The Judge

I haven’t decided what I think about the shootings yet. I know what I feel, but not what I think.

In reviewing the information that is available, though, I’d like to include Judge John M. Roll’s past experience with threats, because I think it’s instructive.

First, this:

Judge Roll was appointed by the first President George Bush in 1991

That should make his experience sufficiently bipartisan, I would think, so we can take that off that table.

Judge Roll was no stranger to the risks of public service. He and his wife were provided protection by the Federal Marshals Service in 2009 in connection with a case in which a group of Mexicans sued an Arizona rancher for $32 million.

“I have a very strong belief that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a judicial decision,” he said. “But when it comes to threats, that is an entirely different matter.”

Agreed.

When Roll ruled the case could go forward, [U.S. Marshal David Gonzales] said talk-radio shows cranked up the controversy and spurred audiences into making threats. I n one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.

“They said, ‘We should kill him. He should be dead,’ ” Gonzales said.

The Federal Marshall Service drew a direct connection between talk radio rhetoric and the death threats to the late Judge Roll, and it had nothing to do with partisanship.

You’ll note the Federal Marshall Service believed audiences were “spurred into making threats”. No mention of the mental health of the four individuals who made the threats, or the “intent” of the talk radio jocks.

It happens. In fact, it happened to the judge who was murdered yesterday, in 2009.

Irresponsible and inflammatory political rhetoric can lead to death threats. We already know that. Is it really such a stretch to think irresponsible and inflammatory political rhetoric can lead to death?

The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

So, I can accept John’s premise, based on Judge Roll’s past experience alone, and go from there.

Further, I think it’s fair to ask why conservative leaders and others didn’t take what we already know about the connection between rhetoric and threats into account before they acted so irresponsibly, and why they felt they could arrogantly and recklessly put someone else at any increased risk for political gain. Death threats should have been enough for responsible, decent people to change their behavior. They weren’t. That’s about the definition of “irresponsible”, don’t you think?






206 replies
  1. 1
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I have no strong opinion on your point one way or the other, but …. Roll was apparently not killed because he was Roll, or because he was a judge. He was killed because he was just there.

    From the accounts I heard, he just happened to be the guy who was walking up to Giffords at the fatal moment to say hello. Wrong place, wrong time. Could have been anybody.

    That being the case … do we really want to make a whole lot of the previous threats against Roll? Because they seem to have no bearing here whatever.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    It would be great to come up with a Judge John M. Roll Act or procedure by which federal judges are confirmed in a reasonable period of time, and with reasoned debate. Not character assassination. Not litmus tests, like Federalist Society membership.

    No stacking the judiciary and running out the clock when your party is out of power.

  3. 3
    The Populist says:

    The difference of left and right talk show rhetoric?

    Example: Olbermann talks sternly based on facts that anybody can look up and peppers with his strong POV. If he has a problem with a rightie, he isn’t urging the audience to go after them or even posting their address.

    Michelle Malkin and her Fox crew of talkers tends to dig up personal info and exhort her followers to take it to the enemy. While I will say they aren’t SAYING to hurt anybody, it still says a lot that they would do that knowing somebody will take it to an extreme.

    A law needs to be made to keep idiots like these righties from giving out addresses out of respect of the safety of the person they targeted as well as neighbors and family.

    I have a right to privacy and to be left alone in my own home. I don’t see lib bloggers or talkers doing this to Michelle and her ilk.

  4. 4
    r€nato says:

    Just last year Chris Simcox, founder of the anti-immigration Minuteman militia and a southern AZ resident, threatened to shoot his estranged wife, his kids, and any cops who might try to protect them:

    Chris Simcox’s wife, who is seeking a divorce, alleges in court documents that he brandished a gun and threatened to shoot his family on at least two occasions in late 2009 – four years after he became instrumental in founding the Minuteman movement, which brought thousands of anti-illegal-immigration activists to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border and report suspected illegal migrants to the Border Patrol. Simcox, 49, most recently worked as an adviser to U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth.

    But, you know, it’s impolite to draw a link between right-wing extremists who’ve been mainstreamed, extremist rhetoric, and right-wing violence.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Roll endured death threats as a result of talk radio rhetoric in Arizona. The connection between death threats and talk radio rhetoric was established well before this incident. That alone should have been enough to inspire “soul searching”.

  7. 7
    r€nato says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I think the point is that there is one side that doesn’t mind playing footsie with radicals who use inflammatory and violent rhetoric. It’s not the American milquetoast, NPR-listening Left.

  8. 8
    The Populist says:

    @r€nato:

    The reality is this: The right KNOWS they are done in a decade or so. This might be the last gasp of a dying movement. I fear that desperate folks do desperate things.

  9. 9
    The Populist says:

    @r€nato:

    My point exactly. I don’t see Rachel Maddow making stuff up to rile the shock troops the way Beck does.

  10. 10

    @r€nato: Yes. This. And it needs to be said over and over again, though I fear it won’t do much good.

    @The Populist: Sadly, I agree. I see things getting much worse before they get better.

  11. 11
    wengler says:

    @LikableInMyOwnWay:

    Did you even read the post? The point is that there was no sort of reaction from elected Republicans when a Federal Judge was on the receiving end of threats. A judge that was a two-time Bush appointee. Yet these same politicians go on these radio talk shows and use it as a platform to get their message out.

    There is a direct analogy to this situation that Republicans enjoy citing all the time. They ask “Where are the muslim leaders condemning suicide attacks?” I ask “Where are the Republican leaders that put their country ahead of party?”

  12. 12
    r€nato says:

    while Pima County leans left, the right-wing there is pretty far to the right. It’s worth noting that the two Democrats who represent greater Tucson in Congress, Grijalva and Giffords, were the targets of vandalism and death threats during the health care debate.

    Harry Mitchell, who recently ended his term representing a suburban Phoenix district in the House, said this weekend that he cancelled constituent meetings during the health care reform debate due to death threats. Pretty sure those didn’t come from people pissed that there was no public option.

  13. 13
    Caz says:

    This guy read Karl Marx, Hitler, and burned the American flag in protest of our Constitutional system of law and government. That’s leftist if it’s anything.

    By blaming free speech for the violent acts of a murderer, you’re fueling the efforts by the left to censor speech. And if the left has its way, we’ll end up as the very type of system this murderer associated himself with – Marxism and national socialism.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    Until people like Palin and Angle, and, well, almost the whole of the GOP, pay a political price for their incendiary rhetoric, we are going to be hearing from them.

    No one (almost) ever went broke appealing to the lowest common denominator of America’s fears.

    The GOP can be put in their place best by an informed public.

  15. 15
    Cacti says:

    Feel free to accuse me of politicizing tragedy…

    But the events in Tucson serve as a useful backdrop for showing Steve King’s proposed Congressional hearings on the “radicalization of U.S. muslims” to be the blinkered, bigoted crap that it actually is.

  16. 16
    Allan says:

    Depraved indifference.

    To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant’s conduct must be so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

  17. 17
    Kay says:

    @wengler:

    Lots of federal judges are subject to threats. Roll’s threats were directly connected to talk radio.

    Conservatives want to debate whether this connection exists. It does, and they should already know that. Once the connection is made, even once, it’s simply a matter of them deciding their political ambitions justify the increased risk. But the increased risk is there. Roll himself proves that.

    I accept that political rhetoric can lead to death threats. I have to. It happened to Judge Roll. I can ignore that FACT, and go on my merry way, spewing whatever, but it happened.

  18. 18
    wengler says:

    @renato

    I hope Grijalva has some manner of protection at all times. I had never heard of Giffords before she was shot, but Grijalva has been very visible nationally on issues that the Tea Party would like to exert their “Second Amendment” remedies on. Most notably the illegal to be brown state law.

  19. 19
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    Roll’s wife said he wasn’t going to be there today. The congresswoman was scheduled to be there. Yup. Bipartisan.

    Fuck.

  20. 20
    Allan says:

    @Elizabelle: I think Chief Justice John Roberts needs to be invited to the Senate to speak, after which Harry Reid calls for the confirmation of all outstanding appointments to the Federal bench by unanimous consent, daring a Republican to object.

  21. 21
    sven says:

    The headline over at Slate right now is:

    In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric: The awesome stupidity of the calls to tamp down political speech in the wake of the Giffords shooting.

    Hippy-punching is just like duct tape, there is no problem it cannot solve.

    (apologies for re-posting this but it does seem the appropriate thread)

  22. 22
    Cacti says:

    @Kay:

    Conservatives want to debate whether this connection exists. It does, and they should already know that. Once the connection is made, even once, it’s simply a matter of them deciding their political ambitions justify the increased risk. But the increased risk is there. Roll himself proves that.

    Conservatives have never met an inconvenient fact that they couldn’t hand wave away. Just look at the Shafer piece in Slate. “Nobody I know has tried to kill anyone” is all they need.

  23. 23
    r€nato says:

    @wengler: Grijalva was sent a toxic white powder recently and I believe his office was vandalized during the HCR debate. I’m pretty sure he also received death threats.

    I believe that he or his staff indeed stated this weekend that they would be examining his security needs. If you’ve seen a pic of him… he’s not white and middle-class-looking like Giffords. In fact he looks like he could be a farm laborer. So he’s even more unpopular among the rabid anti-Mexican crowd down there than Giffords already was.

  24. 24
    srv says:

    While our founders knew that a revolution would result in a war, their very creation was a means to try to get ahead of the curve of the violent rabble-rousers who were kidnapping, killing and tar-and-feathering in Massachusetts.

    They saw what was coming, and the choice was between violent mob-rule or something else.

  25. 25
    The Populist says:

    @Kay:

    Some site called Hillbuzz which is a tea party site seems to think Jared Loughner was posting on Daily KOS. I love how this “site” is selling this garbage. The beauty of it all is that it is clear this kid was a supporter of a white supremacist group. Why would he post on a leftie site to make himself out to be a liberal?

    I saw the screen caps and unless this is just creative photoshopping, I have to ask…just because some poster claims to be from Tucson and says Giffords is “dead” to him does not mean he is the shooter. Even so, “dead to me” is a term some people use to describe that a person is no longer in their life…it doesn’t mean anything.

    More false equivalency from a site that thinks Sarah Palin and tea baggers are 100% correct and liberal thinking = scum.

  26. 26
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    The point is that there was no sort of reaction from elected Republicans when a Federal Judge was on the receiving end of threats.

    That’s hardly news. And it isn’t just judges, it’s any government official who gets in their rhetorical sights.

    In this case, a judge was killed by accident, for all intents and purposes, in an attack on another official. A good time to ramp up security awareness and opposition to violent hate speech in general. But not by trying to draw a line between this shooting and Roll’s previous threat exposure, where no actual connection appears to exist.

    If you are out to advocate the reading of posts, try reading mine a little more carefully before you shoot your mouth of at me.

