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On Email Gay Bashing, Or, ENDA’s Already Getting Ugly March 25, 2010

It wasn’t but a couple of days ago that we had a conversation about The Fear and the emails that are used to spread it, and I figured with that out of the way we had dealt with the topic, and that we’d move on to new things.

Well, we would be moving on, Gentle Reader, if it wasn’t for the fact that an email came in today that was so ugly, so disturbing, and so indicative of what we are about to see as the battle over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) begins to heat up (ENDA being possibly the next “big contentious thing” that this Administration hopes to accomplish), that I had to interrupt my story schedule to bring it to your attention.

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”

–W.C. Fields

For those not yet aware, let’s do a bit of background: there have been a series of civil rights laws passed over the years, providing protections related to the right to vote, providing for equality in housing and employment based on race, or religion, or ethnicity, or gender, and providing protections for the disabled.

What is missing is a law protecting those who are gay or those who might view gender in a way that’s different than what the most fundamentalist church in town views as “normal” from discrimination in housing and employment; the idea is that ENDA (officially known as H.R. 3017, Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009) is intended to fill that gap.

The House Education and Labor Committee has held hearings on the bill, but that’s as far as it’s gone so far. Now that the pressure is easing to get health care reform through Congress, there are people who would like to advance ENDA from a bill to a law…and I’m one of ‘em.

So, naturally, when an email came into my inbox asking “Do You Support The Homosexual Agenda?” I thought to myself: “why, yes, I do”, and opened the darn thing.

As it turns out, the sender, “Public Advocate of the United States” (which, I assume, is not to be confused with The Advocate), is not a supporter of Teh Gay Agenda…but that’s not really a surprise, is it?

In fact, the group is against…well, pretty much everything, including:

“…The National Endowment of the Arts and the federal funding and endorsement of pornography and obscenity as legitimate forms of art;

The mainstream media’s promotion and glorification of drug abuse, teenage sex, gangs, atheism, homosexuality and other immoral behavior and beliefs;

The passage of hate crimes and thought control legislation that creates inequality in our state and federal legal systems…”

All of which they present with no apparent sense of the contradictions inherent in their own positions…which is also not really a surprise.

Anyway, according to the email…

“The Radical Homosexuals claim you and other pro-family Americans actually now support same-sex marriage, special job preferences for homosexuals and promotion of the homosexual lifestyle in schools…”

First off (and I had to do some research to confirm this), The Radical Homosexuals are not a band, which is too bad, because that would be one sweet name to put on a marquee.

Secondly, Angry Conservative Fundraising Guy, the country is split, almost 60/40, in favor of civil unions, this according to Pew…and when it comes to actual marriage, Pew counts it at 53% against, 39% for…which means The Radical Homosexuals are more correct in their assertions than Angry Conservative Fundraising Guy might like.

But let’s move on:

“…You see, the Radical Homosexuals are storming through Washington demanding passage of their agenda.

And with the passage of Thought Control last year, they say NOW is the time to push their perverse “life-style” on every man, women and child in America.

And they insist YOU actually support them.

The Homosexual Lobby played a major role in electing Obama and the majorities he enjoys in both houses of Congress.

I can only begin to imagine all the damage the Radical Homosexuals will do with their allies controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House.

As the President of Public Advocate of the U.S., I’ve devoted twenty-seven years to battling the radical homosexuals in Washington.

Backed by Hollywood celebrities, the media and millions of your tax dollars, the Radical Homosexuals have many Congressmen quivering with fear — and they have a Radical Homosexual-friendly majority in control of Congress…”

(A quick word regarding emphasis: throughout this story, where emphasis occurs, it’s as it was presented in the original, except that for technical reasons I had to change underlined words to italics.)

Storming?
Thought Control?
A Quivering Majority of the Members of Congress?

And that’s only what he can begin to imagine:

“…Frankly if you really do support the radical Homosexual Agenda — or if you just no longer care enough to stand up for the family — insiders in Congress say the entire Homosexual Agenda could pass in a matter of months.

*** Special job rights for homosexuals and lesbians. Businesses may have to adopt hiring quotas to protect themselves from lawsuits. Every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.

Radical homosexuals will terrorize day care centers, hospitals, churches and private schools. Traditional moral values will be shattered by federal law.

*** Same-sex marriages and adoptions. Wedding-gown clad men smooching before some left-wing clergy or state official is just the beginning.

