Own it, Tea party

By Nick Christensen of Portland. Nick is formerly a reporter for the Hillsboro Argus.

"If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.” – Sharron Angle

For a good deal of America, the Second Amendment represents freedom – freedom to protect yourself, freedom to hunt. For many, it also represents freedom to protect your family from the government, if and when such a time comes that it's necessary to take up revolution.

Make no mistake – the message has been clear. From Glenn Beck's "If you must shoot, shoot to kill," to Sarah Palin's "Don't retreat, reload," there's been an thinly-veiled pushing of a right-wing agenda for revolution, a coddling of the notion that everyone has their limits, an embracing of the idea that sometimes, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.

So here's where I get confused. The war drums have been pounding for almost two years, with the implication that sometimes, armed revolution is justified. Then someone goes and follows through, someone gets just enough crazy in them to start shooting at a congresswoman and a federal judge and a little girl, and somehow they've crossed the line?

The Tea Party is having it both ways! You can't in one breath say there's a time and a place for warfare, and in another breath disown it every time it happens. Take it one way or the other, Tea Party. Either admit you're moral relativists that only accept revolution when it's for a cause you support, or admit you're simply taking advantage of a brutish rhetoric because it raises the cash and helps your candidates get elected.

Don't get me wrong. I don't believe for a second that "Retreat, don't reload," was racing through the mind of young Jared Lee Loughner as he massacred innocents in Tucson last weekend. I doubt very much that America's latest assassin was inspired by crosshairs on a map or a simpleton Mama Grizzly. It's entirely possible he was a liberal inflamed that Rep. Giffords wasn't progressive enough, not a conservative inflamed that she was too far to the left.

Or he might have just been crazy.

Either way, Tea Party, Loughner did what you've been calling for all along – he went back to America's colonial roots, he locked and loaded his Second Amendment remedies and he murdered six people in his attempt to assassinate a seventh.

Own it.

You can't in one breath say there's a time and a place for warfare, and in another breath disown it every time it happens. Take it one way or the other, Tea Party. Either admit you're moral relativists that only accept revolution when it's for a cause you support, or admit you're simply taking advantage of a brutish rhetoric because it raises the cash and helps your candidates get elected.

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    this article said it best for me. http://www.truth-out.org/the-wrath-fools-an-open-letter-to-far-right66686

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    Thanks Nick. This is a good point and one that I have not seen elsewhere. I think that most of us believed that it was only a matter of time before this happened.

    My hope is that this event will tap down the rhetoric, at least for awhile. I also hope that the press will do a better job of calling out those politicians and talk radio hosts that use violent rhetoric in the future. It is my hope, not my expectation.

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    The reactions to this by some on the right... the Glenn Beck's, Rush Limbaugh's, etc. lead me to the conclusion that there is very little chance that this event will lead to any sort of actual introspection from the folks who make their livings engaging in hate speech and inflammatory rhetoric.

    One can only hope that the rest of the country will start shunning these base characters. They are a cancer on the body politic.

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    Gabrielle Giffords Faced Opposition from Local Anti-War, 9/11 Truth Activists

    This is how local antiwar activists in Tucson have viewed Gabrielle Giffords (and her political machine) in the past. We offer our condolences for those who have died, those who were injured, and their families who are left to deal with the aftermath of this horrific tragedy. The fact is there was a lot of opposition to Gifford's stance regarding the wars, torture and rendition, the patriot act and impeachment of the Bush administration.


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    “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday. “I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive.”


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      Yeah, maybe he was a left-wing nut. The most plausible explanation is that he was flat-out nuts.

      But Nick's point still holds: whatever his political beliefs, he pursued the strategy laid out by so many Tea Party leaders:

      Either way, Tea Party, Loughner did what you've been calling for all along – he went back to America's colonial roots, he locked and loaded his Second Amendment remedies and he murdered six people in his attempt to assassinate a seventh.

      As Nick says, own it.

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      Right. And who was it who said"...Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out?" It was Olbermann referencing Hillary Clinton and his overwhelming desire to get her out of the 2008 race.

      And who shot a copy of a piece of legislation he didn't agree with in the last election cycle? Democrat Joe Manchin taking aim at cap and trade. And you can't disavow him just because he's not "democratic" enough for you. He's on our side of the aisle. Own it.

