The sane can get a good laugh out of the fact that the just-fizzled "Operation American Spring" bombed so spectacularly and that's fine and certainly appropriate but I think merely laughing runs the risk of missing a more significant story.
OAS was the brainchild of retired Army Col. Harry Riley, who issued a manifesto outlining OAS's plan to move 10 million-30 million people into D.C. for a huge demonstration--yes, that's how many its organizers claimed to expect--then leave behind a contingent of a million who
"must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see [President Barack] Obama, [Vice President Joe] Biden, [Senate Democratic leader Harry] Reid, [Senate Republican leader Mitch] McConnell, [House Speaker John] Boehner, [House Democratic leader Nancy] Pelosi, and Attorney General [Eric] Holder removed from office. The senior republican in the US House of Representatives will become Speaker of the House and the US House of Representatives will elect a temporary President and Vice President of the United States. The U.S. Senate will take action to elect a new majority and minority leader.Next,
"As required, the U.S. Congress will execute appropriate legislation to convene new elections or U.S. States will appoint replacements for positions vacated consistent with established constitutional requirements."
"those with the principles of a [Alan] West, [Sen. Ted] Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, [Rep. Mike] Lee, [Rep. Jim] DeMint, [Rep. Ron] Paul, Gov [Scott] Walker [of Wisconsin], [Sen. Jeff] Sessions, [Trey] Gowdy, [Rep. Jim] Jordan, should comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by the new President."The document positively reeks of fascism. It stresses the restorative and nationalistic nature of the movement. Its un-fascist insistence on a non-violent demonstration is directly at odds with almost every other word. Among other things, it depicts its targets as bent on "total destruction of the United States," as "threatening our existence, our freedom, our liberty, our Constitution, our life resources, our America," describes them as a "flea infestation that is sucking the blood out of America" (a particularly Nazist allusion). If the movement is to prevent this, "it's now or never"; it must "fight back to destroy the threat and there is nothing immoral or illegal about it." It revels in fantasies of a violent and tyrannical government killing, wounding, imprisoning patriot martyrs. Doesn't much sound like a program for a "non-violent" movement, eh? The document stresses respect for "constitutional government" while rendering those words an empty joke. It announces OAS will be the beginning of a new revolution--"the second American Revolution"--but it's a "revolution" aimed at the constitutionally elected representatives of the people, the duly-elected pols OAS organizers don't like. OAS doesn't feel bound by constitutional government when it's run by those whom they dislike: "When the government becomes lawless, then 'we the people' no longer are obligated to follow the government." Its notion of 'we the people" doesn't include the people who elected the pols it targets for removal. And, of course, the scheme it outlines for replacing all of those pols is directly contrary to the existing constitutional and legal processes for succession. While its purported non-violence and respect for "constitutional government" precludes labeling OAS as "fascist," properly speaking, a lot of that appears to be empty rhetoric. One can certainly characterize it as protofascist.
The Rage Machine offers a simple narrative. It isn't perfectly homogeneous--there are different gradations, internal contradictions and so on--but big picture, it's basically the same story: liberals and leftists are Monsters looking to do great harm to you, your family, your country; while the people are with you, all of you are oppressed by an evil, overpowering Liberal Establishment that takes more every day; you must do something about this. This is the tale offered, often quite savagely, 24 hours/day, every day, via an omnipresent multimedia behemoth unlike anything the world has ever known.
The Rage Machne deals in xenophobia, paranoia and most especially hate. It works to completely destroy its consumers' faith in objective facts and to convince them to adopt, as their yardstick for measuring truth, mere momentary political utility. Any individual or institution not of the correct species of far right, goes the narrative, isn't to be trusted and is to be dismissed. The Machine creates in its consumers a sustained state of outrage, primarily via an endless string of carefully manufactured fictions. It demonizes, delegitimizes and even dehumanizes the enemies of the American conservative elite. And it's always "enemies," never people with whom there's merely a disagreement. The narrative, in fact, doesn't allow any room for honest disagreement, just ill-intentions. Enemies are presented as enemies of mankind itself. "Socialism," the frequent charge, is explicitly used as an invocation of Soviet-style totalitarianism, with all that entails, and has also been made a synonym in the narrative for "liberalism." Various elements of the Machine have also tried to do the latter with "fascism" and "Nazism." Anyone who isn't of the correct school of far-right-ism is presented by the narrative as "liberal." For some examples of this sort of thing, look at Glenn Beck's constant on-air displays linking up run-of-the-mill liberal politicians and even center-right ones with Hitler, Stalin, etc.
