Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guns, God, Political Rhetoric, Hate, Venom, Insanity: A First Amendment Bleeding To Death On The Floor Provides A Toxic Mix In America.

Guns, God, Political Rhetoric, Hate, Venom, Insanity: A First Amendment Bleeding To Death On The Floor Provides A Toxic Mix In America.

WikiLeaks Has Proven the First Amendment is Dead and Gone

Twitter Fights US Court Demands For WikiLeaks Details

Micro-blogging site Twitter is opposing an order from a US court, to reveal the account details of supporters of WikiLeaks. Twitter has called on Facebook and Google to reveal whether they also received similar court orders.

As part of the US government’s investigation into WikiLeaks, a court ordered Twitter, in mid-December, to give details of accounts owned by supporters of the whistle-blower site. Twitter has protested against the subpoena and informed the individuals whose account information has  been requested, while raising the possibility that other social networking players have received similar orders.

Records Required For Criminal Investigation

The US Department of Justice obtained a subpoena for the micro-blogging site on 14 December, requesting records going back to 1 November 2009, that are “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.” Among those targeted are WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp (whose name is misspelled in the subpoena) and Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking documents to WikiLeaks.

Also named in the subpoena are computer programmer Jacob Appelbaum (identified by his Twitter username, ioerror) and former WikiLeaks volunteer and current Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jónsdóttir (left), who wrote the following in a tweet: “just got this: Twitter has received legal process requesting information regarding your Twitter account in (relation to wikileaks).”

Jónsdóttir also tweeted that she plans to oppose the subpoena.
According to a copy of the court order published by (PDF), the government is looking for a variety of information, including session times and mailing addresses.

“WikiLeaks strongly condemns this harassment of individuals by the US government,” WikiLeaks said in a statement relayed to Reuters by WikiLeaks attorney Mark Stephens.

The recent WikiLeaks controversy began when the site started publishing a trove of US diplomatic cables in late November. The release of the documents has touched off months of debate and prompted WikiLeaks supporters and opponents alike to air their differences with denial-of-service attacks while businesses such as PayPal cut ties with the whistle-blower site.

In December, Assange was arrested in the UK on charges of sexual assault originating in Sweden. He is currently out on bail.

In its statement, WikiLeaks reportedly said that some of the people named in the subpoena were key figures in helping WikiLeaks make public US military video of a 2007 airstrike that killed Iraqi civilians. WikiLeaks is instructing its lawyers to oppose the subpoena, and is calling on Facebook and Google to disclose whether they received similar subpoenas as well.

A federal judge unsealed the court order on 5 January after Twitter requested the right to inform the people being targeted.

In addition to obtaining the subpoena, it was also revealed that the US government has taken steps to protect people judged by officials to be in danger because of the document leak. On 7 January, US State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley told the media the department has helped relocate “a handful of people” identified in the diplomatic documents out of concern for their safety. The CIA set up a WikiLeaks Task Force (WTF) in response to the leak.

WikiLeaks has denied putting any lives at risk, and the UN has supported its right to publish the leaked material on human rights grounds.

WikiLeaks publication of the US cables resulted ina war of denial of service (DoS) attacks, hitting both WikiLeaks itself , and the sites of financial institutions such as Mastercard, which withdrew facilities for WikiLeaks supporters to donate money to the whistleblower.

Events and protests
Protest organizers might find these resources useful:


Global: Media Blitz to support Wikileaks
Date and time: Tuesday, January 11 · 10:30am - 1:30pm
Global: Wikileaks Flash Mob Event
Date and time: Wednesday, January 12 · 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Global: Global Protest
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011, 6:00pm
Global: Anonymous in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011
Event Information:
Global: Global WikiLeaks Support Rally
Date and time: Saturday 5 February 2011, 3:00pm local time

Adelaide: Saturday, January 15 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: Victoria Sqaure, Adelaide, Australia
Event page:
Hobart: Saturday, January 15, TBA
Location: Information Day, at Franklin Square and surrounds
Sydney: Saturday, January 15, 1pm
Location: Sydney Town Hall
Contact: Patrick on 0422 028 113
Event page:
Hobart: Saturday, January 29, 10:30am
Location: Franklin Square Hobart.
Launceston: Saturday, January 29, TBA
Location: To be announced
Melbourne: Saturday, January 29, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: State Library of Victoria
Event page:

London: Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 11:00am - 7:00pm
Location: London, Magistrates' High Court.
Event page:

Vancouver: Saturday, January 15, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, 350 West Georgia Street
Organizer: Pirate Party of Canada
Organizer website:
Event page:
Calgary: Saturday, January 15, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: University of Calgary, outside the social sciences building
Organizer: Pirate Party of Canada
Organizer website:
Event page:

Washington DC, other locations: Saturday, January 15
Location: To be announced
Event page:
San Francisco: Saturday, January 15th, 4:00pm - 6:30pm
Location: Clay St and Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
Event page:
Socialist Equality Party and the International Students for Social Equality: Meetings to discuss Wikileaks
Event page:
Portland, Oregon
Tuesday, January 11, 7:30 p.m.
Portland State University
Room 262, Smith Memorial Union
1825 SW Broadway
Rock Island, Illinois
Wednesday, January 19, 5:30 p.m.
Theo’s Java Club
213 17th Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thursday, January 20, 7:00 p.m.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Henderson Room of the Michigan League
911 North University
Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, January 22, 3:00 p.m.
Bezazian Public Library
1226 West Ainslie
Pasadena, California
Saturday, January 22, 3:00 p.m.
Room 21 of the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena
301 N Orange Grove Blvd
Columbia, South Carolina
Monday, January 24, 6:00 p.m.
University of South Carolina
Russell House University Union
Room 302
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tuesday, January 25, 7:00 p.m.
Tulane University
Kendall Cram Lecture Hall, Lavin-Bernick Center 213
McAllister Pl between Feret St and Drill Rd
New York City, New York
Sunday, January 30, 3:00 p.m.
University Settlement at the Houston Street Center
Multi-purpose room 1&2
273 Bowery (corner of Houston St)
Closest subways: 6 train/Bleeker St. stop;
B & D trains/Bway-Lafayette stop; F train/Second Ave. stop
Houston, Texas
Wednesday, February 16, 7:00 p.m.
University of Houston, Main Campus
Spindletop Room (Rm 242) of the University Center

Rosario: Saturday, January 8, 6pm
Location: Mitre y Cordoba, Ciudad de ROSARIO
Event page:
Miraflores: Saturday, January 8, 6pm
Location: Avenida José Larco1301, Miraflores
Event page:

Demonstration and Operation Freedom Assange
Valencia: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza del Ayuntamiento /Town Hall Square - Valencia, Spain
Event page:
Madrid: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza del Callao (frente al Corte Inglés) / Callao Square (Opposite El Corte Inglés – Underground Stations: Callao/sol/Gran Vía) - Madrid, Spain
Event page:
Málaga: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza de la Constitución - Málaga, Spain
Event page:
Sevilla: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza Nueva / New Square - Sevilla, Spain
Event page:
A Coruña: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza Galicia, delante del TSXG / Galicia Square at the TSXG - A Coruña, Spain
Event page:
Bilbao: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza Moyua / Moyua Square - Bilbao, Spain
Event page:
Zaragoza: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza de España, Diputación Provincial / Spain´s Square, Plaza of Spain, Provincial - Zaragoza, Spain
Event page:
Badajoz: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza de San Francisco / Spain´s Square - Badajoz, Spain
Event page:
Albacete: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza del parque de Abelardo Sánchez, Punta Abelardo Sánchez Park - Albacete, Spain
Event page:
Mallorca: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza de España / Spain´s square - Mallorca, Spain
Event page:
Murcia: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza Glorieta frente Ayuntamiento/ Roundabout Square opposite the Town Hall, Murcia, Spain
Event page:
Barcelona: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 6pm - 7pm
Location: Plaza Sant Jaume, Barcelona, Spain
Event page:
Pamplona: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 6pm - 7pm
Location: Kiosko Plaza Castilla /Castilla Square kiosk, Pamplona, Spain
Event page:
Alicante: Pendiente / to be confirmed.
Zamora: pendiente / to be confirmed
GLOBAL MOBILIZATION: Saturday, January 15, 2011, 6pm
Event page:
Vitoria Gasteiz: Plaza de la Virgen Blanca / White Virgin´s Square.
Málaga: Plaza de la Constitución /Constitution Square.


Melbourne: Discussion: Julian Assange, Law & Politics: A meeting to discuss Wikileaks' Julian Assange's legal and political position
Speakers: Julian Burnside AO QC, Peter Gordon, John Faine and Professor Spencer Zifcak
Date and time: Thursday 9 December 2010, 5:30pm
Venue: the Law Institute of Victoria, 470 Bourke St, Melbourne
Brisbane: Thursday, December 9, 5:30pm
Location: Brisbane Square CBD
Event page:
Read a
report from the event.
Sydney: Friday, December 10, 1pm
Location: Sydney Town Hall
Media contacts: Antony Loewenstein 0402 893 690; Simon Butler 0421 231 011.
Rally information: Kylie Gilbert 0451 827 693
Event page:
Read a
report from the event.
Melbourne: Friday, December 10, 4:30pm
Location: State Library Lawns, Melbourne
Contact: Vashti Jane 0423 407 910.
Event page:
Read a
report from the event.
Perth: Friday, December 10, 6:00pm
Location: Wesley Church, corner of William & Hay Streets, Perth City
Event page:
Read a
report from the event.
Brisbane: Friday, December 10, 12:00 noon
Location: Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, 295 Anne Street, Brisbane CBD
Rally information: Liam Hanlon 0435 266 613. Media contact: Jim McIlroy 0423 741 734
Event page:
Read a
report from the event.
Hobart: Saturday, December 11, 12:00 noon
Location: Hobart Parliament Lawns
Event page:
Adelaide: Sunday, December 12, 1:00pm
Location: Parliament House
Event page:
Melbourne: Tuesday, December 14, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Location: State Library, cnr Swanston St & Latrobe St, Melbourne
Rally information: Colleen on 0449 678 621 or Sue on 0413 377 978
Event page:
Adelaide: Tuesday, December 14, 4:30pm
Location: Parliament House
Sydney: Tuesday, December 14, 5:30pm
Location: Sydney Town Hall
Rally contact: Patrick on 0422 028 113
Event page:
Canberra: Thursday, December 16, 5:30pm
Location: Garema Place, Civic
Event page:
Melbourne: Monday, December 20, 7.00 p.m.
Location: Conference Room, Arts House, Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Getting there: Melway Reference: 2B A9
Organizer: SEP Australia
Tickets: $4/$2 concession
Event page:
Sydney: Tuesday, December 21, 7.00 p.m.
Location: Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills
Getting there: Close to Central Station
Organizer: SEP Australia
Tickets: $4/$2 concession
Event page:

London: Saturday, December 11, 11:00am - 6:00pm
Location: Cumberland Gate at Marble Arch Hyde Park.
Nearest tube station: Marble Arch
Event page:
London:, Monday, December 13, 2pm
Location: Swedish Embassy, 11 Montagu Place, London W1H 2AL
Topic: Against extradition to Sweden ( Campaign)
Event page:
Campaign website:
London: Tuesday, December 14, 11:00am - 6:00pm
Location: City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, 70 Horseferry Rd, Westminster, London SW1P
Google maps
Nearby stations: St. James Park, Victoria and Pimlico
Campaign website:
Manchester: Wednesday, December 15, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Piccadilly Gardens, M60 1HX
Event page:

