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I should have written a post about this earlier because I really don’t like the meme “politicizing a tragedy” and you won’t hear me using it. The reason you won’t hear me using it is because words like “politicizing” are cooked up by operatives at the speed of light and are used to short circuit the thought process. They provide a sort of cheap grace as a substitute for thinking the problem out. Same for words like corporatist and triangulate. But that subject deserves it’s own post and is not the subject of this one

I’m going to try to summarize some of the thoughts I had in myiq’s thread from yesterday. My wifi connection in this hotel isn’t the best, I’m typing on an ipad in a WordPress app and I’ve already lost one post on the subject.

There seem to be tow major camps regarding this tragedy: Sarah Palin is a monster and the Tea Partiers must be blamed. Or, Sarah Palin is the scapegoat and her picture had nothing to do with this tragic incident.

I prefer the third way. In this respect, I must dissent from myiq. On this site, we allow dissent and that is significant because dissent is something that neither party holds as a cherished right.

In the past 18 years, starting with the advent of Rush Limbaugh, we saw a ratcheting up of right wing extremism. Notably in Rush’s case, he started to push the envelope as to what was considered socially acceptable norms of behavior. By this, I don’t mean to say that he shouldn’t have the right to believe what he believes or proclaim any dumb ass right wing policy he wants. That’s his choice. And if he wants to throw in a few expletive deleteds for emphasis, go for it. I do the same all the time. No, what I’m referring to is the subtle and not so subtle breakdown of the barriers we out up between our darkest inner thoughts and our tongues. Take for instance the word “feminazi” for example. There are other examples, some of which are documented in Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot written by none other than my personal favorite, Al Franken.

We put up barriers to these inner thoughts in the 60s and 70s because society thought it was wrong to treat African Americans unfairly and it was wrong to treat women like second class citizens and it was wrong to deprive hippies of the right to grow up to be liberals if that’s what they wanted. The right called it political correctness and while it’s true that some people take the concept too far, it is NOT true that these new societal norms were unnecessary. Seriously, does anyone want to go back to the days of segregation or sexual harassment or, more relevantly now, the days of laissez faire capitalism where the average American was vulnerable to the dips and swings of the market without any stability or insurance against risk? No. Most people don’t.

But there are some segments of society that do want to go back or don’t see what the big deal is if they step on some heads to get to the top. The right wing tapped into that sentiment. They did it by breaking down the barriers and by making it acceptable to unleash that hatred of groups we had decided to protect and assist so they could fully participate in the American dream. They did it by making Rush popular, by buying up radio stations and by giving him a pass when he said indiscreet, intemperate and socially unacceptable things. It became ok to hate these groups again.

I wouldn’t say that violates any constitutional amendments. It just violates our sense of who we are as a nation and it undermines the cohesiveness that so many civil rights activists and union workers fought for over many decades. What distresses me most is that so many people, including some people in my own family, bought into it. It distresses me because we weren’t raised that way.

So, Rush may not have been the first but he was certainly the most effective at spreading the right wing vitriol. By the way, vitriol is an anachronistic word for a certain form of sulfuric acid that is particularly corrosive and dangerous. So, yeah, vitriol is an appropriate word. Vitriol corrodes. It’s not the same thing as violating civility, although it is connected. Incivility is necessary at times to express dissent. Vitriol corrodes the barriers we set up between expressing our darkest thoughts and acting on those thoughts. For example, if you were brought up to hate homosexuals, well, I feel sorry for you but I’m not going to tell you to stop believing it. What I will tell you to do is behave in a manner of good citizenship and do no violate the mental or physical integrity of a gay person and to respect the laws we set up that guarantee everyone’s civil rights. Keep your hatred to yourself.

Rush did away with all that. Now, suddenly, those throwbacks to a different era had a group to belong to. Those angry white men who failed to evolve were able to form a cohesive unit to turn back all the wrongs they think were done to them when they were forced to share the pie that they once had all to themselves. You can almost hear the far right wing Republicans cackling with joy, “Exxxxcellent!”

And so it went. The 90s were a nightmare as the right wingers continued to solidify their hold on the media, permeating virtually every media outlet and the virtual world itself. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that we saw the liberals, late to the party, take to the internet and try to push back. Some of them, particularly in 2008, attempted to use Limbaugh-esque tactics to suppress their own base. That’s because they discovered that ditching your principles to energize your base works and drives up ad revenue. It also leads to electing the least prepared and least liberal president the country has ever known during a period of time when preparation and liberal economic policies were desperately needed. But I digress.

So, the right wing has been perfecting their method for nearly two decades. What used to be outrageous and offensive, is now merely background noise. Women are uppity, they don’t spend enough time with their kids, they want abortions so they can go to the prom. Gays are recruiting young boys and they threaten the institution of marriage and if they allow gay marriage, married men will abandon their wives to dress in drag and march with their boyfriend(s) in gay pride parades. Muslims are evil. Christians, but only fundamentalist Christians, are good. Liberals want to steal your money. They will make out country vulnerable to attack. Health care reform is socialized medicine.

Finally, we have come to this point in time where if you are a liberal, you’re barely fit to live. You’re not really human. You’re no better than a parasite, a cockroach, a backstabber. Most liberals can’t even refer to themselves as liberals.

And it is into this environment that Sarah Palin steps as the champion of a new set of people. A group that even the right wing Republicans are afraid of. They resemble the John Burch Society and the old style, inside the beltway, refined Republicans don’t really approve. Funny, when Palin ran for VP in 2008, she gave little indication that she would take so well to the Glenn Beck style right wingery. I was surprised and dismayed, but the money must be good and why shouldn’t a conservative feminist cash in as well as the boys?

She got a little enthusiastic. She joined in with gusto. She turned her love of firearms and hunting into an asset. She put up a very thoughtless picture that, IMHO, demonstrated a cavalier and careless disregard for the personal safety of those people who she happened to disagree with politically and some of those people had liberal tendencies. Her audience doesn’t think it’s such a big deal. Heck, they HATE liberals with a white hot passion.

But what has happened to Gabrielle Giffords, while probably having nothing to do with Palin’s picture and more likely caused by the actions of a psychotic individual, was preceeded by death threats, vandalism and on more than one occasion people showing up to her rallies with guns and shouting in red faced fury into her face.

Did Sarah cause all the vitriol? No, she is just the last in a long line of opportunists. She shouldn’t bear the whole blame for what has happened in our country where it has become dangerous to openly confess to being a liberal.

But if she ever wants my respect, she will express genuine humility and contrition for helping to spread the vitriol. And that goes for Beck and Rush and Fox and all of their retainers. If Palin aspires to public office, where she represents and vows to protect and serve all Americans, she must set a higher standard for herself. She must adopt a set of principles of A good public servant, one who never elevates one set of citizens above others. She must continually strive to accentuate the positive and never stoop to cheap opportunism and easy politics of our baser instincts. She must become more like Hillary Clinton.

So, when it comes to Sarah and Beck and in the future Pawlenty or Mitt or Huckabee, or even Obama and his golden horde of asshole bloggers, we have to guard ourselves from being swayed by the crowd and ask, what would Hillary do?

386 Responses

  1. RD, hi hny. Your long-form is ok. All I can think about is the mother of that 9 year-old girl. I’m really tired of politics since obama punked alot of us. It’s like this country is unable to crack down on right-wing hate, but can despise anything the least bit progressive or rationale. They call it elitism.

    But all things change someday 🙂

    • ps. just to add that all the victims are in my thoughts and prayers. Really too much tragedy all around. Handguns and assault weapons suck.

  2. You are sooo gonna hate my next post.


    • LOL

    • 🙂 Food fight!!!

    • Hey, I’m a firm believer that evolution applies to ideas as well. Survival of the fittest. I *will* prevail.

      • Oh, a challenge. Did you hear that myiq. Just don’t turn this into a singing competition like in the Grease movie.

      • OK I’ll allow it…..

        this is all fine as long as no one gets their widdle peelins hurt grabs their toys and heads back to their own blogs.

    • You and RD’s ability to disagree politely makes me choke up with emotion.

      • HONK!

      • What can I say? I love the klown, in a very innocent, platonic, agape kind if way. I really appreciate how ge has been able to stand up to sarah’s critics and show how the left has demonized her. And FWIW, I agree with him that the psychotic who gunned down so many people did not have Sarah pulling the trigger. Myiq has been so right about so many things that I feel safe disagreeing with him- until he gives in and sees things my way.

        • I love the klown, in a very innocent, platonic, agape kind if way.

          IOW – I’m a “guy friend” not a “boyfriend” (aka “You might as well be gay because you’ll never see me naked“)

  3. There seems to be two trains of thought about what causes violence, one group of people seem to believe that we’re all like trigger happy sponges, just waiting for something to set us off. I really think this is victim blaming, its a way to try and make people feel safer, as if victims can do something to control perps and stop violence before it happens.

    If you spend enough time working with domestic violence, you learn real quick that there is nothing a victim can do to stop the violence. They can’t walk on eggshells, they can’t play soothing music, they can’t placate a violent person. People abuse others for all sorts of reasons, mental illness, drugs and alcohol, but really what it is is a belief that you have the right to treat others any way you want and you think you can get away with it.

  4. Nicely said. Honk, honk.

  5. I agree that it was the RW which started the hate speech. I remember that since the Clinton years and it only went up since.
    I remember in 2001 Free Republic had Senator Schumer with a target on his head. Also Daschle was attacked once by a Rush listener.
    And they did continue their behavior into the recent years.
    That being said, once Hope and Change came to the left, so did the RW tactics. Hate the women. Hate the Apalachians, the Unions, Hillary and her voters.
    Since 2008 I can hardly see a difference between the two. Neither stand FOR anything, jut AGAINST stuff.
    I don’t care about Palin one way or another.
    But this was the act of an insane man, for whom Gifford was a celebrity he had a fixation since 2007. Hardly the fault of Palin, Kos, DLC of Glen Beck.
    It had nothing to do with politics, period.
    Much as I abhor hate speech, as facts come to light, I am tarting to agree with the slate article
    which says

    For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such “inflammatory” words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I’ve even gotten angry, for goodness’ sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.

    • Very well said. Thank you.

