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The End Of A Sarah Palin Presidency

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Sarah Palin ended any chance she had at the presidency of the United States of America yesterday when she posted her “blood libel” video and announced to the world her better angels are obsessed with blame, self-defense, and finger-pointing instead of leadership, religious epithets instead of openness and understanding, and one-upsmanship instead of honoring timing and tradition.

Make no mistake. Palin’s absence from the media frenzy, a frenzy that started seconds after the first shot was fired in Tucson, Arizona by Jared Lee Loughner, is not to be considered hiding. It was a full-scale strategy session during which she, aside from whatever praying she claims she did, was scheming and strategizing how best to handle the avalanche of attacks from the Left she was receiving (deservedly so.)

So Queen Sarah decided she would fight back.

Palin’s highly-produced seven-minute forty-three second video, complete with American flag and fireplace, and, much to the Right’s chagrin, teleprompter reflections in her glasses, was produced in her in-home television studio. She tried oh-so-hard to appear and act presidential. But as Republican writer and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, David Frum said yesterday, “She’s mad– that showed. She’s madder than she is sad.” Frum added, “When you apply for a job, you should dress for the job you want. She dressed for the job she has.”

Frum was speaking both metaphorically and literally. Palin saw this as her moment and tried to look presidential, but she just didn’t have it in her.

Worse, she didn’t have the words or the focus or the context or the understanding of what was required at that very moment. Palin could not grasp the essential concept that what was required at that very moment, what Americans so desperately needed was leadership and commonality, a bringing-together, not a polarizing blame-game, which she all-to-eagerly provided.

You know who did a better job than Palin? Reluctant hero Daniel Hernandez, the twenty-year old Giffords intern who on day five of his first week on the (volunteer) job ran toward the bullets that killed six people and wounded fourteen others, and helped save Gabby Giffords life. Last night, Hernandez stood in front of a crowd of twenty-six thousand, plus cameras from all the news channels, and millions of Americans, and spoke — with neither notes nor teleprompter — and said, “e plurbus unum: out of many, one.”

A concept a twenty-year old college intern grasped, that a forty-six year-old former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, former Governor, former chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, former Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, former “Miss Congeniality,” former sportscaster, and former head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sarah Palin, could not, and has offered no evidence she ever will.

Add to that her roundly condemned use of the term “blood libel,” which I will not debate here. Political figures and pundits like Palin are not to be given a pass. We are not to say, “Maybe she didn’t know what she was really saying.” She knew, and if she didn’t she should have known, and if she didn’t know (even if she did) she should have pulled the video and immediately apologized, not ignored the criticism that came within the first few hours the video was posted. Palin has yet to offer any commentary, or any apology or explanation.

Imagine a President Palin making a gaffe, an international insult, and letting it go un-acknowledged. No apology, no effort to make amends, just insult and injury and subsequent international incident. Would she lead us into a war for lack of cultural understanding or worse, for cultural understanding?

So let’s be clear here.

Yesterday, Wednesday, January 12, 2011, Sarah Palin effectively ended her presidential career and professional political career in public service.

America yesterday saw the real Sarah Palin, and it was not a welcome sight. America saw a person unable to lead, unable to unite, unable to rise above and give voice to our better angels, unable to understand the first amendment, unable to understand cultural and religious differences, unable to apologize, unable to show compassion or (yes,) empathy. And America, maybe most distasteful to all, regardless of party, saw a person too emotionally-invested in playing a victim, rather than rising above victimhood.

America does not want a divisive president. America does not want a president who uses hate speech. America does not want a homophobic president. America does not want a victim for a president.

What would a President Palin have said last night in Tucson, Arizona? Would she have united the country, as President Obama did? Would she have quelled our fears, helped us shed our anger and divisiveness as President Obama did? Would she have shown empathy and compassion and respected the multi-cultural aspects of the memorial service, as President Obama did?