New York City, NY: Thursday, December 9, 6:30pm - 0:30am
Location: New York Times Bldg, New York, NY 10018
Event page:
New York City, NY: Thursday, December 9, 5:00pm
Location: Federal Building, Broadway between Worth and Duane St, NY, NY
Getting there: A, C, E, R, 4, 5, 6 Trains to Chamber and/or Brooklyn Bridge stops
Event page:
Facebook page:
Organized by: International Action Center, 212-633-6646
San Jose, CA: Friday, December 10, 2010, 12pm - 3pm
Location: In front of San Jose City Hall
Event page:
New York City, NY: Saturday, December 11 at 12:00 noon
Location: British Consulate-General at 845 Third Ave.
Minneapolis, MN: Monday, December 13, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Location: Senator Klobuchar's Minneapolis Office, 1200 Washington Ave S., Minneapolis, MN
Event page:
Miami FL:: Monday, December 13, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: U.S. Attorney's Office Building, 99 Northeast 4th Street, Miami, FL
Event page:
Atlanta GA: Wednesday, December 15, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Location: in front of the CNN Center
Directions: Centennial and Marietta St.
Event page:
Washington, DC: Thursday, December 16, 10:00am
Location: In front of the White House
Event details:
San Jose, CA: Thursday, December 16, all day
Location: San Jose State University
San Francisco: Thursday, December 16th, 4pm - 6pm (updated)
Location: British Consulate (1 Sansome St at Market)
Event page:
Facebook page:
Olympia, WA: Saturday, December 18, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Heritage Park (5th Ave and Water St)
Event page:

Hamburg: Saturday, December 11, 11:00am - 6:00pm
Location: To be announced
Event page:
Berlin: Thursday, December 16th, 7:00pm
Location: Technical University Berlin, Room EB 407 (Erweiterungsbau),
Straße des 17. Juni 145, 10623 Berlin
Event page:
Hamburg: Sunday, December 19, time TBA
Location: To be announced
Organizer website:
Event page:

Montreal: Saturday, December 18th, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: Concordia EV Building
Directions: In front of Guy Concordia metro, Guy & Maisonneuve exit
Event page:

Vienna: Wednesday, December 22th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm (updated)
Location: Schwarzenbergplatz Hochstrahlbrunnen (updated)
Event page:
Confirmed speakers:
* Heinz Patzelt, Amnesty International Austria, Secretary General
* Rubina Möhring, Reporters without Borders Austria, President
* Sylvia Margret Steinitz, Editor in Chief for WIENERIN
Also planned: Red Alert -
a sea of red lights for WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and our freedom

Dublin: Saturday, December 18, 11:00am - 6:00pm
Location: Central Bank of Ireland, Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland
Directions: Outside the main gates.
Event page:

Lisbon: Saturday, December 11, 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Largo do Chiado
Event page:
photos from the event

Amsterdam: Saturday, December 11, 2:00pm
Location (updated): Museum Square
Den Haag: Saturday, December 18, 11:00am - 2:00pm
Location: Binnenhof
Event page:

For freedom, say no to state terrorism
Madrid: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Embajada británica en Madrid (British Embassy), Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana 259D, 28046 Madrid
Event page:
Read a
report from the event
A Coruña: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Embajada de Suecia en A Coruña (Swedish Embassy): Sale del Cantón Grande a las 18.00 en el Obelisco hacía la Avenida de Linares Rivas 18-21, A Coruña, Spain
Event page:
Barcelona: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Consulado General Británico en Barcelona (British General Consulate), Edificio Torre de Barcelona, Avenida Diagonal, 477, 13º, 08036 Barcelona
Event page:
Sevilla: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, Plaza Nueva 1, Sevilla, Spain
Event page:
Valencia: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Consulado de Suecia en Valencia (Swedish consulate), Plaza Porta de la Mar 4, pta 8, Valencia, Spain
Event page:
Zaragoza: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Diputación de Zaragoza, Plaza de España 2, Zaragoza, Spain
Event page:

Buenos Aires: Saturday, December 11, 1pm
Location: Embajada Británica en Argentina (British Embassy), Dr. Luis Agote 2412, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Event page:
Read a
report from the event

Lima: Saturday, December 11, 1pm
Location: Embajada Británica en Perú (British Embassy), Torre Parque Mar piso 22, Lima, Perú
Event page:

Ciudad de México: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Embajada Británica en Mexico (British Embassy): Río Lerma 71 (esquina con Rio Sena), Del. Cuauhtemoc, Mexico DF.
Event page:

São Paulo: Saturday, December 11, 11am
Location: Consulado Geral Britânico (British Consulate), Rua Ferreira de Araújo, 741 – Pinheiros, São Paulo, Brasil
Event page:

Eighteen people have been shot, six killed, and the ramblings of an apparent madman, Jared Lee Loughner, posted on a YouTube video (below, with text) is all we have left to provide some sort of explanation.  Or is it?

