Showing the complete lack of self-awareness and lack of a clue that only a professionally-kept glibertarian can possess, the Fonzi of Freedom decries the “instant politicization” of the Giffords shooting by linking to the most cynically political thing I’ve read about it to date, that disgusting partisan piece by the Instapundit in the WSJ, and then diving into his own political diatribe:
The problem isn’t with the current moment’s rhetoric, it’s with the goddamn politicization of every goddamn thing not even for a higher purpose or broader fight but for the cheapest moment-by-moment partisan advantage. Whether on the left or on the right, there’s a totalist mentality that everything can and should be explained first and foremost as to whether it helps or hurt the party of choice.
That sort of clearly calculated punditry helps explain one of last week’s other big stories, which is how both the Dems and the GOP have really bad brand loyalty these days. In its most recent survey of political self-identification, Gallup found that the Dems were at their lowest point in 22 years and that the GOP remains stuck below the one-third mark. The affiliation that has the highest marks for the past couple of decades on average and is growing now is independent. Faced with the way that the major parties and their partisans try to bend every news story, trend, box office hit or bomb, you name it, whether truly horrific (as Saturday’s shooting was) or totally banal, is it any wonder that fewer people want to be affiliated with the Dems and Reps? This is a long-term trend. Indeed, Harris Poll numbers that stretch back to the late ’60s show the same trend: Fewer and few folks want to view themselves as Democrats and the GOP has never been popular (even though far more people consider themselves “conservative” than “liberal”). And note what Gallup are Harris are talking about there is not party registration. It’s identification and self-affiliation; how you see yourself. It’s a cultural identity.
The easy reading of this is pretty obvious and rooted in our national DNA: Americans want refuge from politics, not an expansion of it to cover every aspect of our lives, and that’s something increasingly bitter dead-enders don’t want to acknowledge.
It isn’t just that glibertarians are such complete jerks, it is the sheer stupidity that makes them such a treat.
BTW- When someone plans and attempts the assassination of a politician, it is political. Deal with it.
A libertarian decrying a simplistic approach to politics. Irony is dead.
The alternative to politics is shooting people. I’ll stick with argument and persuasion.
It’s so weird that they’re now trying to argue that it’s unfair to politicize politics. WTF?
It isn’t political if Democrats are the targets.
FACT NOT OPINION
Where this does exist on the left it is openly and savagely critiqued. Where this happens on the right is everywhere, with no (or very, very few) dissenting voices.
March 21-22, 2009 — Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”
July 15, 2009 — Katherine Crabill (Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates 99th District) makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that’s the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny.”
August 25, 2009 – Rex Rammell, (candidate in the 2010 Idaho Republican Primary) remarks on “Obama hunting tags” at a discussion about state-issued tags for wolf hunting.”The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.” In a subsequent press release, he adds, “Anyone who understands the law knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C.”
August 26, 2009 — Debra Medina (Texas gubernatorial candidate) “We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
September 28, 2009— Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution”
April 10, 2010 — Martha Dean (Republican candidate for Attorney General in Connecticut) “If government is legitimate and truly is the voice of the people, it need never fear the people themselves when they’re armed. Only a government that uses secrecy and force to impose improper laws [to] which the people do not consent need fear the wrath of its law-abiding citizens at the ballot box or, ultimately, with arms … Our right of free speech and to back it up with arms if necessary if our government becomes tyrannical and unjust as King George’s was to the colonists are the most essential of the rights we as Americans have … I will oppose all efforts to create nonsensical distinctions that are nowhere supported by our constitutions between different types of firearms. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the government gets the effective firearms and the people the ineffective ones. Nowhere in our Constitution does it say that the government gets the modern firearms and the citizens only get the antiquated ones.”
April 13, 2010 — Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) on meeting with Oklahoma Tea Party groups to discuss the formation of a new “volunteer militia” to defend against ‘improprer federal infringements on state sovereignty’ Brogdon states that the Founding Fathers “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other. The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
May 6, 2010 — Christina Jeffrey (Republican candidate 4th Congressional District South Carolina) holding an AK-47 assault rifle; “Why do we have the Second Amendment? The Second Amendment ensures all of our other rights … The Second Amendment was placed in the Constitution, plainly, to ensure that our limited government stayed limited and that we would be able to enforce those limitations if need be … We are a sovereign people. A sovereign people is an armed people.”
May 15, 2010 — Newt Gingrich “The Second Amendment is not in defense of hunting. It is not in defense of target shooting. It is not in defense of collecting. The Second Amendment is in defense of freedom from the State.”
May 30, 2010 — Sharron Angle (Republican candidate U.S. Senator Nevada) “…the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.”
May 31, 2010 — Rex Nichols (candidate for sheriff Montana’s Lincoln County) in reference to federal agents, Ruby Ridge, Waco and keeping feds out of the county if elected. “I am going to take my deputies and stand in the middle of the road and tell them to get the hell out …..And if they want a war, they got it.”
September 30, 2010 — Steve Kendley, (candidate for sheriff Montana’s Lake County) threatens “a violent conflict” with federal agents if “they are doing something I believe is unconstitutional.”
October 21, 2010 — Stephen Broden (Republican candidate for 30th Congressional District Texas) states the violent overthrow of the government is an “option” that remains “on the table.” “Our nation was founded on violence….I don’t think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms.”
November 9, 2010 — U.S. Representative-Elect Allen West (R-Fla) “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendments rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
November 29, 2010 — U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) comparing the Obama administration to the Nazi regime in Germany “Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it.”
Hey Nick, you know who got hurt first and foremost? A nine-year-old girl, a judge, campaign volunteers, engaged citizens, and a U.S. Representative. Maybe, just maybe, we’re looking for answers in an attempt to protect people like them.
Not only is it an argument against the politicization of politics, but its a political argument against the politicization of politics.
The wicked flee when no man pursueth: Proverbs 28:1
You’d think they’d know that.