      There's plenty of blame to go around here. You can do that all day long and it will not create one job, lower the defifict one penny, or keep one home out of foreclosure. These are real problems with real consequences.

      Just ratchet it down a notch.

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    Well there is a lot of offensive speech out there. If you want to ban it, it is a two way street. Blame the tea party for something a lefty did? Go figure. Grow up people. Bad things happen, there is not always a simpleton's solution as madman maurer would have it. Get a life and do some fact checking. Your anger will consume you and destroy your ability reason. The difference between a peasant and a man of knowledge is the peasant will stay in the cave and rant and rave about groups pointing fingers while the man of knowledge will question everything searching for truth. This is the work of an individual and should not be used to empower either side's agenda against the other. Though a fool would disagree.

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      Um, what? Did someone say that we should ban offensive speech?

      No, I don't think anyone did. At least, not on this thread.

      Let's work on avoiding the straw man arguments, OK?

      The right of free speech comes with the responsibility of free speech. If you're going to incite lunatics with eliminationist rhetoric (something, btw, that many of us have worried about for several years) then you're going to have to take responsibility when a lunatic takes you up on the offer.

      With freedom to act comes responsibility for those acts.

      But no one is talking about banning any kind of speech.

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        banning offensive speech has been on the agenda for some time and if it were not about speech then you would focus on the individual not groups or the rhetoric of other people. lucky the majority of Americans do not agree that the political rhetoric we have seen lately caused this incident. People are responsible for their own actions. by focusing on the words of other people beyond the scope of the words of the accused himself you are setting up your own straw man instead of looking at what really happened.

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          Banning offensive speech is on who's agenda? Certainly not mine.

          Why do you support the ability of anyone and everyone to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater? There's a huge difference between "offensive" speech and "inciting" speech.

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            Just to correct you. Speech is about ideas. The worn out idea that saying "Fire" is speech is a strawman argument to take rights. To yell fire is not to espouse a political idea nor to express a dissatisfaction or satisfaction, it is not speech or expression any more than defrauding someone is; however, just like when people try to brand groups to take rights, they use this analogy to do the same. Now you have me worried that you wish to take rights, but not call it that. This is the classic patriot act animal farm stuff. That is calling things what they are not in order to empower an agenda. Tell me it is not so.

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          Please identify the individuals that you assert want to "ban offensive speech" - and cite your sources.

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            If we look at history whenever someone refers to a group and not individuals it is generally done for the purpose of A: Disenfranchise B: Give, further or defend rights or C; Take rights. You do not have to admit that is where you are going, but the fact that everyone is so focused on groups and not individuals and actions shows this is headed down the wrong path. That is unless your are talking about groups for the purpose of defending rights, but I don't see that happening here. I see a focus on him being some "tea party" guy and there is a reason for that. Think about it.

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          Jesus H. Christ. Yet another right winger who feels he/she is entitled to make up facts to suit them as they go along. As made obvious by other posters, there has not yet been a single attempt at "banning offensive speech," despite the fact that it could well be a wise idea in the face of continued efforts at treason by people like you. The Tea Party absolutely needs to take responsibiilty for the Giffords shooting, along with Palin, Beck, Hannity, et al. Your strawman arguments and talk of "the majority of Americans" rings very, very hollow when the reality of the Tea Party's extremism is exposed to sunlight. You people are a small, albeit extremely loud and obnoxious, minority. Live it. Love it. Or leave.

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        Last time I checked "co-ed" referred to female students but maybe that's being sexist. :-)

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        He is called a lefty by his own friends not just female students at his school.... go figure. He is registered independent not Republican nor Libertarian. He smokes weed and burns flags. His favorite books the communist manifesto and mein kamf both of which are far closer to your ideology than mine. speaking of violence, non of my ideologies require violence nor condone it. Most of your central plans for our lives however do require some form of coercion to implement. Pot calling the kettle black there? buddy?

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          He's called a "lefty" by someone who knew him in 2007, not currently.

          The guy is anti-abortion and obsessed with the gold standard in his more recent ravings. That's not a "lefty" combination.

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          Once again, you are not entitled to simply lie and make up your own "facts." Mr. Loughner was and is a far-right Tea Party extremist. His Facebook page, for example, listed Sarah Palin and the Tea Party as being among his favorite interests. Very "lefty," that. Nice try. Back to the shallow end.

