Tea Party Death Threats & Vandalism

The fractious ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement has finally morphed from bazaar partisan rancor into death threats and vandalism against the Democratic health care reform agenda. The racist language directed at John Lewis, the homophobic slurs directed at Barney Frank, the coffin placed in Russ Carnahan’s lawn; the list of examples continues on.

Bigoted anti-Semitism has erupted in talk radio and Internet circles as the threats with possibly bullets behind them find their way to Eric Cantor’s office.

The Tea Party tactics that we see coming to fruition in all this recent hostility toward Democrats, and any progressive or liberal who does anything but stand mute, are designed to sour and squelch all civil debate over health care reform.

This is not and never was about taxes.

The Republican Party and the biased Fox News media have done nothing but prop up these radicals who exhibit these untruthful and violent features. Now these same hypocrites attempt to lay the blame for this vandalism at the feet of Democrats and those who support the health care reform agenda.

The far right has revealed itself as an anti-life and anti-freedom movement in this reform backlash, while the mainstream right reveals itself to be completely accepting of this domestic terrorism.

I want to see these Tea Party bloggers posting an address that is attacked with vandalism to be arrested on charges of willfully contributing to wanton destruction of private property.

Two conservative Tea Party activists posted the address of the home on the Internet on Monday, mistakenly believing it was the home of the congressman. One of the activists urged others to “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform.

Tuesday evening, Perriello’s brother’s family smelled gas and discovered the propane line of a gas-powered grill on their screened-in porch had been slashed.

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11th Hour of U.S. Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON — After a frenzied push to nail down final commitments and resolve lingering disputes in their ranks, House Democrats today are poised to pass the most sweeping change to the nation’s health care system since the creation of Medicare nearly half a century ago.

President Obama has at long last starting stumping for health care reform and started speaking the truth to the power of the health insurance companies strangling American families worse and worse every year. Whatever strategic issues I have with Democratic Health Care Reform, the bottom line is the party and the president have stepped up to do the right thing and put forward the agenda of the American people instead of the agenda of Corporate America being placed in the highest priority. Whatever enhancements I myself would add to this bill (Public Option) it is nonetheless a step in the right direction and beyond that point, if we failed to complete at the bare minimum of this reform in the system there will be dire consequences on the overall national economic stability in years to come.

This is the eleventh-hour of health care reform in the U.S., and this political blogger is predicting we will see these reforms pass.

Good news, to be sure.

After more than forty years of inaction and failures to address this most important issue we shall at long last see moral standards in our health care system and some limit placed on the corrupt practices of the insurance companies.

Ayn Rand Is Running The TEA Party

(Boston Globe)

There have been many valid questions raised as to just exactly who is running the much talked-about “TEA Party.” Is it Rush Limbaugh? Sara Palin? Glenn Beck? Joe Wilson? Rupert Murdoch?

Nope. It’s a dead author. An egomaniac novelist-philosopher that makes up some of the founding principals of libertarianism, but certainly was not directly involved with the conservatism movement in the least.

From beyond the grave, she now rules over the ever-pandering Republican Party and this so-called “tea party.”

Ayn Rand claimed to “individualism,” but had no interest in allowing for individual disagreement over her logic within her “inner circle,” and preached “objectivism,” but refused to be objective in terms of literary-criticism of her novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

Here is this new “ethic” born of Ayn Rand that we see dominating the political right:

1. If you are poor, it is always your fault.
2. Asking for and receiving help is always wrong and a weakness.
3. Drive all compassion out of yourself.
4. You and your view are perfect, and cannot be wrong about anything.
5. Greed is holy.


Before anyone thinks I’m making all this up, let’s take a look at Ayn Rand in the news:

Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) has named Ayn Rand “Writer of the Year of 2009” and Andrew Corsello spoke in his article of the “youth appeal” to Rand and as to his own experiences with her writing that greatly mirror my own.