All the chaff (and poo) flinging is meaningless if a person notices that there’s only one side screaming that their violent rhetoric had nothing to do with a violent act at a political event hosted by their opposition.
Southern Poverty Law Center Statement (via email):
Edit: For those looking for a concrete way to help, at least with the next generation, you could consider donating to the Teaching Tolerance program of SPLC.
Americans actually want refuge from political/editorial incompetence.
in other news, i want refuge from the fonz if anyone can provide.
Memo to the InstaFool : This is a democracy; everything is political.
how do you explain Hinckley ?
he wanted attention and to emulate Travis Bickle to impress Jodie Foster. he wasn’t trying to make a political statement. he was stalking Carter, when Carter was president. then he got sent to a psych hospital, the election happened, and when he got out, Hinckley changed to stalking Reagan.
He knows that his side of the argument (and despite all the disclaimers in Reason, they know their “side” is the Conservative Movement in the Republican Party and its expansion of Corporate agenda), rightly or wrongly, has been hurt by this event. Hence the primal scream.
The Grand Panjandrum
I guess Nick missed the whole “replacing bullets with ballot boxes” thingy in his American History class. Or is he saying Aristotle was wrong? Either way @TR is right.
source (h/t boingboing)
@cleek: How about, “it becomes political the moment the act itself passes into discourse”?
We can’t stay in the moment of the act. As soon as it happens, context floods in.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Mnemosyne: This isn’t the first time. All phrases equivalent to “Why are you being political?” should be treated like being asked when you stopped beating your wife. It is nonsense for someone who plays politics, and
EdNick fits in that category, to be allowed to accuse others of being political.
true, but that’s not how i read JC’s assertion. and that really says more about our response to it, rather than to the act itself.
I’ll second what Cleek typed above. There is a lot of sloppy thinking going on. Maybe it was purely a political act, maybe it was a act of total unhinged delusion. Could it be somewhere in the middle?
I’d just be careful separating the “purity” or “singleness” (or whatever) of the act itself from “our reaction to it.” They are inexorably linked.
Um…maybe there’s more to the Sully piece than the excerpt you quoted, where he tries to draw clueless implications from it. However, the portion stated is entirely sensible and accurate. There is in fact such a bitter divide that pundits and commentators in one camp thoroughly distrust the other and seek to interpret every event pejoratively against the other. Making this observation is not the same thing at all as noting that so many on the glibertarian or hard-right side of things tend to be far more aggressively mendacious and play far looser with facts in crafting their pejorative narrative against the other.
I’m not sure what problem you have with it, other than wishing the facts were different about trends in partisan (non)-identification and attitudes toward the two major parties.
Sort of OT, but something occurred to me – we took the promise of 24/7 information aggregation and dissemination, and rather than use it for in-depth investigation and reporting, turned it into an agitprop venue for pundits spewing ideologically-tinged conventional wisdom.
What media machine needs to spend money on reporters and travel when it can instead have Robin Meade perkily report on Sarah Palin’s latest Twitter update for a third of the cost?
Don’t call this guy a Tea Partier, he’s just crazy! If you don’t believe me, just read his stuff–ranting, disjointed, paranoid, detached from reality–COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM THE TEA PARTIERS.
Slightly O/T but the person or persons who insisted that Loughner leave Pima Community College until he produced a mental health clearance should get an award. They’ve gotta be feeling pretty good about their judgment today, which probably is its own reward.
@cleek: While I understand your point; these people do tell us their motivations.
Hinckley wanted to assassinate a President. Any President. That’s cultural (they’re famous) not political. And he said so.
Here’s someone who left no end of breadcrumbs about why he did it; we have videos where he explains his reasoning. And it is political reasoning.
Yes, this kind of anti-government rhetoric could have ended in an assault on a Republican rep if that is what the man had in his district at the time.
But still; who is pouring out the anti-government and inflammatory statements?
That’s where the crossroads lie; I think it’s not difficult to agree on that.
Thanks for saying this, John, after all the waffling horseshit I’ve been reading all weekend. This pretty much sums it up. Let the idiots fight over who is to blame; I think the blame is pretty self-evident, but even if it’s not, a cursory glance at who is trying to walk back their rhetoric, or justify it, will tell even the dumbest of people all they need to know.
@Cat Lady: It’s not off-topic at all. Everyone saying “Didn’t anyone have a clue?” have been answered.
@cleek: Political: “Of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government, politics, or the state.”
So whether or not the act of the person planning and attempting the assassination of a politician is acting in a partisan manner, it is indeed political. It affects an elected official. It likely will have larger consequences in terms of increasing security, decreasing access to elected officials, etc. It is a political act. It may or may not be partisan.
That is how you explain Hinkely. He didn’t choose an actor or musician or famous author. He chose a political figure. The act becomes political.
PZ Myers has a pretty good take on the hand-wringing by some who want to take politics out of this madness in Tucson:
Also, too, there is a pretty sarcastic cartoon at the link as well that is interesting as well.
Fonzi, Instapundit, et al. are falling over themselves to hide the violence-incitement-rhetoric elephant in the room. They’re scrambling around throwing drop-cloths over it, and standing in front of it yelling, “Nothing to see here, folks! Oh, look over there! Shiny object!” It really is telling to see them go full-metal-defensive-freakout.
The exception that proves the rule?
I don’t know, the rightwing has for years been ratcheting up the revolution rhetoric and amping calls for violence against liberals. The audience eats that shit up and when something happens, it’s all “Well, look the guy isn’t a real conservative. He doesn’t support this, this or this. No conservative I know supports that.” Or Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck, etc. don’t speak for the GOP. They’re just entertainers. We can’t hold them accountable for some random nut’s actions.”
And onward we march. Waiting for the next anti-government lone whacko to blow up a federal building, kill a doctor, shoot up a Luby’s, fly a plane into a tax office, etc.
