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Violent Spin

© Jen Sorensen



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    OK for those who have forgotten the far left:

    A protester with a sign saying “Kill Bush” and advocating that the White House be bombed, at the March 18, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco.

    “Save Mother Earth, Kill Bush” says this sign from a November 20, 2003 protest

    A recommendation that Bush should hang, from an October 27, 2007 protest in Los Angeles

    “Bush is the disease, Death is the cure,” says this protester at an anti-war rally in San Francisco

    “I’m here to kill Bush (shoot me)” reads this protest sign (location unknown).

    Two different pictures of the same sign saying “Bush — the only dope worth shooting,” at the March 15, 2008 anti-war rally in Los Angeles

    A sign showing Bush being shot in the head, at the March 15, 2008 anti-war rally in Los Angeles

    Remember the guy in our first picture? Here he is again, with another explicit death threat against the president, this time calling for “Death to…Bush” at the October 27, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco

    And here he comes again with a third message, this time brazenly calling for “Death to…Bush” at the March 18, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco

    A protester with a sign showing Bush being beheaded

    Bush being beheaded by a guillotine, at an Obama campaign rally, Denver, October 26, 2008

    Bush’s head in a basket after being decapitated by a guillotine, at an Obama campaign rally, Denver, October 26, 2008

    A sign saying “SMITE BUSH” at the June 5, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco

    Protesters call for Bush to be beheaded with a guillotine, at a protest against Bush’s second inauguration, January 20, 2005, in New York

    An effigy of Bush being killed, at the April 10, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco

    Bush being burned in effigy, at a November 3, 2004 post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco

    There are literally hundreds of videos currently viewable on YouTube of Bush being burned in effigy

    Bush being lynched by an American flag at a rally in New York on September 19, 2006

    A protester with a shirt that said “Death to all posers” with a picture of Bush superimposed, at the October 27, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco

    This sign from a protest in Chicago says “Lee Harvey, where are you?” at the bottom, referring to JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald

    A protester in Denver calls for Bush to the get the Louis XVI treatment

    Woman holding a puppet of Bush being hung by the neck, from a March 17, 2007 protest in Hollywood, California

    Fantasy of Saddam Hussein killing Bush, from an October 27, 2007 protest in Los Angeles

    A sign implying Bush should be killed for being a war profiteer. From an October 27, 2007 protest in Los Angeles

    A child holding Bush’s tombstone, at the February 16, 2003 anti-war rally in San Francisco

    Bumper sticker implying that Bush should be hanged

    The anti-Israel conspiracy site

    A promotional photo from the mock-docmentary film “ Death of a President

    A promotional photo from the mock-docmentary film “ Death of a President ,” showing Bush being killed. You can watch a short clip of the film’s assassination sequence here on YouTube

    Threats against Bush by celebrities which were never investigated

    John Kerry
    The picture above shows John Kerry as he was being interviewed by Bill Maher in October of 2006 on the HBO show Real Time . As can be seen in this video exclusively on the ongoodmove blog

    , starting at about one minute into the clip Kerry says what can only be interpreted as a threat to kill Bush:
    Maher : You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone.

    Kerry : Or, I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone .

    On July 11, 2007, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams gave the keynote speech to the International Women’s Peace Conference in Dallas, Texas, and said (to laughter and applause from the audience):

    “I mean right now, I could kill George Bush , no problem. No, I don’t mean that. I mean — how could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that .”

    On August 4, 2000, when Bush won the Republican nomination (but before he was president), Craig Kilborn on CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn ran a graphic of the words “ SNIPERS WANTED ” under George Bush as he gave his acceptance speech

    Death threat t-shirts – Look at the two pictures above. Which do you find more offensive? Which is more obviously a threat to kill or disrespect a president?

    If you’re an Obama supporter, the answer seems to be, “The picture on the left,” because that’s the picture that has caused storms of outrage across America.

    For a while, CafePress allowed violent anti-Bush paraphernalia (such as this “Kill Bush” shirt) to be sold by users on its site

    One of the many Bush posters that wanted him “dead or alive.”

    Yet another “Wanted” sign for Bush, from a rally in Los Angeles with him dressed like an Osama Bin Laden

    A different “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster from a supposed humor site
    (one of the reasons on the poster they though he should die for is butchering the english language)

    Graffiti is inherently anonymous, so there’s no way to “investigate” who wrote these threats; but even so I thought I’d give a small sampling of some of the extreme graffiti that could be seen during Bush’s term in office.

    “I will kill Bush” says this graffiti spotted on the New York Subway “C” Train in 2005

    Graffiti that says “Kill Bush!” Unknown date and location

    I went over the top on this one because this site is fanning the flames just as much as the media. All the posting can be found on one site. I got the link from a former democratic state delagate who was the 4th member of his family to hold public office. He calls it like he sees it and presents both sides of situations. We should too.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink
  2. Bard wrote:

    There’s a big difference between elected officials/candidates for major office and yahoos at a protest. In all of that you listed 1 elected official who made what could be considered a questionable threat to the President.

