Archive for: October, 2010

The Rally To Restore Sanity Causes a Mainstream Media Meltdown

Oct 30 2010 Published by under Featured News

Jon Stewart managed to do something with his Rally to Restore Sanity that hasn’t been done in a long time. He confused the mainstream media to the point of a near collective nervous breakdown. The media couldn’t figure out what this rally was about, and it was only when Stewart explained it to them that they realized that it was about them.

Here are CNN’s TJ Holmes and Kate Bolduan trying to describe the rally:

Holmes introduced Bolduan by saying, “Washington D.C. is gearing up for… something right now, and asked what is this thing?” Bolduan set a tone by trying to put this into the political box, only to leave confused. She said, “It seems that the rally and the people attending here are a little harder to define than many of the other rallies that we’ve covered.” She tried to tie it to the 2010 election only to have attendees tell her that this isn’t about the election.

A report on NBC’s Today show echoed the what is this thing question and called the rally and intersection of politics and entertainment:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Over at Fox News, they asked people if this was a political statement, people said no, and Fox continued to shade the rally as a pro-liberal pro-Obama event:
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

The media just didn’t get it. In fact, the whole point of the rally eluded them until Jon Stewart told them during his speech to close the event. Stewart explained that the media themselves were part of the point of the rally. Cable news’ approach is part of the problem, “But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. ”

He continued, “If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinist and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker and perhaps eczema.”

Television news was paralyzed and confused when they had to cover an event that did not fit into their polarized partisan model. The idea that a rally would be held that wasn’t about politics or supporting a particular candidate or party left them stunned. They were equally dumbfounded by the idea that hundreds of thousands of Americans would show up to an event that had no political motive. They couldn’t figure it.

The corporate media didn’t expect anyone to catch on to their role as the dissemination system for partisan polarization. The media may not be to blame for the partisan divisions in our country, but they definitely help to spread and reinforce them by tilting their coverage towards conflict and sensationalism, while completely neglecting information and rational discussion. I think this rally was reflection of the extremist fatigue that most people feel. People want to feel good and like they can come together for something.

On this one day regular people wanted to show that media may be broken, but America isn’t. The American people came calling today, and their message was loud and clear. They not only want their country back, but they want their sanity back as well. What the media could not figure out was that Jon Stewart had a message that was bigger than politics. His message was that America is fine. It is our media and hyper partisanship that is broken, and Stewart advocated for everyone to work together to solve our problems. The media won’t like it, but this rally was about how great America can be, and how much of a problem they have become.

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At Least 250,000 Attend Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity

Oct 30 2010 Published by under Featured News

Everyone knew today’s Rally to Restore Sanity would be a hit, and if the independent estimates of crowd size are any indication, Jon Stewart’s rally was the most well attended of the year as it is estimated that at least 250,000 people attended. This number easily doubles and almost triples the attendance for Glenn Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor.

A CTV story estimated the crowd size at 250,000, “In an impassioned 15-minute speech, Stewart told a crowd estimated to number at least 250,000, that their presence has restored his sanity.” Even the AP conservatively offered an estimate that the crowd size rivaled Beck’s, “Screens showed a variety of pundits and politicians from the left and right, engaged in divisive rhetoric. Prominently shown: Glenn Beck, whose conservative Restoring Honor rally in Washington in August was part of the motivation for the Stewart and Colbert event, called the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. It appeared to rival Beck’s rally in attendance.”

During the rally, the hosts of Myth Busters estimated the crowd at 150,000. No matter which estimate one chooses to go with, it’s clear that the crowd size greatly exceeded the 60,000 that Comedy Central expected when they applied for their park permit. There were reports that the crowd exceeded the designated rally area and spilled out into other parts of the National Mall, so it is a pretty safe to say that hundreds of thousands of people were there.

Right wing media has responded to the success of Stewart’s rally, not by denying his attendance numbers, but inflating Beck’s rally attendance figures. Even though independent estimates put the size of Beck’s rally at 87,000-96,000 attendees, conservative media, lead by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Beck himself have turned the Rally to Restore Honor into a mythic event which was attended by a half a million people. Of course, those who make these claims have absolutely no proof to back it up, and they never question the fact that these inflated attendance figures come from biased sources.

This week Beck proclaimed that unless Jon Stewart drew a million people his rally would be a failure. Beck said, “I love this. Barack Obama is going on The Daily Show. If there’s not a million people at the mall. They have Oprah. They have Barack Obama. They have The Huffington Post, all paying for these trips. There should be 300 million people on the mall, or they are absolutely the most powerless people on the planet.”

