Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – January 17, 2014

It must be the Mean Season on the Planet Teapublican – seemingly the only explanation for its followers in Congress insisting on continuing to deny benefits to the long term unemployed. Meanwhile, in an effort to repair the wreckage to the Voting Rights Act inflicted by the RobertsonScaliaThomasAlito cabal in the Supreme Court, Congress engaged in a bit of sleight of hand. And finally, while the celebratory skydive of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was covered in the news, Sarah Palin, the approximate cause of her discontent, got a free pass.

In the Land of Mean

Too many Americans know the stress and the shame and the pain of unemployment. The painful irony is that the longer that someone is unemployed, the more difficult it is to find a job. Indeed, some unenlightened employers refuse to even interview unemployed job applicants.

Over the last few years the federal government has extended benefits to the long term unemployed. It has certainly been a compassionate initiative and it has also been helpful to a hobbled national economy, provided direct infusions of cash to shops, stores and service providers each time those checks have gone out.

Now in step the Teapublican shock troops claiming that unemployment benefits, meager as they are, provide a disincentive for the unemployed to find a job. Heroic hypocrites like Congressman Paul Ryan – who grew up in a wealthy family that made its money as government contractors, used his father’s Social Security death benefits to attend college and who never had to look for a job in his life – claim that budget balancing is more important than saving the lives and self-respect of millions.

I am certain that Paul Ryan and his fellow Ayn Rand acolytes are good to their own children and family members. But it has been said that we measure the generosity of someone’s spirit in how they treat people that they do not know.

By that measure Paul Ryan and the Teapublicans come up short.

That Old Bad Magic

When observing events in Congress it is important to pay attention to the details. The seemingly laudable bi-partisan effort to repair the damage caused by the United State Supreme Court in virtually gutting the Voting Rights Act last year is a case in point.

The new legislation which seems to address many of the key elements of the Supreme Court’s attack on America, particularly black and Latino America, does not address the odious Photo I.D. legislation that is spreading across this country like some incurable cancer from KKK hell.

So we will read in the paper that Congress has passed a new Voting Right Act. Great news!

Race/racist driven Photo I.D. laws will still be the subject of trench warfare, state by state, county by county because Congress could not/would not act on this transparent strategy to suppress the voting power of people of color.

NOT great news!

Free Pass for Sarah Palin?

Last week most people of good will celebrated the fact that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords celebrated her continued recovery from the Tucson Massacre by sky diving. Her recovery is an inspiring narrative and a tribute to the strength of her spirit and the support of her husband, family and friends.

But Sarah Palin, the Lady Macbeth in this story, was never mentioned in the news media. Somehow, only three years later, the mainstream media seems to have forgotten that it was on Sarah Palin’s website that a rifle scope was placed over then Congresswoman Gifford’s district – along with several others.

The fact that the man who shot Gabrielle Giffords in the head may not have been directly inspired by Sarah Palin’s cyber-obscenity does not diminish the fact that her overheated and gun-inspired rhetoric contributed to an atmosphere where violence entered into public and political discourse.

Sarah Palin should never get a free pass on this one.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!

Point of View Columns

Requiem for Sarah Palin

Last week it was announced that Fox News would not be renewing Sarah Palin’s contract with the network. Losing her position as a regular on television is just more evidence that the Ms. Palin’s star has lost whatever luster it ever had. But the departure of Sarah Palin is also further evidence that Fox News is just another entertainment network and not a serious source of news.

When John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in 2008 he accomplished several things. First, he demonstrated an awesome disregard for the United States and its citizens by choosing a person who would almost certainly have been the most unqualified Vice President in recent history (although Dan Quayle would have to rank a close second). But John McCain also placed Sarah Palin in the spotlight and gave her a platform for her to advance her own personal career.

From the moment that she claimed that she could see Russia from her kitchen window it was clear that Sarah Palin was not a person to be taken seriously. Her capacity for mangling facts and the English language became the stuff of legend. And there is no doubt that her position on the Republican ticket helped Barack Obama become the 45th President of the United States.

