Cartoonists react to weekend shooting

Not sure how to gauge who was first to post/publish a cartoon reaction to last weekend’s deadly shooting in Tucson AZ that injured Congress Woman Gabrielle Giffords.

There are two staff cartoonists in Arizona Steve Benson at the Arizona Republic and David Fitzsimmons so we’ll start with them first:

This is David’s first cartoon:

See all of David’s work


See all of Steve’s work

Steve’s cartoon is more measured and not yet pointing fingers.

86 thoughts on “Cartoonists react to weekend shooting

  1. Just an aside: a good political cartoon is, by definition, never “measured.”

    I am dismayed at how illustrative (non editorial) many of these are. What do readers gain from a graphic that says, essentially, what happened was sad? Or that Americans sure have a lot of guns?

  2. For my take on the shootings in Arizona, go to my blog, . I write about it, and post a cartoon of mine from The New Yorker.

  3. Ted, you’re right, but if cartoons are going to denounce fanning the flames of overheated rehtoric they wind up looking awfully hypocritical when they wind up doing the same thing.

  4. Illustrative cartoons are like newspaper Pictionary to guess the headline.

    Take David’s first cartoon:
    ” hmm the state of Arizona… holes…hmmm something to do with Swiss cheese in Arizona? No that’s not it…not enough holes… maybe they’re bullet holes… bullets… shooting… Arizona… AHA shooting in Arizona!

  5. Liza,

    I just looked at your blog and wanted to say that I remember both the post-9/11 cartoons by you and by George Booth and also one by Leo Cullum which Roz Chast wrote about in her recent New Yorker piece on Cullum’s death. All had the obliqueness you mention in your blog and how powerful that is when done well. It’s as if by getting further away from the actual violence, they get deeper into the human reaction. I think they were among the first cartoons to answer the question whether anything could ever again be funny after 9/11.

    Thanks for the blog ref and I hope you soon find a way to do the Arizona madness.


  6. As I tweeted yesterday, it’s only a matter of time before someone conflates the strong opinions of (some) cartoonists and comedians with the violent, intimidating rhetoric of the right. Not in the same ballpark.

  7. “violent, intimidating rhetoric of the right.”

    Why is the lefts’s outrage selective? Have you never heard kathy Griffin, Jeaneane Garofalo, Olberman, RAtigan, Ted Rall, looked at the AAEC site, Krugman, Mahr, “if they bring a knife, you bring a gun Obama”, etc.? If you want civility, it would seem logical to attack the uncivil w/ an even hand.

  8. Mike, if quoting a wise veteran police officer from a movie about fighting organized crime means that Obama is a hatemonger, what should we make of a governor who repeatedly reminds us of his own role as an inhuman assassin?

    I realize it’s a cartoonist’s job to make other people laugh, but that’s a very, very long way to go to find a threat that comes from the progressive side of the aisle.

  9. (To bring it back on topic) It’s perfectly legitimate to castigate violent language and hostile rhetoric as adding to an atmosphere in which extreme people — including delusional ones — get a message that violence is an acceptable remedy. One is not required to go to elaborate lengths to come up with questionably applicable examples to prove “objectivity.”

  10. Since when is violence unacceptable to Anericans? Get real. We’re a martial people. We live on stolen land. We kill and maim. We LOVE violence, and it’s absurd to pretend otherwise.

    The Dalai Lama we ain’t.

  11. Mike, it is purposely acceptable to castigate violent language as tainting the debate, but to do so honestly would require the critic to castigate ALL SIDES for their comments, otherwise no one’s going to take them seriously. At the same time, if someone is going to claim and blame the use of violence-related rehtoric on actual violent actions then they better offer some proof or they won’t be taken seriously either.

  12. Jim, that’s one of the things wrong with the media today. To use a non-political example (just heard on “On The Media”), the notion that vaccines cause autism gained credence in large part because, every time the media reported on it, they felt compelled to be “fair” by adding all the “but many feel” and “but some scientists say” when, in fact, not very many felt and only a few kind of silly scientists said. To dredge up a half-joking reference to a quote from “The Untouchables” to balance the rhetoric that had people bringing guns to political rallies is not fair or honest. It’s nonsense that only clouds the debate.

