Posts Tagged ‘the Tea Party

17
Oct
10

Defining change

I don’t know what it says about me that my favorite film of the past few months is a glacially slow, uber-dreary Romanian film by Corneliu Porumboiu, Politist Adjectiv.  Well, okay, that’s not entirely true.  I know what it says about me; it says that I’m exactly the sort of overeducated liberal elitist that the teapartiers have been complaining about.  Oh yeah, and I’m probably corrupting the youth of America with my radical marxist and/or fascist agenda, too.  Infecting them with my fact-and-reason based ideology. Sorry about that.

 

Yup, lots of shots of this guy, standing and looking sad. Romanians really know how to sell a film.

 

I can’t really recommend a film that reaches its dramatic climax when one guy reads dictionary definitions to another guy, though.  As much as I approve of dialectics in the classroom, it doesn’t make for the most exciting cinematic experience.  By all means, though, look it up if you’re into that sort of thing.

So, I don’t think I’m going to be giving too much away by describing the film.  Just in case, though, spoiler alert:  It’s all about a cop who doesn’t want to arrest a kid for smoking a joint.  As he points out to his bosses, the marijuana laws in Romania are a little anachronistic.  For all intents, simple possession has been decriminalized all across the more liberal countries in Europe.  The cop in this story points out that people smoke openly in Prague and Paris, and he complains that the 3-7 year prison sentence that the kid will receive is going to weigh too heavily on his conscience if he goes through with the arrest.  He keeps repeating his opinion that the draconian marijuana laws in Romania are on the cusp of being changed, but his bosses disagree.  More importantly, though, they disagree with his underlying belief that he has the right to consider his own views and feelings.

If that sounds familiar, that just means you’ve been paying attention.  Eric Holder’s recent statement to former DEA directors on the hopefully/potentially immanent passage of just that sort of decriminalization in California has been getting a lot of press coverage lately.   Holder isn’t really saying anything surprising when he asserts the DOJ’s strong opposition to Prop 19.  Just like it isn’t surprising that the DOJ will appeal US district court Judge Virginia Phillips’s injuction on the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy that the Obama administration has been trying to end, and just like it isn’t surprising that they’re also going to appeal U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro’s finding that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.  As odd as it sounds, our current Attorney General seems to feel that it’s his role to enforce the laws that we have, rather than the laws that he and his boss want.

 

Remember when this doofus was the top cop in the country? Yeah, I didn't think so.

 

Frankly, I’m not sure I understand all the hand-wringing from the progressives about this entirely-unsurprising discovery.  Wasn’t their complaint about Bush that he wasn’t following the law?

 

...that is to say, it used to be, back when we weren't doing it.

 

Well, okay, there were lots of complaints.  But I’m sure I remember hearing that one, too, among all the rest.

I don’t know about the rest of the complainers, but I voted for Obama – in part, anyway – because I wanted a return to rational, honest governance, not because I though he would just approve whatever I thought was right.  I wanted government to follow the law, and to improve it when they didn’t feel like it was effective, rather than just making shit up the way the Bush Administration did.  And for the most part, that’s just what we’ve had.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t have been happy to see more dramatic change – for instance, finding a way to fix Bush’s banking catastrofuck without simply handing bankers all the cash they wanted, or closing Guantanamo despite the difficulties, or choosing not to read my emails, etc. – but all things considered, I’m not unhappy, and I don’t think I understand why more people don’t share that sentiment.

 

At least the spelled his name correctly.

 

Well, that’s not entirely true, either; I suppose I do understand why all those Tea Party folks suddenly discovered that they cared about deficits as soon as Obama took office.  I’m just really surprised that anyone takes them seriously.

As I can’t seem to stop myself from repeating, if anyone deserves blame for the terrible economy, it’s the republicans who tanked it for us all, and then  decided that they’d rather see the country go down in flames than appease the black guy who happens to have been elected president of the US.

 

Remember when it was so important that we have "an up or down vote"? Yeah, I didn't think so.

 

I’ll reserve a little of that blame for the weak-kneed democrats in the Senate who can’t seem to overcome the handicap of an almost historic majority to actually, y’know, pass any of that legislation that they were all elected to pass, but the two don’t really compare.

