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Time for New Hampshire to close its borders

Back on October 6, a New Hampshire man serving with the 82 Airborne in Iraq was killed in action. 22-year-old Nicholas Avanitis is being laid to rest in his home town of Salem, New Hampshire tomorrow. Many people are coming to honor him and his sacrifice.

And a few are coming to spit on his grave.

I don't talk much about my Day Job, because I like to keep it separate from my blogging, but in this case they may connect. I work in the Salem area, I deal with the public, and there is a slim chance that I may encounter them today or tomorrow. And if I do, I might be looking for a new job in the immediate future.

Because there is no way in hell I will offer them any assistance whatsoever.

Comments (57)

You already let the Free St... (Below threshold)
Wink Martindale:

You already let the Free State nutjobs in.

Why doesn't someone just sh... (Below threshold)

Why doesn't someone just shoot this scum? I am really surprised, with all of the outrage that they have created among the vast majority of the US population, that someone hasn't just decided to snuff them out like you would step on a cockroach.

When it comes right downn t... (Below threshold)

When it comes right downn to it, I think an ongoing debate on our war in Iraq is warranted. However, if true, this level of callousness goes against every aspect of Christian life. I hope the Baptist Church is taking an active role in condemning these people.

This group has been attendi... (Below threshold)

This group has been attending military funerals for months/years nationwide. When they were in our state (Indiana), the issue was protesting homosexuality in the military--at a funeral--go figure. Many states including ours have passed and enacted laws against protests at funerals. However, some groups disagree because of freedom of speech issues.

Christians and other Americans definitely need to publicly denounce these actions & send letters directly to the church in Kansas in protest---in the same way some of us expect Muslims in America to "stand up" against extremists in the Muslim faith.

It would be so nice if all the people who love freedom of speech would also realize they have the freedom to get/learn good manners!

How about it, Lee, Hugh, Ma... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

How about it, Lee, Hugh, Mantis, etc., do you support this kind of behavior or condemn it? If this was a group picketing a black, or hispanic, or gay funeral I wonder what your comments would be.

USMC, give the usual gang o... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

USMC, give the usual gang of idiots a break. The Westboro idiots are pretty much universally reviled as major assholes. Their main focus is gay-bashing, and they've found this is the best way to get the attention they so desperately crave.

The irony is that their main position is extremely right-wing, yet their current tactic is guaranteed to piss off the right more than any other group. It's like they don't WANT sympathy, just attention.


I stumbled across this webs... (Below threshold)

I stumbled across this website years ago when I was a DMOZ editor. It's a great parody of the asshat's website. http://www.godhatesfigs.com/

Christians and other Americans definitely need to publicly denounce these actions & send letters directly to the church in Kansas in protest---in the same way some of us expect Muslims in America to "stand up" against extremists in the Muslim faith.

Every Christian I know who follows the news has done this as individuals. I wish the AFA would take a break from bashing the networks and bash Phelps, but I've read that they make a ton of money off of lawsuits from these protests. Maybe that's why we don't see denouncements from Christian organizations - afraid of getting dragged in on one.

I would think they could be... (Below threshold)

I would think they could be charged with a hate crime at the very least. Because thats what this is, pure unadultered hate directed at hurting family members. very sick

One tactic these idiots emp... (Below threshold)

One tactic these idiots employ to fund thier activities involves pissing people off so much that one of thier members is assaulted. Then the lawsuits begin... There really aren't many members, however a portion of them are lawyers

These hate mongers are an embarrassment

Fred Phelps' desperation to... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Fred Phelps' desperation to protest homosexuality in such a crass fashion can mean only one thing.


Point blank, people fear Fr... (Below threshold)

Point blank, people fear Fred Phelps and his cult. Those who stand up against him are indeed hit by lawsuits, or have their private lives smeared (one elected official spoke against Phelps and shortly thereafter prive e-mails between she and her husband regarding their marital problems were faxed all over by the cult, for example.) Although one lawyer had a good way to get the cult to back down... he requested Phelps and Co. be examined by a shrink. Phelps immediately backed down. Gotta love it. In any case, I wish I could make it to Salem tomorrow.

And again, still waiting on... (Below threshold)

And again, still waiting on you Jay to correct the lie you wrote about Harry Reid.

It's curious (and come to t... (Below threshold)

It's curious (and come to think of it, understandable) that, in the name of their website, God is not capitalized.

