Terrorists, Video Games, and Weiners


Video games that have a social conscience, available now on Facebook. Also, more on anti-choice terrorism and a thwarted attempt at creating a Democratic sex scandal out of nothing.

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Scarlett Johansson kicks ass

Man arrested for attempting to kill an abortion doctor

Why are we so afraid to talk about domestic terrorism

Congressman Weiner’s Twitter account hacked

Andrew Breitbart goes ugly

Weiner gets dismissive

On this episode, I’ll be interviewing the folks behind the scifi online game America 2049.  Also, a would-be anti-choice terrorist is arrested before he can act and the right wing media tries to concoct an evidence-free Democratic sex scandal in retaliation for repeated Republican sex scandals.

Scarlett Johannson did a video standing by Planned Parenthood.  It’s pretty standard stuff, but I’m linking it because yea!  Good for Scarlett Johannson.

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Naturally, the existence of an incredibly sexy woman who doesn’t apologize for herself set off anti-choicers, who made some rather mean-spirited and frankly uninspired so-called parodies, which you can check out at the link.

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Last Tuesday was the second anniversary of the brutal assassination of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-choice nut.  It was a time of remembrance and grieving, but also of asking the hard questions about whether or not enough it being done to prevent future anti-choice terrorist attacks. It’s a particularly troubling question as the week before the anniversary; a man was arrested in Wisconsin for plotting to murder a doctor and quite possibly other clinic workers.

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What’s especially alarming about this particular situation is that the man was only caught because he was playing with his gun in his hotel room and it discharged accidentally.  If he hadn’t done that, there’s a chance he could have gotten to a clinic worker and murdered them.  As usual, Rachel Maddow is the only cable news show giving this story the attention it deserves, and as usual, she and her staff get right to the meat of the problem. 

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This time around, under the Obama administration, federal charges are being filed along with state charges under the FACE Act.  This act was basically not enforced under the Bush administration.  But we know for a fact that most anti-choice terrorists start off small, working up to big acts of violence. They block a clinic here, vandalize a clinic there, work up to setting fires and then they cross the line into bombing or shooting. If they were arrested and had the book thrown at them for these smaller violations, it’s possible that you could thwart the scarier acts of violence. After all, the people who end up trying to shoot doctors would either be so scared by their stint in jail or, you know, actually in jail, and that might prevent future attacks. 

David Pakman also looked at the media picture here, where anti-choice and right wing terrorism overall are downplayed in the media, which can help embolden said terrorists. After noting that Lang was arrested in 2007 for threatening terrorist attacks on abortion providers, David said this:

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This is no small thing, either.  One thing that we know about domestic terrorists is that they often feel that they have the support of the community.  This is because they do have the support of the people around them who share their radical views, but also because they don’t get enough pushback from people who don’t.  When the media doesn’t cover right wing terrorism as terrorism, it gives terrorists more room to think they’re mainstream, supported, and justified.  Giving the same kind of national coverage to domestic terrorists as foreign terrorists get sends the message that most of America does not approve of terrorism, even if the terrorists are Christian-identified and American-born.

The good news here is not just that Lang was thwarted but, unlike in years past, the Department of Justice is doing its job and treating this as a federal crime instead of just leaving it to the local authorities.  Of course, when they pushed against Angel Dillard of Kansas for similar threats to murder a doctor, the judge  refused the restraining order that the DOJ asked for.  Maybe they’ll have better luck this time, especially since we have a discharged weapon to add some gravity to the situation.

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insert interview

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A New York congressman is outed for sending a lewd picture to a woman over a social network.  First gossipy online sources cover it and then it trickles into the mainstream media.  The congressman, abashed, resigns before the scandal gets out of hand.  Oh.  Wait.  You probably thought I was talking about Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represents part of Brooklyn and Queens.  At least until I started talking about the resignation.  No, I was actually talking about Rep. Chris Lee, a Republican from upstate New York.  He really did send a picture of himself half naked to a woman, and she outed him to Gawker, and he resigned.  But after he resigned, his seat was up for grabs, and a  Democrat won the seat in a special election, even though that seat has been solidly Republican since roughly forever. Republicans lost the seat on Tuesday, and within half a week after that loss in what is almost surely just a total coincidence nothing to see here, conservative bloggers started to claim that the most famous Democratic congressman from New York had done exactly the same thing.  And they had an easy-to-fake screenshot to prove it.  Oh  yeah, and the testimony of a single witness who, in another one of those remarkable coincidences, just happens to be a right wing ideologue who spends a lot of time on Twitter obsessing over his hatred of Anthony Weiner.

