Racism & Hatred: Resurging at a Tea Party Near You

For being the land of “liberty and justice for all“, America has a very checkered past when it comes to treating all people equally, fairly and decently.

Much of the US engaged in slavery of Africans who were either kidnapped in their native land or born of slaves right here, when this country was founded.   Additionally, other minorities emigrating to the USA within the past 230 years endured hatred and rejection by the people who were here before them, with a notable exception:  Native Americans were here first, but were almost wiped off the face of the planet in the 19th century by invading and land-grabbing white men, who, presumably, were full American citizens.

Not so long ago dark-skinned minorities in most southern states of the US were forced ride in back of the bus, and lynchings were a reality in these same places.  Thankfully (unless you’re still a racist and/or white supremacist), most of that changed in the 1960’s with the civil rights movement and the social revolution that took place.

Yet, most people when asked before Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, responded that they did not think an African American could win a presidential election.

However, Obama did actually win the last presidential election, to the absolute horror, hatred, fear and disgust of those folks who still believe that the white race is the superior race, and should be in charge.  They are by nature extremely conservative anyway, so Obama’s non-conservative agenda infuriates them even more.

Enter the “tea party“movement.  The racists and white supremacists flocked to this organization like flies to roadkill.

While it is true that not all tea party supporters are racists and white supremacists, it is true that according to a recent University of Washington poll, and as reported by Newsweek magazine, a large portion of tea partiers may well be “race-resentful”.

There is a ton of increasingly frequent proof that tea partiers are, at a minimum, “racist-tolerant”.   This is clearly true when one reads by some of the placards seen and racial slurs heard at tea party events.  Many of these are seen here, and you will find endless references to such things here, which result from a Google search of “tea party racist comments”.  This is verified data, folks.

But the ‘race-resentful” within the tea party movement seem to dislike Latinos, Asians and other minorities as well.  People with similar beliefs passed and signed Arizona’s new mandatory racial profiling law, which will force police to demand immigration documents of anyone they might suspect of being a non-American citizen.

But what if a person of Mexican descent but who was born in the USA is heard speaking Spanish in the streets?  The police might “suspect” that this person is an illegal immigrant, and absent immigration papers (which US Citizens don’t possess or carry), this person is arrested and incarcerated.  This stupid and most likely unconstitutional law is a racial disaster waiting to happen.  But the tea party applauds and supports it.  Why?  Because everyone knows that Latinos are nothing but lazy good-for-nothing brown-skins who only want to suck the USA dry.  Or so the tea partiers babble at themselves and anyone else who’s listening to them.

But their thinking is irrational, motivated by hatred, and fueled by bias.  Here’s the  proof:

Imagine that instead of being attended by white men who toted their guns, their hate-spewing  placards and insulting shouts of anti-Obama rhetoric, the recent 2nd Amendment gun rights in Washington DC was instead attended by African Americans during the Bush administration.

Imagine the reaction around the US under those conditions!   Many whites would have seen it as an unacceptable terrorist action by militant and dangerous African Americans!  The outrage by many in the USA would have been massive!  Interestingly, this reaction and response, as compared to the muted reaction to the actual event, would have occurred solely because of a difference in skin color!

Other examples of “what if they were African-American (or Latinos or Asians) instead of whites” are listed here.  They are incredibly thought-provoking.

The field day the hate-radio talk-show hosts would have had with it would have been enormous!  One can almost hear the Rush/Hannity/O’Reilly hate-mongering group panicking the population, making them fear a violent armed conflict by these uppity extremist terrorist black people, and demanding the national Guard search every non-White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant (WASP) home in American for guns, and drugs and communist literature…..

Annie, get your gun…and make sure it’s the assault rifle!!

But seriously, folks…  🙂  …

…do Americans really want to be represented in the world as well as in history by these hypocritical wing-nuts who claim to love America but can’t stand Americans…or at least those who don’t look like them?

