Sunday, November 16, 2008

Threats to President-elect at all time high

It was inevitable wasn't it, but alarming none the less.

An AP report says:

Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election, but from Maine to Idaho, law enforcement officials are seeing more against Barack Obama than ever before.

...law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect...


And I suppose they think this is all good fun. Or something more sinister?

Earlier this week, the Secret Service looked into the case of a sign posted on a tree in Vay, Idaho, with Obama's name and the offer of a "free public hanging."

And in a Maine convenience store, a journalist saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin.

The sign solicited $1 (Dh3.67) entries into "The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool," saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama would be attacked. "Let's hope we have a winner," said the sign, since taken down.


Not what I'd call a healthy society.

You can read the report here.

11 comments:

Mars said...

that;s rather sick.

dave said...

Taking freedom of speech to a whole new level...

Anonymous said...

What a load of anti-Americanism tosh you write. This so called unhealthy society has just elected by a convincing margin a black man to be its president and all you can do is zero in on a few nuts in a population of over 250 million people and pronounce that because of these isolated (but evidently media hyped) idiots the whole society is unhealthy. Perhaps you prefer the model in the country in which you currently reside, where the unelected ruler's every pronouncement/action etc. is praised in unequivocal terms and any criticism whatsoever is covered up or dealt with in harsher ways?

Pray do tell which is the healthier society?

Seabee said...

Anon how typically one-eyed. If anyone says something you agree with it's true, if you disagree it's anti-American or media hype.

The quotes are from the US security services. Are you suggesting they're anti-American?

I'm critical of things which happen here, so am I anti-Dubai? I quote from the media here, is that media hype?

In terms of personal safety, security and lack of crime, yes this is a healthier society.

Anonymous said...

Anon how typically one-eyed. If anyone says something you agree with it's true, if you disagree it's hype or anti-American.

How do you infer anything monocular from what I wrote; did I suggest in any way that I equate opinions agreeable to me with the truth? I think I just noted that your conclusion was anti-American and went on to explain why.

The quotes are from the US security services. Are you suggesting they're anti-American?

I didn't suggest anything of the sort. What I suggested was that the conclusion you drew from the AP report was anti-American in sentiment. Notwithstanding the momentous election of a black man to be president of the United States all you can do is focus in on a few crazy idiots (none of whom have yet actually tried to make good on any of their threats) and conclude that their existence in a population of over 250 million people makes the whole American society unhealthy! I actually wonder Seebee (and I stress the word "wonder") whether you are not just a little bit disappointed at Obama's victory, demonstrating as it does that not all Americans, not even a majority, are the archetypal violent, racist, bible bashing, ignoramuses that you sometimes seem to suggest.

And by the way, in terms of personal safety, security and lack of crime, yes this is a healthier society.

Really? You have a very strange definition of "healthy". Or perhaps you are willing to forgo personal liberty and that of your neighbours as long as crime remains low and your personal safety and security (physical and economic) remains guaranteed? Freedom of speech, democracy, gender equality and many other freedoms developed in the West are all disposable as long as you are okay?

Oh yes, I forget - you can jump on a plane at any time and fly back to Australia should: (i) you find you might like to benefit from a bit of democracy; or (ii) your own personal safety or security no longer be so high on the local regime's agenda for whatever reason; or (iii) the US Fifth Fleet withdraws from the Gulf and Indian Ocean and leaves said regime to bend to the dictates of any or all of Tehran, Baghdad or Riyadh.

It's all quite convenient for you. Just let's not forget that your convenience is very much dependent on the so-called unhealthy society; perhaps it's a good thing that it is not nearly so unhealthy as you might like to think!

Seabee said...

Anon

The facts as reported seem not to concern you, but you're upset with my phrase Not what I'd call a healthy society and somehow equate that with being anti-American.

...not all Americans, not even a majority, are the archetypal violent, racist, bible bashing, ignoramuses that you sometimes seem to suggest.
I have not suggested for one moment that all or even the majority are.

The comment has nothing to do with being pro-, anti- or neutral, it's an extension of my earlier posts about my fears for Obama's safety and is simply a comment on one of the world's most violent societies. The rantings of the lunatics has to be set in that context.

Not true? Anti-American? These are not my figures:

Assaults per capita
#1 South Africa: 12.0752 per 1,000 people
#2 Montserrat: 10.2773 per 1,000 people
#3 Mauritius: 8.76036 per 1,000 people
#4 Seychelles: 8.62196 per 1,000 people
#5 Zimbabwe: 7.6525 per 1,000 people
#6 United States: 7.56923 per 1,000 people

You'll find those stats here.


Murders with firearms per capita
#1 South Africa: 0.719782 per 1,000 people
#2 Colombia: 0.509801 per 1,000 people
#3 Thailand: 0.312093 per 1,000 people
#4 Zimbabwe: 0.0491736 per 1,000 people
#5 Mexico: 0.0337938 per 1,000 people
#6 Belarus: 0.0321359 per 1,000 people
#7 Costa Rica: 0.0313745 per 1,000 people
#8 United States: 0.0279271 per 1,000 people
The stats are here.

