Any Teabagger Apologists Out There?

From HuffPo:

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president’s speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ‘ni–er.’ And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a “faggot,” as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president’s speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. “Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday… I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins… And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.”

“It doesn’t make me nervous as all,” the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. “In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else.”

Anyone want to tell me how this shit is “patriotic,” “brave,” or “free-thinking?”

Still want to tell me how the TEA movement is fundamentally a grass roots movement of intellectuals frustrated about Constitutional affronts?

Anyone?

‘Cause it looks to me like a bunch of homophobes/racists/bigots afraid of losing their majority ‘might makes right’ control. And if you AREN’T a homophobic racist bigot, you might want to rethink your bunkmates.

Just sayin’.

Not Buying It.

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This Post Will Not Contain Any References To Coke Or Porn…

…because I am a classy lady.

So, in case you haven’t heard, Virginia Thomas, wife of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas, is indeed hopping on the tea party train. She has started a group called  Liberty Central Inc. Liberty Central is reportedly a nonprofit lobbying group created for the purpose of organizing activism around a set of conservative “core principals.” You can read more about this story here at the LA Times.

Now, politics aside (if such a thing is possible), I don’t have any particular dislike for Justice Thomas. And certainly a SCOTUS justice is FAR FAR more qualified to opine on just about anything than am I.  That said, I do think it incredibly disingenuous to constantly deride the more progressive side of the court for engaging in judicial activism, when the originafederalists are doing exactly the same thing.

ALL judges engage in judicial activism; if they aren’t, then they are not doing their job. As I see it, every decent judge has or should have some sort of articulable judicial philosophy. And every judge, through experience, gains insight on the law not reflected in the letter of the law. Simply put – if a judge is actually judging, there is no way that he or she will not necessarily engage in what is referred to as judicial activism.

Of all the Justices, I always wish that Thomas would get out and about more. He is so, well, quiet. And when he does speak, he is articulate and drily humorous. I know conservatives generally expect all liberals, progressives, and non-fundies to be filled with foamy hate at the mere thought of anyone with whom they disagree. While I am not filled with joy by the concept of “originalist” or “federalist” constitutional interpretation, I don’t think that it necessarily follows that I must also dislike a person who follows such an approach. Unlike a pundit or other such vile creature who makes a living off of being an obnoxious persona, I think arbiters of thought can and do exist as people distinct from their philosophies.

Take, for example, the awesome relationship between RBG and Scalia. Shit, if they can get together and share an elephant, then there should be hope for us all. Sometimes agreeable people simply disagree – certainly when it comes to academic matters that do not directly affect either party on a personal level.

But I think it is the latter part of that statement – that the argument cannot focus on things that personally impact the speakers – that is the key to understanding why there is so much animosity coming both from and towards teabaggers. If they were simply out to discuss Constitutional matters, as they often claim to be doing, then I would think reasoned discourse would be possible. However, when the Constitutional matters are either a veneer or a side item to other more personal matters, dialogue is not really possible.  I have no desire to engage in a Constitutional debate with someone waiving a sign declaring Obama is a Muslin [sic].  Conversely, they are not going to believe anything I say because I am a liberal and therefore have a liberal agenda.

Likewise, the healthcare debate has become too internalized to be rationally discussed. Everyone comes to that table with their mind made up. I, for one, am tired of the talking points. I am tired of hearing people going on and on about 10th Amendment this, or socialism that when most of the time, they have no fucking idea what they are talking about. Quit acting smart and just SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.

I think we should have a single-payer system. I believe the Constitution grants Congress the authority to enact such a system. More importantly, I think that in a capitalist society, the Government has a duty to act to preserve and protect the interests of the Citizenry from Corporations. Especially where, as here, it is undeniably clear that our quasi-free market is allowing Corporations to profit to the gross injury of the majority of the citizenry.

If you think otherwise, fine. But don’t give me some bullshit argument that you heard from Glenn Beck. Tell me why YOU think it is wrong for our government to restrict the healthcare industry in order to protect the citizens. Tell me why YOU don’t want our taxes going to the welfare of the general public health – specifically why we draw the line at healthcare.  Tell me how YOU think things are going to get any better if we don’t do something to fix them – or tell me why you think they are just fine.

