The Left and “blood libel:” the cartoon version

January 16, 2011

The essence of moonbat reasoning:

I’d say that covers it.

via Legal Insurrection

Of speeches and tweets: thoughts on yesterday

January 13, 2011

Yesterday saw the memorial service for the victims of Saturday’s mass-murder in Tucson. I didn’t watch, for reasons I gave elsewhere, but I did follow the commentary on Twitter while working on other things and that prompted some reflections, which I now inflict on you. (Hey! Where are you going?)

First, from almost all I could see, Obama did a good job last night in his speech: he said the right things, set the right tone (apparently in spite of his audience), and did what we’ve expected of our Chief of State to do at least since Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg — to speak for the nation in memorializing and honoring the dead. Regardless of his sincerity or cynicism (I saw speculations on both last night), he played his role well and deserves credit for that.

The other big speech was Sarah Palin’s. I wrote about it yesterday and stand by what I said: it was also a good address  from a potential president. That evening on Twitter I had an exchange with an acquaintance, a strong conservative and political junkie, who also liked her speech, but thought Obama had, as he put it, “lapped her,” that his performance had diminished hers, making her speech sound “off” in retrospect. He thought that having her speech on the same day as his had worked to her disadvantage.

Perhaps; it will certainly figure in the 2012 calculus, at least for a while. In the end, though, I think that matters less than that Sarah Palin, like Barack Obama, did what she had to do and did it well. Since Saturday afternoon, she had been slagged mercilessly by a left-liberal press and online punditry that was determined to lay blame for the Tucson massacre on her and her “inflamed rhetoric,” in spite of all evidence and logic to the contrary. She responded with plain-spoken eloquence: criticizing those who insulted her and conservatives in general, defending vigorous and free political speech, and sympathizing with the victims.  Like Obama, she deserves credit.

Then there was the running Greek Chorus on Twitter, in which I noticed two strong trends.

First, when Obama actually does something right, there are some conservatives and libertarians who almost fall all over themselves to show how big-minded and generous they can be. Acknowledging a good speech is sufficient; drooling on one’s own shoes with something like “Thank you SIR!!” makes my eyes roll. It’s just a speech, people; I’ll freely grant he did a good job, but let’s wait to see what does in the days and months to come to live up to those words before we proclaim a new Era of Good Feelings.

Perhaps I’m just too crusty and cynical.

On the other hand, some people were absolutely out of line with snarky criticism of the event. The standout among those I saw was radio host Tammy Bruce. I usually like her opinions quite a bit, but her running commentary was just embarrassing and churlish. While I might agree with her (and to some degree, I do), this was not the time to hurl snark. It wasn’t just inappropriate, she beclowned herself. In fact, it was downright rude and classless, and she owes her audience some contrition. It was no better than the people in the audience who were treating the memorial like a pep rally.

Is it too much to ask people to act like adults?

when Obama does something right, there are some conservatives and libertarians who almost fall all over themselves to show how big-minded and generous they can be. Acknowledging a good speech is sufficient; drooling on one’s own shoes with something like “Thank you SIR!!” made my eyes roll. It’s just a speech, which I’ll grant is important to his role as Chief of State; but let’s wait to see what does before we lie down with the lambs.

Five Rules for Coping with Tragedy

January 12, 2011

In the wake of the hysterical overreactions on the part of the Left and the Mainstream Media (But I repeat myself) after the Tucson mass-murder, Reason.TV has put together a video of five good suggestions politicians, journalists, and real people like us should keep in mind when tragedy strikes:

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Sarah Palin on the Tucson massacre: “America’s enduring strength” — Updated

January 12, 2011

Since Saturday’s horrific shootings in Tucson that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and 18 others dead and wounded, conservatives in America have been subjected to a vicious, almost Orwellian, campaign of slander and calumny from liberal and leftist politicians and pundits. Sarah Palin has been a particular target of this blood libel.

Governor Palin responded this morning in a video statement that, while forceful, is far more mature and responsible than almost anything coming from our so-called cultural elites:

(Click the image to go to the video.)

There’s a transcript at her Facebook page. While she is rightly critical of those who rushed to smear others in the hours after the event, I want to highlight another portion:

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

Just days before she was shot, Congresswoman Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House. It was a beautiful moment and more than simply “symbolic,” as some claim, to have the Constitution read by our Congress. I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just “symbolic.” But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive.