    Try addressing my point: Where no connection exists in the event, if the available facts don’t support one, what is the efficacy of inventing one? It invites dismissal of the complaint and weakens the argument. That’s my assertion and I am restating again here. You can disagree if you want, but an actual argument would be more useful. In other words, argue in favor of making this connection when the facts don’t appear to support one. Unless I am missing something, that’s just the kind of event driven opportunism that our adversaries do every day. Isn’t it?

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    You’re missing my point. I think it’s clear the congresswoman was targeted, not the judge. The judge had been targeted previously, and the US Marshall’s determined that the threats were a result of talk radio taking up his decision, and exhorting listeners to call and threaten him.

    I don’t want to have the sort of abstract discussion conservatives rely on, where we muse on the possible abstract connection of insane rhetoric to acts, and ponder grand concepts like “speech” or construct elaborate hypotheticals. In my opinion, they rely on that to mislead and distract. Let’s look at what happened, prior.

    This happened. To this judge. Talk radio-death threats. One year ago. That wasn’t enough to tone them down?

  28. 28
    licensed to kill time says:

    Conservatives will take the stance that pointing out the connection between talk radio and threats is, in fact, the real threat.

    It works the same way that pointing out racism is, in fact, the real racism.

  29. 29
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Cacti:

    Everybody is rushing to the microphones to politicize the tragedy. But if people are not careful and patient enough to wait for the facts to develop fully, there is no guarantee that the net effect will be good or produce the desired result.

    If people appear to be carelessly looking for rhetorical advantage, it can backfire. If we appear to be playing loose with the facts and the connections, it can backfire.

    Not that it will stop the blog world from shooting itself in the crotch with its own slingshots. What’s the resource for? Measured, reasoned talk, or hot air? See the logo for more information.

  30. 30
    The Populist says:

    @Kay:

    According to the news they found a safe in the house that had a letter from Giffords thanking Loughner for showing up to one of her past events. Another letter is handwritten to say he “planned ahead” and Giffords name was written with assassination.

    Seems to well planned out for a psycho to commit, eh?

  31. 31
    Kay says:

    @Cacti:

    They want to frame the question thus:

    “Can rhetoric inspire acts?”

    We can debate that forever, they’d love that, right? But, really, we don’t have to. It does. It did in Judge Roll’s case, prior. We got one! And “one” should be enough.

    Now that that’s settled, maybe conservatives can tell me why one wasn’t enough.

    Or, do they plan to take a wait and see and wait for a threat that results in a death. Because that’s the risk they’re assuming. Well, not “them”. That’s the risk they’re putting on someone else.

  32. 32
    thejoz says:

    There are probably some conservative leaders who don’t ask questions about violent rhetoric because they really believe that the only good librul is a dead librul.

    Seriously I think that there are plenty on the right – 99% of whom would never, ever admit it – that think that if the crazies they enable went out and killed or seriously wounded everyone with whom they disagree with politically, that’d be just fine with them.

  33. 33
    r€nato says:

    Forget about Loughner, if you’re not convinced that he was motivated by right-wing hate media. There are plenty of examples of right-wingers resorting to violence in the very recent past. In 2009 some nut who feared Obama was going to take his guns, shot two Pittsburgh cops to death. I believe it was in that same year some nutbag in Tennessee shot up a Unitarian congregation because they were a bunch of liberals and he hated liberals. This man was later discovered to be a huge fan of Hannity, Fox News, Limbaugh and all the other usual right-wing hatemongers.

    Eric Rudolph. Paul Hill. Scott Roeder. All of them anti-abortion terrorists who sincerely believed the Operation Rescue/anti-choice lobby’s rhetoric that abortion is murder, and took matters in their own hands.

    Timothy McVeigh.

    The anthrax attacker targeted Democratic lawmakers and the so-called liberal media’s offices. (NYTimes and a major broadcast network’s news division, IIRC)

    Death threats against the president up 400% since Obama took office, according to the Secret Service.

    There have also been a number of plots hatched by right-wing extremists – most of them gun nuts who were convinced by NRA fundraising propaganda that Obama was a tyrant who was going to snatch their precious firearms – which were stopped by law enforcement.

    Really, what more does it take? Some nut to commit another massacre and declare in a notarized document signed in blood that he did it in the name of Rush Limbaugh?

  34. 34
    Ana Gama says:

    @BGinCHI:

    The GOP can be put in their place best by an informed public.

    Which is nearly impossible due to the fuckedupedness of the MSM.

    They won’t even call out the provable lies, like Jan Brewer’s claims of headless dead bodies littering the AZ desert, for example.

  35. 35
    PS says:

    Trying to look forward, constructively: I can identify the one articulate intellectual I trust most to explore and explain these issues, and to be heard by large numbers of people — not everyone, but then no one would be. Don’t rush, Mr President, but I sincerely look forward to your major speech that takes yesterday’s events as its text.

    Um, and if by any chance he’s not reading here, perhaps someone could pass it on?

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    Further, I think it’s fair to ask why conservative leaders and others didn’t take what we already know about the connection between rhetoric and threats into account before they acted so irresponsibly, and why they felt they could arrogantly and recklessly put someone else at any increased risk for political gain. Death threats should have been enough for responsible, decent people to change their behavior. They weren’t. That’s about the definition of “irresponsible”, don’t you think?

    Great post. Thank you for this.

    Unfortunately, the worst purveyors of hateful incitement cannot stop. It’s so much part of their public persona (yeah, I’m talking about you, Rush Limbaugh), that I doubt that they would even know what to say if they had to leech the venom from their words.

    Even worse, some of them think that their hateful rhetoric is in service of a “higher call,” especially some of the Tea Party People spin on “taking the country back.”

    The only hope is that the audience for this stuff will decline, and that people who were supportive, or even neutral, will turn away in disgust.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay:

    “Can rhetoric inspire acts?”

    If it cannot, the entire motivational speaker rubber chicken circuit is a scam.

  38. 38
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Kay: Fair enough. I just see no reason to NOT put the pressure on the right. Now, I’d accept criticism if the left hadn’t been complaining about the rhetoric back in 2008-9, but they/we have been. I think it is entirely partisan, but I understand that maybe the best way to actually get people on the right to start taking this seriously is to stop making them defensive. I just hate that talk like this helps support the “both sides do it” bullshit. Not that you did. But you’ll notice that not all Americans think that nuance is important.

  39. 39
    Kay says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Conservatives will take the stance that pointing out the connection between talk radio and threats is, in fact, the real threat.

    I don’t think they’ll get that that far. I think they’ll be tying the media dummies in knots over whether there is a connection.

    “Connection? Discuss.” Endlessly. But can they do that and ignore the judge’s experience? Might be difficult to do, but they’re freaking masters of misdirection.

  40. 40
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Good point. Exactly why our response should be precise and fact-based … something that is just about impossible at this stage in this event. Restraint works in our favor, not theirs.

    We know from experience that anything we get just plain wrong today is going to be used later to discredit our entire position. And it is almost a sure thing that we are going to get things wrong today … because a great deal isn’t yet known. This is the chaotic period when the buttheads gather the sound bytes and blurbs so that they can assemble them into a phony picture later. Look at what they did with 911, the are still doing it. If an official makes a statement today that turns out to be factually inaccurate later, he will be said to have “lied” and “changed his story” a month from now. That’s their mode of operation. We don’t have to feed it for them. The facts are the facts, let them come out and work entirely from those facts.

    It’s the same thing we expect law enforcement to do …. and for the same reason.

  41. 41
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @The Populist: Ooh, link please! I have some asshat arguing with me that could use that link.

  42. 42
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @sven: Hopefully plenty of people are pointing out that it’s not “he doesn’t agree with me, he’s wrong” that is being asked to be toned down, it’s “he doesn’t agree with me, therefore a second amendment remedy is in order” that is what needs to be stopped.

  43. 43
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Kay:

    You are correct Kay, but why give them the ammunition to do their misdirection? Other than facile post writing, I can’t see any benefit to trying to connect Roll’s shooting with the previous case (immigration issue and threats). I think it backfires.

  44. 44
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @r€nato:

    Really, what more does it take? Some nut to commit another massacre and declare in a notarized document signed in blood that he did it in the name of Rush Limbaugh?

    Nah, it needs to be a massacre carried about by Rush himself. And even then, it will probably be dismissed as entertainment or Rush illustrating the threat liberals pose by killing them.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator:

    Tea Party People spin on “taking the country back.”

    The country the teabaggers “want back” was either crushed by Union armies 154 years ago this coming spring, or by Allied armies 65 years ago this past spring.

    Take your pick.

  46. 46
    wengler says:

    @Kay

    I really think at some level the Republicans have created a monster and unleashed in on the world. Their party has changed from one where supporters could have some range of disagreement and still get along to one of extremely narrow ideological goals, with political exile for those that stray outside those goals.

    Even with capturing the House, this is a party whose leadership exists largely outside of elected responsibility. Boehner and McConnell follow Palin and Limbaugh, not the other way around. There is nothing remotely comparable on the Democratic side of the aisle. Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz aren’t even close to calling the shots.

    In the Republicans we are talking about a party that revels in Civil War revanchism, has governors openly talking about secession, and other officials polishing guns like liberal hunting season is about to open tomorrow. They know what their supporters like and they give it to them. This shooting of the Congresswoman didn’t come out of the blue and we all know it because we’ve just been waiting for someone to cross that line that Republican politicians have been pushing forward into the fantasy world of their fundamentalist Republic. The one where we can have gold-backed currency, and three corner hats, and blacks and women would know their place, but by God they would be happy just like back then, before these cultural revolutions created all this confusion and uncertainty.

    Some people will dismiss the ongoing threat posed by this type of gun/war/revolution rhetoric politics because it looks like this guy was certifiable. But it is going to be an ongoing concern, because there is really no progress in getting people living wage jobs with the accompanying public spending on hospitalizing insane people.

  47. 47
    BGinCHI says:

    @Ana Gama: Yeah, I know. If the right is crazy and dangerous, the worst thing is that the media center enables them by using their inflammatory rhetoric to sell shit and capture viewers.

    And the news cycle spirals on.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Kay says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    I think we’re talking past each other. I don’t know about “putting pressure on the right”.

    I’m simply saying that the connection between death threats and boiling political rhetoric is established.

    Incredibly, (elephant in the room!) it’s established by the murdered judge’s direct and recent experience.

    I accept the connection. I have to, if I’m rational. It’s there.

    THEN I can go on, and see if there is a connection here. But I can’t do that if I reject that there is or can be a connection. To me, that’s settled. One is enough.

  50. 50
    Menzies says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Yup. They’re like the proverbial aggressive partner who realizes s/he went too far – but if they retreat at all they’ll be seen as weak.

    Also, because I’ve been waiting to say this for a while, Jack Shafer can fuck off and go have a drink with all his occasionally angry anti-government friends who have never killed anyone. He’d be more useful doing that than writing at Slate.

