I don’t know that shifting another social cost and burden onto charities is great public policy.

          • Charities have a tough time because of the current state of taxation and the regulatory structure for health care. That is a separate issue that is getting worse. My somewhat pragmatic temporary solution, until health care is addressed properly, would be to legalize/decriminalize all drugs. Applied retroactively, that would reduce the federal prison population by about half, as well as a very significant drop in state prison populations. There would also be a tremendous cost savings in law enforcement and the court system. Using a portion of the savings would be enough to address the deficiencies in the mental health system.

          • And if you legalize drugs, drug addicts will get their fix legally, but they’ll still need money to do so. I wonder how they might get the money to do so, given that their entire life’s meaning is intertwined with drug use.

          • For starters, treatment options will be readily available. There are many addicts who remain addicted because the number of doctors available is limited by government regulation, as well as a shortage of treatment facilities. Buprenorphine is used successfully to treat opiate addiction, yet there is a long waiting list for the few doctors approved to prescribe the medication. Legalizing drugs will drive the cost down, along with the criminal activity.

          • Yes, we shouldn’t license doctors because the market will figure out who the good, qualified ones are, and who the bad, uneducated ones are. I wonder which one drug users will use?

          • That is totally ridiculous. Doctors are already licensed, only a very few of them can prescribe the drugs to treat addiction. Thank is why treatment options are scarce.

      • Come on now. Ted Nugent is the people, and the people are Ted Nugent.

  • As for prior restraint, the 1st amendment analogy mentioned here is not relevant. A license is not needed to exercise one’s right to free speech. The speech becomes unacceptable when it is used to harm others. In that respect, licensing firearms under the 2nd amendment is not valid, however it is valid to take action against someone who harms others with a firearm. The only limits on free speech occur when the rights of others are violated. The 2nd amendment is a negative right requiring no approval from the State. Hence, the phrase “shall not be infringed”. The Bill of Rights quite clearly spells out what people are entitled to, without any further permission from government. Any other interpretation of the 2nd amendment is illogical and puts it at odds with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

    • Aren’t radio stations licensed? Are they not fined to hell for inappropriate content over public airwaves? Why doesn’t public airwaves=public domain?

    • The right to bear arms shall not be infringed. If you read that literally, you’re arguing for the insane to own M1 Tanks, and (a) I don’t think that’s what the founders intended; (b) it is palpably a bad idea for society to allow such a thing; (c) to enact a no-insane-tank-owner restriction is not violative of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence. If it was, Scalia never would have penned the Heller decision.

      • And neither should police departments have military equipment. The armed services are prevented from acting on our soil. Giving military equipment to police is just an end-around for what is clearly banned.

  • Amendments are interpreted and reinterpreted. Amendments come and amendments can go.
    The base philosophy of even having amendments is that they are changeable. An amendment in and of itself is never absolute or it would not be subject to change or elimination by the constitution.
    Our problem today is not this or that amendment. Our problem is how social progress, human evolution, our very basic rights themselves have been subjected to some sort of populist absolutism. An absolutism built upon falsehood, constructed by monetary gain, enabled by the perverted use of the science of psychology perfected so that those that can afford to have enabled themselves with the ability to get people to buy what they don’t need and support what they don’t believe in.
    It’s not the second amendment or any other amendment. It’s the far more basic idea that our laws, our rules and our customs indeed reflect what we actually believe, what we actually want as a people.
    We have great alarm and great debate when the government collects information. Anything from NSA spying to some gun registry to the census itself. But we allow had have allowed private business to collect information on us in a degree the government has never even attempted. No discussion, no consent. We have been made to believe it’s OK because business is private and has the right. Business is sacrosanct and their actions are “perfectly legal”. There is nothing we can do about it.
    Mr. Rebmann below attempts to make a case for “business” rights to discrimination. Others make cases for business inherent right to apply their supposed religious beliefs upon their employees. Business interests themselves through their surrogates have people in such a dazed state that they fume and cry for revolution when they open their modest water bill, not blinking an eye as they write the check to Time Warner.
    Time to end all this foolishness. Business is not some god given right. Business operates by the leave of the society in which it resides and by the rules that that society deems proper for the benefit of all.
    These things should be self evident to us. If we do not want or believe in an absolute right to carry weapons we must stop being sidetracked by stupid little arguments like the second amendment. The second amendment has nothing to do with it. What we wish as a society is the only question. If we wish to restrict guns say so. If enough say so the second amendment can be gone like Ted Nugent’s royalties.

    • Bravo, you have just rendered the Constitution a worthless piece of paper. The gap between us and fascism has narrowed.

      If you wish to modify the 2nd Amendment, there is a process. It is laid out in the Constitution.

      • Exactly my point. The 2nd amendment is and always has been changeable. That is right in the constitution.
        So the arguments pro or con concerning gun control are rightfully arguments based upon the merits or demerits of the proposals. They are not and should not be based primarily on the second amendment for that is changeable. To simply cry 2nd amendment all the time is just a dodge to avoid the genuine questions being asked here.

      • I have rendered the Constitution worthless? By citing the Constitution itself? We should strike the part in the Constitution allowing amendments to be added, modified or eliminated?
        We should just go on the premise that everything in there as of this minute is set in stone, unchangeable?
        I don’t think the founders had that in mind or they would not have put in the mechanisms that they found wise to include.

        • I don’t see any amendments being proposed. Only people who are circumventing the Constitutional process.

          • Proposing an amendment or, more correctly, proposing to modify an existing amendment before the argument runs a course, the people…and their representatives have to come to a common conclusion on what they believe in this time to be the right thing concerning the existing right to bear arms issue. People acting as society have to decide if the right to bear arms as stated in the 2nd amendment and as interpreted is, indeed an actual right.
            Proposing a change to the amendment first is putting the cart before the horse.
            The 2nd amendment crowd has to make a case convincing society that holding a semi-automatic precision firearm and unlimited clips of ammo is in actuality a true “right”. If society decides that that is not a “right” then…we amend the amendment.
            I don’t think the NRA’ers can make that argument, convince society of the propriety of it and win. So they hide behind the 2nd amendment…or rather their interpretation of it. Doing so allows them the luxury of not having to convince anyone that this is some sort of natural “right” in an of itself.

          • It should not be up to the people supporting the 2nd amendment to justify it, it already exists. You can talk in circles all you want, the Bill of Rights is clear.

    • We can restrict gun ownership without violating the 2nd Amendment.

      • You don’t restrict free speech by granting a license to talk. You punish people who abuse their fundamental right by harming others. I have no problem with that approach.

      • Obviously. That has already been done, and supported in the Supreme Court.
        For the pro-gun, anti-any and every restriction crowd simply parroting “2nd amendment, 2nd amendment” as a be all, end all to the dialogue however is bovine feces.

        The 2nd is simply an amendment to the constitution. That same constitution tells us that it is not set in stone. That is why the founders put all that stuff in there allowing an amendment or any part of the constitution to be changed, altered, replaced or eliminated.

        All these 2nd amendment constitutional scholars need to read the whole document.The argument pro or anti on just about anything must stand on its own merit.Just as they had to during the formation of our constitution and amendments.

        Make the argument. Justify and convince. The founders never intended for argument, discourse and change to hide behind one amendment or another.

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