Blood Libel

Mr. Green had the TV on, or I would not have seen an unusually subdued Sarah Palin urging us all to tone down the rhetoric.

She referred to some of the political accusations as ‘blood libel’, a Biblical sounding phrase that resonates.

She should show leadership by turning back from her use of phrases like ‘death panels’, which is blood libel if any words can be.

It’s a libel on all of us who work in the medical profession. It’s a libel on all the people who claim the right to decide what they do not want done to themselves, and in what situation. It’s a libel on all who stand by their loved ones, and do their best to speak for them. It’s a libel on everyone who thinks that a good death is not one in the code room at the ER when there is no reasonable hope of recovery.

It’s a slur on our emergency system, still the most intact and fair part of our whole medical system– able to save people as gravely wounded as Gabrielle Giffords, and at risk of collapsing under the burden of non-emergency patients who have no where else to go.

It’s a blood libel that throws rage into a tough discussion we need to have. Resources are finite. What is the most fair and compassionate way for a great nation to provide for its citizens?

Ms. Palin, I’ll look to you to lead the way. Walk it back from fantasies of the death panel condemning your son Trig. Recognize and take a moment to thank all the good people who care for his health and welfare. Thank the state and federal government that provide a safety net for children and adults with Down Syndrome. If your personal fortune runs out, he will not be destitute as long as we continue to believe in our responsibility for one another.

That’s a Christian idea. You’ve enjoyed enormous fame and used strong words.

Be strong enough to be a peacemaker now. You have yourself used blood libel, and it will take strong words to undo it.

If you believe that politicians use odd turns of phrase and obscure references randomly, then don’t bother to read this. But if you believe that they like to send a wink, and a nod, and a wave to their base, discreetly and without alarming the mainstream, then click on Talk to Action on prayer warriors.

Talking About Korea

Thanks to Fiore on Buzzflash who posted this essay by Mitchell Bard on Huffington Post on why Sarah Palin’s Korea flub matters.

That’s the real story about the Palin flub about North Korea that the media isn’t covering. It’s not that she misspoke, but that anyone cared what she had to say on the issue in the first place.

Sarah Palin, with her reliance on spouting talking points, simplistic approach to issues and complete lack of experience beyond a half term as governor of a state the size of Columbus, Ohio, is not competent to be discussing North Korea. And shame on any media outlet that treats her opinions as if they’re worth anything.

The real damning Palin quote in the Beck interview is the one in which she worries if “the White House is gonna come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea’s gonna do.” Putting aside her usual butchering of the English language, she takes a complicated problem facing the United States (and the world) and reduces it to a talking-point political attack on the president.

Her comment reveals that she has no understanding that we are dealing with a North Korean leadership that may not be rational and may even be self-destructive. And one with the firepower to kill legions of South Korean civilians.

Korea’s dangerous dictatorship is a problem the Bush administration left unsolved for the next president. No one is proposing that we invade Korea, so how we ‘get tough’ will have to be worked out through alliances and diplomacy. Our allies in South Korea and Japan depend on wise policy from the US.

Confusion or Camouflage?

I’m fascinated by politician-at-large Sarah Palin’s use of language. She is a brilliant communicator of indefensible ideas via wink and nod. She cultivates a vagueness that
passes as casual sincerity, but serves her with deniability.

Anyone can make a verbal slip, especially under pressure. But there’s more than that happening with her ‘North Korea’ gaffe.

Here’s the direct quote…

“We’re not having a lot of faith that the White House is going to come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea is going to do,” she said on the Fox News presenter’s nationally syndicated radio show.
“So this speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policies.
“But obviously we gotta stand with our North Korean allies.”

Screen out for a moment her error in which Korea she was referring to. Consider that this is the former governor of Alaska and that she could have been our president– making foreign policy and defense decisions. Note that she doesn’t even say ‘I’. It’s some nebulous ‘We’. You and who else, Sarah?

She’s being interviewed on the radio by Glenn Beck, who’s doing everything short of giving her a foot massage. Does she dare to say what she would actually do, or what the president should do, in this crisis? No, she just says that the situation scares her.
Well yeah, it scares everyone. But if you aspire to lead and want to criticize the president you need to put out something specific. What comes next tells a lot about how she uses language to cover her lack of knowledge.

I mean, a reasonable response would have been for her to slap her forehead and say ‘Golly– of course, I meant to say ‘South Korea’, but she doesn’t. Because at that moment she can’t get her Koreas straight even with prompting, so she runs for cover…

When the host immediately corrected her Mrs Palin repeated: “Er yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.”

‘We’re also’? This doesn’t make sense. We’re not supporting both Koreas now. We are facing a belligerent North Korea that has been trouble for more than two generations. There was this Korean War she might want to read up on.

She’s good with the dig and the implication, but when it comes to risking a real opinion and saying what she would do about this crisis, she runs for cover.

