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March 30, 2010

Taking on the Government All the Rage these Days

Militia Bust.jpg

So his neighbor said he didn’t think it was a big deal David Stone (top row, far left) was in a militia and that people were regularly coming-and-going next door in military fatigues?

With all the venom coming out of the health care protests and with all the attention being showered on the angry and threatening Teabaggers, it was a relief to see these photos of a three state bust on Monday, the F.B.I. breaking up a Christian militia group planning a series of attacks in an attempt to spark “an antigovernment uprising.”

Michigan militia.jpg

I’m not drawing a connection between this group and the Tea Party, per se, but looking at this photo of Thomas Piatek’s van (Mr. Piatek, bottom row, far right) with the otherwise innocuous, if raggedy flag, I am questioning: the tolerance for public displays of threat, exactly where and when our elected leaders start drawing the line, what overlaps exist between militia groups and the Tea Party, and whether and how much media’s patronization of the latter serves to encourage the former?

(photo set: AP: This combo of eight photos provided by the U.S. Marshals Service on Monday March 29, 2010 shows from top left, David Brian Stone Sr. , 44, of Clayton, Mich,; David Brian Stone Jr. of Adrian, Mich,; Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio; Tina Mae Stone and bottom row from left, Michael David Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich,; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; Joshua John Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich. ; and Thomas William Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind. ,. Nine suspects tied to Hutaree, a Christian militia that was preparing for the Antichrist were charged with conspiring to kill police officers, then kill scores more by attacking a funeral using homemade bombs, federal prosecutors said Monday. Federal authorities say Stone’s other son, Joshua Matthew Stone is a fugitive. Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind. , was arrested Sunday in Illinois after an FBI raid Saturday in Hammond, Ind. In court Monday, he initially said he was the person named in the federal indictment, but when read the allegations, he said “I’m not that guy.” U.S. District Judge Paul Cherry ordered Piatek to return Wednesday for an identity and bond hearing. photo 2: M. Spencer Green/A.P.)

  • vicki

    Except for the one guy, bottom right, they all have the exact same facial expression. Unnerving.

  • Oskie

    I’m struck by how pale they all are. With the exception of Mr.Piatek, they look ashen even. They look like people who have already been prisoners for a very long time.

  • Lucaites

    I agree that the expressions are “unnerving” and there is really nothing flattering about any of them. And I certainly don’t want anything I say to
    be taken as support for this group (as always, “innocent until proven guilty”), but since our goal here at the BAG is to talk about images we should
    not forget that mug shots are NEVER flattering. There may be something of a vague intentionality–or at least functionality–in all of this since the publishing of such images is always animated by the authorities who have something of an interest in prosecuting those they accuse. But in any case, as I recall even Martha Stewart’s mug shot made her look somewhat unseemly … It’s the nature of the beast.

  • bystander

    I am questioning: the tolerance for public displays of threat [1], exactly where and when our elected leaders start drawing the line [2], what overlaps exist between militia groups and the Tea Party [3], and whether and how much media’s patronization of the latter serves to encourage the former [4]?

    That’s a lot of questions. [1] Looks to me like the public at large as well as our elected representatives have a pretty high tolerance. [2] Given [1], I don’t expect that line to be drawn anytime soon. [3] David Neiwert (of Crooks and Liars) wrote a book; Eliminationism. I would imagine between the Militia Groups and the Teabaggers there is an enormous gray space that reflects a continuum of affiliation. Perhaps the better question is to what extent can those who are the focus of Eliminationism be expected to recruit Teabaggers to their ranks. As suggested by the report Napolitano was called upon to defend, the Department of Homeland Security takes the risks of domestic violent extremism seriously. [4] The media is like a child with the attention span of a gnat; where’s the conflict that can be hyped, how titillating is it, how can it be exploited. Surely I would expect a feedback loops to exist among all these elements. I don’t rule out that the media is part of why the public’s tolerance is so high. The media desensitizes the public and expands the public’s tolerance with its coverage. Public officials participating in and/or supporting these Teabagger events get media coverage. The Teabaggers – as a fringe but accepted political group – get coverage beyond their actual numbers and provide great cover for elements a good deal more extremist than themselves. It’s win-win-win-win for all the parties involved. I don’t see the incentives that would interrupt/break the feedback loops.

  • Books Alive

    Rachel Maddow did a nine-minute segment on the Hutaree last night. She reprised a short video which was made by “Pale Horse,” the name Kristopher Sickels uses as his nom de guerre. It has been taken down from the internet, but Ed Schultz showed it last year on TV, so it is still available. It starts about 30 seconds into the segment.
    Schultz is very sensitive to and alarmed by these extremists and probably would like to see a stronger response from elected officials. We must thank the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center, who also identify this type of group, for their good work because this video is frightfully intimidating.

