A warning from the left

Stephanie Hitt, at American Thinker, braved a Chicago meeting of the forgotten left wing radicals.  Speakers included Cindy Sheehan and Bill Ayers.  And they can’t understand how they’re no longer relevant. 

I braved a flood of radical leftist whining, disdain, and petulance. Calling themselves a band of “disinviteds,” the three leftists spoke on censorship, free speech, and the revocations of their invitations to speak at various events.   

What started off as a diatribe against the infringement of their right to free speech and their proclaimed right to be heard quickly turned to a litany of complaints against the government, and really, the “Military Industrial Complex” in its quest to suppress free speech and political activism. 

…..

Despite being the least focused and least strident of the three speakers, Cindy Sheehan was in many ways the most insightful. In addition to admitting that her speech was freer under Bush (under Bush, she never spent a night or more than eight hours in jail and never had a restraining order issued against her; under Obama, she was once jailed for 52 hours, and the White House has a restraining order against her), she also questioned why under Obama, the antiwar movement doesn’t seem as important or interesting. In my favorite analogy of the night, she said she felt like the Maytag Repairman of activists. Without actually answering these questions or even expressing a curiosity about this apparent irony, she was able to at least posit that the antiwar movement, when it was popular, was really an anti-Bush movement and that without Bush, no one seems interested in protesting progressive issues. 
 
Neither Bill Ayers nor Sunsara Taylor was as thoughtful or reflective as Ms. Sheehan, instead blaming censorship and the declining support for radical activism not on the lack of interest in their retreaded “think speak,” but on some conspiratorial notion that people are not able to share their ideas freely. 

It’s a fascinating piece, and I urge you to read the whole thing.  But one thing I kept thinking was that, when these folks were useful, they were lauded and cheered.  Now that they are not, and the now-in-power left suddenly sees the necessity of so many of the hated Bush’s hated policies, they are swept under the rug. 

It could happen to us, too. 

Out of power, many Republicans are eager to embrace the Tea party and its limited spending rhetoric.  When they were in power, however, things were quite different.  When the Republicans return to power, they will be sorely tempted to spend and grow government, and the tea partiers will be forgotten and marginalized. 

This is not a bit to say that the Republicans shouldn’t return to power; when the only alternative is the left, it is necessary to our way of life that they do.  Remember that the Tea party is nothing like the radicals represented by Cindy Sheehan and Bill Ayers, who always appeared somewhat as kooks.  The Tea party, however, is highly representative of America, and many, many citizens share its values.  It will be up to us to remain dedicated and cooperative to ensure that we are not pushed to the sides and marginalized like this when the Republicans suddenly have an incentive to turn their backs on us.

How desperate are liberals to show Tea Party evil-ness?

Laughably desperate.  Salon “reports,” in an article ironically titled “Maine Tea Party: Worse Than You Think”: 

I learned Friday that their ideas weren’t all that was crazy about the Maine Tea Partiers. The state GOP just apologized to Portland’s King Middle School, because conventioneers who gathered at the Expo, but used the middle school for caucusing unbelievably, vandalized an eighth-grade classroom. Relying on reports in the Portland Press Herald, Think Progress describes what the Tea Party caucusers did to eighth-grade teacher Paul Clifford’s class:

For seven years, Clifford has had a collage-type poster depicting the history of the U.S. labor movement on his classroom door. He uses it to teach his students how to incorporate collages into their annual project on Norman Rockwells historic Four Freedoms illustrations. When Clifford returned to his classroom on Monday, after the GOP caucuses, the poster was gone; in its place was a sticker reading, Working People Vote Republican. Republicans opened a closed cardboard box they found near Cliffords desk and later objected to the fact that it contained copies of the U.S. Constitution donated to the school by the American Civil Liberties Union. After the caucuses, rank-and-file Republicans who were upset by what they said they had seen in Cliffords classroom began calling the school, objecting to student art they had seen and a sticker on a filing cabinet reading People for the American Way Fight the Right. 

When Clifford got to work and saw the poster had been replaced by the “Working People Vote Republican” sticker, at first he laughed, he told the Portland Press Herald, thinking, “‘All right, that’s funny, But then I go inside my room thinking the poster will be on my desk and it isn’t. And so now I’m like, ‘You know what? This is baloney!”‘ 

Perhaps that should be the new liberal anti-Tea Party Slogan: “The Tea Party!  They’re Full of Balony!” 

