Monday, January 10, 2011

Is It Fair To Blame Palin, Beck And Other Violent Rightists For Inciting Murder?

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Right-wing terrorist, assassin and mass murderer Jared Loughner


Early Sunday morning author David Swanson, perhaps in response to the mainstream media's and Republican Party's concerted efforts to paint yesterday's incident as a result of violent rhetoric on both sides, posted the above tweet. Earlier, Palin, who spent Saturday frantically scrubbing all her calls to violence from her websites, had a spokesperson, Rebecca Mansour, try to turn her violent and incendiary rhetoric against Giffords and other Democrats on it's head, positioning her as a martyr, one of her favorite poses.
In fact, she said that the "target list" was not intended to allude to guns.

"We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," she said.

"It's surveyor's symbols," the interviewer Tammy Bruce suggested. Bruce, a Palin supporter, describes herself as "a gay, pro-choice, gun owning, pro-death penalty, Tea Party Independent Conservative. " Her show is promoted as a "chick with a gun and a microphone."

Mansour agreed. She said that the graphic was contracted out to a professional. They approved it quickly without thinking about it. "We never imagined, it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent," she said. Rather, she said, that it was simply "crosshairs that you would see on a map."

There is "nothing irresponsible about our graphic," she said.

She did not, however, mention the "don't retreat, instead- RELOAD!" Palin tweet that went out shortly after the graphic was posted on both her Facebook page and SarahPac's website, directing them to the graphic. The tweet turned quickly into a Palin mantra. Many, even then, urged her to stop using such violent rhetoric. If she heard them, she did not retreat.

Nor did she mention Palin's tweet right after the election gloating how 18 of her 20 House targets were eliminated. Giffords was one of the two who wasn't. And there were lots and lots of retweets. The one below mentions ScopedByLarry. That's how Palin's sociopathic illness goes viral. The term "bullseye," indicates that Palin knew exactly what her scope sites were-- as much as her tweet about re-loading (which no one thought referred to a mechanical pencil).


The push back from the GOP about accepting any of the blame for what happened in Tucson Saturday goes far beyond Sarah Palin's ridiculous amateurish efforts to coverup her own sedition. Paul Broun, a violent John Bircher from rural Georgia routinely incites his audiences towards gun violence and revolution, giving permission to "crazy" angry people to go shoot up the government. At an Open Carry rally in Alexandria, Virginia on April 19 he was a real crowd pleaser exhorting the gathering of gun nuts that "We must declare war against oppression and against Socialism, and you are the people to do that." I guess he meant "declare war" in the sense that doing a good survey is like fighting a war. Media Matters put together a stellar report on Republicans fanning the flames of violence. Here are a few examples from some of the worst crackpot Republican leaders:


Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)

These people decided to cast their votes on the Lord's day. He is taking notes and paying attention. We foot our heels on him as our fore fathers did. We will wait and see his deliverance. But you and I, we will solemnly resolve here to do everything in our power to restore freedom and to send that cart of socialists down to where they belong in the river down there. We will see freedom once more restored, and Washington, DC taken apart so that it no longer is a threat on American freedom and liberty.

Sharron Angle, Nevada Republican/Tea Party candidate

You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.

I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."

Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

Right now I'm a member of Congress. And I believe that my job here is to be a foreign correspondent, reporting from enemy lines. And people need to understand, this isn't a game. this isn't just a political talk show that's happening right now. This is our very freedom, and we have 230 years, a continuous link of freedom that every generation has ceded to the next generation. This may be the time when that link breaks. And I'm going to do everything I can, I know you are, to make sure that we keep that link secure. We cannot allow that link to break, because as Reagan said, America is the last great hope of mankind. Where do we go...

I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people-- we the people-- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.

John Boehner (R-OH)

Boehner says there will be major political consequences for pro-life Democrats who break from the Stupak bloc. "Take [Rep.] Steve Driehaus, for example," he says. "He may be a dead man. He can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati. The Catholics will run him out of town."

