Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by karlhenning » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:59 am

I'm going to guess that the authors of Animal Farm, Brave New World, Alice in Wonderland, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest & Through the Looking Glass were not, either by their activities or by their authorial intent (in these books), agents of armed violence and destruction. David Brooks's idea of a common thread among them, then, is an eisogetic tweeze. Mein Kampf was, by obvious contrast, the work of a man prepared to create as much violent havoc in the world as he felt his ends "justified."

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:17 pm

I can't say what significance "Mein Kampf" might have had for Loughner, but obviously it was significant enough for him to include it in a list of his favorite books. And it's a sensational inclusion - for many people I'm sure it and "The Communist Manifesto" stood out of the list, individually and in juxtaposition, as they did for me. So I asked why Brooks omitted that particular book.

I can't read Brooks's mind any more than Loughner's, he would have to speak for himself. But since you asked me, maybe he felt "Mein Kampf" didn't fit the theory he puts forward in his piece - and I think he would have been right about that. Where this leaves a theory that partly depends on the selective omission of relevant evidence, would be for each of us to decide. What do you think?

P.S. I admire David Brooks, read most of his op-ed columns, and watch him and Mark Shields on PBS News Hour's Friday commentary segment, and I'm usually not disappointed in the quality of his thinking, whatever I may think of his conclusions. Just for the record.

His piece has given me the idea of analyzing Jared Loughner's favorite books for myself. Not to try to create a psychological profile but for whatever I might learn from the exercise. Another thread, after I get back from the dentist. :(
Last edited by John F on Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by JackC » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:41 pm

Shall we also investigate what MOVIES and TV shows he may have watched that may have lead to his violent tendencies/fantasies??? Since you say you care deeply about getting to the truth about what CAUSED this, I don't see how you can neglect to include that in your investigation. :roll:

The point is that you and others are clearly trying to find some way to justify using this massacre by an obviously unbalanced person as a way to discredit, delegitimize, attack, marginalize and/or shut up the "right". It stinks.

There is already an idiot Dem politician calling for restrains on political speech over this.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011 ... be-danger/

'Free speech is as free speech does,' he said. 'You cannot yell ‘fire' in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that.'

Clyburn used as an example a comment made by Sharron Angle, an unsuccessful U.S. senatorial candidate in Nevada, who said the frustrated public may consider turning to 'Second Amendment remedies' for political disputes unless Congress changed course.

Clyburn said the man accused of shooting Giffords did just that.

'He saw a Second Amendment remedy and that's what occurred here and there is no way not to make that connection,' Clyburn said.


This type of thinking by a person who very much wants to shut up Tea Party people and talk radio etc etc for political reasons is a much bigger danger to the country as a whole than this massacre.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Steinway » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:59 pm

"This type of thinking by a person who very much wants to shut up Tea Party people and talk radio etc etc for political reasons is a much bigger danger to the country as a whole than this massacre."


Because under normal circumstances I would have responded to this statement, it's the reason I was banned from the Pub by Corlyss.

Hopefully, before this is knocked off, someone will not allow this statement to go unchallenged.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Cosima___J » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:16 pm

John F, that sounds like an interesting project --- analyzing Loughner's book list to come up with a psychological profile. Hope your visit to the dentist was as pain free as possible. I'm going to be sitting in the dentist's chair tomorrow morning. :( :( :( What a coincidence!

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:27 am

Harris (Cliftwood), assuming you are disagreeing with Clyburn, not JackC, about wanting to
shut up the Tea Party and talk radio, I am in complete agreement. He (Clyburn) wishes to
equate hysterical rhetoric to shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. One is free speech, the
other is inciting panic in a crowd with evil intent - the circumstance of "FIRE!" clearly has not
been met in the case of the Tucson mass killing.

There has been much discussion of whether other-wise normal people can be incited by
rhetoric to commit such acts, and the consensus seems to be that the relationship is vague
and rather undocumented by scholars. The only political assassin to be clearly motivated by
political rhetoric was John Wilkes Booth. One could make the case that "politics" motivated civil
rights assassins in the '60's, but circumstances (and motivations) were not clearly based on
rhetoric so much as deeply held beliefs about racial issues, albeit that they were wrong headed
beliefs.
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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:25 am

This is an interesting Map/Cover...