But out of the ashes of defeat, Sarah Palin rose phoenix-like and became a star – a celebrity who was famous for being……………famous. That any group would pay $50,000 – $$100,000 to hear Sarah Palin speak speaks to the power of 21st century celebrity and to the fact that it really didn’t matter whether Sarah Palin had anything of importance to say. It was simply enough that she was a celebrity.

Clearly this was the calculus that Fox News employed in signing Sarah Palin to a $1 million per year contract three years ago. Sarah Palin has no known expertise on any subject except self-promotion. Certainly the occupants of the executive suite at Fox News knew that, but then Fox News is a news network in name only. It is, in fact, a reality show just like “American Idol”, “Real Housewives of Wherever” and “Celebrity Chefs”, except that this reality show takes place in a set made to look like it is part of a news network.

Fox News buys celebrities and doesn’t care whether there facts and truth are part of the script. The fact that it broadcasts opinions that slake the thirst of their parched right wing of the right wing viewers is not the point. What is the point is that rarely are those opinions even in the vicinity of facts and, in many instances untruths, distortions and outright lies are the menu du jour at Fox News.

Election Day 2012 was the final illustration that Fox News is not a news network. Even before the polls closed their cast of commentators did everything but sacrifice a fatted calf to support their hopes and prayers that the Muslim Kenyan communist fascist anti-Christ would be defeated. They defied facts, they ignored statistics and staked their hopes on their belief that somehow, someway, Mitt Romney would deliver them from four more years of Barack Hussein Obama.

Even when the Fox News statisticians and pollsters decisively proclaimed President Obama re-elected, their commentators refused to leave their state of denial. The only thing that they didn’t do was click their heels in the hope that they might return to Kansas.

It is for all these reasons and more that it seems unfair that Fox News in effect fired Sarah Palin. She has never pretended to be anything more than a headline seeking, spotlight searching promoter of the one cause in which she believes with all her heart – Sarah Palin. And in that regard she has not changed.

I can’t help but think that Sarah Palin’s decline accelerated when she got carried away with her “lock and load” rhetoric and then put a gun sight target on the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on her own website – and then the Tucson Massacre happened. Many people have thought that Sarah Palin had blood on her hands after that and she never had planned to play the role of Lady Macbeth.

But clearly, as her popularity has declined, she no longer is an asset to Fox News. She used Fox News to promote her newfound celebrity, and Fox News used her to boost its ratings. Now Fox News has no more use for a fading star on her way to the land of miscellany and trivia. Soon she will be a Jeopardy answer, if she’s lucky.

Fox News has no more use for Sarah Palin and neither does this country.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – October 7, 2011

After much prayer and intensive review of her financial statements Sarah Palin has decided not to run for president. Not really a surprise except to the people who actually believed in the Grisly Mom. And while the name of Rodeo Rick Perry’s family hunting lodge was offensive, there is a curious aspect to the wails of offense coming from black leaders in this country. When actually, is it o.k. to use the word “nigger”? The manual has yet to be distributed. Finally, as the Occupy Wall Street movement continues some wonder if this is the left wing answer to the Tea Party. A better question might be where are the Koch Brothers of the left wing?

And the Pimp of the Year Award Goes to……….

Sarah Palin is not going to run for president. The only people who are surprised are the people who believed in her and sent her money. The Grisly Mom has turned out to be a Trumpish self-promoter who has parlayed her 15 minutes of fame into a career and a fortune.

Along the way she has mangled history and managed to help befoul the political atmosphere with inflammatory rhetoric – all in the name of “taking America back”. She put cross-hairs on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords district and then expressed shock when Ms. Giffords was shot in the head. I wish that I could say good riddance, but the Grisly Mom has promised to stay around. Clearly there is more money to be made.

The Ballad of Niggerhead

It’s a good thing that Rodeo Rick Perry wears cowboy boots because he has been stomping around from one manure pile to another ever since he decided that God wanted him to be president. It is pretty clear that God is reconsidering His advisory.

