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Hate Speech And Shootings: Why Can’t The Right See The Connection?

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A few months ago, just after September’s devastating anti-gay bulling suicides that took the lives of at least ten teens, the Public Religion Research Institute released an amazing study that showed sixty-five percent of Americans — a vast majority — blame churches for the “higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth,” and that seventy-two percent of Americans believe “messages 
about 
the 
issue 
of 
homosexuality
 coming 
from
 places
 of 
worship 
contribute
 to negative
 views 
of 
gay 
and 
lesbian
 people.” Additionally, forty-three percent of Americans, a plurality, “think 
messages
 on
 the 
issue 
of
 homosexuality 
coming 
from
 America’s
 places 
of 
worship 
are
 generally 

negative.”

Saturday’s unthinkable tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, which left six dead, including a nine-year old girl, three women in their seventies, and a federal judge, and a dozen or more wounded, including Gabby Giffords, the Democratic Congresswoman for that district, has sparked more conversation around the world about the connection between hate speech, virulent and violent rhetoric, and shootings than I could ever imagine.

From the Tea Party in Tucson, which refuses to tamp down its rhetoric even after Saturday’s massacre, to Fidel Castro in Cuba, to Sarah Palin’s aide’s lie that they never intended her crosshairs map to look like it had crosshairs, (rather, “surveyor’s symbols,”) and elsewhere around the world, people everywhere are talking about whether or not there is a connection between America’s climate of hate speech and the Tucson shootings.

Many on the Left immediately pointed fingers at the politicians and pundits on the Right: Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, Sharon Angle, Michele Bachmann, the GOP in general, and others who have peddled their wares of hatred, hate speech, and division upon an all-to-eager to accept the politics of hate as acceptably American “free speech” public.

The Right fought back, just as virulently and hatefully as ever. In fact, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips falsely wrote, “We need to remind everyone, the shooter was a liberal lunatic.” Of course, this is a lie; Jared Lee Loughner, the man who shot nineteen people on Saturday in Tucson, including Congresswoman Giffords, is a registered Independent, showing no signs of being a liberal or a Democrat, or fitting into any reasonable political mold.)

The conversation America is pretending to have now is, sadly appropriately Fox News-inspired: pseudo-“fair and balanced.”

Those on the Right have ponied-up their encyclopedias of Left-inspired hate against Bush, Palin, et al. Those on the Left have ponied-up their encyclopedias of Right-inspired hate against, well, everyone. Gays, immigrants, Obama, Hispanics, Muslims, etc. (Here’s my contribution.)

But the debate we need to have is impossible, and that became crystal-clear to me yesterday when I hear Rachel Sklar debate conservative radio host Steve Malzberg on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Malzberg was ranting about how Palin had nothing to do with the shooting and there was no way she should be held accountable, while Sklar said Palin’s crosshairs map, which targeted twenty Democratic Congressmen, including Giffords, contributed to the virulent climate and that it wasn’t a “stretch” to say that Palin’s map was “a bad idea.” Sklar met him half way; Malzberg couldn’t even make that connection.

The Right is so focused on protecting their way of life of regulation-free gun-carrying, regulation-free verbal assaults, regulation-free everything, that they have created an expensive climate for the rest of us. And sometimes, the cost of “regulation-free” is death.

But the real question here is, why can’t — or won’t — the Right accept the fact that their own hate speech contributed to the climate and environment of hate that led to Saturday’s killing of six people, and wounding of a dozen more?

And why can’t — or won’t — the Right accept the fact that phrases like, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” or, “If ballots don’t work, bullets will,” invite and incite the very violence we saw Saturday.

The other important question is why won’t America accept the fact that guns kill, and guns need to be, yes, controlled.

According to Daniel Vice of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “In a typical weekend in the United States, more people are shot and killed than in an average year in Australia; the same is true in Britain, and other countries that have tougher gun laws.”

Just look at these all-too-recent headlines from polling giant Gallup:

In U.S., Continuing Record-Low Support for Stricter Gun Control

Fewer Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws

In U.S., Record-Low Support for Stricter Gun Laws

Sadly, America is a very “gun-friendly” country, but not a very “gay-friendly” one.

