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    And The Award For Most Hypocritical “Blood Libel” Critic Goes To …

    And The Award For Most Hypocritical “Blood Libel” Critic Goes To …

    Sarah Palin has come under criticism for using the term “a blood libel” to refer to the accusations that she incited Jared Loughner to murder in Tucson.

    I previously explained why Palin’s use of the term was consistent with modern usage, and how the criticism of her use of the term was purely political. 

    I also should point out, as others have, that there is rank hypocrisy on the issue.  Jim Geraghty did us all a favor by accumulating examples of people on both the left and right using the term in a context other than the historical meaning.  (Added:  More examples here.)

    Culling through the hyperbole and hypocrisy, the Official Award for most hypocritical criticism of Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” goes to Andrew Cohen:

    “Andrew Cohen is a Murrow Award–winning legal analyst and commentator. He covers legal events and issues for CBS Radio News and its hundreds of affiliates around the country and is a frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of the nation’s leading newspapers and online sites. From 2000-2009, Andrew served as chief legal analyst and legal editor for CBS News and contributed to the network’s coverage of the Supreme Court, the war on terrorism, and every high-profile civil or criminal trial of the decade. He is also an avid horseman, a Standardbred owner and breeder, and the winner of the 2007 John Hervey Award for distinguished commentary about harness horse racing.”

    Writing recently in The Atlantic, Cohen took Palin to task for using the term:

    “Sarah Palin may or may not be the victim of unwarranted criticism in the wake of Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting spree in Tucson last Saturday. As far as I’m concerned, that is a non-justiciable “political question”– as federal judges get to say — and one that I will gladly leave to the legions of inspired commentators who have been gnawing on that particular bone for the past few days.

    But whatever Palin is, or is not, neither she (nor anyone else) is the victim here of a “blood libel,” as she claimed Wednesday in responding to the tragedy in Arizona and the way she perceives it was handled by the media.”

    Cohen then goes on to cite the historical meaning of a “blood libel” and finds that Palin did not use the term correctly:

    “If Palin did not know what a “blood libel” means she should not have included the phrase in her remarks. And if she did understand its dark significance she should not have included the phrase in her remarks. Either way, It was inappropriate and insensitive.”

    Cohen, though, recognizes that many people, including Cohen himself, have used the term other than in the historical context, so Cohen was sure to include a mea culpa:

    Nor is it a viable defense to a politician’s sloppy use of the phrase that others — on the left or on the right — have loosely used the phrase before or that most Americans don’t understand its tragic import anyway. Two or more wrongs don’t make a right, right?

    Trust me, I know. I have loosely used the phrase before, at least once, and I cannot even claim as a defense any ignorance of its terrible meaning. In 2005, I used it to describe the work of Ward Churchill, the professor who once called the victims of the World Trade Center attack “Little Eichmanns” and complicit in their own deaths…”

    Cohen’s confession hardly lessened his point; after all, Ward Churchill having accused the victims of 911 of being Little Eichmanns was a pretty egregious example.  If Cohen went a little off course in calling Ward Churchill’s accusation a “blood libel,” well who could really blame Cohen for a little linguistic license.

    Having confessed to an inaccurate use of the term once in his career, Cohen concluded that Palin was wrong to use the term as to the Tucson shooting accusations against her:

    “The blood libel is one of the most pernicious and deadly lies in human history. For the sake of the Tucson victims, if not our own, we should all agree to leave it there.”

    But Cohen neglects to mention that Ward Churchill was not the only person towards whom Cohen had used the term “blood libel.”

    In May 2008, Cohen accused then presidential nominee John McCain of engaging in a “blood libel” not because McCain accused someone of complicity in murder, but because McCain criticized “activist judges” (emphasis mine):

    “In a campaign speech Tuesday outlining his judicial philosophy, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain offered his supporters – and/or the conservative wing of his party – only more of the same tired and empty rhetoric that has come over the past few decades to mark the mindless partisanship over the appointment of federal judges. It was as though he had been given a list of misguided clichés about the judiciary and its role in constitutional theory and dared by his handlers to read them all in a single speech on a single stump.

    Did McCain repeat the Shibboleth about “activist judges” and how they are ruining the meaning of the law? You bet he did. Of “activist lawyers and activist judges” McCain said: “They want to be spared the inconvenience of campaigns, elections, legislative votes and all of that. They don’t seek to win debates on the merits of their argument; they seek to shut down debates by order of the court. And even in courtrooms, they apply a double standard. Some federal judges operate by fiat, shrugging off generations of legal wisdom and precedent while expecting their own opinions to go unquestioned.”

    I wonder if the Arizona senator and his speech writers know that the late, great conservative polestar, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and perhaps the most popular Supreme Court Justice of all time, Republican-nominee Sandra Day O’Connor, both expressed disdain for the threat of the “activist judge” charge. After all, a judge acts anytime he or she does or does not make a ruling, whether the ultimate result is considered “liberal” or “conservative” or something in between. So-called “judicial activism” occurs, in other words, when it’s your side that lost the case and it is nothing short of a blood libel against judges to accuse them of operating by fiat.

    Surely Cohen knows his own history of columns.  He was aware enough to point out his use of the term “blood libel” as to Ward Churchill in 2005. 

