Back in October of 2010, I posted an essay called “Today I Am A Green”. It’s been 17 months, and now I am going to eat those words without benefit of salt or ketchup. A lesser person would simply take down this embarrassing blog post and hope that people have the grace to forget I ever posted it. Taking H.L. Mencken as my role model, I’m keeping the post up as a record of where my mind was during that period.
It comes down to me refusing to vote for anybody as psychotically antisemitic as Cynthia McKinney, and she is reasonable compared to some of the Greens I’ve run into on Facebook. Each and every one of them were obsessed by the International Illuminati Conspiracy or the Jewish Lobby. (Or is it the International Jewish Conspiracy or the Illuminati Lobby? It’s hard to keep the two straight.) It’s like each and every one of them are obsessed by Jews or Masons. I came back to the Green Party and found myself in an Edgar Allen Poe story, The System of Professor Tarr and Dr. Fether
It seems that the lunatics are taking over every asylum. The right refuses to acknowledge Evolution and the left denies Relativity. Everywhere I go, I run into people who insist either god magicked the universe into being, or that Dick Cheney was so mighty, relative mass doesn’t apply to the planes that hit the Twin Towers. The left is no saner than the Tea Party, they just have different obsessions.
This is Dunlap’s Law: Crazy people drive sane people out of American political movements. Crazy people respect no limits, be it social boundaries or the inflexible laws of Mathematics. If scientific evidence contradicts their delusions, scientific evidence is a conspiracy. They then must save the rest of us from the voices in their heads. They aggressively persecute anybody who does not suffer from their delusions. Hence we have born again Christianoids out to save us from the evils of evolution and homosexuality, and left wingers out to protect the world from FEMA work camps and Jews infiltrating American government. The insanity of both sides have driven most people to the sidelines.
But how does it happen that a small handful of delusional people get to dominate both the left and the right? It’s easy enough to see how it happened on the right. The GOP organized the religiously insane into a massive voting block. Starting with Falwell’s “Moral Majority”, and leading into “Focus on the Family”, the GOP turned insanity into a family value. They also proved that insanity tends to grow into an uncontrollable mass of destruction. Once Jesus became the flavor of the week, the Aryan Nation and the KKK all found Jesus. The result is Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick “Rooster” Santorum, and the rest of the GOP wrecking crew.
Isn’t nice that we also have a left wing? The problem is that they are as bat shit crazy as the right. The left is just not as well organized. All Reince Preibus needs to do is get in touch with the key preachers, and the GOP is voting as a solid block. Trying to get the left to work together is as futile as trying to herd Schrodinger’s Cats. We either know where they are, or we know how fast they are going, but never both. Just look at any Occupy protest. You’ll see signs blaming Jewish bankers, Masons, Illuminati, Obama, Bush, and signs supporting Ron Paul, Obama, Marx, Che, Move on, The American Communist Party, et all. They can’t even agree as whether to be violent or non-violent. There are plenty of splinter groups making life miserable for everybody. The Berkeley People’s Park crazies have regular Friday evening “Fuck the Police” marches in Oakland. They march through the streets, picking fights with the cops.
What’s happened is the left abandoned the tactics that worked for our grandparents, and are trying experimental means of organization. Old fashioned democracy was good enough to bring us the 40 hour work week and the weekend, but it’s not good enough for today’s modern leftists. Now they have something called consensus. With consensus nothing is decided until they have 100% agreement. While I have seen this work in small groups of under 15 people, it becomes a time bomb when you’re dealing with large crowds..
Even in small groups, all it takes is one nut to stop progress entirely. Some unbalanced person joins the meeting and starts insisting that The Mossad planted bombs in the World Trade Towers, and progress is stopped even if the subject is mortgage crimes. It’s just a small leap of logic and faith for a crazy person to link the housing crises with the Mossad. Even if the nut is shouted down, he’s not defeated, only persecuted. He’ll come back with his friends, and the same thing will happen that happened with the GOP. The nuts will make common cause, and before you know it, they will take over.