A good example of the effects of this, one I've often cited, came during the healthcare debate back in 2009, when the Rage Machine told its followers that Obama's proposed healthcare law contained "death panels" aimed at killing the elderly and infirm. Tell any reasonable, reasonably intelligent human being that the President of the United States is trying to establish government panels to kill his granny and and he would reject you as an utter crank. In the face of such a ludicrous claim, it would be reflexive. When, on the other hand, the Rage Machine put that proposition to its followers, huge numbers of them not only swallowed it hook, line and sinker, they believed it so strongly that angry mobs of them descended on every healthcare townhall meeting being held by members of congress, screeching like crazed brownshirts and preempting any rational discussion. A Pew poll at the time showed that 47% of Republicans thought the legislation did, indeed, set up these panels, with another 20% choosing "unsure." This is how the Rage Machine has conditioned its followers to see "liberals."
That's important, because if you honestly believe the things the Rage Machine says about its enemies, it's not only a rational step to act on it, it becomes, at some point, dangerously irresponsibility to fail to act on it. The American conservative elite understands this. They hope people will become inflamed and show up at the polls. To point out something that should be obvious though, when you disconnect angry, often not-so-bright people from reality, inflame them to that degree and give them an enemy, a mortal enemy, there's no way to control the means by which they act.
Now obviously, most people aren't going to resort to something as extreme as terrorism and murder but the Machine's narrative does work to break down their resistance to such acts, and in any event, there's a hell of a lot of damage the Machine's followers can do well short of that sort of thing. The pols they lionize are appalling; dumb, vicious and full of ill-intentions. They've already ground the government to a virtual halt, in effect nullifying Barack Obama's election (and reelection). The notion of impeaching Obama has been a regular feature of their rhetoric since practically the day he was sworn but not for any actual impeachable offenses, merely because he's not of the approved species of far right (or, in many cases, of the correct race; the two are often seen as synonymous). A few months into Obama's presidency, after a military coup had overthrown the government of Honduras, Rush Limbaugh, the unofficial voice of the Republican party, repeatedly fantasized about the same thing happening in the U.S. ("...if we had any good luck, Honduras would send some people here and help us get our government back."). Examples are infinite, and now, with OAS, we can add to the pile an attempted protofascist coup against the elected leadership of the government.
Folks, it isn't always going to end with inconsequential results.
Some thoughts on political violence:
Insofar as political violence is concerned, there's always been a danger from various mentally disturbed people, who can just as easily be set off by Bugs Bunny cartoons as by some clown on Fox. But the Machine is giving us another category, people who are "sane"--as sane as one can be and still be what is, today, a "conservative"--and who take seriously the Machine's narrative.
Consider this: Michael Savage's politics are fascist in nature, no need for any qualifier. He's also one of the most popular right-wing commentators in the U.S. Up until a few years ago, he had the second-highest-rated show on talk radio (these days, after a break, he's apparently somewhere around #6). He's written four books expressing his political views and the right turned all four of them into bestsellers. In one of them, "The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Schools, Faith, and Military," Savage--in words that evoke the Third Reich--writes that liberals "are like termites. Case by case, these vermin are eating away at our nation's foundation."
Here's Jim David Adkisson, a big fan of Sean Hannity, Fox News, Bernie Goldgerg and, yes, Michael Savage:
"Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather."
In 2008, Adkisson, taking Savage's premise to its logical conclusion, went into a liberal Unitarian church in Knoxville with a shotgun intent on dealing with some of those termites. He shot 9 people. Two of them died. Is Adkisson insane? Or was he behaving in a way that was, based on his programming, rational?
Something to ponder.
And to help that pondering along, I'll end with this: Adkisson wasn't, in fact, otherwise mentally ill. When he went into that church, intent on killing as many "liberals" as possible until police killed him, he left behind a brief manifesto of sorts to explain what he'd done. That document doesn't just plagiarize Michael Savage. Everything he has to say about his political motives is lifted directly from the rhetoric he'd been absorbing from the right-wing Rage Machine for years. The full text:
To Whom it May Concern
I Guess you're wondering why I did this. Well, let me explain in detail.
