Archive for Idaho

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Jolted by a Rare Truism

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Jolted by a rare truism

Barack Obama himself has never had the guts to say it.

Indeed, while it is famously difficult to prove a negative, it seems apparent that few people in all of politics and media have had the guts to say it. Did John McCain ever say it? Did Rick Santorum or Bill O’Reilly?

So let us plant a little flag for, mark with a yellow highlighter, the thing Rep. Raul Labrador said Sunday on “Meet the Press”: that “it wouldn’t matter” if President Obama were a Muslim. And if it seems rather much to be handing out medals for such a modest statement of principle, well … the principle has been under fire for so long that even a modest statement feels momentous.

In recent years, public figures have made news for refuting (like McCain) or failing to refute (like Santorum) the canard that Obama is a follower of Islam. But outside of Colin Powell, who did so a few years back on “Meet the Press,” it is difficult to think of many — or any — who have dared to confront the notion implicit in the lie. Namely, that being a Muslim is incompatible with being an American.

This is taken by some as self-evident truth even as Muslim soldiers risk their lives on our battlefields, Muslim cops risk their lives on our streets, Muslim teachers teach our children, Muslim reporters report our news, Muslim politicians help to make our laws, and Muslim-Americans struggle against those who believe our sacred ideals cover other people, but not them.

Thus, a fleeting statement that should have been obvious to the point of mundanity feels instead like a water station in the Mojave.

Labrador is no fan of the president’s. His comment about Islam was made en route to a contention that Obama’s policies have “weakened” the nation. Labrador is a Republican and a conservative from a very Republican and conservative state, Idaho. It is his political and ideological kin who are most responsible for pushing — and believing — the Obama-as-Muslim narrative. All of which imbues his remark with a welcome patina of political courage and moral clarity.

Perhaps he would agree that what has historically weakened this nation at least as much as any policy the president has ever pursued is the tiresome notion that some of us are more American than the rest of us, that the “all” in “all men are created equal” refers only to those of the right gender, genus, sexual or political orientation, or faith. It is an idea abhorrent to the aforementioned sacred ideals, yet one embraced eagerly in recent years by those who apparently feel bereft without someone to fear.

It is a shameful truth of American history that there has never been a shortage of someones to fear, nor of those who were willing to maximize and exploit that fear. It is an equally shameful truth that Americans, in thrall to that fear, have committed grievous sins against both human rights and those sacred ideals.

And always, it begins with some false, implicit truth, some lie that gains such a foothold in the popular imagination, that becomes so pervasive and persuasive, no one even questions it anymore. Some, because they don’t think to; others, because they don’t dare to.

So someone says the German-Americans are traitors and let’s string that one up — and no one says a thing.

Someone says the Japanese-Americans are spies and let’s imprison them all behind barbed wire — and no one raises a cry.

And someone says all the Muslims are terrorists and we must rid our nation of them by any means necessary — and one hears only the arias of the crickets.

It is in those complicit silences that we lose ourselves, that we betray our ideals and that mobs are born. So there is nothing modest about even a modest statement of principle. And one cannot help but be glad Labrador, being what he is, said what he said.

It’s about time someone did.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.)

Shaun Winkler, White Supremacist, Running For County Sheriff

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2012 by loonwatch

Shaun Winkler, a member of the White Knights of the KKK, is running for sheriff in Bonner County, Idaho.

Shaun Winkler, a member of the White Knights of the KKK, is running for sheriff in Bonner County, Idaho.

Shaun Winkler, running for Bonner County Sheriff a bonafide ‘white supremacist’ claims that if elected he will not push his ‘white supremacist agenda.’

On the flimsiest of associations hatemongers pounce on any Muslim even contemplating running for office. They will go to great lengths to create and fabricate guilt-by-association smears, trying to cast the said Muslim as a ‘evil-scary-Islamizing-terrorist.’ Spencer in fact wants Muslims running for office to be subjected to a ‘special test’ to determine whether they should be allowed to run or take office.

Where is their outrage here?

Shaun Winkler, White Supremacist, Running For County Sheriff

SANDPOINT, Idaho — A white supremacist in northern Idaho wants to be the next Bonner County sheriff, saying federal overreach motivated him to run for the office.

Shaun Winkler of the White Knights of the KKK will go up against incumbent Sheriff Daryl Wheeler and Ponderay police officer Tim Fry in the Republican primary on May 15. The winner of that contest will face independent candidate Rocky Jordan in November.

But the 33-year-old says he’s not running to push a white supremacist agenda.

The Aryan Nations is long gone from northern Idaho, but its reputation has lingered to the embarrassment of locals.

Idaho: Ex-Vet Threatens Muslim Woman

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2011 by loonwatch

This should be treated as a hate crime.

Hearing continued for Twin Falls man charged with harassment

A preliminary hearing for a Twin Falls man charged with malicious harassment was postponed Thursday in order to allow the defendant time to find an attorney.

John Christopher Larsen, 42, appeared as his own defense in Twin Falls County 5th District Court to request time to find a lawyer, claiming he was denied a public defender.

Larsen was charged with felony harassment on Dec. 23 after he allegedly threatened a Muslim woman at the Twin Falls Walmart on Dec. 22. Witnesses told police that they heard Larsen yelling at the woman, saying Muslims didn’t belong in the U.S., and threatening her with a gun he said he was carrying under his shirt.

Larsen said Thursday he admitted himself into a psychiatric ward for three days following the incident, which had limited his time to find an attorney. Larsen said he had also requested his military records that would show he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq.

Magistrate Judge Thomas Kershaw granted a continuance and reminded Larsen that he was under a “no contact” order, meaning he is not to contact the alleged victim, who was in attendance Thursday in court along with other witnesses.

Kershaw instructed Larsen to keep Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs informed on his progress in finding a lawyer because Kershaw didn’t want witnesses to show up again only to have the hearing postponed again.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled soon after a person is charged in order to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant a felony conviction. Continuances are often requested by attorneys to allow them to gather more information prior to a hearing.