This is why attendance at peace rallies dropped. One day, I went to a protest and all the speakers obsessed about 9/11 being an inside job and How Israel is the cause of all the world’s problems. Then there was Bob Avakian and his “New Synthesis” of Marxism, which sounded to me like the same damned propaganda that Edward Bernays wrote up during the forties and fifties. The more the crazy people took over, the faster the sane people started avoiding peace marches. So with declining attendence, the nutters railed about how the rest of the world just doesn’t understand THE TRUTH! It wasn’t that people became in favor of the war. The wars are even more unpopular than they were during Bush’s reign. Sane people have better things to do than to listen to somebody ranting about the Illuminati foreclosing on people’s homes, especially when they are looking at evictions of their own.
I don’t think that Obama’s victory in 2008 was due to any sort of radical beliefs of the left. I think he won because the sane people of the country didn’t have anything else to hang their hopes on. Who were they supposed to vote for? Cynthia McKinney and her Zionistphobia?
There are sane people on both sides of the political spectrum. Sane Republicans are shouted down by the Tea Party in the same way that Sane leftists are shouted down by Truthers. The whole country is suffering the effects of Dunlap’s Law.
When asked, I tell people that I am independent. I have no patience with either side of the spectrum, and I’m willing to work with anybody who wants to see a better world. Generally I’m treated like a traitor or pariah for not trying to save the world from the International Gay Menace or from creeping Zionism.
Let us pretend we are a fly on the Oval Office wall. President Barack Obama sits at his desk writing his State of the Union Address. Like all great presidents, he fancies himself something of a speech writer. Alas, his ability doesn’t measure up to his self image, and he is stuck on a phrase.
“Americans want a New Deal!” he says with a happy grin.
“Can’t use it,” says Hillary Clinton. She lounges sideways on an antique armchair. Her back rests upon the arm of one side, as her knees drape over the arm on the other side. Her attention is focused on filing her nails.
“I’m the fucking president,” Obama declares. “If I can order drone attacks, I can use ‘New Deal’ in one of my speeches.”
“Can’t,” Hillary argues, pausing to blow on a cuticle. “Roosevelt used it. The Republicans will accuse you of class warfare if you try to bring it back.”
“You got a point,” Obama reluctantly agreed. “I’m not going to keep this cushy job another four years without Republican support.”
“Don’t want to screw up the gravy train,” Hillary advises. “You can think up something better.”
The Leader of the Free World falls into a sullen silence, broken by the skritching of Hillary’s nail file. Suddenly, the world famous grin spreads across the presidential visage. “I got it!” he declares with a wave of his forefinger. “America wants a ‘Fair Deal’.”
“Can’t use it,” Hillary repeats with a sad shake of her head.
“What? Now you’re going to tell me that FDR used that one too?” the president groused.
“Not, FDR, Truman,” Clinton corrects him.
“Well what’s wrong with that?” the president asks, sounding annoyed. “Every one loves Harry Truman. Why the last time I saw Queen Elizabeth, I overheard her muttering, ‘how I miss Harry Truman’.”
“Harry Truman was one of those freaks who always told the truth,” The Secretary of State reminded her boss. “You don’t want to drag his name into this administration.”
Obama freezes to let that thought seep through the executive skull. “Yeah,” he admits as he relaxes into his padded swivel chair. “Even American voters will catch the irony of that one.”
“Remember, it was irony that brought down Nixon,” Hillary reminds him.
“That whole ‘I am not a crook’ thing,” the president agrees. He takes a deep breath and points to his Secretary of State. “Why don’t you think of something?” he commands.
“I’ll give it a shot,” Hillary agrees.
They both freeze as the same idea hatch in their minds. The president rises halfway out of his seat while Hillary swings her legs off the chair and stands. “Fair Shot!” they laugh in unison.
Obama takes on a presidential pose. “Americans want a ‘fair shot’,” he deadpans.
“It’s perfect!” Clinton squeals, clapping her hands and giving a joyful little jump. “It sounds so free markety.”
“Americans want a ‘fair shot’,” Obama repeats. “I am so fucking brilliant!”
When the Fascists rose to power in Europe, they did so by demonizing their opponents. In Spain, they were against intellectuals educating the peasants as it was anti-Catholic. In Germany, they worked on centuries of bigotry by promoting the International Jewish Conspiracy. Mussolini did things differently. His fascism welded bigotry and anti-intellectualism to progressive ideas like a minimum wage and women’s suffrage. While the Germans and the Spanish made fascists out of their right wings, the Italians made fascists out of their left wing.