What makes it funny is this:
Look out! Libertarian thesis coming!
This person said it better:
It could be satire.
The best two comments that Myers posts:
Mikey nailed it. The right would be howling over the connection between Islam and violence if this had been Mohammed Ali Hussein and not Jared Lee Loughner, but the connection between far-right violent rhetoric and a guy who bought into all sorts of conspiracies, including those of a far-right flavor? Nothing.
Bingo. I tend to be more to the right on gun issues than the average Democrat (I guess I’m like Howard Dean on that) but there have to be sensible limits. An automobile can be a lethal weapon in the hands of the wrong person, so you don’t give drivers licenses to the blind. And for the same reasons, it should not be legal for a crazy person to get a gun.
@WyldPirate: Thanks for that, I agreed with the Tom Tomorrow quote:
When will this awful group of conservatives begin to question Giffords’ rhetoric?
They are that deluded and desperate. They’re ready to throw the game board into the air.
@WereBear: Exactly. I agree. It could have been a GOP House Member, it could have been a local politician imposing ‘brainwash’ on the people in some sanitation contract, who knows?
The simple point that sensible people are making is that talk of violence (very nicely documented by AuldBlackJack @6) has consequences.
I do not care about colorful language, or militaristic metaphors, and calling somebody a fool, or demented or a traitor. That kind of language has been going on in US political life since the election of 1800.
But some in the GOP have gone over into advocating people carry guns, use intimidation to shut down meetings. People like Bachman, Angle and Palin have use explicit reference to gun violence to solve problems.
We need to press the case to the cowards and fools in the media, who are putting on a very poor show. Maybe send AuldBlackjack’s list to pundits who try to the pundits who are trying to paper this over.
In the meantime, the reactions of foolish and irresponsible officials continue to disappoint. TPM reports that two House members are going to pack heat at public meetings. One of them is Heath Shuler, which figures.
Palin is hunkering down, contacting Glen Beck for support, and she promises ‘no peace’ if anyone speaks their mind.
I have yet to hear anyone discuss the entirety of Jefferson;s passage on a little revolution being a good thing passage. It is a confused passage, with some violent imagery, but Jefferson concludes that armed resistance in a democracy is WRONG, and that those who take part need to be restrained and educated.
But I guess getting a book of Jefferson’s writings, or taking a minute to search the U of Virginia Jefferson digital archive is too much trouble.
@Cat Lady: what everyone should be feeling bad about and doing something to change is that there is almost no recourse to get that mental health screening for someone that doesn’t want one/ isn’t mentally connected enough / can’t afford one UNTIL THEY DO SOMETHING TO HARM THEMSELVES OR SOMEONE ELSE. Then it’s likely an involuntary commitment /evaluation which may last as long as 3 days… and then what?
the mental health care system / insurance coverage for in this country sucks, and that’s being kind.
I have a comment in moderation, for no bad words that I can find. I didn’t say s * s H * l * s T. What could be the bad word?
@New Yorker: the blind, epileptics and several other ailments keep people from getting drivers licenses… practically nothing keeps folks from getting guns.
Very true. It was the insurance running out, as much as religious objections, that led to the Andrea Yates tragedy.
I think that was why she came home.
he chose a political figure because that’s what his object of emulation (a character in the movie “Taxi Driver”) chose.
I can’t tell for certain you’re being snarky, but in case you’re not I introduce this Tea Partier:
@New Yorker: I am also a little to the right on gun issues – grew up with them.
This is what drives me crazy — it’s the old line, RESPONSIBLE gun owners have no problems with responsible gun laws. And there is nothing responsible about allowing people who are having issues with reality purchase semi-automatic weapons with extended magazines designed only to kill lots of people quickly.
None of this is political either… so don’t go there.
licensed to kill time
@jl: Could be:
Pharm.acy pus.sy cas.ino book.er ambi.ent spec.ialist po.ker or any number of variations of those type of words, all designed to catch the dreaded spam they populate heavily.
All you have to do is tune in to FNC in the evening and hear Glenn Beck declare the end of the country, putting the blame squarely on a secret plan put into effect by the marxist democrats and their marxist supporters. Thank Roger Ailes and Joseph Smith for Beck’s keen insight.
This is sorely-overlooked rebuttal to the bleatings of “stop injecting politics into this” that cannot be repeated often enough.
The assassination of a politician is an explicitly political act.
What pushed him over the edge into violence–be it Limbaugh, Palin, Space Hamsters, or the fact that he didn’t get a toy in his box of Cracker Jacks when he was 12–has no bearing on that fact. When you deliberately choose a politician as a target for violence, you are making a political statement, even if it’s a batshit crazy political statement.
Yeah. The weasels seem to be winning the message on this one. Again. Yet another missed opportunity to make things better.
As ever, I guess.
I give up.
Congresswoman Giffords gave a thumbs up to her doctor today when being tested with simple commands to move her fingers.
blah blah some people like me just love freedom and are willing to fight for it blah blah
No dipshit, it is the rhetoric. And the most poisonous rhetoric of all comes from your buddies on the right who constantly argue through dog whistles that vast portions of the population are “not real Americans.”
This is utter bullshit that the writer and publisher should be ashamed of.
There are those in our political sphere who care about policy and outcomes rather than partisan advantage. Fewer than there used to be perhaps but it’s by no means a black/white, win/lose, left/right environment.
To state that all politics is about gaining or losing ground for the party is just lies.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@cleek: Luckily reality has a liberal bias, because this is exactly why the left has trouble making arguments. We could sit here and split hairs all day about exact meaning of words – what does “is” mean really – and allow the right to get away with their contribution to the current atmosphere in this country. But he did pick a politician, deliberately according to some information left at his house from what I have read, instead of some other famous person. Thus it is political.
Would it be actorial if he’d gone after Angelina Jolie?
@trollhattan: Snarky, yes. After hearing “He’s not right-wing, he’s crazy and unhinged!” repeatedly, I can only ask, “And that’s different how?”
