Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

Letter to the Editor: In response to David Palumbo-Liu and The Stanford Review

To the Editor:

We are professors who teach constitutional law at Stanford Law School. We have political views ranging across the political spectrum, but we share a commitment to the protection of free speech under the First Amendment as well as to academic freedom.

We are concerned about recent attacks on Professor David Palumbo-Liu of Stanford’s department of comparative literature. A recent article in The Stanford Review alleged that a group that Professor Palumbo-Liu helped found, the Campus Anti-Fascist Network, is “undeniably a chapter of a terrorist group, championing the same kinds of violent resistance that have muzzled free speech across the country.” While acknowledging that Professor Palumbo-Liu stated that, “damaging buildings and attacking people physically … is not what [the group] advocate[s],” the article nevertheless called for his resignation from the University on the grounds that he had “assume[d] a leadership position in a movement whose activities have been classified as domestic terrorism.” Following publication of the article and coverage of it on media outlets beyond campus, Professor Palumbo-Liu has received threatening communications, including death threats.

We may not agree with Professor Palumbo-Liu on many issues. At least insofar as the public record reveals, though, there is no evidence that he has advocated violence or is a member of a terrorist group. Whatever his advocacy of controversial positions, it has not risen to the level of speech directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action nor has it been likely to produce such action, and thus his speech lies well within First Amendment protection. See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).

We are concerned that the article advocates for the resignation of a professor based on his constitutionally protected speech regarding issues of public concern. Free expression of ideas is the lifeblood of an open society as well as a university. We are concerned that these values of open discourse and free debate be preserved and defended.

Signed,

Jenny Martinez
R. Richard Banks
Pamela Karlan
Bernadette Meyler
Michael McConnell
Jane Schacter

 

The authors are professors at Stanford Law School who teach classes on constitutional law. Contact them via Jenny Martinez at jmartinez ‘at law.stanford.edu.

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    Calling for a professor’s resignation is not the same as claiming he’s guilty of a crime or claiming that he doesn’t have a right under the First Amendment to state his beliefs. It just means they believe his opinions make him unsuited to being a professor. Calls for resignation have been raised for far less egregious positions than Palumbo-Liu’s. The criteria and threshold for such a stance by the Review are lower than and different from Brandenburg v Ohio, and in this situation are not at all unreasonable. Your argument is a strawman, which is a basic type of logical fallacy, and I’d expect better from professors of Constitutional Law at Stanford.

  • Marianne Villanueva

    I am a Stanford grad AND have known Prof. Palumbo-Liu for many years. He would never advocate the kind of actions being ascribed to him. He is in fact a very gentle soul, despite his passionate beliefs. His beliefs may not be shared by all, but calling for his resignation is NOT the answer.

  • Matthew

    I agree with this guy.

    Do you guys literally not understand the concept of free speech?

    It means you can say whatever you want in public spaces or in your own private spaces without anyone preventing you from speaking through violence.

    It does not mean that anyone has to listen to you, agree with you, or respect you. It does not mean that people cannot make fun of you or insult you. It does not protect you from social consequences or professional consequences.

    I feel like people these days struggle with both of these concepts, claiming that conservatives should not be allowed to speak, while at the same time arguing that liberals should not be criticized or be subject to social and professional consequences because of “free speech” rights. Both these notions get it wrong. And it’s extremely obvious. This is something most 12-year olds can grasp; it’s baffling that people who have gone to law school can’t. Just shows the deterioration of educational standards.

  • John Shapiro

    The signatories of this letter have no credibility quite frankly. Whether he openly advocates violence or not, the intention of the “anti-fascist” group Palumbo-Liu is promoting is to suppress the free speech of people they disagree with – and this almost certainly includes lots of people who are clearly not fascists at all.
    So here we have people teaching Constitutional Law, waiving the banner of free speech – who completely fail to address the fact that it’s Palumbo-Liu and his gang who are against free speech, not the Stanford Review, who have merely expressed the opinion that a Professor who is against free speech ought to quit – which, though the “domestic terrorist” thing may be overstated, is a completely legitimate viewpoint.
    Besides being against free speech, is it wrong to point out Palumbo-Liu is EXTREMELY intellectually dishonest? How many fascists are actually coming to campus? How many people are they recruiting here? Is there really any problem at all? No, of course not – it’s all made up.
    Besides the false claim of the need to suppress fascists, Palumbo-Liu promotes other clearly untrue propaganda – read his stuff enough and you will see it.
    Bringing discredit to the school is reason enough to resign -not to be fired, with free speech and the tenure system – but reason enough to call for him to quit – and he has certainly done that.