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      What if "a man of knowledge" is . . . a woman? OK for her to question things too?

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    "Bad things happen"... Yup, nothing to be learned here...

    Over the last two years we have witnessed an incredible escalation in incendiary political rhetoric from right wing leaders 1) calling for armed response to policies they dislike 2) calling for secession from the United States, 3) using metaphors of assassination. During these two years we have seen right wing leaders organize their followers to disrupt town hall meetings hosted by our representatives, shouting down civil discourse.

    This isn't simply objectionable speech, it has been a call to violent action. This is not an exhortation to "kick some butt" at the ballot box, it is the threat that if the votes don't go their way, they will take up arms against their own government. I think the leaders who have profited from this rhetoric should be shunned, and the rhetoric itself be called out for what it is, treasonous.

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      Ron - Obama said "If they bring a knife, we bring a gun" and he profitted. He's president. Again - Olbermann suggested someone take HRC into a room and only "he" would come out. And who in Oregon sent a mail piece with a doctor adorned with a target on him?

      I'm not trying to present false equivalence here but BOTH sides have said some pretty reprehensible things. Who CARES who said whatever more often. Get over the blame game and fix it. But if Dems and Reps need the inflammatory rhetoric to bolster party interest, we are lost. It might be at a lull for the time being but mid-1012 when it hits a crescendo again - and it will - do we invoke the name of Christina Green to remind people to tone it down?

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        No. Both "sides" are not using violent rhetoric and urging their supporters to assassinate their political opponents. You and other right wingers affiliated with the GOP and the Tea Party, not to mention a slew of elected GOP representatives, senators and others are using that type of disgusting language. You are not entitled to make things up on the spot. By the way, how much are you making from the GOP per post on blogs like this? I'm curious.

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        Sue, did Obama actually bring an actual gun to an actual knife fight? I'm sorry I missed that. And the mail piece, wasn't that in reference to right-wing sites that have superimposed cross-hairs over doctors, who have then actually been killed by right wingers?

        Thing is, Sue, you are making false equivalences. If you think the Dems are just as bad as folks threatening secession or armed insurrection if they don't get their way, well, you're welcome to form your own party. When they superimpose cross-hairs on your candidate's district, name or face, don't say I didn't warn you.

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          Did Olbermann actually take HRC into a room and beat her badly enough so that she didn't come out? Did Palin actually bring a gun to Tucson? We are talking about using violent metaphors and both sides are guilty. IF you want to claim one side is guiltier, feel free. Doesn't help the situation.

          Oh - The mail piece was one sent out by the Democratic Party targeting Bruce Starr and as far as I know Starr might not agree w/ you on anything but I'm pretty sure he hasn't shot any doctors lately.

          And just because some people don't pass your silly little litmus test for whether or not they're "progressive" enough or "liberal" enough doesn't mean they're not a Democratic. THAT rhetoric on both sides is the reason that there are more registered Independents in the US right now than R's or D's. Keep it up and you'll be looking at President Romney in 2012. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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    I have never seen a weapon at an anti-war event.

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    The practice of teabaggers bringing loaded weapons to political events, and exhorting their followers to do likewise, their advocacy to "second amendment remedies" for political ends, says everything you need to know about their use of gun violence and the threat of gun violence to pursue a political agenda, and incite others to do likewise. This is completely in opposition to everything that makes democracy possible. The whole purpose is to dominate others through the threat of gun violence. They use their hate media to support and incite that violence.

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      And, I should note, that while most of this has been coming from the right - every once in a while, it comes from the left. Especially during the Bush years, we would occasionally get violent rhetoric in comments here at BlueO from people raging against Bush and Cheney.

      And, I believe I'm correct in saying, our community almost always called people on that nonsense.

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    Every organized group has their fanatics who do terrible things. We can't take a broad brush to the group as a whole, however, that being said, if every single leader of that group doesn't take a strong and unequivocal stand against its extremists, then the entire group should be condemned and vilified. And, we should probably take precautions like targeted body searches at public meetings and airports.

    And I fully expect the leaders of these groups to strongly condemn not only the fanatics and their actions, but also to scour their movements for hate speech and the self righteousness that leads to fanatical actions and expel these members and turn them into authorities.

    We are talking about Muslims right?