Despite all this obviously rock solid proof, Weiner is denying that he sent a picture of an erect penis with no identifying details to a young woman who follows him on Twitter.

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Can we please retire the word “coed” yet?  It exists only for one reason, which is to make sexual insinuations about young women who go to college.  Every time I hear the word, I have to assume the person using it believes that it’s scandalous to allow unmarried women to live away from their parents.  Seriously, people, grow up.

Not completely convinced yet that this story is the real deal and that there’s rock solid proof that Congressman Weiner is having an affair with a college girl who lives 3,000 miles away from him?  Well, let’s consider who the number one accuser is.  You guessed it!  Andrew Breitbart, known the world over for his honesty, integrity, and ability to comb his hair every time he goes in front of cameras to offer his sober-minded assessment of the issues of the day.  This is how Breitbart explained the situation:

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What he’s dancing around is that the girl in question jokingly called Weiner her “boyfriend” once in a tweet, which set off the angry Twitter weirdo who has supposedly broken this story.  By the way, that’s actually an internet meme.  Women of all ages and political leanings jokingly call famous men their “boyfriends”.  I’ve tweeted in the past about my boyfriend Anderson Cooper, my boyfriend Nathan Fillion, and my boyfriend Quentin Tarantino.  I have not actually met any of these men, much less had affairs with them.  But hey, I’m also not 21, so I’m not attracting the lascivious attention of right wing nut jobs who want to assume that every college girl is having sex with every man in sight. 

I will also point out that Breitbart’s insinuation here that having someone in your social network automatically implicates you as someone who has exchanged bodily fluids.  With this in mind, I checked out Breitbart’s Twitter feed and discovered that he has 41,000 followers. By his own estimation, he gets around more than Wilt Chamberlin.

Breitbart, for those who don’t remember, was also instrumental in distributing the ACORN videos, where James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles claimed they caught ACORN employees abetting sex trafficking, when in fact they just edited videos to make it appear that innocent people were doing things they weren’t.  Breitbart also helped push Lila Rose videos when she did the same thing to Planned Parenthood.  Breitbart published a video of Department of Agriculture employee Shirely Sherrod where it appeared Sherrod was saying racist things about white people.  It turned out that she was actually denouncing racism against white people, but it had been edited to change the meaning of her words. By the way, Breitbart has done more than follow young sexy woman Lila Rose on Twitter, but he actually has a working relationship with her.  By his own standards, I think then that’s enough to start a torrid rumor about them.

Unfortunately, Weiner’s annoyance at this was taken to mean he’s being dismissive.

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The woman who was targeted by this has been ruthlessly harassed by right wingers and some journalists, and unlike Weiner, she issued a hearty denial.  And she highlighted how traumatic this who thing has been.  By doing so, she moved outlets like Gawker and the New York Times into saying that this thing is obviously a hoax. Most people are ready to believe at this point everything Andrew Breitbart says is a lie, so even though it’s irritating, Weiner should have issued a definitive denial.  His follow-up interview with Wolf Blitzer didn’t help much, since he was, while right about everything he said, unwilling to affirm or deny that he may have taken a picture like this. That said, his assertions that he was hacked are believable, and so the dogs should really stop chewing the bone unless they can provide real evidence.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, blaming victims edition.  Sean Hannity had some pro-abstinence lady named Rebecca St. James on his show to talk about Slutwalk, and even though both he and she swore up and down they don’t blame victims for rape, that’s exactly what they did.

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So while she says that no one asks for rape, she’s saying that a short skirt is consent. So how is that not saying women ask to be raped? I’m unclear how a skirt can give consent. I believe only a woman can do that. This woman clearly wants to believe that because she’s all virginal or whatever, she can’t be raped. But anyone can be targeted, if the rapist thinks he can get away with it. 


Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte