Archive for August 2009


I spotted this bumper sticker recently on a Dumpster in San Francisco. And it got me to thinking: Who’s paying for these? I mean, it certainly looks like an official BarackObama.com product, with a union printing label and the proper font. I know there must be a reasonable explanation for who funds these presidential bumper stickers, as well as…


…the buses, banners, signs, websites and other components of the government’s propaganda machine in favor of a health care bill that nobody seems to have read. (Photo above courtesy of El Marco, who documented a recent health care rally in Denver, featuring true astroturfing — government organized pro-health-bill protesters facing off against individual unfunded anti-health-bill protesters.) I suppose Obama has kept his campaign fund and organization going, even after the election is over; now it works to promote his agenda as president, beyond merely having worked to get him elected in the first place. And I suppose the funding for these propaganda materials comes from Obama fans donating to his campaign fund — right? Right? (Anyone who has any info about this topic, please post it in the comments section below, because I’m truly curious.)

Anyway, it seems that this style of governance is almost unprecedented in American history. I don’t recall there being any propaganda materials manufactured and distributed by the Bush campaign itself to promote the No Child Left Behind Act, the invasion of Afghanistan or Bush’s tax cuts. I don’t recall seeing buses driving around America during the Clinton administration as rolling advertisements for NAFTA. In fact, the only similar government-sponsored propaganda drives that I know of occurred during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s term, first during the ’30s promoting the WPA and other economic policies to combat the Great Depression, and then again during the ’40s to promote wartime emergency measures for WWII (“Buy U.S. Savings Bonds,” etc.) Can anyone think of any other president who has operated this way, aside from FDR and Obama?

If Obama is already president, why is he acting like he’s still campaigning? It seems we’ve entered a new phase in American history: the Neverending Campaign, in which there is no break at all between elections. Is this healthy? Or a form of political mania?

[If you just want to see the evidence and not read the introduction, simply scroll down to the photos, or click here to jump directly to them.]


On Wednesday, August 12, a man holding a sign that said “Death to Obama” at a town hall meeting in Maryland was detained and turned over to the Secret Service which will likely soon charge him with threatening the president.

As well they should. I fully and absolutely agree with the Secret Service pursuing this case, since anyone who threatens the president is breaking the law and should be prosecuted. It doesn’t matter that Obama was not at the meeting nor that the man was unarmed: the threat all on its own is a federal crime, according to the United States Code.

I support the arrest and prosecution of any person who threatens Obama or any president of the United States.


Bush was threatened frequently — but no arrests

But the story of this arrest got me to thinking: Why was no one ever arrested for threatening President Bush at protests, when they displayed signs in public that called for his death?

Many readers may naively think, “The answer is obvious: no protester was ever arrested for threatening Bush at a protest because no one ever threatened him at a protest. Who would be that stupid? I certainly never heard of any such threats.”

Alas, if only it were that simple. Because the bald fact is that people threatened Bush at protests all the time by displaying menacing signs and messages — exactly as the anti-Obama protester just did in Maryland. Yet for reasons that are not entirely clear, none of those Bush-threateners at protests was ever arrested, questioned, or investigated (at least as far as I could tell).

Don’t believe me? Then keep reading. Because this essay exists for one reason only: To prove beyond any doubt that explicit and implicit threats to Bush’s life were commonly displayed at public protests throughout his term as president. Below this introduction you will find dozens of examples of such threats — unaltered photographs from a wide variety of sources, along with links verifying their authenticity.


Just show us the pictures already!

If you want to get straight to the action and not bother with reading the rest of this introduction, simply scroll down a short way to see the pictures right now. But if you’re outraged by the very existence of this report, or curious about my motivations for publishing it, then please take a few minutes to read the following explanation.

Why am I doing this?

Let me make this perfectly clear:

I am not publishing this essay in order to make excuses for anyone who has threatened President Obama, or who plans to threaten him in the future.

This is not some wrongheaded attempt at a tu quoque logical fallacy; in other words, I’m not trying to claim that death threats against Bush in the past justify threats against Obama now. Not at all. What I’m saying is that present-day threats to Obama at protests should be investigated — yet previous threats to Bush at protests weren’t investigated, which I think is inexcusable. Threats to the president aren’t excusable now, and weren’t excusable in the past — and yet death threats against Bush at protests seem to have been routinely ignored for years (and readers who have any evidence showing that the threateners depicted below were ever prosecuted for threatening the president, please tell me and I’ll update this essay with the new info). Why the discrepancy?