    In that atmosphere, all a cartoonist can draw is weeping Statues of Liberty. And what is the point of those cartoons, except to persuade the public that we care deeply and yet that there is nothing that can be done?

  13. No Statue of Liberty bent over weeping into her hands, while holding a newspaper with the headline “Arizona shooting?”

    You guys are slipping. Feel free to use my idea!

  14. But Mike, that argument doesn’t fly. I don’t know much about autism so I’ll just assume you’re 100% right about what you say. Even so, that comparison doesn’t apply here.

    You’re saying the call is to bring balance in reporting, i.e. the Right uses violent rhetoric but so does the Left, but since the Right uses it (and really means it) more than the Left (their’s is just a half-joking reference), the Left’s usage shouldn’t even be mentioned. But that’s an opinion, it’s not a fact. Obama’s “Untouchables” reference wasn’t half-joking in the least. At the same time, he wasn’t being literal either. Of course he wasn’t advocating violence. He was being metaphorical. He did nothing different (for better or worse) than Palin’s “don’t restart–reload” or her “target map”. In fact, making the rounds (online at least) is the DNC “target map” against W Bush (from ’04) labeled “Behind Enemy Lines”. That’s the same exact thing.

    Those arguing that the Left uses such metaphors aren’t claiming that Liberals are advocating actual violence, they’re just saying “you guys accuse us of employing violent rhetoric yet you do the same thing.”
    When one side or the other thinks the other REALLY MEANS IT it is because of their own beliefs and bias. It is part of their partisan advocacy for their own side to win and vanquish the other. That’s the dark art of politics and while it’s awfully creepy to use it as a response to a horrific act, it is done (and shame and disapproval is on those who do so). The problem, though, is when that stratagem, backed up only by bias and personal feelings or beliefs, takes the place of facts. That’s when you have indoctrination instead of reporting. The consumer of news becomes a captive audience for political persuasion. THAT is what’s wrong with the media today, Mike. Opinions are being offered as facts and the story takes shape based solely on the desire of those who want to advance a position rather than the desire to find out what really happened.

  15. @ Mike Peterson: you’ve referenced my attributing the UNTOUCHABLES quote to the POTUS twice. I’m guessing you’re not aware that I am actually quoting Barack Obama who used the Sean Connery quote.

    Here’s a few more ‘come together’ bon mots from somebody
    (-unlike Plain, Limbaugh, the ?violent, intimidating rhetoric of the right.? who actually matters, The Community Organizer in Chief:

    ** 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 His Mercenary Army: ?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 lib supporters: ?It?s time to Fight for it.?
    ** Obama to Latino supporters: ?Punish your enemies.?
    ** Obama to democrats: ?I?m itching for a fight.?

  16. Dang, Lester. I’m pounding on F10 and I’m getting nothing but nose-hair gags.

    I can’t believe that some cartoonists here are advocating snuffing out ANY kind of free expression, be it by rightwing fringers or commies or those inbred morons at Westboro Baptist.

    The 1st amendment is all we have left, folks.

  17. I’m confused, Mike.

    These last three days you righties have been citing these examples of people like Obama using sorta-fightin’ words.

    But you know as well as I do that the right does it too.

    So. Are you saying:

    (a) it’s OK to use violent political rhetoric?

    (b) it’s not OK?

    (c) something else (please specify)

    I am seriously trying to understand your point.

    For me, I am of the (a) camp. There’s no First Amendment if we can’t say whatever the hell we want. It’s not Jodie Foster’s fault Reagan got shot. But what exactly are *you* saying?

  18. Ted, you can stop saying “we” now, thanks.

    Quoted from comics alliance:

    “But while Corcoran may have the right to say what he wishes, we conversely have a right to express our own opinions about those ideas, which personally would be that they are callous, irresponsible, and worthy of harsh public censure. Though Corcoran might advocate violence as a way to respond to deep political differences, we fiercely disagree. We believe these sorts of conflicts should be settled through speech. And beyond condemning his words with our words, capitalism also grants us another form of language: We can speak with our dollars.”

