Tom in Paine on “Liable to be Blood”

January 18, 2011

Over at the outstanding blog, Tom in Paine, fellow true liberal Marc Rubin invokes a devastating indictment of the Tea Party’s gun-based, violent rhetoric & imagery, and its inevitable consequences.

As this was to be the subject of the next TLN post, we’ll just link it here, and thank Tom in Paine for addressing this issue more eloquently than we could have.

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Legends of the Mid-Terms

November 10, 2010

Long before election day, the Legends that would be told about the 2010 mid-terms had been written.  Undoubtedly crafted by those they would best serve, the legends were accepted by a gullible public and an infantile media, as a shiny object tossed on the ground might entrance a simpleton.  They repeated the Legends until they had the force of truth:  Republicans are running record numbers of women! —  We will throw the all bums out! — Politics has been transformed by the rise of a new party, the Tea Party!

To find truth, the great mathematician, Karl Friedrich Gauss, urged “whenever possible, one should count.”  That is the difference between Data and Lore, between an enlightened world and a primitive one.  And, when one actually counts the results of the 2010 elections, the Legends fall and the Truth is revealed.


This Was No “Year of the Woman”

Legend tells us that the GOP, spearheaded by the TP, was running vast numbers of women, while Democrats had abandoned female candidates.  This wave of new Republican women in office would rival the gains of 1992’s “Year of the Woman.”  Based at least in part on this belief, significant numbers of women voters shifted their traditional support from the Dems to the GOP.  They were deluded.

Despite a handful of prominent TP female candidates, and a spike in Republican women running for office, women are still woefully underrepresented in the GOP.  As in prior years, 2010 saw women Democrats outnumber their red sisters two-to-one.

2010 Female Candidates

party   S    H    G    tot F     GT     pct of GT

Dem   9    91    5      105    484     22%

GOP   5    47    5        57    504     11%

(Senate, House, Governor; total female, grand total all candidates, female percentage of grand total.  Differences in grand totals reflect unopposed seats.)

As academician, author and former congressional candidate Jennifer Lawless observes, since 77% of the women in Congress were among the vulnerable Democrats, it would have required a vast upswing in female GOP candidates to improve gender balance. Despite the hype, that didn’t happen.  In fact, the RNC “ran women in only three of the 30 races that presented the best opportunities to gain seats.” For the first time in thirty years, the number of women in Congress will actually decrease. Adding insult to injury, “early reports of the new Republican leadership include no women’s names.”

A sub-legend has it that the GOP also ran many more minorities.  This, too, is myth.  Beyond a couple of prominent minority TPers, the face of the Republican Party remained overwhelmingly male WASP.  Only 3 of 37 GOP Senate candidates could be described as minority. One telling stat:  for Congress the GOP ran three times as many white men named “Smith” (6) as it did black women (2).


The “Bums” Are Still Here

During the 2010 campaign a meme, Rovian in its evil genius, took hold: ‘throw all the bums out!’ Given that most of the incumbents up for reelection were Dems, the spread of this mantra could only help the GOP.  Unsurprisingly, 53 Dems but only 2 Republicans were unseated in the House.  Many of these were freshmen in traditionally red districts, blown in by the storm of 2008, vulnerable to the slightest change in wind.

In the Senate, incumbents ran in 23 of the 37 races; 2 lost.  In the House, 378 of the 435 races — 87% — saw incumbents defend their seats.  Twenty-six of them (4 Dem, 22 GOP) ran unopposed.  The rest did extremely well:

House Incumbents, 2010 Mid-Terms

party     Tot       W      L       win pct

Dems    231     179     52     77%

GOP     147      145       2     99%

Both    378      324     54    86%

The numbers don’t lie:  in a year when the voters swore to ‘throw out the all bums’, they instead brought back nine incumbents in ten.  A full three-quarters of the new House will be comprised of these old “bums”.


There is No Tea Party

Legend has it, in 2010 the Tea Party fielded a long slate of newcomers who were swept into office and instantly transformed not only the GOP but the entire political landscape.  Counting tells another story.

