Then again, too few to mention

A long time ago, there was a famous play where a ball bounced off Jose Canseco’s head and into the stands for a home run. I remember reading a columnist say “look, it was a freak play that could have happened to anyone, but, if you’d told me you just saw a ball bounce off someone’s head and into the stands, I would have guessed that someone was Jose Canseco”. I’m afraid, it’s the same with this shooting: it may have been the work of a lone whacko, but it can hardly come as a surprise that the first time a sitting Congressperson was shot on American soil it happened after two years of unprecedented (at least since the Civil War) right-wing hostility towards Democratic elected officials. Krugman:

It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.

Last spring reported on a surge in threats against members of Congress, which were already up by 300 percent. A number of the people making those threats had a history of mental illness — but something about the current state of America has been causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence.

And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret? If the Brooks-Collins “Conversation” thing at the Times really does end in a murder-suicide, I will feel bad for having joked about that possibility; likewise, if giant meteors hit Bethesda and Georgetown.

157 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    Re – murder-suicide….that’s a little harsh don’t you think? Well other than Brooks being silenced….but dark, very dark.

  2. 2
    cleek says:

    why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    because Palin and her ilk are convinced that “liberals are worse” in this regard, and to admit that the right has a problem is to let the left get off scot-free. and so they’re not gonna bend (yet again!) to the pressure of the hypocritical liberal establishment which wants nothing but to make conservatism look bad while pretending has no faults of its own. they’re gonna stand up and say “no, librulz, we’re not the problem, you are! stop trying to blame us for everything!”

    in other words: they don’t think they have done anything to regret. and even if they have, libs are 10 times worse, and SHUT UP that’s why!

  3. 3
    schrodinger's cat says:

    And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    They express no regret, because they feel no regret. What do you think about the MSM punditubbies who have already begun making excuses for Palin and her ilk.

    ETA: Punditubbies: Pundits on TV who make meaningless noises like the Teletubbies. Much less cute
    and much more annoying.

  4. 4
    slag says:

    @cleek: Well, if librulz didn’t exist, Sarah Palin wouldn’t have to threaten to shoot them. Ergo, librulz are the problem. QED.

  5. 5
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:


    That’s why I’ll feel bad if anything like that happens.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    You didn’t get the meme. Sarah is the victim here.
    She quit the governorship because she was the victim.
    She returned her Neiman’s clothes because she was the victim.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    @cleek: But they are working overtime on the excuses, which tells you they don’t even have the courage of their own crappy convictions. Sociopaths don’t feel particularly bad about what they do, but they don’t like getting caught either.

  8. 8
    r€nato says:

    You made me hit you.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    I read the first sentence of this post and immediately thought:

    “Somebody wrote a play about that”??

  10. 10
    r€nato says:

    Death threats against the president up 400% since Obama took office.

    But that came from the Secret Service and we all know they are a bastion of liberal fascism. Also, too, both sides do it.

  11. 11
    pragmatism says:

    what would the odds be on who does the murdering/suicide? even? collins -1.10?

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    I want to know if Palin would put up a web site today with targets over a rival politician. If not, then she obviously recognizes something is wrong with it, and should say so. If she would, well that’s an interesting thing to know, and we should know about it.

  13. 13
    gex says:

    Does God tell the Devil he’s sorry? These people are in an existential battle with us. Civility is not on their list of to-do’s.

  14. 14
    Bulworth says:



  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: No way Brooks could operate a firearm.

    Though the possibility of boring her to death and then dying of self-boredom (or self-regard) is a possibility.

  16. 16
    Chyron HR says:

    And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    Because in order to protect herself from criticism, Palin has to strenuously insist that there is no connection whatsoever between herself and this event. Even to the extent of preposterously denying that she told her supporters to metaphorically aim their metaphorical guns at her political opponents.

  17. 17
    MikeJ says:

    What happened to my comment?

    Palin should be asked if she would put up a web site today with a target over a rival politician. If not, why not?

  18. 18
    freelancer says:

    If the Brooks-Collins “Conversation” thing at the Times really does end in a murder-suicide, I will feel bad for having joked about that possibility

    That’s cause you’re decent people. Check out this screengrab from Charles Johnson. Beck and Palin are clowns.

  19. 19
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:


    Ha, it does sounds like that on first reading.

  20. 20
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: I don’t get your new name change, ex Business-Economics editor of Balloon Juice.

  21. 21
    Roger Moore says:


    Though the possibility of boring her to death and then dying of self-boredom (or self-regard) is a possibility.

    Something tells me that Brooks will never be bored when he has himself to talk about. If he ever succeeds in boring somebody to death, he’ll just go in search of a new victim.

  22. 22
    r€nato says:

    @freelancer: as Johnson noted, the fool had his finger on the trigger in that pic.

    Another overcompensating armchair warrior who is all too happy to send others to war and would shit his pants if he ever found himself in combat.

  23. 23
    trollhattan says:


    However, both their rather swollen heads would fit in a Viking professional oven, no?

