Salon’s Glenn Greenwald made some pretty salient observations about the label “terrorism” in his Friday column:

Terrorism is simultaneously the single most meaningless and most manipulated word in the American political lexicon.  The term now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity.  It has really come to mean:  “a Muslim who fights against or even expresses hostility towards the United States, Israel and their allies.”  That’s why all of this confusion and doubt arose yesterday over whether a person who perpetrated a classic act of Terrorism should, in fact, be called a Terrorist:  he’s not a Muslim and isn’t acting on behalf of standard Muslim grievances against the U.S. or Israel, and thus does not fit the “definition.”

Greenwald is, of course, referring to Joseph Stack, a man who flew a plane into a Texas IRS building presumably to protest taxation. Although he left a very clear suicide manifesto behind, few have been willing to label Stack a “terrorist.”

As has been observed before, “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.”

And it certainly seems that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) sees the other side of the coin. King stopped short of explicitly praising Stack’s actions, but one can detect a certain underlying approval — after all, as King claims, he’s been trying to “abolish” the IRS for some 30 years, establishing a national sales tax and (although you’ll never hear this inevitable consequence from King) sending the bill for America’s wars, roads, police, and fire departments to the middle and lower classes.

At any rate, Greenwald seems to have forgotten something in his definition of terrorism. He neglects to mention how quickly the right wing was to pin the “terrorist” label to Bill Ayers, once they had established even the weakest of linkages to then-candidate Barack Obama.

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While flipping through satellite radio channels today, I became convinced that I had discovered proof of America’s growing stupidity. Every talk channel I flipped through – Sirus-XM’s “The Virus,” NPR, CNN, and others – were breathlessly covering one of three topics: the soon-to-open “Twilight” sequel, the confusion over when to start getting mammograms, and Sarah Palin’s recently-released memoir, “Going Rogue.”

The situation is the same all over the Internet, at least as far as Sarah From Alaska is concerned. Wonkette has basically just run with the “PalinBlog” (RogueBlog? SarahBlog?) theme already established over at NRO, Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish has officially been overwhelmed, and the whole spectrum of punditry has basically had nothing else on its collective mind for the past two weeks or so.

It’s not just the blogs, either – Newsweek ran a front-page story on her (complete with leggy cover shot) last week, National Review’s Rich Lowry continues to slavishly adore her in print and online, and she’s made a tour of all the major talk shows, including Barbara Walters and… (even!)… Oprah.

Why not? It’s a fun story with colorful characters and conflict (the story about Palin’s book, I mean; not Palin’s book itself). I’m tempted to pick it up, but have decided not to for at least two reasons: one, I don’t want to encourage this kind of behavior and two, I have no idea where I left my last box of crayons.

(more…)

“Operation Rescue” founder Randall Terry seems to have gotten a pass for a release he issued a few days ago, which I noticed in my general news inbox when it came out:

WASHINGTON, July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following was released today by Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue.

Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue, and other local pro-life advocates will hold a press conference at the National Press Club (529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC) on Tuesday, July 21, at 2:00 P.M. Mr. Randall Terry to discuss what he and other pro-life leaders will and will not do if healthcare passes and includes paying for child-killing, and what convulsions follow.

Health Care, Murder, and the Coming Convulsions

“Let all those in government be warned: They cannot order people to pay for the murder of babies, and betray God Himself, without horrific consequences.”

Randall Terry

Background: It is clear that many elements in the pro-abortion congress and White House want to force Americans to pay for the murder of the unborn in their “healthcare” program.

If that happens, it is tantamount to the government putting a gun to taxpayers’ heads to pay for the brutal murder of an innocent child. This is tyranny and evil of the highest order.

“Please understand: neither I, nor any thinking person wants the convulsions that would inevitably come from such a government policy — the decision to force Americans to pay for the murder of their neighbor.

“Nevertheless, the sheer horror and frustration of such an evil policy will lead some people to absolutely refuse to pay their taxes. And I believe — if my reading of history from America and around the world is correct — that there are others who will be tempted to acts of violence.

“If the government of this country tramples the faith and values of its citizens, history will hold those in power responsible for the violent convulsions that follow.”

While Terry includes some perfunctory throat-clearing about not wanting any “convulsions,” make no mistake: he is making a very clear threat, not just about refusing to pay taxes, but about the kind of violence that we’ve already seen at least one instance of this year. In that case, the murder of Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller, Terry pronounced that Tiller had brought his slaughter on himself.

Let’s run a little mind-experiment. Imagine that you are assigned the task of making a statement designed to show as much support for domestic terrorism as you possibly could, without crossing the line into explicitly calling for murder. What would that statement look like? Would it be very much different from Terry’s thinly-veiled “warning” about coming “convulsions”?

It is time to stop using the term “pro-life” to describe Mr. Terry. He can be accurately described as “anti-abortion,” but he is no advocate for human life.