Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our elections in the US are bought and paid for by...

energy corporate interests from places like India and Bahrain. Something worth considering when thinking about how to interpret US Chamber of Commerce endorsements. File under power, corruption and lies.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea Party Nationalism

No doubt, Tea Party Nationalism will be on my reading list as time permits over the next several days. Needless to say, as others have noted, the report from what I've checked so far will not sit well with those who identify themselves as TP. Moderate author and contributor to the Daily Beast, John Avlon wrote a little while back called Wingnuts that aptly characterized the Tea Party as a "white minority" political movement. As Avlon has duly noted, its adherents see the writing on the wall regarding our nation's demographics, and they've freaked out.

I've also seen the TP characterized as white Christianist tribalism, which is the description that I've tended to use as I've read more about and had encounters with TPers. The basic gist: this bunch has a very narrow view of what makes an acceptable American and an acceptable America. It's a view that has no room for large swaths of the rest of us (due to ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, ideological or other considerations). Personally I have no use for tribalism in any guise.

In the meantime, to take an old line from a Beatles tune, "Revolution":
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait

Monday, October 18, 2010

Speaking of authoritarianism

As someone who has run for very local public offices before, I am of the opinion that anyone who wishes to be an elected public servant has an obligation to not only face their oponent(s) but the media as well. As a matter of principle, I simply refuse to vote for any candidate who shirks that obligation. I've more or less held my tongue in recent months as a number of predominantly TP-endorsed candidates for statewide and national offices have done their level best to avoid debates and to avoid questions from journalists (I'm broadly defining that term to include bloggers as well as to those employed by more traditional media outlets). My silence should not be read as complicity, so much as lack of time in the midst of some major changes to my life and career.

Needless to say, I've been underwhelmed by what the TP/GOP has offered as its strategy for gaining power. As a voter, I find it insulting that these candidates would refuse to answer basic questions about their positions (past and present), and whatever questions about them that might potentially be relevant to the voters in their respective states and districts. Yes, opponents might dig up some dirt, and yes, journalists tend to ask a lot of questions - some of which seem pesky and others which seem intrusive. But then again, that comes with the territory. If you are unwilling to handle the heat, you have no business in the spotlight, so to speak. Let's face it: not only can I not trust these individuals to handle themselves in public, but I also find their deciding for the voters what we "need to know" to be highly condescending.

So it goes. Lately, we've seen these same politicians take a more sinister path. Evasion is no longer sufficient. Now, apparently it's acceptable to sic hired thugs on those who dare to ask those inconvenient questions these politicians would prefer not address. Not cool. It does not bode well for what a Joe Miller would do if he were to actually occupy a seat in the Senate.

When extremes meet

I suppose it was only a matter of time before a TP candidate would extol the virtues of some facet of a Stalinist Soviet Bloc nation. Alaska's would-be TP Senator Joe Miller crossed that Rubicon over the weekend. The Stasi sure knew how to secure a border, although I'm not sure East Germany's approach is something to emulate. I'm guessing it's the whole "shoot to kill" vibe that Miller and his ilk dig on. Life is cheap unless it's white and Christianist life. So it goes. I find this comment as one that aptly sums up the whole sorry spectacle:
It's a long way from the Statue of Liberty as the symbol of the United States to an East German style barbed wire fence with mined no-man's land, guard towers, machine guns, and German shepherds.  I know what that looked like.  When I was a student in Göttingen, Germany, the border was just a few miles east of where I lived and we rode out there now and then.  It wasn't pretty.  But it certainly cut down the flow of people escaping to the West. 
Something tells me that with enough TPers running the country, it won't be long before immigration into the US is no longer an issue, but rather the flow of those escaping their wretched and thuggish authoritarianism.

Antidote: "Heroes" by David Bowie. Enjoy.