Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Holiday Open Thread 2: Chewing over the News

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  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    And that if three hundred million people are repeatedly exposed to that idea,

    The Insurrectionism Timeline.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And that if three hundred million people are repeatedly exposed to that idea,

    As Simon's link pointed out political violence in the US isn't at all new. It's possible that teabagger talking points and advertising influenced that. It's possible some sort of mental illness did. It's possible umpteen other, unrelated factors did. Historically it's often been the case that the reasons for the assassination weren't the obvious political ones.

    I'm dubious that a person was so influenced by a map with a set of targets on it - pretty standard imagery - and republican statements that they went off and started shooting without something else pretty serious being in play.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    so influenced by a map with a set of targets on it

    I believe you'll find it's the associated exhortations from leading figures including silly Palin, and things like the "bring your gun" election campaign meeting in that particular place.

    political violence in the US isn't at all new

    True . There's a longstanding theme of distrust of and potential armed resistance against government enshrined in their constitution's 2nd amendment, whipped up by the NRA and driving previous domestic terrorism like Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma and (probably) the anthrax scare that mysteriously faded from public view without anyone being brought to justice. The real terrorists in the US are more likely to be drinking bourbon than wearing a turban.

    It's all a bit different than what such a map would mean here.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    While the climate and discourse may have been one factor here - and therefore quite a legitimate topic of discussion - I think it needs to be remembered that, at best/worst it is just one factor and that discourse seems to be bearing a disproportionate amount of the current discussion.
    I guess the likely unanswerable question is would the nutter have done this anyway under a different political climate? Or was it a tipping point factor?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Salon editor Joan Walsh considers the influence of rhetoric.

    But while we wait to learn the motivation behind Saturday's shooting, which killed six, including federal Judge John Roll, nine-year old Christine Taylor Green and Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords' community outreach director, is it really controversial to suggest that the overheated anti-government rhetoric of the last two years, with its often violent imagery, ought to be toned down? Really?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    I guess the likely unanswerable question is would the nutter have done this anyway under a different political climate? Or was it a tipping point factor?

    I take your point, and its well made, but I'd like to throw out there this from Andrew Sullivan on 'Palinspeak and Violence':

    One of the constants in Sarah Palin's worldview is violence. You see it in her reality show where most wildlife is immediately identified as a threat to be guarded against or killed. You see it in her inflammatory language, and the ways in which she corrals supporters to sometimes shockingly violent threats. You see it even in completely innocuous Facebook postings on sports.

    [...] The point here is not that there is any connection between this random post and political violence. The point is the worldview Palin holds. It is zero-sum. It expresses itself in clear and stark violent imagery. It is constantly about attack, conflict, combat, "enemy territory", "Big Guns", battle. This rhetorical background is so deeply part of the narrative we barely notice it any more. But it is not truly the language of politics; it's the language of war.

    Now, before I'm accused of being a holier than thou hypocrite, I'm perfectly well aware that I'm no stranger to the "carpet bomb with napalm" school of political discourse. But you can't turn politics into an apocalyptic holy war against evil itself, day after day, year after year, cycle after cycle, and pretend it doesn't have an effect on the culture at large.

    FFS, as I alluded to up-thread, eleven members of the GOP caucus are co-sponsoring legislation questioning the President's citizenship -- and the very legitimacy of his office -- and the newly elected Speaker of the House doesn't care. Think about that for a moment; because whatever I thought of her politics, I'd never question the legitimacy of Helen Clark's government. Like it or not (and I didn't), Helen Clark lead her party to victory in three free, fair and legitimate elections. End of story.

    You can respect the institution, while having none whatsoever for the incumbent. The Party of Palin doesn't -- they only respect institutions (not only the Presidency but Congress, the judiciary and the Constitution itself) when they like the outcomes. That's dangerous.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And what of Paul Holmes' nocturnal emission for Bullet Barbie?

    Sarah Palin is a greater phenomenon than ever. You cannot take your eyes off her. She is, if you'll excuse me, sex on a stick. She is so sassy. She is frightened of no one. She was out there working hard endorsing 34 candidates. Only 15 won, but some of them were giant killers. She is incredibly fast on her feet, as I saw in an interview with her this week.

    She coins great phrases. The hockey-mom line at the last Republican convention remains a great moment, despite the terrible gougings of her that came later. Now she is Momma Grizzly. She is the spearhead of a movement of Commonsense Conservatives. Again, her phrase I think.

    And, by the way, now that I think about it, so what if she doesn't know her Supreme Court cases? Just kill Osama Bin Laden and that'll do me, thanks. A lot of powerful Republicans owe her now. Will she run? Of course she will.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    As Simon’s link pointed out political violence in the US isn’t at all new. It’s possible that teabagger talking points and advertising influenced that. It’s possible some sort of mental illness did. It’s possible umpteen other, unrelated factors did. Historically it’s often been the case that the reasons for the assassination weren’t the obvious political ones.

    The sort of rhetoric thrown around by the Tea Party is unacceptable not just because it's in bad taste, but especially because there is a history of political assassination in the US. Whether or not their talking points influenced him - and mental illness playing a part wouldn't rule that out, though it would make it more tragic - they're playing up to some very ugly parts of history and trying to pretend it's a normal part of political discourse.

    Even if this shooting isn't related to that, the chances that someone else will be driven to violence because they hear repeatedly that it's acceptable and even commendable to deal with your differences by shooting people are too high to risk. When you've got a country of gun-owners and a history of politics being affected by assassination, using language that encourages violence and frames politics as war is neither safe nor sane, and it's pretty sad that it's taken murder to make that clear.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And, by the way, now that I think about it, so what if she doesn't know her Supreme Court cases?

