Tea Partiers and Occupiers Come Together For Beer Summit

I just found this video, and I had to share. It’s so unbelievably cool.

Quick background: Occupy showed up at CPAC to protest. Some conference attendees went out to confront the Occupiers. Arguments ensued. Then:

AWESOME. It’s worth all fifteen minutes. If you’re short on time, the condensed version is here.

Stop for a minute. Just imagine what could happen if the Tea Party and Occupy actually “came together” and fought together on the issues that they agree on.

Imagine.

The Tea Party: Not Quite Dead

From the Daily Beast:

“The Tea Party movement is dead. It’s gone,” says Chris Littleton, the cofounder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of Tea Party groups in Ohio. “I think largely the Tea Party is irrelevant in the primaries. They aren’t passionate about any of the candidates, and if they are passionate, they’re for Ron Paul.”

I wouldn’t say the Tea Party is dead. As far as it being a popular political movement, sparking protests, rallies, and changing the political game–yes. That game is up for the Tea Party.

As it is right now, the Tea Party is a Republican Party boogeyman. It’s a demographic within the GOP to be feared and pandered to. It shapes the message of Republican candidates and office-holders.

However, the problem is, the Republican Party already has a boogeyman to be feared: the Religious Right. The RR has had a stronghold in the party for years now, and it’s not going to relinquish its status as the Demographic That Must Be Pleased, or else it is the end of your legislation, your message, and your political career.

The Republican Party is struggling right now. It’s doing this awkward shuffle-dance to try to appeal to both demographics at once, with embarrassing results. Both demographics are competing for supremacy within the GOP, and the results are yet to be seen–hence, Republican candidates are playing to both sides, waiting to see which demographic will come out on top, and subsequently appearing lukewarm and somewhat repellant to both sides.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t conservatives and Republicans that identify with both the Religious Right and the Tea Party–there certainly are. This also alters the appearance of both groups, to a certain extent.

Until this power struggle has come to an end, the GOP isn’t going to be able to fully unite and face off against the Democrats. Republicans are fighting a war on two fronts–and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any agreement in time for the Presidential election later this year.

Tucson Unified School District Bans Books

Remember when Arizona banned ethnic studies in the state’s schools?

Well.

The Tucson Unified school district has succumbed, deciding against fighting the measure, and has complied a list of books that are banned from the district’s classrooms.

from Brenda Norrell:

“Students said the banned books were seized from their classrooms and out of their hands, after Tucson schools banned Mexican American Studies, including a book of photos of Mexico. Crying, students said it was like Nazi Germany, and they were unable to sleep since it happened.”

This is unacceptable. Banning books is banning knowledge–just what is it that Tucson and Arizona officials do not want schoolchildren in Arizona to know?

Here is a shortlist of the books banned:

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by  Paolo Freire

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuña

Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Chicano!: The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales

500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures by Elizabeth Martinez

Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

Evidently, anything where “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes.”

The Tucson Citizen reports that OccupyTUSD will be holding a daily protest from 4-6pm at the school district headquarters.

I plan to add these books to my reading list–anything that John Huppenthal, the Tea Partier that was elected in 2010 to Arizona’s statewide superintendent of public instruction post, is so afraid of. (And really? Who the fuck elects a Tea Partier to an education post? Apparently Arizona. Come on, Arizona. What. The. Fuck.)

You know what I’d like to do, though? I’d like to send copies of these books to the students that had theirs snatched away from them. Let’s do that. Would anybody else like to do that?

One Thing I’ve Noticed

The Occupy protesters have been corralled, beaten, maced, and arrested in huge numbers.

They are unarmed.

The Tea Party protesters were not.

They carried Rugers on their hips and slung AKs over their backs.

Hmm.

Weinergate? Please.

If you want to know why Breitbart and his cronies set their sights on Congressman Anthony Weiner, check out this excellent piece by Allan at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Seriously, click it.

If you need another reason to discredit the Congressman’s detractors (other than the victim’s statement saying she doesn’t believe for a minute Weiner sent her the photo, Weiner’s denials, the demonstrations of the ease of hacking Yfrog, the mismatch between “the photo” and other photos the Congressman has uploaded, the fact that the only person who saw the tweet was harassing both Weiner and Cordova, et cetera and so on.) this piece is the golden nail in the coffin.

 

 

Tea Party Unhappy With GOP, Congress, and Everything.

It’s already begun. The 112th Congress hasn’t even convened yet and the Tea Party is already unhappy with the GOP. Well, they’re unhappy with the 111th Congress as well, but that’s no surprise. After all, the 111th Congress dared to be productive during the lame duck session, disregarding a letter from incoming Senators asking to delay passing legislation until the new Congress convenes.

What did I say several months ago about the Tea Party fracturing the GOP? Oh yeah.

