As you may recall, there was in the summer of 2009, a disturbing tendency for various disaffected right wingers to show up at political events openly carrying fire arms. When some of us on the left voiced concern about this trend, geniuses like Megan McArdle made the case for gun toting as a form of protest, entitled to protection.
I remember writing about this trend with alarm at the time; it didn't seem to require an abundance of prescience to see that this was all going to lead to no good end. Quoting myself is a bit crass, but a couple of things I wrote were said about as well as I can express them. First, with respect to McArdle and others mischaracterizing carrying guns as a form of politcal speech:
Let me explain the issue so even McArdle can understand it. The guns that people bring to these events are designed to kill people -- that is their sole purpose. When I strap one on and wear it to an event I am saying to my fellow citizens "if you fuck with me, I am willing to kill you." The gun is not designed to stimulate debate, it is designed to end it. It is not a symbol of civil liberty, it is an instrument of solipsistic incivility saying rather clearly that I intend to have the last word -- and not in the way that Megan imperiously proclaims from her perch on high in her blog post.
As for the dangerous interplay of guns, the fringe characters attracted to the tea party ethos, and their right wing cheerleaders, here was my impression from 16 months ago of what we were probably going to see:
What you see here is a lumpen mass whose inherent sense of resentment and suspicion has been turned up to eleven by right wing manipulators like Fox, NRO, Malkin, Instapundit, and their fellow traveling cretins. It's all well and good until one one or two or more of these armed rubes snaps and we have carnage on our hands. Then despite the inevitable protestations of shocked innocence on the part of the aforementioned shit stirrers, they will truly have blood on their hands.
I wish I had been wrong.
US has fired 250,000 rounds for every insurgent killed
There is an amazing (and startling) statistic out of Iraq and Afghanistan: the United States has fired an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed. The U.S. is going through so much ammo that manufacturers are struggling to keep up. In another milestone, U.S. troops in Afghanistan now surpass the number in Iraq.
Continue reading 'GAO: U.S. Has Fired 250,000 Rounds For Every Insurgent Killed'
And in a related story:
Vice President Biden told reporters at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday that the United States is willing to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 if the Afghans want the assistance. Funny. I don't remember being asked if I was willing.
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Whatever may have happened in another country and another time, the plain, simple fact is that the right wing in this country is and has been routinely endorsing violence against their political opponents for decades now.
There are people still alive who supported the segregationist policies of George Wallace, who cheered as the police used dogs and firehoses on marchers. These people don't vote for Democrats anymore. They were conservative in the 1960s, and they're conservative now. They have always used violence to achieve their ends.
The entire conservative movement - from their politicians to their media personalities to the 'grassroots' Tea Party groups - has embraced continual calls for violence against their fellow citizens. Ann Coulter has sold a lot of books advocating that conservatives speak to liberals only with baseball bats. The very same conservatives - again, from politicians to TV hosts to columnists to nameless fool on the street - who got the vapors every time Bush was denounced now consider it perfectly fine to call the President of the United States of America a non-citizen usurper, a traitor to this country, a dangerous criminal hell-bent on destroying everything we hold dear. They worship guns, they constantly fantasize about violence.
So in whatever way you can, resist those who want to blame 'both sides' and/or cast conservatives as victims. Do not give into those who warn against 'politicizing' this event; someone tried to assassinate a politician based upon her views and votes. It was political from start to finish.
PZ Meyers has a great post about this, please read it if you haven't already.
Herbert: A Flood Tide of Murder
Wisco: Thoughts on the Tragedy.
For what? WikiLeaks: Julian Assange 'Faces Execution or Guantánamo Detention'
It appears Pat Robertson is not alone speaking for God in the use of nature to punish the sins of man. A Christian pastor in Queensland, Daniel Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministries, has announced that the devastating floods in Australia are actually divine judgment against Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd because he "spoke against Israel" in December 2010.
Glenn Beck: Then And Now
Glenn Beck in 2005: "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"
Glenn Beck in 2011: "Sixty percent of Americans say the rhetoric in America has nothing to do with the shooting. It's -- it's quite honestly an abomination that it's only 60 percent of the American people. I don't understand how rhetoric had anything to do with it."
What would Glenn Beck be saying today if somebody had shot Michael Moore?
"This guy appears to be a communist. His beliefs are the liberal of the liberals [sic]. There is no evidence whatsoever that this man was influenced by Sarah Palin or anybody in the Republican Party. This man is not a conservative; he's a fan of communism - that's the opposite of conservatism." Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-Dumbstupid
To repeat what I just wrote on Twitter in response to this nonsense: I own the book "Of Mice and Men." That doesn't prove I'm a Depression-era migrant worker or a mentally challenged rabbit-fetishist.
