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Guns, Guns, Guns

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Above is Tom Tomorrow’s latest cartoon, published at salon.com today. Is there a better example of the corruption of our contemporary political system than the complete collapse of any resistance in Congress and among presidential candidates to the gun lobby?

Let us contemplate the result. There is a handy Insurrection Timeline at the website of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. (Hat tip: Jim Fallows.)

Sample entries:

August 25, 2009—During a GOP barbecue in Twin Falls, Idaho, an audience member asks Rex Rammell, a candidate in the 2010 Idaho Republican Primary, a question about “Obama tags” during a discussion about state-issued tags for wolf hunting. Rammell responds, “The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.” In a subsequent press release, he adds, “Anyone who understands the law knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C.”

January 2, 2010—More than 300 people attend a rally in Alamogordo, New Mexico, organized by the local Otero Tea Party Patriots and Second Amendment Task Force. The purpose of the rally is to protest health care reform, and many of the rally’s participants openly carry handguns and/or rifles. One attendee states that his handgun is a “very open threat” to the “socialist communists” in the Obama Administration. “The government fears the people, and a disarmed people are slaves,” he says. “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun … They’re pushing us to our limits.”

November 29, 2010—U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, circulates a PowerPoint presentation to his colleagues in which he compares the Obama administration to the Nazi regime in Germany and likens himself to Gen. George Patton, bragging, “Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it.”

Categories: Politics

False Equivalence, Palin, Violence

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

My post on the Gabrielle Giffords shooting Saturday was written in haste, and with limited information. I’ve wanted to say several things since then, but of course, much of what I wanted to say has already been said better by others. Let me, nonetheless, touch on a few points.

1. The growing evidence that the shooter, Jared L. Loughner, is psychotic does not in any way excuse right-wing political and media figures from responsibility for creating conditions that promote violence. Sure, they aren’t literally responsible for arming Loughner and pointing him toward Giffords. That’s not the point. The point is that by adopting demonizing language and explicitly violent rhetoric, they increase the likelihood of such events.

2. And let’s have none of this false equivalence BS about how both extremes are equally nuts, and if only everyone would be civil. There is no equivalence of far left and far right here. None. The far left has almost no voice. The far right is a dominant force in one of the two mainstream political parties of this country. The far left is ridiculed. The far right is in control of the most powerful cable news station in the country and is taken seriously. The far right isn’t even called the far right. They are called conservatives. They are called Republicans. They are in charge of the House. And they are nuts.

3. Sarah Palin. I wrote about her a lot in the fall of 2008, in my first monthsof blogging. I have stopped. There’s no point repeating myself. But let’s be clear on this point. She is dishonest, she is a loon, she is a phony. And her rhetoric is dangerous. Let’s look again at the famous SarahPAC crosshair ad:

Shortly after the shootings Saturday, it was taken down. And Palin advisor Rebecca Mansour, in an interview by radio host Tammy Bruce, clarified:

“We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply cross-hairs like you’d see on maps,” said Rebecca Mansour on the Tammy Bruce radio show. Moreover, there was “nothing irresponsible” about the image, and to draw a line connecting Palin and Saturday’s shooting is “obscene” and “appalling.” … Mansour called the crosshairs “surveyor marks.”

Alas, on November 4th, immediately after the election, Palin herself tweeted:

4. Here are some links to and excerpts from others regarding false equivalency, Palin, and related matters:
Read more…

Categories: Politics