You’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to “pick out” a little boy for themselves.

*** Homosexual advocacy in schools. Your children or grandchildren will be taught homosexuality is moral, natural and good. High school children will learn perverted sex acts as part of “safe sex” education.

With condoms already handed out in many schools, Radical Homosexuals will have little trouble adopting today’s “if it feels good do it” sex-ed curriculum to their agenda.

And to add insult to injury, lobbyists for the Homosexual Agenda are paid off with your tax dollars!

That’s right, radical homosexual groups like the Gay-Lesbian Task Force and ACT-UP receive millions from the government.

Hundreds of millions of dollars flow from taxpayers to homosexual activists through funding for homosexual “art,” so-called AIDS-awareness programs, and research grants…”

OK…so…at this point I need you to sit back down and take a deep breath, because it’s about to get a whole lot weirder.

I do not want you drinking anything while you read this next passage.
I don’t want you eating, either.

There are a few of you who may…oh, how should I put this…it’s possible that you may have some doubts about your own mental health.

To paraphrase comedian Lewis Black: if you go to an International House of Pancakes and you have “body issues”, you will inevitably feel better about yourself after the visit; this because there is always someone there who is at least 400 pounds heavier than you will ever weigh, ever, in your entire life.

The next portion of this email represents the International House of Mental Health, and there’s someone there 400 times crazier than you…and it’s this guy:

“…One stormy night I drove to a mailshop hidden deep in a nearly deserted stand of warehouses. I’d heard something was up and wanted to see for myself.

As I rounded the final turn my eyes nearly popped. Tractor-trailers pulled up to loading docks, cars and vans everywhere and long-haired, earring-pierced men scurrying around running forklifts, inserters and huge printing presses.

Trembling with worry I went inside. It was worse than I ever imagined.

Row after row of boxes bulging with pro-homosexual petitions lined the walls, stacked to the ceiling.

My mind reeled as I realized hundreds, maybe thousands, more boxes were already loaded on the tractor-trailers. And still more petitions were flying off the press.

Suddenly a dark-haired man screeched, “Delgaudio what are you doing here?” Dozens of men began moving toward me. I’d been recognized.

As I retreated to my car, the man chortled, “This time Delgaudio we can’t lose.”

Driving away, my eyes filled with tears as I realized he might be right. This time the Radical Homosexuals could win.

You see, even though homosexuals are just 1% of the population, if every one sent a petition to Congress it would generate a tidal wave of two or three million petitions or more.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-homosexual petitions will soon flood Congress , and my friends in Congress tell me there’s virtually nothing on Capitol Hill from the tens of millions of Americans like you who oppose the radical Homosexual Agenda and the Gay Bill of Special Rights.

I made up my mind that night to write to you and as many other patriotic Americans as possible. To stop the Radical Homosexuals and protect traditional marriage there must be an immediate outpouring from folks like you….”

I need to interrupt for a quick second to ask a question: is it just me, or is the only difference between that story and a bad gay porn film that there’s nobody knocking at the door saying: “here’s the pizza…and here’s the pepperoni”?

“…Homosexual activists mock me in the halls of Congress. They say it’s too late because Americans like you don’t care enough to help, especially with the Democrats in control of Congress and the White House…”

Hey, Angry Conservative Fundraising Guy: just because someone mocks you in the hall, it doesn’t mean they’re some kind of homosexual activist.

They could be mental health activists, for example, or activists promoting better education…and, of course, it’s always possible they’re from the Netherlands.

Now not all the news here is bad:

“…If you won’t help, I’m afraid there is little more I can do.

But the fact is, even if every person responds it won’t be enough to counter all the radical homosexuals are doing.

And not everyone will respond. Some are cowed by how pro-family Americans are portrayed on TV. Others will count on someone else to fight the fight and carry the load. I don’t believe you are like that…”

Just a real quick little bit of advice for the author of this piece, if I may be so bold.

Context matters, as those who used the word “Teabag” just a bit too freely discovered last spring, much to our delight, and when you’re busy stirring up The Fear Of The Radical Homosexual, I would be careful how I throw around terms like “carry the load”.

Next time, Angry Conservative Fundraising Guy, consider hiring a panel of 13-year-old boys who like Beavis and Butthead DVDs for a focus group before you hit the “Send” button and this sort of thing might not happen again.