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archiv ... on-huffman
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:45 am

Cosima___J wrote:John F, that sounds like an interesting project --- analyzing Loughner's book list to come up with a psychological profile. Hope your visit to the dentist was as pain free as possible. I'm going to be sitting in the dentist's chair tomorrow morning. :( :( :( What a coincidence!
I hope you come out of it better than I did, with some fillings and a root canal job to look forward to. My teeth are showing their age, or my age, I guess.

Actually, Loughner's list of his favorite books doesn't suggest anything I would call a psychological profile. Here it is, from his Facebook page (which I gather has now been removed):
Jared Loughner wrote: Schools: I attended school: Thornydale elementary, Tortolita Middle School, Mountain View Highschool, Northwest Aztec Middle College, and Pima Community College.
Interests: My favorite interest was reading, and I studied grammar. Conscience dreams were a great study in college!
Movies: (*My idiom: I could coin the moment!*)
Music: Pass me the strings!
Books: I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp, Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.
But in an interview, a onetime friend mentioned another book which doesn't appear here but which he says fed one of Loughner's obsessions, Nietzsche's "The Will to Power," particularly what it says about the significance of dreams. And the bare list doesn't tell us when he read each book, how well he read it, or even if he did read it (he might just have seen the movie), let alone what it meant to him. But I did notice a few things.

The list divides into children's books, overtly political books, and some adult literature that isn't necessarily political but might have had a personal resonance for him. Since he's only 22, the children's books would have been read more recently and be stronger in memory for him than for most of us. But the Alice books, by a lecturer in mathematics at Oxford University, combine logic and absurdity as do Loughner's equations and syllogisms in his YouTube videos and his disruptive contributions to his math class at Pima Community College.

Alice's conversation with Humpty Dumpty, who says that words mean whatever he wants them to ("The question is which is to be master"), might have appealed to his paranoid notion that the government is controlling us through grammar. Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" is an even better fit, being a surreal story mainly about language; the capital of the Kingdom of Wisdom is Dictionopolis, and its rulers are King Azaz the Unabridged and the Mathemagician.

In "The Wizard of Oz," the supposedly great and terrible ruler turns out to be a small-time charlatan hiding behind a curtain. Loughner might have seen this as a metaphor for the real governments of real nations.

A few odds and ends. Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" in prison after leading a failed armed coup against the government of Munich, with overthrow of the German national government as the main objective. It is also saturated in antisemitism. Loughner's comments have been linked to an overtly racist organization called American Renaissance (which disclaims any relationship with him), and Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish.

"The Communist Manifesto" says among much else, and in many more words, one of Engels's best-known dicta, that under Communism the state would wither away. That would appeal to an anti-government zealot. Of course it didn't happen in Soviet Russia, and both "Animal Farm" and Ayn Rand's "We the Living" are fictionalized critiques of the Stalinist era. "Brave New World" isn't particularly about Communist Russia, but Huxley signals a relationship by naming some characters Trotsky, Lenina, and Marx.

Plato's "Republic" is about forms of government, among many things. Loughner wouldn't have shared Plato's notion of the best government, rule by philosopher-kings, but he might have gotten something from the critique of other forms of government, including not just tyranny but democracy. The Meno, one of Plato's Socratic dialogues, is famous for the passage in which Socrates induces an ignorant slave boy to solve a problem in geometry, in order to prove that knowledge is remembered from before birth rather than learned afterwards. Somehow this brought back to mind the odd formula with which Loughner interrupted one of his math classes: "eat + sleep + brush teeth = Math."

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is often assigned in schools. It doesn't relate to any racist feelings Loughner might have had, but a central character is an antisocial recluse who eventually emerges to do good, then retreats again - something like Loughner's father, without the bit about doing good.

And so it goes. This certainly doesn't add up to a psychological profile, but it does suggest what kinds of books Loughner read and liked.