  19. Ted is, of course, using the imperial “we.”

    @DJ. A comic shop retailer tweeting something to make a cheap headline is hardly comparable to a professional political cartoonist or commentator. So he sells five fewer copies of The Walking Dead this week. I’m not sure what your point is there. Explain.

  20. @Derf, that was a mistake post on my part, I thought I was replying in the thread about that retailer issue where Rall brought up censorship and freedom of speech issues.

  21. When Democrats lose elections they go on retreats to get back in touch with their inner moderate.
    When Republicans lose elections they buy guns and stock up on ammunition.
    The whole equivalency argument about the Left and Right is bogus.

  22. I think the cartoonists miss the mark. They all seem to exploit the incident to express their own viewpoints on various issues while avoiding the fact that the preliminary evidence indicates that the shooter, afflicted by untreated mental illness (and raised by parents who themselves, according to recent reports, seem to be unstable), targetted Giffords because she had angered him by not answering an incoherent question he had posed to her at an earlier meeting.

    Not as titillating as Right/Left rhetoric, gun control, Palin, crosshairs on maps, the influence of the media or the internet, violence in today?s society, etc., but perhaps closer to the truth.

  23. Rob,

    You’re the voice of calm, cool, sanity here. This notion that so-called “hate speech” by Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, etc., was somehow the trigger for a burst of violence from a clearly psychotic individual is simply nonsense. And politicians and, yes, cartoonists who say otherwise by showing Palin or conservative rhetoric as somehow responsible are being not only unthinkingly stupid and lazy, but disgraceful.

  24. Out here in Utah, the local politicos were quick to express sympathy for the real victims of this tragedy~~guns. It was clear to me on learning the shooter’s age and reading some of his ramblings that he is probably schizophrenic. He is victim to demons other than Rush and Beck. But that doesn’t excuse the Right for it’s looney tunes version of reality. For example,” the solution to gun violence is more guns.” (I was so taken by that earnest post from a SL Trib comment that I used it in a cartoon). Even thoigh Lougher is independently certifiable, that doesn’t mean Colter, Rush, Beck et al aren’t rabid as well.

  25. So, let me turn the overall question slightly:

    How crazy does an assassin have to be, before we’re allowed to speculate over possible external motivations and influences?

    Squeaky Fromme? Sarah Jane Moore? Leon Czolgosz? John Wilkes Booth?

    We learn in social studies that Charles J. Guiteau was a “disappointed office seeker,” but you don’t have to look very far into it to realize that poor ol’ Charlie wasn’t wound too tight. Was Garfield a casualty of the spoils system or the mental health system?

    Where is the line drawn? Where’s the point at which a person is sane enough to be deemed an anarchist (Czolgosz), a disappointed office seeker (Guiteau) or a bitter Confederate (Booth)? Are we willing to say that someone might have said something that had an effect on Lynette Fromme, or is Charlie Manson off the hook for this one?

    Or is the answer that, if I don’t like anarchists, then Czolgosz was sane, and if I don’t like Charlie Manson, then Squeaky was sane, etc., but, if I liked the Confederacy, Booth was crazy?

  26. @Mike P.–You make a great point. There’s a lot of gray area when discussing gray matter.

    I suppose before the cartoonist expresses a subjective view, he must make an objective assessment. For example, “Was the vitriol by right wing politicians the cause of this, or is it just that I wish that to be the case?”

  27. I’m as disappointed as any rightwing mouth-foamer that so many have reflexively pinned the blame for this shooting on “heated rhetoric,” whatever that is. And I’m one of those socialist boogeymen the Teabagged rubes rant about. And I’m ESPECIALLY disturbed that so many cartoonists seem to going along with this! Speech isn’t a crime. Period. Only deeds.

    Shouldn’t political cartoonists, right, left and moderate, be defending the 1st amendment with the same zeal the rightwing guards the 2nd? What the heck is going on here?

