Posts tagged ‘Tea Party’
Tonight I post this blog entry from a conservative blogger who above all else has shown a pattern of fairness in his blogging over the years. This is just one excellent example.
I would also like to add a small elaboration on Sarah Palin. Today on “Face The Nation” Norah O’Donnell asked Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (recently reelected in a landslide) what his thoughts were on the current nuclear talks with Iran. In a moment virtually NEVER seen on political television, Christie told O’Donnell that there were many folks better able to opine on this than he could. “I am the Governor of New Jersey”. He then refused to offer an opinion.
Now just imagine if Sarah Palin had been asked the same question. We would have gotten five minutes of word salad that would have impressed only those with the lowest of expectations.
There are times when the right answer is “I don’t know”.
So the Iowa pony shows are starting up and at this weekends Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalitions banquet two of the stars were Sarah Palin and Utah Sen. Mike Lee. The former showed she’s still little than a loud mouth rhetoric firebrand the latter showing the potential to be reading the tea leaves.
Sarah still stupid may seem harsh but I never liked this woman and like her even less when she opens her mouth lately. This weekend she exclaimed among other things the following:
“I want to encourage you to make your voice heard, to hold politicians accountable,”
Last Wednesday night there was no hiding the joy of the MSNBC anchors at the total and utter failure of the Republican attempt to bring the country to its knees over Obamacare. Schultz had his usual swagger. Maddow took the usual analytical approach and had an index card for every “ransom” demand the Republicans made and lost, reading each one aloud and tossing it in the air with a “didn’t get that” and a grin on her face.
But for sheer over the top drama betraying a clear animosity for conservatives, the prize must go to Martin Bashir. Martin quoted Oliver Cromwell from his address dismissing Parliament in 1653. Martin said the words apply today. I could not find a link to an intact video of Bashir’s closing moment of his show but I did screen capture the text of Cromwell that Bashir read from in his best theatrical British accent.
It is really hard to gauge how one should react to this. I viewed the Republican shut-down tactic as plain stupid. It didn’t really inspire any animosity in me. So at first blush I found Martin’s dramatic recitation absolutely hilarious. But if we bother to take Bashir seriously, then we must conclude he has a real hatred for at least part of the Conservative movement.
In fact, if we look at the entire “drop dead” reaction of the left to the Ted Cruz inspired revolt, one must draw a much bigger conclusion. The days of liberals saying “I’m a lover, not a fighter” appear to be long gone. We have a government in which each side (with exceptions of course) truly hates the other. While the people of this great nation just want to get up in the morning and go to work, our government is engaged in a multi-level civil war — Democrats against Republicans and Old School Republicans against the Tea Party. The only thing we have not yet witnessed (unlike in other legislative bodies around the world) is an actual fist fight breaking out on the floor of the House. At his point, I wouldn’t rule that out in the not-so-distant future.
Only forty-eight hours into his anointment as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan is enjoying the riches of the legend making machine known as the politically skewed media. I think that Ryan Lizza’s profile of Paul Ryan in the New Yorker earlier this month should be required reading for folks of all political stripes. In it, two myths are busted, one that might gain traction if folks don’t know the facts and the other which is already a talking point for Democrats.
Paul Ryan Pulled Himself Up By His Bootstraps
Saturday night on a special edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews floated a notion of a middle class Ryan to centrist Michelle Bernard of the Bernard Center for Women. Michelle shot back how appealing it is to Americans to see someone who has “pulled himself up by his bootstraps”. According to the Lizza article, this is total nonsense.
