Bill Whittle interviews Glenn Reynolds on the birth of Instapundit

(via C2). Enjoy!

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Arizona shootings and the perfidy of the Left [UPDATED]

The recent shooting tragedy in Arizona made the Left propaganda machine and the MSM establishment (OK, I am repeating myself) show their true colors again.

Via Insty:

MARK HALPERIN IN TIME: Maybe a horrendous act of violence will kill hundreds, even thousands, of Americans and thereby brighten Obama’s political future. “No one wants the country to suffer another catastrophe. But when a struggling Bill Clinton was faced with the Oklahoma City bombing and a floundering George W. Bush was confronted by 9/11, they found their voices and a route to political revival.”

And indeed, they are desperately looking for a way, any way, to link the shooter to the Tea Party. Ed Driscoll has a roundupJames Delingpole in the Daily Telegraph gives it big time to his American colleagues. At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson sees “Two Sicknesses On Display In Arizona”.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have seen this type of reaction. The meme that opponents of Obama are crazy and dangerous has been an explicit Democratic Party campaign strategy for over two years. Here is just a partial list of events in which the left-wing and Democratic Party media operation has immediately blamed right-wing rhetoric, only to be proven wrong when the facts finally came out: Bill Sparkman, Amy Bishop, The Fort Hood Shooter, The IRS Plane Crasher, The Cabbie Stabbing, and The Pentagon Shooter. The facts will come out about the shooting and murder by Loughner. Until then, we’ll be subjected to the sickness of people who seek to use the crime to their political advantage and who will worry about the facts later on, if ever.”

Ed Morrissey tries to lay bare the shame of CNN, which is futile, as Contemptible News Network has neither shame nor decency.

The assistant DA blogging as “Patterico” sees the media in a fact-free frenzy to somehow, somehow blame the shooting on Sarah Palin. He counters talk of Palin’s use of “target” metaphors for electoral campaigns with multiple similar examples on the Democrat side. (In fact, managers use military metaphors for all sorts of campaigns all the time.)

As for the shooter, Jared Loughner, himself: do you know any Conservatives or Tea Partiers who would post videos of themselves burning an American flag?! His classmates remember him as a radical leftist, although frankly, whatever passes for his political belief system is best described as Nucking Futs. The psychiatrist and retired NASA flight surgeon who blogs as “Dr. Sanity”, based on the scribblings and videos of the shooter as well as testimony by classmates, put in a preliminary diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Sometimes a nutcase is just a nutcase, full stop.

To make things even more complicated, the congresswoman targeted (may she recover speedily) was not a bete noire of the Right, being well into “Blue Dog Democrat” territory.

Fox News at one point posted a hastily written law enforcement memo claiming he was affiliated with an “antisemitic white supremacist” group called “American Renaissance” [sic], and that Gabrielle Giffords was targeted as the “first Jewish woman so prominent”. Now the actual AmRen is an organization which almost all conservatives consider beyond the pale, and which may be fairly described as racialist or “morbidly obsessed with race” — but which even SPLC [!!] absolved of antisemitism today. I won’t link to the rebuttal press release by AmRen’s Jared Taylor (quoted in part at the Politico link before): suffice to say that he vehemently denies Loughner ever  was a member or even subscribed to its magazine, cites his own record of repudiating antisemitism, points out that Rep. Giffords was never even discussed in the magazine, and brings up the minor inconvenient detail that

Gabrielle Giffords is not the “first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the US government.” Barbara Boxer has represented California in the Senate from 1993, and Diane Feinstein has done so since 1992. There are at least six Jewish congresswomen listed by Wikipedia as currently serving in the House.

If this is the level of fact-checking that goes into law enforcement reports, G-d help the USA. Meet the Keystone Kops of the Internet Age. [UPDATE: according to sources compiled in Wikipedia (caveat lector) Rep. Giffords has a Jewish father and an Xian Scientist mother. She is, BTW, a second cousin of actress Gwyneth Paltrow on her father’s side.]

Insty has a powerful column in today’s  WSJ: The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel. “Those who purport to care about the tenor of political discourse don’t help civil debate when they seize on any pretext to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.”

Shortly after November’s electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn [UPDATE: more on Penn here]  appeared on Chris Matthews’s TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday’s tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner’s killing spree might fill the bill.

With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s words, a “climate of hate.”

The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—”lock and load”—and talked about “targeting” opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.

There’s a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn’t derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.

American journalists know how to be exquisitely sensitive when they want to be. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York pointed out on Sunday, after Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood while shouting “Allahu Akhbar!” the press was full of cautions about not drawing premature conclusions about a connection to Islamist terrorism. “Where,” asked Mr. York, “was that caution after the shootings in Arizona?”

Set aside as inconvenient, apparently. There was no waiting for the facts on Saturday. Likewise, last May New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CBS anchor Katie Couric speculated, without any evidence, that the Times Square bomber might be a tea partier upset with the ObamaCare bill.

So as the usual talking heads begin their “have you no decency?” routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?

[…] I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

Where is the decency in that?

Indeed.

UPDATE: Roger Kimball: “How to turn a tragedy into an emetic“.

And while some whackjob wondered at one point whether the shooter was a veteran (in fact, he tried to join the army but was turned away as psychiatrically unfit), an actual vet tackled the shooter. (While we’re lauding unsung heroes, Rep. Giffords may actually owe her life to an intern who joined her campaign five days ago.)

UPDATE 2: at the Daily Kotz, a post by a leftist declaring “Giffords is dead to me” (for voting against Nancy Peelousy) has been memory-holed.

UPDATE 3: James Taranto has a lot more.

Official: DHS has not determined any possible ties between Arizona shooter and right wing group. And WSJ: suspect fixated on Giffords for long time, predating Sarah Palin’s appearance on the national scene. See also Don Surber.

Yet the collapsing narrative won’t stop Deemocratic group from using Arizona shootings for fundraiser.

UPDATE 4: Jeebus cripes (via Correspondence Committee).

UPDATE 5:

  • did sheriff Dupnik’s office drop the ball on AZ shooter? plenty of sign guy was dangerous nutcase http://j.mp/dY9ts5
  • AZ shooter was registered Independent. How is the Deemocrat propaganda machine going to spin this? http://bit.ly/e66fTm
  • Nobel Prize for chutzpah nomination: MoveOn launches campaign against vitriolic language — despite sordid history of using vitriolic language http://bit.ly/dNFjQG
  • Nobel Prize for jackassery nomination: Clyburn: reading constitution provoked AZ murder spree or something http://j.mp/eim0nN

UPDATE 6:

Patterico finds lots of evidence that Sheriff Dupnik had known for years something was off with the guy, but that he discouraged any action, for fear of embarrassing Loughner’s mother who works for the Parks Service. Much more here. Dan Riehl also weighs in.

Marc Thiessen, in the Washington Post, calls upon pundits to stop blaming the Tea Party.

Clayton Cramer and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Helen Smith (a.k.a. Mrs. Instapundit) blame deinstitutionalization and the way in which excessive concern for the rights of the mentally ill makes it very difficult to take preventive action against somebody likely to become violent (cfr. the Virginia Tech massacre). Benjamin Kerstein tells of his own struggles with a much milder form of mental illness (the kind we used to call “cyclothymia” in an older generation, and which the great Winston Churchill referred to as “my black dog”) and how, despite all the “shrinks” in the USA, he only got proper help after he moved to another country.