PLAINS, Ga. — The U.S. Secret Service says it is investigating an effigy of President Barack Obama found hanging from a building in the hometown of former President Jimmy Carter.
As perfectly despicable and racist as this patently is, it does not look to me to be a crime, and certainly not treason, as some hyperventilating commenters have suggested.
Treason, btw, is the only crime defined in the Constitution. And one cannot commit it by being mean to the president. Treason is an act against the nation, not the president. The president is not the nation. I had enough of that tripe from BushCo.
Obviously the Secret Service is going to have a long and very serious conversation with the person responsible. I have met those guys. You don’t want to get them agitated. The guy that did this is going on a list from which he will never escape.
But the first amendment is pretty absolute. The govt shall make no law abridging speech. And the courts have interpreted that as protecting all sorts of things. Porn is protected. The only reason kiddie porn is not protected is that obviously a crime must be committed to produce it. Somebody is harmed.
Direct incitements to violence are not protected, but the burning of the flag is protected. I’m thinking that where you can burn the flag, you can hang the president in effigy.
Regardless of what it says about you as a person.
OT — Speaking of hate, check out the main and picture at HP right now. “Democrats are Dropping Like Flies” with a giant picture of a dead fly.
Yeah, I was just there 😛 It’s despicable, but a bunch of folks are speaking out against it including our Gretel1or2. The thread hasn’t totally been taken over by tr0lls – yet.
Anyone suggested to them, coming over to p l a n e t p o v dot com?
Doesn’t hp mind if you invite people to another site, from hp itself, leaving the email address, etc.?
Yes, but it takes them a while to swipe
and “see you over on another planet,” etc.
And of course, we have our redirect links that bring folks here (Abby, our actual URL is in their word filter).
You can use any of these over there:
AdLib, yes I did and I saw another invite posted there, too.
I’ve been banging the drum pretty steadily.
Including a link to my Rummy post, don’tcha know!
Just in – now Dodd is going to announce retirement, apparently:
at least HP got rid of the fly pic!
Thank the good Lord! Maybe we can keep a safe seat, after all?
Yep, we all know why politicians retire early.
Here in Colorado, people are surprised at Ritter’s announcement. Ritter had fund raisers planned and had announced seven months ago he was running. Local analyst says he must have been forced out.
Just quoted the AP story in our news widget, looks like poll numbers in swing states are not good news for incumbents.
You’ve got to bet into your hand right now and count on things getting better in this nation or running will be a waste of time and money.
And money. Gotta raise money.
It just flew over to the rotting corpse in the basement at HuffPo named “principles”.
Oh snap! I just have one question…what the hell is wrong with those people over there?
I keep thinking they have reached rock bottom, and then some asshole pulls out dynamite and takes them deeper.
Yes. Interestingly, it wasn’t up for more than ten minutes or so.
Maybe because it was Dorgan and not Dodd?
It was replaced as the main by the Dodd announcement.
Both Dorgan and Dodd are not going to run.
On our news widget just to the right:
And that’s the most polite word I can think for it.
HEH! Not more than TWO friggin years ago whites all across this nation, educated and otherwise were denying and ignoring racism in this country often claiming, “that’s always the first thing blacks say”……and now it’s so much in your face you’d have to be on dope and dogfood to miss it.
More than anything electing President Obama opened up the eyes of many people to how racist many in this nation still are. I still want to throw up any time I see stories like this because it shows how far we need to go. I’ve given this link many times but anytime anyone experiences racism in their area they should contact the SPLC.
You can’t legislate away intolerance and bigotry but you can fight it by bringing it to the light of day. Before it was much worse when the nation was in denial about it’s racist reality.
I mean, I *knew* racism was still out there … but I learned a new appreciation for how rampant it still was.
As I’ve mentioned, my eyes were opened wide years ago when I started spending a lot of time in Louisiana.
You get a very misguided picture of the way things are when it comes to race in this nation when you live in L.A. instead of LA.
Adlib, I had a similar experience when I moved from San Francisco back to Colorado. That was a shock! Even though I’m near ultra-liberal Boulder and Denver is pretty liberal too, the rest of Colorado has not progressed quite as well — to put it politely.