Janesville, Wisconsin, where Ryan was born and still lives, is a riverfront city of sixty-four thousand people in the southeast corner of the state, between Madison and Chicago. Three families, the Ryans, the Fitzgeralds, and the Cullens, sometimes called the Irish Mafia, helped develop the town, especially in the postwar era. The Ryans were major road builders, and today Ryan, Inc., started in 1884 by Paul’s great-grandfather, is a national construction firm. The historic Courthouse section of Janesville is still thick with members of the Ryan clan. At last count, there were eight other Ryan households within a six-block radius of his house, a large Georgian Revival with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“I grew up on the block I now live on,” Ryan told me recently. We were sitting in his new, more spacious Capitol Hill office, one of the spoils of being in the majority after the 2010 elections. “My aunt and uncle live across the street from me,” he said. “My cousin is next door, my brother is a block away.” Ryan’s line of the family strayed from the construction business, which is now run by his cousin Adam. His grandfather and father became lawyers instead. (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_lizza#ixzz23ROrOJTj)
Ryan grew up in a prestigious Janesville family, the inheritor of their influence and wealth. What feeds into the false myth is the tragedy that struck Ryan at age 16 when he went to wake his father up and discovered him dead. (Ryan’s grandfather and great-grandfather also died before age 60, leading Ryan to pursue an almost fanatic health regimen.) Clearly Ryan may have had to pull himself up by his bootstraps emotionally. He did not have to do so economically. When we look at the mansion that Ryan calls home, we realize the GOP is running two very rich guys for office. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Ryan, the Deficit Hawk
Although Ryan championed the privatization of Social Security during the Bush administration, in almost every other way he resembles your average Tea Partier. He only found economic-Jesus when Barack Obama entered the White House. Every big-ticket item responsible for the huge deficit that Obama inherited received a thumbs up from “fiscally conservative” Ryan:
Bush Tax cuts for the rich — Ryan says yeah!
War in Iraq with no way to pay for it — Ryan says yeah!
War in Afghanistan with no way to pay for it — Ryan says yeah!
Medicare Part D — Ryan says yeah!
TARP — Ryan says yeah!
Given the opportunity to oppose any of these items, Ryan passed. He now talks about how disappointed he was with the Bush spending and that he was frustrated at the time. His disappointment is certainly not reflected in his voting record. If Romney becomes President and the GOP spends like crazy, the same way it did from 2001 through 2008, will Ryan attempt to stop the tide of reckless spending or give up the fight in frustration?
Ryan says he has deeply held libertarian, Ayn Rand influenced economic beliefs. I take him at his word. The question is will he adhere to principle or cave to party pressure when the chips are down?
Photo credit: Adapted from The White House from Washington, DC (P022510PS-0748) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Flashback to early 2009. Barack Obama had barely finished the Presidential oath of office before folks started gathering in the public square with teabags hanging from their hats. They were fed up and angry. Among their gripes: over-taxation, bailouts being given to banks and auto companies, and later, the “unauthorized takeover” of health care by the federal government. The Fed was becoming too powerful and these folks who embodied the fledgling Tea Party movement wanted to go back to the fundamentals of the Founding Fathers.
As liberals looked on, a few red flags arose. First, the movement seemed triggered by the election of Barack Obama. At least two major gripes of the movement (exploding deficit and TARP) occurred during the Bush administration but where were they then? Second, there seemed to be precious few people of color at the Tea Party rallies. Third, some of the signs carried at these rallies were outright offensive to anyone of even somewhat thick skin (a sign calling Obama a “lyin’ African”, another with Obama with a bone through his nose like a witch-doctor.) Fourth, for reasons never adequately explained some folks chose to bring their guns to the rallies. Those that didn’t, carried signs saying “We came unarmed …. this time.” Last but not least, before you could say “Patrick Henry”, several powerful players, from Fox News to Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks had attached themselves to the movement.
These factors led many liberals, including me, to declare the Tea Party destructive, dangerous and racist. Sometimes the shoe needs to be on the other foot to realize how wrong you are. I was wrong. Were all the factors I just listed manufactured? Absolutely not. Were they troubling? Damn right they were. But at the core of the Tea Party was something that every American should cherish: freedom of speech and the right of the citizenry to assemble and air their grievances. The great preponderance of Tea Party activists wanted to save a country clearly in trouble. The fact that powerful forces attempted to co-opt the movement was not the fault of the Tea Party members. In fact, when Michele Bachmann kick-started her Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, I distinctly remember some TPM members pushing back lest folks start to think Bachmann was “leading the cause”.