    • I always flinch with the word “fight” is used in politics, and it is used constantly by politicians on either side. It seemed particularly out of place when Kerry used the term as an older man who had long lost his fighting spirit. It was John Edwards who wanted to fight the voter fraud in Ohio in 2004 (and the only thing I ever heard about him that I admired).

      This is a warrior society with abstracted wars going on constantly in other countries, and paid for by the American taxpayer and those who are in the military.

    • Give Michael Savage a listen.

    • I blame Jesse Helms. WRAL-TV gave him a commenting megaphone around ‘Nam time & he taught the willing to hate hippies– and that’s what got him to DC in the first place. Noting the success of incredibly negative campaigning combined with hate speech,the super-rich enablers gave Rush et.al. their media platforms. Thus, Reagan.

  6. I agree that violence occurs in a context. I agree that our culture defines cultural norms, including who it is acceptable to hate. Although, being born in 1980 in another country, I have no idea what heyday of unity you’re referring to. I never saw any evidence of it.

    But I also don’t think that the answer is as simple as asking the pols to walk back the rhetoric. If Sarah Palin does it, all she’ll do is lose her place in the spotlight, lose her political power, because people demand a vehicle for their hatred of the political other.

    Does she bear some responsibility? I don’t think so. If she had flat out incited people to violence (like so many violent pro-life groups do towards abortion doctors), then she sure might. But using a gun metaphor? It might not be Civil, but since when were American politics civil? Like it or not, American culture is now and has for a long time been one that tolerated violence. Canada has had a total of TWO political assassinations in its entire history.

    In short, this vitriol is symptomatic, not causal.

    • Actually, i expect that if she acts like a leader, she can gain back the spotlight.

      • I think you’re right. But I’d be very surprised if she took the high road or responsible road (or followed WWHD) like that. I don’t think she has that in her.

        • I think 2008 showed that taking the high road means not getting the nomination. Just saying.

          Hillary is my ideal POTUS, but I think Palin is her own woman and she’s going to do her run to the WH her way. I want to see it. *munches cheetos*

        • Well, we shall see shortly, won’t we?

  7. Ok, how about this for the when the line was crossed….

    Do you remember when the black guy brought his machine gun to the health care rally? And they LET HIM DO IT without arresting him immediately.

    That was a powerful signal to all right-wing nuts.

    • If they had evicted him, they’d have been called raycists.

      Do you remember that MSNBC cropped that picture so its viewers wouldn’t know it was a Black man?

      Games people play, eh?

      • Or the panthers who carried night sticks at the voting polls in 2008, just who were they going to bludegon? Not to mention they stated “you got to kill you some white babies.”………….Then Holder drops the case,

        No doubt we live in an unjust society.

        • Or ole Donna Brazile’s “There will be blood in the streets if Obama doesn’t win.”

          And that was right on CNN , and proudly said.

          What does she think “blood in the streets” meant to her listeners?

          • pleez… that ain’t like bringing a machine gun to a public meeting.

            Ok I show up at your wedding with my AK-47 because in Arizona I can?

            ps. Really I only mentioned Black Guy because he was black. Anything racist can go pack sand.

          • So , where’s the blood gonna come from?


          • Yeah, bring a flyswatter to the healthcare meeting. Not your machine gun.

            Machine gun = people
            Flyswatter = flies

  8. “But if she ever wants my respect, she will express genuine humility and contrition for helping to spread the vitriol. ”

    What I don’t understand is the double standard. Right now I have 15 recent emails from my local Dems that talk about targeting candidates. The DLC had a target map out long before Palin. For as long as I can remember targeting has been a part of politics. Kucinich himself has used targeting language. What is it that makes Palin’s so much worse??

    She has a vagina.

    • I don’t care about her vagina much (yikes), but she is a gun-loving skank who loves to shoot from helicopters.

      gimme a break

      • A skank, huh? What a nice feminist word. Thank you for making my point for me.

      • And there in a nutshell is what I’ve been seeing in the social media (times maybe a thousand). The progressive left has a misogyny problem. If people don’t want to see it, that is their problem.

        • The progressive left ROCKS

          • The fauxgressive left has rocks for brains.

          • Reply to your “get over it” post: the very exact words from the RW in 2000 after they stole the elections. One of my handles at the time “notoverit”
            As to where I stand now, just roll your mouse over my avatar.

        • Honk, honk. It’s a huge problem.

          I was at my book club last night with beautiful lesbian women, most of whom were indignant about Sarah Palin and though not saying it outright, blaming her cross hairs chart for this tragedy. From my perspective, the left has a huge amount of work to do both on misogyny and hateful rhetoric of all kinds.

          • pleez! ROTFL

            concern trolls

          • Uh, Willie……..Gabby was PRO gun rights and NRA.


          • Wow! I’m so pleased. After 3 years of commenting here, I’ve finally been called a troll. Thanks, Willie.

          • “From my perspective, the left has a huge amount of work to do both on misogyny and hateful rhetoric of all kinds.”


            We’re going to hire Don Rickles for spokesman anytime now.

          • Just curious, were you around in 2008 to listen to the near-constant stream of woman-hating invective from the progressive left that was directed toward Hillary Clinton? Cause you’re acting like you missed it all.

          • 2008. Now it is 2011 Erica. My advice is to get over it and give those lesbian women a break. Because they have a good point besides how they say it.

          • Not gonna “get over it.”

            Not when my party actively stole an election and installed an incompetent when we could have had Hillary. It’s just too big. And until some work is done to purge the misogyny, it will just rear it’s ugly head the next time a woman tries to accomplish what some men feel threatened about.

            As a mom raising a daughter, as a woman in a male dominated professional field, etc, etc, I see the problem clearly and your dismissive approach and words don’t change that one bit.

            And as for my friends, I adore them, but that doesn’t mean they have not been duped by the anti-Palin cacophony that is an attempt to drown out substantive discussion about the dem party and its corruption, policies and how we enact them, and the performance of the president, among other things.

          • k, here’s a question…. which is more damaging to the national substance:

            1. A few lesbians wishing and expressing that Sarah Palin should go away now.
            2. Sarah Palin herself

            If you picked 2 give yourself a hug

          • Again, a false dichotomy.

          • you blamed the entire progressive left on what these lesbians expressed rightly. I just want to stand up for them against obvious BS about their feelings right now.

            progressive liberalism and PROUD OF IT (snap)

          • No, what I did was point out the irony that even women are swayed to attack another woman without waiting for, or looking at the facts of the case. If I didn’t spell that out adequately, mea culpa.

            And, IN MY OPINION, the rabid woman hatred on the left that was exposed so thoroughly during the primary race contributes to this phenomena of women blasting other women in a knee jerk fashion.

            This is all my perspective, which I stated before. You can have another perspective, but that doesn’t make me a troll. Trolls spout party lines no matter the evidence, and that’s not how I roll. Enough said.

          • @Willie

            Why are you being such a dick.

      • Skank eh?

        That’s quite a leap from “Black man with a Machine gun” isn’t it willie?

    • Double standard is correct. I spent too much time hearing and participating in the most overblown vitriol imaginable against the Bush administration to get my panties in a wad now that the shoe is on the other foot.

      I didn’t get all verklempt over the ominous lack of civility and “violent imagery” when I marched next to signs with a noose around GW’s neck, or faux-blood-spattered war posters, because I understood that they were a metaphorical expression of anger, not a call to real violence.

      Sorry, but I think there is a real blind spot on the left when it comes to anger. See, we think that the things WE are angry over are justified (and they are), so our over-the-top expressions are therefore okay. But when the right does some over-the-top expressing of their own, we are horrified – not because it is really any different in kind from what we did, but because we disagree with them, so do not see it as “justifiable exaggeration”.

      There’s a disconnect there. And the right does it too. When the “inflammatory language” is in service of a cause you support, you see it as emotional hyperbole. When it’s in service to a cause you reject, it’s ominous. But there is really not a hair’s worth of difference in the actual vitriol – only its political aims.

      • Bravo.

        I think I’d respect these compaints on our side more, if they’d engage in condemning Kos (same kinda map, with words “targeted for elimination over Gabby’s district) or Olberman or Shultz on the left side, too.

        It’s very tribal. No effort to rein in the violence on verbal left.

        That’s what makes the rest of the country not in their tribe think it’s political.

        You’d think they’d know better.

        Somerby must be having a field dissecting the hypocrisy of the left.

      • HONK HONK!

      • Honk! Honk! Honk!

        Seems like a real blind spot to me.

    • Yep, that is were their minds are, right in her vagina.

    • I didn’t say she was worse. I gave other examples.
      However, two things set Palin apart and have made her vulnerable to a backlash c1.) she is a politician and 2) a map with target symbols indicating Democrats, one of which was Giffords, was part of a campaign on HER site.
      There is an unfortunate convergence. It wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t stooped to pander c
      She’s hardly the only one who needs humility and to be able to accept responsibility for creating a hostile atmosphere. The fact that she is a woman has nothing to do with it. We shouldn’t exempt people because they have a vagina. There are principles and it is our duty to find them and set standards for our leaders. It’s your responsibility and mine. It’s part of good citizenship.

      • She’s a sack of shit that encourages this sort of behavior with her stupid speeches.

        hmmmm…. let me correct the above. Replace “with her stupid speeches” with “anything she can sell to the media”

        • She’s a human being, no better or worse than obama, IMHO.
          We don’t trash her or get personal here. We judge her based on what she does and she has to live with the fallout.

          • Until it happens to be your family or someone you know affected by her wisdom. Wait till she’s president and tell me no better or worse.

            Obama doesn’t go around using inflammatory words… in fact he’s a wussy. Get over it, he’s not like Palin.

          • Bring a gun to a knife fight… yeah, not inflammatory at all. Take the blinders off already.

          • J,
            You’re telling me that Obama can inflame a crowd to violence just as well as Palin? He can probably incite the crowd against himself better.

            Why is there this protection of Palin I wonder? This is just what’s been going on since the 2008 election. She does this for a living… inciting people against the government. She campaigns for people who would gladly take down the government and make a mockery of it’s laws. I mean are we to be polite to the antithesis of anything reasonable and progressive? Sh#t, she make Obama look progressive!!