    Some time back, I used to draw a cartoon periodically that depicted those I wanted first to be “lined up against the wall when the revolution came.” I drew, blindfolded in front of a bullet-pocked wall various political and cultural figures of the time: Ken Starr, John Tesh, Cokie Roberts, Elmo, the cast from Baywatch etc etc. Did I ever consider for one second that some guy would see my cartoon and run out and shoot up the Sesame Street set? Of course not! But how is that ANY different than Palin’s map or Glenn Beck’s chalkboard rants?

    Seems to me the REAL issue here is how a mentally deranged nutbag with a long history of psychiatric treatment just waltzes into a gun store and buys a Glock-to-go. But apparently this is not even part of the national debate. Instead, the PC Thought Police want to gut the 1st Amendment and tar and feather a few individuals, even though there’s no evidence whatsoever that Loughner was inspired by any of them at all.

  28. I don?t know about you, but I get really tired of people trying to pull me into the infernal ?sides? sinkhole. I mean, Palin used gun sites on a map for targeted congressional districts. There is no right or left to that — it was willfully reckless and can be addressed on that alone. There is no other ?side? you are supporting by editorializing that Palin needs to act more responsibly. And it?s becoming fairly clear that the central issue with Loughner was the ineffective treatment of his mental health issues — drawing about that shouldn?t require a supposed conservative or liberal spin. Cartoons created solely to allow your crazy uncle with the cable news addiction to identify your ?side? start to make a weeping Statue of Liberty look not so bad.

  29. To single out a map with tiny gun sites on it… a map that few knew existed until this incident as the one thing
    among all the horrid things in the world that could drive someone over the edge is something only a hyper partisan would do.

    If it were anyone elses map other than Palins no one would give a horses rear end about it or think of it as having any significant influence in any way.

  30. >>Of course not! But how is that ANY different than Palin?s map or Glenn Beck?s chalkboard rants?

    There is an enormous difference.

    Your one use of an image does not equate with the daily dose of eliminationist rhetoric that is spewed out by the RWM.

    If you had an audience of millions that listened to your every word as gospel truth who you bombarded with violent suggestions to solve political differences I think there would be a few nuts out there that would act on it.

    These right wing pundits have convinced a significant part of the population that health care for poor people is tyranny, treasonous
    and a threat to the liberty of us all and the answer is violent resistance if necessary. how hard is it to understand that some nuts out there have taken them on their word and acted on it?

    Noone is advocating repealing free speech. What the left is saying that if you indulge yourself in using the politics of divisiveness and violent subliminal messaging that you take ownership of it when it comes to fruition.

  31. >>>To single out a map with tiny gun sites on it? a map that few knew existed …

    Few knew existed? This was on Sarah Palins site. You remember her…the tea party’s favorite daughter?

    Noone is claiming this one image caused this. The effect is cumulative. The issue is the barrage of violent inference that this graphic illustrates as just one more straw in the camels back.

  32. “To single out a map with tiny gun sites on it? a map that few knew existed until this incident as the one thing”

    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (you know, the congresswoman who was shot) certainly thought Sarah Palin’s map was relevant to the threat of violence. This is what she told MSNBC on March 25, 2010:

    “…for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district, and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”

  33. I admit.. I don’t ever go to her site.. I don’t take her seriously. But apparently now we all are… and here I am foolishly thinking the only thing she could inspire were goofy SNL skits.

  34. Using free speech to criticize the rhetoric of others as irresponsible is not an attack on the First Amendment. Pointing out “that was a stupid thing to say” is one thing; calling for Sarah Palin to be frogmarched to the pokey is another.

    (And if anyone tells me that’s an example of violent rhetoric, I’ll open a non-violent can of whoop– oh, I guess I can’t say that here.)

  35. @Rick. That’s simply flat-out wrong. So now the First Amendment is applied based on market share and audience ratings? What’s the cut off figure there?

