the lessons you send….

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Mar 302010
 

teach your children well. what they see, read, and hear teaches them it is okay to bully… hear that political bullies out there? if you’re confused, read the previous days’ entry….

RIP Phoebe Prince.

something else about you…

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Mar 292010
 

written by someone else…read on if you have the guts.

Op-Ed Columnist
Frank Rich

The Rage Is Not About Health Care

THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television. On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber — instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

Yet it’s this bill that inspired G.O.P. congressmen on the House floor to egg on disruptive protesters even as they were being evicted from the gallery by the Capitol Police last Sunday. It’s this bill that prompted a congressman to shout “baby killer” at Bart Stupak, a staunch anti-abortion Democrat. It’s this bill that drove a demonstrator to spit on Emanuel Cleaver, a black representative from Missouri. And it’s this “middle-of-the-road” bill, as Obama accurately calls it, that has incited an unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric, from “Kill the bill!” to Sarah Palin’s cry for her followers to “reload.” At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.

When Social Security was passed by Congress in 1935 and Medicare in 1965, there was indeed heated opposition. As Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post, Alf Landon built his catastrophic 1936 presidential campaign on a call for repealing Social Security. (Democrats can only pray that the G.O.P. will “go for it” again in 2010, as Obama goaded them on Thursday, and keep demanding repeal of a bill that by September will shower benefits on the elderly and children alike.) When L.B.J. scored his Medicare coup, there were the inevitable cries of “socialism” along with ultimately empty rumblings of a boycott from the American Medical Association.

But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.

The apocalyptic predictions then, like those about health care now, were all framed in constitutional pieties, of course. Barry Goldwater, running for president in ’64, drew on the counsel of two young legal allies, William Rehnquist and Robert Bork, to characterize the bill as a “threat to the very essence of our basic system” and a “usurpation” of states’ rights that “would force you to admit drunks, a known murderer or an insane person into your place of business.” Richard Russell, the segregationist Democratic senator from Georgia, said the bill “would destroy the free enterprise system.” David Lawrence, a widely syndicated conservative columnist, bemoaned the establishment of “a federal dictatorship.” Meanwhile, three civil rights workers were murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.

That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.

In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer to “You lie!” piercing the president’s address to Congress last fall like an ominous shot.

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

They can’t. Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.

If Congressional Republicans want to maintain a politburo-like homogeneity in opposition to the Democrats, that’s their right. If they want to replay the petulant Gingrich government shutdown of 1995 by boycotting hearings and, as John McCain has vowed, refusing to cooperate on any legislation, that’s their right too (and a political gift to the Democrats). But they can’t emulate the 1995 G.O.P. by remaining silent as mass hysteria, some of it encompassing armed militias, runs amok in their own precincts. We know the end of that story. And they can’t pretend that we’re talking about “isolated incidents” or a “fringe” utterly divorced from the G.O.P. A Quinnipiac poll last week found that 74 percent of Tea Party members identify themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, while only 16 percent are aligned with Democrats.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.

this is about you…

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Mar 292010
 

mobs are a funny thing. the bully in the schoolyard always has his cronies, who may not necessarily agree with the bully’s actions but dare not question lest he/she become the new target of the bully.

people that are a part of a mob who demonstrate against a particular issue they are passionate about tend to feel powerful holding up their signs of discontent. they are proud at their “cleverness” in creating their slogans.

signs. slogans. offensive t-shirts with swastikas. uncle sam hats with hate words sprawled on them. effigies burning. bricks through a window. threats left on voice mail. powder filled envelopes mailed to local govt offices.

2 suicide bombers blowing 37 people to their death.

a man taunted, beaten, and hung on a cross wearing a thorny crown.

1. which part of these scenes do you participate in?
2. if you believe in a religion, do you truly practice its teaching?
3. do you believe everyone has the right to live?
-unborn babies
-the illegal alien on the street corner waiting for work?
-the boss picking up the illegal alien for work he/she will pay in peanuts?
-the man who shot up his kids?
-the girl who put her kitten on fire?
-the politician who supports a healthcare bill?
-the woman who posts a map with crosshairs on where to hunt supporters?
4. can you, without hesitation, say that you are proud of yourself? your
actions, your beliefs, and most importantly, your spelling?

i say that when frustration begets violence/criminal activity…it is time to sit down and think about where the anger is coming from. what is it that truly has everyone so angry?

it happens in third world countries
it happened and led to WWII
it is a nasty four letter word.

fear

i used to think that money and the pursuit of it was the root of all evil. now, now i think that it is fear…

time…

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Mar 162010
 

the most beautiful piece i’ve ever learned to dance…

poguetry in motion…

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Mar 152010
 

dear moonage daydream,

i’ve been meaning to write this for a while so here goes, i don’t think you know him but i’m putting it out there:

alright jim’s brother…i want my tape back. it’s been about 25 years…
it’s okay. you can return it whenever you get the chance, i’m not difficult to find you know and it’s been a long time, i miss listening to london girl and body of an american….
~~~
it’s been very windy, rainy, and slightly cold. i don’t mind. it’s how i’ve been feeling for the past month. it’s like that last few meters where you feel you just can’t make it…you see the crowd, the clock at the finish line, you see the crocus’ stubbornly holding onto the cold, hard dirt… you know spring, warmth, sunshine, will come…you know you’ll step over the line and be able to stop. but in the moment, you drag…you ache…for something to give in so that….

is it the winter blues? is it the crappy work environment? is it the coming and going of people, relationships, time… they all eventually slip away.

i wish i could appreciate the gift that is life…in relative comfort and health..i know that i am lucky. and yet…
~~~

so, today, i’ll do some apt. chores, put my stationtostation and lodger vinyls on the turntable, and wait for an important call.
~~~

ps… i know that you’ll agree with me that it’s about time someone formed another caffeine induced party…talking ’bout the coffee party. you should check them out on facebook. finally, a group to balance out the numbnuts that make up the tea party.

with love and a sigh,
alligator girl