America has needed Sarah Palin to apologize for her crosshairs map. She has not. America has needed Sarah Palin to apologize for making the story always about Sarah Palin. She has not. And after she released her career-ending Jew-disparaging Christianist-enveloped American-Exceptionalism-laden first-amendment-slaying video, America needed Sarah Palin to apologize for that too. She has not.

Palin tried to “one-up” President Obama yesterday. She tried, and lost. And she lost it all.

Sam Stein writes today in the Huffington Post, “Thursday’s papers have been filled with largely unfavorable contrasts for the former Alaska governor. And at least one Democratic member of Congress has decided to declare that the Palin trajectory is now firmly in downturn mode, her brand tarnished.

“I think that the president’s message is going to prevail,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told the Bill Press Show on Thursday. “In fact I think Sarah Palin may be looking at the end of her political ride. I think she may be at the end of her ride right now. If Sarah Palin would have said ‘you know what, I probably have been responsible for overblown rhetoric and I’m going to watch myself,’ that would be different. But she is completely unrepentant. And the enormity of this tragedy, I think, put a very, very clear damper on her prospects. And her reaction even dampers her political ride more.”

Unrepentant, as she thinks she has nothing for which to repent. And that’s a problem.

Political analyst Andy Ostroy today writes of Palin, “It it is precisely this sanctimonious, defiant and soulless video sermon that history will one day point to as the end of her legitimate political career.”

He adds, “this week she quite foolishly and voluntarily gave us something we can 100% blame her for. Her behavior, tone and overall message in the video was beyond comprehension. Not only does it demonstrate a pathological narcissism, but a supreme ignorance of history (the unfortunate “Blood Libel” reference); a shocking lack of empathy, sensitivity and compassion; a reprehensible use of the words”blood,” “pistols” and “shooting” to accent her points; and outrageously offensive timing in terms of releasing it on the same day as the memorial. One has to ask, just what on Earth was she thinking? Did she really expect this 8-minute diatribe to show humility and repair her image? To help heal a shocked and grieving nation?

“Over the past three years, many have suggested that Palin’s odd behavior and statements constitutes a train wreck. But in a train wreck there first needs to be the actual crash. To date, despite moments of near-derailment, Palin’s stayed on track. But with this video she has finally crashed, and crashed for good. She cannot and will not recover from this politically.”

Salon’s Steve Kornacki simply writes, “OK, so it’s not going to be Sarah Palin in ’12 …

Politico’s Jonathan Martin offers this: “At sunrise in the East on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest — or capacity — in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the West, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.”

“The strongest way to rise above would have been to talk about suffering, tragedy, hope, strength and recovery,” said former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. “Instead, she followed the more conventional political route and made it about herself rather than the victims.”

“What few Republicans wanted to say for attribution — but what was manifestly clear — was that Palin had made Obama look even bigger than he was.”

Mark Green, former New York politician and former president of Air America Radio, today writes in the Huffington Post, “as of today, there has been one political ramification of note — Sarah Palin is done as a presidential candidate. After her video disparaging critics as guilty of a “blood libel,” she should be shunned and will be shunned. As John Kenneth Galbraith said of Black Monday in 1929, “the end had come but was not yet in sight.”

“Everyone in public life, given enough time, will misspeak, stumble, say something foolish. But the public and peers will hold it against them only if it betrays a larger unpleasant reality.

“So when President Obama said as a candidate that there were “57 states” or once teased the Special Olympics, he quickly corrected himself and apologized for a brain burp. Whatever one’s politics, it’s hard to deny that he’s a person of enormous intelligence who makes few such mistakes. No pattern. No betrayal. No harm.

“But when Senator Joe McCarthy tried to smear a young associate of opposing council Joseph Welch in the June, 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings, the folksy Welch said in his now epic retort, “Have you no decency sir? At long last, have you no sense of decency?” It was later regarded as the beginning of the end for someone who was a hateful liar.”