Over the years I've had some good jobs, but I always got layed off. Now I'm 58 years old and I can't get a decent job. I'm told I'm "overqualified" which is a code word for "too damned old" Like I'm expected to age gracefully into poverty. No thanks! I'm done!
I've always wondered why I was put on the earth. For years I thought I was put here to dies as cannon fodder in VietNam but somehow cheated the devil out of it. Lately I've been felling helpless in our war on Terrorizm, But I realized I could engage the terrorists allies here in America. The best allies they've got. The Democrates! The democrates have done everything they can do tie our hands in this War on Terror. They're all a bunch of traitors. They want America to loose this war for reasons I can not understand. It makes me sooo mad!
In a parallel train of thought; it saddens me to think back on all the bad things that Liberalism has done to this Country. The worst problem America faces today is liberalism. They have dumbed down education, they have defined deviancy down. Liberals have attacked every major institution that made America great. From the Boy Scouts to the military; from education to religion. The major news outlets have become the propaganda arm of the Democrat party. Liberals are evil, they embrace the tenets of Kak Marx, they're Marxist, socialist, communists.
The Unitarian Universalist Church
Don't let the word Church mislead you. This isn't a church, it's a cult. They don't even believe in God. The worship the God of Secularizm. These sick people aren't Liberals, they're Ultra-Liberals. This is a collection of sicko's, wierdo's, and homo's. The UU Church is the fountainhead, the veritable wellspring of Anti-american organizations like Moveon.org, Code Pink, and other un-American groups.
Those people are absolute hypocrits. They embrace every pervert that comes down the pike, but if they find out your a conservative, they absolutely hate you. I know, I experienced it.
I can't for the life of me understand why these people would embrace Marxism like they do.
I'd like someone to do an expose on this church, it's a den of un-American vipers. They call themselves "progressive" How is a white woman having an niger baby progress? How is a man sticking his dick up another man's ass progress? It's an abomination
It takes a warped mind to hate America.
It makes me so angry! I can't live with it any more! Then environmental nuts have to be stopped.
Know This If Nothing Else
I: This was a hate crime
I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country and these liberals are working together to attack every decent and honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them.
II This was a Political Protest
I'm protesting the liberal Supreme Court Justices for give the terrorists at GITMO constitutional rights. I'm protesting the major news outlets, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS for being the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party. It's criminal what they're getting away with. They're traitors. They must be stopped. I'm protesting the DNC running such a radical leftist candidate. Osama Hussein OBama, yo mama. No experience, no brains, a joke. Dangerous to America. Hell, he looks like Curious George!
III This was as Symbolic Killing:
Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate, and house, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the Mainstream Media. But I knew these people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals and high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Some one had to get the ball rolling, I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It’s the only way we can rid America of this cancer, this pestilence!
No one gets out of this world alive so I've chosen to skip the bad years of poverty. I know my life is going downhill fast from here. The future looks bleak. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm absolutely fed up.
So I thought I'd do something good for this Country . Kill Democrats until the cops kill me. If decent patriotic Americans could vote 3 times in every election we couldn't stem this tide of liberalism that's destroying America.
Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather.
I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If life ain't worth living anymore, don't just kill yourself. Do something for your country before you go. Go kill Liberals! Tell the cop that killed me that I said "Thanks, I needed that!"
I have no next of kin, no living relatives, If you would take my sorry carcass to the body farm, or donate it to science, or just throw me in the Tennessee River.
Jim David Adkisson
 And, I would add, its narrative has absolutely no value as political discourse.
 Which is how even extreme-right pols like Mitch McConnell is tagged a RINO--a "Republican In Name Only"--and ends up in the Machine's crosshairs (McConnell just survived a primary challenge from a "Tea Party" candidate).
 Its certainly not news that the hardcore anti-intellectualism of far-right politics plays to the not-so-bright, people who are angry, disaffected and have little real knowledge of history, the workings of government, society, much of anything. The Rage Machine, playing to their worst instincts, tells them they're persecuted and calls them to action.
 At the same time, Obama has done a pretty good job of nullifying his own election too.
 The delusional nature of that effort, genuinely believing millions would show up for it, is another side-effect of the programming by the Machine.