Arizona Shooting Spree, Congresswoman, judge, among victims...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by joepistole, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    The title of the thread was changed by the conservative mods. It was originally about the Tea Party call for the 2nd Amendment solution as a remedy for failure at the election booth (i.e. Sharon Angle).
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Beside the point. Again. The issue is violent political rhetoric, and this has to do with the shooting because Gifford predicted that she would get shot for a political reason. And she was.
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  5. countezero Registered Senior Member

    She did not predict that. Seriously. Why not just rename this thread bile and lies?
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  7. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    She certainly did. Her husband said so.
  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    “She says, you know, ‘Someday I’m really worried that somebody’s going to come up to me at one of these events with a gun,’” Kelly said.

    Worry about the possibility of something is not exactly the same as making a prediction.

    Still, in that state, with its lax open carry laws, I'd be a bit worried myself, For instance, the guy with the Semi-Auto assault weapon at a political rally was breaking no laws.

    But I wouldn't be because of the political rhetoric, since people who assassinate politicians RARELY do it for poliltical reasons, but because of their own warped mental processes (as in Hinkley).

  9. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Yes it is. That is exactly what it is. You don't "really worry" about events that you don't judge as being likely enough to bear worrying about.

    Is there no cheap semantic dodge that is too cheap for you to use? Even if you aren't going to respect the rest of us, you should at least respect yourself enough not to act like such a blatant moron. Who do you think you're fooling?
  10. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    She said it in the context of the health care vote when her offices were being vandalized. And what assassin isn't mentally unstable? That's pretty much a given. That doesn't mean they aren't affected by the things people say.
  11. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Predicting something WILL happen is NOT the same as worrying that it MIGHT happen.

    You would know that if you understood the English Language.

  12. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    For those of us who don't have precognition, it's the same thing.
  13. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    No it's not.
  14. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    It ain't just a river in Egypt, hon.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    English is a fabulously fun language

    Joe, at this level, you're dealing with would-be thought police. That is, given a set of facts, there is only one acceptable interpretation. No other perspective is valid, arguable, or acceptable.

    Palin's lies aside, what Counte is overlooking is that I could deliver that line from the lectern, stage, television studio, radio booth, blog, newspaper editorial, or otherwise, and it passes the muster of free speech.

    The only way it doesn't pass muster is if there is no reasonable perspective by which the alleged facts can be held true. For instance, if I asserted that Sarah Palin raped little boys with a carrot stapled to her groin ... well, okay, bad example, because that's so unbelievable nobody's going to believe it, anyway. But you get what I'm after. There are plenty of accusations one could make with no facts or evidence to consider. These would risk slander or libel exposure.

    The only way the line Counte so disdains even approaches that kind of exposure is if we presume there are no facts or evidence to consider. And there are facts and evidence in striking abundance.

    You and I might look at these facts and share a good deal of common interpretation. Counte and others might look at the evidence and disagree. That's a matter of interpretation.

    However, if one insists that there are no facts or evidence to consider, or that only one interpretation is acceptable, the underlying mechanism is a construction that only allows for one set of definitions and perspectives. It is, essentially, a thought-police demand: You must look at this and see it this way. You must define these terms as follows.

    Which is morbidly hilarious because of the stupidity it demands. I mean think about it. One need not be a writer or of literary inclination to understand the function and execution of double entendre. One need not argue the subtleties of Homer, Chaucer, and Shakespeare°. One need not even be literate. Watch television. Go to movies. Listen to rock and roll. I've seen people lips to the sidewalk who were still conscious enough to chuckle at even fairly obscure double entendre.

    Some friends and I have a joke, called the "gayoff", which originated during NFL playoffs some years ago. If one acknowledges the possibility of the Freudian slip°, some of what American sportscasters say is absolutely hilarious. The gayoff comes up when someone says something that could also be interpreted in a specifically and obviously homoerotic manner°.

    My point being, of course, that we have to either pretend that politics in these United States is conducted without double entendre, or else that we're not supposed to know what it is and how it works.

    Lips to the sidewalk, people can figure out double entendre.

    I suppose the other alternative is that we should believe that the Tea Party couldn't figure it out. Sure, we might joke that it's possible, but come on.

    There is no reasonable explanation that I can see coherent enough to convince me that Palin, Angle, Kaufman—or even the guy carrying his gun while advocating open, bloody revolution outside an Obama speech—didn't know in what dangerous territory they trod. I guarantee you the majority of those people carrying guns outside a Phoenix, Arizona speech in August, 2009 were not thinking, "We're Americans—theoretically our esteemed president should be safer with all of us around."