It turns out that the Perry family bought a Texas hunting lodge that had the name of “Niggerhead”. There seems to be some dispute as to how long the offending name stayed painted on a rock – Rodeo Rick says it was done years ago, more recent visitors beg to differ.

But, never missing an opportunity for some face time before the cameras, numerous black “leaders” have pounced on this opportunity to decry the insensitivity of Rodeo Rick and his family. Even Herman Cain felt it important to add his voice to the Amen Chorus.

What is mystifying is that black entertainers have introduced the word “nigger” into popular parlance. The list of rappers, singers and comedians who live and breathe the word would fill a small phone book. Nigger is not only a part of American slang; it is a part of international slang thanks to these ubiquitous messengers of mayhem.

Very few of the aforementioned leaders take the time to criticize P-Diddy, Jay-Z, and Eddie Murphy………and on and on….. for their constant, perpetual and endless use of the word. Perhaps we can take a moment to understand why Rodeo Rick and legions of white Americans are confused about the legions of upset black Americans who refer to themselves as nigger and pay for the dubious right to be referred to as nigger throughout the media universe.

And the Ballad of Niggerhead plays on…………….

Things Go Better with Koch?

The Occupy Wall Street movement is entering its fourth week and has now gone national. Commentators are openly speculating whether OWS represents the left wing version of the Tea Party. This is an unfortunate and downright bogus analogy because the Tea Party movement has been bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and their billionaire right wing frat brothers.

To ignore this fact is to continue the delusion that the Tea Party is a grassroots movement when in fact it is Astro Turf. Just ask Karl Rove and the other G.O.Tea Party operatives who have used Koch money to manipulate right wing activists for their own benefit – reducing taxes, reducing regulation and reducing the size of any government activity that doesn’t cater to their very particular interests.

In the meantime we will watch OWS and wait…………and see.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

The Great American Circus

Thanks to the great political cartoonist Thomas Nast the elephant has been the symbol of the Republican Party for over a century. Now that it has morphed into the G.O.Tea Party it should come as no surprise that there is a circus-like feel to the presidential nomination sweepstakes that is inflicted upon us on a daily basis. The only problem is that there are too many clowns and not enough elephants.

It seems that every few days another Republican decides that they are prepared to be the Leader of the Free World even as we either gasp in horror or smother gales of laughter at the thought. We would, however, be wise not to be too ready to laugh – even clowns, especially clowns, can be dangerous.

Like a circus car from which emerges an endless parade of clowns, the G.O.Tea Party circus is providing us with mirthless images that would be laughable but for the danger that they represent. In no particular order, consider some of the members of the current lineup:

-George Pataki – The three time governor of New York State is known for having defeated Mario Cuomo and using a ramshackle collection of budgetary quirks and tricks that resulted in near financial disaster for the state. A disaster, it should be noted, that is (and will be) affecting millions of New Yorkers for decades. Wonder what he might do as President of the United States?

-Sarah Palin – If you subtract the time that she spent running an unsuccessful campaign for Vice President, she spent less than two years as governor of Alaska before resigning to make some money. Well known for knowing very little, she has not let ignorance get in the way of her grand ambition to be somebody. She can be laughable when referring to being able to see Russia from her kitchen window as being part of her foreign policy qualifications and kind of sad when she cannot recall a book that she has read or a newspaper that she reads regularly. But she has a darker side – such as when she tells followers to “lock and load” and then puts a bull’s eye on the offices of political opponents. Ask Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

-Ron Paul – If you ask Ron Paul nicely, he will be glad to tell you that the United States doesn’t need a Department of Education or a Department of Energy even though the quality of education and access to energy are keys to the progress of this country for the balance of this century. Actually, you don’t even need to ask Mr. Paul; at the drop of a dime (or a penny) he will tell you that government is the problem and that its elimination will cure what ails us as a nation. He doesn’t bother to explain how the health, education and welfare of this nation will be maintained without the presence of a strong national government. But that’s what makes him such a loveable clown.