The FBI says:

Nationwide, an estimated 1,408,337 violent crimes occurred in 2007.

There were an estimated 466.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.
That's here.

Look at the figures, look which countries are above the US in the tables. And you take issue with the statement that it's an unhealthy society, calling it anti-American!

I actually wonder Seebee (and I stress the word "wonder") whether you are not just a little bit disappointed at Obama's victory
You obviously haven't read my comments about the BushW policies and Obama's victory.

Freedom of speech, democracy, gender equality and many other freedoms developed in the West are all disposable as long as you are okay?
Disposable? You don't understand the facts on the ground. Democracy? I'm in a country as a guest and I don't expect voting rights. Freedom of speech? I say what I want to say here, I read all the newspapers and other news sources from around the world that I want to read. Gender equality? Mrs Seabee is CEO of a company, and I know many other women in similar positions. There are Emirati women government ministers, they head up companies and organisations.

Duffy said...

Hooray! Someone sticking up for the US besides me.

While I don't agree with Anon I do have to say that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Surely the nuts are out but they're all bluster and blather. Take the Secret Service thing with a grain of salt. Budget decisions are coming up and they're looking for more $$$. Doesn't mean they're lying (or even exaggerating) about the threats but they're going to try and capitalize on them.

Unhealthy? We have a saying here: "Let the ass bray, but recognize he's an ass." I'd rather live in a place where someone is allowed to say what they wish and be held accountable for it. Try leveling some criticism at Sheik Mo and see how that works out for you.

Hell, even Canada and the UK have gone insane over stupid speech codes. Australia is deciding what web pages it's citizens will be allowed to see.

Freedom is messy and it's not for the meek.

“Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security” Benjamin Franklin.

Seabee said...

Duffy it's always good to have your comments, debate is always welcome, and you don't get into the childish name-calling as do so many Anons.

Duffy said...

Thanks Seabee!

Anonymous said...

The facts as reported seem not to concern you, but you're upset with my phrase Not what I'd call a healthy society and somehow equate that with being anti-American.

I expressed no view on whether or not the facts reported in the AP reported article concerned me. Are my feelings as to the matters reported by the AP relevant to my disagreement with your view on American society?

”...not all Americans, not even a majority, are the archetypal violent, racist, bible bashing, ignoramuses that you sometimes seem to suggest.”
I have not suggested for one moment that all or even the majority are.


Have a re-read through your 'USA' tagged posts. You clearly have an extremely negative impression of the US. The "Ugly American" post, for example, does not appear to be referring just to a minority of Americans:

“The ugly face of America is never far below the surface. Scratch the surface and, as shown by the DP World ports issue, that ugly side appears very quickly. Ignorant, racist, xenophobic and paranoid.”

The comment has nothing to do with being pro-, anti- or neutral, it's an extension of my earlier posts about my fears for Obama's safety and is simply a comment on one of the world's most violent societies. The rantings of the lunatics has to be set in that context.

And yet set in the context of most of your posts on foreign affairs involving the US, it appears to me that your comment on the AP report fits in nicely into your largely ‘anti’ the United States. Just an impression.

[Statistics snipped]

I don't have time to get into a debate on the stats, but would make two observations: (i) regarding the Assaults per capita stats, the numbers for each of #7, #8, #9 and #10 (namely New Zealand, UK, Canada and Australia) do not vary greatly from those of the US, so it would interesting to read if you think these countries are affected by a similar malaise (geddit) to that you attribute to the US; and (ii) (and perhaps this is how you will construe the US from the other Anglo countries noted in (i)) regarding the firearms related statistics, I do recognize that this is a real issue for the US and look forward (perhaps forlornly) to more extensive gun control legislation from Democrat controlled Washington DC.

Look at the figures, look which countries are above the US in the tables. And you take issue with the statement that it's an unhealthy society, calling it anti-American!

I do take issue with your sweeping assertion that the United States is an unhealthy society. It has serious problems with gun control; I don't deny that. However (and I am relying on the stats you pointed us to), the US is not that different from other western countries in all respects on the crime stats.

More generally, for all its faults the USA has been and remains, in my view, a great country: which in so many aspects of society still leads the way: in tolerance, in culture, in science, in university education, in technological innovation, etc. It has been, since 1941, an imperfect guardian, but a guardian nonetheless, of a liberal, enlightened, democratic way of life on our globe and compared to the preceding superpowers of history has been extremely benign.

Sure it has its conservatives/radicals/extremists, some of them pretty nutty (I personally have no liking for the conservative Christian right) and yes, some of those points of view did find a sympathetic ear in the current administration. But that's democracy. They had their time and influence, used it badly, made some serious mistakes and the American public turned against them and punished them in the polls. The Republican party lost an election and will now peacefully hand over power to its political opponents. (This fact alone, in my opinion make the US a far more healthy society than the dictatorship in which you live and it shocks me that you would think otherwise.)

