Libertarian Crybabies and Other Social Pathologies

Among the dumber reactions to the Saturday massacre in Tuscon is the outrage that anyone dare suggest that people tone down their rhetoric!. For example, see libertarian Jack Shafer’s childish temper tantrum at Slate.

Some background — you might have heard that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik spoke out against inflammatory political rhetoric after the shooting —

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” said Dupnik at a press conference Saturday. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

A little more background: Sheriff Dupnik is a 50-year veteran of law enforcement. After Arizona passed laws giving police broad powers to detain anyone who looks Latino suspected of being an illegal immigrant, Sheriff Dupnik actually spoke out and called the law a “national embarassment.” Sheriff Dupnik also wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the law is “unnecessary … a travesty, and most significantly … unconstitutional.”

Of course, we have now entered into the age of Tea Party Originalism, in which the Constitution means whatever some right-wing crackpot says it means. And those liberty-loving teabaggers prefer tough guys like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who uses the Bill of Rights as toilet paper. Because, you know, that’s what the Founders intended.

So libertarian Shafer says,

Embedded in Sheriff Dupnik’s ad hoc wisdom were several assumptions. First, that strident, anti-government political views can be easily categorized as vitriolic, bigoted, and prejudicial. Second, that those voicing strident political views are guilty of issuing Manchurian Candidate-style instructions to commit murder and mayhem to the “unbalanced.” Third, that the Tucson shooter was inspired to kill by political debate or by Sarah Palin’s “target” map or other inflammatory outbursts. Fourth, that we should calibrate our political speech in such a manner that we do not awaken the Manchurian candidates among us.

And, fifth, that it’s a cop’s role to set the proper dimensions of our political debate. Hey, Dupnik, if you’ve got spare time on your hands, go write somebody a ticket.

Sheriff Dupnik’s political sermon came before any conclusive or even circumstantial proof had been offered that the shooter had been incited by anything except the gas music from Jupiter playing inside his head.

One suspects that Sheriff Dupnik has seen overheated rhetoric turn into violence way too many times in his 50-year career in law enforcement. Whether Shafer has ever seen anything other than the inside of his own ass is a point to be debated.

See, Jack, there are ways to insult people without threatening to kill them.

Meanwhile, one of our other perpetual pubescents, Michelle Malkin, is screaming that “Tucson massacre ghouls” are trying to “criminalize conservatism.” Her hand has been forced, she says, to crank out every example she could find of threatening and violent speech coming from progressives against conservatives, but her examples are (a) lame and (b) mostly are coming from unidentifiable people in crowds or entertainment celebrities, not the top leaders of a national political party.

See, Michelle, if some immature, unknown college student holds up a crude drawing of George Bush’s decapitated head at a protest, that is using very bad judgment, yes. If I had been the boy’s mother, I would have taken his sign away and grounded him. But it is not equivalent to nationally known political figures like US Rep. Michele Bachmann telling her constituents “”I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back.”

And Madonna’s threat to kick Sarah Palin’s ass is not equivalent to, say, Erick Erickson’s rant on CNN

At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?

Erickson had become unhinged over some new state environmental regulations on dishwashing detergent. Of course, I admit that Erickson is no more a serious political analyst than is Madonna, or Jack Shafer’s ass, for that matter.

Reasonable people, of course, do not listen to Erickson and decide to go beat their state legislator to a bloody pulp. Unfortunately, the world is full of unreasonable people with bad impulse control.

Alex Pareene nails it when he writes,

It’s not strictly that language tinged with violent imagery is dangerous, or that heated denunciations of the motivations of your political opponents are out of line, or even that America’s pervasive gun fetishization is to blame (though our gun culture is insane and bizarre to every single other developed nation in the world) for violent crimes. But when elites don’t just condone but participate in the combination of that violent imagery with the idea that the government represents an existential threat — that representatives of the government are domestic enemies, that your liberty and even your physical safety are in danger — the idea of political violence is normalized. Terrorizing Congress members at town halls and “we surround you” and head-stomping and death threats and all the other bad craziness just becomes “the way we do politics in America.”

The implicit message of much of the rhetoric of the Right is that eliminating the opposition by any means necessary is the morally right thing to do, because those people are a real threat to you and America. Now, one can find some pretty hateful speech coming from the left, too, but you have to go back to the Vietnam era to find any lefties making a moral argument for violence. And even then, the ones making these arguments were not members of Congress, running for national office, or pretending to be political analysts on CNN. They were fringe outsiders.