I’m not surprised that the Tea Party is shocked, shocked, that the 111th Congress, free from the 2010 elections, moved on important and controversial pieces of legislation. It’s not uncommon for incumbents to delay votes on controversial legislation until after elections, but, the Tea Party doesn’t care about that. I’m not surprised that they try to do the same, then throw fits when incumbents do what incumbents have always done.

I’m not surprised that the Tea Party is shocked that their brand-new, inexperienced candidates didn’t get leadership positions on important committees. They have much to learn, including that you cannot run a committee, much less a government, like you run a political rally. It will be interesting to see how these Tea Party politicians will develop as they learn the inner-workings of Congress.

Election Day

Today is election day. Tonight we’ll see if Kentucky has gone completely insane. We’ll see if we deserve the reputation we’ve gotten nationally, and internationally.

I don’t need to read the reaction to Rand Paul’s campaign staffers jumping a young, liberal woman to know what the reaction is. I know there are scores of people blaming the woman for three men beating the ever-loving stool out of her. We blame women for being stalked, harassed, raped, beaten by their partners, why not blame them for conservative, tea bagging thugs stomping on their heads?

Thing is, this incident is a lot more than anyone else has bothered to say.

Domestic terrorism.

Voter intimidation.

Oh yeah, I said it. That’s what it is. These Rand Paul fanatics, supporters and employees, beat the stool out of this woman because she disagreed with them. Full stop. Plan and simple. This woman dared to speak publicly, voicing her political opinion, taking and exercising her Constitution-given right. And these Rand Paul thugs couldn’t stand it. I bet Rand Paul couldn’t stand it, either.

We are admonished as children to be careful who we choose to befriend, because who we associate with says a lot about us. Our friends reflect our values, and what’s more, these friends influence us.

Rand Paul chose to associate with violent, fanatical thugs. He chose to associate with men who believe our Constitutional rights only apply to them, and people who look and think like them. Anyone else? Better sit down, and shut up, or they’ll beat the stool out of you, too. Sounds like Al-Qaeda. Why? Because they are very, very similar. Using violence, or threat of violence to silence dissent is domestic terrorism.

It’s also voter intimidation. Voting is the ultimate way we express our political opinions. Will this woman ever be able to attend a rally, vote, or even wear a button without checking around to make sure tea bagger, Rand Paul thugs aren’t around? It’s doubtful.

Rand Paul’s thugs didn’t just intimidate this one, single woman. They intimidated all of us. They sent a message to all women, to all liberals: here’s what will happen to you if you don’t do exactly as we say.

Rand Paul disassociated with these thugs too little, too late. He, and the tea party spent months courting these thugs, and people like them, whipping them up into a fervor, feeding them lies, telling them that we liberals want to kill America and eat their babies, especially us liberal women. I’m horrified at what happened to Lauren Valle, but I’m not surprised in the least. This isn’t an isolated incident.

Tea party candidates across the nation have themselves, or had their employees use threat of violence, or actual violence against citizens who question them. Joe Miller hired military servicemembers as security, who then assaulted and illegally detained a reporter for asking a question. Rand Paul and Dan Seum manhandled a 70-something year old man who dared to ask questions they didn’t like at the Southwest Government Center here in Louisville. This shows a pattern. A pattern of violence, contempt of dissent, disregard for our Constitution and our political process. We cannot as responsible citizens condone this behavior. Not by ignorant individuals, and certainly not candidates to political office in the United States government.

Responsible and ethical Republican and conservative friends and readers, this is not the party you believe in. I’m sorry to say it, but ignorance, hatred, greed, and contempt have infected your party, and led to these despicable events. However much you may wish for your party to gain power, today is not the time. Violence needs to be quelled. Fanatics need to be purged. Hatred needs to be expelled from your ranks. There needs to be some in-house cleaning, and that cannot happen when these fanatics believe their tactics intimidated us, and gotten them what they wanted.

I stood up in the face of Rand Paul thugs’ intimidation and violence. As a liberal woman, I stood up and voted today. Against violence. Against voter intimidation. Against silencing of dissent.

But not without checking around me for Rand Paul supporters.

Rand Paul Needs Schooling, Part 2

Rand Paul not only needs some schooling on campaigning—I need to expand his curriculum. Recently he held a meet and greet at the Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway. He did not expect anyone but his loyal fans and supporters at this event, apparently. It was to be a two-hour event—it ended after 30 minutes. Why? Citizens were asking questions!

People, this is American Government 101, or Voting 093 (a remedial class, I’ve decided. Rand Paul needs both.). No one, no one, should vote without getting to know the candidates, and their stands on important issues. If a candidate is not forthcoming, it is the public’s job to ask those questions. If a candidate refuses to answer them, that is abject and utter failure on the part of the candidate, and a sign of his inability to be a public servant.

