Beating a dead horse

An example of violent conservative imagery

 


Gallup:

Most Doubt Political Rhetoric a Major Factor in Ariz. Shootings

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Americans dubious that the heated language used in politics today was a major factor that influenced the alleged gunman in last week’s shootings in Tucson, Ariz. Twenty percent say such rhetoric was a major factor in the shootings, while 22% cite it as a minor factor; 42% say it was not a factor at all. Democrats are more likely than independents or Republicans to believe political debate played a role.

[...]

The poll was conducted Jan. 11, three days after Jared Loughner allegedly shot and killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., and seriously injured numerous others including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Some of the early news coverage of the shootings discussed whether the increasingly inflammatory language used in political debate today could have motivated the shooter to attack the Democratic member of Congress. That theory was put forth by the sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., who argued that conservative thought leaders like Sarah Palin use language that may encourage their supporters to commit acts of violence against their opponents.

Most Americans reject that theory, with 53% agreeing that commentators who allege conservative rhetoric was responsible were mostly attempting to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad. Roughly one in three, 35%, say the commentators were making a legitimate point about how dangerous the language used by conservatives can be.

If the connection between violent rhetoric and violence is so obvious, why aren’t more people blaming Sarah Palin and other conservative leaders for what happened in Arizona?

One reason is the lack of a causal connection. Regardless of what one might think of right wing rhetoric, there is no evidence that Jared Loughner was familiar with it, let alone influenced by it.

But another reason might be that for at least fifty years we have been hearing that the high rates of violence in this country are caused by violent cartoons, television shows, Rock and Roll, Hip-Hop/Rap and video games.

Something Not Unlike Research

There are well-conducted studies — notably by the social psychologist Brad Bushman and his colleagues — that show that, for example, exposing a child to a violent videogame, leads to an increased likelihood of aggressive behaviors. Craig Anderson, Bushman, and their colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of this research and concluded that

The evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.

Which suggests that if we had a large increase in the consumption of violent videogames, we’d see a large increase in violence, right? However, we don’t seem to see this. The Figure to the right (below) plots the rates of assaults in the US as reported in the Bureau of Justice Statistics Victimization Survey. When the survey started, there were no such things as violent videogames. But the rates of assaults have steadily decreased. Just for fun, I put in the date when the first version of Grand Theft Auto was released. If anything, the decline in assaults seems to have accelerated during the violent videogame era.



Sometimes you hear that “correlation is not causation.” But we have here is a “negative correlation.” The fact is that despite the rhetoric coming from the right wing in this country political violence is pretty rare in the United States. And despite all the violent imagery in our culture, murder and other violent crimes have been declining since 1993.

This is not to say that violent political rhetoric is a good thing or even harmless. But the problem in this most recent case is that the media and the progressive blogosphere jumped the gun and went off half-cocked. They assumed that they had found a smoking gun but when the evidence began to emerge it revealed that the shooting in Tucson was not a political assassination attempt but something that is unfortunately far more common – a mentally ill spree killer.

As a result, continuing to focus on the issue of violent political rhetoric comes across to the public as trying to politicize a tragedy.

It’s time to stop beating a dead horse.



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170 Responses

  1. I had 2 friends(one indy, one dem) in separate conversations today say to me they are through with this crap and will vote for Palin because they are sick and tired of the shit that keeps getting thrown at her.

    • Mission accomplished, Kos!

      • Exactly.

        Who remembers where Geraldine Ferraro went after her VP election cycle? I don’t.

        If they just let her go back to Alaska in peace and quiet she wouldn’t be the force she is today. Word was that Obama ordered AK Dems, who liked her before the VP campaign, to go after her or face no DNC funding. His usual threat.

        So Obama has helped to create her as well. The fool.

        • Was she the one on the Flip Wilson show?

        • I think the Obama administration saw how well misogyny worked in 2008 and has deliberately promoted the idea of Palin being the rethug front runner.