    I did a dozen of those cartoons over a 5 or 6 year period. At that time, my strip ran in 75 or so weekly papers with a combined readership (as memory serves) of over 2 million. I stopped doing them after 9-11, cuz it just didn’t seem as funny. Should have drawn them again a few years later, but, honestly, I just forgot about them.

    Also once drew Cheney blowing his own head off in “the Quail hunting accident we all were hoping for.” If someone had offed Cheney the next day, would I have been lambasted for that cartoon? You betcha! But would I have been prosecuted as an accomplice and barred from ever drawing again? No.

  36. “He wasn?t on the left. He wasn?t on the right.?
    Hallelujah! Thank you I have removed my stupid cartoon in the spirit of good will in light of this obvious observation.

  37. “These right wing pundits have convinced a significant part of the population that health care for poor people is tyranny, treasonous
    and a threat to the liberty of us all and the answer is violent resistance if necessary.”

    No, Rick, that?s you projecting a distorted and vilified interpretation on the reasons and motivations people have for being against Obama?s healthcare plan. You are guilty of exactly the type of heated rhetoric that you claim to find so dangerous and offensive.

    I think Sarah Palin can be criticized as using poor judgment with the cross hair images, which lowers the political discourse but this pales in comparison to the hateful and hysterical rhetoric used against Bush and Cheney by left-wing pundits, politicians, protesters and artists on a daily basis during their term. How short and myopic the memories are.

    It is sophistry to suggest that one create a certain level of civil discourse in politics that will inhibit mentally ill people from acting violently. Any basic knowledge of the mental health field would show you that there is no corollary between the two things.

  38. #26 Ted: Sorry, didn’t mean to ignore your question and glad you asked since of all people, you should be one relieved ninja there’s no evidence (so far) that Loughner read your book or heard your Ratigan interview(s?) justifying the use of violence.

    (-something tells me you’re secretly pissed they HAVEN’T found a copy among his belongings allowing you can escape the minor leagues to the Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn lawless. Me too.)

    So, let’s make it interesting: A gentleman’s wager. I got $100 sez you can’t find an example where Sarah Palin or M.Bachman has promoted the murder of anybody*. Your personal check is fine w/ me.

    (*state id/d terrorists a-la’ Osama Bin Ladin not withstanding)

  39. Hi Mike.

    Sarah Palin called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be treated like an Al Qaeda terrorist. Here’s Palin’s quote:

    Assange is not a “journalist,” any more than the “editor” of al Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a “journalist.”

    ‘He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.

    ‘His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban.

    ‘Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?’

    As you know, Julian Assange is not a state terrorist. He has not been declared to be one by any nation. His legal status is that of a typical civilian. Since U.S. policy is to hunt down and murder Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, and the U.S. has done so numerous times, this is an explicit call for assassination/murder.

    Please remit my $100 to: Ted Rall, POB 2760, NY NY 10163. Thanks! This is the first time I’ve made money from The Daily Cartoonist.

    P.S. You still ignored my question. I wanted to know your stance. Do you think inflammatory rhetoric is OK, regardless of who is saying it, a liberal or a conservative? Or do you think it’s never OK? Or OK only if a conservative uses it?

    Personally, I think it’s OK regardless of who uses it. Free speech is free speech is free speech.

    P.P.S. No one needs me or Sarah Palin to give them the idea to resort to violence. Violence is all around us; violence is always an option. It is like air. It is all around us, everywhere, all the time. No one needs to remind you that air exists.

  40. I’m surprised nobody has blamed violent video games, violent lyrics in songs and violent movies. There’s a greater chance the guy was exposed to that than the stuff you guys are crabbing about.
    Of course I won’t point a finger at anything because witch hunts are so 17th century.

  41. Darn that Palin! Making folks think bad thoughts… Clearly, those bad thoughts led to all the killing but the real twist is that her diabolical web site infiltrated the mind of someone who never went to it! Wow! Scary, huh?

  42. Assange (somehow I KNEW you had mad love for Mr. Twiggy) is the Underwear Bomber is the FT.Hood Shooter is the Times Sq. Bomber, etc. and I think they’re still breathing.

