Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Chancellor Katehi Must Resign - UPDATE

Linda P.B. Katehi, 2010
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is quoted as saying she takes "full responsibility for the incident" this past Friday where dozens of students were injured, requiring hospitalization in some cases, as a result of excessive force by the campus' private police force.

Either she knew what was going on or she didn't.  If she knew, that means she approved of the tactics.  Any school administrator that knowingly places her students in physical jeopardy has no business in a position of authority.  If she didn't know, that means she simply is not in control of her employees - men and women who wear a badge and uniform and police the campus under her jurisdiction.

In either case, she should resign.

Ms. Katehi vows to set up a task force to investigate what happened. We pretty much know what happened already - the recounts are numerous, consistent, and on video all over the Internet. Allowing the Chancellor to 'investigate' makes as much sense as asking Dick Cheney to investigate who authorized Scooter Libby to release the identity of a covert CIA agent.

Perhaps Katehi should take note of the law in California and rethink what she has condoned or at least sanctioned in ignorance:

However, the state of California does have a few rules and regulations regarding the use of pepper spray. It is absolutely legal to carry pepper spray and use it to protect your personal safety without having any special state or federal permits. CA laws do regulate the size and/or weight of the defense spray products you can carry and buy. The legal container size must be equal to or below 2.5 ounces of active product. There are many pepper spray items and models that comply with this state set standard.

The pepper spray carried, shipped, sold or used in California should also be labeled with a warning stating that the product is only intended for self-defense. In general, most state laws (California included) enforce that pepper spray should only be used in self defense situations where you fear your life or safety is in danger. Illegal use of pepper spray products (perhaps dispensing them out of anger or as non self defense violence against another person) can bring fines of $1000 and up and/or three years in prison.

California: Weight restricted to 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams).

Granted, the UC Davis paramilitary force may have obtained special permits, but given the restrictions on its normal commercial use, I seriously doubt what we witnessed (video) constitutes lawful use in California.

Prior to being sprayed three times over with a canister containing a lot more than 2.5 ounces of OC,
students sit with arms linked and heads bowed, never threatening the campus police.
If the victims of the pepper spraying go to court, they should revisit the precedent set by protesters who won their case against Northern California police, charging that the pepper spray applied directly to their eyes with a cotton swab did not meet the 'reasonable force under the circumstances' requirement.  I venture the same could definitely be said about the repeated, point-blank pepper spraying of students who were simply seated on the ground with arms linked.

UPDATE: According to, several of the students who were injured in the pepper-spray incident are planning to file lawsuits and have already been in contact with civil rights attorneys.  (h/t Zane1, comment at Politicalgates)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is it Time for Champagne?

Champagne-Ardenne Pictures
This photo of Champagne-Ardenne is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Ever since I concluded who and what Sarah Palin is, somewhere around September-October 2008, I tried to make sure that I shared that information with anyone who might listen.  I became an avid consumer of the former half-term governor's public history and an anthropologist digging through her not-so-public life, blogging about what I discovered.  No Alaska paper or news outlet escaped being scoured, or quoted when relevant.  Many people across the US and the world explored the mystery and mystique of the "hottest governor of the coldest state." I absorbed what they had to say and learned all I could from them. Pro- and anti-Palin sites alike did not escape my scrutiny.  I came to know, with a certainty that grew daily, that the superficial second-place beauty queen should never, ever get elected to a national political office.

My computer's hard disk holds nearly a thousand images, hundreds of documents and stored Web pages, and several dozen video clips that record my passage through the Palin family's grifting trail out of Wasilla and back again. I have no intention of deleting any of it, at least not yet. But with Mrs. Todd Palin's announcement that she would not seek the Republican nomination for US President, and the abrupt media silence surrounding her subsequent travels and events, can we finally put her behind us? Is it over, is it time to break out the champagne?

You know those scenes at the end of scary movies, when the monster lays defeated? Just when you think you can celebrate, up rises a gnarled, bloody claw-like hand making a final attempt to claim one more victim. I keep looking over my shoulder, hardly willing to believe that it is truly and well over. Perhaps it's because the nasty and indisputable truth about her fake pregnancy has yet to be laid bare. As a woman and mother, this to me was her most egregious deception. I was and still am convinced that should this hoax be exposed, she would never again have a shot at any office of power in government.  Finis. The end.

