Category Archives: tea party

Out to Pasture

 
 
On Meet the Press this past Sunday, October 20, 2013, Round Table guests talked about the need for Obama to find a way to isolate the 40 or so “renegades” in Congress, to corral them and negate their influence, and the fact that he has not been able to do this is what has made him look weak. Does Obama have any allies who could help him do this? Is this even possible? This seems like a highly desirable outcome if it could succeed. Then the Democrats and the more moderate Conservatives could get some things done for America and the American people.

If the Republicans, through effective obstructionism are able to prevent Democrats from trying any of their solutions for empowering the middle class, stimulating the economy, improving infrastructure, and lowering our carbon footprint to levels that may effectively halt global warming, then we will have wasted eight years and we will not ever know if those policies would have succeeded. Better to let us try our solutions out; then if they fail I guess that Republicans can have their way with us, but they haven’t given the American people that chance.

These experts at the Round Table felt that the Immigration Bill might be the legislation that would give Obama the opening, if he had a good game plan, to cut the most extreme right wingers, the tea partiers if you will, from the herd. If that highly desirable goal could be achieved then we might not have to pin all our hopes on the 2014 election (although the Democrats should still put their energy into winning whatever seats they can) and we would have a valuable new Immigration Law in the bargain. Almost every economist tells us that passing the Immigration Bill would have a very positive effect on our economy.

My little heart goes pitter-pat with hope as these political analysts raise the possibility that Obama could find a strategy to defuse the Tea Party and send them into far pastures from which their bellowing cannot be heard. President Obama, could this really happen? I guess we can’t arrest them for sedition because they sort of backed down (not really). We don’t have a great “cattle dog” who could herd those tea partiers up to the back forty. Who would that cattle dog be? My brain has nothing. Perhaps some of those really smart people out there can come up with a clever idea.

If not then we must elect Democrats in 2014. This does not mean we need to send all of our Representatives out into the cold. We can’t just throw the bums out. We tried that before. We need to be smart about this. We need to study the electorate and get a Democrat elected wherever we possibly can.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Basically A Rant

 

The correct strategies for America are not always the most selfish ones. It’s not all about us all the time. Sometimes we must look at the big picture because everything is interconnected. Some string that is pulled somewhere else can unravel or re-knit our future.

And, then there is the truth that, at this point in time, the Republicans will not allow Obama to pass any new laws that improve the economy, the infrastructure, or jobs. If we don’t elect Democrats in 2014 we have almost 3 long years to concentrate on foreign affairs. If we truly do not want to get involved in any more wars, I would trust Obama much more than I would trust the Republicans to admonish a dictator without getting us involved in a foreign war. The only way the war in Syria can escalate and suck in the world is if a powerful force like Russia joins in. If Putin is serious about helping get rid of the chemical weapons in Syria, then he probably is not interested in starting World War III. If we stay civil and Russia stays civil then perhaps we can pull this off. Americans do not appear to be too fond of civility right now, sad to say. Instead all the little voices fall in line echoing the charge that Obama is a weak President. I repeat; if Obama can end the use of chemical weapons in Syria without starting a new war, then he is anything but weak.

If there is anything this President does that is weak it is to give Republicans another opening to tout his weakness and force him to bargain when these Republicans know all along that they will say “no” to him again and again and again. This does not make Obama seem weak to me. It makes him seem like a President who respects the Constitution and who tries to give Republicans every opportunity to cut out the partisan politics and do their jobs as outlined in that very Constitution that describes how our government is supposed to work. Nowhere in the Constitution I read does it say that people outside the government should be promised a stronger allegiance than is given to a fair consideration of the laws that build a stronger America.

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers should be like the rest of us. They are citizens with one vote each. But they have found ways to pull the strings of large numbers of Americans turning them into disenchanted citizens and puppet voters who repeat, like mantras, arguments drummed into them by skillful pundits. These pundits know the fears some Americans hold in their hearts and minds and they stoke the fires lit under these fears, bank the coals, and then stoke them again. They have fostered a bunch of conspiracy junkies and they will ruin America if we let them. These pundits have been primed to serve the interests of Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party and whatever other shadowy figures are in the Conservative Cabal.

So we have plenty of time to take the big view, the long view, while we wait for America to wake up and throw off the strings of the mind controllers who have taken over the GOP.

