Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’


Interpreting the Tucson Shooting: It’s Time Both Parties Denounce Hyperbolic, Aggressive Rhetoric


After the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the parking lot of a Tucson Safeway, many have immediately pointed to the harsh rhetoric coming from the conservative party as incentive for the heinous act, reportedly perpetrated by an 18-year-old kid.

While there has not been a single report as to the reasoning behind his murderous actions (a 9-year-old has been reported to have been killed, along with others), it’s not exactly a leap to jump to that conclusion.  Regardless, until the facts are out, it’s all speculation.

Does that mean that we can’t discuss that aggressive, hyperbolic rhetoric is a plague on our society?  Absolutely not.

I don’t know at what point we can blame someone for what they say when their suggestions or insinuations cause someone else to commit a crime.  One might say that we shouldn’t blame violent media for violence in real life.  But there’s a considerable difference between someone who watches a slasher flick and then goes on a killing spree versus elected public officials calling for revolution, calling for their constituents to be “armed and dangerous.” There is a responsibility once someone holds public office that separates what they do in the media from that of fictional entertainment.

Then again, that assumes that politics and fictional entertainment are different entities.  Given that America’s interest in current events lies more on commentary and variously defined “facts,” the line is blurred now more than ever.

Also, for those who have been instantly pointing their fingers at Sarah Palin for her “Hit List” and Michelle Bachmann for encouraging people to “fight back” against Democrats, it’s not about the media.  It’s about our political climate.  We live in an era where lies and hyperbole rule the day in order to rally the bases out to the polls to ensure more political power. Seriously, it’s not exactly subtle to say “help us prescribe the solution” and then have a map with a bunch of targets aligned with Democratic Representatives; it’s more like a military response than a legislative one.

There are plenty of disturbed people in the world. And they’re not all religious fundamentalists or terrorists from other countries.  Homegrown Americans can be unbalanced and living outside of reality, too.   The issue is not that there is violence in the media or that insane people commit atrocious acts of violence — that’s always an unfortunate issue of the human condition.  Instead, it’s the fact that we have government officials calling for violence in response to civilized, democratic legislation.  How is that at all a reasonable response from anyone, much less someone holding public office – whose very job it is to solve problems through discourse and lawmaking, not revolution and violence? And whether or not it was an influence on this shooting, that negative, detrimental effect on society cannot be ignored any longer.

It’s time cooler heads prevail so we can all find common ground on a tonal shift away from violence in political rhetoric no matter how vehemently we disagree with each other’s philosophies. What’s the endgame for these types of calls to violence other than actual, physical retaliation?  If it’s just supposed to be all talk, then why not spout out positive, legal ways to make changes to our society rather than breed this atmosphere of fear and anger?

The onus is on us.  We can’t make other people conform to these concepts of civility.  The best we can do is be sure that we act the way we want others to act — ideally, the more people who follow along will render those inflammatory soundbites from exposure-hungry, vapid politicians pointless.  We need to resist the urge to add more safety measures into our already encroaching police state-esque list of laws that sacrifice personal freedoms for the sake of national security.

We’re all Americans.  We shouldn’t be treating members of the other party like the enemy. We already have enough of them in the world; we don’t need to be fighting with each other, too.   And perhaps once we can achieve that, we can actually fix the significant problems we have here at home.

Photo courtesy of SearchNetMedia’s Flickr Photostream.


Sarah Palin’s Alaska Offers Nothing New to Reality Television Genre


While channel surfing during the breaks in Philadelphia’s total annihilation of the Washington Redskins Monday night, I caught a scene from Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the former governor’s new reality show on TLC.

Aside from the fact that the lead is a former vice presidential nominee, it seemed like pretty much every other reality show based on the lives of a family that’s ever been on TV.

That is to say, it was nothing new.

If you’ve seen The Osbournes, Hogan Knows Best, or Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, then you know what you’re in for with Alaska — goofy musical cues, confessionals where Sarah talks directly to the camera, and carefully edited “reality” to make real life entertaining enough for television.  Just the same ole vapid, mindless “entertainment” that TV producers have sculpted into an easily recognizable formula of pure, hypnotizing brain-rot.

The main difference, of course, is that the star of this reality show is generally considered to be the likely Republican nomination for president in the upcoming election of 2012.

Not that politicians can’t be celebrities prior to their civic office.  Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Bill Bradley all had careers in front of the camera one way or another before donning suits and dealing with budgets, legislatures, and all the rest that comes with governance.

