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Take a moment and imagine the following scenario: A Muslim man is arrested after it is discovered that he had planned to burn down a Christian church and discussed these plans with an FBI informant. Authorities also reveal that he had spent time on Islamic fundamentalist websites talking about how Christians must be taken down with AR-15s.


In this scenario, what sort of crime do you think he would be charged with? I know, it's real tough, so feel free to take a moment and think about it real hard.

Back in 2015, Robert Doggart -- a 65-year-old man who once ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress -- was arrested for planning to attack a mosque in upstate New York, and trying to recruit people to help him burn it down. He was caught after meeting with an FBI informant, with whom he discussed his plans to obtain and make weapons in order to carry out the assault. It was also discovered that he went on right-wing extremist sites and talked rather openly about his desire to attack the Muslims living in "Islamberg," a predominantly Muslim community near Hancock, New York -- on account of the fact that he was pretty sure it was a terrorism training camp.

You know that thing that the first guy would definitely have been charged with? Doggart is not being charged with that. He's being charged with other things, namely "one count of solicitation to commit arson, one count of solicitation to commit a civil rights violation and two counts of threat in interstate commerce." For these charges he faces up to 10 years in prison.

But he is not being charged with anything related to terrorism. Despite the fact that he is, allegedly, an attempted terrorist.

According to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, terrorism is an act that is "premeditated; perpetrated by a sub-national or clandestine agent; politically motivated, potentially including religious, philosophical, or culturally symbolic motivations; violent; and perpetrated against a non-combatant target."

Premeditated? Check!

Perpetrated by someone not on behalf of a government? Check!

Politically motivated? Check!

Religiously, philosophically and cultural motivations? Check?

Perpetrated against a non-combatant target? Check!

What Doggart was attempting to do was terrorism. Just like it's terrorism if someone blows up a Planned Parenthood because they hate abortion, bomb a lab if they want to stop animal testing, if they kidnap Pattie Hearst, or, you know, blow up a giant building in Oklahoma City.

However, the attorneys representing the people of Islamberg in a separate civil suit against Doggart say that the way the law is worded makes it almost impossible to charge domestic terrorists with terrorism.

Via NY Daily News:

"There's a gap in the law," attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud told the Daily News on Monday evening. "Frankly, there is nothing on terrorism unless it's connected to a foreign element. You won't see the KKK charged with domestic terror even though that's what they do."

According to the Patriot Act from 2001, prosecutors can only charge a defendant with domestic terrorism if he or she had the intension to "intimidate" or "coerce" a civilian population, or influence the "policy of a government" to affect the conduct of government by "mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."

Of course, this still does seem like what Doggart was doing. Clearly, he was trying to intimidate the citizens of Islamberg, as well as Muslims across the country. He was trying to send a message: it is not safe for you here.

Recently, the Trump administration decided that the government's "Countering Violent Extremism" program would now only focus on "Islamic Extremism." You know, because it's not like we have a problem with non-domestic terrorism or anything. Except for the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center notes there has been an unprecedented rise in hate groups over the last year. Or unless you ask people who actually study counterterrorism and say that right-wing violence is a very serious problem.

Not declaring actions like Doggart's to be terrorism is almost an implicit endorsement of those actions. It's like saying "Sure, they're bad -- but they're not like, Radical Islamic Terrorism bad." It allows people who commit acts of right-wing terrorism to still feel that they are somehow better than those who commit acts of terrorism related to Islam. And that is some serious bullshit that will put people's lives in danger.

Not to mention that it's racist af.

Did you hear that? That was the sound of no ads on Wonkette. Help us keep it that way here.

[New York Daily News]

Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

Yr Wonkette is entirely supported by donations from you, the reader. Please send us money so socialists won't make us take the stairs.

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