A Federal Judge, John M. Roll, and a nine year old girl were among those killed, and a United States Congresswoman, Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Giffords, has survived a point blank bullet wound to her head.  There is certainly horror at these events, but is there really shock?

Can anyone truly claim to be taken completely by surprise by these tragic events?  With the less-than-easy access to deadly firearms, a rise in religious fundamentalism in both the military and civilian society, and Right-Wing politicians, and pundits, claiming that the federal government is filled with everything from illegitimate foreign usurpers to unconstitutional oppressors of the American people…A 9mm Glauk in the hands of a mentally unstable individual (of which there are potentially many in any society) was simply a tragedy waiting to happen.

Giffords was unflinching in her support of individual gun ownership rights.  The recent ratcheting-up of aggressive political rhetoric from right-wing politicians, and pundits, convincing Americans of socialist take-overs, immigrant insurgencies, and the need for Second Amendment remedies, did not deter her conviction that guns, including assault weapons, in the hands of all American citizens, was a good thing.

ver the past year, Arizona has been the focus, and apparent epicenter, of reactionary right wing political fervor.  From the institution of it’s ‘Papers Please‘ law, to the anti-immigrant posses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the resurgence of the vigilante Minutemen organizations, the outlawing of ethnic studies programs in their school system, and their recent de facto death sentences to citizens requiring organ transplants, it shouldn’t be to anyone’s amazement that Arizona was the location of this violent eruption.

Jared Loughner identifies himself, through his YouTube video, as an anti-Federal Government, ‘Original’ Constitutionalist, angry at the U.S. Armed Force’s Christian proselytizing, and convinced of a government plan to brainwash citizens through grammar.  His posted ramblings are indicative of a deeply unstable personality, pushed to the limits by anti-government fear-mongering, and political environment, that has been teetering on the edge of violence since a black man was elected to the office of President.

Somewhere between his interpretation of the Communist Manifesto (which I’m sure the Right-Wing media will use to label him as a Left-Wing assailant, rather than a simply, and thoroughly, disturbed individual), and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf – along with an assortment of other conspiracy theories rolled in – Jared Loughner developed his ‘conscience dreaming,’ anti-government , grammar-as-brainwashing ideas.  An act of deadly violence committed by a seriously wounded psyche such as this, encouraged by statements from politicians and media personalities justifying violence, was more than simply a vague potentiality.

We all know that there are psychologically unbalanced people in our society, yet we still maintain their right to procure deadly weapons; weapons such as hand guns and assault rifles that are purely anti-personnel killing machines.  Can we really claim to be surprised by these murders?  Can we claim that this was the result of one individuals actions and not those of a society that has allowed itself to become increasingly violent, protecting the rights of individuals to have access to such weapons, and allowing public figures to foment violent acts from them?

Before we allow ourselves to get caught up in the coming media mantra of the ‘lone gunman’ with psychological issues, and the disassociation to be engendered with this individual by referring to him with all three of his names, Jared Lee Loughner, lets not forget the responsibility that others share.  Those that provided him with motivation, and planted the seed of violence, as well as the society that protected and valued his supposed right to possess a deadly anti-personnel weapon, all have a share in the burden of guilt.