Of course, the most influential and successful of that bunch, Reagan, had quite a period of time between being a movie star and running for president, spending time honing his skills first as the head of the actors’ union and then becoming the governor of California before setting his sights for the presidency — not strolling about her house making jokes about how boys aren’t allowed upstairs with her daughter unsupervised, as if the whole Bristol having a baby as a teenager never happened or something.

It’s hard for me to take someone seriously as an honest candidate for the presidency, the highest public office in the nation, when that person is spending her time play-acting for a reality TV show and perpetuating her fantasy world when she should be continuing to learn, grow, and practice her governing aptitude by holding some sort of public office.  Even more absurd to me, though, are any people who would vote for her should she decide to run.

For my money, Palin has found her calling: she gets paid to live in the fantasy world she had already created in her head where anything she says gets accepted as fact and now she knows that millions of people across the globe are turning in to watch her every move.

Let’s actually hope the ratings go so high that she can’t bring herself to leave the TLC cash cow for the measly $400k a year in the White House.


Ground Zero Mosque Opposition Confuses Sensitivity with Intolerance


Much has already been said surrounding the heated controversy over the planned Islamic community center and mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York City.

Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and others have conflated all of Islam with the small sub-sect of terrorists, suggesting asserting that they are one and the same, that all Muslims share the same beliefs as those apocalyptic, murderous fundamentalists that attacked our country nearly 9 years ago.

Their arguments are so egregious and blasphemous as to speak for themselves, but I have to address them briefly.  Extreme religious generalization and demonization is not cured by more extreme religious generalization and demonization.  The same groups that use the argument that, under Sharia Law, all Muslims consider all Americans”infidels,” that all Muslims follow the same exact doctrine and make the same leaps to violence and intolerance are themselves labeling an entire group of people as “the other” and are themselves makes leaps toward bigotry and intolerance.  Their arguments are as flimsy as basing all of Christianity on the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Anti-Defamation League has come out initially opposing the building of the mosque near Ground Zero — a move that seems to go against the very name of the nations’ self-described “premier civil rights/human relations agency.” Although, the stance makes more sense knowing that the ADL is also predominantly a Jewish organization, a group of people with a serious history of conflict with the Islamic world.

It gets more complicated than that, as one would expect.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep spoke with ADL Director Abraham Foxman, who helped explain their stance.  Foxman has a relationship with proposed NYC mosque’s imam Faisel Abdul Rauf, and has stood up for Rauf against character attacks that he has endured from those opposed to the Islamic center.  At the same time, however, Foxman then says:

“If he [Rauf] would say: ‘I do want to show the American public that there is an American Muslim Tradition.’  That would be a wonderful, dramatic beginning.  Rather than insisting: ‘This is where we want to heal. This is where we want to reconcile.  In your cemetery.'”

Foxman promotes the counter-productive and inflammatory “us vs. them” rhetoric by saying “your” cemetery.  As if no American Muslims died in the 9/11 tragedy.  (They did.)  As if only Americans died in the WTC attacks.  (Wrong again.)

The fact is that Ground Zero is the tragic site where thousands of people from many different nations, races, and with many different beliefs perished.  It doesn’t belong to any one person or any one group.  The healing is shared by any and all involved or affected, and yes, that includes people in the Islamic community.

Image courtesy of roberthuffstutter’s Flickr photostream


Tea Party Group Compares Obama to Hitler, Hurts Own Cause


Less than a day after Sarah Palin blasted the NAACP for blasting the Tea Party groups as “racists,” a billboard in Iowa has been taken down for its depiction of President Obama as being in the same vein as Hitler and Lenin.  The billboard – which displayed pictures of Hitler, Obama, and Lenin – was ordered by the North Iowa Tea Party.

In response to the universal outcry, North Iowa Tea Party co-founder Bob Johnson agreed that the billboard was offensive, saying that the imagery took away from the intended message of being anti-socialism:

“They are absolutely right in their criticism because the image of Hitler just totally wiped everything else and it misrepresents the tea party movement. They were right from the standpoint that the image was not a positive reflection on the tea people.”

Okay, so critics weren’t right in that the North Iowa Tea Party’s assertion that Obama is a leader on par with two of the worst human beings of the 20th century is beyond absurd and offensive and wrong; rather, the use of that imagery simply didn’t reflect positively on the tea people.  It’s not that they’re wrong, mind you.  Just that by being so blasphemous, they made themselves look bad.  That’s quite the mea culpa, Johnson.

As for my earlier reference to Sarah Palin defending the Tea Party groups as not being racist: in her note, she quotes South Carolina GOP congressional candidate Tim Scott, who said that

“the NAACP is making a grave mistake in stereotyping a diverse group of Americans who care deeply about their country and who contribute their time, energy and resources to make a difference.”

