Thursday, February 18, 2010


A domestic suicide attack

I was thinking about posting a note on the Tea Party movement when I caught the news of Joseph Stack's suicidal airplane crash into an Austin building that houses offices of the IRS. 

An hour before the crash Stack updated his website a final time by posting what is being characterized in the media as a "manifesto." I would have called it a rant, which is how Stack himself described it.  His website has been taken down at the request of the FBI, to what purpose I do not know since The Smoking Gun has published the text online.

I was not the first to think of the Tea Party movement as I read of Joseph Stack. Washington Post reporter Jonathan Capehart wrote on his blog—

... after reading his 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we're hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement.

Capehart did not write that Stack considered himself a part of the movement, only that he was struck by the similarities between Stack's "alienation" and the messages coming from some of the Tea Baggers. This was sufficient, however, to trigger reactions such as—

Very trashy reporting. A cursory read of the note indicates no such affiliations. Perhaps you would like to arrest those who harbor dislike against the government? That's the logical extension of your thinking.

I have no idea whether Stack considered himself to be a Tea Bagger, but what is clear is that he might easily be found at a Tea Party event, as described by David Barstow—

Local Tea Party groups are often loosely affiliated with one of several competing national Tea Party organizations. In the background, offering advice and organizational muscle, are an array of conservative lobbying groups, most notably FreedomWorks. Further complicating matters, Tea Party events have become a magnet for other groups and causes — including gun rights activists, anti-tax crusaders, libertarians, militia organizers, the “birthers” who doubt President Obama’s citizenship, Lyndon LaRouche supporters and proponents of the sovereign states movement.

Stack in fact concluded his writing with this—

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.

This—along with his denunciation of George Bush and the healthcare industry—will undoubtedly cause the right-wing media to erupt, and a fierce battle of words will be enjoined between Left and Right over how Mr. Stack should be categorized. This is quite pointless.  In the end he will enter the pantheon of right-wing heros.

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