In the meantime, I am going to go make some tea and leave you to gaze upon some freshly baked bread…

French Bread

Up With People (Who Hate)!!!

So, as everyone is probably now aware, the SPLC report on conservative American hate groups is now out.

The number of hate groups in America has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008 and driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period, the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president.

According to the latest annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these groups rose again slightly in 2009 — from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year — despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group. The American National Socialist Workers Party, which had 35 chapters in 28 states, imploded shortly after the October 2008 arrest of founder Bill White for making threats against his enemies.

At the same time, the number of what the SPLC designates as “nativist extremist” groups — organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants — jumped from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 last year. Virtually all of these vigilante groups have appeared since the spring of 2005.

But the most dramatic story by far has been with the antigovernment Patriots.

And already the SPLC and the NFMSM (NonFoxMainStreamMedia) are being called terrorists by RightSideNews for “blaming” such AWESOME!!! American Patriots ™ as Dobbs, Beck, Bachmann, Palin, and Teabaggers as people responsible in part for encouraging and/or irresponsibly causing some of the very scary mess.  Nice one – the old ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ defense.

Choaking From Rage

1 2 3 4 – Wait, What Exactly ARE You Fighting For?

I have posted several times about the fracturing of the Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing, as well as what I perceive to be the inherent problems of the “movement,” ranging from miseducation to willful hypocrisy to bigotry. One element, however, that I have not addressed very much is the apocalyptic hysteria.

Well friends, that time has come.

Yesterday’s New York Times contained a very interesting article on the TEAbaggery. And yes, after much internal debate, I have decided to refer collectively to the whole lot (lot = [Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing]) as TEAbaggery. They picked the name (no really Mom, they did) and I like it so there you go. Nomenclature aside, I have culled some of the more alarmist/jaw-dropping quotes from the article for us to discuss.

Who joins the TEAbaggery? Primarily people who are fed up and/or afraid and either don’t know or are unable to articulate why.  Also, a lack of prior education on government/politics/civics is good, as is a poor voting record.  Then the angry and fed up, either by divine luck or shrewd marketing, stumble upon the likes of Ron Paul and Glenn Beck. At this point, the proto-baggers receive an “Education” about what the Constitution *really* means and how those vague and ill-defined feelings of being shafted are *really* the pure spark of Constitutional Love.

The[ local TEAgroups] are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).

Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books.

And this:

Most of the people [at a TEA gathering in WA state] had paid only passing attention to national politics in years past. “I voted twice and I failed political science twice,” said Darin Stevens, leader of the Spokane 9/12 Project.

Until the recession, Mr. Stevens, 33, had poured his energies into his family and his business installing wireless networks. He had to lay off employees, and he struggled to pay credit cards, a home equity loan, even his taxes. “It hits you physically when you start getting the calls,” he said.

He discovered Glenn Beck, and began to think of Washington as a conspiracy to fleece the little guy. “I had no clue that my country was being taken from me,” Mr. Stevens explained. He could not understand why his progressive friends did not see what he saw.

But what *exactly* do they think is so wrong?  Well, depends on who is talking, apparently. And a lot of the “fear” seems to be grounded in fantasy and fearmongering.

At a recent meeting of the Sandpoint Tea Party, Mrs. Stout presided with brisk efficiency until a member interrupted with urgent news. Because of the stimulus bill, he insisted, private medical records were being shipped to federal bureaucrats. A woman said her doctor had told her the same thing. There were gasps of rage. Everyone already viewed health reform as a ruse to control their medical choices and drive them into the grip of insurance conglomerates. Debate erupted. Could state medical authorities intervene? Should they call Congress?

WorldNetDaily.com trumpets “exclusives” reporting that the Army is seeking “Internment/Resettlement” specialists. On ResistNet.com, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on “fellow Patriots” to “grab their guns.”

People are more willing, he said, to imagine a government that would lock up political opponents, or ration health care with “death panels,” or fake global warming. And if global warming is a fraud, is it so crazy to wonder about a president’s birth certificate?

“People just do not trust any of this,” Mr. [Richard] Mack said. “It’s not just the fringe people anymore. These are just ordinary people — teachers, bankers, housewives.”