On the surface, yes, this is a compliment to the people who make up the various tea parties; but, these characteristics are not mutually exclusive.  One can be racist and still contribute plenty of time, energy, and resources to make a difference in our society.  It’s the nature of what kind of difference they’re seeking to make that should be questioned; not their efforts. People can care deeply about their country – or any number of things, for that matter – yet be misguided in their ways of showing that affection.  Simply saying that you’re doing something out of love, even if harmful or flat wrong, doesn’t excuse anything.

True, posting a billboard depicting Obama as a peer of Hitler and Lenin doesn’t mean that they’re racists — in fact, it’s asserting that Obama himself is a racist, which they very well may believe.  Perhaps the North Iowa Tea Party group posted this out of plain ignorance, not understanding the vast differences between Nazism and Leninism, but also not realizing that the political philosophy they accused Obama of espousing is called democratic socialism, not “democrat socialism.”

But, even if that were true, they still have no one to blame but themselves for the way people view their organization and their cause.  When you want to be taken seriously, you don’t go down the lowest (highest?) road of hyperbole and compare someone to Hitler.  Unless someone has systematically eradicated nearly an entire population of human beings and invaded numerous countries causing a world war, there should never even be a remote comparison between the two.

This isn’t the first time that a tea party group has likened Obama to Hitler (see above picture), and I’m sure that it won’t be the last.  It seems that Johnson and other tea party group founders should learn to focus on the real, everyday issues about which they feel the most passionate to change rather than marginalizing themselves with images like on this ridiculous billboard.  They have a chance to voice their opinion and let people know just what they’re truly about, to prove the haters wrong, to show that they are about actual policy issues, that they’re not racists or extremists, and this is what they come up with: more than just a failed opportunity to change the opinions of many Americans; this is the sort of thing that reaffirms people’s already negative feelings toward the entire movement.

Unless of course the current sentiments about the tea party groups that Palin and others fervently defend against really are warranted.  In which case, they should just keep the billboard up and own the backlash because if that’s what they’re really about, have the courage to stand behind it.  (Plus, for being so against wasteful spending, you’d think that this group wouldn’t blow their hard-earned cash on such a self-damning sign.)

Photo courtesy of elviskennedy’s Flickr Photostream


Sarah Palin Deconstructed: Facebook Note on BP and Obama


I found it interesting when I examined Sarah Palin’s last Facebook note that I thought I would take a look at her latest: “Less Talkin’, More Kickin’.”

As before, my goal is to take a look at her arguments and claims and see what stands up to critical thought and is not just impassioned non-truths that merely espouse an ideology.  Given her track record, this may prove to be a futile effort, but since she is poised to be the next GOP candidate for the highest public office in the country, I think it’s worth the time.

And off we go:

50 days in, and we’ve just learned another shocking revelation concerning the Obama administration’s response to the Gulf oil spill. In an interview aired this morning, President Obama admitted that he hasn’t met with or spoken directly to BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. His reasoning: “Because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he’s gonna say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions.”

So far, she’s got her facts straight.  After clicking the sourced link, she has properly quoted the President.

First, to the “informed and enlightened” mainstream media: in all the discussions you’ve had with the White House about the spill, did it not occur to you before today to ask how the CEO-to-CEO level discussions were progressing to remedy this tragedy?

Sigh.  More infuriating quotation mark usage.  I’ll save my breath on this one because I’ve already slammed this arguing technique before and it’s still no more potent today than it was then.  As per her question to the MSM: I’m not sure what she’s getting at.  I assume that she is likening Obama’s job to being the CEO of the country.  It seems that the more pertinent questions would be asking what exactly is being done to stop the spill, rather than if Obama had met with Hayword in person.

You never cease to amaze. (Kind of reminds us of the months on end when you never bothered to ask if the President was meeting with General McChrystal to talk about our strategy in Afghanistan.)

So, this blast of contempt is aimed at the mainstream media, yet the link she provides regarding Obama’s meeting with McChrystal directs over to a Fox News article — her current employer.  It seems that her dig here is actually at Obama regarding the way he came to a decision on what to do in Afghanistan last fall.  Rather unfocused and quite off topic from the oil disaster.

Second, to fellow baffled Americans: this revelation is further proof that it bodes well to have some sort of executive experience before occupying the Oval Office (as if the painfully slow response to the oil spill, confusion of duties, finger-pointing, lack of preparedness, and inability to grant local government simple requests weren’t proof enough).