          They figure that she will be an easier apponant, because misogyny works so well.

          • Frankly, I wouldn’t doubt it.

            Obama’s presidential speeches would make reference to her Facebook posting. He even ran against her and not McCain during the election, so she has been in his noodle for a while.

          • I don’t support Sarah Palin. But everytime the proggers bash her, I take another look.

  2. The origins of violence are really complex and fascinating. What makes one person grow up violent and another not? We don’t really know, but we know that some people survive awful childhoods and various atrocities and still become gentle and peaceful people.

    Of course when you add a brain disorder into the mix, things get even more complicated because you can’t explain irrational acts done by irrational people.

  3. Think of it this way.
    Put 5 sane and normal people in a room.
    How much vitriol and polarizing talk would it take to make one or all of them go out and buy a gun and start shooting people?

    I am betting that no amount of loud polarizing political rhetoric would prompt any of those 5 sane individuals to become shooters.
    They aren’t suddenly going to become killers, no matter what Sarah says.
    Ain’t gonna happen.

    • Yeah, but there are 280 million people in this country and a few of them MIGHT be influenced by that kind of talk, so the rest of us have to watch what we say.

      • No we don’t. And this preoccupation with the form of political discourse–as opposed to its actual content–is a huge and wasteful distraction.

      • I disagree that we have to watch what we say about anything for fear that some nut is going to grab a gun & start shooting. The Son of Sam was set off by a dog — by this logic, we should we kill all dogs too, lest they get possessed by demons and order the nuts to kill.

      • When we decide that we have to be careful what we say in fear some one will go out and do something violent we encourage those people who like to get hysterical and use tragic circumstances to get a political or legal advantage. It allows everyone who wants to, to cry wolf and demand attention every time.

  4. That pic summarizes it — this whole brouhaha has been an exercise in “hang Palin from a tree and see who cheers.”

  5. Someone at least is asking why this guy didn’t get help sooner:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/12/AR2011011204006.html?sub=AR

    The money quote, imo:

    We leave people alone in America, to a fault. We walk past rambling, dazed homeless people every day, if we live in big cities, avoiding their gaze rather than seeking to intervene. And even when we try to stop people whose behavior seems to pose a danger to themselves or others, it’s hard to do anything about it, as Loughner’s professors at Pima Community College discovered.

    • Unless you’re a woman who wants birth control pills. Then the pharmacist is only too happy to intervene to protect your nonexistent child.

  6. Okay, completely off topic to the horse at hand, here’s a nice distraction from the insanity. It’s had me laughing all afternoon.

    This was this young lady’s college level sign language class final, interpreting Cee Lo Green’s infamous song. I’d give her an A!!!

  7. Well, the first time I saw that graph (elsewhere), I couldn’t help but wonder if it has more to do with the aging of different demographic age groups, than proving anything much about a relationship between violent images and games. As people age, they’re much less likely to commit violent crimes. Yes, it’s a rate/1000, but the boomers (I believe) still make up a disproportionate percent of the population.

    Or it could be a million other factors. Crime reporting is a famously political thing, and it’s influenced by economic and demographic factors.

    What influences violent behavior in our society is a pretty complex thing. Please note I’m not making an argument in favor of the “Palin shot Giffords with her internet mapz!” or Grand Theft Auto, or whatever.

    I just think that many people try awfully hard to prove that violent games, music, movies etc have no influence over behavior — not impossible but somewhat unlikely. Advertisers spend billions a year to do just that. Politicians too. We’re a pretty visual species, it would be amazing if no one was ever influenced by things they see (or hear) every day. But it’s a pretty complex thing, because it’s one type of influence on a pretty complex organ, the human brain, amidst a pretty complex society.