The three major TP factions (Palin, Freedomworks, Tea Party Express) issuing endorsements mostly disagreed on who rated as a “genuine” TP candidate.  But looking at the largest slate, that of the Tea Party Express (TPX), it’s hard to detect the revolutionary wave spoken of in the sagas.

In the Senate, TPX endorsements went 10 for 15.  Four of those winners, though, were long-time incumbents, including John Thune, who ran unopposed.  Newbies went 6 for 11, including two of the six pickups.  Of 67 total GOP pick-ups in the House, only 28 were endorsed by TPX.  Forty-nine incumbents, five running unopposed, were on the TPX slate.  Only about 4 in 10 of the ousted Dem incumbents (22 of 51) lost to a TPX-endorsed opponent, whereas 28 of 37 of the rookie TPX winners were found in those vulnerable Dem districts.  Did the Tea Party make those seats vulnerable, or did it merely prey on the already weak?

Newly-minted TP members will comprise but 8.5% of the next House and 6% of the next Senate.  In the final analysis, it seems that the Tea Party is less a new party or faction, than a new name for the old right wing of the Republican Party.


Falling for the Legends

Political extremists have long known the power of the Big Lie.  The Legends of the 2010 Mid-Terms are whoppers.  When an incredulous public, egged on by the mindless parrots of the media, accept these lies, they exert an influence the truth would otherwise deny them.   Don’t fall for the Legends.  Count before you believe.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.


Constitutional Refresher Course

October 21, 2010

In yet another bizarre, embarrassing moment, Tea Party poster child, Chrissie O’Donnell, brought gasps and chuckles to the audience during a debate at a law school by claiming the First Amendment says nothing about separation of church and state.  But don’t pile on Chrissie, folks — every TP candidate thinks this is so.

The TP is a strange fusing of christian fundamentalists and libertarian anarchists, followed meekly by a host of criminally uninformed voters. One of its key planks is a pledge to adhere closely to the US Constitution — an odd desire for people whose views and aims conflict so fundamentally with that document.  They have a work-around to that conflict — wildly misinterpret certain sections, then pretend the rest doesn’t even exist.

For the christian fundamentalist, that literal believer in a bible chock full of glaring contradictions and falsehoods, ‘creative reading’ is second nature.  For the libertarian, living in a delusional world where the US economy was humming along perfectly until wrecked by the New Deal, ignoring facts is child’s play.  The TP version is less a competing interpretation of our nation’s highest law, than a Hollywood-esque “re-imagining” bearing scant resemblance to the original.

Even were their comprehension of the Constitution accurate, the TPers’ call for a “traditional, strict interpretation” has not been seriously considered for over two centuries. The immensely influential chief justice, John Marshall, deemed that the Constitution was “intended to endure for ages to come, to be adapted to various crises of human affairs.”  It was Marshall (in Marbury v. Madison, 1803) who codified the Founding Fathers’ intention to provide for judicial review.  To the Judiciary has been given the exclusive role of interpreting the Constitution.  And for two centuries, the plethora of decisions handed down by Supreme Courts have yielded remarkably consistent interpretations, none of which look anything at all like those TP re-imaginings.  (That hackneyed right-wing complaint over “activist judges” is nothing but frustration at the proper role of the judiciary as established in Marbury.)

While it’s a waste of time to talk reason to the O’Donnell and her fellow delusionals, for the benefit of those confused by the TP’s fanciful re-imagining of the Constitution, here’s a little refresher course.


Separation of Church and State

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” — Amendment I

O’Donnell is technically correct: the actual words “separation of church and state” never appear in the first amendment, nor anywhere, in the Constitution.  That phrase came from contemporary statements by Jefferson and Madison, who both rejoiced that the Bill of Rights firmly established “a permanent wall of separation,” reflecting the universal desire of the Founding Fathers and the American people. They were intensely concerned that their new nation avoid the fights over state religion and consequent persecutions, tyranny, and civil wars that had devastated England and Europe for centuries.

