Posts Tagged ‘Employee Free Choice Act’

Full impressions and tons of photos from Tea Party Protest in Eugene, Oregon

April 16, 2009

Digg It!

There wasn’t a Tea Party protest in the city of Eugene and I suppose that is appropriate.  Eugene, known for raucous WTO protests in the early 90s, violent members of the Environmental Liberation Front, and more aging, balding, dread-locked hippies than a Bob Dylan concert, wouldn’t look kindly on right wing protests.  The protest was ultimately held in neighboring Springfield, known for its incessant insistence that it is the true Simpsons Springfield.

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I showed up just minutes before the protest started, following a Nissan SUV sporting an NRA seal and a yellow Support the Troops ribbon in heavy traffic all the way to the event.  It was held just outside Gateway Mall in Springfield, right next to a United States Post Office, in a park paid for by state and local taxes.

Eugene and Springfield host a population of approximately 210,000, not including the 20,000 students that attend The University of Oregon.   I’m not great at crowd size pinpointing, but I would guess that the attendance was between 500-800.   Local media did show up, but their reports can’t be trusted.  They were about as inconspicuous as an orange-vested hunter in a barren forest.  They didn’t mingle with the people, they didn’t speak to the people, they filed their report in thick make-up and black whore boots and went home to watch Dancing with the Stars.

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The atmosphere was like a County Fair.  Middle-aged professionals with their children and seniors with their oxygen tanks crowded the sidewalks, while their 20 to 30 year old neighbors stayed home.   Opportunists sold t-shirts out of their cars.

A man from the Americans for Prosperity organization dressed up as Thomas Paine, a man he has little to nothing in common with ideologically, and spouted platitudes of Freedom, Liberty, Free Markets, and Fair Taxation.  It was like being at a fucking campaign speech.  Do we really need to subject ourselves to this bullshit more than once every two years?

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Of course, the main thing that Fraud Paine talked about was the horrors of earmarks and the out of control spending in Washington.  Next on the docket was lower taxes.  Of course, the majority of the electorate doesn’t see the inherent paradox in this philosophy.  We have to pay for tax cuts.  If the Republican party wants more Defense spending, we need to pay for that through taxes.  But what the hell am I thinking?  I’m trying to bury this in an article that is too long for many of the Tea Baggers to consider reading.

That brings us to the true “substance” of the Tea Party Revolution.  The substance is the sheer number of slogans and issues represented by the protesters.  There is no unity here.  It’s not the rage against the WTO that made Sublime immortalize Eugene in April 26, 1992.   It’s a mish-mash of right-wing talking points that all lead to a few basic underlying messages.

  1. Congress doesn’t read bills.
  2. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are the only people to blame for the current economic crisis.
  3. Barack Obama is not “one of us.”
  4. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are dictators in Congress.
  5. Debt = “fiscal child abuse.”
  6. Democrats are godless.
  7. Democrats and Republicans are responsible for mess in Congress (even though they only single out Democrats)
  8. Advertisements for Glenn Beck.

I think I can fit all of the signs I saw today into each of those categories.  The problem is that there is no discussion at these events.  Because the attendees believe everything Fox spews, they accept these slogans as righteous.  Further exploration of these ideals needn’t be taken.  The people who attended the Tea Party today aren’t intellectuals who devour every word of George Will and David Brooks.  They listen to O’Reilly, Rush, Glenn Beck, and Neil Cavuto.  Additional research is unnecessary.

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What’s wrong with the youth today?  It’s a popular motto for many people in the twilight of life.  Today, I ask a different question.  What’s wrong with the baby boomers?  Why have they lost their taste for good, investigative journalism and rational facts?  We can have a real debate in this country if they would accept that their taxes are not increasing if they make under $250,000.  We can have different opinions about what we are going to do in the future.  We cannot have different opinions on facts.

The big takeaway from this is that right-wingers aren’t used to protesting.  When they do protest, they want to protest 10,000 different things at the same time so that they never have to do it again.   Abortion, Cap & Trade, Obama’s legitimacy as President, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Stimulus Bill, the Bailout, the Budget, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Gun Laws, “Christian” values, Earmarks, the free market, spending, Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, the Federal Reserve, the renegotiation of home loans, Obama’s bow to the Saudi prince, terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security, the Employee Free Choice Act, NAFTA, the Death Tax, and the IRS were all targeted today.

When you have 800 people with 800 different reasons for protesting, the message is lost in the crowd.  But the real reason they’re there is simple.  Mass media and lobbying firms have a hell of an influence.

More pictures:

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The Top 8 Dumbest Things about the Democratic Party

April 3, 2009

This feature is part one of a two-part series centered on the two major political parties in the United States.  The 8 Dumbest Things about the Republican Party is available here.

Without further ado, let’s whip this donkey into shape.

Me, checking on the health of the Democratic Party

Me, checking on the health of the Democratic Party

8.  Democrats feel guilty about everything.

To these Democrats, the tragedy of Darfur is the fault of the global imperialism of American companies, gang members just need a stern talking-to, and all military personell are brainwashed by the overlords of the Military Industrial Complex.  All cultural practices are permissible as long as they do not include hunting and fishing in the United States.  Female circumcision and honor killings are morally sound as long as no white people are doing it.

7.  Democrats believe we should save every endangered species on the planet.

Recently, Barack Obama became the fourth president that has committed to saving the Spotted Owl in Oregon.  And while many environmentalist organizations applaud his effort, we also need to realize that species go extinct all the time.  Not only that, but where are we going to put all the windmills that will be needed to secure our energy future?  If we can preserve parks, then that’s great.  But democrats seem to think we can save every species on Earth while still securing the energy needed to run their hybrid Prius.

Blue boobies

Blue boobies.