The rest of this is a great big fundraiser which includes a series of links to what the sender calls a “Morality Survey”, but what I call either a push-poll or a handy one-page checklist of the arguments you can expect to hear over the next few months.

Now I think we’ve all seen enough of this for today, but here’s what I want you to take away from our conversation:

ENDA will be used as a tool to continue spreading hate in the run-up to this year’s elections…and really, really, really creepy people will be trying to scare you using really, really, really turgid (and I do mean turgid) prose.

The imaging will be ugly, with the fears of pedophilia and crossdressing and things being rammed down throats likely to all play starring roles in the Conserva-theater that’s soon to come.

I also expect to see more “outings”, á la Karl Rove’s usual practice—even against other Republicans, which has already apparently happened in this cycle, in the Illinois Senate Republican primary.

“…Stop imagining, unravel the truth and ask: “just who is it happening to?”

Everything that the passenger do, the driver experience, too

So if humanity is one then we all get burned when it’s hell that we’re traveling through…”

–From the song The Travelers, by Brother Ali.

There is no reason for us to blow this one.

The Conservative craziness that’s coming may become so extreme that even the Republicans no longer want any part of these people, but I wouldn’t count on it.

What I would count on is that this is the kind of fight we want to be having—as long as we’re out there having it.

Talk to your friends, talk to those people in line at the espresso stand, and (here’s one for the Captain in all of us), maybe even talk to the attractive individual working out next to you at the gym. Make them understand what this election is really going to be about, how desperate the other side is, and why we can’t afford to let them win.

The Radical HomoFearoPhobians are already hard at work, so get out there and do the same.

Unless, of course, you’d prefer another summer of really, really, awful Teabagging.

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On Selling Paranoia, Or, Conservative Emails, Examined March 20, 2010

It seems that many of those who are regular guests of this space are committed to a worldview based on some degree of reason and rationality.

That’s a handy thing if the “Covert Alarm Locator Apparatus” in your Isaac Daniel® Compass Global 1000 GPS sneakers should happen to fail and you need to find your way back to where the rest of us are; sadly, not all voters are equipped with such a helpful worldview.

Luckily for them, there are lots of conservative “mouth organs” ready to fill the “information gap”.

They send out lots of emails every day, spreading their Word, and as a public service I receive several of them; this to help keep track of just what’s out there, exactly.

If you ever wondered why otherwise normal people believe some of the craziest things about “Obama’s Secret Death Care And National Virgin Sacrifice Program”, have a look at some of the things I get every single day, and it might all make a bit more sense.

Pithiatism [G. peithein, to persuade + iatos, curable] 1. Hysteria induced by suggestion. 2. Mental disorder cured by suggestion.

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 11th Edition

It is my friends at Human Events (“Leading Conservative Media Since 1944”) who seem to be the most assiduous in keeping my inbox full, and every day a weird combination of political missives and “exiting promotional opportunities” are arriving out of the ether.

Who is Human Events?

Human Events is an offshoot of Eagle Publishing (as is RedState), and they’re performing several functions in the Conservaverse: they help spread The Word by gathering all the usual suspects, all in one place (the contributor list at Human Events includes Michelle Malkin, Pat and Bay Buchanan, James Inhofe, “David Feherty, Civilian”, and the Wango Tango guy himself, Ted Nugent), they are a daily reinforcer of the Daily Talking Points, as evidenced, again, by my inbox…and they are also one of the reasons Conservative books always seem to jump to the top of some bestseller list or another upon their release, a topic to which we’ll return shortly.

Additionally, they’re a source for others, both political and commercial, who seek access to a mailing list, which is why, from time to time, I also receive emails from Ann Coulter and Chuck Norris–and why I recently received the insider scoop on how gold is being accumulated by Central Banks and that I better get some too…before it’s too late.

Here’s what else has been coming in:

The Tea Party Express sent me an email just this morning to let me know they would be “on tour”; this action taking them from Searchlight, Nevada (read: Harry Reid) to Washington, DC:

“…Since the Democrats in Congress are so determined to ignore the will of the voters, and force a government-run healthcare fiasco down our throats – as part of the step-by-step slide towards socialism – then we here at the Tea Party Express will “Just Vote Them Out” one-by-one.

So fellow patriots, here’s an update on the launch of Tea Party Express III and the “Showdown in Searchlight.”

First, we want to thank you all. You’ve taken a lot of pressure off. In just the past two days we’ve raised over $15,000 and now have only $65,000 left to raise by March 27th.