I would like to uncork a bottle of bubbly and share the spirit with all of you—I'm just afraid of calling it too soon.  Besides, it would feel better to toast her going out with a bang rather than a whimper.

Friday, October 07, 2011

It Would Have Been More Honest...

...had the 2008 McCain-Palin ticket slogan been:

Given the order that Sarah Palin says she maintained by bowing out of consideration for a run at the presidency in 2012 (God, family, country), one wonders why she never blinked back in 2008.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Religion-based Politics and the GOP Debate

I do not intend to disrespect anyone's religion or belief set. But could someone please tell me the difference between Afghanistan's much-maligned Taliban and the US's own Dominionists? Both groups want to take over the leadership role in their respective countries. Both groups want their version of their holy book to form the basis of the laws of the land. Both groups want their own members in all positions of power.

If Sharia Law is bad, then why would Christian Law or Jewish Law or Hindu Law be good? It is precisely when we create laws based on the religious beliefs of a segment of our society that we lose what is most precious about our land of the free.  Do we love our freedoms?  Of course. But our freedoms do not extend to trampling on the freedoms of others.  Should we allow a stone carving of the Ten Commandments outside a courthouse?  Well, if we do, then we should also allow symbols from any other faith as well.

What is the difference between a government/legal system that operates based on the Bible from a government/legal system that operates based on the Koran? For the life of me, I don't see any difference at all. Don't tell me it is because Islam breeds terrorists. Christianity seems to breed plenty of terrorists too:  Oklahoma City, abortion clinic bombings and their doctors murdered, violence against LGBT persons, and many more examples. Perpetrating violent acts against an institution, organization or individual because of a belief set is terrorism, no matter what belief set is used to justify such acts.

I say Creator.  You say Creator.  Are we talking about the same thing? Yet politicians now think that they have to out-Christian each other in order to gain favor.  If only our founders could see us today, I think they would cringe as I do when one after another GOP candidate on the debate stage attests to their personal anti-choice, anti-other-religion-besides-Christianity, and anti-gay beliefs.

It makes me want to scream.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Religion in Politics

Never discuss religion or politics in polite company, so the saying goes, because you're bound to offend someone. But what about inserting religion into politics? If we let the Constitution be our guide, and if we not only read but understand the intent of the founders of our nation, we cannot and should not ever mix the two or blend them into one.

This is, of course, contrary to what Sarah P. and the other Dominionists and many so-called TeaPartiers would have us believe. One nation, under God, they say. And that means their God, and how they perceive their God's wishes and rules. Their goals are to infiltrate the 7 mountains of human experience and "affect the seven spheres, or mountains of society that are the pillars of any society.

Trouble is, there are many world religions and within those, many sects that hold differing guiding principles. Trouble also is, even within so-called Christianity, there are multiple interpretations of the bible. The bible is divided into old and new 'testaments' and quite frankly, they don't agree with one another. We have Jesus on the one hand saying, "Turn the other cheek," and the old testament saying, "An eye for an eye."

Equal, productive, valuable members of our American society adhere to different religions, among them Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity (each with almost countless variations), Mormonism, Zoroastrianism, Bhuddism, Shinto, Confucianism, Jainism, Taoism, Sikhism, Bahai... not to mention those with lesser followings like Spiritism, Tenrikyo, New-Paganism, Rastafarianism, Juche, Primal (indigenous), Unitarian, and of course Atheism and Agnosticism.

The founding documents of our country clearly and explicitly state that no religion or religious practice should be put forward as the law of the land. In the land of the free, how can we suffer the notion that we are free except when a religious majority (or minority) decides we are not?