The US is a society with some serious problems but it's not unique and there are many other societies with graver concerns (some not to far from your current doorstep). But I strongly disagree with you that it is an unhealthy society, just based on some crime statistics, unless of course you think all western democracies are unhealthy? Having read your blog fairly regularly for the past two and half years it is clear to me and, I would contend, clear to any fair minded person who reads the relevant posts that you are Anti American - you rarely, if ever, have anything good to say about the country. No doubt you'll disagree.

”I actually wonder Seebee (and I stress the word "wonder") whether you are not just a little bit disappointed at Obama's victory”
You obviously haven't read my comments about the BushW policies and Obama's victory.


I have read them. And put in the context of most of your other writings on America and the fact that what was an amazing event (Obama's election victory) was greeted by you in such a negative way, I thought that your disappointment shone through.

Disposable? You don't understand the facts on the ground.

Ah – so you have to live in Dubai to appreciate that an authoritarian, illiberal society actually not really so bad or unhealthy? Maybe, if you are an expat who can take for granted the democratic liberal values of his home country to which he can return at any time.

Democracy? I'm in a country as a guest and I don't expect voting rights.

So that’s okay then? What about the grandchild of Indian immigrants to Dubai who has never lived anywhere else? Is such a person also only a guest and similarly should not expect voting rights? Ah…. but there aren’t any voting rights in the UAE are there, even for citizens. Fair enough. Yet, notwithstanding this deficit, you would contend that the UAE is still a healthier society than a country like the United States with its long standing system of universal suffrage and its historical habit of absorbing successive waves of immigrants?

Freedom of speech? I say what I want to say here, I read all the newspapers and other news sources from around the world that I want to read.

Really? Perhaps that’s because you never say anything that is offensive to the regime? I will grant you that you are critical on your blog about some of the local governmental departments and agencies but you are always very careful not to criticize the ultimate authority (the furthest you go is to bemoan the fact that Dubai state agencies (e.g. the RTA) don’t implement the ruler’s wise vision etc.) Contrast this with your very real and negative criticism of the governments of the US and other (mainly western) countries and I begin to detect a double standard. But, I forget, you are only a guest!

But putting your own case aside, how do you reconcile your apparent freedom of speech with the lack of the same granted to certain other Dubai commentators? Can you access the Secret Dubai Diary blog through your Du connection by any chance?

Gender equality? Mrs Seabee is CEO of a company, and I know many other women in similar positions. There are Emirati women government ministers, they head up companies and organisations.

And all this equates to gender equality? I understand that Emirati women are not permitted by law to marry foreign men but the converse does not apply to men. Apparently an Emirati man can divorce his wife verbally but a woman has to go through a lengthy court case in order to obtain sanction to divorce her husband. Please confirm if I am mistaken. I won’t even touch upon the inequalities arising out of religious practice. And as for Mrs Seebee, I note that you had to sponsor her for her visa. And this is what you consider to be gender equality?

Look – there are no doubt many justifications for the failings I have noted in the UAE in relation to democracy (none), freedom of speech (very limited) and gender equality (not much that I can identify). But all of these and many other human rights standards in the UAE fall far below the equivalent standards existing in the United States.

And that was the point I was making: apparently you are only able to claim that the UAE has a more healthy society than that in the United States because either you are blinkered to the lack of basic human rights in the UAE (I doubt this very much); the absence of such rights don’t apply to you or your family (and in any case, if they ever did you would be on the next plane hom); and/or you are willing to brush over the real de jure lack of human rights in the UAE and comfort yourself with the few exceptions applicable only to token senior Emiratis women or to ex-pats).

Seabee said...

To try to stay on the point, you object to my view that the US is an unhealthy society. In my view a society in which citizens kill each other at the rate of about 44 a day is unhealthy. In my view a society which kills or tries to kill its own leaders is unhealthy. When freely elected leaders have to travel in convoys of armoured vehicles for protection against their own people it reflects an unhealthy society. When students regularly massacre fellow students in school, that reflects an unhealthy society.
Not one-off, rare examples of the odd lunatic here and there - such as we had in Tasmania or the UK had in Hungerford - but something that's there all the time.
In my view that's an unhealthy society, and if the country with such a society happens to be the US, so be it.

US foreign policy, where the government of the day takes the US is nothing to do with that.

Democracy is nothing to do with that either. In fact to many people around the world, having a vote is way down their list of priorities. Clean water, enough food, stable government, education, personal safety are much nore important. Even when people have the supposed precious vote in democratic countries half of them don't bother to use it.

Of course there's much to admire about the US, but there's much to criticise too. As there is with many other countries. But criticism of anything to do with the US provokes the name calling of 'anti-American'. It reminds me of the name calling at McCain/Palin rallies, Obama being 'Arab' or 'Muslim' - the answer is the same, in two parts: he's not, but even if he is, so what.