    Plus the list reads as though one sign here, one sign there, etc… It’s nothing compared to the insanity at a single Tea Party rally.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  3. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I agree with you yet again, Patriot.

    The far left is, for the most part, wackos at rallies and on the internet. The far right is, for the most part, most of the major Republican figures and media personalities.

    You’ve made some great points lately. 😉

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  4. The wrong way to defend an ideological wing is by pointing out the same faults somewhere in the opposing wing.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    I’m a person who voted for Bush in 2000. Since March of 2003, my thoughts have been that had he never been conceived that day in 1945, how many American and Iraqis would have been alive today and how many would still be married and how many alive today would not have been ruined for the rest of their lives so that he could play war games? And I watched how he took the money from the National parks and other programs that were for the good of us, the American People and used it to play our war games. I felt he was destroying this country. Now have I been proved right? I wished him ill. And wrote the UN to prosecute him for war crimes. He is a criminal. Jefferson of Lousisana and Rangle from NYC are criminals. They did not do the damage Bush did. Bush is a murderer plain and simple. I don’t want the death penalty for him as those signs said but I do want him forever in jail.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Bard – can you back up your assertions? Show me 1 elected republican politician advocating for the death of another politician, just one.

    Show me a tea party sign that advocates for the death of a president, just one.

    Theres not a difference in the mind set. The difference is blindness and closed minds. That much remains the same between the far left and right, they are equal ideological opposites.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  7. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Not at a tea party rally:

    At a tea party rally:

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  8. Bard wrote:

    I was referencing the original comic.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    As Bard said, with one exception (which is very vague and the links to the video don’t seem to work anyways), nothing you have listed comes from mainstream pundits or politicians. Compare that with the link posted on another thread:

    I see quotes from Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachman, Paul Broun, Bill O’Reilly, Erick Erickson, Martha Dean, Randy Brogdon, Charles Key, Christina Jeffrey, Newt Gingrich, the Washington Times, Sharon Angle, Rex Nichols, Rick Barber, Joyce Kaufman, Richard Mack, Steve Kendley, Stephen Broden, Allen West, and Joe Barton, all of whom are current or former politicians or pundits. That’s not even mentioning various the heads of various Tea Party groups, the NRA, the Oath Keepers or other far-right groups that are gaining power and influence.

    Please, please, please, show me a similar list of liberal figures making similar quotes. And no, vague statements like Obama’s, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we’ll bring a gun,” do not compare with Sharon Angle’s “[I]f this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” The latter is significantly more targeted and invokes a significantly stronger reaction.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  10. Mad Hatter wrote:

    I may be myopic (indeed I am myopic) but I really don’t see the equivalence between the conservative rhetoric and the progressive rhetoric. I mean really is there anyone on the left like Glenn Beck who implies the imminent destruction of our nation by the insidious, progressive forces?

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  11. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree there is garbage on both sides, but to dismiss the outrageous behavior of leftist terrorists while berating the right is hypocritical. I understand you want to somehow recategorize my examples as less, but thats just avoiding the obvious.

    Can anyone provide any evidence that the shooter had been influenced in any way by any pundit or political discourse? Can anyone provide any evidence that he even knew who Palin was. There is none, except the just jump to conclusion rhetoric to politicize the tragedy. I’ll tell you that buried somewhere in a NY Times piece is information from his friends that he didn’t like politics, pundits or talk shows and never watched them. Why isn’t that part of the discussion? Politics, thats why.

    Where was the outrage over the FT Hood shootings? Same exact scenario, mentally unbalanced lone shooter walk into a public place and kills 13 unarmend people and wounds another 30. This guy had a vendetta against the congresswoman because she din’t answer his question to his satisfaction years earlier. Thats it and that he was crazy. What else have you got.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink
  12. atwork wrote:

    What else have I got?

    Front row seats watching Palin crash and burn, that’s what!

    Also, more than likely, she will take down a few of her cohorts with her on her way to the bottom.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  13. Bert wrote:

    There will always be someone making threats against people in high office. I’m not sure you can do anything about it, but to watch them for signs of real action. It may even be healthy to allow people to let off some steam.

    The issue I have is when elected officials or media hosts start spouting the rhetoric. That’s when it spreads.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
  14. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Patriot, the problem with your perspective in my opinion is that it doesn’t matter whether the shooter was or was not influenced by someone who said, “If ballots don’t work, bullets will.” It doesn’t matter if some fringe lefty held up a sign that said Kill Bush. It doesn’t even matter (though I’m not directly aware of any) if a mainstream lefty participated in that same behavior. Because as we all learned as wee children, someone else doing something wrong doesn’t make what you are doing right.

    The point is, our political process should not be dominated by, or even moderately populated by, people who say things like that. People who say things like that should immediately be shamed and shunned, forced to forever hide in darkness. Instead they are being brought forth to the front of the conservative parade and being given loudspeakers.