As confirmation of this well-documented intent, over twenty major Supreme Court decisions have resoundedly confirmed the Constitution’s separation of church and state.  In response, O’Donnell and friends can offer but a flimsy, grammarian sophistry.  (TPM to Chrissie: the words “Bill of Rights” aren’t even in the The Bill of Rights.)  Interestingly, while TPers are quick to claim the First Amendment does not say church & state should be separate, they never explain what it supposedly does say.


The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  — Amendment II

If sheer volume of words is a guide, the Second Amendment is by far the TP’s favorite section of the Constitution.  They should be glad that a truly strict interpretation has not not been applied.  Per 18th century syntax, that opening clause grants one the right to keep and bear arms only as a member of a well regulated militia — and a dozen skinheads shooting cans in Idaho is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Written by some former minutemen, the Second Amendment has not aged well.  Our present day militia is called the National Guard.  Forced to adapt this amendment to modern times, the courts have chosen an exceedingly broad interpretation, granting the government powers based on the “well-regulated” part (shotgun? yes; flamethrower? no), while generously ignoring the militia membership requirement for citizens.  The interpretive pedant could also point out that, strictly, there’s nothing about protecting one’s right to keep and wear armor.


Unconstitutionality of The Federal income Tax

TPers’ aversion to taxation exceeds that of the Wicked Witch of the West to water buckets.  With increasing brazenness, they matter-of-factly state that the federal income tax is unconstitutional.

Now, considering its import and broad scope, the Constitution is a surprisingly short document.  So it seems a bit sloppy for the TPers to have missed Article 1, Section 8, which states:

“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…. “

and then goes on to give a long list, known as the enumerated powers, of all the things Congress can do, then finishes by further granting Congress power “to make all Laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing Powers….” Stricties claim this is a narrow permission list.  But beginning with Marshall, every Supreme Court has confirmed that the seventeen clauses of wide-ranging enumerated powers permit Congress considerable “discretion with respect to means … to enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it in the manner most beneficial to the people.”

If Art I, Sec 8 was not convincing enough, Amendment XVI, passed in 1913, puts the taxation question to rest:

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived….”

There are even those who insist the USPS is unconstitutional, perhaps based on the obscure wording of this Art 1, Sec 8 clause:

“The Congress shall have Power … [t]o establish Post Offices and post Roads….”

Ah!  But the TP has found a way to get around the enumerated powers, with a trick last employed by the Confederacy.


State’s Rights

TPers are gaga for States’ Rights — the concept that ultimate sovereignty lies not with the United States, but rather with each individual state.  As proof, they cite Amendment X:

“The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.”

The Tenth Amendment, they (O’Donnell, apparently, excepted) argue, negates Art 1 Sec 8, leaving the Federal Government with almost no enumerated powers, meaning nearly every federal law ever passed can be ignored.  But the Supreme Court ( United States v. Sprague, 1931) found that the Tenth amendment “added nothing to the instrument as originally ratified.”

It defies credulity to imagine the Founding Fathers carefully codifying their highest ideals into federal law, only to immediately add an amendment that permitted lesser jurisdictions to ignore those ideals —  thus undermining majority rule and rendering the federal democracy non-functional.


The Party of Nullify

Also known as Nullification, this principle was first proposed during the late 1820’s, when Georgia wished to circumvent Federal Indian treaties so they could to drive the remaining Indians off their land.  The Supreme Court ruled (albeit too late for the Indians) against Georgia.

In 1832, South Carolina’s legislature, claiming State’s Rights to ignore federal tariffs designed to help (largely Northern) industry, passed a resolution to secede if the tariffs were not abolished. In response, President Jackson sternly declared

“the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”

The Palmetto state claimed the right to Nullify again in 1860 over another issue.

Today, TPers turn to Nullification as cover to reject any federal statute they don’t care for.  Not just “obamacare”, but also women’s choice, gay equality, social security numbers, and, as always, those evil taxes.  When a TP candidate mentions the Tenth Amendment, it’s nothing less than a coded threat to secede.