Let me put it this way.  If you believe that homosexuality is a deviant behavior abhorrent to your God, fine.  I feel sorry for you, but don't lay down laws that make gays and lesbians unable to enjoy the state or federally-granted benefits any other heterosexual couple does.  If you believe that life begins when a sperm joins an egg, fine... I believe life begins when the baby takes its first breath after being expelled from the womb, so don't make laws that make it very difficult for a woman to have an abortion. Essentially, if your God tells you something, fine... let it be so for you, but don't try to legislate that version of morality on everyone else.  Your God is not the same as other people's God. And nowhere in our Constitution does it say your God is the right and only God.  Am I missing something?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

All About Weiners (and I don't mean 4th of July BBQ)

Dear readers, please consider this an opinion-based editorial. I'm going to be frank about how I feel in the situation of Rep. Anthony Weiner vs (scumbag) Andrew Breitbart and the dog and pony show that has distracted our media, all of it, for days now.

Rep. Weiner has been a consistent and effective voice in the US Congress, post-teabag-infiltration, for what I consider to be common sense.  Common sense tells me that if the poor are lifted up and the middle class are supported, our economy is strengthened. Wipe out those who can barely buy groceries much less toilet paper or a new TV?  Foreclose on those in the middle income brackets and reduce their paychecks to boot? Who will buy a new car or refrigerator or add a deck and garden to their homes? Who will put aside monies to pay for college for their kids? Who could even think of upgrading their current heating and cooling systems to ones that pollute less?  The economy as a whole has no option but to suffer as a result.

Common sense says that the economic drivers of our nation are you and me, the consumers of basic goods and services.  Common sense also says that if the consumers are pinched due to stagnant wages (or wage reduction, and hey I know something about that) or higher prices for fuel and food and transportation, they won't be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.  No vacations, at least not expensive ones.  No home improvements except for the direly needed ones.  No new vehicles, better look for used ones when old Bessie finally costs more to maintain than she's worth. Forget hiring service providers from lawn mowing to child care to tax preparation to pest control.

Common sense conservatism, such as that touted by the extreme right-wing idealogues, hurts our economy and hurts our potential for growth. In that sense, Rep. Weiner is ahead of the curve, recognizing that without a guarantee of health care, we all suffer even if you or I don't fall ill.  Without a security blanket, we all suffer, even if you or I don't need it at this time. Without someone in Congress checking one of the other branches (the judicial in this case) you and I can be casually tossed under the bus when it comes to almighty Supreme Court decisions.

Was Anthony Weiner's private life exposed for political reasons?  You betcha.

Personally?  I could care less what Anthony Weiner does or did in his spare time online via social networking. And I don't understand why it is a big deal for anyone else, either. I do not want to see the pictures.  I don't care how graphic they are. It's like peering into someone's bathroom or bedroom, and I don't belong there. Full disclosure: I have sent and received "x-rated" images between myself and someone I originally met online.  Maybe you haven't.  Yes, I've since deleted them all.  That's just what happens, and it isn't horrid.  It isn't despicable.  It just is. It doesn't make me or the other person a bad person at all.  Humans are sexual beings by nature.  It just is that way.

By hook or crook, Breitbart has managed to purvey "porn" and hopes to be rewarded for it. Like I said in the beginning, he is despicable. My skin crawls when I see him talk. He thinks he's got another great notch in his imaginary belt of coups, but in truth all he's done is place himself lower than Larry Flynt on the scale of respectable story-tellers.

Was the Democratic party tinged with scandal as a result?  Yes, sadly.

But hey - the Republican Party has managed to survive several times as many scandals, and worse ones to boot.  Yes, I am sad. Yes, it stings.  But no, it still is none of our business.  May it remain that way.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Sentiments Exactly

I'm reposting this because it resonates deeply. I volunteered to go to Vietnam as a chopper medic, but being an enlisted female and all, they wouldn't send me. I served stateside at the Travis AFB hospital in California, first stop for the wounded as well as the body bags.

H/T to 'gypsyrose' who added it to a comment under this Joe McGinniss blog post.

A Vietnam Veteran’s Letter To Sarah Palin – author unknown

For some time now, you have been an amusing, albeit mostly incoherent annoyance. But today you crossed a line. With that high cut helmet, carefully designed to allow your professionally coiffed hair to flow freely, you have tried to hijack a moment that you can’t even begin to understand. You decided that an event that has for years been intended to call attention to our POW/MIAs would make a really cool photo-op, as well as a great kick-off for your next get-rich-quick scheme.