    • I do think those things have influence to a certain extent — I think they contribute a lot to the desensitization from violence & vulgarity I notice among the younger people today. However, I don’t think these thinks can be called “triggers” any more than anything else is a “trigger” (like a dog) for psychotics. IMO, if psychotics are attracted to certain games, music, etc. it is because they have a violent predisposition, not the other way around. That is, blaming Arizona (or Hinkley, or the VA Tech student) on games, music, words goes too far & misses the most important issue here –the problems with the care & treatment of the mentally ill.

      • Imagine if we tried to take all the violent language and imagery from our culture.

        • Well, that would severely limit my ability to communicate.

        • I think there’s a problem with your logic. Language does not in my opinion generate violence, but “the violent language and imagery” in our culture is the manifestation of the violence within. The violence in games and entertainment (TV, cyber games, hockey, football, and even basketball) is helpful in that it releases the anger within. People who bottle up their anger, eventually release it in more physical forms. I think that the Tea Party is very healthy. Language (screaming, signs, etc) is the first release valve that politicians should heed, not ignore.

        • We’d probably all wake up dead.

      • I do agree (big surprise). It’s much easier to blame movies etc than to provide help and support to those who need it.

        • Exactly. You always put it much better & clearer than I can!

          • ha ha angie, I’m always thinking the same about you.

          • ha, ha Valhalla — I think you’re great. Maybe we should start a mutual admiration society! :-)

            (Sincerely though — that’s a huge compliment coming from you).

      • Maybe since then the juvenile delinquents have been too busy playing video games.

    • The Freakanomics guy says it’s passage of Roe v Wade in 1973. Twenty years later we are spared thousands of unwanted/neglected, crime-prone young adults that otherwise would have been born.

      Has that been debunked formally somewhere?

      *****A

      • No. He only provided correlation. If you start about 18 years after 1973, you see that the crime rate has never risen year-to-year after that. There could be other factors. There are more mandatory minimumsentences and more people in jail. There’s also againg of the population, although America is starting to get younger again.

      • I’ll tell you what — I can believe that just based on common sense because a lot of the serial killers I’ve read about (I used to have a morbid curiosity about them) were unwanted & neglected kids.

        • Of course, now society seems to be going the opposite way — all these “desperately wanted” children being raised by helicopter parents are becoming sociopaths, imo, who never having to face consequences for their actions or being taught to value anyone else’s feeling but their own & valuing their own self-esteem above all else.

      • Need it be debunked? Maybe it’s true.

        For anti-abortionists, count from when birth control became legal and/or easier.

  8. I had to laugh at this today:

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2011/01/6_horrible_acts_of_violence_bl.php

    A band called “Drowning Pool” does not want to be blamed for the shootings. Just cuz Loughner liked them.

    Wonder if they are TEA partiers? Or if they play at Sarah’s book signings??

  9. Glenn Reynolds:

    But here’s what’s going on in the dance between Palin and what she calls the “lamestream” media: Every time they attack her, they wind up doing something that hurts them worse than it hurts her. She may not become President, and she may not even want to be President — though, regardless, it’s in her interest to keep everyone guessing as long as possible — but with little more than an Internet connection and Facebook she’s done more lasting harm to their position than anybody else. Last night Barack Obama threw them under the bus over the whole “rhetoric” question, just hours after she had managed to work them into a snarling frenzy with an Internet video. Even though it’s hurting them, they can’t — and I mean, literally, psychologically can’t — leave her alone. And she’s getting rich the whole time.

    So I don’t know about “Presidential,” but who’s dumb, here?

  10. The missing comment had something to do with horses, beatings, clowns, Palin, rhetoric, Kos, Global warming and Baskin Robbins Pistacio Nut Ice Cream. Not necessarily in that order.

  11. Oh, for Pete’s sake, myiq, you don’t really believe you can determine the truth with a POLL?!??

    Or that the popular thing is the same as the right thing.

    Reminds me of the kids who found a kitten and wanted to know if it was a boy or girl. So they said, “let’s vote”.

