A Philosopher's Blog

Terrorism or Not?

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on February 19, 2010

Andrew Joseph Stack III, apparently partially motivated by a hatred of the IRS, crashed his plane into an Austin building. This incident has been officially classified as a criminal act rather than a terrorist attack. However, some have contended that this is a case of conservative terrorism. While this incident is a terrible one, it does raise the issue of what counts as terrorism.

From a purely cynical standpoint, it could be claimed that the label of terrorism is applied as a matter of politics. Acts are declared terrorists acts so as to gain some sort of political game piece to be played for an advantage. For example, the underwear bomber is a terrorist because this enables the Republicans to claim that a terrorist attack occurred on Obama’s watch. In this current case, neither the Republicans nor Democrats can gain a political point by calling this incident terrorism and so they do not label it as such.

However, there seems to be a matter worth discussing here that is beyond mere political rhetoric.

One plausible view of terrorism is that it is the intentional use of force on to create fear and this is done on the basis of ideological motivations. To distinguish this from standard police and military actions, it can be added that the force is aimed at civilian targets or at the very least disregards the civilian/combatant distinction. Of course, the concept is one that is rather heavily debated and, as such, this can hardly be considered a definitive and non-controversial account. However, it does seem to have intuitive appeal. This definition does seem to nicely capture paradigm cases of terrorism, such as the 9/11 attack.

Using this definition, Stack’s attack would seem to be terrorism. After all, he seems to have been clearly motivated by ideological factors (combined, of course, with various personal issues) and he used violence against civilians. The parallels to 9/11 are quite clear, even down to the use of a plane as the  weapon.

Of course, Stack’s attack has been presented as a criminal act rather than an act of terrorism. This raises the obvious question of what distinguishes Stack’s attack from a terrorist act.

One factor that might be pointed to is that Stack is an American and this makes his act a criminal act rather than a terrorist act. However, this does not seem to be enough to change the nature of the act from being an act to terror to a mere criminal act. After all, there can be internal acts of terror committed between citizens. For example, the bombings in Iraq by Iraqis are considered to be terrorist acts as were the acts of the IRA in Ireland.

Another factor is that Stack seems to have acted as an individual without any supporting group that trained or at least helped guide him towards his act. It is generally accepted that terrorism is a systematic process that requires a group or organization. Obviously there can are criminal organizations that commit violent acts to advance their goals. However, these are usually distinguished from terrorist groups by their motivations. That is, criminal groups often  create fear  to make money while terrorist groups often commit crimes to make money to fund  terrorist attacks so as to advance their ideology. Of course, the line between terrorist groups and criminal groups is often a blurry one-especially in cases involving large scale drug trafficking.

If terrorism is defined in a way that makes it a group thing, then Stack’s attack would not count as a terrorist attack. This view does have some plausibility as shown by a comparison to war.

If I organize and launch an attack against my neighbors and take over their house, then I am a criminal. If my country organizes and launches an attack against another country, then this is war and not (on the face of it) a criminal act. Perhaps terrorism works the same way. To use a metaphor, perhaps terrorism and war are team sports so that an individual cannot play those games by himself.

So, while Stack was motivated by ideological factors and used violence against civilians, the fact that he acted alone would entail that he was a criminal and not a terrorist. If he had, however, some links (however tenuous) to the right sort of group, then he could be classified as a terrorist.

As noted above, there have been some arguments that Stack was a terrorist on this basis. The general case is that he was actually part of a group with a definite ideology and hence this provides him with the necessary context for being a terrorist. The weak point in this argument is that the group that Stack is supposed to be associated with is a rather vague one, namely people who dislike the government and the IRS. Taking such tenuous group membership is taken as an adequate basis to define a person who commits violence as a terrorist seems to make the definition of “terrorist” rather broad. After all, anyone who does not dwell in complete isolation will have some sort of association with some people who have some sort of ideological views. The challenge here is, of course, to work  out what sort of relation a person would need to have to what sort of group to make that person a terrorist rather than a criminal.