Well, what are they going to do about it? I don’t know that THEY really know.

Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years. In some ways, though, their main answer — strict adherence to the Constitution — would comfort every card-carrying A.C.L.U. member.

But their vision of the federal government is frequently at odds with the one that both parties have constructed. Tea Party gatherings are full of people who say they would do away with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax and countless agencies, not to mention bailouts and stimulus packages. Nor is it unusual to hear calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A remarkable number say this despite having recently lost jobs or health coverage. Some of the prescriptions they are debating — secession, tax boycotts, states “nullifying” federal laws, forming citizen militias — are outside the mainstream, too.

But it sure seems that the end goal is going to require a LOT of ammo.  Many people appear to be fear/hoping for an armed “rebellion” – a desire that is both created and fed in an extremely irresponsible manner by people who should know better.

Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a “New World Order” and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship.

Politicians courting the Tea Party movement are also alluding to Patriot dogma. At a Tea Party protest in Las Vegas, Joe Heck, a Republican running for Congress, blamed both the Democratic and Republican Parties for moving the country toward “socialistic tyranny.” In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican seeking re-election, threw his support behind the state sovereignty movement. And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: “I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too.”

When Friends for Liberty held its first public event, Mrs. Stout listened as Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, brought 1,400 people to their feet with a speech about confronting a despotic federal government. Mrs. Stout said she felt as if she had been handed a road map to rebellion.

And when you have highly visible media darlings (Beck) or elected officials with the non-stop ranting.  IF YOU LISTEN TO ME AND REPEAT WHAT I SAY PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE SMART AND PATRIOTIC AND COOL! RED DAWN IS COMING! SOCIALISM IS GOING TO GAY MARRY YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! GET READY TO SHOOT YOUR GUN BECAUSE THAT IS A SUPER COOL WAY TO BEHAVE AND TOTALLY JUSTIFIED BY THE CONSTITUTION AND WARRANTED BY THE FACTS! So is it really any surprise when people actually *believe* that Red Dawn is coming and they need to stockpile the weapons and canned goods? Or worse still, they believe based on what they have been told by these “authority” figures that it is perfectly acceptable to threaten violence against elected officials?

One local group represented at Liberty Lake was Arm in Arm, which aims to organize neighborhoods for possible civil strife by stockpiling food and survival gear, and forming armed neighborhood groups.

Also represented was Oath Keepers, whose members call themselves “guardians of the Republic.” Oath Keepers recruits military and law enforcement officials who are asked to disobey orders the group deems unconstitutional. These include orders to conduct warrantless searches, arrest Americans as unlawful enemy combatants or force civilians into “any form of detention camps.”

Gazing out at his overwhelmingly white audience, Mr. Mack felt the need to say, “This meeting is not racist.” Nor, he said, was it a call to insurrection. What is needed, he said, is “a whole army of sheriffs” marching on Washington to deliver an unambiguous warning: “Any violation of the Constitution we will consider a criminal offense.”

The crowd roared.

Not long ago, Mrs. Stout sent an e-mail message to her members under the subject line: “Revolution.” It linked to an article by Greg Evensen, a leader in the militia movement, titled “The Anatomy of an American Revolution,” that listed “grievances” he said “would justify a declaration of war against any criminal enterprise including that which is killing our nation from Washington, D.C.”

Mrs. Stout said she has begun to contemplate the possibility of “another civil war.” It is her deepest fear, she said. Yet she believes the stakes are that high. Basic freedoms are threatened, she said. Economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest all seem imminent.

“I don’t see us being the ones to start it, but I would give up my life for my country,” Mrs. Stout said. She paused, considering her next words. “Peaceful means,” she continued, “are the best way of going about it. But sometimes you are not given a choice.”

Now, I will admit that I am not above mocking individual TEAbaggers, whether it be for their signage or their bigotry or whatever, but I have said all along that they are inexcusably being led to this insanity. My biggest problems with these shenanigoats are the irresponsible greedy fuckos who fan this crazy for their own commercial gain.

And don’t think for a second that what they are doing isn’t serious and seriously scary. In case you are not convinced, let me end with this quote:

As the [TEA] meeting ended, Carolyn L. Whaley, 76, held up her copy of the Constitution. She carries it everywhere, she explained, and she was prepared to lay down her life to protect it from the likes of Mr. Obama.  “I would not hesitate,” she said, perfectly calm.