  51. 51
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Depending on which audience you are interested in.

    Our audience gets the facts right eventually. Their audience only uses facts or wrong factoids as props as they go along. They don’t have to prove any case. They only have to keep their rubes tuned in to the bullshit and riled up. If we get 99 things right and one wrong, they will build their story around the one we got wrong.

  52. 52
    The Populist says:

    @The Populist:

    Here’s an associated press link if the blog I linked doesn’t qualify for arguments: http://www.google.com/hostedne.....e51d330fa7

  53. 53
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: It’s a lose-lose situation. So long as one single person on the internet speculated that this was a result of right wing rhetoric, that comment will be held to represent the entire left.

  54. 54
    me says:

    @sven: Balko makes a similar argument. What he conveniently forgets is that many of the hard core law and order types are political allies of his bosses.

  55. 55
    The Populist says:

    @wengler:

    They think their way of life is in threat. Beats me why progress is a threat but whatever. They will fight to keep their right to eat fatty foods, own all the guns they like and tell each other falsehoods about people they have issues with.

    Sad.

  56. 56
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    Sadly true.

  57. 57
    The Populist says:

    According to a rightie site I just visited they want the AZ sheriff targeted with letters and calls for being “unprofessional”.

    To me that guy has been awesome…honest and forthright.

  58. 58
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Kay: Well, I was thinking in particular of Sen. Lamar Alexander’s response to Candy Crowley today:

    CROWLEY: Was it over the line, sort of specifically, since it’s now being talked about everywhere, with Sarah Palin’s web ads about people that she would like to see targeted for political defeat.
    __
    ALEXANDER: Well, Candy, I think you’re responsible, by bringing this up, of doing the very thing you’re trying to condemn. You’re making and implying a direct connection between Sarah Palin and what happened. You’re picking out a particular incident. Well, I think the way to get away from it is for you not to be talking about it.

    See? She’s responsible for bringing it up! Gah.

    eta: I know this isn’t talk radio, per se, but it’s the same sentiment.

  59. 59
    The Populist says:

    Fun times:

    http://hillbuzz.org/2011/01/09.....ce-dupnik/

    “Click above to embiggen contact information for the Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik.

    If you have 15 minutes or so to spare today — and I most certainly hope you do — I strongly urge you to get a postcard and write a message to Sheriff Dupnik, letting him know what you think of him…in a professional and businesslike, respectable, but STERN AND SCOLDING way.

    Postcards are the very best way to handle situations like this, where you want to tell an elected official how terrible he is. It’s embarrassing for an office to receive a disproportionately large amount of mail. You just can’t hide this. In the age of email, people forget how much weight (literally) an avalanche of mail carries. The mail carrier will notice. The people in the office who sort the mail will notice. The recipient’s mail box will be full to bursting. It’s quite the spectacle.

    Post cards work the best for calling someone out as terrible because all along the way everyone who is handling the postcard gets to read what you think of that person. There’s just no hiding what’s on a postcard.

    On one side, there’s a happy, sunny image of your hometown (I like using shots of the Chicago skyline when I do this, and I buy postcards on the cheap wherever I find them for a quarter or less…sometimes, I find a big box of things like this at the Brown Elephant Thrift Store here in Boystown, for a nickel or so each)…and on the other side is a message that could be something like “Dear Sheriff Dupnik, you are an utter embarrassment to your position and the state of Arizona in general”.

    If it doesn’t sit well with you that Sheriff Dupnik has used the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to make a political attack on the Tea Party movement (the way Leftists always try to do whenever anything in the world happens unrelated to the Tea Party movement, such as it raining), then don’t just sit there and think there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Send Dupnik a postcard.

    Call him out for being ridiculous.

    Tell him how shameful it is for him to conduct himself the way he does.

    I personally think Sheriff Dupnik looks like Al Lewis, the character actor who played Grandpa Munster on “The Munsters”. In my postcard to Dupnik, I will probably mention that fact, while also working in a reference to Suzanne Somers being a better sheriff than he will ever be on her short-lived 80s TV show “She’s the Sheriff”. That’s because I do things like that.

    You can do it too, or make your own jokes at Dupnik’s expense that will make him a complete and utter laughingstock to his subordinates for years to come.

    Or, you can just scold the man, tell him how disappointed you are in him, and itemize exactly how terrible he is in all the ways he’s bad at what he does.

    If you don’t have any postcards, you can always print one. Heck, use the image below if you like and print it on card stock, cut it to postcard size, and stick a stamp on it and send it on its way.

    Can you imagine if the Pima County Sheriff’s office was flooded with cards from all over the country telling Sheriff Dupnik what a doofus he is for so shamelessly trying to impugn the Tea Party like this?”

  60. 60
    Kay says:

    @wengler:

    I really think at some level the Republicans have created a monster and unleashed in on the world. Their party has changed from one where supporters could have some range of disagreement and still get along to one of extremely narrow ideological goals, with political exile for those that stray outside those goals.

    I know it’s a sad time, and I’m tempermentally an optimist, so maybe deluded or whatever, but I saw John Boehner speak today, and I feel as if I can read faces and tone and speech- I listen to a LOT of testimony in my work and it’s the part of my job I love, I think I’m good at it. Hell, I know I’m good at it.

    He’s rattled, and deeply scared. I saw something close to anguish on his face, in repose, in the pauses between the words.

  61. 61
    The Populist says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Wow, I am dumbfounded.

  62. 62
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kay: As any man riding a tiger would be….

  63. 63
    jamie d says:

    Let’s remember that this was an ongoing theme in the media coverage of the Giffords/Kelly election as well. Violent language was a central theme of the election in Arizona 8. Palin, Kelly, and all the media enablers bandying about violent rhetoric really should, at the very least, be made to answer the question inherent to the situation.

    Link is to a local newspaper article covering the race titled, without any apparent irony or overt reference to the Palin map, “Kelly places the crosshairs squarely on Rep. Giffords.”

  64. 64
    Cacti says:

    @wengler:

    I really think at some level the Republicans have created a monster and unleashed in on the world.

    The monster is always there, it just takes the right amount of demagoguing to awaken its worst tendencies.

    The civil rights era with its assorted arsons, assaults, murders and mayhem are well within the living memory of this nation.

  65. 65
    trollhattan says:

    I’m still at a loss of what to even call the event. “Tragedy” doesn’t begin to express if for me, while tragedy is certainly is. What word or phrase covers assassination, attempted assassination, mass murder and mass attempted homicide?

    We’ll eventually find out whether it was the culmination of a conspiracy and whether the shooter presumed it would be murder-suicide (I doubt it since he didn’t, well, kill himself despite plenty of opportunity to do so) but for now there’s little doubt as to intent to commit mass murder and assassinate one or more federal officials.

    p.s. Per the sheriff the second man they were seeking turns out to be a cab driver not considered a suspect.

  66. 66
    The Populist says:

    Thought I’d comb some posts in that link I made above and this always cracks me up:

    MADgirl91 Says:

    January 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    The shooter read “Mein Kampf” and “Communist Manifesto” but he’s a tea partier??!!
    Those books are the bibles of the hard left. Marx and Hitler were hard lefties.

    So tell me teabag freak…how is Hitler a lefty?

  67. 67
    r€nato says:

    @The Populist: Jonah Goldberg said it (“Liberal Fascism”), they believe it, and that settles it.

    or… SHUT UP THAT’S WHY

  68. 68
    Redshift says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    If we get 99 things right and one wrong, they will build their story around the one we got wrong.

    And if we get 100 things right and none wrong, they’ll make something up and attribute it to “the left.” To me, this is like the endless attempts by congressional Democrats to craft a position or a vote that will make them immune to attack by the Republican machine, or that can’t be taken out of context to look bad.

    There is no way to be perfect enough to avoid that. They don’t care about truth, only about winning. If you make a mistake, they may jump on it, but if you don’t, they’ll just lie and say you did. I don’t see any advantage in avoiding Kay’s very valid point just because conservatives could twist it to mean something different.

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    @The Populist:

    Sounds like it’s time to send the sheriff a note of support.

  70. 70
    r€nato says:

    @The Populist:

    funny thing is, Dupnik NEVER, NOT ONCE, named the Tea Party (which isn’t really a political party but that’s another topic), nor any media figures nor media networks.

    The lady protests too much.

    (how much you wanna bet that a number of teabaggers will send Dupnik really angry, threatening missives? Holy missing the point Batman.)

  71. 71
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @The Populist:

    So tell me teabag freak…how is Hitler a lefty?

    Socialism, marxism, fascism, it’s all the same thing. Every right thinking teabagger knows that.

  72. 72
    The Populist says:

    @r€nato:

    Sigh…I know. I just laugh that they can say with a straight face that every bad guy in the history of the world was somehow liberal. I outlined in another thread why Hitler was a right winger. He allowed an oligarchy of the richest Germans to keep their companies, build his war machine (so they can be richer) and get cheap slave labor. Seems to me that a commie or leftist would want to CONTAIN their business buddies. Weird how people have zero clue.

    Wow.

  73. 73
    The Populist says:

    @r€nato:

    Exactly. He called out INTOLERANCE and RHETORIC in his comments. They read it as an attack on the tea baggers.

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Populist:

    So tell me teabag freak…how is Hitler a lefty?

    Well, Hitler was the leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

    You see all those left wing terms in there? Socialist? Workers? Even German?

    Why, it’s every bit as obvious as how the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a functioning democracy, don’t cha know?

    Again, apologies for using the dreaded S word, that has the bad string in it. Can’t even use “Bocialist” as a substitute, either…still has the bad string…

  75. 75
    Kay says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    See? She’s responsible for bringing it up! Gah.

    I just don’t know how they keep denying there’s a connection. It defies common sense to continue to insist there’s no connection between what people say and what people do.

    I mean, we can go on and on about “causality” and the exact nature or extent of the increased risk, and whether we want to accept the increased risk if it means conservatives gain political power, but, Jesus. Accept the obvious. Words have commonly accepted meanings and they matter.

    “Reload” means something. “Corrupt” means something, despite what Issa says. Conservatives can’t invent a fucking language. We have to agree on common definitions if we’re going to have this big heart-to-heart.

  76. 76
    Redshift says:

    @The Populist: Oh, they’ve been on that one since the beginning. It was called the National Socialist Party, so it was left-wing, QED, no matter how many actual socialists, communists and trade unionists they purged.

  77. 77
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @The Populist: Guilty conscience.

  78. 78
    r€nato says:

    @The Populist: exactly. Because they have a God-given right to be inflammatory and intolerant.

  79. 79
    Cacti says:

    @The Populist:

    So tell me teabag freak…how is Hitler a lefty?

    Nothing says lefty like calls for racial purity, and rants about international Jewish conspiracies.

  80. 80
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kay

    : I mean, we can go on and on about “causality” and the exact nature or extent of the increased risk,

    Palin/Hume 2012!