Still, it was gratifying to read that some people in law enforcement have an awareness of history, and understand what’s actually going on here.  I’m talking about the former San Jose Chief of Police, Joseph McNamara, who was recently spotlighted in an article from the stoner-friendly Huffington Post.  Here’s the money quote:

“As we saw with the repeal of alcohol prohibition, it takes action from the states to push the federal government to change its policies…”Passing Proposition 19 in California will undoubtedly kick start a national conversation about changing our country’s obviously failed marijuana prohibition policies.”

His view seems persuasive, and sensible.  It’s not like the Feds can just tell us that they’re planning to ignore their own laws, but at the same time, they’re not going to be able to oppose the will of the states if they all decide to decriminalize marijuana, and it’s starting to seem like all of the states are on the same page.

And all things considered, I’m kinda glad that the republicans have decided to abandon their traditional “states’s rights” argument rather than stand with the rational center of the nation on this issue.  Not because I woudn’t like to see the policy end that much sooner, but just because I don’t like the idea of sharing even a little ideological ground with these clowns.

 

Dale Robertson, head of TeaParty.org. Back before the Tea Party leaders knew well enough to avoid being photographed.

 

22
Aug
10

News is a drug

David Gregory must wake and bake.

In my effort to replicate the best parts of the “back-to-the-land” movement of the 70s, I’ve been trying to avoid the siren song of cheap electronics, mass-produced in China by slave labor.  I left my television back in southern California.  I gave up facebook and ipods and tivo, along with the stress those things produce.  I couldn’t give it all up, though.  I still need my pc for work, and I’m still wired.   I try to avoid using it for all the other temptations it provides, but every once in a while, the spirit gets weak.  I’ve been particularly angry about the debate over the Cordoba community center that’s been taking place lately, so I broke down and watched a couple of news shows this morning to catch up.  Now I’m coming down, and it doesn’t feel good.

One of the reasons that I was so happy to abandon my television when I left L.A. was that I felt poisoned by the constant stream of idiocy beamed out by news shows.  (“News show” by the way, is a perfect example of a modern oxymoron, since the “show” dictates the absence of anything that might be based in fact).  Anyway, I slipped up today, and caught a few minutes of Meet the Press, a show I never really liked all that much even when Tim Russert was still hosting, but one that I”ve come to despise ever since Gregory took over as host.  What a tool that guy is.

The various discussions about the Cordoba community center in lower Manhattan were as disappointing as I thought they’d be – “good Muslims”?  Really? –  but I was caught off-guard by the way Gregory slipped in the republican talking-point about raising taxes as though it were true.  Dave did the same thing on his blog a couple of weeks ago, and it made me just as unhappy to see it there, but I think Gregory has a slightly bigger audience than Dave, so it’s that much worse.

It’s bad enough that the new amnesiacs in the republican party – sorry, I keep forgetting to apply the new brand – in the Tea Party can so loudly spout off about deficits out of one side of their mouths while simultaneously proclaiming the need to re-up on the dumb tax cuts that weren’t even paid for the first time they supported them (back when they were running things and didn’t care about deficits).  Even worse than the hypocrisy, though, is the way they’re trying to spin a new version of reality to support that hypocritical position:  instead of the temporary tax cuts coming to an end as they were designed to do,  the new reality they’re spinning as though it were true is that Obama is proposing massive tax hikes.   I suppose I should feel grateful that they’re not having the news clowns call it Obama’s Ramadan Tax…   or reparations…

But okay, redefining reality to better suit their goals is, after all, what partisan hacks do.  They spout ridiculous nonsense as though it were obvious truth.  Fair enough.  It used to be that the careful viewer could discern a little space between the partisan hacks and the journalists, and in an ideal world, the journalists keep the hacks honest.  Or, at least, more honest.   Tim Russert was a blowhard, and he could get pretty caught up in the showmanship that passes for reality in DC, but at least he was willing to resist the unreality from time to time.  In contrast, Gregory seems to delight in repeating the phony talk as though he’s proud of being able to remember what he hears other people say.

Sad.  I’m going to go wander in the forest until I stop thinking about it.

UPDATE:  I’m not saying that a Nobel Prize winner has to poach ideas from me, but it must mean something that Paul Krugman’s complaining about the same thing today that I was complaining about yesterday.  (Maybe that my ego is outgrowing my cabin?)