“Read Carefully Before Operating”

In retrospect, TPers should rethink their professed love for the Constitution.  Their vision of America is clearly at odds with that of its authors.  Still, had the TPers bothered to either read the Constitution onlinedownload it, or ask their buddies at the Heritage Foundation to send them a free copy, they’d have discovered a nifty way to rewrite the Constitution to their liking — the simple how-to instructions are laid out right there in Article V.  Maybe getting two-thirds of fellow Americans to agree with their crack-pot vision seemed a little daunting. So instead, TPers have chosen to simply ignore the law of the land.

For a centuries-old, hashed-out compromise, the US Constitution was written with prodigious clarity and amazing foresight.  It was never perfect, but frequent revision and reasoned interpretation has allowed it to keep up fairly well with developments. It’s the user’s manual thoughtfully left by the Founding Fathers in the glove compartment of our nation.  Anyone seeking to operate the machinery of government should first thoroughly familiarize themselves with it.


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All Rights reserved.



Cry Babies

October 14, 2010

That nebulous cloud of disaffected Democrat & liberal independent voters, commonly labeled “pumas,” deserves a new monicker: “cry babies.”

After a relentless, two-year campaign of whining to each other on blogs, accompanied by not a single act of political activism, our eternal outrage now compels pumas to protest, punish, or dispense penance in the 2010 midterm elections.

Protest:  At a seminal crossroads for the continued viability of our Nation, the likes of which has not been witnessed since 1860, many pumas feel that a protest vote — voting for a green candidate, say, or simply abstaining — will somehow compel the Dem leadership to prick up its ears and heed our puma roar.  Or at least it will assuage our aversion to voting for any but the ideal candidate;

Punish:  Other pumas, for dark reasons known only to them, liken their prior affiliation to the Dem party to a romantic relationship.  When their partner/party betrayed their fidelity by shacking up with obama, these furies vowed revenge.  This November, they intend on taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights, so the Democratic Party will think next time before he cheats.  Not a few of these punishing pumas have undergone a total inversion, abandoning principles and ideals to become fanatic Republicans.  Which makes one wonder what this was all about for them.

Penance:  There’s a lot of pop psychology going about saying the Democratic Party needs to “hit rock bottom” before it can recover — to “learn its lesson” so to speak — so let’s expedite the process by helping them lose the midterms.

This thought process is flawed on at least two counts.  First, it accepts the meme that ‘hitting rock bottom’ is the sole and certain path to ‘recovery.’   In reality, many people with addictions, antisocial behavior, etc. straighten themselves out before hitting bottom, while many others hit bottom and just stay there, never ‘learning their lesson.’   Second, this theory envisions the entire Democratic party as a single person.  Which it is not.  The Democratic Party is an (especially loose) agglomerate of individuals.  Those capable of learning their lesson have already learned it; facilitating a GOP landslide will not scare straight any others.

A flawed anthropomorphizing of party dynamics, this tenuous strategy also ignores the reality that the TP juggernaut cares not one iota for the aims of liberals.  A minority that includes Blanche Lincoln but lacks Russ Feingold fixes what, exactly?  In short, there is no path to ‘recovery’, however you define that, which leads through a right-wing landslide in this election.

Puma Piss

On the whole, pumas are a pissy lot.  We whine, we foment, we take umbrage at every slight.  On each of our shoulders sits a chip wearing an orange pant suit.  This November, pumas seem eager to stage a massive pissing-into-the-wind protest.  That’ll show ’em!

Yet, in this year of the Tea Party, where were all the Puma rallies?  Who were the Puma candidates in the primaries?  Given, unlike the TP, no billionaire benefactor jump-started our movement, but it didn’t help that there was no real movement to jump-start in the first place.

Every two years, all on her lonesome, Cindy Sheehan gets herself on the ballot to run against Nancy Pelosi.  Not a single “big name” puma could be aroused from their torpor and pathetic self-pity to do likewise.

There’s no avoiding that we pumas pissed away the past two years.  Oh, some of us did try to do something constructive way back.  Known by the ill-chosen name “Just Say No Deal,” and despite assembling an impressive array of experience and talent, for various reasons — an incompetent narcissist as its organizer, for one — this nascent “Puma Party” never got off the ground.  Thereafter followed The Denver Group, a savvy, well-crafted, but ultimately quixotic, protest of the DNC convention, and then … nothing.

Could a Puma Party have arisen then, as did the Tea party a year later?  Sure, but it didn’t.  It still could, and should, happen, in future.  And, in an upcoming post I will be announcing the formation of a new party/movement/PAC.  But back to today.

“First, Do No Harm”

Is the Democratic Party a total write-off?  Absolutely not.  To those who never got as close to politics as did I, it may come as a shock to discover that all politicians have an oily sheen about them.  But let’s not ignore that on 5/31/08, 12 of 27 RBC powerlords voted in favor of Hillary Clinton; that most democratic primary voters chose Clinton over obama; that the obamalonians were so worried by a straw poll of delegates, which indicated Clinton might win a floor vote, that they rigged the formal nomination.  Roughly, then, at least half of the Democratic rank & file membership is salvageable, as is nearly all of the Party platform.

Leave yesterday be; we’ll deal with that tomorrow.  Today, we must be pragmatic about what we can and cannot accomplish at this juncture.  Yes, ideally things would be better with true liberals in the Senate rather than the likes of Reid and Boxer.  But we blew our chance to improve those particular seats during this Spring’s primaries.  Our next opportunity to improve on Reid & Boxer, et al., comes around in 2016.  In 2010, we can only prevent those seats from getting FAR WORSE.  As political surgeons, we must all abide by the Hippocratic Oath.

It’s A Dirty Job

It’s 2010, and there’s no Puma Party around to throw our weight behind.  As disaffected dems and liberal independents, we’re stuck with making the best of a bad situation with what’s on hand.  What’s on hand are the existing Democrats and the TP-laden GOP.  The situation is too dire, the threats to our institutions, liberties and democracy too grave, for protests or statements.   For all intents and purposes, we have a Republican president in obama — handing him a GOP Congress would be disastrous.  This will be no small nudge to the right:  there will be an all-out assault on the institutions, principles, the very foundation of our American Liberty.

Our task today is simple, and it is narrow:  pick the lesser of two evils.  And the greater is very evil, indeed.  In 2008, this true liberal was prepared to vote for McCain, had the race in California proved close, simply to avert the pending obamalonian disaster.  I do not like John McCain, and share but few of his ideals.  So when a fellow puma tells me they cannot, in principle, vote for Barbara Boxer, who despite her many flaws, closely matches their political views, I have no sympathy.  It’s a dirty job, but we’ve got to hold our noses and cast a vote that matters.  No more crying: do your duty.  The welfare of our Nation demands it.


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.



It’s Decaf

April 14, 2010
– by ‘tamerlane’

Every dedicated java drinker has experienced a morning when, desperately needing that kick-start, a soothing wave comes over you as the aroma of fresh coffee caresses your nostrils.  The first impact of the elixir on your tongue instantly smoothes the edge of your irritability.  After a few more sips, though, you realize your jones has not dissipated.  You check the coffee can and discover … it’s decaf.

A similar arc of anticipation, initial satisfaction, and rapid disillusionment came when I learned of the Coffee Party (“CP”).  Formed in direct response to the anarchist Tea Party movement (“TP”), the Coffee Party proclaims “We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will….” Amen to that!  But poking around its extensive and elaborate web site, filled with blog posts, forums, online organizing tools and PDF policy briefings, it’s hard to determine what the CP really advocates. A pledge “to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree” seems an awkward lunge at TP negativity and selfishness, while the promise of “expanding the influence of the People in America’s political arena” is calculated to deliver the caffeine that left-leaners might otherwise seek in tea.  The repeated calls to “value people from different cultures” and embrace “diversity” is played-out rainbow goo.  A blog exhortation to “paint or dance what you think to feel what you think.  Sing a thought!” is downright hippie.

