Paul Ryan, Chick-Fil-A, Medicare, Top Marginal tax rates, unemployment, NDAA, drone strikes, Fast and the Furious gun walking, Bush Tax cuts… these are the things that have been the topics of US political discussions lately. And almost every single issue has been so clouded that it’s almost impossible to discuss them. The whole Chick-Fil-A issue is just fucking ridiculous, and I’m going to go into more detail about that issue again. But it’s really more than that…
I have been reading the comments the past few days about how Dan Cathy, COO of Chick-Fil-A, has the “right to freedom of speech” and that the “Liberals” hate free speech and want to silence opposition, and other such bullshit. It’s like a complete twist of logic that would be worthy of a 4th grade playground argument.
Here’s the deal: Dan Cathy has the right to say any fool thing he wants to say. He can claim that gays are evil and that Jesus hates them. Nobody gives a shit, really. But people do take offense to claims that the country deserves to have bad things happen to it if LGBT citizens are treated as equals. People take more offense when a company donates millions to hate groups.
This is how freedom of speech works: People have the right to publicly make any claim they want. That applies to Dan Cathy, and those that disagree with him. I’m really sick and fucking tired of Conservatives claiming that people taking offense to their offensive statements are “infringing on their freedom of speech.”
I have written about “class warfare” and the misuse of this term by the American Conservatives quite a bit in the past. The issue reared its head up again over the current economic debates in Washington recently. Yesterday, Paul Ryan stated:
Class warfare may make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people. We don’t need a system that seeks to prey on people’s fear, envy and anxiety.
While he is correct about class warfare not necessarily being good politics, his statement is one of misdirection. President Obama finally stated, “This is not class warfare. It’s math.” He is completely correct, on most accounts. But, I’m not really focused on President Obama’s speech today or his new fiscal proposals. I’m really focused on the rhetoric, tactics and aims of the GOP, especially the Tea Party.
Class warfare is taken from the title of a book of interviews with Noam Chomsky in 1996. Prior to this publication, the term was “class conflict.” Class conflict is a Marxist term. There are several forms of class conflict: direct violence, indirect violence, coercion, or ideology. All of these ideals are concerned with poverty, labor conditions, union power, starvation, government propaganda, and similar themes. All of these ideals are concerned with the wealthy forcing the less wealthy to support their system of power.
Even this whole “Big Government is the problem” ideology is antiquated and unsubstantiated. The Tea Party and their candidates continually insist, “the government is the problem.” Or that “Big government is the problem.” They constantly claim that taxation should be minimal. So, they want a nonexistent government and almost no taxation? They are seriously advocating that the United States be run like Somalia?
As of July 2003, Somalia had no national government. In 1986, income tax in Somalia was between 0% and 19%. In 2003, the sales tax rate was 10%. Really? This is the nation we want to aspire to be? Somalia?
They also claim that National Health Care is oppressive and destroys freedom and financial growth. They claim that unions and labor organizations stifle the economy. They claim that outsourcing labor is responsible for the destruction (or erosion) of the middle class.
There is a country that has no “at will” employment. Employees are guaranteed 24 paid vacation days per year, though most get 4 to 6 weeks. Maternity leave and working conditions are legislated at a high level. This country also opened up six more factories in a cheaper country this year, so far. Germany is hardly the same picture as Somalia. They make cars that automatically avoid accidents (if the driver isn’t paying attention) and parking lots that automatically stack cars underground. Germany also has 6.1% unemployment.
Are we really to believe that there is “sound reasoning” behind the GOP/Tea Party ideology? And back to the Conservative rhetoric: Class warfare? Really? They also claim to be against “Big Government” – yet, they want the government to legislate who can get an abortion, who can get married, what religions are valid – and they want the state to execute people. How much more power can you give the government over the right to take people’s lives? The point of all this is not to turn the American Democrats into saints, or even to validate them as effective or even validate them as valid… only to point out that the American Conservatives are full of empty rhetoric.