  81. 81
    MTiffany says:

    why they felt they could arrogantly and recklessly put someone else at any increased risk for political gain.

    Because they can do it and not pay any price whatsoever, even when other people die.

  82. 82
    Ana Gama says:

    @Kay:

    He’s rattled, and deeply scared. I saw something close to anguish on his face, in repose, in the pauses between the words.

    I saw the same thing you did. And, he’s rightly scared. The tiger is unleashed and roaming. He knows that, and also knows there is scant little he can do about it, save take it on, which means his career is over.

  83. 83
    The Populist says:

    Seems somebody has posted a fake Jared Loughner FB page according to the tea baggers:

    ycats Says:

    January 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    HEAD’S UP!

    They just posted a FAKE FB page for the shooter (whose name I won’t mention):

    http://www.facebook.com/people.....1105353407

    Check out the “new” likes and dislikes. How do we counteract this FAST?

  84. 84
    r€nato says:

    @Kay:

    Conservatives can’t invent a fucking language.

    sure they can. They have their own fucking wikipedia because reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    Pretty hard to have a heart-to-heart with someone when you can’t even agree on what 2+2 is.

  85. 85
    Cacti says:

    @The Populist:

    Alert facebook.

  86. 86
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Kay:

    “Can rhetoric inspire acts?”

    Aristotle certainly believed so.

  87. 87
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @r€nato: Some say 4, others 6. So 2+2 = 5.

    MSM math.

  88. 88
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @trollhattan: Atrocity?

  89. 89
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: RE: Tea Party People spin on “taking the country back.”

    The country the teabaggers “want back” was either crushed by Union armies 154 years ago this coming spring, or by Allied armies 65 years ago this past spring.

    The country the Tea Party People want to take back never existed, except in their deluded fantasies.

    The irony is that recently members of Congress read the Constitution aloud. And now they are witnessing an attack on federal judges, members of Congress, ordinary citizens going about their business.

    Maybe this will finally connect with some people, who need to understand that the government is not some repressive foreign entity, nor is it about treating some document as a sacred text.

    If people excuse, minimize or rationalize what has happened, then there is indeed a chance that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” might perish from the Earth.

  90. 90
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    The Populist asks:

    So tell me teabag freak…how is Hitler a lefty?

    Adolf’s whole agenda was the re-distribution of wealth from ‘Capitalists’ to the ‘Volk’, or people, just like the Democrat Party. He embraced gay support (Roehm and the SA) until he turned against it, just like Barry. He welcomed the death of Jewish intelligencia, just like has been recently observed at Balloon Juice (I know, I know, just following Weigel’s orders). He embraced violence, again just like Barry.

    If they bring a knife we bring a gun.

  91. 91
    Kay says:

    @MTiffany:

    Just to be clear, Tiffany, I don’t know what inspired the shooter. I do know what inspired the death threats against the judge. I know because the marshall said so. It was talk radio. Talk radio led to death threats. That’s what he said.

    I’m a careful person. I’d have quit with the rhetoric at “death threats”, assuming (rightly, I think) that those could lead to death.

    Conservatives didn’t quit there. That wasn’t enough for them. So, what might be enough?

  92. 92
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Kay:

    I just don’t know how they keep denying there’s a connection. It defies common sense to continue to insist there’s no connection between what people say and what people do.

    See, I don’t understand it, either. To me it’s as plain as the nose on my face. Just like when I heard Sheriff Dupnik call out the violent rhetoric today, I thought “Finally someone has the guts to say it out plainly, and out loud!” And look what he gets in return. It just boggles the mind.

  93. 93
    Judas Escargot says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Notice how it just breaks down into a polite way of saying “know your place and shut up, bitch– or it’ll happen again”:

    Well, I think the way to get away from it is for you not to be talking about it.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Populist: If the shoe fits…

  95. 95
    FernandoPoo says:

    Dupnik used the phrase “certain mouths” not right wing or left wing. I think it says everything that he didn’t have to.

  96. 96
    MikeJ says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Hitler rose to power as the head of an anti-communist party, the National Socialists. They were explicitly anti-left and wanted to use the power of the state to serve the wealthy.

  97. 97
    Drouse says:

    As far as I can tell the shooter political beliefs seemed to vary with whatever was last poured into his ear. He lived with his parents and I would bet a large sum as to what served for information sources in that household. Call it the secondhand smoke of idealology.

  98. 98
    eemom says:

    @Kay:

    He’s rattled, and deeply scared. I saw something close to anguish on his face, in repose, in the pauses between the words.

    sure hope you’re right, though one really can’t discount the possibility that he’s just hung over.

    @Redshift:

    completely agree. I find it annoying that so many people are saying, in effect, “but if we say this, they’ll say that“…..and relatedly, that so many people are already throwing up their hands with the attitude that Sarah Palin and her ilk will come through this just FINE.

  99. 99

    Here’s an idea for something we can do about this: stop watching Fox. No, I’m not talking about Fox News, I’m talking about any show or movie produced by Fox Entertainment. Fox News is just part of the Fox Entertainment group, it is just one more entertainment product that News Corporation puts out. News Corporation cares about money, if you are watching anything that Fox puts out, anything, The Simpsons, Family Guy you are contributing to the bottom line of the same corporation that inflicted Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on us and you are giving Rupert Murdoch more money so he can continue to take over the Republican party and destroy America.
    l

  100. 100
    sven says:

    @wengler:

    I really think at some level the Republicans have created a monster and unleashed in on the world.

    I agree with you but will be more interested in seeing how congressional Democrats respond to events in Tucson. I can’t imagine many Republicans escaping the combination of partisan blindness and simple self-interest at this point.

    On the other hand, Democrats really should accept this as the wake-up call that it is. Outreach to the right has completely failed to defuse the situation. I categorically oppose the violence-tinged rhetoric we have been discussing but it is probably time for a more confrontational stance vis a vis modern conservatism.

  101. 101
    The Populist says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Bullshit. History says differently troll.

  102. 102
    Kay says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    He was interesting to watch, because he was so angry. He had contempt on his face, which I think of as the sort of last stage of “angry”. It’s the point of no return, there’s no possibility of discussion or reconciliation past contempt.
    Conservatives will never, ever convince that guy they’re not responsible. He’s done.

  103. 103
    kerFuFFler says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    You are missing the whole point of the post! The connection is that Roll received a wave of death threats after extremist conservative rhetoric on the radio called for violence against him. The author is not saying that the fact Roll was killed is this attack was a fulfillment of those threats, only that he received numerous death threats in the wake of irresponsibly violent broadcast messages. Since we know that these broadcasts have such an effect, everyone with a moral compass needs to recognize the need to avoid delivering such messages. Furthermore, we have known for some time the effect that these broadcasts have. The pols and radio personalities who continued in this vein have no excuse for their recent continuation of such irresponsible practices.

    Similarly, a homegrown terrorist cut the gas line at the home of Congressman Perriello’s brother’s house after extremist rhetoric regarding the healthcare vote. (They got his brother’s address by mistake.) It is just lucky that there was not an explosion that hurt anybody.

    The conservative political establishment needs to forswear the kind of language that encourages zanies to believe that such methods are an acceptable means to bringing about the political changes they desire. I would say that liberals need to avoid such language as well, but it seems like they already understand this no-brainer.

  104. 104

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Why is this fucking piece of shit still here John? Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you have to provide every hate-filled moron with a soap-box for their bigotry.

  105. 105

    @Caz:

    And if the left has its way, we’ll end up as the very type of system this murderer associated himself with – Marxism and national socialism.

    National socialism and the National Socialist Workers’ Party are not and were not left. They were fascist.

    I thought everyone knew that. What’s your excuse?

  106. 106

    My comment is in moderation because I spelled out Nazi.

  107. 107
    The Populist says:

    @The Populist:

    If Hitler wanted to redistribute wealth, why did he allow the industrialists to A) keep their factories, wealth and prestige in society and B) give them Jewish slave labor over the hiring of legit German workers?

    Seems to me you have facts wrong Brick Oven Idiot.

    Hitler believed in big industry in the hands of those who put him in power (rich, elite German Aryans).

  108. 108
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    I would say that liberals need to avoid such language as well, but it seems like they already understand this no-brainer.

    Mostly correct, though there are still certain neighborhoods you’d be advised to avoid. Which is why it’s so frustrating — if one of a hundred X’s are loonies, and one in ten Y’s are loonies, but you only get to pull, or deliberately choose to pull, only three from each bag of nuts, it looks like ‘they’re all the same’.

  109. 109
    Kay says:

    @eemom:

    sure hope you’re right, though one really can’t discount the possibility that he’s just hung over.

    I read one of your comments last night and really liked it. I looked for it, but I’m a klutz at this, and couldn’t find it.

    It was something along the lines of, “people naturally look to the spewers of this rhetoric because they recognize that those words matter”. Like that, roughly.

    I agree. It’s natural and inevitable for people to make that connection, which is why they keep making it, despite increasingly vehement conservative denials.

  110. 110
    MTiffany says:

    @Kay: What might be enough? I hate to say it but I think the only thing that might get the Right to stop is when the body count is higher on their side than on ours.

    Think about it: they never pay a price for any of their evil. They lie, cheat, and steal with impunity. The MSM forgives them all their sins, and now we’re going to get to watch as they take a walk on motherfucking MURDER.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Here’s the problem, fucktard:

    Hitler may have SAID all those things at his rallies, but the reality was, he was financed by the very capitalists he was bad mouthing. Because the capitalists knew it was all part of the window dressing to con the proles.

    When Hitler came to power, among the first things he did (even before he started all his racial shit) was to consolidate all labor unions into a Reich Labor Front that didn’t go on strike, did what it was told, and worked happily in the factories of the capitalists who financed Hitler.

    The name of his political party was an utter scam from the start, designed to attract disaffected Germans to his banner, then promptly stab the lot of them in the back once he got to power.

    Rohm’s major malfunction was that besides being a homosexual, he actually believed the rhetoric the party used to obtain power. So he had to be, um, disposed of. During the Night of the Long Knives. Which also made the Reichswehr happy…got rid of a potential rival to the Junker general staff.

    But you, being a fucktard, don’t know all this, because your fucking lizard hindbrain can’t handle the truth.

  112. 112
    Elie says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I am very late to this comment string but I would say that incitements to violence actually put ALL of us at risk. Aren’t we all likely to attend political meetings at any point in time? In an situation, such as we have now, where there is incitement to violence, it puts everyone who attends the meeting at risk. Yes, this time it was Judge Roll who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, taking the most narrow interpretation of this situation. But the inflammatory talk CAN lead to action for individuals who are sensitive to this sort of influence and that puts all of us at risk…

    Get it?

  113. 113
  114. 114
    Kay says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    Thank you. That’s exactly what I meant. I should have let you write it.

  115. 115
    trollhattan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yes, much better, methinks.

