What the fuck is happening to this country?
You can read more about this ••here••….
Friday, May 14, 2010 23:15 ET
Maine Tea Party: Worse than you think
State GOP apologizes after conventioneers vandalize an eighth grade classroom
By Joan Walsh
Tea Party defenders like to accuse Tea Party critics of focusing on a tiny minority of racist, crazy or potentially violent freaks, and ignoring the vast majority of sensible, respectful law abiding folk who just support smaller government. Why, just the other day, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal pointed to the Tea Party group that played by the rules and took over the Maine GOP’s convention, to push lovely and constructive Tea Party ideas into the party’s platform, as an example of the productive role the movement plays.
Of course, a day later I wrote about how many crackpot ideas they got into Maine’s constitution. But hey, one person’s crackpot ideas are another person’s political brilliance. I get that.
Is vandalism likewise in the eye of the beholder? I’m not so sure.
Thanks to Think Progress, I learned Friday that their ideas weren’t all that was crazy about the Maine Tea Partiers. The state GOP just apologized to Portland’s King Middle School, because conventioneers – who gathered at the Expo, but used the middle school for caucusing – unbelievably, vandalized an eighth-grade classroom. Relying on reports in the Portland Press Herald, Think Progress describes what the Tea Party caucusers did to eighth-grade teacher Paul Clifford’s class:
– For seven years, Clifford has had “a collage-type poster depicting the history of the U.S. labor movement” on his classroom door. He uses it “to teach his students how to incorporate collages into their annual project on Norman Rockwell’s historic ‘Four Freedoms’ illustrations.” When Clifford returned to his classroom on Monday, after the GOP caucuses, the poster was gone; in its place was a sticker reading, “Working People Vote Republican.”
– Republicans opened a “closed cardboard box they found near Clifford’s desk” and later objected to the fact that it contained copies of the U.S. Constitution donated to the school by the American Civil Liberties Union.
– After the caucuses, “rank-and-file Republicans who were upset by what they said they had seen in Clifford’s classroom” began calling the school, objecting to student art they had seen and a sticker on a filing cabinet reading “People for the American Way — Fight the Right.”
* Continue reading
When Clifford got to work and saw the poster had been replaced by the “Working People Vote Republican” sticker, at first he laughed, he told the Portland Press Herald, thinking, “‘All right, that’s funny, But then I go inside my room thinking the poster will be on my desk – and it isn’t. And so now I’m like, ‘You know what? This is baloney!”‘
Clifford started trying to get his poster back, but meanwhile, Tea Partiers were calling the school to protest what they found in Clifford’s classroom. Never mind that Norman Rockwell was once synonymous with mainstream American values. Never mind that the “Four Freedoms,” as articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union speech (as what became known as World War II raged on) are enshrined on a cherished monument in Washington D.C.
Here’s what Roosevelt actually said in his famous speech:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
Sadly, you can see what the Tea Partiers, and too many Republicans, would find objectionable: Freedom from want and freedom from fear. Because most of them believe in want and fear, as necessary to animate the corporate national security regime. (Sadly, too many Democrats seem to support that too.) And of course, the Republican right objects to the “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way,” so a whole lot of the GOP is against three out of four freedoms. So much for the party of freedom and liberty. True patriots would likely rise up against the state propagation of want and fear, but that’s really not what the Tea Party is about.
Whatever. It’s not my cup of tea. This is America, they’re entitled to their beliefs.
What I can’t see is how anyone would defend trashing a public school classroom to symbolize their objections to whatever they believed was going on there. And yet the Press Herald received email from Tea Party activists defending what happened (even as the Maine GOP, to its credit, apologized to the students and teachers of King Middle School.)
Clifford’s students quickly responded. Simon Johnson, a graduate of Clifford’s eighth-grade class blogged:
I am an unapologetic graduate of Paul Clifford’s eighth grade English class at King Middle School. I participated in the “Four Freedoms” expedition, and I made a poster decrying war quite similar to the one with which the Republicans took issue.
I am not brainwashed, I am not a puppet, I am not anti-American or anti-religious, and I am certainly not stupid. Paul Clifford’s class taught me to think critically, to deductively reason and, if anything, to appreciate America for all the freedoms with which I am ensured on a daily basis.
Clearly, the Knox County Republicans — who took a cherished, pro-Labor poster from Clifford’s room and who now are making slanderous and uninformed claims about Clifford — have a different agenda.