2,000 pages of you’re-either-a-lion-or-a-leech ideology, loathing over Shakespeare, Beethoven, Marx, government, “subnormal” children, “simpering” social workers, homosexuals, and all of it with no grace, no subtly.

Philandering Republican Governor Mark Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail with Ayn Rand in the November 2nd issue of Newsweek.

While Rand’s philosophy was based on individual’s absolute freedom, Rand herself exercised a dictatorial control over her followers. Her chief acolyte (and lover), Nathaniel Branden, once circulated a list of rules for Rand’s inner circle to follow; one of them read, “Atlas Shrugged is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world“; another said, “Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter in any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral, or appropriate to man’s life on earth.”

Ayn Rand has shifted in and out of favor, but she may be more relevant today than ever.

Lastly, do not forget that the anti-reformist  TEA Party have long since adopted this mantra of “Who is John Galt?”


I feel I have the answer these people seek, as to the identity of John Galt.

It is rather simple:

“John Galt” is nothing but what you read now, something that came from the mind of another.

I created “Little Suzy” for the sake of a online discussion in regards to the health care debate in the U.S.

“Little Suzy” and “John Galt” are one in the same, yet different sides of the same coin. Pure fictions created solely for the purpose of enforcing a point of view. In the case of “John Galt,” he is a construct for the protagonist to encounter and in the case of Ayn Rand’s writing to promote the concept of the “individual capitalist.” In the case of “Little Suzy,” she is a collaboration of non-fictional individuals in the real world who have suffered at the hands of the for-profit medical insurance agencies and she exists as the protagonist and the insurance company actuary the antagonist in a story where she dies from treatable cancer after being exempted from insurance coverage.

Who is Little Suzy?

She is the little girl who died because anytime someone speaks of health care reform in the U.S. the hounds of arrogance and venom are unleashed by the nearly completely partisan right-wing, thereby serving no purpose except to prevent all rational debate and civil discourse over the facts.

Ayn Rand and her TEA Party enjoy saying statements such as: “Some opinions are just wrong.”

Completely false and obviously founded in high levels of hubris. Nobody can ever be “wrong” about their own opinion. You can, however, be inaccurate about the facts.

The rejection of all facts is not “objective,” nor is it representative of “individualism” so much as it is a practice of willful ignorance.

I am perfectly willing to debate differences in opinions about the role of government and the role of the private sector, but often those heavily influenced by Rand feel that they are justified in their self-critiques of themselves as “geniuses” and “gifted.” One Randite, who goes by the name Malice (oddly enough), spoke in the GQ article of how Ayn Rand appeals to adolescents who are feeling dejected and find that the words of Rand are a reminder that, “you were right and everyone against you is wrong.” I believe he phrased it quite well as to what the true motives and core beliefs behind this movement truly are: self-superior logic. If someone disagrees with you, they obviously are not as smart as you. Or some other perverted form of backwards-logic that truly only serves to allow for people to behave like fools and be smug rather than civil and then call that “sound logic” and “spreading the truth.”

I feel I must disclose that part of my distaste of Ayn Rand is more complex than simply that I believe she is over-rated and outright immoral; it how she very much resembles myself in certain ways.

I am a writer, but like Ayn I do not simply “write.” From one writer to another reaching out across time I must admit I feel some connection to this woman. In my more jocular moments I speak of how the real problem with the world today is that nobody is listening to me as how to get things done. In a strange way, I suppose I could explain her appeal to someone who was completely flabbergasted by the nature of all of it. But I laugh good and hard about how silly and arrogant I sound in those moments, whereas Rand was actually serious about similar statements. There is a big difference, in the end.

I am composing a piece of societal-commentary right next to the creation of my own philosophical foundations along with simply writing fiction and short essays. I am prone to start coining -isms and start throwing them around as if there is a movement going on. I am a “populist for peace,” a “realist for media-integrity.” And so on.

Perhaps most profoundly is that in haste and inflamed passion I might lean toward alignment with this notion that I am vindicated by some gift of intellect over any misdeeds I commit; that I can treat my opponents in a way that I would never wish to be treated and they are the ones at fault not I.