This video, shot and posted by HillBilly Report, shows Rand Paul happily walking around, shaking the hands of the citizenry. HillBilly, and any other citizen that asks questions gets the cold shoulder. Rand Paul stops smiling, withdrawls his hand, and turns his back on these citizens. He dodges them like Pac-man dodges the ghosts in the old Namco game. It would be comical, If it weren’t so sad. Most stand there, disbelieving, as he hurries away.

In the video Hill Billy persues Rand Paul, camera rolling, asking his question, and then asking why Paul isn’t answering his question. Rand Paul runs like a boy fearing cooties on the playground. When he leaves the room, Hill Billy follows, determined to get some kind of answer from Paul. What happens next is appalling. He’s assaulted—his arm is grabbed, and it appears Paul and his companion, State Sen. Dan Seum, are trying to get him back in the auditorium. What candidate thinks it is a good idea, not only to so blatantly avoid questions, but to resort to this kind of behavior to get rid of concerned citizens?

It doesn’t end there—no. He tells the AP Hillbilly was harassing him!

Now, these weren’t young punks* trying to get a rise out of a Tea Party Darling. Hillbilly is a 71-year-man. The citizens were retirement age—one only wanted to know what Rand Paul wanted to do (or not) to Social Security. One was a working man, still wearing his hard hat.

I say again: if this is how Rand Paul acts as a candidate, when he is trying to court the votes of the citizenry, he will be ten times worse as a representative. The position Paul is campaigning to be elected to, no matter the title or prestige that comes with it, is a public office. The job is to serve the public. It is not a letter of nobility. It is not a position to aspire to in order to hook up your friends. (or fans. Or supporters.)

*Not that young voters would do so, of course. I am a young voter myself, so I know that certain people, ahem, are often quick to take the passion of a young voter and/or activist, and dismiss us as antagonistic. Which is a shame—they’ll push us away if we’re too passionate; then lament our “apathy.”

There’s no telling how many parts to this series there will be. The OP wasn’t intended to be the beginning of a blog series at all! But, Rand Paul, like his darling Tea Party, is like a gift that just keeps on giving!

Kentucky LGBTs and Discrimination.

Last night I came upon this documentary. It is called “Out in Silence.” Joe Wilson, living in DC, decided to put a wedding announcement in his hometown paper, in Oil Town, PA, coming out to his hometown after years of being closeted. What happened next was both expected and unexpected–a lot of folk were enraged that a gay man put a wedding announcement in the newspaper, and used it as a launching pad to voice their opposition to gay rights. He expected that. What Joe did not expect was a letter from a mother in Oil Town, asking for his help. Her teenaged son is gay, you see, and getting harassed and bullied for it. The school does nothing. So, Joe Wilson and his partner make the trip to Oil Town, Pennsylvania, and this film is the result. It is 55 minutes long; if you have time to watch it, I would recommend you do so.

The teenage boy, CJ’s story is heartbreaking. He’s verbally harassed and physically beaten. He gets death threats. People threaten to burn down his home. Teachers and administrators are present and do nothing. With Joe’s help, CJ and his mother begin to fight the school board (one of the school board members smirks as CJ’s mother describes the harassment and bullying CJ suffers). They eventually take their fight to the legislature, and win anti-discrimination training for school teachers.

This morning, I wake up to this: Tim Ravndal, President of Montana’s Big Sky Tea Party jokes on his facebook page about murdering LGBT folks, and Matthew Shepard’s murder in 1998 is referenced as a “guide.”

Horrific, yes? The Big Sky Tea Party has since voted to remove Ravndal as President.

Where am I going with this?

I think you know.

Read the rest at my Local Voices blog here.

Why The GOP May Not Gain As Much As They Think

As yet another election season approaches, there’s a lot of talk about Democrats losing political offices, and Republicans gaining them. I’m not going to go into all of the reasons that Democrats have to worry, because those have been widely discussed, debated, and posited upon. Though I recognize that it is typical for the in-power party to lose seats in midterms, I want to present arguments that I think Republicans have to worry–and why they might not gain as many seats as so many seem to think.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

1) The GOP’s money problems

According to this article on Politico.com, the Republican National Committee, the RNC is having, ahem, financial difficulties. The committee had to take out $10 million in a line of credit to finance “relatively small” House races. They’re only able to pay for a fraction of the initiatives the RNC usually sponsors for elections, such as GOTV (get out the vote), phone banks, mailings, et cetera, and are instead relying upon conservative group American Crossroads to pick up the slack. Republican House and Senatorial Committees are only getting a fraction of the money they usually get, as are Gubernatorial and Congressional candidates.

This lack of cash flow will have a huge impact all over the political sphere–like it or not, our political system runs on money. The more of it a candidate or party has, the more resources they have to get their message out, to put their face in living rooms, and to get the desired demographics to the voting booth. It’s also a race. If a candidate has a significantly lower amount of cash to campaign with than does his or her opponent, then not only are not getting face-time, but your opponent is getting a lot of it, and voters are more likely to remember your opponent than you.