The American government propaganda machine managed to take the anti-intellectualism of Franco, the bigotry of Hitler, and the pseudo-progressive chauvinism of Mussolini and apply them to both the left and the right wing. The anti-intellectualism is promoted by conspiracy theories. The bigotry is promoted by applying conspiracy theories to different ethnic and political groups. The chauvinism comes in with both sides convincing themselves that they are the only side with the answers.
Conspiracy theory is the idea that science is lying if it does not conform to preconceived notions. For instance, conservative Christians insist that evolution is a conspiracy as it denies special creation. The Truthers insist that relativity is a conspiracy as it disproves their notion that the government rigged the towers with bombs. We are seeing anti-intellectualism at its worst on the left as well as the right.
Both sides of the political spectrum are applying conspiracy theories to different ethnic and political groups. In the case of the conservatives, the targets of hatred are Gays. They will tell you they have nothing against homosexuals (hate the sin, love the sinner, and the rest of that rot.) They will tell you that they are against the “homosexual agenda”. Thanks to conspiracy reasoning, they see the LGBT community demanding equal rights and acceptance as a direct attack on their conservative values. Gays are then demonized along with others who supports gay rights.
On the other hand, the left is scapegoating Jews. Just like their counterparts on the right, people on the left will tell you they have nothing against Jews, they are just against Zionism. These stalwart champions of human rights have no more idea of what Zionism is than Michelle Bachman knows what it is to be a lesbian. All they know is that Noam Chomsky is against it, which is good enough for them. That statement sums up what Bachman’s followers know about homosexuality. The left is as delusional as the right now that the Truthers have jumped in with their mad accusation of the Mossad and bombs in the tower.
Chauvinism is the result of both sides so wrapped up in their different conspiracies that reason becomes impossible. Elements on the left are out to protect America from the International Jewish Conspiracy, blaming Israel for everything from September 11th to Obama’s adopting Bush’s idiot wars. The right is blaming the homosexual agenda for high taxes and unemployment. Neither side can be spoken to. The result is the descendents of the same people who took control of this country in 1790 are in control of it today, and continue to rob us blind as the right tries to save us from homosexuality and the left from creeping Zionism.
The Right had their Tea Party where they promoted their anti-intellectualism and bigotry. Now the Left has their Occupation Movement where there are as many signs promoting Jew hatred as there are signs demanding the demise of Wall St. In Oakland, I have seen so many signs calling for the end of the Jewish Banking Conspiracy, I just gave up on it.
Any real revolution in this country has to do two things. The first is The Occupation has to get it’s shit together. This means that the wing-nuts have to go. The Truthers/anti-Zionists are as aggressive as Born Again Christians. They will drive out anybody who does not believe in their paranoid fantasies. I watched them do this to the peace movement. They will do the same to the Occupation. The second thing is creating a reasonable agenda that people on the right can at least discuss. I have seen this on the Las Angeles Occupation website. They have adopted an agenda that include basic rights like food, shelter, education, and Medical care. So far, Los Angeles and Berkeley are the only two Occupations supporting basic human rights. Other Occupations are being too divisive in their antisemitism and determination that the Jewish bankers be punished. Unless the other Occupations catch up to Los Angeles and Berkeley, we are going to end up like Egypt and our fundamentalist religious military will take over.
And if you don’t think this can happen here in America, think again. The military is already dominated by Born Again Christians. The Air Force is the worst, and they have access to nukes. Rick Perry, in his latest round of idiocy, is calling for an end to civilian management of the military. This is the one thing separating us from a fascist dictatorship. It doesn’t matter if Perry becomes president or not, if Wall St. wants an end to civilian management, Wall St. is going to get it. After all, Wall St. actually runs this country and its propaganda mill. Besides, a military dictatorship is the usual way an imperialist nation ends.
After long and careful consideration, I will not be supporting the Occupation Movement unless those two criteria are met. My energy is going to keeping my family and me alive for the next ten years of military rule. Unless Americans abandon conspiracies for reason, this is all we have to look forward to.