At my law school, we could purchase (well, rent) lockers, and some students decorated theirs with bumper stickers, mostly the sort that pointed out the evils of Bush with clever puns.  When I decided to put one of my own up, I decided to keep it positive and not cutsie, since it was something that I would have to see every day, so I got a simple one stating “Support the Fair Tax.”  A few weeks later, some jerk permanent markered an “un” next to the word fair.  Clever.  Totally the sort of thinking that would get a law student far in life.  It was pretty annoying.  I might have even shouted “That’s Baloney!” 

Think Salon will cover that one, and proclaim that the Anti-Fair Tax-ers are worse than you think? (And yes, whoever took the poster and went through the guy’s stuff was doing an obnoxious and asshole-y thing.  But come on, this is the great event that shows how evil they are?  Sheesh!)

Apparently, the Tea Partiers were right about Obamacare

Now that the debate is mostly over, the “neutral” organizations can tell us that the president and his supporters were dead wrong about most of their promises

The ink was barely dry on President Barack Obama’s signature before the RAND Corp. released a report concluding that, not only would the hard-won health care package fail to curb health insurance premium increases, but the bill itself would drive premiums for young people up as much as 17 percent.

This should not have been a surprise: the Congressional Budget Office had already warned that the plan would do almost nothing to reduce premium hikes. And when New York implemented the same type of insurance reforms in the 1980s, it led to an increase of nearly $500 per year for young people. But somehow, the media didn’t pay much attention.

And, of course, during the health care debate, no presidential speech was complete without a promise that “if you have health insurance today, and you like it, you can keep it.” But the Congressional Budget Office now says that as many as 10 million workers will lose their current insurance under Obamacare. Some of those workers will have to buy new insurance through the government-run exchanges. Millions more will be thrown onto Medicaid.

In addition, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies reports that half of seniors currently enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program will lose their coverage under that program and be forced back onto traditional Medicare.

And how many times did President Obama criticize the United States for having the highest health care spending in the world? Well, late last month the government’s chief actuary released his report on the bill, showing that the bill will actually increase health care spending by $311 billion over 10 years.

At the same time, the report warned that promised future spending cuts, particularly those for Medicare, are unlikely to occur. “The longer-term viability of the Medicare reductions is doubtful,” wrote Richard Foster, chief actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid systems. What cuts do occur could have a severe impact on the quality of health care. As many as 15 percent of hospitals and other institutions could be forced out of business, according to the report, “possibly jeopardizing access to care” for millions of Americans.

There’s more- read the whole thing. 

Update: Via Nealz Nuze, the CBO announces that healthcare reform will likely cost $115 billion more than projected.  Got that, folks?  $115 Billion dollars more than promised. 

Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places, Part II: A Walk in the Park

(Note: Part one of this piece is here)

     

Here’s what I didn’t see at the Chattanooga Tax Day Tea Party.  I didn’t see a single person questioning the president’s birth certificate.  Although I went deliberately looking for it, I saw absolutely nothing that indicated or implied violence. I not only saw no racism, I saw no references to the president’s race whatsoever.  There were no depictions of the president as The Joker (although I’m still unclear about why that’s offensive), a monkey, Hitler, or a witch doctor.  I neither saw nor heard any hint of vulgarity, save for one speaker who mentioned that the group has been called “teabaggers.”  I didn’t even see a confederate flag, and, in this area, it’s hard to drive down the interstate without seeing one of those.    

No one made threats (besides those of retribution at the voting booth), no one threw eggs, no one was arrested.  Beyond any doubt, no one crashed this Tea Party.  The most hateful sign I saw was one carried by a 12-13 year old boy, a quickly made creation of poster board and a black marker, which stated “Keith O. is the worst person in the world.”  (Just in case you’re not one of the approximately 6 people who watch Keith Olbermann’s show, he does a regular segment naming someone he disagrees with as “the worst person in the world.”  That is, he does this when he’s not giggling like a schoolgirl that people he disagrees with are transgendered or deserve to be called misogynistic names.) On the whole, it was like any other springtime event in the park.  The crowd was mostly elderly folks or families with young children; they sat in camping chairs or on blankets, some with umbrellas to hide from the hot sun.  Children and adults played Frisbee or tossed footballs, kids cooled off in the nearby fountain.  The perimeter was dotted with booths: vendors sold buttons and tee-shirts, local restaurants supplied food and drinks, candidates for office sold themselves.     

