Theoretically at least each person who answered ‘yes’ to killing the president (per the report below) has committed a felony — the VP is okay to threaten. I wonder whether the authorities will carry through with this? Possibly those who posted the questions may be guilty as collaborators? There is a limit to free speech when it risks serious harms.

Obviously masses of people are not coming up with attacking characterizations of Obama all by themselves (e.g. Nazi). There are some pretty ugly groups out there and they are moving ever closer to dangerous things with threats against lives of the president and/or others with whom they disagree politically. I notice Republicans moving beyond simply lying and distorting facts towards hate-inducing stuff. I think we need to be calling them down hard and fast. Certainly it is a violation of both our religious and American values  that particularly religious leaders and pols engage in such which can stimulate nut cases into extreme acts. There is already too much physical abuse directed at gays, women, minority groups, and others who are vulnerable.

As I recall, similar ugliness was inspired during the Depression by such as Father Charles Coughlin — hate radio priest:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin

It is possible that the current economic anxieties that people are experiencing are also inducing support of equivalents among current leaders? I am hearing echoes of the Caughlin’s anti-Semitism as well as anti-minority biases (e.g. aliens) based on the patterns of the Nazis and fascists whom Coughlin also adopted. I don’t mean to be a fear monger here, but such people and movements can be extremely dangerous. There were many other players with these extremist right wing movements prior to Pearl Harbor such as Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of presidents 41 and 43, who did business with the Nazis. Bush was a nice, if not particularly intelligent, Senator by the end of WW2, but it took Pearl Harbor and the declarations of war against us by Japan and Germany to clear the way for Roosevelt to assist the British under air attack from the widespread resistance to helping them here up until that point when national loyalty finally trumped national sellout. The denial of the Holocaust back then was a lingering echo. Holocaust denial is not a recent invention. I hope we are not seeing a similar pattern now, but I cringe each time I see Obama exposed to potential sharp shooters who can hit targets from far distances.

The stuff being directed at Obama by the uglies and most of the Republicans these days are inviting this kind of attack — and not just on Obama alone. We are all as much threatened by our own homegrown right wing terrorists such as Mcveigh as Muslim ones. Much of the vile conduct of Bush officials (e.g. torture, ‘rendering, etc.) was a direct borrowing from the Nazis and Stalinists. And one could make a strong case that our attack on Iraq was as vicious as was Hitler’s on Poland. Fortunately Obama came into the picture just in time to halt more of the same, but he has a number of messes now to clean up in the face of the momentum set in motion towards killing as the way for nations to control others (e.g. Afghanistan).

Read what follows as a cautionary note on America today!

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“Secret Service probing Facebook poll on assassinating Obama –The poll asked respondents, ‘should Obama be killed?’ 28 Sep 2009 The U.S. Secret Service is investigating an online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, officials said Monday. The poll, posted Saturday on Facebook, was taken off the popular social networking site quickly after company officials were alerted to its existence. But, like any threat against the president, Secret Service agents are taking no chances. The poll asked respondents “Should Obama be killed?” The choices: No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.”

article: Secret Service probing Facebook poll on assassinating Obama

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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