— Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez • Commenting on the Department of Justice’s decision to sue infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, alleging a pattern of abuse towards Latino inmates. The decision follows the conclusion of a three year investigation, and is the second time that the Department of Justice has filed suit against Arpaio for his conduct as sheriff. In 1997, the DOJ accused Arpaio and his employees of using excessive force on inmates, though the case was ultimately settled outside of court. When asked about the 1997 lawsuit, Perez said that the settlement in that case lacked oversight, and as a result the demanded reforms ”proved not to be sustainable.” source (via • follow)
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has cut off negotiations with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and said his recent actions are driving the U.S. “closer to pursuing judicial remedies.” Arpaio had claimed he was cooperating with the probe into alleged civil rights violations back in February.
“We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin wrote in a letter to Arpaio’s lawyer obtained by TPM. “Your tactics have required DOJ to squander valuable time and resources.”
Jim Geraghty tries to defend Palin by saying, essentially, “Other people have said ‘blood libel’ too!”
Let’s take a look at his examples of other uses, as posted on the National Review:
The use of the term “blood libel” in non-Jewish contexts is out of bounds, eh?
Andrew Sullivan, October 10, 2008:
A couple of obvious thoughts. Paladino speaks of “perverts who target our children and seek to destroy their lives.” This is the gay equivalent of the medieval (and Islamist) blood-libel against Jews.
Sullivan here is a drawing a direct comparison between the all-encompassing nature of Paladino’s all gays are perverts and the persecution of Jews. That he misidentifies the blood libel as Islamist and not Christian - it originated in Matthew in the 2nd century CE - is for another time.
Ann Coulter’s column, October 30, 2008:
His expert pontificator on race was The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, who said the Pittsburgh hoax was “the blood libel against black men concerning the defilement of the flower of Caucasian womanhood. It’s been with us for hundreds of years and, apparently, is still with us.”
Again, Robinson is drawing a comparison between the two. Blacks in America have long faced unfounded and racist claims of a widespread, ingrown targeting of white women.
From a the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, September 30, 2009:
Almost immediately following the aftermath of the shooting, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation was the unlikely voice that called for the safeguard of Muslims in the armed forces.
Within hours of the news breaking, MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein called upon President Barack Obama to “immediately issue a statement as Commander-in-Chief making it clear that there would be a zero-tolerance policy against any member of the U.S. military inflicting harassments, retribution or reprisal against an Islamic member of the U.S. military.” …
He criticized former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for saying that she was “all for” profiling against Muslims.
“We’re not painting all Jews as thieves for Madoff’s economic crimes,” said Weinstein, comparing Palin’s comments to a “blood libel.”
Again, a comparison of the characterization of all members of a group, and their descendents, as responsible for a single action, in this case Muslims as being responsible for all terrorism and thus subject to heightened scrutiny because their Muslim and Muslims are terorrists, ad infinitum.
Florida Democrat Peter Deutsch last night on Crossfire:
Let me just talk a little bit about the whole, I guess, spin from the Republicans about — which has been to me the absolute most — the worst statements I have ever heard probably in my life about anything. I mean, almost a blood libel by the Republicans towards Al Gore, saying that he was trying to stop men and women in uniform that are serving this country from voting. That is the most absurd thing and absolutely has no basis in fact at all.
This is just a poor use of the phrase, in that it references the targeting of a single person rather than a group of individuals with a shared trait.
In the grand scheme of things, the idea that Palin used a phrase associated with one particular, egregious and historically recurring false accusation to rebut a modern false accusation seems like little reason for outrage. For perspective on what really is worth outrage, the services for 9-year-old victim Christina Taylor Green are tomorrow.
The problem though with this concluding paragraph, and his last example of Peter Deutsch’s usage, is that Peter Deutsch wasn’t running for the office of the President. Sarah Palin, presumably is. Additionally, Peter Deutsch didn’t have the same public identity that Palin does. People don’t hang on his every word; I’d venture most people don’t even know who he is. Hell, I had to look him up to see what seat he represented - Florida’s 20th from 1993 to 2005.
Every word Sarah Palin says is scrutinized because she holds such a high profile in American politics and society today. She has shown no qualms about entering into nearly every political discussion, whether qualified or not (guess which I believe to be true) and for this she is both reviled and glorified.
The issue regarding Palin’s usage of the phrase is, like Deutsch, she was using it to describe an attack against a single person. Unlike Deutsch, she used it in defense of herself, which makes her video/statement not about the Tucson shooting, but about herself. Palin again turns things around to make herself the victim, a ploy that plays into the mindset of her supporters and further rankles her detractors.
EDIT: Also, that Gabrielle Giffords is the highest seated Jewish person in the Arizona delegation and Sarah Palin is avowedly and unabashedly Christian doesn’t help Palin.
But the real meaning of a lot of that rhetoric is horrific. I like to hope that confronting that reality in this way will at least, at the tiny least, result in some people stopping to think about what they say. Like a supervillain who suddenly realizes, on drowning half the world, that this wasn’t at all what he wanted."