 
 
 

A few folks were on the kooky side, no doubt.  One man wandered around in a Captain America Halloween costume, complete with lumpy muscles, holding a sign which stated “Cut Spending Immensely Demons of Congress.”  Another, dressed as Jesus, if Jesus had been known to wear a dirty bathrobe with a leather belt and Birkenstocks, held a sign that read “Jesus: Libertarian.”  A man dressed in motorcycle leather, representing the Constitutional Defenders, preached some rather dubious tales of alleged liberty violations to all who would listen.  A group of several elderly mall-walkers held a sign proclaiming “Don’t Tax Me, Bro!”     

 
Jesus + Captain America= Awesome!

 Although we had no crashers, we did have a tenacious group of counter-protesters.  Well, “group” might be too strong a word; a college-aged hipster and a middle aged woman waved signs that said “Tax the Rich” and “Troops Home Now,” while another young man or two meandered about nearby, apparently too shy (and by shy, I mean embarrassed) to join in.  These folks were periodically confronted by elderly men, clearly veterans, who asked them if they had served, pointed out that they have worked for what they have, and otherwise told them what’s what.  The oldsters supported their right to speak, though, and no hard feelings seemed to follow.     

Even while disagreeing, they still got along

   

We didn't have crashers, but folks were certainly ready for them Even while disagreeing, they still got along

   

Counter-Protesters- Cute!

   

The event was unbelievably well-run.  Numerous volunteers, many in tee-shirts that read “Tyranny Response Team,” wandered the crowd.  They forbid politicians from politicking away from their booths, handed out booklets containing the Declaration of Independence and Constitution like they were Gideon New Testaments, and warned against yelling when the conversation between the counter-protesters and vets got louder to avoid being drowned out by the din.      

The speakers were mostly ho-hum local media folks.  The winner of an essay contest read his piece, someone spoke on the Second Amendment, another on the Fair Tax, another on liberty.  A ladies choir sang.  The crowd was so polite that I often felt bad about walking around to take pictures or updating my Twitter feed during the speeches.  The announcer warned us to respect the children and families by keeping our signs and comments polite and not to engage any crashers, but, in this crowd, there was clearly no need for concern. One the whole, the event was incredibly nice.  It was not a bit like the protests of my beloved sixties depictions, and it was nothing at all like the hate filled images that anti-tea partiers would like for you to believe.  It was, I dare to say, even a little bit boring.  More like a fair than a rally, more like a local park event than a protest.  I’d take kids to it in a heartbeat.  Heck, I wouldn’t take my grandparents, because they would come off too rowdy and vulgar.  (To be fair, they are Italian).  I went looking for bad behavior; I found absolutely none at all.    UPDATE: This piece is published in NewsBlaze here.  If you’re wondering where the right place is to look for hate, look no further than the French Quarter following a fundraiser for LA republican Governor Bobby Jindal, where a young volunteer and her boyfriend were savagely beaten in an attack that was apparently politically motivated.  I’m sure ABC, NBC, CNN, and Bill Clinton will be right on it.  I’m sure that all of the Dems in Congress are going to condemn it, just as soon as they get around to it . . .

I don’t know, should I do it?

Recieved an interesting comment on my article “Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places” from its link at Care2.

Just Carol wrote:

Just Carole (503)
Wednesday April 14, 2010, 6:09 pm
I hope you’ll accept this gesture with the grace with which it is offered. I’ve always thought that we could do so much more if we could concentrate on our commonalities.
 
(And, honestly? I don’t think I have any Tea Party members on my friends list.)
 
At CODEPINK, we are extending an olive branch to Tea Party activists. While we don’t support the goals and tactics of the Tea Party, there is an area where we are seeking common ground: endless wars and militarism.

I responded:

I appreciate your offer and your grace. However, I think that your attempt at a connection is misguided. The tea party movement (which I don’t speak for, though nor does anyone else, I guess) is about reducing the size of government, reducing government spending, reducing government control of our everyday lives, and reducing taxes. There appear to be a large number of veterans in the group. I do not believe that it would be in the group member’s interests to join forces with a group focused exclusively on anti-war efforts. However, if members of your group are interested in those things I listed, they are more than welcome to join the Tea Party movement; it’s very open. Just search for (your location) tea party, and you will certainly find an event that you can attend.

