Posts Tagged “sarah palin”

Albigensian Crusade 01I’ve been told that Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, failed vice-presidential candidate, and princess of the GOP and of the teabaggers who infest it, isn’t nearly as stupid or insane as she seems to be. “Crazy like a fox” is the expression I’ve heard.

Even so, I can’t help but wonder if Ms Palin is aware she recently spoke in a manner befitting a medieval Crusade leader. My guess is, she doesn’t know it, because like most Americans, especially of the Religious Right sort, she has no education in medieval history. No, I think she spewed some of her own insane lunacy, and it only just happens to sound that way. Politico reports she made remarks about President Obama’s plan to attack Syria sometime over the next few weeks (WebCite cached article):

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is condemning potential American military action in Syria, charging it would be President Obama “saving political face” and saying, “Let Allah sort it out.”

She did this in a Facebook posting, complete with a picture of her standing with members of the military (cached). How patriotic of her!

I immediately recalled my own medieval studies: “Let Allah sort it out” is Ms Palin’s own version of a common paraphrase of an order reportedly delivered in the field by a Papal legate leading a Crusader army in southern France.

The occasion was the attack on Béziers in 1209. The army of legate Arnaud Amalric was concerned about how to tell the loyal Catholics in the town from the heretic Cathars. What he reportedly told them, was “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius,” or in English, “Kill them all. The Lord knows who are his own.” Whether or not he actually said this, is a matter of some conjecture. What is more certain, is that by the legate’s admission, his own men killed Catholics and Cathars indiscriminately. So even if he hadn’t given such an order, he might as well have, because that’s how his men behaved.

The other question I have about Ms Palin’s criticism of the impending attack on Syria, is that I seriously wonder if she’d be condemning it, had either John McCain or Mitt Romney been in office and made the same decision. Her running-mate, McCain, in particular has been scrapping for a war in Syria for quite some time now (cached). I’m not sure she’d be so outspoken against such a move, if a Republican president had proposed it.

In any event, I’m not sure a bone-chilling pronouncement of doom on people, some of whom she has to know would be innocent, is the best way for Ms Palin to talk about the Syrian civil war and the manner in which the US should deal with it. I’m also pretty sure that some propagandists in the Islamic world will pick up on her medieval-Crusade-style language and use that as evidence that the US is engaged in a modern-day “Crusade” to wipe out Islam as a religion and kill all Muslims. (Not that this is possible for us to do, obviously, but that won’t stop them from saying so.) We just don’t fucking need people spewing this kind of rank bullshit.

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When the Fail is so strong, one Facepalm is not enough / Picard & Riker / based on HaHaStop.ComThe Religious Right is relentless in its determination to rewrite history so as to place themselves — and their current political causes — back in time, even though most of their efforts, such as promoting Creationism and stopping abortion, are all decidedly contemporary notions. Their anachronistic views reveal their ignorance and expose them as liars. Two recent examples of this phenomenon follow, although they’re hardly unique.

First, I’m sure you heard about Sarah Palin’s NRA-propagandized version of Paul Revere‘s ride to warn the Massachusetts militia about the movement of British troops; Here, for example, is a CBS News story on her lies, which were compounded by a Wikipedia war to make it appear she was actually correct (WebCite cached article):

Dozens of changes were made to the Revere page on the Internet site Sunday and Monday after Palin claimed Revere’s famous ride was intended to warn both his fellow colonists and British soldiers.

Palin claimed, among other things, that Revere had been trying to “warn the British”; that he was firing shots into the air as he rode; and that he was ringing bells as well. Not one of those things is true, at least not in the Charlton Heston style that Palin told it. While he did end up warning the British about the militia, that was only after he’d warned the colonials — who’d been the intended targets of his warning ride — and had been picked up by British troops. By then, the cat was already out of the bag, so to speak, so he was able to tell them little of any value (and they eventually let him go). He absolutely did not fire his musket into the air as he went; secrecy had been his goal, he needed to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were on their way to arrest them. (Not to mention, loading and shooting a musket while on horseback is not exactly a simple feat.) Revere also did not ring bells as he rode, for the same reason.

Politifact and FactCheck have weighed in on her idiotic and anachronistic comments. The best either of them can say is that Palin was “barely truthful” … and that’s being generous.