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    “'I have a Glock 9 millimeter, and I’m a pretty good shot.' The quip, by Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was made in an interview last year with The New York Times, when tensions were running high in her district. It speaks not only to her ability to defend herself but also to the passionate gun culture in Arizona, which crosses political lines and is notable for its fierceness, even in the West."

    Apparently, that's not the rhetoric you want to condemn, because it doesn't fit with your program to use every opportunity to score political points, however unseemly and inappropriate it might seem to anyone with a modicum of common decency.

    As much as I have to thank the likes of Rush Limbaugh for reminding me why I'm not a Republican, I can now thank you, Mr. Christensen, for reminding me why I'm not a Democrat.

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      Michael, your own quote refutes your point: she was apparently talking about self-defense. That's a lot different than threatening to kill politicians for their beliefs.

      Do you not see the distinction?

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        Huh? My point is that violent rhetoric is employed across the board in politics, including by one of the victims here. Threatening to kill politicians (or anyone else) is a crime -- direct, credible threats, such as those leveled against Patty Murray. No public figure on the right or left has done that. Everything else is rhetorical -- sometimes (if not often) distasteful or extreme, but hardly uncommon and hardly limited to people of one political POV. The language of politics is shot through (so to speak) with warlike and violent terms: campaign, battle, fight, etc.

        No "words as weapons" hurt anyone in Arizona. Six people are dead and many others wounded because a mentally disturbed young man was able to walk into a WalMart and buy a weapon that is designed with one purpose in mind: to allow someone to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Giffords, from what I've read, had no problem with that. Judge John Roll ruled that the Brady bill was unconstitutional. The elected representatives and the voters of Arizona are largely supportive of having the laxest gun laws in the country. If there is anyone other than the perpetrator that shares in the blame for what happened on Saturday, it is all of them, Republican and Democrat alike. It is certainly not the rhetoric of the Tea Party or Sarah Palin or anyone else, and any attempt to use this horrific incident as yet more political ammunition (so to speak) is deeply disappointing. I know that anything Nick wrote above pales in comparison to the bile right-wingers would have spewed had the perpetrator been Muslim or an undocumented (or even a documented) immigrant, but that makes the opportunism and cravenness no less unpalatable.

        So the answer is, no, I do not see the distinction.

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            I hold in my heart the belief that those on the right CAN distinguish between those two statements, but just CHOOSE not to.

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            Violent video games, movies & tv, radio show hosts, Internet rants ... who or what else gets to be "morally responsible" when "a crazy person," as you say, kills people? BlueOregon should join the Parents Television Council. Trying to lay the blame, however circuitously, on the Tea Party for a schizophrenic rampage is no different than blaming Islam for Nidal Malik Hasan's rampage. The DLC's 2004 "target" map ("BEHIND ENEMY LINES: President Bush won nine states by single-digit margins. Those states should be ripe targets for Democrats.") is scarcely different in tone or substance than Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map. There is nothing new here, except that in 2004 Congress let the federal assault weapons ban expire and neither party has been interested in reviving it.

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    I knew it wouldn't be long before someone here at BlueOregon would join the bandwagon and sing along with the chorus of drone media cynics and partisan tools. We can go back and forth over violent rhetoric (believe me, I can match you infinitum point for point). That however is not the point and, as I learned myself yesterday, we are abusing the victims of this shooting by jostling their sacrifice back and forth in the name of politics.

    It is disgusting.

    We should be ashamed of ourselves when we do this and, somewhere, deep down, I suspect we are.

    Kari said it best: "Yeah, maybe he was a left-wing nut. The most plausible explanation is that he was flat-out nuts."

    Fools rush in.

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      It does seem to me that he had a political ideology that was inchoate and largely disconnected to anything we'd recognize.

      But I think it doesn't matter. A few nutballs - some of them with daily national broadcasts - have regularly engaged in eliminationist rhetoric.

      And I do believe that they are, in small part, responsible. When you tell people that it's OK to use violence as a political tool, then you shouldn't be surprised when they use violence as a political tool.

      Even in furtherance of a bizarre and inchoate personal ideology driven by conspiracy theory and nonsense.

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      I know you are paid by the GOP for each post you place on blogs like this, but at least show a little imagination. People like you, who rush to enable violent criminals like Jared Loughner, are the reason the United States is in its current predicament. Stop trying to pretend like you aren't doing this.

