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  • Rhetoric not to blame, says the right

    Rhetoric not to blame, says the right
    <span style="font-weight: bold">Gabrielle Giffords shooting points to a 'mindless rage,' but not to a suspect who was moved to violence by heated political rhetoric, say a growing number of voices on the right</span>.


    By Peter Grier, Staff writer / January 11, 2011 CSM

    Three days after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona was gravely wounded and six bystanders killed in a rain of gunfire at a Tucson, Ariz., shopping center, some conservatives have begun to push back against charges that their rhetoric has created a political climate which encourages such violence.

    .They say evidence is mounting that alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner is a disturbed individual with almost incoherent philosophical beliefs. Mr. Loughner is a registered independent who did not vote in the 2010 elections, and his bookshelf includes works more commonly thought to be leftist, such as “The Communist Manifesto,” say some on the right.

    “I don’t see any political trend there, more than just a mindless rage. I think to add more to that is to give him too much credit,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R) of Arizona in a Fox News interview on Monday.


    Representative Franks said he was disappointed that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik “politicized” the tragedy in its immediate aftermath by saying that America’s political discourse now features too much dangerous vitriol.

    Other Republican lawmakers have seconded Franks’ comments – although in a restrained manner, given the sensitivity of the subject.

    “No expressed opinion, liberal or conservative, was to blame for Saturday’s attack, and we must resist efforts to suggest otherwise because to do so has the potential to inhibit freedom,” wrote Rep. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana in a statement.

    The conservative blogosphere has been less restrained. The blog Red State opined that in blaming the acts of an insane lone gunman on conservative rhetoric “the left puts a bullseye on the right.”

    <span style="font-weight: bold">At least one poll indicates that voters may agree that heated rhetoric is not to blame for the shootings</span>. A CBS News survey released Tuesday found that 57 percent of respondents felt that the nation’s harsh political tone had nothing to do with the tragedy.

    Survey results showed a partisan gulf on this finding, however. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans, but only 49 percent of Democrats, felt that US discourse was blameless.

    Sarah Palin has come in for particular criticism that her rhetoric helped create the climate for violence. Prior to the elections, her Facebook page posted a map of the US with cross hairs on congressional districts represented by Democrats the GOP thought vulnerable. Giffords’ district was one of those so marked.

    Ms. Palin has been largely silent in response. On Monday conservative commentator Glenn Beck said on his show that he had received an e-mail from the former Alaska governor that said in part that “our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence.”

    Meanwhile, some Democrats say that Republicans have become too sensitive to requests that they tone down their rhetoric.

    Though much of Loughner’s writings are nonsensical, some indicate adherence to ideas of the far-right Patriot movement, they note.

    “Until it becomes clear why he acted, nobody should assign specific political motives to his violence. But what is clear is that this horrific attack occurs in the midst of a poisonous and dangerous political environment that’s been fostered, in large part, by conservatives that have been too willing to paint political opponents as existential enemies who must be eliminated,” concludes the Progress Report, a blog associated with the liberal Center for American Progress.
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  • #2
    Nihilism or Sarah Palin: What motivated Arizona sh

    Nihilism or Sarah Palin: What motivated Arizona shooting suspect?

    Early reports suggest that the philosophies of shooting suspect Jared Loughner are tangled and largely incoherent – ranging from nihilism to 'lucid dreaming.' So far, there does not appear to be clear link to talk radio or hyperpartisanship, though that could change.


    By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / January 10, 2011


    The investigation of the incident has clearly not finished, and new revelations are sure to come. But at this early stage, no clear links have emerged between Loughner and the current political climate. Rather, acquaintences and criminologists point to a convoluted worldview that appears largely incoherent – ranging from a fascination with dreams to an apparent penchant for nihilism.

    His writings merge everything from the Communist Manifesto to discussions of the gold standard to the government's oppression by use of grammar.

