Sunday, April 06, 2008

"...Just Denounce the Pacifists for Lack of Patriotism..."

Here's proof that we need to re-defeat fascism.

How uncanny that exactly 40 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated during the Vietnam War (and some think possibly because of his opposition to the Vietnam War), we would turn on our radios to hear a Twin Cities radio host re-applying the principles of Hermann Goering to plans for the upcoming anti-war march on the Republican National Convention (RNC).

If you listen (here), you won't hear anything resembling "Minnesota Nice" on Chris Baker's show yesterday, the program that comes on before Rush Limbaugh's. His vitriolic, denouncing rants came in bursts between interviews with a Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief and Minneapolis Police Federation President John Delmonico as to how the right-wing radio host "can't stand these protesting varmints", "these spitting, frothing at the mouth lunatics", including his opinion that "protesting is an industry funded by billionaires and communist organizations (and) they are well coordinated and incredibly dangerous."

Baker's tirades were sparked by a Star Tribune newspaper article that reported apparent disagreements between Minneapolis police officials as to whether police officers patrolling at the time of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul should be armed with riot helmets, chemical spray and Taser guns for use on protesters.

The radio talk host demonstrated little effort to engage in legitimate debate on these issues and soon transcended from merely disparaging remarks to something far worse, coming very close to, if not crossing the line, of basically inciting violence against those he called the "stinky protesters."

After Delmonico agreed that "one of the (protesters') main missions is destruction," Baker added,
You must have order, you cannot have a civilized society without order and if that means cracking a few skulls, so be it...a good ole boy network is what you need and hand out some ax handles.
The absolutely worst tirade, however, comes towards the end of the program after the interviews with the police, when KTLK host Chris Baker lets go with this ostensible incitement to violence:
So we've been talking about police protection during the upcoming convention when all those stinky protesters are coming. There seems to be a big debate over whether or not police officers will be able to wear helmets, carry shields, use pepper spray and tasers on this crowd. You know, I'll tell you what works on a crowd like this--a machine gun, that always works very well.
"Mow 'em down, baby!" excitedly adds Baker's co-host "Jordan".

It doesn't take an expert on the First Amendment to recognize that suggesting the "good ole boy network" hand out ax handles and machine guns be used to mow a crowd down comes close to inciting violence. This inflammatory rhetoric looks no different than the reason we are not allowed to falsely yell "fire" in a crowded theatre. I can also speak from personal experience--having worked almost 24 years as an FBI agent--that such remarks would almost certainly elicit investigative concern if the tables were turned and such speech came out of the mouth of someone critical of the government.

At the very least, one can question whether such violent remarks are an appropriate use of public air waves. Should a formal complaint to the FCC be made? Or should KTLK's advertisers be perhaps made aware of Baker's vitriolic comments? Should someone remind Chris Baker of the terrible shootings of college students at Kent State and Jackson State during the Vietnam era?

There are 70 some peace groups in the Twin Cities, many of whose members have regularly participated in anti-war marches in the last five long years as well as during the Vietnam era. The majority are grandparents or great-grandparents (or of that age); sincere, church going types who are motivated by such basic universal concepts as the Golden Rule and "Thou shall not kill." I've never seen any of them frothing at the mouth! Most do not sport oily dredlocks and do bathe regularly. Most, like myself, a retired FBI agent, would hardly consider ourselves "anarchists" or a professional protesting industry. I happen to be on the "Women Against Military Madness" organization's fundraising committee (WAMM is one of the Twin Cities most established peace groups, having been formed 26 years ago) and I've also participated in helping raise funds for the Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. No Communist organization or billionaire has given us any money to my knowledge! Most importantly, I have never heard of any group members (involved in preparations for the peace march and other anti-war displays during the RNC) planning to conduct a "military strike". Launching such a military strike would be totally antithetical for any peace group because that's actually what we're against: military strikes! Especially Bush's favorite kind, the "pre-emptive" military strike. They just kill too many innocent civilians.

If confronted, my guess is that Baker will say he was only joking and wasn't intending to incite real violence on fellow American citizens who only wish to exercise our First Amendment freedoms and patriotic responsibilities to speak out against an unjustified, illegal war and continuing use of torture and other illegal acts. What he probably was trying to do was "just denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism," a tougher and tougher job as the majority of the people in this country--formed shortly after the exposing of Bush-Cheney's lies and "cakewalk" promises--has been solidly against the Iraq War.