To recap: the original issue at hand was Obama having not sat down face-to-face with BP CEO Tony Hayward regarding the oil spill.  Then it became about the mainstream media’s ineptitude at not looking into this matter until 50 days into the disaster.  And now it’s about how Obama doesn’t have the experience to run the country — her evidence: because he hasn’t actually spoken to BP Tony Hayward.

This seems to be a rather weak argument. Interestingly though, Palin goes into the reasons that one might be able to make a solid argument in favor of Obama’s potential ineptitude in her parenthetical aside.  Perhaps she expounds on these…

The current administration may be unaware that it’s the President’s duty, meeting on a CEO-to-CEO level with Hayward, to verify what BP reports.

False. This duty is no found listed under the president’s duties in the Constitution.

In an interview a few weeks ago with Greta Van Susteren, I noted that based on my experience working with oil execs as an oil regulator and then as a Governor, you must verify what the oil companies claim – because their perception of circumstances and situations dealing with public resources and public trust is not necessarily shared by those who own America’s public resources and trust.

The difference here is that this isn’t a matter of he-said-she-said: there is an actual event occurring before our very eyes and measures being taken to remedy the situation.  So far none have worked; even the current collection mechanism is missing a large amount of the oil.  Not sure what claims weren’t verified through Obama’s and Hayward’s people that could’ve been done so face-to-face or how that would’ve affected the situation.  It seems to be speculation at this point.  What didn’t Obama verify that he should’ve?

I was about run out of town in Alaska for what critics decried at the time as my “playing hardball with Big Oil,” and those same adversaries (both shortsighted Repubs and Dems) continue to this day to try to discredit my administration’s efforts in holding Big Oil accountable to operate ethically and responsibly.

No links to what she’s talking about here, but her record on her Big Oil stance is far from consistent. Regardless, she’s completely off topic now as she defends her own integrity in her own original post that started off attacking the mainstream media, then Obama’s ineptitude on a number of levels, and to non-truths about the president’s duties.  Let’s see if she gets back on track…

Mr. President: with all due respect, you have to get involved, sir. The priorities and timeline of an oil company are not the same as the public’s. You cannot outsource the cleanup and the responsibility and the trust to BP and expect that the legitimate interests of Americans adversely affected by this spill will somehow be met.

This is a sentiment from both sides of the political divide. Let’s see if she offers ways on how she would have him get involved…

White House: have you read this morning’s Washington Post? Not to pile it on BP, but there’s an extensive report chronicling the company’s troubling history:

“BP has had more high-profile accidents than any other company in recent years. And now, with the disaster in the gulf, independent experts say the pervasiveness of the company’s problems, in multiple locales and different types of facilities, is striking.

‘They are a recurring environmental criminal and they do not follow U.S. health safety and environmental policy,’ said Jeanne Pascal, a former EPA lawyer who led its BP investigations.”

And yet just 10 days prior to the explosion, the Obama administration’s regulators gave the oil rig a pass, and last year the Obama administration granted BP a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) exemption for its drilling operation.

Here’s the real inaction. Here’s the story and the argument. The whole not-sitting-down-with-Hayward-to-order-him-to-clean-up-the-mess-in-person was just a way to get into this.  And here she has some solid ammo for an argument.

These decisions and the resulting spill have shaken the public’s confidence in the ability to safely drill. Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill.

True.  Even Rasmussen reports that support is falling.

And we must! Or we will be even more beholden to, and controlled by, dangerous foreign regimes that supply much of our energy.

Her plan then, as I read it, is to increase regulation on oil drilling, but continue to drill so that we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  Seems like this is actually on par with Obama’s stance — at least until this disaster made him halt new oil drilling.

This has been a constant refrain from me. As Governor of Alaska, I did everything in my power to hold oil companies accountable in order to prove to the federal government and to the nation that Alaska could be trusted to further develop energy rich land like ANWR and NPR-A. I hired conscientious Democrats and Republicans (because this sure shouldn’t be a partisan issue) to provide me with the best advice on how we could deal with what was a corrupt system of some lawmakers and administrators who were hesitant to play hardball with some in the oil field business. (Remember the Alaska lawmakers, public decision-makers, and business executives who ended up going to jail as a result of the FBI’s investigations of oily corruption.)

More Palin 2012 presidential campaign material.  Doesn’t really do much to support her argument.