But if our not very gay-friendly America can finally make the connection between churches and houses of worship contributing to the suicides among gay and lesbian youth, surely America can make the connection between the hate speech of rabid right wing politicians and pundits — the Sarah Palins and the Glenn Becks, the Michelle Malkins and the Michele Bachmanns, the Rush Limbaughs and the Sharron Angles — and the massacre in Tucson?

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Marjorie Taylor Greene Says Impeach Biden, Fire Fauci and Expel Waters in Red-Meat Alabama Speech

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke Friday night to the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, an event for which the media had been told to leave after a press availability beforehand.

But the conservative Alabama website www.yellowhammer.com managed to be in position to report on Greene’s remarks. It happily described the event as one that “went off with no disruptions and instead, spells of raucous applause from the attendees.”

The reporting did offer a glimpse into what Greene says behind closed doors when tossing out the rarest of the red meat. Here’s how that went:

“Greene kicked off her speech by reiterating three of her ‘favorite things’ she often says while speaking before crowds,” Yellowhammer reports.

“That’s like three of my favorite things: impeach Joe Biden, expel Maxine Waters — we’ve got to take out the trash in Washington, D.C. — and fire Dr. Anthony Fauci,” she said to applause.

“I’m not going to apologize for saying what I’m about to say, but I’m a big fan of President Donald J. Trump,” she continued. “That’s how I always test my crowd. Then I’m going to tell you something else: I believe Trump won the election.”

The website added, “Greene spoke for an hour and hit some highlights of her first seven months in the U.S. House of Representatives, including her interactions with U.S. Reps. Marie Newman (D-IL), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

What she had to say about those three was left to the imagination. But Yellowhammer did report that Greene reiterated her comments from earlier in July distancing herself from fellow wacko Mike Lindell’s claims that Donald Trump would be reinstalled as president in August.

That’s not news: Greene pushed back against Lindell publicly earlier in July. But unbiased observers would have been choking on their fried green tomatoes listening to Greene impersonating a sober voice of reason in Alabama:

“I will tell you this: Sometimes you hear people saying crazy things like, ‘President Trump is going to be back in the White House in August,'” she said. “That is not going to happen. Please don’t believe anyone who is telling you those kinds of things. I get so frustrated with that. There are three members of Congress sitting right here that will tell you that’s not going to happen. The process for putting President Trump back in the White House — it’s not there.”

“We don’t have a constitutional process for that,” Greene continued. “So, I don’t want anyone to get their hopes up over something that is not going to happen. What we’ve got to do is reveal the fraud that took place in the 2020 election — reveal it, then hold people accountable that made it take place, make sure we have good election laws, get rid of this crazy absentee ballot voting, make sure our machines are OK. Then we win in 2022 and 2024.”

Somehow, hearing Greene use the phrase “crazy things” when discussing someone else’s conspiracy theories is a bit much. She gets “so frustrated” with people becoming misinformed by this one? Really?

Greene is just a few short years away from spreading the grossest of QAnon craziness, from 911 denial to Pizzagate to Frazzledrip to Jewish space lasers and more. She was not some QAnon apologist: She was full Q.

Here’s how that was recaptured in a Business Insider analysis laying out the litany of Greene’s wildness:

“Greene said “Q” is “someone that very much loves his country, and he’s on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump.” And she said, “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”

That was four years ago, not four decades. Within a year came Greene’s unspeakably cruel deceits claiming that mass shootings at Parkland, Sandy Hook and Las Vegas were “false flag” events staged to promote gun control.

As Business Insider noted, “A recently resurfaced video from earlier that year shows Greene accosting David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, who was 17 at the time, in Washington, DC. Hogg was in town to advocate for gun control at the Capitol. Greene followed the teen down the street, calling him a “coward,” just weeks after the shooting at his high school killed 17 people.”

Now, instead of stalking some poor young survivor on the streets outside the nation’s Capitol, Greene works in the building. In another time, Greene was the sort of individual who might have been housed in an institution for troubled souls.