Am I calling the Secret Service incompetent?

No — I am not calling the Secret Service incompetent. In fact, I’m pointing the finger of blame in an entirely different direction. I’m quite sure that the Secret Service always dutifully investigates any threat to the president of which it becomes aware. But that’s the key right there: of which it becomes aware. The Secret Service has only a limited budget and a limited number of investigators, and so can’t be present to witness every potential threat as it appears. Often, the Secret Service is only alerted to a possible threat by reports in the media. And the media is the weak link.

I contend that the media is aggressively reporting on, highlighting and pursuing any and all possible threats to President Obama — and even hints of threats — but they purposely glossed over, ignored or failed to report similar threats to President Bush. Why? I believe it is part of an ideological bias: most mainstream networks and newspapers tried their best during the Bush administration to portray the anti-war movement as mainstream and moderate; whereas now they are trying to portray the anti-tax and anti-health-care-bill protesters as extremists and as fringe kooks. To achieve these goals, they essentially suppressed any mentions of the violent signage (including threats to Bush) at anti-war rallies, but have highlighted anything that could even conceivably be construed as a threat at anti-Obama events.

I believe this partly accounts for the 400% increase in reported threats against Obama over those against President Bush. Part of that reported increase in investigated threats is undoubtedly due to an increase in actual threats; but part of it is almost certainly due to an increase in threats which get reported by the media and are therefore brought to the Secret Service’s attention.

(This is similar to the famous paradox about rape awareness programs. Researchers were long mystified as to why incidents of rape in a city or a social group seemed to invariably rise after rape awareness campaigns drew attention to the problem in order to help solve it. The answer turned out to be obvious: It’s not that the number of actual rapes went up — it’s that the number of rapes which got reported went up, as women had more awareness and less shame about reporting the crime.)

The end result is that more threats to Obama are being reported. After scanning the pictures below of death threats against Bush, ask yourself: Holy cow — why was I never aware of these at the time? The reason: Because the media intentionally failed to report on them. Which is why both the average American and the Secret Service never became aware of many of these protest threats.

So now when a single protester shows up at an anti-Obama rally displaying a death threat, he is immediately pounced upon by the media and the Secret Service. Whereas in the past when protesters by the dozen threatened Bush, the media turned a blind eye, and the threateners got off scot-free.

Double standard?

Is there a double standard? Seems to be.

Every threat to Obama is now vigorously pursued, trumpeted and dissected by the media and the blogs, and roundly condemned. And I condemn such threats as well.

But in the past, whenever someone threatened Bush at a protest, there was a deafening silence on the part of the media and the left-leaning blogs, and consequently very little (if any) follow-through on the part of the Secret Service. Which I find quite distressing. I was condemning those threats in the past (as best I could, by drawing attention to them on my blog) — but few people were joining me in my condemnation.

I am NOT (repeat: NOT) defending anyone who threatens a president’s life. That’s the whole point. I say that anone who threatens Obama should be arrested and/or investigated. All I am saying is that threats to Bush should have been similarly pursued — but weren’t.

And the only reason I’m publishing the essay is that many Obama supporters — to my astonishment — now claim that Bush was never threatened at protests. Before we can have a rational discussion on this topic, we need to have a shared factual basis. The evidence below will establish that basis.

If you truly, truly cared about presidents’ lives being threatened, you would be just as incensed by people threatening Bush’s life at protests as you are about (the far less frequent instances of) Obama’s life being threatened at protests.

Some Bush threats followed up as expected — but protest threats ignored

Were any people ever arrested or questioned for threatening to kill Bush during his term in office? Of course. Every president is the target of numerous threats, and many of them do get investigated. Examples include:
- A man who in 2008 made verbal threats towards Bush at the White House fence where he left a suspicious package;
- A student who was quoted in a 2007 school publication as saying, “I would like to shoot George W. Bush, because in my opinion he is the worst president ever. After that was accomplished, I would be known as a national hero”;
- A mentally deranged man who threatened to blow up the White House in January of 2009;
- A graduate student who posted online threats against Bush in 2006;
- A guy who was turned in to the authorities by his own girlfriend after he threatened to kill Bush during a phone call;
…and so on.

However, all these instances of Bush-threateners being arrested happened outside of a protest setting. This article is about protesters with threatening protest signs — not about all threats in all settings.

