Insanity Nation

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Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

First, toldja so: Newsmax declares “Shooter Linked to Left Wing Politics.” Yes, by Newsmax. Apparently it was reported the young man accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others owns copies of The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, which of course (in the minds of righties, who cannot figure out why Hitler was a right-wing psychopath, not a left-wing one) proves he’s a leftie.

Anyway, the more I hear about the shooter, the more it appears he was deeply disturbed, possibly psychotic. I am not qualified to diagnose these things, of course, but this is in the Arizona Star:

The suspected shooter has made death threats before and been contacted by law-enforcement officers, but the threats weren’t against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Dupnik said. The suspect is unstable, Dupnik said, but the sheriff would not say he is “insane.”

A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was “obviously very disturbed.”

“He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,” said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College’s Northwest campus.

Sorenson doesn’t recall if he ever made any threats or uttered political statements but he was very disruptive, she said. He was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class, said Sorenson, a Tucson resident.

Now, it stuck me that if some student had shown up in the algebra class bleeding from some injury, the school would have hustled the student off to a hospital, not barred the kid from class. It turns out the school, a local community college, suspended Jared Lee Loughner and told his parents he would need to get a psych evaluation before they could let him return. I don’t believe Loughner’s parents have made any public statements.

Loughner faces a death penalty for murdering a federal judge, so we’re about to go through another round of arguing over the insanity defense.

If Loughner is as psychotic as he appears, the next question is one Michelle Goldberg asks — were his delusions and violent actions influenced by violent rhetoric?

Goldberg adds that “Loughner, while clearly in the grip of delusion rather than any coherent ideology, nonetheless shared many far-right obsessions.”

His videos, which mostly feature white text on a black background accompanied by trippy electronic music, are full of unintelligible messages about conscious dreaming and English grammar. But they also make it clear that Loughner has internalized some of the conspiracy theories common in the Tea Party. He is obsessed with currency manipulation and out-of-control government power. Toward the end of a YouTube video titled “My Final Thoughts,” he writes, “The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution. You don’t have to accept the federalist laws. Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.” Among his MySpace photos is an American history book with a gun on top.

See also Adele Stan at Alternet.

Matt Bai, who can occasionally make a point when he’s not too pre-occupied with being bipartisan, wrote,

In fact, much of the message among Republicans last year, as they sought to exploit the Tea Party phenomenon, centered — like the Tea Party moniker itself — on this imagery of armed revolution. Popular spokespeople like Ms. Palin routinely drop words like “tyranny” and “socialism” when describing the president and his allies, as if blind to the idea that Americans legitimately faced with either enemy would almost certainly take up arms.

It’s not that such leaders are necessarily trying to incite violence or hysteria; in fact, they’re not. It’s more that they are so caught up in a culture of hyperbole, so amused with their own verbal flourishes and the ensuing applause, that — like the bloggers and TV hosts to which they cater — they seem to lose their hold on the power of words.

He’s right about the “culture of hyperbole, so amused with their own verbal flourishes and the ensuing applause.” For example, a quote that’s being tweeted around on the Right today is “If Jared Lee Loughner had any political heroes they would have to be Dennis Kucinich & Al Gore.”

I went clicking around to find the source, or at least everyone who seems to have thought this quote actually says something profound, and all I found was the quote. No reason, no explanation. It’s like little boys on a playground egging each other on to do something gross or stupid, for their own amusement. The actual acts, the actual words, have no meaning.

So for the next few days we may talk a little about toning down the rhetoric, but the people who most need to take the words to heart — won’t.

And Palin and her people clearly don’t know when to shut up:

In a radio interview Saturday night, one of Ms. Palin’s top aides, Rebecca Mansour, said of the map of lawmakers: “We never, ever, ever intended it to be gun sights.” Ms Mansour said attemps to tie Ms. Palin to the violence were “obscene” and “appalling.”

