Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin & Tea Party Rhetoric Contribute to Arizona Shooting of Congressswoman and Six Deaths

Words have consequences. And words from Sarah Palin and Tea Party fanatics contributed to the tragic shootings in Tuscon that killed 6 people and wounded a number of others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who appears to have been specifically targeted by the shooter.

Sarah Palin and the Tea Party fanatics rallied their supporters with violent rhetoric and images. And while they will deny it, I agree with the Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik that the hate and violent talk contribute to an atmosphere that promotes violence being acted out, not just being voiced.

As Sheriff Dupnik states:

When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” said the sheriff. “And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

When asked by a reporter if Giffords being shot could have been motivated by “prejudice and bigotry,” Dupnik responded, “All I can tell you is that there’s reason to believe is that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol.”

Last year Sarah Palin picked 20 Congresspeople to try to defeat out of 435 Representatives. One of these was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.  Palin graphically and pictorially didn’t just target Giffords.  She put together a map and put gun sights on each of her targeted members of Congress.  The image is and was offensive and got her lots of attention and didn’t seem to hurt her image among her supporters. Many unfortunately accepted it as just part of the politics of today. I think the media unfortunately gave Palin a pass on this one when really  they should have challenged her.

You can see the images on Huffington Post in an article entitled “Sarah Palin’s PAC puts Gun Sights on Democrats She’s Targeting in 2010”. These images crossed the line of rational political discourse and I believe have contributed to the tragedy that occurred in Arizona.  They have no place in politics in America.

Sheriff Dupnik’s comments are right on about the dangers of inciting violent imagery in politics.

And as the Huffington Post reports:

Giffords expressed similar concern, even before the shooting. In an interview after her office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin’s decision to list Giffords’ seat as one of the top “targets” in the midterm elections.

“For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC.

Gifford’s Tea Party opponent also contributed to the tragedy in Arizona with his radical brand of violence inciting imagry and deeds. In the same article cited above it is reported that:

During his campaign effort to unseat Giffords in November, Republican challenger Jesse Kelly held fundraisers where he urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office by joining him to shoot a fully loaded M-16 rifle. Kelly is a former Marine who served in Iraq and was pictured on his website in military gear holding his automatic weapon and promoting the event.

We need as a people and a nation to reject this violent hate promoting type of politics as expoused by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. It has no place in a civilized society. It time to return civility and rational discussion to politics and reject the hate mongering and negativity currently being promoted by the conservatives.

Conservatives in the past used similiar outrageous imagery and hatemongering against the blacks in the South to put conservatives in office. Enough is enough.

Update – Jan 27, 2011

I came across this excellent post by Joe Brewer of Cognitive Policy Works. It includes a video entitled “Thom Hartmann on the “Becking” of America”. I think it adds an excellent perspective on the use of violent rhetoric by the right wing and its implications for political discourse and its consequences.

John W Dean Calls McCain/Palin "archetypical authoritarian conservatives"

John W Dean, the former Nixon White House Counsel, has thrown his support strongly behind the need to elect Barack Obama to the White House and reject McCain/Palin.

Saying that Barack Obama “has shown without any doubt (in my mind anyway) that he is not only qualified to be president, but that he might be a once-in-a-lifetime leader who can forever change the nation and the world for the better.”, Dean gives insightful and cogent reasons to end Republican rule in the White House.

The following excerpt is from a column he wrote for FindLaw’s Writ entitled The Evidence Establishes, without Question, that Republican Rule Is Dangerous: Why It Is High Time to Fix This Situation, For the Good of the Nation”

The Republican Approach to Government: Authoritarian Rule

“Republicans rule, rather than govern, when they are in power by imposing their authoritarian conservative philosophy on everyone, as their answer for everything. This works for them because their interest is in power, and in what it can do for those who think as they do. Ruling, of course, must be distinguished from governing, which is a more nuanced process that entails give-and-take and the kind of compromises that are often necessary to find a consensus and solutions that will best serve the interests of all Americans.

Republicans’ authoritarian rule can also be characterized by its striking incivility and intolerance toward those who do not view the world as Republicans do. Their insufferable attitude is not dangerous in itself, but it is employed to accomplish what they want, which is to take care of themselves and those who work to keep them in power.

Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans’ limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity – nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however – and generally oppose the government’s doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves. “

The column makes interesting reading and puts forward a concise analysis of the current ongoing disaster that has been the Republican Party’s approach to governing our country.

I feel the same mentality exists in Washington State. GOP aka Republican candidate Dino Rossi has run a typical authoritarian conservative Republican campaign, such as Dean describes, against Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire. Ads supporting Rossi and opposing Gregoire are full of distortions and misrepresentations of Governor Gregoire’s record.

Rossi and his supporters like the BIAW and the Republican Governor’s Conference have run a divisive us versus them campaign that is bereft of detail on what he would do which lets the public fill in the details. The problem is that if he wins, what he will do will be very different from what people expect.

Unfortunately voters made a similar mistake years ago when they elected Dixie Lee Ray Governor. She also represented change. She only survived one term after voters finally got to know her.

