Archive for September 21st, 2006

Creep: Daniel Shevlin

Today’s creep, Daniel Shevlin of Missoula, comes from the pages of the Missoula Independent. This is what he had to say:

Praise be to Allah

Thank God for freedom of speech, eh American Liberal? I mean, in what other country are you free to support terrorism, without fear of reprisal? Only in America, my friend. Just today, I heard a liberal friend of mine rage about “threats” coming from Israel directed toward Iran. Let’s remember the only threat worth mentioning coming from the Middle East lately… “Israel will be wiped off the face of the Earth.” Oops, sorry Liberals, that quote comes from your friends, the Iranians—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be exact. The Hezbollah terrorists break into the nation of Israel, kill two soldiers on Israeli soil, then commence bombing innocent civilians with rockets…yet you defend them. Women have about as many rights in Islamic countries, like Iran, as my Doberman pinscher has here in America, yet liberals violently defend them. Islamic terrorists strap bombs on 8-year-old children to kill other children, and the American liberal supports them. The Islamic terrorists want to kill anybody who is not Muslim. Sounds kind of like what Hitler and his Fascist dictatorship also wanted, doesn’t it, American liberal? They wanted to kill everybody who wasn’t up to their notion of the “master race.” Homosexuals are killed by the hundreds in Muslim countries, by burning alive, stoning to death, or beheading in public squares, yet the American Liberal says nothing and continues to defend the Islamic terrorist completely. Muslims believe that if they kill innocent people who are not Muslim, then they will be rewarded with a “river of wine, a river of honey, and 72 virgins,” and the juggernaut of liberal support continues. How tragic and bizarre (not to mention hypocritical) is the American liberal’s defense of Islamic terrorism?

Ugh. Tripe like this constantly challenges my unqualified support for the First Amendment. Still. I stand up now and proudly defend Mr. Shevlin’s right to free speech.

But, just because you can say whatever you want (listening, Dennis?), that doesn’t mean you are free from bearing responsibility for your comments.

So…with that in mind…Daniel Shevlin, you are a complete and utter *sshole.

Here’s why: Shevlin is using a classic straw-man argument, creating a fictitious point of view, then attacking it. In this case, the fiction is odious, a “terrorist lover,” a “supporter of Iran,” and the rhetoric around those terms are so framed that no questioning the terms or semantics is tolerated. And the basic premise is that liberals are traitors.

In reality, of course, liberals do no like terrorism. Where we differ from our conservative friends is how to pursue terrorists, not whether we should pursue them. And in reality, liberals, who are asking for real national security, an end to an ideological war, and end to the corruption and cronyism that plagues our nation’s Republican party, liberals are hardly unpatriotic. We are fighting for the Constitution and the rule of law.

Shevlin is hardly a conservative friend. I’m not sure why he’d write something so hateful and distorting, which completely misrepresents liberals. He can’t really believe this, can he? To me, it sounds like the withering assuredness of a loony whose world view is being challenged by reality. Instead of actually working to solve some of these problems, which the conservative ideology has thus far showed it’s incapable of doing, he lashes out at any opposition.

So what got me started on Sinrud, you may ask? It wasn’t much. Just a drive-by comment left on a post with published newspaper letters in praise of Jon Tester.

But, you see, the comment was so irritating…

Okay, before I break into a patented rant, I’ll let you read the comment:

Jon Tester has raised taxes by the tune of $60 million per year on small business. The bi-partisan removal trigger on business equipment had been meet in 2002 according to the Department of Revenue (researched in July of 2006). With the passage of SB48 the one Tester voted for, it removed the trigger clause and kept business equipment tax at 3% with the knowledge that no other state around Montana has a business equipment tax. This is the tax policy of Tester just another tax and spend liberal.

Um, huh? Okay, I don’t want to get into the specifics of this particular tax…or non-tax…or tax trigger. That can wait for some other post. What I want to talk about is the bald rhetoric Sinrud used to smear Tester: “just another tax and spend liberal.”

First. This year’s state budget – of which Tester played an integral part – produced a $500 million surplus. Compare that to this year’s federal deficit, which the administration predicted would be $295.8 billion. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Conrad Burns played an integral part in that budget.

Which lawmaker has a better fiscal record?

Allow David Crisp to ask a very pertinent question to John Sinrud and the Republican party:

What I’m waiting for is some genuine conservative to explain to me how it is fiscally responsible for a senator to support, say, a war that costs a billion or so bucks a day and then not only refuse to levy the taxes to pay for it but actually support tax cuts that dig the hole even deeper. Any takers?

What you will hear is some “voo-doo economics” theories, where money given in tax breaks and subsidies to the wealthiest Americans will trickle down on our heads – the bread crumbs off the banquet table of the filthy rich – and make us all happy.

Meanwhile we – middle- and working-class Americans – shoulder an increasing burden of taxation and federal debt.

No, Sinrud’s rhetoric and budget philosophy is harmful not only to our state’s capacity to govern effectively, it hurts us, everyday Montanans. But it also plays on your fears, the specter of a large and out-of-control government. The government is out of control. It spies on its own citizens, it kidnaps and tortures, it wages quixotic wars for no apparent reason, it skimps on security while doling out lucrative war contracts to good-ol-boy business pals, all the while dismantling through cronyism and neglect federal bodies that are — were — useful. Like FEMA. Like the FCC. Like the FDA.

Spending goes up. The return on our tax dollar goes down.

That’s the Republican budget policy. And that’s why we shouldn’t tolerate a Republican majority in this state’s legislature as long as they tout rhetoric over reality, cronies over constituents, and power over people.


Jonathan Singer suggests that the decision made by Montana television stations to not air the Burns firefighter ad may be politically motivated.

Matt has more on Abramoff, the Department of Justice, and the word “target.”

The Richmond journalism project interviews Ethel McDonald of the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center on how activist groups influence elections.

Both Craig and Missoula Justin decry Rehberg’s statements on blogs.

Pete Geddes has an interesting take on CI-154.

Apparently Karl Rove has sent GOP minions to spam liberal blogs, posing as opposing liberals. An upcoming trend? Keep an eye on those ISPs, folks!

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist blames the minority party for the 109th Congress’ inability to do…well…much of anything. Um…? Reminds me of some other reality-challenged Senator

Embedded journalist in Iraq, Michael Ware, says President Bush and the US generals are “divorced from reality.” Nice to see a journalist call it like it is, without mincing words.

President Bush recently said he would go into Pakistan – uninvited, if need be – to catch bin Laden. Only he said the exact opposite just a couple of days ago, he said the opposite. Electioneering bravado?

Wow. Read David Broder’s attack on bloggers. U – G – L – Y. We must be doing something right if he’s afraid that we’re holding crooked politicians accountible.

MyDD believes Democrats can make hay out of the GOP’s Iraqi War profiteering. I agree.

Jon Stewart on the irony of the Islamic reaction to the Pope’s recent statements.

Okay…maybe this Jon Stewart segment about AZ 8’s Republican nominee Randy Graf is the funniest you’ll see…

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