“I don’t understand how anyone can be held responsible for someone who is completely mentally unstable like this,” Ms. Mansour said. “Where I come from the person who is actually shooting is culpable. We had nothing whatsoever to do with this.”

She added: “People who knew him said that he is left wing and very liberal. But that is not to say that I am blaming the left for him either.”

You see? They can’t stop. They’re like crack addicts. I have no doubt that Moosewoman will add the remarks about her “target” image to her endless whine list of personal grievances.

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30 Comments

  1. muldoon  •  Jan 9, 2011 @3:13 pm

    “We never, ever, intended it to be gun sights.”

    Of course not. That and Palin repeatedly urging folks “Don’t Retreat, Reload” was just her folksy way of saying we should all join hands around the campfire and have a nice singalong.

  2. kanino  •  Jan 9, 2011 @3:15 pm

    From the book “AN AUTISTIC WORLD (1)”

    Socrates was found responsible of inciting the revolution and was judged by the same crowd of people, that he had condemned in the past for being ignorant, foolish, and violent. In his Apology, he defended the freedom of thought and expression, morality, and self wisdom, which in the crowd’s view left him with two choices: to withdraw openly the beliefs that he had embraced during the course of his life and then leave the city, or to die. Socrates choose the virtuous option sealing in great manner the destiny of Athens.

  3. erinyes  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:01 pm

    Everyone knows that all liberals smoke pot, listen to the Doors and Jimi Hendiix and shoot things up, yeah, that’s it! Smoke marijuana then go on a three state killing spree, ‘happens every day.
    I find myself in agreement with Barbara (granny) Bush when she says Palin seems to enjoy Alaska, perhaps she should stay there.
    Every liberal I know owns a 9mm glock with an extra large clip, crap, it’s a REQUIREMENT!

  4. anneli kahari  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:03 pm

    The whole country is going crazy. Politics is full of people behaving like badly brought up brats. Sarah Palin wil be your next President yet, you’ll see, coss hairs on maps or not. Maybe that is what you deserve.

  5. goatherd  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:04 pm

    It seems almost incomprehensible to me that anyone would not understand that the spectrum of humanity includes a significant percentage of people with severe mental problems. The average angry, stressed out person might yell and contemplate tossing a shoe at their TV screen. But, one or two in among the crowd have lost their moorings and given the right stimulus and the opportunity, they are capable of violent crimes. All it takes is one. The constant vilifying of the opposition, the gun culture and the exaggeration of the threat all conspire to push some precariously balanced people over the edge. Violent rhetoric, clowns carrying guns to public events and other fixtures of our society validate violence and confirm the paranoid delusions of people who are already dangerously disturbed. I won’t say that anyone is purposefully or knowingly inciting violence against specific people, but they are inciting violence recklessly. If you know that your actions have the potential to move some to violence and you continue without regard, you bear responsibility. In a culture with mass communication and hundreds of millions of people, the possible becomes inevitable. Somewhere there will be some true believer (and probably many) who will be sufficiently disturbed to commit a violent act.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be no requirement for celebrities to be rational or ethical, they simply must be marketable and exploitable. I think some notable ones get such a thrill out of stoking up the anger, that they never see the consequences.

  6. ronspri  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:27 pm

    It’s getting to the point that you gotta think that even they know that it is all just knee jerk reactions.

  7. moonbat  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:31 pm

    This is one of the next steps in the progression toward tyranny/toward a banana republic – intimidation of one side through assasination attempts. Yes the guy was apparently a disturbed individual, not a professional with a focused, politcal agenda, but the rhetoric and atmosphere (look at what’s been going on in Arizona these last few years) was enough to push this loner off from his moorings to take some 2nd amendment remedies. And the result is the same. Many of us have been looking for such a sign to occur, it was predicted.

    As you point out, expect to hear all manner of denials, conflations, and distortions from those responsible for this rhetoric/political stance.

    If there’s a silver lining to this, it’s the sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, where all this occurred:

    “There’s reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said in a news conference Saturday. “People tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.”