Instead of looking powerless, it seems the Rally to Restore Sanity has outdrawn any live event that Glenn Beck has ever done. The sad reality is that the argument over which rally was bigger will only serve to highlight the polarized disconnect in our country. Many who are willing to use facts will accept that Stewart’s rally was larger than Beck’s, while the right wing ideologues will hold on to their fairy tale of a half a million people at Beck’s rally, but at least for one day reasonableness became a topic in our a national dialogue. For this reason alone, no matter how many people attended The Rally to Restore Sanity was a success.

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Judson Phillips’ Islamophobic Doublespeak

Oct 30 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Judson Phillips is well known as the founder of the Tea Party Nation. If you feel at all in doubt about this group and its aims, you can learn everything you need to know about this group by visiting its website.

If you visit www.teapartynation.com/ you will be told that

“Tea Party Nation (or TPN) is a user-driven group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!”

One problem we might note up front is that our freedoms are not “God-given.” They are constitutionally guaranteed but seen by our founding fathers as natural rights – endowed by “our Creator” who is in no way, shape or form identified with as the Christian god “YHWH” or “Jehovah” or “Jesus.” The implication that the Christian God has anything to do with it is nowhere found in the Founding Documents (Constitution and Declaration of Independence). You could as easily assume that the Founders were talking about the Neoplatonic “One” as “God.”

Or Allah.

Phillips wants Keith Ellison (D) U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, out of office. Why is this any surprise, you might ask. Ellison is, after all, a Democrat, and Phillips is a Tea Partier. But there is more to it than that.

Ellison is a Muslim.

Phillips does not like Muslims any more than he likes liberals. Ellison is, in his eyes, twice-damned.

There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union.

Radical…an interesting accusation coming from the founder of the ultra-radical, one might say extremist, Tea Party Nation.

A few days ago, Phillips sent an email to his supporters regarding his endorsement of Lynne Torgerson, an Independent:

A few days ago, we sent out an email telling TPN members about Lynne Torgerson, who is running against Keith Ellison, in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

Ellison proudly proclaimed that he was a Muslim and was sworn into office on a copy of the Koran, which had been owned by Thomas Jefferson.

We mentioned that Ellison is a Muslim and the liberal blogosphere went nuts. They claimed we said do not vote for him because he is a Muslim. No we didn’t and I might think about correcting them, except it is too much fun to watch them lose their minds.

Consistency has never been one of the liberals’ strong points. They hate conservatives. They argue that conservatives want to strip women of their rights, execute homosexuals and impose a theocracy, all of which are lies born of a desperate and idiotic mindset. When an ideology such as Islam comes along that actually does all of those things, the liberals embrace it.

The left screams that those of us who have a problem with Islam are “intolerant” and (here’s a new one) “racist.”

What do they say about an ideology that says, “kill the Jews” and “kill the infidels?”

I am not going to apologize because I’m bothered by a religion that says kill the infidel, especially when I am the infidel.

Growing up in the Methodist church, I read enough of the Bible to know the Bible does not tell Christians to kill those who do not believe. The Talmud does not say kill those who are not Jews. I’m relatively certain the book of Mormon does not say kill non-Mormons. Ditto for the Hindu scriptures and the writings of Buddha.

So why do we tolerate an ideology that at best, promotes genocide and ethnic cleansing. Can you imagine a right wing candidate who supported a group that said “kill the Jews” even being given the time of day? They would be run out on a rail. Yet, in the name of “tolerance” we are supposed to ignore the central teachings of an ideology that says kill those who disagree with you or at the very least, they should be treated as second-class citizens.

Why do we tolerate adherents to an ideology that tells someone, go kill people for your religion and you will get 72 virgins? I have always been curious about that. You would think that after a point, you would have 72 no longer virgins. Or perhaps they are going to be tricked into a form of hell, where they get the 72 virgins, but they stay virgins.

Should we vote out Keith Ellison just because he is a Muslim? No.

But his beliefs define his character and his character is a central issue. Do we want someone who supports and defends the Constitution or someone who supports the imposition of a theocracy?

Should Muslims be denied the right to run for office because of their religion? No. The Constitution specifies that no religious test can be used to exclude someone from public office. But when someone adheres to an ideology that says kill people who disagree with you, that is something voters should seriously consider when they vote.

Liberals go nuts when they hear this stuff. They think we should simply forget and just be “tolerant.”

I learned everything I needed to know about tolerance on September 11th.

It is quite clear from this that Phillips contradicts himself. He does say to not vote for Ellison because Ellison is a Muslim. He cannot have it both ways. Nor does he deny his own intolerance even while excoriating Islam for being intolerant. Keith Ellison did not kill anybody. He did not advocate that anybody should be killed. Most Muslims oppose the views of the Wahhabist Islamic extremists who were behind the attacks on 9/11. None of that matters. And Phillips needs to consult his Bible again. It is full of the killing and genocide of non-believers at the command of the God Phillips says he worships. In light of this, one has to wonder if, in the event a Christian extremists murders somebody or multiple somebodies, we have to hold all Christianity accountable.