Even after caught lying, and putting NRA words into Paul Revere’s mouth, Mrs Palin irrationally insisted she was correct. That also is quite in line with Religious Right practice; no Religious Rightist ever concedes error. Ever. Not for any reason, no matter the facts, and no matter how idiotic they sound. Hence, the campaign by her supporters to make Wikipedia back up her version of Paul Revere’s ride.

My second example of the Religious Right’s ignorance of, and lies about, history is from David Barton, the man whom the R.R. hails as a historian, when in fact, he is not, and never has been a historian (either by virtue of having a degree in history or having published an article in a peer-reviewed history journal). Right Wing Watch reports (video included) on his claim that the Founding Fathers supported Creationism and dismissed evolution (WebCite cached article):

Naturally, Barton says that the Founding Fathers “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution,” and sided with Creationism.

The problem with this, of course, is that evolution wasn’t really known until the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, nearly a century after them. The liar Barton went on to make an even more absurd and factually-incorrect claim:

“That’s why we said we want to separate from Britain, so we can end slavery,” Barton said.

Yes, folks, according to pseudohistorian Barton, the Revolutionary War was fought not to gain independence from Great Britain, but to free the slaves! The problem here, of course, is that the Constitution those same Founding Fathers wrote after that war, contained provisions allowing for slavery in the new country, and slavery wasn’t abolished until the end of the Civil War, again, decades later.

I have no idea what it is that Palin or Barton are smoking. But they’re hardly alone. The R.R. continuously represents itself as modern-day Founding Fathers, even though the R.R. is predicated on a form of fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity that did not exist in the F.F.s’ time. They apparently just can’t help themselves. In any event, whatever their motives might be, Palin and Barton’s lies place them squarely in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

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DSC_0032Former Alaska governor and darling of the Religious Right and the tea party (which are increasingly one and the same) traveled to Israel, presumably to increase her appeal to religious Americans (as if that were possible … she’s already incredibly popular among US religionists). The (NY) Daily News reports on her trip and some of the comments she made while there (WebCite cached article):

Israel got its first official glimpse of Sarah Palin.

The former Vice Presidential candidate arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday as part of her whirlwind trip that many think is meant to bolster her foreign policy credentials leading up to a possible 2012 presidential run.

She made a transparent attempt to pass herself off as Jewish:

Sporting what appears to be a necklace with the Jewish symbol of a Star of David, the Alaska resident visited the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray. …

“Israel is absolutely beautiful and it is overwhelming to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith and I am so grateful to be here,” the devout Christian told reporters.

Mrs Palin is not alone in viewing the Western Wall as the “cornerstone” of Christianity. The problem is, it’s not! It’s the cornerstone of Judaism, and only Judaism. It may be of some historical interest to Christians, but it is assuredly not the “cornerstone” of Christianity. That, I’m afraid, is none other than Jesus himself, as the Christian Bible itself states clearly:

He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. (Acts 4:11)

While Jesus and his first followers may have been Jewish, the religion they founded took a decidedly non-Jewish turn (if not an anti-Jewish one), and explicitly rejected the Jewish religious tradition, believing Mosaic Law to have been rendered obsolete by Jesus:

We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. … I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (Galatians 2:15-16, 21)

The Temple, of which the Western Wall is presumed to have been a part, is perhaps the chief edifice and main symbol of Mosaic Law. Given this fact, there is no logical way any Christian could ever say that it’s the “cornerstone” of his or her faith.

In many other ways, Mrs Palin’s trip reflects what is known as Christian Zionism, a philosophy very common among evangelical Protestants (such as Mrs Palin). Christian Zionists adamantly support Israel … but not necessarily because they believe in that state or out of any love for Jews or Judaism. Most Christian Zionists are, rather, interested in creating an alliance with Jews against Muslims, and in agitating Israel into behaviors that — they think — will trigger Armageddon and thus bring on the Apocalypse. In other words, they’re motivated by self-interest and an obsession with “the End Times.”