    He was on O’Reilly some months ago, arguing against AZ’s immigration “reform” bill, quoted here.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:38 pm

    The problem with the kind of rhetoric practiced from the right isn’t just like some kind of Lay’s potato chip syndrome, where you can’t just stop at one – it’s that the next line has to top the last one. In Conservative politics and media, that’s what sells, and that’s what keeps your face on the camera, your name on the byline, or your voice opining on the radio. Like any comedian, actor or writer, your audience wants to see if you can you top the last thing you said/did. Just like a junkie always needs a higher dose to reach the same
    high.
    And that’s where the MSM comes in, but doesn’t. At some point, you can’t keep covering this and turning your head when one side is using dangerous rhetoric. You need to say that this is getting out of control, and point out the culprit’s, and not say, “Well, that’s just Sarah being Sarah.” You’d think that people might have learned something after Tailgunner Joe, but you’d be wrong.
    And there’s my favorite, where insane and violent utterings by the likes of the Palin’s, Beck’s, and Radio Rushwanda’s, who are front and center on the right, are compared to commenters on some Liberal website as some kind of tit-for-tat. Uhm, note to media: I’d love to be paid for some of the stupid crap I’ve written here, but outside of a handful of my maha-friends, no one will read it, no one will care, and I have absolutely no, zip, zero, zilch, influence – NONE! So, even if I ranted about killing all Conservatives and Republicans in some comment here, I don’t rate with the names I listed above, no matter how great my own self-image may wish I was. Comparing some Liberal commenter like me (btw – who does not advocate violence in any way), to equivocate comments made by them, is like saying the 5th violinist in the in the local town orchestra carries the same weight as Jascha Heifetz, or that the Pop Warner QB in JHS is the same as Tom Brady.

    Monday, when the politicians have had some time to absorb this, and the Conservative pund-twit’s have prepared for their new week of twitting, is a great opportunity to start over, ackowledge previous mistakes (ok, call them mis-statement’s, we’ll be fine with that this one time), and say that from now on, we all need to put our best foot forward, and you’ll lead.
    But if I had any money to bet, I’ll bet the MSM will come back with the same old, lame “Both sides do it!”, and the right wing will either claim this guy’s a Liberal, or that they are in no way responsible for what an insane person does.
    If they try this, the MSM needs to tell them, “Hey, if you hand someone a Zippo lighter fluid, the Zippo lighter with a flint, and instructions on how to light it, and keep telling them over and over again how much you’d love a good blaze, you can’t say you didn’t help ‘start the f*cking fire.'”
    But they won’t, will they?
    Hope springs eternal.

    PS: The “Whore of Babblin’ On’s” people said that those weren’t rifle scopes targeting the politicians, but tools used by people doing surveying in the field (you know, like people who measure for property, or county borders). Really, Sarah?
    I swear, you can’t make this crap up!
    These people have killed fiction, because what is there that anyone won’t believe anymore?

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 9, 2011 @4:40 pm

    Uhm, still waiting Teach… *

    *(See the comments from the previous post if you don’t understand this reference).

  10. Swami  •  Jan 9, 2011 @5:12 pm

    I got a question about English grammar….When expressing condolences is it necessary to quality a condolence with the word “sincere”? Aren’t condolences sincere by their nature? I just thought it was strange for Sarah Palin’s press release about the shooting to include an adjective designed to deflect responsibility for her culpability in stirring up a sick mind by the use of her inflammatory rhetoric.

  11. uncledad  •  Jan 9, 2011 @6:52 pm

    I love the Newsmax quote:

    “ABC News reported Saturday night that Loughner had identified among his favorite books “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and the fiction classic “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — hardly the reading list of a Palin supporter”

    I wouldn’t think the typical dimwitted teabagger Palin supporter would read much at all?

  12. buckyblue  •  Jan 9, 2011 @7:13 pm

    2nd Amendment Solutions. Where is Sharon Angle right now??