It is, of course, tempting to take the view that “terrorist” is primarily a political label that is placed to serve the political ends of the person applying the label. So, for example, a person might be labeled a terrorist so that he can be interrogated with enhanced techniques, assassinated or jailed without due process.  Or someone  might declare a “war on terror” so as to use it as a political tool to reshape laws and how they are applied. A lone person who crashes a plane into a building simply doesn’t provide a useful political game piece and hence is labeled as a criminal rather than a terrorist.

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51 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on February 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Mike, did you actually read Stack’s rant? It does not sound very conservative to me.

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/stack.letter.pdf

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      I’m not claiming that he was conservative. I’m claiming that some people are claiming he is conservative, which they are.

      • magus71 said, on February 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm

        Whoever “some people are, they’re idiots…he quotes the communist creed at the end, then mocks capitalism.

        In any event–I wouldn’t have cared if the guy was a registered Republican or Democrat, he nneded to be intercepted by an F-16.

        And I wouldn’t call this guy idealogical. He’s completely selfish. It’s not really about an ideal–it’s about him. He whines through the whole thing how he’s been a victim of a sysytem that all of us may or may not be victims of, but 99% of us manage to get through without murdering innocent people.

        He’s nothing more than a post office shooter with a plane.

        I love how he talks about how poor he was than says he had $5000 pocket change to spend writing letters and bugging people.

        Nut case–not a steely-souled idealogue.

    • P.E.N.Name said, on February 19, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      I don’t think it would be too hard to find more than a few conservative elements in his ‘argument’. His whole anti-tax, anti-tax-code, anti-IRS, anti-bailout rant seems kind of conservative to me.

      http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/001420.html

      Near the end he writes ‘Well, Mr Big Brother IRS Man, let’s try something different, take my pound of flesh and sleep well.’ Ya know, sometimes it’s damn hard to identify the players in a labeling game without a program. Here’s Big Brother in 1984. “Author George Orwell described the Ministry of Truth as an “enormous, pyramidal structure of white concrete, soaring up terrace after terrace, three hundred metres into the air”; columnist Ben Macintyre of The Times has stated that that was “a prescient description of the sort of totalitarian architecture that would soon dominate the Communist bloc”.So he rails against Big Brother (totalitarian state/communists ala Stalin Hitler) in the third from last sentence. Then quotes from the Communist Manifesto in the penultimate sentence. And finally mocks the capitalist creed in the ultimate sentence. Sounds to me like he hated government in general. Maybe because he thought he had discovered that his government didn’t live up to the hype. What this poor crazy sob didn’t understand is that governments never will meet human expectations. Because governments at all levels are human. There’s a reason utopian and dystopian literature is still being written

      • magus71 said, on February 20, 2010 at 2:32 am

        I’ve yet to find a liberal who wants taxes raised on HIM. It’s just everyone else that should pay.

      • P.E.N.Name said, on February 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

        Nor a conservative who wants a/any tax increase or b/ any spending cuts that affect HIM

      • magus71 said, on February 20, 2010 at 10:06 am

        Again, who cares what his politics were? I’ve always used this argument when people insinuate any racism when it comes to the Muslim religion. I could really don’t give a crap what you believe, but if you decide you’re going to try to kill me, well brother, expect me to fight back. Christian, Muslim, it doesn’t matter one bit. I just happen to think there are more Muslims who would like me dead than there are Christians who do.

        Just one more nut, who instead of doing suicide by cop, used a plane on a government building. I think he hated everything. He set his own house on fire with his family in it for heavens sake. Now his family doesn’t have one.

        Stack was just an evil person, not a political one.

        Major Hasan was an evil person, backed by an evil organization, who planned for months to commit an evil act for a cause he felt was greater than himself.

        McVeigh was an evil person who also thought he was acting for a greater cause.