It’s even harder, at first glance, to determine who’s producing all this material.  The CP claims to be “100% grassroots” and “made up of people acting independently of political parties, of corporations, and of political lobbying networks…. No lobbyists here.  No pundits.  And no hyper-partisan strategists calling the shots in this movement.” Which all sounds dreamy until you discover the hyper-partisan politico behind the curtain — Annabel Park: leftist radical, open borders activist, member of the Netroots/Kos crime gang, evangelical apostle of teh Messiah in 2008, current obama hack.

Frightened by the growing momentum of the TP, the obamalonians decided to fight astroturf with astroturf.  They turned to Park, an old hand at fabricating sham groundswells.  A maker of youtube “documentaries” that nobody outside of tribeca or Cole Valley has seen, Park had most recently created a mock grassroots org to promote passage of (the albeit laudable) HR 121, which demanded that Japan apologize for enslaving Koreans as “comfort women”.  In her home state of Virginia, Park cooked up a pro-immigration crusade, and a rainbow coalition for Jim Webb’s senate run.

Park also has serious bone fides as an obama operative.  Her Asian Americans for obama (one of the many ethnic “grassroots organizations” created & financed by the obama campaign) released a video of her imagining Hillary Clinton and the Lightbringer as rival applicants for CEO of a failing company.  Park’s comments are revealing:
“I think Hillary is a great manager, and she’s a technocrat, she understands the political machine in Washington ….  But she doesn’t have the kind of leadership that can really turn around a company that’s about to go bankrupt.

“… obama has the kind of leadership skills that can really inspire people to focus on the goal and to … transform themselves and the company.  We need someone to take over and really change morale, to change the culture of the company.

“And Hillary can’t do that.  She doesn’t have the capacity to inspire people, she doesn’t know how to talk to us in a way we need people to talk to us right now.  She’s a great manager but she’s not a collaborator.  I think obama is … gonna say, ‘look, I wanna collaborate with you on how to make these decisions’, and Hillary is … saying, ‘I know all the answers, hire me, I’m an expert, and I’m gonna manage it for you.’  I don’t want that.

“I feel like we’re culturally ahead of the political process … but … we’re so submissive and passive; we haven’t been participating.  People are hearing that from obama now: ‘get involved, this is your time.'”
This is the kind of magical unicorn mysticism behind the CP.  It’s crazy talk and it simply won’t do.

So here we are again, stuck in the middle, with fools to the left of us, and jokers to the right.  Fuck the Coffee Party.  Fuck the Tea Party.  We true liberals need to form a new party ourselves.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.

A Thin and Weak Brew

March 29, 2010

– by ‘tamerlane’

In one scene in the 1963 film, THE GREAT ESCAPE, a prisoner of war, played by Donald Pleasence, fixes a pot of tea for his fellow POW.  As he robotically fetches the leaves, boils the water, and fills the pot, Pleasence apologizes for reusing very old and weak tea.  What Pleasence tries to hide is that he is virtually blind, and has carefully rehearsed the steps involved in brewing the tea to fool his comrade.

The present day “Tea Party” movement (“TP”) is reminiscent of Pleasence and his stalag tea.  Theirs is a thin and weak substitute for that first, potent brew.  Today’s protesters hope that by blindly aping the motions of an earlier era, they can can create a brew as potent as the original.


No Sons of Liberty, These

The current TP gang thoroughly misinterprets and perverts the objectives and principles of the 1773 Boston crew.  The Sons of Liberty were not protesting taxation per se, only who had the right to tax  — a distant parliament, or their own representative bodies.

The Patriots certainly didn’t seek to abolish, or even limit, government.  The colonies all had robust legislatures, enacting broad regulations and imposing numerous taxes, which the Boston Tea Party and other protests, and the ensuing rebellion, sought to preserve.   Most tellingly, immediately after securing their right to self-rule, the Americans sat down and created a very complex and overarching system of national government, with the Constitution as its operating manual.