  13. erinyes  •  Jan 9, 2011 @8:21 pm

    ” where is Sharon Angle right now??”
    I’d say either pleading the 5th or drinking a 5th.

  14. erinyes  •  Jan 9, 2011 @8:39 pm
  15. erinyes  •  Jan 9, 2011 @9:07 pm

    Maybe that’s what you deserve”
    Let’s hope not Anneli……..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odgbgXSdOu4

  16. Craig  •  Jan 10, 2011 @2:52 am

    Lee Atwater wasn’t trying to get anyone killed with his notorious Willie Horton ads. He was just trying to stir up anger and fear. Stirring up anger and fear gets votes. It pushes moderates, independents and fence sitters to the right, particularly if broadcast for weeks just before the election. Atwater’s behavior was horrendous. What’s happening now is worse.

    No one should be the least surprised that it may have been a mentally disturbed young man who responded to the rhetoric of the last two years and acted out his anger. But keep in mind that the young man seems to have planned what he was doing reasonably well. Six deaths is calculated murder.

    The right wing rhetoric of recent years has often been based on deception and sometimes outright lies specifically designed to stir fear and anger. Most Republican leaders and commentators are quite aware of most of their lies, and are shameless about it. Putting aside what happened in Tucson, if that’s possible, the behavior of many right wing Republicans has been atrocious. There are still decent Republicans leaders here and there and there are millions of Republican voters who should be ashamed of themselves for so easily buying the nonsense the leadership has been peddling and yet most of them in everyday life are our friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbors. How do you change that? Certainly not by snark or cynicism.

    In a democracy, there can be no response except the truth and the ballot box. We all know that, but sometimes we need to think how we can crank down the fear, crank down the anger, crank down the violent rhetoric and actually get something done. I’m in awe of the staffers and people who rushed to Giffords’ aid. There is a clue there about the right way to move forward.

  17. Pat  •  Jan 10, 2011 @3:04 am

    A Palin Aid is saying they weren’t cross hairs in Palin’s ad targeting legislators. She’d even been warned. Tennessee (the bring-your-gun-to-the-bar state) Senator Lamar Alexander is calling it irresponsible to suggest that the crosshair ads had any connection.

    It hardly matters what the shooter was. The unhinged always take some perversion of what’s out there so those in the media spotlight have to be responsible even for unintended consequences. To say she has plausible deniability in this is delusional.

    Palin is a media-sustained has-been. Alaska doesn’t want her and neither does America. She’s following in the footsteps of other notorious GOP disgraces futilely eyeing comebacks…like New Gingrich. Now we need to start questioning the motives of those in media who have sustained her, even Orpah and Babwa Wawa.

    Florida radio host Joyce Kaufman, speaking at a Tea Party Rally in 2010, told her followers that if they don’t get what they want by voting, then they should consider shooting people. There was immediately a rash of called in phone threats to various offices. She also procured a bodyguard fearing that what she’d unleashed might boomerang.

    kaufman too, had a litany of excuses.

  18. joanr16  •  Jan 10, 2011 @10:02 am

    Sarah Palin wil be your next President yet, you’ll see, c[r]oss hairs on maps or not.

    How’s the weather on your planet?

  19. Rick Massimo  •  Jan 10, 2011 @10:52 am

    Toward the end of a YouTube video titled “My Final Thoughts,” he writes, “The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution.

    No, that has absolutely nothing to do with Tea Parties or conservatives at all. No sir.

  20. Pat  •  Jan 10, 2011 @1:23 pm

    I have a rightee (hey, I’m a patient sort and try to get along in mixed society) friend who demonizes Alan Grayson particularly his reference to Cheney as having blookd dripping from his teeth). Obviously not approaching veiled reference at directed violence but rather a caricature. Naturally, he immediately sought out similar things on the left, as an exercise in equvalencing. I admit I had to stop and think.

    Someone (was it John Kerry?) leveraged the colloquialism “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” Personally, I think there’s a world of difference for reasons I’l describe but I had to defend or agree.