While I’m not Jewish, and don’t know nearly as much about Judaism as perhaps I ought to, I find it distasteful to see Christians such as Mrs Palin essentially stealing Jewish tradition and using Judaism, Jews and Israel for their own mercenary purposes. It’s nearly as bad as the philosophy called British Israelism, which essentially defines Jews out of existence and grants their heritage to the British. (Yes, really. That movement, too, exists. For real. And it’s every bit as strange — and anti-Semitic — as I just made it sound.) This kind of wholesale intellectual and cultural theft really needs to end — the sooner, the better.

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Gov. Sarah PalinThe darling of the tea party and the extreme Right, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, is known for her (many) public statements, which she makes on Facebook, on television, and Twitter, among other places. Often her jabbering is merely useless drivel; sometimes it’s downright stupid or dishonest. Usually, though, she just spews rigorous, mindless Rightist rhetoric, nearly all of which is indistinguishable, in its essence, from the mindless Rightism of other Rightist politicians and pundits.

It’s rare when she says something truly meaningful and revealing, but she did so just a little while ago, as Slate reports (WebCite cached article), emphasis mine:

“Both of their messages, too, those conservative common sense messages that they had on how to get the economy back on the right track were really good. They were sound. They were sound because they were in opposition to President Obama’s message.” —on Rep. Paul Ryan’s and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s State of the Union responses, to Fox News’ Greta von Susteren, Jan. 26, 2011 [cached].

Now, I’m sure Mrs Palin never intended that this little remark could be as revealing as it is. I doubt she even realizes the depth of what she said. She’s not alone in this regard … I’m not hearing many people in the mass media reporting on its true significance.

Nevertheless, what she has done, in this little quip, is to admit to the great secret of all ideology, which is that the truth of any matter is irrelevant … what matters is only that one says the opposite of one’s opposition. Facts are irrelevant to ideology; only opposition is important.

I have long said that this is the inherent danger of all ideologies … every last one of them is merely an arbitrary package of ideas intended to dodge and swerve around one’s opposition. They’re artificial, never fact-based, and only opposition-based. Ideologies infantilize, they never inform, and that is their sole purpose.

I’d like to thank Mrs Palin for stating this usually-unstated principle explicitly. It’s rare for a public figure to be revealingly honest.

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Gov. Sarah PalinAngry that she was accused of having somehow contributed to the recent Tucson shooting, former Alaska governor and Republican (and Religious Right) starlet Sarah “Reload” Palin has gone on the attack. Rather than merely disavow any participation in the incident, she childishly and impetuously made a rather startling claim. As reported by Mediate, she released a video accusing her critics of having forged a “blood libel” against her and the rest of the vehement Right (WebCite cached article):

Every word Palin says in this video will most likely be analyzed for days. Palin treats this address with the seriousness of an actual leader and appears to do her best to unite all Americans together, no matter their political beliefs, in a recognition of “America’s Enduring Strength.” The one group left out of the celebration is Palin’s persistent nemesis, the mainstream media, as she says:

But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

What is perhaps more reprehensible than what any of her critics have said, is that she fired the “blood libel” bomb at them. You see, this term has a very singular meaning. It refers clearly and specifically to an anti-Semitic legend-motif in which Jews ritually murder Christian children as part of their profane rites. “Blood libel” stories historically were used as cudgels against Jews at various times. In other words, she’s setting herself and the rest of the Right as victims of a propaganda tool that Christians used to justify their hatred of Jews.

Real nice, there, Sarah. How marvelous of you, in the midst of your persecution complex, to appropriate the term “blood libel” to serve your own purposes.

Her gross misuse of this term hasn’t gone unnoticed, e.g. by Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast [cached], The Caucus at the New York Times [cached], CNN’s Political Ticker [cached], & The Note by ABC News [cached], and I expect it will haunt her for the next several days. Then, she will likely make quips about “the lamestream media” criticizing her for having used this phrase and claim righteous indignation that they now dare now vilifying poor little her, for her response to having already been vilified by them. In other words, even in the face of her own immaturity, she will continue to refuse to accept that she may have done anything wrong.

(No rigid ideologue ever admits fault — for anything — at any time. Each childish tantrum is fully justified; any criticism of any childish tantrum is never accepted as having any validity; and merely results in yet another childish tantrum. Immaturity is the engine of all ideology.)