Their themes aren't limited to "individuals trying to control their own thoughts and government or some other force trying to take that control away," as David Brooks puts it. Another theme is the illegitimacy of this or that government or form of government, or even of government as such. It's not a right-wing or left-wing syllabus by any means, both extremes are represented by famous works ("Mein Kampf," "The Communist Manifesto"). And anti-government anarchism or nihilism is not intrinsically leftist or rightist, but has been embraced by both extremes.

Loughner's politics may have been a devil's brew of his own devising, but some of the ingredients are there in his favorite books. And if Loughner's favorite pursuit was reading, and if his mind engaged with these books (and others such as Nietzsche's) and was influenced by them, who can deny that his other reading - say, about current events - may likewise have influenced him?
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:22 am

>I'm going to be sitting in the dentist's chair tomorrow morning. :( :( :( What a coincidence!<

And my wife was at the dentist yesterday too! If her appointment was today she'd have had to cancel--looks like about 8 inches of snow so far--hope we don't have to cancel tomorrow's trip to Washington DC--down there they fortunately didn't get that much. Regards, Len

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:31 am

>deeply held beliefs about racial issues<

This made me think about deeply held beliefs on abortion:

"Anti-abortion violence is violence committed against individuals and organizations that provide abortion.[1] Incidents of violence have included destruction of property, in the form of vandalism, to crimes against people, including kidnapping, stalking, assault, attempted murder, and murder, to crimes affecting both people and property, including arson and bombings."

I don't listen to talk radio and have still never heard Beck or others on TV so I don't even know what they say or how vitriolic they get.

Wiki had this too:

Physician "wanted" posters

In the late 1990s, an organization called American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) was accused of implicitly advocating violence by its publication on its "Nuremberg Files" website of wanted-style posters, which featured a photograph of a physician who performed abortions along with a monetary reward for any information that would lead to his "arrest, conviction and revocation of license to practice medicine".[41] The ACLA's website described these physicians as war criminals[42] and accused them of committing “crimes against humanity” The web site also published names, home addresses, telephone numbers, and other personal information regarding abortion providers – highlighting the names of those who had been wounded and striking out those of who had been killed. Dr. George Tiller's name was included on this list along with many others. The site was accused of being a thinly-veiled hit list intended to incite violence; others claimed that it was protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.[43] A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision finally shut the site down in 2002 after a prolonged debate." Regards, Len

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Barry » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:19 am

JackC wrote: The point is that you and others are clearly trying to find some way to justify using this massacre by an obviously unbalanced person as a way to discredit, delegitimize, attack, marginalize and/or shut up the "right". It stinks.
It doesn't just stink. It's flat out dishonorable.

I've been off of here for the past day and a half because I've been sick. But now that I'm back and see that some are still open to foisting this off as a way to shut up those on the right, I need a break.

Bye.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:26 am

Getting way off topic here, but speaking of winter weather Len, it's supposed to go down to 17 degrees here tonight! Brrrrrrr.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:08 am

Surely by now, most intelligent citizens will agree with the sentiments expressed in this editorial from the local newspaper:

The left takes aimHypocritical liberals heap misplaced blame on conservatives after shooting. Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

We'd say, "Good grief! Here we go again!" But the grief since the Tucson shootings has been anything but good.

Liberals in the media just about broke their legs with the knee-jerk, and wholly predictable, reaction to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others Saturday: that conservative "hate" speech was behind it.

This, despite a complete lack of evidence, not to mention their claims that they want less partisan vitriol -- and despite President Obama's admonition after the Fort Hood shooting not to jump to conclusions after such tragedies.

They had no facts to support a link between the shooting and any speech, conservative or liberal. But as much as liberals in the media pray the latest killing isn't by a Muslim, they can't wait even for the facts to come out before wrongly blaming conservatives and slandering a wide swath of America in the process.

In addition, they seem to categorize support for lower taxes, small-government and individual liberty as hatred -- oddly enough, since such things form the foundation of American society.

The liberal feeding frenzy began just hours after the shooting.