  • macheath327

    Those committed to free speech must wrestle with the difficult problem of what happens when opponents–apparently like the authors at the Stanford Review–use its protections to work towards a society where speech will be suppressed.

  • The_Truth_Seeker(TM)

    Of course we have to ‘suppress’ fascists! Otherwise we will end up with fascism in this country. We already have lots of it under Trump! Do we want even more? I think 90% of society would say NO!

  • The_Truth_Seeker(TM)

    But, isn’t Stanford a private school? Your argument is therefore DOA!

  • Sonja33

    Let me see whether I understand.

    Suppose Professor X supports the active suppression of fascist agitation, and advocates that the government’s monopoly of legal force be used to suppress it. (It should already be obvious that this hypothetical has no bearing on the actual Professor Palumbo-Liu, who has advocated no such thing. The hypothetical incorporates elements from your little caricature, for purposes of argument.)

    Now, suppose that the fascists Professor X seeks to suppress in response make up completely false stories that Professor X is a member of an illegal terrorist cell. In other words, they start spreading lies that he is a dangerous criminal and traitor of the very worst sort, and probably imminently dangerous.

    Do you really not see the difference? What the professor is doing is advocacy. We can agree or disagree. We can consider it excessive. But it is political speech, which merits the highest protection.

    What the fascists are doing is defamation targetting an individual. Defamation isn’t free speech, any more than threats are free speech. And this defamation could cost a person their life.

    Your post proves it. You present arguments against Professor Palumbo-Liu’s positions. There’s no problem with that. Anyone can do it. That’s what freedom of inquiry means. The prof can’t stop you, and hasn’t, and wouldn’t try. He has no real quarrel with you, as far as your views of his political positions are concerned. He has done you and your ability to speak out against his views absolutely no harm, and does not seek to.

    But you don’t stop there. You go on to smear him and demand that he resign. That’s not the same thing.

    Suppose you are wrong about his activities and his views. What, then, should happen to you?

  • Sonja33

    From the law professors’ letter:

    “[T]he article . . . called for his resignation from the University ON THE GROUNDS that he had ‘assume[d] a leadership position in a movement whose activities have been classified as domestic TERRORISM.’ Following publication of the article and coverage of it on media outlets beyond campus, Professor Palumbo-Liu has received threatening communications, including death threats.

    We may not agree with Professor Palumbo-Liu on many issues. At least insofar as the public record reveals, though, there is no evidence that he has advocated violence or is a member of a TERRORIST group.” (emphasis added throughout)

    Defamation is not protected speech. What part of defamation don’t you understand?

    Maybe you better brush up on this. I bet the 12-year-old would be fine.

  • Sonja33

    The call for resignation by the newspaper and the ensuing brouhaha was based on the false and defamatory premise that Palumbo-Liu consorts with domestic terrorists.

    The Brandenburg citation by the law professors was to underline that Palumbo-Liu’s speech is protected. It was not offered to prove (or disprove, for that matter) that a demand for resignation simpliciter is protected speech. Such demands usually are.

    Before you call out fallacies, please try to read more carefully.

  • Sonja33

    Something more sinister than that is happening.

    They are targetting individuals one by one in smear campaigns, and although it would be possible to sue for defamation, the professor does not have the newspaper’s immense war chest. It can outlawyer him. It can outlast him. It can always pay damage awards, if it came to that — no problem.

    But your philosophical point is great. That is the big question.

  • Ted Glasser

    Read California’s Leonard law, which extends to private universities the same freedom of expression protections that state universities enjoy.

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    @The_Truth_Seeker : Stanford being a private school is all the more reason why the OP’s argument that Professor Palumbo-Liu has a right to free speech doesn’t apply with respect to calls for Stanford to respond to his speech with his dismissal.

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    The OP ConLaw professors did not argue that the Review defamed Palumbo-Liu, just that his right to free speech as cited in Brandenburg v Ohio immunizes him from non-governmental repercussions of his speech as well as governmental ones, that private institutions such as Stanford don’t have the right to disassociate themselves from him just because they don’t like his speech, and that is the argument I pointed out was false. In fact, regardless of whether or not the Review defamed Palumbo-Liu, the university has the right to dismiss him.