Eighth-grader Lilly O’Leary emailed the Press-Herald: “I am not being brainwashed…I am being told that I have the right to my own opinion.” She added, “These people were adults and they were acting very immaturely.”
But hey, the Tea Partiers are the best of American values and the future of the Republican Party, Lilly! James Taranto of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal vouches for them. Get with the program!
Lilly O’Leary and Simon Johnson are patriots. The Tea Party cowards who vandalized an eighth-grade classroom are not.
What else can one say about such commentary? It would be funny if the guy wasn’t serious. What I find amazing is this: are heterosexual men so weak that they will “turn gay” simply by being asked? That sounds rather pathetic to me.
Gay Military: Parental Heartbreak
As a former staff sergeant, war veteran and drill instructor in the Marine Corps, I believe the repeal this law will cause living hell within the ranks of the military, and also for the moms and dads whose kids are serving. It will be heartbreaking when a son comes home and says to his parents ‘I’m gay’ when he didn’t leave home gay.
When it comes to gays in the military, it is not a question of them not being patriotic or not physically fit. Unfortunately, they are not morally fit. Their lifestyle has disqualified them to serve.
One must understand that a homosexual person does not reproduce (homosexuals recruit). When I was a young Marine, one tried to recruit me into that lifestyle. It caused panic and fear to come over me. It is not discrimination or hate speech toward the gays, it is simply saying no.
These young people will be exposed to strong sexual attractions, and some will give themselves over to it because they are young and vulnerable.
Repeal the don’t ask, don’t tell policy and you will have the men who serve in an uproar. You will have open sex in the barracks, name calling, real threats and fighting among the troops, and even worse the violence of blanket parties. Late at night, some men will throw a blanket over a gay person and beat the life out of him. The repeal of this policy will give way to violence, no matter how much instruction is given by their leaders.
Also, you will have disunity on the battlefield.
Today, if my son was going into the military, I would be more concerned about him coming home a gay person than worrying about him getting wounded or killed in battle.
We are becoming a pathetic nation with no clear moral values.
An interesting read from the New York Times:
An Absence of Class
By BOB HERBERT
Published: March 22, 2010
Some of the images from the run-up to Sunday’s landmark health care vote in the House of Representatives should be seared into the nation’s consciousness. We are so far, in so many ways, from being a class act.
A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”
Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.”
In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.
At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.
It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.
For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.
This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.
Glenn Beck of Fox News has called President Obama a “racist” and asserted that he “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate, has said of Mr. Obama’s economic policies: “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”
The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.
The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.
If you’re all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you’ll never get to the G.O.P.’s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests — a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades.
With a freer hand, the Republicans would have done more damage. George W. Bush tried to undermine Social Security. John McCain was willing to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office and thought Phil Gramm would have made a crackerjack Treasury secretary. (For those who may not remember, Mr. Gramm was a deregulation zealot who told us during the presidential campaign that we were suffering from a “mental recession.”)
A party that promotes ignorance (“Just say no to global warming”) and provides a safe house for bigotry cannot serve the best interests of our country. Back in the 1960s, John Lewis risked his life and endured savage beatings to secure fundamental rights for black Americans while right-wing Republicans like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were lining up with segregationist Democrats to oppose landmark civil rights legislation.
Since then, the right-wingers have taken over the G.O.P. and Mr. Lewis, now a congressman, must still endure the garbage they have wrought.
Andy Richter Goes Off on Jay Leno and NBC on Live! With Regis and KellyAndy Richter filled in for Regis to co-host Regis and Kelly today. In addition to interviewing the always charming James Spader, Richter had his first opportunity to speak his mind about the Late Night Debacle. He did not hold back.Kelly Ripa very bluntly asked Richter if he had any ill-will towards NBC and Jay Leno after he and Conan were let go from The Tonight Show. Ripa follows this question by clarifying, \
Study: Bush led U.S. to war on ‘false pretenses’
Hundreds of false statements on WMDs, al-Qaida used to justify Iraq war
WASHINGTON – A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”
The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration’s position that the world community viewed Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.
“The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world,” Stanzel said.
WMD, al-Qaida links debunked
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.
“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.
The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.
“The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war,” the study concluded.
“Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, ‘independent’ validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq,” it said.