    &quot;That is in a nutshell what schizophrenics tend to do, they pick up a concept, but it doesn't stay a coherent concept the way it would with someone else's mind,&quot; says Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League. &quot;They just throw it into the big pile of things that ends up being their own delusional structures.&quot;

    Loughner's childhood friend, Bryce Tierney, told Mother Jones magazine that Loughner kept a dream journal and believed in &quot;lucid dreaming&quot; – existing in a separate plane between dreams and reality.

    Mr. Tierney, who said he was a close friend of Loughner's in middle and high school added: &quot;By the time he was 19 or 20, he was really fascinated with semantics and how the world is really nothing – illusion.&quot;
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    • #3
      Is Obama Safe in This Climate?

      nalysis: Is Obama Safe in This Climate?

      Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2011, By: Michael H. Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com

      Saturday's shooting spree in Arizona that claimed six lives, including a federal judge, critically wounded a U.S. congresswoman and injured 13 others not only underscores the dangers of public service, but the senseless tragedy is also a sobering reminder of the growing hatred toward President Barack Obama.

      Obama, according to published reports, is the target of more than 30 potential death threats a day and is being protected by an increasingly overstretched and under-resourced Secret Service.

      There is no indication that the suspect in the Tucson rampage, Jared Lee Loughner, held any ill will toward the president.

      <span style="font-weight: bold">Since Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 percent from the approximately 3,000 a year under President George W. Bush, </span>according to Ronald Kessler, author of “In the President's Secret Service,” which was published in 2009.

      Some threats to Obama, whose Secret Service codename is Renegade, have been publicized, including an alleged plot by white supremacists in Tennessee late last year to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history.

      A new group on Facebook which is calling for Obama’s death has surpassed one million users. Another group which calls on Facebook to delete the group, is also rapidly approaching one million users as well.

      Many black Americans have long feared that a radical hate group would try to harm Obama, but the subject is whispered in homes, barber shops and beauty salons and is not usually a topic discussed at public forums.

      The Southern Poverty Law Center, however, counted 932 active hate groups in the United States in 2009. The number of hate groups operating in the United States continued to rise and has grown by more than 54 percent since 2000 — an increase fueled by immigration fears, a failing economy and Obama's successful campaign for the presidency, according to the SPLC.
      There were 602 hate groups documented in 2000.

      &quot;Barack Obama's election has inflamed racist extremists who see it as another sign that their country is under siege by nonwhites,&quot; said Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report, a SPLC quarterly investigative journal that monitors the radical right. &quot;The idea of a black man in the White House, combined with the deepening economic crisis and continuing high levels of Latino immigration, has given white supremacists a real platform on which to recruit.&quot;

      Experts say a sharp growth in so-called militia groups helped spawn a wave of domestic terrorism in the 1990s, maintaining that those organization are now using YouTube, hate metal music and the Internet to recruit members and spread bigotry and fear - and shouldn't be ignored.

      &quot;It's certainly a scary time,&quot; said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant. Garrett said the Secret Service &quot;cannot afford to pass on anyone,&quot; and he believes &quot;they really do fear that something could happen to [Obama].&quot;

      According to some published reports, the federal government believes there is a strong correlation between a rise in potential and actual death threats against the president and remarks made by Sarah Palin, John McCain’s former vice presidential running mate.

      Palin's attacks on Obama, including specific comments regarding his patriotism, led to an increase in threats against Obama during the last weeks of his presidential campaign, when Palin accused him of &quot;palling around with terrorists.&quot;

      The report, which was released by Stratfor Global Intelligence, an independent, non-ideological intelligence organization, said that Palin's dissentious and incendiary tone may have unwittingly emboldened white supremacists and other hate groups to plan attacks on Obama prior to his election.

      In the wake of the Arizona shootings, Democrats and Republicans have called for an end to the incendiary political rhetoric that has permeated American politics.

      “The hostility is here,” said Congressional Black Caucus chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo). “People may want to deny it. It is real.”

      The House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), condemned the murders in Arizona. “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve,” Boehner said. “Public service is a high honor ... but these tragic events ... come with a risk.”