  24. 24
    meh says:

    Lookie what just showed up in my inbox…Sorry for the length, but the overall context is necessary to fully enjoy it in it’s incredible victimhood:

    This weekend we all were horrified to hear the news of the violent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Arizona.
    One thing that surprised us was how many in the news media and liberal political figures and organizations immediately launched into an attack on the tea party movement – assigning blame for the shooting to our grass roots, Constitutionalist movement in general, and Gov. Sarah Palin in particular.
    Friends, this is outrageous.
    It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs.
    You know what the truth is? The truth is that the shooter, Jared Loughner is the one responsible for this atrocity. But liberals are trying to place the blame on society for embracing the tea party movement.
    We here at the Tea Party Express find that disgusting and revolting.
    This isn’t a new concept for liberals. Let us harken back to the words of Ronald Reagan when he called out the Left for similar behavior in years past:
    “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
    – Ronald Reagan

    If Jared Loughner does have a definable political ideology it is that of a far Left anarchist. Loughner is a mentally disturbed young man who sought his ideological fulfillment from the Communist Manifesto – hardly the Bible of the Tea Party movement. He posted videos of flag burning on his YouTube channel – again, antics more consistent with Blame America First liberals, not the tea party movement.
    In fact, Loughner’s interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date all the way back to 2007 when he confronted her with a question he had, and received an answer he found unacceptable. You read that right – Loughner’s interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date back to 2007 – well before the tea party movement had even been launched.
    This was all an effort to try and demean us and diminish support for the tea party movement, since the Left could not beat us at the ballot box. Sadly way too many people in the media cooperated with this smear campaign.
    The media didn’t tell you that the left-wing website, DailyKos, had targeted Congresswoman Giffords, putting a BULLSEYE on her, did they? But that’s just what happened.
    Instead they tried to blame Gov. Sarah Palin. Friends, their hypocrisy and double standards are appalling.
    This kind of media bias is a large part of why our tea party movement exists – because the voices of We The People have not been represented fairly by the news media, and listened to by our elected officials.
    Well guess what: to those liberals in the news media and on the political Left who think you can silence us, you are wrong! Your efforts to try and smear us and shut us up will fail.
    We have nothing to do with this awful, tragic event in Arizona. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the victims and families of this massacre.
    But we will still fight just as passionately for this country we love, and the vision of our Founding Fathers as outlined by the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
    We’re taking our country back through the ballot box and in the public square – through peaceful means. And we will prevail, because our ideas and ideals are stronger than the scare/smear/defame tactics of the leftists we face.
    We ask you to please stand with the Tea Party Express and show your support for our efforts.
    You can make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express – CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE.

    As always, if you prefer, you may also make a contribution via mail, by sending a check to:
    Tea Party Express
    8795 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 103
    Sacramento, CA 95826-3720

  25. 25
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Bulworth: Thanks I am glad you like it!

  26. 26
    SpotWeld says:

    I think perhaps the most incidious think about the violent rheotic is that is has in some ways “normalized” a certain amount of what would have previously been enough for friends and family to take notice and interviene.

    Let’s face it, during the Red Scare, is someone openly said anything about taking arms against the government they would have been arrested, and probably after their best friend reported them.

    Today, talk of using a politician’s picture to zero in your sights is just a wacky blog post.

  27. 27
    Maude says:

    Beck got into the act today. He was defending poor little innocent Sarah.
    She’s is real trouble when her main defender is Beck.

  28. 28
    Rugosa says:

    Jesse Kelly, Giffords’ Tea-Party-sponsored opponent, posted this event on his website in June 2010: “Get on target for victory in November! Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

  29. 29
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    There’s a New England Patriots running back named BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

  30. 30
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: And you are a Patriots fan?
    ETA: Why does he have 4 names?

  31. 31
    John W. says:

    Neither here nor there, but I was actually in the stadium when that ball went off Canseco’s head. Carlos Martinez his it.

    After that, living in Cleveland has been all downhill…

  32. 32
    eric says:

    @gex: the pre-Revelation jesus did say sorry; Revelation jesus did not say sorry. The Right fetishizes the militaristic Revelation Jesus above the soshulist pre-Revelation Jesus.

  33. 33
    r€nato says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: he makes enough money to afford 4 names???

  34. 34
    Captain Haddock says:

    Sarah cannot apologize because her whole routine is demonizing the left. It may be show business to her, but to her fans it a real life struggle for the soul of America.

  35. 35
    uila says:

    Also, too, I smoke two packs a day, but you can’t say with certainty which cigarette gave me lung cancer. Therefore, LIBERAL LUNATIC!

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think perhaps the most insidious thing about the violent rhetoric is that is has in some ways “normalized” a certain amount of what would have previously been enough for friends and family to take notice and intervene.

    That’s what some people have been saying in the other threads: the fact that it’s totally normal for media figures to go on TV and talk about overthrowing the government, “Second Amendment remedies,” and how the Democrats want to take away your liberty makes these kind of delusions seem mainstream and normal. If people like Glen Beck are telling you every day that your delusions are right and the government really is trying to keep you down, how quick are you going to be to get treatment?

  37. 37
    Violet says:

    why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    Because Republicans, wingnuts, and especially Sarah Palin are always, always, always the victims. Being the victim is their bread and butter. Can’t acknowledge they did anything wrong; it would affect their victimhood.

  38. 38
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:

    I’m a Patriots fan, yes, and I don’t know how that guy got his name. It doesn’t suit him, or maybe it does — he’s unusually mature and thoughtful for a football player.

  39. 39
    MattF says:

    Hey, that’s not funny. I live in Bethesda.

  40. 40
    jl says:

    If Palin keeps this up, I think her political career is evern more gone than before.

    She doesn’t even have to keep up the passive aggressive refusal to to acknowledge any problem with suggestions that violence is OK, or violent imagery against her opponents. All she has to do is keep running to Beck for cover.