The key question is: Were any protesters ever arrested or questioned for displaying threatening messages about President Bush at a protest? And the answer is: No, not as far as I could tell. In the very few instances that I could uncover, the incident was either misconstrued by the media, or the protester was at an actual presidential appearance (where there are special security concerns) — or people were detained for other reasons totally aside from their protest messages.

The most famous case was that of Brett Bursey, who was arrested in 2002 outside a Bush speech. The media dishonestly implied that he was arrested simply for carrying a sign that said “No War For Oil” — a message which was commonplace and nonthreatening. Turns out, though, that he was arrested not because of his sign but because he refused to leave a restricted area cordoned off by the Secret Service under Title 18, Section 1752(a)(1)(ii) of the U.S. Code. In other words, it was not his sign which got him arrested, but rather his presence in a restricted area and his refusal to move. (Even in a puff piece article about Bursey in the New York Times, the only “evidence” offered that his sign led to his arrest was the later uncorroborated statement of Bursey himself.) And note that some of the same politicians feigning outrage over the recent health-care protests actually defended Bursey’s right to protest in this manner (quoting from the link above): “A few weeks ago Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and 10 other members of Congress wrote a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft condemning the arrest. They wrote: ‘This prosecution smacks of the use of the Sedition Acts two hundred years ago to protect the President from political discomfort. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. We urge you to drop this prosecution based so clearly on the political views being expressed by the individual who is being prosecuted.’ ”

In another case, a woman with a t-shirt that read “President Bush You Killed My Son” was removed from a speech being given by Laura Bush. But once again, it was not her message which got her arrested, but the fact that she disrupted the speech and refused to leave when asked — leading to a charge of trespassing. Yet the media falsely implied that she was arrested simply due to the nature of her t-shirt message.

An artist who painted a series of postage stamps showing Bush being shot had Secret Service agents inspect his art at one gallery opening and had the painting taken down by administrators at another — but he was never arrested or questioned. So once again, that is not an example of someone being arrested for a protest message against Bush.

Facts and corrections (if any) welcome

I’m open to facts: If anyone can find evidence that ANY of the protesters shown on this page threatening President Bush were ever investigated or arrested, please post the evidentiary links in the comments section below; I will update this post accordingly. Until then, we must assume that the perpetrators went unpunished.

Please also note that at the bottom of this essay I have a “Counter-Examples” section showing the tiny handful of incidents in which Obama threateners were ignored and “got away with” threatening the president — the scarcity of such examples only further strengthening my contention.

At last: The pictures

Sorry for the long introduction, but I felt it was necessary because this is such a sensitive and highly charged subject. But now that we’ve gotten that out of the way — it’s time for the evidence. Below you will find pictures of death threats made by protesters against President Bush during his term. Most of the pictures were taken at anti-war and anti-Bush protests; but lower down on the page are additional threats made in other settings that also seem to have gone uninvestigated. Wherever possible, I link to the source of the photo and give the location and date of the protest; however, in a handful of cases some details are missing.

Important note, just to make things perfectly clear: I did NOT make any of the signs depicted on this page, nor do I approve of them, nor do I have any information about any of the people who made them. I am reposting these images not in order to threaten Bush but rather to express my disappointment that such threats seem to have never been investigated.


.

Threats against Bush at public protests


A protester with a sign saying “Kill Bush” and advocating that the White House be bombed, at the March 18, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


“Save Mother Earth, Kill Bush” says this sign from a November 20, 2003 protest.
(Source: Innovative Minds.)


A recommendation that Bush should hang, from an October 27, 2007 protest in Los Angeles.
(Source: Ringo’s Pictures.)


“Bush is the disease, Death is the cure,” says this protester at an anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: People’s Cube.)


“I’m here to kill Bush (shoot me)” reads this protest sign (location unknown).
(Source: I found this image several years ago in an online report about an anti-war protest, but I unfortunately failed to note down where or when the protest happened, and the Web site that originally hosted the report is now defunct.)


Two different pictures of the same sign saying “Bush — the only dope worth shooting,” at the March 15, 2008 anti-war rally in Los Angeles.
(Source: photo on the left from Ringo’s Pictures; photo on the right reposted on michellemalkin.com.)


A sign showing Bush being shot in the head, at the March 15, 2008 anti-war rally in Los Angeles.
(Source: Ringo’s Pictures.)


Remember the guy in our first picture? Here he is again, with another explicit death threat against the president, this time calling for “Death to…Bush” at the October 27, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


And here he comes again with a third message, this time brazenly calling for “Death to…Bush” at the March 18, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


A protester with a sign showing Bush being beheaded.
(Reposted on michellemalkin.com; original source unknown.)