Fast forward to Autumn, 2011. A bunch of mostly young folks stage a sit-in of sorts. They camp out in downtown Manhattan and name their gathering “Occupy Wall Street”. Like the Tea Party protesters before them, they are angry that bankers got bailed out and then got huge bonuses, continuing the abuses that precipitated the bailouts. Unlike the Tea Party, they are presently more angry at the bankers who went unpunished, than at the government that bailed them out and let them off the hook. Even so, the OWS crowd recognizes that government has not helped.
Both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are fighting a class struggle. The Tea Party’s attitude, best enunciated in the now famous rant by CNBC’s Rick Santelli, is that irresponsible Americans were looking for assistance at the hard-working middle class’s expense. OWS, on the other hand contends that it is inherently unfair that 1% of Americans control most of the country’s wealth while the remaining 99% struggle to keep their jobs and homes.
What do we see now from conservatives? We see the same reaction that I had back in 2009. The OWS crowd are unkempt, lazy communists and anarchists. They need to get a job. They only want to destroy. They have no focus. They are, according to Eric Cantor, a House Representative from Virginia, a mob. One of my fellow WordPress bloggers, Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere posted the most offensive photo he could find of an OWS protester getting ready to defecate on a police car. Reminded me of every liberal who posted pictures of every offensive Tea Party sign we could get our hands on.
As I read the conservative criticisms of Occupy Wall Street (which has spread to Occupy Boston, Occupy Atlanta, Occupy D.C.) I’m angered and ultimately saddened by the myopic view of the critics. But then I consider how I might have no one to blame but myself. It was much easier for me to impugn the motives of the Tea Party than to consider that some, if not most of them, were exercising the time-honored American tradition of protest to right perceived wrongs.
Perhaps I’m letting myself off the hook but I think I suffer from a disease common to most Americans. Those protesters whose message resonates with us are patriots and heroes. Those with whom we don’t empathize are traitors, bigots and criminals. We give lip service to freedom of speech and making our voices heard when our government ignores us. But as soon as a group of people actually exercise this prerogative in the public square, we condemn them if it looks like they’re going to upset our world order.
The simple truth is that the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street crowd share a fundamental common complaint. They are both fed up with a society that ignores their voice and is headed in a direction that will only make matters worse for them. Those who insist that the OWS movement is a front to reelect Barack Obama just don’t get it. They’re not happy with Obama either. They’re not happy with our government. They choose to take their fight to the site that most symbolizes the problem, a corporate environment run amok and in control of our government. Just because they are occupying Wall Street doesn’t mean they don’t want governmental change. The notion that marching in front of the Federal Reserve building is a prerequisite to expressing their dissatisfaction is ridiculous.
The Tea Party’s voice eventually was heard as evidenced by the number of Congressmen and Senators carrying their torch (albeit somewhat disingenuously since they still have big business and big money in their pocket). The OWS movement is in its infancy. If it lasts and matures, it will not manifest itself in the overthrow of our government (as some on the right fear) but will result in legislators who carry their torch.
If we could get past the hypocrisy at the core of the American psyche, we would see that we all ultimately want the same thing. We want a government that promotes equal opportunity for all in an environment where folks are encouraged to play fair and not rewarded for taking advantage. One notable thing about the OWS movement has been its inclusiveness, almost to a fault. Yes, there are anarchists. There are socialists. There are also plain old vanilla liberals. No doubt a smattering of moderates. What I’d really like to see now is a couple of Tea Party Patriots join the crowd and see what they have in common.
We can’t change our lot if we don’t let others speak and we don’t listen to their concerns. The OWS movement should be a wake up call to every liberal who dismissed the Tea Party out of hand. In the words of Lincoln, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Now is the time for us to unite, raise our voices and be heard so that our country can change course and avoid what appears in our darkest days to be an inevitable decline.