Again, anyone can make a verbal slip, but how she handled it speaks volumes.

Enough About Race

I’m mature enough to get past all the things people say about Celts. We are dour, and not particularly forgiving, but we prefer to hold our grudges close to the vest. I don’t play the race card every time someone dyes their beer green and puts on a fake accent. Better to let fools suffer.

Still, there are some lines they shouldn’t cross. Like longitude. Sarah Palin’s people are dissing my coast, namely the East, and I don’t like it.

My America is just as real as her’s, and has been part of the USA since there was a USA. Which is more than you can say for Alaska, no offense meant to Seward’s Folly.

Alaska is very far West, it’s true, but also very far North. This must be a conflict with the real Americans in the South, unless they can accept diversity.

Let’s just agree to all get along. Everyone is exactly as real as everyone else.

Sarah Palin’s Genius

An interesting take on why her statements don’t come back on her. Most recently, she told a Canadian audience that her family used to cross the border for some of that government-run health care the Canadians somehow survive.

She is a genius of the incomplete sentence, the vague suggestion, the wink and the nod. She reminds me of Pentecostal preachers I heard as a teenager. Some of them could shout at the top of their lungs for an hour without actually saying anything. Glory! [followed by ten seconds of speaking in tongues] Let’s hear it louder people! Glory!!!

You can bang your head against the wall trying to argue with this kind of thing, but you’ll never win. They’re saved, you’re damned.

A witch, Margo Adler, once said that the challenge of our age is balancing the rational and the mystical. Sarah Palin is a powerful and effective communicator on the non-rational level. That’s her genius. She can say and do anything she wants. It will all roll off like teflon, just as it did for the brilliant and talented actor, Ronald Reagan.

ANOTHER REFUGEE FROM AMERICA: Rush Limbaugh has promised to move to Costa Rica if the health reform bill passes because Costa Rica has socialized medicine. Like many of us, he considers the present bill to be a disappointing compromise. Unlike those of us who love and will not leave America, he’s going to a place where he will not be rejected for his many pre-existing conditions.

Perhaps it’s just a rumor that he plans to use his fortune to establish a research center in Costa Rica dedicated to finding a cure for the scourge called ‘pilonidal cyst’. This dread condition prevented a young Limbaugh from serving his country in Vietnam, and may account for his many complaints related to the lower spinal area. Remember also, that sitting in a chair all day takes its toll. No sacrifice too great.

Talking Back to Sarah Palin

I don’t watch Family Guy, because even though Seth MacFarlane is local, he seems to have been deeply affected by Garfield cartoons. I just can’t get past that. Sorry.

He’s also offensive. I watched part of one episode and it struck me as creepy-racist-misogynist and I only lasted a few minutes. Sorry– I can’t justify it in an argument, it was just an impression. Maybe I’m wrong. Just an opinion.

We don’t all think alike. Sarah Palin took a recent episode of Family Guy as a slam on people with Down Syndrome. Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who did the voice for the cartoon character, thinks otherwise. She herself has Down Syndrome, but she is an adult and too large to carry around as a prop and old enough to speak for herself. So read what she says here.

You may agree with her or not, but it’s good to remember that people with Down Syndrome are not God’s innocent angels sent here to teach us something about life, but actual people who have their own lives to live. Trig Palin will grow up, and I hope he will have a good life. Sarah Palin better hope she doesn’t pick up the NYT some day and see a best-seller called, ‘Drafted–My Life on the Campaign Trail When Mommy Went Rogue’, or ‘Going Rough–Missed Naps and Noisy Crowds in Days that Made History’. At least it’s not ‘Vice-President, Dearest’ –not yet.

Daily Kos has the startling news that Sarah Palin’s grandson receives health care coverage from socialized medicine.

TOUGH WEEK: Palin came in third runner-up in the Conservative Popularity Awards Convention (CPAC) Pageant. It seems unfair. She has way better hair than Ron Paul, who might want to consider having a little work done– nothing drastic, just a little lift. Mitt Romney is tough competition. I think he’s encased in some kind of impermeable wrinkle-proof plastic. He’d better wear Kevlar under the suit though, because Sarah Barracuda does not forgive or forget. Except for things Rush Limbaugh says or things she needs to not recall in testimony.

That’s Politics

‘Joe’ the ‘plumber’ feels used by John McCain? Well yeah, maybe, but he could have got his plumbing license straightened out and gone to work. Instead he ran around giving interviews and speeches, generally trying to be the real American working man without all that tiresome job stress.

He liked the fame. Now the breakup has happened without a kiss goodbye. Even Sarah Palin isn’t giving him the love. Life is tough.

A MAN’S VIEW: from Mr. Ninjanurse out of the side of his mouth as he sits on the couch watching some game– ‘He’s a plumber so he knows what a tool is.’