  • gio33

    But that argument is not false. His speech is protected even at a private university in California, per the Leonard Law, passed in 1992 and amended in 2006 that applies the constitutional protections of the First Amendment of the US Constitution to private colleges, high schools, and universities. The law also applies Article I, Section 2 of the California Constitution to all colleges and universities. California is the only state to grant First Amendment protections at private postsecondary institutions.

    His free speech is part of the argument because the professor is being targeted and attacked (rather falsely) based on his exercising anti-fascist based content in his free speech, protected yes–but I think this misses the more important point, which is the very reason he is being attacked: its content, its being anti-fascist. Of course the fascists come out and attack him and try to silence his voice, and do so through non-protected means such as defamation. But what’s a fascist to do? For the rest of us, though, our job is to defend the professor and free speech, not the fascists. I hope we don’t miss the forest for the trees.

  • Sonja33

    Okay, you are so confused — and you imagine you know what you’re talking about — that it is too tedious to discuss this further.

    Gio33 has said enough to counter the inaccuracies in your post.

    I’ll just say one thing: describing someone or something as being fascistic is not necessarily a defamation. It is not illegal to harbor fascist attitudes. Aiding and abetting terrorism, however, is.

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    Whether or not the Review defamed Palumbo-Liu, the university has the right to fire him for unacceptable behavior outside research and teaching. The ConLaw professors suggesting that the university does not have that right is incorrect, and so their argument is wrong.

    Your argument is also wrong, in that while professors have free speech, the university can still exercise their freedom of association to choose to no longer associate with him by dismissing him.

    Your argument, and Palumbo-Liu’s, is further false, by mislabeling his speech as “anti-fascist”, when in fact it is simply anti-the-current-administration, which is the farthest thing from fascist; the vast majority of the actions of the current administration have been to return power from the government to the individual, which is not fascistic in the slightest.

  • gio33

    What is the unacceptable behavior that you claim gives the University to right to fire him? According to the law professor’s letter above, their view is that his behavior is well protected under the law, the Supreme Law and the First Amendment is 1st for a reason.

    Your argument countering this with the freedom of association fails if its exercising violates any statute or public policy by exercising such rights. In other words it’s limited and not that simple. Even if you ignore the Leonard Law in particular, under the California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, there are various restrictions and protections against wrongful termination making it unlawful for employers to “disassociate themselves” for any number of reasons–and this is in addition to his protected status for Free Speech, and probably his contract status. Some of these that comes to mind include but not limited to: disability, religion, race, pregnancy, gender, age, sexual identity, political affiliation, national origin, etc. Even if the decision to terminate was motivated even in the slight by any of these factors, the termination would be illegal–and this is true even if there were many valid, lawful reasons for termination: a wrongful termination may occur if any illegal reason was more than a trivial factor in the decision. Likewise, it is also unlawful if an employee is terminated because he or she exercised rights granted by law, i.e. no retaliation, and whistleblowing is also protected).

    This part you wrote is funny because its not an argument or a refutation, it’s just your opinion, which lacks an argument, but if you develop it into one (which would be interesting) I”m happy to discuss. Do you think you have a monopoly on what is considered fascistic? Do you think the professor is lying when he describes his stance as anti-fascist? Simply because you disagree about what constitutes fascism or how to best organize to stop its spread is fine, but don’t expect others to express legitimate disagreements since even among experts there is no consensus on this question. Certainly, there has been a rise of right wing populism, and actual fascists have re-grouped and organized under the “alt-right.” This administration has played a role in encouraging this right-wing rise in violence we have been witnessing. I think the professor’s stance is correct. And your opinion here is false:

    “Your argument, and Palumbo-Liu’s, is further false, by mislabeling his speech as “anti-fascist”, when in fact it is simply anti-the-current-administration, which is the farthest thing from fascist; the vast majority of the actions of the current administration have been to return power from the government to the individual, which is not fascistic in the slightest.”

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    Palumbo-Liu’s support of so-called “anti-fascists” who are not anti-fascists at all, but rather a group similarly tyrannical except on the Left, is sufficient grounds for the university to dismiss him, and is not covered under any of the reasons you listed as being illegal. Imagine if he were vocally supporting a cause you DIDN’T agree with, if he were a vocal Trump supporter, or a vocal pro-life supporter; how many on the Left on campus today would be calling for his dismissal? Lots.

