Thursday, November 02, 2006

George Allen, Stupid SOB

My favorite line:

"It was typical of the Webb campaign, wanting to provoke an incident."

Wish there was time for him to swing back through C'ville...I'd go over there and do some heckling myself, maybe have a conversation with some of these Allen supporters.

27 Comments:

Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

[Stark] had signaled his intent to provoke Allen on two left-of-center blogs before the incident. On the liberal Daily Kos blog, he noted his involvement in stunts intended to embarrass Republicans. "Recently I've been thinking about how to put these 'guerrilla tactics' to use where it matters: winning elections."


Go for it, man. Faint heart never won fair election. And send me the photos from the hospital.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

That's important info.

Let me make it clear: I think hecklers are often assholes. But you don't get to beat them up.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, I saw the video, and he wasn't beaten up.

But I don't know where the idea got started that if you act like an asshole, you have a right to expect nothing bad will happen.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Alexander Wolfe said...

And I don't know where you get the idea that for shouting out a question, you should get assaulted. That's called a crime in most parts of the country, whether an asshole does the shouting or not.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

"Assaulted" is an overstatement.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assaulted is not an overstatement by the law of any state in the union. How would you tiptoe around it, TVD? Would you cop to "manhandled"?

Let me put it more personally: If a couple of punks tackled you on the sidewalk but didn't steal your wallet, would you think a crime had been committed? What would your reaction be if their "defense" was that you had provoked them by asking personal questions?

Your inability to place yourself in the situation of another simply because the other is a left-wing provocateur is what may lead this country to have to settle its polarization in the streets. That's not something I want; how about you?

11:39 AM  
Blogger Alexander Wolfe said...

Yes, in fact I meant the term in the legal sense. That was certainly an assault, and one could certainly file charges for assault. Perhaps the guys who tackled him could claim a defense of some kind, though I very much doubt that.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Stark verbally assaulted Allen, supposedly with some dirt from his divorce proceedings. When Allen's bouncers tried to remove him, Stark resisted, and a scuffle ensued.

I blame Stark for what happened. He said he'd provoke an incident, and he did. You think uncivil confrontation is a person's right. I don't. If those anti-guy Fred Phelps loonies got in someone's face like that, and got thrown around like Stark, I'd cheer, and I bet you would, too.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I see from Wikipedia:
"Modern American statutes define assault as:

1. an attempt to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another; or,
2. negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon."

Wikipedia also states:
"Simple battery may include any form of non-consensual, harmful or insulting contact, regardless of the injury caused."

I have no idea what TVD means by "verbal assault" -- Mr. Stark's words could not cause *bodily* injury to Sen. Allen. They could embarrass the Senator (which was, quite likely, Mr. Stark's intent), but embarrassment is a chance one takes when entering politics.

Sen. Allen was not assaulted. The actions of his staff were an unjustified assault (and battery) of a constituent asking a pointed, but quite legitimate, question of his Senator.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVD's rhetoric here is technically known as making shit up.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Nice drive-by, LL. Seems to be the preferred method of discourse here lately, argument-free arguing.

Remember when Al Franken bodyslammed a Howard Dean heckler? Of course you don't.

But it was far more emphatic than the little girly rasslin match that Stark had with that old guy.

Perhaps too emphatic, but me, I blame the Dean heckler. Jim, I'll concede your Wikipedia and assault and all the legalisms you want to put up. Stark is an uncivil asshole and I have no sympathy. And I still have trouble believing anyone would be upset if one of that Fred Phelps crew got what's coming to him.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember when Al Franken bodyslammed a Howard Dean heckler? Of course you don't.

Than injustice A was perpetrated or unprosecuted doesn't justify injustice B, no matter how thin you attempt to slice it here.

Nice drive-by, LL. Seems to be the preferred method of discourse here lately, argument-free arguing.

The implicit argument that the staffers had the right to remove him from a public place because of what he said is curiously logic-free, IMHO.

