Thursday, August 27, 2009

To Clear the Air

Let me get this straight: the Christian right claims to believe in God--the same God, who let Cain, the first murderer, off with a good, stern talking-to; they also claim to follow Jesus, the same Jesus who defended the adulteress against the self-righteous, said the rich had virtually no chance of getting into heaven, healed the sick, etc. was tortured and finally executed after receiving a mock trial, at best.  This is the same "Christian" right who vehemently defends capital punishment and torture, who thinks the wealthy too noble to be burdened with taxation and the poor undeserving of an affordable public health care option.  Does that about sum it up?

How could anyone ever doubt the moral consistency of the Christian right?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Letter to Glenn Beck at Fox News

Herr Beck,

I heard that your show lost a lot of sponsors. It's too bad that this was merely a PR stunt for advertisers to distance themselves from you, rather than an actual attempt at stopping the kinds of dangerous and irresponsible media that Fox News has become famous for. Since you lack any level of responsibility for yourself, a number of your fellow Americans--many of us white, conservative and gun owners, have attempted to punish you for shouting fire in a crowded theater.

Herr Beck, you are attempting to manipulate forces that you clearly have no understanding of, nor respect for. You are responsible, in part, for the citizens who come armed to events where the President appears. Your name is echoed by those who invoke the words "secession," "revolt" and "I'm a terrorist," not to boos and hisses from their fellow conservatives, but to cheers and applause. Were you a reasonable man, I would ask you to stop this nonsense before it's too late.

Alas, you are not a reasonable man. You fuel the fires of racial mistrust, white entitlement, mass delusion and self-pity for a group that is, as the election results show, decisively in the minority. Indeed, sir, you are a weak man, like so many of the Republican legislators who are goaded by the mobs which make up their constituencies, either too stupid to know or too cynical to care (or both) that all frightened, angry mobs do what all have done before them: destroy people and property and lives to assuage the fears played upon by unscrupulous and immoral demagogues, like yourself.

This mob isn't frightened or angry because of real fears, but because, as would be expected in a nation that touts "all men are created equal," the Presidency is now held by someone who is not white. In case you missed it the first time through, allow me to be crystal clear: your audience, like yourself are white supremacists, cloaking their fear and hatred under ridiculous talk of Nazis in the vain hope that by comparing Barack Obama (AKA "that Arab", or as some of your people have more deliberately called him, "the nigger") to Adolf Hitler, it will prevent the left from calling you and your mob what you are: RACISTS. That you are a German is a fact entirely ignored by the mainstream media, much to their credit. It's a fact not lost on the rest of us, nor on your mob, I assure you.

To be sure, it was the mobs, driven by fear and racial hatred, who perpetrated the "Night of Broken Glass" against the Jews in the German pogrom of 1938. Fear is the tool of tyrants, not of free men. In 1945, the Minister of Propaganda murdered his children and commited suicide. I don't think it was because he was afraid of the Americans or the Russians; like Goering, he would have expected to be treated with respect if he surrendered. But Goebells, like Hitler, had heard about the fate of il Duce; I think they were more afraid of the mob they had created than their American or Russian enemies. Having seen what this mob did, I think they had a good reason to be afraid of them, don't you?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seriously: Enough with the Self-Pity, Already

I remember the good old days when conservatives were caustic, arrogant and narrow-minded. It wasn't that long ago that you could have an argument with a conservative and he'd drive you nuts--not because he was being deliberately obtuse, but because he had a firm grasp of the facts and wasn't driven by emotion.

How the high and mighty have fallen.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Onward, Christian Sulkers: Astroturf Radicalism Run Amok

"Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a
monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

--Friederich Nietzche

There's a frightened, angry mob that seems to be dominating the political discourse with threats of violence, childish outbursts, laughable allegations that our current President is Kenyan by birth or Indonesian (and, "even if he was born in Hawaii, it's not like it's really a state anyway"), as well as propagating irrational fear among the elderly that they will face "death panels" when their health care becomes to expensive.

This frightened, angry mob that I speak of is the Republican base. These were the people that John McCain tried to win over by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate--the ones who could deliver loyalty just short of insurrection, but couldn't persuade swing voters (like me) to put someone as pathetically stupid as Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the nuclear football.

Independents who did vote for Barack Obama didn't do it because he was black, because this was an historic moment in our nation's history or even because we were swayed by his inspiring life story or exciting rhetoric. We remembered the Clinton years with far too much clarity to let the Lincoln bedroom be turned into a hotel suite-cum-fundraiser for the next Clinton re-election campaign. We trusted the Democrats just about as far as we could fling them. But we'd had eight unapologetic years of conservative rule, which, for all of their talk of liberty and justice, led us into a quagmire of torture, unabashed corporate welfare and blood for oil, not to mention the greatest constitutional crisis in our nation's history. John McCain had the better health care plan. He had proven himself to be a bi-partisan leader in the Senate. He was, it appeared, a moderate. And he would be the President at this very moment, had he not abandoned his real base (i.e. independents) for the frightened, angry mob.  The Republicans earned our wrath fair and square--no small thanks to their base--and no amount of Orwellian changes to history or name calling from the right (e.g. "libby") when we didn't get down and kiss their sorry asses was going to win us over.