    That is the only good I can see coming out of this tragedy so far.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Charles Johnson is now a sane person. I know it’s true, but I have an instinctive revulsion towards clicking on links to that site.

  42. 42
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Slightly OT: Loughner’s mug shot is out. Brace yourself.

  43. 43
    Michael Finn says:

    What is troubling to me is that this was the third incident involving terror and this congresswoman.

    In 2009, at a Safeway during one of her town hall meetings, somebody dropped a gun that they were holding in their armpit. It’s almost the exact same thing that happened this last Saturday but this guy actually pulled it off.

    In March of 2010, her office was broken into, windows smashed, and somebody left a gun.

    This was not an isolated incident by some random crazy guy. It was leading up to this.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    BGinCHI says:

    @trollhattan: I’d never subject a Viking to that.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: Thanks for the info! Football is not something I know a lot about.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    From TPM:

    I’m listening to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Hardball discussing the issues sounding violent political rhetoric. And she’s reminding Chris how last year her opponent in her reelection campaign had one of these shooting range campaign events where he fired a gun at a silhouette marked with the initials DWS.

    How could something so innocent lead to a misunderstanding?


    Also on TPM, some one arrested for threatening Senator Bennet’s staff in CO.

  49. 49
    eemom says:

    And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret? If the Brooks-Collins “Conversation” thing at the Times really does end in a murder-suicide, I will feel bad for having joked about that possibility; likewise, if giant meteors hit Bethesda and Georgetown.

    I, on the other hand, will feel no regret at all if Jesus returns to Earth tomorrow and smites John McCain and Michele Bachmann as his first official act.

    I don’t think the situations are actually comparable. Playing with rhetorical fire as a way to get people to do your political bidding is not the same thing as whimsically positing unlikely gruesome fates for annoying emmessemm bobblebots.

    Because even if Brooks were to meet such unlikely violent end (smothered giggle), there would be no way short of “magical thinking” in which you would actually be responsible. Fomenting a political atmosphere where violent imagery is the norm, on the other hand — that is what Krugman is talking about.

  50. 50
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Joseph Nobles: The smile is unnerving, wish I had not clicked.

  51. 51
    BGinCHI says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: You know what curiosity killed, don’t you?

  52. 52
    New Yorker says:

    I’ll put it in a way wingnuts could understand:

    Does the endless calls for jihad and the murder of Jews and infidels in countless mosques and madrassas across the Middle East (sponsored by our friends the Saudis) lead to Islamic terrorism?

    Do left-wing hippie Berkeley professors preaching against capitalism lead to violence outside WTO meetings?

    Yes? Well then, why can’t the endless calls to violence from the sewers of right-wing talk radio and blogs lead to the shootings we just saw? And don’t give me that bullshit about how only a tiny fringe would act in such a way, because only a tiny fringe of Muslims or a tiny fringe of anti-globalization protesters get violent too.

  53. 53
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @BGinCHI: But don’t forget who has nine lives.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I still cannot click on it. I only came here after the Great Awakening.

  55. 55
    jl says:

    @eric: I think you mean pre and post ascension Jesus. The ascension in Acts someplace is when all the earthly Jesus peace and love talk became null and void, and Final Dispensation kicked in.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    burnspbesq says:


    ” if giant meteors hit Bethesda and Georgetown.”

    What about McLean?

  58. 58
    BGinCHI says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Newt Gingrich?

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joseph Nobles: I get an evil Uncle Fester vibe.

  60. 60

    Methinks they doth protest too much.

    Even at the local level:

    “…According to him they argued and increase until she asked if he was going to hit her. His reply was, ‘No but can you out run a nine millimeter….'”

  61. 61
    JPL says:

    According to The Fix on Washington Post

    Suspected Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner registered as an independent voter in Arizona in the fall of 2006, according to the Pima County Registrar of Voters.

    He didn’t vote in the last election.

  62. 62
    gex says:

    @SpotWeld: Nah, I think it is still the same standard. Whether the acts performed by liberals or conservatives determines the response.

  63. 63
    BGinCHI says:

    @burnspbesq: They wouldn’t even make a dent.

  64. 64
    Tractarian says:

    Gosh, I really don’t get how a left-leaning pot-smoker like Loughner could suddenly turn into a rabid anti-government conspiracy theor—

    Oh, wait, he is a registered Republican!

    EDIT: my bad, it’s a fake.

  65. 65
    MikeJ says:


    You know what curiosity killed, don’t you?

    We don’t know if he’s really curious or not, so he must be alive and dead at the same time.

  66. 66
    Violet says:

    @Joseph Nobles:
    Shudder. Freaky scary.

  67. 67
    gex says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: In otherwords, the kind of player B.B. likes to acquire.

  68. 68
    eric says:

    @jl: I meant to refer to the Jesus of the Book of Revelation versus the Jesus of the “other books”

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tractarian: Facts, schmacts. You can use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

    ETA: Or you can use fake stuff to prove the same thing… Oops.

  70. 70
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:


    Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it was the poison pen.

  71. 71
    trollhattan says:


    Cripes! Shorter my local teabagger klavern: “Don’t let us be further victimized by this so very nearly killed Democrat than we have already been. Send money.”

    Also, too: it’s weird that their raNdoM cApitaliZatiOn software has them writing things like “Blame America First liberals, not the tea party movement.” Do they even understand their own dogwhistles?