Of course, you could say that they were fighting words:

"Fighting words doctrine. The First Amendment doctrine that holds that certain utterances are not constitutionally protected as free speech if they are inherently likely to provoke a violent response from the audience. N.A.A.C.P. v. Clairborne Hardware Co., Miss., 458 U.S. 886, 102 S.Ct. 3409, 73 L.Ed.2d 1215 (1982). Words which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace, having direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the persons to whom, individually, remark is addressed. The test is what persons of common intelligence would understand to be words likely to cause an average addressee to fight. City of Seattle v. Camby, 104 Wash.2d 49, 701 P.2d 499, 500."

Heckling someone about their divorce could be provoking someone to fight around here, but then I live in the redneck part of California, YMMV.

And I still have trouble believing anyone would be upset if one of that Fred Phelps crew got what's coming to him.

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

Isaac Asimov

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Van Dyke:

Just curious, but when does relying on the law become something you can dismiss as "legalism"? Is this something like a signing statement?

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, NFS.

I agree with you, Tom, that the scuffle was tame. But I'm amused by your use of the term "drive-by" to label what is perfecly reasonable arguments against your point of view. You complain about drive-bys a lot here. You've got to admit that's a little ridiculous. I wouldn't call criticism of your views on this blog a "girly rasslin," but it is very civilized. Compared to the hate-filled irrationality on talk radio and on some blogs, this blog is an oasis of civil discourse.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

That's a silly thing to say, Jared. Typical for a liberal.

(See Jared, that would be a drive-by. Thoughtful disagreement is appreciated. I write here to test my arguments. And I do thank DA for honestly slipping in something that is not favorable to the pro-Stark argument.

But I do think that in the real world, it's OK to "bounce" someone who's harrassing people. Whether the law agrees, I do not know. But from what I saw on the Stark tape, they didn't even try to throw him out of the building, but merely to move him away from shouting his filth at Allen.

I do not think there is a constitutional right to be disruptive. But I'm not sure.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Tom, if you feel that this level of discourse is not civil, you should check your own. I see you say some nasty things here fairly regularly. I appreciate the different point of view but I find the "I'm innocent, stop picking on me" line hypocritical and lame. You dish it out, but you can't take it.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a constitutional right to be disruptive either. But, maybe unfortunately, even loud mouths have a constitutional right not to be assaulted. Unless Allen's supporters were defending themselves from physical harm, they acted like thugs. Stark's being an annoyance doesn't justify Allen's campaign putting their hands on him in a public place.

Tom: would your view be different if they had seriously injured Stark?

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of dutoitification... it's enough to make you wish dueling were legal. The main point is, you are wussified if you can't stand up for your beliefs enough that you think going to court for assault is the right solution.

You are also seriously dutoitified if it takes a crowd of you to subdue one heckler. If you want to fight, do it one-on-one by god. Ganging up on someone for political reasons just ain't right, and it aint manly.

-mac

6:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

What did I say that was nasty, Jared? (You wouldn't want to do a drive-by. A drive-by is snark without content.}

As to your second, yes, I suppose it would make a difference if he was seriously injured, but the emphasis would of course be on intention. Nobody in the Allen camp did anything that could have hurt the little weasel. Al Franken's slamdown, I dunno.

And mac, not political reasons, but ones of harrassment. And the only wuss here is Stark, who got outrassled by some old guy and then whined about it. As for your charming idea of dueling, the little weasel Stark is not an honorable man, and as such does not earn the honor of single combat.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I strongly second mac's statement that "it's enough to make you wish dueling were legal." I have felt that way for years. In days of old, a man's reputation was almost literally gold. You couldn't produce a credit report, for instance: when your word was your bond, to make your way it was often utterly necessary to be considered honest and trustworthy. So if someone spread lies about you, you would be just about forced to call him out on the field of honor to show the world that you were willing to kill or be killed to settle the matter. Failing to fight back was tantamount to admitting the accusations were true. Kerry failed to understand this aspect of psychology in 2004; he should have boiled over the minute he heard of the Swift Boat Liars.