          • Why is there this protection of Palin I wonder?

            I don’t protect Palin. Frankly she doesn’t need my protection. I call out the sexism against her, because that is the same sexism that was used against Hillary, and can and is used against any woman, against me and my daughters. I call out the sexism against Palin to protect myself.

          • Obama’s most disturbing rhetoric was “get in their faces”
            It was disturbing, because they were already doing that and he egged them on anyway. Irresponsible.
            And RD, that map – you do know of the D equivalent with the bulls eyes, right? Pretty standard political discourse.

          • You’re telling me that Obama can inflame a crowd to violence just as well as Palin?

            Can you point to a single instance where either one of them has ACTUALLY inflamed a crowd to violence?

          • Willie Buck Merle, on January 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm said:

            Obama doesn’t go around using inflammatory words


            Willie Buck Merle, on January 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm said:

            You’re telling me that Obama can inflame a crowd to violence just as well as Palin?

            You didn’t say ‘Obama doesn’t go around inciting violence’.. you said inflammatory – and yes, I think he’s plenty inflammatory, Palin plenty for sure.

  9. Super post. I think there’s a legitimate middle ground between “ZOMG the Palin gunsight caused it all!” and “it’s just one of those weird inexplicable things, nothing to see, move along….” When something like this happens, I think it’s right to look at our political and cultural environment and wonder whether or not it might have an unhealthy influence on events. And when that environment is permeated with rhetoric that paints opponents as “the Other,” that’s dangerous, and it’s right to be disturbed by it. I’m a history guy and a confirmed disbeliever in monocausal one-size-fits-all explanations, but a confirmed believer in the effect of social and cultural context on everything we think and do. And that context includes an ongoing 40-year Kulturkampf waged by conservatives against liberals and mainstream culture that’s grown increasingly fevered and apocolyptic, as Riverdaughter points out. I think it’s legitimate to stop and wonder whether or not this bubbling brew is a good thing or a bad thing. Fifty years ago Bill Buckley anathematized the Birchers because he thought they were bad-news crazies that would taint the conservative movement, and I guess folks like Riverdaughter ane me are wondering – today, where are the conservatives of conscience warning their followers not to touch pitch or be defiled?

    • scott, conservatives and the rw of today have diverged. We have reactionaries as the voices the right listens to. Buckley would be forced to recant within days.

    • These days, the DINOcrats are the conservatives. Liberals and moderates have no major party for themselves. The two major parties are a conservative party (the Dems) and a bat-guano crazy reactionary party (the GOP).

  10. In fact, I think the obsession with the political discourse when this wasn’t the root of this tragedy does more harm than good

  11. What would Hillary do if she were Potus do you mean? She would express deep sorrow about the atrocity, she would urge calm, she would caution the nation not to jump to conclusions or blame each other, she would ask that the authorities be allowed to do their job. After more is discovered about the case (weeks later), regardless of whether there is or is not any evidence of political culpability in the shooting, she would speak to the nation about dialing down the partisan hate rhetoric on both sides.

    • Yes, she would. No vitriol, no fundraising, no jumping on Sarah or anybody else for political reasons.

      Thank you.

    • And *she never would have put a picture like that up in the first place*.
      The issue isn’t whether Sarah is or isn’t to blame. For the record, I don’t think she had anything to do with the shooting. But the explosive atmosphere in Arizona? Yeah, she probably had something to do with that.
      The issue is, what is the gold standard for a political leader or media personality? And I am saying that Hillary is the gold standard. If Hillary wouldn’t do it, neither should Sarah.
      Gotta go. Keynote speaker.
      Over and out c

      • If it’s boring, pull out the iPhone and type away. We won’t tell. 🙂

        • There was a long coffee break. But at these registration prices, they need to fo better than granola bars.
          At least one good talk on Design of Experiments. Are you familiar with the concept? Sounds like something we should try more often.

      • Barak Obama after the Fort Hood massacre:

        “Let’s not be too quick to judge.”

        (cough cough)

        • People need to remember Fort Hood………….and why Nidal malik Hasan was never suspect as being mentally off, until 12 people died, and 31 were injured.

          • See any videos following those 12 families and their children to see how THEY are coping, on CNN or MSNBC?


        • Yeah, the guy was crazy. The difference is that there isn’t a pervasive network of radical Muslim extremism infiltration every aspect of our media encouraging people to lose their inhibitions about their hatred of Christans and American soldiers.
          He was crazy all by himself.
          In AZ, there’s plenty of crazy, plenty of guns and the lines are not so clear. Better not to provoke anyone, eg?

    • I think you are right about that.

  12. bill kristol just now on c-span:
    “In the last couple of years there has been very little violence.”

    Just for the list not endorsing the site:

    A second later spitting mad caller calls in saying liberals cause all the worlds problems.

    • yeah.. a coordinated campaign. But y’know I think something will have to give here. It’s just horrible what happened, too horrible for the “nothing to look at here, folks” & “they do it too” excuses they can come up with.

      • That’s a false dichotomy.

        This WAS a horrible incident. But that doesn’t mean it was political.

        It was a nut with a gun.

        • “It was a nut with a gun.”

          Yeah. Nothing political about that. Everybody knows that nuts with guns, just like the rest of us, operate in a political vacuum.

          • The dude had a grudge against Gabby, since 2007.

            Had nothing to do with the rightwing, tea parties, or Sarah Palin.

            It was a nut with a gun and a grudge, described by friends as a pot-smoking lefty.

          • Everyday hundreds of pot-smoking lefties buy extended magazines for their glocks and write anti-government screeds. Just ask Montel.

            So sayeth the protectors of Tea-bagging reality in America.

          • The kid is an anti-government nihilist 9/11 truther paranoid psychotic…more wikileaks anarchist cult mentality than any political party rhetoric.

    • A second later spitting mad caller calls in saying liberals cause all the worlds problems.

      See, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about. What does the caller have to do with anything? How often have I, as a liberal, called some program spitting mad, saying that the fundie right is causing all sorts of problems?

      What is the difference, here, besides one’s ideology? Why is it somehow ominous and scary and a red flag that this caller was enraged, but not ominous and scary when WE are enraged?

      The only difference is that you agree with me as to the problems, and disagree with that caller. You see my anger as ideologically correct, and his as misguided. But there’s no difference in the anger itself, and neither of us are a violent threat, in any way shape or form.

      Let him be angry. Let him have his say. Who decides what anger is okay to express, and who needs to STFU?

      • Digby and Jeralynn.

        (OK, that’s a little ironical comic relief)

        But you’re right. I’ve heard whole lotta Obama supporters on C-Span scream “RAYCIST” against anyone who disagrees with policies.

        Different sides of same coin. Ugh.

      • Good point. Sure, nowhere did I say spitting mad people can’t express their anger. In fact I’d say anger is all spitting mad people can express. But hey, good point.

      • “But there’s no difference in the anger itself, and neither of us are a violent threat, in any way shape or form.”

        Maybe you know you are not a threat. How do you know he is not a threat?

      • HONK.

        Call me a nutbar, but all of this extreme rhetoic bullshit is off base. Look at the British political system. Historically, it’s not exactly polite debate happening in parliament. If you ask me, making gun metaphors a thought-crime is not the way to go, here. Of course, we COULD talk about gun control, or about ensuring that the mentally ill have access to treatment, including meds, but that’d require EFFORT instead of red-faced blustering. No chance of THAT happening.

      • ((((clapping))))

  13. With this in mind, perhaps there should be a list of approved words we may use when in discussion of politics.

    Any words not approved by committee will be banished from political discourse.

    Anyone caught using those words will go to Guantanamo until they can be exorcised of bad political thoughts.

    I think maybe we ought to have to submit all our political discussions to a committee for review before we actually print or say them.
    That ought to keep us all safe.

    • Touche. 🙂

    • Use whatever word you want. The reader is allowed to decide whether you’ve actually thought it out or are just jumping on a convenient word that the crowd is parroting.
      Your choice. I prefer people to say what they mean. So, if you want to use the word “politicizing”, don’t be surprised or annoyed if someone asks you to explain yourself. If it were me, I’d expect you to have a really good answer.

      • Merriam-Webster:


        verb \pə-ˈli-tə-ˌsīz\


        Definition of POLITICIZE

        transitive verb
        : to give a political tone or character to

        Examples of POLITICIZE

        1. They have politicized the budget process.

        First Known Use of POLITICIZE


        • Oh, this battle is going to be fun. Getting my popcorn.

        • It is impossible to dissect the political from this issue because what happened involved a politician who was the subject of a pattern of harassment precisely because of her political views.
          That is not gratuitous politicizing. It’s part of the events.
          However, that does not mean that sarah’s pic had anything to do with a psychotic nutcase gunning people down, though we can’t rule out the political atmosphere.
          The shooting merely brought to the forefront, on a particularly bloody way, the hazards of being a relatively liberal politician in this country at this time.
          If discussing all aspects and asking some people to be accountable for their words is politicizing, then that is as effective as quelling speech and cutting off debate as anything I can think of and I will not jump on that bandwagon.
          This is about people, both politicians and media personalities, behaving in a manner that is above reproach. That is my entire point.

          • Exactly.

          • Score. Myiq? 🙂

          • Does this mean that Jesse Jackson—a former , highly esteemed presidential candidate—is unworthy of any public office cuz he wanted to cut off Obama’s b*alls?

          • And, lest we forget, she wasn’t harassed only by the Tea Party. The Mighty Cheeto himself “targeted” her and described her as “dead to me”.

            I’m actually astounded that I haven’t received a fundraising note from the DCCC trying to capitalize on this horrible tragedy. Either they’ve finally acquired some class, or one of my 19 attempts to unsubscribe (or my complaint to the FTC about their failure to honor those requests) has finally taken hold.

          • “…a politician who was the subject of a pattern of harassment precisely because of her political views.” Evidence? Link? From what I have read, Loughner just thought she was “dumb” or some other highly condescending term.

          • Disregard previous comment. Just used my reading comprehension skills a bit more carefully. Sorry.

    • Lock up and lock down.