So who gets to decide who is too crazy to own a gun? And what happens if that person isn’t “too crazy” at the time of purchase, but becomes “too crazy” sometime later?
Other than the community college he was expelled from, who else knew about his apparently blossoming psychosis, and how were they supposed to prevent him from buying a gun?
Got it. Thanks for restoring my hope in humanity :-)
And by choosing the political figure as the target, in this case the President, no matter who that is at the time, the act becomes poltical. The motivation for the act may not be political, as in “this horrible right-/left-wing political must be removed” but the act itself is political.
Please to not feed the punk-tificates.
And again, and it has to be emphasized, his YouTube videos had three right-wing-influenced statements: not using US money because it isn’t backed by gold/silver, reading the Constitution to understand “UnConstitutional laws” and a 10th Amendment argument against tuition fees at college.
No one is saying that Loughner isn’t crazy. No one is saying Loughner is a member of the Tea Party. No one is saying Sarah Palin or the Tea Party or Glenn Beck told Loughner to shoot Palin.
But you cannot look at those three points and then straight-faced tell me that the violent right-wing political hatefest of the past two years didn’t play a role! It’s right there in front of our faces. And this “both sides do it” argument is unadulterated crap.
Fonzi didn’t mention of the phenomenal growth of the Libertarian Party? Huh, I wonder why.
The most disgusting thing I have seen (at least the most obviously disgusting) was when some Fox chick accused (or rather, stated as obviously factual) Sheriff Dupnik of ‘injecting politics’ in his comments after the shooting.
The only bright side I can see from this is that I think the general public abhors violence, and that it will see the truth. The vapid and craven corporate media pundits are so isolated, and so wholeheartedly concentrated on serving their corporate and personal interests that they have often missed the public mood recently, and do not realize how close they come to completely losing their credibility with the public.
If Palin continues her denial of what I think is obvious, and continues to commune with the likes of Beck, and cannot help herself from promising ‘no peace’ unless everyone just shuts up, then I think her chances of ever being elected to anything in a general election will be over.
And maybe, in general elections, the militaristic loons in the GOP will take a hit in 2012, and more moderate Republicans will get a lift.
But it may be a difficult two years. There is always a temptation to copycat among the lunatic fringe, and that is what I fear most.
James K. Polk, Esq
It’s extremely frustrating to continue to read opinions that point out the lack of causality between rhetoric and violence when causality can’t exist in a social system.
No one event causes another in the life of an individual, rather, the aggregate information gathered influences our reactions. This causality canard is trotted out to prove that violent imagery can not be responsible for the actions of a politically motivated assassin.
Sure, it isn’t the cause. But it sure as shit plays a significant role.
@Patrick: At some point someone will say that she’s a typical unresponsive politician because she did not answer Loughner’s question at her Q&A event.
If politicians currently in office are engaging in the rhetoric then the “anti-government” description doesn’t really hold.
There are anti-government people, they’re called anarchists, and most aren’t advocating violence & condemn anyone that does. What you guys are talking about is right-wing authoritarianism, they aren’t “anti-government”, they’re anti- a particular form of it.
it has political consequences. that doesn’t mean it was politically motivated.
when people say “When someone plans and attempts the assassination of a politician, it is political,” are they talking about the consequences, the motivation, or both ? they are two very different things.
so, i guess i’m just trying to figure out what JC’s saying…
Did I miss his editorializing after Fort Hood that perhaps the way that the right tried to find connections between the shooter and the Obama administration, his voter registration, and liberal political correctness in general, might have been part of partisan efforts to take advantage of the situation? The one that unequivocally stated that liberals aren’t muslim terrorists. There must have been lots of editorials against the practice of politicizing mass shootings then, correct?
“The Fonzi of Freedom” is perhaps the funniest thing I’ve read in months. Thanks.
Kevin K catches Breitbart and a supporting cast of the Usual Suspects in a whopper.
Breitbart will doubtless claim his love of Whoppers, particularly avec formage.
This Daily Show clip from March doesn’t seem so funny anymore…
Rep. Steve King saying health-care proponents need to be “hunted down” and that there will be “a reckoning”… yeah, both sides do it my ass.
How is this different from what ED Kain was saying yesterday — albeit in much more polite words?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@WyldPirate: I liked digby’s quote:
joe from Lowell
So, Fonzi hates the way people claim that every development proves that their partisan viewpoint is correct; oh, and also, this development proves that his partisan viewpoint is correct.
The problem with people wedded to a non-partisan ideology is that they believe their orientation makes them immune from confirmation bias. Democrats and Republicans are at least aware that they’ll be tempted to believe things that confirm their pre-existing suppositions. Somebody like Gillespie, on the other hand, thinks that if a story or bit of spin confirms his “both sides are exactly the same” ideology, then it must be true.
I think that if a person intentionally chooses to march into a public function and shoot at point blank range a public official while performing official public duties (which is exactly what was going on there in Tucson), then it is a safe bet that that person, even if a nut, decided to make some kind of political statement.
The rationale may make no sense, sense it was formulated by a nut, but in the nut’s mind, it is political.
And, really, with this person’s ravings about unconstitutional money, government mind control, gold and silver, etc? Yeah, you hear progressives, liberals, centrist Democrats and Republicans talking about those policy issues every day, don’t you.
This was obviously, and I mean obviously, reactionary political ravings filtered through a severely distrubed person, who was susceptible to hints, recently emitted by reactionaries, that armed violence was permissible.
I think it is obvious.
My hope is that the public will see this, even if the corrupt hacks on the corporate media cannot admit it, either to themselves or others.