  • KevNYC

    To be honest, I haven’t followed this story much at all, but I have read that an FBI informant infiltrated them. You have to wonder how much COINTELPRO-like ( activities are going on now.

  • tinwoman

    The only reason they got busted is because they made concrete plans to kill local cops. That’s it. As far as our tolerance for threat goes, it’s absolutely limitless–you can talk about how you’re going to “get” Obama, about how he’s the antiChrist, etc. etc. but you better no plan on starting any drama with the local cops–they don’t like it, even though they agree with you about the Obama thing.
    I say this as a Michigan native with family members involved in both militias and law enforcement.
    If this bunch had decided to drive down to Cleveland to blow up a shopping mall, or better yet had decided to drive to Washington to attack some public monument, they may well have gotten away with that. But cops will protect themselves and their authority. The Hutaree got themselves busted by trying to sh*t too close to home.

  • Stan B.

    It’s extremely interesting to see major media jump over hoops to call these guys anything but what they are: TERRORISTS! Christian militia, religious extremists, misguided uneducated individuals who ban together using quasi religious and political beliefs to foster violent acts of death and destruction against anyone who thinks otherwise…
    They’re anything, anything but- Terrorists! Everyone knows that terrorists have dark skins, not red necks.

    • cb4freakin

      One more paranoid freak out there, I see. These guys were as capable of plotting war against the United States of America as George W. was at speaking a lucid sentence.

    • cb4freakin

      Stan? Do you ever feel that people are watching you? I’m serious. Do you?

  • Ten Bears

    I find the condition of that flag an accurate measure of teabagger dedication to the preservation of ‘America’.

    • cb4freakin

      Beat the life out of that sweet little flag, you coddled, spoiled little teabaggers. Get your pathetic, lazy, complacent, whining, asses up and do some real work for a change. Stop leeching off the industrious and get a REAL job.

  • John Whent

    As an outside the US observer, what I find striking in all the photos of the tea partyers is the relative calm of their get-togethers, especially compared to when the left comes out to protest.
    At many global meetings, G-8 leaders are almost always burnt in effigy by left-leaning protesters; thankfully I haven’t seen that level of hate directed toward Mr. Obama in the US by the teapartyers. Teapartyers also (to my knowledge) haven’t attacked the police barricades with gasoline bombs yet either, another common left-wing protest tactic.
    The right in the US has a way to go before their overt calls for violence reach the same cacophony evident globally on the left side of the political spectrum.
    I’d take a tea-party rally in my home town over a repeat of the WTO protests in Seattle any day.

  • Stan B.

    Keep in mind John, that the people the teabaggers represent (mainly whites already born to privilege in every way they are loathe to admit) are already in power, and have been since the very inception of this country.
    Please feel free to invite them to your home town- each and every one of them.

  • Stan B.

    Got that right!

  • crabby

    I love how everyone has them guilty and convicted even without any evidence. We have heard stuff, rumors, from the news and law enforcement. I know very little about this incident, but I do know the comments scare me. We know nothing but what we are told and we have jumped to conclusions about their precrime.

  • crabby

    concrete plans???? You know this how?

  • Jamie Martina

    I think we need to stop and take a minute to evaluate our own contempt for these incidents and the photographs that represent what is really being said under the surface. Yes, after reading the description of what these eight people were doing, my stomach lurched and each and everyone of their faces disgusted me. But then reading on when the article asks how long we will sit back and watch “public displays of threat,” I realized we are dangerously close to becoming the venom we are dismissing on this site. It should be noted that, while impossibly dense about covering their tracks (wearing fatigues up to the front door? Are you serious?), their (potential) demonstrations fall in line with what the ’60s generation aimed to do in order to turn their country into what they saw as fit.
    It would throwing alcohol onto a tiny grass fires if we were to advocate upping the level of surveillance on those who express openly their contrasting views to the government’s. Minus these eight wretched people, there must be a certain level of understanding from both parties, Teabaggers and Cofee partiers alike if we ever want these obscene displays of petty bickering to end. But I will admit, I have only given this issue the once-over, via this post on BNN making my opinions lack a certain objectivity of any kind.

  • Books Alive

    Stan is correct about the Tea Bag Nation members being in power. They have the self-confidence to come forward with their ideas in public; they happily pay $549 to attend a convention to share, compare, and expand their views. Semi-secret militia groups are a challenge to society with their hidden agendas.