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    Every individual is responsible for their own actions. No one but the shooter is to blame.

    If a person is mentally deranged, everyone around him can be discussing the issues as civily as possible and he will still be locked inside his own head. Charles Manson thought the Beatles were transmitting secret messages in their songs. For the left to try and pin this crime on supposed “vitriol” in political discussion is disgusting. There hasn’t ever been a moment in history when political discussion didn’t involve some measure of heated discussion.

    It was not political discourse which led to this horrific crime, but a deranged lunatic. Still, if it’s “politicial vitriol” the Left is worried about, perhaps they should start with “toning down” the man in the White House.

    Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun” Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!” Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!” Obama to supporters: “Hit Back Twice As Hard” Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“ Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat” Obama to supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.” Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.” ** Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”

    If you want to fling blame and insist people "own it", it goes both ways. Physician, heal thyself!

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      “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”

      Please provide a citation for that quote.

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        It took five seconds and one Google search to find a Wall Street Journal reference.

        (Of course, I remember Sean Connery's commentary on the Chicago Way in The Untouchables Great scene.)

        But I think there's a world of difference between a politician occasionally using a metaphor -- even a military or firearms metaphor -- when clearly talking about politics, and demagogues stirring up the masses with talk of "second amendment remedies" which is clearly NOT a metaphor for anything but an outright call to arms.

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          So if the Left says it, it's obviously a "metaphor", but if the Right says it, they're guilty until proven innocent. Nice double standard, there.

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            You mind quoting to me where I said that? Because personally, I missed the part where I condemned any right wing politician for using an obvious metaphor, or excused anyone on the left for calling for violence.

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      Which person that murders people ISN'T mentally deranged in some form? That's a strawman.

      Those with mental health issues are also more vulnerable to violent rhetoric than those who aren't.

      As Nick points out, this is what the Tea Party and those who've been courting them have been asking for. And now that's its happened,they can't distance themselves enough.

      Either you believe in "second amendment remedies" a la Sharron Angle or you don't. If you don't, then stop embracing the rhetoric and those who use it.

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        Carla, can you cite where the shooter mentioned Sharron Angle please?

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          What is a "second amendment remedy", Geoff?

          Do you believe in it?

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            Did the shooter say "second amendment remedy"?

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              No, he didn't.

              Now it's your turn to answer: What is a second amendment remedy, Geoff? Do you believe in it?

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                The second amendment as you know is your right to keep and bear arms. As you may know, the second amendment is part of the first ten amendment or, the bill of rights (I know you know this stuff, I add it for the benefit of your readership). The Bill of Rights are an interesting set of amendments that spells out specifically what the government is prohibited from doing to the people. The second amendment is even more interesting because it prohibits the government from removing our ability to defend ourselves. One must question, why? Why would one amendment in the bill of rights which, was designed specifically to limit the power of government, empower the populace in such a way? I personally need to read a bit more on the second amendment and it's authorship's intent. When we know the intent, perhaps we'll know what a second amendment remedy is ...

                So, in short, I can't answer your question as I to do not know what a second amendment remedy is (truthfully, the first I heard of it was here in these comments).

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              Incidentally Geoff, some GOP leaders are starting to step up to say the talk needs to be toned down:


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          Doesn't matter whether Sharron or Glenn or or Keith or any number of Birchers or black bloc members were the cause of the attack.

          What matters is that the Tea Party has been pushing and pushing and pushing for this. And now that it's happened - regardless of the motives - own it or shut up and never use the rhetoric again. Because I'm starting to think that if a card carrying Tea Party member was ordered by Sarah Palin herself to blow someone's brains out, the conservative vitriol spewing machine would say "Ain't our fault."

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      This event, whose cause we don't entirely know, should focus our attention on political violence and who is advocating it in this country. Elected members of the GOP and their teaparty followers who are actively threatening and legitmizing violence to achieve political ends. That is coming from one party, and its teaparty extremist base.

      A few examples:

      Robert Lowry, a Republican challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL), stopped by a local Republican event in October. The event was at a gun range, andLowry shot at a human-shaped target that had Wasserman Schulz's initials written next to it. He later said it was a "mistake."
      Giffords' own opponent, Republican Jesse Kelly, had a gun-themed fund-raiser in June in which supporters could come and shoot an M-16 rifle with Kelly. It was promoted thusly: Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

      Richard Behney, a tea partier from Indiana running for former Sen. Evan Bayh's seat,

      "We can get new faces in. Whether it's my face or not, I pray to God that I see new faces. And if we don't see new faces, I'm cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I'm serious about that, and I bet you are, too.