        Hasan and McVeigh were terrorists, trying to affect the political atmosphere. Stack merely wanted to cause as much anguish as he could–he knew he wouldn’t change a thing. Therefore, Stack was not a terrorist.

        But who cares? Rhetoric and sophistry. Bad people whom if I’d been given a “go” with an M-16 and an ACOG scope, I wouldn’t have hesitated or felt an ounce of guilt pulling the trigger on one of these guys if it would have saved one person who was just trying to live his or her life as best as he or she could. Just trying to live their life in a place none of us ever asked to be.

        I know. Calling someone or something evil. So not cool.

      • P.E.N.Name said, on February 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

        What’s your take on Scott Roeder (at my 2/10 7:46? I assume he’s in the same class as McVeigh?

      • magus71 said, on February 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

        I’d say Roeder’s close to McVeigh, though I wonder if he really thought he could change anything. Perhaps he hoped, that through fear he could discourage other doctors from performing abortions.

      • P.E.N.Name said, on February 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm

        Instilling ‘fear’ to change minds or tendencies is a far cry from murdering to achieve those changes.Roeder said he shot Tiller because “preborn children’s lives were in imminent danger.” It’s not within Roeder’s purview to make life/death decisions about when life begins or a person’s life will end.He put himself above our law. Fits his history of anti-government acts and activism. The twin paths of his craziness and terrorism run parallel to and within a hair’s breadth of the paths running through the minds of average Al Queda members.

      • magus71 said, on February 21, 2010 at 2:32 am

        Terrorists use murder all the time to instill fear.

      • magus71 said, on February 21, 2010 at 2:37 am

        LOL! Did you hear the peaceful lefty yelling: Killing the police, kill the police!

        How truly Ghandi-like of them….

      • P.E.N.Name said, on February 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm

        Yes terrorists use murder to instill fear. But there are other means to instill fear and terrorists use them as well. Roeder too had other choices. He made a conscious choice to act as God.Because “preborn children’s lives were in imminent danger.” There’s a lot more judgment involved in that statement than I’d ever accept to justify the assasination of a terrorist/ see my 2/17 2:12 at Killing Americans. And my 2/20 7:34 pm above and 2/19 7:46 below.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on February 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    My favorite comment:

    “The pilot evidently did not file a flight plan, the FAA said.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/02/18/texas.plane.crash/index.html?hpt=T1

  3. mabeenot said, on February 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    This was a great, well-reasoned post. I agree that this was obviously terrorism, drawing parallels to not just 9/11, but also the Oklahoma City Bombing. We called it terrorism in the 1990s, but our political dialogue has changed since then. I know there may be debate about whether Stack is a true “conservative” but I still stand by the idea that a group of conservatives have been fanning the flames of hatred in this country for political reasons. Sometimes, that hatred reaches a boiling point.

    • magus71 said, on February 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      No–Timothy McVeigh was a true right-wing idealogue. This man Stack was a nut.

      “but I still stand by the idea that a group of conservatives have been fanning the flames of hatred in this country for political reasons”

      Really? Like how? Did that start back in the 80’s like when Stack says his issues began. Fanning the flames of hatred so that a 53 year old man suddenly decides to kill some IRS people. Right. I’m sorry the Democrats are in the crapper after such a short time in power (nothing new really) but Mit Romney and Dick Cheney aren’t responsible for this.

      This man rants against capitalist greed but through his whole diatribe, he talks of his own money, only about himself. He couldn’t figure out a better way than to kill a few innocents.

      Sorry. Next left-wing guilt trip please. This one ain’t gonna make me stop talkin’

    • T. J. Babson said, on February 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      You know, it wasn’t too long ago when the left regarded dissent as patriotic. Now, if you dissent you are “fanning the flames of hatred.”

      It is also funny that the same people who doubted that Nidal Malik Hasan was a terrorist, now seem to find that Stack was “obviously” a terrorist.

      Republicans have almost been totally marginalized, yet the left continues to blame them for everything.