Liberal columnist Paul Krugman tweeted that very afternoon, "We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was."

CBS's Nancy Cordes and CNN's Jessica Yellin singled out Sarah Palin for possible culpability. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell noted the Tea Party's possible encouragement. Again, with no evidence to back the claim, The New York Times wrote that "it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge."

Any examples? Such as calling Republicans "enemies," as President Obama has? Or his saying, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"?

Just who's creating a climate of hatred again?

Sadly, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik got the recriminations rolling when, totally outside his law enforcement purview and absent any facts, he told the world the shooting was a result of hatred and bigotry, and that his state was Ground Zero for it. Getting more explicitly partisan, the Democrat said, "We see one party trying to block the attempts of another party to make this a better country."

"With each additional comment," writes The Arizona Republic , "the Democratic sheriff of Pima County is revealing his agenda as partisan, and, as such, every bit as recklessly antagonistic as the talk-show hosts and politicians he chooses to decry."

Lawmen usually deal in facts. Now that the facts are dripping out, it's clear this incident was the act of a hopelessly disturbed young man whose politics were as jumbled as his mind, but who, interestingly enough, was described by a former classmate as "left wing" and a "pot head," and "quite liberal."
That's evidence, testimony from someone who knew him, but the liberal media don't want to hear it.

Rather, they want to blame conservative speech -- even though this page has, for the past year-plus, documented case after case of the bile flowing from the liberal media.

The hypocrisy is astounding, too. Here's what The New York Times said after Fort Hood: "In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions. ... (U)ntil investigations are complete, no one can begin to imagine what could possibly have motivated this latest appalling rampage."

Hmm. Strangely, the Times didn't wait this time before drawing conclusions. It apparently doesn't feel such restraint is warranted if there's an American conservative that might be blamed. Only Muslim radicals get the benefit of the doubt.

"Put him against the wall and shoot him," former Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski said last fall of a Republican candidate for Florida governor.

Kanjorski, interestingly enough, called for civility in a New York Times column Tuesday.

Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy wondered if Republican House Speaker John Boehner was bereft of tears after the Tucson shooting because of "a surge of guilt over his role" in creating a hateful climate.

That's nutty enough -- but consider what Milloy had written of Tea Partiers last March -- that "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." Nice.

Just who's creating a climate of hatred again?

Despite the broad and repeated slander of conservatives by the media, the American people aren't buying what the liberal media are selling: According to a CBS poll that had to absolutely gall the folks at CBS, nearly six in 10 Americans don't believe political debate in this country had anything to do with the Tucson shootings.

"To try to place blame before an investigation has occurred is, in itself, inciting hatred," evangelist Franklin Graham said on Fox News.

The reverend is right.

Our friends on the left would do well to heed their own duplicitous advice to not pre-judge such events, and to elevate the dialogue.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:52 am

>Getting way off topic here, but speaking of winter weather Len, it's supposed to go down to 17 degrees here tonight! Brrrrrrr.<

Yes here in Warren County NJ it's been a very cold winter so far. We got another 8 inches over night but now it's sunny and hopefully by tomorrow our snow plow guy will clear our driveway and we'll be able to get to Washington DC. Regards, Len

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:57 am

lennygoran wrote:>Getting way off topic here, but speaking of winter weather Len, it's supposed to go down to 17 degrees here tonight! Brrrrrrr.<

Yes here in Warren County NJ it's been a very cold winter so far. We got another 8 inches over night but now it's sunny and hopefully by tomorrow our snow plow guy will clear our driveway and we'll be able to get to Washington DC. Regards, Len
This does seem strange as the winter here has only been about average for temperature, mild for snowfall, though it would seem severe in either New Jersey or (especially) Georgia. And Warren County, NY once again is not getting the worst of the current storm.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:03 am

>And Warren County, NY once again is not getting the worst of the current storm.<

Congratulations--for us it really has been exceptionally cold but we have been able to get out and about--thank goodness for our snow plow guy. I just shovelled a path along our small walkway to the driveway and a path to where the bird feeders are placed each day--powdery snow and it went real easy. However there's no way we can do our very long driveway. Regards, Len