Also, have you noticed how Hannity and others are suggesting that Loughner's copy of "Mein Kampf" indicates he's a liberal? Yep. The Goldberg/Beck myth that fascists are somehow liberal marches on.
The most prominent Conservative public intellectual in America weighs in on the Tuscon tragedy.
Sarah Palin released a video earlier this morning. It's a mix of sympathy for the victims, boilerplate platitudes (American exceptionalism gets multiple mentions) and attack.
There's no apology for her imagery, since "both sides do it":
Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that only serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
She claims that debate now is more civil than back when there were duels, and says we can't be stopped by those who seek to "muzzle dissent by shrill cries of imagined insults". And, haters, take note: we're better than "mindless fingerpointing". When Sarah points her finger, as she does many times in this video, she wants you to know that her mind is fully engaged.
Palin's toned-down appearance and scripted delivery show that she wants to adopt the appearance of reasonableness, but the message is more-or-less unchanged. The setting is presidential, but the message is classic Palin, lashing back at her critics. She was clearly hoping to show "gravitas", but that's more than set dressing.
Just in time for this year's State of the Union Address a gun and accessories manufacturer in South Carolina is celebrating their well known neo-Confederate asshole of a Congressman, Joe Wilson, with a special edition of a lower receiver for the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. It is a limited edition of a part that can be adjusted to convert the weapon into a fully automatic rifle and it is stamped with "You Lie" in tribute to Wilson's childish outburst at last year's SOTU:
According to the local paper the asswipes represented by Congressman Asswipe wanted to:
"...honor our esteemed congressman Joe Wilson with the release of our new 'You Lie' AR-15 lower receiver…"
And in light of the many, many recent events linked to gun violence the company added some small print to help Wilson duck and cover:Continue reading What will he say this year…
Because he had the wretched cruelty to write:
Through it all though, well meaning people on both sides of the ideological and partisan divide are not talking about the one thing that should be talked about — a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
"I told all of our guys [at Fox News], shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," Mr. Ailes said. "You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."I suspect that won't last, because, as Andy Borowitz humorously noted, that would create a real problem for Fox News:
They probably can't, which is why they resort to bullshit cries of "socialism", "communism", "Second Amendment remedies", "Obama's a secret Muslim" and all of the rest of that crap. I think that you'll see Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing Noise Machine pick up the Crack Pipe of Hate soon enough.
But I will be happy to be proven wrong.
A few days later, when the President held another town hall in Phoenix, about a dozen protesters with weapons showed up. One of them had an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.
When liberals and Democrats -- the memory of teachers wearing t-shirts that said simply Protect Our Civil Liberties being thrown out of a Bush rally and threatened with arrest for "obscenity" still fresh in our minds -- protested this effrontery, we were mocked.
These people, we were told indignantly, had a Constitutional right under the Second Amendment to bear arms even in the presence of our precious President, and if you don't exercise your rights, they warned,m those rights will disappear. (Oddly, they remained silent on the infringement of the First Amendment rights of those who had disagreed with Bush.)
Now, a proposed new law would require all "federal officials" to wear beanie hats with flashing lights on the top
At least that's probably what would be required by Rep. Peter "The IRA Was Not a Terrorist Group" King's proposed bill. A bill which, of course, Mayor Mike and his cabal of gun-banners loves.
Let's face it, this proposed law would be about as stupid as they get, which says volumes about the lack of intelligence of Rep. King. If someone is bringing a gun to a public event to shoot someone, does anyone seriously think that they will be deterred by a law making it illegal to have the weapon? It already is illegal almost everywhere to shoot congressmen and judges.
So let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that Mr. IRA was speaking at a hall next to an interstate. Every vehicle driving by with a gun in the trunk, hunters, target shooters, people who had no idea that the Former Supporter of Terrorism was speaking there would be subject to being locked up in a federal prison. This bill is a stupid idea, even for Pete King.
(By the way, that noted fan of Irish terrorists is also wrong about his statement that it is illegal to have a gun within 1,000' of a school. That was thrown out by the Supremes over 15 years ago.)
This doesn't happen very often There is snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states, with Florida being the only state with none of the white stuff (Snow falls on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea all winter long, and one of us has even snowskied in Hawaii.)
Happy belated Gitmo Day! On Jan. 11, 2002, the United States captured a few dozen civilians in Afghanistan, and then shipped them to a lawless shithole Navy base on an embargoed island.
Allen, who retained her seat in an election that fall, has since gained minor notoriety after calling for more uranium mining, saying in a speech that "this earth has been here 6,000 years, long before anybody had environmental laws, and somehow it hasn't been done away with." She also has complained that trees are "stealing Arizona's water supply" and sponsored a new law that allows carriers of concealed weapons to forego safety training and the indignity of background checks.
I have no words to describe the utter ignorance of Sen. Allen. None.