Photo credit: Photo via Wikipedia
Bush in 2012, Really
Rich Lowry’s penis has finally stopped making his decisions for him and he seems to have gotten off the Sarah Palin train. In a recent article in National Review Online, Rich offers eight reasons why Jeb Bush should run for President in 2012. I’ll paraphrase Rich’s points from a liberal perspective:
1. Nobody else worth a damn is running or as Rich puts it, it’s a wide open field.
2. By 2016, Jeb’s resume will be stale.
3. By 2016 the current crop of newbies (Christie, Rubio, etc.) will be seasoned enough to jump into the ring.
4. Brother George is enjoying a perverse sort of nostalgia right now.
5. Regardless of George’s stink, Jeb will still be a Bush in 2016 so he might as well jump now.
6. He’s not like Dad or Brother — see my additional reason #9 below!
7. Jeb might be a GOP uniter. This is where Rich throws Sarah under the bus (cue the moose death groan) saying she is too polarizing and implying that Romney is too bland.
8. Better to run too soon than too late. Of course this fails Rich’s own internal logic from reason #3. If it’s better to run too soon, why is he not advocating for Christie or Rubio now?
And now my two extra reasons for Bush in 2012:
9. Jeb was the smart one. From everything I’ve seen, read and heard, it was Jeb who should have sought the nomination back in 2000, not his dumb-ass brother. Jeb lacks George’s swagger and seems to have replaced it with some real intellect. If I’m not mistaken, he also speaks fluent Spanish.
10. It’s enough to give Presidential historians an orgasm. I’m a bit rusty now but I used to be a Presidential history buff. Jeb, if he won, would add another great first to the annals of Pres history. We have John Adams and his son John Quincy (so George 43 broke no records there), we had William Henry Harrison and his grandson Benjamin and of course we had Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin. Jeb taking the oath in 2013 would give us the first case of a President (George Herbert Walker) having TWO sons in the White House.
Honestly, I’d like to see a worthy adversary go against Barack in 2012 for one simple reason. I don’t trust this country not to throw Obama out for a knucklehead so if Obama has to lose to someone (and I don’t think that is a foregone conclusion), I’d like it to be someone I could minimally respect. And speaking of respect …
A Tasty Sip of Tea
Well ever since they took the oath in January in the 112th Congress, we’ve been waiting to see what those racist fear mongering Teabaggers would do and I’m shocked to say this but I actually respect their very first major move. So much so, I shall officially retire the term “teabagger” from my vocabulary. Yesterday, Tea Party caucus members were key players in not extending three provisions of the Patriot Act including warrantless wire tapping.
Who would have thought this early in the game that Tea Party members and liberals would be on the same page regarding civil liberties and government over reach? Heck, if not being able to spell and totally misunderstanding the Constitution gets these great results I may have to completely reevaluate my Tea Party stand. I think I’ve got enough bags left in my Red Rose box in the cupboard to start working on my hat. Oh and I’ll have to buy a gun. This sounds like the start of a great relationship.
The highlight of the second day of the 112th Congress was the reading of the Constitution, cover to cover, on the floor of the House of Representatives. Ehhhh, scratch that. It wasn’t read cover to cover. The naughty parts about blacks being 3/5ths of a man were left out. Apparently this spectacle was staged to satisfy the newly relevant Tea Party movement but one question we must ask is did anyone actually learn anything from the reading, things like the government’s prerogative to tax its citizens for example?
In a great interview Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”, Yale Constitutional Professor Akhil Reed Amar gives a quick lesson on the Constitution and the intent of the framers, which lately gets regularly skewed by conservatives with wishful thinking and a strong tendency for revisionist history.
