Friday, April 17, 2009

TEA P.O.'d

Maybe you guys can help me understand something here. (I doubt it. I'm pretty thick-skulled about a lot of things. But when you need enlightenment, what better place to turn to than the anonymous Inkernetz).

Hold on a sec while I finish listening to this Springsteen song on my iPod. (Ah yes, at some level everybody DOES have a hu-hu-hung-er-y heart). Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

So Tax Day 2009 was quite the event this year. Finally after years of liberals and Democrats telling the country we're wasting money, some people from across the political aisle listened and came out to peacefully demonstrate and to agree and to say that, hey maybe we need to take a look at what we're spending our kids', grandkids' and great grandkids' and their great-great grandkids' money on.

Seems sensible to me. Seems like finally a lot of people are getting on the same page.

To be honest I was surprised by the demonstrations. It gave me the teeniest, tiniest ghost of a shred of hope that maybe our society might not go completely down the crapper.

(Of course, I still maintain that it's too late, that we've already passed the event horizon into the black hole of cultural decline. We already have achieved the critical mass of people in our country who have learned that it's easier to vote themselves somebody else's money that to take personal responsibility for themselves and their community.)

But a lot of the responses to the Taxed Enough Already demonstrations kind of surprised me when I read them. I'm not talking about the unclever, sophomoric sexual innuendos. I completely expected those from the Internet. Hell, I applaud them. I think that sort of thing is the highest calling of Internet self-publishing.

What I didn't expect was for people who for years complained about runaway spending when it comes to fake wars, have suddenly gone quiet when it comes to wasting an order of magnitude MORE money.

Did I say they've gone quiet? Let me correct myself. They're actually criticizing the very people who are agreeing with them.
Today, these selfish, greedy conservatives are overestimating the attendance of other selfish, greedy, brainless Fox-Zombies at their inherently racist "Tea Parties".
Ostensibly the parties protested the massive expansion of government, the accompanying growth of the federal budget and, not least, the use of taxpayer money to bail out private individuals and businesses in danger of financial collapse. These events may well be worthy of protest — and vigorous dissent is a vital, necessary part of the American tradition — but they were happening five months ago. Conservatives were not massing in the streets then, however.
My suspicion is that, as usual, this comes down to partisan politics. The partisans on one side are pissed at the partisans on the other side for doing the exact same thing they used to do. The sides are interchangeable.

It's noteworthy (but not surprising) that despite Mr. Obama's promises to "change the way things are done" and the blind faith placed in him by so many back in November of last year, nothing has changed except for the all-too predictable role reversal.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what is the point of people who ask "Where the fuck were these people eight years ago? Seriously, these tea-baggers are late to the party." (This seems to be a standard talking point for one side of the partisan coin).

My first response is "Who cares!" As long as they are now upset enough to say something...

The other answer I would suggest is that the issue might be one of scale. Perhaps the people who were only disgruntled at paying $670 billion for a war that accomplishes nothing have crossed into outrage at ponying up $11.6 Trillion for all of the various bailouts, kickbacks and scams that have come out of the last six or seven months.

FYI, that $11.6 Trillion is enough to pay for SEVENTEEN IRAQ WARS!

Ah yes. It all comes down to money for the partisans. Not how much there is, but who gets to spend it and from whom they take it.

Perhaps The Boss was right after all. Lay down your money and you'll play your part. Everybody's got a hungry heart.

tagged: , , , , , ,


  1. completely agree with you. But I see it from both sides. I've protested the wars and spending of the last 3 different presidents... but the sheep from the party in power are ALWAYS asking, "Where were you blah blah blah?"

    It boils down to... if its my guy spending it or shooting it, then it has to be ok. Oh, and the fact that I'm pretty much a lunatic to both major parties because I believe in real liberty and freedom on social AND financial issues.

  2. It's all very puzzling to me. They actually don't believe anybody but liberals are capable of grassroots organizing. They think they own that venue I guess. I saw lots of older people at the party who had probably not ever attended a protest before. But, what heartened me the most were the many young people, the 20 and 30 somethings who "get it". Maybe all is not lost yet.

  3. I want to know where these people were 6-8 years ago, when Bush was spending 8 Trillion dollars. No, I'm NOT happy with what is currently happening, but the tax code has NOT changed, why are they saying such racist things against Obama? He's not the one who made it!

    It comes down to changing the legislature, THEY are the ones responsible for changing the tax code.

  4. Janet, it wasn't just about the tax code or taxes directly. Sure, that was a part of it. But the biggest issue, if you read the homemade signs of the protestors, is HOW THOSE TAXES ARE SPENT. Billions in bailouts to failing, privately owned, companies. Why are bailouts needed now, when thousands of national companies have gone bancrupt over the last 100 years without the government jumping in and handing out tax dollars.

    Hell, now you have a newly appointed pentagon liason saying that the government needs to bail out newspapers AND LICENSE reporters. Sure, she doesn't make policy for the treasury dept... but she is saying it publicly as part of the Obama admin. She wants to actually license reporters.

  5. Janet,

    I haven't seen the racist anti-Obama comments (but then again, I haven't been looking for them).

    But I think you're correct. It was really bad 6-8 years ago. It's even worse now. I just don't know where the vitriol is coming from against the people who are complaining now that it is getting worse.

  6. first of all, I think protests are worthless. all of them. the only protest that has any results is putting up a candidate you like and getting him elected. you can wave your sign all day long but in the end that's what counts. your elected officials already know what you think and don't care,knowing Travel I am pretty sure there is a file with her calls and letters somewhere in DC and/or Topeka. secondly, of course they will try to portray you as a bunch of sore losers, or racists or religious kooks, that immediately descredits you without arguing the point. lastly I am happy with my decision not to vote, except for stem cell bill(i am for it), obama is doing exactly what mccain would have done: hires lobbyists, continues with the war and gitmo, gives money to banks without accounting and even extends surveillance and phone tapping, etc. no change. oh and he planted some fucking carrots in the white house.