      Sharron Angle (R-NV)

      "People are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out," she said.

      Michele Bachman In March 2009, she said on a radio show: "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. And the people -- we the people -- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country." .... Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) told Politico that he hunts Democrats. Asked about the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, he said, "We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition."

      New Rep. Allen West (R-FL) almost hired a Florida talk-radio host, Joyce Kaufman, as his chief of staff. But Kaufman withdrew after media coverage of some of her more fiery statements, such as:
      "I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave a Second Amendment," she told a tea party crowd last summer. "And if ballots don't work, bullets will."
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        You should go to a Tea Party event, I think you'll find the dangerous extremists who bring their children and leave the place cleaner then they found it horrifying.

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          Yes, by all means. Attend Tea Party rallies, where you can view stuff like this:






          Lest you think Oregon Tea Party wouldn't do such horrific signage:


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            Your alleged OTP signage was taken on April 13, 2010. The Oregon Tea Party did not have an event that day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/31222852@N00/4518580560/

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              No, I didn't allege that the signage was taken that day. Nor does the source, as far as I can tell. That's simply the day that the story was posted at WWeek.

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        "...should focus our attention on political violence and who is advocating it in this country."

        Great idea. Here's a start: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-bozell/2011/01/12/newsbusters-publisher-bozell-condemns-death-wishes-against-conservativ

        And a little history of Leftist violence: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/the_left_not_the_right_owns_po.html

        Start condeming the violent vitriol in your own ranks, and then, MAYBE, you'll have a leg to stand on.

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    I am personally sick and tired of everyone NOT referring to this for what it was: A Terrorist act. If the perp had been a Muslim, I'm sure THAT would have been the lead and headline.

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      If the perp were a Muslim, the President would be urging restraint. He would say that this was clearly the act of a deranged man and not reflective of his culture or, the group he belongs to ... oh the irony ... oh well.

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        What say you, Geoff? Is this an act of terrorism, or is it not?

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          Clearly it is murder, does it rise to terrorism? We'll see, if what I've heard is correct and the shooter is a nut-job with a political bent and the act was tied to that political aim, then I believe the act could be terrorism. As of yet, we don't know anything about the shooter and, we've all heard different, conflicting reports of his political leanings. At this point, I believe we are speculating, wasting time and, pissing each other off.

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    Tomorrow the House of Rep. will pass a Resolution upholding the constitutional right of freedom of assembly without fear of violence or disruption and honor those American citizens who were murdered or injured exercising that right. At the same time we have a major movement in this country on the right, whose defenders are here on this site, who defend the actions of teabaggers in bringing loaded weapons to open political assemblies with the intention of threatening and intimidating free speech, and with the stated goals advocated by their own political party to disrupt these assemblies to obtain political goals.(This was clearly in evidence at the Health Care town hall meetings.) This exercise of violence or the threat of violence for political ends is what this debate is about. It's not about civility, which has long since gone. It's about having the freedom to political expression, and the freedom of duly elected officials to exercise their duties without the threat of violence from gun toting extremists who justify their actions in the name of "constitutionalism" or "second amenedment remedies".

    I call on the teabagger defenders here to renounce the use of guns and threats of "second amendment remedies" at political gatherings and against public officials, and to condemn those who do. It seems to me that this should be a consensus among all Americans of left or right.

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      You are such an embarrassment ...

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        You're a clear danger to our community, Geoff. You should be locked up for everyone's safety, particularly considering you don't even have the decency to condemn the murder of six people, including a nine-year-old child, all because you won't stop defending your "right" to incite people to commit treason against the United States. Nice to know where you stand. It has definitely been noted, rest assured.

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          "It has definitely been noted, rest assured." -- is that a threat?

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          An there we have it. Exactly what I was talking about. Yes it is bad someone will not agree with you on this point of condemning the shooters, but look at what you propose. You propose locking someone up because of that. Your true colors have shown themselves. You wish to compel people by force to submit to your social agenda of what is tolerable. Think about the implications of empowering government to do something like that. Or do you possible have the wisdom to see how that can backfire on you?