Be prepared to hear progressives and liberals who point out that reactionary budget numbers contain elementary logical and arithmetic errors as engaging in extremist rhetoric. My hope is that average people will see through the BS.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
@cleek: Laughner being nuts does not preclude his actions from being political and, while shooting a Congresswoman is not per se political (your Taxi Driver example), it’s reasonable to presume a political dimension in the absence of contrary evidence. As someone said in an earlier thread, there are probably thousands walking around spouting “political” beliefs who are just a couple a clicks down the crazy scale from Laughner. What the glibertarians and wingers want to do is create an artificial separation of the personal and the political so they can marginalize any contribution of violent rhetoric to the shooting, making it into solely a matter of personal choice so they don’t have to deal with the social context. They never want to deal with the social aspect, because that involves facts and not the ungrounded abstractions they love. Laughner apparently sought Giffords out as someone who could address his particular concerns about the government, and he apparently shot her in the head at least in part because he felt that his concerns weren’t adequately addressed. That’s pretty political in my book, and the problem the wingers have is that many of their ilk have used rhetoric at least metaphorically sanctioning violence to address the failure of government to address their needs.
I would put it this way: When someone plans and attempts the assassination of a politician, it is presumptively political. (or maybe “prima facie political”). It’s possible that it’s not political, as was the case with Reagan and Chapman, but it’s perfectly fair and logical to think that the act is political unless proven otherwise.
Just because the target was a politician does not mean the act was driven by Right or Left political ideology.
Rep. Giffords had been on his radar since 2007. Chances are what caused him to finally snap was personal. He voluntarily left college on October 10th instead of having a mental health exam. He buys the gun in November. He had been growing more and more paranoid and unstable, and was spiraling down. No one was listening to him. So, he escalated.
Did we do this with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Rush to assign them to the people we disagree with? Some people did, sure. But the reason these guys snap is usually not due to some global ideology they’re committed to…though they may try to blame that for what they do.
We need to have the conversation about the crap we spew against each other. But the only person who can tell us why he did it isn’t talking. In the vaccuum, we’re rushing in with answers that reflect more about us than they do him.
@Violet: Not speaking for Cleek, let me just say Violet that I shy away from being able to tease out a rational cause and affect decision making process from some one who may well be as far from rational as one can get and still be alive.
I guess I view a political act as one where there is a rational expectation to achieve some favorable political outcome from the event.
I do not know if this shooter was hearing voices in his head, or experiences other types of disassociation from the “real world”, but if he was, I would have a hard time feeling that this was a political shooting, say in the manner of the murders of Harvey Milk or Huey Long
@cleek: Furthermore, I think there’s a distinction between a “political” statement against _the government_ or the system of government and a “political” statement against, say, Democrats or liberals running the government.
I’ve concluded over the years that the right knows their arguments are BS. They are selling a vision of America, but the specific policies and arguments are just ‘sales talk.’ They screech about ‘second Amendment remedies’ or place targets on campaign materials with the understanding that these metaphors are not to be taken seriously. For example, the logic and rhetoric of the anti-abortion movement virtually demands that ‘abortionists’ are mass murderers, yet there are (thankfully) very few zealots that take the obvious action against allowing mass murder to occur.
They make their inflamatory statements with a bit of a wink and a nod that this is all ‘part of the game’. Then they hope that everyone understands that the government really isn’t being taken over by socialist, facist, Marxists intent on bringing Sharia law to the US. Unfortunately, not everyone is “in” on the game.
The conservatives feel vulnerable right now because some of the chickens have come home to roost. This is the time to drive the discourse. Don’t let up because Billy Kristol’s fee-fees are hurt. They need to be hurt. Lives are at stake.
Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel)
Key philosophical point. Same for “context flooding in.” What human act takes place in a vacuum?
Jeebus, do I hear anyone trying to tie this tragic shooting to people like Lugar, or McCain or, or Ryan? To Steele?
Extremist elements have been suggesting, or explicitly saying that armed violence may be permissable. Extremist elements have been saying it is OK to openly carry guns at political events and advocating laws that allow that.
Candidates have been putting out ads and running campaigns that feature guns and shooting as remedies.
Will I perhaps render myself non contemptible if I say this very foolish and dangerous trend includes some Democrats? Remember the Manchin (D WV) ad, that consisted of him shooting up some target, and saying that is what he would do about some issue when he got to Washington?
When animal activists say it is OK to beat up people or firebomb a place that they say commits violence on animals, I will say that is wrong. I will say that extremist rhetoric that misquotes and distorts that words of Jefferson to support implicit and explicit threats of armed violence is wrong too.
If that makes me contemptible in some quarters, I will wear their accusation with pride.
The public will decide over the next two years, and I trust they will decide wisely.
Can we all just agree that Jonathan Alter is a huge c*nt?
Subtext: “Imagine how great it would be for Obama if she had died!”
Gimme a C! Gimme a U! Gimme an N…
And the screenwriter chose that object because of political assassinations that were still well within personal memory of the people making the film. Travis Bickle is supposed to be a version of assassins like Sirhan Sirhan.
But I think that’s part of the problem: people say “political” when they really mean “partisan.” Hinckley didn’t choose to shoot Reagan because of party politics, so it wasn’t partisan, but I do agree that the shooting of a politician is by definition political, even if it’s not because of partisan politics.
@Felonious Wench: I’ve been thinking of Harris and Klebold too.
No. He just made videos telling us why.
It’s not rational; I know that. But these shooters always have a reason, and they leave diaries; or in modern times, videos; and they always tell us why.
Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel)
@Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):
Besides the acts repeatedly suggested in my spam folder, that is.
@jl: Big difference: when Manchin cut that ad, many many DEMOCRATS decried it as unacceptable. When is the last time a Republican publicly called out another Republican for violent political rhetoric or imagery?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Bender: Sadly, Bender, my first instinct since you posted it was to immediately disagree with you.
Could you post a link, though?
@Dave: That is true, but I think not relevant to the point I am trying to make.
The extremists, and their enablers, and cowardly media kibbitzers are attacking people, like Sheriff Dupnik, for using the shooting to make partisan political attacks, that people like Dupnik have in fact not made.