Well, Sarah, you picked my war this time. I had several buddies, two of whom died within a couple of meters of me, and you zoomed right past their names on The Wall today; winking and smiling all the way. You weren’t invited, you weren’t welcome, but when has that ever stopped you?

Did you make a few extra bucks for your PAC? If so, I hope that helps you sleep tonight. Because you see, Sarah, my buddies have been sleeping for 40 years; and if they knew that a two-bit grifter like you would one day be making money off of their sacrifice, they might not be resting as easily as I hope they are tonight.

I’m a Christian, Sarah, and I don’t say this lightly … God damn you, Sarah Palin.

Update: Phil Munger of Progressive Alaska blog has also posted this letter, and credits someone named 11 Bravo. Thanks, 11 Bravo, whoever you are!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kitty Purrfectness

Mommy watches while daddy takes a break

"Mommy said we can't come out to play until after our nap"

Meantime, my blog-writing is mostly happening at Politicalgates in case you don't already visit there.  :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brief Comment...

Every once in a while LIFE gets in the way of my writing blog entries, here or on Politicalgates.  You've all heard the "dog ate my homework" excuse, but I have a couple new ones.

With Wisconsin workers trying their best to hold on to rights they've fought for and earned long ago (and watching those rights dissolve), with the tragedy, the extreme tragedy in Japan with the most massive earthquake ever measured and the horrible devastation resulting from a huge set of tsunami waves... nothing should or could get in the way of these major events.

Then we have my work scenario... after 14 years of working for the same government agency but under three different contractors, and after 5 different managers in those contractor agencies, I finally wound up under one who is appalled that I might care more for our mutual client than I do for her.  I do know the client pretty well... As a result, in my most recent performance review, I received heavily downgraded marks because my new (within last 9 months) supervisor challenged the fact that I resist one of her decisions because it negatively affects my job, my co-workers, and our client's objectives. 

Too complicated to explain in detail, but this is the FIRST time I've ever encountered a supervisor (in over 40 years of working!!) who wanted me to jump through certain hoops just because she said so, even if it meant my team members and our client and our deliverables would be negatively impacted.

Add on to that that we've got one cat here (my housemate's) who is dying.  Thanks be, my female kitty is most certainly pregnant, so we have this birth coming up.  And then, my daughter is pregnant also, too, wow!  First time for her. Late coming, after a tubal even. 

I guess this is all to say that I want to hug you all and write, but there's not a lot of room or time right now. 

Be well, and do what you can to be happy. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bailey Manuscript Brouhaha

It would have been enough, in fact more than enough, at least in my mind ... had the Mudflats people simply said,
It appears that a manuscript we have been working on for over a year has been distributed well beyond what we intended when we sent it to our publicist. Several outlets, news organizations and blogs included, are writing about one or another aspect of the book we hoped to publish.

Those we know have had access to the manuscript, either through their publishing stories about it or through their statements that they received it from one or another individual, will be contacted by our attorneys and asked to cease and desist and also asked to reveal from whom they received a copy and to whom they themselves distributed a copy.

In the meantime, we ask for our readers' patience while we determine our next best course of action to publish this critically important manuscript.

Now, wouldn't that have been better?  The high road, people, the high road.  You only get a chance to take it once.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One More Reason (as if we needed another regarding Mrs. Palin)

There are SO many professions and even mundane-type jobs where it is essential to think before acting. Would your employers or customers or co-workers forgive you when time and again you jumped to conclusions? Even carpenters can't afford to be hasty (measure twice, cut once), much less CEOs and Presidents.

But then, we have Mrs. Palin, who wants to help the media become more truthful because she has a degree in Communications or Journalism or something. Getting those pesky whos, whats, wheres, whys and whens is difficult, you betcha!

I wonder who made this mistake.  Someone jumped the gun and someone tweeted as SarahPalinUSA that the White House was only proposing a very small budget cut.  Someone grabbed this information from a site called The Blaze and ran with it!


The Blaze is a news, information and opinion site brought to you by Glenn Beck and a dedicated team of writers, journalists & video producers.

The article that no doubt inspired Mrs. Palin to tweet her little chastisement of her arch-enemy, President Obama, even put up several great graphics showing just how tiny the current administration's budget cuts were.