Think about how contradictory that is the next time you watch the tea partiers on TV or read about them in the press.

Financial Reform: Refried Health Debate?

Heating up in the dark recesses of congress is the Obama administration’s desire to reform some of the USA’s current financial regulations (or lack thereof) that allowed the “too big to fail” financial companies on Wall Street to let AIG make stupid and/or risky financial decisions with shareholders’ money.  These companies near-failures (saved only by taxpayer-funded Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP) played a huge part in pushing the economy into the worst financial recession since the great depression of the 1930’s.

Because they were indeed considered “to big to fail”, meaning that their failures would pull down many more companies in a vicious cycle of related bankruptcies, John & Jane Q. Taxpayer was forced to bail them out.

This latest recession is considered by most economists to have officially begun in December 2007, the sixth year of  G.W. Bush’s presidency.  Bush and his supporters religiously believed in the free market system, i.e., free of government interference.  To his credit, however, when the full depth of the recession became apparent, even Bush himself admitted that he was starting to rethink that concept.

Meanwhile, like the health insurance companies before them, the Wall Street “too big to fail” boys have launched a massive advertising campaign which, with the help of the big-business-friendly GOP, is intended to make Americans shake in their boots over any regulation over the power of these companies to again cause financial chaos that taxpayers would have to bail out.  To date, not one single GOP senator in congress has agreed to support financial reform.

The following letter from a loyal reader of We, the PEOPLE, really does a great job of summing up what’s wrong with the GOP’s view of financial reform:

“Conservatives have opposed just about every reform ever enacted while predicting the swift demise of the nation.

“In 1905, Upton Sinclair gave us a glimpse into the free market utopia that today’s Conservatives are so intent on recreating. His book, “The Jungle”, is set in the meat packing plants of Chicago where they discover that rats have been feasting and defecating on the meat. In response, they place poison bread as bait and then dead rats, rat feces, poison bread and the rancid meat are all ground up and sold as sausage.  Progressive efforts to reform the situation with the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 were met with resistance from the Beef Trust and Conservatives who insisted such a law was unconstitutional.

“Also in 1905, President Grover Cleveland warned that if women were given the right to vote “the wives and daughters of the poor would have new opportunity to gratify their envy and mistrust of the rich.”

“In 1908, Conservative Senator Weldon Hayburn of Idaho opposed Child Labor laws assuring citizens that if such laws were enacted  “the child might become a very dominant factor in the household and might refuse to do chores before 6am or after 7 pm or to perform any labor.”

“In 1938, the National Association of Manufacturers condemned the idea of a minimum wage saying it was “a step in the direction of Communism, Bolshevism, fascism, and Nazism.”

“And in 1961 Ronald Reagan speaking of Medicare warned  that if Medicare were enacted, “We are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our childrens’ children what it was once like in America when men were free.”

With each effort to improve the lives of the average American,  Conservatives have attempted to convince average citizens to support policies that benefit the very richest and warned that such legislation was Socialistic, Communistic and if successful America would be forever changed.

“One wonders if today’s Conservatives and Tea Heads are secretly longing for the days when we each went to the market and took our chances, free from the meddlesome, freedom killing, influence of those Marxist Socialist Federal meat inspectors!

(Name withheld upon request)

The bottom line is that as loathsome as government regulations can be, they become an absolute necessity whenever any of the following conditions exist:

a.  when public safety is at risk,

b.  when abuse of citizens is rampant, or

c.  when the taxpayers have to pay extra because of the uncontrolled incompetence and/or greed of others.

In the case of Wall Street and its “too big to fail” companies, all three conditions were in play.  The recession and subsequent massive unemployment were the result.

It’s really hard to believe that the conservatives in this or any other country really want a repeat of the recent financial meltdown.  But then it was also hard to believe that they really didn’t want an end to health insurance greed, abuse and stupidity.  But they voted against that, too!

