January 9, 2011

lying in beds you made

1/9/11

There are two types of Tea Partiers/hardcore conservatives right now: those who are blaming everyone else for the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, and those who are issuing "it's such a tragedy" missives from their oak desks while privately thinking "...but maybe a few of those liberals will think twice from now on." It doesn't really matter; they both have blood on their hands, and nobody should be afraid to say it.

Of course, it was a deranged fucktard who actually pulled the trigger, but anyone not looking at this in context is either an imbecile or in a coma. Even your most repugnant Republican blowhard assmonkey will be backpedaling furiously over the next week or so, no doubt bemoaning "how low the level of discourse has sunk" in this country, even though they're the cynical bastards that dragged it there.

But even that contains a false equivalency. "Discourse" implies two parties who are participating equally, when the fact is that Republicans and conservatives have knowingly and repeatedly brought up gunplay, violence, 2nd-amendment remedies and the kind of dehumanizing vilification that conjures up only one solution. The dangerously moronic Sarah Palin, as many of you already know, put a gun crosshairs on Giffords' district, and crybaby twat John Boehner said his opponent "may be a dead man" after voting for Obama's health plan.

You have to go pretty goddamn far into liberal arcana to find anything remotely resembling that kind of wink-nudge assassination rhetoric of the Right, probably as far back as Leon Czolgosz, but just the obscurity of that name should speak volumes. Instead, American assassinations look something like this:

• Huey Long, populist Senator from Louisiana, shot in 1935
• Albert Patterson, democrat-elect Alabama Atty. General, shot 1954
• JFK, shot 1963
• MLK, shot 1968
• RFK, shot 1968
• Harvey Milk and George Moscone, shot in 1978
• Allard Lowenstein, Democrat NY-5, shot 1980
• Tommy Burks, Democrat from Tennessee HR, shot by his Republican opponent, 1998
• Bill Gwatney, Chair of Arkansas Democratic Party, shot 2008
• and now judge John Roll and others surrounding Democrat Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday.

A few things about this list - successful assassinations in this country are, thankfully, quite rare. Which is good for progressives, because we're always the motherfuckers getting shot. Sure, both sides have their "crazies", but nine times out of ten, conservative crazies play for keeps.

No doubt I'll get the usual emails from right-wingers telling me about Central America and socialist leftists, but please do me a favor and fuck off. Writers with journalistic integrity are not allowed to say what I can, what pretty much every progressive already knows: your side is obsessed with binary equations of good and evil, violent revolution, religious fundamentalism, and view each act of kindness to those less fortunate as an attack on your precious rights, punishable by automatic weaponry.

Gunland(bl).jpg

Hell, I jokingly tried to give you your own country: Gunland!. And it wasn't prescience, it was obvious to me in August 2009 when I wrote "the Republican Party is revealed for what it has become: asinine, backwards, hypocritical enemies of progress who probably wouldn't mind a lone gunman doing their dirty work for them." And then there was that whole entry fretting about this possibility a couple of years ago. And I'm no goddamn Nostradamus for sure.

Those who say "guns don't kill people, people do" miss the sunrise and sunset. The right wing, aided by unlimited cash and cable news networks, has pushed the goalposts of dialogue so far away from reality that they win every game before it's played. But in their frothing haste, they forget an important element: it's not just the normal folks who move with the goalposts, it's the lunatics as well. What used to be their quietly-held thought has now become a cause worth killing for.

Tell you what, Palins and Angles and Boehners and Becks of the world... you get to use bullseye targets, cute 2nd amendment jokes, racist comparisons to the Civil War, and speak hauntingly of the "tree of liberty" being fed "with the blood of tyrants" IF you also claim partial credit for the whackjobs who take you seriously. If not, you're just another coward grinning ghoulishly from a safe, grassy knoll.

Posted by Ian Williams at January 9, 2011 11:44 PM
Comments
Posted by: kevin from NC at January 10, 2011 5:51 AM

Don't forget Leo Ryan; shot numerous times and then shot in the face.

Posted by: Anne at January 10, 2011 6:40 AM

I wish Boehner were getting more heat, a la Palin in the last 24 hours, for his stupid remark about Obama being a dead man. Since I'm a fancy word person, I'm changing your apt description of him to "lachrymose twat."