Unfortunately, The Blaze shares premature-conclusion-jumping syndrome with Mrs. Palin today, since the pie chart is egregiously incorrect. The cuts proposed amount to at least $75 billion (with a B), far more by several magnitudes than the $775 million all the RWNJ's are cackling about.

Not only The Blaze, but dozens of other Beck-groupie sites are screaming about this paltry $775 million set of cuts.  Just Google "775 million budget cuts" to see who all ran with this false story.

CBS explains,
[Glenn Beck's Web site] uses an op-ed by White House Budget Director Jacob Lew to suggest that Mr. Obama was proposing to cut $775 million from the budget, and goes on to mock that amount as insignificant.

The problem? Lew wrote in his op-ed that he was only discussing "a small fraction of the scores of cuts" in the budget proposal, not the total proposed cuts, as a Democratic official pointed out to Ben Smith. Now, it's difficult to quantify the exact total of those first year cuts, and there is new spending that actually increases the deficit projection for 2012. But the cuts themselves are certainly more than Palin suggests: there are $2.5 billion in cuts to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program alone, for example. Smith writes that the proposed cuts, in total, add up to about $75 billion.

I can't begin to imagine what a nightmare it would be should Mrs. Palin ever, ever get into a position of having to make decisions for the country. She can't even fact-check what she tweets because she is so damn eager to blast President Obama.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Quickie Time Again

This time it's about abortion.

The major hypocrisy with those who want the Government to step in and tell women they may not terminate a pregnancy (yes, the very same big bad get Government off our backs people promote this) is this:
  1. If they themselves (women of course) get pregnant and don't want to deliver, they have the means to discreetly get rid of the problem thanks to their financial resources, regardless of whatever law may be in place.  That's the reason Roe v Wade still exists, actually. Do you really think these women want to be lawbreakers?  No.  They just want to reserve the privilege for themselves.
  2. These same people, male and female, almost universally support the death penalty. At what point in "life" does a human being cease to deserve preservation? Why does the pro-life crowd hunger for killing, especially when we know our justice system is imperfect and those convicted are not always guilty? Is it only the mass of cells inside a woman's uterus that is sacred?  Not the mass of cells that walks down the street?
  3. They also are, almost universally, gung-ho for the Bush doctrine (listen up Sarah...), which basically asserted that we have a right to invade anywhere in the world we think someone may be thinking about doing bad things to Americans.  Invasions mean killing.  People dying.  Children and other innocents with guts ripped out, dead. The numbers of innocents slain in Iraq since 2003 is staggering.  The legacy of our phosphorus and our depleted uranium arms and armaments will continue to devastate the land and its peoples for many generations to come.
  4. They basically support the military-industrial complex which runs on OIL and creates jobs only in the weapons manufacturing industries. They also basically support guns and high-volume clips for automatic weapons, even though a hunter never needs this firepower, and even though our police chiefs fight against the overpowering weapons.
  5. They turn a blind eye to the horrendous civilian body counts that result from "war" and never have a thing to say about the tens of thousands of infants born with horrific deformities due to our use of illegal munitions.
In short, the pro-life crowd acts as if it is anti-Jesus and anti-life in every form other than that of the unborn fetus. Their hands are so bloody in every other aspect of human and mammal life that their feigned disgust at the thought of someone aborting a fetus is laughable.

People are certainly entitled to their opinions.  But if what you voice out loud cannot be supported and sustained, due to the hypocrisy in the rest of your life, you basically lose.  Make sure that by protesting of abortions you do not also inspire someone to gun down the medical professionals who provide this vital, legal service.  Bill O'Reilly will forever be on my personal a-hole list for broadcasting, day after week, "Tiller the baby killer."

If you feel ultra-strongly about abortion, revisit how you feel about other kinds of involuntary life termination.  I'd be a lot more likely to give you space if you also oppose the death penalty and wars of choice.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Time for a Quickie

I don't want to let my own blog have an atrophy (lol, h/t to Sarah Palin who frequently uses verbs as nouns) while I'm writing for Politicalgates.  Once in a while, therefore, also too, I'll try and post on H&HT a simple phrase that boggles my mind.

Today's phrase is the frequently heard justification by politicians, "The American People want.... [fill in the blank]."