They actually have a websit... (Below threshold)

They actually have a website? Is it a gaybashing site or what?

Ohhh I see, Nice website.</... (Below threshold)

Ohhh I see, Nice website.

Harry Reid is a criminal PO... (Below threshold)

Harry Reid is a criminal POS so anything written about him is probably true. If an occasional error creeps in - it isn't intentional I'm sure. AND, I might add - what in the name of hell does Harry Reid have to do with these despicable Phelps followers?

That they would disrupt the funeral of an American hero (someone with far more courage than any of Phelps' followers), has been and continues to be the act of worthless human scum!

One charge of criminal acti... (Below threshold)

One charge of criminal activity against Dirty Harry could be a mistake but the current 15 page list of corruption/crimes can't all be mistakes. Dirty Harry just carries on his family history of crime. There are so many crimes listed there are now calls for a justice department investigation.

Do what you have to do, Jay... (Below threshold)

Do what you have to do, Jay. We'll find a job for you.

It's not gays in the milita... (Below threshold)

It's not gays in the military that Phelps doesn't like. It's the tolerance of gays in general.

It goes like this...

America tolerates gays. Thus, God will judge America. The war we are in is judgement for tolerating gays. Thus any soldier who dies in the war has died because of our tolerance for homosexuality. The Phelps family is trying to save America from the judgement of God.

As for why no one has shot them yet... it's because that's not what good people do. The Phelps family is universally reviled and *ignored*. They've found the single way to protest that can't be ignored, preying on the families of fallen soldiers. Steps are taken to protect the families at the funerals.

I think it's clear enough that the only "God" involved is Fred Phelps in his own mind.

Yeah, but folks, Westboro..... (Below threshold)

Yeah, but folks, Westboro... Well, they're on your side.

They're the "God Hates Fags" guys. And you guys share the same viewpoint on that same issue. Westboro is just a bit more honest about it.

The republican base gets energized about 3 things; War, Abortion and Gays.

What's with all the hate for this group? Westboro is part of your core. Or is there finaly some limit, some hate speach, that even staunch supporters of your platform can't support?


JohnboySorry buddy... (Below threshold)


Sorry buddy but You have no idea what You are talking about. These scum have nothing in common with republicans.

Actually they have more in common with Your extreme left anti war activists..

John: Funny, but P... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:


Funny, but Phelps seems to be a Democrat.


Certainly, he's run for office as a Dem, and he seems to have been a Gore fundraiser.

As Mother Jones magazine notes:

Phelps remained prominent in state and local politics, working for years as a major organizer for the state's Democratic Party. (He still calls himself a Democrat, refusing to change just because his party has.)


So, unless you believe most of the folks here are Democrats (which might even be true), I think Fred Phelps is part of your side.

Last year one of my assignm... (Below threshold)

Last year one of my assignments was for my students to write a persuasive essay in any format they wanted.

I was so proud of one of them who wrote a letter to the editor of our town's paper to protest this bunch, who were coming to the funeral of one of our hometown boys.

The Patriot Guard formed a wall around the burial to protect the familly's privacy, and the next day they phone my student at school to personally thank him for his support.

Someone with the flu should drag himself or herself out of bed to sneeze on them.

So, would we agree that Rep... (Below threshold)

So, would we agree that Republicans in general support Gay rights, including protection from discrimination in the work place, and including the right to marry? Or would we say that Republicans in general do not support Gay rights, and are closer to Westboro's position that God hates fags because something is "wrong" with them? Or that's it's "wrong" behavior?

Ooooo no. He's pretty much one of your guys. Keep him.


Actually, John, I find it h... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Actually, John, I find it hard to find too many folks from either side of the aisle that stomach the Phelps.

Yet, I find it interesting that it's you who would apparently deprive someone of their First Amendment rights. Wasn't it once observed that Freedom of Speech is meaningless if unpleasant or unpopular speech is muzzled?

The reality is that, while the Phelps have the right to their vitriol, neither conservatives nor liberals want much to do with them.

But if you're going to cast asinine aspersions, you're going to have to recognize that they are Democrats.

Or, you could drop this stupid line of argument.

Your call, dood.

Oh, and on the right of gay... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Oh, and on the right of gays to marry, referendum after referendum on this subject has been defeated.