Durango is pretty hip. It’s the
Colorado springs area you have to watch out for – between the Air Force Academy and Focus on the Family …. well, it’s really right wingish, to say the least.
Whenever I return home from Colo (or anywhere else, for that matter) I want to kiss the ground when I see that Welcome to New Mexico sign 😉
Ah, we’re neighbors AND kindred “spirits” too! hehe.
Sounds like Montana.
Kalispell literally terrifies me.
I traveled a few times with a salesperson that said they were from LA. Lower Alabama.
I could tell you dozens of stories about my Southern exposure.
The biggest thing I learned is hate comes from all sides but if you live your life as an example of love like my wife and I do it changes people’s perceptions more than you can imagine.
You are so right about that, KQ. You can’t legislate away intolerance and bigotry and racism any more than you can legislate morality. All you can do, as you say, is expose it with light…and turn on the light, on those who engage in it, so hard and so bright that they cringe and slither away.
Or, better yet, reform.
Morris Dees is my hero!
I’ve donated money to him … but not for a while now.
Sometimes I ask my Georgia-born dad about the more coded stuff, that they say “wasn’t really meant that way” – since he remembers the “what are you talking about, we love our coloreds” days (I will edit that if it’s offensive to any of you). Whenever, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’m not sure if I’m overreacting he says, oh no, that’s definitely racist with a knowing voice – they know exactly what they are doing. It’s an honed art.
I don’t need to tell you any of this, KQuark, but as part of the younger generation that helped elect Obama, and how much I intellectually know racism is still out there, it is indeed a visceral see-it-to-believe-it experience after his election. The uptick, that the SPLC itself has seen in the KKKK and neo-Nazi white supremacist groups.
Speaking of, Pfffffffffotenhauer was just on with the same old talking points about Janet and the right wing extremism report dredged up from last year almost (wasn’t that like last Feb or March? how time flies…). Honestly, what is their problem? You need to get your eyes checked if you can’t see the fringes of the Invisible Empire are not-so-invisible lately.
If you don’t have a visceral reaction to racism there is something wrong with you.
I get angry but when I see the pain on my wife’s face sometimes especially reading comments from assholes about the first lady it goes even deeper than anger. True racism is corrosive to your soul and that’s what most people that don’t experience it personally don’t understand.
Some of the tr0ll comments I’ve seen on HP (where else?) about the first lady and even the first daughters are just beyond my comprehension.
I agree. I find the insults against Michelle Obama to be particularly upsetting.
It’s toxic, and can feel the acid building up in my stomach. And sometimes it is in the most unexpected places – the comments comparing Michelle to a primate and such. In what context is that ever okay? None. Aargh!
Remember the MSM and right wing meme after Obama’s election, “This is a post-racial society now.”
And if Sarah Palin had wheels she’d be a snowplow.
I’d like to write a post about this post. That is if my last comment doesn’t get me banned. You have no idea how livid I am right now. None.
If you read through the comments you will see people like me disagreed with this post. I know you harped on one comment I made about nooses but I also said hanging the president in effigy went far beyond just free speech and was an implicit threat at the least. My personal feelings for the atrocity go far deeper than even that.
I understand being hot about this post because I was hot too but each post comes down to one person’s opinion not everyone’s opinion on the site.
If you want to know how I stand on hate crimes this post may give you a better indication.
Then cool off before you attempt to write it, that’s always a good idea. You may decide not to write it at all.
We don’t ban people and your outrage is totally understandable but misdirected.
This is a community of people from all around the world who care strongly about what’s going on in this world.
You’ve read articles here, you can get a feel for it. We don’t play the HuffPo Rage Game here and everyone, you too, deserves and is assured respect here to freely express themselves.
And the only way to assure that is to require a minimum of respect that says, no personal attacks.
This just in ~ man arrested & charged for death threat against Obama.
I see it as all part of the relentlessly hate-filled atmosphere that our political discourse has become.
Isn’t it weird that he called 911 to announce his plans? Did he want to be stopped or did he want the attention of being arrested?
Yes, it is weird – and I suspect he may have mixed motives, including both of the ones you suggested.
