Monday, August 30, 2010

You Guys Working the One Nation Working Together stuff Ought to Advertise Better

For the seven people following this blog, you might notice I've been unemployed for about, oh, 19 months now.  And that I've been YELLING AND SCREAMING for about most of that time FOR JOBS DAMMIT OBAMA WE NEED JOBS.

One of my pet peeves was this realization that for all the Congressional apathy that has been slowing down if not killing any legislative attempts to GET AMERICANS BACK TO WORK DAMMIT, the whole nation seemed to be in this funk of not wanting to do anything about the unemployment problem.  While the televised media itself seemed... distant and aloof about it (the local papers have near-daily news updates and check-ups and job hunting tips, so they at least are aware there's still a problem - and this being Florida with 14 percent out-of-work, IT IS STILL A PROBLEM), there didn't seem to be anything else out there going on.  No marches on state capitols, no rumors of marches, no mass rallies protesting the lack of effort to 15 million Americans back on their feet with good full-time jobs at good wages (As I've let Congress know, Wal-Mart Greeter is NOT a career!).

Not a peep.  And nothing on the Intertubes either.  Not from the liberal blogs nor the conservative ones.  Not from the blogs that tend to be truly balanced and informed.  It was as though NOBODY wanted to go through the hassles of getting into the streets and raising a fuss.

Which is getting really frustrating for me.  Because there are other groups in this nation taking to the streets, and these are groups that in my humble opinion don't have any legitimate grievances to drive them into the streets: the goddamn wingnut Teabaggers.

For one thing: these Teabaggers are NOT grass-roots.  By definition, grass-root organizations aren't funded by billionaires.  For another thing: these Teabaggers are out there protesting things - "OBAMA'S A SOCIALIST ZOMG!  OBAMA'S A SECRET MUSLIM ZOMG!  HEALTH CARE DEATH PANELS ZOMG!  DEMOCRATS ARE EVIL ZOMG!" - that are NOT TRUE.

It came to a head for me this weekend with the realization that a particular Rage Merchant was throwing his own Ego Rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on a High Holy Day (Anniversary for Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech during a march in 1963 for... get this... jobs!).  I felt angry and pissed that an idiot like Beck could get 80,000 Teabaggers to travel to DC to boost his ego, but that 15 million unemployed Americans couldn't get anything together to host a rally in DC to yell and scream for the good jobs we desperately need.

So I went to Daily Kos - yes, Dad, I know they're Socialists - mostly 'cause I figured that would be the one venue where I could vent this matter using a Diary entry.  Mostly I raged that we needed to organize and get a Jobs Rally on DC done as soon as possible.

Well, it kinda worked.  Within minutes, someone posted a response, letting me know that "Hey guess what?  There IS a rally planned for Saturday October 2nd!"

It's being hosted by a group known as One Nation Working Together.  It's really associated with the AFL-CIO, as well as the NAACP and SEIU.  Yes, Dad, they're unions and they're liberal.  They're also the only ones I'm seeing out there in the political arena giving a crap about the unemployment crisis.

So thank GOD there is actually something going on out there.  But here comes my next greivance:


You'd think the AFL-CIO or the NAACP or SEIU would have a grasp on the concept of advertising.  Because I certainly didn't hear anything about this and it looks like this has been in the planning stages since June.  At least since August 4th, when these guys finally got around to securing the October 2nd event.  Nothing.  NOT A PEEP.

You've got friendly ears in the televised media, don't you?  This was something Rachel Maddow could have been talking about the last three weeks, or at least Keith Olbermann.  Why isn't Daily Kos dedicating Diaries and updates on their site?  Or FireDogLake, which devotes some talk about SEIU?  I will tell you one thing: I'm not hearing anything about this among my fellow unemployed at the Career Center!  Sigh.

Look, here's the thing: we've got about a month before the event takes place.  We gotta start getting the word out to the unemployed across the nation.  It's gonna take time, and money, and travel planning and expenses, and a lot of other things, to make sure we get a good turnout.  'Cause the media's not gonna sit up and take notice if you get just 5,000 people attending.  The media's not gonna pay attention if you even get 80,000 like Beck did.  No, you're going to have to impress the shit out of the news channels: you're gonna need at least 2 million in the streets of Washington DC.  You're gonna need to clog up traffic from Alexandria to Baltimore.  You're gonna have the scare the crap out of the political insiders who simply can't see the number of unemployed people who are out there in the United States.

I'll do my part to spread the word.  But you guys?  AFL-CIO, NAACP, SEIU, the lot of you?  Start getting your ads out there!  Start chatting up Maddow or Cooper Anderson or god help us someone at FOX.  GET THE DAMN WORD OUT.

We need everyone there on October 2nd.  EVERYONE!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Only Miracle I Want Today

A certain Rage Merchant is marching on D.C. today in mockery of a Real American's stirring call to action.  I refuse to link otherwise to anything about today's hatefest.

The S.O.B. hosting this travesty is claiming a Miracle will occur today.  Unless that miracle involves God turning Glenn Beck into a pillar of salt, I won't be impressed.

Breitbart Delendus Est.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reactions to the Primaries of August 24 2010

I did not wake up well today.

It's taking me a good while to write up this post-script to last Tuesday's postings about the primaries.  Mostly because Wednesday was a busy day for me, heading out to Charlie Crist's campaign HQ to rally for the November election. (you won't see me on the video, as a big fat guy I tried to stay in the corner out of people's way)

I'm not the only one miffed about Rick Scott being chosen by the Republican Party as their choice for the Governorship here in Florida.  At least one other Floridian is trying to use mockery in discussing the horror that is Scott, but still and all outrage should be the underlying emotion here.

To wit: THE REPUBLICANS CHOSE AN EX-CEO OF A CORPORATION THAT COMMITTED MASSIVE MEDICARE FRAUD UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP.  What words do you think the majority of Republicans overlooked on Scott's resume?  I think they missed the words FRAUD, also UNREPENTANT CROOK, and maybe EVASIVE SCUMBAG.

I've spent more than a few posts yelling and screaming about how the Republicans have failed in their leadership: about how they provide us with con artists, snake-oil salesmen, egomaniacal freaks, borderline racists, and outright liars.  But in previous cases the Republicans at least tried for a pretense of choosing 'sensible,' or least publicly clean candidates that don't have billion-dollar-sized damages trailing in their wake.  With Scott?  Dear fucking God, they're not even trying to hide it anymore.  This guy - responsible for the largest fine in Medicare Fraud history - is openly trying to buy himself an office ($40 million of his own money and counting), and for what purpose?  What do you honestly think Scott is trying to do achieve?  All I can think of is that he's hoping to get into office so that he can use the shield of "Public Trust" to avoid any culpability in the private sector he may have generated (being an elected official DOESN'T stop the criminal or civil charges from coming: it DOES delay it for years, and it gives the scumbag the "excuse" that he's being hounded for "political partisan" reasons.  Phooey.)

The simplest solution to all this is of course to vote for the Democratic nominee Alex Sink.  It's due time for another party to sit in the Governorship anyway (last elected Dem was Walkin' Lawton and that was almost 2 decades ago), and another thing Sink would be the state's first woman Governor (a nice milestone).  Still and all, this pisses me off.  The primary system itself FAILED to prevent someone known to have COMMITTED FRAUD on the scale of billions of dollars from even winning a party nomination in the first place.

WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU FLORIDIAN REPUBLICANS THINKING?  McCollum wasn't too radical enough for you?!  A perfectly sensible, long-time political hack who plays by the GOP purity rules, and McCollum STILL LOSES TO A CROOK?!  WHAT.  THE.  HELL?  Anti-incumbency attitudes alone does not explain this outright stupidity by the majority of the state GOP voters.

Any outrage I might have for voting results in Alaska or Arizona can't measure up to this.  All I can say now to everyone is STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN.  It's not helping this nation.  At all!

Breitbart Delendus Est.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Florida Primary Day August 24 2010

Forgot to mention this, but then again I find the need to purge Rick Scott from my memory every other minute of the day.  Ye Gods, HE'S A VIABLE CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR?

Anyhoo.  Updates on the primaries to be added to this thread.  Voting should be done by evening and updates will follow.  By 10:00 pm tonight we'll have a good idea how bad the GOP's choices will look like...

If you wanna follow the official tallying, linkage to the St. Pete Times politics website provided here.

Oh and I forgot to keep up with this:
Brietbart Delendus Est.

UPDATE: 6:40 pm EST.  It's been a rainy day.  How it will affect turnout across the state this year is unknown, but it does tend to depress turnout.  Usually the less-interested voters who tend to just vote on whim, meaning more dedicated (possibly obsessed) voters have a huge advantage.

UPDATE: 7:52 pm.  There's the Bay News 9 results page available as well (interactive).  The polls are closed and the counts are filtering in.  So far, it doesn't look good in the GOP gubernatorial race with Scott up over McCollum 47 - 42 percent.

UPDATE: 8:11 pm.  Bay News 9 is calling the Primaries for Rubio in the GOP Senate and Sink in the Democrat Governor races.  Pasco County's local elections are still dribbling in, so I can't say who won the Judicial campaigns.

UPDATE: 8:27 pm.  Last early update for some time.  Bay News 9 is calling the Democrat Senate race for Meek.  The Attorney General elections still up for grabs.  The Scott/McCollum race is still too close to call at 46-43, but the polling numbers are staying level so it's looking like Scott could win the GOP nom.  Get those Scotty Don't t-shirts ready.

UPDATE: 10:24 pm.  Greene conceded to Meek.  Results still not changed for Scott/McCollum, they're at 46 to 43 percent at 77 percent precincts in.  Will have to check again later.

UPDATE: 10:43 pm.  Go Rays!  Up 4-0 bottom of the Second Inning!  ...what?  Oh, the primaries...
Interesting tidbit: the Republican turnout was in the 1 million-plus count.  I didn't think there were that many registered Republicans in the state.  Last tally was around 900,000 or so in 2009.  Democratic turnout looks to be around 750,000 voters so far, which is 250,000 less than expected... although it can be said the Republican Gubernatorial primary especially had more at stake...

UPDATE: 10:50 pm.  May be my last update for the night.  Won't stay up long.  Best to say that Scott looks like he'll win the Republican nomination for the Governor's race (Boo Hiss).  Once that race is certain, I'll have more to say on it.  On a personal note, a woman who ran for a Congressional primary back in 1992 - Trish Muscarella - that I volunteered for then (she lost the primary: Bilirakis was an imposing incumbent) has won a race tonight for 6th Circuit Court Seat 18 (Pasco & Pinellas).  So in case I get tabbed for speeding again, I know who to ask for a presiding judge... :)

My 2,000,000 cents on the Muslim Community Center Pool Hall and Prayer Room

Since everyone else is ranting and foaming at the mouth on this issue!
I originally posted this as a comment on Flick Filosopher's thread on the matter, and decided it was good enough for the seven people who read here:

We must stop the Muslims from building a Community Center with a Coffee Shop and Pool Hall and a Prayer Room! And you know why?

That Pool Hall!

You got trouble Folks! Right here in River City Manhattan. Trouble with a Capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for POOL.

Oh, I'm sure you folks will enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, but think of the children! Tempted by the... temptations of an easy game of pool! You want Muslims sitting around five times a day praying toward Mecca, no problem? But get them betting on games of Eight-Ball, wasting their hard earned money from the unemployment benefits they get because of the 10 percent unemployment we've got nationwide, why that's Bad! That's ASKING for Trouble! Trouble with a Capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for POOL!

...It's from Music Man.  ...It was a musical!   ...Okay, just keep an eye on Turner Movie Classics and maybe they'll rebroadcast it...

Seriously?  If someone wants to build in an economically depressed corner of New York City, which that area of Manhattan is, then God Bless!  If they wanna build a Quaker Microbrewery, GOD BLESS.  If they wanna build a Unitarian Internet Cafe, GOD BLESS!  If they wanna build a Jewish Sports Bar, L'Chaim!  If they wanna build a Muslim Pool Hall, Allah Akbar!

It's taken this long for the Far Right to finally explode in rage and anger at the dirty Muslim crowd, if only because they've gone full bore batshit crazy over dirty Hispanics as well: The argument for "anchor babies" the Right is using to repeal the Citizenship Clause is being used against Muslims and their "terrorist anchor babies" as well.  The strain of racism on the Far Right has gone public since 2008 (gee, wonder why) and it's only getting nastier - they're protesting mosques in states that didn't even get hit on 9/11 - because the Far Right live for that goddamn anger.  It's the only thing they can feel anymore.

Regardless of the fact that the United States has a proud history of the Free Practice of Religion.  Regardless of the fact that all this open outrage over a simple goddamn POOL HALL has gone global and that the REAL "Muslim" Extremists like Al Qaeda are using this outrage to justify their anti-American recruiting (gee thanks Gingrich and Palin for providing Bin Laden with free advertising!).

Just build the damn Pool Hall.  And build the damn new Tower.  And get on with our lives!  Living well... especially living on good terms with your neighbors is supposed to be the BEST revenge, you idiots!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Michael Been of The Call Died Recently

Well they blew the horns/
And the walls came down/
They'd all been warned/
And the walls came down...

This is, sadly, another tragic reminder that we are all mortal.  And yeah, it sounds petty, but The Call was a band I knew and liked.  So this is a death that hits closer to home than most other celebrity passings...

The Call was one of the early 80s New Wave bands out of California (although two of the bandmates, Been especially, hailed from Oklahoma).  They had some decent success but nothing that was chart-topping, more of a cult fave among the hip kids among the Gen-X crowd, and among their fellow rock artists they'd impressed.  You'd probably remember them from this video:

Pretty much their best-known song, although Everywhere I Go, I Still Believe, and Let The Day Begin were well-known minor hits.

From The Walls Came Down video, you'd think The Call were just another Protest Band from the dying days of the L.A. Punk scene.  Not really.  Most of their songs tend to be spiritual, almost Christian in lyrical tone.  But it wasn't the hard evangelical Christianity they evoked: what they sang came out as moral outrage against corruption of power and the forces of darkness:

Sanctuary fades, congregation splits/
Nightly military raids, the congregation splits/
It's a song of assassins, ringin' in your ears/
We got terrorists thinking, playing on fears...

Finding an article online about The Call's Christian stylings wasn't hard:
Unlike much of "contemporary Christian music," The Call uses no religious rhetoric and attempts no proselytizing. Their style is at once driving, confrontational, rhythm-oriented, vulnerable and self-deprecating... Their records show not a trace of the self-righteous theologizing and Bible-quoting that ruins so much "Christian music."  Instead, the band has consciously chosen to use gripping and gritty images of conflict, cataclysm and deliverance, giving their music a genuinely provocative sense of the suffering, struggle and vision of their spiritual adventure. Been and keyboardist Jim Goodwin say this complexity reflects their belief that life contains extremes that cannot be addressed with a pat approach. Almost every one of their songs describes battles with the weapons of love and reconciliation, passing through death to life again in the span of a song. Been says his songwriting hammers away at the spiritual indifference in his own life, and his search for spiritual answers. Sounding a little like a voice crying in the wilderness, he said, "I just keep writing the same song over and over..."

I don't think there are any Russians/
And there ain't no Yanks/
Just corporate criminals/
Playin' with tanks...

This is the closing stanza from The Walls Came Down: moral outrage at the hypocrisy of global politics in four simple lines.  Me and my brothers whenever we'd hear this song would shout out the last two lines, easily remembered and easily repeated.  But those just weren't cool words of protest to chant, like we were screaming "Fuck 'em all" during any other godawful 80s Punk song.  The Call, and Michael Been, were trying to preach to us, letting us know who the enemy is.  Not the Russians.  Not us Yanks.  Just the Corporate Criminals.

If only the Teabagger Crowd grokked that and started railing against Wall Street instead of Pennsylvania Ave.

Safe journey for your soul into the Afterlife, Michael Been.  Say hey to Emperor Norton for me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Daddy, What Did YOU Do During The Republican War On America?

A wooden shack overlooking a serene lake with children playing on the porch.  The year is 2020.  The War is ten years gone by then.  My daughters Sherry Rose and Sara Dorri have found an oddly shaped leaf and are using it to play with their kitten.  I'm sitting at my workdesk at a window overlooking the porch and the lake, contently looking away from my third non-fiction work, a history of Jamaica in the 20th Century.  I'd been years working on it, so there's no rush to finish.  I hear tinkering from the kitchen: my Zoroastrian wife Jehanara whom I met during the War is stirring up her tea for the afternoon.
I sense movement nearby, and a cough.  I turn to face my oldest child, my son Joshua Abraham Lawrence Spurlock - named for Emperor of the United States Joshua Abraham Norton, General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine, and Michael Spurlock who was the first ever to return a touchdown kickoff for the Tampa Bay Bucs - standing a few feet away, history textbook in hand.  It had to be something about his school homework.  "Got a question, son?"
"Yeah, dad, I do."  He's got his mother's eye color, as close to turquoise as you can get.  Pity he inherited my hair: that double crown on the back of his head is making it burst out in all the wrong directions.  "We're studying up on recent events, things in the news, and comparing them to, you know, stuff that happened years ago."
"Okay, what's the comparison you're working with then?"
"Well, I got an assignment on this guy here."  Josh holds up a printed sheet of a web article: some ex-politician up for a parole hearing and the outrage it's sparking on the Chrome Kos site sponsored by the latest winter blockbuster film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Spiders From Mars.
I lean in to take a closer look.  "Oh, yeah.  Him.  You had questions about that guy?"
"Well, I started glancing through the school book, and I just noticed that well," Josh shrugged.  "that all this stuff that guy did, all the lying and staged outrage and the violence in the streets he stirred up, and well, this all happened just ten years ago."
"Before you were born, true enough."  I smiled and reached over to tap my son on the shoulder.  "I was like you at your age.  I was pretty much born after all the crazy stuff from the Sixties."
"Well, I was just kinda wondering, you know?"  Josh shrugged again.  "It's just... you were alive then, right?"
"Oh.  Yeah."  I nod with solemn and wistful intent.  "I was there."
"I was just wondering, though.  What did YOU do during the Republican War on America?"

Well I'm sitting here right now, in the year 2010, wondering just what I'll have to answer to my boy when the time comes, when he asks me that question: What did I do when the Republicans openly declared War on America?
Because that's pretty much what the Republican Party has done:
Welcome to the Republican Reality: where The Wingnuts On FOX News are agitating unrest claiming everyone else is destroying America while their Republican buddies in government are blocking financial aid, financial reforms, jobs bills, and God knows everything else we need to do to fix America that's clearly falling apart.

So... what am I doing during this Republican War On America?
For starters, I'm gonna do everything in my power to keep Republicans out of office.  I'm not voting for a single one at any level.  Period.  Even if there are sensible Republicans on the ballot who would otherwise be reasonable choices, not now.  Not for the next ten generations the way that party is behaving.  The whole party has to lose now just to slap some goddamn sense into them.
I'm also looking to put in volunteer hours with Crist's Senate campaign.  He's Independent now, so I'm not violating the No-Republicans rule I set earlier.  Need to call the campaign HQ about anything I can do in person: right now they're pretty much just asking for money, the one thing an unemployed guy like me can't really afford to do.
I'm also doing what I can to get Democrats to get out and vote this midterms.  THIS IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM: Midterm elections are smaller in turnout numbers (because most people only care to vote for the Big One: The Presidency) and it all depends on the enthusiasms of the party bases.  Right now, the Republicans are all stirred up thanks to the Teabagger crowds: The Democrats are all sniping among each other to the point that their voters are all "why bother?"  Well, Democrats, here's WHY you should bother: THERE ARE MORE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS RIGHT NOW THAN REGISTERED REPUBLICANS, YOU IDIOTS.  Here in Florida alone there's 4 million plus Democrats and 3 million plus Republicans: you've got a 900,000 ballot head start on the GOP!  If every voter turned out, Democrats ought to win every non-gerrrymandered district at the state and federal level they can!  And for the Republicans to win, they'd need more than half of the 2 million Independent/Third Party voters, which is unlikely... even moreso with the Republicans going so far extreme Right on the charts that they have to be alienating too many moderate and centrist Indys.  Do you get that, Democrats?  All you have to do is hew along Center-Left policies, secure moderate Indy voters alongside your Left wingers, and YOU.  CAN.  STOP.  The DAMN REPUBLICANS.  From retaking Congress this midterms.
And why should you do everything in your powers to stop the Republicans, O foolish Dems?  Because I SWEAR to you on Day One of a GOP-led Congress: You will have the Republicans flat-out impeaching Obama, not even waiting the traditional few months or years of investigating him.  They'll just flat-out impeach using the flimsiest forged evidence of a "Kenyan Birth Certificate" they can find.  And it won't matter if they get the two-thirds vote necessary in the Senate to confirm the impeachment: they'll just refile again and again and again, anything to hamper harass and delay Obama's efforts to do his damn job.
And that's just the most obvious thing they'll do.  Having campaigned on so many other wingnut issues to win elections, the Republicans of 2011 are gonna have to live up to their promises: that means for Starters, a draconian illegal immigration bill designed to alienate every Hispanic demographic across the nation (even the Cubans, who normally align with the party that's most opposed to Castro).
That also means a sudden re-interest in overturning Roe v. Wade on the abortion front, something the Republicans refused to do when they had the chance back in 2001-2006, and never mind the fact that solid majorities of Americans don't even consider abortion a Top Ten priority anymore (gee, you'd think unemployment, a shaky economy, a shattering housing and mortgage industry, failing schools, and personal debt bankruptcies would be higher priorities).
And other thing: the Republican Congress will push for a hard tax cut budget that would actually make our deficits worse, but hell anything for a tax cut right?  Especially since the Republicans have pledged to kill Obama's HCR program.  And especially at a time when so many unemployed people are going to be on so many much-needed social programs threatened by Congress' threat of hatchet cuts to the budget to justify those tax cuts.  And if Obama threatens a veto of their budget?  The Republicans can shut down government altogether, like they did in 1995-1996.  Like THAT was fun for everyone involved back when the economy was actually WORKING...
That also means pursuing a Bomb Iran foreign policy platform that would only succeed in thrilling the neocons and pissing off 99 percent of the rest of the planet.  But hey, anything for our friends in Israel who think they've got a "Get Out Of Jail Free" Card that allows them to do whatever they want against their Middle East neighbors... and against their European Allies' interests...  Gee, a constant moving war in the Middle East!  Thanks, neocons!
Oh.  And about ten other things that ought to scare the CRAP out of Democrats enough to GET YOU IDIOTS TO THE GODDAMN VOTING BOOTHS this November.  WAKE. THE FUCK. UP, DEMS!
Sheesh.  This, future son of mine, is what I'm doing during the Republican War On America.  Trying to get everyone else to wake up to the fact there IS a war going on.  And the sane people are losing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Driving To Kuwait

It is, of course, a big event when the last official US troops of the Second Iraq War drive out late at night down a long dusty road to the light up ahead.

It is also a matter of course that the United States HASN'T left Iraq altogether.  50,000 non-combat troops and support personnel remain in Iraq to assist in the transition to a self-governed state.  By no means is American commitment to Iraq over.

And the damage done by this Second Iraq War - thousands of Iraqi civilians tortured and killed, hundreds of American and Allied troops killed and wounded, thousands more scarred by war - won't fully be tallied for another decade.  If we're lucky.

The best we can hope is that with the United States officially ending their combat mission in Iraq, that some calm and common sense will pass among the Muslim and Arab peoples and reduce the Anti-American sentiments that allow Al Qaeda and their terrorist ilk to thrive.

If only we could bring some calm and common sense to the American shores and stop this goddamn crazy shit from consuming our time and efforts at home.  Damn it all...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

OT: just ordered new business cards

Wanted to add the CompTIA (r) A+ Certified logo, also to update to the new email address to be more... professional.

Now... HIRE ME!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Conservatives Attack: Their Amendment Ideas and How They Can Destroy America

One of the advantages of writing a barely-read blog is I get to go all out and toss some crazy amendment ideas into the global blogging forum: Hey, here' an idea for an Amendment, No More Lying!  Let's pass an amendment stating the President Is NOT Above The Law!  Wheeee, so much fun to be had.

But then the "professional" political hacks decide to get into the Crazy Amendment Idea arena, and it doesn't seem so fun anymore.

The media is all atwitter at the moment about Sarah Palin eye-rolling at a teacher, sorry, the media is all atwitter at the moment about Robert Gibbs dissing tree-hugging hippie leftists, whoops, the media is all atwitter about more of the Republican Party leadership coming out in favor of amending or outright repealing the 14th Amendment of the United States.

In particular, the Far Right wing of the GOP wants to get rid of the definition of citizenship.  Their public reason for doing so?  Getting rid of "anchor babies," the children that are born in our borders to pregnant illegal immigrants who then get to stay in order to raise said anchor babies as a means of circumventing the legalization process.  (Even though there is little evidence that "anchor babies" work as a tactic for illegals, and there's little evidence of a health care crisis because of it.) The right wingnuts got to this solution as yet another step in their ongoing war against Illegals in the United States, a complex and anger-fueled debate that has gone a long way toward driving Hispanic voters (the ones most directly affected by the anti-Immigrant outrage) into the arms of the Democratic Party.

There are a ton of problems with the current wingnut thinking on doing away with the Citizenship provisions of the 14th.  First: amending anything in the Constitution is a huge, mind-boggling and near-impossible attempt.  It takes two-thirds votes in both Houses of Congress and then two-thirds of all states (current 38 states) to amend (the other process - using national conventions - is so fraught with peril that it's only been used once to pass the 21st Amendment to repeal Prohibition and overturn the 18th Amendment).  In some respects, it's rather harmless to have the Far Right latch onto the amendment process as a means of winning their argument as it's next to impossible to achieve: what it DOES do, however, is build up the frustration of the Far Right to where they can and will lash out in other ways...

The second problem?  If they actually do make a serious attempt at removing the Citizenship Clause...

See, one of the ongoing issues with the crazed Far Right Wingnut crowd is how... emphatic they are about going after those they oppose.  Anyone who makes the Republican Party looks bad gets personally demolished by the next FOX Not-News cycle.  Anyone questioning the efforts of Republicans to lower taxes for the super-rich and deregulate every industry to the point that nothing will be safe or reliable will get demonized as SOCIALIST ZOMG.  And above all, the best way they can dismiss, ignore or invalidate anyone that wants to debate them?  All they have to do is point a finger and accuse their opponents of being "Un-American."

What could happen then in a world where Citizenship is not an automatic given based on birth but instead vulnerable to the whims and interests of whichever political party is in charge of Congress, the White House, and the Courts?  Nowadays the Republicans can call you "Un-American" and that would be just another insult.  If the 14th Amendment were gone... A Republican With Authority can call you "Un-American" and mean it... which would also mean no rights under the law, no protection from immediate arrest, no Habeus, no home, no life...  This is the true danger of what the Republicans are proposing to do by getting rid of the 14th Amendment.  They claim it'll be to get rid of unwanted Illegals... but also consider that the Republicans have no love of Muslims right now, and not much love for Blacks, and very little love for Liberals... and so on, and more, and also...  Repeal the 14th Amendment and NO ONE would be safe from the charge of being "Un-American."

Like I mentioned earlier, there's actual little threat to what the Republicans are trying to do against the 14th Amendment: the rules are stacked too well against any amending purge.  And even if they do get far enough to make even a half-hearted attempt?  The reaction from EVERY conceivable minority group - Blacks, Hispanics (especially the legals, the ones born here even five or six generations worth of family ties to this country would be threatened by this), Chinese and Japanese and other Asians, Indians and Pakistanis and Afghans and Egyptians and Algerians and Muslims, even Jews and Catholics and Hindus and Buddhists - will rise up to stop it (Native American tribes are protected under other laws, but even they could be affected by this).  And that's not even including the Euro-descended Caucasian Moderates and Liberals who will rise up as they too could get purged from the citizenship rolls just for the way they vote and think.  The only real scary thought is that the Republicans in power now are willing to even consider this...

After nearly a week of the crazy talk over getting rid of the 14th, saner heads are getting their say on the matter, most eloquently done via this Washington Monthly article:

Several former Bush administration officials, who, for all of their faults, weren't necessarily wrong about immigration policy, believe their party is making a big mistake.
[I]n recent days, former aides to both Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush, who pushed for comprehensive immigration reform, have condemned the calls by top Republicans to end birthright citizenship.
Cesar Conda, who served as domestic policy adviser to Cheney, has called such proposals "offensive." Mark McKinnon, who served as media adviser in Bush's two presidential campaigns, said Republicans risk losing their "rightful claim" to the 14th Amendment if they continue to "demagogue" the issue.
"The 14th Amendment is a great legacy of the Republican party. It is a shame and an embarrassment that the GOP now wants to amend it for starkly political reasons," McKinnon told POLITICO. "Initially Republicans rallied around the amendment to welcome more citizens to this country. Now it is being used to drive people away."
Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, Bush's former chief speechwriter, added on ABC over the weekend, "That is the wisdom of the authors of the 14th Amendment: They essentially wanted to take this very difficult issue -- citizenship -- outside of the political realm. They wanted to take an objective standard, birth, instead of a subjective standard, which is the majorities at the time. I think that's a much better way to deal with an issue like this."

And that, sad to say, is coming from former Republicans leaders who have little in the way of directly affecting internal and external party dynamics.  But here lies the real serious problem: The current Republican leadership - made up by the likes of Palin, Gingrich, the House and Senate leaderships, primary challengers across the nation- is crazy.  And their interpretation of what the Constitution should read has been ill-informed, poorly thought out, and doomed with unintended consequences that would make things worse.

The 14th Amendment isn't the only part of the Constitution under attack by the Republicans.  They've been after the 17th Amendment - the direct election of US Senators - as well.  The wingnuts, obsessed with the idea of States' Rights, got it into their collective head that repealing the 17th Amendment will give more power back to the states.  Biggest problem with that?  It completely takes away a right now given to the individual voters themselves, which violates the Far Right's tenet of "giving the people more freedoms".  Which pretty much highlights how little the Far Right truly values an individual's rights.  The next biggest problem is that there's a very good reason the 17th Amendment passed: by the turn of the 20th Century the state legislatures in charge of placing Senators had become so corrupted by the practice that charges of bribery were rife, and some states got bogged down in the selection process to where one or BOTH Senate seats were vacant for years at a time (Delaware had NO sitting Senators between 1903 to 1905).  The Far Right's belief that repealing the 17th Amendment is a good idea merely demonstrates their ignorance of American political history, and their disdain for the rights of voters...  (oh, and one other thing the Far Right Republicans might want to consider: Democrats currently control 28 state legislatures outright compared to 8 Republican-held.  And more states are leaning Democratic day by day.  Letting the Democratically-controlled states to choose their Senators could well give the Democrats a 68-seat majority.  Say good-bye to the filibuster and cloture tricks.  NOW do you think that's a good idea...?)

And that's not all.  After 8 years of ignoring the matter during the Bush Spend-For-All Tenure, the Republican Party is trotting out their old warhorse issue of The Balanced Budget Amendment!  ...which begs the question why didn't they push this Amendment idea more back in oh 2000 or 2003 or 2004 or 2006 when they had the chance, but noooooo guess we can't ask them that.

The problems with supporting a Balanced Budget?  None, if you're serious about it, and the Republicans ARE NOT.  Their Budget Amendment idea would require a two-third super-majority in both House and Senate to raise taxes without a similar requirement for lowering taxes.  Thing is, we've got a perfect example of that in California: and any sane observer of the budgeting mess that state has gone through the last 30 years will tell you that transplanting that to the FEDERAL level is a swell idea!  /sarcasm off

There are more sensible methods of balancing budgets, but they include raising taxes at some point to you know ACTUALLY PAY FOR THINGS.  By knee-capping the ability of Congress to adjust the tax rates (going up as well as going down!) all this Balanced Budget amendment would do is kill whatever is left of FDR's New Deal: the forcible cutting back or eliminating basically every social safety net and government oversight our nation NEEDED TO CREATE to compensate for the damage that GREED and corporate incompetence caused from the 1870s to the Great Depression.

These are the Amendments that the Far Right Wingnuts want to pass:
  • Eliminate the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment (and get rid of everybody the wingnuts don't like)
  • Eliminate the Voters' right to directly elect their US Senators (and have the state legislatures become even more corrupt than they are now)
  • Eliminate the Federal Government's ability to raise taxes when there is no other way to maintain funding for things like oh the military, health care, social services, commerce and transportation, state funding for state-level services like roads, schools and child care (and basically end the United States as we know it)

And people want to vote these Republican psychopaths back into power?

(Slight Edit for grammar)