Catherine Crabill, failed GOP candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates

We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right.

Brad Goehring, candidate (R-CA)

If I could issue hunting permits, I would officially declare today opening day for  liberals. The season would extend through November 2 and have no limits on how many taken as we desperately need to "thin" the herd.

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)

We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.

Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And I wanna say that I'm a proud right-wing terrorist. ...

HERGER: Amen. God bless you. There's a great American.

Mike Huckabee (R-AR)

Every member of Congress knows in his gut what's in the people's interest and what's in K Street's interest. If you think your real boss is some smug guy sitting in a corner office with his Gucci loafers up on a mahogany desk and not those folks back home, those folks who voted for you, who gave you 25 or 50 hard-earned bucks, who put up the yard signs and made calls for you, then you deserve to lose. Shame on you, Mr. Congressman. You shouldn't just be fired, you ought to be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done. That's my view and I welcome yours.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

If I could start a country with a bunch of people it would be the folks standing out here the last few days. Let's hope we don't have to do that. Let's beat that other side to a pulp. Let's take them out, let's chase them down. There's going to be a reckoning!

Rep. Allen West, (R-FL)

Talking about his opponent, Congressman Ron Klein, "Let me tell you what you've got to do. You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house. That's the only way that you're going to win. That's the only way you're going to get these people's attention."

Despite what Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been saying-- "I think that when the rhetoric about hatrid, about mistrust of government, about paranoia of how government operates and to try to inflame the public on a daily basis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has impact on people especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with" (already under attack from far right extremist Jon Kyl and even more deranged reactionary closet queen Trent Franks)-- and even despite what Fox News is reporting, delusional right-wingers-- let along the culprits at Fox-- refuse to take any responsibility for the mayhem and insist that the anti-Semitic Tea Party terrorist was either "just crazy" or a leftist.
According to a law enforcement memo based on information provided by DHS and obtained by Fox News, Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, may have been influenced by a pro-white racist organization that publishes an anti-immigration newsletter.

No direct connection, but strong suspicion is being directed at American Renaissance, an organization that Loughner mentioned in some of his internet postings and federal law enforcement officials are investigating Loughner's possible links to the organization. The organization is a monthly publication that promotes a variety of white racial positions.

"The group's ideology is anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic," according to the memo which goes on to point out that Congressman Giffords is the first Jewish female elected to high office in Arizona. A recent posting on American Renaissance's website on January 7 begins with an article entitled: "Exit poll: Whites are Different." The site goes on to list anti-immigration articles. Investigators are also pursuing Loughner's alleged anti-Semitism.

One thing is certain-- if an American Muslim had posted a map of the country with gun sights on 20 Members of Congress and then started ranting and raving about "reloading," and then seen an assassination attempt against one of those targets (with half a dozen deaths in the process)... well, you tell me, where would that Muslim be about now? Not sitting in his comfy living room counting his pieces of gold in Wasilla.

UPDATE: A Hero... And American False Equivalency

Daniel Hernandez, a gay University of Arizona student who had been an intern in Giffords' office for 5 days, most likely saved her life when, upon hearing the gunfire, ran towards it, found her on the ground and applied pressure to her wound until paramedics arrived. I wonder if deranged gun fanatic Jon Kyl, who was about to be challenged by Giffords for his Senate seat, is asking the INS to investigate Hernandez as a possible candidate for deportation. Hernandez's bravery and selflessness is not the same, is not equivalent, to Jon Kyl's self-serving exploitation. They're fundamentally different. And the role of the left and the right in the creation of a climate that inculcates domestic terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Glenn Beck, Joe Stack, Scott Roeder (and his sponsor, Bill O'Reilly) and, most recently of course, Jared Loughner is very, very different. An editorial in yesterday's NY Times, after a full day of braindead TV talk show hosts getting it all wrong, captured the essence:
Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Ms. Giffords, killing a federal judge and five other people, and wounding 13 others, appears to be mentally ill. His paranoid Internet ravings about government mind control place him well beyond usual ideological categories.

