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Right-wing backlash against Obama?

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Following the fatal shooting of a guard at the Holocaust Museum in the US capital, the BBC's Kevin Connolly in Washington asks whether Barack Obama's election as president is provoking right-wing fringe groups to commit violent acts.

An elderly fanatic shoots dead a black security guard at the museum in Washington DC where America commemorates the Jews killed in Europe by the Nazis.

A week earlier, thousands of miles away in Wichita, Kansas, another lone gunman enters a crowded church and shoots dead Dr George Tiller, who ran a busy abortion clinic.

Within hours of the latest attack, blogs and social networking sites are buzzing with talk that the two incidents taken together confirm the rise of right-wing extremism in America.

On the left there is a strong belief that the attacks confirm a report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security earlier in the year which warned that the current political and economic circumstances in the US were creating a hothouse atmosphere within which right-wing extremism would flourish.

Those political circumstances, of course, include the election of America's first black President, Barack Obama - an event greeted with rage and horror on the extreme right.

When it was published, the Homeland Security report attracted scathing criticism from conservative politicians.

The Secretary for Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, found herself on the defensive over an assertion in the report that returning military veterans were particularly attractive to far-right groups because of their experience with explosives and firearms.

So does that report look remarkably prescient in the light of the events of the last few weeks?

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, a civil-rights organisation in Montgomery, Alabama which tracks what it regards as far-right groups, is in no doubt.

A spokesman told the BBC: "There is a rising tide of right-wing domestic terrorism motivated by extreme anti-government sentiments. Although there's not a link they share a hatred of the US government and its policies."

But there is always a great danger in taking the facts - or the apparent facts - in a handful of cases and trying to weave them into a narrative about life in this vast, complex and diverse country.

It is true of course that the targets for the shooters in the two cases - the Holocaust Museum and a doctor who carried out abortions - were traditional targets of hatred for different elements of the extreme right.

But let us not forget that the victims of violence here in the last two weeks also include a young soldier called Andy Long, who was shot dead outside an army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The alleged shooter in that case is a young man called Abdulhakim Muhammad, an American convert to Islam who was born Carlos Bledsoe in Memphis, Tennessee.

His apparent motive was a belief in jihadist violence against America as an act of revenge for what he saw as suffering inflicted on Muslims by the US.

That shooting too is about hatred in its own way but it does not sit comfortably as part of a trend about the rise of the right.

And there are other factors to consider too - not least the fact that 30,000 people a year die of gunshot wounds here in all sorts of circumstances.

James von Brunn, the man alleged to have murdered the guard at the Holocaust Museum, is a veteran of anti-Semitic and white supremacist causes.

He may, bizarrely, turn out to be more obsessed with Anne Frank than Barack Obama.

Like many Holocaust deniers, Mr von Brunn apparently disputed the truth of the story of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who remained in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Holland and who died in a concentration camp shortly after they were captured by the Germans.

The Holocaust Museum was about to stage a play in which Anne appears as a character. Might that have been the catalyst for this attack?

Mr von Brunn also carried a bizarre attack in the early 1980s when he tried to kidnap members of America's central bank, the Federal Reserve Board, in a protest at high interest rates.

When he was jailed, he blamed the "black/Jewish jury and the Jew judge". His hateful obsessions in other words flourished long before the world had heard of Barack Obama.

The election of the new president does not really work as an explanation in the Tiller case either.

The doctor could easily have died in 1993 - 15 years before Mr Obama came to power - when he was shot and seriously injured by an anti-abortion campaigner.

Scott Roeder, the man alleged to have murdered Dr Tiller, did apparently share many views of the far-right fringe of American society.

But in a custody battle he was also described as a diagnosed schizophrenic who refused to take medicine to control the condition. Mental health issues often play a role here too.

The point of all this? Well, these murders did take place in Barack Obama's America where there does exist a right-wing fringe which is incensed at the idea that the US has chosen a black president.

But that does not explain the murder of Pte Andrew Long.

If there is a real unifying theme in all these sad deaths it is perhaps that this is a country where the existence of extreme ideas on the fringes of mainstream life and the wide availability of firearms create a potent cocktail.

In those circumstances there will always be dangerous individuals, sometimes deluded, sometimes fanatical, sometimes calculatingly cold-blooded, who will be ready to kill.

The election of Barack Obama may have intensified those circumstances, but it did not create them.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8096065.stm

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The point of all this? Well, these murders did take place in Barack Obama's America where there does exist a right-wing fringe which is incensed at the idea that the US has chosen a black president.

Good article but Obama is no more hated than any U.S. president.


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The point of all this? Well, these murders did take place in Barack Obama's America where there does exist a right-wing fringe which is incensed at the idea that the US has chosen a black president.

Good article but Obama is no more hated than any U.S. president.

A LITTLE MORE TIME WILL PUT HIM IN FIRST PLACE!!!

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The point of all this? Well, these murders did take place in Barack Obama's America where there does exist a right-wing fringe which is incensed at the idea that the US has chosen a black president.

Good article but Obama is no more hated than any U.S. president.

A LITTLE MORE TIME WILL PUT HIM IN FIRST PLACE!!!

There's hope it will happen but we can't say he'll fail or it will happen. Bad thoughts make Obama cry or smoke another cigarette.


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A new Zogby poll states that Obama's approval ratings are near 60%, but nearly all of the remaining 40% who disapprove of Obama are on VJ :rofl:

:rolleyes:


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A new Zogby poll states that Obama's approval ratings are near 60%, but nearly all of the remaining 40% who disapprove of Obama are on VJ

Approval of what? There's nothing positive to attribute to Obama beyond a record number of magazine covers with his grinning mug on it. The magazine aisle looks like a stack of Cream of Wheat boxes.


David & Lalai

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Greencard Received Date: July 3, 2009

Lifting of Conditions : March 18, 2011

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A new Zogby poll states that Obama's approval ratings are near 60%, but nearly all of the remaining 40% who disapprove of Obama are on VJ

Approval of what? There's nothing positive to attribute to Obama beyond a record number of magazine covers with his grinning mug on it. The magazine aisle looks like a stack of Cream of Wheat boxes.

Of course. The daily job of the presidency can be put on autopilot, as demonstrated by his predecessor.

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