The claims of 9/11 conspiracy theorists are too ridiculous to take seriously. They expect us to give crackpot ideas the same respect we give informed decisions. As it is politically incorrect to silence crackpots, they take over. The Sept 9/11 Truth Movement is the left wing Tea Party. The accusation that the Mossad planted bombs in the towers is as bigoted as the Tea Party accusing Obama for being a socialist because he is black. Both points of view are from Crazytown, but it is considered censorship to silence ideas that have neither proof nor logic. Worse still, by giving Truthers free reign to spread their delusions, there are important questions which are not being asked.
Truthers think the laws of physics are subject to debate. If they don’t like a fact they ignore it or rape it beyond recognition. As E=MC2 contradicts their preconceived notions, it is ignored in favor of the phantasmagorical, Photoshopped evidence on the World Wide Web. The simple, straightforward evidence of science is treated as a lie and unreliable. Since scientists are part of the conspiracy, the only scientists you can trust are the grifters who profit from conspiracy. We end up with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which is led by an architect who made a career out of redesigning gas stations. Richard Gage has no high iron credentials, and his accusations that the Twin Towers were rigged to blow is idiotic. The Towers would not have blown so much debris over New Jersey if bombs were used.
It’s not rocket science, guys. OK it is rocket science, but it’s really not that hard to understand. Putting it in the simplest terms, a 310,000 pound Boeing 767 moving at a speed of approximately 300 miles per hour is going to hit a standing building with 1,395,000 tons of kinetic energy. That’s a hell of a kick. Of course most of that kinetic energy is going to transfer into debris. That’s why there were tiny pieces of airplane, building, and humans scattered all over New Jersey. Some of the energy was converted into thermal energy, which set the jet fuel and building’s dry wall on fire. A lot of it converted into mechanical energy which broke walls, tore off the fire protection, and compromised the support. The damage done was perfectly consistent with the kinetic force of the airplane.
Truthers are as aggressive about their delusions as the worst Creationists and are as persistently resistant to reality as Birthers. The Creationist non-debate taught them them faith is more important than reason. Nobody should be surprised that Truthers are as racist as Birthers. While Birthers are tied up in knots over a Black man as president, Truthers can’t get over the fact that Jews have their own nation. With all the possible countries to choose from, the Truthers have decided Israel is behind Sept 11th. They pulled their evidence from Nazi blood libel and Henry Ford’s paranoia. According to their delusions, the international Jewish Conspiracy rules the United States and Sept 11th was engineered to further their imperialist goals. There really isn’t that much difference between Truthers and Birthers.
If you are part of the peace movement, put yourself into the shoes of a novice. There you are at your first rally, and you see all these tents with signs saying 9/11 is an inside job. Let’s say you took physics in high school and you got a C. Chances are you know the damage a Boeing 767 can do when it hits a building at 300 MPH. In the light of the Truther’s impossible claims, why would you believe anything anybody says about anything else? Now let’s say the novice is Jewish and he gets a hand-out accusing the Mossad of sabotaging the Towers. That’s not just bad science, that’s Nazi style blood libel. The Peace Movement has lost that guy and his entire family.
I think that if we want a strong and effective peace movement, we need to step up and take responsibility for what is said in our name. It is not censorship to tell an unreasonable person to shut up. There is absolutely no state or federal law that says protest organizers must allow the Truthers space on their podiums. The peace movement should not be a platform for antisemitism or Creationist style science. I think this is the main reason we have seen a sharp decrease in attendance at peace rallies. If the peace movement wants to be effective, we have to recognize that some truths are unassailable. E=MC2 is an inarguable truth. It is not censorship to respect that. 76% of polled Americans are against war. If we want their support we have to stop insulting their intelligence.
Once we establish that science is science and not government conspiracies, we can start asking questions about the real conspiracies. I haven’t heard anybody ask about the motivations of the hijackers. Personally, I don’t believe they killed themselves for religious reasons. They may have had a legitimate grievance against us, and Sept. 11th was a desperate attempt to bring it to our attention. Why in the name of hell was Condi Rice National Security Adviser? She is an Eastern Europe and Russia expert. What does she know about the Middle East? For that matter, why did she have George Tenant thrown out of her office? He is a Middle Eastern expert. Any real investigation of Sept. 11th is not going to involve the Mossad or planned demolition, or any of that rot. What needs to be investigating is the head-pounding stupidity of the Bush and Obama administrations, but as long as we keep having to fight make believe science, we are never going to get the answers to the real questions.
