Friday, February 19, 2010

Chuck Baldwin: "My heart goes out to Joe Stack!"

Right wing politician, preacher and radio talker Chuck Baldwin has written a column sympathizing with Joe Stack, the Texas man who yesterday deliberately crashed a small plane into an office building killing himself and at least one other person and seriously burning two others. The column, entitled I Wish Joe Stack Had Not Killed Himself!, is posted on Baldwin's website. Baldwin expresses concern that the mainstream media will somehow distort the story to make Stack look bad. He writes:

By the time this column is released on Friday, however, I'm sure we will all have been inundated with copious references to this man, Joe Stack, as being "off his rocker," or similar assertions. Perhaps our friends at DHS will label Stack a "right-wing domestic terrorist." However, Mr. Stack apparently left behind a "suicide manifesto" explaining his actions. After carefully reading Stack's manifesto, I am quite convinced that he was not crazy, and he was not a "terrorist." However, he was angry.

A lot of us are angry--and for many of the same reasons that Mr. Stack was angry! While I would certainly take exception to some of the things Stack says in his manifesto, he said things that many of us are feeling.

...and...

My heart goes out to Joe Stack! The sentiments expressed above are shared by millions of Americans who are also fed up with Big Brother. We are fed up with our country being turned into a burgeoning police state, under the rubric of "national security." We are fed up with the harassments (sic) of the IRS. We know the "war on drugs" is merely the government's way of cutting out the competition (this is exactly what more than one retired federal law enforcement agent--employed in the drug war--told me). We know the "war on terror" is nothing but an excuse to trample our constitutional liberties. We are fed up with the voracious vampires known as the Federal Reserve sucking the lifeblood out of the veins of America's hardworking Middle Class. We are tired of the CFR, CIA, and America's State Department manufacturing perpetual wars that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives for the benefit of the global elite. We are fed up with an arrogant and oppressive federal government that is strangling the life and freedom out of our states. We all share Joe Stack's pain!

I really wish Joe Stack had not killed himself, however. We need each other. By taking his life, he reduced our strength. The global elites delight in our demise. As we grow weaker, they grow stronger.

But the fight is not over; the battle is not lost! Rumblings of freedom's revival can be felt across the length and breadth of this nation. The clanging of liberty's resolve can be heard in hamlets and villages from Montana to South Carolina. There are still millions of us--from virtually every walk of life--who will not surrender our liberties without a fight! And we have not yet begun to fight!


While Baldwin makes a great deal of agreeing with the contents of Stack's rambling suicide suicide, even going so far as to claim that everyone would agree with them, he makes no mention of the victims of Stack's horrible attack and utterly fails to explain why he does not consider the attack terrorism. In fact, Baldwin puts the term "terrorist" in quotes. Does he not believe that such a thing exists? (On the other hand, he also puts "suicide manifesto" in quotes. He may just like to use quotes where they aren't needed.)

Baldwin has twice run for high office. He ran for the vice-presidency in 2004 on the Constitution Party ticket, gaining endorsements from the Alaskan Independence Party, the League of the South, the Southern Party of Georgia, Samuel T. Francis, Alex Jones, Howard Phillips, Taki Theodoracopulos and Pat Buchanan. In 2008, Baldwin was involved in Ron Paul's campaign for the Republican nomination. With Paul's defeat, Baldwin himself ran for the presidency, again on the Constitution Party ticket. Paul endorsed Baldwin's candidacy. (Read here.)

Baldwin got his start in politics in Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. He has been associated with the the militia movement, radical states rights/secessionism, and anti-tax, anti-immigrant and 9/11 truth movements. He has also said that he "believe(s) the South was right in the War Between the States". (Read here.) He preaches at a church he founded in 1975 (read here), and writes a column at the far-right VDare website (read here).

http://kelso.stormfront.org/Kelsoimages/Chuck_Baldwin_Ron_Paul_March_July_12_2008.jpg

18 comments:

carmenjonze said...