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:35 am

The writer in Cosima___J's local newspaper has some weird notions.
[Liberals in the media] seem to categorize support for lower taxes, small-government and individual liberty as hatred
Say what?! This kind of incendiary nonsense is right-wing zealot talk. The author is no better than the "liberal" commentators he/she is complaining about.
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:46 am

The editorial writer should have phrased that differently. I think what he/she is trying to say is that the Tea Party favors "lower taxes, small-government and individual liberty" and SOME people on the left have characterized Tea Partiers as being motivated by hate. I don't claim to be a Tea Partier and don't know if they have a formal statement of policy, but I suppose they do. I'm thinking that much of what they believe in (but probably not all) is similar to the Conservative view which I support.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:49 am

The weather seems to be giving us a break from vitriol here. I woke up to a "cozy" 28° F,
cool, dry and sunny, so my hair stood straight up. Thank goodness for anti-static dryer
sheets. I love the cold nights, I actually get to use my comforter! :D
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:51 am

>don't know if they have a formal statement of policy,<

Here's their mission statement:

http://theteaparty.net/inner.asp?z=48

Regards, Len

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by JackC » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:51 am

Cliftwood wrote:"This type of thinking by a person who very much wants to shut up Tea Party people and talk radio etc etc for political reasons is a much bigger danger to the country as a whole than this massacre."


Because under normal circumstances I would have responded to this statement, it's the reason I was banned from the Pub by Corlyss.

Hopefully, before this is knocked off, someone will not allow this statement to go unchallenged.
I probably should have said that the congressman's way of thinking -silence political speech- is a greater danger to the country than the speech he is trying to silence. I certainly had no intention of downplaying the magnitude of this massacre. It's just that I see no basis to try to blame the rhetoric of the "right" as being a "cause" of this. It is grotesque that some here are pushing this line.

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:59 am

Cosima___J wrote:The editorial writer should have phrased that differently. I think what he/she is trying to say is that the Tea Party favors "lower taxes, small-government and individual liberty" and SOME people on the left have characterized Tea Partiers as being motivated by hate.
That's the opposite of the writer's claim that liberals are doing the hating, isn't it? To state that his/her opponents "hate individual liberty" is blatantly untrue and indefensible. We're talking about a professional writer here, one who must be assumed to mean what he/she says and should be held to it.
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:02 am

I'm coming to believe - believe me when I say it's been hard - that the initial shouting
and disruption of events that characterized the early Tea Party (at least in the MSM
media) was only the relative minority in the movement. The signs some of them displayed
(at least in the MSM media) were also off-putting to my Liberal sensibilities.

It has become somewhat more clear that they are just a rather noisy extension of perfectly
legitimate conservative values of "lower taxes, small-government and individual liberty", as
Cosi says. I'm not sure why they felt they needed a third party to proclaim those core
Republican values, but they certainly have trumped the headlines since the summer of 2010
(at least in the MSM media). Does anyone else here see a pattern emerging?
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:13 am

We simply don't know. The 212th Congress has only just begun, and it will take a while to see whether the House members elected with Tea Party backing make any substantial difference in Republican business as usual. So far it's just talk.
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:39 am

First Comes Fear

by Robert Wright
The New York Times

People on the left and right have been wrestling over the legacy of Jared Loughner, arguing about whether his shooting spree proves that the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks of the world are fomenting violence. But it’s not as if this is the only data point we have. Here’s another one:

Six months ago, police in California pulled over a truck that turned out to contain a rifle, a handgun, a shotgun and body armor. Police learned from the driver — sometime after he opened fire on them — that he was heading for San Francisco, where he planned to kill people at the Tides Foundation. You’ve probably never heard of the Tides Foundation — unless you watch Glenn Beck, who had mentioned it more than two dozen times in the preceding six months, depicting it as part of a communist plot to “infiltrate” our society and seize control of big business.