Today’, you’ve got a huge subculture of mostly white, mostly middle-aged, and mostly reasonably affluent people who are channeling their frustrations into a mass fantasy of being daring, noble revolutionaries. It may be that most teabaggers are about as dangerous as drier lint. But in any large group of people there will be a few who are unhinged enough to take the fantasy into real-world action.

Because the world is full of people who are barely hanging on to reality with their fingernails, and who also own guns, it is irresponsible for people in media or in politics to even suggest that violence against the opposition or government in general is somehow permissible, even noble. As long as there are elections, it is not.

However, the Republican party is largely infested by radicals who do not respect the outcome of elections that go against them. Their position since Bill Clinton was elected in 1993, in fact, is that “liberal” participation in government is itself illegitimate, and if Democrats get elected it’s only because of voter fraud.

And, as Alex Pareene writes,

As the Republican Party has become more homogeneous, more regional, and more reactionary, they have tended to make up for their growing demographic shortcomings by making sure their supporters are more motivated and energized — and the most effective way to energize them has been to make sure they’re constantly enraged.

Some can argue that the Tuscon shootings were not caused by our political climate, since the accused shooter obviously is psychologically disturbed. But I agree with Michael Tomasky

Of course he’s a nut. By definition, anyone who shoots innocent people like that has a screw loose. But nuts come in many varieties. There are some who think Dick Cheney planned 9/11, others who believe the CIA has installed eavesdropping devices in their fillings, and still others who insist they’re the reincarnation of Mary Queen of Scots. So what particular type of nut is Loughner? We don’t have a full picture yet. But we have enough of one. His coherent ravings included the conviction that the constitution assured him that “you don’t have to accept the federalist laws”. He called a female classmate who had an abortion a “terrorist”.

In sum, he had political ideas, which not everyone does. Many of them (not all, but most) were right wing. He went to considerable expense and trouble to shoot a high-profile Democrat, at point-blank range right through the brain. What else does one need to know? For anyone to attempt to insist that the violent rhetoric so regularly heard in this country had no likely effect on this young man is to enshroud oneself in dishonesty and denial.

However, I doubt very much that the shootings will change anything. Those most at fault deny their responsibility. When it’s suggested that some people ought to use better judgment in their speech, perhaps do some self-editing, they react (like Malkin and Shafer) like spoiled children told to stop torturing the puppy and go to bed. (Waaaaaaaa!)

More Stuff to Read:

Paul Krugman, “Climate of Hate”

Laura Miller, “The real message of Loughner’s book list”

Noam Schreiber, “How the Giffords Tragedy Made Me Anti-Anti-Anti Political Hate Speech”

42 thoughts on “Libertarian Crybabies and Other Social Pathologies

  1. “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” said Dupnik at a press conference Saturday. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

    Funny; he doesn’t mention conservatives. But conservatives automatically assume he means them and not some fringe leftists running around Arizona (which there must be, because they’re everywhere doncha know).


  2. Thomas Paine’s”Common Sense” inspired the American Revolution; Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” inspired the Civil War; the French and Russian revolutions were inspired by their writers. So to assume that speech does not inspire people to act is beyond fallacious.

    But right-wingers don’t operate from past evidence or present fact. They seem afflicted with extreme cases of cognitive dissonance – holding two conflicting views at the same time and reducing dissonance by justifying one view while blaming and denying its opposite.

    Aesop’s fable of the fox and the grapes expresses the phenomenon. The fox sees the grapes but can’t reach them to eat them so he decides that even though they look luscious, they’re actually old, stale, rotten and sour. (Not in the fable, and along comes some damned liberal who eats a few grapes and tells the fox that they’re delicious which sends the fox into agonizing paroxysms – and a profound hatred of all liberals from that time forward.)

  3. Interesting that Michelle Malkin herself equates conservatism with inciting violence, because the only thing I’ve heard some people suggesting we criminalize is the rhetoric that supports violent means to political ends. Apparently this = conservatism in Michelle’s mind.

  4. Libertarians don’t get the concept that freedom requires responsibility, or more accurately they have an infantile notion that responsibility only extends to their immediate family or tribe. Another form of conservative myopia, or selfishness IOW.

    More stuff to read: Ian Welsh writes The Right Wing Isn’t Going to Stop Violent Rhetoric. Why? Because it works.