    In the spirit of cooperation I’d scale back my language, watch my colloquialisms and speak disapprovingly of some language I’d considered acceptable in the past BUT…

    There are differences:

    1. Context is everything
    my firend and I could use that colloquialism without confusion
    gun talk at NRA rally or gun show might be taken literally
    2. established colloquialisms are different animals altogether
    My Mom used to threaten to “Skin me alive” but look, still here and no scars
    We refer to having been stabbed in the back or to someone as a backstabber
    3. There is a difference when violent analogy is directed at a person, however thinly veiled. as opposed to being used to characterize a situation.

    I couldn’t just call that person stupid though I have my doubts…everything is on one of two sides to him and that tires me out. So I used the patient approach. His focus is on how firmly held his convictions are and not their quality or basis. My patience is wearing thin…

    Help. Did I overlook anything? My answers are better after a night’s sleep. Maybe for the sake of civil community discourse we should all watch the expressions but I truly think the two uses of language (Palins and whover leveraged that colloquialism) are light years apart and suspect it disengenuous not to admit that.

  21. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 10, 2011 @1:36 pm

    Watch as in her interview with him, Megyn Kelly tries to paint the Sheriff as some sort of a political hack:
    http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/megyn-kelly-questions-sheriff-dupnik-on-his-political-spin-of-giffords-shooting.php?ref=fpb

    This would almost be funny if the subject wasn’t so serious.

  22. Pat  •  Jan 10, 2011 @3:18 pm

    Last comment awaiting moderation but I doubt I’ll ever refer to a “kill shot” in handball again. Clearly the shooters behavior is cause for concern. Hindsight is 20-20. Will this turn into a new, heretofore unreached level of political correctness and literal interpretation such as toenail clippers with knife-like file. Still better to deal with aftermath of literal overcompensation than what happened the other day…because of the existence of literalists and the unhinged.

  23. erinyes  •  Jan 10, 2011 @3:18 pm

    Gulag, I just saw that video over at Huff Post.
    How much money do you have to pay someone to ask the Sheriff leading questions in the wake of this brutal action? The Sheriff is spot on, yet Kelly is trying to get him to say it had nothing to do with the underlying cauldron of Hate.
    Truth be damned.Protect the nest at all cost.

  24. paradoctor  •  Jan 10, 2011 @3:43 pm

    It seems to me that he was more a lunatic than a rightist, though he gravitated to the right because he found support for lunacy there. In gaming terms, he is Chaotic Evil, with the disorganization that implies. For this reason he will be denounced by the partisans of Lawful Evil.

    I have a bipartisan proposal; that “both sides” reduce the paranoid sociopathic eliminationist demagogery by half. A 50% reduction, that’s all I call for. The Left – what little is left of it – need do little-to-nothing to comply; for half of little-to-nothing is still little-to-nothing. But the Right – what little is right about it – will have some major work to do.

    Shall we start by shaming Palin? That bullseye map was not only vicious and unprincipled, it was also deeply stupid. That’s what I mean by Chaotic Evil.

  25. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jan 10, 2011 @6:40 pm

    I went clicking around to find the source, or at least everyone who seems to have thought this quote actually says something profound, and all I found was the quote. No reason, no explanation. It’s like little boys on a playground egging each other on to do something gross or stupid, for their own amusement. The actual acts, the actual words, have no meaning.

    Um… yes?

    I mean – hasn’t that been the Rush Limbaugh/Newt Gingrich/Ann Coulter/Glenn Beck schtick?

    Part of me sees you say something like this and it’s like “what, are you just now noticing?” And I’m sorry – I don’t mean that to be nasty, but… well…

    *Are* you just now noticing? That, in many cases, it’s all just bullshit posturing, and they really *don’t* have to have any meaning behind it? That they really are just playing a big game of winners and losers?

    If so, hold on to that possibility, and watch. Or, think about the “Ground Zero Mosque” which is a non-issue… unless you need bullshit posturing during a slow news cycle.