As the aforementioned article notes, BP’s operation in Alaska would hurt our state and waste public resources if allowed to continue. That’s why my administration created the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office (PSIO) when we saw proof of improper maintenance of oil infrastructure in our state. We had to verify. And that’s why we instituted new oversight and held BP and other oil companies financially accountable for poor maintenance practices. We knew we could partner with them to develop resources without pussyfooting around with them. As a CEO, it was my job to look out for the interests of Alaskans with the same intensity and action as the oil company CEOs looked out for the interests of their shareholders.

Okay, here’s where it all comes back together.  But, in doing so, she actually negates her own argument.  Palin claims that in order to verify that BP would be held accountable, she had a new government oversight office created.  Yet, she states that the Obama administration also had regulators of its own, which means that Palin did the exact same thing that Obama did to verify that BP was being honest.  She didn’t meet with Hayward face-to-face, either.  Whether or not the regulators did their job isn’t what she originally argued – which would’ve been much stronger – so this support doesn’t help her case; in fact, it destroys it.

I learned firsthand the way these companies operate when I served as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC). I ended up resigning in protest because my bosses (the Governor and his chief of staff at the time) wouldn’t support efforts to clean up the corruption involving improper conflicts of interest with energy companies that the state was supposed to be watching. (I wrote about this valuable learning experience in my book, “Going Rogue”.) I felt guilty taking home a big paycheck while being reduced to sitting on my thumbs – essentially rendered ineffective as a supervisor of a regulatory agency in charge of nearly 20% of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.

Back to shameless plugs and Palin 2012 campaign material.  It seems that if one could glean anything from this section, it’d be that in order to stand up for what was right, Palin quit.

My experience (though, granted, I got the message loud and clear during the campaign that my executive experience managing the fastest growing community in the state, and then running the largest state in the union, was nothing compared to the experiences of a community organizer) showed me how government officials and oil execs could scratch each others’ backs to the detriment of the public, and it made me ill. I ran for Governor to fight such practices. So, as a former chief executive, I humbly offer this advice to the President: you must verify. That means you must meet with Hayward. Demand answers.

More Palin 2012.  She’s fueling the anti-establishment angle of her future campaign and one that many Tea Party candidates have been running in primaries across the nation.  She’s merely selling herself here and if the whole argument of this post is regarding Obama’s necessity to verify, she already swung and missed with her own anecdote of doing nothing much different from what Obama has done — or not done, as is her argument.

That said, her demand for answers is worthwhile.  Everyone wants answers for this debacle.

In the interview today, the President said: “I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

Please, sir, for the sake of the Gulf residents, reach out to experts who have experience holding oil companies accountable. I suggested a few weeks ago that you start with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, led by Commissioner Tom Irwin. Having worked with Tom and his DNR and AGIA team led by Marty Rutherford, I can vouch for their integrity and expertise in dealing with Big Oil and overseeing its developments. We’ve all lived and worked through the Exxon-Valdez spill. They can help you. Give them a call. Or, what the heck, give me a call.

This is more about her own ability and experience in these matters than the credibility of Obama’s advisers.  She doesn’t claim that Obama’s experts can’t help, only that her experts for sure can.  And that she, herself, can be of help.  Though, she doesn’t state how she could be of service.

And, finally, Mr. President, please do not punish the American public with any new energy tax in response to this tragedy. Just because BP and federal regulators screwed up that doesn’t mean the rest of us should get punished with higher taxes at the pump and attached to everything petroleum products touch.

No new taxes. Just a pointless dig that doesn’t have to do with her original argument.

All in all, a failed argument.  She does bring up some valid points and concerns that seem to be universal right now — mainly that everyone feels helpless and is acting out because of it.  We want to be able to blame someone.  We want to be able to just demand that the oil spill gets plugged.  We want to believe that it’s simply a matter of not trying hard enough to plug the hole rather than the more likely reality that this disaster has no quick fix, no simple response, regardless of how much we yell, blame, point fingers, demand, cry, scream, and whine.


Sarah Palin’s Good Advice: Seek Fair Reporting


In the aftermath of the deadly attack by Israel on the flotilla delivering humanitarian aid for Gaza, most political pundits have voiced their opinions. Unsurprisingly, people seem to be harshly divided into two camps: those supporting Israel, and those condemning its actions.  And for the most part, that division falls along party lines.

Sarah Palin supports Israel and condemns the liberal mainstream media for its condemnation.  I am in the condemning Israel camp.  That said, there are always two sides to every story.  Two viewpoints on all conflicts.  Everyone feels wronged in some way, whether one is valid or equal or not, it doesn’t mean people don’t feel it.

That said, regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, especially if you’re a public figure, you need to voice your opinion with some level of intelligence and the use of facts.  Palin gets the first part right – she sure loves to voice her opinion.