    Don’t forget the guy who shot those people in that Knoxvillle church was reading:
    * The O’Reilly Factor, by television commentator Bill O’Reilly
    * Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, by radio personality Michael Savage
    * Let Freedom Ring, by political pundit Sean Hannity

    I seem the Confluence protesting vigorously against the image in the above post, and so did I. Why now do they want to defend the right to use the words and imagery of assassination in political speech?

    Oh, come on now, does anyone REALLY believe Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shootings?

    http://camelsnose.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/fatwa-against-liberals/

    • Nijma,, your logic is very faulty. The guy in Knoxville is not Loughner. The guy who shot 32 persons at Virginia Tech didn’t read O’Reilly either. People who go into shooting sprees have their own issues. If you throw the two dice, you might get a 7, and if you roll them again, chances are you will get another 7 because it’s the most common combination. But each roll is independent of the other rolls. There’s no connection between the first roll and the second. None.

    • The poll was not an argument. It was only meant to prove that people ain’t buying what you’re selling.
      But don’t let that stop you. keep it up. Please!

      • Oh, come on now, does anyone REALLY believe Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shootings?

        Nobody around here thinks Sarah is the victim. She’s making out like a bandit.

        The graphic is there to point out progressive hypocrisy on the issue of violent rhetoric or imagery.

        It’s not a false equivalency either. Charles Manson and Pol Pot were both evil, but it’s not a contest to see which one is more evil than the other.

        Progressives can’t make conservatives change their ways. Progressives can only change themselves. Screaming “false equivalency!” is just a way of saying “They need to change, not us!”

    • No one on this board has said that she is the “real
      victim” as you so crassly put it. What an outrageous statement.

      But has she been the victim of a sycophantic and corrupt media? Yes. And no one is making a moral equivalence except you.

      Sorry if I’m being harsh but when I see the media slyly and cynically linking a woman whom they perceive as an ideological opponent to mass murder, it gets my dander up.

      They’ve used smear propaganda against Hillary and now they’re doing it to Palin. Which female politician is next, I have to wonder. It’s rank misogyny and hypocrisy and I can only hope that the American people see through it.

      • I’ve been having the same sick feeling in my gut as I hear the constant programmed hatred toward Palin. Waaay too familiar to 2008.

        Burn the witch!
        Burn the witch!

        It is a relentless, hysterical hit job, and now, people everywhere are joking–in coffee shops, on TV, in passing–about their hatred for Palin (as if it’s original). Baaaaa…good sheep.

        • Me too, fif. And it’s especially disturbing when the ranters are women.

          • The strongest Palin blaming and bashing on facebook have come from women, at least on my feed. That’s made me very sad. Even today, progressive women from LA to New Hampshire circulating illustrated images of guns and bullets done with P-A-L-I-N lettering. I had to shut down and walk away.

        • And that “Baaaaa…good sheep” reaction goes for Jon Stewart’s audience too!

          Even in the unlikely event that he would say something positive about Palin, his well trained audience would still perceive it as a slam at her and loudly cheer and applause.

          Even if he’s funny and often on point – and he is! – he too is a demagogue of sorts – and with a pretty big following at that.

          • She/her name seems to have become the epitome of the Pavlov effect. I’m guessing that the reaction to mentioning her name practically anywhere in the world today will most likely be either a sneer or a mocking laughter! Or both.

          • (Having a conversation with myself here, ha!)

            And “everybody” knows, that she claimed to be able to see Russia from her porch. That she doesn’t read. That she shoots wolves from a helicopter. And that she doesn’t know the difference between N. and S. Korea …

            That’s about it. Her politics? Pfffttt – who cares about those!

          • Public CDS has transferred almost entirely to public PDS. Private CDS is of course still very much intact. The affliction clearly crosses party lines and policies. The only thing that explains it for me is deep seated misogyny, particularly about female leadership. It’s like an epidemic. Very ugly.

    • I’m encouraged by the poll. It reflects to some degree what the nation at large thinks for now, not what political activists are trying to make them think. Political media and blogs do not report straight news. If most people in the country understand that, we are healthier for it imo. The real facts in the case are still being investigated.

