AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a screengrab of a death threat made by a former elected official against the current President of the United States. The author of this blog post strongly condemns violence and all threats of violence.
Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who represented parts of the Chicago suburbs for one term from 2011 to 2013, took to Twitter to declare a race war and issue a death threat against President Barack Obama and activists of the Black Lives Matter movement. Walsh has since deleted the tweet, but here is a screengrab of it:
It’s worth noting that the death toll last night’s mass shooting in Dallas, Texas is, as of the writing of this blog post, at five.
Walsh has (rightfully, in my opinion) received a lot of criticism online for threatening to kill the president, with lots of people calling for WIND-AM, a Chicago radio station that employs Walsh as a right-wing talk radio host, to fire Walsh, as well as for the Secret Service, which is legally responsible for protecting the president, to detain Walsh:
I have never heard of Joe Walsh but what an angry, righteous, and outright dangerous precedent he sets with his rhetoric. Really sickening.
Joe Walsh, who was voted out of office in 2012 after repeatedly making vile, rude, and bigoted remarks, declared a race war against America and the values America stands for, and he also threatened to kill President Obama and people who are active in the Black Lives Matter movement, a non-violent movement that seeks reforms to law enforcement and criminal justice practices that are discriminatory against black people. WIND-AM should fire Walsh immediately, and all appropriate law enforcement agencies should detain Walsh, and, if it can be proven that Walsh was plotting to kill anyone, he should be arrested and charged with all appropriate crimes. Walsh is a disgrace to my state and my country.
It’s become inherently clear to me that right-wing extremists are the biggest threat to America today.
Last night, President Barack Obama gave a rare speech from the Oval Office about ISIS, national security, gun control, and the recent San Bernardino shooting. In his speech, Obama said that letting the right define America’s fight against ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalist terror groups as a fight between America and Islam is exactly what ISIS wants. He’s right.
Republicans running for president, such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, as well as Republican elected officials and right-wing blowhards, support launching a full-scale war against ISIS, spying on American Muslims, and other extreme measures. The truth of the matter is that those type of measures would do little more than play into the ISIS narrative that America is at war with Islam, thus emboldening ISIS and leading to U.S. involvement in yet another long, drawn-out war in the Middle East. Furthermore, Republican and NRA opposition to efforts to ban those on U.S. no-fly lists encourages terrorists to buy guns in order to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
It’s not Islamic fundamentalists that pose the biggest threat to America today. It’s our own country’s right-wing extremists, who want to aid and abet ISIS and other similar terror groups.
In the wake of Republican-controlled state governments in Indiana and Arkansas passing religious discrimination laws, right-wing bible-thumpers have tried to frame small businesses who refuse to bake cakes containing messaging that LGBT people would find highly offensive. The bible-thumpers are doing this by trying to order a cake containing anti-LGBT messaging and, when the business refuses to make such a cake for them, claiming that the business is discriminating against them.
Azucar Bakery, a Denver, Colorado small business that makes cakes and Peruvian-style desserts, was the target of a bogus legal complaint for refusing to make a cake that contained offensive anti-LGBT messaging. Bill Jack, an anti-LGBT bigot from Castle Rock, Colorado, tried to order a cake from Azucar Bakery that featured icing depicting two groomsmen with a red “X” over them and messages claiming that homosexuality is a sin. Marjorie Silva, the owner of Azucar Bakery, refused to write the messages that Jack wanted on his cake, and Silva offered to bake a cake that contained no messages whatsoever and give Jack a pastry bag and icing so that he could decorate the cake with bigotry himself. Jack filed a state civil rights complaint against Silva and Azucar Bakery, and the Colorado Civil Rights Division rejected Jack’s complaint, ruling that Silva and Azucar Bakery did not discriminate against Jack. Azucar Bakery is selling t-shirts with anti-hate messages printed on them; you can buy the t-shirts here.
Cut the Cake Bakery, a Longwood, Florida small business that also makes cakes, has been subjected to threats and negative online reviews for refusing to provide bigoted televangelist Joshua Feuerstein with a cake decorated with anti-LGBT messaging. After Feuerstein uploaded a video of his phone call with Cut the Cake Bakery to YouTube, Feuerstein’s bigoted followers posted negative reviews of Cut the Cake Bakery online and left phone messages threatening the owner of the business, Sharon Haller. Cyndol Knarr, Haller’s daughter, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to support Cut the Cake Bakery; you can donate to that campaign here.
What the bible-thumping bigots in this country don’t understand is that refusing to provide a certain type of product, in this case, cakes decorated with hateful messages that gays, lesbians, bisexual people, and transgender people would find highly offensive, is not discrimination, so as long as their policy to not provide certain types of products is applied equally to all customers. What is discrimination is when a business refuses to serve customers because of who they are, such as the Walkerton, Indiana-based pizza parlor Memories Pizza publicly refusing to cater to the weddings of same-sex couples because the people who are getting married are of the same gender. Business owners have the right to refuse to manufacture and/or sell a product that they don’t want to provide to anybody, whether it be because the product in question conflicts with their values or otherwise.
I strongly oppose this effort by right-wing hate mongerers to frame small businesses who are unwilling to sell anything with bigotry and hate speech on it.
Earlier today, a framework was announced in the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany) in an effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons that could be used against the United States and its allies. There is a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations.
