More on Violence And Right Wing Rhetoric

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, conservatives who fail to understand the arguments from liberals about right wing hate speech act as if Jared Loughner lived in a vacuum and acted with absolutely no external influences. This is despite multiple reports indicating Loughner’s interest in fringe politics. NewsOne reports on yet another connection, alleging that Loughner is a fan of right winger Alex Jones.

I find it curious that conservatives have been attacking liberals this week who have expressed concern about speech and internet postings which could inspire violence. They apparently see nothing wrong with this, but many of the same conservatives went ballistic over a joke  by David Letterman a couple of years ago (which they proceeded to distort in their attacks on Letterman). Certainly calling on supporters to “reload” while linking to a picture of members of Congress in crosshairs is of greater concern than a late night comic’s joke, even if the claims conservatives made about it had been true.

Of course this problem is not limited to Sarah (Reload) Palin. There’s Sharon Angle and her calls for “Second Amendment” remedies, Glenn Beck who holds a gun in one picture while opposing violence on an adjacent portion of his web site, and many other conservatives. Andrew Sullivan points out this billboard advertising Rush Limbaugh’s show right in Tuscon:

Liberals are not saying that Palin, Angle, Beck, or Limbaugh is directly responsible for the recent shootings, regardless of how often conservatives make this claim. We are saying that their conduct is, at very least, far worse than jokes from David Letterman, comments from the Dixie Chicks, and many other items which the right wing regularly goes berserk about–and actually does contribute to acts of violence. We have yet another example today of right wing violence with an arrest for threatening a member of Congress.

Other than distorting the argument to falsely claim that liberals are directly blaming Palin for the shooting, the other common bogus argument from the right is to claim that the poisonous atmosphere is not being created by conservatives. They claim that liberals do the same. I already responded to this claim in this post, but their is another quote from George Packer which deserves to be added to those in the previous post:

But it won’t do to dig up stray comments by Obama, Allen Grayson, or any other Democrat who used metaphors of combat over the past few years, and then try to claim some balance of responsibility in the implied violence of current American politics. (Most of the Obama quotes that appear in the comments were lame attempts to reassure his base that he can get mad and fight back, i.e., signs that he’s practically incapable of personal aggression in politics.) In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

Sarah Palin, incidentally, who regularly dodges the media due to an inability to answer questions, has agreed to a television interview. It is to be conducted by Sean Hannity–hardly a challenge for Palin.

Jed Bartlett’s Advice to Barack Obama

Maureen Dowd described a meeting between Barack Obama and Jed Bartlett of The West Wing as written by Aaron Sorkin. Bartlett explains to Obama while some Americans might not support him:

Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.

He advises Obama to get angry:

GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Bartlett encouraged Obama to fight on, explaining that he is making progress:

Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.

Dixie Chicks Win Five Grammys

The Dixie Chicks have faced death threats and boycotts for speaking out against George Bush. Tonight was a much better evening for them as they won five Grammys, including song of the year for Not Ready to Make Nice. I wonder if they discussed their feelings about George Bush with one of the presenters at this year’s awards–Al Gore. The Washington Post reports:

The Dixie Chicks completed a defiant comeback on Sunday night, winning five Grammy awards after being shunned by the country music establishment over the group’s anti-Bush comments leading up to the Iraq invasion.

The Texas trio won record and song of the year for the no-regrets anthem “Not Ready to Make Nice.” They also won best country album, which was especially ironic considering the group says they don’t consider themselves country artists anymore…

The Dixie Chicks won all five awards they were nominated for, sweet vindication after the superstars’ lives were threatened and sales plummeted when Maines criticized President Bush on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003. Almost overnight, one of the most successful groups of any genre was boycotted by Nashville and disappeared from country radio.

The Dixie Chicks Playboy Interview


The Dixie Chicks were interviewed in the December issue of Playboy. Here’s a portion of the interview pertaining to their criticism of George Bush and the war:

Playboy: Natalie, when you went onstage that night in London, did you think you were about to rip into the president of the U.S.?

Natalie Maines: I don’t even remember. We had talked beforehand about how lame it felt to be doing shows on the eve of a war. I needed to acknowledge that we weren’t oblivious to what was going on in the world, just not to feel shallow. But I never liked to get serious onstage. I felt pressure to entertain, and people aren’t at your show to feel down. Now, when I watch the clip of my saying it, I see I’m trying to keep it lighthearted but still acknowledge that I’m not some flighty blonde. But no, I hadn’t planned out what I was going to say.

Playboy: Emily and Martie, what was your reaction?

Emily Robison: I had a physical reaction, like when you slip in the lunchroom and wait to see who saw you. Heat from the head all the way down, that’s what I felt. It was the president, you know? It was kind of like the feeling you’d get when you were called into the principal’s office.

Playboy: When did it become apparent to you that the Bush comment wasn’t going to slip by unnoticed?

Maines: When the AP picked it up. I knew we would be used to draw attention away from the things that were going on. I knew the far right and the religious right were capable of sabotage, so I wasn’t surprised by any of that. Our manager said, “It’ll blow over in three days tops,” but right then I said, “You’re wrong.” Still, there were daily shocks. (more…)

Dixie Chicks Ad That’s Too Hot For NBC

Variety reports NBC and CW are refusing to air ads for the Dixie Chick’s documentary Shut Up & Sing. NBC has stated they “cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush.” Think Progress has the video.

Dixie Chicks Documentary To Be Released in November

The controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks will be the subject of a documentaty entitled “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing” to be released in November:

The film revolves around the aftermath of singer Natalie Maine‘s statement at a 2003 London concert, where she said, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas. 

It chronicles death threats, political attacks and radio boycotts against the country trio, and that could make the film a political hot potato as well as potential ammo should longtime Democratic party supporter Harvey Weinstein become involved in the fall political campaigns.

If this is released before the election, will it have more or less impact than Fahrenheit 911?

Dixie Chicks Stay Out of Dixie

The Dixie Chicks may have a top selling album, but they still aren’t very welcome in Dixie. Reuters reports that, “Facing lackluster ticket sales in many U.S. cities where radio stations had banned their music to protest the band’s anti-Bush remarks, the Chicks’ promoters have revised their tour with new stops in Australia and Canada.” In summarizing the controversy, Reuters writes:

Lead singer Natalie Maines sparked an uproar in March 2003 when she declared during a London concert that the band was “ashamed” to come from the same state — Texas — as Bush.She later said she was sorry for “disrespecting the office of the president” but fanned flames anew when she retracted her apology in a Time magazine interview this year, saying: “I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”

Previous stories on the Dixie Chicks under the fold.