    Oh fucking hell -- does Holmes realise that the President of the United States not only effectively appoints SCOTUS justices for life but swears an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution? So, yeah, it's a pretty big fraking "what" that the executive branch knows a little something something about the judicial one, its role and effects.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Even if this shooting isn't related to that, the chances that someone else will be driven to violence because they hear repeatedly that it's acceptable and even commendable to deal with your differences by shooting people are too high to risk.

    A tea party organiser was saying the same thing - sorry I lost the link - in an interview post shooting. While he had no problem with the rhetoric at the beginning, he gradually started to realise meeting after meeting that there were people on the fringe who seemed to take it too literally, and began to tone it down. Which is nothing if not an admission that in the real world of causes and consequences there was in fact something deeply wrong with the rhetoric.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So, yeah, it's a pretty big fraking "what" that the executive branch knows a little something something about the judicial one, its role and effects.

    Silly me -- any judge who hands down a tightly argued judgement you don't approve of can just be dismissed as a "extremist liberal judicial activist". Even if you happen to be a conservative Regan-nominee who confirmation was opposed by the Demoness Nancy Perlosi.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Paul Holmes' nocturnal emission for Bullet Barbie

    What a nincompoop that man is. His adolescent yearnings for Palin are right up there with the Business Roundtable's Roger Kerr panting after Deborah Coddington across parliament's lawns.

    But more worrying is the simplistic wittering he brings to the public platforms we still for some reason grace him with. Like this gem:

    The right were able to hammer [Obama] for being an elite, isolated intellectual, I suppose the kind of person I regard suspiciously here who listens to National Radio and reads the Listener and believes we should never mine the conservation estate. They see him as really left wing, if not a socialist, the kind of person, actually, for whom National Radio is designed. He needs to lighten up.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So, yeah, it’s a pretty big fraking “what” that the executive branch knows a little something something about the judicial one, its role and effects.

    And, not incidentally, is not involved in personally hunting down Osama Bin Laden with their bare hands.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    And, not incidentally, is not involved in personally hunting down Osama Bin Laden with their bare hands.

    There have been times when I've wanted to slap John McCain while screaming "Why? Why! WHY!!!" Then I remind myself that elder abuse is NOT OK, especially when McCain seems determined to destroy his own reputation in the mother of all sulks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    He needs to lighten up.

    I wonder whether he means mood or melanin? With Holmes it's so hard to tell.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hah!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    the anthrax scare that mysteriously faded from public view without anyone being brought to justice.

    Well, to be fair, now that the dust has settled (sorry), it does appear to have been the work of a lone nutjob. Just this once, I'm going to be unusually charitable to the press and their handling of the reporting of this, seeing as how it all happened one week after 9/11.

    I wonder whether he means mood or melanin? With Holmes it's so hard to tell.

    Oh, that's a spicy zinger alright. I'll savour that for the rest of the day.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Danielle,

    He needs to lighten up.

    I wonder whether he means mood or melanin? With Holmes it's so hard to tell.

    After a sixteen year hiatus, some of us are rather enjoying having a tenant in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who is as smart as his wife, and noticeably more mature than his children.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    ...is it really controversial to suggest that the overheated anti-government rhetoric of the last two years, with its often violent imagery, ought to be toned down? Really?

    Rhetorically speaking it would be a whole lot less controversial if the phrase "the last two years" had been missing from the piece.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Violence has been an integral part of the political landscape in the US for at least the last 150 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assassinated_American_politicians

    And that list doesn't even begin to cover the hundreds or thousands more suceeeded or failed attempts (e.g. the attempt on Reagan), or the politically inspired or motivated attempts such as those on abortion doctors.

    While it doesn't help, blaming the rhetoric of the last 2-3 years seems a little...short-sighted? Short-memoried?

    What is striking about that wiki list is the number killed by guns, though.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    From Paul Holmes's Palinophiliac eructation:

    She was out there working hard endorsing 34 candidates. Only 15 won, but some of them were giant killers.

    A right-thinking person would hyphenate those last two words.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich Lock,

    While it doesn't help, blaming the rhetoric of the last 2-3 years seems a little...short-sighted? Short-memoried?

    I think what sets the most recent rhetoric from previous periods is that this time round there seems to be a real sense of 'Pax Americana' being genuinely under a cloud, and the Tea Party cabal can't bear to see America being reduced to just another nation. Even pulling out of Vietnam didn't come close to threatening it.

    It draws parallels with the British League of Empire Loyalists a couple of generations ago, when they fought tooth & nail to prevent the Empire breaking up, even though it had become an expensive luxury beyond all doubt. When they realised they were fighting a losing battle, the Loyalists eventually up-played their 'Keep Britain White' dimension and mutated into the likes of the National Front.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Fuck. Me.

    Sad to think that Gitarzan was his greatest work.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    While it doesn't help, blaming the rhetoric of the last 2-3 years seems a little...short-sighted? Short-memoried?

    You know, this condescension is really annoying. The reason everyone took the Tea Party nonsense about Second Amendment solutions and so on seriously is precisely that we knew about America's history of violent politics. I am quite sure that many --- most ! --- of the people saying that Palin and the Tea Party ought have a long hard look at their rhetoric are quite knowledgeable about this stuff: the paranoid style in American politics, the campaigns of terror that met Reconstruction, the campaigns of terror that met the Civil Rights movements, the `militia' movement, and all the other resorts to the bullet that America has seen.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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