-Rick Perry – Rodeo Rick Perry has galloped onto the national stage with his six guns blazing. In one week he has suggested that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board may be contemplating treason and has expressed his doubt as to whether President Obama loves America. That’s pretty hilarious stuff from a clown who has suggested that Texas secede from the United States. And the really funny thing about Rodeo Rick is that he’s just getting started.

-Michele Bachmann – Where does one start when writing about the Queen of Clowns? She mixes up John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer, and celebrates Elvis Presley’s birthday on the day that he died. What a hoot! The fact that she takes herself so seriously should be a warning that there she is actually a zealot who has misplaced her big nose. But the fact that she has proclaimed that she is on a mission to make this country a Christian nation that is governed by Christian ideals has a Taliban-like ring to it that is not funny at all.

-Herman Cain – Mr. Cain’s idea of a powerful campaign slogan is that he has no experience in government at all. Close your eyes and imagine your brain surgeon telling you that his/her major qualification is that he/she never went to medical school. Being the chief executive of a successful chain of pizza parlors that mock Italians is a qualification of sorts although I think that if Mr. Cain was the head of “Yo Mama’s Chicken” instead of “Godfather’s Pizza” he wouldn’t be getting a pass.

-Mitt Romney – Mr. Romney is the magical clown who wants us to believe that the universal healthcare program that he advanced as governor of Massachusetts has nothing to do with the universal healthcare plan advanced by President Obama. Mitt, the Magic Clown would also have us believe that in his career as a businessman he “created jobs” when the business model of his company was to acquire businesses, sell off the assets and fire the employees. Of course the fact that Mr. Romney can be a magician and a clown shows a real skill at multi-tasking.

There are other candidates and would-be candidates running around the G.O.Tea Party circus tent. Someone played “Send in the Clowns” and the right wing of the right wing adopted it as their anthem.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – August 5, 2011

The dogs days of July have morphed into the lupine days of August – the wolves are out and no one is safe. Sarah Palin cries crocodile tears about being labeled a terrorist, but she IS a terrorist. Critics claim that Obama “surrendered” to the Tea Party loons in the immortal budget/deficit battle that will rage for years, but who’s got his back? And meanwhile, in case no one noticed, the economy of the planet is plunging like Icarus who dared to come to close to the sun…….whither Daedalus?

Sarah…You ARE a Terrorist

At some point during the autopsy of the godawful debt ceiling battle it was reported that, during a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats someone referred to the Tea Party kamikazes as “terrorists”. This created an artificial hue and cry from the right wing of the right wing wailing and bellowing that their patriotic bona fides were being impugned.

In keeping with the strict rules of the theater of the absurd, Sarah Palin popped up and claimed that Tea Party advocates and their running hounds in the Congress were simply patriotic Americans who were advocating the benefits of fiscal probity. And then, just to be sure that we understood how ridiculous she is, the former governor of Alaska stated that if the Tea Party advocates were domestic terrorists President Obama would be “palling around with us like he palled around with Bill Ayres”.

As it turns out Sarah Palin and the Tea Party maniacs employed classic terrorist tactics in holding the entire economy of the planet hostage while making outrageous demands to reduce the size of government and cut vital social services, all the while refusing to even consider increasing revenues by any means. Osama bin Laden must be laughing from his watery grave.

In his most virulent dreams bin Laden could never have imagined collapsing the entire American economy. Knocking down a few buildings and blowing up a few airplanes is child’s play compared to the damage that Sarah and the Tea Partiers have in mind for this country. Al Qaeda killed thousands, the bullet heads in Congress and their supporters threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions, if not billions throughout the world.

Clearly Sarah Palin is counting on the collective amnesia of the American public. But we should remember that it was Sarah “Lock and Load” Palin’s website that put rifle cross-hairs on the congressional district represented by Gabrielle Giffords who was, in turn, shot in the head. The fact that yet another gun-toting loon committed the deed does not absolve Sarah Palin of responsibility for creating an atmosphere and fomenting violent emotions where something like this can happen.

