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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Channelling his inner Cheney

Dan BidondiIn 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to “Go fuck yourself” in response to Leahy’s criticisms over Cheney’s Halliburton war profiteering. 

Later the same week, Cheney said he didn’t regret cursing at the Senator on the Senate floor, and even as recently as 2010 said of telling off Leahy, “That’s sort of the best thing I ever did.”

I think Cheney set a pretty low bar for “best thing ever,” but sadly, given his record, he might be right. 

But I digress.

Dan Bidondi (to be played by Michael Chiklis in the movie version of this story) posted a video on Info Wars where Rhode Island State Senator Josh Miller (and a local photographer) told him to “Go fuck yourself.”

Bidondi reacted with mock outrage, editing the video in such a way as to leave out the part where he is harassing people in the State House with idiotic questions. Bidondi’s behavior and conduct were deplorable that day, and when I called him on his behavior (using words much more polite than “Go fuck yourself”) he told me that he was a member of the press and was exercising his right to free speech. He proudly displayed his Info Wars press credentials.

Bidondi is a member of the press, and he has the First Amendment right to free speech. So does Senator Miller, of course, but Miller is also a better person than Bidondi (or Dick Cheney, for that matter) because after due consideration, Miller apologized for his behavior, saying, “Regardless of the emotions and atmosphere of the moment, it does not justify the language I used that day. Out of respect for the decorum of the State House and the constituents I represent, I offer my apologies.”
No such apology seems forthcoming from Bidondi.

Info Wars and Bidondi represent the very worst of the right wing Internet. Comments on Bidondi’s Josh Miller post number in the hundreds and are filled with anti-semitism, thinly veiled death threats and racism. Reading them is stomach churning.

BR549 said, “I thought this clown looked Jewish, ……. and sure enough, after a bit of digging, there it was. So we have yet another arrogant Jewish leftard progressive in office, who has to lie through his teeth on his FaceBook page to try to convince everyone that Dan BiDondi is a basher of elderly veterans.”

Earl Scheib said, tactfully, “He needs to be Trotsky’d” by which I assume he means “hit in the head with an icepick.”

Joel Bensonetti observed that, “Josh Miller looks a lot like Pol Pot, only white.”

These are some of the tamer examples.

Anyone who has dealt with Dan “false flag” Bidondi knows that he is not a honest player in the public debate, that he intentionally mocks and goads the people he stalks for impromptu interviews, that he espouses any inane conspiracy theory that pops into his head, and that he actively courts exactly the amount of respect he deserves.

Senator Miller may have lost his cool but he apologized to his constituents and the citizens of Rhode Island, not to Bidondi and not to that hotbed of racism, misogyny and anti-semitism called Info Wars.

I think that’s appropriate.

Steve Ahlquist is a writer, artist and current president of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism and action. He also maintains the blog SteveAhlquist.com where almost all his writing can be found. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.