Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Response to a Tea Partier

Someone sent me a copy of this "Letter to the Editor" which was published on July 9, 2010 on the opinion page of the Iosco County News in East Tawas, Michigan...

I found the piece so incredibly distorted that I feel compelled to answer Mr. Huber's issues point by point (his claims will be posted in italics, my responses in bold)...

Has America become the land of special interest and the home of double standard?

Hmmm....has it? 

Lets see:

Yes, let's...

1. If we lie to the Congress, it's a felony and if the Congress lies to us its just politics;

Yes...you see, when one lies to Congress, while they are "testifying" which is done "under oath", it is a crime called "perjury"...remember, your pals impeached our LAST Democratic President over that (what bullshit do you bastards have in mind for this one?). 

On the other hand, when one is running for office, one is not bound by the laws of perjury as advertising is NOT done "under oath", and therefore they are allowed to say MANY things that are untrue...such as that they don't want to "privatize social security" when they do; that scientists studying climate change are "crazy"; that giving tax cuts to the rich stimulates jobs (when it hasn't for the past eight years); and that they are opposed to "government health care" but then they pitch a fit when their "government health care" policy doesn't kick in until 30 days after they're sworn in. 

That DOCTOR that managed to get himself elected to congress from Maryland who now can't imagine what on earth he's going to do while he waits that month for his new government insurance to kick in is a real piece of work....(http://carloz.newsvine.com/_news/2010/11/16/5474734-freshman-anti-obamacare-congressman-and-md-doesnt-understand-how-health-insurance-works-wants-his-goverment-health-care-now)  Guess what DOCTOR, there's something called "COBRA" that is for just this VERY thing...it's REALLY expensive, but as a rich doctor, I'm sure you can afford it...unlike a laid off factory worker. 

2. If we dislike a black person, we’re racist and if a black dislikes whites, it’s their 1st Amendment right;

Ummm...You're free to "dislike" whomever you want (however if you "dislike" someone based only on the color of their skin, you ARE a racist, sorry if you don't like that reality).  You are NOT, on the other hand, permitted to discriminate against someone for housing, employment, school, voting, etc. based on race regardless of what YOUR skin color is.  Hate away, but don't get upset when folks call you on your hate.  

3. The government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do nothing for the victims;

Wrong...there are NUMEROUS groups out there to help victims of crimes of all sorts.  If you are unfamiliar with these victims aid/rights groups, a bit of research reveals many, here are just a couple: 

In fact, a Google search for the phrase "Aid for crime victims" pulled 418,000 hits, including separate Victim's Aid groups in each of the 50 states. 

Although it is true that due to budget cuts many of these programs are being drastically cut, like this one being cut by New York's Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his allies on the New York City Council: ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/nyregion/01assault.html )

And of course the bill that would have provided health care for those who are sick from having worked at Ground Zero didn't pass, thanks to Republican opposition (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/Ground-Zero-Workers-Left-In-the-Dust-99545649.html)

...I hear Mr. Bloomberg is thinking about running for President with his pal Donald Trump (just what we need, more millionaires...or is that billionaires?...telling the poor and the middle class how WE need to sacrifice so THEY can have tax cuts).

4. In public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word GOD in the process;

Since rational people understand that homosexuality is NOT a choice (I know *I* sure as hell don't have a choice, if you think you do...guess you must be bisexual), it would be wrong to teach otherwise in a public school...on the other hand as it is a PUBLIC school, the "separation of church and state" would prohibit discussion of "god" in this forum.  If you want your children to learn about "god" in school, there are plenty of religious schools that will do that for you, but the public schools cannot.  I understand that people of your ilk try to pretend that the United States was founded as a "Christian Nation", and that there is no such thing as the "Separation of Church and State", however the FACTS show otherwise.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
– John Adams ~ Treaty of Tripoli
5. You can kill an unborn child, but it’s wrong to execute a mass murderer;

The laws on both these issues (abortion and capital punishment) vary from state to state (in other words, it's an ACTUAL "states' rights issue", sort of like gay marriage and medical cannabis...something the Right SHOULD understand if they knew their history) and opinions on these topics are varied even among many people of common political ideologies (there are those who hold positions, both pro and con, on each of these issues on both the Left and Right).

On a purely personal level, I believe strongly in a woman's right to choose when it comes to decisions about her body and readiness (physically, emotionally, and financially) to be a mother. Ultimately the consequences of that choice are between that woman, her partner, her conscience, and her 'god'...not a decision for others to make.