      Even the Economist magazine, which endorsed Obama, finds the current political climate is primarily his fault:

      It is not so much that America is ungovernable, as that Mr Obama has done a lousy job of winning over Republicans and independents to the causes he favours. If, instead of handing over health care to his party’s left wing, he had lived up to his promise to be a bipartisan president and courted conservatives by offering, say, reform of the tort system, he might have got health care through; by giving ground on nuclear power, he may now stand a chance of getting a climate bill. Once Mr Clinton learned the advantages of co-operating with the Republicans, the country was governed better.

      http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15545983&source=hptextfeature

    • T. J. Babson said, on February 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      This is the proper explanation of what is going on:

      More broadly, the Democrats failed because, thinking the economic emergency would give them the political mandate and legislative window, they tried to impose a left-wing agenda on a center-right country. The people said no, expressing themselves first in spontaneous demonstrations, then in public opinion polls, then in elections — Virginia, New Jersey and, most emphatically, Massachusetts.

      That’s not a structural defect. That’s a textbook demonstration of popular will expressing itself — despite the special interests — through the existing structures. In other words, the system worked.

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/02/19/debunking_liberal_excuses.html

    • T. J. Babson said, on February 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm

      This is pretty funny (from The Agitator):

      Lovely:

      A libertarian flies a plane into an IRS building and you have nothing to say about it. That’s odd.

      Wayne Nix

      Sorry for my silence. It’s just that yesterday’s events have stunned me into a moral crisis. I’ve been up all night recontemplating my entire political philosophy. It’s so clear now how a philosophy that espouses nonviolence and peaceful, voluntary exchange could drive a man to fly a plane into a building in a murderous, suicidal act of hate.

      I can’t believe I didn’t see it all along.

      http://www.theagitator.com/2010/02/19/email-of-the-day-6/

    • T. J. Babson said, on February 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      A nice NYT article from 1998 on the law that sent Stack over the edge:

      Mrs. Johnson and thousands of other computer programmers who want to work for themselves instead of being employees have run afoul of a 1986 law in which Congress decreed that most individual programmers cannot be entrepreneurs.

      The law generally excludes programmers from statutes giving employers some flexibility to use independent contractors. Critics say that the I.R.S. has recently stepped up its enforcement of the law in a way that effectively kills start-up programming businesses if their only employee is the founder.

      The law, which was introduced by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York, was estimated to raise $60 million over five years, a figure based on a belief by a staff member of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation that employees cheat less on their taxes than independent contractors do. That was enough money to pay for a tax break, approved with Mr. Moynihan’s support, that was sought by I.B.M. for its overseas operations. Under the Gramm-Rudman deficit control act of the previous year, Congress was required to pay for any tax cuts with comparable revenue increases or spending cuts.

      A year after the law regarding contractors was enacted, the Senator tried to repeal it, but his bill died. In 1994, Senator William V. Roth, Republican of Delaware, the sponsor of this week’s hearings, wrote Mr. Moynihan saying the programmers should get relief. More than 60 other senators have written similar letters since 1994, but they have not voted to change the law.

      http://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/27/business/how-a-tax-law-helps-insure-a-scarcity-of-programmers.html?pagewanted=1

      • mabeenot said, on February 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

        Stack traces his anger to the 80s, but he didn’t snap back then. He snapped now, in the vitriolic environment we live in today. No matter how crazed by personal issues he was, I can tell that Stack wanted to send a political message. He wouldn’t have even left a suicide note if he didn’t want to tell the world why he did it. Don’t tell me that McVeigh and Hasan were completely sane when they terrorized this country.

        I’m not saying you should “stop talkin'” and I’m not trying to take your free speech rights away. I’m also not saying that libertarians are all out to kill people. I’m just asking you and the Tea Partiers to keep it civil. The problem is, when you immediately disregard other people’s ideas as being simply the “next left-wing guilt trip,” you’re too set in your ways to handle any real criticism.

