Category Archives: rallies

They Surround Us (A Few Snack Crackers)

In case anybody neglected to attend their State Fair this summer, here’s a little taste of the great american freakshow…

George W. famously joked that we are a country of haves and have-mores.  A rare moment of honesty to be sure, but a lie of omission nonetheless: he left out the have-nots and, increasingly, the half-nuts.  The poor dupes in the video above all think Big Guvmint is coming to take their precious crumbs away. Most of these people live on the ass rim of the economic spectrum. Yet when presented with a reform effort that could actually do them some good, they lose their damn minds. To quote the Boss: “end up like a dog that’s been beat too much, til you spend half your life just a-covering up”.  Matt Taibbi calls it the “peasant mentality” (from a post that I have surely linked to before).  At the time he wrote this the corporate masters were trying to cajole these people into opposing executive compensation limits, but opposition to health care reform is the more natural vehicle for their vicious, self-denying ways:

After all, the reason the winger crowd can’t find a way to be coherently angry right now is because this country has no healthy avenues for genuine populist outrage. It never has. The setup always goes the other way: when the excesses of business interests and their political proteges in Washington leave the regular guy broke and screwed, the response is always for the lower and middle classes to split down the middle and find reasons to get pissed off not at their greedy bosses but at each other. That’s why even people like Beck’s audience, who I’d wager are mostly lower-income people, can’t imagine themselves protesting against the Wall Street barons who in actuality are the ones who fucked them over. Beck pointedly compared the AIG protesters to Bolsheviks: “[The Communists] basically said ‘Eat the rich, they did this to you, get ‘em, kill ‘em!’” He then said the AIG and G20 protesters were identical: “It’s a different style, but the sentiments are exactly the same: Find ‘em, get ‘em, kill ‘em!’” Beck has an audience that’s been trained that the rich are not appropriate targets for anger, unless of course they’re Hollywood liberals, or George Soros, or in some other way linked to some acceptable class of villain, to liberals, immigrants, atheists, etc. — Ted Turner, say, married to Jane Fonda.

But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.

And because my Daily Links have been hijacked by some paintballing virus, I will go ahead and link to this groovy Q & A with Douglas Rushkoff which I heartily recommend, talking about the historical roots of corporatism.  (I predict Thom Hartmann fans will approve).  The discussion is not about the half-nuts per se, but their participation in the corporate-media-consumofest is implicit.  Read the whole thing, I say!

This Vast and Worthless Area

Soon after Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy in 1968, he spoke at Kansas University. I encourage you to read the entire speech…required reading..

As I caught up on the ATH tonight, I couldn’t help thinking about RFK’s heart breaking and tragic run for the presidency. Before you read this quote, if you don’t know William Allen White, as I didn’t, please click the link so you’ll get the sarcasm.

I’m glad to come here to the home of the man who publicly wrote: “If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vision and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come out of our college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.” And despite all the accusations against me, those words were not written by me, they were written by that notorious seditionist, William Allen White. And I know what great affection this university has for him. He is an honored man today, here on your campus and around the rest of the nation. But when he lived and wrote, he was reviled as an extremist and worse. For he spoke, he spoke as he believed. He did not conceal his concern in comforting words. He did not delude his readers or himself with false hopes and with illusions. This spirit of honest confrontation is what America needs today. It has been missing all too often in the recent years and it is one of the reasons that I run for President of the United States.

For we as a people, we as a people, are strong enough, we are brave enough to be told the truth of where we stand. This country needs honesty and candor in its political life and from the President of the United States. But I don’t want to run for the presidency – I don’t want America to make the critical choice of direction and leadership this year without confronting that truth. I don’t want to win support of votes by hiding the American condition in false hopes or illusions. I want us to find out the promise of the future, what we can accomplish here in the United States, what this country does stand for and what is expected of us in the years ahead. And I also want us to know and examine where we’ve gone wrong. And I want all of us, young and old, to have a chance to build a better country and change the direction of the United States of America.

This morning I spoke about the war in Vietnam, and I will speak briefly about it in a few moments. But there is much more to this critical election year than the war in Vietnam.

It appears today that partisan politics and running the constant campaign is more important than literally everything.

The title of this post also comes from that RFK speech in Kansas (see previous link). In 1824, Daniel Webster opposed expanding the United States further into the Great Plains. Today I think the vast and worthless area is called the Democratic Party.

The perils of early voting

For some reason McCain is obsessed with Iowa, a state he has no chance of winning. Nevertheless he continues to hold campaign events there, though apparently unconcerned with the youth vote:

She said McCain staffers wouldn’t tell her why she was being asked to leave and when she got outside, she saw “a group of about 20 people” who had all been asked to leave [the rally].

Elborno said after seeing the people who were asked to leave, she was concerned that McCain’s staffers were profiling people on appearance to determine who might be a potential protester.

“When I started talking to them, it kind of became clear that they were kind of just telling people to leave that they thought maybe would be disruptive, but based on what? Based on how they looked,” Elborno said. “It was pretty much all young people, the college demographic.”

Elborno said even McCain supporters were among those being asked to leave.

“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”

Muslims for McCain

This story made news early in the week, but I missed it. It’s a simple little video that, in a sane world, would be utterly unremarkable: a small crowd of McCain supporters heroically confront an obnoxious huckster spreading the “Obama-is-a-Muslim” smear (along with t-shirts and bumper stickers) outside a rally, and ultimately drive him and his minions off. Here’s what I like about this story:

  1. Definitive proof that all Republicans, despite recent evidence to the contrary, are not total scum.
  2. The crowd calls this guy out, not because he’s peddling lies, but because he’s using “Muslim” as a slur in and of itself. This can’t be stated enough, and the Democrats themselves have done a piss-poor job of responding to this particular attack (“Muslim? That’s a damn lie!”) by focusing on the truthfulness and ignoring the hatefulness. (Kudos also to Colin Powell for pushing back on the use of Muslim-as-slur in his endorsement of Obama over the weekend.)
  3. One of the protagonists is a McCain delegate (Daniel Zubairi, himself a Muslim) who goes to some length denouncing this guy to onlookers as not being representative of the campaign. Good for him.

All in all, probably the most refreshing footage you’ve seen of a McCain event all year, including the convention.

Here’s where the hypocrisy takes over… Continue reading

Just for laffs

It’s hard when you’re stoking racism to remember whether or not your supporters really are racist, or if you’re just hoping their racist, and if they are racist, whether they like to consider themselves racist, or if they’re just a bunch of white people who like to boo divisive politics at rallies. Being Grand Wizard is harder than it looks!

Is this election over yet?

100,000 in St. Louis

Photo from the Huffington Post…

Is that Charlie, Jean and Joan down in front with the pipe?

Also, Obama raised $150 million in September beating his previous one month record in August of $66 million. It’s about time Bones made a contribution. McCain only has $47 million from public financing. How many robocalls does that buy you? I’m thinking that Obama should focus on NC, MO, NV and FL. Forget about OH, they are too stingy. Although with all that dough I suppose he could compete in all 50 states.

Good numbers coming out of NC from PPP: O 51%, M 44% and the lasted polls have him up a few points in MO.

Racist Rallies

Can you be an Arab and a decent family man or are they mutually exclusive? Way to take the high road buddy.

Woman at rally: I don’t trust Obama. I have read about him and and…he’s an Arab.

Sen. John McCain: No ma’am, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not, thank you.

This was the only video I could find that was clear enough to show her bedhead….