    You’re also wrong about this administration encouraging a rise of right-wing violence. What’s been on the rise more so by far is violence by Antifa and the like.

    You’re further wrong in suggesting that this administration policies, such as reducing mountains of regulations, and reducing taxes, advocating school choice, and eliminating the university kangaroo “courts” of Title IX, among many other actions, are anything other than returning power from the government to the individual, and wrong in suggesting that returning power from the government to the individual is anything other than not fascistic in the slightest.

    in summary, your entire worldview is inconsistent with reality, and what you think are facts are actually falsehoods.

  • John Shapiro

    The basic problem is, Palumbo-Liu is setting up a group with no legitimate purpose, because there is no fascist problem at Stanford. Maybe he’s just a fool with good intentions – but his intellectual dishonesty is so high traditionally that I do not believe it. He could have cleared this up by defining exactly what activities he wants to stop. My bet is it’s not going to be fascism but whatever he disagrees with vehemently.

  • gio33

    I think you must be projecting because the reality is the opposite of what you claim, and have failed to support; its as if you are living in a bubble that has kept you blind of reality that is happening all around us. This is perhaps that most clear example of such a deluded state of mind when you write this:

    “You’re also wrong about this administration encouraging a rise of right-wing violence. What’s been on the rise more so by far is violence by Antifa and the like.” Talk about turning reality upside down! Lets look at that reality, since unlike you, I can support my claims. Reality, truth, works that way, despite the right wing attempt to create a post-truth/alternative facts universe where you get to pick and choose reality, and substitute it with an ideological worldview that is allergic to facts. Let’s look at reality, facts, and let that refute claim, exposing you are the one who not only is full of falsehoods, but in a concentrated opposite of reality kind of way, or as you way your entire world view is inconsistent with reality because its not fact based. Now for the facts that prove this.

    Do you remember when Trump said, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?” How is this not encouraging violence? And this was not an isolated incident. I can find many examples where Trump used his bully pulpit to encourage physical politically based violence. Many examples just like the above quote, that encourages people to attack and beat up protestors, BLM folks, et al. And don’t forget about Bannon who helped to shape Trump’s administration, and his Breitbart publication, which he infamously called the site “the platform for the alt-right.” This is a right wing populist bridge into the White House that gives access to fascists and links the movements with Trump.

    Do you wish to deny this reality, these facts? Because I am happy to shine sunshine on it for you, since you are living in the dark shadows devoid of this knowledge which means your filtering system is rather broken.

    The fact is that the alt-right’s visibility has grown alongside Trump’s political rise, the two being linked. The SPLC has cataloged the rise in attacks that occurred in the shadow of the Trump presidency, leading the organization to cite 2017 as the most violent year of the alt-right’s existence thus far. The Department of Homeland Security published a report on right-wing extremism that warned of increasing violence from militias, hate groups and other right-wing terrorists, and the FBI warned that white supremacists have infiltrated the police force.

    Daryl Johnson, the counterintelligence analyst pushed out of the DHS for his prescient report, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post just after the Charlottesville tragedy, again attempting to offer a warning.

    “Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, militia extremists, and other radical right-wing zealots march side-by-side at pro-Trump rallies across the country,” Johnson wrote. “Trump’s endorsement of the border wall, the travel ban, mass deportations of illegal immigrants—these ideas were touted on white supremacist message boards merely 10 years ago. Now they’re being put forth as official U.S. policy…Extremists no longer hide anymore. They number in the hundreds of thousands and are extremely well-armed. The political apparatus and the news media appears confused in their reporting of the scope of the domestic terrorist threat — some ignoring it completely. When 9/11 happened, the government made an effort to connect the dots beforehand, but failed because of a lack of communication among agencies. In this case, the government isn’t even trying—and worse, it appears to be enabling the threat to flourish.”

    Your conception of fascism, and what is happening with Trumps policies is likewise false but also betrays not just ignorance but a flawed conceptual understanding as well. Power to individuals? That lacks a class analysis. Which individuals? The billionaire class–the rich like himself–are the ones benefitting most from his policies. Fascism does concentrate private power and merges the state with corporations to attack the minorities, women, oppressed people to dehumanize them and attack enlightenment thought and ideals of equality and humanism with a might make right social-darwinism and a militaristic nationalism.