Republican and Tea Party politicians have done everything from calling for Second Amendment remedies, as Sharron Angle did, to putting gun sites on a map to target opposing politicians, like Sarah Palin did.  Pundits from Beck to Limbaugh have stoked the flames with language and intimations designed to cause action, and havoc, directed at sitting, duly elected,  politicians.  In a country that refuses to limit access to anti-personnel guns, this sort of incitement to violence had no other possible outcome than what we have seen today.  More information, and background, on right-wing violence, can be found in Ole Ole Olson’s column ‘The American Taliban: Assassination Attempt of Gabrielle Gillords (D,AZ)”

Six people are dead, and many others wounded, some seriously, because this man had the right own a 9mm Glock.

The following Myspace postings, and YouTube video, give an insight into the demented mind of Mr. Loughner.  Keep in mind that, in a country of over 300 million people, statistically, this man is far from alone.  He is one of many with access to many, many, guns.  He is also one of a much larger part of the American population that has been assaulted, and confused, by the endless violent vitriol, and disingenuous fear-mongering, from the right-wing media juggernaut of AM radio and Fox News personalities, not to mention their on-line counterparts.

Today’s mass murder was a complete tragedy; a completely avoidable tragedy.  The right wing has been warned repeatedly that their rhetoric would result in just such an instance, and the availability of anti-personnel weapons has been challenged over, and over, again.  The warnings were not heeded, in fact the rhetoric was escalated, and no meaningful measures have been pursued to deal with the flood of guns throughout America.

God, guns, and guts?  Mr. Loughner was mad about one being forced on him, had one all to readily available in his hand, and found the other through a mixture of his own dementia and the encouragement of public figures.
According to the Huffington Post: Here’s what was listed on his MySpace page before it was removed:

Schools:I attended school: Thornydale elementary,Tortolita Middle School, Mountain View Highschool, Northwest Aztec Middle College, and Pima Community College.

Interests:My favorite interest was reading, and I studied grammar. 

Conscience dreams were a great study in college!

Movies:(*My idiom: I could coin the moment!*)

Music:Pass me the strings!

Books:I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

In the wake of the horrific shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, some lawmakers have already decided that they need to do more to protect themselves.

Two members of Congress - Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) - told Politico that they plan to carry guns while in their home districts. Both men hold conceal and carry permits. They do not plan to carry the weapons while in the District of Columbia.

Lawmakers receive a measure of protection from the U.S. Capitol Police while in the District, though the vast majority are not provided with any protection elsewhere. (The leaders of the House and Senate do get a security detail.) Many travel only with unarmed staffers and have little in the way of protection when away from the Capitol.

On Sunday afternoon, Capitol Police held a conference call with House lawmakers from both parties. House Speaker John Boehner told members that the House Sergeant at Arms, Capitol Police and FBI will hold a security briefing for Members on Wednesday, CBS News Senior Political Producer Jill Jackson reports.

Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood reminder those on the call to always be aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious circumstances to local police and to the Capitol Police Threat Assessment. Bill Morse, Chief of the Capitol Police, also made recommendations for how lawmakers can protect themselves.

More than 800 lawmakers, family and staff were on the conference call, according to House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn). "We're all in this together," Larson told his fellow members. He encouraged them to always coordinate their public appearances with local police.

Concerns about member safety increased in the wake of the town hall meetings of the summer of 2009, where Americans were seen objecting to health care reform efforts in angry and emotional terms.

Not long after came reports that lawmakers had been on the receiving end of personal threats - and that some, including Giffords, had had their offices vandalized (In Giffords' case, following the health care vote in March). The incidents prompted calls for lawmakers to ratchet down their rhetoric in order to avoid encouraging violence against elected officials.

But few lawmakers could have imagined a scene like the one which unfolded Saturday, when 22-year-old Jared Loughner allegedly shot Giffords in the head at point-blank range. The shooting has forced members to reassess where they draw the line between being accessible to their constituents and protecting themselves.

On the conference call Sunday afternoon, Larson said he expected members to continue holding town hall meetings and otherwise interact with constituents in relatively low-security settings. He told members, "that's our responsibility, that's what we're sworn to do."

Saturday's tragedy was a stark reminder of the risk that comes with that responsibility.

"We can be shot down in our district, but we can also be shot walking over to the Capitol," Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) told Politico. "We have a lot of people outside who appear to be fragile emotionally. So we don't know when one will walk up and shoot us down. We're vulnerable, and there's no real way to protect us."