Maybe they’re right…maybe we should just go back in time and trust the meat packers to do the right thing.  And the GOP can take the credit.

Enjoy that sausage, folks!  🙂

American Fascism: Coming Soon via a Militia Near You

It has always been difficult to understand how folks in centuries past who claimed to be pious moral church-goes justified slavery when the USA was brand new.  Much more easy to understand, though, was how those who held such beliefs fought so hard for their individual states’ rights against a powerful central federal government.  After all, just because the northern states outlawed slavery didn’t mean that the southern states could be dictated to, and the pro-slavery forces of the 18th and 19th centuries liked that arrangement just fine.  It gave them just the cover they needed to continue to profit from the labors of the enslaved.

The American Civil War of 1861-1865 was fought to a large extent by state militias that supplemented the Union Army in the north the Confederates in the south.  The primary cause of this bloodiest of all American wars was slavery, a fact admitted to by the confederate leadership before the war.  After their defeat when the war ended in April 1865, their stated cause of the just-ended war wasn’t slavery, but the issue of states’ right vs. federal law.

If you closely follow the speeches of the Tea Party, you will note that they are pretty much claiming the same thing:  state’s right vs. federal law, and specifically taxes, health care reform, etc.  They are claiming that the constitutionally elected and democratically controlled federal government has been spending taxpayer money like drunken sailors on shore leave, particularly with the stimulus packages of last year, and now with “unnecessary” health care reform.

Of course, they ignore the fact that their darling, GW Bush, turned a US$250 billion a year surplus into a trillion dollar-a-year deficit, and that their darling republicans, whom at the time controlled congress, spent the USA into a recession.

But never mind these stubborn little facts.  The Tea Partiers want to take back individual states’ control against the federal government, not just by putting the GOP back in control in congress this year and in control of the white house in 2012, but then by repealing as many federal programs as they possibly can.  They want their states, which are small and thus easier to control, to make all the decisions.  They claim that the 10th amendment of the US constitution, which essentially states that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the constitution are reserved to the states or the people, prevents the federal government from passing and enforcing any laws not expressly already in its power in the constitution.

However, they are famous for ignoring the equally important Necessary and Proper Clause which, in article 1 of the US constitution gives the congress the power to pass any law necessary for the running of the federal government.  Specifically, “The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Enter the beef and oil-producing state of Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma state legislature is actually poised to introduce a bill that would justify raising an “anti-federal government” militia to fight the feds when and if the feds insist upon” controlling their lives” though federal law.

For those that either aren’t up on history or simply choose to ignore it, the Nazis in Germany pretty much got their start in a similar fashion, by creating an armed force that ignored law and constitution, and took power into their own hands, through armed intervention and fear- and hate-mongering.

The fact that the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was perpetrated by an armed domestic terrorist seems to have been forgotten in that state.

There will certainly be those to whom the idea of a state militia that combats federal policy is the only way to preserve THEIR idea of the “republic”.  They will argue that the US federal government, despite being duly elected by a majority of voters in a constitutionally-run election, is exceeding its power by taking the citizens’ tax money and spending it on items that they personally don’t agree with.

They will be totally oblivious to the fact that they are violating a large number of federal laws, all of which are clear that it is illegal to mount any armed assault against the US Government.  But the really scary part of this is that members of the Oklahoma state government actually support this activity, including the republican candidate, .

These are government officials, folks…the same state government officials that some believe are better equipped to defend them than the US Armed Forces.  And that’s a scary thought!

So when you hear the Tea Party riling up the crowd against the US government…when you hear that these folks are going to take back “their” government, but even if they fail, they’ll have the armed force necessary to achieve their goal forcefully…

Be afraid…be VERY afraid.

Clergy Sexual Abuse: The Ultimate Hypocrisy

Humans are the only species on this planet documented to commit non-fatal abusive atrocities against each other.  Sometimes these acts are intended to extract information.  Sometimes their motivation is the personal pleasure of the abuser .  Torture and human abuse have been well established throughout human history.