      • T. J. Babson said, on February 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm

        Here’s a lefty healthcare protest, complete with torches and pitchforks.

      • T. J. Babson said, on February 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

        And don’t forget Obama telling his minions to “punch back twice as hard”:

        And the White House is telling supporters “to punch back twice as hard” at anybody who dares to question their policies. Unfortunately some Obama supporters are taking that call literally.

        At a townhall last night in St.Louis, Kenneth Gladney, 38, a local conservative activist said he was attacked by Obama supporters, one of whom used a racial slur against him before the attack. From the emergency room at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center Gladney, who is black, told the St. Louis Dispatch: “It just seems there’s no freedom of speech without being attacked.”

        http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/main/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/999/Obama-calls-out-union-goons-to-townhall-meetings-quotPunch-back-twice-as-hardquot.aspx

      • T. J. Babson said, on February 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm

        More peaceful lefty protesters.

      • magus71 said, on February 21, 2010 at 2:37 am

        LOL! Did you hear the peaceful lefty yelling: Killing the police, kill the police!

        How truly Ghandi-like of them….

  4. P.E.N.Name said, on February 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Let’s try to keep the playing field clear of all unrelated garbage. And not confuse an individual’s avowed beliefs/philosophy with his actions. Stack called himself a libertarian. Libertarians as a group don’t advocate violence. But I’m sure there are individual libertarian nuts. Scott Roeder killed an abortion doctor. He called himself a Christian. But usually we Christians don’t encourage violence. Unless the right minister misinterprets God’s Word for us so we believe that’s what God wanted. Or we’re nuts. Our legal system determined Roeder wasn’t crazy. Gave him a mandatory life sentence. It would have been interesting if Stack had survived this attack. What would the courts have done with him?

  5. magus71 said, on February 21, 2010 at 6:50 am

    What Mike? No stories about Amy Bishop–academic assassin extraordinaire?

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?&articleid=1232943&format=&page=1&listingType=Loc

    “A family source said Bishop, a mother of four children – the youngest a third-grade boy – was a far-left political extremist who was “obsessed” with President Obama to the point of being off-putting”

    An academic obsessed with Obama? Shocking I say.

    Here’s the Department of Homeland Security’s completely politically correct Threat Assessment–the first one issued under Janet Napolitano. Right-Wing fringe groups pose the prime threat of terrorism in the US. What a bunch of junk. Every Intel Analyst was ROFLing this piece of junk. Except of course the analysts cherry-picked to say exactly what Napolitano thought.

    http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      At my university, an HBCU, the faculty generally approve of Obama. However, I haven’t seen any signs of obsession regarding the President. Of course, my sample is limited.

      My view is that obsession is generally a bad thing, be it a “lefty” or a “rightwing” obsession. As Aristotle argued, moderation is the way to go.

      As far as Amy Bishop goes, is there evidence that she killed the other faculty as a political act? While I did see that it has been claimed that she was obsessed with Obama, I’m not sure if she was motivated by political factors. The article you link to indicates that she might have snapped because she was denied tenure. As I see it, even if she was a obsessive lefty, she did not kill the other professors as an act of left-wing terror. It seemed to be a case of work place violence unrelated to politics. After all, the fact that someone has political views does not entail that everything she does is a politically motivated action.

      Now, if we find a lefty manifesto that explains her motivations for her action, then we can start considering it as a possible act of political terror.

      Do you think she was involved in the death of her brother because of her ideology?