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Selfishness over selflessness gives Republicans advantage

Oct 29 2010 Published by under Featured News, U.S. Senate

As this election draws nearer, there are some candidates who are standing on misguided principles instead of thinking about the good of the country. The race for one of Florida’s Senate seats is the perfect example of a candidate’s selfishness when America needs selflessness from its politicians.

Kendrick Meek was reportedly asked to step aside and throw his support to Charlie Crist to prevent the loony Marco Rubio from becoming a U.S. Senator. It’s understandable that Meek wants to stay and fight till the end, but the latest polls show him at 15% with Rubio ahead of Crist. Crist is running as an Independent and although he is a Republican, he is moderate and the polar opposite of Tea Party favorite Rubio.

In fact, there are many Democrats who are campaigning on their record of opposing many Obama and Democrat’s bills, and they are reprehensible for their voting record. However, the important point is that if Republicans gain control of either house, the political agenda will take the country back to the 1950s. It seems that reasonable people would sacrifice anything to prevent a Speaker Boehner or Senate majority leader McConnell; or DeMint.

America is at a crossroads, and there are many pundits and journalists who want revenge on disloyal Democrats, and it is understandable. But it is insane to support any Republican or Tea Party candidate who threatens to shut down the government, eliminate 90% of regulations, privatize Social Security, or take away Constitutional Amendments.

It should be obvious that when Fox News pundits began condemning Democrat’s campaign strategy as racist, or that President Obama wants to be the only black politician in Washington, they have ulterior motives and feel their boy Rubio could lose the election if Meek throws his support to Crist. Republicans do not care who represents the party in Washington or what color they are. They want the numbers so they have control of the legislature and can set the agenda.

Meek is a good candidate, but he has no chance of winning and he knows it. Does he believe it is better to stay the course, lose the election, and hand control of the Senate to Republicans,? If he had any sense, he would drop out and give Crist his support to keep Rubio from representing Florida. He said that, “I don’t sellout on the people of Florida,” but by giving Rubio the election, he has sold out Florida and possibly the country. Apparently, pride is an issue with Meek and he must think he is making a statement. He is making a statement; he’s saying it’s acceptable to give Rubio a six year stint in the Senate just to say, “I didn’t give up.”

Perhaps Meek will change his mind, but it is late in the game and he’s like the quarterback who is bound and determined to run the ball himself instead of handing off to the better player who may have a chance at scoring. Everyone expects Fox News and conservative pundits to accuse Democrats of using race to force him out of the election, but it is a mystery why a Democrat would consider giving away the country over pride.

Maybe some Democrats want to suffer conservative rule and see the end of freedom in America, but when it’s all said and done, they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Meek will be able to say he stayed till the end, but he will have given the advantage to teabagger Rubio over a moderate Independent.

Crist is not anyone’s first choice for a Senator, but an Independent does not add to a Republican majority. Apparently, it is better to see Speaker Boehner and majority leader McConnell than to do the right thing for America. Meek is not worthy of any votes if he is more concerned with his pride than his country. He should do the right thing, but his ego won’t let him and everyone will pay for his arrogance.

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A Lesson for Americans: Reaping the Consequences of Hate

We have all heard the old saying, “You reap what you sow.” This lesson was recently learned by an Arkansas school board district member, Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains. Posting on Facebook, McCance said, in response to a campaign sponsored by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) that people should wear purple to honor suicide victims of anti-gay bullying,

“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin.” (sic)

McCance now realizes he went too far.

“I’m reaping what I’ve sown,” he told CNN. “I’ve had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level.”

But it’s not just what McCance said, it’s the underlying beliefs that led to those words he used, and more than that, it’s the underlying beliefs of the people to whom he directed those words: religious bigots.

Now it’s bad enough when somebody wishes ill on somebody else. None of us should do that no matter how much we disapprove of the person or their actions. A favored religion-inspired response is to say “we don’t hate the sinner; we hate the sin” as if that makes everything okay. It doesn’t. And McCance, to his credit, did not fall back on that to explain his own words.

The lesson that must be learned here, by everyone, but especially by Republicans from whom this hate is flowing, is that you do reap what you sow. Actions have consequences. The 2006 election should have taught them that; the 2008 elections should have driven that lesson home: most Americans do not agree with them.

Words spoken have consequences, but all too often people escape those consequences due to political cronyism.