And it’s the hateful liars that usually get their comeuppance. Green adds, “America will elect people from different parties but what Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama all had in common was that they either ran on or in fact were unifying figures who didn’t hate others. Palin is the most divisive national political figure of my lifetime. Because she has not shown any of the experience, intellect, character or temperament to be a serious presidential contender — and because Republican leaders are not politically stupid — she has now officially been destroyed as a serious candidate not by the “lamestream” media but by herself. She’s her own worst enemy.”

And, taking the president’s lead, let’s leave it at that.

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‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History

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For the past two decades teenaged women participating in Florida high school athletics have been asked to submit their menstrual history, including the date of their first period, the date of their last period, and how many periods they have had in the last 12 months. The board of directors of the Florida High School Athletic Association, the organization in charge of coordinating high school athletics in the Sunshine State, will debate later this month if they will make divulging that information mandatory for participating in sports. According to the FHSAA website that board is comprised of 14 men and two women. Not one is a physician or medical professional.

Critics are voicing concerns over a variety of issues, including the right to privacy, the need for the highly personal medical information, who has access to it, how it is stored, and how it could be used against the students, including to determine possible pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or if the athlete is transgender.

“Many parents and doctors are worried that schools will use the menstrual data to monitor students for late or missed periods, a possible sign of pregnancy, or to out transgender students by watching for girls who don’t get periods or boys who do,” The New Republic reports, calling it “a terrifying glimpse of our dystopian post-Roe world.”

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The three-page form, called the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation, asks:

“When was your first menstrual period?” “When was your most recent menstrual period? “How much time do you usually have from the start of one period to the start of another?” “How many periods have you had in the last year? and “What was the longest time between periods in the last year?”

A draft form slightly alters the questions, asking instead, “Have you had a menstrual period?” and “How old were you when you had your first menstrual period?” in addition to the other three questions.

While it currently states answering is optional, at the end of this month those questions could become mandatory, although the reason for the possible change has not been disclosed.

READ MORE: ‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)

Because the information is not being given by the athletes to a physician or other medical professional or organization, the information is not subject to HIPAA regulations. And in some school districts the inform action is stored on a third-party platform, possibly exposing it to other entities.

“This is clearly an effort to further stigmatize and demonize transgender people in sports [and] meant to further exclude people who aren’t assigned female at birth in girls sports,” the  president of PRISM, a South Florida nonprofit organization that provides sexual health information to LGBTQ+ youth, Maxx Fenning, told The Tampa Bay Times. “Beyond that, I think there’s concern among LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ [students] alike. This is an extremely invasive mode of gleaning into someone’s reproductive history, which is especially dangerous in this post-Roe world we live in.”

TIME adds that critics “have noted that this policy would be a major challenge for transgender athletes who may have to out themselves with their responses to the questions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved a bill last year—which is currently under legal fire—that bans transgender female students from playing on women and girls’ sports teams.”

READ MORE: Trump Vows to Use DOJ and Congress to Make Being Transgender Illegal While Promoting the ‘Nuclear Family’

According to the fan-checking site Snopes, “these written forms with students’ medical information are submitted to school officials, contrary to a number of other states where only a doctor’s signature is required to clear an athlete for play.”

Snopes adds that “concerns grew as many states worked to criminalize abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and transgender athletes faced scrutiny. In Florida, abortions are banned after 15 weeks, with only a few exceptions.”

“Any forms (physical or digital) could be subpoenaed. Meanwhile, in Palm Beach County, nearly all athlete-registration forms moved online, which meant reproductive data for athletes was being stored by a third-party software company called Aktivate. Other counties were also planning to digitize their forms.”

Last October NBC News reported that an Aktivate spokesperson said a student’s information could be removed but only with parental and school district consent.

Image via Shutterstock

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George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation

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U.S. Rep. George Santos is angered a man interviewed for a staff position in his Capitol Hill office secretly recorded the conversations, claiming it “violated the trust that we had in him.”

