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Updated: A Moment Heavy with the Threat of Right-Wing Violence

Scary stuff.

I'm not naive, and am past being surprised by corporate front-groups' astroturf campaigns.

But this thing FreedomWorks hatched up to urge angry right-wing villagers to grab their pitchforks and intimidate and threaten law-makers at town hall meetings takes it to a new, and I think dangerous level. Here's a right-wing group run by corporate lobbyists directly obstructing the political process. Bill Scher:

Is this a bona fide grassroots rebellion? Not exactly. As ThinkProgress' Lee Fang uncovered on Friday, the lobbyist-run national conservative group FreedomWorks is promoting an instructional memo titled "Rocking The Town Halls" which advises right-wing activists to "Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half ... Be Disruptive Early And Often ... Try To 'Rattle Him,' Not Have An Intelligent Debate..."

In the U.S., we tend to take our fellow citizens' acceptance of the basic democratic process for granted. But this kind of thing, combined with some other stories that are in the news, suggests we shouldn't be so sanguine about it.

Consider the context:

Steven D: "The number of death threats Obama is receiving is 400% higher than the number Bush received. It's also stretching an understaffed Secret Service to its limits trying to keep track of them all."

USA Today: "Gun owners are packing heat in record numbers, fearful of stricter gun control under the Obama administration and higher crime in a sour economy. Some states and counties report a surge in applications for concealed weapons permits since the November election."

The Telegraph: "Hundreds of incidents of abuse or intimidation apparently motivated by racial hatred have been reported since the Nov 4 election...White supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Council of Conservative Citizens have seen a flood of interest from possible new members since the landmark election of the first black president in US history.  Far right groups are also capitalising on rising unemployment in the economic downturn and a demographic shift that could make whites a minority by mid-century, the centre said."

It's a scary moment. And while they have a Constitutional right to spew their venom, it's a moment created by talk-radio hate-jocks and "mainstream conservatives" alike.

Update:Here's VZEQICVA, from the comments:

TODAY WILL PUT THEM OVER THE EDGE

Bill Clinton got the two journalists released in North Korea, Obama celebrated his birthday with Helen Thomas (he's a classy guy), Prince of Blackwater/Xi will probably be arrested, The new G.I. Bill was passed yesterday, and it's still only 5PM EST. while the pathetic Republicans go to the town hall meetings and holler at each other. Savor the moment.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.
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