By Rawlein G. Soberano, Ph. D.
(February 1, 2011) – A gunman shot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona and 18 other people on January 8, 2011 with constituents outside a Safeway store in Tucson. Six people died and the others wounded. All survivors have been released except for Gabby.
Though she remains in serious condition, her recovery has amazed her family and impressed her doctors. She was weaned off the ventilator and had her breathing tube replaced with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe. Doctors inserted a feeding tube to boost her calorie intake and repaired her right eye socket which was damaged by a bullet.
Taken off sedation she has been alert and opening her eyes more often. She also started rigorous physical therapy, dangling her legs over her bedside to exercise her muscles and sitting up for periods at a time. She was transferred to the highly renowned TIRR Memorial Hermann rehabilitation center in Houston to start the long, arduous journey to full recovery.
Authorities have analyzed nearly two-dozen surveillance videos in the massive investigation of the accused gunman. It shows him walking towards Gabby and firing his first bullet into her face from 2 to 3 feet away. He then fires 31 more shots in a span of no more than 15 seconds. The videos, taken by cameras inside and outside the store, offer the most detailed picture of the carnage. The videos serve as evidence in the commission of the crime. More than 250 criminal federal agents and 130 local detectives have conducted more than 300 interviews since the rampage.
Following Gabby’s shooting, Sarah Palin’s crosshair Web site was quickly scrubbed from the Internet. People know there is someone behind Palin’s speeches, tweet, swift angry reaction to even a slight criticism of her. Now we have identified that person in Rebecca Mansour who has become her “cyber messenger, online voice and secret asset.” They joined together after Palin resigned as governor of AK to write her first book. Politico described her as “a Los Angeles screenwriter and political neophyte whose creation of the popular cheerleading blog Conservatives4Palin endeared her to Palin’s inner circle.”
Rebecca Mansour is faceless, colorless silhouette. She defended the crosshairs in Palin’s Web site – now removed – to target the Democrats, including Gabby Giffords of Arizona in the midterm elections. She argued that the symbols suggested those surveyors use rather than the ones found on gun sights. After they met in southern California to help with Going Rogue they bonded as “kindred spirits” and was hired as a “speechwriter, researcher, online communications coordinator and all-purpose advisor.
Nobody can miss her because of her offensive mouth. She does Palin’s tweeting and blogging, runs her Web site news, offense and defense, all her radio talk shows. Palin describes her dedicated blogger as “barbarian” who takes her role seriously. Palin is not capable of doing these, especially when you look at the vocabulary used and her lack of knowledge of issues’ background. Mansour recently admitted that “the governor reads, checks and approves everything that’s under her name.”
Another nasty person in her entourage is Lynne Vincent, the ghost writer of her books. Her commentaries are punctuated by inflammatory characterization of gays, minorities and liberals that have provided fodder for Palin’s critics. Among some of her outrageous statements are her descriptions of homosexuality as “deviant” mental disorder and labeling BHO (their hatred for him is sickeningly morbid and can be explained only from their erroneously superior esteem of themselves over minorities) as the “face of the minority survivor” of abortion which she dubs as the “Black Genocide.” Her association with Robert Stacy McCain shows how far-right is her politics. As a matter of fact, the only political book that she wrote in the first person was done in collaboration with McCain, Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime and Corruption in the Democratic Party was a compendium of misdeeds and accusations against Democratic Party activists and leaders whipped into an indictment of the party as irredeemably corrupt. It’s another case of the pot calling the kettle black. Many of the authors’ charges proved to be false. These two (Mansour and Vincent) are Palin’s brain.
ABC’s decision to run a piece titled “Death Threats against Sarah Palin at ‘Unprecedented Levels,’ Aides Say” based on hearsay from Palin’s aides without any corroborating evidence is irresponsible. Worse yet, US News & World Report picked up on the story without questioning the information itself or its source. By repeating the death story without evidence, these major outlets mislead the public, continue to lower journalistic standards, divert the country from more pressing issues related to the attempted Giffords assassination (gun control, violent rhetoric & its consequences, mental illness) and reward the right-wing blogger trying to legitimize this crap with zero corroborating evidence. If this is true, Palin should report the matter to the police or the FBI, not security experts.