Modern TP activists routinely call for the elimination of that system created by our Founding Fathers, with the repeal of much or all of the Constitution they wrote.   The original tea party was a question of the form of government, the modern movement questions the very existence of government.


Ersatz Tea

The TP was unquestionably astroturfed by libertarian/anarchist agitators who for decades have harbored a master plan to kill the government that interferes with their rapacious greed.  But the masses of average Joes and Jolines now filling the TP ranks are motivated by inchoate sentiments of anger, resentment, and powerlessness.   Still unformed in their minds — or their movement —  is a set of concrete objectives or even fundamental principles.  The various TP splinter groups are just now getting around to holding rancorous debates over a platform.

Only slightly more in focus is a target for their bile:  the ‘undeserving’ ne’er-do-wells (not exclusively, but often coincidentally, minorities), and the government that allows them to free-load off hand-outs paid for by TPer’s tax dollars.  In directing their anger at those a rung or two below them on the socioeconomic ladder, instead of at the corporate oligarchs who thieved and cheated their way far up that ladder, the TP masses have allowed themselves to be mightily duped.  For there is no greater recipient of federal largesse than the big corporations — cash handouts to airlines following 9/11, token lease payments for federal land to ranchers and drillers, bailouts of AIG, GM & Goldman Sachs.  If this corporate welfare elicits any ire at all in the TP luddites, it is always directed at the feds issuing the checks, not at the corporations themselves who lobby and bribe.

There’s no denying that the leaders of the American revolution were nearly all affluent planters and merchants partly concerned that Parliament’s sundry excises might crimp their trade.  To their credit, the Founding Fathers were also motivated by firmly-held principles derived from their egalitarian, commonwealth heritage.  In contrast, the unspoken goal of the TP leadership is nothing less than a return to a pre-Magna Carta feudal society, with impoverished vassals bound in servitude to wealthy and omnipotent lords.  That the prospective vassals are actively working to bring about their loss of liberty indicates that, intellectually, they are the functional equivalents of medieval peasants.


When The Sheep Empower the Wolves

The real oppressor of the people is not the government.  It is the unregulated free market, with its sociopathic corporations and robber barons who  habitually act in their own self-interest and against the interests of society.   When they cannot sufficiently exploit their American workers to meet their insatiable avarice, they simply fire them and find new workers in foreign countries that permit unbridled exploitation.

A major role of any government is to protect its people from the selfish acts of anti-social individuals.  Before our federal & state governments began “meddling” with the free market, America was home to virtual slave labor camps, known as mining towns.  Before the government saddled business with “onerous” regulations, factories routinely used child laborers, paying them a pittance for 10 –12 hours’ daily work.  Before the government “stifled productivity” with environmental protection, industrialists and mining magnates cut costs by dumping pollution, poisons, even radioactive waste, thereby forcing society as a whole to subsidize their obscene personal wealth.

The benefit each of us derives from our government’s intercession on our behalf far outweighs any minor burdens from 1040s and the DMV.  The ignorant fools who comprise the bulk of the TP have no idea of the ruin and suffering they are working to bring down upon their own heads.  They are like sheep, who, resentful at being herded by the dog, kill the dog, unwittingly exposing themselves to the predation of the wolves.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.


They’re Shooting Hostages

January 21, 2010
by ‘tamerlane’

The liberals just shot their first hostage.  The candidacy of Martha Coakley, a solid if nondescript Democrat, was ceremoniously marched out and executed in broad daylight by the voters of the most liberal state in the Union.  Their demands had been very clear:  pass a real public health care reform bill, not a sham private health insurance mandate.  But the Democrats in Congress, and the fraud in the White House, refused to heed the warnings.  They thought they could put lipstick on a pig, call it “health care reform”, and we’d all be duped like we were in the Spring of ‘08.

Massachusetts was a bad place to test this assumption.  Bay Staters embrace their legacy of political defiance, dating back to when the original Patriot Act was enacted in 1775 on Lexington Green.  Despite being predominately Democrat or democrat-leaning, half of registered voters there are independents.  This is also an electorate with a habit of periodically placing conservatives in high office to course-correct its leftward drift.  Mitt Romney and Bill Weld were governors, and in the 1996 senate race, Bay Staters were toying with electing the conservative Weld until Kerry, in an unforgettable debate, woke up himself and the voters, then put on the afterburners.

