Climate of fear, Resigning Republicans, and Palin’s “Blood Libel”

Climate of fear? Violence? Stupidity?

From The Hill: James Clyburn (D-SC) on Sarah Palin, “I think intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what’s going on here…”

The No. 3 House Democrat referenced the civil rights era and said that some of the shrill rhetoric in modern politics is reminiscent of that time. “I have some experiences that maybe she does not have,” he said. “When I see and hear things today that are reminiscent of that period of time, I am very, very concerned about it, because I know what it led to back then, and I know what it can lead to again.”

It is important to keep it real. Not to over-dramatize. So in this way James Clyburn did well.

But he did in a very nice way call Palin stupid.

What’s really going on?

Without worrying about whether it did or did not cause Loughner to fire off 31 bullets last Saturday in Tucson, we know there is real violence and really violent talk that’s been coming from The Right and FOX. And we have every right to say this is something we want to stop. Now.

David Adkisson

There’s a list of recent violent acts or attempted violent acts from CrooksandLiars which starts with July 2008 when A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others. You’ll notice the list mentions several “sovereign citizens”. The concept of a sovereign citizen above the law is embedded in the belief systems of several anti-government far right wing groups

And here’s a short list of veiled and not so veiled threats of violence: Sharron Angle in Nevada who warns that citizens may be inclined to resort to “Second Amendment remedies”, the thinly veiled threat of Sarah Palin’s Democrats in the crosshairs map and a string of murder fantasies from FOX. They’re detailed in “Fox News: The Number 1 name in murder fantasies”

The fear isn’t so exaggerted when people are resigning over it…

Anthony Miller

Anthony Miller helped Republican Senator John McCain win against a Tea Party favorite, J.D. Hayworth. Saturday’s massacre was the last straw for Miller, who’s been getting verbal and visual threats ever since helping McCain. Legislative District chairman Anthony Miller, a Republican, resigned Saturday by email. In his email he cited “constant verbal attacks”.

Miller said he has been called “McCain’s boy,” and during the campaign saw a critic form his hand in the shape of a gun and point it at him. “I wasn’t going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday,” Miller said. “I love the Republican Party but I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

When I first read that “McCain’s boy” line I didn’t get it. Seeing that Miller is black…I got it.

Three other Republican leaders in Arizona quit due to Saturday’s shooting and the heated political climate in Arizona: The newly-elected Dist. 20 Republican secretary, Sophia Johnson of Ahwatukee, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson of Tempe and Jeff Kolb, the former district spokesman from Ahwatukee, also quit.

Blood Libel

More on "blood libel" is at Wikipedia

A brief analysis of a video Sarah Palin delivered is at BreakingCopy. I watched the video but it was like hearing nails on a chalkboard, so I also found the transcript at NationalReview.com. What we would want to hear might be at least a “let’s tone down the violent talk here folks”. But we do not hear that. Even worse we hear:

“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 that they purport to condemn.”

BreakingCopy says “Consider the implications of the word “purport.” Palin leaves room for doubt that journalists and pundits actually do condem violence and hatred.”

So this says that us on the Left are cynically working to turn people against Palin and FOX and we want to incite violence when in reality all of the violent images and quotes are there for the reading and they came from The Right.

Also, much is being made of the phrase “blood libel”. Its literal meaning: a blood libel was a false accusation that Jews murdered Christian children in order to use their blood in a ritual. Palin is claiming that she is a victim of a fabrication of this magnitude.

The phrase was used fairly recently, in this January 10th Wall Street Journal article

I suspect that her next goal was to use “blood libel” as a new framing of complaints from The Left.  She got FOX news to use her “death panel” phrase and even though standard papers and news didn’t use it, they had to spend time talking about it.

[Yes. The way I am talking about her now!]

If she could get the major press to use this phrase, she’ll also get them to describe on the public air waves the myth of blood libel, which is very violent even if only made real in words.

It certainly is a phrase distracting and violent enough to drive conversation: something Palin enjoys doing.

But I don’t think “blood libel” is going to go so well. I think she stepped in it on this one and everybody knows this martyr act is too overwrought.

I see Tea Partiers distancing themselves from her on blogs and especially on this phrase and we already have seen the GOP push her away. Her run at a presidency looks very bleak now. I’d love it if FOX would get rid of Palin, taking away her platform. But since they keep the notoriously wacky Glenn Beck, I don’t have high hopes.

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