      • Absolutely. Well said.

        It’s why I try to read both sides (not the fringe on either side). It’s an OMMISSION thing.

        I want to know what the left has ommitted, so I read some right.

        I want to know what the right has ommitted, so I read some left.

        I don’t like being manipulated or led by the nose by EITHER side.

        It’s how we Scots-Irish are, for God’s sake. :)

  12. Oh, come on now, does anyone REALLY believe Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shootings?

    Nijma,
    The true victims are those who died or were injured, their families because they too hurt, those who live in AZ, and yes, Loughner’s family. The sad thing, is that people like you, for your own reasons, want to blame Palin. I think that’s violence against Sarah Palin, but many in the media, and apparently you, have no problem with that.

    • Don’t put words in my mouth.

      Palin’s “don’t retread, reload” attitude is stupid and bullying and models an attitude of violence. It is right to criticize her for it.

      But just like anyone who criticizes Teh Precious is automatically guilty of r@@@@cism, anyone who criticizes Palin’s actions is “blaming Palin”, striking a blow against her and against the foundations of freedom itself.

      Don’t forget to throw in a gratuitous “for their own reasons” for a little sinister but meaningless innuendo.

      Repeat five or six times and maybe even people will stop thinking for themselves and just repeat the mantra.

      Why oh why are the conservatives so afraid of this line of criticism? They are running scared. Start talking about how the Right is demonizing the Left acting like anyone who doesn’t share their political orientation isn’t a Real American or Doesn’t Love Their Children and you can see them start to bite their nails. They don’t have any policy points to stand on–take away their name-calling and they have nothing.

      • You think conservatives are afraid of the criticism of the past few days and are running away from it? Bwahahahaha.

        • That’s like Tom Brady being scared to throw the football.

        • Yup, I heard one commentator call it an ‘absolute victory’ that the left was so quick to blame Palin and the Tea Party. Because it showed how effective they were and how scared the left was.

          And the guy isn’t a Palin fan.

          Blaming Palin has only united more of their party behind her.

          • So true. I know people who are totally not into politics and who, the last time they thought of Palin was back in 2008 when McCain picked her to be VP & weren’t all that impressed then, who are not liking her now &/or seeing her as an underdog v. the media. The rationale is that if the media hates her so much there must be *something* good about her.

          • That should have been “who are now liking her” not “not liking her.”

      • Palin’s “don’t retreat, reload” attitude is stupid and bullying and models an attitude of violence. It is right to criticize her for it.
        *************************************
        This is violent imagery and does not belong in public discourse. I’m saying this as a gun owner.
        That does not mean that I think that Palin had a thing to do with the AZ shootings.

        • I’m a liberal. I would never own a gun. I dislike guns. I think that Palin’s “don’t retreat, reload” are beautifully crafted words that create an imagery of not allowing defeat to set in and give up, but to try again. I never took it her words to be violent. “They bring a knife to fight, we bring a gun” is more violent and coarse, imo.

          I’ve not found Palin’s words offensive, but her political beliefs.

      • I’m not a fan of the “don’t retreat, reload” and I don’t think you are “blaming Palin” for the AZ shooting. But, I don’t think that phrase is bullying.
        Bullying is not saying something offensive. Bullying is systematic & repeated acts that create, or attempt to create, one person’s or group’s power over another person or group.

        • I don’t know, angienc, it might be the blowback from bullying that was done by the Democrats when they constantly disrespected working class citizens by calling them hillbilies, low-information voters, and God and guns grasping. voters.

          • See, the word “blowback” is violent. (I’m not picking on you JeanLouise, but just showing how ridiculous this parsing of words is). Where does it stop? The word “campaign” is violent too, if you want to be technical, as it was designed to describe warfare. Using violent imagery or being offensive does not equate to bullying.
            BUT, I gotta say — the Dem. party’s treatment of Hillary and the working class in 2008 does equate to bullying, IMO. It was systematic & designed to enforce their power over her & us.