So, unless you're going to argue that a majority of Americans are Republican, or worse, that a majority of Americans (at least in the states that have held such referenda) are Phelps supporters, I suggest that you think before you comment.

Lurking,No, Phelps... (Below threshold)


No, Phelps platform has nothing to do with Democratic values.

I think it's great that everyone is willing to condem him. And he has his right to free speech. I never condemed him for that, but look at the comments from the other posters.

Go get the Republican platform from their website, and post it here. Then do the same for the Democratic platform. Let's have a look to see which part is more alligned with what Westboro says and does.


The only blue state where g... (Below threshold)

The only blue state where gay marriage is legal is Massachusetts - and that by judicial fiat, not by popular vote. When it finally comes to a vote in 2008, it will be soundly defeated. Democrats may talk a good game, but where the rubber meets the road, blue staters do not support gays any more than red staters.

Well, Howard Dean said that... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Well, Howard Dean said that the Democratic Party platform is that marriage is between a man and a woman.


Guess the chair of the DNC is a Phelps supporter, eh?

But it's funny, what is the Dem platform position on gay marriage? According to the article, that's left to the states. Which have voted down gay marriage.

So, is that what you're saying, John? The majority of Americans are Phelps supporters? B/c, by your lights, they're aligned with Westboro, since they're not voting for gay marriage.

Lurking,Did you ev... (Below threshold)


Did you even read the first line in the article you linked to support the argument in your post? It does NOT support your argument about the platform of the Democratic party.

Regardless, I'm happy everyone's on the tollerence bandwagon.


I most certainly did, John.... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

I most certainly did, John. In fact, here it is:

Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean has contradicted his party's platform and infuriated gay rights advocates by saying the party's platform states "marriage is between a man and a woman."

Howard Dean apparently does not believe that one should support gay marriage. He is, after all, the Party chair, and this is what he believes is in the Party platform.

Guess he's not one of those tolerant types, eh?

As for the Democratic Party platform, it specifically leaves decisions about marriage to the states. I suppose that's an improvement on the last Democratic President, who signed into law the "Defense of Marriage" Act.

Those states that the Democratic Party platform defers to are the same states which, as Laura has noted, seem to have this tendency to vote down gay marriage referenda.

So, am I correct John that you view the majority of people who are voting in referenda as followers of Phelps? Was Bill Clinton a Phelps follower?

Curious minds want to know.

John"He has a r... (Below threshold)


"He has a right to free speech. I never condemned Him for that."

And the people honoring and remembering their loved one have the right not to hear it!

If this guy or group came to the street in front of Your house and started screaming "God is gonna burn You in hell for Your sins!" Would You simply ignore Him and think "oh well its just His freedom of speech" no? you would probably call the cops about a public disturbance..Thats what these scum bags are doing in the very least and if they showed up at a funeral for someone I knew they would be lucky to limp out of there in one piece. The scum

914, I may agree with your ... (Below threshold)

914, I may agree with your sentiment - I don't want our troops' grieving families to have to listen to these sadistic bastards any more than you do - but there is no right to not hear something. If they can be kicked out for trespassing, noise ordinances or any other methods, then great. But evidently none of those laws apply or they wouldn't be getting away with it.

McCain-Feingold was bad enough, we don't need to further restrict speech. We need to find another way to fight these people, that's all.

914,If as you said... (Below threshold)


If as you said...

"If this guy or group came to the street in front of Your house and started screaming "God is gonna burn You in hell for Your sins!"

I would probably be scared shitless. It would probably also assume he's a right wing religious nutjob. I would almost certainly be right on that last count.

The "God is gonna burn you in hell crowd" is to the very last man conservative religious republicans. Progressive Democrats never scream that "God is gonna burn you in hell".

Don't get me wrong. I think Phelps is vile. I think we all agree on this.

We disagree in that I think that the divisive republican anti-gay rights platform has fueled wingnuts like Phelps and given him a base. The fruit does not fall too far away from the tree, or to put it another way; he's a creature of your creation. You control him.


The fruit does not... (Below threshold)
The fruit does not fall too far away from the tree, or to put it another way; he's a creature of your creation. You control him.

Just as soon as you guys get control of the Truthers and the Lynn Stewarts and don't forget the terrorists who parrot Democratic talking points early and often...