Bush being beheaded by a guillotine, at an Obama campaign rally, Denver, October 26, 2008.
(Source: Looking at the Left.)


Bush’s head in a basket after being decapitated by a guillotine, at an Obama campaign rally, Denver, October 26, 2008.
(Source: Looking at the Left.)


A sign saying “SMITE BUSH” at the June 5, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


Protesters call for Bush to be beheaded with a guillotine, at a protest against Bush’s second inauguration, January 20, 2005, in New York.
(Source: Fred Askew Photography.)


An effigy of Bush being killed, at the April 10, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


Bush being burned in effigy, at a November 3, 2004 post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


There are literally hundreds of videos currently viewable on YouTube of Bush being burned in effigy. I’ve posted a screenshot of one above, but rather than clog up this post with several embedded YouTube videos (which slows down the page loading), I’ll simply post links to several of the videos here:

Bush getting burned
bush you liar we’ll set your ass on fire
Burning George Bush
George W Bush burns in effigy (Washington DC)
And for a little variety: Bush getting smashed

(On the “Related videos” sidebars for all of these you can find many additional burning-Bush-in-effigy videos.)

In case you feel that burning Bush in effigy “doesn’t count” — just imagine the outcry there would be if even a single instance of Obama being burned in effigy was filmed (claims of “lynching,” etc.).


Bush being lynched by an American flag at a rally in New York on September 19, 2006.
(Source: Fred Askew Photography.)


A protester with a shirt that said “Death to all posers” with a picture of Bush superimposed, at the October 27, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


This sign from a protest in Chicago says “Lee Harvey, where are you?” at the bottom, referring to JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
(Source: Chicago Indymedia.)


A protester in Denver calls for Bush to the get the Louis XVI treatment — i.e beheaded by a guillotine.
(Source: Looking at the Left.)


Woman holding a puppet of Bush being hung by the neck, from a March 17, 2007 protest in Hollywood, California.
(Source: Ringo’s Pictures.)


Fantasy of Saddam Hussein killing Bush, from an October 27, 2007 protest in Los Angeles.
(Source: Ringo’s Pictures.)


A sign implying Bush should be killed for being a war profiteer. From an October 27, 2007 protest in Los Angeles.
(Source: Ringo’s Pictures.)


A child holding Bush’s tombstone, at the February 16, 2003 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
(Source: zombietime. Click picture to see the image in context with other pictures from that day.)


Threats in other settings (i.e. not at protests)


Bumper sticker implying that Bush should be hanged.
(Photo by Last Mohican.)

As far as I can tell, no one was ever stopped or investigated by the Secret Service for displaying this bumper sticker. Compare that to what happened to a man in Oklahoma on February 12, who had a sign in his car saying “Abort Obama Not the Unborn” — which not only caused the police to pull him over and confiscate the sign, but which eventually led to the Secret Service searching his house looking for evidence that he was a threat to the president. Double standard? You decide.


Wider-angle shot showing the bumper sticker above in context, with a pro-Obama sticker on the same car, proving that the sticker was displayed by a Bush detractor, not a supporter.
(Photo by Last Mohican.)


The anti-Israel conspiracy site nogw.com hosts this pdf file which describes a mock trial and execution of George Bush for a bizarre litany of purported crimes; included in the document is this image of Bush being hanged at the trial.


A promotional photo from the mock-docmentary film “Death of a President,” showing Bush being killed. You can watch a short clip of the film’s assassination sequence here on YouTube.
(Source: USA Today.)


Threats against Bush by celebrities which were never investigated

John Kerry

The picture above shows John Kerry as he was being interviewed by Bill Maher in October of 2006 on the HBO show Real Time. As can be seen in this video exclusively on the ongoodmove blog, starting at about one minute into the clip Kerry says what can only be interpreted as a threat to kill Bush:

Maher: You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone.

Kerry: Or, I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.

Full transcript of the interview here.

Was John Kerry ever questioned or investigated for making a threat against Bush? No.

(Source: National Review.)

Betty Williams (Nobel Peace Prize winner)

On July 11, 2007, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams gave the keynote speech to the International Women’s Peace Conference in Dallas, Texas, and said (to laughter and applause from the audience):

“I mean right now, I could kill George Bush, no problem. No, I don’t mean that. I mean — how could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that.”