And finally, her snide remark about Bill Ayres requires some kind of response. Sarah Palin is either too young or too dumb to realize that during the 1960’s progressive activists were being shot and killed by National Guard troops in places like Kent State and South Carolina State Universities as well as being beaten and jailed by Chicago police during the Democratic Party convention.

Radical philosophies were freely debated and espoused but rarely was there any violence that remotely resembled “terrorism”. What we do know is today Bill Ayres is Executive Director of World Hunger Year – http://www.whyhunger.org – dedicating his life to feeding the hungry while Sarah Palin continues to stir the boiling cauldron of hate and irresponsibility.

So you see Sarah Palin, it is YOU who is the terrorist.

Who’s Got Obama’s Back?

The retrospective regarding the role of President Obama in the recent debt ceiling fiasco has been immediate and not very kind to the president. While some commentators have correctly pointed out that negotiating with terrorists disguised as members of Congress and the Senate is an almost impossible task and he got the best deal possible under the circumstances.

Others have pointed out that Barack Obama seemed to allow himself to be bullied by the Eric Cantors and John Boehners of the moment never threatening retribution but always being amenable to compromise. Once he made it clear that he would do anything to avoid the nation’s credit default he became impossibly vulnerable.
By taking the 14th Amendment option off the table in negotiations with the Republicans President Obama gave up the one weapon that he might have used, at least as a threat. His reason for doing so is that White House lawyers did not think that it was a viable tactic.

The argument could go on but the question still arises – where was support for Barack Obama during the negotiations? Where were the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and Nancy Pelosi? Where were Al Gore and Bill Clinton and the National Conference of Mayors? The NAACP and the National Urban League were having their annual conventions during this recent madness, where were the resolutions supporting the president and demands for him to use the 14th Amendment hammer?

As I wrote earlier this week, Barack Obama was like a guy in a chair fight where everybody had a chair but him. Not a great place to be.

Let’s hope that going forward we will see the same support that got Barack Obama into office resurface in order to keep him in office.

The Crash of ’11?

On August 4, 2011 the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted by over 500 points continuing a decline that has taken place over the past month. Analysts connect this indication of economic turmoil to market distress in Europe as well as the budget dysfunction in Washington. And this has happened without a default by the United States.

The G.O.Tea Party is masterful in denying reality. This would be the same party whose most vocal members claimed that a default would not adversely affect the American economy. I am guessing that they also believe in the Easter Bunny.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Apocalypse Now…..Or Later?

It is getting more and more difficult to try to find good news in the news. On the one hand we are presented with the spectacle of Sarah Palin seriously considering running for President of the United States. This, despite the fact that she has done her level best to prove to every American that she is absolutely lacking in the skills, ability or intelligence that would make her even a mediocre president.

On the other hand we are witness to President Obama and the G.O.Tea Party engaged in a monumental game of Chicken. The federal deficit cap must be raised by August 2, 2011; otherwise there is a very real risk of global financial meltdown. The G.O.Tea Party is linking the vote on the deficit to a budget proposal that will pare trillions from the federal budget without increasing taxes to pay for what used to be thought of as essential federal services.

President Obama has doubled down on the budget/deficit debate by offering to consider what can only be described as draconian cuts in social programs such as Medicare and Social Security. He has also proposed eliminating the Bush era tax cuts by 2012 and revising the federal tax code.

It seems as if we are watching the ship of state careening towards the unknowable abyss that could come from the economic apparatus of the United States government coming to a screeching halt. Since this has never happened before no one knows if apocalyptic predictions are valid. But that is like saying that, never having jumped out of a 22nd story window one is cannot be certain that death will be the result of such a leap.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, who famously could not name a newspaper or magazine that she reads regularly, somehow fancies herself as being presidential timber, as the saying goes. When celebrity is mistaken for leadership and fame (or infamy) is seen as a qualifying asset for the presidency, it may be that the Apocalypse is truly at hand.