For example, Juan Williams lost his job at NRP but he has a lucrative job with FOX News, which applauds his hate-mongering xenophobia and is now leading a conservative witch-hunt against NPR. And conservative Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of George W. Bush’s disastrous and bloody Iraq strategy, after his misdeeds at the World Bank had, in Paul Krugman’s words, “a chair waiting for him at the American Enterprise Institute,” a conservative think tank.

Sometimes, what is reaped is a reward by those for who hate mongering is a lucrative business. Sadly, that includes at this point in our nation’s history one of our two main political parties, the corporate-funded GOP, and the conservative billionaire-funded Astroturf movement known as the Tea Party. American politics have become all about hatred and xenophobia. With the aftermath of Katrina we learned that what was most important to Republicans was apportioning blame. What we have learned since is that what is most important is identifying the constructed Other and then blaming them.

For purposes of conservative rhetoric, the constructed Other is anything other than a white conservative Christian. This makes target acquisition easy: anyone can be a target, from liberals (Ann Coulter) to progressives (Glenn Beck) to feminists and pagans (Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell) to gays and lesbians (too many to count) to atheists (George H.W. Bush and many others), to immigrants (too many to count), to Muslims (Sharron Angle, Judson Phillips and others), to people who ask questions (Sarah Palin, Joe Miller). All these groups are somehow responsible for destroying the America these conservatives claim once existed and that they want back.

Never mind for a moment that this America never existed. Give it time. They will soon have school books reflecting an ideologically approved revision of history. What is important is that everyone is the enemy, everyone is a potential witch. And it is not only individuals, not even ordinary people like you and me (Lauren Valle, Tony Hopfinger). It is politicians (Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, Keith Ellison, Barack Obama); it is non-profit organizations (ACORN); it is NPR, which had the courage to take a stand against the hate-mongering and xenophobia; It is the government of the United States; it is the Constitution itself.

We have all been identified as the enemy. We have all of us, because we fail to support the conservative vision of an America that never existed, who have been accused of treason and labeled traitors. But you can’t be guilty of treason against something which does not exist.

Sometimes, as in the case of McCance, the guilty party recognizes he went too far. More often than not, when they are called out, they act like they never said it (Bachman, Angle); they are being persecuted unfairly (Palin, Angle, Bachman, O’Donnell, et al) and that they are the victims, just as it is the bullies in school who are the real victims, not the kids they force to commit suicide. You won’t see any of these people apologizing or recognizing consequences.

Others, like McCance, do, however sincere the apology may or may not be. For example there is Wisconsin GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who in a recent radio interview said that gay marriage is to be compared to marrying clocks and dogs.

She has since apologized, saying,

“My comments were meant to relay my concern with redefining marriage. I never intended to sound insensitive, and have the utmost respect for all people. I apologize for my poor choice of words.”

On the other hand, there is Tony Perkins, who says that gay teens commit suicide because they know they are abnormal (and your bigoted words would have nothing to do with them coming to believe that, would it, Tony?).

And there is Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas who has somehow come to the belief (remember, he’s from Texas) that that Republicans “can’t compromise on principle.” What principles are Gohmert speaking of, you ask?

Right Wing Watch reports that,

Gohmert, who recently said that God has ordained Christians to run the country, sounded a similar theme on today’s call. He said God gives the sword to government to punish evil, and urged “true Romans 13-believing Christians” to understand that America’s founders set things up so that the people are the government. “We are given the sword in this country.” He told them that God had blessed American Christians and that they’re expected to use the sword of government and hire (elect) servants (public officials) “to do what we tell them.”

The politics of hate are all around us, fueled by right-wing religious fanatics, our own Taliban, and sad to say, it is us, far less often them, who will reap the consequences of what they have sown. But we too bare responsibility when we go to the polls on November 2. If you don’t want to be a victim, don’t be. Don’t put these people in power. Don’t worry about God doing the right thing for America. YOU do the right thing for America.

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Sarah Palin Praises Glenn Beck for Educating Americans about History

Oct 28 2010 Published by under Featured News

Yesterday, Media Matters called on Sarah Palin to speak out against Glenn Beck’s violent rhetoric. Palin responded today by calling into Beck’s radio show to praise him for educating Americans about our history, you know the same kind of education that led Byron Williams to get into a shootout with police and a plot to assassinate employees of the Tides Foundation.

Here is the audio via Media Matters:

Instead of denouncing the violence, Palin praised Beck’s rhetoric, and blamed the Left, “So, you know, when I speak of your love of our Founding Fathers, and how you are helping to educate Americans about respecting our nation’s history so that we don’t lose what makes America exceptional, and the far, far left mouthpieces, they’re twisting and perverting that message. No, what I do, I go back to what Abraham Lincoln said about standing with anybody who stands right. You stand with him when he stands right; you part with him when he goes wrong. I stand with you Glenn.”