Note the parallel with Loughner’s case. Loughner was convinced that a conspiracy was afoot — a conspiracy by the government to control our thoughts (via grammar, in his bizarre worldview). So he decided to kill one of the conspirators.

It’s not clear where Loughner got his conspiracy theory. The leading contender is a self-styled “king of Hawaii” who harbors, along with his beliefs about government mind control, a conviction that the world will end next year. But it doesn’t matter who Loughner got the idea from or whether you consider it left wing or right wing. The point is that Americans who wildly depict other Americans as dark conspirators, as the enemy, are in fact increasing the chances, however marginally, that those Americans will be attacked.

In that sense, the emphasis the left is placing on violent rhetoric and imagery is probably misplaced. Sure, calls to violence, explicit or implicit, can have effect. But the more incendiary theme in current discourse is the consignment of Americans to the category of alien, of insidious other. Once Glenn Beck had sufficiently demonized people at the Tides Foundation, actually advocating the violence wasn’t necessary.

By the same token, Palin’s much-discussed cross-hairs map probably isn’t as dangerous as her claim that “socialists” are trying to create “death panels.” If you convince enough people that an enemy of the American way is setting up a system that could kill them, the violent hatred will take care of itself.

When left and right contend over the meaning of incidents like this, the sanity of the perpetrator becomes a big issue. Back when Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood, the right emphasized how sane he was and the left how crazy he was. The idea was that if Hasan was sane, then he could be viewed as a coherent expression of the Jihadist ideology that some on the right say is rampant in America. In the case of Loughner, the right was quick to emphasize that he was not sane and therefore couldn’t be a coherent expression of right-wing ideology. Then, as his ideology started looking more like a left-right jumble, and his weirdness got better documented, a left-right consensus on his craziness emerged.

My own view is that if you decide to go kill a bunch of innocent people, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re not a picture of mental health. But that doesn’t sever the link between you and the people who inspired you, or insulate them from responsibility. Glenn Beck knows that there are lots of unbalanced people out there, and that his message reaches some of them.

This doesn’t make him morally culpable for the way these people react to things he says that are true. It doesn’t even make him responsible for the things he says that are false but that he sincerely believes are true. But it does make him responsible for things he says that are false and concocted to mislead gullible people.

I guess it’s possible that Beck actually believes his hyper-theatrically delivered nonsense. (And I guess it’s possible that professional wrestling isn’t fake.) But in that case the responsibility just moves to Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, and Rupert Murdoch, its owner. Why are they giving a megaphone to someone who believes crazy stuff?

The magic formula of Palin and Beck — fear sells — knows no ideology. When Jon Stewart closed his Washington “rally to restore sanity” with a video montage of fear mongers, he commendably included some on the left — notably the sometimes over-the-top Keith Olbermann. The heads of MSNBC have just as much of an obligation to help keep America sane as the heads of Fox News have.

To be sure, at this political moment there is — by my left-wing lights, at least — more crazy fear-mongering and demonization on the right than on the left. But that asymmetry is transient.

What’s not transient, unfortunately, is the technological trend that drives much of this. It isn’t just that people can now build a cocoon of cable channels and Web sites that insulates them from inconvenient facts. It’s also that this cocoon insulates them from other Americans — including the groups of Americans who, inside the cocoon, are being depicted as evil aliens. It’s easy to buy into the demonization of people you never communicate with, and whose views you never see depicted by anyone other than their adversaries.

In this environment, any entrepreneurial fear monger can use technology to build a following. You don’t have to be the king of Hawaii to start calling yourself the king of Hawaii and convince a Jared Loughner that there’s a conspiracy afoot.

So I’m not sure how much good it would do if you could get a Glenn Beck to clean up his act. With such a vast ecosystem of fear mongers, his vacated niche might be filled before long. But I think Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch owe it to America to at least do the experiment.