You can hear the audiotape of her threat on Breitbart.TV. Despite the fact that threatening to kill the president is a crime, the Secret Service refused to question her or detain her; according to the Dallas Morning News, “Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren in Washington declined to comment, but a Dallas agent said Ms. Williams had not been questioned and there were no plans to do so.” However, the people who emailed the conference in anger about her threats — they were the ones investigated: “Conference organizers reported that a Dallas police detective was working with hotel security to review about 40 hateful e-mails received in response to Ms. Williams’ speech.”

Earlier, Betty Williams said essentially the same thing in a speech in Australia on July 24, 2006, proving that this was not just a slip of the tongue but something she thinks about frequently:

“I have a very hard time with this word ‘non-violence,’ because I don’t believe that I am non-violent…. Right now, I would love to kill George Bush…. I don’t know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief.”

Was Betty Williams ever questioned or investigated for making a threat against Bush? No.

(Source: wikipedia.)

Craig Kilborn

On August 4, 2000, when Bush won the Republican nomination (but before he was president), Craig Kilborn on CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn ran a graphic of the words “SNIPERS WANTED” under George Bush as he gave his acceptance speech. Although CBS belatedly apologized five days later, Kilborn was never investigated, questioned or punished, and continued to host the show for four more years.

Was Craig Kilborn ever questioned or investigated for making a threat against Bush? No.

(Source: The Smoking Gun.)

Also see:

New York State comptroller, Alan Hevesi said during a June 1, 2006 speech that Senator Charles Schumer “will put a bullet between the president’s eyes if he could get away with it.” Hevesi later apologized for the statement.


Death threat t-shirts


Look at the two pictures above. Which do you find more offensive? Which is more obviously a threat to kill or disrespect a president?

If you’re an Obama supporter, the answer seems to be, “The picture on the left,” because that’s the picture that has caused storms of outrage across America. But both these images are of t-shirts currently available for sale on zazzle.com, the user-generated customized product site:

Obama as The Joker, by thelibertytree

We don’t need to impeach Bush. We need to execute him!, by Gay_Art

The outrage over the Obama Joker shirts and posters has reached a fever pitch; whereas there has been a deafening silence about the “execute Bush” shirts. Why is that? Critics point out that the designer of the Joker shirt goes by the name “thelibertytree,” which some critics are claiming might be seen as a menacing reference. And critics also claim that portraying Obama as the Joker from a recent Batman film reeks of racism. (Though those critics have suddenly fallen mute now that it has been revealed that the person who made the original Photoshop was a Palestinian-American.) But in both these aspects the offensiveness is very subtle and requires interpretation, and can’t be said to be an overt threat. But look at the shirt on the right: “We don’t need to impeach Bush. We need to execute him!” Can you get any more overt than that?

Where is the outrage? If people really and truly cared about threats to the president, then they’d be complaining about shirts like the one depicted on the right, not just the one on the left. But it’s obvious many Obama supporters don’t really care about the threats — they just want to score political points.


For a while, CafePress allowed violent anti-Bush paraphernalia (such as this “Kill Bush” shirt) to be sold by users on its site, but after they were publicized by the Drudge Report, they were pulled offline; though, as far as I can tell, the designers were never investigated by the Secret Service.
(Source: Lifelike Pundits.)


Another “Kill Bush” shirt that didn’t get nearly as much publicity as the one above.
(Source: mirrorgirl.)


“Wanted” posters

Wild-West-style “Wanted” posters about Bush were commonplace at rallies as well. Since historically these posters usually implied (or overtly stated) that the target was “Wanted — dead or alive,” such posters were often the equivalent of a death sentence for the person named, at the hand of vigilantes. Because of this, I regard these “Bush Wanted” posters as implicit threats. Only a few examples are given here, since these were so common at anti-war protests during the Bush era.


Protester carrying a “Wanted” poster for Bush, at the G-8 summit in Sapporo, Japan, July 5, 2008.
(Source: AP, via topplebush.com.)


One of the many Bush posters that wanted him “dead or alive.”
(Source: spacehijackers.)


A basic no-frills “Wanted” poster.
(Source: ^Berd.)


Yet another “Wanted” sign for Bush, from a rally in Los Angeles.
(Source: Ringo’s Pictures.)


Prototypical Bush “Wanted” poster at a protest, with a bonus Hitler mustache.
(Source: National Review.)


A different “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster from a supposed humor site.
(Source: The Spoof.)


One of many Bush “Wanted” posters that proliferated after the invasion of Iraq.
(Source: evergreen.edu.)


The most detailed “Wanted” poster of the bunch.
(Source: Let Us Talk.)