    If it never occurred to those people that this might happen, that someone would slay innocent people in an attempt to assassinate a political figure ... I'm sorry—I know I have a dim view of the Tea Party, but ... they're not that stupid. They can't be. That degree of stupidity demands some degree of actual intellectual retardation. I mean, I can understand a certain degree of chaos and insanity in the third and developing worlds, but these are the United States of America. We don't face those challenges. We declare and, generally, execute higher standards. There is something amiss with that degree of stupidity. I simply cannot prescribe that the reason is that everyone associated with the Tea Party is, in some way, medically or psychiatrically retarded. It's not a bridge too far. There's no fucking bridge.

    Calculated double entendre is a vital component of our culture. Attorneys often choose their words precisely for specific effects, including vagary and secondary implication, when delivering opening and closing arguments before a jury. Advertising in general is rife with double entendre. And politics?

    Well, here I run into a problem. A blogger who styles himself Thoreau reminds, in consideration of the Tea Party, "Libertarians are way too hip on double entendre to ever call themselves 'Teabaggers'".

    Let's set that aside. Politics bleeds double entendre.

    They knew. They're just not that stupid. They damn well knew.

    They knew they were dabbling across the boundary of soicetal acceptability. They knew they were pitching to people who got excited about that kind of talk. That was the point. Get people frothed up on guns and freedom. God, guns, and gays; you can't have an election cycle without at least one of them.

    We had all three, though we can set some of the God part aside, since it involved Christine O'Donnell. And for once, the right thing to do prevailed on the gay issue. But the guns? That was a trickier one. As Tom Tomorrow reminded in the wake of the shooting:

    Your paranoid political fantasies notwithstanding, no one's going to take your guns away!

    Barring some seismic realignment in this country, the gun control debate is all but settled, and your side won. The occasional horrific civilian massacre is just the price the rest of us have to pay.

    Over and over again, apparently.

    So how to get the guns into the equation? Well, that seemed obvious. With paranoid conspiracy theorists denouncing the government as illegitimate, and protesters carrying weapons in the street while advocating bloody revolution, why not lubricte the whole machine a little? The Koch Brothers, for instance.

    I'm just saying.

    And that blogger Thoreau?

    Now, don't confuse this with a defense of libertarianism. If the elites of the GOP mostly just like us because we have in our ranks many who will write apologia in exchange for 30 pieces of silver, then lambast us for that. But saying that libertarianism is dominated by the Reds is not the same as saying that libertarians dominate the Reds. If they are using us, it reflects poorly on us, but it does not follow that we are ascendant in their ranks. If anything, it makes us look even worse, because we sold ourselves to them and all we got in return was this lousy t-shirt that they charged us 29 pieces of silver for ....

    .... I'm not writing this to defend libertarianism from the charge of being infiltrated by the GOP. I'm writing this to argue that the GOP has not been overcome by libertarianism. Those are two entirely different things. From where I sit, I see some useful idiots for the GOP in the libertarian ranks, but I see precious little libertarianism animating the Republicans. If you're going to blame us for anything, blame us for shilling, not for animating.

    Everyone knew. But for some reason, it wasn't something we should talk about. Now, I understand the idea of letting it run its course. The nation has survived worse threats than these jokers, and will continue to do so. But we took it much further. Instead of just letting these people have their say and getting on with more rational concerns, we put them in the spotlight, to the point that they actually damaged the GOP in a mideterm election. I'm not prepared to argue against the proposition that it's worth the scar to have won the House majority, but the Tea Party did cost them the Senate. It certainly wasn't a bad day for the GOP; one could easily suggest riding to victory in the House is a worthy trade for a net gain that failed to win a majority in the Senate.

    To the other, though, Why now? It's the same question that comes up throughout this string of ... ah ... isolated incidents.

    Someone pointed out Joe Stack's gripe with the bailout. Right. TARP, which passed under the Bush Administration but Obama is "blamed" for; the stimulus, which didn't work as well as anyone hoped, but that's only because it was too small, an accommodation made for conservatives; the health care bill; the financial reform. These are considered the hallmarks of his presidency, and somehow nobody seems to like them.

    In journalism, it is sometimes suggested that if you're annoying both sides at once, you're doing your job right. Is Obama, then, caught up in an analog? I mean, is he secretly having a brilliant presidency, and nobody's noticing?

    Why now? This cycle started with conspiracy theories declaring the illegitimacy of the United States government under the spurious presidency of the foreign-born Barack Obama. It grew to include open calls for armed insurrection, and people brandishing firearms in protest of the president. Organized political interests built a machine and slicked it up for this movement, pushed it to the forefront. Politicians in the national limelight adopted violent and revolutionary language. Not only has this sort of talk been going on, but it's been gaining legitimacy in part because it's spectacular, and financial motives drive our news media to focus on the spectacular. But the fact that a 2008 vice presidential candidate is throwing it out there, or that it comes up in a Senate race, or that a freshman congressman would hire a chief of staff who had told people to start shooting if they didn't win on election day?

