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“This Moment Was Arresting”: President Obama’s Tear A Starkly Human Thing

He didn’t bawl.

His voice only roughened for a moment and he dabbed at a couple tears that straggled down his cheek. As displays of emotion go, it wasn’t all that much. But it was, of course, more than enough.

Inevitably, President Obama’s tears became the takeaway from last week’s White House speech on gun violence. They came as he recalled the 2012 massacre of six educators and 20 young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“Every time I think about those kids,” said the president, tears shining on his cheek, “it gets me mad.”

One grows used to thinking of politics as a craft practiced mostly by people who are only technically human. One grows used to their cynical manipulations and insincere triangulations, to their poll-tested smiles, and focus-grouped quips. Which is why this moment was arresting. The president wept and it was a starkly human thing.

Or at least, that’s surely how most of us saw it. It is a sign of how angry and hateful our politics have become that some conservatives refused to accept the moment at face value.

“I would check that podium for a raw onion,” sneered Andrea Tantaros of Fox “News.”

“He’s putting something in his eyes to create the fascist tears,” wrote John Nolte of Breitbart.

“(hashtag)Crocodile Tears” tweeted actor James Woods.

One hardly knows how to respond. There isn’t even anger. There is only embarrassment for them, only amazement that some people are so bad at being, well … people.

But the sense of disconnectedness, of the action being wholly at odds with some people’s interpretation thereof, went far beyond the president’s tears. To compare what Obama actually said as he seeks to rein in the nation’s runaway gun violence with the way it was afterward construed by his political opposites is to feel as if one has fallen down the rabbit hole into an alternate reality where people drink trees and smell music and the idea that words have fixed meaning is about as real as the Tooth Fairy.

“I believe in the Second Amendment … that guarantees the right to bear arms,” said the president.

Which House Speaker Paul Ryan interpreted as: “From day one, the president has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding.”

Obama took a handful of modest actions, including: an executive order clarifying that anyone who makes a living selling guns is required to conduct background checks on buyers; hiring more personnel to process background checks; pushing for improved gun safety technology and tracking of stolen firearms.

Which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump processed as: “Pretty soon, you won’t be able to get guns.”

One nation, two realities, one of them populated by the NRA and its GOP henchmen, by extremists who don’t just own guns or like guns, but who sanctify and worship guns and so regard even the most humble effort to check their destructive power as blasphemy against their god.

In the other reality live the rest of us, heartsick and frustrated that our country has come to this: Mass shootings are commonplace and we cannot muster the political will to do anything about it. So nothing happens; nothing changes. Bullets fly, the gun lobby prattles on, and in an endless loop, we mourn mothers, fathers, sisters and sons in San Bernardino, Aurora, Ft. Hood, Tucson, Charleston and, yes, Newtown, where 20 first-graders — little children — were gunned down, slaughtered.

And people are disbelieving that the president cried? It is not amazing that someone might ponder this carnage and want to weep. No, what’s amazing is that some of us ponder it and do not.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, January 10, 2016

January 12, 2016 Posted by | Gun Deaths, Gun Violence, National Rifle Association, Sandy Hook, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Mum’s The Word From The Professional Bloviators”: Fox Newsers Suddenly Quiet When Their ‘Hero Cop’ Revealed To Be Fraudster

It was a narrative perfectly suited for Fox News’s conservative commentariat. Too bad it was total bullshit.

Three assailants allegedly shot and killed Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, a wholesome small-town cop and Army vet known locally as “GI Joe”; a 30-year veteran of the force; a married father of four; a local hero.

His death had to be part of an ominous trend of societal menaces murdering law officers in cold blood, supposedly fueled by President Obama’s “anti-cop” rhetoric and the Black Lives Matter movement. Several Fox Newsers were quick to make that connection just as Fox Lake, Illinois, police set out to find the three perpetrators Gliniewicz mentioned over the radio just before he died.

While the news of GI Joe’s death broke nationwide on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Fox’s resident quack doctor Keith Ablow sat on the set of the network’s Outnumbered show and lamented how the president has “inflamed racial discord in this country and put a target on the backs of American police officers,” using the recent murder of a Texas deputy at a gas station as a jumping-off point.

“This is not the only incident of this,” conservative firebrand Andrea Tantaros interrupted, teeing up co-host Sandra Smith to introduce the Fox Lake incident. “This is happening time and time again,” Fox & Friends First’s Ainsley Earhardt chimed in. “This is a dangerous place for the country to be,” Liz MacDonald fretted before Tantaros pivoted back to the role of Black Lives Matter rhetoric in cop slayings.

Hours later, primetime star anchor Megyn Kelly interviewed Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke—an all-too-frequent Fox guest who seems to spend more time bashing black activists on TV than actually, you know… sheriffing. Clarke willfully linked Gliniewicz’s death to how President Obama has “breathed life into this anti-cop sentiment” with his “inflammatory rhetoric.”

That same evening, a cocksure Clarke told Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs that he has been to Fox Lake and knows that Gliniewicz is one of the town’s “finest,” gunned down while “engaged in self-initiative policing, the best policing there is.” He added: “War has been declared on the American police officer.” On Twitter, the lawman continued: “Time to take to the streets to counter Black LIES Matter. Fox Lake, Illinois.”

And on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 5, Eric Bolling used his weekly Cashin’ In monologue (titled “Wake Up, America!”) to connect Gliniewicz being “blown away in cold blood” to a “crisis” of law enforcement officers being killed, in part because President Obama has failed to publicly state that “Blue Lives Matter.”

Flash-forward to this Wednesday when Fox Lake police officials revealed that Gliniewicz’s death was actually a “carefully staged suicide.” As it turns out, the longtime lieutenant had been laundering thousands of dollars from his department’s youth program for his own personal spending on gym memberships, porn websites, and mortgage payments. There were no assailants; GI Joe shot himself rather than face the consequences.

Have any of these Fox pundits corrected the record or issued mea culpas for their rush to connect this twisted story to their political narrative? Wednesday’s edition of Outnumbered, with Tantaros among its hosts, went without a single mention of the news their own network aired just an hour before. (The show did, however, spend an entire segment bashing film director Quentin Tarantino for his remarks against police brutality.)

As for Sheriff Clarke, he spent all day Wednesday tweeting not about “best policing” Gliniewicz’s complete betrayal of his peers, but instead about, yep, “cop-hating” “prick” Quentin Tarantino.

And Eric Bolling? His daily talk show The Five—which frequently gripes about Black Lives Matter—made no mention of Gliniewicz. Don’t hold your breath for a correct-the-record monologue from him this Saturday either.

Of course, it should be noted that Fox’s straight-news reporters—namely Mike Tobin, Shepard Smith, Happening Now, and the network’s cut-in anchors—reported the story, from the start, as a continuing investigation, without tying it to racial tensions or anti-police violence. The way it should be done.

And when they reported the story’s bizarre developments on Wednesday morning, they did so with entirely straight language. But mum’s the word from the professional bloviators.

 

By: Andrew Kirell, The Daily Beast, November 5, 2015

November 7, 2015 Posted by | Black Lives Matter, Fox News, Law Enforcement | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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