But like all their predecessor war-mongers, these talk radio types like Baker do have something powerful that helps them keep this terrible war going. Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently described it in this excerpt from (what many consider to be his greatest speech) "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam":
Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we're always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for in all our history there has never been such a monumental dissent during a war, by the American people....

The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.
Speaking for the coalition to march on the RNC, we who oppose the Iraq War are NOT fools, traitors, enemies or even stinky protesters. If all the pro-war radio talk show hosts want to keep denouncing us that way, that's fine. But please note: your mentor, Hermann Goering, advised to "just denounce the pacifists"--he didn't say you had to machine gun them down.

11 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

The Vigil welcomes Coleen Rowley back into the fold!

Long-time readers will recall that Coleen graduated with honors College of Law at the University of Iowa and passing the Iowa Bar Exam in 1980. In January of 1981, Coleen was appointed a Special Agent with the FBI. In May of 2002 Rowley brought some of the pre 9-11 lapses to light and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the endemic problems facing the FBI and the intelligence community. The Rowley memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee's Inquiry led to a two year long Department of Justice Inspector General investigation. She was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine.

In April 2003, following an unsuccessful and highly criticized attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, Rowley stepped down from her (GS-14) legal position to go back to being a (GS-13) FBI Special Agent. She retired from the FBI at the end of 2004.

In February 2005, a majority of Minnesota congresspersons and senators nominated Coleen Rowley to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board but she was not selected by the Bush Administration. This Board was mandated by 2004 federal intelligence reform legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.

Rowley has authored a chapter in a book published by the Milton Eisenhower Foundation entitled, Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense: Restoring America's Promise at Home and Abroad. She also ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress in Minnesota's Second Congressional District in 2006.

My thanks to Coleen Rowley, for her continuing service to our country.

4/06/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

Coleen, Excellent, Excellent, EXCELLENT Post!

Baker is an idiot and it's simply incomprehensible that his stupidity isn't roundly condemmed by the right as well as the left.

I've been rather upset at my friend Randi Rhodes dismissal from Air America for her "colorful" speech in front of a private audience (not on the air), so I'll carefully stop short of demanding Baker's dismissal.

(BTW, Randi's remarks were over the line, but that's Randi; the audience knew what they were getting, just like Ann Coulter's audience knows what's in store for them when Coulter rants.....)

BUT...... It is appalling that Rhodes is forced to take a bullet while Baker continues to advocate firing them at anyone who is willing to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

4/06/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Agent Rowley is serving on the frontier. Minnesota is on the front line in the cultural and political struggle to take back America. It's where Al Franken seeks to take back Paul Wellstone's Senate seat which fell into the hands of idiot Norm Coleman only through that tragic plane crash in 2002.

4/07/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

Vig, If I could only think up a prize worthy of Coleen's heroism I would give it to her. Any help anyone?

you give great information Vig, Thanks.

4/07/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Avidor said...

Video and DU Discussion

4/07/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Commander Zaius said...

Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world.

I'd have to throw ignorance in there beside apathy in moving against conformist thought. Many times I have been surprised by the brazen comments by some of my right wing co-workers concerning basic rights. When the recent demonstrations by Hindu monks in Burma were being attacked by the police I caught one of the guys I work with saying something to the affect that the demonstrators deserved to have their heads bashed in for causing trouble. Baker's comments and my co-workers ignorance seem a fertile ground for fascism.

4/07/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

Vig, thanks for the intro to LBill. You have some of the smartest readers in the blogosphere.

4/07/2008 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Petrosexual said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/07/2008 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Thanks, Avidor, for the link!

4/07/2008 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

You must have order, you cannot have a civilized society without order and if that means cracking a few skulls, so be it...a good ole boy network is what you need and hand out some ax handles.

Didn't I read this in Mein Kampf?

4/08/2008 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Coleen Rowley said...

Update: We notified over 20 of KTLK’s advertisers last week and we think quite a few pulled their ads from Chris Bakers Show. Two companies actually advised us that they were discontinuing and we are just deducing a few others might have also since we don’t hear their advertisements any longer. Also, it might be wishful thinking, but it seems Baker even talked a tad nicer this week. He really didn’t bring up the same story again and was careful to only refer to the “anarchists” instead of us other “stinky protesters” when disparaging. So,…who knows, but we might have had a bit of an impact. Of course we haven’t heard anything from FCC. I e-mailed a couple people trying to get a more scholarly debate set up which would be the most constructive way of airing this even better but haven’t heard back.

4/19/2008 11:31:00 AM  

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