  14. Brava, RD! Well said and necessary to repeat.

    The dehumanizing elements in public speech in the last few decades is absolutely corrosive and dangerous. Words do have power and skilled propaganda can incite horrific behavior in the unhinged and even in otherwise normal individuals. Although I’m not trying to equate what happened Saturday with what happened in Rawanda, we’d do well to remember [or research as the case may be] that 24/7 hate radio inspired a massive killing spree, tapped into old wounds and hatreds and made the unthinkable righteous and justified. “Kill the cockroaches,” the radio broadcasters shouted. “Remember what they did. Take the country and your pride back!”

    An extreme example but not one that we should forget or easily dismiss.

    Thank you for the post, RD. What you said needs to be repeated, again and again and again. Neither side of the aisle gets off the hook in this regard. What the Obamacrats did during the primary and GE of 2008 was dispicable. The Democratic leadership standing by silently, pretending they didn’t hear was equally disgusting. But the GOP right wing has honed hate speech to a very fine point. And again, Republican leadership stands silent and/or defends the indefensible.

    It needs to stop. It needs to stop now.

    • good point and I concur. Do we have to get to Rwanda to finally say it should stop?

      Also I reflected a bit on insanelysanes comment and wondered. What is decency but a committee inside your conscience? I agree 99% or so but they’re has to be SOMEONE to say that is kinda out of line with all the “2nd amendment remedies” dogwhistles.

      • And when Sharon Angle mentioned “2nd Amendment remedies” perhaps she should have been arrested:

        TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 115 > § 2385
        Prev | Next
        § 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government
        Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or
        Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or
        Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—
        Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

        but I don’t recall Palin ever advocating either violent insurrection or the assassination of public officials.

        • ok, but would there have even BEEN a Sharon Angle if not for Palin. That is the rub, she is the puppetmaster for all these whacked out surrogates. Does she disavow them? No, in fact she embraces the lies they tell. She propagates lies for them to tell. Who are they without Palin?

          • Bullshit.

            Palin didn’t endorse Angle until AFTER she won the Nevada GOP primary.

          • ha you crack me up… in fact she disavowed every whacky thing Angle said. Not

            A weird thing this Palin protection. Face it, the chickens have come to roost on her. She reaped the wind, she rightly deserves the whirlwind.

          • You said:

            ok, but would there have even BEEN a Sharon Angle if not for Palin

            But there WAS a Sharron Angle before Palin. Now you’re trying to weasel away from what you said.

          • Who are they without Palin?

            Most of them are elected officials right now.

            she is the puppetmaster for all these whacked out surrogates.

            That’s hate speech.

          • m, listen to logic please. Did the Nevada GOP want Angle to even run, NO. Would an established GOP candidate have throttled Reid in the general, YES.

            The GOP has to go along with the Tea Party BECAUSE of Palin. If not Palin, who would have such an attraction on the fringe element of their party (votes)

            Ok, please put together a virtual picture without Palin to understand what I’m pointing out. She doesn’t have to micromanage the crazy, it’s attracted to her because of the over-the-top things she says. C’mon

          • ok, but would there have even BEEN a Sharon Angle if not for Palin.

            Given that Angle’s been active in Nevada politics since the late 1990s and narrowly missed winning the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District in 2006 (before most people outside of Alaska had ever heard of Palin), yes there would have been a Sharron (she spells it with to “r”s – I missed that in my original comment) Angle without Sarah Palin. The question you probably should be asking is whether she’d exist without L. Ron Hubbard.

            Palin isn’t the “puppetmaster” of any of these fringe groups. She is trying to capitalize on their anger both to advance her own prospects and increase her influence. Some might view this as cynical and opportunistic on her part, but the last time I looked neither cynicism nor opportunism were against the law.

          • Ok, please put together a virtual picture without Palin to understand what I’m pointing out. She doesn’t have to micromanage the crazy, it’s attracted to her because of the over-the-top things she says.

            Still waiting for the logic.

            We held elections. Sarah Palin endorsed some candidates. Most of them won. That’s democracy.

            You’re denying them legitimacy. According to you they aren’t good, loyal Americans we disagree with, they’re whacked-out crazies.

            I haven’t seen anything that Sarah Palin has said that wasn’t mainstream GOP

    • We did take a stand when Hillary and Sarah was shown in photos hanging from a rope. We took a stand against Oblerman, and why didn’t they help us stop it then?

      The writing has been on the wall for sometime, and
      the media pundits ignored us.

  15. And who put up a museum display and invited people to shoot Sarah Palin? I think the person who should step up to the plate and stop the violent rhetoric already lives in the White House. Why is Sarah Palin anymore responsible than the man who says he’ll bring a gun to a knife fight? Why is it always women who are supposed to control society’s morality?

    • Ah, RD, you’ve just demonized some of my favorite words — politicization, corporatist, etc,! Such words may curtail thought, as you point out, but they can also cut through the crap and get to the point — especially if such terms have been defined. Where discussions tend to fall apart is when no one can agree on a definition and/or application of a term used (e.g. feminism, racism, fascism etc.). In any case, I’m generally against the gate-keeping and PC-ing of language and discourse.

      Anyway, yes, the Right has vilified the Left/Liberals for over 40 years, and so on and so forth, but I think it’s also inciteful (and not insightful since it politicizes prematurely a tragic event) to point the finger at Palin, no matter how general, for the AZ tragedy. We don’t know all the facts, but it’s starting to look like the guy had serious mental problems. There may or may not have been any coherent political intentions for this shooting. (I’m still curious about the possibility of an accomplice though.)

      In any case, the Left — under the “leadership” of BO — a misogynist and corporatist puppet if I ever saw one — has certainly decided to launch hate campaigns against certain political figures, especially if they’re women. Taking a stroll down memory lane I’ve come across these gems:

      1. Olberman suggested in 2008 that someone “take {Hillalry] into a room and only he comes out.”

      2. An effigy of Palin hanging from a noose in 2008.

      3. Better yet, how about this YouTube doozy:

      “Palin gets tackled by Terry Tate”

      4. And let’s not forget the assassination of Hillary’s Super-delegate Mr. Gwatney during the 2008 Dem presidential primary just before the Convention was to be held. This event was taken off the msm radar almost as soon as it happened.

      So, my point is twofold: 1) Hateful rhetoric is endemic on both sides of the isle, especially since 2008; and (2) we don’t have all the facts on the Jared Loughtner case.

      • Bravo!

      • Great comment. I remember Gwatney’s murder. That was as fast a “move along, nothing to see” maneuver as could be. And then followed by a unanimous Arkansas block vote for 0 at the convention?? I still think that was a cover up of something, and the implications are pretty damn scary.

        • I don’t remember it at all, which probably shows how fast it was hushed.

          • It was super fast. Gwatney was killed by a man who walked into the Arkansas Dem HQs, went straight into Gwatney’s office and shot him. People described it as an execution style killing. Gwatney and the shooter, had no prior history. The killer shot himself to death before police could apprehend him and no motive was found.

          • Yeah, one would think that the assassination of a Super Delegate — or any political figure — just before a primary Convention would be THE headline for weeks on end. But no, this tragic event was gone with a blink of an eye. Never to be revisited. Do we even know Gwatney’s assassin’s name or remember his picture like we do Loughner’s?

            One more thing, since I’m wearing my tinfoil hat … what if the target wasn’t really Gifford, but Judge John Roll? He did have Federal protection for years due to threats on his life. The shooting of Gifford and others would be the perfect cover up, especially with the blaming of Palin and the Tea Party. (This conspiratorial scenario is similar to the plot line of the film SHOOTER.)

      • can’t leave this one out:

        Gwar disembowels Sarah Palin:


        • Oh, God! I can’t get myself to click on that link, Catrina. I could barely take the YouTube of Tate tackling Palin. Thanks for the link and info though. It’s important to bring all of this violent misogyny to the light of day, especially when the nation is on the topic of political and discursive violence.

    • Puleeze. Obama carrying a gun to a fight is laughable. He can’t even fight. All they have to do is take hostages and he caves without even putting up the least little bit of a fight.

  16. I am sitting here wondering how I managed to not drop an anvil on my snotty brother after all the Roadrunner cartoons I watched as a 4 year old.

    Why did I never bonk him over the head with a skillet after watching those violent Hanna Barbera cartoons.

    How did I restrain from sticking his finger in an electrical socket like I saw Tom and Jerry do a million times?

    It’s not the words people use or the images they use…it is only our own personal responsibility.

    The only one to blame for the shooting is the shooter.

    • Yep. Anyone not pursuing another agends knows that.


    • Yes, and it was right wing politicians and media personalities who had a personal responsibility to never let the political atmosphere happen in the first. Place.
      Whether you like it or not, the threats to the physical well being of liberal politicians is the responsibility of these people, people like Palin, beck and Rush. Put aside the psychotic shooter for a second and consider all the crazy that giffords and other Democrats had to put up with before the shooting. That is most definitely the responsibility of right wing political types.
      Accept it because that’s what has been happening.
      For all we know, this mat be why the Democrats act like they’re afraid of their own shadows in congress. They’re afraid some gun toting constituent, like the ones that showed up to Giffords’ rallies *before* the shooting are going tinkled their composure and lash out

      You can protest and protest and protest and I have the right to continue to hold these wingers responsible for leading to bad outcomes.

      Palin didn’t pull the trigger of loughner’s gun. But her map brought to light how bad the situation has become. The target mark on giffords’ district is the only thing that ties the two events together and without it, the general public might continue to be unaware of how dangerous politics has become for Democrats.

      If I am able to disconnect the two, why can’t you?

  17. Again, I think many people here are missing Riverdaughter’s larger point, and one that I made the other day as well.

    Yes, there has been vitriol on both sides, however, what is coming from the Right has been far broader and deeper than anything coming from the Left. Furthermore, you don’t hear that kind of language from the Democratic leadership. But you do from the Republicans. And that’s a fact.

    Bill Moyers did a show on this very topic two years ago, in the wake of the UU church shooting.

    • Furthermore, you don’t hear that kind of language from the Democratic leadership.
      Um, yes you do, from the President.

      • It doesn’t matter in the end who is worse. I think the republicans are worse because the control the national dialogue. But put that aside for now.