Let’s take a look at her latest Facebook Note and see how she does on the second part:

The media, as usual, seems to be reporting only one side of the Israeli Flotilla incident. Don’t trust the mainstream media to give you both sides of a story fairly… you must seek out fair reporting to ensure you have all the information.

She has a point here: depending on which news outlet you’re getting your information, you might be not be getting a fair report.  Fox News and MSNBC will do their best to paint the incident for their respective viewerships, while CNN will most likely go way overboard in being balanced, which will most likely be Wolf Blitzer agreeing and disgreeing at the same time with everything – fact or fiction – from all sides so as to not take a side at all.

As far too many in the media, and in various governments, rush to condemn Israel, we must put the recent events off Israel’s coast into the right perspective.

How many is “too many” in the media?

And, while many may be rushing to condemn Israel, it seems that there are a large – equal? – number of people rushing to support Israel.  If it’s the speed at which these people have reached their stance on the situation, what makes Palin any better?  Perhaps both sides are passing judgment too quickly.

This “relief” convoy was not about humanitarian aid, as the liberal mainstream media keeps reporting.

I can’t reiterate how much I hate the sarcastic use of quotes in political discourse.  If the convoy wasn’t providing relief, then prove that it was a warship and move on.  Do not just discredit it or suggest that there was an ulterior motive to the flotilla by throwing grammatically incorrect quotes around a word you dislike but fail to provide evidence to the contrary.  This is lazy and incompetent.

Also, note how Palin substitutes the word “convoy” for “flotilla,” which suggests that this was a group of warships with armed troops aboard, which serves her narrative much better than “flotilla,” which is much less charged and is a broad term defining a grouping of ships minus the military slant.  (Granted, the BBC uses the term “convoy,” as well, so either it’s a dialect thing or maybe “convoy” isn’t as highly charged a word as the dictionary makes it seem.)

So what was the convoy all about, Sarah?

The whole operation was designed to provoke Israel,…

Well, yeah.  They were clearly bringing to international attention the injustice of the Gaza blockade.   Was it illegal?  Possibly.  Did it necessitate the boarding of the boat by force that led to ten activists deaths?  Doubtful.

And, aren’t we all adults here?  We should’ve already learned that one valuable lesson from childhood: bully taunts you –> you punch bully –> you get in trouble.  Regardless of what someone else does or says to provoke you, ultimately only you control what you do.  Blaming the bully doesn’t justify your wrongdoings.

Now, that analogy only works if you assume the activists were bullies – which Palin does.  Though, it’s hard to see how delivering aid to the extremely impoverished state area of Palestine can be considered being a bully.

…not to provide supplies to Palestinians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Held hostage? The Palestinians had an election. They voted for Hamas. Hamas now rules Gaza. That’s hardly being held hostage.  Not to say that Hamas isn’t comprised of terrorists or at least affiliated with terrorist groups, nor that they’re the only government in Palestine — the whole situation is a disaster — but, this is a way for Palin to blast Hamas as an illegitimate ruling party, which then validates Israel’s attack, all the while not directly blaming the Palestinian people.

Anyone who sees the video of Israeli commandos being attacked as they land on that ship knows the people aboard were vicious thugs, not “peace activists.” The media insults our intelligence with their outright mischaracterization of who these enemies are.

Wait, so let me get this straight: you’re aboard your own ship in international waters when a group of heavily armed and well-trained commandos from another country drop in and takeover your vessel by force at gunpoint, during which you defend yourself with blunt makeshift weapons and this makes you the thug?  Only if Israelis are always the good guys and Palestinians/Turks/Arabs are always the bad guys does this logic work.

I’d say it’s Sarah Palin who insults our intelligence by thinking that we will just listen to her without thinking for ourselves about this situation after she tells us in the beginning to seek out fair reporting.  I suppose having to con yourself into believing the lies that would make one unwaveringly in favor of the Iraq and Afghanistan War for the past decade (and supporting the option to invade Iran), it’s understandable that she’d be deluded enough to think that the invader is the victim — in the case of Israel or America, at least.  Because we’re exceptional.  (Which is code for: the rules apply to everyone except us.)

Israel delivers thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies every week to Gaza. These ships could have offloaded their cargoes at a nearby Israeli port if they really wanted to help the people of Gaza. Instead, they chose to incite confrontation and violence.

I’m pretty sure that a quick look at the quality of life in Gaza right now would show that no matter how much aid Israel may be delivering, it’s clearly not enough.