    “you can?t find an example where Sarah Palin or M.Bachman has promoted the murder of anybody*. Your personal check is fine w/ me.” Offer still stands. I’ll wait while you hold a fundraiser.

  43. “P.S. You still ignored my question. I wanted to know your stance. Do you think inflammatory rhetoric is OK, regardless of who is saying it, a liberal or a conservative? Or do you think it?s never OK? Or OK only if a conservative uses it?” -TRall

    Nope. Free is free. It’s even free’er if you call it “art”. And if I was this guys attny., that would be my defense -I’d also hope he was an illegal alien muslim convert homosexual who played too many video games. There’s not a jury in America that would convict him:

    P.S. while it wasn’t a question, you ignored the fact you called for violence in your book. GOD I hope Eric Fuller’s got a copy in his glove compartment, don’t you?!!!

  44. @Alan: I say that calling for someone to be treated like a Taliban or Al Qaeda leader IS calling for their killing. After all, US policy is to kill Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders in the field and to try them on capital charges if captured (see KSM).

    But how about letting the people decide? Come on, regular TDC posters of all political stripes: who’s right, Mike or me? Who won the bet? (Responses from first-time posters don’t count.)

  45. The full-page ad in Parade today for the new David E. Kelly TV show, “Harry’s Law,” showing Kathy Bates holding up a gun, seems ill-advised.
    Here’s a link to the same image on Hulu, although I think they’ll change that soon.

  46. Dear Ted: two words: GIT MO.

    You claimed the bet, so you agreed to the bet. The bet was made on this website that you thanked for making you money. Alan Gardner wouldn’t spit on me if I was on fire so I think he (the owner of the website) is an unbiased arbiter. He says you lose.

    Putting out an S.O.S to your Bromancers, is not agreeable. I’m far outnumbered and you know it. This is between you and me.

    But I don’t want your money*. Like you, I want the freedom to use my own moral compass to say whatever I decide to say and w/out being accused as an accessory to mass murder. Your compass told you to advocate violence in your book. -A mktg. ploy / cry for attention but as bad as you want to be a Junior Jihadi, it ain’t always about Ted so I pray to God your words don’t come back to bite you in the ass. How are book sales, anyway?

    *I would consider it a favor if you payed the people who provide the freedom we all enjoy on boards like TDC (pls. post paid receipt):

  47. @Mike: Where to start?

    1. I’m a gentleman. I accepted the bet and, if I were wrong, I would pay. But I’m right. Sarah Palin clearly said Assange ought to be killed, or at least subject to treatment that might leave him dead.

    2. I have no idea what “GIT MO” is supposed to mean in this context.

    3. I’m pretty sure Alan’s politics lean right, not left. Could be wrong, I dunno. But I do think he’s mistaken here, which is why I’m asking for anyone, including Republicans, to weigh in here. I don’t think Alan is The Arbiter. Frankly, Mike, I’m surprised you didn’t concede. You’ve always struck me as honest.

    4. The book is selling briskly and, more importantly, is generating a lot of discussion and positive reviews.

    5. The U.S. military does not “provide” our freedoms. The U.S. Constitution guarantees them, but it’s up to we, the people, to make sure the Bill of Rights is vigorously enforced. We’ve been falling down on the job, though, which is why so many of our freedoms are being eroded.

    The U.S. military’s job is to abolish whatever freedoms people in other countries (and, during hurricanes, people in New Orleans) seek for themselves. Oh, and to make the world safe for transnational corporate gluttony.

    People who believe they owe their freedoms to soldiers fighting and killing innocent people thousands of miles away are sadly deluded, not to mention opposed to the intrinsic superiority of civilian rule, which is required for democracy.

  48. I guess I don’t think its a fair comparision. Ted is a fringe figure and satirist for the left, Sarah Palin a mainstream conservative politician. It would be more fair to compare her speech to, I don’t know, maybePat Brown, (another goofy figure who puts his foot in his mouth and ran unconventionally staffed presidential campaigns) and then compare Ted to Mike Savage or Mark Levine, the right wing equivalent.