Graffiti

Graffiti is inherently anonymous, so there’s no way to “investigate” who wrote these threats; but even so I thought I’d give a small sampling of some of the extreme graffiti that could be seen during Bush’s term in office.


“I will kill Bush” says this graffiti spotted on the New York Subway “C” Train in 2005.
(Source: Jackie Clarke Loves Graffiti blog.)


This wall-art poster reads “The World Needs More People Like You: Kill Bush.” Location unknown.
(Source: Flickr.)


Graffiti that says “Kill Bush!” At 19 Eliza St., Newtown, Australia. (Yes, that’s a foreign country, which leads us to our next category….)


Other Countries

Threats to Bush made in other countries are obviously not germane to this essay, since the Secret Service has no jurisdiction outside the United States. Even so, I accidentally ran across a few during my research, so for completeness’ sake I’ll include links to them here. (Excluded from this section are protests in places like Iran and Gaza, where calling for Bush’s death is too commonplace to merit notice.) (You may want to turn off your computer volume before clicking on the first three links below, as the pages have annoying embedded music.)

“Kill Bush Before He Kills You” reads this 2005 protest banner in Greece.

“Kill Bush” graffiti in Italy, 2004.

More “Kill Bush” graffiti in Italy, 2004.

“Morte ao Bush” (“Death to Bush”) says this very casual Brazilian protester.


Bonus Links

“Press Largely Ignored Incendiary Rhetoric at Bush Protest” is an article recounting a violent protest at a 2002 Bush appearance — including death threats — which was almost entirely ignored by the numerous mainstream media reporters present.

Michelle Malkin has a roundup of a few uninvestigated threatening images about Bush.

Smash Mouth Politics also reposted a few “Kill Bush”-type images that seem to have aroused very little notice when they first appeared.

Gateway Pundit has the story of a video made by a child threatening to kill Bush; it was removed from YouTube, but still can be seen here.

This additional photo on Ringo’s Pictures contains a roundabout semi-threat against Bush. To follow the complicated argument: Bush Sr. said that outing a CIA agent is treason that should be punishable by death; liberals claim that Bush Jr. was ultimately responsible for outing Valerie Plame (a charge that was never proven); therefore Bush Jr. deserves the death penalty. Yes, this is rather vague, which is why I didn’t include it in the main essay.

Also see my previous essay about the ubiquitous comparisons between Bush and Hitler:

Bush as Hitler, Swastika-Mania: A Retrospective


Counter-Examples

There are two different kinds of possible counter-examples which would incrementally weaken my two-pronged contention that a) Protesters threatening Obama are almost always detained or questioned by the police or Secret Service (or at least are widely publicized by the media), and b) Protesters threatening Bush almost always got off scot-free, with no investigation and no media outrage. The first type of counter-example would need to show protesters whose threats to Obama were ignored; and the second type of counter-example would need to show protesters who actually were arrested for threatening Bush.

Let’s look at both types:

Threats to Obama at Protests that Seem to Have Gone Uninvestigated

Obama supporters originally claimed that only Obama gets threatened at protests, and no previous president ever experienced this level of hostility. However, this essay has proven otherwise. In fact, the opposite of their claim is true: It is Bush who got threatened frequently at protests, whereas Obama not nearly so much. Furthermore, just about every overt threat to Obama by protesters seems to be properly followed up by the authorities.

Still, to be as even-handed as possible, I present this section to document threats to Obama at protests which were never investigated by the Secret Service and which were ignored by the media (as were all the threats to Bush documented above). And although I’ve now gone to a great deal of effort trying to track down such examples of ignored Obama threats, I have only found a very very few that qualify — which only serves to further confirm my point.

If you are an Obama supporter who knows of any other examples of death threats to Obama at protests which were ignored, then please post them in the comments section below and I will add them here if they qualify.


This is the one example I could find of what seems to be an actual threat toward Obama which went uninvestigatd by the Secret Service and ignored by the media. The picture can be found on Flickr and was taken at a “tea party” protest in Tucson on July 4. The protester was showing solidarity with the Iranian democracy protesters who were at that time carrying signs that said “Death to the Dictator,” referring to Ahmadinejad. This guy appended the words “Theirs and ours,” a likely reference to Obama, presumably (as being “our dictator”). Even so, Obama is never actually named on the sign, as Bush is in all the exmaples I gave above (“Kill Bush,” etc.).