A few weeks ago, the American Conservatives claimed that Congresswoman Waters advocated violence by stating, “The Tea Party can go straight to hell...” in response to a Tea Party members’ statement that the Democrats were plantation overseers. On Sunday, Andrew Breitbart stated that the American Conservatives/Tea Party were armed and ready for conflict with the “Liberals” – and claimed American military would support them.
I’m under attack all the time. They call me gay, there are death threats… There are times where I’m not thinking as clearly as I should, and in those unclear moments, I always think to myself, ‘Fire the first shot.’ Bring it on. Because I know who’s on our side. They can only win a rhetorical and propaganda war. They cannot win. We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns… I’m not kidding. They talk a mean game, but they will not cross that line because they know what they’re dealing with.
And I have people who come up to me in the military, major named people in the military, who grab me and they go, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing, we’ve got your back.’ And, so … So…
They understand that. These are the unspoken things we know, they know.
Just to be clear… Breitbart elaborates more here:
He says, “… to be clear … I’m talking about civil war … ”
If American Military officials are telling him they will support an armed insurrection against American citizens, they are committing high treason. If he is complicit in the act, he should be tried for it, too. This is a high crime. One of the highest. And this guy is an asshat. He edited videos that destroyed community service organizations and sabotaged Shirley Chisholm’s career, by selective editing. He is not a journalist, he is a propagandist.
When Breitbart states that military officials have confided in him that they would support an armed insurrection, where is the support of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security procedures that the Tea Party so consistently endorses? I think Dick Cheney should Waterboard Breitbart until he names every single military officer that confided in him to endorse high treason.
At the very bottom of it all… the Tea Party and the GOP are all empty rhetoric. We already know they hate science, so there is no science behind their claims. They hate half of America, at least. They consistently espouse Marxist rhetoric to condemn Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and even most forms of Capitalism… really, the Tea Party prove more every day that they are nothing but contemporary, American Fascists.
Finally, what ever happened to Sarah Palin? I know I shouldn’t care… but Palin quotes are the gift that keeps on giving.
We begin today with a short journey in Chinese literature and history. In 1922, a book was published by Lǔ Xùn (鲁迅) entitled 呐喊 (Nahan), or A Call To Arms. In the preface, Xun discusses a story of an event that happened to him while studying medicine in Japan. He was presented with a ‘slide’ of an image taken during the Russo-Japanese War. In the image was a Chinese man about to be beheaded for spying on the Japanese. Xun was shocked at the expressions of Chinese in the picture. He surmised that, although they seemed to be in adequate physical health, they were “broken” spiritually. Lu Xun would go on to become one of the most internationally renowned Chinese authors, as well as one of the few participants in the 五四运动 (May Fourth Movement) not to join the Communist Party. (Chinese tend to utilize military terms as social commentary… or at least, for a double entendré. So, I am pointing out that I am not utilizing this term to ask people to commit violence, “A Call To Arms” was not meant to be a physical call to mobilize firearms, per se.)
I find the story of Lu Xun and the May Fourth Movement are highly relevant today. So, first we take a short trip to revisit a quick overview of the May 4th Movement. The root cause of the May Fourth Movement was the Treaty of Versailles. During WWI, China had joined forces with the Allies, on the ground that Germany would relinquish Shandong (山东) back to China. Shandong was the birthplace of Confucius and, therefore, a special place in China. Despite this, in the Treaty of Versailles, Shandong was conceded to Japan, instead of China. (Eventually, Shandong was conceded to China, with special privileges to the Japanese.)