I think it is a fact that no one has tried to drag mainstream Republicans into this issue. The comments have been directed at politicians who have been using the idea of armed violence as a political tool.
This includes extremists, and a few (IMHO) silly and rather sad Democrats, like Manchin.
@New Yorker: , @WereBear: , @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Glad you folks like PZ’s post and the other quotes.
I think PZ is right. This isn’t a time to back down from the motherfuckers on the right. I feel the same way on some of the other, more mundane, political issues that i feel the “left” has backed down on.
I’ve thrown my foam football at my teevee at least a dozen times today for every time I’ve heard all of the “false-equivalency” chickenshit that “both sides do it”. Horseshit they do. I’ve spent all morning trying to hunt down email addys to rail at each one of these talking heads that mouth those lies.
The wingers/TeaTards/banksters/authoritarians on the right are much like schoolyard bullies–they will walk all over you if you let them. They have gotten away with their bluster and intimidation for too long.
@Bender: Alter is a fool.
I am going to wait for a mental status report before making any conclusions as to the motivations of the shooter in this awful and tragic event. Though from what I have heard, there is not much or any evidence it was a partisan thing, as opposed to maybe pure mental illness with a general political element. If I was guessing I would say more like the latter.
In the meantime, while I’m not hopeful, that American society on the whole, I do hope we begin to reject all the forms of hate speech, and especially that tinged with violent intimations, that has been so characteristic of the right wing exclusively. And in any case, no matter where general hate speech is found, left or right, it should be shunned, though not by the government, except for threats of violence to public officials. This would hopefully be done ‘en mass’ as opposed to “cart blanche”. Yes, I been studying.
Which is why I will be supporting Blackwaterdog’s blog exclusively, as being a victim of such hate speech/ proud Obot here!!
Some of those extremist elements you mention include sitting congress(wo)men. It’s time to face the fact that for the Republicans, the extremists are the mainstream.
If Loughner purchased the gun before election, I’d agree with your entire statement.
You are correct.
The present-day anarchists are well-disciplined folks who act purposefully within well-defined parameters to achieve a goal. Watch them sometime at some occasion there is a lot of demonstrating going on. They don’t go off and do crazy things on their own.
Chaos, on the other hand, does come from the right. Perhaps this should not be the case in theory but it is true in fact. Perhaps it stems from “Don’t tell me what to do”?
If only we could get rid of this stupidly politicized political system and replace it with a society ruled by nothing but money and property ownership and private options for their own protective security forces, we wouldn’t have all these problems.
“KILL BUSH” and “KILL CHENEY” don’t count, right?
As I said in the thread below, you could put Loughner’s statements side by side with Michele Bachmann’s or Louie Gohmert’s and be hard-pressed to explain the difference between them.
Arizona governor Jan Brewer in comments after the mass shooting in Tucson, said that the tragedy was “unimaginable.” It wasn’t. While most people here in Arizona were horrified by the event, few people could genuinely say they were surprised that it happened or even that Congresswoman Giffords was the target.
A certain portion of the electorate here has made a showing of carrying guns openly to town halls and campaign events. One person famously dropped his pistol, which then bounced on the floor, at a Giffords Q&A event last year, while holding a “Don’t Tread on Me” placard. Giffords opponent in November, a former marine whose ads featured a photo of him in combat gear with a rifle, invited voters to a local firing range to take out their aggression on Giffords campaign. Local talk radio and newspaper message boards have been full of exhortations to violence Obama’s election.
Here’s an interesting detail buried in the AP story: the president is being briefed on the investigation by John Brennan, his counterterrorism advisor.
It sounds like they may not call Loughner a terrorist in public, but that’s how the case is being investigated. Interesting.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Bender: No, Bender – and this is why I reflexively disagreed with you above – going after Bush and Cheney is wrong as well, if for nothing else than I don’t want them being martyred when they go stand for judgment. But considering the fact that the number of threats against Obama is triple the number against prior presidents, something is different now.
Oh Bender. From “zombie blog” , really? with links that don’t work. Threats on Obama are exponentially greater than Bush. But that said. I am talking about ALL forms of hate speech being shunned, and in case of presidents threats are a serious felony and should be prosecuted, when called for. No matter where it comes from. And threats of violence will soon be extended to congress members, which is a good thing.
The violence side of this sort of thing is almost, ALMOST, a total creature of the right wing these days. Though in the past it wasn’t so, and might not be in the future, but right now it is all your side, just about.
@Linda Featheringill: Yeah, well, unfortunately, there was a very famous time in US history (as well as in European history) of the late 19th century in which anarchists (that’s what they called themselves and certainly were a strain of anarchism present since its more recent formal beginnings) advocated individual violence and assassination. I.e., the ‘propaganda of the deed’ when interpreted as a call to violence, a strongly followed argument, despite the dissents and alternate tactics of other strong leaders and tendencies. And anarchist thinkers dissented even given obvious and murderous provocation by governments and capitalists.
And a number of US followers complied, including assassinating President McKinley. And because of this idiot tactic, they helped aid in government repression of leftists, of immigrants (the assassin of McKinley was the child of Polish immigrants and had a really foreign sounding name, Czolgosz, so, good enough), and, of course, labor.
It’s not an accident that those remaining strains advocating the notion of anarchism as a peaceful and truly democratic ordering of society often call themselves things like ‘libertarian soshullists’ or ‘participatory democratists’ or ‘participatory economics’ and so forth. And it’s not also to say that it’s just those tendencies who get to define anarchism, because anyone can use that term and say it’s what they do.
I just don’t think the word will ever get anywhere here outside a few protest-based movements.
The dirty little (open) secret back of alla this overheated reactionary eliminationist rhetoric (erupting overwhelmingly from conservative warrens) is that it’s a time-honored right-wing intimidation tactic. The implicit message is: “Wouldn’t it be far, far simpler for all concerned if y’all just stop agitating for what you want and give us our way? After all, if push comes to shove and there’s a fight, our side has guns!”