In the interview Amar reminds us that American revolutionaries were not right wing conservatives, but rather “liberal nationalists”. The politics of liberalism is reflected repeatedly in the Constitution and the “let the States do everything” approach was abandoned with the demise of the Articles of Confederation. The amendments further the liberal agenda whether it is the amendments of Lincoln’s Republican administration, or the administrations of the 1920′s (women’s sufferage, income tax), or the 1960′s with the end of poll taxes.
Conservatives make a big deal about how any powers not “expressly” attributed to the federal government fall to the States. Amar pokes a hole in this balloon also. James Madison fought hard to make sure the word “expressly” did NOT appear in the tenth amendment because he understood that the Constitution needed to be a living breathing document that allowed for implied powers of the federal government.
But I digress. Why was today a good start for Speaker of the House John Boehner? Well, the good Speaker read the Preamble to the Constitution and then left the chamber with Eric Cantor in tow, to hold a news conference. That’s right, Boehner didn’t think this suck-up to the Tea Party was worth his time. As Jed Lewison of The Daily Kos points out, this put Fox News in a bit of a quandary. Cover the Constitution reading, or cover Boehner? They opted for Boehner.
The big question right now is was this a deliberate move on Boehner’s part to delegitimize this Tea Party stunt? If so, I say bravo! I’ve already gone on record to say the good old boys won’t let the Tea Party hijack their agenda. I just didn’t think we’d see it manifest this quickly.
In a recent interview, President Barack Obama worried aloud that 10% unemployment might be the new normal. The more I thought about this, the more uneasy I became. Our current financial crisis has been called the worst since the Great Depression. A lot has changed since then and the changes are not conducive to a speedy recovery.
Globalization of the Economy
This is not the 1930′s. We are all interconnected now. We have a global economy and a global workforce. If you can’t find workers who suit your needs domestically, you look abroad. In particular, if you can’t find workers who will work on the cheap domestically, you look abroad. Outsourcing to India, Brazil and China is making rich executives even richer. They get cheap labor with sharp skills. In some cases, the cost savings even makes a skill sacrifice worthwhile. A company that I follow closely regularly sacrifices getting the job done well so that they can get it done cheap.
Doing More with Less
The corporate mantra of the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been increased efficiency. Companies finding themselves “up against it” start cutting jobs and asking those who remain, to work harder. When the system does not break, the corporate executive brags about higher efficiency and sees no need to go back to the days of three men doing three men’s work. This was a factor called out explicitly by Obama in a recent interview. It is an aspect of corporate behavior that gets ignored when we talk about job creation in the United States.
Democratization of the Stock Market
There was a time when only the wealthy bought stocks. A show like CNBC’s “Mad Money” would have had an audience in the thousands at best. Thanks in large part to the Internet and online trading platforms, now everybody and his mother is a stock owner. What is worse is that for many of these folks it has nothing to do with the old-fashioned values of “owning a piece of the company”. Now it’s gambling pure and simple. In the old days, the formula was simple. If you pleased your customers, you made money and you had happy investors. Now, investors desires and customer’s desires don’t always coincide. The priority of many companies is pleasing the investor at the expense of the worker and potentially the customer. Look at how a company’s stock behaves right after a layoff announcement. More often than not, the company gets a nice bump. Good behavior no longer correlates to better stock price because too many of the buyers have more on their minds than good corporate behavior.
The End of Empathy
February 19, 2009 was a watershed moment when CNBC analyst Rick Santelli launched a rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Only recently have I seen journalists wake up to the wild irony of someone yelling and screaming for the “common man” surrounded by the symbolism of the most wealthy people in the world, i.e. the floor of a stock exchange. Despite the cognitive dissonance of this display, the rant was heard all over the country, and is credited with igniting the Tea Party movement. Here is the money quote (no pun intended):
How about this, Mr. President and new administration. Why don’t you put up a website to have people vote on the internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers mortgages? Or would they like to at least buy cars, buy a house that is in foreclosure … give it to people who might have a chance to actually prosper down the road and reward people that can carry the water instead of drink the water?