      Boehner, however, did not call for the radical fringe groups of the Republican Party to turn down the volume on hateful comments of public officials – and specifically Obama – that could perhaps lead to more violence in the months ahead.

      Meanwhile, Obama observed a moment of silence for the Arizona shooting victims Monday morning, which included Democratic Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and he called on all Americans to do so at the same time in a show of national unity.

      In a Sunday statement issued by the White House, Obama said the moment of silence, which he marked at 11 a.m. on the White House South Lawn, will &quot;honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., including those still fighting for their lives.&quot;

      &quot;It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart,&quot; he said in the statement.

      Obama signed a proclamation Sunday calling for flags to be flown at half-staff. He also has postponed a trip he planned to make Tuesday to Schenectady, N.Y., where he was to visit a division of General Electric and discuss the economy.

      In 2007, then-Sen. Obama was placed under the protection of the United States Secret Service. <span style="font-style: italic">It marked the first time that a candidate had received the protection of the Secret Service so early in the campaign</span>.

      “<span style="font-weight: bold">Are there people who will be troubled by an African-American president?” Obama asked reporters. “Yes.” </span>
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      • #4
        Sarah Palin speaks of 'blood libel.' Really?

        By Linda Feldmann, Staff writer / CSM January 12, 2011

        Washington
        Sarah Palin has spoken, and in so doing, has fanned the rhetorical flames around the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend.

        Wednesday morning, the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee posted an eight-minute video on her Facebook page, expressing sadness and shock over the tragedy in which six people died and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona was gravely wounded. <span style="font-style: italic">Then former Governor Palin waded into the red-hot controversy over political rhetoric and its possible role in inciting the killer.</span>

        <span style="font-weight: bold">Palin did not directly refer to charges that her own words and actions – such as posting a map of the US with cross-hairs over congressional districts ripe for Republican takeover, including Giffords's – played a role</span>. <span style="font-style: italic">But a sense of personal outrage came through loud and clear.</span>


        “<span style="font-weight: bold">Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn,”</span> she said. “That is reprehensible.”

        <span style="font-weight: bold">Blood libel? According to the &quot;Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions,&quot; “blood libel” refers to “the accusation that Jews murder non-Jews to obtain blood for Passover rituals.” Probably not what Palin had mind. More likely, she meant just plain libel</span>, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression.”

        In her statement, Palin also took issue with suggestions that political rhetoric has gotten more heated lately.

        “But when was it less heated?” she said. “Back in those ‘calm days’ when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government.

        “Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.”

        Embedded in that statement is a pitch for the conservative ideal of limited government (as in, “if men and women were angels, there would be no need for government”). Liberals will no doubt have a field day with that as well.

        She also took a dig at those who criticized the new Republican leadership in the House for beginning the 112th Congress with a reading of the Constitution from the House floor. Congresswoman Giffords was randomly assigned to read the First Amendment.

        “It was a beautiful moment and more than simply 'symbolic,' as some claim, to have the Constitution read by our Congress,” Palin said. “I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just ‘symbolic.’ But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive.”

        She was likely referring to Rep. Robert Brady (D) of Pennsylvania, who after the Tucson shooting suggested legislation that would “make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress,” according to The Hill newspaper.

        Palin’s speech mainly consisted of statements affirming the greatness of the nation and its people – the kind of language we might hear from President Obama Wednesday night, as he addresses the memorial service in Tucson. And certainly, there was no apology for anything she has said in the past two years (not that anyone really expected it). But if Palin thought her video release would put to rest the lively public debate over her and others’ political rhetoric, she has another think coming.
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        • #5
          Palin's &quot;blood libel&quot; charge ignites firestorm

          By John Whitesides

          WASHINGTON | Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:33pm EST

          WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prominent Republican Sarah Palin defended her fiery rhetoric on Wednesday but ignited a fresh controversy by accusing critics of &quot;blood libel&quot; in linking her to a deadly Arizona shooting spree.

          A defiant Palin, leaping into a roaring debate on the consequences of overheated political rhetoric, said her critics had been irresponsible in rushing to blame Saturday's gun rampage on vitriolic campaign speech.