  49. Actually, from what I’ve heard so far, no one knows exactly how much the calls for armed revolution by “keep the government’s hands of my Medicare” crowd influenced the Arizona shooter. Just because he’s crazy doesn’t mean he isn’t influenced by Glenn Beck, who I’ve seen at least a few times ranting about how we all need to go back to the gold standard, a Loughner preoccupation. And his insisting that this or that institution is “unconstitutional” is another common right wing trope.
    To say that the rhetoric of the right and left in this country are equivalent in either vitriol or effect is ridiculous. Left wingers may say mean things, but only the right wing has built a multi-billion dollar industry out of doing so. Mike Lester undercuts his own argument with his list of Obama’s supposed incitements, all of which are pathetically tepid(“I’m mad, too!”) compared to what you’ll hear any afternoon at a random Tea Party rally. Anyhow, most of the bad things liberals said about George W. turned out to be objectively true. As Gov. Christie said, it wasn’t criticism, it was observation.

  50. @Ted, @Mike. I didn’t agree to be the arbiter. I always prefer to read quotes like this in their full context. In politics too many things are stretched or taken out of context. The quote here being an example. In context, her wording “pursue” does not equate to hunt and kill. Her whole Facebook post is a critique on the Obama administration for allowing state secrets to be leaked by a 22 year old. Twice. Unlike many other quotes from, she doesn’t specifically state she wants him dead – hence it’s left to ones interpretation. I’ve given mine now twice. She’s not calling for his death.

    As far as my politics, I’m financially conservative, socially moderate. I’ve lost any love for the GOP around the 2004 election.

    Good luck gentleman. If not resolved, I suggest $50 donation in each others name to wounded warriors.

  51. I’d still like others to weigh in. If we get a decent quorum of input, I will abide by any consensus.

    I’m afraid I could never donate to an organization, however well intentioned, that enables militarism. My fifty would go to WikiLeaks.

  52. “Left wingers may say mean things, but only the right wing has built a multi-billion dollar industry out of doing so”

    You forget the left wingers that have controlled our entire government for 2 years. Not a multi-billion dollar industry but a multi-trillion dollar organization that truncates our lives and rights at will.

    Not sure how you can throw private industry under the bus as mean when it’s the left demanding the government control every single aspect of our lives, for own good of course. Ripping away personal libery is pretty mean, if you ask me.

  53. So what does that say about the right during the first six years of the decade, with the massive, multi-billion dollar industry and the government? Were they dictators? Or does it only count when its people you disagree with?

  54. Big business can’t take your rights away. Only the government can. Going after private business as an agent of evil, corporate greed that’s trying to buy the up world is nonsense if you ignore the fact that the policymakers in D.C. are the ones that are allowing to happen for their own self interests. And the vast prevailing winds from D.C. have been from the left for about 11 years.

    And yes I know Bush was in office then, but he’s hardly a Republican or a ‘right winger’ by any sane person’s definition. He supported amnesty for illegals, socialized medicine, govt. take over of Wall St. – he did things FDR only dreamed of. Criticizing the right by using Bush as an example is like trying to criticize the left because of Harry Truman’s policies. It’s a straw man argument.

  55. I agree with you, Terry. Loughner spouted the same goofy militia-right nonsense as the cop killer in Pittsburgh, the guy who flew his plane into a federal office building and, for that matter, Timothy McVeigh and Co. All chalked up to “lone nuts” or in McVeigh’s case a pair of nuts. Funny how it’s never some leftwinger screaming about a single-payer option as he mows down a crowd of bystanders.

    It all starts with the gold standard for this type of nut. Not sure why currency drives them bonkers enough to kill. But I guarantee that right now there are a couple dozen flabby clowns in camo holed up in some Montana compound building pipe bombs while ranting to each other about FDR.

    The left? What’s “revolutionary” about that crowd? Some 22-year-old dressed as an endangered sea turtle getting tazed at a WTO protest?

    As for Shane. Good gawd.