This is America!
How many people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgages that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?
Raise their hand!
“Subsidize the losers mortgages”, “reward people that can carry the water instead of drink the water” and “your neighbor’s mortgages that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills”. This was the new social currency delivered from the CME by Mr. Santelli. Did he give any thought to why someone might not be able to pay their bills? Did he entertain the notion that in a civil society, we help our neighbor? Did it occur to him that maybe decent living is not about winners and “losers”? Well of course not. He’s in the business of making money and money has become our God. Empathy is over. If you don’t have enough money, you must have done something wrong. You’re a loser and to hell with you.
So what this means is that corporate America no longer has the moral imperative to put Americans back to work. It’s each man for himself and the corporation is the big man on campus. If they don’t make as much money as humanly possible, then they are the losers in the Santelli model. Better they be winners with cheap Indian labor than losers employing out-of-work Americans, who again by Santelli’s yardstick are losers themselves.
All these factors contribute to an environment in which corporations have zero incentive to do serious hiring of unemployed Americans. What troubles me and what should deeply trouble our President is that we live in a country where unemployment is no longer everyone’s problem. It is only the problem of the unemployed. There is no stimulus program that can change a nation’s mindset. There is no action that the Fed can take that can make it a virtue to put America back to work. As long as the winners keep winning, who cares what happens to the losers? And with that, 10% does indeed become the new normal.
Contrary to what my conservative readers might believe, I don’t often read Daily Kos. Today however a great article caught my eye. It’s a “response to a teabagger” and it spells out the nightmare scenario that would result from the “minimal government intervention” approach of the Tea Party Movement.
Normally I write my own stuff on the blog but this response from Daily Kos diarist Jeff Seemann is just so on target that I’m lifting his verbiage wholesale (with his permission). The best part comes at the very beginning. When taxes get abolished, what do you think will be the first thing that will happen? Your employer will reduce your salary to what it used to be NET. That had never occurred to me and when I read it, I laughed out loud.
Think about this scenario before you vote for your Tea Party candidates on Tuesday!
Let’s say that you’re a Teabagger and you want to get rid of taxes. I tell you it’s not possible, but you don’t listen to me. That’s cool.
So you win. Taxes are gone. No taxes in the USA. You win. The federal government and all the evils that go with it are gone forever.
Now let’s finish your scenario out, OK? Humor me.
You might think that with no taxes, you’ll make more money, right?
Let’s say that you make 40,000 dollars a year now. But your take home pay is only 30,000 dollars. Your employer knows that he doesn’t have to pay the federal government those nasty taxes anymore, but he also knows that you’ve been willing to come to work every day for a 30,000 dollar take-home amount. Guess who’s getting a pay decrease down to 30k a year? You are. The taxes are gone, did you really think that your employer wouldn’t choose to benefit from that first?
So now you make the same amount as before, but there’s no money going to social security anymore. The same amount of money you lived on before now has to get you beyond retirement.
Your 401k is gone too. The company that manages it has wiped the accounts dry. Who’s going to stop them from doing that now that the federal regulators have all been fired?
Perhaps you’d better start saving 10 percent of your paycheck for future retirement plans? Whoops, can’t do that. The FDIC doesn’t exist, so the banks have all been cleaned out. So have the accounts you used to have money in. Your consumer protections are gone, and the person nearest to the vault with a key is now racing towards Bermuda with sacks of your money.
We didn’t really want all those nasty regulations on the banks anyway, did we?
OK, so you can handle this. You don’t need help. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, right?
You’ll be OK, I’m sure of it. But your kids are hungry, so you’d better go to the store to get groceries. Be careful with the meat and the produce departments, though. Sometime last month, the farmer realized that his farm subsidies were gone and he’s gotta cut corners to survive, not to mention raising his prices. In the cutting of the corners, he stopped feeding his cattle clean food. Now those cows are all sick and their meat is packaged up nice for you to buy and feed to your kids.