          • I think “bullying” is a buzzword we could do without around here (assuming we are gonna ban buzzwords)

            Too many people have been using the term “bullying” to mean “I lost the argument”

            Of course most of them are gone now.

          • There are no silver bullets to correct the problem because it is not the words but the anger within that’s the problem. I think what makes Palin’s words so powerful is that she says them with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile in her voice. That’s her power and that’s why the Democrats and the Republicans are scared. I like Sarah Palin, but not her policies. That’s too bad.

          • I vote for a ban on the buzzword “bullying.”

          • No silver what?

        • Like orchestrated vicious astroturfing to silence supporters of an opponent for instance.

          Or intimidating people at polling places so they won’t vote for your opponent…for instance.

      • Oh, come on now, does anyone REALLY believe Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shootings?

        Followed by:

        Palin’s “don’t retread, reload” attitude is stupid and bullying and models an attitude of violence. It is right to criticize her for it.

        I have no idea what words you see my putting in your mouth. That was not my intention.
        The problem with your first post, as I mentioned before, is the logic of conflating the AZ tragedy, with the Knoxville tragedy and Palin. You didn’t criticize what Palin said. If you had, I might disagree with you, but I doubt that I’d go beyond that. I didn’t mind it when she used those words because to me, she was implying, don’t give up, try again. But it would not have been as forceful as “don’t retread, reload”. That’s a beautiful use of language and imagery. It’s unfortunate that I don’t agree with her, because I like her fire.

      • At this stage in the investigation, there is zero evidence that anything Palin said or did contributed to the psychotic shooter’s actions, full stop. Speculation otherwise is just that…speculation.

  13. I might have missed it but I didn’t see Nijima blame Palin for the massacre in AZ.

    • What Nijma said Knoxville tragedy was the result of the right wing media, and by inference, that the AZ tragedy was influenced by the right wing hate echo chamber.

      Nijma ended her comment with: “Oh, come on now, does anyone REALLY believe Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shootings?”
      I understood that comment to mean that all the attacks against SP were justified because of her comment about “reloading”.

      • The attacks against SP accusing her of the Tucson shootings were not “justified.” There will always be some emotional venting and scapegoating following sudden tragedies like this. But this progressive campaign since Saturday has been intense and deliberate. A small example: think I’ve read the exact line “Sarah Palin’s career is now over” a hundred times since the weekend. I personally don’t have much invested in Sarah Palin’s presidential aspirations, so her career is not that important to me. But I have no doubt in my mind that the bashing was programmed.

  14. Ah, that would be “don’t retreat, reload” , wouldn’t it, not “retread”. Freudian slip.

  15. If anyone hasn’t seen the right-wing assassinate-a-liberal theme yet, I’ve posted some images of bumper stickers and such here:
    http://camelsnose.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/this-is-just-wrong/

    • I see them on pick-up trucks all the time.

      Nobody ever took a shot at me driving a car with an “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker though.

    • Well, I’ve also seen the “conservative are brain damaged and/or r@cists” memes too. Both sides are full of morons, imo.

    • I’ve never seen them. I’m surrounded by liberals only a tad to the right of the People’s Republic of Berkeley. I think a car with that message would not be safe. In 2008, I never put a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker on my car, or a sign on my window as I normally did in prior elections because I was afraid for my safety. That’s how irrational the Obots are. I’m more afraid of them than any GOP.

      • I live in the Bay Area, and I never put a sticker on my car for fear it would be keyed, or worse. My mom put out a Hillary sign and it was gone in an hour. A friend had a guy come into her yard and try to take her sign, and when she came to her door to run him off, he started yelling at her and told her she better watch out because he knew where she lived and he could come back when she wasn’t expecting it.

        I guess those are examples of what 0 meant when he told his supporters to get up in our faces.