Other RWNJ trash like Jones & Co are already trying to promote b.s. like "false flag" and "THE FBI KNEW!!!!"

T-10 until they launch into blaming "Israel"/"Zionists".

bruce said...

What a joke, just goes to show you, we are at as much - or greater - risk from right wing domestic terrorism than we are Islamic terrorism.

That said, following the Ft.Hood shooting, even some in the Obama administration were reluctant to call that incident terrorism. For example, his speech at Ft.Hood itself did not call the attack terrorism. And then you had code pink using Ft.Hood as an example of blowback from our policies. Personally, I think Code Pink is right on the money. As long as we go on supporting Israel we can expect ongoing blowback from the Muslim world - only understandable.

What's offensive about Chuck Baldwin saying what he did is that it is simply so wrong - that is to say incorrect - not so much that it is offensive.

ernie1241 said...

Although my heart does not "go out" to Joe Stack, I think a valid question can be asked:

What is so unique about our IRS that it engenders such enormous hostility -- so much, in fact, that people are willing to commit suicide to make a point?

How come we never hear about suicide missions or violence directed against city, county, or state revenue enforcement agencies?

It is easy to dismiss Stack as a deranged mind or an extremist -- but we should open our minds to discovering why someone becomes receptive to ending their life because of a dispute with a government agency.

Adam Holland said...

ernie1241:

Rubbish. Legitimate criticism of the IRS should not be based on understanding senseless acts of terrorism.

This man's killing of himself and his innocent victims in such a spectacular fashion (not to mention his attempted killing of his own family which immediately preceded his attack on the IRS office) was the act of a sadistic fool. That is how I understand it. Those who have things to say about the IRS would be well advised to get as far from the actions of Joe Stack as possible or risk being branded as fools themselves.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh, Ernie. But the idea that any cause justifies terrorism of this kind infuriates me. We're not talking about someone who sued the IRS or conducted civil disobedience against them. We're talking about a maniac who killed innocent people.

Bruce:

This one attack doesn't prove that we are more in danger from domestic terrorists than from foreign ones, just that there is danger from both. By the way, your contrasting domestic and Islamic terrorism is a false dichotomy which fails to recognize the existence of millions of American Muslims.

Your agreement with what you refer to as Code Pink's characterization of the Fort Hood attack -- that it's blowback for U.S. policies -- is (like Ernie's) a misguided attempt to "understand" the senselessly brutal act of a maniac. Why don't you save your understanding for someone who deserves it? Do yourself a favor: do your best to distance yourself and your causes from acts of terror. You may hate Israel enough to support terror against it, but as long as you do, you and your cause will be associated with terrorism.

ernie1241 said...

Adam: You are falling into the trap which anger produces.

Instead of understanding the underlying reasons which produced the act, you want to focus exclusively upon the act itself.

Only if we understand the underlying emotional triggers do we ever have a chance to recognize what produces people like Stack.

As I previously asked, why are violent acts or threats against the IRS relatively common---but violence or threats against other tax agencies (of all types and at all levels of government) are extraordinarily rare?

We should not let our anger prevent us from seeking an answer to that question.

Adam Holland said...

ernie:

People hate the IRS because it takes their money and intrudes into their lives. That's no mystery. I don't need Joe Stack to tell me about that.

ernie1241 said...

Adam -- your most recent comment in reply to mine is, frankly, silly.

There are literally hundreds of government agencies (city, county, state, and federal) that "take money" from our people. But only the IRS seems to engender the extreme hostility of which I have written.

Off the top of my head, I cannot recall anybody committing suicide as a protest against the actions or behavior of another government agency.

Your reply reminds me of the debates I had in the 1960's about Vietnam when I asked critics of my anti-war views to address WHY Buddhists in Vietnam were immolating themselves as a protest against the South Vietnamese government. Those critics (like you) also dismissed my questions because they did not want to address the underlying questions which might cause them to acknowledge fundamental defects in our foreign policy choices.

Adam Holland said...