    Did Cohen not remember that Cohen accused John McCain, the Republican nominee for President, of a blood libel for having criticized “activist judges”?

    If Cohen so casually threw around the term “blood libel” in the heat of a presidential election, who is Cohen now to attack Sarah Palin for using the term as to false accusations that she caused the murder of several people in Tucson?

    For such rank hypocrisy, Andrew Cohen is the Official Award winner. 

    Cohen also is an early front runner for the Worst Tweet of the Year Award, for this tweet:

    Related Posts:
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    Person Tweeting Death Wish For Palin Now Wants Privacy

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    Still another scenario- a good socialist-in-training goes to a Giffords rally and gets a letter from her thanking him for attending. With his schizo tendencies being exacerbated by his dope-smoking, he starts obsessing that Giffords is watching him. Then he watches Giffords vote against Queen Rubberface, and the voice in his head (which sounds like the oracle Olbermann) says, "She betrayed the Queen, off with her head!" He hears all about how reading the Constitution is a "fetish," and that such "hate speech" must be restricted. Then, lo and behold, there she is on TV, READING THE FIRST AMENDMENT! The voices in his head are all shouting now, that Julian Assange is really a victim of player-rage, or is it a CIA honey-trap, like in that movie, Rendition, or was is Syriana? So he decides to hit the 'shrooms to calm himself down, and watch a little of his favorite fetish, Angelina, and lo and behold, she is shooting people in the head. In fact she shoots like 10 guys and herself in the head WITH ONE BULLET! Just like the good guys do in Grand Theft Auto- and she looks so good doing it, he can't stop looking! And she IS a good guy! She adopts little babies from China or Africa or someplace better than the evil United States, and he LOVES her and her stick figure arms as she kills all the hate-speakers! Maybe, if he kills the evil Giffords, who betrayed the Queen, that Angelina will be his queen!!!!

    Then again, it probably was the crosshairs on Palin's website. Yes, that was it.

    No wait, it was the VOICES! 50 Cent and Rachel Maddow and Clarence the Cock-eyed Sheriff! They told him that evil conservatives were going to starve the undocumented immigrant babies from Africa and take away his dope and his video games! Like Fiddy says, they are all b****es and hoes, so take them out! Shoot them in the head, just like his video game where you follow the bullet going through a brain- man is that cool or what?!!! Yes, Fiddy, she is a b**** and a hoe, cuz she turned against the Queen! The Queen who is trying to help us all by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, like, you know, Robin Hood!!! Of course she has to die!!!! And I can bend the bullets with my mind!!!!!!!!

    But, naaaah, couldn't have been any of that. No, it was that map. With the crosshairs. On Sarah Palin's website. Yeah, that's what did it.

    @Harmon . . . heh. Two very good explications of the left-wing political version of Occam's Razor, as understood in its "proper" political context by folks like @Robot Pirate Ninja, et al., and the denizens of the left.

    It seems, as you have noted, they have simply chosen a competing hypothesis that is dependent upon the fewest new assumptions.

    And what are their assumptions? They all "know," for example, that the Palin map was not a metaphor, but that it was instead some kind of secret hint, or call to action! Hey, pssst . . . Jared . . .

    And, in line with their new "KISS" mentality, none of them (including @Robot Pirate Ninja) give a hoot about other facts, ones that might muddle up their simple list of "proper" assumptions.

    Consider, for example, the fact that Markos Moulitsas first openly suggested putting a "bulls eye" on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, along with a whole slew of other Democrat members of Congress, because (in his words) they "sold out the Constitution" by voting for this . . . HR 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, on June 20, 2008.

    After having bolded her name on his little list of Democrat "sell-outs," Markos added with specificity:

    "Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district. "

    That "bulls eye" talk is off their list of potential assumptions, apparently because . . . well, it was just words!

    Words, according to @Robot Pirate Ninja, et al., can never suffice to constitute a provocation to mass murder. Only maps with symbols can. But there is one corrollary, according to @Robot Pirate Ninja, et al., to wit: Sarah Palin's words can bolster the intent of a map!

    Nor, by the way, does the fact that a long-time Democrat consultant (and current TV opinionator) named Bob Beckel, who boasts of having invented and promoted the widespread use of such bulls eye target maps way back in the 1970s, figure in any way into their list of assumptions for consideration in laying the blame for this mass murder carried out by Jared Loughner.

    You see, that was then, and this is now. End of story!

    Now, I know that some of this all may seem very confusing to a number of people.

    But I think you got it, @Harmon, with your incisive explanation, above.

    It fits very neatly in the context of the larboard-leaners political version of Occam's Razor.

    Assumption control is all!

    Not just "crosshairs on Palin's website," but crosshairs from about a year ago! Crosshairs that somehow implanted themselves in his porous, suggestible brain (due in no small part to copious amounts of medical ganja, and organic tofu) working their magic like a slow virus, resulting in a shooting months, and months, and months, and months after everyone else had forgotten about the stupid crosshairs.

    Oh, and btw, if Palin wields this kind of mind-warping power, tell me again why we don't want her as our dear leader?? She could have Putin blowing away A'madinnerjacket before the Inauguration
    Speech was over!

    RPN. . . .

    TO present a 'COunter" argument you have to have HAD an argument to counter to begin with – instead of a house of cards of unsupported wild conjecture and baseless accusations.

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