    There will always be the fringe elements of both parties. The difference right now is, most all your fringe examples are unknowns at rallies and on the internet. The fringe examples from the cartoon are Palin, Angle, Kelly, and Bachmann. Fringe speech always has and always will exist. The blame for the popularization of it, in my opinion, rests squarely on the R side.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink
  15. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree with you Bert, it should not happen and we need civility in our discourse.

    What does it have to do with the shooter in AZ? Thats my point.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  16. Marie wrote:

    Last time I checked, Bush was still alive. I think that if you publicly call someone out as needing to be killed, and some crazy does it, you are partly culpable. It’s not about free speech, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to call for someone’s head. But don’t underestimate the power of a microphone – not everyone will get the metaphor.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
  17. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Patriot, what an utterly useless question and point to make. If the answer to your question is “absolutely nothing”, it changes absolutely nothing about the problem of inflammatory political speech. We could have had this discussion before him. We could have had this discussion before Byron Williams, too.

    To try to marginalize the point about the vitriol being pumped through the airwaves by the right because it is somehow poorly timed or it doesn’t relate to the AZ shooter is beyond insane. It is horrific use of red herrings and non-sequiturs. The event simply brought an important issue to the forefront of our nation’s attention. The right is doing everything they can to try to push it back for absurd reasons.

    And apparently they brought you along for the ride. The first and only person to reference the AZ shooter on this post was….you guessed it: you. But you are absolutely right. How dare we all keep making the connection to the AZ shooter that only you are talking about!!!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  18. starluna wrote:

    Many decades ago, Karl Popper wrote about the paradox of tolerance. He argued that there should be limits to tolerating intolerance. He stated that if society is “not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them” (The Open Society and Its Enemies: The Spell of Plato, p.265).

    I am willing to acknowledge that some (certainly not all) of the messages and rhetoric posted by PatriotSgt are abusive and intolerable. I have seen some of
    those signs, even at progressive rallies (I swear I saw at least one at the 2004 Rally for Women’s Health). It happens that now, it is apparently mostly those with conservative views who have embraced this rhetoric. That they are the group that is predominantly engaged in this behavior now should not prevent us from finding anyone who uses the exact same tactics as unacceptable, even if we generally agree that Bush’s decisions were bad or even met the criteria for war crimes. If we demand reasoned discourse from others, we must hold ourselves to that standard as well.

    I agree that there is a difference between the individuals at rallies using this rhetoric and moral/political/intellectual/social leaders using this rhetoric. However, the apparently smaller amount of this rhetoric from Democratic leaders does not necessarily mean they have some special claim to the moral high ground. It could also be seen as further evidence of their impotence, something many of us here have complained about.

    The problem with individuals at rallies spouting off like this goes back to Popper’s argument that as such intolerance spreads, it will eventually influence the leaders as well. This didn’t start with Palin or Bachmann or even Limbaugh and Beck. The acceptability of that viewpoint was already out there, waiting to be fostered, and they took advantage of it for their own benefit. If abusive rhetoric didn’t make so much money and get individuals elected then perhaps we’d see less of it from all sides of the political spectrum.

    With that said, I agree with 1032 that, at this point, it does not matter whether there is a direct link between the right-wing hate-filled conspiratorialists and Loughner. I can say that, given what I know, study, and teach, there will not be a direct link. The ways in which social environments influence behavior are so much more complex than that. But that doesn’t mean this incident it doesn’t raise the potential problem that a political environment in which hate speech is tolerated can promote or even justify the kinds of violence we saw this weekend. That it even was a possibility is something that needed to be discussed.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink
  19. russell wrote:

    Patriot FTW!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  20. Morgan Eubanks wrote:

    I am tired of this subject and I want to move on, but this cartoon illustrates my point all along.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  21. PatriotSGT wrote:


    I absolutely agree with your points that tolerance of hate speech needs to be addressed. It does not need to be addressed with more hate speech. My only point in bringing in the shooter was because that is how the whole discussion got started. Some political figure or media group insinuated that the political rhetoric caused the shooter to do what he did. That is flat out false. That being said, it has presented us with an incredibble opportunity for each of us to examine our words and what we think.

    I watched the tribute last night and I must say the President gave the best address of his presidency IMO. I won’t call it a speech because that seems to cold or political. He rose up for the occasion and took on the role as leader of the nation and the free world.
    Outstanding Mr. President!

    Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    Here is Obama’s speech, both video and a transcript:

    There is also a lovely letter from Michelle Obama:

    Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  23. BTN wrote:

    That speech was excellent; it reminded me more of Obama the Candidate than Obama the President. It makes me wonder whether he couldn’t have done more good for the country if he hadn’t run (although New McCain/Sarah Palin would have been a nightmare).

    On the topic of polite politics, I think the problem starts at the bottom, not the top. If people were more open minded and more willing to listen to the other side, then the taking heads wouldn’t have an audience. I think it all goes back to the lazieness (fact checking) and general lack of responsibility that has become evident in American society (although there’s still very few places I’d rather live).

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  24. russell wrote:

    Pretty sure which side of this debate this guy would be on:

    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink