Pulling my ‘liberal hack’ head out, man


(Public Domain)
(Public Domain)

“Thank God for the Koch brothers…Pull your head out, man…The rich carry this country.” – excerpts of several tweet exchanges from a self-described “Capitalist, Libertarian,” directed at @proseandthorn, after sharing the news of the Koch founded group, Americans for Prosperity, opening a Louisiana branch to defeat Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)

I don’t want to encourage the RWNJ who tweeted those words, and more, by publishing her name here, but you can read her tweet-raid, where she calls me a “liberal hack,” and warns that if the Senate remains in Democrat control, “we will be officially a communist nation,” on my Twitter feed.

Happy New Year. It’s less than a week into 2014 and the partisanship that divides Congress once again cleaves a gulf between American activists as we bounce down the rutted campaign trail of our respective candidates, to November. Expect there to be billboards – bought by folks like the Kochs and the Heritage Foundation – every ten feet, on the right side of the highway, talking about the Affordable Care Act’s shaky roll-out and Obama’s misleading sales pitch.

Louisiana is only one state where Americans for Prosperity is applying pressure to unseat an incumbent Senate Democrat. They are also attacking New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Kay Hagan, in North Carolina. The year wasn’t even 24 hours old when AFP released a television ad across the Tar Heel state, attacking Hagan for her Obamacare vote, where someone whose policy was cancelled (for reasons the ad doesn’t explain) blames Hagan, and says, “She just doesn’t get it.”

Similar ads were aired by the Koch-backed group against Landrieu and Shaheen, in their home states.

Meanwhile, Heritage is using the lawsuit of Colorado nuns against the law’s birth control mandates for its own purposes, publishing stories sympathetic to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who, they say, the law “punishes…for holding beliefs that spur them to compassionate service.” It’s an interesting choice of words for a group like Heritage, which fights banking regulations that protect all Americans from exploitation, calls the New Deal policies that put millions back to work during the depression “an all-out assault on liberty,” and refers to progressivism as “a pseudo religion that must be soundly defeated.” Compassion, indeed.

While the Right attacks incumbent Southern Democrats for their support of the ACA, the open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia provides more of a dilemma for their machine. With a crowded field of Republicans trying to out-Todd Aiken each other for the conservative base, it gives a moderate Democrat with name recognition and no Senate vote baggage, Michelle Nunn, an opening to win in a reliably red state.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Nunn raised $1.6 million last quarter, meaning she has raised $3.3 million since she announced her candidacy last July. While “80 percent of those donors gave less than $100,” the AJC notes, the campaign also received an as yet unknown amount from former Virgina Sen. John Warner, a Republican.

Georgia Republicans insist that Nunn cannot win. “[T]his is not a purple state,” state Republican chair John Padgett recently told supporters, according to the AJC story. “And the Georgia GOP is not going to fall down on its duty to you and the rest of the country and let this state turn into a purple state.”

That’s reassuring, I suppose, to my Twitter heckler, who sees a Democrat led Senate, representing at least some of the Old South states, as the equivalent of a Communist America. Certainly, it indicates that the Right views conservatism as an essential “duty to the country.”

Let me pull my head out long enough to point out to them that they have bought into, and are in support of, a mythical country, a picture drawn in Sunday schools and the Fox News echo chamber. I’ll pull my head out long enough to point out to them that one day they and the people they love may have to rely on the government programs they rail against – Medicare, Social Security, Food Stamps. I’ll pull my head out to admit, yes, I love government, because I love and care about my fellow Americans – even the ignorant – who I alone do not have the resources to help feed and clothe, and I don’t trust the rich to carry anything but their stock portfolios.

But what do I know? I’m just a liberal hack.

-PBG

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Ron Paul’s sphere sucks young voters into racism’s toilet


English: Given permission by creators and owne...

To the casual observer, like Baltimore Sun columnist Thomas F. Schaller, the perception of the Ron Paul brand is a simple one.

“To look at him,” Schaller points out in his opinion piece, Tuesday, “Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul seems harmless. He’s cute and contrarian. He wears poorly fitting suits. He’s decidedly un-slick. You almost want to pat him on the head.

“But,” he adds, later, “don’t let Dr. Paul’s impish, avuncular and professorial style fool you.”

Republican presidential contender, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), is in a maelstrom of his own making. Buoyed early in his political career by the support of swastika-wearing supremacists, he is struggling to disavow his ties to those groups, so in a season of wild political extremism, he can appear an even-tempered moderate.

The legacy, paleoconservative anti-federalists, like the folks in white hoods and Tim McVeigh and gun-hoarding militias, have harpooned the general anti-government backlash of the Tea Party and Occupy movements, and siphoned out those who blame others for their problems. The sucking sound is turning heads, and getting those who should know better to cock an ear like a curious dog.

If they would just go sniffing around, the educated youth who are drawn to the vortex would realize that those who were “taken” by the language of the Libertarian Party, are the ones looking for easy answers. They would find that too many Ron Paul supporters are a caucus of racist, xenophobic and ignorant American voters, that hangs on the dependent clauses that complete the phrase, “Things would be so much better in this country, if …”

Like, “Things would be so much better in this country if we controlled our borders,” or, “Things would be so much better in this country if everyone owned a gun,” or, “Things would be so much better in this country if only we didn’t have Obama [read ‘a black man’] in the White House.”

So, why is Ron Paul such a big hit with racist extremists? One answer, on a web page of the white supremacy group Stormfront, asks a similar question, according to an article in the Herald-Tribune. “I understand he wins many fans because his monetary policy would hurt Jews,” one of the answers, submitted in the comments section, says.

The HT article goes on to describe some of the controversial language in a couple Ron Paul newsletters from the 1990s, that has raised some of these charges of racism:

“In the mid-1990s, between his two stints as a Texas congressman, Mr. Paul produced a newsletter called The Ron Paul Survival Report, which only months before the Oklahoma City bombings encouraged militias to seek out and expel federal agents in their midst. That edition was titled ‘Why Militias Scare the Striped Pants Off Big Government.’

“An earlier edition of another newsletter he produced, The Ron Paul Political Report, concluded that the need for citizens to arm themselves was only natural, given carjackings by ‘urban youth who play whites like pianos.’ The report, with no byline but written in the first person, said: ‘I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self-defense. For the animals are coming.'”

Despite his name on the newsletter’s masthead, Rep. Paul says he didn’t make those statements, that others wrote them for him. Even if that’s true (there’s no byline attributing authorship to the articles), one would think that a politician, albeit an activist one, would want to be more careful with his branding, and do some oversight.

Paul, though, gives the excuse of the dirty cop who claims he was taking money from the mob because he was doing some super-secret undercover sting, that only he knew about, and he was trying to flip an informant. He’s not guilty of association, he says, because, “I’ll go to anybody who I think I can convert to change their viewpoints… I’m always looking at converting people to look at liberty the way I do.”

The problem is, when you throw the ignorant-furious-paranoid and the educated-furious-frustrated in the same pool, you can’t wipe them down with the same towel of liberty, without their shit getting on everything.

-PBG