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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 07, 2015

 
The Trump Party's rage is escalating

by digby

I wrote a long piece for Salon this morning about the right's response to San Bernardino and particularly Trump's influence on the debate. When you put everything he's said in one place, it paints a very, very disturbing portrait of a very dangerous man:
In the wake of the horrific San Bernardino attack, it’s understandable that we would see a national outcry, with leaders and citizens alike demanding that something be done. After all, 25 people were shot, 14 of them died on the scene. It was a terrifying act of violence. But this is America. We have frequent mass killings in workplaces, clinics, movie theatres, classrooms, churches, public events and even on military bases. Some of them are perpetrated by delusional people in the grip of a mental illness, some are done out of rage, some for political and ideological and religious reasons and often are some combination of those things.
When they happen, the country tends to divide along the familiar political fault lines. Since most of the carnage from these dramatic massacres is carried out with guns, the left always pushes for a restriction on the easy availability of firearms. And most of the time the right shrugs its collective shoulders and says that this sort of violence is the price we have to pay for freedom.
Bill O’Reilly best expressed this sentiment in the wake of October’s Roseburg, Oregon, massacre:
“It is our freedom that allows insane individuals to kill so many people. Guns are legal in America under the Second Amendment…There is no rational explanation for all the carnage, none. And no public policy will stop it.”
It’s like a hurricane or an earthquake, just something we must live with and then try to put the pieces back together when it’s over. Because we are free.
There is an unusual twist to this tiresome dynamic, however, when the perpetrators of this violence are motivated by Islamic extremism. Last week, the left reacted the same way as it does to all such events, with calls to restrict the easy access to guns like the ones the San Bernardino killers used. The right, on the other hand, rather than their usual blase acceptance of the unfortunate necessity of massacres in a free society, are hysterical demanding that the government step in and do something about it immediately.
Now, they are not in agreement with the left on the gun regulation issue, that goes without saying. Their standard response to anyone who suggests that ending the easy access to the guns that shot 35 people might be one common sense way to make such bloodletting less common is total resistance, and it makes no difference who perpetrates the killing. This was demonstrated in the last few days in living color as Democrats tried to make the case that Republicans are so rigid and doctrinaire (and in the pocket of the NRA) that they would not even allow the government to stop suspected terrorists on the secret “Watch List” from buying guns. It’s a tricky argument since the Watch List is a civil liberties nightmare to begin with, but Republicans did manage to twist themselves into pretzels trying to explain why terrorist suspects have inviolable 2nd Amendment rights.
But that does not mean the right doesn’t have a lot of ideas about what needs to be done. The fact that this has been designated a radical Islamic extremist terrorist attack (as opposed to the radical Christian extremist attack that happened the week before) has galvanized them into action. Led by their presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump, they have a lot of ideas about what needs to be done.
Trump has a colorful history of animus toward Muslims, having made quite a spectacle of himself four years ago as King of the Birthers, hiring detectives to prove that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. and insinuating that he is a secret Muslim. In this campaign, Trump first turned his nativist aggression against undocumented workers from Mexico but his hostility toward Muslims — and the previously barely suppressed hostility of his followers — has recently been on more prominent display. Ever since September, long before the recent brouhaha, he’s been saying that he would not only deny Syrian refugees entry, he would deport all the refugees who are already here.
After the Paris attacks, he blathered the usual rightwing bromide, that all this would have been prevented if the victims had been armed. He added that he would bomb the oil fields in Iraq. And he suggested that much more draconian measures were going to be necessary:
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule… And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago…”
When asked if among those “things,” he would consider having American Muslims register with the government, he said he thought it might be necessary.
“This morning they asked me a question. ‘Would you approve waterboarding” Would I approve waterboarding? Yeah. And let me ask you a question? I said, on the other side, they chop off our young people’s heads and they put ’em on a stick. On the other side they build these iron cages and they’ll put 20 people in them and they drop ’em in the ocean for 15 minutes and pull ’em up 15 minutes later. Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I’d approve it, you bet your ass — in a heartbeat.
“And I would approve more than that. Don’t kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.They’ll say, ‘oh it has no value’, well I know people, very, very important people and they want to be politically correct and I see some people taking on television, ‘well I don’t know if it works’ and they tell me later on, ‘it works, it works, believe me, it works’.
“And you know what? If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they’re doing to us.”
It was hard to imagine how he could top that for shocking pathological malevolence. But San Bernardino has changed the campaign and Trump is the field marshall leading the charge.

Read on for more. It got much worse. And others are following, particularly Cruz. It's chilling, Remember, these people are running for president. They aren't talk show nuts.

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