Since I am personally trying to rein myself in a little, after venting on Facebook yesterday about Palin's gleefully cultivated cult of homespun violence, I want to thank you for this semi-private rant. Does my angry heart good to hear it.

I hope today that we'll hear from highly placed Republicans (those who have retained their brain cells and a shred of conscience) that they categorically reject the violent rhetoric of "patriotic" showdowns that their far-right, Tea Party, and Palin-ignoramus wings have been spouting in recent years.

Posted by: Piglet at January 10, 2011 8:25 AM


Of course an assassination attempt ups the ante considerably, but there have been plenty of civilian casualties before this but after Obama took office.

The Knoxville church shooter
Richard Poplawski, the Pittsburgh cop killer
The Holocaust museum shooter
George Sodini, who shot up an aerobics class near Pittsburgh because Obama was President (don't ask ME to explain that "logic")
Shawna Forde, the Minuteman Project killer, who killed another nine year old girl and her dad, for being Mexican.
The Oakland Tide Center cop killer
The Dr. George Tiller murder.

Although the victims in these cases were not politicians, their killers were all FOX viewers with documented right wing political motives for their crimes--motives based on false and inflammatory talking points spewed by Beck, O'Reilly, etc., not long before the respective crimes. And all of them after 2008.

Posted by: purple people eater at January 10, 2011 9:00 AM

Agreed.

Posted by: lmh at January 10, 2011 9:34 AM

Well said. Thank you.

Posted by: Captain Obvious at January 10, 2011 10:42 AM

Feel free to retract the whole of this post whenever you get around to it, dickface. It's not like we need anymore of you diseased types infecting your fellow lemmings with your complete lack of a factual basis for any goddamned thing you said here.
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/jared-lee-loughner-friend-voicemail-phone-message

"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.
...
On Sunday, federal prosecutors charged 22-year-old Loughner with one count of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, two counts of unlawfully killing a federal employee, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. Giffords was the target of Loughner's rampage, prosecutors say, and the sworn affidavit accompanying the charges mentions that Loughner attended a Giffords "Congress in Your Corner" event in 2007. The affidavit also mentions that police searching a safe in Loughner's home found a letter from Giffords' office thanking the alleged shooter for attending an August 25, 2007 event.*
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."

*******

I'm missing the part where the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Fox News entered the equation of the guy holding a personal grudge against Gifford for over a year before Palin was ever named to McCain's ticket.

You can fix this or I'll just assume you're the coward from your own grassy knoll.

Posted by: kjf at January 10, 2011 11:13 AM

i think gunland needs to extend into the state of arizona.

Posted by: Ian at January 10, 2011 1:11 PM

Cap'n Obvious, read what I actually wrote. The "Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Fx News entered the equation" when they started their elimination rhetoric, which dragged the lunatic fringe from harmless to deadly. When the baseline of "normal" moves so far to the cruelty of the right, the baseline of "crazy" moves with it. And while the killer's grudge might have been fostered a couple of years ago, he actually bothered to take up arms NOW.

I'm not for tamping down free speech - the Birthers, Palin, Beck et. al. can say whatever they want. But they have to take responsibility for the climate they created to forward their agenda.

You said "dickface". heh-heh heh-heh

Posted by: Neva at January 10, 2011 7:42 PM

I work directly with delusional people like this guy Jared and what I've noticed is on the surgace they make no sense their delusions all have a little seed of reality from which they grow.

For instance, we just admitted a teenager with a first episode psychosis who is fairly obsessed with the idea that a cat is eating his brain. Where did this come from? It obviously makes no sense what so ever but we believe the idea entered his head when he went in for a "CAT scan of the brain".

So, although we cannot put sole blame on people who speak of others with hatred and violence they are the fire starters that light the little crazy matches just waiting out there to explode. To me that is the problem of hate speech and why we should treat each other with respect and kindness. We don't know what fools out there are listening and how they might warp the negative speech even further. The extreme fundamentalists with their jihad began and the abortion doctor murderers got their ideas from somewhere.

Also - am I the only one who thinks that if John Boehner was a woman and was orange from a constant spray tan and constantly blubbering with tears she would be a laughing stock and never taken seriously (especially if she were a democrat). What a double standard!

Posted by: leslie at January 10, 2011 7:52 PM

Oh, Neva, you just talked me off the ledge after reading Cap'n Crunch. Cannot thank you enough!