The true moment of delusional hysteria came later when Palin claimed that both she and Beck abhor violence and war, “Glenn, you know I abhor violence. I know you do. Hating war, hating civil war, and praying for peace, and wanting peace and freedom for our kids in a civil society. That is the mission here, is explaining to Americans what the threats are to our peace and to our opportunities and to our freedoms in America.”

Palin’s language about Beck the teacher sounds eerily similar to that of Byron Williams who is currently facing four counts of attempted murder in California for getting into a shootout on the freeway with police. In a jailhouse interview, Williams said, “I don’t think he’s a natural newscaster, you know what I mean? I look at him more like a schoolteacher on TV, you know? He’s got that big chalkboard, and those little stickers, the decals. I like the way he does it. He’s gotten a lot better at it.”

The point that can be taken from this is that Palin and Beck don’t care if their words cause violence. Don’t these people understand that there is money to be made off the perpetually fearful conservative masses? Palin showed how deep into Beck’s warped worldview she really is by referring to George Soros as, “The extreme left-wing king is, with many, many minions, that’s what he is.” Beck is Palin’s trusted source for news and current events. Think about that. Sarah Palin is probably going to run for the Republican nomination in 2012 and her most trusted news source is the historical fractured fairy tales of Glenn Beck.

Karl Rove recently questioned Sarah Palin’s gravitas,
and I think the problem goes even deeper than that. Republicans should be questioning her mental state. Are they prepared to turn the reins of party power over to a woman who believes the conspiracy theories that are spun by Glenn Beck? If Palin did happen to become president, it is easy to envision her turning her nose up at briefing books and tuning into Beck so that she can understand the issues.

Glenn Beck doesn’t teach history. He warps it to fit his various conspiracy theories and ideology. Like Palin, Beck is exploiting and inflaming our nation’s partisan divide for personal financial gain. If a few cops have to get shot along the way, so be it. If another Oklahoma City has to happen, oh well, what can you do? Beck and Palin not only spread the language of violence, but they profit from it. They will never denounce violence, because every violent act is another symbol of success in their war against intelligence and liberty. Palin and Beck are out to remake America one fearful, angry white man at a time, and a little bit of spilled blood isn’t going to stop them.

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Supreme Conspiracy: How The Koch Brothers and Clarence Thomas Overthrew Democracy

Oct 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, U.S. Supreme Court

In developing countries and dictatorships it’s not unusual or unexpected for the judicial system to be corrupt and biased. In America, it used to be a source of pride that our judicial system was fair and followed the letter of the law. Apparently, those days are gone and we are seeing the result of biased court decisions in this election cycle with unprecedented corporate donations to Republican candidates.

The Supreme  Court’s decision to give personhood to corporations (Citizens’ United v Federal Election Commission) so they can donate unrestricted amounts to politicians outraged just about everyone; except conservatives. One would like to imagine the court reached its decision after hearing the arguments and considering the implications it would have on America, but it doesn’t look like that was the case.

A gathering of conservative corporate leaders, financial experts, and conservative pundits met at an event sponsored by the Koch Brothers to strategize the 2010 elections and beyond. The stated purpose of the event was to eliminate 90% of regulations and preserve prosperity for corporate America.

There are volumes written on business’s goal of taking control of the government to enrich the wealth of corporations and the oil industry, and the Citizen’s United decision all but handed control to the Koch Brothers and their cohorts.

Two Supreme Court associate justices attended similar meetings put on by the Kochs and it begs the question: Did Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas take direction on how to rule in cases that favor corporate America? Whether or not there was any impropriety, further investigation is necessary to see if the justices are complicit in the Kochs’ plans. In particular, did Clarence Thomas and his wife (Ginni) conspire with the Kochs to proffer rulings for favors? It is a valid question.

Ginni Thomas is the head of a Tea Party group, and an anonymous donor handed over $500,000 to start her PAC. It is now well known  that the Koch brothers funded and promoted Tea Party groups, but there is no way of knowing if the Kochs funded Thomas’s Tea Party PAC  because they don’t have to reveal who made the donation, and it may be because of the Citizen’s United ruling.

Supreme Court justices are not supposed to bring personal political beliefs into their decision making process, but Scalia and Thomas attending a strategy session for destroying regulations and promoting corporate interests certainly looks suspicious. Justice Samuel Alito was asked during his confirmation hearings if he would bring his conservative beliefs into the cases he may hear and he said absolutely not. His decisions have leaned favorably toward corporations.

America is in decline because corporate interests take precedent over working people, and it has never been as blatant as in this election cycle. The protection against unfair spending and foreign influence is gone, and it was bought and paid for by conservative corporate interests.

It’s horrendous that corporations buy votes in legislative houses, but it is a travesty when two Supreme Court justices attend Republican Party and corporate leaders’ strategy sessions for the next election cycle.