I’m glad they caught this guy, but I’m really afraid of the ones who act WITHOUT calling 911!
For those of you who pray, you might include the safety of our President and his family in your prayers.
Has anyone else noticed that HP is becoming the gussied up version of AP? Almost all the articles are AP articles now.
Thanks for the link, jan. I don’t mean to change the subject. I’ve just been noticing this lately.
True (about HP), but it’s always been like that. I often get the same stories from my Yahoo news when I go there to check my e-mail.
Okay — I hadn’t noticed that before. Maybe since their contract w AP it just seems more obvious.
Yeah even their columnists like Stein and Grim are regurgitating AP stuff. I guess it’s a move up from constantly quoting the WSJ. The biggest thing I noticed is all the other blogs are scooping them, like the last bypass the conference committee story wrt healthcare because they are so concerned about pushing their memes instead of reporting the news.
That bypassing the conference committee story was a major development. And I saw it here before I saw it anywhere else. HP was a full day behind. I think they downplayed it because they missed the boat.
He should be arrested and obviously is mentally ill but does he represent a concrete threat as HuffPo is whipping up?
He called 911 to say that he wanted to kill the president. Why would anyone who was sane and capable call 911 to announce that?
Is that the act of someone who wants to kill or someone who wants attention, likely for his mentally illness?
I just finished reading A Doctor’s Story by Lucie Adelsberger who spent time in Auschwitz II/ Birkenau. She made a statement in that book, “these dead demand a different revenge: the truth about Auschwitz. The world has to know that one small spark of hate can kindle an overwhelming conflagration that soon gets out of control. Then no one can extinguish it…………”
It is an undercurrent in our country right now and if it is not stopped, then I fear for our nation.
First of all, this is just ignorant on the part of the people who did this. But………….ignorance bred the KKK and I, for one, do not believe they are dead and gone. With all the threats that this president has gotten, I don’t think anyone can take this “effigy business” lightly. Funny, when someone in Hollywood did the same thing with Palin last year, the conservative/rethuglicans/tea partiers were all up in arms. And if I remember correctly, either Pelosi or Reid spoke up against it.
Is it deplorable? Certainly. Deplore away. I deplore it. Is it a threat? I am not sure of that.
By itself, maybe not, as a whole, very scary
I don’t like violent imagery targeted at any public figure. I don’t understand people who engage in this kind of expression.
I think they are angry.
I get angry, too. I never have the urge to set anyone on fire!
it is sick
You are not a deluded white person who thinks he is being denied his righteous whatever due to brown folk getting civil rights.
Ad Lib makes a pretty good point on the question: is this a threat?
He says that it depends on intent.
The difficulty is that we don’t arrest people or imprison them for what they intend to do. Unless they conspire to commit a crime, of course.
Who can know what was in this old bat’s mind? I certainly would not care to speculate.
Give me the choice: squash “threats” to the president, or maintain free speech,; I’ll take the free speech.
Even if it means tolerating racist assholes hanging the president in effigy. The president is just one man. Freedom of speech is more important than one man.
This is why the SS needs to check out any such incident as a potential threat, to assess whether it is in fact a real threat.
Choicelady below fills in a lot of blanks with her insights and raised a question in my mind.
Would burning a cross be protected speech in any situation? Or would it always be seen as a threat towards black people?
If so, then can the hanging in effigy of a public official (who’s also black) ever be seen as not expressing a threat?
A threat doesn’t need action to be taken for it to be a crime. A person could even claim to be joking when they made a death threat but the action of having done so in itself is a crime.
Also, think about bomb hoaxes. If one called somewhere to say there was a bomb planted there but never planted a bomb nor had any intention of doing so, never representing or intending an actual threat, they would still be guilty of a crime.
I think there are some acts of expression in a free society that are by their nature, criminal whether or not actual harm is intended.
So I would back off my intent threshold in some cases after reading Choicelady’s points.
Any time a threat is made to a president — especially in a public manner — it deserves attention. This woman may be as harmless as a starling. But that does not mean she has free reign to make threats to our head of state.
Or to anyone for that matter. Threats are not ok.
Oh, I have not seen anyone here saying that she should not experience the steely gaze of the Secret Service.
