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Anders Breivik May Be Sane, But the Ideas He Espouses Are Nuts

6:42 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Anders Breivik

Mass murderer, Anders Breivik, who had already admitted his guilt in the killing of 77 people in Norway last summer, has been convicted and sentenced:

There are many reasons to welcome the verdict in the trial of Anders Behring Breivik: that he is sane and legally responsible for the murder of 77 people – mostly members of the Norwegian Labour party – on 22 July last year.

The guilty verdict recognises the monstrosity of Breivik’s acts, carried out in pursuit of his political beliefs. It also delivers the outcome wanted by the majority of Norwegians, in particular because it means he will spend no fewer than 21 years – and most likely life – in jail. Justice has been done to the fullest extent possible under Norwegian law.

Breivik, who gave strange Nazi-like salutes and smiled a lot today, said in his closing statement that he only wished he had killed more:

In his final words, Breivik regretted not killing more people, apologizing to other “militant nationalists” for not achieving an even higher death toll. He said he wouldn’t appeal the ruling because that would “legitimize” a court he said got its mandate from a political system that supports multiculturalism.

Breivik is a hero to many Islamophobes and white supremacists.  His philosophy, clearly explained in the “sickening but coherent 1,500-page manifesto” he left behind after his arrest, takes its ideas freely, almost wantonly from everyone from right-wing uber Zionists Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes, to Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell.  His fervent desire to fully restore Western civilization to a mandatory patriarchy might have gotten him a prime time speaking spot at next week’s Republican Convention, were they uttered by a GOP Senator.  His belief that Israel is some sort of utopian ideal, rather than an increasingly mean, apartheid, racist society, is not only common on the far right, but almost as common among Democrats elected to our national Congress in the USA.  Some European Islamaphobes still have trouble distancing themselves from Breivik:

From Europe’s far right, the reaction was mixed. Some argued that Friday’s verdict played into their core beliefs, though they have spoken out against his violent rampage.

“It was obviously wrong what he did, but there was logic to all of it,” said Stephen Lennon, the 29-year-old leader of the English Defense League, an anti-Muslim group. “By saying that he was sane, it gives a certain credibility to what he had been saying. And that is, that Islam is a threat to Europe and to the world.”

To a certain degree, one of the reports issued by the Norwegian court looking into Breivik’s mental state found a bit of insanity in the ideas he adopted, not in Breivik himself:

The main form this depoliticisation took was the medicalisation of Breivik’s actions in terms of psychological or psychiatric pathology. Within days, everyone from forensic psychiatrists to the London mayor, Boris Johnson, felt the need to put Breivik in a diagnostic box. Occasionally, even reportage of his personal history and psychology went to ludicrous extremes to seek his motives in anything but what he actually said. This reached its pinnacle with the first court-ordered psychiatric report, which found him to be suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia” on the basis of clumsy and inappropriate interpretation of ideas and behaviours common in far-right and online gaming subcultures.

Outrage over the findings led the court to take the unusual step of commissioning a second report. This one paid more attention to his political milieu, as well as his behaviour in jail, and found him sane – at most exhibiting signs of a personality disorder. Friday’s verdict confirms this conclusion and denies to Islamophobic ideologues the comfort of a clear line of sanity separating their influence from Breivik’s actions.

There have been many examples of shooters running amok, inspired by their readings of far right fearmongers.  Whether a shooter has been inspired by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes or some other purveyor of racial hatred, the men or women who inspire such lunacy almost always get away with denying linkage, and get to keep on spreading their ferociously malignant ideas.

There was a bit of an exception to that rule today.  One prominent and up-and-coming Islamophobe, Josh Treviño, was fired today by the British news outlet, The Guardian.  Treviño had been hired recently to offset The Guardian‘s hire of columnist Glenn Greenwald.  Several activist writers quickly raised a number of issues about Treviño, most notably Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah.

Treviño is a twitter addict, and had left behind a long history of venom toward Palestinians, Americans who support Palestinian rights, and those who don’t show proper deference to the state of Israel.  Once again, here we have somebody who could easily swap brews with Anders Breivik, or take the podium at the GOP Convention.