6.  Democrats believe that they have a monopoly on rational thought.

Rethuglicans.  You see it in the comment sections every single day on The Huffington Post.  Everything the Republicans suggest is immediately wrong and stupid.  These Democrats can’t actually explain the alternate Republican budget proposal, nor can they tell you why global warming is occurring, they just know that if you question any of it, then you’re an idiot.

I’m not questioning the science of global warming.  However, scientists still haven’t even fully grasped what gravity is, much less the intricacies of the warming planet.  Both sides need to question and both sides need to listen to one another.

5.  Democrats believe we can win the War on Drugs by educating the American public.

“Who wants to learn how to use recreational drugs?” Ms. Snodgrass asks her fourth grade class.  “Well, today we are going to learn that you can get high from inhaling the fumes from the rubber cement that I keep in my desk.  But that it’s very bad for you health and you should never, ever do it.”

You know what else parents tell kids?  That candy will rot their teeth and that television will turn their brains to mush.  Guess what?  It doesn’t work.  Kids love candy and TV and when they get older, they may develop a penchant for stogies and hash.  Some people, in life, will become drug abusers.  It’s time we let people have a little responsibility to do what they want with their life.

I D.A.R.E. you to do these drugs.

I D.A.R.E. you to do these drugs.

4.  Democrats exploit blue collar workers.

This is most aggravating during any kind of Democratic primary.  They would have you believe that all Democratic politicians came from nothing and then magically became successful politicians.  Let’s take John Edwards for example.  Edwards almost said the phrase “son of a mill worker” more than John Kerry mentioned his service in Vietnam during the 2004 elections.  Just because your dad was a blue collar worker, doesn’t mean you are “of the people.”  It just means that you had to sink to chasing ambulances in order to buy your first mansion.

Fast forward to 2009.  Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.  They are losing the message war on the Employee Free Choice Act, and they are doing it by not strongly objecting to the lies that surround the bill.  Claire McCaskill said in early March that she does not believe that they have the 60 votes that they will need.  If they grew a pair and told everyone in the country that the EFCA does not get rid of secret elections, then I think we could actually get somewhere with it.  I just have a funny feeling that there are a few Democratic Senators that do not want the bill to pass because…


3.  Democrats pretend to avoid special interest groups in Washington.

Barack Obama made several early campaign promises of being free from the strings of lobbyists.  Within weeks he passed a law that made it illegal for lobbyists to receive starring roles in the Presidential Cabinet…and then he broke the law 48 hours later.

During the campaign, Obama claimed that he didn’t take any money from oil companies or from Washington lobbyists.  The first claim is misleading and the second is only half true.  It has been illegal for candidates to take any money directly from corporations since 1907, but Obama did take about $213,000 from oil company workers and their spouses.  It is true that Obama did not take any money from Federally Registered Lobbyists, but he did take money from people who work at lobbying firms, as well as their spouses.  (Source: FactCheck.org)

A group of Republicans or Democrats protests the other partys politician.

A group of Republicans or Democrats protests the other party's politicians.

2.  Democrats whine about everything and are afraid to do what they say.

When Democrats are out of power, they pound their chests for the rights of the little guy, for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and against corporate cronyism in the Republican party.  But when they get into power, things change.  All of the sudden, several members of Congress are rethinking their position on the Employee Free Choice Act.  All of the sudden, we can’t leave Iraq until 2011.  All of the sudden, the CEOs have to stay because they are the only people on the planet that can save us from the economic clusterfuck.

1.  The people who vote for the Democrats.

This one hurts.  And I, just like you, have cringed when I walk into the voting booth.  But we’ve got to accept responsibility for the shitty politicians that we’ve given ourselves.

My main problem with the electorate at large is that they view politicians as blank canvases on which they can project their personal ideals.  A successful politician need only offend the least number of people in order to win an election.  When was the last time you vote For someone more than you voted Against the opposition?

Pundits in the media hurt the electorate more than we can bear.  By smearing 24-hour gossip-athons into our collective face, the media actually convinces us that we do care about the wolves in Alaska, or the pastors in Chicago, or the knocked up teenage daughter.  But if we lived next to the Palins/Obamas/McCains/Bidens it wouldn’t be an issue.  We’ve glorified our politicians right out of their basic humanity.

But I’d hate to leave you on a downer…

Let me tell you a story about a different kind of Democrat.  Harry Braun ran for President of the United States in 2004.  Braun had big ideas for America, which included building a fleet of 1 million windships.

Two windships

Two windships

This may sound like batshit loony tunes Daily-Show-ready material right now.  But let Braun explain his idea:

The Windship systems were developed by William Heronemus, an engineering professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Heronemus graduated from both the U.S. Naval Academy and MIT, and then served as a naval engineer and architect until his retirement in 1965. Note the tugboat at the base of the Windship that is delivering the crew that will live and work in the submerged spherical hulls. Given that each Windship will have a crew of approximately 10 people, the one million windships that will make the U.S. energy independent of all fossil and nuclear fuels will employ 10 million people in high-quality jobs. The hulls will also contain the electrolytic hydrogen production systems that will make hydrogen from the seawater with the electricity generated by the mast of wind turbines. (Braunforpresident.com)

I like it.  It’s radical and I actually believe him.  It may cost a couple trillion dollars to construct the windships, but at least he is facing the energy crisis head-on.  Imagine the freedom of not having to rely on the whim of the Saudis in order to heat your home and put gas in your car.  We wouldn’t have to ruin our mountain landscapes with mine waste and we sure as shit wouldn’t have to fight in a war for resources.  Our energy plan would be completely sustainable into the foreseeable future.

The media quickly dismissed Braun as a “fringe” candidate.  Maybe it’s just me, but he’s speaking more sanity than I’ve heard from a politician in a long time.

-JL