  • tinwoman

    Whhhaaa……John, you are seeing something I’m clearly not. Screaming “nigger” at lawmakers, carrying assault weapons to meetings, carrying signs of Obama as a witch doctor and even worse things, and threatening to shoot people if they don’t get their way…all of that seems pretty darn violent to me.
    Do you need a body count to convince you that right-wingers are inclined to violence? You’re going to get one….sometime soon, I’m afraid.

  • tinwoman

    That was what they were arrested for, crabby. Inform yourself. They planned to kill nine policemen and then attack a funeral. Look it up.

  • DJCali

    It’s been irritating to me to keep hearing them referred to as “Christian” militia. So, they call themselves that, but they seem anything but Christian. Why not call them what they are: terrorists. There’s something about the media sticking so close to this label that I find unnerving. What, indeed, does it mean anymore to be called Christian anything? Does it refer to their actual religion, their cause, or is it supposed to create an association to the Christian conservative bloc, or make us feel that they are somehow less than terrorists because they are, after all, “Christian.” What? It’s like “ethnic cleansing.” Who and what actually needed cleansing? So much BS created by the words used.

  • g

    There are tens of thousands of left wing protestors who are orderly and mannerly. You mention the Seattle WTO – there were peace activists and labor unions all of whom obtained permits to march and behaved civilly. Much of the violence there was done by self-proclaimed anarchists. You can quibble whether anarchists are leftwing or not, but that behavior was not indicative of the left in general.
    and if you haven’t seen ugliness and hate in Teaparty gatherings, you’re looking at the wrong photos.

  • Matthew Hambleton

    In response to: “I am questioning: the tolerance for public displays of threat, exactly where and when our elected leaders start drawing the line.”
    You mean like these examples?

  • crabby

    Tinwoman, believe everything you read or hear? Were you informed that IRAQ had WND’s? Look it up. Sheesh, the sheep.

  • tinwoman

    Inform YOURSELF, crabby. That’s the key here. Then come on the thread and tell us how afraid you are of our comments…..

  • crabby

    how am I to inform myself on this? Suck up what the media tells us? You call that informed? Look at the picture of the dimwits, they scare you? They are a threat to our government? Geez tinwoman – grow up and open your eyes and recognize when you are been spoon fed lies. Your “inform yourself” bullshit is just that bullshit. You have no information either, just agitprop.

  • tinowman

    Yes crabby, dimwits scare me. Rattlesnakes and scorpions aren’t very smart either, but they can still kill people.
    Intelligence is no prerequisite for creating a great deal of violence–in fact, it helps to be stupid enough to not understand that actions have consequences. Yes, we need to fear stupid people enough to arrest them when they try to kill us.
    As for your assertion that the media can never be believed…..oh, please, give it up already. I distrust the media as much as anybody, but within reason. You’re roaming into Ruby Ridge territory with that tinfoil hat at this point, bud.

  • Chris

    “…what overlaps exist between militia groups and the Tea Party [3], and whether and how much media’s patronization of the latter serves to encourage the former [4]?”
    As for the media’s culpability, I’m reminded of these statistics from a couple of polls and recent commentary by Juan Cole:
    “Percentage of Americans who favor socialism: 20
    Percentage of Americans involved in Tea Party Movement: 11 (Support for Tea Party is also about 12%)…”
    He goes on to compare the disproportianate media coverage of the Tea Party, which is predominantly favorable, to that of Socialism, which is mostly negative. It’s worth following his links to the original polls, etc.

  • Crabby

    You believe within reason? Would that be YOUR reasonong as long as it fit within your narrative?
    So, you believe BAIASED sources and their enabling steno-takers in the media. You surely believe IRAQ had WMD. Why would they lie?
    Thsee clowns couldn’t get the materials for the wmd (PIPEBOMBS), nor did they have the technical knowledge – they got both from the FBI agent that infiltrated their group. They posted everything on the internet. It doesn’t take too much figuring to realize they were not much of a threat and nowhere approaching the BIG SHOW put on for lapdogs to – well lapup.
    Arrest people when they try to kill us – sure – we agreee, but these suckers didn’t try to kill anyone. YOU and others believe they were GOING to try to kill us so we stopped them PRE-CRIME -yeah us! Nicely done and now we are safe.
    I don’t laugh at your silly costume, please leave my hat out of the conversation. It may make you feel clever, but exposes your weakness. Thanks.

  • nancy blade

    I think people need to trust our government. They are trying to make us save. Yes innocent until proven guilty but I do believe hes where he belongs..Nancy

  • Nancy Blade

    Well yes innocent to proven guilty.,but our government would not totally embarrased themselves by not having enough evidence. I believe they caught them just in time before something terrible happen

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