  7. Emaw! I'm always a little embarrassed when I realize you're still reading me!

    Anyway, let me post something here I've posted elsewhere that further clarifies my (ahem) complicated feelings about all this:

    There are three legs to my feelings about the tea parties, two of which I've explored and one of which I've not said anything about at all. And it taking that step back, I'm probably going to demonstrate why I am an inferior pundit.

    Those three legs:

    • RHETORICAL: Sorry, but there was a lot of douchebagginess on display yesterday. Lots of it. And I just hate that kind of stuff. I hate it from my side, too: I've never run with the Kos crowd or Firedoglake because shrillness seems (to me) to be their stock in trade. I don't watch Olbermann and can only occasionally watch Rachel Maddow. (Her dialogue with Ana Marie Cox about "teabagging" was painful for me to watch.) If I hate that stuff from liberals, you can imagine how I feel about it when it comes from conservatives.

    I know. I'm a delicate, wilting flower.

    • POLITICAL: That's mostly what my post-slash-column contribution were about. I get cranky about hypocrisy and many of the folks trying to whip up a frenzy right now were pretty quiet about similar sins during the Bush Era.

    • POLICY: There were a lot of topics thrown in the pot of yesterday's protests, so I'm not going to say the protesters, broadly, have a point. However....

    ...when it comes to debt: They have a point.

    I don't like that how deeply we're plunging into the debt hole. I think a short-term case can be made for it, but it appears we're returning to an era of blithely running deficits, big ones, as the usual course of business. And if the current meltdown is teaching us anything, it's this: Debt as a way of life is unsustainable. And expecting to grow your way out of debt is a recipe for disaster.

    Perhaps I need to be louder about this. (And perhaps it makes my criticism of the tea parties unfair; I don't think that's necessarily the case.) I do think I'm on record about being ambivalent, at best, about this stuff. It's kind of silly to continually shout one's ambivalence to the heavens, however, which is one reason I refrain. Nobody wants to read the Hamlet shtick.

  8. I agree with you, but check your math on the 17,000...

  9. Thanks Anon. I must have put a decimal point in the wrong place
    or something. Shit. I always do that. I always mess up some mundane detail.

  10. hi
    1-new section in English.
    will be expanded shortly.
    2 - Do I want to exchange links between our blogs?

  11. Janet - why ask us about racist things said about Obama? Do you think that conservatives are racist by nature or something? I've heard conservatives charged as racist for everything from economic issues to global warming and quite frankly, that's ridiculous. People are not racist because of issues. The left has used racism as an intimidation tactic and I for one am not buying it. I'm sure people on the left think that since conservatives oppose government spending, we oppose help for the minorities but for heaven sake, even white people are poor. My own mother is on Medicaid. I dunno..just bugs me that people pigeon hole conservatives like that. I wish the Republicans would tax the multi-millionaires about 60% and be done with it so all this class warfare would just stop. Hell most of them are movie stars or sports stars and far lefties anyhow so let them pay what they want to pay !

  12. The people laughing at the tea parties do so cause they're completely disingenuous. Please, everyone knows the kind of deficit spending that took place during the previous administration. Now you're suddenly outraged to the point of protest? All those pussy-faggot liberals warned you before the Iraq War started that if it become a quagmire it'd sink us. And we had the Soviet example in the 80's to show us what/will happen if we continue in Afghanistan. Can't have your cake and eat it too. 2 wars halfway round the world coupled w/ tax cuts and you wonder how we got here? Please.

  13. Everyone seems to forget that it was Bush in charge of the first bailout.

    I don't like ANY of the bailouts at this time. They should have given that money to the American people in either cash or in voucher form for new cars. It's OUR money, why shouldn't WE get it?! Because they don't want the little people to be in power. It's a politician thing.

  14. I hate to post spam, but I worked fairly hard on MY blog to assess the meaning of the Tea Parties/Bags (depending on your political viewpoint).. and while it was difficult, I actually got my wife to sit still and watch this entire post.

    I think it says it, puts into perspective what Fox and the rich are up to. This is from MSNBC and should explain completely why Fox, CNN, and MSNBC are in an all out war with each other for OUR hearts and minds, and viewership.

    Put another way, the white wingers have had full access in talk radio... and now MSNBC is both showing them naked, and also showing radio that there IS an audience for soemthing besides Rush Wing propaganda. Sit through this, it's pretty good.

  15. @Janet,

    I don't think anyone is forgetting that the bailouts started with Bush. Certainly there are a lot of so-called pundits ignoring that. But they are partisans, just like the partisans ignoring the fact that Obama voted in favor of those bailouts started by Bush.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment on the bailouts. In fact, that's what most of the TEA party people were saying as well. The fact that everyone is so close to agreeing on this is probably scaring the shit out of the political establishment (i.e., both fake political "parties").

    I can't tell if you were joking when you say "people laughing at the tea parties do so cause they're completely disingenuous." Laughing at the Tea Parties is in itself disingenuous. So you've got one disingenuous side laughing disingenuously at the other side for being disingenuous.

    If the Soros funded MoveOn organized protesters from two, four, six years ago were so genuine, where are they now? The fake argument goes both ways.

    That's not spam. Feel free to post here anytime. I appreciate your thoughts.

    As far as the networks go, FOX, MSNBC, CNN are all complicit in trying to distract the voting public from the actual important issues. None of them give two shits about anything other than ratings.

    The frothing-at-the-mouth, unclever commentators all have the same goal, to perpetuate the myth of the two-party system which keeps money flowing into the purse of whichever "party" happens to be in power.


Your turn to riff...