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    • The Attack In Ottawa will be used to justify losing more rights
      Prime Minister Harper pretty much confirmed it: ‘Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened’ Yup.  Never let a crisis go to waste. I’m very sad that MPs and their staff were scared, and I’m sadder that a soldier lost his life.  But one attack does not justify increasing the police state.  However, if [...]
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Do you think Steve Benen might be a tad biased?


Seriously:

HALF-TERM GOVERNOR BREAKS HER SILENCE…. As tempted as I am to simply ignore former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) latest statement, I suppose there’s no point in pretending it’s not of some interest to the political world this morning.

Palin has been unusually quiet since Saturday’s massacre in Tucson, and as interest in the toxicity of political rhetoric has grown more intense, her role in cheapening and dragging down our discourse has generated a fair amount of attention.

Today, Palin broke her silence issuing a video, which is nearly eight minutes long. It’s a standard tactic — the right-wing media personality can’t subject herself to questions or muster the confidence to deal with cross-examinations, so to communicate, Palin’s forced to hide behind statements others write for her, and then upload them. It’s not exactly the stuff Profiles in Courage are made of.

In any case, the statement/video is about what one might expect. Palin, speaking from Alaska with an American flag over her right shoulder, has no regrets and no apologies to offer. Instead, she’s concerned about “blood libel.”

“If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

I don’t imagine Palin actually knows what “blood libel” means, but historically, it’s referred to the ridiculous notion of Jews engaging in ritual killings of Christian children. More commonly, it’s a phrase intended to convey the suffering of an oppressed minority.

In other words, Palin is apparently feeling sorry for herself, again, using a needlessly provocative metaphor that casts her as something of a martyr.

Benen uses the phrase “half-term governor” at least three times in his post. That right there indicates that maybe he’s not being entirely neutral and objective.

I like the “breaks her silence” jab too. On Saturday, soon after the news of the shootings broke, Sarah Palin posted this statement on Facebook:

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

She then went about her business. Various people have been criticizing her for not saying more, specifically for not admitting it was all her fault, apologizing and promising to never show her face in public again.

Of course if she had been giving interviews she would have been criticized for trying to steal the spotlight for herself.

Apparently Benen hasn’t got the memo that Sarah was dogwhistling to her fundiegelical supporters when she used the words “blood-libel.” He thinks she’s just a stupid girl who was using words she didn’t understand.

As for the flag reference, I wonder what Benen thought when candidate Obama gave his Greatestest Speech on Race EVAH with about 10 American flags behind him?

That’s it for another episode of “Look over there! It’s Sarah Palin!


Palin and Clyburn add fuel to raging fire with “blood libel” and intellectual deficits


I’m just going to summarize what I said in the comments because I’m still on an iPad app and it’s not designed for mini novels.

Regarding Sarah Palin’s video this morning, she was defiant. I found it decidedly unhelpful.

I was waiting for her to acknowledge that conservatives may have gone too far. I didn’t hear it. I didn’t hear her acknowledge that the atmosphere in Arizona and other states had made liberals afraid for their safety even before Giffords’ shooting. Nope, right wing pundits were just being spirited, not incendiary.

I don’t like the constant references to god or the amnesia that the country lost its mind after 9/11 with the help of right wingers to the point that we started an unnecessary war with Iraq or the fact that America’s Enduring Strength was completely undermined by lies about weapons of mass destruction. Nope, Republicans and their media lackeys had nothing to do with that. It just happened.

BTW, what is her definition of an innocent victim? Would Giffords fit that category? She was not very specific.

I will stick up for Sarah’s right to be treated with respect and not demonized. The left has been relentless in using her as a whipping girl for the past two years and the behavior of Jeralyn and Digby and just about every other lefty blogger has made us at The Confluence very angry with the behavior of what should be our side. We have always condemned the demonization and dehumanization of Sarah Palin because it undermines our moral authority and it is wrong.

