Happy New Year, Sad Old Right-Wing Hatemongering
I'd be extremely surprised if there were not a demonstrable connection between right-wing Republican (and, yes, libertarian) anti-government and anti-liberal rhetoric and the recent shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. (BTW, the last report I heard on NPR was that Giffords was out of surgery and in critical condition, but doctors seemed hopeful; and a previous report that she was dead was acknowledged to be wrong. Unfortunately, some of her aides, and a ten-year-old child, were not so lucky.)
Republicans, some libertarians, and a lot of loonies have been portraying Big Gummint as an evil implacable alien entity that had to be starved and drowned in the bathtub, ever since 1980. Right-wingers have been attacking the very legitimacy of our elected government, and calling liberals "baby killers," for almost as long. Sarah Palin has been raving about "death panels" that want to kill our grandmothers. Add to that the innumerable instances of misdirection, scapegoating, religious fanaticism, and outright bigoted lies we've been hearing from the Republicans (not to mention those orchestrated mob-disruptions of Democratic public appearances that started the Tea Party movement), and you'd be an idiot not to expect incidents like this.
If Sarah Palin recently removed her "targeting" crap from her website (example here), that's pretty much an admission that her camp knows full well there's a connection between this incident and their rhetoric.
More on this on this Dispatches thread.