        The question I want people to think about is what should be the best and highest standard of behavior and rhetoric of any politician or media personality who aspires to lead? Judge these people against that standard. When you do that, you will quickly realize that many people, but especially right wingers have been behaving in an irresponsible and unaccountable manner that is undesirable in a national leader. If Hillary wouldn’t do it, Sarah shouldn’t either.

        It is not a question of blame. It is a matter of behavior and standards. We have gotten so used to politicians pushing our buttons and emoting that we have forgotten what true leadership looks like.
        It ain’t a map with targets on it.

        • It doesn’t matter in the end who is worse.

          Exactly. Thank you. I think what some of us are saying is that if we really want to rachet back the crazy-talk we should probably start with that portion of the discourse for which we are responsible – and that none of us at this point has the vaguest idea of the political views (if any) of this terribly disturbed young man.

          I find myself reminded of Winston Churchill’s response when someone at his dinner table made a disparaging remark about the Clement Atlee, who had just defeated Churchill in the first postwar election:

          Mr. Atlee is Prime Minister of England. Mr. Atlee was Deputy Prime Minister during the War, and played a great part in winning the War. Mr. Atlee is a great patriot. Don’t you dare call him “silly old Atlee” at Chartwell or you won’t be invited again.

          Somehow, Churchill was able to rally his supporters and defeat Atlee in the next election without either painting a crosshair on Atlee’s constituency or referring to him as a “skank”.

          • Exactly. We can only elevate our part of the conversation and hope that a rising sea does raise all boats.

      • So when the FL Democratic congressman recently said that the new R gov of Florida ought to be put against a wall and shot, that didn’t count?

  18. MoJo:

    At 2:00 a.m. on Saturday—about eight hours before he allegedly killed six people and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), in Tucson—Jared Lee Loughner phoned an old and close friend with whom he had gone to high school and college. The friend, Bryce Tierney, was up late watching TV, but he didn’t answer the call. When he later checked his voice mail, he heard a simple message from Loughner: “Hey man, it’s Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later.”

    That was it. But later in the day, when Tierney first heard about the Tucson massacre, he had a sickening feeling: “They hadn’t released the name, but I said, ‘Holy shit, I think it’s Jared that did it.'” Tierney tells Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Loughner held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a “fake.” Loughner’s animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed, Tierney says. He also describes Loughner as being obsessed with “lucid dreaming”—that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control—and says Loughner became “more interested in this world than our reality.” Tierney adds, “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything.”


    Tierney, who’s also 22, recalls Loughner complaining about a Giffords event he attended during that period. He’s unsure whether it was the same one mentioned in the charges—Loughner “might have gone to some other rallies,” he says—but Tierney notes it was a significant moment for Loughner: “He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?'”

    Giffords’ answer, whatever it was, didn’t satisfy Loughner. “He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question,’ and I told him, ‘Dude, no one’s going to answer that,'” Tierney recalls. “Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”

    Tierney says he has “no clue” why Loughner might have “shot all those other people.” But, he notes, “when I heard Gabrielle Giffords has been shot, I was like ‘Oh my God…’ For some reason I felt like I knew…I felt like if anyone was going to shoot her, it would be Jared.”

    Loughner would occasionally mention Giffords, according to Tierney: “It wasn’t a day-in, day-out thing, but maybe once in a while, if Giffords did something that was ridiculous or passed some stupid law or did something stupid, he related that to people. But the thing I remember most is just that question. I don’t remember him stalking her or anything.” Tierney notes that Loughner did not display any specific political or ideological bent: “It wasn’t like he was in a certain party or went to rallies…It’s not like he’d go on political rants.” But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is “fucking us over.” He never heard Loughner vent about about the perils of “currency,” as Loughner did on one YouTube video he created.

    • Tierney makes no sense:
      Tierney notes that Loughner did not display any specific political or ideological bent: “It wasn’t like he was in a certain party or went to rallies…It’s not like he’d go on political rants.” But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is “fucking us over.”

      Tierney says Loughner didn’t go to rallies or attend events.

      More Tierney:
      Tierney, who’s also 22, recalls Loughner complaining about a Giffords event he attended during that period.

      if Giffords did something that was ridiculous or passed some stupid law or did something stupid, he related that to people.

      So Loughner did attend rallies and rant. Is it just me or is that confusing?

      Really like to know what laws Loughner thought were stupid and what he thought Giffords did that was ridiculous. If MJ asked they print the answers.

    • Give it up, myiq. It’s not a question of who pulled the trigger. It’s everything that came before. We arent arguing the same things. I won’t be distracted.

      • But where is the connection between everything that came before and the trigger pulling?

        I can’t find one. I can’t find a single indication that this guy EVER listened to a RW radio host, frequented RW blogs – nuthin’. There’s not a shred of evidence that he was influenced in any way by the right. None.

      • Anti government psycho with a three year obsession with Giffords. Where is the connection with Palin.

  19. I’m not sure I go along with the idea that liberals are a Civil Class to be protected… But I do agree they (and the word itself) have been vilified in such a negative way that no one wants to be one (see also progressive)… I’m also not convinced Conservatives own the media, I can flip the channels on TV, the liberal message is 3 – 1 easy (and not just news). The reverse if not worse is true of Talk Radio though for sure, but TV is the larger medium. The Net seems more Liberal than Conservative, but it’s getting pretty even these days. I do not view conservatives as having the upper hand here (yet).

    Maybe liberals should look at themselves, their policies, and the leaders they elect to implement these policies – which apparently have not instilled enough confidence that Joe/Jane Public can vote for them and their policies over Repubs and Conservatism.

    We have elected some piss poor advocates on our side if we let the other side define us so that we are viewed as weak, mealy mouthed whiners, that are not up to the job of handling the duties that require big-boy pants. If you’re vitriolic but competent (get the job done) – much will be excused. Conversely, if you’re goody two shoes but inept/weak, well, it might be the trash heap for you – which is kinda what happened to liberalism in my view.

    If we really want to be the majority, we need to fight strongly for our policies – and when we have an opportunity to lead, we need to follow those policies through to a competent end… This is why BO vs HRC is such a problem – it was obvious who was more competent. Obama’s ascendence will set back Liberalism (and Progressivism) for a generation at least – Liberals are getting tarred and feathered faster today than almost at any time – and it’s not like we can point to the competent liberal policies, to defend ourselves, because there pretty much aren’t any, certainly none that are being executed competently from this administration.

    That is why Liberals/Democrats really have no one else to blame for their hard times or bad perceptions – Dem leadership promoted Style over Competence without realizing Competence will win the public in the long run. If we don’t do the job right, we will be seen as losers – so will our policies and beliefs, we’ll have to wait for the other side to be MORE incompetent (see 2008) to get another chance. This is how it works EVERYWHERE, check your career, school, etc. The most successful and trusted are generally (not always!) the ones who get the job done right.

    …end screed.

    • Oh man, you are really on the wrong blog. You’re reality is not here.

    • Agree with much of what you say..

    • I agree totally. Liberals in this country have not fought to protect liberal values. By liberals I mean the class with the megaphone (NPR, NYTimes, etc) They have accepted Obama’s status-quo agenda, which is corporatist, completely in line with the Washington Rules on permanent war and, most importantly, civil rights-stripping. With Liberals standing for nothing (via Obama), the Right can fill this gaping hole in the ‘debate’ with their own language and not surprisingly the demagogues are the loudest. There is so much legitimate rage out there to be mobilized as corporations continue to fleece the public realm, and bankers and courts throw people out of their homes. It’s a colossal failure of Obama to not shape and form that rage into something constructive and truly transformative. Of course I never expected him to actually want to do this because once united, the people cannot be defeated and would certainly give him the boot (and may still regardless.) As far as civil rights, and I’m surprised to feel this right now, my last hope is that old-school conservatives will step up to the plate to protect them. The Democratic party has lost it’s raison d’etre.

      • Great comment.

      • Thanks – I thought I was crazy after RD nuked me.

        • Nope. I thought your comment was very good, especially the parts about Hillary and competence, and the aftereffects of installing style and hubris over competence and humility (paraphrasing what I took from it, obviously).

          • I just think we have weak Democratic Leaders, and until they realize we need a competent Captain, we can only wait until the other side screws up (like 2008) – and THEN we have to lead competently, show that liberal policies work – that to me is how you get Joe/Jane Public on your side. We really needed Hillary in ’08, but surprisingly, we need her more now.

          • They are not just weak, they’re two-faced. At least the faction in control is.

      • Bravo!
        I used to think Ds were standing for something, while the Rs were just opposed to everything. But right now, both parties agandas can be summed up as “I hate the other side’s guts”

        • Exactly.

        • The two legacy parties are bound together by hate, for each, and more importantly, for peasants like us.

          However, they are still a single entity, a single system, despite their hate for each other. Complete dysfunction — except where enacting a corporate agenda is concerned.

          • I wonder if they really hate each other. I see total collusion. I see them sipping scotch, patting each other on the back and chuckling a lot, while the public mood festers. I see the media-generated food fight between a voiceless Left and a paranoid Right as fodder for the chumps, er, I mean the ‘ordinary folks’. And I see politicians either going along with it or fueling it. Give the ‘folks’ something to vent their rage at while we catch a few rounds of golf with our favorite CEOs. You’re right, they do despise peasants.

    • Another bravo.

      And they’ve done it to themselves, in their arrogance and lack of the now-important HUMILITY.

      Petards, and all that.

    • Obama’s ascendence will set back Liberalism (and Progressivism) for a generation at least.

      Absolutely…that is the rub.

  20. God bless those doctors 🙂

  21. Thank you for that nuanced and pitch perfect post, riverdaughter. Brava.
    I don’t know what the killer’s politics are or, if he has any at all.
    And, sure, there are dangerous nutjobs all over this world, but, only in this industrialized, “civilized”, superpower can a certifable lunatic get his hands on an assualt weapon with such damnable ease.
    And, for that, I do blame the Republican Party and its bestie, the NRA.

  22. The right wing has been advancing their machismo for some time to bring the masses into line with their desires. I applaud them for their effectiveness. The NRA, Sarah Palin showing gun sight cross-hairs over opposition candidates, Pat Roberts praying to god to bring terminal illness to foes, Rush Limbaugh promoting intolerance in his narcotic induced and very popular radio rantings, etc have gotten what they want, but what about the rest of us? I don’t see a direct line form anyone specifically to the shooting in Tuscon, but all of them have very dirty hands.