And as I say, she deserves to be the public object of ridicule. Along with everybody who knows her. Point at the racists, call them out. I am with you.
But let them speak. Let them make themselves obvious to the rest of us.
Freedom of speech does not include threatening speech or inciting speech.
There is a broad misunderstanding of what “freedom of speech” means. It pertains to law making and acts of congress. It does not mean we can say whatever we want whenever we want. Libel and slander laws illustrate that.
Yes, you are correct, that incitement and threats are not covered.
Now, imagine you are a prosecutor. Can you make a case? I doubt it.
And the reason that you cannot is because the govt cannot ban hateful speech. Is this simply an expression of hatred or is it an incitement?
How can you prove to me that it is an incitement? How can any of us know?
You mean intent? Intent is part of every criminal case. It is up to every prosecutor to prove intent.
I’m sorry, yes, intent.
I grant you that it would be necessary to prove intent. And I don’t know that it could be done.
And I guarantee you that the admin is not gonna want granny Hitler prosecuted. Who needs another martyr? As if there is not enough faux complaints from white folk being abused by political correctness. The sniveling turds.
What if the intent is to incite, and the effigy is successful at that? It doesn’t directly result in assassination, but what if it results in creating a climate of hatred that leads to other acts of violence? Free speech comes with responsibilities, and to paraphrase Brandeis, I know hate speech when I see it.
I work with the FBI and other organizations to prevent hate crimes. This effigy does fill the bill. It is not protected speech if it conveys a true threat, and hanging effigies do that. That’s a national standard, so while I totally agree it’s not treason, it IS “hate speech” that carries penalties for its fearmongering.
Now, lest someone say hate crimes punish thought, they do not. You can think and even say any damned thing you want. Hate crime laws punish ACTIONS. All crimes – ALL – go to motive. When the issue is sending a message designed to stop someone from acting as he or she would of their own free will, or to send fear through an entire group (e.g., Black people) then it carries the hate crimes enhancement.
There are many instances of enhanced penalties for crimes that are “cause crimes” that target whole groups, so this is not just about Obama, it does not penalize thought and speech per se, it is around an action that is designed to be fearful. That’s why the witch doctor signes and other such nastiness are NOT hate crimes. They are not symbols of death. This is.
And, to add one more dimension: there are no protected classes of people. NONE. There are protected characteristics we all have: race, religion, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, etc. We all have them. White people can be and are protected against crimes directed against them by people of color – just doesn’t happen often. So don’t get mad because you think certain groups get extra protection because they do NOT. The crimes directed against any characteristic can affect us all.
Hope that clarifies?
Hey choicelady! Excellent comment! 🙂
There are laws sprouting up around the country just to ban hanging a noose. For me that may be a little too much unless you can prove intent.
But to actually hang a representation of President Obama is a pretty explicit statement and I thought Adlib put it the best when he said it should be investigated as a “potential” threat. Actually in the intelligence world I doubt potential threats are treated much differently than known threats these days anyway.
You don’t like laws banning hanging nooses? Unless there’s a dead n@@@@@r attached. Then it’s a crime. Otherwise. Why would you have a noose hanging in the first place?
I don’t like indiscriminate laws. Sure most of the time there is intent behind hanging the noose. Those people should be investigated and even prosecuted in some instances.
I really don’t need the lecture though. I know what a racial act of hate is because my home’s been pelted by eggs because I just happened to fall in love with and marry an African American woman.
Maybe “that is what people on blogs do”, but on PlanetPOV we do it with much greater civility and respect than you do in this post. I have never seen a more uncalled for response on this site, and I hope I never do again.
Got a thumbs down from me, WTS.
I appreciate the support. I’m a big boy and can take it. I as emotional as anyone when I see the hateful pictures and story about President Obama as you know. But this kind of behavior will not be tolerated for long.
I did not demean your opinion or attack you.
I was rather upset when I read this post as well. If I had my way I would outlaw hanging a rebel flag since I know what hate they stand for but there has to be intent when something is made illegal.
I don’t know why you have the need to attack me personally or feel you have the right to preach to me. Frankly you don’t fucking know me and therefore don’t have the right to attack me personally.
dannie22, you are welcome here.