OK Ernie. Let me try to summarize what you just wrote in the hope that you will see the flaws in your argument.

1) You believe that Joe Stack, who attempted to kill many innocent people including his own family, is like the self-immolating Vietnamese Buddhist priests. You also think that I'm silly because I don't agree with something so obviously true.

2) You think that my opposition to terrorist attacks equals opposition to any criticism of the IRS.

3) You think that all of this makes me like a supporter of the Vietnam War.

I am speechless.

TNC said...

Bruce, the "blowback" argument would make sense if Hasan were someone who had been negatively impacted by U.S. foreign policy or a former anti-communist mujahedin fighter who ended up fighting against the U.S. in Afghanistan.

But this guy was a *volunteer* for the U.S. military and an officer to boot.

If you think Hasan was not well aware of U.S. foreign and military policy towards Israel and the rest of the world when he enlisted, you are even denser that I thought. Seriously, dude. This sort of inanity might fly at the Ron Paul forums or wherever you came from but not at places where people actually think.

Ernie writes:

"we should open our minds to discovering why someone becomes receptive to ending their life because of a dispute with a government agency."

I agree. But I suspect far more members of the armed forces have killed themselves due to disputes with the military than the number of people who have killed themselves due to disputes with the IRS.

Also, I think it is a mistake to view Stack's action as a simple suicide. It was more of a kamikaze action. In other words, he did not only intend to kill himself, he aimed to kill a lot of others.

In this regard, I think the example of courthouse violence/killings is more apt. I suspect a lot more bailiffs and judges (local/state) have been killed in the past than IRS agents.

ernie1241 said...

Adam...you are deliberately misrepresenting what I have written. Why?

THREE times I have told you that we should try to understand the underlying emotional triggers which explain why someone like Joe Stack did what he felt compelled to do.

Your "summary" below is totally absurd and you know it. My comments appear underneath yours preceded by ***
----------------------

OK Ernie. Let me try to summarize what you just wrote in the hope that you will see the flaws in your argument.

1) You believe that Joe Stack, who attempted to kill many innocent people including his own family, is like the self-immolating Vietnamese Buddhist priests. You also think that I'm silly because I don't agree with something so obviously true.

***Yes, South Vietnamese killed themselves in protest to their government and Joe Stack likewise killed himself in protest. In BOTH cases, we should understand WHY people are willing to end their lives as a protest to something they perceive as intolerably noxious about their government.

2) You think that my opposition to terrorist attacks equals opposition to any criticism of the IRS.

***TOTALLY FALSE -- and you know it. You just created a straw man argument.

3) You think that all of this makes me like a supporter of the Vietnam War.

***TOTALLY FALSE -- and you know it. You just created another straw man argument.

I will repeat my message one last time.

1. The type of venom which motivated Joe Stack is quite unique -- i.e. not an everyday occurrence.

2. We should ask ourselves WHY the IRS produces such rage whereas other government agencies (city, county, state, and federal) that are involved with "taking money" from people don't produce comparable rage, i.e. suicide protests.

3. It is easy to dismiss or trivialize anything we do not understand.

4. If we GENUINELY want to prevent future Joe Stacks -- we MUST understand what it is about the IRS that produces such unique hostility and why otherwise rational people express sympathy for Stack.

Adam Holland said...

ernie:

1) Joe Stack attempted to kill a large number of people, not just himself. Compare him to a kamikaze pilot or suicide bomber if you want, but don't compare him to the Vietnamese priests. You must see the difference.

2) If you want to argue that 9/11 should make us want to understand the mindset of bin Laden and his followers -- fine -- I can accept that. But that's a long way from saying that it should make me sympathetic to their cause or make me accede to their demands. Understanding someone's motivation does not equal sympathy for it.

3) You argue that the IRS is responsible for producing Joe Stack, so we should change the IRS. If you propose changing the IRS -- fine, but find a better rationale. Joe Stack was just a maniac loser who got off on mass murder. I don't believe in changing policy based on the actions of insane murderers.