    I assert once again that we have redrawn the boundaries of acceptable discourse. This is a societal standard.

    To what degree did perceptions and assertions of legitimacy affect people's decisions?

    Why now? Why did we legitimize this manner of rhetoric this time around? And where, after the Clinton years, did its predecessor go during the Bush presidency?

    Jared Loughner has achieved a certain potential for immortality. If we are ever to understand what actually happened in Tuscon, he actually becomes a small part in a Rube Goldberg complex of society. Small, but permanent. He is a device that delivers an end product. After all the bowling balls and boots and pulleys and windowshades and hamster wheels and so on, something happens. Jared Loughner is one of those things that happened.

    And this outcome is not inevitable insofar as the Rube Goldberg machine can always be interrupted. True, this is sometimes to one's danger in and of itself, but that outcome is, indeed, of a separate process, as a certain force is required to influence the machine.

    This time around, we haven't really interrupted the machine. It is as much the symbolism—that Giffords had been targeted, and spoke of the implications—as the fact that all of these isolated incidents are happening, and that it hit so high a profile, that people are demanding to have the discussion.

    And, quite ironically, the result of this is not only that the conservatives have betrayed their own generational rhetoric about dangerous influences, but that everyone seems to be letting them. The result, of course, is that the punditry cycle argues over a theory dismissed as irrelevant by both sides of the aisle.

    We didn't believe it when they told us we were too stupid to listen to music. They don't believe it now that it's come back to bite them in the ass.

    It's over.

    But there are, still, real issues to consider.

    Why did we legitimize the violent rhetoric this time around? Did the redrawing of the boundaries of acceptability that started even before President Obama was sworn in have any effect in the consciences of these isolated whack jobs?

    Those are the real questions. The ones from which our society can actually harvest some decent fruit.

    Is it any wonder nobody wants to talk about that?


    ° Shakespeare — I confess, my favorite joke in Shakespeare isn't a double entendre per se; it's even more subtle:

    "By my life, this is my lady's hand these be her very C's, her U's and her T's and thus makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand."

    Twelfth Night

    I suppose I should also note that Threadneedle Street in The City was once called Gropecunte Lane. One would think that an urban legend, but apparently there were many such streets and lanes throughout England at least between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. English is a fabulously fun language.

    ° Freudian slip — Call it what you want. One need not like or appreciate Freud to observe that the phenomenon exists.

    ° specifically and obviously homoerotic manner — The gayoff also applies to whoever is present to watch the game with us. We persistently chuckle, while watching American football, variations on a theme of "hitting the hole". After so many repetitions, one begins to wonder. In truth, though, my favorite sports gaffes aren't double entendres. In the 1984 Summer Olympics, I think it was, I believe it was Jim Nance who said of Greg Louganis, "If he doesn't make this dive, he's in deep yogurt." I mean, that's not subtle. That's just bizarre. But one does qualify for the gayoff. The first time Mariners fans saw Richie Sexson, he was playing for the Cleveland Indians. And the late Dave Niehaus just wouldn't shut up about how he was a "strapping young man", and telling us all to look at how "he is absolutely poured into that uniform". It was downright creepy, I tell you. But to come 'round the circle, my own most infamous gaffe was during the NFC Championship game that sent the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl XL. The possibility was becoming a reality, and I said—yes, really, I said this: "Oh, God, I can taste this fucker coming." Where the hell was my mind? Quite without question, I won the gayoff that day. By orders of magnitude.

    Works Cited:

    Thoreau. "Libertarians are way too hip on double entendre to ever call themselves 'Teabaggers'". Unqualified Offerings. March 16, 2010. January 24, 2011.

    Tomorrow, Tom. "Don't Go Blaming Guns". This Modern World. January 10, 2011. January 24, 2011.

    —————. "The shooting in Arizona? An isolated incident!" January 18, 2011. January 24, 2011.

    Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. 1601-2. School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. January 24, 2011.

    Wikipedia. "Threadneedle Street". January 6, 2011. January 24, 2011.

    —————. "Gropecunt Lane". December 14, 2010. January 24, 2011.
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Well, if that's your game, you'd do better to cease posting anything and delete your account. Kind of hard to confuse an active poster with "nothing."

    Well, wait - that may be false, but it can't be "demonstrably" so. That would require proving an existential negative.

    No it isn't. It's not even much of a reach.