I do have a problem with what you said about not “support[ing] the goals and tactics of the Tea Party.” As for the goals, why would a group want to join with a group that explicitly does not support it’s goals? As for the tactics, I am not sure what tactics you are referring to, however, I would note that there are a lot of alleged incidents that are being reported as fact, when they have no support (despite hundreds of video cameras being nearby the alleged incidents). This was addressed in my article. The Tea Party has been explicit that it does not support racism or violence, regardless of what you might hear from those who stand to lose from its success.

I do, however, have a large problem with many of CodePink’s tactics. If you can tell me that the reports are mistaken or that the actors behind them do not speak for the group, I will reconsider, but I was extraordinarily dismayed when I heard about, for example, Code Pink’s disgusting attempt to psychologically torture little kids who have parents at war, as I described here . While I can understand an anti-war stance, I find the idea of Code Pink supporters calling for support for people who are killing our soldiers to be disgraceful. There are many other similar stunts that have been done under the name of CodePink that I certainly would want no part of, and I suspect that most Tea Party members would agree. Although, once again, I am not part of the group and do not speak on its behalf. Thank you for your grace. You are more than welcome to add me to your friends list, as I am always fond of interacting with people with whom I disagree.

I can see the logical connection between government spending and reducing our defense spending, but, knowing what I know of CodePink, I am certainly wary of this sort of “outreach.”  And, while it appears that she meant to be polite, I can’t accept the backhanded swipe at the Tea Party’s “goals and tactics,” particularly given the outrageous tactics employed by CodePink.  Any thoughts?  (I’ll add, just to be clear, that I am not a member of the Tea Party and have never been to an event (although I will be going tomorrow), so I couldn’t join forces in the name of the Tea Party even if I wanted to.  I’m just blogging it because it was interesting.)

Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places

I’m somewhat sorry to admit that I’ve never actually been to a Tea Party protest.  In fact, I’ve never been to any protest at all; they’re just not my style.  Oh, I admit that in my younger days, I was somewhat intoxicated by the allure of hippie-dom, but it was all superficial.  My first year of college coincided with then-President Clinton wagging the dog in the mid-east, and the ensuing rumors of potential war led to many fantasies of growing my hair long and sitting around burning (my male friends’) draft cards while singing songs from Hair.  But then 9/11 came along, and I started answering the few pitiful attempts at anti-war protests with snide comments about whether we should wear our burkas on the way or just change when we got there. 

So, especially now, when I wear suits every day and have a professional haircut and a distinguished-sounding pair of letters following my name, I just can’t see myself standing in a crowd waving a clever sign at a protest, even for a cause in which I deeply believe.  I’m just plain more of the strongly worded blog post or pointless arguments with my friends sort of gal.  But, I do want to join the numbers who are showing their support for this cause, and I do want to be able to say that I took part in something that may prove vital to my children’s and grandchildren’s futures.  More importantly, I need to know what it’s like.  Friendly reports have made it out to be as many wishes and sunshine as the Obama Presidency was supposed to be.  The pure pathetic-ness of reports that aim to contradict tends to back this up.  But there are contradictory reports as well (although unsubstantiated or just plain wrong), and I can’t say for sure unless I”ve been, with my eyes open. 

So, this Thursday, I’ll be tea partying with the best of them.  I won’t carry a sign.  I never was any good at coming up with clever slogans, anyway (witness the name of this blog), and my handwriting is atrocious.  Most importantly, though, I want to ensure that my hands are free for working my camera and smart phone.  I want to document every part of this event.  I will be particularly on the lookout for anything that so much as hints at the bad behavior of so many accusations, and promise to document it to the teeth.  I’m not the most outgoing person, but, if I see anything that so much as hints at racism or calls to violence, I will make an attempt to speak to the person and find out his or her thoughts.  There have been allegations that the not so loyal opposition will be attempting to libel and discredit; this, too I will attempt to suss out.  

I live in the south, in a truly red district.  We are exactly the unenlightened rubes in flyover country that liberals love to loath and scorn.  If there’s anything to see, I can’t imagine that I won’t see it.  If.   I don’t expect to see anything like this, or this, or this, but if I do, you have my word that it will get documented here.  Check back for results.

Update: Published this as a story at NewsBlaze.
Here’s a link to the event that I’ll be attending.