Since when do the American people speak with a unified monolithic voice? More often than not, the pol who prefaces his statement with "The American people want..." does not, in any shape or fashion speak for me.  I do not want the recently passed Health Care bill undone, for instance.  I do not want us to stop looking at ways to control guns, their ownership, their ammunition.  I do not want to get any more proof of President Obama's citizenship than what has already been proffered.  I do not want us to strip mine in West Virginia or send jobs overseas to India or drill for oil in sensitive environments like ANWR or encourage parents to pull their children out of public schools in favor of home-schooling or private schooling.

In short, any pol who declares that he/she knows what the American people want is trying very hard to pull the wool over our eyes.  They haven't got a clue.  Even when they poll us they don't ask the right questions.  And no poll can reflect the depth of opinion that exists on any single topic.  I am very wary of a talking head or a politician trying to support his or her own viewpoint (be it conservative or liberal or libertarian or whatever) by telling me on the TV that he or she knows what the American people want.

They don't.  They can't.  They should simply be responsible to their own communities, their own constituents (and NOT to the lobbyists), and quit with the all-encompassing "I'll tell you what you feel and think" nonsense.  They should say, out loud, "MY constituents by a whatever % margin feel like this:..."

They don't speak for me.  Don't let them speak for you or tell you what you think, either.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Commenters at and Owners of Immoral Minority and Palingates


Since August 2008 I have been an active reader of and occasional commenter on Mudflats, Immoral Minority, Palin's Deceptions, Bree Palin, Team Truther, Palingates and a good handful of others.  I also devoted many posts (granted, infrequently) on my own blog to 'things Palin' over the years. During this entire time I have used the same screen name, Ennealogic, so if you want to go back through and check what I wrote and where, Google is your friend.

I feel I know many of you who have also kept the same online name. Many of you have also posted a comment or two here on occasion. Some of what I have to say is for those who remain without an online persona, though, so please read carefully.

To those posting at Immoral Minority (IM)

Some of you are flaming not only the blog Palingates, some are also casting serious aspersions on Patrick and Kathleen who are as of today no longer contributing there, and even more, some are naming individuals who frequently comment on the blog in a very disparaging way. Why?  Who does this? Nearly everyone who frequents Palingates and leaves comments there has a screen name, unlike at IM where nearly everyone posts as "Anonymous," so I guess you can feel safe that your commentary will never be noticed for its viciousness.  But the point is, what on earth is there to gain from discrediting the #1 Political Blog of the Year? I remember when Mudflats earned that distinction, and it was well deserved.  I believe Palingates definitely earned the distinction too, for its unassailable, detailed, researched, backed-up posts on 'things Palin.'

If you do not like the articles, you certainly do not have to read them.  I don't frequent blogs whose approach I disdain.  Why belittle a blog in a comment on another blog which supposedly has the same aims?  And if you do not like the tone of the comments, or the frequency with which one or another person made a comment there, why read the comments?  Or why not just skip over that person's comment?  Why go to Immoral Minority and make such snide comments there when both Palingates and IM share the same goal of making sure that the ex-half-term Governor of Alaska has no political future?

To Immoral Minority's Owner

Gryphen, my little blog has received significant views as a result of your linking to it. I do not do what you do, nor do I do it the way you do it, but my goals, too, for Hypocrites and Heffalump Traps (at least for the last 2-1/2 years) are the same as yours when it comes to 'things Palin.' I appreciate your notice of my past posts and thank you for maintaining the link to my blog under the 'Sarah Palin's Least Favorite Blogs' category.

But I have to wonder, knowing full well that you do review all comments before approving them, why you would give a pass to so many negative and truly harmful comments towards Palingates, towards Patrick and Kathleen, and towards those who comment there, on today's topic titled, "Is the Internet broken? Nah!" post. I have never seen this kind of laxness at Palingates.  And I would not allow it here, either.

One last thing, I was dismayed when you stopped linking to Palingates, yet in spite of whatever the dust-up was about, they continued to link to you. It seemed like Regina and Patrick and Kathleen had their heads on a bit straighter at the time.  They each made it clear that creating divisions was a bad thing and that we readers should just let it go.  They had the moral high ground.  Will you be re-linking Palingates now, given your glowing support for Regina in today's post?

