Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tucker Carlson Emerges From His Defensive Crouch ...

And lands on his back.

Using the wingnut smear and fear propaganda broad brush against the so-called “professional Left,” DC Caller’s Tucker Carlson penned a rambling diatribe in response to withering criticism of the despicable and irresponsible role of the (insert: fascist, propagandizing, racist, xenophobic, bigoted, lying) Right. Tucker struggled to justify the Right’s conduct — he gave it the old college try — and failed.

The Right does BULLY and ATTACK DOG well. SOUL SEARCHING and FACTS — not so well.

In the wake of this tragedy, the most ridiculous wingnut talking point is that the Left “began to leverage (Gifford’s) shooting for political purposes.” That is the first reaction of those caught in the blinding glare of public reproach following a tragedy or crisis that occurred within a political context. It’s a nonstarter. There is no need to remind Carlson that the gunman was charged with the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, in addition to the six murders he committed:
As.sas.si.na.tion n
1.    the killing of a political leader or other public figure by a sudden violent attack.
For Tucker Carlson — who purchased Keith Olbermann’s internet domain so that he could behave like a petulant child and send fraudulent emails posing as Olbermann — to criticize Keith for denouncing “a long list of high-profile conservatives, ranging from newly-elected Florida Congressman Allen West to Glenn Beck” is, frankly, laughable. Keith “manned up” (to coin a wingnut term) to include himself in criticizing the rhetoric. Carlson has yet to get off the block.

Since Keith has taken names, let’s take a look at them for a moment. There is no need to once again recite the causal connection between Glenn Beck’s incitement and gun violence by deranged individuals. In at least two instances, it is well established.

The “newly-elected Florida Congressman Allen West,” as Carlson puts it, as if to imply a new car patina to this Tea Party wingnut, has been particularly venal right out of the gate. West’s partisan and inflammatory statements question the very loyalty of his Democratic colleagues. This extremist has a long list of hateful, incendiary, violent speech, most disturbingly directed against the President of the United States. These video clips speak for themselves.

Here West encourages physical violence against his opponent during the campaign:

And in this clip West questions the President’s patriotism and birthright. Such incendiary language from an elected member of Congress directed at the President is shocking and unprecedented:

To bolster his leaky argument Carlson plays the parent card: He mentions Giffords’s father who “suggested ‘the whole Tea Party’ might be suspects in the shooting” to get at Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, “an elected Democrat.”
“It’s easy to understand a father’s overwrought reaction. It’s harder to forgive demagogues like Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., and an elected Democrat, who at a weekend press conference declared anyone with libertarian tendencies complicit in the shootings: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government — the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.”

Have you complained about the stimulus package? You might as well have pulled the trigger yourself.”
It’s fascinating to watch wingnuts stumble and fall on their face outside the echo chamber of their protective cocoons at Fox or Right Wing Hate radio. I could have given Carlson a bit of friendly advice: “Tucker, you really REALLY do not want to go there …” Is Sheriff Dupnik a demagogue? Here he is, in his own words:

Watch Sheriff  Dupnik school the Fox barbie doll (Happy birthday, Sheriff: "Free speech is free speech, but it's not without consequences.") The Sheriff stands his ground through Megyn Kelly's cloying and disgusting prop-manipulation. This guy's been around for 50 years as a law enforcement officer. He's seen the worst of society. He was properly outraged at the violence done to his friends:

As for those on the Right with "libertarian tendencies" in Carlson's romantic whimsy — oh, are they to be vilified for complaining about the deficit too, he whined: "Have you complained about the stimulus package? You might as well have pulled the trigger yourself.” Not to mention the deficit, which these rational, thoughtful citizens are "within their rights to be upset about." (As if anyone would have tried to stop them from demonstrating on the capital mall and at presidential events packing serious heat.) Here's a challenge for you, Tucker. Do these representative images of Tea Party demonstrations show hate speech or people with "libertarian tendencies" concerned with the stimulus and the debt?