There’s no FDA and no USDA to monitor the food your farmer provides to the grocery store, so you’re on your own.
Oh and by the way, the ground beef that will be in your digestive system soon just cost you double what it used to, if you’re lucky. Price controls have been dissolved altogether.
When your family gets sick from that tainted meat, you’ll have to rush them to the hospital. Pray that their illness has already been given a cure, because the Centers For Disease Control no longer can help your local hospital identify any viruses.
Also, don’t drink the water in your neighborhood anymore. The Environmental Protection Agency, as it turns out, was actually protecting the environment. You didn’t think Monsanto was going to stop chemical dumping in the streams and lakes of America on their own, did you?
On your way home from the hospital, drive slowly. The traffic lights no longer work because they were part of the local government control and there’s no more tax money left to operate the lights. This alone caused a lot of accidents, and most of the wreckage is left behind for you to drive around if you can. Ever noticed the people that sweep up the broken glass after even the most minor fender-benders? Guess what paid their salaries?
When you get home, pray it’s still there. Without police, what do you think the odds are that people just left it alone? Unless you left your husband/wife behind with a big gun 24/7, somebody’s coming in to take your stuff. And if they have a bigger gun, you just lost your husband and his 30k a year too.
Hopefully that house doesn’t catch fire too. No fire department. And even if there were friends willing to help put out the fire, where do you think they’re going to get the water to douse the flames? Those fire hydrants were not placed there by divine intervention.
Hopefully you prepared for all this by stockpiling on guns and assorted weaponry. Not like it’ll matter. There’s armies from about 2 dozen countries that either are ready to invade or already have. Who’s gonna stop them? Jimbo and his homemade militia? I’m sure the people in your neighborhood can fill in for the boys that used to be in our military, because you know….wolverines! I loved that film too. But let’s be honest….the Cubans and Russians were going to kick our ass, no matter how many high school football players Patrick Swayze can recruit.
Even if the world community takes pity on us and defends us from invading armies, it won’t take long for the airports to become havens of hysteria. Weapons on airplanes are easy as pie. The TSA that performs security checks at the gate…who do you think paid their salaries? They’re part of that massive government waste you’re so happy to be rid of. Maybe the federal marshalls on every plane will protect you….oh, wait. Never mind.
Aside from the easy pickings that terrorism will find in the skies, you won’t be safe on the ground either. Timothy McVeigh is about to be a happy memory compared to the chemical detonations that are possible now. The regulatory committees that monitored the sale and purchase of toxic materials are gone daddy gone.
So between the tainted meat, your pay cut, your 401k being wiped out, the hospitals being overrun by people who ate the same tainted meat, your house being an easy target, the threat of terrorism at all-time highs, and having to fight for your own survival on a hourly basis….don’t you think that maybe it’s better that you just shut up and pay your damn taxes?
Or are you willing to risk all that just because you once heard about a guy who was lazy and took 300 bucks a month in unemployment? – My response to a teabagger on Facebook by Jeff Seemann
Last night the NAACP passed a resolution condemning racist factions within the Tea Party Movement. The question is not why, but why it took so long. From the outset, the TPM focused on uncertainty and fear for America’s future, particularly in the areas of taxation and right to bear arms. This in and of itself would have been no problem. Rhetoric on these issues can get heated without any reference to race or the use of racial caricatures in posters. Unfortunately a small minority of Tea Party protesters have used this understandable unrest as an excuse to further their racist agenda.
The posters displayed at the rallies spoke volumes. The one that stands out for me was a poster placing an “African lion” next to a “Lyin’ African”, a reference to President Obama. Any responsible political movement would publicly repudiate these displays. The Tea Party and its sponsors (e.g. Dick Armey) have not. Any protest movement would screen which posters are being used in protests. The Tea Party has maintained a come-one, come-all attitude with no concern that an otherwise legitimate message might get poisoned by bigotry.