  116. 116
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Words Means Things
    I remember Rush Limbaugh saying that years ago when Bill Clinton was president. I also remember G. Gordon Liddy bragging about having cutouts of Bill and Hillary when he went shooting. Right Wing Talk, that tolerates violent rhetoric is a disease that should have been taken care of, moments after the steel and concrete fell on 168 innocent souls on 19th of April 1995 in Oklahoma City.

    Words Means Things

  117. 117
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Kay:

    See, I think for conservatives, words often really don’t have meaning. They say things all the time that they don’t mean. When the real world effects of those words catch up to them in, say, a financial collapse or a tragic shooting event, they have to wave them off and pretend they didn’t mean them that way or that they were misunderstood.

    I frankly think they are often surprised that anyone takes their words at face value, because to them they are just talking points to achieve some sort of political power, which is the only true objective. It’s all about the winning.

  118. 118
    trollhattan says:

    @PS:

    Much worse than mere liar. Seven-year-olds lie, BOB engages in something far more grotesque and sociopathic.

  119. 119

    @MTiffany:

    It’s the only thing the Nazis understood.

  120. 120
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Hitler rose to power under the guise of ‘National Socialism’, using the street brawling strength of the populist SA, under Ernst. Upon achieving popular political power, he then made an alliance with the industrialists, and turned on the SA during the Night of the Long Knives.

    A good book on the subject is The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

  121. 121
    Elie says:

    I will add this also. Not all violence is physical.

    Violent and uncivil language if rife in our society right now. I think that the incidents of bullying behavior and extreme hostility and divisiveness in public dialogue comes from abuse of language and a degradation of just plain common manners.

    And I by no means segregate this observation to just the right. There is plenty of excessive violence and disrespect in the discourse on the left and among progressives as well — both as we interact within our groups as well as with our right winged opposition.

    I don’t know how all of this became so entrenched, but it is killing the whole public sphere of communication and forcing us into extreme, defensive arguments rather than sharing and discussing anything. We have moved from a liberal society or culture, where numerous ideas are openly heard and discussed to a social Darwinist approach that only allows for winners and losers…

    We had better change that dynamic and it far surpasses just violent incitement, but extends to fundamentally understanding what “pluralism” and democracy mean to us.

  122. 122
    PurpleGirl says:

    @The Populist: To use your term, “psychos” are capable of planning. His disordered thinking and perception of reality does not mean he couldn’t and didn’t plan things. But what he planned was disordered and delusional.

  123. 123
    Kay says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    It’s weird how attached to the word “blame” they are. They love that word. Remember how they always used it with Bush?

    “Don’t blame Bush for that!”

    The Tea Party members use it all the time, too, it’s all over the place in their denials, and it’s such a childish word, and really a childish, black and white concept.

    Big grown up people accept that there are things like factors and causation and varying levels of risk for actions taken, or not taken. It’s complicated. That’s why we adults use “irresponsible” for Palin. Because of unintended possible consequences she recklessly does not consider, not deliberate intent.

    Conservatives feel all “blamed” and…icky. It’s like listening to five year olds.

  124. 124
    MikeJ says:

    @Elie:

    And I by no means segregate this observation to just the right. There is plenty of excessive violence and disrespect in the discourse on the left and among progressives as well

    Show me where a Democrat running for Senate talked about using a “second amendment solution.” Show me where a Democrat running for vice president put crosshairs on republicans and urged people to “reload” to take them out.

    Don’t give me some bullshit about what some asshole with a sign said, or about how somebody was mean on a blog. Show me where the leaders of the Democratic party have fomented violence the way the Republicans have.

    “Both sides do it” is bullshit.

  125. 125
    Mike Kay says:

    watching the news, Lamar Alexander, to his credit, says the violent rhetoric must stop, but then dickwads and global warming deniers George Will and Dick Armey insisted violent rhetoric plays no role in actual violence.

  126. 126
    Ana Gama says:

    The NYT has a link up to the federal criminal complaint.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/p.....ughner.pdf

  127. 127
    alwhite says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:
    Brickhead,
    A: Hitler was not interested in redistribution of wealth. I might suggest you read what he actually wrote but am worried you wouldn’t view his writing as a warning. Lets suffice to say his biggest supporters were the business owners who saw him as protection against the actual left in Germany.
    B:Hitler never aligned himself with teh ghay. He allowed the SA to be ‘gay-friendly’ because they provided the muscle to win street fights. Once they needed a bit more polished strong arm the long knives came out.
    C: It was always liberals that supported Jewish rights in the West. That only changed when the State of Israel decided that the old acceptable Palestinian is a dead Palestinian.

    If, in your small, twisted, stained, mind Hitler=liberal you either need a better education or to put down the Beck and pick up some anti-psychotics.

  128. 128
    askew says:

    @Kay:

    I think that is wishful thinking on your part. Boehner has engaged in similar violent rhetoric in the past and when called on it, he’s refused to apologize. If he’s experiencing any fear or regret, it’s that he’s the guy in charge when this incident occurred.

  129. 129
    MTiffany says:

    @Mike Kay:

    George Will and Dick Armey insisted violent rhetoric plays no role in actual violence

    Excellent, then they should have no problem when I follow them around in public with a megaphone calling out that I think they are pedophiles.

  130. 130
    Punchy says:

    There is plenty of excessive violence and disrespect in the discourse on the left and among progressives

    Uh…..what? This is spoof, right?

  131. 131
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Kay:

    I also think it’s magical thinking…like the reading of the Constitution will somehow magically make laws all better, saying the right combination of words will somehow create jobs, saying you believe in “family values” just makes it so, and on and on and on.

    Hell, Rush Limbaugh even said reading the Constitution was an exorcism, to get the evil out of Congress. They’re doing spells and chants now.

  132. 132
    liberty60 says:

    The unindicted co-conspirators of this tragedy are Roger Ailes and Fox.

    Look if someone honestly, sincerely believes that the President is a dictator who wants to kill granny, then it is acceptable, even a civic duty to say so loudly, in the strongest of terms.

    But Ailes and Palin don’t; for.them the rhetoric of death panels and Govt takeover was just a sly cynical craven effort to gain ratings and political advantage- its the Godwining in the national dialogue.

    Which is why I don’t accept the equivalency of shrill leftists and Palin; if Greenwald writes that presidential assassinations are the hallmark of a dictatorship its because he sincerely believes it is.

  133. 133
    Allan says:

    On November 4, Sarah Palin reminded the Twitterverse that they had successfully taken out 18 of 20 of her targets.

    On November 30, Jared Loughner, a constituent of one of the remaining two targets, bought a gun.

  134. 134
    Face says:

    @Allan: And on December 12th, the weather got cold.

  135. 135
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Elie: Or just be walking of a grocery store, outside of which a political event is taking place (and we didn’t know or realize it when we went into said store).

  136. 136
    Peter J says:

    Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.

    A good start, but, without having seen the bill, it looks like it could still be used against a challenger.

    But it would be interesting to see who would vote against it.

  137. 137
    bemused says:

    Hal Turner was convicted of threatening to kill judges on his radio show saying they deserved to be murdered and serving 33 months in jail. He is the only one of these violence fomenters that I can think of that is actually paying the price for his actions. imo, there is only a short step from what Turner did, come right out telling his radio listeners the judges should be murdered along with their names, addresses and other info to locate them, from people like O’Reilly’s calling Tiller, the baby killer repeatedly, Beck ranting on ACLU, Tides, etc, coming revolutions, Pelosi should drink poisoned wine and so many other examples. There’s not much separation between what Turner did and the rhetoric of other hatemongers.

  138. 138
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Peter J: Bad idea. Such laws have historically been used predominately to punish the left, not the right. What we have now either is adequate, or we are already lost.

    Who were the defendants in every big political free-speech case leading to Brandenburg v. Ohio? Schenck? Gitlow, Masses, Davis, the Johnson of Texas v. Johnson?

    Who was penned up in those ‘First Amendment Zones’ at political conventions?

    Sure, it seems like a good idea today…

  139. 139
    MTiffany says:

    @PurpleGirl: Which is why everyone should own a gun and carry it with them at all times… the Second Amendment says so

  140. 140

    Rapists and other sexual criminals use pornography to prepare for their crimes. Should we blame pornography and pornographers for these crimes?

    Violent video games are often played by people who then commit school massacres. Should we blame video game companies and designers for these crimes?

    Jared Lee Loughner has not yet been proven a follower of Sarah Palin or someone else who used this type of rhetoric. Let’s say that it is so proven. Should we blame Sarah Palin and other right wing politicians for this crime?

    How are these situations different from each other?

  141. 141
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Peter J: I have to say I am very dubious about such a bill. Bad idea.

  142. 142
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joseph Nobles: For one thing, rape is a crime of violence not sex. For another, there is a difference between fictionalized representations of actions and calls for violence.

  143. 143
    Peter J says:

    Rapists and other sexual criminals use pornography to prepare for their crimes.

    I’ve never heard that one before. Is there a special kind of porn that teaches you how to rape people?

  144. 144
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    How are these situations different from each other?

    Pornography and video games are not political tools.

    Violent rhetoric, however, is.

  145. 145
    Bender says:

    The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

    But it’s OK for the Democrats to “whip up” their crazies with their hateful and often violent anti-Bush/Cheney rhetoric and assassination fantasies, until one axe-murders someone on a train platform because he can’t find a soldier to kill… or until one breaks down his neighbor’s door to attack him because he had a GOP sign in his yard. Of course, when those incidents happen, the media isn’t remotely interested, and much less so in what “pushed” the person to do it. Funny, that!

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said. Explain that one away, Ball-Juicers…besides IOKIYAD.

    And there’s the anti-Hayworth ad from AZ the Dems ran that actually has crosshairs on the Republican’s head (media interest: zero). Who’s “whipping up crazies” now? I know, IOKIYAD.

    Of course, leftists and the State Media (but I repeat) are praying to their gods that this loser was a Tea Partier, but if he’s not, they’re still going to make sure they mention Palin, and the Tea Party, and GOP ads with crosshairs (only on the map, of course) in their propaganda pieces. JOURNALISM!

  146. 146
    Hypnos says:

    It is really ridicoulous to associate fascism with the socialist left.

    Fascism was born in Italy precisely as a reaction against the threat of a socialist insurrection mirroring the one in Russia. Right after WWI, during 1917-1918, Italy was shaken by a series of strikes and uprisings, collectively known as the “Biennio Rosso” (Red Two Years).

    Fascism was a reaction by wealthy land owners who feared losing their priviledges. Early fascist mobs were little more than thugs for hire, whose objective was to destroy socialist party headquarters, left wing newspapers printing presses, and generally disrupt the workers’ movement.

    Mussolini, who came from a socialist background, understood well the power of mass movements, which is why he coopted some of the socialist themes for his nascent movement; however, since the very beginning fascism arose to defend the interests of capitalists, not of the people. It used nationalism to whip the people into a frenzy and launch them against the socialists.