    I don’t see the media outrage of the moment doing anything positive. Now, if there was this much outrage every time someone was a victim of gun violence, that would be another story and things might begin to improve.

  23. The thing that worries me with this case is instead of taking this opportunity to revisit gun control issues, like keeping them out of the hands of nutjobs like this, we’ll see an effort to limit words and symbols. There’s a bill being introduced with thought police written all over it. That’s not RD’s point of course, it’s about responsible politics and holding people accountable for the Rush/Beck type crap. But there’s always a danger of losing even more civil liberties, and way too many politicians ready able to take them away.

    • Shock Doctrine. Any crisis is an opportunity to grab power.

    • Thank you. I too worry about a backlash. Both parties are creaming their jeans for an opportunity to crack down on free speech. I don’t think we should give in to that. The best outcome omeould be for people like Franken to stand up and call the opportunists to account for themselves and act like leaders and lead by example. It’s time to stop singling out liberals out for special treatment and disdain.
      I’m tired of being a hated and despised group simply because I’m a liberal. Enough already if your ideas can’t win the day, that doesn’t give you a pass to demonize your opponents.

      • “Both parties are creaming their jeans for an opportunity to crack down on free speech”

        Ok RD, did you know that those Westboro baptist peeps are going to picket the funerals of the victims. Do you consider that free speech? That is not free speech!
        Also I think Brother Bill (Clinton) should have had a massive crackdown after OKC.

        • I also know that good citizens can stand up for the privacy of grieving families as they have done in the recent past.
          It is our responsibility to put the genie back in the bottle and shame people who behave badly, like westboro baptist church.
          Enforce good citizenship by modeling it and demanding it of others.
          I predict that westboro will be drowned out by the demands for decency.

        • I believe it and know that westboro will not be tolerated

    • I think what we should be doing is demanding that politicians take personal responsibilty here. Although I flirted with the idea of making FCC complaints against Limbaugh, I don’t think this is a legal matter (and in fact, framing it as one could make matters worse).

      That is why RD’s call for “contrition” is pitch perfect; it’s a call for personal responsbility, and applies as much to the OFB in 2008 as to R and D office holders and operatives today.

      Sure, speech is free, fortunately. And not everything immoral is illegal. But calling, even by impllication, for one’s political opponent to be killed is immoral.

    • WORD.

  24. Monster post.

    [lambert removes hat, bows].

  25. FWIW, I’ll repeat some framing that might work:

    For my part, I consider it a safety issue. Gun owners should be as responsible in their rhetoric as they are in the field. And the burden should be on them to keep the rhetoric clean, exactly as the burden is them to take the safety off only when that’s appropriate.

    It really ought to be an unexceptional statement that calling for the death of one’s political opponents, even by implication, is immoral. Of course, if you’re into strategic hate management, like Limbaugh, or, in their own small way, the “golden horde of asshole blogger,” that destroys your business model, but that’s a bad thing why?

  26. The bad political atmosphere has little or nothing to do with the tragedy in AZ, and to use the tragedy to correct the foul political discourse is to avoid addressing the real problem, the mentally ill people who routinely go on shooting rampage in this country.

    • ITA.

    • “addressing the real problem, the mentally ill people who routinely go on shooting rampage in this country.”

      Let’s address it:
      1. Get real about gun control
      2. Get real about free healthcare for those mentally ill
      3. All the above is impossible now because of repubos and weak democratic leadership.

      Maybe it will change because of this tragedy I’m hoping

      • Weak Democratic Leadership.

        … fer sure.

        • I wish they were weak.

          The Democratic leadership is leading where it wants to go – it just doesn’t align with the “base” and it doesn’t align with some of the promises made to entice the base into voting for them.

          free healthcare costs somebody money and those who aren’t paying their fair share now surely don’t want to start. They’d rather direct the money to political candidates for influence than pay the money to the treasury.

          • yes, idk about even voting anymore. What for?

          • I say weak in the sense that they are cannot stand up for what is GOOD within Liberal Policies. They often succumb to their own egos (poor Nancy has to be the most powerful woman in the US – Not ‘that woman’ HRC)… or their own guilt (we cannot risk losing the AA vote by electing a more competent woman instead of a black man)…. or not standing up for real liberal policies.


          • I’ve been hanging around (lurking mostly) for so long that I knew exactly what you meant by weak.

            My point is that the elected D’s are doing what they want with a bit of helpless sounding lip service to appease the left so “we” believe they are weak rather than morally bankrupt. I have come to believe it is an act and that they are getting the results they want.

      • Not holding my breath. There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, but no real cut-the-bullshit action.

    • This, to me, is the real lesson to be learned from this nightmare. There was a golden moment in this country, less than a decade, when we actually felt compelled to care for the mentally ill. It didn’t last long; I remember being in NYC in the late 70’s, and they were driving people in care facilities to street corners and dumping them off with nothing but the clothes on their backs. It was too expensive to continue caring for them.

      Today, a family has virtually no way of getting help for a mentally ill adult child or sibling, especially if the mentally ill person doesn’t want help. This IS a political issue; conservatives see mental illness as personal weakness, and believe that the family should bear the responsibility; liberals see the reality of the situation, and want to offer help. Conservatives believe that the right to bear arms should belong to anyone, up until they actually kill someone; liberals believe that guns should be kept out of the hands of those who cannot make sane decisions.

      It may be true that Phyllis Schlafly 2.0 is not directly responsible for maiming Congresswoman Giffords and 13 others, and killing 6 people, but the policies she supports are. She has made her own contributions to the devolution of political dialog, as well. Perhaps she’ll follow in Rush Limbaugh’s footsteps, now that she’s a TV personality, and insist that she’s “just an entertainer.”

      • Don’t you remember all those movies depicting how terrible mental hospitals were? Liberals were part of the movement to get them closed.

        • And they are still very dismissive of the pressure trying to help a seriously mentally ill family member. It’s brushed off with “getting medication adjusted”

          Well, I’m here to tell you that medication doesn’t fix everything.

          • My psycho ex-girlfriend has a brother that is paranoid schizophrenic.

            He won’t take his medicine because he thinks they are trying to poison him.

        • The problem was that deinstitutionalization was supposed to be linked to community mental health centers which of course were never funded. So mentally-ill people simply wound up getting loaded with chemicals and shoved out on the street.

          • Once again, liberals fell for the bait and switch.

          • I know this subject well, as I grew up with a mother who was mentally ill and institutionalized off and on for 40 years.

            The biggest fight was actually over civil rights. I call it the “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Panic of the 70’s” The Left did push for deinstitutionalization, and for community mental health centers, but the problem was not solely that they weren’t funded or there wasn’t enough of them (though that was an issue). There is also the reality that outside of an institution, you cannot FORCE an adult to go. You cannot make them take their meds.

            Part of the objection to mental hospitals and “committing someone for life” was that it was prone to abuse and a violation of civil rights (and it sometimes was). And in theory, outpatient-based help would be better. BUT, people neglected to realize that many mentally ill people have no desire whatsoever to be “treated”, and often refuse to be. It was not merely a lack of available treatment that was the problem, though that was part of it. It was a fundamental misunderstanding of what happens in reality with the mentally ill, and a well-intentioned attempt to preserve their rights that had some unforeseen (by them, not by me) consequences.

            Which put my sisters and myself in the position of having to call the sheriff to take Mama to the hospital when she wigged out, where they could only hold her for 3 days against her will. Which wasn’t long enough, we knew from experience, to get her anywhere near stable. In the past we could have her involuntarily committed for a month or more. And once stable, she might actually take her meds for a year or two or three before we had to go through it all again. Not anymore. The inability to hold her in the hospital meant the second she got out she stopped the meds because she wasn’t actually stable enough yet to realize she needed to stay on them.

            The subject of how to deal with the mentally ill is a very complicated one. And yes, concerns for civil rights re: endless hospitalization are valid. But a clinic on every corner would STILL not be the whole of the solution, so long as they are free adults who can choose to get treated or not. But do we want to take that choice away from them? It’s a tough one.

          • Thank you for writing this, WMCB. I couldn’t do it.

          • Ditto. Thanks WMCB.

        • They didn’t call them snakepits for nothing.

          • WMCB, you’ve been a big help in clearly identifying the problems and how helpful or helpless you have personally experienced in dealing with mental illness in your family. For some it is difficult to talk about, I understand.

            I remember the first time I ever walked into a state mental hospital. I was with several other “social workers to be”. We were told what to expect and what we would be seeing. Everybody was uptight.
            I looked over at one patient sitting over on a bench.
            I walked away from the group, and headed over to sit down with him. He watched me sit down, and I
            didn’t say anything for a few minutes. Then I looked at him, and said damn I could use a cigarette how about you. Oh yea, a big smile came across his face, and we sat there dragging on the cigarette.

            My next question was, are you ok? And that got us going.

            The other social workers were still cuddled together, and when I returned they asked me how I did itand I pulled out my pack of kool’s and next thing I knew they went back to vending machine to get a pack to share with the paitents. That was back in the day when everyone was smoking everywhere.

            I remember when Reagan cut hospital staff by the thousands, then closed the state hospitals. What he did was turn it over to the local county operated hospitals here in California. I had the feeling that it wasn’t about meeting the needs of patients but the sagging economy.

            There was money was to be poured into housing for the patients. Instead that money went to building
            more prisons. Come to find out, people didn’t want those Day treatment centers or outpatient clinics in their neighborhoods. They pushed and pushed them out onto the streets, and they are still doing the same things after 35 years.

            I remember a woman came to me for help. Her father was killed by a hit and run drunk dirver when she was a teenager, and her mother was hospitalized for months with a nervous breakdown.
            This woman lost her mother to the streets, she lived the life of bag lady until her death. And we couldn’t get her to stay with family, or in an apartment, or get treatment. She refused. The family paid people from that neighborhood to keep an eye on her, until the day came that her mother had passed.

            Her mother was much happier on the streets, than in a home or a state hospital. And I have been honored to be a friend to her daughter for many, many years.