In my next post we will examine the real questions that come out of the Sept 11th tragedy. The most important one is why so much time and effort is being wasted on bad science. Then we will take a closer look at the history of blood libel and how it has been used as a political smokescreen throughout the ages.
People who know me will be shocked that I have rejoined the Green Party. I had major personal problems with some of the early organizers. They are no longer with the Greens, and the party has grown beyond them. I have grown up a little bit too. For many years I have supported the DSA, but the DSA will not give up the idea that the Democrats can be radicalized. Since it hasn’t happened after 30 years of trying, we run into Einstein’s definition of insanity. We keep doing the same things the same way and expect different results. There are many other parties I can join or support, but none of them have the national network that the Greens built in under 30 years. The Green Party is America’s best chance to end Corporate control of our government. I would be a fool to hold onto a twenty five year old grudge.
During the last twenty five years, the Democrats silently supported everything the Republicans wanted. If you check the Project Vote Smart web site you can see that the Democrats voted for all the financial reforms that led to our economic collapse. It was Bill Clinton who allowed outsourcing when he had a Democratic majority in Congress. Under Bush the Democrats supported both illegal wars, Homeland Security, and illegal wiretapping. Under Obama, the Democrats have allowed the illegal existence of Guantanamo and continue to toss gay rights under a bus.
Obama could not have expanded the illegal Afghanistan war into Pakistan if he did not have the support of the Democrat majority. I am appalled at the Democratic voters who embraced both illegal wars after Obama took office. The wars are no more legal under Obama and it is still murder when a Democrat gives the orders. Despite all the cheering from Democratic pundits, our tax money is going to pay for the mercenaries holding Iraq.
To add insult onto injury, there is the passage of the so called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, which is more properly called the “Screw Over the Disabled and Elderly for Fun and Corporate Profits Act”. The Democratic pundits and true believers tout this as a leftist victory. In reality, this piece of crap legislation reduces the quality of Medicare. It allows economic discrimination, and it does not do anything to make care affordable. True, the insurance companies have to accept people with preexisting conditions, but there is no limit to premiums.
You cannot fool all of the people all of the time, and this is true for the people who voted Democrat last election. Poor people have caught wise to the health care reform. Environmentalists are appalled that he protected BP instead of prosecuting them. Anti-war activists call him “The Obamanation” for his drone tactics. The Democrats have lost their core supporters. Few are going to vote third party this coming election and most are staying home.
In 2008, the Democrats attracted liberal and progressive voters with vague promises of hope and change. We are not even getting that during the 2010 midterms. We are being threatened with the Tea Party instead. What will happen if the Tea Party wins? Will the Tea Party start killing innocent women and children with drones? Maybe they will go to court to reinstate DADT? Should we be afraid that they might put more people in Guantanamo? Wait, the Democrats have already done this. Unless you are afraid that Christine O’Donnell is going to cast a spell on you, I see no reason to be afraid of the Tea Party. They will vote according to Wall Street just like the Democrats.
When pushed into a corner, the Democrats will say that we only have two choices, them or the Republicans. If this is true, why was Green gubernatorial candidate Lauren Wells arrested at the California debate last week? It’s because both parties are afraid of the Green Party. The Greens have made tremendous progress on the local level. Richmond and Fairfax California are just two of the cities with a Green majority on their city councils. Greens can be found amongst aldermen, school board members, and there are even a few Green mayors. There are Greens in state legislatures. The Democrats are telling still another lie when they say there are only two choices. If the Greens can be elected in local and state governments, they can be elected to national offices as well.
The Commercial Bubble will burst any day now. With the banks and Wall St. teetering on the edge of collapse there will never be a better time to support a truly progressive party. Don’t let Democratic lies depress you into staying home this coming election day. Don’t let Tea Party Paranoia scare you into voting for the corporatist Democrats. Please join me in voting Green this election. It will shock the hell out of Wall Street, and it will be a first step in creating a better future.