The Christian right for too long has viewed political power as something that belongs to them, not something they must win or earn.  Such an overwhelming sense of entitlement became a powder keg when a white-dominated patriarchal culture awoke to find a black family moving into the White House.  Glenn Beck Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News in general have lit the fuse, but they didn't pack the charge. Several witless Republican leaders have fanned the flames, illiciting cheers from the mob, but they haven't controlled or even directed its fury.  The result has been this frightened, angry mob.  I disagree with those on the left who pity the mob as "victims of right-wing propaganda"; no one put a gun to their head and forced them to surrender reason and accept madness.  Moreover, there enough self-pity in this mob to more than make up for what they neither want nor need from the bleeding hearts.  You don't pity a spoiled child.  You just keep your cool long enough to watch them explode all over the people who unleashed them on the world.

In the final analysis, Barack Obama is not blameless. As menacing as they are, the mob is the minority and needs to be told so. We gave our consent for Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress to pass whatever legislation they chose when we elected them. What we're seeing isn't buyer's remorse, but a bunch of sore losers who needed to be ignored and left to cry themselves hoarse until they accepted that there wouldn't be anymore lollypops, not coddled and told that their opinion still matters. The press that by and large ignored the usurpations of Bush until it was too late, has paid far too much attention to the electronic media-stoked astroturf radicalism, and in so doing, has welcomed the frightened, angry mob to take center stage.

This is not Brooks and Sumner. This is not Burr and Hamilton. Our problems are solved through reason, not violence or threats of violence. I have expressed my disagreement with health care reform, but I have done so in a civil manner, writing my Senators and Congressman to tell them that I didn't want it and why. The failure of the public option is bittersweet; sweet because it never addressed the real culprit, the exponential rise of health care costs, but bitter because the frightened, angry mob has now been emboldened to brandish their firearms and disrupt town hall meetings.  They held their breath and the President and the Congress let them eat dessert without first finishing their brussel sprouts.

This has all happened before and it will happen again. The events leading up to Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing were tame by comparison to the kind of political agitation of late. The militias McVeigh and Nichols cut their teeth on existed under a white President, one that was not (to my knowledge) being called the a socialist, a commy, a Nazi, and certainly not the Antichrist.

The assassinations have already begun.  The wheels are in motion and will turn until insurrection and/or domestic terror sobers the mob from its fear and anger and self-pity to realize that it has become what it hates most: the Western, Christian equivalent to Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Regardless, I take no pleasure in making the following prediction: the mob will grow angrier and less rational and will start killing those of us who have dared to speak out against them.  That is academic. The question is when, who, how many and what sorry excuse the murderous and morally bankrupt right will use afterward.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Nazis, Socialists and other Propaganda

After all these long months of never having a single follower to my blog, I finally have one. It was fun while it lasted, but I'm a muckraker, not a brand name.

I'm not in favor of the current health care bill because I have doubts that forcing everyone with children to buy insurance amounts to anything that could even remotely be called a solution. I'm what you'd call a skeptic. Having been a poor schmoe most of my natural life, I've seen a side of US medicine that more fortunate people might have missed: Doctors, hospitals and nurses screw up. A lot. I wouldn't say they're any worse than Canada or Britain, but having never been treated in either place, I couldn't say they're better, either.

I have a co-worker named Edgar, who has been listening to Rush Limbaugh a lot lately. I would find this less disturbing if Edgar were some bible-thumping white guy, but he's Hispanic. The news was a little disorienting--like the Pope declaring he's pro-choice. He says to me, "Hey Jack, you know, Rush is making a lot of sense about this health care thing." My response? Even Rush Limbaugh can't be wrong about everything. What's funny is if the fat ass Limbaugh weren't so freaking rich just for being a windbag, he'd be on welfare, having been fired for sexual harassment from every job the sorry bastard ever got. And his health would suck from all of the drugs and overeating and, well, he wouldn't think US medicine was all that hot, either.

No, I like my insurance just fine, thank you, but don't confuse me with Limbaugh and Beck. Standing back and watching what's been going on at these town-hall-meetings-cum-shoutfests, I've noticed that most of the people who I agree with are acting like children. Really children. The kind that scream that ungodly shriek that gives you a migraine when all you want to do is enjoy your dinner, but you can't because someone brought their spoiled brat with them. Beat him you attempt to communicate telepathically to his parents. Just take that little brat to the crapper and give him something to cry for. And finally when the kid is dragged from the table kicking and screaming, you have to suppress the urge to follow them in the hope you can watch this kid who ruined your dinner get what's coming to him.

That's how I feel about the town hallers (birthers, deathers, etc.). I thought the whole point of this country we live in was that, at the end of the day, we could still talk to each other. I swear, if I hear the word "Nazi" used in an historically incorrect way one more time, I'm going to beat whoever it is over the head with William L. Shirer's book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, until they know just what a Nazi really is.

Which brings me to my final point. Where is the media? Not the pundits; this situation SCREAMS (like a bratty kid) for some clarity, for some actual facts: the kind of thing that real journalists are supposed to provide us with, but don't. Here's how this might work (with a little less irony):
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Sadly, this isn't anywhere in the mainstream media. Obviously, it 's not on Fox. CNN? Maybe they didn't want to throw a former colleague under the bus. MSNBC? SERIOUSLY? Not even "liberally biased" MSNBC?

Google it, folks. You won't find it anywhere but Comedy Central and the Guardian.UK blog.

Gee. If only the free market could do for medicine what it's done for journalism.