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follow Quigley 2017 Jun 19, 1:43pm
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From the article:
"James T. Hodgkinson, the would-be assassin of Republican congressmen, wasnâ€™t a radical. If you look at his published output â€“ a series of letters to his local newspaper in Belleville, Illinois, as well as the majority of his Internet postings â€“ itâ€™s mostly about matters nearly every progressive cares about: taxes (the rich donâ€™t pay enough), healthcare (the government must provide), income inequality (itâ€™s all a Republican plot). All in all, a pretty unremarkable worldview that any partisan Democrat â€“ either a Bernie Sanders supporter, as Hodginkinson was, or a Hillary fan â€“ could sign on to.
So what drove him over the edge?
One of his more recent Facebook posts was a link to a petition that called for â€œthe legal removal of the President and Vice-President, et. al., for Misprision of Treason.â€ Hodgkinson had signed it and he was asking his readers to follow suit: â€œTrump is a Traitor,â€ he wrote, â€œTrump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. Itâ€™s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.â€ He was also a big fan of Rachel Maddow, who â€“ incredibly â€” has spent the majority of her airtime ranting about â€œThe Russian Connection,â€ as this Intercept piece documents. Hodgkinson was also a member of a Facebook group ominously dubbing itself â€œTerminate the Republican Party,â€ an appellation Hodgkinson apparently took quite literally. The group has over 13,000 members. The main page of the Terminators is adorned with a cartoon of Putin manipulating Trump like a puppet.
When Hodgkinson left his home and his job to travel to Alexandria, Virginia, he told his wife he was going to â€œwork on tax issues.â€ But is that what motivated his murderous spree? Do â€œtax issuesâ€ really seem like something that would inspire someone to plan and carry out an assassination attempt that, but for the presence of Capitol police on the scene, would have certainly resulted in a massacre?
Hodgkinson clearly believed that the President of the United States was an agent of a foreign power. He had signed on to the idea that Trump not only benefited from a Russian campaign to discredit Hillary Clinton, but that he is engaged in a war against his own country. As Maddow put it in one of her more unhinged broadcasts:
â€œIf the presidency is effectively a Russian op, right, if the American Presidency right now is the product of collusion between the Russian Intelligence Services, and an American campaign, I mean, that is so profoundly big. This is not part of American politics; this is not, you know, partisan warfare between Republicans and Democrats. This is international warfare against our country.â€
â€œInternational warfareâ€ â€“ and Hodgkinson, a soldier in that fight, saw it as his duty to use the sort of weapons that are commonly used in international warfare. Thatâ€™s why he sprayed that baseball field with a hail of gunfire â€“ over fifty rounds. And when his rifle ran out of ammunition, he took out his handgun and continued firing. Because â€œthis is not, you know, partisan warfare between Republicans and Democrats. This is international warfare against our countryâ€ â€“ and itâ€™s the obligation of patriotic citizens to take up that fight and take out the enemy.
This sort of craziness is usually reserved for the farther fringes of the American polity. Back in the 1960s, far-right groups like the Minutemen â€“ who believed the United States government was effectively under the Kremlinâ€™s control â€“ armed themselves to prepare for the day when they would â€œliberateâ€ America. Indeed, this sort of lunacy has traditionally been a fixture of extreme right-wing politics in this country: that it has now appeared on the left â€“ and not the far-left, but in the â€œmainstreamâ€ of the Democratic party, which has taken up the Russia-gate conspiracy theory to the virtual exclusion of all else â€” is the proximate cause of what I call Hodgkinsonâ€™s Disease: the radicalization of formerly anodyne Democrats into a twenty-first century version of the Weathermen.
How did this happen? Democratic party leaders, in tandem with their journalistic camarilla, have validated an unconvincing conspiracy theory for which not a lick of definitive evidence has been provided: the idea that the Russians â€œstoleâ€ the election on behalf of Trump, and that the Trump campaign cooperated in this treasonous effort.