As far as capital punishment is concerned, I must admit that I am somewhat torn. I can list many convicted killers who were executed and I am glad of it (Bundy, Gacy, McVeigh, etc.).  I can list many more who were NOT executed, but I wish they were (Speck, Dahmer, Manson, etc.). I can also list many who are currently sitting on death rows waiting to be killed, that I believe are innocent and should not be there (Damien Echols, Darlee Rotier, Joel Alcox, etc.). Additionally, one needs to consider the MANY people who have been exonerated by DNA evidence and have had to be released from Death Rows all around the nation (and sadly, some who have been exonerated posthumously). So although I am NOT completely opposed to capital punishment, I strongly believe that a much more rigid standard of "guilt" must be applied when death is even being considered as a potential punishment. If we are going to execute someone, a "reasonable" doubt shouldn't be good enough....there must be absolute, proven certainty...no possible "doubt" whatsoever.

6. We don’t burn books in America, we now rewrite them;

At last, an issue upon which we agree! I think that the way that the Right is changing textbooks and school curriculum in places like Texas and Kansas to put in their fairy tales like "intelligent design" and rewriting history in order to downplay the importance of certain "Founding Fathers" like Thomas Jefferson to push their Right-wing agenda is a completely horrifying trend that must be stopped!   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html

7. We got rid of the communist and socialist threat by renaming them progressives;

This is a completely erroneous statement, and the lamest kind of ad hominem attack...I could just as easily say that we got rid of the fascist and totalitarian threat by renaming them neoconservatives. This kind of thing has no value whatsoever.

Also, to be completely honest I don't believe that the "communist and socialist threat" is all that "threatening" anyway. The United States has a number of programs that those on the right have called "socialist" for decades. Everything from public education and law enforcement through Social Security and Medicare to our public highways, unemployment, public libraries, and many other things that the bulk of the American people would not wish to give up.

8. We are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea;

We are able to protect the 38th parallel because it is being protected on and BY forces on BOTH sides...also, as that border currently has shelling going over it, I wouldn't exactly call it "secure" (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101123/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_north_korea).  The Mexican border with the United States is only "protected" on one side, and poorly at that. But I honestly don't think that building walls, allowing armed vigilantes to "patrol" that border, or allowing the police to harass everyone that simply looks Hispanic (as Arizona wants to permit) is the solution either. In my opinion the solution should be more focused in cracking down on those who EMPLOY illegals.

9. If you protest against President Obama’s policies you’re a terrorist, but if you burn an American flag or George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right;

I have not heard ANYONE called a "terrorist" for protesting against President Obama's policies. I have seen people attending large tea party rallies with absolutely no problems whatsoever. I've seen those same "Tea Party" people wearing their silly costumes and carrying misspelled signs and saying ridiculous things, so I've heard them mocked and called "ignorant", but I have never heard ANYONE call them "terrorists", even when they chose to carry firearms to political rallies ("thuggish" behavior that I personally find absolutely appalling and wrong). 

 On the other hand, however, during the Bush years ALL forms of dissent were called "UnAmerican", "Treason", "Unpatriotic", and many other horrifying things...the double standard that I see from your side sickens me to levels beyond full description.

I believe it is worth noting that the stomper here was not just a "Paul supporter", he was the head of security for that event. 

10. You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas;

The only way you're getting "pornography" on your TV is if you're paying for it via cable (there is no "porn" on broadcast TV).  You can, absolutely, find porn on the Internet if you look for it (and sometimes you have to pay for that too).  Either way, you are making a conscious CHOICE to view it. To try to compare being able to PURCHASE "pornography" with having PUBLIC PROPERTY used for ESTABLISHING RELIGIOUS ICONS is an absolutely ridiculous comparison. One is part of the "free enterprise system" that your side claims to be such fans of, the other is clearly unconstitutional. If you don't LIKE the Constitution, I suggest you go to a country that doesn't have one.

11. We have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people;

OK, that is just nuts...the bulk of them are still called "criminals" and, unless they have been diagnosed and found mentally ill by a jury, they're locked in prisons...not hospitals (which is where "sick people" go).  In fact, although America only has 5% of the world's population, we have almost 25% of the world's prisoners (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/americas/23iht-23prison.12253738.html?_r=1 ), and if the private prison industry has their way, that number will only go up.  Not only are our "criminals" locked in prisons, they also lose their right to vote, own firearms, obtain student loans, etc....especially if they had the audacity to use "drugs" that don't come from the alcohol/tobacco/pharmaceutical companies.