But I am very disappointed that her message wasn’t more like Bill Clinton’s, who condemned, unambiguously, the demonization of those you disagree with. To Sarah, it’s all just very spirited. Yes, let’s just continue this level of spirit!

How about we let all of the political spectrum have equal access to spirited debate? The fairness doctrine would ensure free speech for everyone. Who could possibly be against that?

Sarah? Do you have something to say in support of the fairness doctrine? Sarah? Sarah?

She’s not a demon. But I disapprove of he company she keeps. She doesn’t meet my WWHD standard. In fact, this speech may have done more harm than good by giving the wingers an excuse to pick up where they left off.

In fact, it’s worse than that. My heart stopped when she used the words “blood libel”. You know as well as I do, myiq, that blood libel is a term that Christians foisted on Jews as collective guilt for the death of Jesus. It gave Christians an excuse to ghettoize Jews in the medieval centuries and lead to pogroms and persecution. So, in essence, she is equating criticism of right wing political speech as going on a pogrom against conservatives and not just any conservatives. Way to go. Enhance that persecution complex of the conservative Christians out there in Glenn Beckistan. In this part of her speech, she is specifically talking to religious conservatives who feel is is their mission to protect the country of Israel because the Jews must be converted before Armageddon.

That’s not intellectually stupid at all. That’s knowing her audience. I’ve always said she is a skillful politician and democrats would be wise to take her threat more seriously. But Clyburn and others are the stupid ones when they continue to insult her and by extension her fans. But what can we expect from Clyburn, who bludgeoned Hillary Clinton and her supported as being racists. Talk about stupidity, look no further than yourself, James. In America, it’s not only unacceptable to be a liberal, according to Republicans, it’s doubly unacceptable to be a liberal who prefers a capable woman over an inexperienced and ruthless man. That makes you a racist liberal. And they say only Republicans can come up with this stuff.

He should have done what bill Clinton did yesterday and condemned demonization against anyone, Sarah could have no come back to that. But now, blood libel, will be the word du jour and every right wing religious fox news viewer will know exactly what she means and will be eating right out of her hand.

So, Sarah has just added kerosene to this fire. Well done

Sarah – 1; Clyburn – 0


Who do we blame for THIS nut?


HuffPoop:

Shawn Christie, Alleged Sarah Palin Stalker, Reportedly Causing New Concern In Alaska

Shawn Christy, a 19-year-old Pennsylvania teenager who has had a restraining order issued against him by the former Alaska governor, is causing anxiety in the Frontier State with reports that he has planned a visit to Wasilla.

TMZ reports:

19-year-old Shawn Christy has told family members he plans to travel to Wasilla in the hopes of removing the restraining order issued against him last year after Sarah and her close friend Kristan Cole proved he sent them threatening emails and letters.

According to TMZ, Cole has mounted a legal effort to ensure that Christy won’t be able to combat the restraining order.

AOL News reported last year on the case:

Judge Colleen Ray issued a 20-day protective order against the 18-year-old McAdoo, Penn., man after Christy sent Palin an e-mail informing her that his plane had landed in Alaska. A hearing on Oct. 13 will decide if a longer-term restraining order is necessary.Palin testified by phone during the inquiry, The Associated Press reported. “Bottom line, he is crazy and could kill me,” Palin said, according to the court transcript.

The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reports that Christie claims to have had an affair with Palin, and that he had made reference to a purchase of a weapon and a future visit.

“When someone sends you proof that they’ve purchased weapons. Proof that they know where you live. And said that they are looking into purchasing a one-way plane ticket to Alaska and then calls from a cell phone with a 907 number, it’s over the line and we need protecting,” Kristan Cole said at the time, according to the Frontiersman.

If Sarah Palin is responsible for Jared Loughner, who is to blame for Shawn Christy?

Barack Obama? Andy Sullivan? Who should be apologizing for something they said about Sarah?