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    The thesis of this essay is a real stretch and, in my opinion, a continuation of the "brutish rhetoric" you are rallying against.

    You imply the Tea Party uses outlandish speech as a way to 'raise the cash and help elect their candidates' in an essay written to whip up the emotions of the Democratic base in which you command an entire political ideology to embrace the spree murders committed by a delusional. I see that as sadly ironic.

    Let us follow our own advice and refrain from practicing divisive politics in this instance.

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    I think everyone who has allowed his anger to provoke an unwise comment bears some responsibility in the toxic political climate of the early century. (I know where I'm to blame.)

    But, let's also look at this with some objectivity. Both Michelle Malkin and Talking Points Memo compiled lists of people using intemperate speech.

    Although she didn't intend it, Malkin's list is instructive. She had to root around the netherworlds of celebritydom and the internets to find any real dirt. This is the diffuse hate that bubbles at the fringes of every movement all the time. TPM's list sticks solely to politicians--and could include lots and lots of pundit celebrities over the past decade.

    We are all responsible when we say vile things. The difference is, not everyone says vile things with the same regularity. The GOP, who has decided that this "fiery" rhetoric is the stuff of good politics, needs to take Nick Christensen's advice: either abandon it or defend it. The first step, though, is admitting it.

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      I guess I should note that Malkin is a right-wing blogger who went trolling for dirt on Democratic speakers. Rachel Sladja, writing for TPM, is a liberal (though she did include Joe Manchin, a Democrat, in her list).

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      It's not as hard to find this "dirt" as you think. It's been out there for awhile. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2338739/posts

      People aren't required to disown that which was never theirs to begin with. But if you want to play the "guilt by association" game and demand the denunciation of supposed "vitriol" in political rhetoric, I invite you to lead by example and denounce everything dug up by Malkin, as well as all the incendiary statements made by Obama, Olbermann, etc.

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    Seems like we blues have struck a nerve. Haven't seen this many trolls on Blue Oregon since we started using our real names.

    Truth hurts.

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    1) "A spoiled child (Bush) is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little b*stard. [audio of gun being cocked]." -- A "humor bit" from the Randi Rhodes Show

    2) "I want to go up to the closest white person and say: 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing' and then slap him, just for my mental health" -- New York city councilman Charles Barron

    3) "..And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq 'We have our good days and our bad days.' We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days' and pull the trigger." -- From a fundraising ad put out by the St. Petersburg Democratic Club

    4) "I believe in ecoterrorism." -- James Cameron

    5) "...In an ideal world, American consumers could be convinced to do the right thing through an appeal to logic with public service messages like the 'What Would Jesus Drive?' TV campaign, but the kind of people who would buy a car that increases the risk to other motorists in an accident can't be reasoned with. They're selfish and stupid. It's unfortunate that drivers must worry that their SUVs are being targeted by insulting stickers and Molotov cocktails, but one thing's for sure: It couldn't be happening to a more deserving group of people." -- Ted Rall winks at ecoterrorism

    6) "F God Dmned Joe the God Dmned Motherfcking plumber! I want Motherf*cking Joe the plumber dead." -- Liberal talk show host Charles Karel Bouley on the air.

    7) "Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm." -- The Village Voice's Michael Feingold, in a theater review of all places (Rush Limbaugh)" just wants the country to fail. To me that's treason. He's not saying anything different than what Osama Bin Laden is saying. You might want to look into this, sir, because I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight. ... Rush Limbaugh, I hope the country fails, I hope his kidneys fail, how about that?" -- Wanda Sykes

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    8) "You guys see Live and Let Die, the great Bond film with Yaphet Kotto as the bad guy, Mr. Big? In the end they jam a big CO2 pellet in his face and he blew up. I have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet. But we’ll be there to watch. I think he’s Mr. Big, I think Yaphet Kotto. Are you watching, Rush?" -- Chris Matthews

    9) "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow....I'm just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That's a fact." -- Bill Maher

    10) "If I got (Condi Rice) a— on camera, I would put my Mars Air Jordans so far up her butt that the Mayo Clinic would have to remove them." -- Spike Lee

    11) "O&A - 'Condoleezza Rice'" Charlie - "I'd love to f--- that btch dude" (laughter) Charlie - "She's the F---in man" O&A - "yeah" Charlie - "I'd F...that btch...." O&A - "I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice's face...." - "(laughter) ..... as she realizes what's going on" - "...as you were just holding her down and F'n her." Charlie - "punch her all the F'n face, shut the F--- up btch" O&A - "that's exactly what I meant" (laughter in background) Charlie - "you know F--- it .... and George Bush wife? I'd F--- that btch to death" -- "Shock Jocks" Opie & Anthony talk rape & violence with their guest "Homeless Charlie."