And, again, how were the activists the ones inciting violence when the Israelis were the ones who dropped soldiers armed with machine guns down onto the boat while it was in international waters?  What was that supposed to be — a peacekeeping endeavor?

Israel has a right to prevent arms shipments to Gaza that will be used to target innocent Israelis, so they were legitimately checking the cargo on the flotilla.

It’s one thing to be stopped to have your shipments searched; that would be a different story entirely.  But that was not the case here.  Israel’s primary objective here was preventing this flotilla – regardless of what it was carrying – from reaching Gaza, by any means necessary.

And there has to be a better way to inspect the goods than dropping in commandos by rope from a helicopter one at a time with automatic weapons, yeah?  Perhaps it’d be best done at one of Israel’s ports, which is what some claim Israel was trying to get the flotilla to do, but the flotilla refused.  Now, the attack occurred in international waters, so it seems like if ever Israel had the right to use force, it’d be once the boats crossed into their territory.

Turkey has chosen to condemn Israel but we should be asking some serious questions about Turkey’s role in this whole affair. Why is a fellow member of NATO sponsoring such a dangerous publicity stunt? As one expert points out: “Three ships of that six-ship pro-terror convoy flew Turkish flags and were crowded with Turkish citizens. The Ankara government – led by Islamists these days – sponsored the ‘aid’ operation in a move to position itself as the new champion of the Palestinians. And Turkish decision-makers knew Israel would have to react – and were waiting to exploit the inevitable clash. The provocation was as cynical as it was carefully orchestrated.”

Well it should come as no surprise that Turkey – a Muslim nation – would be sympathetic to the Palestinians’ plight.  And compared to many other actions that Islamists tend to do these days to get their word out – you know, like, car and suicide bombings that kill and maim scores of innocent people on a regular basis – saying that it’s a pro-terror provocation to send some ships full of playground equipment and pre-made homes is absurd to the point of not being grounded in reality.

We can only hope the Obama Administration does not join the anti-Israel chorus in the aftermath of this staged confrontation. Please, Mr. President, we need to let Israelis know we stand with them in their fight against terrorists and those who arm and support them. America and her ally, Israel, stand by waiting for your response.

Well, the Obama Administration hasn’t out-right condemned Israel’s actions, so there’s that.  I’m sure that won’t be enough for Ms. Palin, of course.  It also hasn’t made many friends on the other side of the aisle.   Obama, like any US President these days, has to tow the line to an extent when it comes to our ties with Israel; however, Obama has been not-so-subtle about his disagreements with Israel’s direction lately in his relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu.  That’s probably the most we’ll see given the complex and sometimes bizarre alliance we have with Israel.

Sarah Palin has taken the torch passed on by the Bush Administration’s War on Terror with gusto and glee.  She paints the world in black and whites, with nary a gray area for interpretation.  She speaks in absolutes, which makes it difficult to deal with the real world and the grayness in which just about everything resides.

After this lengthy exercise, the one thing that I can really takes away from Sarah Palin’s note is to agree that we should all seek out fair reporting to get the best information to help form our opinions on this murky situation.  And from what I’ve read here, I’d say keep looking.  Perhaps here.

– Sarah Palin

– Ryan Mason


This Political Theater Lost Me in the 2nd Act


I almost didn’t comment on my silence here on Agree to Disagree.  I thought maybe I should let my silence speak for itself.  But, what’s a blog when there’s nothing being said?

I don’t consider myself jaded.  I just feel rather numb by all the major items in politics right now.  Perhaps I’ve burned myself out.  If this were a movie, I’d say that the screenwriter completely failed at finding the second act climax, continuing to add plot twist after plot twist after plot twist in hopes of keeping us on the edge of our seats but in reality boring us to death while waiting for that much-desired release.

Watching drama unfold, you need moments of levity.  They call these “comic relief.”  Not necessarily needing to be funny, these are breaks in the action where the audience gets to catch their breath after the exhausting and exhilarating chase scene or tense interrogation or riveting race against time while the bad guys close in and there’s just no way possible that our hero… okay, you get the picture.  In our current drama that we call American politics, we haven’t had many of these moments, nor many resolutions.  Stories are best told with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  And when the middle drags on to long, you lose your audience.

That has officially happened to me.  I’m over it.  Don’t misunderstand me: I still feel very passionately about much of what’s happening right now.  I just don’t have the interest in dissecting every little development along the way.  At this point in the murder mystery, I just want to know who the killer is; I’m willing to fast forward to the end just to get it over with faster. (Oh, I knew it was the boyfriend all the along.)