Jezebel:

Sarah Palin emailed Glenn Beck to refudiate her possible responsibility for inciting the Tucson shooting. Meanwhile, did you know she has her own stalker, news of which just conveniently resurfaced? Poor, map-surveying Sarah.



WWHD?

I should have written a post about this earlier because I really don’t like the meme “politicizing a tragedy” and you won’t hear me using it. The reason you won’t hear me using it is because words like “politicizing” are cooked up by operatives at the speed of light and are used to short circuit the thought process. They provide a sort of cheap grace as a substitute for thinking the problem out. Same for words like corporatist and triangulate. But that subject deserves it’s own post and is not the subject of this one

I’m going to try to summarize some of the thoughts I had in myiq’s thread from yesterday. My wifi connection in this hotel isn’t the best, I’m typing on an ipad in a WordPress app and I’ve already lost one post on the subject.

There seem to be tow major camps regarding this tragedy: Sarah Palin is a monster and the Tea Partiers must be blamed. Or, Sarah Palin is the scapegoat and her picture had nothing to do with this tragic incident.

I prefer the third way. In this respect, I must dissent from myiq. On this site, we allow dissent and that is significant because dissent is something that neither party holds as a cherished right.

In the past 18 years, starting with the advent of Rush Limbaugh, we saw a ratcheting up of right wing extremism. Notably in Rush’s case, he started to push the envelope as to what was considered socially acceptable norms of behavior. By this, I don’t mean to say that he shouldn’t have the right to believe what he believes or proclaim any dumb ass right wing policy he wants. That’s his choice. And if he wants to throw in a few expletive deleteds for emphasis, go for it. I do the same all the time. No, what I’m referring to is the subtle and not so subtle breakdown of the barriers we out up between our darkest inner thoughts and our tongues. Take for instance the word “feminazi” for example. There are other examples, some of which are documented in Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot written by none other than my personal favorite, Al Franken.

We put up barriers to these inner thoughts in the 60s and 70s because society thought it was wrong to treat African Americans unfairly and it was wrong to treat women like second class citizens and it was wrong to deprive hippies of the right to grow up to be liberals if that’s what they wanted. The right called it political correctness and while it’s true that some people take the concept too far, it is NOT true that these new societal norms were unnecessary. Seriously, does anyone want to go back to the days of segregation or sexual harassment or, more relevantly now, the days of laissez faire capitalism where the average American was vulnerable to the dips and swings of the market without any stability or insurance against risk? No. Most people don’t.

But there are some segments of society that do want to go back or don’t see what the big deal is if they step on some heads to get to the top. The right wing tapped into that sentiment. They did it by breaking down the barriers and by making it acceptable to unleash that hatred of groups we had decided to protect and assist so they could fully participate in the American dream. They did it by making Rush popular, by buying up radio stations and by giving him a pass when he said indiscreet, intemperate and socially unacceptable things. It became ok to hate these groups again.

I wouldn’t say that violates any constitutional amendments. It just violates our sense of who we are as a nation and it undermines the cohesiveness that so many civil rights activists and union workers fought for over many decades. What distresses me most is that so many people, including some people in my own family, bought into it. It distresses me because we weren’t raised that way.

So, Rush may not have been the first but he was certainly the most effective at spreading the right wing vitriol. By the way, vitriol is an anachronistic word for a certain form of sulfuric acid that is particularly corrosive and dangerous. So, yeah, vitriol is an appropriate word. Vitriol corrodes. It’s not the same thing as violating civility, although it is connected. Incivility is necessary at times to express dissent. Vitriol corrodes the barriers we set up between expressing our darkest thoughts and acting on those thoughts. For example, if you were brought up to hate homosexuals, well, I feel sorry for you but I’m not going to tell you to stop believing it. What I will tell you to do is behave in a manner of good citizenship and do no violate the mental or physical integrity of a gay person and to respect the laws we set up that guarantee everyone’s civil rights. Keep your hatred to yourself.