However, this site is far different from sites like HuffPo that profit off of and are delighted by people dissing each other.
This isn’t a place for throwing rocks at other people’s heads when you don’t like what they say.
Here, people disagree all the time but see each other as genuine human beings, not anonymous punching bags.
It may be a bit of culture shock, coming from the hatefest that’s HuffPo but that’s what makes this place something better.
If you reread his comment, you’ll see KQuark was not condoning the use of nooses. He was looking ahead and exploring the concept of people using valid reasons to create bad laws to go too far and take away freedoms.
Here, people are free to explore concepts like the abuse of law under cover of protecting people.
Do you blindly trust those who make laws to always do the right thing? What about The Patriot Act?
Your outrage over the racism that was obvious in the hanging of Obama in effigy is totally legit.
But going at a member here who clearly is not racist and is just as appalled by such things is not.
The kneejerk reaction and warfare style of blogging is for right wingers and of course, HuffPo. You get to be a real human being here, deserving of respect. But you have to give it too.
I hope that’s something you’re looking for, if so, I think you’ll find this site very satisfying.
Thank you AdLib. (again)
dannie22, you are welcome here but any comments with personal attacks are not so your reply with one towards KQuark was removed along with the replies to it. The primary rule here is simple, real freedom of expression but no personal attacks.
This site is far different from sites like HuffPo that profit off of and are delighted by people dissing each other.
You are prepared to assume intent. But that is not the same thing as proving intent.
I agree with you that whoever is hanging a noose is nearly certainly a racist asshole. But I don’t want them to go to prison when it is necessary that we assume their intent.
There is a reason that the first amendment is so absolute.
Interesting points. How many of them have been tested in court?
Bush was hung in effigy. Palin was hung in effigy.
Was anyone charged? Or were those not threats?
Interesting point. I don’t know. I think there is an embedded issue of who did it. As complicated as it gets, if the effigy was hung by someone who is Black, it might have been. Hard to do a realistic assessment of racial bias of white-on-white crime, yes? The characteristics don’t extend to “being president”. They DO extend to “being Black” and being president is beside the fact, back to your point about its not being treason. Courts are very careful, so I imagine if the Bush and Palin (I don’t recall that – Cheney, yes) effigies were linked to white people, then no, not a hate crime. Mean and nasty, yes. Not a hate crime.
I’m not just trying to get people to read my stuff, but I just posted a new article that concerns breaking news that is extremely important IMO.
I would ask you all to keep an eye on this situation…”Our Failed Intelligence” and I welcome your feedback and discussion.
Hi emerald – did you post on the Planet because I don’t see it. Is there a time lag? I will definitely watch for it! Thank you!
Yes I did, c-lady! It is listed as the first one on the list of “Recent Posts”.
It’s on the front page now, here’s the link: http://planetpov.com/2010/01/04/our-failed-intelligence/
Thanks, Adlib! You are amazing! 🙂
OK, I’m about to lower the tone of this really good discussion, but I feel like being honest.
I hate the people who hang effigies. I hate people who are racists and who write those signs. I hate hate. That is a contradiction, I know, but it is how I feel, and I admit I must work on this. But seriously, over the past eight years, there are deep wells of hatred in me that I never knew existed.
At first, I merely disliked Bush/Cheney intensely. But I have grown to hate them and the smug way they destroyed this country, with the help of C Street and their ilk. I hate the hypocrisy of the religious Right. And I hate the people who practice that hypocrisy. And I hate most Republicans for their self-righteous bootstraps greedy ideology.
So I guess I have some work to do. I am reminded of Ram Dass, who, after Bush was re-elected, put a photo of him on his prayer altar. He said that unless he could really pray for even Bush, he felt he hadn’t done his spiritual work. Well, I’ll never get to that level, but I realize that stories like this only incite me, and that makes me more like them than I care to be.
Just another reason I’d make a horrible Buddhist.
One of the greatest Zen teachers — Suzuki I think– was dying of cancer. His students watched his every move, every facial expression at the beginning of his announced illness. At some point he said to them, “I know you all want to learn how a Buddhist dies. So I’ll tell you now. When I die, I will probably be going,’No, ouch! This is horrible!Oooohh, damn!’ ”
Hardly with the serenity they’d expected.