      • The situation for the families of the mentally ill is horrible. A nightmare.

        (a much longer comment was deleted because I can’t bear to talk about how heartbreaking and dangerous it is to live with a seriously mentally ill family member)

  27. Good point, Dario. And how in the H$%#LL did Loughtner get a hold of a semi-automatic weapon?!!!!

    • Stunningly, he passed the FBI background check. Bought it legally.

      How that happened, I’m still not sure.

      • I don’t think he has been “in trouble” before. Said crazy stuff, but didn’t hurt anyone. We’d surely have heard about it if he had a record.

      • Didn’t have a record. If you don’t leave any traces such as hospitalizations, how is the seller to know?

  28. The shame here is that he passed the FBI background check because his obvious mental illness (schizophrenia, paranoid type) was neglected by the school counselors at his community college. The guy needed a thorough psych. workup, and instead he was kicked out and told he could return only if he had a “doctor’s note.”

    • Now we’re getting somewhere IMO:

      Loughner is clearly insane & has been so for some time. Why wasn’t something done? Schizophrenia is treatable, isn’t it? Where’s his family in all this? Did they try and fail to get him help?

      I haven’t been following this very closely so I may have missed it, but is anyone asking these questions? any MSM types, I mean…?

      • Yes, I’ve been wondering too, where were his high school & family all this time?

      • He’s not insane. Mentally ill, yes. But he knew what he was doing, called people in advance, almost as if he wanted them to stop him and knew that he wasn’t going to see them again as a free man. This is a person who acted with malice, preparation and was perfectly aware of the consequences.
        He’s sane alright.

        • RD, he may be sane according to the law as it now stands, but I believe there’s a growing school of thought that the legal definition of sane/insane needs to be changed to reflect current medical knowledge.

    • Stirling Newberry sums it up:

      They say he was crazy. They took away his future, denied him medication, and gave him a gun.

      • Sure let’s already feel sorry for him…while the victims bodies are still warm.

        • I’m waiting for Glenzilla to complain he is being held in maximum security even though HE HASN’T BEEN CONVICTED OF ANYTHING YET!

        • Well I’m one o’ them bleedin heart liberals so I do feel sorry for him, and for his family. So sue me.

          And I expand on my earlier question: has anyone talked to his family? Found out why he didn’t get the treatment he so obviously needed, if in fact he didn’t?

          • Paranoid schzophrenics often become active in their 20s…sometimes triggered by trauma, sometimes for no reason at all. There may be early warning signs, but the full onset can happen very quickly and unpredictably, and diagnosis is complicated. There are borderline disorders that show similar symptoms.

          • Thanks, 3W, but that isn’t really what I’m on about.

            In Loughner’s case it’s clear that he WAS showing major symptoms well before last Saturday (got kicked out of the PCC algebra class, etc.) and I’ve also seen pictures of the family home and backyard, but so far I haven’t seen or heard anything whatsoever about the family itself and/or what they may have been going though.

            For example, he was able to buy the gun because he didn’t have a record–but where did he get the money for it, this 22-year-old man who lived at home?

            Did he ever get medical attention/treatment, and maybe went just went off his meds on a regular basis? etc.

            That sort of thing. Haven’t heard or read word one amidst all the political posturing and hysteria, but maybe I’ve just missed it.

          • I used to help out at a center for delinquent teens. A lot of the kids were there for various anti-social behavior that resembled Loughner’s. A very small subset would have become truly dangerous clinical schizophrenics. Should say that most schizophrenics these days when diagnosed and on medication lead much more normal lives than they were able to in the past.

      • Denied him medication? Really? Who?

        • I think that was probably a broad statement about the challenges of getting treatment for the mentally ill. Between the initial diagnosis, the prescription, paying for the meds, and monitoring, there’s a lot going on there. Not to mention that schizophrenics of the Paranoid type are often non-compliant. But even if he was’t, there’s the matter of getting the meds and affording them.

  29. Once again, thank you, RD.

    I had worried somewhat that this blog would fall down the same rabbit hole of madness as No Quarter.

    Not with RD as captain. Kathryn Janeway would be proud. 🙂

  30. Anyone else here curious about just who vandalized Congresswoman Gifford’s office and broke/shot out her office window? What about other threat she and Judge Roll received? I hope the FBI is looking into all that.


  31. PS – it’s nice to see disagreement on a topic without anyone taking their ball and going home. I may have an opinion, but it can be swayed by thoughtful opposing views.

  32. In the past, some opposing views were met with names (b*got, etc)… but this place is cranking lately.

  33. Amazing and I view the vitriol as a result of the constant misogynist rants against female politicians by many an obot, wacko on the right and a predominately male press. The constant airing of grudge and grievance the smoke screen both Parties wield to distract from the issues and deeds. And wasn’t it that creep Oberlmann that wanted
    “….somebody who can take her (Clinton) into a room, and only he comes out.”

  34. Brava, RD! What really, really scares me, though, is the way people are in total denial. BBC Radio 4 just broadcast a lot of right wing pundits (some shock jocks) arguing that Laughner is a “mad, bad apple” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way they conduct what they choose to call a “debate”. Only softy liberals who can’t take it say so.

  35. Yay, in other news, Tom Delay gets jail time.
    Hammer in the slammer!

  36. Lunch break. Thank god. Two granola bars for ‘morning coffee’ just doesn’t cut it.

  37. Three things I notice about California that probably escaped me when I lived here as a child:

    1.) the light here is different than it is on the east coast. Reflections from the pacific? I don’t know but it’s always the first thing I notice.

    2.). Food tastes different. It’s not that it’s fresher. Its like it hasn’t been reduced to it’s essential elements. There are layers of flavor.

    3.). There are a lot of blondes here. A LOT more than in NJ. Here, blonde hair seems commonplace. In NJ, it’s a lot less frequent and almost always from a bottle.

    • We lead the nation in fake blonds and fake boobs. If you want the true California dining experience, find a taco truck. It’s our answer to a NY hot dog cart.

    • The light is very different. It’s more like Mediterranean light if you’re into that painting or photography thing. I always assumed it was because of location on the planet and various atmospheric issues, but I never looked into it.

    • When I first visited LA in 1995 I noticed the light right away. Light in CA is palpable, a very physical presence in a way it is not in the East.

      And yes, there’s a tyranny of blondness in CA.

    • The light is different. Even if you move inland just a bit. I miss the sky and cloud patterns from the bay area, as the crow flies, it isn’t that far. So, maybe it is reflections from the pacific, but it is also one of the first things I notice.

      Strange story about fresh produce. We had neighbors who used to drive it out to NY weekly. When they got to New York the instruction at the bridges were to drive straight through. Don’t stop for lights, stop signs, pedestrians, or anything else. To just keep moving until they got to the distribution center. From there, more weird rules applied, which also suggested semi trucks were hijacked in New York quite often and the center was a locked down island as a result. A bizarre, produce version, of ‘Escape from New York’ always entered my mind when they would share the story with people.

      Didn’t really think about the migration of the blonds but Hollywood probably lures a lot of them. But going back to speaking about the light being different. The lightening effect of CA sun probably inspired a lot of dirty blonds to ‘Sun-in’ their blow dry routine and help it along. When I moved back east, for a short time, my hair turned much darker.

      Hope you have fun!

  38. Welcome to California, RD! Whereabouts are you?

  39. The Sarah Palin crosshairs-graphic meme has jumped the pond–it’s turned up in the French press. The graphic figured prominently in a two-page spread in Liberation, and Le Parisien devoted an article to it.

  40. WWHD?

    Here she is in Abu Dhabi saying: “We have our own extremists”

    Link to video on ABC site: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/hillary-clinton-extremists-country-12581675?tab=9482931&section=2808950&playlist=2808979&page=1

    Hope it works.

  41. {{snort!}} The AV system runs on windows and none of the speakers use anything but Macs. Steep learning curve. Too funny.

  42. I think there are two separate lines of thought going on here. One is that Rep. Giffords was shot and we’re trying to make sense out of who would perform such a mass killing and why. Additionally, we have to reconcile the place of the Second Amendment.

    The other thought is about the level of discourse. That’s No Labels territory. The only way to join these two separate discussions is to render political rhetoric into fuel for illogical action.

    Sacrificing the Second Amendment is one thing, scrapping the First is even scarier. If Sarah Palin’s target map is incitement to violence, put her before a judge and see if she’ll be convicted. If she won’t, it would lessen the impact if every left site didn’t distribute the picture in some sort of gloating moment of moral superiority.

    myiq makes valuable points in his Palin posts. Her fans will not be “shamed” into silence by people who don’t like her. These people know that Palin’s detractors never just shame her for bad actions, but for being a stupid hick who went to 3 colleges and likes to kill her own meat instead of having it chain sawed in dangerous meat packing plants by disposable illegal labor the way God and Ivy Leaguers intended.

    It does absolutely nothing to call conservatives pure eveil and telling them to not be evil. It’s a logical fallacy. You’re telling them to be nothing.

    • Not sure I’m following you. But I don’t believe Palin’s fan base can’t be reached. A lot of them are very confused and frustrated individuals who crave a leader who leads by example. Palin isn’t it but she could be if she wanted to be. Hillary already is.

      • That’s the problem. They have been reached. Saying that they are confused and frustrated is not far away from easily confused and unable to understand how to figure things out. Palin has the appeal that “I’m just like you.” Beating her down rhetorically just makes her more like the Tea Party that has been mocked and belittled by the people who think they have the true answer.

        One thing about Hillary. I knew a lot of Hillary supporters in 08, but there was one woman who couldn’t stand her because she stayed with her cheating husband. Even thought that’s really none of her business, she chose to relate herself directly to her candidate. One of the sad advantages of Obama was as a blank slate, there was little to pin on him.

        • On the other side, I just got a comment from a conservative SP supporter that all the hate that is being piled on SP has opened her eyes to what Hillary went through and she’s re-evaluating her opinion of Hillary.
          Regular people get it.

          • In some ways, I also think some Democrats “got it” when the saw the media go so unfairly after Hillary Clinton. These people were basically trying to pick the winners by manipulating the coverage.