We have just 10 days until the launch of “Tea Party Express III: Just Vote Them Out” national tour, and the kickoff event: the “Showdown in Searchlight” mega rally…”

Fun Fact: The Tea Party Express has apparently been making enemies and influencing people among the Tea Party activists themselves, based on a perception that the group is a front for the Republican Party and that the extreme behavior of some members of the group is bad for the larger Tea Party movement.

My take on this: if they’re supposed to be raising money for the Republicans, and they’re having trouble raising $80,000 for themselves…well, it would appear that the Republicans are going to need unlimited corporate donations (thank you so much for that, Supreme Court…) if they hope to stay in business.

An Action News Update!

Even as I’m writing today’s story, this just came in:

“ObamaCare Vote Imminent, Pelosi May Have Votes

He’s Pledged To Shove ObamaCare Down Your Throat Even If It Kills Him…

…Barack Obama may have given Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid a deadline to ram ObamaCare through Congress, but knowledgeable sources in Congress are telling us that Pelosi will push the Senate-passed bill to the floor of the House of Representatives the very second she believes she has the votes to shove it down our throats… or maybe even sooner…

…And we don’t need to tell you what’s at stake. You already know about the extreme cuts in Medicare… the rationing… the crippling taxes… and the long waiting lines that we may all be forced to endure for substandard medical care.

“… bankrupting the insurance industry and undermining the free market is a stated goal of some healthcare reform advocates. … the goal of healthcare reform is to create a system that bankrupts private industry and leads to socialized medicine. And that is a goal shared by Barack Obama.”…”

(Emphasis is original)

The email goes on to suggest that a donation of up to $1000 would be very helpful to enable the sender to “Blast Fax” every Member of Congress…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

You may have already noticed a recurring theme in these messages: the fear of things being shoved down throats is ever-present among Conservative Messengers–which, to me, either suggests something about the lack of imagination over there these days…or the lack of a fully-developed sense of joie de vivre; something that may have impacted folks like Larry Craig and David Vitter and John Ensign, all of whom, on certain occasions, have presumably done a bit of throat-shoving themselves.

(For extra credit, discuss amongst yourselves: Is all this throat-shoving talk having an effect on some people’s attitudes about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issue?)

Ann Coulter wrote me today to let me know that:

“…I have a plan!

… We can’t have a free market in health insurance until Congress eliminates the antitrust exemption protecting health insurance companies from competition. If Democrats really wanted to punish insurance companies, which they manifestly do not, they’d make insurers compete…”

We interrupt Dear Coulter’s message for a quick Fact Check: the House did indeed vote on February 24th to remove that antitrust exemption, with all 19 dissenting votes coming from…wait for it…Republicans; the bill, known as HR 4626, is now on the Senate’s Legislative Calendar.

We now return you to Coulter, still in progress:

“…The very next sentence of my bill provides that the exclusive regulator of insurance companies will be the state where the company’s home office is. Every insurance company in the country would incorporate in the state with the fewest government mandates, just as most corporations are based in Delaware today.

That’s the only way to bypass idiotic state mandates, requiring all insurance plans offered in the state to cover, for example, the Zone Diet, sex-change operations, and whatever it is that poor Heidi Montag has done to herself this week.

President Obama says we need national health care because Natoma Canfield of Ohio had to drop her insurance when she couldn’t afford the $6,700 premiums, and now she’s got cancer.

Much as I admire Obama’s use of terminally ill human beings as political props, let me point out here that perhaps Natoma could have afforded insurance had she not been required by Ohio’s state insurance mandates to purchase a plan that covers infertility treatments and unlimited OB/GYN visits, among other things.

It sounds like Natoma could have used a plan that covered only the basics — you know, things like cancer…”

Again, a quick interruption: if I had the power to know in advance what diseases I was gonna get in the future…and whether fertility might or might not be an issue one day…why would I waste my money on health insurance premiums when I could do a whole lot better in Las Vegas–and get free cocktails at the same time?

“…Of course, an insurance company has to be able to refuse NEW customers with “pre-existing conditions.” Otherwise, everyone would just wait to get sick to buy insurance. It’s the same reason you can’t buy fire insurance on a house that’s already on fire.