Arizona Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva, meanwhile, told The Nation in the wake of the shooting that "we're feeding anger, hatred, and division for quite a while. Maybe it is time for elected officials and leaders in this country that have been feeding that disease to realize that there are consequences to it."

Asked if the Tea Party right was to blame, he added: "[When] you stoke these flames, and you go to public meetings and you scream at the elected officials, you threaten them--you make us expendable you make us part of the cannon fodder. For a while, you've been feeding this hatred, this feed it, you encourage it....Something's going to happen. People are feeding this monster....Some of the extreme right wing has made demonization of elected officials their priority."

Comment by Rabbi Michael Lerner: When right-wingers create a climate of hate against liberal government, and then individuals act on that hate as they did in blowing up a Federal Building in Oklahoma City and now this premeditated murder of several people (we are still praying for the survival of Congresswoman Giffords) in hate-filled Arizona (where she had been attacked viciously but not physically for her support of health care reform), the state whose racism has made it famous around the world for profiling Mexican immigrants, there is no call to investigate and protect ourselves from these right-wing hate mongers. Similarly, when Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by right wing Jews, the right-wing ultra-nationalist community in Israel's West Bank settlers never faced any serious investigation of their role in creating the hateful climate that helped produce the murderer.

Why does what Hillary Clinton once quite accurately described as "the vast right-wing conspiracy" get a free pass when its rhetoric can easily be seen to contribute to the climate of hate from which the actions of this "lone gunman" can be easily understood to have emerged? Isn't it time for us to demand that our government investigate the violence-generating discourse of the racist and the haters? Why, when the House of Representatives was in the hands of Democrats, did they not have any committee or subcommittee at work holding pubic hearings to explore what kind of legislation might help protect us citizens and our liberal and progressive representatives from the kind of violence that exploded in Arizona earlier today? 

Because if there is no such larger exploration of how to stop the haters and to uncover the full dimensions of those who are committed to destroying, one way or the other, the non-military functions of our government, then ordinary people are going to be more afraid to participate in the democratic process or come to any public events--and that is a decisive step toward allowing fascism to triumph in this country. So don't think of this action as a mere "irrational event," because it fits very well with the agenda of those who want to give the country back 100% to the corporate powers and their Republican agents in Congress while scaring those who might wish to participate in helping build any kind of progressive alternative.

And don't underplay the anti-Semitic elements either. When Jews are targeted, it's rarely "by chance." Right-wing haters particularly hate Jews, since Jews were the most consistent non-African American constituency for the Democratic Party , in 2010 voting 70% for Democrats. If the rest of the country voted like Jews we'd have a liberal Democratic Congress. And this is not lost on the right-wingers. Just listen to the tapes of Nixon and you see how extreme the hatred of Jews is revealed to be by the "moderate" Nixon, and now we have the more extreme elements of the Right coming to power. Jews are, in the minds of these haters, the same as liberals or progressives--maybe even the worst of them. And then, the sexism of the right manifests dramatically in attempting to kill a woman--the perfect symbol of uppity feminists who dare to take power away from the male chauvinists who thought that "their" country was about white male Christian power. You won't hear the media dealing with these dimensions of the reality--but they are central.

 Most immediately, I invite you to join us in prayer for Representative Gabrielle Gifford! May she receive a refu'ah shleymah, a healing of body and a healing of soul, and speedily return to our community fully healed.--Rabbi Michael Lerner  after Havdalah, Saturday evening, January 8, 2011

Story in Ha'aretz  Saturday evening:

President Barack Obama was quick to decry the shooting attack that left Representative Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded in Tucson on Saturday.

Giffords, the first Jewish woman to be elected to Congress in Arizona, was shot in the head when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store while she was meeting with constituents. Another six people were killed and 10 more wounded in a rampage that rattled the nation.

"I am hopeful that she is going to pull through," Obama said in a statement from the White House. Referring Giffords as "Gabby", Obama described her as a "friend" and an "extraordinary public servant."