The problem with the handling of Shandong did not go over well with the population of China. It caused the government to be viewed as ‘weak.’ This is especially problematic in China, with the concept of the Dynastic Cycle ( 朝代循环) and the Mandate of Heaven (天命) – (which is too much to detail here). The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1911 by the XinHai Revolution (辛亥革命) over anger of corruption and abuses by the Imperial Dynasty . . . the May Fourth Movement, or the New Culture Movement, quickly followed the XinHai Revolution. This was a massive student uprising that eventually led to the birth of “Chinese Communism.” It was also a pivotal point where China turned its back on Western Liberalism . . . because of feeling slighted by the Shandong problem and lack of proper enforcement of Wilson’s “Fourteen Points.” More or less: Chinese culture felt as though Western Imperialism would never accept Chinese culture.
What is really interesting in the May Fourth Movement, is that Chiang Kai-shek (or Jiǎng Jièshí) – a close ally of Sun Yat-sen, had decried Marxism as “Western interventionism” and “counter to Chinese ideals.” Chiang and Sun Yat-sen would go on to be an important figures in the formation of the KMT (KuoMingTan) in Taiwan. I find this interesting because we tend to look at Chinese Communism as the “foreign” or “oriental” philosophy, instead of the Imperialism of the KMT. It really is a matter of perspective. (Thank you, Nietzsche.)
I finally got cable television again, for a bit. I’ve been a bit bored and missed having the 24 hours news cycle available. The other day, I decided to find out more about Imogen Lloyd Webber. She’s been on the news a bit lately. I already knew who her father was and I had known of her book, but her political observations were pretty interesting. So, when someone pops up on my radar, I do a “quick and dirty” search on Google to get a feel of their perspective. It is pretty effective. If you just do a Google search on Joe Madison, you can get a feel of his perspective in about fifteen minutes. The same thing works for Michelle Bachmann, Anne Coulter, Lewis Black… and on and on. There are problematic examples, like Stephen Colbert.
When I searched for Imogen Lloyd Webber, I did not find much of what I was seeking. I did find a little factual information from Wikipedia and such. It was a bit impressive… she went to Queen’s College, London and Girton College, Cambridge. She runs a theatre production company, she is an author, and appears regularly on MSNBC and Fox News.
Majority of what I found were YouTube clips of “Imogen Lloyd Webber’s legs. Long clips of sliced up segments of Fox News’ Red Eye, to the point where there is no coherent dialogue, just clips stitched together to show her legs. I found a ton of images of her. On clip I saw, another co-host on Red Eye made some sexist joke about Virgin Airlines and Imogen that I found completely distasteful. The only other piece I found with views of what Imogen actually has to say, was on her own website/blog.
Imogen Lloyd Webber’s website defines her as: “your typical “liberal” modern woman – never knowingly short of an opinion on everything from deficit reduction to Kim Kardashian!“ That’s the only place I could find any of her opinions. I guess it is a good thing that I had to actually find her actual words to make a judgement on her perspective. But, sometimes, that is tedious. If a person did not know who Glenn Beck was, today, they could Google him and ascertain from others if they are even interested in hearing what Beck has to say. No such luxury with Imogen.
I realize I have not added any entries this month. For the few and faithful that return, I apologize.
At least someone is interesting.
I have to also admit, I have become increasingly disenchanted with American politics. Look at what’s been going on and there’s really nothing constructive to say. I could write about how Donald Trump is a racist asshole, but who cares? Anyone from the tri-state area already knows this is true. Newt Gingrich? I have had nothing but utter contempt for this man for majority of my life… I really have little to say about him. Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are still idiots. Michelle Bachmann issues her utterances of innanity here and there…
There is a Presidential election coming up in 2012 and no one seems to care. Reports of the Rapture by Harold Camping have been taking headline news, as well as Arnold’s love child… because there really is no news. I do not care about Arnold’s child out of wedlock…and nothing that I can imagine will make me care. I don’t care about Newt Gringrich, at all.
I am a bit amused there is a For Profit school named UTI. But really, there is not much amusing about For Profit schools.
So, I have been around, but not updating entries. I actually have been a bit busy… but I don’t put my personal business on this site much, so I’ll leave it at that.