No time for more on this now, but I'll revisit what you wrote later to see if I've misstated your opinions.

ernie1241 said...

I don't argue that the IRS necessarily is responsible for producing Joe Stack. I argue that we should engage our intellect to discover IF there might be something about policies of the IRS or behavior of IRS employees that evokes such unique rage.

I don't understand why you think Buddhists who used suicide as a form of protest in South Vietnam is not a proper comparison (and incidentally they were not all "priests").

(1) It is exceptional for someone (especially someone healthy who can anticipate many years of remaining life) to kill themselves.

(2) It is even more exceptional for such a person to kill himself in protest to perceived actions of, or attitudes by, government employees.

(3) Just normal human curiosity should spark some interest in explaining this phenomenon -- particularly since it is so rare.

Back in the 1970's and 1980's there was a phenomenon called the Tax Protestor Movement [TPM].

The TPM folks also expressed violent rhetoric toward the IRS. But (and this is critically important) they did not engage in what another reader here perhaps appropriately has described as kamikaze behavior.

Instead, the TPM...
*organized itself in every state
*created newsletters such as Tax Strike News
*developed anti-tax seminars to express their viewpoints
*filed innumerable lawsuits against the IRS
*and they developed a movement designed to convince Americans that income tax laws were unjust, invalid, and should not be obeyed.

You can see a good introduction to their arguments here:

http://www.quatloos.com/Tax_Protestors_Page.htm -and-

http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html

In the 1980's I wrote a 150-page report about the TPM which included a Directory to more than 200 anti-tax groups around the country.

The amount of sympathy which Joe Stack has produced in some circles should serve as an "alarm bell". It is easy for us to dismiss everyone as an anti-government extremist or terrorist enabler -- but I think we should delve more deeply into this person's behavior.

Adam Holland said...

I keep on pointing to the difference between mass-murder and suicide, and you keep on ignoring this difference. Do you acknowledge that, while the right to protest via suicide can legitimately be argued, the right to protest via mass-murder cannot? If you acknowledge this, then we are in agreement on this point. If you do not, then I must strongly disagree with you.

With respect to your anti-IRS activism, I would be more than happy to look at your work in this area. Please take my suggestion and don't continue to associate it with acts of terrorism.

I strongly disagree with your opinion that acts of terror are a reason for reviewing public policy. That there are other, better reasons, I don't doubt. If you cite Joe Stack's actions as a reason for doing something that may have a sounder basis, you only hurt your cause. Remember, I am not alone in thinking this is the act of an insane man under the influence of an insane ideology. (I'm using the term "insane" in the non-legal sense. He may have been sane enough to be culpable.) I feel that most people are similarly repelled by violence in the name of anti-tax extremism.

[NOTE: In my earlier comments, instead of "priests" I should have written "monks".]

ernie1241 said...

The difference between "mass murder" and "suicide" is, of course, body count.

But my essential point remains the same, i.e. attempting to understand the rage which produced such behavior.

You pose the following question to me:

"Do you acknowledge that, while the right to protest via suicide can legitimately be argued, the right to protest via mass-murder cannot?"

Your question reveals that you still don't understand my point.

This isn't a matter of me "acknowledging" anything. The question is: how do we prevent such acts in the future if we are unwilling to examine the underlying reasons for it and, instead, we dismiss the incident as nothing more than the irrational act of an "insane" person or "maniac loser"?

Whether you want to describe Stack's behavior as attempted "mass murder" or "suicide" is irrelevant because, either way, we are left with the same unanswered question which I posed previously: what is so unique about the IRS that it provokes this exceptional anger?

Lastly, you mis-interpreted my previous comment about my report on the Tax Protest Movement.

I was not enagaged "anti-IRS activism".

I became interested in the TPM and wrote a report about it because a considerable number of the key players in that movement were right-wing conspiracy adherents who used conspiratorial narratives and quite violent anti-government language in their arguments. Nevertheless, their hyperbolic language did not lead to suicide missions.