Here’s Henry Norr, writing about Treviño for Mondoweiss:

Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada responded with a post reproducing tweets from last summer in which Treviño declared that it would be “cool” with him if the Israelis shot the participants in the 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, then went on to observe that the flotilla was “not morally different from a Nazi convoy”

Not surprisingly, several participants in that flotilla, including me – and, no doubt, scores of other Guardian readers – immediately protested to Janine Gibson, editor in chief of the Guardian US, who was quoted in the press release about her pleasure at bringing Treviño’s “important perspective” to readers. We acknowledged the Guardian’s desire to present diverse points of view, but questioned the choice of someone whose approach to political debate is to call for gunning down those he disagrees with.

More tweets were found, all the way up to Wednesday of this week.  One in particular, offended me, as I’ve covered the story of Rachel Corrie in many ways, and am a close friend of her family.  In the tweet, he gleefully referred to Corrie as a “pancake,” after being killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer.

Josh Treviño is like Anders Breivik, in reveling in violence against innocents who seek justice for people being oppressed.  And, like Breivik, Treviño has seen a bit of justice today.

The Guardian, ostensibly has fired Josh Treviño for violating their code of ethics.  Here is the “joint statement” announcing the columnist’s demise Friday:

Joshua Treviño wrote a piece for the Guardian on February 28, 2011 titled “Peter King has hearings, but is he listening?” The Guardian recently learned that shortly before writing this article the author was a consultant for an agency that had Malaysian business interests and that he ran a website called Malaysia Matters. In keeping with the Guardian’s editorial code this should have been disclosed.

“Under our guidelines, the relationship between Joshua and the agency should have been disclosed before the piece was published in order to give full clarity to our readers,” said Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief, Guardian US.

“I vigorously affirm that nothing unethical was done and I have been open with the Guardian in this matter. Nevertheless, the Guardian’s guidelines are necessarily broad, and I agree that they must be respected as such,” said Joshua Treviño.

We have therefore mutually agreed to go our separate ways and wish each other the best of luck.

It is too bad that he was given this kind of cover, but it is more balls than many of us had thought The Guardian would be able to muster.

There are a lot of gigs out there for people like Josh, most of them very well-paid.  No doubt, he will be offered a new job soon, perhaps writing speeches behind the scenes for Mitt Romney.  Let us hope, though, that somewhere down the line, the hatred in some future essay by  Treviño doesn’t inspire another Anders Breivik.

My Thanksgiving Letter to Pamela Geller’s BFF in the Alaska Legislature: Rename the Turkey the “Winged Marmot”

12:21 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

November 24, 2011

Dear Rep. Gatto

Happy Thanksgiving!

A matter of grave concern has been brought to the American people by that tirelessly vigilant, level-headed Patriot, Pamela Geller. As you have been shown to recognize, we are truly fortunate to have such a clear view of the imminent threats posed to Americans as those taken up by Geller. Her views have been adopted here in the USA, and abroad.

Last legislative session, you had her testify on behalf of your House Bill 88, designed to stop the insidiously well-hidden move afoot here in the Mat-Su Valley to adopt Sharia Law as the basis of our legal codes.  With so many less important issues like domestic violence, Alaska jobs, declining educational standards crowding your extremely vital bill out of the limelight it deserved, it hasn’t yet passed.

When do you plan on finishing up that bill in the 2012 legislative session?  We need it soon!  I think there’s a vacant building in Palmer and are several in Wasilla that could easily be converted into mosques overnight.

This week, Ms. Geller brought my attention to something that might even have a more profound effect on my daily life in Wasilla than Sharia Law. But in concentrating on only one aspect of the real problem here, she may have missed a far more important issue. First, here’s what Ms. Geller observed: Read the rest of this entry →

Where Are Sarah Palin’s Norway Tweets?

11:47 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Several of the people who inspired aspiring Norwegian Templar Knight and World of Warcraft devotee Anders Behring Breivik to become a mass murderer also inspired Sarah Palin to resort to twitter last year, in her less explosive attack against another country that supports multiculturalism.

Ours.

That’s the Palin, who, according to her family, left college in Hawaii because she was uncomfortable about so many brown people.