    13) "Drudge? Aw, Drudge, somebody ought to wrap a strong Republican entrail around his neck and hoist him up about six feet in the air and watch him bounce." -- Liberal radio host, Mike Malloy

    14) "I know how the 'tea party' people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their 'Obama Plan White Slavery' signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads." -- The Washington Post's Courtland Milloy

    Let me know how many of these you want ...I could literally fill your hard drive with the hate speech spewed forth by the left.

    When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language it's just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.

    There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source

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      What planet do you come from, Chester? Because on planet Earth, where most of us reside, people like you, that is to say teabaggers, are openly calling for violent overthrow of the government. There is no comparison to anything coming from any other part of the political spectrum. Your brand of "politics" would fit in better in the former Yugoslavia, perhaps on the side of the war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. That sounds about right, as he also advocated the mass extermination of political opponents, just like Palin, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Cornyn, McConnell, Huckabee and the rest of you violent, rightwing traitors. Your day is coming, though. Count on it.

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        Thank you David, In one short, poorly written, paragraph you managed to confirm most of the stereotypes liberals have been objecting to my entire life. lol

        To respond to your comment ...there is little question that we come from the same planet.

        However, what is equally apparent is that we come from spectacularly different educational and socio economic circumstances. Instead of going through the list of the things you said that aren't even close to being true I thought I would give you the shorter list of the things you said that are true. But their aren't any, so back to the false ones.

        1. Tea Partiers DONOT openly call for the violent overthrow of the government. Click on your brain for half a second David, openly calling for violence? Why would they? THEY ARE ALREADY RUNNING THINGS! Don't know where you were last November there Sparky, but YOUR TEAM LOST!AND LOST WORSE THAN ANY TIME IN THE LAST CENTURY! IT WAS BIBLICAL! and not a drop of blood was s shed.

        The rest of your comment was a real credibility enhancer for you. Wasn't it? I know after reading it I wanted to get fitted for my own foil hat just like you have. I can't figure out if your paranoia is whats driving hateful name calling gibberish or the other way around. Dude if I were you I would runaway as fast as you can! on David run! runaway! LOL

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    I recommend this column by Michael Kinsley http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47383.html.

    Chester's list is instructive. It's mainly filled with comedians and minor radio personalities. A local Democratic party organization. Half the targets refer to other media personalities (e.g. Rush Limbaugh). These are bit players, at best.

    These examples, while egregious, hardly rise to the level of governors, members of Congress, candidate for Senate, and the leading intellectual lights of the right wing who speak and major Republican gatherings.

    As Kinsley notes, there is hardly balance here.

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    Malkin's list-sorry stuff, ugly posters and statements made by individuals at rallies and on websites.

    TPM's list-quotes from GOP candidates for or current members of Congress at official campaign events and on their websites.

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    I didn't read this post and string until after I'd heard/seen Obama's speech at the memorial service in Tucson, Wednesday night. I think his appeal for us to engage one another with words that heal, not words that wound can give many of the those writiing comments here plenty to reflect upon.

    We all know that the feeling of outrage is momentarily energizing, that besting opponents rhetorically is fun; but we also know, I hope, that Obama is right: the kinds of challenges we have to meet as a society or a body politic will require thoughtful discussion among people of opposing interests and beliefs.

    What CAN we each do in our own interactions with others, (including what we post online) to improve the tone and content of our common political culture, while still pursuing humane, just, and sustainable policies?

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    Nick, you can't be serious with this article, right? How do you associate this particular nut-job shooter with the Tea Party? Get real.

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    Isn't this the same guy Metro hired as an in house reporter to shill for the public agency he is supposed to "objectively cover?"

    I wonder if Metro knows about or supports the anti Tea Party rhetoric spewing from their recently hired "journalist"?

    They will soon enough.

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