  72. 72
    El Cid says:

    I don’t often quote Bill Maher, but this is analogous to when he said,

    “Just because you’re a Republican doesn’t mean you’re a racist. But if you are a racist, you’re probably a Republican.”

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:But there’s not much choice (it’s Hobson’s choice)
    Between a cruel mouth and a jealous voice.

  74. 74
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: Is this an Agatha Christie that I don’t know off. What is this curious tale, pray tell.

  75. 75

    @El Cid: I don’t know, I heard too many stories from people canvassing for Obama in 2008 to believe that one. Even some people who were planning to vote for him said some pretty racist shit.

    I guess Maher is probably right overall, but there are some areas where that’s not really true.

  76. 76
    AAA Bonds says:

    I suppose it’s too much to ask that this prompt requirements for REAL mental health parity by insurers (not the “cover it fully or don’t cover it at all” deal we have now under MHPA and TARP).

    Just like the issue of violent rhetoric, I’m guessing the right will say “BUT HE COULD HAVE GONE THROUGH HIS PARENTS’ INSURANCE!” and whine until everyone forgets what we were talking about.

    And just like the issue of violent rhetoric, I’d say that anything that raises the concern is a chance to address the issue. Mental health treatment, like the reduction of violent rhetoric, is a good way to prevent political violence – even if it wouldn’t have prevented it in this case.

    Opportunism? Not in my book. How many people are out there right now harboring delusions and are unable to seek treatment? In my state, North Carolina, there’s quite a few. And how many people might be prevented from deteriorating with proper and regular mental health checkups? From what little I know of those disorders, a sizable amount.

  77. 77
    MikeJ says:

    @El Cid: I liked it better when John Stuart Mill said it.

  78. 78
    Keith G says:

    @BGinCHI: If Brooks killed himself it would be an accident.

    I am thinking auto-erotic asphyxia most likely.

  79. 79
    El Cid says:

    @Michael Bersin: That’s unfair! He didn’t say a “nine millimeter” what! It could have been a small caterpillar, or a coin, or a piece of chocolate, or his own weenie. You don’t know!

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Michael Bersin:

    When I first started reading that, I thought she was talking about a confrontation with a voter, but then I realized she was being threatened by the other candidate for the office she was running for.

    Holy shit.

  81. 81
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    An Elvis Costello lyric, capably finished by Omnes.

  82. 82
    Some Guy says:

    Equivocation of this sort is the stock and trade of rightwing discourse. It has worked wonders with gender and race: take the principle of equality and turn it into a pre-ordained fact (unless it doesn’t suit you). Reverse racism anyone? Pointing out the state of things means you are what you observe. Repeat as needed.

    There is nothing this formula does not work with. It is tired, it is dishonest, and it is highly unlikely this moment will change the directory of violent discourse. The ass covering will continue until such time as it is convenient to warn against the horrors of a left over-reacting to one violent gunman, warranting more targets, more incitement. Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.

    It is a horrible situation, and I agree that making it into another left-says, right-says moment is degrading (although Sullivan is just incoherent as John points out — that is not about politicization, that is about deflecting inconvenient politics). However, this is not an equivocal moment. This is about violent extremism and the wind beneath its wings, which in contemporary America comes pretty much signed, sealed, and delivered from the right.

    Except in the case of Moore Awards, which prove that all humans are equally prone to cynical rudeness, ergo, assassination attempts.

  83. 83
    The Populist says:


    The problem I see as somebody who leans left but isn’t completely liberal is that the right doth protesteth too much about liberals. If I come at a friend with a rational point, he calls me a liberal as if that is gonna make me cry for mommy.

    The problem is that the right is paranoid and very one dimensional in their worldview. They see libs as evil yet do not even understand that we are all Americans with the exception of having different points of view on how government should be run.

    If you want to say that uzis should not be sold to consumers, they call you names yet can’t debate why we are wrong. Protecting children from obesity is viewed as wrong (see Palin, Sarah) they cry that we are regulating their right to eat junk (no, not true).

    The one thing that cracks me up about cons is this: They love talking about government waste yet they do not get that obese people cost America billions. They can’t fathom the costs of pollution on our nation’s health. They can’t understand that cutting school’s affects our children MORE than a deficit. If the future can’t think or can’t pass tests, what will that leave our country in terms of future doctors, scientists and even…politicians?

    I dunno. I can’t understand why the right can’t meet the left on key issues. Look at climate change…you cannot tell me that this snow storm blanketing the deep south is a fluke. Something is wrong with weather and it starts with the melting ice caps. Scientists are in consensus on why this melting is taking place YET the right think that if you ask them to look at driving a more fuel efficient car or to tell a plant they can’t pollute our air like they once did, it’s similar to treason or something.

    Am I crazy or are they crazy? I can’t understand why it’s so hard to have intelligent debate using facts rather than emotion?

  84. 84
    Janus Daniels says:

    Let’s all sign this petition; it’s the least we can do, but it is a start.
    “I call for an end to all overt and implied appeals to violence in American politics. We must debate, not hate.”

  85. 85
    kindness says:

    @New Yorker: Was this sarcasm? If not you are a monumental idiot.

    Are your seriously basing our civic communications between groups on what other idiots around the planet do? How many ‘hippie’ Berkeley professors tell their kids to go out and protest anything (you haven’t been to Berkeley in quite some time I see)?

    You can’t link idiots in the middle east with the idiots we have here in the good ole US of A no matter how much that makes you feel manly.