(Viz: Tea Party T-shirts/placards that dispense w/even the pretense to civilized norms: “We came unarmed this time.”)
It’s Pap Finn conservatism, demagoguery designed to legitimize and make “victims” of the spiteful, the delusionary, and those in denial of objective reality.
After all, when liberals lose elections, we are lectured by conservatives (and the finger-wagging village establishment) about how “elections have consequences!”
Ah, but when conservatives lose elections, the establishment goads and prods liberals on how we must work w/conservatives “to get things [Republicans want] done!” or risk an angry backlash from a betrayed country.
Oh, and for our sober reflection, we are darkly warned about the possible need for “Second Amendment remedies” for overreaching illegitimate imposters to rightful power.
Yes, granted, both “sides” have deranged crackpots capable of violence. But that ain’t the point.
The point is about the frenzied political climate fueled by the dangerous game being played by the American right. In America today, exceptionally incendiary rhetoric is being used by many leaders of the right (in both government and the private sector), and instead of its being denounced and repudiated, it is being, at best, ignored, and at worst, mainstreamed.
The fires of seething resentment and bitter acrimony have been stoked for years now by the deranged right, with nary a word urging restraint except by those “locked in the sights”.
Which is why the conservative (and establishment) “shocked, shocked!” “whocouldanode?” “both sides do it!” chorus rings so fucking bitterly hollow.
He included reasons that we all over the map. My favorite thus far is grammar.
Understand, I am making no excuses for the rhetoric. I’m not inclined to make excuses for Loughner’s rampage either, psychiatric or otherwise. I have paranoid schizophrenia all through my dad’s family; we’ve found family members wandering the street convinced they had to stop the Pope from being killed…who were Catholic nuns.
I just talked myself out of my previous position. Yes, from past experience, context matters. It defines the form the delusions will take. It doesn’t determine whether or not someone will turn violent, but if they’re inclined to violence, it provides the target.
Damn it. I hate it when I do that. But, it’s why I listen to other people.
Sure they count. Now, let’s try this. Do you agree that when these things are said about President Obama from the Right, it’s the same thing? Are you willing to own the rhetoric your “side” adds to the public discourse?
I’m not proud of when “my side” spews bile. Hell, we like to spew it at each other. I’ll refute it. Will you do that same for your side, Bender?
actually, as portrayed in the movie “Milk” (which admittedly is all I know of the history), his murder was less “political” than an act of personal vengeance by his nemesis on the city council who was experiencing a mental breakdown.
fwiw, I think all this argument over whether the present shooting was “political” or not is a useless sideshow. What matters is
(1) that people are dead and injured;
(2) that Palin, Angle, Beck and their ilk need to be held accountable for preaching unhinged rhetoric to unhinged crazy people with easy access to firearms;
(3) that we need to stop crazy people from having easy access to firearms;
(4) that we need to make sure sick people get help.
But (2), (3), and (4) are never gonna fucking happen anyway, so by all means, let’s go back to arguing about what is and is not a political act.
No, they don’t, knucklehead. They certainly count as at least rhetorically dangerous assholes who should be and often were investigated by the Secret Service.
Your stupid ass links show (1) some individuals carrying signs at rallies, and (2) a moderator at the Huffington Post blog.
But they sure as fuck weren’t elected Democrats, Democratic Party leaders, leaders of liberal organization, major media figures, and so forth.
If you think (2) counts as a ‘major media figure’, because a widely-read blog didn’t ban him/her whatever, that’s about as ignorant as all get-out. Fuck, if that’s all that was going on within the right, I wouldn’t give a shit either. Yeah. Fucking Glenn Beck is the equivalent of a fucking message board moderator. With regard to which, as far as I know, never was associated with anyone whatsoever who committed violence and suggested any readings of such as even a potential inspiration.
That’s an important fucking difference, dumbass. If you’re too god-damned stupid to get that, then get the fuck out of here and ask someone why that might matter.
Just more maliciously deceitful, distraction-attempting right wing bullshit. Which is and will be funded by the rich right wing asshole funders and their hired ‘think tanks’ and other media.
@Felonious Wench: As mentioned above, no, they don’t count. Not in the least with regard to this discussion. If I said such a thing I’d be an asshole and if I said it publicly and anyone heard what I was saying, then I’d be subject to Secret Service investigation. But this in no way whatsoever is the same as the systematic eliminationist encouragement throughout the country. If you want to compare individual hypocrisy, fine. But as a comparison, no.
joe from Lowell
The rantings of random nobodies on internet comment threads? No, not really. They can be safely ignored.
When this type of language is endorsed and used by significant political leaders – leaders, by definition, being people who are followed – then it “counts.”
@Felonious Wench: Another major difference is that this kind of rhetoric is abjured by Democratic leaders, whereas, on the Republican side, the rhetoric can come from the leaders. There is a fine line between violent or warlike metaphor and suggestions of, if not calls for, violence. I think most sentient adults are capable of seeing that line if they choose to look for it.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
That Kessler claim of all those Obama threats was debunked long ago in an official hearing:
Here’s what I’m curious about, El Cid. I don’t understand why Bender and others aren’t proudly standing up and saying “Yep, we said it. That graphic Sarah Palin did? It rocks.” Why don’t they want to own it? Why scrub websites? Why so defensive?
It’s because they know there’s no justification that is sufficient. They know what they’ve done. If it’s all OK and just harmless political discourse, then why not own it? Why distance yourself from it? It worked in the elections, right? So, why not be proud of it?
They were up until the gunfire.
Exactly, and that’s the point I was getting to. This rhetoric simply isn’t acceptable for Democrats. We don’t embrace it. Our “radicals” show up at rallies dressed in pink. Or wear costumes and wave signs and ask sarcastic questions. Sometimes we shout a little. We’ve been known to throw pies at people.