When one takes a hard step outside of the ideological boxes that people like Ayn Rand and myself tend to create around ourselves it becomes clear that the two of us did share some common bonds beyond simply both being fiction writers.

In the name of compassion and mutual understanding I have to come to know this piece of what I call “wisdom” as to Ayn Rand’s similarity to any person who strives to take their writing and use it as a tool to display what they see in the world.

Alan Greenspan was one of many Randites who have come to see the failing in their former logic.

Greenspan, to his credit, came forward in the height of the global economic meltdown to speak out against the exact same kind of “free-capitalistic” business practices that caused the crash. He clearly stated that he found “[a] flaw in the model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.

Conservatives and libertarians greatly ignored and widely dismissed Greenspan and his unsubtle rejection of these “Ayn Rand Economics” or “Free-Market Capitalism” styled politics that he had once been a strong advocate of. I contend that these people do not care to explore flaws in their ideological stances and instead (in greater and greater numbers it seems) only seek to create an atmosphere of me-versus-you if any person is in anything but outright agreement if not an atmosphere of outright violence.

Ideals like “selfishness is a virtue” and “greed is good” above all else drove us into a lasting national recession while the GOP and the TEA Party continue to advance the abandoned ideologies of Greenspan that ultimately serve only to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The disgusting and shameful element being that was the stated goal of these ungracious self-serving monsters to begin with: a ruthless war on the poor and the middle class.

Dishonesty and willful ignorance dominates the TEA Party, right along with the radical GOP, leaving me to assume that no less than Ayn Rand coming from beyond the grave is the one who is truly running the party.

A Liberal’s Survival Guide

Obama-Other-Newsweek-3

I recommend picking up a copy of Newsweek for yourself. The cover story for the issue of the week of November 2nd 2009 is an excellent piece on President Barack Obama. Anna Quindlen has put to words what I felt to be true since early in the 2008 Presidential Campaign:

Barack Obama campaigned as a populist firebrand but governs like a cerebral consensus builder. The Founding Fathers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Campaigns are bad crucibles in which to forge the future. They speak to great aspirations; government amounts to the dripping of water on stone.

The president is a person of nuance. But on both ends of the political number line, nuance is seen as wishy-washy. There’s no nuance in partisan attacks, soundbites, slogans, which is why Barack Obama didn’t run with the lines “Some change you might like if you’re willing to settle for” or “Yes, we can, but it will take awhile.”

If the American people want the president to be more like the Barack Obama they elected, perhaps they should start acting more like the voters who elected him.

In my personal estimation the liberal-left mainstream view of Barack Obama was overly optimistic as to his clearly stated positions. This situation has altered since the campaign but still seems to maintain elements of previous misconceptions.

This president is entirely unique.

I was adamant about this in the first few months of The Obama Presidency when the media-punditry were attempting to compare Obama to another American President of the recent past. The only comparisons to draw are poor ones.

Many attempt to call The Obama Presidency a “centrist” presidency. I believe this is only in part true and better descriptions would be “staunchly bipartisan” or “consensus builder” as to what we see of The White House of 2009.

Ultimately, I myself am far too left-wing to support every Obama Policy. I am certainly left-wing enough to vote for him, but in the instance of national health care reform I would seek to isolate the insurance giants in the face of the bipartisan concept of bringing them to the table.

I would seek to remind readers that The Founders had many ideological differences between them and while they surely would approve of the goal of consensus building, I believe some would argue that party loyalty or campaign kick-backs mean nothing in the face of protecting the general welfare of the people of The United States.

Allow me to put forth my view on The Founding Fathers as it applies to the proposed health care reform in the U.S.:

A single-payer bill, like H.R. 676, might be scientifically approved but does not incorporate the spirit of incrementalism that is key to sound reform. If one was to augment the “single-payer” model of this bill into a national health care insurance option for citizens ages zero to sixty-five, included the Dennis Kucinich Amendment in which states can opt-in to a single-payer system, and included the Harry Reid Proposal in which the states can opt-out of the national option within a single piece of legislation; this unwritten bill would be within the true desires of the framers of The U.S. Constitution.