  86. 86
    The Populist says:

    @New Yorker:

    We should rally against capitalism as sold by the right. Where are the free markets they talk about? Being a small business owner I see the hypocrisy they preach every day.

  87. 87
    BGinCHI says:

    @Janus Daniels: I hate petitions.

  88. 88
    AAA Bonds says:

    @New Yorker:

    I think a good point, though, is that Muslim-fundamentalist terror attacks usually involve the collective planning of a small cell. Right-wing violence in America, no matter the sanity of the perpetrator, is often ‘lone wolf’ style.

    That’s one reason why causally linking political violence in America to any group or ideology is so difficult. Plenty of Muslim groups, like “Al Qaeda in Iraq” or “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” rep Al Qaeda without having any connection to the group that planned 9/11 (that group’s probably long since disintegrated).

    But radical right groups in America often just poke, prod, and encourage; unstable individuals take matters into their own hands and don’t claim connection to any group. Note that I’m NOT saying that’s what happened here, but these things are always tricky to assess.

  89. 89


    Actually, she was a candidate (unsuccessful) for state representative, he is a member of the city council in a town in the district. He was not her opponent in the election.

    This was one of several incidents she experienced, I also got a copy of a police report in another city where four individuals (wearing her opponent’s campaign t-shirts) in a van swerved at one of her volunteers doing door to door canvassing.

  90. 90
    YellowJournalism says:

    @meh: It’s amazing how quickly they’ve gotten the talking points together on this guy. Just hours ago, I heard a conservative Canadian radio host describe the shooter in the same way the Tea Party does, even going to the whole “these books and values don’t equal tea party/right wing” line of thinking. (Yes, the topic of discussion was poor Palin, the narcissistic left-wing media, and how the guy was really just mentally unstable. This coming from a radio host who I’m pretty sure said that the mental stability of the Fort Hood shooter did not take focus away from the fact that the Ft. Hood shooter was influenced and probably incited by extremist Muslim leaders and Muslim values.)

    @Joseph Nobles: When you say “brace yourself”, you really mean it!

    That guy does not resemble the paranoid hippie stoner dude he was being described as, btw.

  91. 91
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    Even the liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck thinks Palin was out of line.

    Sadly, though, Barbara Walters pulls a Howie (Kurtz) and makes Sarah Palin the victim.

  92. 92
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: I am now listening to “A Good Year for the Roses” and I blame/credit you. I will be one EC for hours now.

  93. 93
    AAA Bonds says:

    @The Populist:

    You made things seem a little clearer for me, so thanks. Looking at how you laid it out, it seems apparent that right-wingers take a very Wall Street approach to public spending: don’t worry about the future, give handouts to the wealthy at the expense of the budget sheet even five or ten years down the line, but talk ALL the time about how you’re the future-thinking, budget-conscious gurus of the era.

  94. 94
    The Populist says:


    Yet Mein Kampf is from a right wing ultranationalist dictator who was given the reigns of power by an oligarchy of business men who wanted to be the masters of the universe.

  95. 95
    The Populist says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    Yep…it’s another area that makes no sense for me. Who put us in this deficit? Bush and his wars have added trillions to what would have been a surplus. Obama has spent money too, but what kills me is how it’s HIS fault and not the fault of Presidents before him starting with Reagan.

  96. 96
  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Punditubbies: Pundits on TV who make meaningless noises like the Teletubbies. Much less cute and much more annoying.

    Again! Again!

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Woohoo (he says having never watched a minute of it).

  99. 99
    Mike Kay says:

    according to MSNBC, palin is already playing the victim and fundamentalist card, saying she’s being persecuted. and as usual, using her own children for political shields.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    Aside from being narcissistic white supremacists, it is an integral part of the whole quasi revolutionary narrative of “taking back their country”. The subliminal messaging of implied violence that says if you don’t let us run things, things could get ugly actually works electorally. And once they admit even a small part of what they are up to, then they agree it is a legitimate complaint. And everything they say will be measured against some standard of what was admitted. So what they will likely do, is wait a short while, then ratchett up the hatred and violent undertones even more. And accuse liberals of being against free pol speech, and trying to shut them up. What a sad country we are becoming.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Michael Bersin:

    Actually, she was a candidate (unsuccessful) for state representative, he is a member of the city council in a town in the district. He was not her opponent in the election.

    Okay, the fact that he’s a sitting politician actually makes it worse, IMO. At least if he had been her opponent, he could have made some “heat of the moment” excuse for saying that.

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike Kay:

    G. calls it the “Why Do You Hate Trig’s Mommy?” defense.

  103. 103
    You Don't Say says:

    Watching News Hour, reporting the Loughner family has barricaded themselves into their home to keep FBI out.

  104. 104
    New Yorker says:



    @The Populist:

    Sure, I’m not a fan of crony capitalism either. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here and saying that a right-winger would likely associate anti-capitalist rhetoric with anti-capitalist violence. I mean, have you ever read anything written by David Horowitz?

    @AAA Bonds:

    Sure, it’s not a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but without constant exhortations to violence from the day they learn to speak, I doubt too many Taliban soldiers would be willing to blow themselves up in a Kabul market.

    And without constant railing against Obama as a dangerous illegitimate tyrant and liberals in general as anti-American, I don’t think the craziest of talk-radio listeners would resolve to go shoot his member of Congress.

  105. 105
    Mike Kay says:

    some weak kneed mainstream media liberal tried the “we’re all to blame” crap, and to his credit Tweety wouldn’t accept it, saying, “not true, not all of us are guilty”.

