Hard News by Russell Brown

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

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  • Don Christie,

    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.

    Nice...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    To me, Loughner increasingly seems to come across as the Alex Jones tinfoil-hatter type.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    To me, Loughner increasingly seems to come across as the Alex Jones tinfoil-hatter type.

    Yup -- including 9/11 truthing. Although it's a resemblance Jones is keen to play down. He has the same talking points as James B kindly offered upthread: "the gunman was a left-wing high school dropout who liked to smoke marijuana and read Karl Marx literature."

    But check out the comments under that post. Jones' loyal followers aren't exactly unsympathetic to Loughner's worldview.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca,

    I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually. You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that

    Awesome

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It's not as if the efforts to dig out material that portray this man as a deranged loner are unpolitical. They started right away, just like the left's linkages of the event with Teabagger hate speech did.

    Regardless of affiliation, most humans will try to paint a perpetrator as "other", as not like us. Anyone sporting dark skin, a minority accent or a turban can tell us about that. Mental illness provides a convenient scapegoat, despite evidence about actual propensity to violence. Means we can tut tut and go about our business without any of that awful dissonance stuff to deal with.

    But anyone trying to paint the broader violent rhetoric as evenly distributed should be laughed out of the room. Paul Krugman agrees.

    I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.

    ...

    As Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff responsible for dealing with the Arizona shootings, put it, it’s “the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business.” The vast majority of those who listen to that toxic rhetoric stop short of actual violence, but some, inevitably, cross that line.

    ...

    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.

    ...

    Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.

    I doubt the First Amendment was intended to safeguard exhortations to murder.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Bremner,

    It seems like the shooter is a left wing pothead

    I have yet to meet a violent stoner - they're usually way too busy laughing or looking for snacks.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    I don't understand how we try to make ourselves seem reasonable by demonizing each other

    reader comment at the WashPost says it as simply as I'd wish.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    I think it would actually be a very good place to start for people not to label someone a paranoid schizophrenic (which is actually a tricky diagnosis to make when you’re a mental health professional in the room) on the basis of fuck all squared.

    But because of recent evolution many, many people are schizotypal.
    It's a fabulous lecture if you have an hour and a half.
    It would probably help if we kept this in mind more often.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    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.

    Yes, indeed.

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

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to James Bremner,

    Simon, how many "left wing potheads" do you think are devoted followers of Palin and Beck et al? Not exactly the profile of your average Tea Partier.

    Good to see you've managed to work out exactly what was in his head the day of the shooting from a series of tweets from someone who didn't know him particularly well four years earlier.

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

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    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:

    Would you care to explain to me exactly how that was condescending? And also who this 'we' which you refer to is?

    And I would dearly love to share your certainty that most commentators are 'quite knowledgeable'.

    Consider this:

    The front page of The Guardians website yesterday had links to around 5-6 opinion pieces (such as this one and this one)

    Both of these articles: 1) more or less make an explicit link between extremist rhetoric and this shooting, and 2) given the speed they appeared, must have been written while the gunsmoke was still clearing.

    I'm not saying there isn't a link, and as more evidence emerges, it seems more and more likely that there is a link. But it also seems to me that more than a few people were quite happy to have a decent excuse to take their hobby horses out for a quick canter round the paddock.

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

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So, we looked at the internet and the first thing we found in 2007, the Democrat Party had a targeted map with targets on it for the Palin district.

    Perhaps Mr. Ailes needs one of his "intellectuals" to calmly explain to him the gulf between a targeted district and the rhetoric and imagery of assassination.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Perhaps Mr. Ailes needs one of his “intellectuals” to calmly explain to him the gulf between a targeted district and the rhetoric and imagery of assassination.

    Or between a bullseye and a rifle sight.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    some hypocrite on the other side of the planet catching a bit of karma

    What a deeply callous remark. (And the others killed, including that poor nine-year-old girl - just collateral damage, were they?)

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

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Yes, indeed.

    Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, SPOCK SPOCK SPOCK!

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

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Or between a bullseye and a rifle sight.

    One you shoot at and one you shoot with.

    One is truly fearful symbolism of violence persuading people to shoot things and the other is an entirely peaceable symbol totally devoid of any implication that shooting may occur.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I’m not saying there isn’t a link, and as more evidence emerges, it seems more and more likely that there is a link. But it also seems to me that more than a few people were quite happy to have a decent excuse to take their hobby horses out for a quick canter round the paddock.