Postscript: Encouragingly, Roger Ailes said in the wake of the Tucson shooting that “I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.” So stay tuned.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

karlhenning
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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by karlhenning » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:27 am

HoustonDavid wrote:First Comes Fear

by Robert Wright
The New York Times
Thanks for posting this, David.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:30 pm

My point in repeatedly saying "(at least in the MSM media)" - before realizing it was
redundant - was my growing fear that the MSM, is largely to blame for the type of
poisonous rhetoric we hear today. The nature of journalistic writing and editing is to
selectively pick out the "most interesting" tidbit and "lead" off with it, hence the source
of the word "lead" in journalism school.

It didn't take politicians long to realize that they needed to say something worthy of the
lead paragraph in newspaper stories. As the audio media of radio and television came
along, the term "sound bite" became their "lead", and you rarely heard more than those
few words in a news segment on radio or television.

Politicians of both liberal and conservative persuasions have honed it to an art, and
because of competition with others for news time, have upped the ante in terms of the
most controversial things to say, until it has reached its current level of poisonous
rhetoric. Pundits say politicians in front of a microphone can and do say the most
controversial things to get media attention, then turn away and have polite, even
friendly discourse with the same people they have been dissing for the cameras.

In my mind, as a former journalist, it is as much the fault of the media for boiling "news"
down to a controversial sound bite or editorial lead, as it is the politicians who have
been trained to provide those few "chosen" words. It is certainly exacerbated by the
advent of computers and the internet, where blogging has become the public editorial
forum. We certainly see evidence of ill chosen words, written in haste, right here at CMG
and we are the sorrier for it.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by karlhenning » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:50 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:My point in repeatedly saying "(at least in the MSM media)" - before realizing it was
redundant - was my growing fear that the MSM, is largely to blame for the type of
poisonous rhetoric we hear today. The nature of journalistic writing and editing is to
selectively pick out the "most interesting" tidbit and "lead" off with it, hence the source of the word "lead" in journalism school.
I agree that the Chandra Levy angle to news in the US is a problem (There are other places in the world, and there are things of importance happening there, but instead, let's see if the charwoman in the hotel where Chandra was last seen has read her tea-leaves this morning . . . .) but do you really see this as a 'source' of the rancor?

I should have been inclined to attribute it instead to the "non-mainstream, and proud of it" talk-radio-&-cable bullhorns.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by Donald Isler » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:36 pm

One can count on Sarah Palin for:

1) Demagoguery - I remember when she was campaigning for VP and announced at a rally "I'm happy to be in a pro-America part of the country!"

2) No sense of responsibility - She quit the only important job she had to become a celebrity, and make lots of money

and

3) Absolutely no introspection. What happened in Arizona is not her fault, but she could have thought, and spoken more about how everyone in politics could work against such an ugly political climate instead of just saying "It's not my fault; I'm a victim!"
Donald Isler

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:53 pm

karlhenning wrote:"non-mainstream, and proud of it" talk-radio-&-cable bullhorns
Karl, I was lumping these otherwise deplorable men and women - maybe aliens - under the
professional word "journalist", for the sake of convenience in making a point. As a writer
with five years of journalism and a minor in college, I do not personally consider them qualified
to hang their shingle with the real pros. I also think they are making as much noisy rhetoric
as possible to increase their audience and thereby increase their paychecks, which actually
makes them professional prostitutes of information. But that's just my opinion and I don't
get paid for it.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by karlhenning » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:06 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:
karlhenning wrote:"non-mainstream, and proud of it" talk-radio-&-cable bullhorns
Karl, I was lumping these otherwise deplorable men and women - maybe aliens - under the professional word "journalist", for the sake of convenience in making a point. As a writer with five years of journalism and a minor in college, I do not personally consider them qualified to hang their shingle with the real pros. I also think they are making as much noisy rhetoric as possible to increase their audience and thereby increase their paychecks, which actually makes them professional prostitutes of information. But that's just my opinion and I don't get paid for it.
Oh! Got it.

Yes, these days of anyone-with-a-blog-is-a-"journalist" . . . interesting times we live in, wot?

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

John F
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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:42 am

January 12, 2011
President Obama’s Remarks in Tucson

To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.

As Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders – representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nation's capital. Gabby called it "Congress on Your Corner" – just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunman's bullets. And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday – they too represented what is best in America.