    …For example, when Doctor Tiller, one of only three late term abortion providers in the entire country, was killed, his family chose to shut down his clinic. His assassin got what he wanted, and said he was perfectly happy to go to jail…

    Right wing talk of violence is acceptable in American society. And it will continue because violence and the threat of violence works in American society.

    Now let’s be clear, one reason it works is because politicians have, in fact, repeatedly and consistently, as a class, acted against the interests of Americans. Americans have spent the past 35 odd years with a stagnant or declining standard of living. The life expectancy of Americans recently dropped… something which happened in Russia not long before their collapse.

    Ordinary Americans work longer and harder and get a smaller proportion of the societies benefits every year.

    Of course, right wing solutions aren’t, they’ll just make things worse. But Americans live in a complete propaganda state, and don’t know up from down. The right controls every major media organ, and is able to get pluralities or majorities of Americans to believe things which simply aren’t true, like that Iraq had something to do with 9/11…

    Confused, lied to, living in a world which doesn’t make any sense, because it isn’t intended to make sense, and in a situation where even if they aren’t personally in financial trouble, they are only one bad bounce away from winding up on the street, being bankrupted by health care bills and then dying anyway, what is amazing about American political violence isn’t that there is so much of it, but that there is as little as there is.

    The pattern is clear enough. Major corporate interests have bled the country white. Whether these are financial interests, the military industrial complex, the telecom companies or the various medical interests, the result is the same: the rich are filthy rich, corporations making record profits and ordinary people taking it in the neck. They have then bought up the major media, which they use for propaganda purposes. Fox is the major offender, but no major outlet is immune.

    The political class works for the corporate class, not the other way around. It doesn’t have to be that way, all the levers are available to crush the corporate class any time the political class wants to, but the fact remains that the corporate class calls the shots, not the other way around. During the debate over TARP calls against ran from 100:1 against to 1200:1 against. It still passed. The public option was more popular than the health care bill that passed by a huge margin, but it was traded away early and never seriously considered.

    It is useful to the corporate class for the political class to live in fear, however….

    But most members at the very top of the corporate class, like the Koch brothers, live in such rarified circumstances that they hardly ever see an ordinary person. They fly in private jets, they stay in $50,000/night hotel rooms or private estates and so on. Politicians, on the other hand, have to glad hand. It is their job to handle ordinary people. They are, and always will be, exposed to violence.

    If that violence is inspired by the right, if the right are the people showing up with guns, well, what’s the problem, exactly, for the corporate class? If politicians are scared to do anything non-right wing, how does that hurt the very rich? Oh sure, violence might get out of control, but it’s pretty clear they don’t really believe that, or they wouldn’t have spent hundreds of millions on the Republican side of the last election, would they have?

    No, Giffords is a sign post on the road. That sign post may say stop, but this intersection will at most be a slight pause in the trip.

    More stuff to read: Jim Kunstler hits on something important beyond his usual peak oil doom’n’gloom in Jared Got a Gun:

    For more than one generation it has been difficult for young American males to develop successfully into men. They even dress like babies at 25. Their vocational options these days tend toward corporate slavery of one kind or another. Flipping burgers for a despotic fast food chain. A job in a cubicle. At best, a job in a cubicle making a lot of money by swindling fellow Americans. If they manage to get through college, many face a lifetime of tuition loan debt slavery.

    The rewards of entering the realm beyond college are paltry-to-miserable. Solitary cab rides to the mall. A burrito and a Big Gulp. Later, back home, an hour in the virtual company of the Kardashian sisters via the E-Network on your parents’ cable TV. Where are the initiations into manhood? (Try the channelized dry-wash, courtesy of the Barrio Blue Moon boyz.) I’m convinced that the reason video games and movies aimed at young males in America are devoted almost solely to fantasies about super-heroes and supernatural power (especially the power to kill) is because adolescent boys feel so impotent, so powerless, so unlike real men. The adults in this culture do not furnish any meaningful alternative scripts. That’s the market’s job, I guess.

    When confused and disturbed young men do act, they sometimes act out the scripts of violent retribution that the video game and movie business so lavishly supply to them. This is a culture, lately, with no room whatsoever for tenderness. Look for a moment of tenderness in the popular video game, Carmageddon. The Speaker of the House’s moments of tender reminiscence are reserved for himself. This used to be known as a condition called feeling sorry for yourself. It was considered, if anything, un-manly….