If there is any justice in America, there will be an investigation into the Koch brothers, their group of industrialist leaders, foreign influence in campaigns, and the Supreme Court justices in their employ.  In particular, Clarence Thomas should be investigated for ethical impropriety concerning his wife and Koch brothers’ Tea Party funding.

Americans deserve truthful answers from Thomas and Scalia regarding their attendance and involvement in planning corporate strategy in this election cycle to assure Americans the Supreme Court is impartial. Unfortunately, conservatives are not inclined to give truthful answers whether they are politicians or Supreme Court Justices.

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The GOP’s Unconstitutional Remedies

The GOP Wants You!

I think Most Americans have a basic understanding of how our political system is structured and how it works. People run for office for one political party or another, one is elected and the other(s) lose. This is a simple, easy to understand system; it has been in place in this country for better than two centuries and it has worked more or less, for that entire time. I say “more or less” because we cannot forget the Civil War, when one segment of the country – the slave-owning South – did not like how things were going (i.e. the demise of slavery) and decided they didn’t want to play anymore with the other states. They picked up their toys and went home. They called their new country the “Confederate States of America.”

Our president at the time, Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) said, “I don’t think so” and the two sides fought. Six hundred thousand dead Americans later, the South lost. The slaves were freed. The Constitution was updated to reflect this fact. That seemed to have settled the issue. Let the record reflect, Lincoln essentially said, that we are one country and that those men did not die in vain:

It is time to reflect on the meaning of the Constitution, and upon Lincoln’s words. Every state has ratified the Constitution. The Constitution says, and we have agreed, that we are one nation, not a confederation of independent nations as under the Articles of Confederation.  The Civil War bloodily drove this point home: that we are all in this together, one nation undivided, and that we don’t simply up and quit when things don’t go our way. We don’t get to take our toys home. No, we work to change them democratically, through the Constitution. When necessary, we even make amendments to the Constitution, as the Founding Fathers did when they incorporated the Bill of Rights (actually ten amendments) into that document (1791); as the Lincoln-sponsored Thirteenth Amendment (1865) freed the slaves and the Nineteenth (1920) gave women the right to vote.

Amendments are Constitutional remedies; Secession and armed rebellion are not. They are treason.

Increasingly, right wing politicians and pundits have advocated violent opposition to things they don’t like (i.e. liberal governance). New York Times columnist Frank Rich drew a clear and undeniable connection between FOX News’ Glenn Beck and right-wing extremist Byron Williams. These right-wing demagogues have increasingly and chillingly advocated un-Constitutional remedies if things don’t go their way in the upcoming midterm elections.

The lesson of the Civil War seems to be lost on these men and women. Let’s look at a few examples:

We have all the Tenther talk about “states rights,” a conversation that leads quickly to talk about secession, including Texas governor Rick Perry, who said,

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Another governor, Sarah Palin of Alaska, had ties (through her husband) to Alaska-first secessionists. There is Palin’s infamous March 2010 Tweet,

Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.

There is a congressional candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, who blithely spoke of “Second Amendment remedies” in case of defeat. In an interview with conservative talk-show host Bill Manders, she said,

Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…

Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.

Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.

We can now add to the list Stephen Broden, a Texas pastor running for Congress, who says that,

“We have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

The problem is that the Framers didn’t say that. Revolution is not in any amendment; it is not in the Constitution. Yet Broden insists that if a violent uprising “is not the first option,” it is still “on the table.”

No, it’s not. It cannot be.

This treason narrative is all a part – and a result – of the larger Republican “myth of usurpation,” that since their ’08 defeat in the national elections the GOP is a “government in exile” and that President Obama is a “Kenyan Muslim” usurper.

Republicans have somehow been able to convince themselves that their country has been taken away from them and that they want it back. Never mind that it is our country – ours collectively – and that the country they seem to want to “take back” never existed outside of their imaginations. Two centuries of sometimes diametrically opposed forces working together, through contention and compromise and quid pro quo, have brought about this nation. The American Revolution ended British rule; the Constitution created the United States of America, and that creation did not all happen at once. It was a process; the United States is the result of political compromise and evolution, not violent overthrow.

Compromise, the very thing right-wing politics, married to Old Testament standards of religious purity, refuse to do.

Broden, like the other wannabe Che Guevara’s on the right, seems convinced that he has every legal right to overthrow a legally and constitutionally elected government if he doesn’t like it:

“If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary.”

I would invite Pastor Broden to point to the relevant article in the Constitution to justify that claim.

Broden seems – belatedly – to have realized he went too far, and has backed off a bit in his statements since the incident, but these incidents mark a disturbing trend in right-wing politics.