  • gio33

    And here you go in Trump’s own words.

    In February 2016, during his campaign for president, Trump told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, “So I got a little notice. We have wonderful security guys. It said, ‘Mr. Trump, there may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience.’ So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Just knock the hell …. I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.” As a review of the video shows, Trump is not smiling or chuckling as if this was intended as a joke.

    At a press conference in Michigan, Trump contrasted his interactions with the public with those of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who had recently faced opposition from Black Lives Matter protesters:

    “That will never happen with me,” said Trump, according to a dispatch by theWashington Post’s David Weigel. “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will. It was a disgrace. I felt badly for him, but it showed that he was weak. You know what? He’s getting the biggest crowds, and we’re getting the biggest crowds. We’re the ones getting the crowds. But that’s never going to happen to Trump.”

    At a rally in Alabama, Trump said about a protester, “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please? Get him out of here. Throw him out!”

    Calling into Fox News, Trump responded to a question about allegations that the protester had been “roughed up.” The protester, Trump said, had been “so obnoxious and so loud … maybe he should have been roughed up. Maybe he should have been roughed up. Because it was totally disgusting what he was doing.”

    At a rally in Las Vegas, Trump again responded to a protester:

    “See, he’s smiling. See, he’s having a good time. Oh, I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches. We’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out in a stretcher, folks. Oh, it’s true. … The guards are very gentle with him. He’s walking out with big high-fives, smiling, laughing. I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you,”

    At one point at a rally in Michigan, Trump reiterated his pledge to pay legal fees for people who remove protesters. “Get him out,” Trump said. “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.” (Trump later said he had never made the pledge to pay legal fees.)

    At an event in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump referred to a past incident with protesters. “We have had a couple that were really violent, and the particular one when I said I’d like to bang him, that was a very  —  he was a guy who was swinging, very loud and then started swinging at the audience and the audience swung back, and I thought it was very, very appropriate. He was swinging, he was hitting people, and the audience hit back, and that’s what we need a little bit more of.”

    At a rally in North Carolina, Trump said, “In the good old days this doesn’t happen because they used to treat them very, very rough. And when they protested once, they would not do it again so easily. But today they walk in and they put their hand up and they put the wrong finger in the air at everybody. And they get away with murder, because we’ve become weak.”

    At a rally in St. Louis, Trump once again addressed protesters who were being removed from the facility:

    “Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long (to remove the protesters) is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right? And they’re being politically correct the way they take them out. So it takes a little bit longer. And honestly, protesters they realize it — they realize there are no consequences to protesting anymore. There used to be consequences. There are none anymore.”

    At a rally in Kansas City, talking about someone who had rushed the stage, Trump said, “I don’t know if I would have done well, but I would have been out there fighting, folks. I don’t know if I’d have done well, but I would’ve been — boom, boom, boom. I’ll beat the crap out of you.”

    I could go on, but I think this is more than enough to rest my case. Guilty as charged despite your denial and wanting to smear the anti-fascists who are at least standing up and trying to do something to counter all this.

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    It’s Antifa who has grown in response to Trump, far more than the “alt-right”. Do you not recall the shooting of the Congressmen?

    Quoting the SPLC is hardly convincing, since they have become a tool of the Left, ranking mainstream right wing institutions as “hate groups”.

    And yes, Trump has returned power to ALL individuals, not just some of them. Tax cuts for ALL people. Reduction of regulations over ALL people.

    It is you who lives in a bubble. Who used the FBI and the IRS as political weapons? The Left, not the Right. There’s your totalitarianism, and Trump has been trying to stop it.

  • SlayerOfFallacies

    You quoted Trump _saying_ things, while your beloved Antifa LIGHTS THINGS ON FIRE and BEATS PEOPLE. Who’s the violent totalitarians, blocking free speech, causing mayhem? Your side.

  • gio33

    Which shooting(s) of which Congressmen do you refer to? There’s been no such shootings by antifa that I know about.

    You might not like the SPLC but its a fallacy to disregard their reports because the facts they compiled are facts. Look at the content, attack that, not the author of those reported facts that you don’t deny is untrue. Facts are stubborn things. SPLC promotes tolerance and documents hate groups; there is room for disagreement I’m sure, but that is a matter of engaging with their content and claims, and facts that they (and I have) presented which refute your claim that Trump has not promoted political violence. The quotes prove it. You don’t get to dismiss that only by pointing to the liberal nature of the civil rights organization. But nice try.