But he is very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of politicians and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery. With easy and legal access to semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the parking lot, those already teetering on the edge of sanity can turn a threat into a nightmare.

Last spring, Capitol security officials said threats against members of Congress had tripled over the previous year, almost all from opponents of health care reform. An effigy of Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Maryland Democrat, was hung from a gallows outside his district office. Ms. Giffords’s district office door was smashed after the health vote, possibly by a bullet.

The federal judge who was killed, John Roll, had received hundreds of menacing phone calls and death threats, especially after he allowed a case to proceed against a rancher accused of assaulting 16 Mexicans as they tried to cross his land. This rage, stirred by talk-radio hosts, required marshals to give the judge and his family 24-hour protection for a month. Around the nation, threats to federal judges have soared for a decade.

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal.

And Krugman was even more eloquent in his own column:
Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

Of course, the likes of Mr. Beck and Mr. O’Reilly are responding to popular demand. Citizens of other democracies may marvel at the American psyche, at the way efforts by mildly liberal presidents to expand health coverage are met with cries of tyranny and talk of armed resistance. Still, that’s what happens whenever a Democrat occupies the White House, and there’s a market for anyone willing to stoke that anger.

But even if hate is what many want to hear, that doesn’t excuse those who pander to that desire. They should be shunned by all decent people.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been happening: the purveyors of hate have been treated with respect, even deference, by the G.O.P. establishment. As David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter, has put it, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”

So will the Arizona massacre make our discourse less toxic? It’s really up to G.O.P. leaders. Will they accept the reality of what’s happening to America, and take a stand against eliminationist rhetoric? Or will they try to dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual, and go on as before?

If Arizona promotes some real soul-searching, it could prove a turning point. If it doesn’t, Saturday’s atrocity will be just the beginning.

Remember when Bill Frist (R-TN) remotely diagnosed a brain-dead Teri Schiavo as ready for a picnic? Now we have a failed, self-certified ophthalmologist, Rand Paul (R-KY) diagnosing the right-wing terrorist as a paranoid schizophrenic. Most people who have read Loughner's writing would have diagnosed him as having ingested an overdose of Ron Paul.
Paul has a medical degree from Duke University. However, he was trained as an ophthalmologist and not a psychiatrist. Paranoid schizophrenia is a mental disorder.

“I looked at some of the writings of this young man, and from a medical point of view there’s a lot to suggest paranoid schizophrenia and a really sick individual,” Paul said on Fox News Sunday.

And speaking of politicians creating an atmosphere of violence and giving their craziest partisans permission...



And, yes, even a few Republicans understood the dangers inherent in pushing the whole violence thing. This was one of the winning ads in the Alaska Senate campaign that helped voters there step back and realize what Sarah Palin's Teatard Joe Miller really was all about-- something more to do with pre-War Germany than where most of us would like to see our country go (including most Alaskans... even if by a narrow margin).

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4 Comments:

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Jack Jodell said...

It is absolutely fair and accurate to blame all of these right-wingers for inciting murder, ESPECIALLY Sarah Palin!

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rebecca said; They approved it quickly without thinking about it.
The key words here are, They didn't think! Why not? Was it on "target" for your agenda? Tehn there's this, when it was pointed out to them, sadly by Gabrielle Giffords (being a target)they did not correct it or take it down. So that being said, Sarah and Rebecca are responsible.

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WELL DONE Howie!

"One thing is certain-- if an American Muslim had posted a map of the country with gun sights on 20 Members of Congress and then started ranting and raving about "reloading," and then seen an assassination attempt against one of those targets (with half a dozen deaths in the process)... well, you tell me, where would that Muslim be about now? Not sitting in his comfy living room counting his pieces of gold in Wasilla."

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great compilation and the excellent illustrations. Well done.

 

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