We can add military personnel to this list of politicians. There is Army Lt. Col. Terry Lakin who refuses to deploy overseas because he won’t accept President Obama as his legitimate commander in chief. And Lakin was not the first. Last year, an Army Reserve major first volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, then, according to MSNBC, “filed suit to keep from being deployed, arguing that Obama was not a natural-born citizen.”

Now we have Stealth bomber pilot Major Brian “Jethro” Neal, who, Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action reports, says

“I’m going to have to separate myself from the service of this nation if it’s required in order to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not going to disregard my responsibilities. But if there ever comes a time when there is a priority to be made, a decision to be made, it must always rest in the work of the Lord and the Lord’s army. Because that commission is greater than the one I received from the United States Air Force Academy.”

Bruce Wilson reminds us that the oath sworn by Neal as a member of the U.S. armed forces, promises that he would,

“support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

As Wilson points out,

“Neal’s statement seemed imply that his “commission” in the “Lord’s army” superseded his commission, as an Air Force officer, to defend the Constitution and obey the President and the chain of command. As an elected official, Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Sharron Angle has sworn similar oaths, to defend the American Constitution and, by extension, American Democracy. Like Neal, Angle has made statements that suggest she is less than fully committed to Constitutional democracy.”

It seems that not only do Republican candidates show little awareness of the Constitution and what is in it, but they do not think it applies if it does not give them the results they want. President Bush treated our founding document like a list of suggestions he could ignore at will, and that seems to be the continuing trend on the right. But there are constitutional remedies to the Constitution. It is called democracy. Republicans ought to consider trying it. It has worked for this country for a couple of centuries. And those that don’t wish to play along? We have a remedy for them as well: it’s called federal prison.

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Rush Limbaugh Claims that the Rally to Restore Sanity Helps the Republicans

Oct 27 2010 Published by under Featured News

In what can best be described as a delusional rant, on his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh wove a tale of how the Rally to Restore Sanity helps Republicans. Limbaugh called Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, “half baked comedians,” and claimed that they tell, “Putrid jokes.” Limbaugh also predicted that the rally will draw 65,000 people.

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

Limbaugh said, “Democrats are looking to a pair of comedians to do what Obama and Bill Clinton, and dozens of other leaders have not done yet this election season, that’s get party members excited about voting, and so these two comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. What? He pronounces it Colbert? It’s not Colbert? Oh. Ok. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert expect tens of thousands of fans to join them at the Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30. Three days before the election.”

He continued, “I hope you all go. I hope every Democrat in the country goes. I hope every union member abandons your precinct, abandons every bit of work you are doing on the election, and goes to Washington, sits around, gets drunk, smoke some doobies, and listens to some putrid jokes told by a couple of half baked comedians. What a brilliant scheme. If I didn’t know better I would say that Stewart and Colbert are working for the Republican, a giant rally three days before the election taking Democrats away from polling places, away from the heavy work and the heavy lifting of getting out the vote. Right on.”

Later Limbaugh claimed that Stewart and Colbert are jealous of Beck and the rally will only draw 65,000 people, “Everybody abandon your state head to Washington three days before the election and spend your time doing whatever, while the Tea Party and others are busy working to produce giant turnout on Tuesday, while you Democrats turn out on Saturday in a meaningless show of what? For a couple of comedians who simply can’t get over the fact that Glenn Beck drew over a half million people, and they’re barely going to get over 65,000, and that’s if Arianna Huffington comes through with the free buses.”

Rush Limbaugh is so out of the loop that he did not know how to pronounce Stephen Colbert’s name, and as usual when we discuss anything that comes out of Limbaugh’s mouth, a few things need to be corrected. First of all, his “fact” that Glenn Beck drew over 500,000 people to his Rally to Restore Honor is a total lie. Objective estimates place the size of the crowd at 87,000-100,000. Over a half of a million people did not attend Beck’s rally. The aerial pictures of the event are enough to debunk this right wing myth.

Secondly, Limbaugh’s claim that on 65,000 people will attend the rally was the gibberish of a delusional old man. The official Rally to Restore Sanity Facebook page lists 223,929 people who have committed to attending. There are going to be a hell of a lot more than 65,000 people there. In fact, attendance for the Rally to Restore Sanity should blow any rally the right wing has put together out of the water.

People like Limbaugh are trying to frame the Rally to Restore Sanity as a Democratic get out the vote operation, because they have to find some way to discredit the event and massive crowd that it is going to draw. Contrary to Rush’s fantasy, every Democrat is not going to D.C. this weekend. There will be plenty of them all over the country working hard to get out the vote for Tuesday.