As an aside, the question of Loughner’s motivations likely will never be satisfactorily answered, although the media and pundits on every side will likely continue acting as though they know what it is, definitively, and will pontificate on it forever. But I don’t see anyone asking the most salient question, which is, why such a disruptive and disturbed individual as Jared Lee Loughner — who had several run-ins with law enforcement over the last few years, and was thrown out of classes and a school — was never assessed for mental illness and put into treatment. Everyone around him (including his family) simply veered around him, avoiding him, pawning him off on the next person, and hoped never to run into him again. Once they were free of him, they were all happy. And that was it. Well, this collective decision resulted in several deaths, a lot more wounded people, and Loughner will never see the light of day again. How did this benefit anyone, including Loughner himself? He’d have been much better served if someone, along the way, had gotten him some psychiatric treatment.

Update: True to form, ideological Rightists are reflexively declaring Palin faultless. Many are pointing to Alan Dershowitz’s declaration that there is nothing wrong with her having used the phrase “blood libel” against her critics. Big Government offers his remarks [cached]. The problem here is, even if others have misused the phrase “blood libel” in the past, this does not constitute logical permission for Palin to misuse it, now. Not only that, Dershowitz has no authority — even in spite of him being a famous Jewish lawyer — to grant Palin a dispensation on this score. In fact, no one has such authority; her misuse of “blood libel” is semantically and contextually incorrect, and no one in the universe can change that. Unfortunately the Right can’t help itself … they’re pathologically incapable of admitting Palin was wrong.

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour.

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Sarah Palin Promotes Bridge To Nowhere With T-ShirtAn odd story has come up, first reported by ABC News, about the militant Religious Rightist and former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, and something she did on Twitter (WebCite cached article):

In recent weeks Sarah Palin has used her Twitter page to endorse midterm candidates, offer political commentary and get out the vote. But last week, she used Twitter to list as a “favorite” a tweet linked to a photo of a sign labeling President Barack Obama a “Taliban Muslim.”

Palin posted as a “favorite” a tweet by conservative political commentator Ann Coulter linking to an image of a sign outside “The Blood of Jesus ATLAH World Missionary Church.” The sign reads, “The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.”

Here’s the picture in question:

The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.

The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.

Of course, Palin is denying she actually “favorited” Coulter’s tweet, claiming it was “accidental,” which ABC News is also reporting, since she responded to them (cached article):

Asked for comment, Palin wrote to ABC News:

“Jake, I’ve never purposefully ‘favorited’ any Tweet. I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible. I was traveling to Alaska that day…it was an obvious accidental ‘favoriting,’ but no one can mistake that Ann Coulter was obviously being tongue in cheek with that Tweet. Shall I correct this with whichever wonderful media outlet ran with this (an obviously bored reporter…since there must be nothing going on in the world today, like, um, ramifications of a shake up of power in the U.S. House of Representatives?).”

Note the requisite snide comment about how horrific the media are. For a publicity hound whose career is now built on having her face and words carried around the world by the mass media, Palin sure spends a lot of her time biting the hand that feeds her. Yep, definitely one helluva class act that woman is, no?

Quite aside from her juvenile jabs at the media … it is by no means “obvious” that this was an “accidental tweeting.” If Palin had been unaware of how to “favorite” a tweet, then it could not have been something she might have done even accidentally.

One might easily suspect that Coulter and Palin would both support the “birther” sentiment expressed in this church sign. It’s a delusion that just won’t die among the Religious Right, as I’ve blogged a number of times already. But these heroines of the Religious Right happen to have picked the wrong church to join. You see, ATLAH World Missionary Church is an African-American church in Harlem, NYC; it’s run by a crazy, (reverse) racist pastor, James David Manning; and the cold fact is that neither Ann Coulter nor Sarah Palin would be welcome there!

If you’re wondering — as I am — how an African-American pastor could oppose President Barack Obama rather than support him, on the basis of his race … well … welcome to the wonderful world of raging irrational religionism. I don’t plan even to try to make sense of this.

Anyway, I extend congratulations to Coulter and Palin. They just demonstrated their stupidity and ignorance to the entire planet, via Twitter.