Rush did away with all that. Now, suddenly, those throwbacks to a different era had a group to belong to. Those angry white men who failed to evolve were able to form a cohesive unit to turn back all the wrongs they think were done to them when they were forced to share the pie that they once had all to themselves. You can almost hear the far right wing Republicans cackling with joy, “Exxxxcellent!”

And so it went. The 90s were a nightmare as the right wingers continued to solidify their hold on the media, permeating virtually every media outlet and the virtual world itself. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that we saw the liberals, late to the party, take to the internet and try to push back. Some of them, particularly in 2008, attempted to use Limbaugh-esque tactics to suppress their own base. That’s because they discovered that ditching your principles to energize your base works and drives up ad revenue. It also leads to electing the least prepared and least liberal president the country has ever known during a period of time when preparation and liberal economic policies were desperately needed. But I digress.

So, the right wing has been perfecting their method for nearly two decades. What used to be outrageous and offensive, is now merely background noise. Women are uppity, they don’t spend enough time with their kids, they want abortions so they can go to the prom. Gays are recruiting young boys and they threaten the institution of marriage and if they allow gay marriage, married men will abandon their wives to dress in drag and march with their boyfriend(s) in gay pride parades. Muslims are evil. Christians, but only fundamentalist Christians, are good. Liberals want to steal your money. They will make out country vulnerable to attack. Health care reform is socialized medicine.

Finally, we have come to this point in time where if you are a liberal, you’re barely fit to live. You’re not really human. You’re no better than a parasite, a cockroach, a backstabber. Most liberals can’t even refer to themselves as liberals.

And it is into this environment that Sarah Palin steps as the champion of a new set of people. A group that even the right wing Republicans are afraid of. They resemble the John Burch Society and the old style, inside the beltway, refined Republicans don’t really approve. Funny, when Palin ran for VP in 2008, she gave little indication that she would take so well to the Glenn Beck style right wingery. I was surprised and dismayed, but the money must be good and why shouldn’t a conservative feminist cash in as well as the boys?

She got a little enthusiastic. She joined in with gusto. She turned her love of firearms and hunting into an asset. She put up a very thoughtless picture that, IMHO, demonstrated a cavalier and careless disregard for the personal safety of those people who she happened to disagree with politically and some of those people had liberal tendencies. Her audience doesn’t think it’s such a big deal. Heck, they HATE liberals with a white hot passion.

But what has happened to Gabrielle Giffords, while probably having nothing to do with Palin’s picture and more likely caused by the actions of a psychotic individual, was preceeded by death threats, vandalism and on more than one occasion people showing up to her rallies with guns and shouting in red faced fury into her face.

Did Sarah cause all the vitriol? No, she is just the last in a long line of opportunists. She shouldn’t bear the whole blame for what has happened in our country where it has become dangerous to openly confess to being a liberal.

But if she ever wants my respect, she will express genuine humility and contrition for helping to spread the vitriol. And that goes for Beck and Rush and Fox and all of their retainers. If Palin aspires to public office, where she represents and vows to protect and serve all Americans, she must set a higher standard for herself. She must adopt a set of principles of A good public servant, one who never elevates one set of citizens above others. She must continually strive to accentuate the positive and never stoop to cheap opportunism and easy politics of our baser instincts. She must become more like Hillary Clinton.

So, when it comes to Sarah and Beck and in the future Pawlenty or Mitt or Huckabee, or even Obama and his golden horde of asshole bloggers, we have to guard ourselves from being swayed by the crowd and ask, what would Hillary do?

About those “death panels”


I was reading an article at Conservatives4Palin that points out (correctly) that when the former Alaskan governor made her infamous “death panels” post on Facebook she wasn’t referring to end of life counseling.

This is what Sarah Palin said:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion.

I know this will surprise those people who are convinced (or pretend to be convinced) that because I refuse to demonize Ms. Palin that I am infatuated with her but I disagree with the former Vice Presidential candidate.