Although the final text of the NAACP resolution has not yet been released, it is supposed to be very specific in its criticism of the Tea Party’s lack of repudiation for racist expression. It is not a condemnation of the Tea Party as a whole.
Ironically, with the exception of the occasional bonehead birther supporting politician (David Vitter, I’m talking to you), the heavy racial overtones of the Tea Party have simmered down somewhat recently. Politicians like Nikki Haley accept the embrace of the Tea Party but do not cross the line into racially charged rhetoric. So why has the NAACP chosen now to speak out?
There is a concept in the black community known as “CP time” which stands for “colored people time”. It is a reference to the stereotype that we cannot get anywhere on time, that we are late to everything. Hence, the only conclusion to be drawn is that we must operate on our own special timetable.
I’m sorry Ben Jealous and the rest of the NAACP membership, when it comes to protesting Tea Party racism, you folks are seriously on CP time!
The Big Scam
Last week, Politico made a big splash when they unearthed a memo that shed light on The Tea Party Express. While it offered no proof that the Tea Party movement itself was manufactured, it did offer definitive proof that the “Express” was the brainchild of a GOP operative who understandably expected the full cooperation of Fox News (the media arm of the Republican Party) in promoting the Express.
So I sat back and thought about this revelation and about my original suspicions that the Tea Party was hardly a true grassroots movement. Then I had an epiphany. Why should this surprise me? Americans are, by and large, intellectually and physically lazy. Unless someone works them up into a lather, most Americans don’t have time to give a damn. They’re just trying to make it day-to-day. Guess what? Not a conservative phenomenon.
Without David Plouffe, there would be no Barack Obama. Liberals didn’t get some grassroots word of mouth enthusiasm over Barack Obama. They were organized. This ability of the Obama campaign (Obama for America (OFA)) to get people out to the caucuses is well documented in the Heileman/Halperin book “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime“. It took Hillary Clinton completely by surprise. By the time OFA was finished, Obama was an inspiration to millions of voters. It swept him into the White House. It was portrayed as grassroots but it was no more grassroots than the Tea Parties. Further proof can be found in how liberal support fizzled when OFA transformed into Organizing for America without Plouffe and as a subsidiary of the DNC. This was spelled out beautifully in Tim Dickinson’s article, “No, We Can’t” in Rolling Stone.
So the big scam is not that the Tea Party Express was manufactured by the GOP. The big scam is that we believe in grassroots efforts in this country where most folks read The National Enquirer and watch Jerry Springer. It’s okay to join a group and demand change. Don’t get me wrong. But let’s get real and admit we’re all being led by the nose by more powerful, better connected players.
The Real Boss
We all get caught up in the daily score keeping of politics. Is Obama the boss? Is Sarah Palin the big influence? Is Jesus Christ or Allah really running everything? Then once in a great while we are reminded who will have the last laugh. It will be, for lack of a better moniker, Mother Earth. The Earth is the ultimate bad “mother-shut-yo-mouth”. Just look over at Iceland. A glacier on fire. Who the hell ever imagined that? But Earth can serve up seemingly contradictory phenomena like this unmercifully. Who needs the mushroom cloud? Have you seen some of the pictures coming out of Iceland with the ginormous plume of ash rising out of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano? Air traffic hasn’t been this disrupted since 9/11. The terrorist this time is Mother Earth.
This is just one of the many pictures coming out of Iceland. Many more can be found here. As little men threaten to annihilate each other with atomic, chemical and biological weapons, we lose sight of the fact that we are but an ant on the ass of the huge Earth. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and volcanoes prove time and time again that we are not in charge. We are not in control. She can cast us off with no warning and no remorse. And the only one badder than Mother Earth is the Universe in which she resides. A large meteor collision can wipe her clean of all signs of life. Eventually, when the Sun burns out as all stars do, Mother Earth will be no more.
So, as we continue to debate politics and religion and morality let’s not forget that a force much bigger than any political party or country will have the last laugh.