To those posting at Palingates

Some blogs have followers, some have readers, some have commenters, and some end up forming a community.  I've been online since 1993 - through bulletin boards, chat rooms, discussion groups, and a wide variety of online discussion boards. I am not a 'joiner' type of person, but I've never before experienced such a community as Palingates became. You know, like the bar "Cheers" where everyone knows your name. I never once felt like I could not leave a comment, even though my contributions were more infrequent than others.

Yes, we talked about pets, illnesses, families, hopes and dreams and upcoming travels, disappointments, grief, and yes, even joys. That did make up a fair part of the total commentary on any given post. At the same time, people contributed freely of their time (and money to subscribe to databases) to provide links, documents, and images to further the understanding of a particular topic relating to 'something Palin.'  Maybe it was a bit much for some people to understand our embracing MrsGunka for instance, or Sleuth's missing dog. Who but the heartless would begrudge this kind of human contact, though?

Some folks used rude words, but no more than I have in my own mind. Some folks were suspicious (this was rare, though) of others who honestly did sound like trolls.  Some folks were tireless in their efforts to promote Palingates far and wide, and Palingates was the better for it. Some folks shyly introduced themselves and were welcomed. Some folks strayed off-topic frequently, but it never vexed me.  Instead, it showed me that some folks have a much larger heart and far greater generosity of spirit than I've allowed myself.  Daily I was refreshed in my own humanity.  Daily I was challenged to dig into the topics du jour. Daily I was amazed at the prolific number of angles that were addressed and investigated.

So .. to those posting at Palingates, I salute you all.  The rough and the smooth.  The raunchy and the gracious. The caring and the self-correcting.  May we find a way through the current upheaval to more firmly knit this community.

To Palingates' owner

Regina, I imagine you have gathered from the few comments I made today that I am very distressed about the way this all came down. The last thing I ever expected from Palingates was that I would read about a rather major shake-up in contributors from a post on Immoral Minority.

I have to chuckle—as Patrick pointed out recently, mine was the first comment on the new Palingates blog. And what I'm left thinking here is, "this was a failure to communicate," as the root of the recent developments. Look, it is no small feat, as I'm sure you know, to gain so much of a following to a simple blog. I can't maintain that kind of effort here, not even. And I also do not know internal history.  Let's just say that I respect you, and Patrick and Kathleen all equally, and I am immensely appreciative of the work each of you has donated to a cause not as close to home as it is to us U.S. citizens.

Had I been in a similar situation, would I have acted as you did?  I do not know. I do think, had you handled this with a bit more aplomb, the bomb that went off with today's Brace yourselves post could have been defused.

And finally, to Patrick and Kathleen

Both of you have my profound admiration and respect. It is not common that a citizen of another country recognizes a threat such as the one that Sarah Palin might pose not only to America but to the world, much less take significant action to insure that this dominionist empty-head has her ambitions curtailed. I saw your vigor and drive long ago and was immensely delighted that you opened up the discussion about Babygate in Team Truther when our revered Alaskan blogs refused to touch it.

I have been a supporter, both in word and in financial contributions, and I will continue to be so. If it is indeed true that you will be launching your own blog, know that I will be there for the inaugural post.  My best wishes to both of you, and my deep gratitude for your persistence.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Myth That Political Rhetoric Is Harmless

Sarah Palin opines, in her most recent video from an undisclosed location,
There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently.
I like the part about "apparently apolitical," which must have been inserted to give her some wiggle room in case inconvenient facts emerge about what influenced the shooter's actions. Even so, she apparently didn't notice that the gunman specifically targeted a politician who just happened to be a Democratic congresswoman in the middle of performing her congressional duties. Since the accused had purchased his gun over a month ago, and no doubt ran across many other people in the time between November 30, 2010 and January 8, 2011, it's reasonable to assume his first target was carefully chosen precisely because she was political.  Nice try, Sarah.

Mrs. Palin goes on to dissemble,
We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.
Let's face it, nobody I know conflates 'taking up arms' with voting. And if there should be any doubt about the meaning of "Don't retreat, instead RELOAD"—the words she used in her Tweet to point to the now-infamous crosshairs map— may I present this image brought to you by "Second Amendment Task Force:"

I don't think about voting when I see this...