    Why do they always put the weak libs on.

    Even the liberal New Republic Ana Marie Cox was deploring the denouncement of violent imagery, saying it would lead to banning common phrases like “he shot himself in the foot”, which is moronic because no one is talking about colloquialisms, but rather inflammatory and incendiary language.

  106. 106
    El Cid says:

    @TooManyJens: There is that word “probably”. Some of the clear-out racists I knew who voted for Obama were Republicans. It’s not a contradiction. There were Republicans who I know who were so sick of Bush Jr. that they wanted him out. I mean, your garden variety family or neighborhood Republican. It wasn’t until the screaming freakshow began right after inauguration with the stimulus that they began to believe all this shit about failed stimulus and soshullist and so on and so forth.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    That’s not gonna end well.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    cleek says:

    i also really like this explanation (via Sully):

    They’re in a tough spot these days partly because it’s impossible for them to mount the defense of their rhetoric that is true: “I am a frivolous person, and I don’t choose my words based on their meaning. Rather, I behave like the worst caricature of a politician. If you think my rhetoric logically implies that people should behave violently, you’re mistaken – neither my audience nor my peers in the conservative movement are engaged in a logical enterprise, and it’s unfair of you to imply that people take what I say so seriously that I can be blamed for a real world event. Don’t you see that this is all a big game? This is how politics works. Stop pretending you’re not in on the joke.”

    i’m sure there are some people who fit this. your Limbaughs, etc..

  110. 110
    General Stuck says:

    Maybe something good can come out of all of this, and people start to examine government in this country for what it is. Not all bad, and basically pretty good, albeit with plenty of warts. Kind of like the citizens that created it.

  111. 111
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mike Kay: God she’s a fucking idiot.

    No, I take that back. She’s probably plenty smart. But young journos with no world experience and no sense of struggle in the world are likely to have no idea about complicated matters.

    Unless they’re named Ezra Klein or Lee Fang.

  112. 112
    fasteddie9318 says:

    This is, at the very least, exposing the volume of sociopathy on the right. Palin won’t apologize because she’s fundamentally not aware that she crossed any line. To the extent that she’s aware that a congresswoman is in a coma and six people are dead, it’s not something that happened to her so it’s not something that draws her attention. The best she’s been able to produce has been a pro-forma “oh gosh we’re just so sorry about all the fuss” statement that she almost certainly didn’t have anything to do with writing. Otherwise it’s been all about her and why won’t you stupid liberals STFU and realize that nobody matters but her?

    What’s surprising is that this has been the reaction of virtually every national figure on the right. They’re all either sociopathic or realize that their electoral fortunes depend on sociopaths and care more about that electoral success than they do about what happened (which, really, makes them sociopaths in their own right anyway).

  113. 113
    WereBear says:

    @You Don’t Say: Watching News Hour, reporting the Loughner family has barricaded themselves into their home to keep FBI out.

    I could see it if it were the Press, but to do it for the FBI might suggest the paranoia apple did not fall far from the tree.

  114. 114
    Ash Can says:

    @kindness: Huh? I thought New Yorker was making a good point — the RW mouth-breathers wet their pants at the idea of Islamic jihadist leaders whipping up their followers with anti-American rhetoric, yet when their own leaders encourage them to take pot-shots at thinly-veiled images of their political opponents with M-16s, it’s the patriotic thing to do (and if they get called on it, it’s all just a big joke, and we shouldn’t take it so seriously). The point is the same in either context: Words can have consequences, and those consequences can be dire. It’s just that it doesn’t dawn on them that they’re doing the same thing that other extremists are doing.

  115. 115
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    That’s a little bit silly to ask for, since it would be an implicit admission of some degree of culpability. Palin and her ilk should apologize for their bile irrespective of this incident. The Great American Attention Span will forget about all this in a couple of weeks, after which we can ask for that apology and have the likelihood of getting it go from zero to 0.2%.

  116. 116
    WereBear says:

    @fasteddie9318: As long as we are discussing mental health and sociopathy, it’s common to describe a stark lack of empathy as “sociopathy” but that is fortunately a truly rare disorder.

    I think what we have here, which a famous psychoanalyst said of W himself, is “narcissistic personality disorder.” Only them and theirs is important in their little world; and when push comes to shove, they aren’t that attached to theirs.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Mike Kay says:

    @Mouse Tolliver:

    Sadly, though, Barbara Walters pulls a Howie (Kurtz) and makes Sarah Palin the victim.

    that’s because Barbara interviews palin every year for one of her ridiculous shows. This is example of msm corruption. Barbara will lie to the public just to keep access.

  119. 119
    Mike Kay says:

    @BGinCHI: my sense is that she’s been corrupted by the broderism that goes in washington (ie we can’t be mean to the wingers) and the corrosive fraternization of the DC cocktail circuit (ie how are ya gonna call out someone who invites you to lavish and fun parties).

  120. 120
    Makewi says:

    It’s sort of comforting that despite the evolving facts of the case you can find a way to pin it on the “Right wing”.

  121. 121
    kindness says:

    @Ash Can: He/she seems to think so too, but that’s not how I read the post. To me I got the impression (perhaps incorrect impression) that because there are marauding groups around the world proclaiming their god given right to kill others, it can be done here too and we should expect that.

    If I was wrong in my impressions, please New Yorker, forgive my written abuse.

  122. 122
    You Don't Say says:

    @Mnemosyne: Being reported the FBI is/was inside elsewhere.

