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