Posted by: Bud at January 10, 2011 11:27 PM

I agree with you (and Paul Krugman) that the largest share of the blame belongs to the right.

BUT - I disagree strongly with this (from Krugman's Sunday OP-ED piece):

"It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of 'civility,' the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.

The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary."

Does the right deserve most of the blame? YES - HELL YES, even.

But does anyone really believe that the left deserves NONE of the blame?

The toxic political culture hell of today is the direct result of the last two decades of "caustic rhetoric and mockery" that BOTH SIDES have wallowed in and continually escalated.

Insults lead to incitement as surely as incitement leads to violence. That's the true nature of our sickness. It's time for us to put an end to it - unilaterally, if necessary.

Ending the era of the personal attack is important for 3 reasons:
1) It's dangerous:
2) It's counter-productive at a time when the problems we face are just too fucking important to defer any longer; and
3) It's childish.

We have to stop insulting, ridiculing, denouncing and demonizing our opponents. They are PEOPLE with whom we disagree. They love their children and their country just as we do. That we disagree with them about vital issues doesn't change that.

Somebody's got to be the adult. Does anyone really think the right is capable of doing that?

Posted by: dean at January 11, 2011 6:11 AM

Both sides have their lunatic fringe. To say that it would be hard to find similar examples on the Left is poppycock. It took me about 3 seconds and it only took me that long because I am a slow typer on google.

Check out michellemalkin.com for a summary. Yes, Michelle can also often inhabit the Right's fringe, but this does nto make her links any less true.

There are crazies on both sides, people. All we can do is call them crazies, try to stay sane, and serve as better examples for the people around us. I don't know if calling each other "fucktards" or "dickface" fits this bill.

d

Posted by: Anne at January 11, 2011 6:59 AM

@dean, above:
"There are crazies on both sides, people."

Show me some of the liberal crazies. Name names please; name occasions when violence against the right and even the mainstream was advocated by left-leaning pundits.

I'd buy your argument if you were talking about the 1960s, which I personally lived through as a young person. Lots of leftist violence back then, easy to reference. But now? Who in the US are you referring to?

Thanks.

Posted by: Anne at January 11, 2011 7:02 AM

PS to @dean, following up on my previous comment:

Yes, I read the Michelle Malkin list. Where are the liberal political celebrities making those statements and encouraging hate against the right? The highly visible talk show and TV hosts? That is a distinction you appear to be missing.

Posted by: dob at January 11, 2011 7:05 AM

Of course there are intemperate, even violent crazies on the left. The difference is that while our leadership shuns them, the right-wing leadership - candidates, elected officials, media figures - encourages them.

Posted by: Bud at January 11, 2011 8:35 AM

dean, you're right. There are plenty of left wing crazies, too.

Who CARES which side has more crazies? Or threw the first insult? Call it a draw. Call it The Battle of Who Could Care Less. But call it OVER.

"All we can do is call them crazies, try to stay sane, and serve as better examples for the people around us."

Good things all, dean. We do need to do those things. Those things will help a lot.

But WE CAN DO MORE - and we have to, if we want some kind of win-win.

We can admit we didn't always do those things in the past. I sure didn't, and I don't know anyone who did. Mea Culpa.

We can also say we did things in the past which helped to create this toxic enviroment (eg insults). For the record - I sure did. I've insulted a lot of people on the right over the years, mostly because I felt they'd insulted me first. That was a mistake. I should've just called them on it and moved on.

Then we can publicly say we don't want to do those things anymore. Again, for the record - I won't sling insults at the right anymore. Even in response to insults someone may sling at me.

Moving forward, we can agree to disagree - and then TAKE A FRAKKING VOTE ON IT. No insults beforehand. No hard feelings afterwards; instead, move on to the next issue. Easier said than done, surely. (I'm pretty sure I'll be using the backspace key more now).

But grown-ups can do it. I've seen it happen. And really, it'll be more fun and less boring than what we've been doing.

Posted by: littlerattyratratrat at January 11, 2011 9:14 AM

What Bud said.

Posted by: craighill at January 11, 2011 12:40 PM

you sound like you're about one step from shooting someone yourself! xanax.

Posted by: Steve Williams at January 28, 2011 1:41 PM

Test comment.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal."

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow, this ground—The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us —that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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