    It’s true that political violence has been seen by both both the left and right but I think its clear that now the problem comes from predominately the right-wing and this pre-dates Trump. It goes back to right wing radio and the the McCain-Palin rallies which helped bring this to the mainstream. The Department of Homeland Security reached the conclusion back in April 2009 in an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence. We did see a rise of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, such as Judge John Roll, who was killed and Representative Gabrielle Giffords–but this is part of that larger pattern of exclusively right-wing domestic violence.

    Here are some prime examples of the kind of atmosphere that has been created within far rightists circles, setting it up for a fascist nut simply to act on it:

    1. Rush Limbaugh: “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for.”
    2. Senator Phil Gramm: “We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.”
    3. Rep. James Hansen on Bill Clinton: Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him.”
    4. John Derbyshire intimated in the National Review that because Chelsea Clinton had “the taint,” she should “be killed.”
    5. Ann Coulter: “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too.”
    6. Ann Coulter: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”
    7. Bill O’Reilly: “ll those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains.”
    8. Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck said he was “thinking about killing Michael Moore” and pondered whether “I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it,” before concluding: “No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out — is this wrong?”
    9, August 3, 2009—After being blamed for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, FOX commentator Glenn Beck cautions his listeners that “just one lunatic like Timothy McVeigh could ruin everything

    Crazies have been given the signal that these kinds of violent and deadly attacks are needed. The shooter was an action of someone who was encouraged to act as he did.

    For example, you may recall that Giffords retained her seat last November by a narrow margin in a campaign against the Tea Party candidate Jesse Kelly. Fundraisers were held by Kelly where he urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office by joining him to shoot a fully-loaded M-16 rifle. He was pictured on his website in military gear holding his automatic weapon and promoting the event. Giffords was among the candidates that Sarah Palin targeted for removal in the last election. Palin depicted these targets on her website by placing the crosshairs of a gun sight over the congressional district of the “target.”

    A town-hall meeting on health care that Giffords hosted in the spring of 2010 was disrupted by Tea Party bigots, one of whom dropped a weapon out of his pants. The night after the health-care vote in Congress, Gifford’s office was vandalized by kicking or shooting out a glass door and window.

    Here is some more on right-wing media encouraging the extreme:

    February 5, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts an hour-long special on Fox called “We Surround Them,” a “grassroots effort to wake up our Nation’s leaders and let them know what many, if not most, Americans truly believe in and stand for.”
    February 20, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts a program that games a 2014 civil war scenario called “The Bubba Effect.” It involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government.

    March 3, 2009— FOX commentator Glenn Beck interviews NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris. During the interview, Beck states that, “Somebody asked me this morning, they said, ‘you really believe that there’s going to be trouble in the future?’ And I said, ‘if this country starts to spiral out of control and, you know, and Mexico melts down or whatever, if it really starts to spiral out of control, before America allows a country to become a totalitarian country … Americans will, they just, they won’t stand for it. There will be parts of the country that will rise up.’ And they said, ‘where’s that going to come from?’ And I said, ‘Texas, it’s going to come from Texas.’”

    March 9, 2009—NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris writes in an editorial published at WorldNetDaily: “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?”

    March 11, 2009—NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference and announces that “Our Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules.”

    March 21-22, 2009—Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”

    September 25-26, 2009—Kitty Werthmann, a speaker at the “How to Take Back America” Conference in St. Louis, tells her audience, “If we had our guns [during the time of the Nazis’ reign in Germany], we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.”

    September 28, 2009—Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), the Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution” at a health care reform town hall meeting.

    September 29, 2009—An editorial at the Newsmax website calls for a military coup to oust President Obama.

    There is a lot more, but you get the picture. The main problem is and has been right-wing talk radio, Fox news, et al., whipping up the paranoid and crazies to act out violently and the fascists have come out of woodwork upon the rise of Trump’s brand of right wing populism, dove tailing neatly with this created fascist political culture that you appear to be in denial of.

    The FBI as a weapon of the left? Seriously? That is so absurd it is funny and it does not merit a serious response. I suppose you think Hillary Clinton, Obama and the rest of the neo-liberal order serving the top 1%, are also “left”? hehe

  • The_Truth_Seeker(TM)

    Do they also enjoy sovereign immunity from prosecution?