Once upon a time, I associated tea parties with little girls and teddy bears sitting on little chairs around a tiny table. That cute little image has been permanently ruined by a bunch of raging morons marching around with tea bags hanging off their hats. Tea Parties are now associated with bullies tossing dollar bills at a sick man. What’s worse is that now tea parties are associated with screaming racism.
Things became absolutely surreal when the left wing press started calling the Tea Party, populist. When I first saw this on an Alternet article, I could not believe what I was reading. The Tea Party is no more populist than Goldman Sachs or the Democratic Party. The Tea Party is an AstroTurf movement organized by the same Wall Street crooks who tanked the economy. The Tea Party is nothing but a smoke screen. Sean Hannity and our darling Sarah Palin are using time honored advertising techniques to whip the right wing true believers into a lynch mob. The stupid, the bigoted, the ignorant, and the arrogant are frightened. The economy has tanked, their retirements are in jeopardy, their mortgages are foreclosing. Their health care is inadequate. Credit card limits are dropping. Rather than organizing against the Wall Street criminals who caused it, they are organizing against their fellow victims. The poor, the minorities, the educated, and the progressive are all targets of Tea Bagger rage instead of the real cause of their problems.
Populism and populists movements have never been middle class. They have never had the support of Wall Street talking heads. Throughout American history they have been poor people’s movements. When the middle class gets involved it is for reasons of personal ethics, as illustrated by the Abolitionist and Civil Rights movements. The earliest recorded American populists were the Regulators. In the days before the Rapture was created, a large group of religious non-conformists got together to use government as a means of establishing the Millennium. Poor farmers, freed slaves, and wealthy plantation owners joined together to establish just laws that included abolition, progressive taxation, land ownership for tenant farmers, and free elections.
While the Regulators were finally wiped out in the Whiskey Rebellion, Populism lived on through the Abolition movement. Abolition was a movement that never died and still exists today. Despite attempts by the libertarians and John Birchers to rehabilitate the South, slavery was one of the main reasons the South tried to leave the Union. Abolitionists simply did not give a fiddler’s damn about state rights. Slavery was an abomination and the Abolitionists were out to end it. Like their Regulator grandfathers, the Abolitionists were using the power of the Federal Government to end a monstrous injustice.
Jump forward a few decades and look at the beginnings of the labor movement in the United States. I cannot think of a better example of a Populist Movement. The beginnings of the labor movement can be found in the churches. Free Methodists, Western Baptists, Congregationalists, and even Catholics were amongst the leaders of the early American unions. While there was a socialist labor movement going on in Europe, it had very little to do with the American movement until the beginning of the twentieth century. While the American press was yelling “anarchism” during the 19th Century, the unions were anything but. They were organized by their churches and they were not calling for the end of the American government. Rather they were demanding their voices in the American government. They were demanding that the government oversee safety standards, collective bargaining, and that the rich be taxed the same as the poor.
Here is another reason that the Tea party is not populist. Populist movements were never anti-tax. They knew that government did not happen by magic. All the populist movements from The Regulators to the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s knew full well that it was going to take tax money to make their dreams come true. The difference is that the populists were demanding that the rich be taxed the same as the poor. The income tax was a populist movement. The entire idea behind the income tax is that the corporations pay as well as the poor. “I’m a taxpayer and I have my rights” would mean the same to the poor as well as the rich.
Populism are movements that demand that special privileges become universal privileges. Nothing demonstrates this more than the Civil Rights Movement. Abolition neither died nor went to sleep after the civil war. Citizens of African descent continued to live in conditions little better than slavery. Jim Crow simply rubbed salt into the wounds. Separate can never be equal. Dr. King demanded that the vast resources of the US government be used to correct this injustice. Part of the correction that Dr. King demanded was that more tax money be placed into education and affirmative action.