        • I’ve lived in a red district most of my life. I’ve argued politics with conservatives (including the redneck variety) in classrooms, offices, breakrooms, bars, barbershops, and other social settings. I was almost always outnumbered and sometimes the only liberal present.

          I never felt the least bit threatened and the discussions were polite and good-natured.

          I never saw ANYTHING like I saw in 2008 with the Obots. They were rude, abusive and sometimes threatening in tone if not in actual words. I would not feel safe discussing politics by myself with a group of obots in real life.

          Punks are dangerous when they run in packs.

    • Look. Suppose a liberal did get shot in that guy’s town. That guy would be a prime suspect because of his bumper sticker.

      How many guys would be dumb enough to put on a bumper sticker if they were really going to do it? The fact of using such imagery publicly means they are NOT serious.

    • Nijma,

      Did you see the movie “The Assassination of George W. Bush?

      Did you see the map on Daily Kos “targeting” Gabby Gifford for “elimination” cuz she’s a Blue Dog?

      Give it a rest, dear.

      • “dear”???!?

        Do we know each other from somewhere or was that an attempt to be dismissive and condescending instead of posting a link or making an actual point?.

        If anyone doesn’t understand the difference between shooting at a target and shooting at a person, I doubt if I could explain it so they would understand.

  16. According to this Rabbi, Sarah Palin Is Right About ‘Blood Libel’

    Judaism rejects the idea of collective responsibility for murder.

    Despite the strong association of the term with collective Jewish guilt and concomitant slaughter, Sarah Palin has every right to use it. The expression may be used whenever an amorphous mass is collectively accused of being murderers or accessories to murder.

    The abominable element of the blood libel is not that it was used to accuse Jews, but that it was used to accuse innocent Jews—their innocence, rather than their Jewishness, being the operative point. Had the Jews been guilty of any of these heinous acts, the charge would not have been a libel.

    • I like Sarah’s English. She paints with her words so that we get images that work. “Blood libel” talked to me. It said that she had been unjustifiably accused of being responsible for blood that was spilled by a “evil” (I didn’t like the “evil” word) criminal. I would have preferred she had said “for reasons we don’t know yet”.

      Her speech had punch.

      • Agree completely. And she had EVERY right to defend herself against the slimy Journolist slander/libel.

        Obots are not calling for civility now because they want civility.

        They’re calling for civility because they lost, and feel wounded.

        Tittie babies.

  17. When I said “does anyone REALLY believe Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shootings?” I was referring to Palin’s statement painting herself as the victim:

    Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible…. We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.

    In other words, using the words and images of assassination do not incite hatred and violence; it is POINTING OUT the words and images of assassination that cause hatred and violence. Yes, by pointing out Sarah Palin’s images of violence, I have myself caused the Arizona shootings, not to mention striking a blow against her and against the foundations of freedom itself.

    It’s not libel though, because libel has to be untrue.

    • Palin used images that gun user use, but at no time were those images for “assassination”. That’s is really nonsense. To attack her language style and imagery as violent is total b.s., imo.

    • using the words and images of assassination do not incite hatred and violence; it is POINTING OUT the words and images of assassination that cause hatred and violence.

      There’s no EVIDENCE that you can point to, that Sarah Palin’s words and/or images have caused hatred and/or violence. None. Just because her words and image are gun related, you cannot ASSUME causation without evidence.

      • WHO has ever accused Palin of causing the AZ shooting? I have yet to see a direct quotation, a link, or even a name of some person who supposedly said this.

        WHO is Palin blaming for picking on her?

        • Look at the tweet from kos up above

          • Huh? You mean “mission accomplished Sarah Palin”? On twitter? If that’s what triggered her big victimization speech, I don’t get it.

            I was in bed, post surgery and listened to EVERYTHING, evening news, commentaries, late night shows, Charlie Rose, was even driving late at night listening to radio talk shows. Nada.