    I doubt that the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the many others who attended her meet-and-greet will lead to anything like more civility in politics. The country faces grave problems and most of the political noise rises not from the agony of facing them, but from the desperate efforts to avoid or deflect them. The deliberations at the highest level in Washington sound these days like the tortured reasoning of Jared Lee Loughner – for instance the hiring of William Daley from JP Morgan to run a White House that is hostage to JP Morgan….

  5. Great as usual, maha.
    Here’s another good take from Crooks & Liars:

    Some of the justifications (more like contortions) from the right, are pretty far out there. They really don’t want to take a look in the mirror, do they? And I’d like to hear them deny that all of them, upon hearing that a Democratic Congresswoman was shot, didn’t throw up a prayer that it wasn’t some obvious Beck viewer, or listener to Radio Rushwanda. Because you know they did. They know they did. They just won’t say it.
    And whenever you shoot a political figure, it becomes politicized. That’s obvious. It’s not set in stone yet that Loughner was some sort of a complete right wing whacko, though enough of his comments warrant his being looked at that way. But if this same person shot Michele Bachmann (which I’m not advocating, btw), does anyone think the right wouldn’t have tried to make it political? Even if the things he’d written or said were identical. Would it have made him any less insane? Any less wrong?

    It may turn out to be that this guy was a mentally balanced individual whose sole aim was not to make some political statement, but to get fame, even if that fame came at the cost of being notorious.
    I’m sure that like everyone else, Loughner, if he paid any attention to politics and the news, was not immune to the eliminationist rhetoric that’s out there. People with mental illness process information and prioritize it differently. Many are more susceptible than average people. And though people like Teach want to make it a “both sides do it!” argument, there is clearly enough evidence that the calls for violence and elimination come from the right, not the left:
    Sarah “Reload” Palin.
    “2nd Amendment option” Angle.
    “Armed and dangerous” Bachmann.
    And these are just the WOMEN politicians, mind you.

    What’s most unfortunate is that though this persons mental illness was pretty obvious (the military not taking him, his College not allowing him back until he’d had mental counceling), no one took the time, effort, or money to try to get Loughner some help while he was still salvagable, and there weren’t 6 dead, and more than a dozen others wounded. Where was his family in all of this? And I can’t help but wonder how much of an influence their lack of attention or action may have had on the consequences.

    Last thought: Any thought of gun control?
    Nah, didn’t think so.
    I’d heard that WalMart refused to sell him ammo because he was so deranged (did anyone think to call the police?).
    Who the hell did?
    And why are mentally unstable people allowed to purchase guns and ammo?
    Oh, yeah, the NRA, and free market profits.

  6. Why are you peddling this sort of garbage? Liberals resort to the same sort of rhetoric that you attribute to conservatives, liberals used the image and language of target to describe election strategies, and Democrat Obama even said to bring a gun to a knife fight! You are a moron for and a sick human being for trying to score political points out of this tragedy. It demonstrates that your incorrect liberal worldview- which blames conservatives for everything wrong- is incorrect, since this nut shares a lot more in common with the left than the right. Don’t take my word for it- read about the guy, you ignorant and sick demented liberal.

  7. Basically the trouble with Libertarianism is that you have to eliminate the competition.

    From the book “AN AUTISTIC WORLD (1)

    …the government acts as “The Prince,” Machiavelli’s best-known book, where the ideal protagonist maintains power by selecting specific processes that only favor him, as well as certain sectors of the population that reinforce the state, indirectly living the rest of the individuals asking themselves why they belong to the same country. The answer is usually respected by the imposition of force and law, which doesn’t particularly reflect a great deal of morality.

  8. nodrog — Wow, talk about an unprincipled smear job. Whoever wrote that crap was pretty desperate.

    So, Maha, what would you say if it comes out that the Sheriff ignored somebody making death threats?

    First, I believe it is true that some of Loughner’s behavior was reported to the Tuscon police. That doesn’t mean such reports made it to the county sheriff’s office. It’s rather doubtful that they would, in fact.

    Second, whether any level of law enforcement could actually do anything about such threats depends on Arizona law, and I wouldn’t know anything about that. It’s possible the laws are such that the police can’t do anything until the individual goes beyond the stage of making verbal threats.

    BTW, you are obviously a person of low character and integrity, and you won’t be posting comments here any more.