It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.

(Emphasis added)

That, my friends, is what a chief of state sounds like in a time of national trauma, and it stands as an irrefutable answer to those who accuse her of being shallow or criticize her as a lightweight for using social media. This housewife from Wasilla, this chill-billy with nothing more than a BA from the University of Idaho, apparently understands what her nation is about better than our political and cultural leaders in Washington and New York with all their Ivy League degrees. Unlike them, she gets it.

Today our actual Chief of State, President Obama, goes to Tucson to deliver an address to the nation. Let’s hope he shows he understands his country, too.

LINKS: ST weighs in. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey is impressed with her response. So is Power Line. Moe Lane believes she has set a high bar for Obama. Charles Krauthammer: “Massacre, followed by libel.”

UPDATE: Sigh. How predictable. Now the reactionary Left (and some on the Right, who should know better) are going after Palin for her use of the phrase “blood libel.” Give me a break. While originally used to specifically refer to a horrid slander against Jews, the phrase has expanded in meaning to include any inflammatory slander inciting hatred of an entire group. On the contrary, it’s frequently used in our political shouting matches discourse. Only yesterday, Glenn Reynolds used it in the Wall St. Journal. Jim Geraghty has a broad and growing survey of its use by both the Right and the Left. Ed Morrissey in an update thinks Palin’s use the phrase was appropriate. So does William Jacobson. My friend Jeff Dunetz at Yid-With-Lid asks “What’s the problem?” Finally, Alan Dershowitz, whom only a fool would describe as a conservative or a Right-winger, issued this statement at Big Government:

The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

As far as I’m concerned, Governor Palin’s use of the phrase was apt, accurate, and powerful, which is why it’s driving the Left nuts.

A media guide for confused journalists

January 12, 2011

Michael Ramirez shoots* a three-pointer, nothing but net:

(Click to enlarge)

*Oh no! Violent rhetoric! Someone hide Michael Daly‘s eyes!

Twitter users wish death on Sarah Palin — Updated

January 11, 2011

Because, as we all know, the Left is all about reasoned, dispassionate discourse and never engages in “hate speech.”

Foul language warning:

via The Jawa Report

UPDATE 1/12/2011: Apparently embarrassed by their own rampant immaturity, one or more of the persons who posted those death wishes against Sarah Palin has complained to YouTube that their “privacy” has been violated. (By screen-capping a public post on Twitter??) In case the video link above ceases to work, you can see another copy at Big Journalism, along with a discussion of this Stalinist attempt to airbrush the record.

It was inevitable: gun rights in the crosshairs, again

January 11, 2011

In the 72 hours after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of several others in Tucson, our moral betters on the liberal left were shouting in (coordinated?) outrage that it had to be due to the angry, overheated rhetoric from the Right, and most particularly from Sarah Palin. Even the Sheriff of Pima County couldn’t resist getting in on the act.

Though the Left is still pushing the “dangerous rhetoric” idea, even to the point of introducing a bill to criminalize free speech*, their campaign to smear their conservative opponents is crumbling like a wet cookie as it becomes increasingly clear that the shooter suffered from a serious mental illness and had no coherent political beliefs. So,with that tactic failing, what’s a good statist to do? How else can we exploit human tragedy to further our political agenda? Hmmm…

I’ve got it! Let’s blame it on Arizona’s loose gun laws! Then we can get gun-control legislation passed!

Trouble is, like the “inflamed rhetoric” argument, the idea that weak gun laws in Arizona allowed a mentally ill man to legally conceal-carry a firearm does not stand up to the light of truth, as Big Journalism’s Dana Loesch shows:

More on the role of conceal carry in a bit. I’ve seen many are making the case that just “anyone” with mental illness can buy a gun and that Arizona’s “relaxed” gun laws contributed to the Arizona tragedy because a mentally ill individual was allowed to legally purchase a firearm and we can’t just have mentally ill people buying guns. No, we can’t, which is why Arizona has a law about this. AZ law expressly states that due to their prohibited possessor stipulation, anyone proving a danger to themselves or others pursuant to court order is not allowed to purchase a firearm.