But someone needs to remember that Sarah Palin’s irresponsible rhetoric – “lock and load” and gun-sight cross-hairs targeting the offices of political opponents (one of whom was shot in the head) has exacerbated an already overheated America. That Sarah Palin tried to portray herself as the aggrieved party after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head should have disqualified her from being considered for public office for all time. But this is the United States, where the collective public memory is about the length of time that it takes to click a remote – and all is forgotten, if not forgiven.

The election of Sarah Palin as President of the United States would confirm the arrival of the Apocalypse. The fact that she can be considered a possible candidate is cause for concern that the Apocalypse isn’t that far away.

And all the while the President and the G.O.Tea Party are engaged in a Texas Death Match, bound at the wrist, each with a knife that promises to eviscerate the vision and future of the other. Of course, the real losers in this fight are the American people who will have to face the consequences of unwarranted reductions in social and governmental services that will fundamentally downgrade the quality of life for millions of us.

There is simply no way that so-called “entitlements” (which are really part of the social contract between the government and its people) can be suddenly and drastically reduced without creating serious dysfunction for people who can neither afford it nor endure it.

The ill, the poor and the elderly will certainly suffer. But also suffering will be young people who will see their hopes and dreams for a better life extinguished with the elimination of education and training programs. And the embers of those hopes and dreams will not be easily re-ignited, leaving ashes at the feet of the youth of America that deserves so much more.

The vision of a future America that is mean and stingy and careless when it comes to the concerns of those most in need may not be apocalyptic, but it isn’t a vision that can give comfort to anyone who even pretends to being compassionate. And the irony is that these cuts and reductions would be taking place while it is clearer than ever that this country’s competitiveness in the international arena depends upon the quality of life that it offers its citizens – including education, healthcare and an enhanced environment.

A better United States that is bereft of hope and compassion is a tragic oxymoron. The G.O.Tea Party has framed the entire budget/deficit debate based upon the assumption that social and governmental services must be slashed and that the wealthy cannot be taxed any further. Within that construct lies a future where dreams will no longer come true.

Point of View Columns

A Message to Sarah P. and Other Rappers

In the United States the First Amendment provides an environment for virtually unfettered expression. In recent years rappers and members of the right wing of the right wing have made full use of this freedom. Consider some of these pearls of wisdom:

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”- Ann Coulter
“Don’t retreat, reload!” – Sarah Palin, March 2010
“I got myself a gun,Uh Ohhhh!
Yea, I got myself a gun” – Jay-Z, “Super Ugly”
“I’ll react like an animal, I’ll tear you apart
If the masterpiece was murder, I’d major in art” – 50 Cent, “Gattman and Robbin”

Over thirty years ago the Black Panthers threatened to “shoot the pigs” (referring to the police) and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) were known for inflammatory rhetoric as well.

But it has been a while since the left wing of the left wing glorified murder, mass or otherwise. And its really hard to find a current instance of liberal and moderate elected officials openly using gun terminology as a part of their political rhetoric.

Rappers have gotten fair criticism and a deserved bad rap for glorifying and inciting violence in urban communities throughout the country. In New York City the Police Department estimates that 90% of the recorded gunshot victims are black and Latino, communities that make up a large part of the audience of the rappers who love their guns and bullets all the way to the bank.

Ministers, community leaders and many members of the right wing of the right wing have regularly denounced rap lyrics as contributing to violence and mayhem in society. I am certain that no one would suggest that multimillionaires like Jay-Z and 50 Cent are actually giving directives to street operatives to shoot and maim. And we would all agree that “Fitty” and all of his bling wearing colleagues are simply exercising their First Amendment right of free speech.

Yet the body bags are regularly filled in urban America. And one has to get a queasy feeling seeing so many young black men in wheelchairs, paralyzed from the waist down by a spray of automatic bullets that may have been inspired by the regular outpouring of music and lyrics and imagery that portrays gunplay as part of life – “keeping it real” as it were.