    Update: It isn’t surprising that the Right is now smearing Sheriff Dupnik and insinuating that he somehow is to blame for the shootings on Saturday. This is what they do. Anyone who disagrees with them must be destroyed. The Sheriff had better assign himself a security detail for the next few weeks, or until the Right’s attention is diverted elsewhere, or his life is in danger.

  9. “However, I doubt very much that the shootings will change anything. Those most at fault deny their responsibility”

    Of course not, the wing-nuts never admit they are wrong, they learned this from Bu$hco, never admit to anything. I’m amazed at the excuses the wing-nuts are coming up with, the reference about Obama and the gun to a knife fight one is great. Had Obama placed a target over Gifford’s district and then said the gun to knife fight you may be onto something. I mean come on if this guy was a liberal whack job why would he set out to assassinate a democrat? Get a grip, but sadly you (conservative teacher) are just delusional dimwitted teabaggers, so sorry your hero’s are going to pay politically for their violent rhetoric, just when it was looking up for the dimwitted teabaggers, too bad!

  10. @Conservative Teacher: Saying both sides do it is a false equivalence. Sure, there are a few examples of heated rhetoric from the left, but they pale in comparison both in frequency and in magnitude against the hatred coming out 24/7 from the right. Where’s the left’s equivalence of Rush, Beck, Hannity, Palin, Coulter, O’Reilly, all of AM radio or Fox News? These people have been agitating for the elimination of their ideological opponents for years. The shootings in Arizona are only their most recent manifestation, and were predicted by many.

    Whatever examples you conservatives come up with to somehow make the case that libs are also doing it are always in isolation, and are therefore laughable, for their lack of perspective and honesty in answering the overwhelming number of data points coming from the right. Until you can fully own what your side is doing, in all its magnitude, 24/7, your arguments are pretty lame.

    To say this nut shares more with the left than the right is unfounded, from what I’ve read. He doesn’t seem to fit neatly into any category, excepting that he shares the thinking common to paranoid schizophrenics. This nihilistic world view fits quite well with the anti-goverment views of the tea party.

  11. A Conservative Teacher,
    “You are a moron for (SIC) and a sick human being for trying to score political points out of this tragedy.”
    I sure hope you don’t teach English – conservatively or otherwise. And remember, that kid Loughton had a thing about grammar. Better hope there’s no more RIGHT-WING NUTS like him, armed, primed, propagandized, and strict about grammatical errors, or your ‘conservative teacher’ ass might just be in the crosshairs.
    Also, you’ll note that I provided a link, and mentioned that his political leanings were as yet unclear, and you might have wanted to read it. But in typical “Don’t take my word for it- read about the guy, you ignorant and sick demented ‘CONSERVATIVE,'” you didn’t read it, and instead chose to ‘teach’ us how hateful and stupid you are.
    And is EVERYONE who disagrees with you , Conservative Teacher, a

    Conservative Teacher, I’ll make you the same deal I made to some conservative cousin of yours, Teach. You give me a list of Democratic politicians, and A-list pundits and writers who’ve talked about the elimination of the right, and 2nd Amendment rights being used to settle political disagreements, and I’ll concede you just might win
    Hell, give me one – besides some moronic commenter like me at a Liberal blog like this.
    One politican, one well known pundit. That’s ALL it’ll take for me to concede the point.
    You don’t mind if I wait a couple of months until you try to find the evidence before you give up, do you?

    Conservative ‘Teacher,’ you might want to ‘learn’ something about what Freud wrote about projection.
    And ‘Conservative Teacher, is everyone who disagrees with an “ignorant and sick demented liberal?”
    If that’s so, it must be aweful lonely on the planet that you teach on…

  12. nodrog,
    “So, Maha, what would you say if it comes out that the Sheriff ignored somebody making death threats?”

    I’d say he’d make a damn fine and well paid member of the MSM.
    Bye, Troll….

  13. Nice try, Conservative Teacher (oh, those poor kids…). This guy was a right-wing extremist, from his hatred of the government, to his belief that federal laws were illegitimate, his views on currency, his belief in violence and his murder of a Democratic lawmaker.