There’s no denying that Coakley, a backroom player who figured she’d already done all that was required by maneuvering her way into the nomination, mismanaged her campaign.  Anyone who can’t identify Curt Schilling is unfit for office in Massachusetts.  But as any Gloucester fisherman will tell you, red skies in morning:  sailors take warning.  The clouds of this brewing red storm were ominously apparent for months, yet Coakley, the state party, and the DNC all were caught asleep at the wheel.

The Dems knew — and openly proclaimed — the symbolic and tangible significance of this race, of the need to replace Teddy, the longtime public healthcare champion, with someone who would ensure passage of Obama’s bill.  Did they not think the GOP was cognizant of that significance, too?  Unlike Democrats, Republicans have practical experience getting things done, like earning annual bonuses, outsourcing jobs, and running effective campaigns.  The RNC marshaled its forces and invested in Brown’s campaign at the critical moment.  The GOP correctly judged the tide, and deftly plotted a course toward the open berth at Kennedy Bay.

In a bizarre twist, the Democrats now had to play catch-up in a race they were leading.  Their response:  appeal to the voters’ desire to support Obama and to pass his health bill.  The Dem leadership must have been tippling off some left-over barrels of kool-aid, because all the polls showed that Brown’s surge was due solely to a backlash over Obama’s joke of a bill.  Coakley’s only salvation would have been to publicly distance herself from it, to declare “when I get to the Senate, I’ll won’t vote for any health care reform bill unless it contains a public option!”  But Coakley is a mundane party hack.

Massachusetts is Clinton country — Hillary won the primary by 15 points.  So in desperation, the DNC dispatched Bill to point out how repulsively rightwing Brown was.  But then they also sent in Obama, and made a last ditch appeal to “save health care.”  And that’s what the voters of Massachusetts, in their minds at least, did.  They shot a hostage to save real health care reform.

Unfortunately, once you start shooting your hostages, things can only end one of two ways:  either your demands are met, or you end up dead, too.  The rightwingers are crowing loud and mighty that the Brown victory proves that Americans hate “ObamaCare” for being too “socialist.”  In Massachusetts, which has its own limited public health insurance program, ObamaCare was not socialist enough.  As this plays out, liberals would do well to remember that the enemy of my enemy is usually still my enemy.  Extreme measures may be necessary to break the obots’ hold.  Electing Republicans simply to punish the Democrats might feel good in the moment, but it won’t do good in the long run.

So who’s the next hostage to go?  The Dem incumbents already considered the most vulnerable were: Blanche Lincoln, AK; Michael Bennet, CO; and our dear, old Harry Reid, NV; plus Dorgan’s seat in ND. Barbara Boxer had been considered a lock.  Democrats like to think of California as one big, smooth-sailing cruise ship for them.  The Poseidon was a cruise ship, too.  Boxer, an ardent Obama supporter who’ll likely face the dynamic political outsider Carly Fiorino, is already starting to sweat.

These senators, and a large portion of Democrats in the House, should have the image of the Massachusetts hostage shooting burned into their retinas.  Instead of trying to pass Obama’s sham bill, they ought to jump ship ASAP.  All politicians have a keen sense of self-preservation, but most don’t possess the brightest of minds.  Nor will the obot bolsheviks who hijacked the Party relinquish power without a fight.  So there’s no guarantee the Democrats will right their ship before the full storm hits.  And with a capsized Democratic Party, we’re at the mercy of the GOP.

Coakley would have made a competent, liberal senator.  Brown will be a horrible, extreme conservative one.  Losing the sixty-vote majority, which failed to yield any real results, (and which in any case was dependent on the DINO Lieberman) is no real loss.  Still, handing the enemy a solid liberal seat was an expensive way to send a message.  Let’s hope our demands will now be taken seriously.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.