There is no reason for Stewart and Colbert to be jealous of Beck. The ratings show that they already have more viewers than Beck, so Limbaugh is obviously projecting his own jealousy on to the Comedy Central hosts. Rush Limbaugh is so jealous of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that he concocted this wild fantasy to try to diminish their success. On Saturday, Limbaugh and the right are going to get a taste of the future, and the future doesn’t like what Rush Limbaugh is selling.

30 responses so far

Under Siege The Tea Party’s Quiet War On the American Woman

Oct 27 2010 Published by under Featured News

The American Conservative Woman

American Woman Under Siege

You might not know it, but there’s a quiet war going on this election season. It’s being waged in state law and through Tea Party candidates and Republicans. It’s a war against American women.

True to form, these conservatives are dressing this assault in Orwellian perfection, littering the landscape with female candidates and claiming this to be the “Year of the Conservative Woman”. If you are selfish, obtuse, and narcissistic enough to think that God chose you to be elected so you don’t need to bother learning anything that pertains to your job (like the law), then yes, this could be your year. If you are putting a pretty red ribbon on that package, dressing her up like a porn star librarian — cheesy, cliché glasses to boot and plopping a bouffant wig on her head which you call feminism, this may indeed be your year.

If you care about women’s rights, this is not your year.

This is the year when Tea Party candidates are running on women having no rights over their own bodies. They call this liberty. This is the year when Republicans have many candidates running who have been accused or found guilty of domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault. This is apparently tolerated in the Republican Party (as witnessed in Vitter’s office). They call this Family Values. This is the year Republicans are running ethics violators who don’t understand the constitution who repeatedly vote against all women’s rights. They call this the Sanctity of the Family.

This is the year when Republican candidates are creating such a stunning culture of lawless, self-indulgent, petulant, childish social-Darwinism that their supporters take pride in physically attacking any perceived difference of opinion at a candidate’s rally. This is also the year when they are playing dress up war games and having thugs arrest journalists who are doing their constitutionally protected duty for the American people.

This is the year when the misogynistic playground they call running for office opened siege on American women. This is the year when a volunteer coordinator for Rand Paul stomped on a woman’s head.

And it isn’t just that moment- but everything that happened after it, that matters. Because afterward, we heard about how she was a “Move-On” activist, we heard she was wearing a blonde wig, we heard that she wanted to give some fake award to the candidate, and we heard that she told an interviewer the police weren’t involved, but the interviewer saw police talking to her after the incident.

And this is where we jump the cultural shark.

It doesn’t matter what she was wearing. It doesn’t matter whose opinions or values she shared. She is not the issue. The issue is that two men clearly found pleasure in holding this woman down and stomping on her. She posed no threat to them or the candidate, who was not anywhere near her at the time.

They felt justified in this because they didn’t agree with her politically. In their world, you only have rights if you agree with them. They call this freedom.

By their own standards, every time one of them spits at a congressman or shows up carrying, they should be kicked and abused by a gang of men who outweigh them and physically over power them by at least 50%.

In their world, you only count if you are going along with the patriarchal rules. And in their world, their own rights have been so violated (their loss of power) that they are going insane. They will do anything to get it back. And that’s why you see their tactics escalating to violence from intimidation. It’s all about control. They want the reins of power back, and they intend to make women suffer for all of this change that’s been disrupting their happy little privileged lives.

Two grown men violently attacked a small, petite woman. It was captured on camera. And the media can’t stop talking about her wig and her award. Where’s the societal outrage over the violence being perpetrated against a helpless, smaller person who had her back turned when she was wrestled to the ground, held down and kicked by Rand Paul’s campaign coordinator and accomplice? It’s almost as if this is par for the course now. It’s almost as if because she is a liberal activist, this is acceptable.

Another aspect of this problem is that the Right has framed the debate over feminism to such an extent that American culture thinks that to be equal in rights and status, you must embody the masculine value of power. This is assumed; a woman who is equal is a bad ass who carries a gun or wields some other evident aspect of power, not a soft housewife who bakes cookies for her children. Both women should be equal if we were really doing feminism, as in, equally respecting feminine values and females. And this is the inherent flaw in American feminism, because it denies nature and in doing so, let’s men off the hook for their behavior and choices.

Women are usually out sized and out powered in an attack by a male. So are children. These smaller people are protected by our cultural values (of which this country is sorely lacking) and if those fail, our laws.

So it matters who our lawmakers are. If you live in Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Alaska, Alabama, or Arizona your rights are in imminent danger. If you live in any other state, you may think you are safe from the tyranny of Republicans’ Family Values, but you should be aware that this is how paradigms are shifted and federal laws challenged.

Wake up, American women. This is the moment to join your sisters in solidarity, regardless of which side of the aisle you take. These Tea Party candidates and many Republicans (male or female, the values are the same) represent a danger to the very safety of women.

Stand up for women’s rights this year. Your vote matters.

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