  14. An important point to consider is the Sheriff’s inside information about the crime that he can’t share right now for obvious reasons, and also that he happens to live in Tuscon, and has first hand knowledge of what’s going on. To infer that he is trying to score political points is a stretch, to say the least (and being polite to the teacher).
    My Mother-in law and her hubby live just outside of Tuscon, and they have turned from reasonable folks into cranky teabaggers, pissed at the world because their retirement investments have crashed along with the price of their home.
    My home and investments crashed too, but I don’t blame the black socialist Muslim Kenyan dude and fantasize about Sarah saving the day.

  15. My, my teacher, that sure is nasty language. It must be frustrating that you can’t hit us or shoot us to get us to shut up. The truth must really hurt.

  16. Oh boy! The teacher thinks “liberal” is a cuss word. I suppose it could be, kinda like how the Jamaicans say “No problem, mon!”
    To me, liberal means sane and logical., easy going.
    Conservative means stingy and grumpy. (most of the time)

  17. [Loughner’s] coherent ravings included the conviction that the constitution assured him that “you don’t have to accept the federalist laws”. He called a female classmate who had an abortion a “terrorist”.

    Yeah, a real liberal (according to Sarah Pee). But pathological lying is just one form of the current crazy. I suppose we should thank Conservative Teacher for showing us how some folks are justthisclose to going off the deep end. Rage: it’s easier than thinking.

    Finally, I can only imagine the type of (illiterate) threats Sheriff Dupnik must be getting right now from the Conservative Teacher ilk. Does anyone know how we can send him a thumbs-up, and a “Dude, you’re my hero”?

  18. “Finally, I can only imagine the type of (illiterate) threats Sheriff Dupnik must be getting right now from the Conservative Teacher ilk. Does anyone know how we can send him a thumbs-up, and a “Dude, you’re my hero”?”

    Actually Joan, I was thinking Nobel Peace Prize.

  19. Great post.

    So far it seems like the assassin is more nutjob than activist. Even if it can be proved that violent political rhetoric had no i9mpact on his actions at all…

    Right wing politicians like Angle, Bachmann, and etc who rouse the rabble with talk of violent revolution are like reckless drivers. If they’re involved in an accident, it’s not “evil” to assume they were at fault – and if an investigation shows that they were not, any mature and reasonable person should not take that exoneration as permission to continue driving recklessly.

  20. I’m really getting tired of “Obama said to bring a gun to a knife fight.” It’s an old saying that’s been around since the days of the Wild West, and probably even longer than that. Among its many variations are: he’s so dumb he’d take a knife to a gunfight; that plan has as much chance of succeeding as a knife in a gun fight; if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re just taking a knife to a gun fight. In all it’s many forms, however, it is clearly not intended as an incitement to violence.

    That the Wingers are attempting to use this as an example of OBAMA DID IT TOO!
    is beyond ridiculous. Those who give credence to it, however, tell us a great deal about themselves: “And this I know and know full well, I do not like you, Doctor Fell.”

  21. Moonbat: Thanks for the link. I sent the Sheriff an email telling him that his comments this weekend were clear and cogent and that Pima County was lucky to have him.

  22. Maha,

    When I open your site, my security software is detecting some sort of malware and I am getting popups? Anyone else?

    In happier news Tom (the hammer) Delay was sentenced to three years in a federal pen today! Unfortunately he’s out on bond pending appeal, I wonder if Bill-O will go after the judge for releasing a convicted felon?

  23. Uncledad….I share in your joy that the” Hammer” got slammed with a stretch in the big house. Hopefully he’ll embrace this opportunity to underpin his Christian foundation, and emerge from his time of penance and the process of restoration as a new creature in Christ— washed in the blood of the Lamb… (with 10 years probation). I’m going to e-mail the Hammer a copy of ” Footprints in the sand” to help him through his tribulation.

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  25. “It may be that most teabaggers are about as dangerous as drier lint”

    Please, don’t downplay the dangers of drier lint. If you let it build up in your drier or clog your drier vent, you may very well burn your house down. I’m not making this up. An awful lot of serious fires start with drier lint. It’s dry. It’s flammable. It is often heated by a drier which blasts it with 300-400F air.

    Your remark sounds dismissive, but drier lint is something to take seriously.

  26. [Comment deleted for being a bare-assed attempt to score political points from the tragedy. And you can change you IP address as many times as you like, toots; you are still banned here. — maha]

  27. A Conservative Teacher …What is that comment… a copy and paste attempt to shield the Tea party from the foreseeable consequences of their violent rhetoric? Nobody is trying to take responsibility from the nutjob who committed the crime. People are just trying to take an honest look at the factors that motivated him to commit the crime. Please don’t try to obscure the truth by posting blanket conservative/tea party denials. The facts are in…and the Tea Party lit the fuse that set that nutjob off. Sorry to have to inform you!