    The Italian Fascist Party then rose to prominence as the Biennio Rosso was crushed, in 1919. By 1922 it had established a totalitarian state.

    And the economic structure that it ultimately established was one where the industrial and agrarian capitalists were allowed to retain all their wealth and power, with the only caveat that they should exercise it to the benefit of the fascist nation. Workers were coopted into state controlled unions, or corporations, which set wages and didn’t allow strikes or any other form of protest. In theory, economic decisions should be arrived at via tripartite negotiations between the workers, the industrialists, and the state. Obviously, it was only the state and industrialists who had any say.

    In that sense, the modern day Republican party is much closer to the original form of fascism, with its focus on nationalism and its strong connections to wealthy businessmen, than it is to the American ideals of liberty and competition among equals.

    The abuse of the word “fascism” is very dangerous. It wasn’t that long ago that the non-fascist nations in Europe count be counted on one hand – that is a testimony to the strength and appeal of the ideology. Such appeal grows stronger in times of economic crisis – in fact, it was economic crisis which propelled fascist governments to power across Europe.

  147. 147
    Bender says:

    @Punchy:

    Uh…..what? This is spoof, right?

    I guess you were in elementary school during the Bush/Cheney years. Here’s a quick refresher course, if you dare to go down memory lane. You don’t even have to read — you can just look at the pictures!

  148. 148
    Yutsano says:

    @Bender:

    until one axe-murders someone on a train platform because he can’t find a soldier to kill…

    Link?

    until one breaks down his neighbor’s door to attack him because he had a GOP sign in his yard.

    Again, link?

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said. Explain that one away, Ball-Juicers

    Nah, never mind. Full quoting his statement would just ruin your guilt amelioration attempt.

    And there’s the anti-Hayworth ad from AZ the Dems ran that actually has crosshairs on the Republican’s head

    There we go! Now we got a weak sauce link! Did you even bother to watch the ad? And see why the target symbol was used? Jeez this is too easy. Context matters bucko.

  149. 149
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Kay: That is clearer to me too. I don’t need to go whooshing by with my ramblings anymore.

  150. 150
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Palin would call her targets on the political ad “fictionilized representations,” so that argument doesn’t apply.

    @Peter J: Of course sexual criminals use pornography. Find me a plurality of them who don’t and you might have a point.

    @Judas Escargot: So it’s only the use of violent imagery in political speech that suddenly causes it to incite violent acts? Violent imagery in pornography doesn’t incite sexual crimes, and violent video games don’t incite other violent crimes, but violent imagery in political speech does? How does that work?

  151. 151
    Bender says:

    @Yutsano:

    You know, if you have nothing, no one’s forcing you to respond. You could just leave it.

    FYI, the anti-war crazy from Michigan was called Carlos Hartmann. Google it. And thanks for proving my point — if he was a Tea Partier, you’d have seen him on the news every day for a month. The lefty media buries stories of their own crazies, so that people like you remain ignorant.

    would just ruin your guilt amelioration attempt.

    Why on earth would I feel guilty for the actions of a stoner, anti-religion slacker in Arizona? This guy could be John Cole’s soulmate!

  152. 152
    Veritas78 says:

    I can’t handle Brick Oven Bill anymore.

    My best wishes to the rest of you: a smart, thoughtful bunch, and gosh, do we need you. Wish I’d been able to pull my weight here, but (like at Wonkette) every time I checked in, someone had already said what I was going to think!

  153. 153
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Pornography and video games are not real. They’re depictions of fantasy worlds.

    Politics is real. Actual human beings make political decisions that really affect the everyday lives of regular people.

    I think part of the problem here is that a lot of voices on the right treat politics as though it’s as unreal as a video game. They act as though Jack Bauer is just as real as Gabrielle Giffords, which also means Giffords is just as unreal and imaginary as Bauer is.

    Mix that unwillingness by the right wing to distinguish fantasy from reality with a guy who appears to have had his first serious psychotic break, and you literally have an explosive combination.

  154. 154
    Peter J says:

    I can’t handle Brick Oven Bill anymore.

    He sure eats a lot of pie.

  155. 155
    Yutsano says:

    @Bender: That’s not how it works. Your assertion, you put up the evidence. Otherwise:

    You know, if you have nothing, no one’s forcing you to respond.

    Take your own advice. And know that you’re only protesting because you feel responsible somehow. Otherwise why would you bother? One less stupid lib in Congress amirite?

  156. 156
    Mike M says:

    I live in Arizona, and you would have to be completely out of touch to think that yesterday’s shooting of Rep. Giffords was a random act of violence. The state is full of angry people lashing out at the government. Unemployment is high, foreclosures are rampant, and illegal immigration is seen as a persistent threat.

    Giffords won her congressional seat by a narrow race after a bitter and very ugly campaign in which she had been targeted for defeat by national Republican leaders. She was demonized by the right because she opposed Arizona’s recent immigration law and supported the healthcare act. You could not turn on talk/news radio (the two are mixed here) without hearing someone saying something truly awful about her.

    Loughner is almost certainly mentally ill, but yesterday’s shootings were no random act of violence. He may not have been a vessal of an established party, but he was vehemently anti-government and anti-immigrant. Law enforcement has no doubt that he specifically targeted Giffords for assassination. For those of us who live here, we may be horrified by the event, but few people would say that they were surprised that Giffords was targeted.

  157. 157
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yutsano:

    That’s not how it works. Your assertion, you put up the evidence.

    I’ve noticed that’s a common troll trick — make an assertion with zero evidence and, when someone asks you to back it up, bluster that they’re not your personal Google service.

    Say what you will about mclaren, at least she gives links so you can see which crazy-ass websites she’s getting her bullshit from. The right wing trolls don’t even have that much evidence to back it up, so they rely on bluster.

  158. 158
    harlana says:

    ??If I am not mistaken, Ms. Giffords was the target and Judge Roll was caught in the crossfire. Someone please correct me if my facts are not straight.

  159. 159
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Mnemosyne: Pornography and video games are definitely real. If they weren’t real, I couldn’t go buy them.

    As I said, Palin would happily say that her violent imagery is fiction, a joke among herself and the people she’s trying to get to focus on those 20 races. So, again, I must say that this argument still doesn’t distinguish between the three situations well enough. Either all three have the power to incite or all three don’t.

  160. 160
    Chyron HR says:

    @Bender:

    Poor baby. If only there was something Republicans could do to avoid the unfair stigma of being the party that shoots Democrats in the head.

    You know, some kind of “not shooting Democrats in the head” sort of thing. Hypothetically speaking.

  161. 161
    Bender says:

    @Yutsano:

    Your assertion, you put up the evidence. Otherwise:

    Oh my stars. That is the single most ironic thing ever written at Balloon Juice (Motto: “Home of the Unfounded Assertion”). Congratulations.

    Here’s your spoonfeeding. Jeeeeeez.

    And know that you’re only protesting because you feel responsible somehow. Otherwise why would you bother? One less stupid lib in Congress amirite?

    What logic! I commented for the same reason 100 others did. I commented because I have a point: that the left and their media lickspittles are being hypocritical, desperately (desperately!) seeking political gain in a tragedy, even though there appears to be no political angle.

    The left and lefty media clearly don’t care about hateful rhetoric — as long as it’s directed at a Republican. They clearly don’t care about violent attacks on political grounds, as long as they are carried out by Fellow Travelers (Kenny Gladney had it coming, that lousy Uncle Tom!), and the press can bury the stories.

  162. 162
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    So it’s only the use of violent imagery in political speech that suddenly causes it to incite violent acts? Violent imagery in pornography doesn’t incite sexual crimes, and violent video games don’t incite other violent crimes, but violent imagery in political speech does? How does that work?

    More false equivocation.

    Pornography and videogames are consumer products. People can choose to consume or not-consume these products. But we all must inhabit the sphere of politics, being members of the same society.

    Violent porn isn’t going to discourage anyone from going to a political rally, or to vote for the ‘wrong’ person. Neither are videogames. While political rhetoric has a specific purpose: To intimidate.

    My two questions from another thread: Why did he shoot her. And why did he shoot her?

    The answer to the last question will explain the politics (if any). The answer to the first question will explain the violence.

    Schizophrenics don’t often kill random people, and they are not often violent. So why that woman, at that time, in that manner?

  163. 163
    Chyron HR says:

    @Bender:

    He’s a stoner, anti-religion slacker! This guy could be John Cole’s soulmate! IT WAS THE LIBTARDS WHO SHOT THE TEA PARTY HERO GIFFORD! DEMOTRAITORS MUST BE OUTLAWED BEFORE THEY KILL AGAIN! P.S. Stop trying to seek political gain in this tragedy.

  164. 164
    Bender says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’ve noticed that’s a common troll trick—make an assertion with zero evidence and, when someone asks you to back it up, bluster that they’re not your personal Google service.

    Troll? I’ve been here years longer than you, noob. I’ve posted multiple times here on Hartmann’s murder. No one’s ever caught me making anything up.

    I simply can’t be held responsible for your ignorance of relatively recent events. I realize that if it’s not posted at DKos or covered on MSNBC, then you never hear of it, but try to broaden your horizons a bit.

  165. 165
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Judas Escargot: You certainly haven’t proven that it’s false equivication.

    Why didn’t EVERYBODY or EVERY RIGHT WINGER ALIVE shoot Gabby Giffords or anyone else on that list? Because almost everyone else in America understands the nature of the speech, that it isn’t intended to be literal, just like fictionalized pornography and fictional violent video games. That argument is used all the time to understand why pornography doesn’t actually lead to sexual crimes or why violent video games don’t actually lead to violent crimes. Why doesn’t it apply to violent political imagery like Palin’s graphic as well?

  166. 166
    Yutsano says:

    @Bender: That was your trump card? An anti-war protestor in HOLLAND? GTFO. Your sauce is so damn weak it might as well be dihydrogen oxide.

  167. 167
    Bender says:

    @Chyron HR:

    IT WAS THE LIBTARDS WHO SHOT THE TEA PARTY HERO GIFFORD! DEMOTRAITORS MUST BE OUTLAWED BEFORE THEY KILL AGAIN! P.S. Stop trying to seek political gain in this tragedy.

    No, I’m sure this loser was from that massive “hates religion and smokes pot all day while listening to his iPod in his parents’ basement” segment of the GOP that John Cole is always ranting about.

    It’s why he left the Party, right?

  168. 168
    gwangung says:

    That argument is used all the time to understand why pornography doesn’t actually lead to sexual crimes or why violent video games don’t actually lead to violent crimes.

    Hm. Last time I looked at the scientific literature, they kinda disagreed with you; is there something more recent than disinhibition effects?

  169. 169
    Bender says:

    @Yutsano:

    That was your trump card? An anti-war protestor in HOLLAND? GTFO.

    You realize that’s not an argument, right? Unless your point is that American anti-war lefties should be allowed to kill Dutch people because killing a Dutch person is just sooooo, well, GTFO!

