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Can we all agree that the murder of editors and cartoonists in Paris, by people apparently offended by various published pieces, was unacceptable? That murdering journalists for doing their job, is never acceptable (let’s call them murders, not the Paris “shooting” or “incident”)?

Can we also agree that anyone who deviates from the socially acceptable Moslem-bashing that accompanies virtually all of the U.S. media coverage of these horrible, unacceptable murders will be accused of “appeasement”, or apologetics for the murderers?

Can we then move on to explore the context for the murders? Let us start with recent news. On the Sunday before the murders, Jeb Bush, the Republican Party’s leading candidate for the 2016 presidential nomination, said that it is important that we “safeguard religious liberty” by allowing people to act out their religiously motivated hatred of other people.

Be very clear – Jeb Bush wasn’t talking about gunning down cartoonists who make fun of Mohammed. He was speaking in defense of those who believe that gay people should not have the right to marry, that people who harbor religious hatred for abortion doctors should be understood when they shoot such doctors (or their nurses or office administrators) in the back. He was saying that before we condemn those who act out of hatred, we need to remember that their “religious liberty” needs to be safeguarded.

The people who are most strident about the need to hate all Moslems because of the Paris murders wanted to “safeguard the religious liberty” of pretended ‘christians’ who shot up Sikh temples and Sikhs after 9-11. SIKH temples, not Moslem mosques – because their religion told them that anyone who had a beard and wore a turban was an appropriate target.

When the Paris murders happened, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham gave a speech saying that we are in a war with Islam. Graham wants an open war of extermination of all Moslems, calling for U.S. troops to invade Moslem countries to kill anyone who wouldn’t convert to Christianity. Like those who chastise Bush-I for not ‘conquering’ Iraq in his Gulf war, Graham would criticize Richard the Lionheart and other crusaders for not ‘conquering’ Islam “when they had the chance.” And he wants us to take up the battle today.

Jeb Bush is clearly playing to the Tea Bag wing of the Republican Party. Tea Baggers are worried that he’s too “liberal.” After all, his millions come from investments in “furrin” banks, and in insurance companies that benefit from ObamaCare. He even speaks Spanish, and has been known to court Latino voters. So he really has some fence mending to do, and needs to fortify his image as a defender of things that are dear to the far right.

And killing people for their sexual orientation and beliefs is certainly dear to the far right. And we are supposed to “safeguard” the religious beliefs that such killings are necessary, godly. Are the lives of French political cartoonists more valuable or more important than the life of Matthew Sheppard? Or of any of the transgender children driven to suicide by bullies acting out their “religious liberty” to harass, condemn, ridicule and shame them?

The murderers apparently believed that their killings were necessary, godly. And like so many others in history, they find inspiration and justification in the American example.

French The murderers apparently believed that their killings were necessary, godly. And like so many others in history, they find inspiration and justification in the American example. The French Revolution built on the American example, proclaiming the same values of freedom and equality for which the U.S. Constitution laid the foundation. From France to Ho Chi Minh, to the Arab Spring, people have raised the claim of America’s revolutionaries that god endows them with human rights, and with the right to use violence to assert their rights.

Fifty-one years ago, “godly” Americans blew up a church murdering (not just killing) four young girls while trying to “safeguard the religious liberty” to enforce racial segregation and oppression. Just 10 years before that “godly” violence, the U.S. government overthrew the elected governments in Iran and Cuba, all in a “godly” effort to stem the advance of godless communism.

The French murderers learned their “godly” behavior from our “godly” examples.

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But is it worse because the victims weren’t ‘just’ abortion doctors, or young people dealing with non-majoritarian sexual issues? Are journalists somehow different? Is Fox News and the right wing punditocracy correct in spewing reams of bloviation because the victims were journalists? Think about that. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of that crowd suddenly speaking up to lament the murder of members of THE LIBERAL MEDIA!

Long before there was a Fox News, there was president Reagan. Reagan was a pal of Ayatollah Khomeini, sending him a birthday cake, along with weapons and other things in exchange for Iranian money to use in Reagan’s efforts to prop up banana republics all over Latin America. Before first running for office, he spent decades as a PR flak for G.E. and for big tobacco. He learned how to work the press, and learned how the press could affect the public’s view of things.

As president, Reagan sought to control press coverage that contradicted his policy messages. Reagan wasn’t the first president to spar with the press. But under Reagan’s guidance, the infamous School of the Americas added torture and targeted assassination of civilians and reporters to its classwork. Reporters who were insufficiently docile or deferential to despots’ interests became expendible.

Reagan let both Ayatollah Khomeini and the Israeli government , and every Latin American despot know that the U.S. State Department wouldn’t get involved (in any effective way) if reporters were killed (“accidentally”, of course), while providing coverage that a government thought was unflattering.

Reagan’s policy of encouraging the killing of pesky reporters continues. As democracy has overcome despotism in Central and South America, the major residue of Reagan’s expenditures of Iranian money there is the development of powerful drug cartels. As Reagan wanted to flood American cities with cocaine to ‘control’ the population, the sources of that cocaine were protected and provided with organizational advice.

And now, Mexico may be the planet’s most dangerous territory for reporters. Following their School of the Americas training, the deposed despots’ military men, now working for drug lords, target reporters who try to reveal their depradations. Murdering reporters in Mexico, and other political hot spots, has gotten so routine since Reagan first suggested it to governments he was cozy with that it gets little or no press coverage.

Murdering reporters in The City of Light is different. Paris is supposed to be civilized, not like those savage nations from which we draw our cocaine, our cheap produce, and our oil.

tom hall

But different how? The Catholic League trotted out its president Bill Donohue to bleat that organization’s belief that Charlie Hebdo should have been more sensitive to the religious feelings of Islamic fundagelicals. Donohue said that “Moslems have a right to be angry” about disrespectful cartoons, and that the Charlie Hebdo editor was responsible for his own death.

Tea Bag Republican Party congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), who replaced Tea Bag darling Michelle Bachmann, says that Moslem countries that execute LBGT people are “more moral than American Christians.” Tea Bag Republican Party congressman Glenn Grothman (R-WI) supports the Ugandan law that imposes the death penalty for being gay.

So the French murderers were following the example and the policies of U.S. religious fundagelicals. These people, using different labels for their religious claims share the same goals:

  • The oppression of women;
  • The silencing of dissent;
  • The imposition of cherry-picked passages from religious texts on the entire population.
  • And most of all, the use of guns and violence, instead of teaching, discussion, and argument to advance their beliefs.

The French murderers were reportedly raised in an orphanage, lived lives of economic depression, and responded to the preaching of men who make lots of money praying on the frustrations and anger of the poor. Again, they followed the American model.

Tom Hall

Tom Hall