  28. Of course Sarah Palin was not responsible. Nor were Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity, despite decades of eliminationist demagoguery. Responsibility and them have nothing to do with each other. They are all perfect in their irresponsibility. Only a madman would take them seriously, which is what happened.

    Nor was the shooter a rightist. He’s a schizophrenic; that is, his mind is split off from reality. But much of rightist rhetoric is also split off from reality, which is why they sound so much like him. This does not do them credit.

    The irony of insanity is that it is not an escape from reality; instead reality asserts itself in its harshest form. The shooter has given us a reality check; this is what Second Amendment solutions look like.

  29. Remember the weapons brought to the townhall meetings? We were assured that it was nothing to worry about. That’s now proven false.

    But of course those tea partiers weren’t responsible either.

  30. How much culpabilility did King Henry II have in the death of Thomas Beckett? It is a Hellish thing to use surrogates to do your bidding and then cry at the funeral of the nine year olds that seem to get in the way. One can use different currencies to buy their little helpers, but a word whispered in the shell-like appendage of a madman, can get you carnage in Tucson on a Saturday morning. Will you have your Loughners even the score?

  31. You guys have no idea how completely hypocritical you are being. You are filled with blind hatred and rage towards anyone who might identify as “right-wing” and ascribe the worst motives to them. Meanwhile, you ignore the fact that the left (including some of its prominent leaders) has also been very hateful and divisive. Keith Olbermann is a prime example – without provocation or any facts to back him up, he has no problem calling people racists and “haters” and all sorts of names.

    MSNBC is the mirror image to Fox. And CNN definitely leans left as do many major news outlets. So to say that “we don’t have the constant 24/7 broadcasting” like the right does is just a lie.

    The very fact that you are freaking out over “weapons” being brought to Town Hall meetings is an example of the propaganda being played by the media, made out to make you fearful of the Tea Party! It’s a whole lotta BS and not particularly grounded in fact or reason.

    The libertarians are not your enemy. You have just been played and the entire progressive movement has been co-opted by the corporate/fascist government as a means to support any and all expansion of government powers and reach. If you are against the Patriot Act, you have something in common with a libertarian. If you are against the wars, you have something in common with a libertarian. If you oppose fascism and want more freedom, you have something in common with a libertarian.

    And if you don’t understand that, it’s because you’ve fallen prey to the fearmongering that has made libertarian a bad word. Get out of your bubble and go read some libertarian writings (try Reason magazine for one), go check out Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and try to look beyond your spin zone.

    • You are filled with blind hatred and rage towards anyone who might identify as “right-wing” and ascribe the worst motives to them.

      No, dear you are filled with blind hatred and rage. We are merely criticizing.

      Get out of your bubble and go read some libertarian writings (try Reason magazine for one), go check out Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and try to look beyond your spin zone.

      I blog about Reason a lot, actually. I go there whenever I need a laugh. I’m also fully aware of Ron Paul and his weird little worldview. Not enough tinfoil, I say.

      Now, if you don’t have anything original to say, do go away. We have standards here. Thanks much.

  32. Jennifer,
    First, put the Kool Aid down. You’re drinking too much of the “Projection” flavor.
    Put your ‘both sides do it” glasses down and look at FOX, MSNBC, and CNN. There’s no comparison. Especially between Olberman, who may get a bit too full of himself, and Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity on FOX. There are countless neutral websites that will gladly let you do a comparison and let you see for yourself. If you want to see. Or, as I imagine, you want to keep buying into that meme because it’s comfortable.
    As for Libertarianism, it’s a bankrupt “philosophy.” Theoretically, if we all lived in a small independent villages somewhere, with ample food and water supplies somewhere before modern times, with very small populations, it might, might, just be some sort of a viable means of governance – and even then I doubt it.
    And read “Reason?” I’ve tried, and I refuse to waste another precious second of the rest of my life reading that nonsense.
    Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re just spouting crap I’ve read everywhere and seen on almost all of the TV stations, and what every troll who comes here mimics.
    Both sides DON’T do it. I can name (and have in earlier posts so I’m not going to bother again) a pretty significant, but not all encompassing, list of violent rhetoric coming from Palin, Angle, Bachmann, etc, etc, etc, and so forth… Find me one. ONE, Democratic politician who ran talking about 2nd Amendment rights if Democrats didn’t win, and targeting your opponenet, and that all Conservatives are vermins or viruses who must be wiped off the face of the Earth – ’cause that’s what a lot of Republican rhetoric was about us.
    Jesus, I’m tired of this stupid crap.