"It's not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does - listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about," he said. "That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country."

The hospital said Gifford's outlook was "optimistic" and that she was responding to commands from doctors, despite the fact that the bullet had gone through her head. The hospital said a 9-year-old child was among the dead, and a U.S. Marshal said a federal judge was also fatally shot in the attack.

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, the leader of the Reform congregation Chaverim which Giffords attended, described the community reaction as "shocked and horrified, and completely saddened. We are horrified at the death of the Judge John Roll and the young girl. We don’t know all the details, but it is incomprehensible."

"Gabrielle is such a kind person, incredibly brilliant person, who can talk to people of all generations. She is a member of the congregation at least for 10, maybe even 15 years. I was the Rabbi at her wedding," Aaron said, adding: "We hope and pray she continues to get well."

The congregation is set to hold a special service at 9 A.M. on Sunday.
“We will pray for healing of Gabrielle, everyone injured and the families of those who lost their lives,” Aaron told Haaretz, adding that the community hoped "to organize blood drive next week…. Everything was pretty quiet in the city, there was nothing that could predict anything like this might happen."

Media consultant Steve Rabinowitz, who originates from Tucson and who recently held a fundraiser for Representative Giffords at Washington, DC. home, said the congresswoman was known to be "an outspoken woman, but she is not a controversial figure."

"She faced a tough election and she got criticized by the conservatives in Arizona for her support of the healthcare bill, but we don’t know the motivation of the shooter yet," he said, adding that he did "know though that the rhetoric in the country got so ugly it creates a really dangerous climate."

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said that while the motive behind the act was yet unknown, "there can be no ignoring the increasing culture of violence in our nation and particularly in our political discourse."

"Dehumanizing language and images of violence are regularly used to express differences of opinion on political issues, Rabbi Saperstein said, adding that such "language is too often heard by others, including those who may be mentally ill or ideologically extreme, to justify the actual use of violence."

"It continues to be far too easy to acquire guns, including the weapon used in today’s shootings. Americans must be able to have robust and healthy differences of opinion while respecting the humanity and patriotism of those with whom they disagree," Rabbi Saperstein said.

Urging in his statement for a commitment toward "working with America’s religious leaders of all faiths, and others, to elevate aggressively the state of our political discourse," Saperstein said.

"'We stand stunned and deeply saddened... and we pray that Rep. Giffords’ husband Mark and her entire family find support comfort and strength among their friends and family, as we join them in praying for her full recovery," he added.

AJC Executive Director David Harris called the shooting “a dark day for our country," adding: “We are confident that all Americans, regardless of their political affiliations, will unite to condemn this atrocity, and reaffirm our faith in our country’s fundamental democratic values of mutual respect and free speech."

"There are worrying indications that the gunman was motivated by extremist political views, which encourage the use of violence against those who think differently," Harris said, adding the gunman "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and law enforcement should investigate whether he acted alone or had any accomplices."

The reaction to the shooting was swift and rippled across the globe and cast a pall over the Capitol as politicians of all stripes denounced the shooting as a horrific act of violence. Capitol police asked members of Congress to step up security in the wake of the shooting, and some politicians expressed hope that the killing spree serves as a wake-up call at a time when the political climate has become so emotionally charged.

"I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff," said newly elected House Speaker John Boehner.

"An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country."

Police said Saturday that the shooter was in custody. Sources familiar with the investigation identified him as Jared Loughner, 22.

Pima County Sheriff's officials said he used a pistol to carry out the attack. U.S. officials who provided his name to The Associated Press spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly.

His exact motivation was not immediately clear. Federal law enforcement officials were poring over captured versions of a MySpace page that belonged to Jared Loughner and over Youtube video published to the Internet weeks agObama calls near fatal shooting of Jewish Congresswoman a 'tragedy for our entire country'o under an account "Classitup10" and linked to him.

The MySpace page, which was removed within minutes of the gunman being identified by U.S. officials, included a mysterious" Goodbye friends" message published hours before the shooting and exhorted to his friends: "Please don't be mad at me."

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