And while we're on the subject of violence, isn't it funny how often the Right resort to it? Whether we think of Oklahoma City, the Birmingham church bombings and the murder of Martin Luther King, the Chicago police riots of 1968, the abortion clinic shooters and bombers, bouncers at Rethuggee conventions and events, lynchings, wrongful executions, driving people at gunpoint back into a flooded New Orleans, and so ad nauseam! Incidentally, the anthrax powder, sent to various media outlets and Democratic politicians, may have been the work of a Con at one of the intelligence agencies.

Who got blacklisted? Liberals! Who got wiretapped? Liberals! Whose leading lights were murdered? Liberals! Who saved the world from Hitler and put a man on the moon? Liberals. A Roosevelt and a Kennedy.

I would, at this point, loooooove to call some scummy conservative liar out at dawn and put a bullet in his liver or a rapier in his neck (his choice). The world would, ever so slightly, be tipped back toward balance.

They say "two wrongs don't make a right," but an unanswered wrong generally leads to a second wrong by the aggressor. Game theorists have established that punishing aggression is a highly effective strategy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat

8:36 PM  
Blogger Tony D said...

Wee dogee! I'm back to not seeing eye to eye with TVD!

9:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Sorry to disappoint you, Tony, but we're still in agreement. The question of the day is When Will Al Franken Be Brought to Justice?????

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Van Dyke:

You have not responded to my questions. Do you consider them a "drive-by" or are you still trying to come up with an argument to test?

And since you ask when Al Franken will be brought to justice, does that mean you feel the same way about Allen's supporters in this case?


tom buckner:

You didn't say it, but people who told the truth could be called out as well, and perhaps killed by a liar who happened to be a good shot. Also, in "days of old" most people spent their life close to where they were born -- a significant difference from modern times. If you want a return to trial by combat, join the SCA.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Sorry, nfs, I do try to keep up with my fan mail. But due to the volume of replies, not every inquiry can be answered.

I do try to pick out the most challenging ones, as I would never be thought of as ducking. (Unlike my opinion of what happens to my own better points.)

But since you insist, I've written before my view that the law is quite an insufficient prism through which to view human events. Any philosopher worth the title would agree. In other words, I respect your right to your opinion, but if you get abusive, you're going to get your ass kicked as long as me and Al Franken are on the job.

And if like the case of Socrates, the law proscribes the hemlock, well, that's the way it goes. But right and wrong and legal and illegal are two different things.

And that said, few juries would convict the Allen people or Al Franken. The asshole had it coming. It may have been illegal (tho I doubt it), but it was certainly just.

1:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To nfs:

You're correct, of course. There's a movie where Colin Firth dies unjustly exactly that way. OTOH, wouldn't we all be better off if somebody had shot Limbaugh or O'Reilly (or Scaife or Rove or Sun Myung Moon) ten years ago? As it is, truth tellers get murdered anyway, don't they?

"Join the SCA"? LOL! And I'd sing the Star Trek fight music just like Jim Carrey in Cable Guy, when he drags poor Matthew Broderick off to Medieval Faire and beats his ass.

/pop culture riff

7:53 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Actually, I'm calling a do-over.

I didn't even ASK what the heckler said to Allen, and have no idea.

1. I vaguely remember being told that some forms of verbal contact, even short of threats, constitute assault. If Peter's around, he could clear this up for us.

2. Some people just need an ass kicking. That doesn't entitle people to gang up on someone, and it doesn't necessarily mean the guy deserved it in this case, but I'm willing to rethink that issue.

More data needed.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

WS posts:
"2. Some people just need an ass kicking"

Nicely said! After all, the good people of Scottsboro, AL, knew that those nine black boys just needed an ass kicking. And the equally good people of Marion, IN, knew that young James Cameron and his two friends just needed an ass kicking. (end sarcasm)

Experience has shown that using personal violence (i.e., outside the structure of a legal system) to settle disputes tends to spiral out of control. Too often, the culture of personal violence as retribution hurts innocent people.

Was Stark annoyning Sen. Allen? Certainly.

But, instead of assaulting Stark, Allen's handlers could have looked at him and, with disdain dripping from their voices, said something like:

"Grow up, blogger boy. The Senator has real work to do. Why don't you go back to Momma's basement and stay their until you can act like a grown-up in public?"

7:14 AM  

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