C'mon its gotta be disturbi... (Below threshold)

C'mon its gotta be disturbing the peace. Just because the people grieving over their loss are not in a good frame of mind as in being depressed and not altogether there? at least thats how I have felt at funerals, does not mean they have to be subjected to this.

Perhaps the cemetarys need to put up no tresspassing signs and start having these jackases arrested and fined to the max? as in exhibition tresspassing at funerals 10,000 dollar fine and 90 days in jail..

914,I like that. ... (Below threshold)


I like that. I would support that. Phelps is a ass, and nobody needs that at a funeral. The people who lost their son should have some dignity. He was after all trying to do something noble, or in our best interest.

With freedom comes responsibility. We have a responsibility to use our freedom of speech wisley, openly, honestly and respectfully.


Laura,Who are "Tru... (Below threshold)


Who are "Truthers"? And "Lynn Stewarts"? And which terrorists parrot Democratic talking points? Which talking points?

I don't understand what you're trying to say.


Going back to the third com... (Below threshold)

Going back to the third comment, there's an important aspect of the Bapist Church that one must recognize before dealing with Phelps and his gang. The Baptist Church is not centralized. There is no formal presiding council or system of hierarchy within the Baptist Church in general (I understand that the Southern Baptists are a different matter, however). There is no council that can rebuke Phelps within the Baptist system.

Pretty much the only thing uniting most Baptists is their belief in independence and their stress on, well, baptism.

I pity Phelps and his followers. Such hate will destroy their souls. If anything, we Christians need to pray for them while refusing to allow them to walk in their sin in front of us. It's a delicate balance.

John, my reply is still in ... (Below threshold)

John, my reply is still in moderation because it had so many links.

I think Laura was talking a... (Below threshold)

I think Laura was talking about the way Bin Laden's last video parroted Michael Moore and similar events more recently. It's not uncommon at all.

Phelps is a hateful, terrible person. Yes, we all agree on that. No one wants him.

As for Republican and Democrat differences on gay rights. The Dems give it lip service and not much else. Republicans are more likely to reject anything that sounds like group rights in favor of individuals rights. It's not that gays deserve to be treated decently, it's that *you* deserve to be treated decently and fairly.

When you add "including marriage" the Democrats don't fare much better than Republicans. They'll put it in the platform but it's just there to sound good. At the national leadership level, such as Dean and Kerry, who essentially expressed the identical policy as Bush while campaigning, they really aren't doing anything at all to promote it. The referendums in various states fail (or pass, as the case may be) by such margins that it's obvious that Democrats do no support it at the polls either. The Dem platform doesn't refect real behavior on this issue in any way.

When Republicans reject laws or policy that single out a group of people it's not because they hate those people. Republicans are no more sexist or racist or homophobic than anyone else, sometimes I think they are actually less so.

Synova, thanks for the remi... (Below threshold)

Synova, thanks for the reminder, I'd forgotten about that. Actually I was thinking about - and linked to - a side by side comparison of Zawahiri's statements compared to what top Democrats say.

Good to see you in the mids... (Below threshold)

Good to see you in the midst of the rest of this still on topic SB! And I agree whole-heartedly.

So, John, people should be ... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

So, John, people should be careful what they say, eh?

And the difference between you and Ari Fleischer is?

I've given up on the earlie... (Below threshold)

I've given up on the earlier reply, it's evidently stuck in the moderation queue. But here's the most important link from the comment - who said it - al Queda or top Dems? Just a few examples of many.

Lurking,Well, the ... (Below threshold)


Well, the obvious difference between myself and Ari Fleischer is that I have much better hair.

A more subtle difference is that Ari Fleischer was getting paid to lie to you, whereas I'm not getting paid, nor am I willing to lie to you.


Laura,I looked at ... (Below threshold)


I looked at the link you sent me. I don't find that the statement made by the Al Quaeda spokesperson matches up particularly well with the two following statements by the Democratic leaders.

I did notice that out of the 6 quotations from the Democrat leaders, all but one has been demonstrated to be correct. The first quote about Unocal I don't agree with, however it is a fact that Unocal was bidding to build a pipeline through Afghanistan in the late 90's and that Hamid Karzai who we installed as president is a former consultant to Unocal.

The rest of the Democratic quotes have been proven to be factualy correct, and you'll be able to verify them.


John, if by "factually corr... (Below threshold)

John, if by "factually correct" you mean "leftist opinion", then I'd have to agree. Please point out any actual facts in those quotes, as opposed to the speaker's opinions.

