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Just Short of Treason in Georgia and Kansas

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Two religious zealots are calling for the assassination of President Obama... and this is just the start of the campaign season It will get much worse.

By Michael Collins

It's official. The crazies have arrived for the 2012 presidential race, florid in their deviant and repulsive rhetoric. Andrew B. Adler, editor of The Atlanta Jewish Times, called on Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu to "Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence." This reference to President Barack Obama appeared in the print edition of the paper on January 13 and was first published online by Gawker on the 20th (alternate links here and here).

Right wing Republican Mike O'Neal, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, forwarded an email referring to the president that quoted (approximately) Psalm 109.8: “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him." The Lawrence Journal World noted that the very next verse, 109.9, indicates how the president should be replaced: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." (Image  SND)

The First Amendment is ignored when reactionary mayors want to stop the free speech and assemblies of Occupy Wall Street. However, free speech is expanded beyond the limits of the law when religious extremists in Atlanta and Kansas step well outside of the boundaries of U.S. Code.

The U.S. Code states:

§ 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

"Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States … by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; …

"Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both …" U.S. Code

Adler's argument seems to be exactly what the law describes:

"…give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies." Andrew B Adler, January 13

The Reaction So Far

The American Jewish Congress (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were quick to respond to Adler's statements.

AJC put out a release condemning Adler's inflammatory remarks:

"While we acknowledge Mr. Adler’s apology, we are flabbergasted that he could ever say such a thing in the first place. How could he even conceive of such a twisted idea?" said Wilker. [AJC Atlanta's director], "Mr. Adler surely owes immediate apologies to President Obama, as well as to the State of Israel and his readership, the Atlanta Jewish community." AJC Global Jewish Advocacy, January 20

Abraham Foxman, head of the ADL, referred to the statement as "dangerous" and stated, "Mr. Adler's lack of judgment as a publisher, editor and columnist raises serious questions as to whether he's fit to run a newspaper." ADL January 20

Why don't the organizations just say this? Adler is no different than anyone else and should be investigated immediately for these illegal threats.

Apologies and clearly inaccurate statements about the president being anti-Israel are of interest but beside the point. Adler's remarks look like a precise fit to the language of the U.S. Code on "Advocating the overthrow of Government."

Will Adler be investigated, charged and tried for his statements?

On a lesser note, where are the demands that Adler sell the paper (he's the owner) and for a reader and advertiser boycott?

Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal's message was slightly more circumspect than Adler's ranting, although the message was clear.

The reaction to O'Neal's barely veiled reference to killing the president generated immediate action by two Topeka, Kansas ministers. They delivered 30,000 signed petitions on January 18 demanding that O'Neal resign from the legislature. The organization sponsoring the petition, Faithful America, made this key point:

"As people of faith, we believe that scripture should never be used to justify praying for the death of anyone. Speaker O'Neal's hateful abuse of scripture is unacceptable and a disgrace to his office, and he should immediately resign."

The Kansas Republican Senators, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, have yet to issue a press release demanding O'Neal's resignation. Governor Sam Brownback, a self-described man of God, made no such request. While the Kansas Democratic Party objected to a racist email O'Neal sent out about Michelle Obama, there is nothing on their blog about O'Neal's fitness for office.

Where's the Outrage?

The lack of immediate outrage over the remarks by the deviants Adler and O'Neal is not surprising. Every day, millions play Call of Duty and other first person shooter video games that are all about killing people. Local news outlets prioritize reporting based on the saying, if it bleeds, it leads. Year in and year out, the level of military aggression overseas makes it seem like death and destruction are a normal feature of national security. The gap is narrowing between the foreign and domestic application of the Bush "take him out" doctrine

Prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a flyer was distributed listing the president's supposed treasonous acts. While the flyer was no secret, it wasn't proclaimed proudly as a feature of the rabid anti-JFK movement. The hate mongers knew that their true intent needed to be kept under wraps. (Image: WikiCommons)

Today, the absence of outrage and censure makes it perfectly acceptable for people like Mike O'Neal and Andrew B. Adler to openly proclaim their homicidal urgings.

This is just the start of the campaign season. It will get much worse.


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