It’s not just hawkish American politicians who are trying to sabotage diplomacy with Iran. Yuval Steinitz, a member of the Benjamin Netanyahu-led Likud party and the Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister, reiterated Israel’s commitment to sabotaging any Iran nuclear deal, saying that Israeli officials will continue their efforts to “explain and persuade the world in hopes of preventing a bad (final) agreement”.
Make no mistake about it, Israel and our own country’s warmongering politicians are the biggest threats to the United States. People like those U.S. Senators who signed the traitorous Tom Cotton letter, people like those in Israel who support their own country’s self-destruction, and people like those Republican presidential candidates who call for the U.S. to “stand with Israel” by opposing diplomacy with Iran are putting America at risk of a nuclear attack by Iran. That’s because sabotaging any Iran nuclear deal would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that could be used against the United States and its allies.
If you’re standing with Israel and opposing diplomacy with Iran, you’re effectively opposing the national security of the United States of America.
You might be surprised by this, but my home state of Illinois is one of the most, if not the most, earthquake-prone states in the entire country.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone and Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, a pair of intraplate seismic zones (i.e., fault systems within one of the tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust, in this case, the North American Plate) provide a significant threat of earthquakes to a region including parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. The New Madrid Seismic Zone, the better known of the two seismic zones, extends roughly from the southernmost part of Illinois to the Memphis, Tennessee metropolitan area, and any large earthquake in this region would significantly affect parts of Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and other states further away from the New Madrid Zone. The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, the lesser known of the two seismic zones, extends roughly along the Wabash River from Terre Haute, Indiana southward, and any large earthquake in this region would significantly affect parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and other states further away from the Wabash Valley Zone.
However, there’s two main factors that would make a large earthquake in this region of the country, which hasn’t happened since 1812, even more devastating than an large earthquake in other areas of the country. First, since virtually all homes, buildings, and other structures in this region of the country are not built or retrofitted to withstand large earthquakes, the devastation that would be caused by a large earthquake in this region of the country would be considerably worse than the devastation that a large earthquake in, for example, California would cause. Second, because of the geology of this region of the country, any large earthquake in this region of the country would be felt over a wider area than an earthquake in, for example, California would be.
Jennifer Rukavina, the chief meteorologist at WPSD-TV, the NBC affiliate in Paducah, Kentucky that covers an area roughly corresponding to the northern half of the area that would be the most severely affected by a large earthquake centered in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, did a three-part series of news features for WPSD-TV on the New Madrid Seismic Zone in 2011:
If a 7.7 or greater magnitude earthquake were to occur in either the New Madrid or Wabash Valley seismic zones, it would be one of the worst natural disasters in modern U.S. history. Most, if not all, structures near the epicenter of the earthquake would be destroyed. Roads, bridges, railroads, power lines, power plants, water lines, water pumping and treatment facilities, and other types of infrastructure would be damaged or destroyed for tens, if not hundreds, of miles around the epicenter, many local radio and television stations in the region would likely be knocked off the air for days, if not even longer, sand blows and soil liquefaction would occur in some areas in the region, large rivers in the area, such as the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash, could be moved off of their current courses by upwards of two miles, if not even further, fatalities would likely be in the thousands, injuries would likely be in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, the earthquake would probably be felt as far away as places like Boston, Massachusetts, Duluth, Minnesota, and Denver, Colorado, and at least minor damage could occur in places as far away as Madison, Wisconsin, Columbus, Ohio, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Wichita, Kansas.
The areas within and near the New Madrid and Wabash Valley Seismic Zones, which includes parts of several states in the Lower Midwest and South, including my home state of Illinois, are some of the most earthquake-prone areas in the entire country, and that’s something that many people don’t realize.
Charlie Sykes, who hosts a right-wing talk radio show on WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, publicly called for the lynching (i.e., public execution of a person by a mob, usually by hanging) of Pete Carroll, the head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, either during or immediately after Super Bowl XLIX, in which the Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots by a score of 28-24:
If there is a just God, they will Lynch Pete Carroll in Seattle tomorrow.
Sykes’s tweet is still online, so, in case Sykes decides to delete his vile tweet, Wisconsin progressive blogger Chris “Capper” Liebenthal posted a screengrab of the tweet here.
Charlie Sykes’s remarks about wanting Pete Carroll, who is white, to be lynched is disgusting, and WTMJ-AM should pull Sykes off the air immediately. Furthermore, police should investigate Sykes in order to determine whether or not there is an actual plot to kill Carroll, and, if there is such a plot, Sykes and any co-conspirators should be arrested and tried in a court of law for plotting murder. If Sykes’s remarks were merely hyperbole and not an actual death threat against Carroll, then Sykes may be able to avoid a prison sentence, depending on the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case that involves online death threats.
Additionally, Charlie Sykes is one of two right-wing talk radio hosts in Milwaukee, the other being WISN-AM right-wing talker Mark Belling, that have long supported Scott Walker, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, and Walker has frequently appeared on Sykes’s radio show. The fact that Walker would associate himself with someone like Sykes is disgusting, and all political figures in Wisconsin should condemn Sykes’s death threat against Pete Carroll.
While I’m very excited about the New England Patriots winning this year’s Super Bowl, the fact that Charlie Sykes publicly called for the lynching of the losing team’s head coach is highly unacceptable.