Mrs. Palin's overarching concerns in this incompetently-timed and self-obsessed video are (1) for her own potential culpability in the massacre and then (2) for any dampers that may be placed on her free speech as a result of the tragedy. To mitigate the first concern, she rigorously insists that any fault must lie clearly, and only, on the perpetrator—accountability, personal responsibility, and all that. Unfortunately, she is entirely unpracticed in this herself.

To stave off the second concern, she turns to her oft-used attack mode:

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.
Who is she talking about here, though, "those who embrace evil and call it good?" Is she calling me evil because I am blogging for cooling down the rhetoric?  Who is so intolerant that they would seek to "muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults?"  The catchphrases and Facebook rants and hostile imagery linked to self-righteous Sarah are real, not imagined. The very language she uses against her perceived opponents here is exceedingly hostile and supercilious.

Can't someone hand her a mirror and make her really see?

That paragraph above is quintessential Sarah Palin. I can think of several occasions where she has shrilly decried imagined insults, and several more where she along with members of her adoring flock have tried to deter others from speaking out about her; they cry foul and assist her in playing the victim.  I can think of only a few people, none of whom are ever mentioned as a candidate for the U.S. presidency, who are as intolerant of those holding a different opinion than the once-upon-a-time-governor-who-quit has proven to be.

Mrs. Palin's very good buddy Glenn Beck is on the record for inciting unhinged people to do violent things. David Brock's "A Message to Sarah Palin" is a superb accounting of Beck's accountability thanks to his hate-filled rhetoric. Daily radio show or not, Mrs. Palin is in the same camp and of the same ilk as Beck.  She still "stands with" him.

It is little wonder that she did her self-serving causes no good with the January 12, 2011 "blood libel" poor-me video. Now, if she would just quietly slink off to a remote desert cabin and stay there for a very, very long time.  She is welcome to shout her inanities at the top of her lungs as long as only lizards and cactii can hear it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

After January 8, 2011 in Arizona, What Now?

Talking heads are asking, "What was the cause of the tragedy in Arizona and how can we prevent it in the future?"

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ
Most everyone mentions better regulating guns and banning extended ammunition clips, repairing an imperfect mental health care system, and toning down violence-inciting rhetoric and imagery.  Out of these three, what can we do right now? The issue of hate-filled speech, raised by victim Gabrielle Giffords (YouTube) herself over the past year, is the simplest to work on right now—assuming, of course, that those who spew vitriol recognize that threatening, belligerent speech does, indeed, have consequences.

We must disavow and eradicate inflammatory, bullet-riddled imagery in political speech. That was the main issue that Sheriff Clarence Dupnik raised in his initial comments to the press shortly after the mass shooting event. Isn't it credible that a manufactured climate of despair and fear, along with not-so-subtle urgings for patriotic citizens to take matters into their own hands, played a part in the Arizona massacre and assassination?

Some in the public eye are using this time for introspection, for self-examination, by looking to see where they may have contributed to the tinderbox climate.  Keith Olbermann offered a heartfelt special comment, along with others (such as Bob Schieffer) who seem to have taken this sickening incident in Tucson to heart.

Then there are those who can't seem to find enough ways to deny their own contributions to the volatile rhetoric:

Sarah Palin for example...

And Rush Limbaugh of course.

Some even double down by fomenting further hate, fear and aggression like Glenn Beck.

I'm so crushed by these events.  It's all I can do to keep from crying again and again for what could have been: a future for the innocent victims who perished, whether they were a judge or a young girl or a retiree or a Congressional staffer; freedom from devastating trauma for the injured; intervention for the apparent shooter who didn't get help when it was needed. 

It is not yet too late, though, to call out anyone who profited from creating and perpetuating the venomous political climate in which we find ourselves, in an effort to get them to stop.  It is what we can do, right now.


Let's Get This Straight 
from Shakesville

What the Right Gains From Poisoning Our Political Discourse and Inspiring Violence
from Alternet

Was Jared Loughner's Act Political?
from Cenk Uygur