Point is, we throw pies.
Not to mention that Gillespie totally misreads the graph he puts in his piece. Even ignoring the basic concept of the error bar, Repubs have ranged from 27-33, Dems 31-36, and Ind 33-38. Not exactly a huge range for any of them, and there’s no obvious trend in any of them either.
Dems are at a low in the vast 5-point range, but neither of the other two is at a max or min.
@Felonious Wench: A holly berry pie could be deadly.
Pretty pathetic attempt at moving the goalposts. The statement to which I responded, and I blockquoted it (which should’ve been a clue to you) was:
You know what “exclusively” means, right? So what I showed was that the violent, hateful rhetoric was on clear display by the left, exhorting people to “Kill Bush” at leftwing-organized marches (MoveOn, Code Pink, ANSWER, etc.) long before Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were national figures.
@AuldBlackJack: Yeah, right. Like a list of actual quotes from dozens of Republican politicians advocating second amendment remedies, all said in the last two years, proves anything about violent rhetoric. Cmon man! Next thing, you’ll be arguing that the GOP is actually engaging in treason, and its members are terrorists.
And really, all this violent talk could be avoided if only liberals would just stop legislating and turn back the clock! It’s not like they don’t have a choice in this, right? (points gun at liberal) Amirite?
@Bender: Reduced to nitpicking of the word exclusively, are you? Stick almost in front of it in statement you quoted. That should take care of the problem. Well done, excellent, glad we could clear that up. Stop by again sometime when you can’t stay so long.
I would be happy to think that the threats against Obama are about the same as the presidents before him. That would be very nice.
We shouldn’t lower our guard, of course.
Sadly, I disagree. I think most “sentient adults” delude themselves into thinking that if Their Team does it, it’s somehow different and OK, and if the other side does it, it’s the Worst Thing In The World.
Obama can say, “If they (meaning fellow Americans who happen to disagree with him politically) bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun,” and Ball Juicers will spin themselves into a frenzy, explaining how bringing guns against their fellow Americans isn’t really violent imagery, and it’s just a movie quote, etc.
But when Palin puts a target on a map, why, she’s practically ordering people with her mind-control to shoot Congressmen!
But when Democrats put a target on a map, or on an actual picture of a Republican and say he’s a “target,” then, well, there’s context, and that’s different, and it’s not the same, etc.
Of course, vice-versa with partisans on the right.
If this is in reference to the anti-JD Hayworth ad you posted last night, I disagree. The ad clear stated that he had been targeted by law enforcement at the time it showed the sight superimposed over his image. I doubt that any sentient person would see that as a call to violence against him.
It still wouldn’t be true.
Look, I’ve been commenting here for a long time. I remember another post where the lefties were whinging about rightwing hatespeech, and how none of their guys do it.
I posted the quote from the leader of their partyat the time, Howard Dean, when he said “I hate the Republican Party and everything they stand for.” Then I sat back and laughed for an hour while 30 Ball-Juicers explained to me that saying that you hate a group of people because they think differently from you isn’t hate-speech.
It’s always the same: People ignore the hate-speech from their guys and fixate on the hate-speech from the other guys.
I don’t buy this. What about John Hinckley Jr. shooting Reagan?
The Secret Service testimony was a year ago, here is a more recent take.
@Bender: This simply means that you do not understand the legal concept of hate speech. Saying that one hates something is not necessarily hate speech.
See what I mean about explaining it away, and context, and it’s different…when it’s on your side. There’s no way you can say the anti-Hayworth ad with the crosshairs on his head is less offensive than a crosshairs on a map.
@Bender: Show me where Dean said it would be OK to back up his hatred using a ‘second amendment solution’. It is that last bit that would be a problem, by my standards.
@AuldBlackJack: These need their own post. Anyone know of an attempt at a comprehensive catalogue of Right Wing leader-incitements to violence?
@Bender: The thing is, context is important.
For one thing, it’s different because nobody just shot him in the head. But that’s just some more evil liberal “context”, right?
christ that’s stupid. What Palin’s eliminationist rhetoric, along with Beck and Angle and Bachmann and Limbaugh and too many of the “conservative” leaders to count does, is identify targets and justify extreme responses. And then count on buttboys like you to explain that “well, they didn’t tell this particular dude to shoot this particular congressman.” I refer you to the Flame to End All Flames for a description of your ilk.
When you can distinguish between “I hate you” vs. “I hate you therefor it is ok for me to kill you”, come back and try again.
As I pointed out yesterday, Bender either thinks that Obama actually brought a loaded gun with him to that meeting, or he thinks that saying, “not bringing a knife to a gun fight” is exactly the same thing as bringing a loaded gun to a political rally.
Note, by the way, where that incident took place. Read the Esquire article linked above about the Kennedy assassination. Then ask yourself, what do the two situations have in common?
I’m pretty sure that Bender isn’t stupid enough to not be able to tell the difference between a phrase and an actual physical object, so I have to assume he’s just dishonestly spinning in his own shit, as usual.
What’s your argument here, that it doesn’t count because it was a Congresswoman and not a man so therefore you can ignore the six dead bodies on the ground in front of you?
Come let us know when a Republican congressman who was on one of those “targets” gets shot. In the meantime, we’ll deal with actual reality, where 6 people are dead and 20 are injured.
But we already know you’re not big on dealing with actual reality. You’d rather live in your little fantasy world where both sides are exactly the same so someone saying “knife to a gun fight” is exactly the same as if they’d actually brought a loaded gun.
I think of hate speech as that which inspires somebody to hate. Sort of like porn. It isn’t pornography unless it raises your interest in . . . . . [whatever].
Hardly fair to stop after “interest in,” Ms. Featheringill. Inquiring minds, etc.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Here is the link to Jonathan Alter’s post that Bender was quoting from. Note that the ellipsis in the middle of his block quote leaves out about three paragraphs.