          &quot;Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn,&quot; Palin, a potential 2012 White House contender, said in a video posted to her Facebook page.

          Palin's reference to &quot;blood libel,&quot; a false, centuries-old allegation that Jews were killing children to use their blood in religious rituals, launched a new round of criticism of Palin's rhetoric.

          <span style="font-weight: bold">&quot;We wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history,&quot; said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League</span>.

          The accusation of &quot;blood libel&quot; has been employed for centuries to justify the killing or expulsion of Jews. The phrase had been used by other conservative commentators, including a Wall Street Journal column, since the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is Jewish.

          &quot;Perhaps Palin honestly does not know what a blood libel is, or does not know of their horrific history -- that is perhaps the most charitable explanation we can arrive at,&quot; said David Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

          Suspected Arizona gunman Jared Lee Loughner faces five federal charges in the weekend attack, including the attempted assassination of Giffords, who is in critical condition after being shot in the head while talking to constituents outside a Tucson supermarket.

          The rampage fueled a growing debate about whether the heated partisan rhetoric featured in recent U.S. political campaigns can lead to violence, and politicians in both parties have suggested cooling the tone of discourse in Washington.

          &quot;Palin's invocation of a 'blood libel' charge against her perceived enemies is hardly a step in the right direction,&quot; Harris said.
          <span style="font-weight: bold">
          FOCUS OF CRITICISM</span>
          Palin has been a focus of criticism from the left since the shootings for urging followers to &quot;reload,&quot; not retreat, after the healthcare debate and publishing an electoral map identifying vulnerable Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords,' with rifle cross-hairs.

          The 2008 vice presidential candidate, a favorite of Tea Party conservatives but a lightning rod for liberal critics, has hinted at a presidential run but polls show her trailing many possible Republican rivals and President Barack Obama.

          Seated before a fireplace and an American flag, Palin said in the video it was reprehensible for critics to say political rhetoric was to blame for the shootings.

          &quot;They claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those 'calm days' when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?&quot; she asked.

          Blame for the shooting should not rest &quot;with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle,&quot; she said.

          Palin had been silent on the shooting for days since posting a message of sympathy for the victims on her Facebook page, even as other Republican presidential contenders spoke out about them.

          <span style="font-weight: bold">Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was the only potential Republican contender to distance himself from Palin, although subtly</span>. He told The New York Times the crosshairs map was &quot;not a device I would have used.&quot;

          Palin's comments came on the day Obama headed to Arizona to attend a memorial service for the dead, who included a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and one of Giffords' young aides. Her colleagues in Congress put most of their work on hold and held a bipartisan prayer service.

          Palin was not the only conservative voice to defend campaign rhetoric from the right.

          Losing Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite, condemned criticism of her call during the campaign for &quot;Second Amendment remedies&quot; -- a reference to the constitutional amendment on the right to bear arms.

          &quot;Inappropriately attributing blame of a singular tragedy to achieve a political agenda is contrary to civil discourse, and is a media ploy to which I refuse to belong,&quot; Angle said in a statement.

          (Additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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          • #6
            Obama calls for unity, humility at Tucson memorial

            Washington
            Speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona in Tucson, President Obama honored the victims of last weekend’s shooting rampage in that city, sharing thoughts about those who had died and lauding the heroic behavior displayed during and after the attack.

            Mr. Obama also spoke of the ideal of representative democracy; Saturday’s shooting had taken place at a meet-and-greet for constituents – called “Congress on your Corner’’ – hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona, who was gravely injured in the attack.

            Obama stunned the assembled crowd by revealing that Congresswoman Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since the attack right after the president and his wife visited her in her hospital room. Giffords’s husband, space shuttle commander Capt. Mark Kelly, sat next to Michelle Obama in the front row.

            <span style="font-weight: bold">But amid the expressions of hope and mourning, the president also dove into the national controversy over whether political passions and inflamed rhetoric had created a climate conducive to the attack by the gunman. </span>
            “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds,” said Obama, speaking at the university’s McKale Memorial Center.