    Argh. This is exactly what I mean. It’s the knee-jerk moderatism of `how dare we imagine that a politically motivated assassination attempt might have been affected by high profile talk of politically motivated violence?’, coupled with the really quite offensive implication that we (or the dreaded `some people’) are using this in some kind of sly, underhanded way.

    And a great many people aren’t even asserting any contextual link here; instead they are merely saying that this, after all, is what a second amendment solution looks like, and maybe that’s something to think about?

    (The condescension lies in assuming that an adult human being in full possession of their faculties and speaking the English language would somehow be unaware of the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, and Lincoln, the Oklahoma City bombing, Ruby Ridge, Waco, the militia movement in general, the KKK, etc.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    One you shoot at and one you shoot with.

    Really? I'd argue that one targets the item/place (in this case a district) for something, perhaps change, whilst the other is almost universally attached to a gun and used to kill or maim a living thing.

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

  • Sacha, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    One of them positions you as the shooter

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    One of them positions you as the shooter

    the other positions someone as a target.

    They're both being used in a metaphorical sense to identify a target. No one takes these signs literally in this sort of context.

    Palin's map wasn't a great target for countering her rhetoric since similar DLC graphics could be easily found. That's not to argue for any sort of equivalence in the overall styles of rhetoric, just that this was not a good example.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Really? I’d argue that one targets the item/place (in this case a district) for something, perhaps change, whilst the other is almost universally attached to a gun and used to kill or maim a living thing.

    Also, one is incorporated into the logo of, to start with, the RNZAF and a very major big box US chain (called, uh....Target.) The implications are simply not the same.

    Here's a quick thought exercise, if you're unconvinced: stick a crosshairs over the kiwi in the Air Force logo, rather than the bullseye currently used. And tell me the meaning doesn't change.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Or change the RAF logo from a bullseye to crosshairs.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    Palin’s map wasn’t a great target for countering her rhetoric since similar DLC graphics could be easily found. That’s not to argue for any sort of equivalence in the overall styles of rhetoric, just that this was not a good example.

    It’s actually turning out to be a brilliant target (so to speak) when Palin – or her likely her PR flacks have been sanitising her Twitter and FB with Orwellian diligence and a Palin aide’s denial spin involved sticking her head so fair up her arse I feared she was going to get suck and asphyxiate.

    Money quote:

    All that said, this exchange between Palin aide Rebecca Mansour and Palin-supporting radio host Tammy Bruce is completely absurd. Bruce begins by describing the map of SarahPAC’s 20 midterm election targets – members of Congress in districts that went for McCain/Palin in 2008 who voted for health care reform – and referring to the targets on the map as “surveyor’s symbols.” Mansour points out that “targeted districts” are part of political parlance – obviously true – and says this. (It starts at around 11:40 in the clip.)

    MANSOUR: I just want to clarify again, and maybe it wasn’t done on the record enough by us when this came out, the graphic, is just, it’s basically – we never, ever, ever intended it to be gunsights. It was simply crosshairs like you see on maps.

    BRUCE: Well, it’s a surveyor’s symbol. It’s a surveyor’s symbol.

    MANSOUR: It’s a surveyor’s symbol. I just want to say this, Tammy, if I can. This graphic was done, not even done in house – we had a political graphics professional who did this for us.

    I’d also recommend reading the rest of the post, because it nicely fisks just what a load of bullshit Mansour was peddling. No care, no responsibility.

    When you get caught out out follow this simple rule:
    1) Blame everyone else - from the" lamestream media"to some mysterious third-party consultant who apparently went rogue.

    2) If that doesn't work, lie. Re-write history, no matter how recent or easily checked, until nobody (least of all Palin herself) can keep the lies straight any more.

    3) Repeat steps one and two until "the enemy" dies of exhaustion.

    4) Reload and do it all over again.

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

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    since similar DLC graphics could be easily found.

    There was one in 2004 with a sight - got any other examples because a target logo just doesn't work as an equivalence as explained by several people upthread.

    No one takes these signs literally in this sort of context.

    Good to see you are so in the mind of every nutter out there on the periphery, Neil.

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

  • Keir Leslie,

    And, you know, the DNC doesn't go around saying `don't retreat reload'.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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