That isn’t an “insurance company”; it’s what’s known as a “Christian charity.”…

Right now, insurance companies are protected by government regulations from having to honor their contracts. Violating contracts isn’t so easy when competitors are lurking, ready to steal your customers…”

(Emphasis is added)

I assume that that last paragraph will become an important Talking Point for Republicans looking to blame Democrats for recent insurance company behavior, and I’ll be looking for this argument to appear in debates from now until November.

Wanna hear something even weirder than the idea that Democrats are what’s making the insurance companies deny their customers’ claims for care related to their pre-existing conditions?

Even as these groups are trying to either reinforce or get me to change my worldview, they’re also constantly trying to get me to buy stuff, including the Swivel Sweeper G2, a certain set of “As Seen On TV” knives, and, ironically, EcoCanteen stainless steel water bottles.

“It’s Free, But We Make It Up In Volume”

Finally, a few words about Conservatives and their books.

I get, on a regular basis, the chance to have important works of Conservative literature sent to me at rock-bottom prices, assuming I either subscribe to something or join some club that’s planning to save Our Great Nation from…most likely, from people like me.

So how can so many people make money giving away books?

It works like this: groups like the Conservative Book Club purchase thousands of copies of a book by [insert name here], using money that appears to be donated from private sources and PACs.

Since the bulk purchases are timed to occur as the book is released, it’s possible to create “Number 1 Best Sellers!” more or less on demand…and then I begin to get emails offering me the book for a price far below the cost of production.

A perfect example: Dick Morris sent me an email, just today, to let me know that I have only have a few days left to take advantage of Newsmax’s offer to get my free copy of Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown, a book that seeks to help me profit, as you might have already guessed, from the Next Global Financial Meltdown.

Check out what the Newsmax email says about how bulk purchasing works:

“…I knew that YOU should have this information too. So at great cost to Newsmax, I purchased more than 10,000 copies of this book to GIVE AWAY – completely free (just pay shipping)!

They were gone in a matter of days . . . so I purchased another 10,000. Those, too, were snatched up just days later. So, I arranged for another shipment.

Only a few copies are left . . . and this is your last chance to claim one for yourself. If you were to go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you would pay around $28 retail for this book. (By the way, both of these retailers are out of copies!) …”

(Emphasis is almost original: underlined words were changed to italics.)

(Quick Fact Check: As of March 18th, Barnes & Noble and Amazon are both selling the book, new, for $16.34, down from the $27.95 retail price, and both appear to have the item in stock…along with Wiley and Borders and a1Books and papamedia and even the UK’s Book Depository.com, who will let you have it for the apparent lowest price anywhere: $15.99–with “free shipping worldwide.”)

As you can see, Newsmax acknowledges they purchased more than 20,000 copies of the book, and possibly as many as 30,000…and I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that’s a big part of the total sales for this title. In fairness, however, I could not locate BookScan or other sales data for this book, so that’s just a guess, and I could be wrong.

Sarah Palin added an interesting new twist to the process: SarahPAC (and, yes, Virginia, there really is a SarahPAC) spent more than $60,000 to purchase copies of her own book, allowing her to convert campaign donations into ordinary income that she can spend any way she wants; the books were then given away, at no charge, to donors…and now the cycle begins anew, as a second book has been announced.

All of this is reflected in how book sales are reported, with the New York Times adding a dagger to the description of certain books on its bestseller lists, which:

“…indicates that some bookstores report receiving bulk orders.”

For the record, Mitt Romney’s new book, currently atop the Hardcover Nonfiction list, has two such daggers.

Add all of this together, and what do you get?

How about: a combination of events that are likely associated with a lot of today’s…Pithiatism.

A never-ending vicious cycle of self-affirming impending doom and Swivel Sweepers, delivered to your mailbox every day, until you can’t remember if Buy One, Get One Free* (*Just Pay Additional P&H) refers to a consumer product or the possibility that a Death Panel will commit you–and your family–to a beyond-top-secret Conservatives-Only Gulag soon to be established at the corner of Castro and 18th; located in a fortress built above the GBLT Historical Society’s current offices and staffed by Rainbow Stormtroopers especially chosen by Nancy Pelosi herself.

It’s a scary, scary world out there, my friends…and if these folks have anything to say about it, it’ll stay that way.

 

On The Fear Of Government, Or, Let’s Get Back To Basics March 11, 2010

It seems like everywhere you look these days, someone’s trying to spread…The Fear.