            The president called on Americans to listen and empathize, not focus on division, speaking directly to the title of the event, “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America.”

            “What we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each another,” Obama said. “That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility.”

            “Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame,” he continued, “let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

            Obama spoke movingly of all those killed in the attack.

            One victim, Judge John Roll, was the chief federal judge for Arizona, who had been recommended to the federal bench by Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona. In two instances, elderly men shielded their wives when the bullets began to fly; one of the men, Dorwan Stoddard, died. The other, George Morris, was shot but survived. His wife, Dorothy, passed away. Obama called another victim, Phyllis Schneck, “our mom and our grandma.”

            Most heartbreaking were the stories of Gabe Zimmerman, a 30-year-old aide to Giffords who had just gotten engaged, and of Christina Taylor Green, the promising 9-year-old girl born on Sept. 11, 2001.

            Obama sought to use the death of the youngest victim as a source of inspiration.

            “She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting and hopeful,” he said. “She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.”

            “I want to live up to her expectations,” Obama said.

            The packed auditorium grew raucous at times, as emotions ran high. The 20-year-old Giffords intern, Daniel Hernandez, credited with saving Giffords’s life when he ran to her side and ministered to her wounds as soon as she fell, gave a moving speech, rejecting the notion that he’s a hero. Obama later begged to differ.

            Mr. Hernandez occupied a seat of honor next to the president in the front row, before and after the president spoke.

            Other speakers included Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), Attorney General Eric Holder, and Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D). Also seated in the front row were former Supreme Court Justice and Arizona native Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Anthony Kennedy.
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            • #7
              Seven times politics turned to threats or violence

              <span style="font-weight: bold">1. Rep. Tom Perriello </span>

              Last March saw a spate of threats against members of Congress related to their support of President Obama's health-care reform bill. US Rep. Tom Perriello (D) of Virginia was the target of one that hit especially close to home. The only problem: It wasn't his home.

              On March 25, the FBI and local officials confirmed that a severed gas line found at the home of Representative Perriello's brother had been deliberately cut. At the time, there was speculation that the act may have been tied to a local tea party website that listed the home address of Perriello and encouraged tea party supporters to “drop by” and “express their thanks” for his health-care vote. The site gave the address of Perriello's brother by mistake.

              No one was hurt in the incident, and Perriello called for calm and justice. &quot;People who are doing these things ... are clearly outside the law,&quot; Perriello said. &quot;As my very conservative attorney general said, these people need to be prosecuted, not brought into the campaign room.&quot;

              Perriello was defeated in November in his first bid for reelection.

              <span style="font-weight: bold">2. Sen. Patty Murray</span>
              “I hope you realize there’s a target on your back now,&quot; a Washington man said in a message left on an answering machine in Sen. Patty Murray's Seattle office in March.

              That man, Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Wash., left at least 13 profanity laced messages targeting Senator Murray's support of the health-care reform bill, according to an FBI affidavit.

              Mr. Wilson, when contacted by an undercover FBI agent, said that Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), also of Washington, “need to be strung up” and that he carries a handgun and would not blink if given the chance to shoot her. &quot;It's not a threat, it's a guarantee,&quot; he said in one message.

              Wilson, who was sentenced to a year in prison for his threats, added that he thought Murray would have a target on her back for life for her stance on the health-care bill.

              “There are a lot more of us. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and your security may stay with you for a long time, but somebody will get through,” he said.

              <span style="font-weight: bold">3. Rep. Nancy Pelosi[/b
              ]In April, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the target of threatening, harassing, and obscene phone calls amid Congress's health-care reform debate.

              Gregory Lee Giusti, a San Francisco man accused of making 48 calls to Representative Pelosi, pleaded guilty in September to making the harassing calls – including one in which he reached Pelosi and threatened to burn down her northern California home for her support of health-care reform. He was sentenced in December to 21 months in prison.