Under Arizona law, prohibited possessor are defined in ARS 13-3101 which states:

  • 7. “Prohibited possessor” means any person:
  • (a) Who has been found to constitute a danger to himself or to others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to court order under section 36-540, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored pursuant to section 13-925.

Had campus security and his parents followed up with proper treatment and reported his actions, he, from what it sounds, would have been an easy PP and unable to buy a weapon. Had the Sheriff’s office acted upon what is suggested as their advanced knowledge of Loughner’s troubled history, they may have obtained a warrant and confiscated his firearm – or apprehended him before he bought it. Of course, this simply assumes that Loughner was only motivated to cause harm because he was in possession of a firearm and presupposes that the firearm was an accessory motivator and rules out for certain that Loughner would never have attacked anyone with, say, a knife, bat, or any other weapon.

The problem isn’t the fallacy that Arizona’s law failed – Arizona’s law, like every law, can only work if followed. Prohibited possession can only work if if troubled individuals are reported to authorities so that the existing laws can be applied to them and, in this case, prevent them from purchasing firearms.

In other words, the problem was that existing law was not applied when it should have been. (And the Sheriff’s office there is in serious need of investigation for its failures in this case.)

Loesch then goes on to address the faulty argument that permissive concealed-carry laws enabled this crime and increase the risks we face, citing numerous studies — including data from the FBI — to show that states that permit concealed-carry experience a sharp drop in violent crime. (For example)  Inconvenient truths, of course, rarely matter to the Statists in the media and government, who are quick to seize any reason, however fallacious, to try to advance their agenda of paternalistic control, including taking away our ability to defend ourselves.

For our own good, of course.

*Maybe they need another public reading of the Bill of Rights?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Fighting hate speech with hate speech

January 10, 2011

British MEP Daniel Hannan has a great article today about the Left’s grotesque tone-deafness in the wake of the Tucson massacre:

Michael Daly in the New York Daily News writes that Sarah Palin may now have “the blood of more than some poor caribou on her hands”. Jane Fonda blames Glenn Beck. Not all Lefties are taking this line, of course; perhaps not most. But it is striking that those who complain most loudly about hate speech then go on to indulge in the very phenomenon they purport to be condemning.

There is something repulsive about attacking your opponents for their intemperate language and in the same breath accusing them of complicity in murder. There is something blindly narcissistic about calling for a calmer debate while at the same time attacking Sarah Palin in terms that come close to incitement. Odium is not confined to any political faction. Spend five minutes reading the online reactions to the atrocity to see how readily Leftists resort to accusations of evil.

Six people have been murdered, for God’s sake, one of them a nine-year-old girl.

Let’s keep that in mind, shall we?

Even violent rhetoric is still free speech

January 9, 2011

Jack Shafer has a great rebuttal in Slate to assertions by the Left that violent rhetoric and imagery are to blame for the mass-murder in Tucson, yesterday. His point is that our political speech is often over-the-top, but only the shooter is to blame for what he did — In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric:

For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such “inflammatory” words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I’ve even gotten angry, for goodness’ sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.

From what I can tell, I’m not an outlier. Only the tiniest handful of people—most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds—can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Violent, even hysterical rhetoric has been part of our political discourse since the earliest days of the Republic. Thomas Jefferson himself once wrote:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

So, did Jefferson have blood on his hands when John Wilkes Booth murdered President Lincoln and shouted “Sic semper tyrannis?”

No, of course not. Again, the only person responsible for the outrage in Tucson is the shooter himself and anyone who may have helped him. Not Sarah Palin, not the Tea Party, not the Republicans, and by no means their rhetoric.

Not that this will stop many on the Left from exploiting this tragedy in a attempt to suppress free speech.

AFTERTHOUGHT: And where were all these clucking scolds when George W. Bush assassination fantasies were all the rage? Or Bush as a vampire sucking the blood of liberty? Or Sarah Palin, herself? Dollars to donuts they saw no problem at all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Preach it, Gabriella!

May 8, 2010

In Tucson, legal immigrant and US citizen Gabriella Sesito Saucedo Mercer addresses the city council in opposition to a proposal to sue the state of Arizona over its new immigration bill:


(hat tip: Hillbuzz)

Edited to correct the speaker’s name, based on her comment at Hillbuzz.