Rappers like Jay-Z, take no responsibility for the culture of Uzi’s and Glock’s and 9 millimeters that is now as American as baseball and apple pie. And in this regard Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are no different than any of the other rappers that are out there making their multimillions while spewing forth hateful and violent images that too many people hear and a few people take seriously.

Sara P. and her defenders are absolutely correct in stating that there is no direct connection between her rifle scope “targeting” of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords while urging her supporters to “reload” and the Congresswoman being shot in the head by a (presumably) deranged gunman during the Tucson Massacre.

But this is a culture that exists in an environment of viral communication.
The rifle scope “target” map was broadcast over the internet and around the world. Who knows who saw it and incorporated a not so subtle message into a twisted directive? Sarah P. tweets to millions who in turn use a multitude of media tools to pass on the message without nuance or caution.

And then one day a gunman shoots a member of Congress. Last year another (presumably) deranged man flew his plane into an IRS building in Texas. This suicide bomber wanted to strike out against “big government” and his interpretation of the message that he heard from Sarah P., Rush Limbaugh, Tim Pawlenty, Michael Steele and so many more created a perspective that made a suicide flight into a federal building a logical next step.

Some rappers have realized that their glorification of guns and violence has been taken too seriously by their audience and too many people have died as a result. Some have toned down their message recognizing that overheated lyrics can have unintended consequences.

Perhaps Sarah P. and some of her supporters can recognize that there is a Law of Unintended Consequences at work all around us. If Sarah Palin is intent on being a rapper at the very least she can become a responsible one.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – January 14, 2011

We try to make sense of the Tucson Massacre and immediately there are too many voices saying too many things. Sometimes it is not possible to make sense out of nonsense yet we are compelled to try.

Barack Obama for President

During the aftermath of the Tucson Massacre there was some very real question about what President Obama should say and when he should say it. Having given the obligatory statement of remorse and regret he made the personally courageous act of flying to the scene of the crime to deliver what can only be described as an oratorical masterpiece.

He was able to blend themes of grief, compassion, exhortation and promise. President Obama has been criticized during the past year as being aloof and “cool”. On January 12th he touched the hearts and minds of Americans, not only those in attendance in the Arizona University field house. During that thirty minute speech he reminded all who listened as to how and why he was President of the United States.

His ability to articulate the emotional and psychic architecture of the American public is remarkable. That he could do so with so many disparate forces at work in Arizona resulted in a truly memorable address.

This week Barack Obama reasserted himself as President and Commander in Chief by providing leadership in a moment when it was truly needed.

The Decline and Fall of Sarah Palin

This past week also saw the beginning of what I predict will be the precipitous decline and fall of the political career of Sarah Palin. There is an expression about pride going before the fall. Ms. Palin’s pride is certainly precipitating her fall.

Knowing that one of the finest orators in modern American politics was going to give a speech on Wednesday evening, Sarah Palin decided to release a videotaped statement on Wednesday morning. And it was a disaster – for her.

She could have chosen to express compassion for the victims of the Tucson Massacre and left it at that. She could have chosen to call upon all actors on the political stage to turn down the rhetorical volume if only out of respect for the losses suffered by fellow Americans.

Instead, she employed a Fractured Fairytale version of American history, trying to channel the intentions of the Founding Fathers while justifying her reckless and remorseless assault on the sensibilities of the American public.

She refused to acknowledge the viability of the concern of many that her placing a cross-hair target on the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was, at the very least, an unwise act. Of course, one of the many who had that concern was Congresswoman Giffords, one of Sarah Palin’s “targets”.