The freshman New York Republican lawmaker who is believed to be under multiple DOJ and local investigations, suggests the candidate handed the recordings over to Talking Points Memo, and says he expects an article will be published there Thursday evening, after the news site contacted his office.

“According to Santos, his office had been in the process of hiring Derek Myers for a position, but paused when they saw he faces wiretapping charges in Ohio after publishing recorded court testimony — obtained from a source, he said — as part of a story for a small newspaper,” Semafor reports. “FIRE, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to First Amendment issues, has defended Myers, arguing local authorities in the state were criminalizing legitimate journalism.”

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“While they said they expect the audio will just show them questioning him about his specific circumstances, it’s unknown if he recorded other exchanges.”

Regardless, Santos is taking action.

The GOP congressman accursed of deceiving his constituents with countlessly false claims that helped get him elected, says he is going to report Myers to the Biden administration, claiming he has a White House press pass.

Santos says he wants Myers’ White House press pass to be revoked, after Myers, the congressman says, claimed to have one.

“He should have that revoked if it’s true, if it’s even remotely true he has it,” Santos told Semafor.

It’s not known if Myers does, and if so it’s unlikely it’s a permanent hard pass. It’s also unlikely it would be revoked if Myers did not break the law.

Semafor adds in Washington, D.C. it is legal to record your own conversation with another party without obtaining their consent.

READ MORE: ‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)

 

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‘They’re Not Taking My Gas Stove’: Joe Manchin Teams Up With Hard Core Republicans to Promote False Claims

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is again promoting the false claim that the federal government is planning to remove gas stoves from private homes, after news last month revealed once more the open-flame appliances are responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases of children’s asthma.

“They’re not taking my gas stove out,” said Manchin, who has made millions from coal and protects his state – which  ranks in the top five for production of natural gas – at every turn.

Manchin, a rare breed of conservative Democrat, announced in a Senate hearing on Thursday that he is teaming up with Republican Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford to fuel the unfounded fears of the federal government coming to rip gas stoves out of Americans’ homes – fears promoted by the right.

READ MORE: ‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)

“Gas stoves have been in the news lately and I’ve come out strongly against the Consumer Product Safety Commission pursuing any ban of gas stoves,” Manchin declared, despite there being no possibility of that. “In fact, I’m introducing legislation today with Senator Cruz that would ensure that they don’t and separately sending a letter to the commission with Senator Lankford.”

“I’ve always been a proponent of energy efficiency,” Manchin continued, “but the draft proposes efficiency levels that DOE [Dept. of Energy] says at the highest level, up to 96% of gas stoves don’t currently meet. I don’t like where I think they’re going with this and I tell you one thing, they’re not taking my gas stove put. My wife and I would both be upset.”

Manchin went on the claim the Biden administration is “looking to find ways to push out natural gas.”

And he warned the feds to stay out of his kitchen.

“Like I said before,” Manchin declared, “the federal government doesn’t have any business telling American families how to cook their dinner.”

The federal government does have a responsibility, by law, to warn Americans of health and safety issues in their homes. For decades it has been doing just that.

But the West Virginia Senator went even further, stating: “retrofitting or removing stoves that people have had for years is not going to happen.”

Manchin isn’t just blowing smoke – he has a lot at stake in the “gas stove war.”

READ MORE: ‘Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands’: GOP Vows ‘Stove War’ Legislation, Doesn’t Want Feds ‘Coming After Kitchen Appliances’

“West Virginia is the fourth-largest producer of marketed natural gas in the nation,” according to a federal government December report.

“At every step of his political career, Joe Manchin helped a West Virginia power plant that is the sole customer of his private coal business. Along the way, he blocked ambitious climate action,” The New York Times reported last year. It called the West Virginia Democrat “the single most important figure shaping the nation’s energy and climate policy.”

Watch Sen. Manchin below or at this link.

 

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