  123. 123
    Chyron HR says:


    Yes, why must Liberals keep grasping at straws to blame the alleged shooting of this alleged Democratic alleged Congress-alleged-woman on the party that repeatedly told its supporters to shoot the alleged victim?

  124. 124
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    While I know it breaks the hearts of hardy truth seekers like yourselves, you might want to consider checking your desired narrative at the door.

    As much as it blows the minds of people who post all day on political messageboards, it is possible for somebody to have no overriding partisan motivations. Paranoid, anarchic thought is real.

    So as much as it kills you that the murderer isn’t a self-described holy warrior in Sarah Palin’s army who was moved to violence because of a government takeover of healthcare, you might want to consider coming to terms with the reality that there are people out there who simply hate government in all its forms, wholly and completely. They don’t want to control the system, they want to invent their own. And that the killer had developed an obsession on his direct contact with his congresswoman long before anybody had ever heard of a Tea Party or Sarah Palin.

    If you are to win the battle over inflammatory rhetoric and appeals to violent imagery in the public sphere, you’ll have to continue to do it on the abstract and philosophical levels, based on sound principles. Screeching that the mainstream Republicans were directly responsible for the specific acts of violence on Saturday will get you nowhere.

  125. 125
    Makewi says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Yes, the party told this guy to shoot this woman. Thank God for people like you watching out for stuff like this. You are a true American hero.

  126. 126
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I was going to ask if you are always this much of a shithead, but then I remembered that you are.

  127. 127
    El Cid says:

    @Makewi: Of course it would be ridiculous to ‘pin’ anything on Republicans for this individual’s actions.

    However, it would be absolutely deluded and devoid of any knowledge of generations of empirical historical research to suggest that major and minor party and major and minor organizational rhetorical demonization and calls to violence have no effect on the behavior of individuals.

    That attitude would just be bizarre.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    I navigated to one of the other stories on that page and spotted a statement from Giffords’ husband about places people could donate if they want:

    Community Food Bank
    3003 S Country Club Rd # 221
    Tucson, AZ 85713-4084
    (520) 622-0525

    American Red Cross, Southern Arizona Chapter
    2916 East Broadway Boulevard
    Tucson, AZ 85716
    (520) 318-6740

  129. 129
    PIGL says:

    @BGinCHI: re dying of self-regard, apparently, this is possible.

    As divine punishment he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, not realizing it was merely an image, and he wasted away to death, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection.

    My divine punishment for BoBo the Poison Toad would involve some form of death by fire.

  130. 130
    Chris says:

    why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret?

    Methinks that’s what infuriated me the most about the whole reaction. They don’t care that a woman was shot, they only care that they’re being blamed for it. From the outset, the reaction from every conservative outlet has been “OMG we’re going to get blamed for this it’s so mean!”

    If a real Oklahoma City 2.0 occurs, expect them to be doing exactly the same.

  131. 131


    A really interesting part of the police report:

    “…I [police officer] told Mr. […] that he could not say things like that especially around a polling center…”

  132. 132
    gbear says:


    No, Makewi, Sarah Palin is the true American hero. She’s the one who got the job done. Go bow at her feet.

  133. 133
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And I was going to ask if you frequently find yourself giddy over internet hoaxes, before realizing that I don’t much care.

    At least you aren’t one of the desperate fools so consumed by hate, as the right-wingers they’re fighting against, as to invent such hoaxes in a situation like this, so you do have that going for you…

  134. 134
    You Don't Say says:

    @WereBear: Reports I read later say that, that they put up a barricade to keep the press out and the FBI went to the back of the house and were let in.

  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Ever make a mistake? Ever admit it? Fuck off.

  136. 136
    Makewi says:


    Nah. She’s merely a copycat. The whole targeted map thing had been done before.

    What you should do is to try to ignore the fact that this guy had a hard on for the Congresswoman since 2007, that is, pre the rise of she who the left loves to hate.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:


    Here are the websites where you can make donations:

    Both of them have links you can use specifically to donate in Congresswoman Giffords’ honor.

  138. 138
    Chyron HR says:


    There, there, Makewi. I know you’re upset that the assassination target might pull through, but at least your man Jared killed an innocent child. Surely Tea Party idol Timothy McVeigh would approve.

  139. 139
    WereBear says:

    @You Don’t Say: Thanks for update. Like I said, a press barricade I could understand.

  140. 140
    Makewi says:

    @Chyron HR:

    You do realize that you are morally bankrupt shell of a human, yes? I suggest someone traded your soul for some alf pogs.

  141. 141
    Chyron HR says:


    You do realize that you are morally bankrupt shell of a human, yes?

    Yes, yes, you come here to make jokes about an attempted assassination, which makes me reprehensible. Just like Glenn Beck’s daily Judenhass hour proves that Liberals are the real antisemities, right?

  142. 142
    Makewi says:

    @Chyron HR:

    To be fair, I’m making jokes about how you all are pissing your pants that some crazy guy is now the face of the tea party. I mean, whether the narrative actually fits or not is besides the point.

    Besides your dancing on the grave of that poor girl opens you up to some well deserved mocking.

  143. 143
    Mnemosyne says:


    To be fair, I’m making jokes about how you all are pissing your pants that some crazy guy is now the face of the tea party. I mean, whether the narrative actually fits or not is besides the point.

    So you freely admit that you’re using this weekend’s murder spree to try and terrorize your political opponents into doing what you want?