      • T. J. Babson said, on February 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm

        Just ask and you shall receive, Mike. Here is a lefty post linking Amy Bishop to the Tea Party. Damn the evidence, full speed ahead!
        ********************************************

        In November of 2008, a prime debate was whether the United States – with Barack Obama’s election – lived in a post-racial society. Fifteen months later, the answer is a resounding, “hell, no.” The proof: last week’s shooting in Alabama, where a disgruntled white professor murdered three minority professors; and the growing success of the Tea Party movement, which is overwhelmingly white and increasing vocal in its violent dislike of the nation’s first black president.

        http://trueslant.com/jonathancuriel/2010/02/17/race-in-america-does-racism-explain-the-%E2%80%98tenure-shooting%E2%80%99-and-tea-party-movement/

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm

          Interesting. First, he seems to accept the conclusion that the killings were racially motivated because three of the victims were not white. However, the racism factor does not explain why she shot the other people. The tenure hypothesis explains why she shot everyone and hence is the better explanation, unless some new evidence is forthcoming. Also, he does not seem to provide any evidence of racism (no past racist behavior, etc.).

          The link to the Tea Party seems like rather a large leap. The Tea Party movement cannot be rationally blamed for this incident-unless there is some substantial evidence linking the shooter and the movement.

          • P.E.N.Name said, on February 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

            http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/the-first-tea-party-terrorist/?hp

            This article read in its entirety including post-script and bibliography illuminates the discussion we’ve had about this subject (Terrorism or Not?). He does make the leap to Tea Partiers but only in the sense that they are a party angry with Washington’s bullshit (as opposed to Democrats and Republicans who ‘are’ the bullshit).

            • kernunos said, on February 25, 2010 at 1:32 am

              Agreed but to me he acts like a sociopathic, pathological liar that is just holding unto his own warped reality to the bitter end. All of the talk of writing letters to politicians and tryingto get people aggreeing with him. It reminds me of people who will say they support law enfocement bu will go on a 30 minute tirade on how they should not have gotten a speeding ticket. This man was that times 1000. He obviously had a mental problem to go with it. It is also not fun when the tax-man comes after you. They call you after the fact, tell you you have to pay interest and say you have until day x to pay it or we will put a lien on everything you own. It is quite a shocker. It happened with me havingto do with a state agency and not the IRS but they opereate in similar ways. In the end they were wrong but it put my life through hell for four months. I would not do somthing as outrageous as this man and obviously from his own admissions he was trying to find loop holes but the feeling is pretty helpless. This was all it took to push this nut over the edge though as he escalated the situation over many years and looked to become so miserably obsessed that finding the exit from the situation was hidden from his mind.

            • P.E.N.Name said, on February 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm

              I think if you’d amp up the rhetoric of barroom conversations across the country you’d hear most of the same complaints that appear in Stack’s treatise. How much amping will it take to reach a tipping point? We’ll see.

            • P.E.N.Name said, on February 27, 2010 at 11:56 pm

              Can’t seem to get this to appear at the bottom of the Replies unless I reply to myself.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28rich.html

            • magus71 said, on February 28, 2010 at 6:06 am

              Next term, when Barack Obama is no longer president, Rich will still be talking about Sarah Palin and Stack. And GW Bush. The country will have moved on.

              As with so many issues that have come up concerning our current government situation, it seems this is another strawman to shame people from talking.

    • P.E.N.Name said, on February 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm

      Yeah tj. You can always depend on dem libruls to twist and stretch and castrate reality to make connections that fit the stories they’re selling at the time. This your post at Thoughts on the Tea Party (this blog) 2/16/10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5VLeBhzE3Y

  6. magus71 said, on February 21, 2010 at 7:15 am

    This is great:

    Page 3,

    “Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the
    economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors,
    and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate
    conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics
    are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize
    those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to
    accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.”

    Most conservatives would be deemed “Zionists” by liberals. Unless of course this administration needs to set up a bunch of political strawmen to ensure people are ashamed to be critical at all. Then we’re looking for the next Black Hundreds–all who voted against Obama–of course.

    I feel much safer now.

  7. P.E.N.Name said, on February 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Here’s what Stack’s daughter thinks:

    http://www.salon.com/news/2010/02/22/us_plane_crash_pilot_1/index.html

  8. kernunos said, on February 23, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Just some tidbits from his rants.