What would we like to see happen in the Middle East? Perhaps we would like to see strong, healthy Middle Eastern countries where government and religion are separate. Perhaps people in the Middle East will chose peaceful coexistence and tolerance over hate and aggression; these nations’ peoples will find a balance that will allow the citizens to live stable and productive lives in which there is no dictator holding on to all of the nations’ wealth. What can we do to encourage this? Wouldn’t such an outcome have a profoundly positive effect on us and the world? Playing a bit of referee doesn’t seem too much to ask from the rest of the world community. After all we have plenty of time right now to keep an eye on the violations of war behavior which result in the horrors of genocide. If we allow these practices we will never achieve that real peace, tolerance, and prosperity we wish for the Middle East and the world.

If you want Obama to accomplish our goals for our domestic future then you had better raise your voice and tell Republicans to stop obstructionism in Congress, to stop encouraging red states to pass laws that challenge the current laws in America, and to stop brainwashing and scaring gullible Americans. We need to elect Democrats in 2014.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

 

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Who’s a Patriot?

 
I realize that lots of activities that occur in an election cycle are suspect as tactics that skirt legality. I also realize that both parties probably engage in these kinds of behavior. To have the losing party, guilty of their own departures from polite governance (gerrymandering, manipulating voter laws), focusing in classic sour grapes fashion on possible “dirty tricks” of the opposite party is normal for a short period of time after an election, but we expect the pouting and posturing to die down after a brief period of venting and we expect proper legislative behavior to ensue.

 

I also admit that the IRS should not use its prodigious powers of intimidation against any particular group to manipulate political outcomes or as a way to target a political group. This could be used to move a democracy towards tyranny. However, if one political party twists the intent of a tax classification for purposes of moving illegal money into a campaign, since this is a tax classification, it would fall to the IRS to investigate whether there was abuse, in this case of 501(C)(4)’s. Since the Democratic Party did not rely heavily on 501(C)(4) groups, but used a new digital approach it is possible they did not invite the same level of scrutiny as the same tax forms did on the Republican side.

 

If the President ordered the IRS to make the process of approval as a 501(C)(4) group more difficult, then that would be very wrong, of course. Would it be worse than the strategies employed by the other party? I guess we will answer that question when and if we have to. In the meantime, this still looks like a case where IRS employees used certain “search” terms to zero in on the forms that might be political as opposed to social and therefore ineligible for 501(C)(4) status. And that is what I want to address, those search terms and who they “belong” to.

 

If you look up patriot online you get this definition:

 

patriot n. 1. A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. 2. An automated surface-to-air missile system designed for early detection and interception of missiles or aircraft.

 
 

Or you might get this definition, basically the same without the mention of enemies and detractors:

Definition of PATRIOT

: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

 

If you type “images of American Patriots” into a search line some inspirational images pop up, but so do a pretty fair number of references to insurgencies and even some rather disturbing images which some people apparently see as satire or commentary. Here are a few of the images I found:

 

I always think of myself as an American patriot because I love my country and I support its authority and interests. I don’t blindly support everything that is done by every single American, but I am proud that America has shown the way to respect freedom and equality and that so many governments around the world have grown to celebrate similar values.

So when a group of Americans usurps the word Patriots and uses it to set themselves above other Americans and to exclude Americans who don’t agree with them, I feel that I have to remind them (Conservatives) that, contrary to contemporary usage and Fox pundits, the right wing does not own the term Patriot. These people, our neighbors, have a mental weakness that accepts the brainwashing of someone like Glenn Beck who is using them to foment some kind of “patriot” revolution, 1776-style, and to scare the bejeezus out of the rest of us. Nothing has happened in America that necessitates the raising of a militia to defend us from tyranny. The tyranny being discussed has been created to drum up ratings in the entertainment arm of the news business. Any one of us, even the most extreme Liberal, is a proud American Patriot, but perhaps just not as easily hypnotized by hysterical rhetoric.

Therefore it follows that just because the IRS searched for the keyword “patriot”, doesn’t mean that they chose that word to zero in on Conservatives. Maybe the IRS thinks that there can be Liberal Patriots also. The Tea Party does not own the word Patriot either. They don’t really even own the words “tea party”.