  26. maha  •  Jan 10, 2011 @6:59 pm

    *Are* you just now noticing?

    Of course not.

    If so, hold on to that possibility, and watch. Or, think about the “Ground Zero Mosque” which is a non-issue… unless you need bullshit posturing during a slow news cycle.

    Do you have a point? Because if so, I don’t see what it is.

  27. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jan 10, 2011 @6:59 pm

    A Palin Aid is saying they weren’t cross hairs in Palin’s ad targeting legislators. She’d even been warned. Tennessee (the bring-your-gun-to-the-bar state) Senator Lamar Alexander is calling it irresponsible to suggest that the crosshair ads had any connection.

    You know what?

    In a sane society, *NO ONE WOULD HAVE TO BRING THIS UP*.

    No one.

    Palin would have not only pulled the picture, but in its place put up a clearly pained, and very sincere, apology. If she didn’t, no one would ever want to hear about her again (unless it was how she lost the election for dog catcher). Her only hope would be to play up her remorse enough that people had to admit she was a class act.

    Anyone who screamed “anti-American/Muslim/Socialist” etc., would be scrambling to make sure that they are heard to say they abhor violence, and that they consider Democrats to be good people who love their country.

    Limbaugh and Beck would receive phone calls saying “tone it down. No, really. I’ve got the president of each of the cable/radio channels on the line, all swearing they won’t hire you if I fire you because you don’t tone it down.”

    And *because* this kind of stuff happened, no one would want to draw a connection. Oh, it would happen. People would say “oh, poor Palin, crying because she might have helped someone get killed! At least she’s *alive* to cry!” but most people would let it go.

    But first, you gotta have a sane society.

  28. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jan 10, 2011 @7:34 pm

    Do you have a point? Because if so, I don’t see what it is.

    Well, first, you said that you’re not just now noticing this. So, no, no real point after that.

    But…

    If you were just now noticing that the right wing will just make up any old bullshit, without any sourcing, without any meaning, just to score points, well, then, think about the meaning of that.

    Realize how futile it can be to argue certain points on their merits because there are no merits – the whole argument was just made up, after all!

    Consider what to do when you’re facing a noise machine – when facing a true believer, you can present evidence (they won’t change their mind *now*, but you might present some doubt for later mind-changing), but when facing a noise machine, you’ll just get noise. So, what do you do? (I don’t have a good answer to this, myself.)

    And, well… feel a bit of sympathy for the leaderless folks who are fed a steady stream of pap, but are actually being snookered.

    There’s a huge difference between “we are fighting people who *think* that tax cuts always pay for themselves” and “we are fighting people who, in spite of the evidence, will *say* that tax cuts pay for themselves, so they can run on a platform of tax cuts!”

    I’m not sure what the pragmatic difference is, mind you. But it’s important. In part, it’s important because you need to realize that, when dealing with someone who’s going to insist on repeating the bullshit, that you can *never* change their mind, because they don’t believe it themselves. They can’t have a sudden revelation that they’re wrong because they don’t think in terms of right or wrong. You can’t get them to admit, for example, that anything short of red-hot pincers is “torture” because they’re not thinking about whether or not, e.g. waterboarding is torture, they’re just going to blankly insist that whatever *we* did (under George W. Bush) wasn’t torture.

  29. maha  •  Jan 10, 2011 @8:53 pm

    If you were just now noticing that the right wing will just make up any old bullshit,

    I’ve been on this blog documenting right-wing bullshit almost daily since July 2002.

    I don’t need the attitude, son. Watch yourself.

  30. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jan 11, 2011 @12:28 am

    I’ve been on this blog documenting right-wing bullshit almost daily since July 2002.

    I don’t need the attitude, son. Watch yourself.

    Sigh. I’m coming across badly. I’m sorry.

    And, when I tried to explain myself, I came across badly, again. And I’m sorry for that, too.



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