Dissent

Sep 252010
 

It would be helpful if our country had some elder statesmen to provide a stabilizing influence for wet-behind-the-ears youngsters like Jimmy Carter and Warren Buffett. Carter said, “President Obama suffers from the most polarized situation in Washington that we have ever seen — even maybe than the time of Abraham Lincoln and the initiation of the war between the states.” Buffett wants taxpayers to get over their anger, according to numerous headlines, saying “…it is not helpful to have people as unhappy as they are about what’s going on in Washington.”

If those two were old enough to have been around during the Bush administration, they would not be talking like this.

Jul 152010
 

So Michelle Obama and the NAACP want the tea parties to repudiate any racism in their midst. That would be fine, although they’d first have to identify some. If the tea parties and the NAACP worked together on it, I would be surprised if they couldn’t find any.

But what Ms Obama and the NAACP have failed to do, as far as I know, is praise the non-racist aspects of the tea parties. They wouldn’t have to agree with the political stands, but they should affirm the principle that we used to hear from liberals, e.g. back in John F Kennedy’s day: “We may disagree with what you say, but we will defend to the death your right to say it.”

That would allay any suspicions that it isn’t so much that the NAACP and Michelle Obama want to stop racism, but that they are trying to stifle dissent.

May 252010
 

News item: “Governor Deval Patrick, even as he decried partisanship in Washington, said today that Republican opposition to President Obama’s agenda has become so obstinate that it ‘is almost at the level of sedition.’”

These Massachusetts politicians must have a thing about sedition. It was during the presidency of one such politician, John Adams, that the Alien and Sedition Acts were enacted — much to his everlasting discredit.

Back in the days when Liberals roamed the land, they would have torn a new one in any politician who disrespected the First Amendment the way Deval Patrick does.

Apr 212010
 

The ruling class worries that peaceful demonstrations might incite broader unrest? They want protestors to work without fanaticism?

No, this isn’t the American ruling class trying to maintain its hegemony against the rise of tea party activism. These are Russian rulers who are afraid of motorists who are protesting against special road privileges for VIPs.

Just the same, the Russian government could use the services of our Bill Clinton. He knows how to deal with these types of people, if you know what I mean.

His step to the national stage brought police surveillance and a mix of pressure and courtship by officials worried that his horn-honking activism might ignite broader unrest. He recalls the swift reaction when a participant on his group’s online forum suggested setting a car on fire in Red Square. Within minutes, Mr. Kanayev was summoned to Criminal Police headquarters. “It was just a joke,” he says he told his interrogators.

A Kremlin political operative approached, he says, and promised time on state-run television if he would stop the caravans. Another official, Sergey Shishkarev, who heads parliament’s transport committee, says he has offered to shape some of Mr. Kanayev’s ideas on tax and safety issues into legislation but warned the activist “to work without fanaticism.”

WSJ link here

Apr 202010
 

Sherrilyn Ifill, quoted at Politico.com:

“Republicans should be reaching out to address the legitimate concerns of tea party advocates and publicly denouncing the incendiary language and demonstrations that may contribute to a climate that encourages one person on the fringe to commit an unspeakable act.”

I’m not a Republican, but I believe in addressing the legitimate concerns of tea party advocates. And I wish to publicly denounce the incendiary language that contributes to a climate that encourages those on the fringe to commit unspeakable acts. More particularly, I denounce Bill Clinton’s incendiary language linking tea partiers to the Oklahoma City bombing, which could encourage moonbats on the fringe to commit the unspeakable act of infringing on our First Amendment freedoms.

Oct 172009
 

I posted the following reply to a comment on a comment in the comment section for Rush Limbaugh’s article in Friday’s WSJ.

I had to laugh at that one, too.

Note that he’s also the guy who complained about Rush’s coarsening of civil discourse, and then in another comment wrote, ” There is an interesting difference to conservatives – by their nature are more authoritarian, regimented, conformist – and therefore less likely to question, debate, listen to others.” Yup, he’s against the coarsening of civil discourse, all right.

It’s far from the first time I’ve observed the phenomenon.

Sep 122009
 

It looks like the congresional Democrats want to make Joseph Wilson a martyr for having spoken truth to power. I wonder if even as we speak there are parents who are naming their sons Joseph Wilson in honor of his action.

In the past a member of Congress was censured for telling lies. Now one is getting reprimanded for speaking truth.

Aug 082009
 

The most offensive part of Kathleen Sibelius’s remarks comes at about 1:20 in this clip. It’s an old, old ploy, but it still stinks in 2009. I’ve seen it played in public meetings on school affairs, and I’ve seen it used in church meetings. I’ve even had it played on my behalf, which is one reason that nowadays I’d rather work for change by standing on the outside and throwing rocks than working within the system.

It works like this: A committee comes up with a plan and presents it to the voters/public/whatever. But the people ask difficult questions, and it sounds like some of them might oppose it. Then comes the ploy: “This committee has worked hard on this. They’ve put in many hours of their time.”

Instead of addressing the issues and engaging the skeptics, they pull the “hours and hours” ploy as a way to silence dissent. Yuck.

And it’s even worse in the case of Congress, because “working hard” for those people means things like coming up with enough ethanol subsidies for his well-to-do constituents to lure Sen. Grassley to support the health care bill. In other words, “working hard” means “working hard to corrupt enough people to go along.”

Apr 172009
 

Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois has a lot to learn about democratic values. I heard some background buzz about tea parties the past few days but didn’t pay a lot of attention until I read this:

The “tea parties” being held today by groups of right-wing activists, and fueled by FOX News Channel, are an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs.”

It’s despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt. Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians.”

Now I wish I had found a tea party to take part in myself.

Even if she doesn’t agree with the protestors, she should praise them for getting involved in the political process and for engaging in a national dialog. What’s despicable is for a national legislator to speak against the values enshrined in the First Amendment, which speaks of the right of citizens peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances.

And her statement that “not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year” is hardly a rebutal to anything. I presume the protestors’ concern is over existing tax rates being an unsustainable way to support our government, and the fact that much of the stimulus package is intended to force state governments to continue higher rates of spending (and taxing) in exchange for receiving stimulus dollars. I would hope that the tax protesters are more forward-looking than Rep. Schakowsky with her one-year horizon.

As to the source of the protest, if she is going to make wild accusations about the source of the movement, maybe she should provide some evidence to back them up. Frankly, I don’t think she’s telling the truth.