That one of Ms. Palin’s targets was shot in the head may just be an ugly coincidence. Given the tortured brain patterns of the accused killer, we may never know. But the ugliness of the coincidence would be enough to give one pause. Unless that one is Sarah Palin. For more on the connection between words and deeds in today’s culture please go to this link – http://hiphopandpolitics.com/2011/01/11/rappers-catch-heat-for-inflammatory-words-why-cant-sarah-palin/

Somehow Sarah Palin sees the aftermath of the Tucson Massacre to be all about her. Her narcissism ranks with Snooki, Paris Hilton and Kanye West. But none of them presume to speak seriously about the issues that are important to the future of this country. It is past time for Sarah Palin to show similar restraint. For details on her outright attempt to change the subject in her recent video please go to this link – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47588.html

And, as if the hole she dug wasn’t deep enough, she excavated some more by referring to criticisms of her as being a “blood libel”. With those words Sarah Palin showed that she not only has she no shame, she also has no sense of good taste.

It is time for her to go.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Sarah Palin is Today’s Lady Macbeth

When you think about it, the Tucson Massacre on January 8th had to happen. It was just a matter of time. There has been so much violent and vile rhetoric flying through the airwaves and the internet that it was only a matter of time when it would be bullets instead of words whizzing through the air.

Last year Sarah Palin published a map on her Facebook site which “targeted” twenty members of Congress for defeat. In “targeting” these elected officials she cunningly used the visual of the crosshairs from a rifle scope. For those who still didn’t get the point, she exhorted her followers to “reload” as they went after their prey.

One of the twenty “targets” was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who received a bullet through the brain as eighteen other citizens, including a nine year old girl, were mowed down in a hail of bullets. Having the misfortune of falling afoul of the self-proclaimed Momma Grizzly, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head.

Almost before the gun smoke cleared, right wing of the right wing apologists flocked to microphones to proclaim the Tucson shooter to be a lone “madman”. A representative of Sarah Palin stated that “we never, ever, ever” intended the crosshairs targeting elected officials to encourage someone to shoot anyone. Others urged patience until it could be determined what the actual motive of the killer might be.

Sarah Palin has been winking at calls to kill President Obama that are shouted by her adoring beige shirts. She endorsed and supported Sharron Angle’s candidacy for United Senator in Nevada even after Ms. Angle called for “Second Amendment” solutions to reform government and urging her followers to “take out” Senator Harry Reid.

No one will ever know what has been coursing through the mind of Jared Lee Loughner. No one will ever really know what went through the mind of John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald or Mark Chapman or James Earl Ray or the Son of Sam. What we do know is that the toxic and gun-tinged rhetoric of Sarah Palin and her ilk has contributed to an environment in which the misguided can take her metaphors literally. The undeniable result is the Tucson Massacre.

Sarah Palin cannot be allowed to wink her way out of this. Her irresponsible use of her celebrity has created a cadre of gun toting, Bible beating, Constitution waving followers who actually believe that she has real answers for the real problems in their lives. And while she basks in their adulation she is also cashing in big time with her books and television shows and speaking engagements.

I have to wonder whether, in the quiet moments just after midnight, Sarah Palin considers the possibility that her words and deeds could have, in some very real way, contributed to the madness that was the Tucson Massacre. While we will all grow old and die waiting for a mea culpa from her, I wonder if she feels any guilt, any responsibility, any remorse.

Could Sarah Palin really go to the astronaut husband of Congresswoman Giffords and convey her sympathies without a twinge of regret? Could she speak to the parents of little girl who was killed and look them in the eye? Could she be so devoid of shame? No one could be that shameless.

It is clearly time for Ms. Palin to exit the public stage. Just as the comet of publicity brought her into view a little more than two years ago, it is time for her to just disappear in the very same, rapid fashion.

She has lost what little credibility that she ever had by reason of her irresponsible language and her inspiration of the worst emotions that dwell in American society –bigotry, prejudice and fear, always fear.

Talk of her running for President of the United States or even having influence over who is chosen will start drifting away just like the gun smoke in the Tucson parking lot.

She is condemned to be a latter day Lady Macbeth. She can wash and wash her hands forever, but the blood of the Tucson Massacre victims will be on her hands.

Just as it was with Lady Macbeth – no one else can see the blood, but it will always be there for her.

It is a punishment that she deserves.