Yet that hasnâ€™t stopped the Democratic party leadership from taking this ball and running with it. As Jennifer Palmieri, a top official in the Clinton campaign, put it, Democrats should push the â€œcollusionâ€ issue â€œrelentlessly and above all else. They should talk about it in every interview.â€ The New York Times writes about this conspiracy theory as if it is uncontested fact. Democratic officeholders have declared that the alleged â€œhackingâ€ of the election was an â€œact of warâ€ â€“ with the NeverTrump Republicans echoing the party line â€“ and the Twitterverseâ€™s conspiracy theorists are having a field day with the dangerously loony contention that we are at war with Russia. Whatâ€™s more, the wildest imaginings of the nutjob crowd are being taken up and amplified by â€œrespectableâ€ people like constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe.
In this way Hodgkinsonâ€™s Disease was incubated, its toxicity penetrating the mind of a suggestible and embittered little man until the poison had accumulated to such an extent that it burst through to the surface in an explosion of uncontrollable rage. Rachel Maddow is the theory: James T. Hodgkinson is the practice. The ultimate result is civil war.
That such a conflict would be born out of a full-scale delusional system that resembles a third-rate cold war era thriller just adds a Bizarro World cast to the whole sorry spectacle. The â€œRussia-gateâ€ conspiracy theory that has consumed the energies of the media, the Congress, and President Trump is an elaborate hoax. This farrago of falsehood rests on a fallacious assumption: that the Russians necessarily â€œhackedâ€ the DNC and John Podestaâ€™s emails. The contention is that the methods supposedly utilized by the alleged hackers were similar to those used in the past by â€œsuspectedâ€ Russian hackers, and that this makes the case. Yet this argument ignores the fact that these tools and methods were already out there, available for anyone to use. This is a textbook example of what cyber-security expert Jeffrey Carr calls â€œfaith-based attribution,â€ which amounts to, at best, an educated guess, and at worst is the end result of confirmation bias combined with the economic incentive to tell a client what they want to hear. In the case of the DNC/Podesta â€œhacks,â€ the company hired to investigate, CrowdStrike, had every reason to echo Hillary Clintonâ€™s contention that the Russians were the guilty party. CrowdStrike, by the way, never gave US law enforcement authorities access to the DNCâ€™s servers: indeed, the FBIâ€™s request for access was rebuffed.
The â€œRussia-gateâ€ hoax has injected a pernicious and highly dangerous theme into our political discourse: the accusation that the Trump administration is a traitorous cabal intent on â€œdestroying democracy,â€ as Hodgkinson put it, and handing over the country to the tender mercies of a foreign power. Taken seriously, this theme necessarily and inevitably leads to violence, which means thereâ€™s a good chance weâ€™ll see more Hodgkinsons in the headlines.
And standing behind it all is the Deep State â€“ the leakers (with access to all our communications) who are feeding disinformation to the Washington Post and the New York Times in order to bring down this presidency. One prong of this operation is embodied in the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, whose investigation was provoked and fueled by Deep State leakage. The other prong consists of the useful idiot crowd, those who believe the propaganda and can be mobilized to take to the streets."
Rachel Maddow...spent the majority of her airtime ranting about â€œThe Russian Connection,â€ as this Intercept piece documents.
"One day after her network joined the rest of corporate media in cheering for President Trumpâ€™s missile attack on Syria, MSNBCâ€™s Rachel Maddow was back to regular business: seeing Russian collaboration with Trump at work.
In the period since Election Day, â€œThe Rachel Maddow Showâ€ has covered â€œThe Russia Connectionâ€ â€” and Russia, generally â€” more than it has any other issue.
The Intercept conducted a quantitative study of all 28 TRMS episodes in the six-week period between February 20 and March 31. Russia-focused segments accounted for 53 percent of these broadcasts.
That figure is conservative, excluding segments where Russia was discussed, but was not the overarching topic."
Yeah, the crazies in college have gone mainstream.