That’s right, libertarians. Dr. King was behind affirmative action. I know this is not true in your fairy tale world of George Washington meets John Galt, but in the real world, Dr. King demanded affirmative action. The reaction of the bigots was to run around screaming “states rights” while turning the fire hoses on peaceful protesters. I mean really, what relevance do states rights have in the 21st Century? It was an idea that made sense in the 18th Century when it took weeks to travel from Philadelphia to New York by land. By the 19th Century such inventions as the telegraph and the railroads made states rights irrelevant. The civil war showed the practical limits of states rights.
The entire purpose of the Constitution was to establish a national tax base, place the armed forces under one command, and to establish a uniform code of law. Under the Constitution, the DEA has every right to come into California and close dispensaries. We may not agree with what they are doing, and I feel it is just wrong. However, it is constitutional and we are not going to accomplish anything by ignoring that unfortunate fact.
During the Whiskey Rebellion, George Washington sent tax collectors and marshals into Pennsylvania to enforce federal law over states rights. The president was made into the commander and chief of the armed forces. Under the Constitution, the state militias were called out to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. The militias of Pennsylvania were called up and those who did not support the Federal Government, were declared outlaw.
So there is nothing populist in the Tea Party movement. First of all, populist movements don’t really care about the Constitution. Quite often, like the income tax and women suffrage, populist movements demand changes in the Constitution. Populist movement are not anti-taxation but demand a fair tax burden and a fair distribution of tax money. But most telling of all, populist movements are all about justice and equality. The Tea Party exists to protect white middle class privilege.
It is fear of change more than anything else that inspires the Tea Party and other libertarian organizations. They live in a fantasy world where the western expansion is still happening and free market capitalism still works. Once again, Wall Street has proven the sham of the free market. Rather than accept this, the Tea Party has dived into a never ending pool of denial, and they have Fox News and Libertarian Radio to egg them on. If the Tea Party was reacting to reality, they would be preparing to dip Rush and Sean into a vat of tar and cover them with feathers.
Nothing exemplifies the American oppression of minorities more than the Tea Party. They cannot see beyond the color of the president’s skin. They ignore the fact that each of them pay more in taxes than Rush Limbaugh, and focus on the fact that minorities demand equality. Like the bigots in Alabama and like Barry Goldwater, they concentrate on non-existent states’ rights and ignore the basic racism of their arguments. They cry over being denied the special privileges enjoyed by Wall Street insiders. Rather than get angry with White Privilege Wall Street, they get angry at a non-existent “Gangsta Government”, demand a return to a Constitution that only exists in their imaginations, and they get ready to kill liberals.
The Tea Party Populist? It is to laugh.
Scott Adams wrote a few cartoons where his character Dogbert had a taser, and he used it on everybody who annoyed him. Sometimes I wish I lived in that world. That way the next time somebody quotes Benjamin Franklin out of context, I can zap him with the taser until smoke pours out his ears. Maybe then people will learn that they will never win a point by quoting somebody out of context. Ben Franklin was speaking of standing armies when he said, “he who would sacrifice a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security, will lose both and deserve neither.” Franklin was against standing armies while other delegates to the Constitutional Convention were very much in favor of them. Like all of Franklin’s other Constitutional ideas, it was ignored.
In the last few years I have seen that quote applied to such diverse matters as cameras at stop-lights, the enforcement of libel laws, September 11th conspiracies, breaking the media monopolies, health care, weapons of mass destruction, cell phones, and the income tax. Not once has anybody applied that quote to standing armies. It has become the all purpose response when there is no other argument. When shown proof that cameras at stop-lights reduce traffic fatalities, out comes the quote. When presented with an idea that journalistic standards and ethics be enforced again, there is always the quote. I have no idea what Franklin would say about national health, but I hardly think he would equate it with standing armies. Suggesting that September 11th conspiracists should take their medications becomes a threat to liberty. The quote has become an internet meme which has completely lost any meaning. It is another way of covering your ears and singing, “la la la, I can’t hear you.”
Nor has this become the sole example of quoting out of context. Recently Glenn Beck has been trotting out Thomas Paine in support of the tea baggers. Paine was part of a social movement called the Populists. He advocated a progressive tax on wealth, welfare, subsidized farm loans, and representative democracy. He even declared health to be a basic human right. It just goes to show you that any point can be won if the person being quoted is dead. Paine was an anti-federalist who strongly advocated for the original American Confederacy of 1780-1790. Upon his return to the United States in 1802, he lived in obscurity for seven years and his funeral was ignored. Once he was dead, he immediately became the darling of the nation. Great monuments were built in his honor, and Common Sense has been quoted out of context by public school teachers for over a century.