          • Wow, that’s an interesting comment. Amazing how everything looks different when the shoe is on the other foot.

          • Heh, funny how misogyny works. Conservatives are getting it, and liberals are forgetting it.

        • I don’t entirely blame them for their confusion. We live in a society that vilifies anything that smacks of liberalism and there is a lot of peer pressure to go along. The messaging is ubiquitous. Think of how many times you’ve walked into a waiting room and found Fox on the tv. I tell the receptionist to change it or I’m leaving. They usually change it.
          But I dont think the left should be patting themselves on the back for being smarter or more erudite. After all, they fell for the Obama brand with very little introspection or inspection of the candidate. The left can and did get played.
          But no, I don’t think Palin’s fans, particularly the former clintonistas are beyond reason. I think they are. A lot of them must be very upset and conflicted about the recent turn of events. It’s enough to disillusion anyone. But I would suspect that Hillary would tell them and us not to drop out and that we need to “keep going” in the face of adversity. She leads so we lead

    • It has nothing to do with “No Labels.” Last I checked, TC was not funded by a billionaire with Presidential ambitions, and neither is my own blog. So please don’t confuse the issue.

      RD is calling for accountability and contrition. It’s about our representatives and media figures owning up to what they do when they say immoral things, like calling for, or implying that, their political opponents should be killed. So please don’t confuse that issue, either.

      Finally, the legal frame is inappropriate. This is not First Amendment territory. Not all immoral actions are illegal, and not all those who are put in danger are protected classes. This about morality and standards for discourse, not legal briefs. So please don’t sow more confusion on that point, as well.

      • No, Im not a No Labels fan, which to me looks like an effort to teach to lower our voices when we speak to republicans. Not into that at all

  43. One unexpected thing this tragic event has accomplished is the entire right wing is united in defending Palin.

    • The other unexpected thing is a large percentage of people on the TV left calling for limiting speech. “It’s time to limit what people can say in public” according to crazy Ed.

      • Oh goody, the fairness doctrine again.

      • This does not surprise me. The last crony capitalist country I lived in, they would use any violence as an excuse to crack down on dissent. Every crisis is an opportunity to grab power.

      • People who say that we ought to limit what others can say in public are always operating under the delusion that they will ever and always be among the “deciders” of what discourse is acceptable and what is not.

        History so often turns that on its head, and suddenly the powers-that-be don’t include you. Then it sucks to be Ed, huh? Too late at that point.

  44. Meanwhile, back here in the world of things which might ever happen…

  45. Suspect in Giffords shooting smirks in court appearance

    Jared Loughner, the Tucson man accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others Saturday, appeared in federal court Monday afternoon with a smirk on his lips and a red strawberry bruise on the right side of his forehead.

    Loughner, 22, stood before U.S. Magistrate Lawrence Anderson and answered questions in a deep, resonant voice. He was wearing a tan detention uniform and his head looked shaven.

    He was ordered held without bail.

    • That pic is something. He is enjoying the whole thing.

      Without a doubt, he will make clear his motives and crazy will still be the main theme. No matter where his politics land.

      • Wait, to be considered insane, don’t you have to be unable to stop yourself from doing something wrong even if you know it’s wrong? Isn’t that why that poor woman in Texas had her conviction changes on appeal?
        I think he knew what he was going to do, knew it was wrong, did it anyway even though he could have stopped himself and then invoked the fifth when he was arrested. Mentally ill? Yes. Insane? I’m guessing no. He reminds me of Tim McVeigh.

        • It’s more like thinking what you’re doing is right. If you know the difference between right and wrong and choose to do wrong, you’re an ordinary sane sinner. If you think shooting someone in the head releases the evil demons and you’re doing them a favor, that’s insanity.

          • My crim law professor said if the statue in front of the library tells you to kill someone and you do kill them then you’re not legally insane because you still knew it was wrong.

        • He killed a Federal judge and a kid. He’s probably going to end up like McVeigh.

          • When there is no ambiguity about guilt and the crime is this heinous, it’s very hard to argue against the death penalty.
            On the other hand, someday soon, he may come to his senses and realize that he’s still in his twenties and life in prison is a very, very long time.

        • To be fair, legal standard and everyday standards are different. Obviously you wouldn’t consider shooting someone a valid problem solving solution. That line of thinking is crazy is what I meant, but I agree, this particular guy doesn’t seem to met the legal standard. He does seem to know the difference between right and wrong but just wanted to impose his ideas on others.

          As far as Yates, she had the misfortune of expert testimony not being so expert on the subject of Law and Order episodes. Suggesting she picked up tips from the environment and wasn’t really crazy. But she was crazy in both the legal and everyday standards.

    • Woah! Did you see that picture of Loughner on the front page of the nyt? That is one scary looking dude. He’s either crazy or zealous- or both.
      Bad combination.

      • Sometimes you can’t really tell about crazy, but when you can, like in this case, what’s the deal with selling someone a gun. This guy gives crazy a bad name.

        • This new picture is much scarier than any other pic I’ve seen of Loughner. In the other ones, he just looks like a regular guy. In this one, he looks like a Jehovahs Witness with a new territory and plenty of potential converts.

        • Yup that’s a sociopath stare. But but…he must be all Sarah Palin’s fault. Christ. Progressive activists in the country are collectively losing their marbles…that is if they had any decent judgement to begin with. Liberalism needs rebuilding from the ground up.

  46. New Fears Over Sarah Palin’s Stalker

    A man who’s been legally ordered to stay away from Sarah Palin is causing a new wave of concern in Alaska — after federal agents learned he plans to visit Sarah’s home state in the very near future.

    TMZ has learned … 19-year-old Shawn Christy has told family members he plans to travel to Wasilla in the hopes of removing the restraining order issued against him last year after Sarah and her close friend Kristan Cole proved he sent them threatening emails and letters.

    I follow Palin news pretty closely and I never heard about this guy before.

    I wonder who incited him to act like that?

  47. Things I have noticed today:
    1.) getting microbes to do what you want is tricky because the little suckers are very finicky and high maintenance
    2.) we need. New thread. I can’t do it. I’m taking notes.

  48. Great post. If you want to be legit in your criticisms of Obama and the stuff that was said by Brazille like screaming there will be blood in the streets then you have to hold Palin accountable for her words too.

  49. WaPo:

    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.

    Loughner registered to vote on Sept. 29, 2006, identifying himself as an independent. Records show he voted in the 2006 and 2008 elections but is current listed as “inactive” on the state’s voter roles — meaning that he did not vote in November.

    The political affiliations of Loughner, who is being charged by state and federal authorities with the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) as well as 19 other victims outside a Tucson grocery store on Saturday, have become the subject of a white-hot partisan debate in recent days.

    In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, liberals sought to paint Loughner as an anti-government, tea party conservative. Conservatives retorted that Loughner lacked anything close to a coherent political philosophy — a case strengthened by subsequent glimpses into his personal life that suggests someone struggling with mental illness.

    Loughner’s decision to affiliate as an independent rather than a Republican or Democrat would seem to affirm the sense that while he targeted Giffords in the attack, it was not a decision born of a set of deeply held political beliefs that fit neatly into either party.

    • Or it could suggest that the regular Republicans weren’t extreme enough for him. It could mean a lot of things.
      BTW, as of 2008, I am an independent but I am always going to be an FDR Style Democrat.

      • Maybe he was one of them crazee Pyumas

      • Or it could just as easily suggest that regular Democrats were not extreme enough for him. Both are pure speculation.

        What gives you the idea that he is rightwing, or even right-leaning? What indication at all do we have that he even HAD a discernible political ideology? None so far that I can see.

      • One could connect anything if false reasoning is applied, but it doesn’t mean that there’s a real connection.

      • Or it could mean he was an anti-government truther…which he was.

      • Then there’s his HS friend who said they all were anti-Bush, pro-Kerry supporters in 2004.

  50. After bho the fraud, the entire DNC, Keith Olbermann, Tucker Carlson, Chris Matthews, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, David Axelrod, any surviving Kennedy, Donna Brazile, Oprah Winfrey, CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC and every single other politician, blogger, media person and voter who viciously attacked Hillary and Sarah with verbal assualts and visual imagery or stood by silently apologizes in writing and on full, unedited electronic media to Hillary and Sarah for the (oh, here’s that word) UNPRECEDENTED misogyny they committed against these two American women by commission or omission, then we can go down the list of citizens, politicos and media hacks who have used military/martial/hunting language in their campaigns since 1789. Once we have that list, we can go through it–this may take a while–and see who was expected to apologize for their rhetoric and who wasn’t.

    • Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

      This should be the last word on the subject, but I ain’t holding my breath.

    • I agree.

    • Hear, Hear!

      The misogyny of 2008 was so unprecedented, you might even say it was historic.

      • Thanks, LandOLincoln, Three Wickets and Erica. I misspelled “assaults.” See, I correct my errors–can real and pretend journalists do the same?

  51. I do not know (from what I have read or heard), at this time, just what “wing” he might be from’ but I do know that if you will go to some of those extreme web sites. You will read and hear the most vile, nasty and threatening language you can imagine used against Sarah Palin. Up to wishing her dead! My God, Her remarks were in regard politics, not the death of anyone. I was a long time Democrat and do not agree with many of Palin’s policies, But she is a real person not a phony like some of rthe others.

    • You’re preaching to the converted. We’ve been saying for more than a year now that the bile directed at palin was over the top and dehumanizing. But palin was not shot on Saturday. She is not a victim.

      • No she is not a victim of the shootings. But if you read enough of the bile coming from the progressive left, she is the one to blame and already Loughner is the one they want to defend with explanations. It’s sick and ass backwards.

  52. My 2 cents: I am on the train so I can’t read thread yet but I would add many other names to the antagonistic climate–what about the partisan left voices, like Olbermann, Mathews, Cafferty, Clyburn, most of MSNBC, many on CNN & the deliberately distorted portrait of Palin as a demon maniac (like HRC) c/o Couric et al? There is plenty of vitriol to go around. I do agree that some of the imagery is uncalled for–but it is not new & not isolated to one segment. Let’s call out individuals as needed regardless of party. & HRC is the model for that: don’t forget, she has never personally blamed or attacked Palin either.

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