    “Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?” Anti bailout? Yes, but not a Conservative’s point of view with the angle that was taken. He was clearly also anti big business here.

    ” “Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in. ” Clearly a view of the Left.

    “In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.” Anti religion and bonus points for anti-Christian. Definitely a Left statement. Oh, and look what this ‘Woe is me’ self confessed businessman was trying to do. He was basically trying to cheat the system and was upset he was caught by the look of things.

    “The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.” More anti religious sentiments.

    “The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.” More anti big business sentiment.

    “Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.” Seems a bit Lefty to me.

    “The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.” Ouch-extra bonus Lefty points for an anti-GeorgeBush rant.

    “The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.” Seems a bit Lefty to me.

    What is my point? Well, none except to show a little of the other side but it means nothing as Magus had stated. Why? Well, because he is selfish and is upset because he got caught for breaking tax code through what he thought was a loop hole or just made an honest mistake. Who knows. He had rants against the right and rants against the left but in the end he was just mad because he didn’t get his way. He lost it and committed a criminal act or a terrorist act. I don’t care which but to link this to a grass roots movement that is against higher taxes and less spending is idiotic because this man was just plain nuts.

    • kernunos said, on February 23, 2010 at 1:09 am

      It looks as it is quite a leap to call this guy a Conservative Terrorist. We can let facts get in the way of a good story. It is always just the seriousness of the allegations with the media though isn’t it?

      • kernunos said, on February 23, 2010 at 1:10 am

        ‘We cannot let facts..’ damn chubby nubs.

    • kernunos said, on February 23, 2010 at 1:14 am

      “Andrew Joseph Stack III, apparently partially motivated by a hatred of the IRS, crashed his plane into an Austin building. This incident has been officially classified as a criminal act rather than a terrorist attack. However, some have contended that this is a case of conservative terrorism. While this incident is a terrible one, it does raise the issue of what counts as terrorism.”

      Oh, how absurd of me. It looks like you already decided he was Conservative because you only focused on the ‘terrorism’ aspect.

      • kernunos said, on February 23, 2010 at 1:15 am

        Then no, not a terrorist. He was just a selfish man that had the ultimate childish temper tantrum. :)

  9. P.E.N.Name said, on February 23, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    An interesting case came before the SC today. Eric Holder, et al v Humanitarian Law Project et al. I’ve read about half the oral transcript so far and I can’t help noting how many issues we’ve been dealing with on this blog with this article and others reflect on the court case. How being at war or not affects decision making. The uses of money v the uses of speech. Echoes of the arguments in the Citizens United case. The fungibility of assistance, whether monetary or otherwise. If you provide humanitarian advice to a terrorist organization can that advice be treated the same as advice you might provide in bomb-making. Since your humanitarian advice might enable the survival of a terrorist organization that it is in our interest to destroy. Even some argument about the terrorist within our country v the terrorists outside it. http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/08-1498.pdf This one should be fun to watch.

    • kernunos said, on February 24, 2010 at 1:31 am

      Could you give us a synopsis please. even with my 24 inch monitor that was excruciating for a neocon neanderthal like me to read. I thought everything was so simple nowadays a neanderthal could do it. Go figure.

      • P.E.N.Name said, on February 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm

        I assume you either want to read it or you don’t. Bookmark it. Read it in sections. Or not.

      • kernunos said, on February 25, 2010 at 1:20 am

        No, I don’t want to read it. I have a job and a child to take care of and there is nothing worse for me to read than Legal-ese.

  10. P.E.N.Name said, on February 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/the-first-tea-party-terrorist/?hp

    This article read in its entirety including post-script and bibliography illuminates the discussion we’ve had about this subject (Terrorism or Not?).

  11. P.E.N.Name said, on February 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I think if you’d amp up the rhetoric of barroom conversations across the country you’d hear most of the same complaints that appear in Stack’s treatise. How much amping will it take to reach a tipping point? We’ll see.

  12. P.E.N.Name said, on February 27, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28rich.html


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