              &quot;I was upset with her passing the health-care law,&quot; Mr. Giusti told the US district judge at his sentencing. He was ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from Pelosi, her family, and her staff upon his release.

              At an event on Saturday, Pelosi called Giffords a &quot;brilliant and patriotic American&quot; before leading the crowd in a moment of silence.

              [b]4. Rep. Bart Stupak</span>
              Rep. Bart Stupak (D) of Michigan was initially opposed to the health care bill, leading a group of anti-abortion Democrats against it. But when President Obama offered to sign an executive order affirming that that no federal funds would be used for abortions under the bill, Representative Stupak and his group agreed to vote for it, raising the ire of opponents.

              His change of stance made him the target of harassing and threatening phone calls, some of which his office released to CBS news.

              One of the tamer calls released came from a woman who said: &quot;There are millions of people across the country who wish you ill, and all of those thoughts that are projected on you will materialize into something that's not very good for you.&quot;

              Stupak announced in April that he would retire at the end of his term, but insisted he was not being pushed out of office by the threats.


              <span style="font-weight: bold">5. Rep. Eric Cantor</span>

              House majority leader Eric Cantor on Saturday called for the postponement of all legislation slated to be considered this week, including a vote to repeal the health-care reform law, “so that we can take whatever actions may be necessary in light of today’s tragedy.”

              Representative Cantor, a Jewish American, has himself been the target of threats in the past, he revealed last March after police in Philadelphia arrested a man accused of sending him death threats. A federal judge initially declared Norman LeBoon incompetent to stand trial, but Mr. LeBoon later pleaded guilty to two counts and is due to be sentenced in February. He faces up to 15 years imprisonment, three years supervised release, and a fine of up to $500,000.

              “<span style="font-weight: bold">I've received threats since I assumed elected office not only because of my position, but also because I'm Jewish</span>,&quot; said Mr. Cantor, a Republican, on March 25.

              In a statement Sunday he said, “For now, it is my recommendation that all members of the House who can, return to Washington to honor those who have fallen and to receive any necessary security briefings from the US Capitol Police.&quot;

              <span style="font-weight: bold">6. The Tides Foundation</span>
              Employees of the Tides Foundation, a San Francisco-based liberal organization, were the intended targets of a July assassination attempt that has been linked to political ideals of Fox News commentator Glenn Beck.

              Heavily armed, Byron Williams was captured after injuring two police officers in a shootout on a California freeway, and in interviews since, he has said Mr. Beck's explosive condemnations of the foundation helped spur him to act.

              “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind,” Mr. Williams said from his jail cell.

              Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old accused of carrying out Saturday's shooting in Tucscon, has been linked to American Renaissance, an anti-immigrant group. Authorities say they believe he targeted Giffords but have not identified a motive, characterizing him as mentally unstable.



              <span style="font-weight: bold">7. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords</span>In the wake of Saturday's shooting of Representative Giffords and 19 others outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket, the local police chief linked the attack to vitriolic political rhetoric. Others, however, see the event as the misguided action of a disturbed individual and nothing more.

              Saturday's attack has heightened the alert level of members of Congress, but many are resisting increased police presence when visiting with constituents, as Giffords was at the time of the attack.

              Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Saturday's shooting struck at the heart of American politics. “<span style="font-weight: bold">This is not simply an attack on Ms. Giffords. This is an attack on democracy itself, on the ability ... to peaceably assemble, to come together to talk to one another,” he said on CBS’s &quot;Face the Nation.&quot;</span>
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              • #8
                Man arrested after threats to Rep. Jim McDermott:

                Man arrested after threats to Rep. Jim McDermott: <span style="font-weight: bold">'I'll kill his family'</span>


                By Warren Richey, Staff writer / January 12, 2011

                A Palm Springs, Calif., man was arrested on Wednesday on a federal charge that he threatened to kill Rep. James McDermott (D) of Washington because of the congressman’s stance in last month’s debate over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts.

                FBI agents arrested Charles Turner Habermann for making two late-night cell phone calls to the congressman’s Seattle office Dec. 9. According to an FBI affidavit, Mr. Habermann has a history of contacting elected officials and received a warning from California law enforcement officials in March 2010.