Adam Holland said...

Ernie:

If you believe that "(t)he difference between "mass murder" and "suicide" is, of course, body count", I don't know what I can say to reach you.

bruce said...

TNC, how dare you. I despise Ron Paul and everything nuts like him stand for.

I'm a progressive through and through, and being progressive means standing up for human rights. To stand up for human rights, means one must stand against those who violate Human Rights, such as the state of Israel. Personally I think it speaks volumes that the only presidential candidates remotely critical of Israel on the right lose the primary and run third party (Buchanan and Ron Paul). The Republicans are trained monkeys when it comes to serving the state of Israel (even when doing so is blatantly against the interests of America). BTW: There similarity to monkeys in this regard should be all the proof of evolution anyone needs.

And Adam, I respect that you're a progressive... but I think you're failing to see the opportunity that something like Fort Hood presents. It's a chance to understand "why they hate us." Perhaps it was not primarily our relationship with Israel that drove the Ft.Hood shooting, but it is certainly part of the wider anger by the Muslim world against us.

And a simple numbers game proves we are at greater risk from domestic terror then Islamic terror. Consider the number of people supporting the extreme anti-government slogans pandered out at these tea-party rallies. Then the number of militia groups the Southern Poverty Law center has documented, they certainly can only have documented a small proportion of them. It's simple logic.

As an aside, I think what we really need for the peace process to move forward, is a diplomatic falling out between Israel and the US. What's encouraging is that fewer then 3% of Israelis see Obama as pro Israel (mainly due to his stand on settlements and assisting Gaza rebuilding). If the Israeli leaders were to reflect this in their actions, then it would become clear to moderate Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria that Obama can be an impartial arbiter of the peace process.

Adam Holland said...

Bruce:

1) You stand with Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel in the name of protecting human rights? Your selective outrage speaks volumes.

2) Your belief that the Fort Hood mass-murder was a clarion call for cutting off Israel also speaks volumes. I think that the sacrifice of those who died at Fort Hood is a clarion call not to do what you advocate.

3) The fact that you respect that I'm on the political left makes no difference to me because it makes no sense. On both the left and the right are a myriad of views, some of which have merit, some of which don't. In previous comments here, you have supported the idea that Israelis provided aid to Haiti after the recent earthquake in order to steal human organs. In light of that and your other "interesting" beliefs, why should I care whether you're of the left or the right, or what you think about my liberalism?

bruce said...

2) Your belief that the Fort Hood mass-murder was a clarion call for cutting off Israel also speaks volumes. I think that the sacrifice of those who died at Fort Hood is a clarion call not to do what you advocate.

What? How could what happened at Ft.Hood be a clarion call to continue support for Israel? What... does it demonstrate that Muslims can't be trusted? I'm missing the logic here. You sound a lot like the right wingers who following Ft.Hood began saying we need a re-think of hiring Muslims in the army, as if they were some sort of dangerous fifth column.

1) You stand with Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel in the name of protecting human rights? Your selective outrage speaks volumes.

No, I don't support Hamas and Hezbollah. I do think that it's important to understand what drives them... and like many progressives I realize that it's poverty and the illegal occupations. I also think it's interesting that people like you call them terrorist organizations, but when the IDF intentionally bombs a school or hospital, it's just "collateral damage."

Back to the subject. As Obama said after 9/11: "We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness."

In the case of the IRS attack the reason is clear, the guy was nuts and didn't want to pay taxes. Well, nothing we can do there. But in the case of Hamas, there are real changes we can make, especially with regard to US policy, that would reduce their anger. Obama has begun to make those changes.

And on the topic of Haiti, I said I wasn't sure one way or the other, and I'm still not. I was just asking for transparency! By the way, this year is the sixth annual Israeli Apartheid Week at the university of Toronto and at campuses all across the country. You might go down and speak to some activists. I think you'd see that progressivism & pro-palestinian activism go hand in hand.

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