Interestingly, organized religions have preached love and charity for one’s fellow man or woman.  Yet, sometimes these self-same religious organizations have also engaged in brutal inhuman actions, committed in the name of holiness, loyalty, purity, property and/or power.  The Crusades of the middle ages are well-illustrated examples of this fact.

In today’s world, however, people have come to expect that organizations that represent an elevated level of human righteousness, such as modern-day western religions, would practice what they preach.  It is therefore horribly tragic to millions of people worldwide that at least one of the better-known organizations, the Roman Catholic church, has been revealed to have engaged in sexual abuse of children, as well as a decades-long (and quite possibly centuries-long) cover-up of this abuse while protecting the guilty.

This sexual abuse of children occurred against both genders by both genders.  However, the majority of it seems to have been committed by males against young males, and to a lesser extent, by males against young females.

The Roman Catholic Church has stubbornly continued the centuries-old insistence of total celibacy among its clergy.  This requirement seems to have attracted an inordinate number of same-sex pedophiles.  But there is another problem with this requirement which has been ignored since forever.

That problem is the fact that the human sexual instinct is incredibly strong and prevalent.  It can be suppressed for only so long.  Ignoring it can be done only for a short time without too many adverse effects.  But over longer time-frames, the instinct often resurfaces with a vengeance which motivates some to violate their celibacy vows.  Once the first vow-violation takes place, other rationalized actions are often right behind.  That may help to explain the rationalizations of abusing clergy who target children.

Public accusations alleging sexual child abuse by Catholic priests have been publicized for decades.  But it wasn’t until the 1990’s that such allegations began to be seriously addressed in the judicial system of the USA, and more recently in Europe and elsewhere.  It is admittedly troubling that some of the more recent occurrences seem to have been committed within the past decade, long after the clergy abuse scandal exploded in the press.  In other words, the more recent abusers were aware that press and judicial systems were on to this activity, and yet in spite of that knowledge, committed their abuse anyway.

It has also been troubling to learn that, until very recently, the church had gone to great lengths to prevent the information from being publicly exposed.  It moved offending priests from parish to parish, covered up actions,  and accused victims of fabrications, all to protect its own butt.  It also tied up abuse cases in court for years on technicalities and endless motions, causing even more pain for the victims.  It sealed church records and refused to let victims examine them.  All of this had the effect of encouraging other priests to engage in child sexual abuse.  After all, the church was offering massive protection to any priest accused of abuse.

Perhaps most ironic of all was the fact that the church, on the one hand, was claiming to be the moral compass of humanity, while on the other hand, was enabling the abusers to commit unholy acts against the most innocent of victims…children.

In fairness, the Roman Catholic Church is not the only organization, religious or otherwise, that has enabled its staff to abuse children (or any other group) while concurrently covering it up.  Other groups as benign as the Boy Scouts, for instances, have been alleged to have committed acts of sexual abuse against children.

But the Catholic organization and its priests have been trusted by hundred of millions of parents and children worldwide to protect them against the evils of humanity, while at the same time participating in evil.  And besides the victims themselves, the destruction of that trust has taken its toll on the church itself, both in terms of income and membership numbers.

But perhaps most profoundly thought-provoking is the fact that it has only been a few decades since this pervasive practice of child abuse has become public, primarily because a few victims finally found the courage and an sympathetic investigative media to expose their painful experiences.  Before that, the shame and the guilt associated with being a victim of abuse and/or the fear of reprisal for speaking out, silenced perhaps hundreds of millions of victims over the last two thousand years, at least.

Obviously, the Catholic church will either have to allow priests to marry (in fact, they should insist upon only married priests), or else it might die a quiet death, prompted by a consistently decreasing number of people willing to be priests.  But is the Vatican willing to make such a dramatic change?

Don’t bet on it.