Don’t be fooled by Rossi’s smile. He’s for change all right, just not what you might think.

For example, if Rossi is elected, he will be appointing a Washington State Supreme Court Justice to replace Judge Gerry Alexander when he reaches the mandatory retirement age. Expect Rossi to reward his big BIAW money backers with a BIAW approved candidate like John Groen that voters previously rejected.

Palin Tries to Bar Press from Photo Ops

The Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin continues her Puppet Performance – being controlled by the strings of the McCain campaign. This time its photo ops with foreign dignities. What a performance – now she can claim she has met with foreign leaders.

The whole performance is insulting to the press and the public as she is lead around by McCain campaign operatives and posing for pictures with foreign leaders – this is her education in foreign policy? With Hamid Karzai the media was allowed a total of 30 seconds to take pictures.

As Sarah Kugler of the Associated Press notes, “Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has not held a press conference in nearly four weeks of campaigning, initially barred reporters from her first meetings with world leaders Tuesday, but reversed course after they protested.”

Even then – 30 seconds and no questions?

What a mockery John McCain has made of the processing of picking a qualified person to take his place if he dies. To pick someone with so little experience and then to continue to deny the press and the public any chance to really get to know who Sarah Palin is and what she stands for is an affront to the intelligence of the American people.

Controlling and excluding access of the media and the press to Palin is obviously an attempt to control what they can write and say. This isolation and avoidance of public scrutiny is indicative of the style of government we could expect from a McCain/Palin Presidency.

Bush repeatedly scripted his public events by only allowing carefully screened Republicans to attend his campaign events. We do not need more secrecy and hiding of our elected leaders from the media and public. We need more open government, not closed or carefully screened and choreographed performances.

Just another reason not to continue the Bush/Rove/Cheney style of secretive government based on distorted facts and omissions of facts and secrecy that got us into Iraq. Haven’t the American people had enough of this charade after 8 years?

McCain – Palin Drill Team Marching to Beat of Oil Drums

One of the obscenities of the recent Republican Convention was the chanting of “Drill Baby Drill.” Obscured by the novelty of a new dancing Republican puppet in the form of the previously nationally unknown Governor of Alaska, John McCain shamelessly continued to promote more of the antiquarian Bush Era perversion of drilling and ignoring the perilous future of being tied to oil, both national and international.

Continuing the oil economy drains American capital from being reinvested in our own country in alternative renewable energy. It continues to tie our future national economy to a ecologically dangerous fossil fuel industry. It promotes an industry that is profit motivated only and not concerned about American energy security or the impacts on consumer’s pocketbooks.

“Drill Baby Drill” should raise the hair on the back of any independence loving American because of its backward looking vision that obscures the future of the world in a haze of global warming gases. It ignores the need for the nation and the world to change their profligate burning of carbon based fuels. It is like trying to promote the use of manual typewriters in the computer age.

John McCain lacks vision in his support of the oil economy. He is a man so desperate to win the Presidency that he has thrown common sense out the window and is pandering to the least of our nation’s sensibilities and wasting precious time and resources needed to move to a post oil economy.

“Drill Baby Drill ” says John McCain is not really serious about attacking global warming. Just as his pandering proposal to drop the gas tax this summer was a shortsighted attempt to appeal to irrationality for votes, the idea that drilling for oil in America is some type of energy solution for the future is pandering to the lowest common denominator of selfishness and greed of the oil companies.

Our nation needs to come up with practical real solutions to find a mix of environmentally sound energy policies that also reinvest in America and American jobs rather than sending money to the Middle East and other countries so they can come back and buy up America.

The New York Times in a recent editorial entitled “John McCain’s Energy Follies” noted that “increasing oil production remains the centerpiece of his strategy” They stress that “a nation that uses one-quarter of the world’s oil while owning only 3 percent of its reserves cannot drill its way to happiness or self- sufficiency.”

Will McCain really make any effort to make a transition to a post carbon energy economy that emphasizes wind, solar, geothermal or energy efficiency?

We’ve all heard many campaign promises from candidates, broken once they are elected. For McCain it is possible to determine what he will do on energy not based on promises but on his past actions or inactions. That unfortunately does not bode well for a reasoned and enlightened change in America’s energy policies if McCain is elected President.

The record shows that John McCain missed critical votes for renewable energy while he was running for President. If you think John McCain is going to support renewable energy in any serious way consider the following written by Thomas Friedman for the New York Times. In a commentary entitled, Eight Strikes and You’re Out“,

” …on July 30, that the Senate was voting for the eighth time in the past year on a broad, vitally important bill — S. 3335 — that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems.

Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits — which expire in December — to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile.

Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.”

Actions speak louder than any words. It would be a mistake to count on John McCain leading us to a renewable energy future. “Drill Baby Drill” and free market economics seem to be his political philosophy. The free market economy has been great for the giant oil corporations in America but a disaster for energy independence and lessening global warming impacts. Voting for McCain would be a vote for continuing things as they are. Now is the time when we need to change to a post carbon energy future. McCain isn’t going to do that.