Judge John Roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years. A graduate of this university and its law school, Judge Roll was recommended for the federal bench by John McCain twenty years ago, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and rose to become Arizona's chief federal judge. His colleagues described him as the hardest-working judge within the Ninth Circuit. He was on his way back from attending Mass, as he did every day, when he decided to stop by and say hi to his Representative. John is survived by his loving wife, Maureen, his three sons, and his five grandchildren.

George and Dorothy Morris – "Dot" to her friends – were high school sweethearts who got married and had two daughters. They did everything together, traveling the open road in their RV, enjoying what their friends called a 50-year honeymoon. Saturday morning, they went by the Safeway to hear what their Congresswoman had to say. When gunfire rang out, George, a former Marine, instinctively tried to shield his wife. Both were shot. Dot passed away.

A New Jersey native, Phyllis Schneck retired to Tucson to beat the snow. But in the summer, she would return East, where her world revolved around her 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 2 year-old great-granddaughter. A gifted quilter, she'd often work under her favorite tree, or sometimes sew aprons with the logos of the Jets and the Giants to give out at the church where she volunteered. A Republican, she took a liking to Gabby, and wanted to get to know her better.

Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard grew up in Tucson together – about seventy years ago. They moved apart and started their own respective families, but after both were widowed they found their way back here, to, as one of Mavy's daughters put it, "be boyfriend and girlfriend again." When they weren't out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road, helping folks in need at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ. A retired construction worker, Dorwan spent his spare time fixing up the church along with their dog, Tux. His final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers.

Everything Gabe Zimmerman did, he did with passion – but his true passion was people. As Gabby's outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own, seeing to it that seniors got the Medicare benefits they had earned, that veterans got the medals and care they deserved, that government was working for ordinary folks. He died doing what he loved – talking with people and seeing how he could help. Gabe is survived by his parents, Ross and Emily, his brother, Ben, and his fiancée, Kelly, who he planned to marry next year.

And then there is nine year-old Christina Taylor Green. Christina was an A student, a dancer, a gymnast, and a swimmer. She often proclaimed that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues, and as the only girl on her Little League team, no one put it past her. She showed an appreciation for life uncommon for a girl her age, and would remind her mother, "We are so blessed. We have the best life." And she'd pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate.

Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken – and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.

Our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 Americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on Saturday. I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I can tell you this – she knows we're here and she knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey.

And our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others. We are grateful for Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabby's office who ran through the chaos to minister to his boss, tending to her wounds to keep her alive. We are grateful for the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload. We are grateful for a petite 61 year-old, Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killer's ammunition, undoubtedly saving some lives. And we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and emergency medics who worked wonders to heal those who'd been hurt.

These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. Heroism is here, all around us, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, just waiting to be summoned – as it was on Saturday morning.

[continued]
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:46 am

January 12, 2011
President Obama’s Remarks in Tucson
[continuation]

Their actions, their selflessness, also pose a challenge to each of us. It raises the question of what, beyond the prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward. How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?

You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already we've seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, "when I looked for light, then came darkness." Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that's what most of us do when we lose someone in our family – especially if the loss is unexpected. We're shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward. We reflect on the past. Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

So sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.

That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions – that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires.

[continued]
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:47 am

January 12, 2011
President Obama’s Remarks in Tucson
[conclusion]

For those who were harmed, those who were killed – they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but we surely see ourselves in them. In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis – she's our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America's fidelity to the law. In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

And in Christina…in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic.

So deserving of our love.

And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.

The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives – to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let's remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other's ideas without questioning each other's love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.

I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That's what I believe, in part because that's what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations.

Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called "Faces of Hope." On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. "I hope you help those in need," read one. "I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles."

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

May God bless and keep those we've lost in restful and eternal peace. May He love and watch over the survivors. And may He bless the United States of America.
John Francis

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:28 am

John, Sue and I caught the speech--I'm sure it's probably available some place on/line as well--very moving! Regards, Len

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Re: Arizona Democratic Congresswoman gunned down

Post by John F » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:28 am

John Francis

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