    You are beneath contempt.

  170. 170
    Chyron HR says:

    @Bender:

    Yes, yes, Bender, the shooter was a loony leftist acting under orders from President Obama. Clearly a botched assassination attempt on John McCain.

    It’s especially charming that you make these little jokes with multiple people dead, including an innocent child. But as the GOP says, sometimes you’ve just got to reload your second amendment solution and come armed next time to water the tree of liberty, right?

  171. 171
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bender:

    You are beneath contempt.

    You’re projecting like the octoplex over at the mall over Memorial Day weekend.

  172. 172
    sukabi says:

    @Joseph Nobles: I contend that we do NOT live in a vacuum, that every one of those things you mention contribute to the overall atmosphere we find ourselves in. Every one of those things has some measure of influence over what we see and hear and think every single day.

    Every one of those things filters into the things you see and hear in every aspect of your life.

    How else do you think the commentary on the “news” shows and talk radio has been able to devolve to the extent it has? Why are we inundated with vapid, empty “reality shows”, entertainment that glorifies violence in it’s most horrific forms, and a news industry that refuses to address with any clarity the real issues that would actually inform the populace?

    whether you like it or not, everyone of us is influenced by the things we see, hear and read, and the people we listen to.

    adding… that not all of us are driven to shoot up schools, churches or political events is not proof that we haven’t been influenced in some way, but rather we may have a better grip on reality than folks who do.

  173. 173
    Yutsano says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: And this dialogue with the Bender troll is no longer productive. Let it try to pretend it has no responsibility for what happened. I refuse to absolve any of them until they man up and admit that maybe, just maybe, they’ve gone too far. Until then, they can bite my shiny metal ass.

  174. 174
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    [I]t isn’t intended to be literal, just like fictionalized pornography and fictional violent video games.

    Giffords is a real person. Her name was explicitly listed under the graphic, and a rifle sight icon was explicitly placed at the geographical location of her District on the map. Direct representation is clearly intended.

    There’s no disclaimer posted under the original graphic to state that it is “fictionalized”. Sorry, fiction status isn’t retroactive, just because it’s now convenient.

    That argument is used all the time to understand why pornography doesn’t actually lead to sexual crimes or why violent video games don’t actually lead to violent crimes. Why doesn’t it apply to violent political imagery like Palin’s graphic as well?

    Porn and videogames depict abstract, often unnamed subjects/targets: Good luck publishing a videogame that explicitly depicts the assassination of a specific, living, currently serving politician. Or making a realistic snuff porn depicting a specific person. If the Feds didn’t stop you, the target’s civil suit would.

  175. 175
    WaterGirl says:

    @Kay: Kay, what do you mean by “he’s done”?

    Edit: when you say “he” I assumed you meant the sheriff. Yes?

  176. 176
    Triassic Sands says:

    @The Populist:

    The right KNOWS they are done in a decade or so.

    That seems like a bit of an overstatement. If you are referring to demographic trends, they may tell us the projected relative size of various ethnicities, but they can’t tell us who people will vote for a decade in the future.

    The US has gone through many demographic shifts in its history, but since the middle of the 19th century those shifts have never spelled the permanent end of either major party. Both parties have waxed and waned, and lots of people have foreseen the permanent ascendancy of one or the other, but those permanent shifts have always proved to be temporary.

  177. 177
    Maude says:

    @Judas Escargot:
    There have been snuff videos around for quite some time.
    I don’t think that seeing violent porn leaves no effect.
    Video games are not in the same category as porn or violence. They are games.

  178. 178
    WaterGirl says:

    @Elie: I have been happy to hear your voice in these threads the past couple of days. You help ground the conversations somehow, so does Kay.

  179. 179
    Bender says:

    And this dialogue with the Bender troll is no longer productive. Let it try to pretend it has no responsibility for what happened.

    Unless and until you explain why I should bear any responsibility for a stoner God-hater shooting people, yours is a completely laughable assertion. And you know, you have to prove your assertions with evidence here at BallJuice. It is your own Sacred Law!

    And yes, you arguing such nonsense with me would seem highly unproductive, from your point of view. I’d recommend against it.

  180. 180
    Bender says:

    Don’t jump to conclusions about motives in the shooting!

    “Nevertheless, public officials, journalists, and commentators were quick to caution that the public should not “jump to conclusions” about …motive. CNN, in particular, became a forum for repeated warnings that the subject should be discussed with particular care.

    “The important thing is for everyone not to jump to conclusions,” said retired Gen. Wesley Clark on CNN the night of the shootings.

    “We cannot jump to conclusions,” said CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell that same evening. “We have to make sure that we do not jump to any conclusions whatsoever.”

    …The next day, President Obama underscored the rapidly-forming conventional wisdom when he told the country, “I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts…”

    “We can’t jump to conclusions,” Army Gen. George Casey said on CNN November 8. The next day, political analyst Mark Halperin urged a “transparent” investigation into the shootings “so the American people don’t jump to conclusions.”

  181. 181
    Hypnos says:

    Bender:
    I don’t think anybody’s ever denied that popular rhetoric in protests during the Bush year go pretty heated. The problem here is that such rhetoric has now become institutionalized by the Republican party and by right wing pundits. It isn’t just nutty protesters with signs, its high ranking, elected officials, or in the case of Palin, an ex vicepresidential candidate.

    Can you find examples of comparable rhetoric, during the Bush years, by high ranking members of the Democratic party or affiliated associations? Or by talking heads with an audience of millions?

    As for the Dutch student’s murder: yes, that can be considered an example of a deranged man acting upon a climate of hatred against Bush and the Republican partying and lashing out on innocent people.

    Can you find more examples? Because there are tens of such examples from the past 2 years, against Democrats and liberals. There are several examples of mass-murder plots hatched by right wing militias which were foiled by police action. Can you find anything comparable from the left? If one murder in another country is all you can find from the 8 years of the Bush presidency, then the natural conclusion is that the left was much more civil during its opposition tenure than the right is being now.

    And do you agree or disagree with the statement that the hateful rhetoric needs to be toned down, regardless who it is coming from, and against whom it is directed?

  182. 182
    1bunson says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Either all three have the power to incite or all three don’t.

    All three do not have the power to incite. Therefore, all three don’t.

  183. 183
    Hypnos says:

    Bender:
    Also, smoking pot and not believing in God does not make one person left-wing.

    On the other hand, evidence is emerging that Loughner conspiracy theories on grammar mind control were inspired by far-right author D. W. Miller, and that he might be associated with the far-right, white supremacist organization “American Rennaissance”.

  184. 184
    Hypnos says:

    Bender:
    Finally, for the “enemies” remark, Obama was specifically addressing those who would oppose comprehensive immigration reform, stating that would make them “enemies” of the Latino minority, which already restricts the qualification, rather than extending it to all Republicans.

    Furthermore, he retracted it, saying that he mispoke, and he meant “opponents”.

    So there we go: even for a relatively tame case of what can be considered hateful speech, Obama promptly retracted it and issued an apology.

    So here’s waiting for a Palin’s apology and retraction.

    Unless you consider taking the map off from her website and blathering about “surveyors” a retraction.

  185. 185
    Chyron HR says:

    Meanwhile, a co-worker’s self-proclaimed Republican son got expelled from college for smoking pot, and is currently living with his parents. No word about whether he listens to a evil liberal iPod or a Bender-approved Zune.

    BUT LAZY WORTHLESS POT SMOKERS? THEY’RE LIBERALS, RIGHT??

  186. 186
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    As I said, Palin would happily say that her violent imagery is fiction, a joke among herself and the people she’s trying to get to focus on those 20 races.

    The imagery may be fiction, but the target is not.

    In a video game or a porn film, the characters are not real people. They don’t really exist. Gabrielle Giffords exists and is a real person who operates in the real world. It’s very dangerous to apply fictional imagery to a real person, because unstable people will be unable to distinguish between fiction and reality.

    So, again, I must say that this argument still doesn’t distinguish between the three situations well enough. Either all three have the power to incite or all three don’t.

    That only makes sense if you think that video games or porn portray a real world that contains real people. Trust me, if you walk up to any porn star’s house (assuming you can get past the security system), s/he ain’t going to spread ’em for you right there like they do in the movies because the movies aren’t real.

    Actress in a porn movie giving a blowjob to the pizza delivery boy: not real

    Gabrielle Giffords voting for healthcare reform: real

    Do you really not understand the difference between fiction and reality?

  187. 187
    The Populist says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Idiot, you think because he called it so-lism it was? Man, I am done with tards like you.

    The man rose to power with the help of an oligarchy of national corporate interests. The richest men in the country gave him what he needed, legitimacy and power.

    You wanna keep running with that meme that your hero Goldberg promotes, fine, but just because somebody uses the term SOC-LISM does not make it so.

  188. 188
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Judas Escargot: You do not think Sarah Palin was literally calling in an assassination attempt on those 20 people. I’m talking to a rational person here. You don’t think that and don’t try to tell me you did for the sake of the argument. If you do, it speaks more to the way you or anyone else dehumanizes political opponents than it does to Sarah Palin. You understand the difference between fiction and reality, as does everyone else here.

    Pornography can be fictionalized, but it is very often not fictional at all. Two people screw, no story line, no nothing. That’s not fictional. That’s real. The argument begins to fall apart. And the entire point of pornography is that storyline or not, two or more people are actually having sex. That is actually, really happening on the screen.

    Violent video games are getting more and more realistic. They are prized for gory realism. So again, the closer to reality this fiction gets, the more people rail against it.

    No, I haven’t heard any real argument against this that doesn’t apply to porn or violent video games. And Mnemosyne’s patronizing bullshit isn’t very persuasive, either. I’m tending to agree with @1bunson and @sukabi here. I think we have to place much more emphasis on the internal ability of the people themselves to control their actions. When people like Loughner demonstrate their inability to choose competently what goes into their head and comes out in their actions, they need to be humanely restrained. And reading some descriptions of him in school, he was demonstrating this in letters writ large.

    I don’t find any of these thing have power to incite. I think that they validate and capitalize on things already present in the public. I can understand looking at a pornographer and saying, “You make money degrading and dehumanizing people, and your actions are despicable.” I can understand looking at Sarah Palin and saying, “You seek power and make money by dehumanizing your political opponents, and your actions are despicable.” But I don’t think pornography causes rape and sexual crimes, I don’t think violent video games cause other violent crimes, and I don’t think Sarah Palin’s target imagery causes political assassinations.

  189. 189

    […] child for the presumptive murderousness of the American right, I think, as John put it and Kay echoed: The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to […]

  190. 190
    Bender says:

    The problem here is that such rhetoric has now become institutionalized by the Republican party and by right wing pundits. It isn’t just nutty protesters with signs, its high ranking, elected officials, or in the case of Palin, an ex vicepresidential candidate.