The only other semi-possible counter-example I’ve been able to find is this sign which appeared in
a Daily Kos report about nasty right-wing protest signs; this one apparently from Sacramento, California. Look at the sign carefully to see how, if you really concentrate, it could sort of be construed as a death threat to Obama. Kinda. Maybe.

But aside from those two signs, I have not been able to find any more solid examples. (Readers are encouraged to post links to any additional examples in the comments section.) Most of the other supposed “threats to the president” really stretch the definition past the breaking point. A few of the stronger examples:

Abrasive Los Angeles shock-jocks “John & Ken” have been championing a libertarian anti-tax campaign misguidedly dubbed “Heads on Sticks,” the theme of which (unsurprisingly) is to visualize politicians’ heads on sticks as punishment for favoring tax increases. On the John & Ken Website are graphics showing basically everybody’s heads on sticks. But their favorite target is the Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwartzenegger, whom they rail against constantly; at a recent rally in southern California, John & Ken egged on their followers to tear off the head of a cardboard Schwartzenegger stand-up, while other people in the crowd carried around Arnold’s head on a stick. John & Ken also repeatedly insulted the Republican Party, and urge their followers to not donate to Republicans or vote for them.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, at that same rally, people were also carrying other politicians’ head on sticks, among them a young woman who held two heads, one of Obama and the other apparently either of John McCain, George Bush, Joe Biden or Arnold Schwartzenegger — it’s not clear. (And it also looks like the heads were made and handed out by John & Ken staff members, since they were all of a similar design.) This has lead to furious charges from Obama supporters that John & Ken’s followers at the rally were threatening Obama’s life.

Does this count as a threat, equivalent to the threats depicted at the top of this report? I’ll let you decide.

In 2007, back when Obama was still just a Senator, Ted Nugent said during a show that Obama should suck on his machine gun and included Hillary Clinton in his rant as well. But that’s proably the least offensive thing Ted Nugent has said on stage over last 20 years. Anyway, Obama was not the president nor even the Democratic nominee for president yet, just one of many hopefuls hoping to run for the Democratic Party nomination. Was Nugent’s rant unbelievably stupid, ignorant, hateful and horrible? Certainly. But it doesn’t count as a threat to the president or even to a presidential nominee because it was made in mid-2007.

Please note: Incidents in which perceived threats to Obama were investigated by the Secret Service don’t count as “uninvestigated threats,” so are not relevant to this report. But, for completeness’ sake, here is one of the more well-known ones:

A woman in Redondo Beach, California put up a tasteless violent Halloween display on her home showing Obama in a horror-movie scene with a meat cleaver stuck in him — but this led to widespread media coverage, protests outside her house, and a visit from the Secret Service.

Threats to Bush at Protests that Were Investigated or Widely Publicized

The other side of the coin is: Threats by protesters against Bush which were investigated by the Secret Service. As with the other type of counter-examples, there seem to have been very very few (if any) examples of this, but the closest one I could find is presented here:

In 2004, a couple was arrested for trespassing at a Bush appearance in West Virginia; although they claimed that their mildly anti-Bush t-shirts (“Love America, Hate Bush” and “Regime change starts at home”) were the cause of their arrest, the police said the charge was about trespassing, not threatening the President. (The charges were later dropped anyway.) So even if they were removed from the event unfairly, this was not about a death threat, but rather about campaign managers not wanting any protesters in a photo op, as the article mentions. Hence, this doesn’t really count as an arrest of a death-threatener against Bush at a protest, since they neither threatened Bush nor were they accused of threatening Bush.

So — do the counter-examples listed above damage to any significant extent my contention that Obama threats are being pursued more vigorously in general than were Bush threats? I’ll let you come to your own conclusion.


Audio

Columnist and author Mark Steyn, while appearing on the August 20, 2009 Hugh Hewitt radio show, discussed this essay on air. You can hear a short mp3 of the one-minute clip by clicking here (392kb mp3 file) or listen to the full half-hour show here. Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Mark Steyn: “We’ve had people now, since about three month before the Iraq invasion, we’ve had people marching every week through American cities, with signs saying “Kill Bush” — explicit threats to kill Bush. Pictures of Bush with a bullet, a red blood bullet hole through the center of his forehead. Zombietime, the Web site zombietime has just collected dozens and dozens of these pictures from marches of ordinary Americans demanding the execution of their president, that were going on as I said from early 2003 right up to the end of Bush’s term. None of these guys were ever prosecuted. None of these magazines — people made films, there was an award-winning film made about the assassination of the president. Nicholson Baker wrote a novella about the death of Bush, about killing Bush. And nowhere, Newsweek I don’t recall — not that I ever listen to the Newsweek podcast, I think they had it in those days — but I don’t recall anyone in Newsweek expressing concern about films, novellas, and marches explicitly fantasizing over the death of President Bush, week in week out for five years.”


