agent provocateur

Empowerment (Jumping for Jesus)

Via The Hill:

A letter distributed in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, over the weekend asked the state’s Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley to jump off a bridge for Jesus.

According to Portland CBS affiliate KOIN 6 News, the letter asks God to “help Jeff Merkley walk over the Fremont Bridge and jump off into the Willamette River on Christmas Eve.”

“Let there be wine & song,” the letter read. “Every kind of food & drink; let toasts be made and laughter & hugs.”

It seems worth reminding the cultivation of two decades worth of conservative lulzbaiting, even before the days of lulz and roses. That is to say, there really isn’t any point to being outraged, which in turn is like allowing ourselves to actually feel terrorized and thereby accomplishing the terrorist’s goal. In this case, the point is to offend. But this is not pointed offense; this isn’t making any coherent statement. This is essentially cruelty and offense for the sake of self-gratification.

Christians, though. Yeah. Good luck with that. They’re in your churches; they always have been. This isn’t something out there, happening to someone else. This is really happening.

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Garcia, Eric. “Letter to Merkley Asks Him to Jump Off Bridge for Jesus”. Roll Call. 21 November 2016.

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The Donald Trump Show (Plants and Potsherds)

Donald Trump.

“If the DNC had scripted the last month or so, the party probably would have come up with a scenario that looks quite a bit like the one we’ve seen.”

Steve Benen

This is one of those occasions upon which I must disagree with Mr. Benen:

A Republican carnival barker would use racially charged, xenophobic rhetoric, which would propel him into the GOP’s top tier, pushing minority communities even further from the Republican Party. All the while, the GOP would find itself on the defensive, and more serious candidates would struggle to gain traction.

That is to say, no proper screenwriter would script such an episode except as naked farce. There is a reason truth insists on being stranger than fiction.

Benen also notes that some have made what seems the obvious point, that Trump, who has formerly identified with both parties, is a secret Democratic plant trying to wreck the Republican Party.

And also that for some, such as Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL26), the conspiracy theory is the best they’ve got: (more…)

A Brief Thought in the Wake of Inevitability

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

This is our thought for the day:

A California judge has ruled against a proposed ballot initiative authorizing the execution of gay and lesbian people, calling the suggested measure “unconstitutional on its face.”

(Reilly)

This is news. Really, that’s the thought for the day. No, the problem is not that it is reported as news. The problem is neither the judge’s decision nor Attorney General Harris’ request.

The outcome itself is pretty obvious; the three-page judgment is two pages paperwork and one page actual court ruling.

It really is unclear why attorney Matt McLaughlin filed the ballot petition; even in the context of simply making a statement all he has managed to do is embarrass himself and denigrate the “traditionalism” homosexuals already recognize as bigotry. One might reasonably wonder if Mr. McLaughlin is a closet provocateur aiming to discredit traditionalists. Even as such, there is nothing of use or even mere dignity about his tantrum. The problem, in the end, is that the news exists at all.

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Reilly, Mollie. “California Judge Throws Out Ballot Initiative Calling For Execution Of Gay People”. The Huffington Post. 23 June 2015.

Cadei, Raymond M. “Default Judgment by Court in Favor of Plaintiff”. Superior Court of the State of California County of Sacramento. 22 June 2015.

Patriotism

Police and federal agents investigate a suspicious package at Vickery Creek Park, 4-5 November 2014.  (Photo: Duffie Dixon/11 Alive)

Figure this one out, if you can:

A man who described himself as a “patriot” confessed to placing homemade bombs in a Georgia park to help people realize “that this type of activity could happen anywhere,” according to court documents obtained by TPM on Tuesday.

Michael Conrade Sibley, a resident of Marietta, Ga. was charged last week in a federal court in Atlanta with attempting to damage federal property ....

.... He said he purchased a backpack at a garage sale and, according to the documents, wrote the name “Mina Khodari” inside the backpack because he said “it looked foreign.”

Along with the bombs, Sibley put print-outs of the Atlanta Falcons’ schedule as well as public transportation timetables and the locations of Marcus Jewish Centers into the backpack because he thought officials would see those as “soft targets,” the documents said.

Sibley told the agents he also placed a copy of the Quran and a book titled “The Rape of Kuwait” in the bag.

Sibley said he placed the bombs in the park because he’s a “patriot.” He said he regretted that people weren’t “paying attention to what was going on (sic) the world” and he wanted to remind people “that this type of activity could happen anywhere,” according to the documents.

(Garcia)

While “patriot” may well be the wrong word to describe Mr. Sibley, the term apparently still has certain benefits. That is to say, Why isn’t this person charged with attempted terrorism?

We might speculate that apparently he’s just not Muslim enough to be a terrorist.

Or, you know, hell, too patriotic an agent provocateur.

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Image note: Police and federal agents investigate a suspicious package at Vickery Creek Park, 4-5 November 2014. (Photo: Duffie Dixon/11 Alive)

Garcia, Ahiza. “‘Patriot’ Allegedly Confesses To Leaving Two Homemade Bombs In Georgia Park”. Talking Points Memo. 24 March 2015.