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#41 - Impeach ObamaI’ve blogged before about the Right comparing Obama and the Democrats to Hitler and the Nazis. To hear them tell it, the US has already become the next incarnation of the Third Reich. Reductio ad Hitlerums have become so common that it’s almost expected. Well, the Germans have noticed, and Der Spiegel, at least, is telling the American Right to stop already with the Hitlerisms (WebCite cached article):

Many on the American right have developed a taste for including a bit of German history in their stump speeches. Hitler comparisons abound and the Berlin Wall even made a cameo recently. But the flippant references to the Holocaust are ignorant and offensive. And they should stop. …

In this midterm campaign season in the US, German history seems to be everywhere. In June, conservative columnist Thomas Sowell of JewishWorldReview.com essentially argued that President Barack Obama, by requiring that BP pay $20 billion (€14.3 billion) to compensate those harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, was following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler — and was promptly praised by Sarah Palin and Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Other examples abound. A Tea Party campaign poster in Iowa depicted Obama flanked by both Hitler and Lenin. Conservative talking head and Tea Party heartthrob Glenn Beck can hardly get through one of his Fox News shows without an Obama-Hitler comparison. Palin also accused Obama’s health care plan of including “death panels.” …

During his show on Oct. 5, Glenn Beck said that Obama’s science adviser John Holdren’s concern about the global population and White House health policy adviser Ezekiel Emanuel’s warnings about global warming are “the kind of thinking that led to … the extermination program that eventually led to the Holocaust.”

Der Spiegel goes on to talk about how Germans themselves … apart from one famous example that the article cites … tend to avoid the old reductio ad Hitlerum:

For most Germans, though, the Hitler comparisons are vastly more offensive. It is almost impossible to finish high school in Germany without going on a class visit to a former concentration camp. They are not pleasant places to be. While the sites themselves might now be little more than windswept rows of foundations where hopelessly overcrowded, disease-ridden barracks once stood, the museum exhibits tend to be much more disturbing. Images of trucks full of emaciated corpses, ovens where tens of thousands of bodies were burned, photos of SS commandos on the Eastern Front shooting row upon row of Jews, a canister of the poison gas Zyklon B — all are likely to be on display. …

It would be hard to find someone on this side of the Atlantic who wouldn’t cringe at the ignorance of [Beck’s] statement [about Holdren]. Leaving aside the question as to whether or not one should be concerned about climate change and an overcrowded planet, the kind of thinking that led to the Holocaust was a different one. Hitler wanted a racially pure Germany. People with handicaps didn’t fit. Neither did Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, blacks, Asians, Arabs or homosexuals.

Der Spiegel puts the whole thing into perspective:

The Holocaust was the result of murderous ideological fanaticism of the kind not to be found in leaders forced to face re-election every four years. It was not the result of a policy meeting.

Similarly, back in June Glenn Beck said that children singing for Barack Obama was “out of the playbook … of the Third Reich ….This is Hitler Youth.” One can assume that not all of Beck’s listeners and viewers know what the Hitler Youth was. Beck himself, an astute, if cynical, student of history, certainly does. The Hitler Youth was the ideological training grounds designed to prepare German boys for a glorious career in the SS murdering anyone who stood in the way of the Führer’s dream of a vast and racially pure German Reich. It was not a dictator’s private children’s choir.

One can forgive those like Glenn Beck and his Tea Party followers for hating Barack Obama. The liberals, after all, were passionately opposed to George W. Bush and rarely shied away from hyperbole in their expressions of loathing. But it is hard to imagine even the most hard-bitten Tea Party activist sincerely believing that President Barack Obama wants to systematically murder over 6 million people like Adolf Hitler did.

One of the “justifications” for this sort of reasoning which folks on the Right have offered, is that during the George W. Bush administration, many on the Left made similar accusations about Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the Republicans. They are correct in pointing out this happened — as I noted previously — but they’re wrong about this justifying their rhetoric. It doesn’t, quite simply because two wrongs don’t make a right. That the Left did something it shouldn’t have, years ago, does not grant the Right license to do the same thing, now.

I have no doubt that Tea Partiers and assorted creeps like Glenn Beck will not stop using appeals to Hitler and the Nazis, but it sure seems as though Der Spiegel said something that has desperately needed to be said, for a long time … and did so from the perspective of its native country, Germany, which was home to Hitler, his Nazi party, and the Third Reich.

Photo credit: elviskennedy.

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