In 2021, tragically, that’s the Republican caucus in Congress.

 

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NUTS

100 Minutes of Whining: Here Are the 7 Most Absurd Moments From Trump’s Arizona Grievance Festival

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Donald Trump spoke for over 100 minutes during a long-winded speech at a “Rally to Protection Our Elections” in Phoenix.

Much of Trump’s speech was focused on repeating his debunked lies that he won the 2020 presidential election, when in reality he was defeated by Joe Biden.

But he also found time to bash much of America while praising the local extremists behind Arizona’s audit of the vote in Maricopa County and listing his many perceived grievances.

Trump attacked Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), all the Republicans who are “worse than Democrats,” Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), soccer’s United States Women’s National Team, and said his supporters have to “fight” against everyone who said he lost the election with language that echoed his speech that preceded the January 6th insurrection.

Much of the speech was just bizarre due to the combination of Trump brazenly lying about things that happened while also pontificating on the delusions that populate right-wing media.

Here are the seven most ridiculous moments from the speech.

7. Trump is so out-of-touch you thinks Americans must show their papers to purchase groceries

Despite being ridiculed when Trump spoke of this delusion in the past, Trump falsely claimed Americans need to show identification to purchase groceries as he pushed voter I.D. laws.

6. Trump imagined what he would do if he were Native American

Trump complained about the Cleveland Guardians baseball team and praised the racist logo the team retired. “If I was an Indian, I’d sue. Sue them Indians,” he said.

5. Trump argues America is becoming a communist country

“Like it or not, we are becoming a communist country. That’s what’s happening, that’s what’s happening,” Trump said without providing any evidence. “We are beyond socialism.”

4. Trump explains how it hurts Republicans at the polls when his supporters believe his election lies

Trump repeatedly mentioned during his speech his belief that when his supporters believe his false claims of election fraud, it makes them less likely to turn out to vote. Trump said this is how Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate.

3. Trump explains how a politician repeating lies creates disinformation

During a speech that will keep fact-checkers busy, Trump explained disinformation in a way that seems to perfectly describe why he traveled to Arizona to repeat his “Big Lie” about election fraud.

2. Trump describes his unconstitutional fantasy of being reinstated as president

Despite both the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department warning this conspiracy could fuel more violence by Trump supporters, the former president discussed being reinstated.

1. Trump gaslights America by lying about his attacks on democracy and voters

Of the many lies Trump told, one of the most absurd had to be his claim that, “I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy— I am the one trying to save American democracy.”

 

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DISASTER

Republicans Boot Only Person With Elections Experience From AZ GOP’s $9 Million ‘Audit’ Fiasco: Report

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Republicans once referred to Ken Bennett as the “director” of their widely-panned audit of votes in Maricopa County, but he has reportedly lost his privileges to even enter the building where the fiasco is taking place.

Bennett, who served as Arizona’s Secretary of State and president of the state Senate, was the one person associated with the recount with experience in elections. He was officially listed as the liaison to the state Senate, which paid $150,000 of the $9 million the audit is reportedly costing.

“Questions are mounting about who is in control of the long-running partisan review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results — the Arizona Senate, which ordered it, or the outside firms that are running it,” The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening. “On Friday, Ken Bennett, the Senate liaison to the audit, was not allowed into the building at the state fairgrounds where the audit is taking place, a day after he shared data with outside critics from an ongoing ballot count.”

“While this work is supposedly being overseen by Senate representatives, many times that oversight is not there,” the newspaper noted. “The Cyber Ninjas have for weeks resisted getting outside checks of the audit, insiders say.”

Reporter Ryan Randazzo explained why the outside review is threatening.

“The data Bennett provided to outside analysts, Larry Moore and Benny White, showed the results of the ongoing machine count of the ballots tracks very closely with the the county’s tally,” the newspaper reported. “If that trend continues, it may call into question the results of Cyber Ninja’s count, because [Senate President Karen] Fann has said that the Cyber Ninjas’ count did not match the county’s.”

The newspaper reported Cyber Ninjas spokesperson said any decision to ban Bennett was made by Fann’s office.

 

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