You Misspelled "Glenn Beck"

Grassroots Gold Mine

“If there is any profit, the money will go toward furthering the cause of conservatism.”

Sherry Phillips, Tea Party Nation founder, on the whopping $549 it will cost a person just to get into the Teabaggin’ Clustersnuggle.  From today’s NYTimes. Note that Phillips also refused to discuss the reported $100,000.00 (yes, one hundred thousand dollars) that Palin is receiving to preach fist pump spew garbled homilies hopefully just show up speak. WTF people?

A hundred grand can do a LOT of *real* good. Hell, $549.00 can do a lot of good. You know, the kind of good that doesn’t involve shelling out one’s hard-earned dollars to be crammed in a hotel with a bunch of confused and angry white people who are being scammed by money-grubbing opportunists into thinking that the soggy chicken kiev they are eating is chock full of tasty patriotism. All while certain people are making BUCKETS and BUCKETS of money off of you.

WHY?

How ‘grassroots’ is that?

Couldn’t YOU do so much more with your money? Seriously, even if charity isn’t your thing, then for the love of whatever you consider holy, KEEP your dollars and either spend them on yourself and your loved ones, or donate it to a REAL candidate of YOUR choice.

And yes, I know that not all TEAfolk are white, angry, and confused. Likewise, I know that not all white, angry, and confused people are TEAfolk. But I think we can all agree that the TEA functions aren’t exactly a shining example of irenic diversity.

You can read more about the quickly disintegrating “organized” total TEA whatever here or you can read more of my mockery on the subject of teabaggery, Palin or other such shenanigoats by pretty much picking a post at random.

No thanks. I'm married.

Grand Ol’ Clustersnuggle

Well, I can’t say that I am surprised to read this:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will speak at the first-ever National Tea Party Convention this upcoming February.

The announcement of plans for the conservative lawmaker to attend the Tennessee event came from Tea Party organizer Sherry Phillips via Twitter Tuesday.

Bachmann, who has emerged as a champion of the Tea Party movement, will join ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at the convention for the “purpose of networking and supporting the movements’ multiple organizations principle goals.” Palin will be the “special keynote speaker” at the event, which is taking place at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Press will be allowed in a designated section of the lobby of the convention only and will not be allowed inside the convention,” reports the Nashville Post. “There will be no media allowed for the banquet with Sarah Palin.”

You can read the full Huff Po article here. Or, if you prefer your crazy full-on, maximum strength and utterly undiluted by reason, you can check out the superawesome teabaggerific site here. I want everyone to take a moment and let this sink in: The teabagger national convention is taking place in NASHVILLE. As in, Tennessee.  As in, WHERE I LIVE. Oh sweet science – does this mean we have to flee the state? Or does this mean we have to attend the event? Wait…

…I actually kind of want to go. Who wouldn’t like to experience a “media-free” Palin banquet? But then I read that tickets are $549. SERIOUSLY? What the FUCK people? You want to bitch about “those” people getting a penny of your money, but you are flush enough to fork over five hundred and forty-nine fucking dollars to watch a circle jerk of a clown car train wreck greed-fueled beauty pageant clusterfuck of a vortex of evil suck all that is good and smart and kind out of life?

HOLY SHIT my head just exploded.

So, here is my proposal. If you, good people of the interwebs, would like me, your southern female lawyer friend, to go and witness this shitacular event, I will add a PayPal donation function to this blog – and if I get $549 in donations, I will GO TO THE TEABAGGERAMA. For real. And I will blog the hell out of it. Pictures and all. And, I will have a sign contest and you all can design a sign for me to tote around. Comment and let me know if you want this to happen.

Good Ol' Choaking

 

Christmas Gift Ideas, Part 3

The only downside to the Christmas Sweater is that it ends. And what do you do when you are all tingly with the righteousness and redemption, but there is no more Beck?  O intrepid readers, fear not, for I have found the perfect companion gift.

BEHOLD…

Your ‘Patriotism’ is Depressing Me

More teabaggery outrage. This time, they are outraged that people would have the temerity to believe that access to healthcare would have saved the lives of their 24 year old daughter and unborn grandchild AND then talk about it at a meeting on healthcare reform.