I can only see two clear flaws in Barack Obama as president, thus far.

Handing health care to the Congress was a bad move.

Isolating the giant of media-misinformation when there are other offenders within the spheres of foe-news.

Both of these are purely strategic flaws and amount to simple criticism and nothing more on my behalf.

On the matter of his appointments I believe what I was speaking on before comes around once again. It’s not a fair assessment to call it a “liberal” cabinet but rather a “bipartisan” cabinet, or “centrist” if you must.

We didn’t elect the liberal-firebrand that came to destroy the GOP and tear down the corporate empire.

We elected Barack Obama.

Overt Race-Baiting From Limbaugh And Racial Politics At-Large

rush_limbaugh_operation_chaos_cigar

“In Obama’s America white kids now get beat up with black kids cheering, ‘Yeah! Right on, right on!’”

“When is the last time Gen. Powell endorsed a white liberal for president?”

“This whole election [2008] was based on race.”

These are just a small taste of the flagrant racialist sentiments that have come from the Pro-Republican ultra-conservative rightwing-mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh.

Not once has any major Republican party figure come out to distance themselves from these shameless attempts to drum up anti-black sentiment against Barack Obama.

While Jimmy Carter expressed what I thought needed to be said, the larger part of my personal feelings on the matter is that of the unwillingness to question those that present themselves as conservatives or Republicans but in truth engage in viscous race-baiting.

It is the lack of togetherness around combating racism that leads me to such reasoning.

If their movement was so invested in racial equality, wouldn’t they want Limbaugh thrown off the air? Or at very least to stop calling himself a conservative and just admit to being a Race-baiter more than he is anything else?

But, no.

He is a mainstay in conservative-talk and even the Chairman of The RNC, Michael Steele, wouldn’t stand up to him on a matter as simple as if Limbaugh was an “entertainer“ or not.

Obviously Rush Limbaugh is a Radio Entertainer, but these quotes are examples of exactly what kind of entertainment his program really offers. Race-baiting against African-Americans and vile, political hatred for all who disagree with him all wrapped up in one package.

In that much alone, bringing no other examples, I could say almost the same words the former President Jimmy Carter spoke that have sparked controversy except more directed on to the shoulders of mainstream conservatives than the anti-Obama forces.

This failure to reject the racialist statements of a popular political-talker on any real level begs to question if indeed many support these untrue and racially divisive statements.

In short, it is this defense of figures like Limbaugh or the defense of racist cartoons that promotes the idea in minds of some that perhaps racial motivates do exist far more strongly than political motives in minds of others.

PORTSMOUTH, NH - AUGUST 11: Police stand near protesters outside Portsmouth High School where U.S President Barack Obama is holding a town hall August 11, 2009 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. President Obama is in town to speak about the need for health insurance reform to a crowd of eighteen hundred. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

PORTSMOUTH, NH - AUGUST 11: Police stand near protesters outside Portsmouth High School where U.S President Barack Obama is holding a town hall August 11, 2009 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. President Obama is in town to speak about the need for health insurance reform to a crowd of eighteen hundred. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

“We have to take our country back!”


“Get your government hands off my Medicare!”

There are two reasons why I believe some of the extreme sentiments in The Health Care Debate are perhaps more than merely political partisanship from the right.

(1) The Patriot Act expanded federalism and government power, as well as government involvement in our lives, without anywhere near the same level of intense resistance from these same groups who claim to stand only for limiting government power.

(2) Republican President George W. Bush initially expanded federalism, once more in a single presidency, to include market recovery spending again without anywhere near the same level of personal attacks on his character.