  56. @Shane: Agreed, Congress enables corporate rapacity. But it’s nonsense to say business can’t take away your rights. Banks, for example, have taken away our right to do something as simple as deposit checks and withdraw cash without paying fees.

    As for the Left being in power since 2008, I honestly don’t know how anyone could call Obama anything other than centrist at best. He’s no liberal, that’s for sure. A liberal would have pulled out of the wars, closed Gitmo, started a jobs program during a depression, taken power away from the CIA, etc. Talk like that is why so many people suspect that the Right’s real objection to Obama is the color of his skin.

  57. @Shane Not sure how you can throw private industry under the bus as mean when it?s the left demanding the government control every single aspect of our lives, for own good of course. Ripping away personal libery is pretty mean, if you ask me.

    Uh…right, Shane. I saw the New York Times was demanding that the government take over every aspect of our lives in an editorial last week. It was the day after the one where they said that all corporate executives should be arrested and sent to those secret prison camps in Idaho.
    Seriously, though–aren’t you just a little embarrassed to spew such total BS? It’s like there’s an IV in your arm hooked up to Fox News.

  58. This isn’t directly part of Rall v. Lester, but it comes pretty close. In deference to Tucson, a gun manufacturer in Carolina suspended the production of an AR-15 assault rifle etched with “You lie.” Not a hunting firearm, not a handgun used for personal protection, a heavy combat weapon comparable to the M16.

    I waffled about linking to this story, because I recently yanked my strip out of the Columbia Free Times for non-payment (the second time I’ve had to do this)!

  59. “My fifty would go to WikiLeaks.” -TRall

    ICE CREAM, CAKE AND SOCCER TROPHIES FOR EVERYBODY!!! Holy kumbaya. -you have no idea how this whole betting / guy thing works, do you? Forget it. I can’t bear the sound of another rattled the tip jar. Besides, it’s always worth the bet to find a welch.

  60. I won fair and square, Mike.

    You asked me to name an example of a right-winger, specifically Palin or Bachmann, saying they wanted someone killed. I found a quote by Palin in 30 seconds. You specifically exempted state terrorists like bin Laden. Julian Assange has never been charged with any crime. He is merely wanted for questioning in that rape case. So he’s no state terrorist.

    Methings thou dost welch too much.

  61. “Banks, for example, have taken away our right to do something as simple as deposit checks and withdraw cash without paying fees.”

    The last time I checked the Constitution there was no “right” to deposit checks and withdraw cash without paying a fee.

    Certainly that can be changed after your revolution, but for the moment the only place no fee banking is guaranteed is in the personal mattress deposit and withdrawal system.

  62. “Just because something isn?t in the Constitution doesn?t mean it?s not a right.”

    Actually, it does. Outside of rights delineated by the Constitution,
    a business doesn’t owe you anything. You have transactions with businesses. You give them something and they give you something. Prices are set by supply, demand and competition. Any laws that regulate banking have to fall under the purview of constitutional guidelines.

    You have no more right to get no-fee checking than I do to have your book advocating the violent overthrow of the US government for a nickle.

  63. Pete, the right not to be murdered is not in the Constitution. Yet it is in the law. There are also intrinsic rights that are not written down, rights every human being is entitled to, such as the right to clean air, that are not enshrined in law. We have many, many rights, most of which are not codified.

  64. The Constitution gives the states the right to set law in “police power” via the 10th amendment, which is where laws preventing murder are made. While there are many areas of law not explicitly stated in the Constitution for something to be declared a “right” there has to be a supporting connection to one of its articles or amendments.

    You might be able to make a connection for a right to clean air,
    although I think it would be difficult, but I cannot think of a single provision in the Constitution that would make a right out of no-fee checking. The Commerce Clause can get Congress under the tent of banks but it doesn’t let them set the ticket prices.

    Given that your revolutionary cabal thinks it a right that everyone earn the same income, I know you use these terms loosely but until the Proletariat rise up, I’d suggesting using the phrase “rip-off fees” instead of “rights”. You’ll be on much better legal and Constitutional ground.

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