It is not fair to hold Palin responsible for the shootings in Tucson. But she should be responsible for the contents of her Facebook account. Four days after the shootings, the map for which she has been heavily criticized remained posted there. Originally the map was a promotional tool for campaigning. It was in poor taste but no worse than many other political commentaries. In the aftermath of the shootings it has become offensive in unintended ways. This is unfortunate but again it’s not her fault. But her continued failure to remove the map was definitely her fault. Had she simply acknowledged that it has become a painful image for many and promptly removed or deleted it, she would have diffused the controversy with dignity. But I guess that’s not what Mama Grizzlies do! When she was criticized for it, she cast herself immediately as a victim of this incident. Give us a break, Sarah! Those killed and wounded were the victims, not you. You are unbelievable by your own words and your own self-centered actions.
A CNN poll released last month indicated that Palin may be losing her base. Only 49 percent of Republicans would support her presidential bid, an 18-point drop since Dec. 2009. Another poll put her as more extreme than Dick Cheney and Tim Pawlenty. She knows she will not be elected president, but she is there for the money. She may be dumb but she’s the wiliest dumb fox when it comes to making money.
Americans need to know what she is doing in AK and her extreme anti-conservation policies, e.g., continued promotion of the serial slaughter of wolves and bears, her lawsuit to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list (against Alaskans’ expressed to ban aerial shooting of predators; she used state money to buy support for aerial shooting). She wants to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. She believes global warming is a myth. She supports the development of Peeble Mine, the largest open pit mine in North America, which threatens the entire Bristol Bay ecosystem containing the largest sockeye salmon run in the world. There has never been any representation from Alaska’s huge wildlife viewing and tourism industry. Decisions about wildlife in AK are in the hands of ignorant sports hunters with a total disregard for science.
Far from calming the waters in a troubled situation, Palin roiled them by using the “blood libel” phrase which was used by anti-Semites to justify violence and discrimination against Jews. She overreacted to criticisms by some journalists and pundits (accusing them without proof as usual just like the death panels, BHO running around with terrorists, inter alia) that her rhetoric always refers to war, confrontation, shootout that might somehow be responsible for the carnage, e.g., whiny-toned public statements like “lock & load” and “don’t retreat, reload” thereby giving permission to the unhinged and mentally deficient to go out to commit atrocious acts. Her reaction to these critics has shown that she is not qualified to be president. She is emotionally reactive, surprisingly thin-skinned and overly narcissistic, always focused on herself. It is still puzzling why she chose to attack the media, mount a self-defense that was a disconnect and used an incendiary phrase meant to define her response to a national tragedy. It makes sense if you think of politics as the civilized substitute for war, but not if you think it is getting too close to real war.
She used the phrase “blood libel” in the part of the speech in which she was most aggressively critical of the media. As we all know, anti-Semites who are generally white supremacists tend to put the word “Jewish” in front of the word “media.” Couple this with the fact that anti-Semitism always starts from the unfounded rumor that the individual promoting it is the victim of the Jews, and not the other way around, and then consider Palin’s relentless victim-hood and tie that to her hiring of a supremacist as her brain, and you have an interesting series of connections. It gets more weird when you add Palin’s involvement with apocalyptic Christian cults that support Israel, not out of regard for the Jewish people but out of a very real wish to see it destroyed in a nuclear conflagration, with the Jews sent to Hell and the Christians uplifted to Heaven, and you start to see something really nasty.
Something is not kosher from this interaction. People want a president that is reflective and introspective. He/she needs to think deeply about issues and cannot simply respond with diatribe every time he/she is criticized, even if the criticism is unfair. A president must stay focused on the issues and cannot afford to act out of a sense of hurt feelings. A president has to take all kinds of criticism and must be able to maintain working relationship with the people who are critical of his/her opinions or actions. We don’t want a president that is so highly focused on personal slights and cannot take the high road when necessary for the good of the country. It’s not all about Palin; it’s about the welfare of the country. It reminds us of a fallacious GM claim in the 1950’s that what was good for GM was good for America. These two things (Palin and America) are not the same and are not interchangeable.