12. We can use human fetus for medical research, but it’s wrong to use an animal;

First, clearly you need to understand the basic biological difference between an "embryo" and a "fetus". Embryonic stem cell research is done with embryos, a cluster of cells less than eight weeks in development...most of which were created as the result of artificial insemination or other fertility treatments. If these embryos are NOT used for this useful and potentially miraculous research, they would simply be discarded. Surely, as long as this material is going to be allowed to be created (and I don't think anyone is talking about stopping fertility treatments) it's better to make use of it rather than just throw it away, which all must admit would be wasteful. A "fetus" is over 8 weeks in development and are NOT used in this research.

Again, trying to compare potentially miraculous research which could someday cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Paralysis, and other devastating/deadly conditions with torturing animals by putting hair spray or perfume in their eyes, or having schoolchildren needlessly dismember them is a flawed comparison.

13. We take money from those that work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work;

BULLSHIT. First, I know many unemployed people who want DESPERATELY to work, I know other people who are working two (or more) jobs just trying to make ends meet and be able to support their families on the poverty wages that many companies pay, while their executives pull in multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses. I have worked for a number of very wealthy men in my life and would not classify the bulk of what they do as "hard work", they pay other people to do the "hard" work, and in most cases pay them as little as they can get away with.  The wage disparity in the country has gone from a mere gap to a massive (and growing) chasm, which seems to be JUST the way the top wage earners want it.

But the REALITY is that according to this article, entitled "Wealth, Income and Power" by a Sociology professor at the University of California, the richest Americans (those making over $10 million) get only 19% of their income as the result of "working" (wages & salaries).

I am getting SO sick of listening to millionaires and billionaires explain why they shouldn't have to pay the same marginal tax rate that they were paying during the Clinton years when the whole country was doing VERY well and there was a fiscal surplus instead of the deficits we're amassing now. (And I think SO highly of those that are stepping forward and admitting "Tax cuts for the rich don't stimulate the economy!" http://www.thenation.com/blog/156569/patriotic-millionaires-explain-tax-cuts-rich-dont-grow-economy)

I sit here and listen to the Republicans whine about how they will vote against the extension of the Middle Class tax cuts if the millionaires & billionaires don't get their giant cuts too. What the hell is wrong with these people? How greedy can a person be? I guess I will simply just never understand.  (I'm sure it's merely coincidental that 44% of the members of Congress are millionaires.)

I'm so afraid that the Democrats are going to end up giving in and giving the damn billionaires their tax cuts in order to get the Republicans to "compromise" and give the Poor and Middle Class the tax cuts we truly need. To me that is not a compromise, that's a capitulation. A compromise would be to permanently extend the tax cuts for those making under $250,000. Temporarily extend the cuts for those making between $250,000 and $1 million for two years...those over $1 million can pay 39% like they did under Clinton, starting immediately.

If I had even a FRACTION of their money, I would MORE than happily pay 39%.  Give me just one million and I will happily pay 39%...hell...I'll up the ante and pay 40%...I can live MORE than comfortably on $600,000 and I don't even need it annually...just once.

14. We all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology;

No, some of us support it all the time, however, as I pointed out in point #10, it is the RIGHT that seems to be the best at trying to ignore the parts of the Constitution that they don't like...very similar to how they follow their "bible", keep the parts you like, ignore the rest.

15. We still have freedom of speech, but only if we are politically correct;

We still have freedom of speech...no one is getting arrested or incarcerated for what they say or write. The first Amendment (which you seemed to be complaining about before, when it blocks you from establishing your religion) guarantees that you can say what you want free of GOVERNMENT persecution...it does NOT say that there will be no SOCIAL consequences for loudly spewing vastly unpopular opinions such as racial bias or homophobia. People/companies that do will often suffer consequences. They may be ridiculed, boycotted, protested, ostracized, or in some other way penalized...but as long as the GOVERNMENT isn't doing it, it has NOTHING to do with the First Amendment.

16. Parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games;

Ahh...another area in which I actually agree with you. I do believe that there are serious parenting issues in this country. I think that there are far too many children being diagnosed with disorders and put on drugs when what is needed is better education (especially in parenting skills, as so few people even have good examples anymore...dysfunction is the norm) and guidance/assistance for kids in trouble is more seriously needed.  But also, unlike you, I believe that indiscriminate breeding should be strongly discouraged...too many people have way too many children that they are often incapable of properly parenting...however, THAT is not a governmental problem, it's a human one.

Personally, I believe that the solution involves better control of human reproduction...which means better use of existing forms of birth control, and development of even better ones (why is there not a pill for men that makes the sperm immotile or otherwise unable to fertilize the egg?).  However, many on the Right are SO concerned about what constitutes a "baby" that they are even in favor of banning some of the most effective forms of birth control because they do not prevent conception, but rather make the womb "inhospitable" to the fertilized embryo and it is expelled.  These sickos (like my current governor-elect) consider these forms of birth control on a par with abortion and want them banned too (http://media.journalinteractive.com/documents/BirthControlAbortion.doc), which would thereby create more unwanted pregnancies and therefore more actual abortions and more unwanted children who are not able to be properly parented. 

17. The land of opportunity is now the land of handouts;

The "land of opportunity" has long been becoming the "land of oligarchy".

The concentration of wealth at the top has reached a level that has not been this out of control since 1928, just before the Great Depression. I think it's actually a miracle that the country was able to be pulled back from the edge of the cliff that the Republican policies had driven us to, but now that they have taken control again, I'm sure we'll be off the cliff in no time...then they'll probably be able to trick us into having to "sacrifice" even more while they just keep getting richer.

18. The similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill is that neither President did anything to help;

The only similarity between these two events was their geographical location. 

No, the DIFFERENCE between Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill is that one was a predicted natural disaster for which we should have been properly prepared (and have been in the past...under Clinton, FEMA ran like a well-oiled machine), the Army Corps of Engineers could have been honest about the state of disrepair of the levees that they were responsible for and the likelihood of a breech, national assistance should have been provided to assist with the evacuation of the city, especially the areas near the known weakest areas of the levees (the Ninth Ward). Had those steps been properly taken prior to Katrina's landfall, the chain of events from there would have been so different that it's impossible to even speculate what would have happened.  Instead, we got a complete lack of preparation, supplies improperly staged/dispatched while the President stayed on vacation, played golf, played guitar with country singers and then finally just flew over the disaster four days later.   

What was needed during Katrina was government intervention...drop-ins of food and water, the promised trailers, peacekeeping forces, etc...all things that our government should excel at, and has excelled at many times in the past. But instead, this time they failed miserably in every way, while the PotUS congratulated the man orchestrating the failure. 

The Gulf Oil Spill on the other hand was a man-made disaster caused by oil industry greed and republican deregulation which allowed a British oil company to drill an incredibly deep well, with concrete being improperly poured by a company previously run by our former vice President.  Unlike Bush, who waited days and then merely flew over, President Obama visited the area immediately, which the right called a "show".  He put a moritorium on deepwater drilling, which the Right got overturned.  He mobilized the Coast Guard and other government agencies at his direction to aid with the containment and clean-up, which the Right complained about.  He made BP put $20 billion in escrow to cover the claims of those whose lives had been destroyed by this horror, which the Right called "a shakedown" of the company that caused the worst oil disaster in history through cutting corners and lack of regulation while attempting to drill the deepest oil well in history.

And now the Congressman who issued that apology to BP for the alleged "shakedown" will play a large role in the regulating of the oil industry when he becomes the Chairman of the Commerce and Energy Committee when the Republicans claim majority control of the House in January. 

19.  And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who's at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.

That's a rather ridiculous oversimplification/distortion.  When a problem/crisis occurs, yes, there needs to be an investigation to determine how it happened and to put regulations into place so that it can't happen again...how else would you like problems addressed?  As for as "raises our taxes", your taxes have NOT been raised.  The majority of the stimulus (which the right tries to pretend "failed" when in actuality almost all experts agree that had it not been for that stimulus we would likely be in an even deeper economic maelstrom) came in the form of tax CUTS...not even millionaires have had their taxes raised, yet...I certainly hope that is fixed soon but I'm sure the Right will protect the interests of the rich (which is themselves) at the expense of everyone else, again...I just wish they'd stop being able to convince the bottom 90% to keep voting against our own self-interests.

What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?

It sold its soul to the devil...which is greed.

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