The ideals of conservatism state that we should have let the market fall and just let the chips fall where they may. The ideals of conservatism state that creating more government is always the wrong direction and only limiting it is the correct course.

If this resistance was in fact some ‘grass roots’, ‘bipartisan’, ’community event’ based on conservative ideals then these same people would have held protests and thrown tea parties at the actual expanse in federalism, and not at this late stage.

This talk of revolution and talk of oppressive government certainly begs any level of credibility with even the most elementary review of facts. A disconnect exists between the level of outrage and the stances they claim to hold dear.

It is important to point out, that I agree with Speaker Pelosi on the matter of astroturfing in the Health Care town halls.

I eluded to that in a previous post: “Marble-cake Federalism and Health Care Reform”.

‘Astroturfing’ is a political term you don’t hear often. It means that a big entity, like a medical insurance company, is funding the protestors by means of paid-provocateurs and organizers usually working as private contractors.

I am not trying to belittle or demean those that have issues with the Health Care bills or issues with the very notion of government Health Care Reform.

I am only saying that in my view all these events don’t add up.

The problems in Congress and the deficit issue or the many other points I have heard made never include addressing why these issues, that have been this way prior to the election of Barack Obama and during the presidency of George W. Bush, are suddenly such strong points of contention.

I would remind everyone of the Obama Stimulus and how a very similar message was present in those speaking out in public and in the media but none of them ever explained why they neglected to protest or even voice their opinion when Bush issued a Stimulus Check and bailed out the banks.

Non-explanations combined with a specific rejection of specifically this president combined with intense pre-judgments, like the charges of “indoctrination or despotism coming from people on the right wing when Obama merely addresses school children, are the reasons that I support Jimmy Carter in confronting the issue instead of shying away.

Obama is Not Perfect

Obama

Well everyone has to make mistakes, right?

So this is what we got going on that nobody cares enough about you to tell you in the newsmedia:

Obama has dropped the ball on this round of health care reform.

This is not the say he is now failing as president, or anything else the hate-mongers on the rightwing are sure to say.

But this is the first major misstep of The 44th US President.

There are a whole multitude of reasons, most of which very technical and are not coming to mind right now, (and very boring to cover) but as I prefer to ‘cut to the chase’ I’ll just say it like this:

Obama and The Democrats have failed, and failed utterly, to properly sell good health care reform to be proposed in the Congress.

I’m going to give you all a brief lesson in sales … pay attention:

The first thing you do is explain the value. Is this highly valuable or moderately valuable or barely valuable? Are we talking about a gold-plated coffee maker, or a plastic one? Is this car made for the long haul, or just for going to the store and back?

The second thing you do is explain the benefits. Are these the greatest benefits you could possibly have or just fine benefits or perhaps no benefit exists at all? Will you be better off in a few seconds after owning this or will you be better off in two months or will you never be better for owning this?

All the Democrats and President Obama have succeeded in doing at this stage is explaining what this bill won’t do.

Not one of them has succeeded in properly conveying the value and benefit of public health care options, nor have they properly conveyed the value and benefit of saving money in a exasperated system.

Call me vastly arrogant, but I feel they need to put my over-the-top with conviction self on this issue. I am a Progressive Reformist to the bone, and I think perhaps that is exactly what is lacking in the Democratic Party these days.

It seems to me the political will to get this done is floating away from the Democrats now that we are faced with actually doing it. After years of campaigning on health care reform, specifically what we are talking about as to medical insurance reform, these same people seem to lost their thunder as the moment in upon them to roar.

I chalk this up to the nature of people and nature of the real world.

President Obama has done an excellent job in terms of foreign affairs and the national security agenda, but seems to have some trouble working toward this particular domestic policy agenda at this time.

In the end, we the people cannot rely on any one political figure or any one group to get what we need from our government.

The fight goes on, and if they fail to achieve meaningful reform then we will pick up this battle once more in days yet to come.

And perhaps in those days yet to be before us, someone can explain clearly and passionately why we need health care reform in the US.

One can only hope….