There will always be another anti-gay politician who gets caught being gay.  Or another idiot claiming that torture is necessary to keep America safe.  Sarah Palin will continue being uneducated and possess a scary sense of self-righteousness and religious certainty that she’s supposed to be doing what she’s doing right now.  Rush and Beck will be assholes.

Okay — I guess I do have some vitriol after all.  I just haven’t felt the desire to comment on the latest scandal with Massa, the latest takedown of Thiessen by Jon Stewart, or the latest vulgarities by Liz Cheney.  It’s politics as usual.  I’ve written about it a million times before, it seems.

So until something changes.  Until something actually HAPPENS.  Like, for instance, health care passes.  (I called my Representative today and told her that she had my support.  It felt good actually taking part in politics aside from just writing about it on this blog.)  I have a feeling I might be quieter than I have in the past.

Of course, I say this now.  Just wait until someone does something that really gets under my skin and we’ll see how quiet I remain.  Somehow I don’t think that’s too far off.


Palin Doesn’t Understand Social Media

Facebook, Inc.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin claims that she never had – nor currently has – any opportunity to further explain her comments on the Family Guy-Down’s Syndrome controversy.  She even uses her time on Jay Leno’s return to The Tonight Show to reiterate her lack of ability to further explain:

“But a special-needs family asking me what I thought about the episode. I commented and then that gets out there in the blogosphere, it gets out there in the different forms of the mediums that we have today. And then it’s left there, not an opportunity for me to follow up and kind of elaborate on what I really meant and what I really thought of the thing.”

Before Mr. Leno went to a commercial break, Ms. Palin said that a fuller opportunity to discuss the incident would have led to a “much healthier dialogue.” After the commercial, she did not expand on her remarks.

If you believe her claims then it means Palin needs to learn a thing or two about the blogosphere and social media.

I don’t believe her.

The beauty (and ugliness) of social media is that it is constant conversation.  Just stop by Palin’s own Facebook page and read the thousands of comments on her notes where vitriolic fans engage in all kinds of continuing discussion on whatever she happens to write and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  People comment not only on the article itself but are responding to previous comments, whose authors get notified and then can choose to respond or not.  Judging by the number of comments, they are responding.

If Palin is unaware of this, she’s even further removed from reality than I thought.

Don’t like an article?  Write a blog.  Post your anger in the article’s comments section.  While you’re at it, most writers have their bylines link directly to their email address, so you can also go straight to the source. This isn’t like the old media where you’d have to write a letter to the editor and hope that they choose to publish your dissent for an article.

Part of what makes social media so much different from old, print media is that it’s not static.  It’s dynamic, living and breathing, changing and changeable.  It’s instantaneous.  This means that there is always a way to jump into the conversation or start your own.  Sarah Palin just chose to not respond to emails from Family Guy producers or the actress from the controversial episode who actually has Down’s Syndrome.

Probably because she doesn’t actually have anything to say that would clear up the matter.  And it’s more fun for her to just claim to not be part of the media machine so she can keep berating it.

(H/T The Daily Dish)

Image via Wikipedia
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Insanity of the Tea Party Conspiracy Theorists


I assumed that the Tea Partiers were compromised of particularly active and angry Republicans and libertarians.  According to this expose by Jonathan Kay at Newsweek, it’s way more than that:

A software engineer from Clearwater, Fla., told me that Washington, D.C., liberals had engineered the financial crash so they could destroy the value of the U.S. dollar, pay off America’s debts with worthless paper, and then create a new currency called the Amero that would be used in a newly created “North American Currency Union” with Canada and Mexico. I rolled my eyes at this one-off kook. But then, hours later, the conference organizers showed a movie to the meeting hall, Generation Zero, whose thesis was only slightly less bizarre: that the financial meltdown was the handiwork of superannuated flower children seeking to destroy capitalism.

They claim to want small government and lower spending yet Sarah Palin – the big speaker at the Tea Party Convention over the weekend – offers no specifics on actual cuts and favors invading Iran (sure seems like that would require way more government spending).  These people live in a totally fabricated fantasy world.


Palin Dismisses Climate Change as “Snake Oil Science”


Ex-Governor Sarah Palin at a logging conference in Northern California on Monday with regards to why she sued to repeal the Endangered Species Act in Alaska:

“We knew the bottom line … was ultimately to shut down a lot of our development … And it didn’t make any sense because it was based on these global warming studies that now we’re seeing (is) a bunch of snake oil science.”

Right.  Because she’s such a trusted authority on all things science.  This coming from a person who favors having creationism taught in public schools and believes that dinosaurs and humans co-existed.

(H/T LAist)