    Funny, I think there’s a word for people like that … it’s right on the tip of my tongue …

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Asshole? Sociopath? Terrorist? Useless fucking troll (I know its three words, but it is so descriptive.)?

  145. 145
    jl says:

    @eric: I was being a pedantic jerk. Sorry. I got what you meant.

  146. 146
    Chyron HR says:


    How dare you interrupt my hilarious Dennis Miller-style riffs by reminding me that innocent human beings died. You’re the real monster here!

    Yes. Clearly so. You sure showed me.

  147. 147
    fasteddie9318 says:


    As long as we are discussing mental health and sociopathy, it’s common to describe a stark lack of empathy as “sociopathy” but that is fortunately a truly rare disorder.

    I think what we have here, which a famous psychoanalyst said of W himself, is “narcissistic personality disorder.” Only them and theirs is important in their little world; and when push comes to shove, they aren’t that attached to theirs.

    Narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders often coexist, but I’m inclined to agree that for most of these guys, NPD probably suffices. For the higher profile ones, though (Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, W), in my admittedly layman’s opinion they exhibit plenty of both NPD and APD.

  148. 148
    PurpleGirl says:

    You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught
    via Suburban Guerilla from Nicole Sandler

    The song is intercut with video clips of Republican and right wing calls for violence.

  149. 149
    Very sad says:

    Perhaps the Rand fans will get to see what a Foutainhead-esque: “Yes, I did it, but I was justified by the corruption of the system!” defense gets you in a non-fiction story.

  150. 150
    The Populist says:


    What kills me is how they make it sound like it’s sarcasm or dry humor. Before Gabby Giffords it was described as brutal honesty by rightie talkers.

    Interestingly, none of it is funny even before this. We all tease the right and sure many of us despise the movement BUT there aren’t many of us out there advocating death or laws to shut them up. Every chance I get, I see righties talking about anybody they see as liberal (even if some aren’t full fledged) as traitors, hatemongers, freaks, people not worth knowing, idiots, diseased, etc. The minute we counter with a valid point out come more insults: Libtard, moonbat, etc.

    They want so desperately to make it seem like we start these things when that ain’t true. So what if a person protests and you disagree, you can question their motives, positions, politics without calling them people who hate America. Sorry, righties, show me where I am wrong.

  151. 151
    The Populist says:

    Oh and righties, show me one instance of a dem/lib who threatened second amendment remedies if they lost the election? Show me please. Just because you can’t handle Alan Grayson throwing your nonsense back at ya (and it doesn’t mean he’s always right to use those words either) still doesn’t mean that goofy comments calling you taliban or whatnot is worse than talking about insurrection to solve your problems.

  152. 152
    Commish says:

    Nice analogy with Canseco. Here’s another:

    The winger politicians like Angle and Bachmann who rouse the rabble with talk of political violence are like very reckless drivers. If you hear they were involved in a bad collision, it’s pretty natural to assume they were at fault in some way. And if an investigation shows that, actually, they were completely blameless (something that has not happened in the Giffords tragedy, not by a long shot) – that exoneration doesn’t amount to permission to keep driving recklessly.

    Thoughtful and mature people take such incidents as wakeup calls, and reflect on their behavior. But of course, we’re talking about the modern American Right.

  153. 153
    Dan says:

    I don’t follow the comments too much, so if this has been mentioned before, please excuse me.

    What strikes me is that the people who are claiming that the violent political rhetoric doesn’t provoke violence in people are the same people who believe that “gay” is communicable, and can be transmitted by the mere mention of it in public discourse. So telling people to reload instead of retreat is obviously not going to spark a violent reaction, whereas talking about homosexual parenthood will spark a mass wave of homosexual children. It’s not like I expect these people to be logically consistent, but this is really quite shocking. You can’t have it both ways, people.

  154. 154
    Jebediah says:

    @El Cid:
    In Africa, a radio host repeatedly refers to opponents as “cockroaches.” Eventually, horrible violence ensues, aided by the dehumanization of the victims. American TV and radio hosts refer to liberals and liberalism as “cancer” etc. but that’s OK because, well, shut up libtard, that’s why.

  155. 155
    El Cid says:

    @Jebediah: It’s truly sickening the way that Radio Libre des Milles Collines was blamed for what a few thousand heavily governmentally organized and armed and logistically assisted crazy individuals did, and they paid the price in having their free speech taken away, and the liberal internationalist United Nations criminalized politics and threw the opinionated but fair RTLM directors in prison. So much for liberals and ‘free speech’.

  156. 156
    Jebediah says:

    @El Cid:
    Yeah, we liberals sure do hate us some free speech.

    But seriously – does Glenn Beck, for example, see the connection? He spews so much gibberish, I for one have a very poor handle on how well- or ill-informed he is. I can’t imagine anyone who remembers those massacres thinking it would be a good idea to go on the air and call any group of fellow citizens a “cancer,” but with Beck I go back and forth between thinking he is a nihilist who knows what he is doing but just does not give a fuck, and thinking he is sincere – nuts, deluded, insane, but sincere.
    I guess it doesn’t matter. Either way he wouldn’t be backing off the dangerous talk anytime soon.

  157. 157
    Bobby Thomson says:

    If the Brooks-Collins “Conversation” thing at the Times really does end in a murder-suicide, I will feel bad for having joked about that possibility; likewise, if giant meteors hit Bethesda and Georgetown.

    I see what you did there.

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