  33. “Now, if you don’t have anything original to say, do go away. We have standards here. Thanks much.”

    It appears your standards are ad hominen attacks, name calling, and ridiculing people who disagree with you, rather than engaging in intelligent dialogue and discourse.

    It’s rather sad, really, and I see you have Buddha on your blog…but you aren’t very spiritual in practice with this sort of attitude.

    That you chase away people who disagree with you rather than focusing on the common ground (yes, libertarians, of which may I remind you Palin is not one, are against the foreign wars)…does show you are blinded by hatred. People who are reasonable and not coming from a deep emotional blackhole can start from the common ground. You are only interested in being right and not finding a way to bridge gaps between people.

    The upshot is, someone such as myself, who believe it or not has been an active environmentalist all my life (volunteering, donating, uses my reusable bags), gets turned off of the left and this is why I am firmly in the independent camp now, learning libertarian.

    Which is, btw, not a “bankrupt” philosophy. Our government is the one that’s bankrupt, and services are being cut. If you don’t start looking beyond government to solve problems, you’re going to have some serious problems. But you don’t care…you just want to hate on people who disagree with you.

    You come off as juvenile and petty. And make your side look worse. You are not getting any converts or helping your cause here.

    Go meditate a bit more or something, you need it.

    • It appears your standards are ad hominen attacks, name calling, and ridiculing people who disagree with you, rather than engaging in intelligent dialogue and discourse.

      No, dear, that is what you are doing. If you actually read the post with anything approximating an open mind, you see that I provide REASONS for my opinions. I EXPLAIN why I think Mr. Shafer, for example, is an ass. Therefore, by definition, what I wrote about Mr. Shafer is not ad hominem. Snarky, yes, but not ad hominem. You, on the other hand, are doing nothing but throwing insults at me to disparage my character, and even my religion, but you provide no argument about why I am wrong. Therefore, by definition, YOUR comments have both been ENTIRELY ad hominem (look it up).

      So, YOU are the one “coming from a deep emotional blackhole.” Apparently, you cannot abide any perspective that differs from yours.

      BTW, if you want a clue WHY our government is bankrupt, hang around here and read the posts. You might learn something. However, since I don’t have time to deal with hysterical people thrashing around in emotional black holes, I’m blacklisting you from commenting. Sorry, but rules are rules.

      Have a nice life.

  34. What a twit.
    Here’s my favorite: “Our government is the one that’s bankrupt, and services are being cut.”
    Uhm, outside of law and order (taking minor hits) and basic military protections (taking ZERO hits), what other “services “can a Libertarian complain about being cut? What SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Education? Those, last I looked, are not Libertarian ideals.
    What an ingnorant, confused puppy…

  35. have you seen any of the Earth Empires postings by loughner? creepy. apparently they aren’t releasing all of them. apparently he made “anti-government” posts but we can’t see those. only the ones where he talks about going to prison, hitting a child, and rape. here’s my thing, i’m ready to fight for some real gun control. i’ve had it. i’m from pittsburgh, where we had richard poplawski, who sounds an awful lot like loughner, and shot three police officers from his bedroom window. he was kicked out of the military, so why did he have that kind of weaponry and bullet proof vest? loughner was rejected by the military, so why was he allowed to buy a gun? and we had the crazy who shot up the LA Fitness for no apparent reason, and his online footprint showed he also hated women because he couldn’t get a date either, like loughner. several years ago we had a guy go nuts and start shooting up jewish houses of worship and whatnot. then there was james david adkisson who shot up the unitarian church in knoxville, tn, and said he did it because, like loughner, he couldn’t get a job and talk radio had taught him to blame liberals for all his problems. it’s like i don’t even care about the tea party or blood libel or any of that. let’s just get some gun control already.

  36. lottie jump,
    Forget it, it’ll NEVER happen.
    Never mind SS, or Medicare – gun ownership rights are the new 3rd rail of politics.

    I’m with you, though. I think guns should be limited to flint lock pistols for home protection, and blunderbusses for hunting.

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