Last week while researching claims from a local Tea Party activist, I found myself asking a family for proof that they had lost an unborn grandchild.

The family, Dan and Midge Hough, of Chicago, spoke in favor of health care reform and in support of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) at a Nov. 14 town hall meeting in Oak Lawn.

Their daughter-in-law, Jenny, and an unborn grandchild died recently due in part, they believe, to a lack of health insurance. They said Jenny was not receiving regular prenatal care and ended up in an emergency room with double pneumonia that developed into septic shock. Her baby died in the womb, and Jenny died a few weeks later, leaving behind a husband and a 2-year-old daughter.

Catherina Wojtowicz, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, an organizer for a Tea Party splinter group, Chicago Tea Party Patriots, falsely claimed that the Houghs fabricated their story. In an e-mail, she called them operatives of President Barack Obama who “go from event to event and (cry) the same story.”

When the Houghs spoke at the Lipinski event, some Tea Partiers ridiculed them. They moaned and rolled their eyes and interrupted. Midge Hough began to cry.

The audience, Wojtowicz later explained, was exasperated by stories of isolated tragedies that cloud debate over the health care bill itself.

You can read the full article here.

Here is the video. Starting around 1.58 is when Midge Hough speaks about losing her daughter and unborn grandchild.

I am so very tired of this shit. Can we just get rid of all the bullshit and agree that it comes down to ONE issue: whether or not we, as represented by our government and tax dollars, have a duty to ensure that EVERYONE has access to healthcare?

If you don’t give a fuck that people go into bankruptcy because of the exorbitant costs of healthcare; awesome. If you have no problem with people dying just because they cannot access the healthcare system; then cool. If you are fine with the status quo and think it is just wonderful that we allow insurance companies to profit grossly by controlling access to the most basic needs of our citizens; fabulous.

But let’s be honest – your primary motivations are your own interests. You don’t want to be financially responsible for the welfare of others. I understand. I totally disagree, but I understand. However, don’t tell me that PATRIOTISM is the reason behind your belief, with the express implication that people that desire otherwise are somehow selfish/elitist/socialists simply because we believe that our government should act in the best interests of everyone.

Patriotism is the state of caring deeply about one’s country. But what the self-proclaimed ‘TEA party patriots’ don’t get is that there is a great distinction between individual subjective desires and the objective interests of our “Country.”  Our country isn’t defined by lower taxes. Or christianity. Or whatever personal belief or interest you wish to promote and protect. This country is objectively defined by its citizens and their collective work, creativity, ingenuity, and well-being.

If you feel that this country is going in the wrong direction, then do something about it. However, if you don’t like the direction it is going in because of the adverse effect it has on you, even though the direction is inarguably better for many others, don’t try to pretend that you are being selfless patriots. Because you aren’t. You are simply acting to protect your own interests.

So sack up and be honest about it.

Columbus Go Home!

For your viewing pleasure:

How Do I Take My Tea – YOU Make The Call!

So I recently posted on how I believe that some of my relatives are either part or simply in favor of the whole TEAbaggery thing. Which leaves me with a dilemma of the mannerly sort. Aside from my recent blunder, it isn’t my habit to refer to “teabaggers” or “teabaggery” when in the company of those whom I might offend. However, in the company of well-known people and on this blog, I happily and frequently use those terms, as I have great issues with the whole thing and, as the blog indicates, I will engage in the snarking as I wish. It is, after all, my blog. If someone doesn’t like it, they are free to ignore it.

So, anyhow, now that I *know* that I have TEA in the family, is it rude for me to continue to use the terms “teabagger” and “teabaggery?” Note that I seriously doubt that any of my conservative relatives frequent this blog. But even if they did – it is still *my* blog. And I mean what I say. And I really feel very strongly that the whole TEA thing is ridiculous, scary, and potentially dangerous and I am NOT going to stop blogging about it.

But should I be nicer? I want to be nice to my relatives. I love and respect them and all that, but knowing they are part of the TEA thing doesn’t change my opinion of the TEA thing at all. And honestly? I am not going to change the way I treat this subject. So should I change the language I use?

Tell me what to do…

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