In a recent interview, former pro-wrestler turned politician, Jesse Ventura, criticized the Democrats and the Republicans for not working together. I will be the first to admit it when Ventura says something intelligent. It happens so rarely. Then Ventura had to ruin it by quoting the founding fathers out of context. He said that George Washington, John Adams and others warned us against the dangers of political parties. If I lived in Scott Adams’ world, I would zap Ventura with my taser until lightning came out of his nose. The founders liked the two party system just fine. It was the many political parties being formed in England they were scared of. Different factions were creating their own political parties and having them elected to Parliament. In order to get anything done, the different factions had to work together to create a compromise. This is the foundation of Parliamentary Democracy. The delegates, Ministers of Parliament, Congresspeople, whatever you want to call them, directly represent their constituents and get them the best deal possible. That was what our founding fathers were worried about. They wanted to make sure their people stayed on top.
The Constitution represents a naked power grab by a faction in government whom we now call the Federalists. Had the revolution not happened, George Washington would have been jailed by Britain for his shady land deals. Alexander Hamilton was very well connected to the American and British financial industry. He and his relative by marriage, Robert Morris, worked together on a bond scam that defrauded the Revolutionary enlisted soldiers of their back pay. Even the leader of the anti-federalist movement, Thomas Jefferson, was a wealthy landowner as well as a slave owner who held his own children as property. These were not people who particularly cared about the rights of other people. When Jefferson became president, he continued the Federalist system and liked it.
Our Federalist founders created a system which imitated the British court of the time. Our president has the exact same powers as the Constitutional Monarch. He is the head of the army, disperses funds, oversees the execution of the law, industry, diplomacy, etc, through his cabinet. Originally the Senate was appointed by the state governments. There are no term limits for the Supreme Court, and British common law gives any American judge the same power as a British duke. Alexander Hamilton created a taxation system where the wealthy were barely taxed and the poor and lower middle class maintained most of the tax burden. Washington selected his cabinet from industrialists and landowners. You did not find Patrick Henry or Herman Husband amongst his closest advisers. To this day the cabinet is selected from the wealthy to serve the interests of the wealthy, and the Supreme Court Justices are selected by their loyalty to the monied interests.
Due process in law has always been at the whim of our government. Four years after the Constitution was ratified, Washington’s Attorney General declared that the Constitution did not apply to anyone accused of rebelling against the United States. Suspects in the Whiskey Rebellion were arrested without warrant. They were paraded down Market Street in Philadelphia as traitors, and tossed into an unheated cell without food or light. This was a precedent John Yoo turned to in his torture memos. In a foreshadowing of Guantanamo, all twenty men were found not guilty, even though the judges gave instructions to enter a verdict of guilty. Over the years due process has also been denied to freed slaves, European immigrants, and anyone else without the funds to buy due process.
Those tea baggers, and anarchist libertarians who talk about freedom within the Constitution have no idea what they are talking about. The United States was never a representative democracy. Our president is chosen by the electoral college, so I don’t even know why we bother with the popular vote. It’s all show anyway. Our Congress and Senate are representatives of military industrial complex, just as our federalist founders wanted it. There has never been a time when the wealthy paid their share in taxes, and a poor man has rarely won against a rich man in court. That is how our legal system is set up. The Bill of Rights was a major concession won by the few populist delegates to the Constitutional Convention, but even the Bill of Rights is interpreted through the Supreme Court, which historically championed Jim Crow.
When Libertarians prattle on about a return to the Constitution, I wish I was Dogbert so I can tase them until they do the Monster Mash. The America they talk about never existed in the real world. Maybe if they walked through a wardrobe and traveled through Narnia, Aslan might direct them to it. We are living in the exact America the Federalists wanted. A return to the Constitution is only going to cement corporate control over this country. If we want to change the country, we need to look to the future. Trying to return to the past never works. The clock never ticks backwards, and trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions only makes things worse. Look at what happened to Germany when they tried it.