            They did play the “blood libel” thing several time and several people called in to say it was a very, very unfortunate and somewhat shocking thing to say (it doesn’t ring any bells for me) and they wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt and she couldn’t possibly have known what she was really saying or she wouldn’t have said it.

          • So you never saw or heard ANYONE suggest Sarah was responsible for the tragedy?

          • Hi Nijma. Hope ankle surgery went ok and you’re able to rest some. Had a few links for you, but must have fallen down. :-) Let’s see if just the comment makes it through.

            You must not have been on the 3,300 active boards on facebook alone re Palin since Saturday…or on their regular newsfeed posts and comments…or twitter or all the blog posts and comments. Small idea of it here, here, here, here, here.

          • Yes, thank you, feeling much better now that I know I won’t lose my foot. Obamacare does not look so good from here. I have more Vicodin than I could possibly ever use, but if I take it, I won’t be able to poop.

          • Easy on the Vicodin. That drug is way too feel good for comfort. I got a pile from my dentist after I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Had to fight to keep from picking up a habit. :-) Seriously though, glad your foot is going to be ok and still with you.

          • I don’t really like the Vicodin, but it did help me sleep. I usually take a NSAID like naproxen sodium, but they told me to stop taking it. I guess it interferes with healing. Or maybe there’s the NSAID acetaminophen in Vicodin too.

        • Good grief, who didn’t?

        • You must not have been on the 3,300 active boards on facebook alone re Palin since Saturday…or on their regular newsfeed posts and comments…or twitter or all the blog posts and comments. Small idea of it here, here, here, here, here.

          • Okay, the Facebook, Youtube, and LiveJournal I can’t see because of the nannyware of the IP I’m, uh, “borrowing” bandwidth from. But in the rest of it I see some careful statements, some say “climate of hate and fear”, which I agree with, but some pretty careful statements regarding blame, some specifically say Palin was not responsible. The only person I see saying outright that Palin is responsible is Jane Fonda, if she is who Palin means by “journalists and pundits”.

            As for the rest, “respected bloggers” and such, hey I’m, a respected blogger– just maybe not in Buttburgerland — but really that’s more in the category of “some guy on the internet”, not “journalists and pundits”. I have to say the progressives seem to have swallowed her spiel hook line and sinker without thinking about it. But then Palin is a beautiful woman.

          • Ha, ha. They’re spinning it for sure; you don’t get readership on a blog like that for cautious, responsible statements. But I’m glad someone else is spinning it because it’s the fringes that make the center the center. And if you ask me, the crazies on the right have the center tilted way out of shape.

    • Gun and military metaphors are widely used; part of the US culture. Have you seen the Democrats’ similar map? Iirc it used words like ‘target’ and ‘battleground’ and ‘behind enemy lines’.

      Not everyone takes these metaphors literally. Country people who really have and use guns (to hunt for food or protect themselves and their livestock from wild animals) know the differnece between metaphor and reality.

      • Not just country people know the difference between metaphor & reality — all rationale people know the difference too.

        • I wonder sometimes.

          But my point was, that urban people might take a gun reference as non-metaphorical — while country people who use guns see real guns as tools, everyday items, therefore are more able to see gun references as metaphorical.

    • Look, I’m liberal, don’t support Palin, but this progressive campaign accusing her of the shooting (before there’s even been an investigation) has really pissed me off. Now if I were your garden variety tea party activist, I think I’d be steaming…like seriously steaming. I think that’s what she’s speaking to in that quote.

  18. Amazon:

    Crashing the Gate
    Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
    by Jerome Armstrong, Markos Moulitsas

    Crashing the Gate is a shot across the bow at the political establishment in Washington, DC and a call to re-democratize politics in America.

    This book lays bare, with passion and precision, how ineffective, incompetent, and antiquated the Democratic Party establishment has become, and how it has failed to adapt and respond to new realities and challenges. The authors save their sharpest knives to go for the jugular in their critique of Republican ideologues who are now running—and ruining—our country.

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