Before I explain my disagreement I want to clarify what Sarah Palin actually said. Contrary to the assertions of Ezra Klein and others, Palin never claimed that Obamacare would euthanize anyone. She claimed that Obamacare would result in rationed health care and that bureaucrats would decide whether or not to pay for treatment based on subjective criteria like the patient’s “level of productivity in society.”

While there is a nugget or two of truth in what Palin said we’re hardly talking about exterminating “useless mouths.” What we’re talking about is the kind of cost-benefit analysis that people already have to make every day.

Despite what some people think none of us has a “right to life.” On a long enough timeline the mortality rate is 100%. As Clint Eastwood said, “We all got it coming.”

As we saw during the Terri Schiavo case, the general consensus in this country is that at some point it is acceptable to terminate life-support. The real question in cases like that is who (other than the patient) can make those decisions and when they should be made.

But “death panels” cases aren’t about whether or not to pull the plug on someone, they are about the limits, if any, on the payment for health care services.

Forget the specifics of Obamacare for the moment and assume we adopted some version of single-payer like all the other industrialized nations have done. Call it Medicare For All. As the cost goes up and the prognosis grows more grim, is there some point at which we should say “enough is enough?”

Let’s say we have a patient in his eighties who is diagnosed with cancer. Treatment will cost approximately $1 million, the chances of success are less than 10% and he has already exceeded his life expectancy so even if the cancer doesn’t kill him he isn’t gonna celebrate many more birthdays anyway.

Should we pay for his treatment? What if he had diabetes and tuberculosis too? What if he’s already in a persistent vegetative state? Is there any point at which we should draw the line?

The fact is those decisions are already being made, but the decision-makers are health insurance company bean-counters and profit-minded executives.

I think that if we are going to control health care costs one thing we need to do is set limits on how much health care we will pay for. The factors considered in setting those limits should include cost but also a number of other factors, including prognosis and quality of life.

But those limits need to be determined in an open manner by people answerable to the public. There needs to be an open process and a way to appeal the decisions that are made.

What do you think?



Never doubt the Clown


Salon reports what I predicted a year and one-half ago:

Doubting Sarah
A chorus of criticism and doubt about Sarah Palin is emerging from an unlikely and telling source: Republicans

Sarah Palin is widely considered to be a leading candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. And while an October story in Politico made a splash (and drew Palin’s wrath) by quoting anonymous Republican “insiders” attacking Palin, we’ve noticed a different, striking pattern in recent weeks: More and more prominent Republicans are publicly voicing doubts about Palin.


June 18, 2009:

Secondly, I didn’t say that everything being thrown at Sarah comes from the left side of the political fence. Before Sarah will have a chance to face a Democrat in a national election again she will have to win the GOP nomination, and there are several men also vying for that prize. Although they have to be more circumspect because of her popularity with the GOPer base, the Republicans invented the bitch-slap theory – Josh Marshall just gave it a name.

So you’re gonna see Sarah get attacked from every direction, often unfairly and sometimes outrageously. But how she should respond is problematic. The conventional wisdom of the Village Idiots is that such attacks should be ignored. Ask Michael Dukakis how well that strategy works.


Now the conventional wisdom on the left is that the GOP establishment is attacking Palin because they are afraid that if she is the 2012 nominee she will lose in the general election. That’s wrong.

They are scared shitless that she’ll win.



Wrong Emphasis


Sarah Palin Uses Info Gleaned From ‘Treasonous’ WikiLeaks To Pen Op-Ed On Dangers Of Iran

Sarah Palin sought to build her foreign policy credentials on Tuesday, with a new op-ed arguing that the Obama administration needs to “toughen up” on Iran based on information from leaked diplomatic cables that she had earlier denounced.

Their point:

Sarah Palin hypocritically uses WikiLeaks information to gin up war with Iran.

The important point:

Sarah Palin hypocritically uses WikiLeaks information to gin up war with Iran.

When are progressives gonna figure this shit out?


What's the matter? Don't you like clowns?


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