These "Concerned Citizens" With "Libertarian Tendencies" Are Protesting The Stimulus And Deficit Armed To The Ts, Just In case.
Loughner Fan Club (Oh right; Protesting Deficit And Stimulus.)

High-Minded Healthcare Debate Right In Front of GOP House Leadership; Can Libertarians Recognize Hate Speech?
Heartwarming How Respectful The Teabaggers Are Toward the President of The United States.
There is no question Jared Lee Loughner is mentally ill. One irony of the push for repeal of healthcare on the Right is that the law provides for community mental health centers which, if they had been in place in Tucson, may well have identified Loughner's pathology and treated it.

But the "shards" of Loughner's political motivation show every indication of his having been exposed, and very likely influenced, by the Right Wing negative zeitgeist, of gun violence and extreme anti-government rhetoric blanketing our nation like a contagion. Mark Potok's profile of Loughner for the Southern Poverty Law Center notes that amid his weird syllogisms, the philosophy to the extent it can be identified, resembles that of the extremist Right anti-government "Patriot" movement.

The idea that only gold and silver are constitutional currencies is a core Patriot belief. Loughner's obsession with language and grammar suggests he "is taking ideas from Patriot conspiracy theorist David Wynn Miller of Milwaukee. Miller claims that the government uses grammar to “enslave” Americans and offers up his truly weird “Truth-language” as an antidote." A recurring theme is of the individual v. the totalitarian state. The reference to a "second American constitution" is "commonly understood to refer to the Reconstruction amendments that freed the slaves and gave them citizenship, among other things... that “raises the question of a possible racist and anti-immigrant tie” in the Arizona shooting." Potok concludes:
"At this early stage, I think Loughner is probably best described as a mentally ill or unstable person who was influenced by the rhetoric and demonizing propaganda around him. Ideology may not explain why he allegedly killed, but it could help explain how he selected his target."
Carlson and his co-author seek to deflect any responsibility on the Right for the current climate of anti-government gun violence, threats, and extremism in our political discourse, which may have contributed to this tragedy. Words have consequences. It isn't the first time a mentally deranged "lone wolf" was influenced by hate speech to take action. Byron Williams is one example. Richard Poplawski another.

And while we would not question the sincerity of Carlson and his colleagues, of their horror at the "scale of human suffering"— for them to impute any less to progressives, or a cynical motivation to those who hold different views on the basis of what "an unnamed Democratic operative" said, is to fall back on the reprehensible but familiar practices of the Right's yellow "journ(o)lism" and smear tactics.

In the wake of this tragedy, the Right is lashing out because it has no argument.

Whenever a libertarian promotes their selfish, narcissistic political philosophy, I ask a simple question: "What has a libertarian ever done in government to promote the general welfare of the people?" Liberals can provide dozens of concrete examples of progressive policies, from Social Security to Medicare, clean air and water to the planting of millions of trees and the conservation of our natural resources, which have had a profound and generational impact on the general welfare and quality of life of the American people.

What have libertarians ever done for the common good?

“It’s no coincidence that most libertarians discover the philosophy as teenagers. At best, libertarianism means pursuing your own self-interest, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else. At worst, as in Ayn Rand’s teachings, it’s an explicit celebration of narcissism. “Man’s first duty is to himself,” says the young architect Howard Roark in his climactic speech in The Fountainhead. “His moral obligation is to do what he wishes.” Roark utters these words after dynamiting his own project, since his vision for the structure had been altered without his permission. The message: Never compromise. If you don’t get your way, blow things up. And there’s the problem. If everyone refused to compromise his vision, there would be no cooperation. There would be no collective responsibility. The result wouldn’t be a city on a hill. It would be a port town in Somalia. In a world of scarce resources, everyone pursuing their own self-interest would yield not Atlas Shrugged but Lord of the Flies. And even if you did somehow achieve Libertopia, you’d be surrounded by assholes.

–Christopher Beam, in New York Magazine

To put it more succinctly: A = A(sshole).

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