2. The Tea Party. Oh, yeah. The Tea Party. The gift that keeps on giving, but not so much to the Republican Party.

The Tea party is a recent phenomenon, a reaction to President Obama’s election. They haven’t yet experienced an election season, so the remainder of this year will be very interesting. Like many have pointed out, the Tea party’s lack of leadership, unity, and direction is attractive for rhetoric, but bad for getting things done. The Tea Party membership is also highly conservative. So much so, that in fact it may divide up the Republican party, making mainline Republicans to support certain candidates, while Tea Party Republicans will support more extreme candidates, with more extreme ideas and positions. This is not going to win elections. This is going to fracture the party, meanwhile, Democrats will have the same base of support they’ve always had.

3. Some candidates running for office.

Kentucky: US Senator: Rand Paul.

The Tea Party candidate, a darling of libertarians, Rand Paul is the one who famously came out against the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. I must note, not against their ideals, but that they forced private businesses to stop discriminating, and required them to accommodate differently-abled employees (if they had over 20 employees). Regardless, as a self-declared Tea Partier, his radical views on long-standing legislation, especially legislation that has long been regarded in the public as necessary as well as huge gains for the United States, is not going to help the Tea Party, or the Republican Party be viewed as anything but “the party of no” and regression.

His glib reaction to the BP oil spill is also not going to help, especially considering the crickets from other Tea Partiers and Republicans when this came out.

Throw in that he certifies himself to practice Ophthalmology, that board is not certified by the American Medical Association, and new allegations of his involvement in a kidnapping and forced-pot-smoking on the victim, and Rand Paul looks like a bad candidate, indeed.

Nevada: US Senator: Sharron Angle

Another darling of the Tea Party, and vocal opponent of the health care reform, Sharron might have been okay here, considering how unpopular the bill has been with Conservatives, except:

“there’s nothing wrong with our health care system.”

Whoops! While many would say that the legislation wasn’t the answer to the issues within our health care system, very few would say that it is perfect as it is.

She’s the famous one who recommended “Second Amendment remedies” for political disagreements. Don’t like someone’s political views? Shoot ‘em up! Sorry, no. I’m in favor of gun rights, but only for personal safety. Only for self-defense. That definition doesn’t extend to intimidating people to win arguments or promote legislation. This is horrifying to most Americans–our political system is a democratic-republic and based in freedom of expression. Anyone advocating for repression of that is one that will repel and disgust Americans. Even though she has retracted this statement, it will not soon be forgotten by voters. Indeed, after this atrocity, her ratings dropped.

Throw in her statements advocating the “phasing out” of Medicare and Social Security, which is not going to sit well with older constituents, her refusal to speak to mainstream media outlets because they “won’t let [her] ask for money,” and her advocating the elimination of the Department of Education, and Sharron Angle’s election is not only in trouble, but also the image of the Republican Party.

She’s alienating parents, older voters, as well as those voters who abhor violence, value the back-and-forth our political system provides, and those who do not appreciate candidates who hide behind biased sources and refuse to speak to media outlets who won’t allow her to beg for money. So, pretty much everyone.

From Dan Raes thinking that a public bicycle program is evidence of a communist conspiracy, to Sharron Angle’s advocating getting rid of the Department of Education, these Tea Party candidates are dividing the GOP, and thus, votes in November. Moderates and Independents will likely not vote for such extreme-positioned candidates.

4. Ted Olsen.

The attorney made famous by representing George W. Bush in the infamous case Bush v. Gore, his fame increased by his teaming up with David Boies, his rival on the Bush v. Gore case, to fight Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative in California that re-banned same-sex marriage. Olsen is a prominent conservative lawyer. Few conservatives will come out in support of same-sex marriage, let alone go to bat for the equal rights of our GLBT citizens. He’s an example to fiscally-conservative-socially-liberal voters, showing them that they don’t have to hide their social-progressive views in order to be a Real(TM) Conservative.

Many Republicans are for GLBT rights, but will not advocate for them, let alone pressure their party to reverse course on their views, or even vote against candidates who hold extremely bigoted views of LGBT people.  Ted Olsen shows these closeted supporters that they do not have to hide, that they should not, that they come out in support of our fellow citizens, and advocate for their equality. I don’t know who Ted Olsen supports politically, but his hard work (and victory!) in Perry v. Schwarzenegger should be someone progressive-conservatives should look up to, and vote against bigoted candidates, no matter their fiscal policies.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but for sure it demonstrates that the GOP is not going to have the easy gains it hopes to make in Congress and other public offices this November. The next few months will surely be interesting, as a voter, and as a political scientist.

What do you think?

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