All around us…in every town…on every corner…a massive Army Of Fear is standing by, according to the Messengers, ready at a moment’s notice to obey the dictates of some unappointed Czar or another.

Just ask Glenn Beck: concentration camps for the white people, jackbooted stormtroopers ready to snatch the guns from your cold dead fingers…Socialist Government-Controlled Healthcare That Threatens Your Not Socialist Medicare…it’s all coming, my friends—and unless we organize, as a community, to return to the values of the Founding Fathers, The Government, meaning that awful Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and George Soros and all the other Evil Community Organizers, will win.

There’s no government, we’re told, like no government.

You know who would find all of this fear of self-government just entirely bizarre?

The Founding Fathers.

In today’s conversation we’ll consider the fundamentals of American patriotism, we’ll ask one of those Founding Fathers how he saw the role of Government—and we’ll toss in a few words from Abraham Lincoln, just for good measure.

“…There’s a lot of different scenarios…We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot…”

Texas Governor Rick Perry, April 15, 2009

In a conversation about American Patriotism, it’s hard to find a better place to start than with the words of Thomas Paine…as long as you actually understand what he’s trying to tell us.

“The trouble with people is not that they don’t know but that they know so much that ain’t so.”

–Henry Wheeler Shaw, as Josh Billings, The Encyclopedia of Wit and Wisdom

Lots of people figure it’s just plain common sense that Government must be evil, and to make their point they regularly quote from the very first paragraphs of Paine’s seminal work, which, coincidentally, is also entitled Common Sense:

“…Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness…Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil…”

But what these observers fail to understand is that, in the end, Paine’s not condemning government’s intrusions as much as he is man’s frailties.

Consider this passage, from just a bit farther down on that same page:

“…Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence: the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For, were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which, in every other case, advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.”

(Emphasis appears in original)

So…what is Paine actually saying?

Since people don’t always do the right thing, you need a government that governs wisely and well—and the last thing that you want, if you want security…is no government at all.

Paine continues by giving an example of how a community of people formed out of nothing will eventually have no choice but to organize themselves—and in a turn of phrase that our Tea Party friends would do well to note, Paine goes on to say this about societies forming governments:

“…And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding; the simple voice of nature will say, it is right.”

You’ll notice that when Paine writes about government he is referring to a thing which is imposed upon a people by a King, or someone similarly placed. Of course, since “Common Sense” was written before the American Revolution, what he could not yet do was speak from experience about a different kind of government: one that is created by the people themselves.

Abraham Lincoln could, however…and one November afternoon, he did:

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

(Emphasis added)

Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

In other words, a government that belongs to us, run by people of all political persuasions, working for the benefit of everyone.

What would Abraham Lincoln say to today’s Tea Party community? I suspect the obvious question he’d want to ask is: “In a country where we are the government, why in the world would you be afraid…of yourselves?”

And that is the question we should be putting to those same people.

We should be asking them why they are afraid to help captain the Ship of State…why they are afraid of the same democracy Ronald Reagan thought was the greatest on Earth…why, if they really feel that patriotic, they are afraid to do exactly what Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Paine told us would be best for the Nation: be a part of your own government, charting your own future, along with all of the rest of the citizens of the United States…and, most importantly of all, we should be asking why they are, today, so afraid of our shared democracy that they can’t help the rest of us as we try to turn Pluribus…into Unum?

 

On Assigning Blame, Or, “So, You Think I’m Retarded?” March 1, 2010

LANGUAGE WARNING: Today’s story is uncharacteristically blunt, and from this moment forward we will be using lots of inappropriate language in making our points.

Gentle Reader, you have been officially…warned.

With that in mind, if you take offense when confronted with language strong enough to knock a fuckin’ buzzard off a shitwagon, please stop reading now.

It is by now fairly well known that Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, had a bit of a blow-up with liberals who were ready to start running ads against “blue dog” Democrats who were working very hard to shut down the health care reform effort.

Now we’re not gonna get in the middle of that argument today; instead, since we’re finally getting a chance to talk, I figured me and Rahm could get a few other things out of the way that have been on everyone’s mind for the past year or so.

“…What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.

Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.

He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.

Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy…”

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War

So…Rahm, buddy…here’s the thing:

In January of 2009 you came into the White House having just beaten down both the Republicans and Hillary Clinton, and baby, y’all were on a roll.