Ok, let's go one quote at a... (Below threshold)

Ok, let's go one quote at a time. I already discussed the first one, so second dem quote makes two points - Oil companies reap record profits from sky high prices, and American prestige damaged abroad.

True or not?

John, the point of those qu... (Below threshold)

John, the point of those quotes is not to prove that record profits were made, which is easily verifiable in a number of places. The point was that it was a war for oil, a comment made by quite a few Dems. That is quite simply unprovable. The resolution that both Dems and Repubs voted for en masse says nothing about the war being for oil and the only person who knows what W was thinking is W. To say that it is a war for oil is *opinion* and spin. As are words like "betrayal," "foreign adventure," "fraud," etc.

So, no thanks, I'm not going to go one quote at a time to dispute those opinions which just so happen to coincide with the opinions of the al Queda leader. What would be the point?

Re-reading my original requ... (Below threshold)

Re-reading my original request - to point out the "actual facts" then I'd say I owe you an apology for goalpost moving. I should have taken more care to write what I meant. There are at least references to actual facts, as in the fact that there are higher than normal oil profits. But my point was that they were conveying *opinions*.

Laura,Under that s... (Below threshold)


Under that standard, pretty much anything written would be opinion, excluding math equations.

When we talk about "America's Strategic Interests", that's what we're talking about. Energy. We need energy. We use more of it per capita than any nation on earth. We have coal, and it's great for electrical generation, but it's oil that you can transport. It's oil that runs our cars and drives our economy.

What did Bush say to the Iraqis when we launched our invasion? "Don't destroy the oil wells"... He's an oil man. It's what he does.

So, oil prices did go sky high. Oil companies did get record profits. Our foreign prestige was damanged abroad. This points in this statement were all true. The argument was fact based.

I think we're not going to go one quote at a time, because we'll be able to verify each point in each argument. And the point would be that it might lead people to change their opinion.


Laura,If an appolo... (Below threshold)


If an appology is needed, I'll give you one. I think you are struggling sincerly for the truth with me, and I think you've been honest and fair. I enjoy having these discussions with you.


(groan) here we go... John,... (Below threshold)

(groan) here we go... John, there's fact based and then there's fact based. What I'm trying to say is that it's all about the spin. There were many factors that caused the phenomenal spike in oil prices, and *one* was what's going on in Iraq. It is by no means the deciding factor, as the recent dramatic drop in prices - absent any substantial change in Iraq - proves. To say that this is a war for oil is opinion, based on how that person spun a particular fact. When I say that regime change was Clinton's policy too, you would probably say I'm spinning, but it's a fact. It's also a fact that the terrorists are emboldened by the anti-war movement. Bin Laden said as much, and they can win by just waiting us out and making us leave. It's a fact that Saddam had verifiable ties to al Queda, but the spin is that "he had nothing to do with 9/11". It's a fact that he had WMD programs and old WMD and that trucks transported unknown substances to Syria before the war. It's also a fact that bin Laden admitted to doing 9/11, but the Truthers doubtless have an explanation for that too. Facts have become veritable pizza dough - very malleable and spinnable.

As far as our international reputation - not to put too fine a point on it, countries do what's best for themselves, there is no real loyalty except maybe - and it's a big, big maybe - between us and Britain. As just one example, France was in bed with Saddam and is still struggling with an aggressive, unassimilated immigrant Muslim population. They weren't weren't against the war on principle and they don't dislike us based on some high moral ground. They have their own problems and they're trying to deal with them.

So to say that going over it point by point will verify each argument and lead people to change their opinion is, I think, ridiculous. Especially given that you and I are probably the only two people left following this thread. But I just can't let that challenge lie there, so if you really want to duke it out point by point, then fine.

Ah, a truce would seem to b... (Below threshold)

Ah, a truce would seem to be in order? I don't think we'll reach perfect agreement soon, although we probably agree on much.

(My wife wonders why the tile is not getting laid in the bathroom at the expected speed.)

It's been an honor to have spoken with you, and I'm sure we'll speak again. You seem to be one of the most reasonable voices on this site. Thank you for your time.


:-) I enjoyed it, and good ... (Below threshold)

:-) I enjoyed it, and good luck with that tile.

Would that be red tile or b... (Below threshold)
Kurt Duncan:

Would that be red tile or blue tile?






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