Acknowledgments

Thanks to the following people for help with this report:

Chicken Kiev, Ringo the Gringo, El Marco, Gus 802, horse, iceweasel, Jimmah, kynna, kansas, Last Mohican.


Submissions

Do you have any more photos, links or evidence that you think should be included in this report? Simply post them in the comments section below, and I’ll consider them for possible inclusion when I periodically update this essay.

Bush as Hitler, Swastika-Mania: A Retrospective

At recent rallies, town hall meetings and “tea parties,” a few protesters have shown up with signs comparing Obama to Hitler (i.e. depicting him with a Hitler mustache), or displaying swastikas in the context of implying that Obama and/or his administration are Nazi-like.

One would think that this would not be particularly newsworthy, but Democrats, the White House and their supporters are expressing outrage at this “horrifying” and “menacing” turn of events. (Or faux-outrage, at least.) Pundits, bloggers, media outlets and even top politicians like Nancy Pelosi are claiming that such signs are unprecedented, racist, and even that anyone who brings a swastika to a protest must be self-identifying as a Nazi (instead of accusing their opponents of being Nazis). When anyone tries to point out that the Left continuously compared Bush to Hitler and brought swastikas to rallies for six straight years during the Bush era, Obama supporters mock such claims, demand proof, and then try to ignore any individual examples proffered.

Since I had a front-row seat between 2003 and 2008 at anti-Bush protests in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I saw literally THOUSANDS of Bush/Hitler comparisons and swastikas, I thought perhaps it would be useful to compile here in one place a small sampling of them — to prove beyond any doubt that Hitler and swastikas were referenced incessantly at basically every single protest during the Bush administration. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying, as is anyone who claims that people who bring swastikas to rallies are necessarily self-identifying as Nazis.

I’m not saying I “approve” of the new variant of this trend (comparing Obama to Hitler), nor that it is any more clever or insightful than comparing Bush to Hitler; I only post these images here to highlight the hypocrisy of anyone now expressing outrage that Obama could uniquely suffer such an indignity.

The pictures below were all taken by me at protests between 2003 and 2008 in the San Francisco Bay Area. One can easily find hundreds of similar photos on my site zombietime. And I am just one photographer in one city — there are innumerable similar examples by other citizen journalists in other cities across America.

[Update:] Various other blogs have now also posted their own documentation of Bush-as-Hitler signs:
- Ringo’s Pictures has an extensive roundup of Bush/Hitler/Nazi signs from Los Angeles protests, with even more examples than I have here.
- semiskimmed had already published the excellent Gallery of “Bush = Hitler” Allusions as long ago as 2005, with innumerable examples not mentioned here.
- The Sara in Italy blog posted this montage of anti-Bush signs from the last several years, including many of Bush as the Devil, the Joker, a clown, and of course as Hitler and sporting swastikas.
- The various local Indymedia sites have featured countless photos of swastika/Bush-as-Nazi signs in their coverage of protests over the years — such as this prototypical example at the Los Angeles Indymedia site.
- Back in February, the Michelle Malkin site had a post with several Bush-as-Hitler signs made by his detractors.
- The Pink Flamingo blog has some more examples.
- Vocal Minority has some additional swastika protesters as part of a nice essay about the phoniness of the brouhaha.
- The College Politico has an excellent video entitled “Media Caught in Bold Faced Lie About Obama/Hitler Poster” proving that the Obama-Hitler-Mustache posters were created and displayed by Lyndon LaRouche supporters — who are advocating for single-payer healthcare — i.e. they’re at the opposite end of the argument from the main body of anti-Obama protesters.]

(And to prove that the pictures below are all from anti-Bush protests between 2003 and 2008: Click on each image to see it in context as part of its original report.)


(The photos below were not taken by me but were sent in by zomblog readers:)


The following seven pictures were snapped in Los Angeles by blogger Ringo and posted in his own roundup of Bush/Hitler protest imagery at Ringo’s Pictures, where you’ll find dozens of more examples:



This sign originally appeared on the Los Angeles Indymedia site in 2003.

In 2007, Congressman Keith Ellison himself compared Bush to Hitler — and when a member of the House of Representatives did it…absolute silence from the mainstream media.