Reforming health care was the top priority of 59% of the population, you had a 75+ seat majority in the House…and of course, to quote your boss, there was that “largest Senate majority in a generation”.

Y’all were appointing smart people to take over agencies, and the President gave that speech in Cairo—and even though people had their misgivings about the way the bailout and the stimulus came together, we were still right there with you.

And then, in May…remember when y’all promised to get a heath care vote done by August? If I recall correctly (and I do), the President said:

“…We’ve got to get it done this year. Both in the House and the Senate. We don’t have any excuses. The stars are aligned.”

And then for some reason, you decided it would be a smart idea to spend a couple of months letting Ben Nelson and Charles Grassley, who were both happy to let you know they were against this thing from the beginning, run the show.

“…When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare…”

–Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“…and then the C.H.U.D.S. came at me…”

Homer Simpson

And then came the Tea Parties. For a solid month we were bombarded with images of uninformed people carrying signs demanding we protect Medicare while at the same time demanding Government stay out of health care, people who see Obama as the new Hitler, and people who apparently think Socialism, Fascism, Communism, and Vegetarianism are all different flavors of the same political junk food.

In other words, fuckin’ retards.

And just to make things perfect, the Republicans couldn’t wait to jump on the retard train: Sarah Palin quit being a Governor so she could turn her interest in “Death Panels” (and her desire to never be a quitter…) into a gig at Fox—and Rick “Goodhair” Perry, the Governor of what might be the most “Rah Rah America!” state in the Nation, suggested that making Texas into its own country might be the smartest way to save these United States.

I loved it.

I knew what was about to happen: the classic “pincer move”, where you let the enemy race into the trap, and then slam the door behind them, locking them in a box from which they cannot escape.

And the best part was, they had made it so easy that a politician with even a moderately high degree of mental acuity could spring the trap. All the President had to do was to go to the States where these politicians live, stand up on a platform, with cameras running, preferably in the early part of the daily news cycle, and do one of these two things:

–Either put his arm around [insert politician’s name here]’s shoulders and tell the giant crowd how the President and [again, insert name] are going to fight the insane Republicans and the evil insurance companies together, “No matter how much they try to stand in our way…”

–Or go to the same podium and give this speech: “I’m going to fight for you, all the way, and I want you to call [insert name here] and demand that they join the fight, too.”

For extra effect, you could have sent him to one of those free clinics the viewers of Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” were paying for.

Repeat this process a dozen times or so, and the next thing you know you own the news cycle, and the enemy is crushed and disorganized.

This is Politics 101, and it’s just as effective at moving along reluctant Democrats as it is reluctant Republicans.

But that never happened, Rahm, did it?

Instead, as far as I can tell, you let the fuckin’ retards kick your ass for the past eight months.

You didn’t even really try to organize your friends: for example, where was the coalition-building process while all of this was going on? Did it ever occur to you to try to get gay activists and youth activists and healthcare activists together to help move this process along?

Had you been on the ball here you could have organized a “Counter Tea-Party” for every single one of those stupid “patriotfests”…and now, when you need support to move issues that matter to the gay community, you haven’t built up the kind of trust that would have been enormously helpful in keeping the GaYTM open and available, as it was in 2008.

Only in the past ten days or so have y’all finally figured out what Alan Grayson seems to have known all along: an aggressive, in-your-face Democrat will not only survive, but thrive—even in Florida.

And that’s the part I don’t get: you came in here enormously popular, with every advantage, with Republicans who were falling all over themselves to make your life easy, with the facts on your side, and a public who wanted to go along with the program.

And despite that, you let yourself get beaten down by idiots, you failed to spring the obvious trap, you never tried to really engage with your friends at critical times, and now you find yourselves in a tough election environment having to play catch-up, when it’s the Rs who should be running for cover while your guy is pulling a 65% approval rating, or something similar, and Democrats expand that Senate majority to 63 or 64 seats.

And if all that wasn’t enough, now you have to sit here and listen to people like me, the proverbial “overfed, long-haired, leaping gnomes” of politics, tell you something you should have known all along.

Which finally brings me to the part I really don’t understand: how did our situation get so turned upside down that you are viewed as the big-time highly-paid political genius…and somehow, the people who thought you would easily digest the pre-chewed political snack food that was being served up to you on a silver platter became the fuckin’ retards?

It’s a question I can’t answer, Rahm…but you better figure it out, and fix it—quickly—or the next three years are going to suck a lot more than this one did.