    “Popular rhetoric” from “high-ranking elected officials?” You offer no examples, but that seems fairly standard behavior on both sides, does it not? Maybe if you told me what you were up in arms against, I could provide counter-examples…

    Can you find more examples? Because there are tens of such examples from the past 2 years, against Democrats and liberals.

    Of course, there are not. To claim that there have been dozens of righties murdering innocent people because they support for ObamaCare or the Stimulus is crazy, crazy, crazy talk. Think about it: that would be one a month since Obama took office. Crazy talk. Let’s not overstate for effect.

    There are a list of offenses by who Big Media reflexively assumed and/or claimed were Tea Partiers or right-wing racists (IRS plane crash, the Kentucky census worker suicide, Amy Bishop, The Muslim-Cabbie-Stabber, The Pentagon Shooter), but those were later found to be erroneous, bigoted assumptions (and retracted on page 35F, of course).

    There are several examples of mass-murder plots hatched by right wing militias which were foiled by police action.

    I’m not sure there have been several (the Hutaree nuts, sure, but they were denounced by everyone, even the other Michigan militias), but there are always foiled plots, just as there were left-wing plots of violence against the Republican Conventions that were foiled (mostly, except for the “bowling balls thrown off the overpass” idiots). Also, American militias have been a tricky problem on and off since before the Revolutionary War — how do you attempt to blame them on Palin and Beck all of a sudden?

    And do you agree or disagree with the statement that the hateful rhetoric needs to be toned down, regardless who it is coming from, and against whom it is directed?

    Goes without saying…

  191. 191
    Elie says:

    @MikeJ:

    Obviously, you had difficulty interpreting what I said.

    What I was saying is that there is much abusive terminology and name calling on the left/progressive blogosphere. In fact, your comment to me, which is contemptuous and certainly not open to my opinion..

    No — I was not making an equivalency with the signs of those attending political meetings on the right. I did not cite that. Only the propensity towards “word violence” or disrespect and contempt in our language towards one another.

    Am I clear?

  192. 192
    Bender says:

    @Hypnos:

    Finally, for the “enemies” remark, Obama was specifically addressing those who would oppose comprehensive immigration reform,

    That’s great and all, but I never mentioned the Arizona “punish your enemies” bit. I referred to the Philadelphia “we’ll bring a gun” remark, which was disgraceful coming from a head of state talking about citizens of his own country. FAR more outrageous than anything Palin has ever said, or will ever say. (Media interest: Zero. SHOCKER!)

  193. 193
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    You do not think Sarah Palin was literally calling in an assassination attempt on those 20 people. I’m talking to a rational person here. You don’t think that and don’t try to tell me you did for the sake of the argument.

    Nope, I don’t and didn’t.

    But her speech may, or may not, have directly incited an unstable kid to do what he did. And she definitely contributed directly to a rhetorical atmosphere/environment that made it more likely that something like this would happen. It’s not like she and others hadn’t been warned about that possibility beforehand. Multiple times.

    And she could have, you know, put out a statement explicitly condemning political violence. She didn’t. Or join the discourse that seems to be starting about whether or not to tone down the rhetoric. She didn’t.

    Instead, she has her website scrubbed of the images, and any critical comments deleted from her Facebook.

    I don’t find any of these thing have power to incite.

    You don’t. Neither do I. But we’re not the standard here.

  194. 194
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Pornography can be fictionalized, but it is very often not fictional at all. Two people screw, no story line, no nothing. That’s not fictional. That’s real.

    Pornography is fantasy created for the camera. It’s not real. They put themselves into positions and situations that look good for the camera that no one would contort themselves into in real life because those positions are physically uncomfortable. Watch Pornucopia sometime if you actually think porn is anything but manufactured.

    If you’re going to argue that pornography is real, then you have to argue that all film and television is by definition real. After all, you’re watching living, breathing people up on a screen, so if they’re real, then the entire film must have really happened.

    Fantasy is not reality, no matter how much you want to conflate them. People who confuse the two are extremely dangerous — not just flat-out delusional people like Loughner, but sociopaths like Ted Bundy who decide they want to try and re-create the fiction they see in real life.

  195. 195
    sukabi says:

    @Joseph Nobles: what it does cause is an “expansion” of what is considered acceptable.

    While Palin may not have been explicitly calling for the direct assassination of any individual on her list, she, her party and the media by not calling her out and denouncing it as over the line and unacceptable rhetoric for someone running for public office have accepted that as “the standard” and it lowers the bar for the next time.

    How low should the bar go? Should it stop right at the point where an implicit call for assassination of your political opponents is made?

    The fact is we are a society that has glorified all types of violence. We enable, and more often than not, encourage violent acts against folks that are perceived as being “different”. That this violence enabling is coming more from one side of the political spectrum shouldn’t surprise anyone. That it isn’t being/hasn’t been condemned by the party leaders BEFORE people die is deplorable.

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out shouldn’t be how we conduct ourselves. And we shouldn’t put up with the assholes that don’t see anything wrong with the type of “campaign” Palin et al put on.

  196. 196
    Bender says:

    Giffords is a real person. Her name was explicitly listed under the graphic, and a rifle sight icon was explicitly placed at the geographical location of her District on the map. Direct representation is clearly intended.

    Just political imagery. As I linked before, the Democrat running against Hayworth in Arizona depicted the Republican (not just a map, film of the actual guy!) with crosshairs following him creepily. (Media interest: Zero.)

  197. 197
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bender:

    I referred to the Philadelphia “we’ll bring a gun” remark, which was disgraceful coming from a head of state talking about citizens of his own country.

    I love how Bender is shocked and horrified at the words the president used but sees no problem at all with people actually bringing loaded guns to speeches the president makes.

    Again, it’s that fantasy vs. reality problem. Bender either thinks that the president had a gun with him and was prepared to shoot his political opponents, or he thinks the stories about people bringing guns to Obama’s speeches were all fake. Otherwise, I have no idea how he could think that saying “we’re not bringing a knife to a gun fight” and actually physically bringing a loaded gun are exactly the same thing.

  198. 198
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Bender:

    Just political imagery.

    So you consider violence to be an appropriate political tool, then?

  199. 199
    Elie says:

    @Bender:

    ..and your argument is that since both sides do it, it must be ok?

    What ARE you indeed, saying?

    Seems to me you are just throwing out distractions in your argument that are beside the point.

    Ok — gosh, the left progressives did that too.. OMG!

    Now what? Lets all keep doing it? Do you think its a good thing?

  200. 200
    Greg says:

    See, Bender, here’s the problem:

    You’ve got one random guy Denmark, clearly mentallyill , with no connections to anything political. Unlike, say…

    Jim David Adkisson, 2008, Tennessee. Shot and murdered 2 liberals because, in his own words, in a manifesto he wrote: “I want to kill all the liberals.” Again, in his own words, he wrote how he wanted to kill the 101 people in conservative Bernard Goldberg’s “101 People Who Are Screwing Up America.” Adkisson also owned books by Hannity and O’Reilly.
    http://web.knoxnews.com/pdf/02.....ifesto.pdf

    Richard Poplawksi, 2009. Big, big fan of Glenn Beck, so much so that he uploaded a video of Beck babbling about a FEMA camp one day before he opened fire and killed three police officers.

    Byron Williams, 2010. There’s even a freaking INTERVIEW with Williams where he himself SPELLS OUT how he was inspired by Beck to attack the Tides Foundation.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201010110002

    “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.” – Byron Williams

    And the aforementioned Roeder, doubtless inspired

    Do you, uh, have any manifestos or interviews for this random guy who’s been living in the Netherlands since 2002? Any connection at all to the Democratic party?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    Find me a guy who uploaded a video of Keith Olbermann, THEN went on a shooting spree–like Poplawski. Or a guy who wrote a four-page manifesto about how much he hates conservatives–like Adkisson. Or a guy who’s given an interview admitting that his shooting spree was inspired by Rachel Maddow.

    Forget it. You got nothing. Your side has a serious problem, and your deranged refusal to admit it suggests that you yourself would have no problem with further attacks on liberals. Which is sickening and un-American.

  201. 201
    kerFuFFler says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    If one were to concede that pornography and violent entertainment (video games, movies, music…) contribute to violence in our society one could easily conclude that providing these things for personal profit is immoral. Many people conclude precisely that and eschew consuming those products.

    Similarly, using political rhetoric laced with violent themes and imagery is done for personal political advancement (as opposed to it being legitimately central to any genuine political debate or discussion). Increasing risks of violence to others for one’s own gain in the political sphere is immoral.

    Most people don’t look for high moral character in the people who supply the market with pornography or violent entertainment. But people do want exemplary moral character in their leaders. That’s why voters should take note when they behave in this fashion.

    I don’t think people are saying violent political rhetoric should be illegal—-they are pointing out that it is immoral and disgraceful. Palin and others should be ashamed of themselves and I hope more voters will take note of their depraved characters.

  202. 202
    kerFuFFler says:

    OK, some people are saying violent political rhetoric should be illegal. I’m not sure I agree—–it does seem difficult to draw the line just as in the case of pornography and violent entertainment. I’ll settle for calling it immoral and hope leaders on all sides denounce it as well.

  203. 203
    kay says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Rapists and other sexual criminals use pornography to prepare for their crimes. Should we blame pornography and pornographers for these crimes?

    Violent video games are often played by people who then commit school massacres. Should we blame video game companies and designers for these crimes?

    Sorry this response is so late. I think it’s a good question, so I’ll answer it.

    I would submit that the difference is the individual nature of the violent rhetoric employed toward the 20 (named) members of Congress and the President. That was also true in the judge’s case, in 2009. The judge made a decision to allow a lawsuit to go forward. Talk radio jocks targeted that judge as a result of that decision.

    If you can show me a piece of porn or a video game where a specific (existing and real) individual is targeted for violence (death threats, rape threats, whatever), I’d be happy to consider the analogy. Until you can, I don’t think your slippery slope argument holds.

  204. 204
    JamesD says:

    Since we know the judge was not the perp’s target, why try to draw the conclusion that talk radio is the cause?

  205. 205
    Elie says:

    @JamesD:

    Honest to gawd — that has been addressed more than once above.

    Hate speech puts all of us at risk as anyone could attend a public meeting with their congressperson and be placed at risk, even if not targeted. It is not safe, or consistent with open governance in which a person can participate without fear of possibly being popped, by accident, because we keep fanning the flames of extremity ..

    Please understand, you are essentially saying that unless someone is specifically targeted, we do not have to consider that verbal incitement to violence puts them at risk. That is 100% baloney. An increased risk for violence incited by thoughtless speech puts the individual public official at risk but also everyone else around them! Or does being dead only count when you were specifically targeted?

  206. 206
    JamesD says:

    Ok Elie – so what was the “verbal incitement” that caused this perp to kill people?

    What we have learned thus far doesnt point to any talking points of the left or right, yet this blog is trying to blame people like Palin, Beck, etc., and that dog don’t hunt.

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