    But it is kind of irrelevant - what she really wants is to be able to score political points by riling up vitriol with such rhetorical violence, and not pay any corresponding political price for such. Whether anyone actually gets killed or not doesn't even show up in her calculus - which is exactly the criticism. She does irresponsible things because she (and her party) are all about shirking responsibility in the cynical pursuit of power.

    Which is to say that the only sense in which she "doesn't want" to use actual physical violence against her enemies is the extent to which she recognizes that such would be counterproductive to the end of her own power.

    Not only do I think that she REALLY thinks the above, I REALLY think the same thing about her. The only reason that I would not like to see Sarah Palin murdered in cold blood is that such would turn her into a martyr and so worsen most all of the problems that she's making a career out of exacerbating. But if I had the power to cause her to be struck by lightning, or hit by a meteor, or felled by a sudden stroke, I'd do it without a second thought. She is malign and dangerous and deserves to be subjected to the violent eliminationist mode that she choses to engage the country in, and it is only because vigilantism against her would damage the polity even more than she already does that I do not support the immediate, callous employment of lethal violence against her.

    Certain others I'm less sure about, by the way: possibly the murder of Limbaugh or Beck or some of those types could be a net positive, depending on who carried it out and in what circumstances. But not if such was actually planned as an overt political conspiracy. Which, again, is kind of the point here: Palin knows that a real conspiracy is too much liability, but seems to think that she can go around calling for exactly such, at which point someone else will do it on their own volition, and then she can get away with disclaiming any role in such. Which is actually better than a regular old murder conspiracy - she gets all the political points, her enemies get murdered, and she doesn't even have to pay the price for that either.

    But moreover: why would any adult characterize such assertions as extraordinary, or requiring extraordinary evidence? Lethal violence has been the primary method of settling major political disputes for the overwhelming majority of human history. It is only in certain constructed settings that such can be restrained (if not transcended), and such constructions require hard work and careful vigilance. Palin and the Teabaggers are making a career of transgressing against those boundaries, and exploiting the naive implication that violence is somehow abnormal or un-heard-of (even when speaking in overtly violent terms) to do so.

    And you aren't really naive enough to make much of an excuse for going along with it. If you're going to defend this sort of murderous gutter politics, at least do us (and yourself) the respect of being honest about it.
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Technically true, but not the distinction that you think you're making.

    I.e., worrying is what you do after you've already predicted an outcome.

    But don't let that stop you from further debasing yourself - we're all having quite a laugh at your expense :]
  18. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, and to that: politics is as much about what people do and don't want to openly discuss, as it is what they do openly say and do.

    WikiLeaks, for example, has an impact not because they've revealed much of anything that anyone didn't already know, but because they've forced people to talk about issues they'd rather just leave unaddressed.

    Similarly, Laughner is a liability for the Teabaggers not because there's an explicit secret conspiracy to assassinate Congressmen, but because it forces people to discuss the question of violent rhetoric (which was previously getting something of a pass, since it's exactly the sort of thing that polite people don't want to talk about). Once that question is on the table, the Teabaggers can no longer have it both ways, and that's a big political cost to them.
  19. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    It's not only technically true, it's true in every sense of the word.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  20. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    No it's not.

    So far the Left has come up with a few questionable phrases by a few people, but the fact is they got their ass handed to them in the last election, not because of "violent rhetoric" but because no one could stand their politics.

    Something that doesn't appear to be changing.

    Or do you STILL not get it?

  21. John T. Galt marxism is legalized hatred!! Registered Senior Member

    Ya don't suppose there are a couple of reasons for this, do ya? Perhaps one of them is because no lied.
  22. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Strong words - we'll see if any TeaBaggers even make it out of the GOP primaries next time around...

    The "far left" wasn't a player in any recent US election. The options there were center-right and far-right, as it has been for quite some time now.

    But, to the point: the assertion was that this outbreak of actual violence has thrown a wrench into the TeaBag machinery of murderous eliminationist rhetoric, and that such is now a political liability to them. The qualifier "now" being important there - this is held to be a new development, not in force during the 2010 elections. The violent rhetoric was a boost for the belligerent ignoramus faction of the GOP in the midterms.

    I get that you are attempting to argue from your own risible authority, as you are apparently both shameless and stupid enough to think that anybody will respect your unbacked characterizations of a national election. This is, of course, expected of anybody who would go in for far-right politics, since obedience to bellicose authority is a hallmark of fascism.

    Anyway, go ahead and beat your chest at me all you want. All it does it advertize your insecurity and stupidity, to great amusement on my part. The next couple of years should be a hilarious mess of far-right denial and cognitive dissonance - who would have suspected that we'd get a replay of the last few years of Bush's tenure so soon?
  23. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Fucking liar.

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