Last Friday, using a Glock and a semi-automatic assault rifle, as he killed scores of liberal and progressive kids who might someday support the building of mosques in Trondheim, Bergen, Narvik or Oslo, Breivik used dum-dums to inflict maximum damage to their bodies.

Last year, Palin, using twitter, facebook and her perch at Newscorpse, scored, using dumb-dumbs to oppose a mosque-community center in NYC:

Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand. Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in the interest of healing

and:

Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real

that was her amended version of the “refudiate tweet”:

Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

Today, her BFF Glenn Beck compared the kids murdered by the guy inspired by Palin’s and Beck’s colleagues’ schtick to “Hitler Youth”:

BECK: And then there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth or whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing

Palin is quite absorbed with taking in the monumental failure of the documentary she had been convinced by her closest devotees would revitalize her presidential aspirations, so responding to Oslo might have intruded upon what has to have been a very bad week for her and her closest associates.

So far, she has said nothing about an event that not only killed a higher percentage of the Norwegian population than 9/11 killed of ours, but was targeted at people Palin has vilified herself, though in less strident terms than Beck.  Perhaps she doesn’t consider the murdered kids “real Norwegians.”

She’s not going to post the tweets, so I’ll try to do them for her:

Peace-seeking Norwegians, pls understand.  Ctiicisizing Israel whose bling I adore UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in the interest of not being attacked by Christian Knights

and:

Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute multiculturalism if you believe catastrophic pain caused @Utøya is too raw, too real

in such a tweet, she would be echoing not only Beck, but the Jerusalem Post.

And, finally:

Norski multikulti supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the rest of the white heartland? Peaceful squareheads, pls refudiate

Where’s RAM when Palin really needs her?

CUNY To Hold Special Executive Session Monday to Reconsider Withholding Honorary Degree from Tony Kushner

2:25 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I predicted it yesterday.  Here’s the announcement (PDF).  Here’s an article that quotes from the statement:

Under mounting pressure from supporters of the playwright Tony Kushner, the chairman of the board of the City University of New York has called an executive committee session for Monday to reconsider awarding Mr. Kushner an honorary degree.

Benno C. Schmidt Jr., the chairman of CUNY since 2003, issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying that he believed that board members had “made a mistake of principle, and not merely of policy” in failing to award the degree to Mr. Kushner earlier this week.

“Freedom of thought and expression is the bedrock of any university worthy of the name,” Mr. Schmidt wrote, referring to the opposition that had been expressed by one trustee, Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, toward Mr. Kushner’s political views.

“But it is not right for the board to consider politics in connection with the award of honorary degrees except in extreme cases not presented by the facts here,” he wrote. “The proposed honorary degree for Mr. Kushner would recognize him for his extraordinary talent and contribution to the American theater. Like other honorary degrees, it is not intended to reflect approval or disapproval for political views not relevant to the field for which the recipient is being honored.”

My diary about this, posted at MyFDL yesterday, and explaining fully how this went down – Kushner was being sanctioned for advocating Palestinian rights in the past –  is here.  Commenters at most articles on this debacle are not being kind to board of trustees member Wiesenfeld, whose views about the supposed natural inferiority of Arabs and Blacks have given pause in the past.  Former NYC mayor, Ed Koch has asked for the ouster of Wiesenfeld:

“Mr. Wiesenfeld and the trustees who followed his request should immediately reverse their action and urge Mr. Kushner to forgive them,” Koch wrote. “I consider Mr. Wiesenfeld’s action so outrageous as to be an abuse of power on his part requiring his resignation or removal from the Board of Trustees.”

Had CUNY tried to go through with the commencement ceremony with no action past last Monday’s decision to withhold Kushner’s honorary doctorate, the ceremony might have seen some of those to be honored this year refusing to accept the award, possibly demonstrations by graduating students.  Already, America’s leading scholar on the McCarthy era, Ellen Schrecker, had informed CUNY that she was returning her honorary doctorate, and the doctoral hood (!) over what she termed the board’s “negat[ing] the sacred mission of higher education in a democratic society.”

It is not clear yet whether or not Kushner will accept the degree.