                <span style="font-weight: bold">“Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, if any of them had ever met Jim McDermott, they would all blow his brains out. They’d shoot him in the head,” Mr. Habermann, 32, allegedly said in a recorded voice mail message on Mr. McDermott’s office telephone.</span>


                Habermann was arrested four days after a 22-year-old community college dropout shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head and then kept shooting, killing six people and wounding 13 others in Tucson.

                The shooting Saturday unleashed a heated national debate over whether political rhetoric can trigger violence by unstable individuals. It also prompted an examination of how best to protect elected officials.

                “You let that [deleted] [deleted] [deleted] know, that if he ever [deleted] around with my money, ever the [deleted] again, I’ll [deleted] kill him, okay,” Habermann said, according to a sworn FBI affidavit on file in federal court.

                <span style="font-weight: bold">'I'll kill his family'
                “I’ll round them up,” he added. “I’ll kill them. I’ll kill his friends, I’ll kill his family, I will kill everybody he [deleted] knows.”</span>
                Ten minutes later, Habermann called back and left another message. Just as in the first call, he began by offering his real name and his telephone number. Then he left a second, similar, message.

                Habermann took issue with McDermott’s characterization of the issues in the tax debate. He said Democratic members of Congress were “stealing” money from “the wealthy” and giving it away to “losers.” He said McDermott would never get away with it.

                <span style="font-weight: bold">“I’ll [deleted] hunt that guy down and I’ll [deleted] get rid of him,” Habermann said, according to the affidavit. “Do you understand that? I’ll get the [deleted] rid of him. I’ll pay people, I’ll pay my friends, I, I grew up in Chicago just like your [deleted] [deleted] [deleted] Jim McDermott did.”</span>

                Later in the message, Habermann adds: <span style="font-weight: bold">“I hate Jim McDermott. I hate his family. I hate his kids. I hate everybody. … I could round them all up, you know, I could look for them.”</span>

                Suspect says he was drinking
                The following day, FBI agents arrived at Habermann’s home and confronted him with the recorded messages. According to the affidavit, Habermann admitted leaving the voice mail messages and a third message for a congresswoman identified only by the initials C.P. He told the agents he had been drinking alcohol prior to making the calls.

                Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is a Maine Democrat and critic of extending the Bush tax cuts who was just reelected to a second term. Her office refused comment when contacted by the Associated Press.

                Habermann said he made the telephone calls to try to scare members of Congress into voting to extend the Bush tax cuts, but that he never had any intention of hurting anyone, the affidavit says.

                It says Habermann has a $3 million trust fund.

                Habermann also acknowledged that in March 2010 he had left voice mail messages for a member of the California Assembly. In one of those messages he allegedly said he wasn’t going to kill anyone, but that the assembly member should “watch his back.”

                He also said that the Founding Fathers, if they were alive today, would kill President Obama and other officials, according to court documents.

                Five days earlier, Habermann had met in the assemblyman’s office to discuss a pending health-care bill. He allegedly told the unidentified assemblyman that he was wealthy and did not want to support immigrants and Latinos.

                'Agitated' and 'paranoid'
                “Habermann was described as agitated, paranoid, uneasy and couldn’t keep still,” the affidavit says.

                After the three encounters in March, officers with the California Highway Patrol interviewed Habermann. <span style="font-weight: bold">According to court documents, Habermann told them that he was intoxicated and had been smoking marijuana when he left the voicemails. He told the officers he used marijuana for his depression.</span>The officers gave him a warning.

                Habermann is charged with threatening a federal official. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

                “We are blessed to live in a country that guarantees and protects the freedom to disagree with our government and speak our minds. That protection, however, does not extend to threats or acts of violence,” US Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

                “Those actions are intended to silence debate, not further it. They instill fear not just in the immediate victims, but in many who might hold the same views or take the same course,” she said. “Such threats are crimes.”
                u so fake, even China denied mekking u

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