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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

How Are These Smelly Protesters Different From Earlier Ones?



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A lot about the legal ramifications of the Awlaki killing, and Occupy Wall Street in the final Morning Jolt of the week:

Can We Start Calling Wall Street the ‘Occupied Territories’ Now?

As regular readers know, I’ve been on the road a lot for the past two weeks, and the travel interfered my regular news consumption habits. So I knew that there was this “Occupy Wall Street” protest going on, and I couldn’t tell what, if anything, was different from the usual patchouli-smelling hippies and malcontents protesting anything and everything in a major city, complete with shouted slogans that sound something like “INCOHERENT CHANTING NOW! INCOHERENT CHANTING NOW!” The anti-war crowd, the anti-Bush crowd, the anti-WTO crowd . . . we’ve seen this stuff before, right?

Eh, maybe this is a bit different.

The translation of the free-floating rage into death threats seem more explicit this time around: “Several influential New York state lawmakers have received threatening mails saying it is ‘time to kill the wealthy’ if they don’t renew the state’s tax surcharge on millionaires, according to reports. ‘It’s time to tax the millionaires!’ reads the email, according to WTEN in Albany. ‘If you don’t, I’m going to pay a visit with my carbine to one of those tech companies you are so proud of and shoot every spoiled Ivy League [expletive] I can find.’ State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos reportedly received the email, as did State Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari. The governor’s office did not tell the New York Daily News whether the governor received the email.”

Bryan Preston has the same instant reaction that I did: “Remember when Sarah Palin’s innocuous and irrelevant map became a bloody shirt when an apolitical nutcase went on a shooting rampage? Well, forget about that. Put it out of your mind. Now that President Obama has been waging sustained rhetorical war on the rich to get himself re-elected at any cost, the media isn’t going to make the connection between his words, those of leftists like Roseanne Barr, and these email threats and whatever might follow.”

Moe Lane asks whether the threats are inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests, and concludes, “By ‘maybe,’ of course, I mean ‘Of course they are, unless it’s a hoax.’ Which possibility you’re expected to always have to take into account, in these cases . . . at least, if you’re expected to if you’re a conservative or a Republican. If somebody sent a death threat that referenced Tea Party rhetoric the media and other Democrats would fall all over themselves in their haste to be the first one to call for scalps. In a metaphorical and nonviolent way, of course.”


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