So, what’s a ‘good” Buddhist, anyway?
Three in the morning–two in the afternoon.
it ‘s a Koan
What’s a “good Buddhist” ROFLMAO
A very honest post, Cher! I’ve been there, too. It’s amazing how easily we can be pulled into the world of fear and anger that is the natural habitat of the Bush/Cheney types. And that’s just what they want. Misery does indeed love company.
I actually did pray for the Bush creeps, although the words practically stuck in my throat to the point of emesis! Emotionally I didn’t “feel” the prayer at all, but I felt that if I didn’t, at the very least, wish that the “light” would come into their lives, I was going to end up in a very dark place mentally. I just couldn’t go there. It was almost a form of self-preservation for me to say no to the impulse to wish them ill. But, God, that impulse was there. I can’t deny it.
Kes, you did what I know is the best thing to do. In all sincerity, I deeply admire that. I am so not there. I am caught between two worlds on this– one, a strong need for justice towards the deeds of BushCo. and two, the need to send out more light to overcome the dark. I guess that’s why I am a jubu– a spiritual mutt, I guess.
You’ll always be a thoroughbred in our book!
“…to the point of emesis!” LMAO
Only a nurse would write that, Kes! But Kudos to you for being able to pray for that bunch of war criminals without tossing your cookies! 🙂
It was close, my friend, very close!! 😮
Hope your day has gone well.
(I’m off to bed soon!)
Me? I think I was saying that we should not fear speech, even hateful speech.
I wasn’t responding to your post, K7, as much as the images it evoked, and to the photo in one of the replies. But I do not fear it, in the sense that as Nat Hentoff once said, better to know what’s in people’s minds. It’s not exactly fear– although I too think that in the unique circumstance of a AA President– extra precautions must be taken. It’s loathing for the reasons behind the speech.
Oh, it is certainly loathsome. I have said that repeatedly: the racists have the right to expose themselves as assholes, and we have a right to call them out for being assholes.
We should definitely fear speech — or if not fear, be alert to it. Hate speech is often the precursor to hateful actions. And we need to take it seriously. And in some cases, fear is a very intelligent response to hate speech.
Good point add deceptive and manipulative speech to that as well. Speech is nothing but an extension of people’s though processes or feelings. It’s the smoke before the fire. Time and time again as soon as the hate speech is accepted into the mainstream hate action follows.
I don’t think hate speech should be banned but it should be monitored and put into the proper perspective as a potential threat.
If we do have a conversation on free speech we should try to get Mo on it because he’s got some great insight from another perspective.
Agreed. I don’t think any kind of speech should be banned, unless it threatens children. It’s hard to argue with that paradigm.
But speech is always in context, and we need to pay attention to context. Nothing is absolute one way or the other. Meaning is what matters.
Obviously we need not fear speech, but rather action. Certainly one must take hate speech seriously, but in many cases the best response is to scoff at the asshole making the speech.
I think we have a perfect example in Plains. Point at her. Laugh at her. Laugh at her fellow residents. Shame the haters.
Wrong. Speech is a precursor to action. And it needs to be respected. As someone who lives threatened by all kinds of hate speech, let me tell you, it is no joke. And when someone says something dangerous, an intelligent response is to be afraid and run away.
Well, I would say you need not run from this granny racist, at least.
Unless she’s packing.
Hating hatred is one of those cognitive dissonances that we sometimes have to battle.
I’ve been Buddhist for over 20 years, and I know my spiritual development is still lacking. I am having much difficulty with people who torture and kill innocent victims. Soooo, Cheney does not get my prayers. That’s gonna’ take a lot of work!
As my teacher once told me– Don’t worry, you have many, many more lifetimes to work it out.
No doubt about it! 🙂
Cher, I found myself in the same thought process and I don’t like it. I t so shameful what BushCo has done…And be sooo Smug about it. It is difficult, very difficult, to not have a shadow on one’s heart. They may make me feel sadness and anger but I hpoe I will not allow them to darken my heart.
Bito, I strive for at sadness and anger.