Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Jack, a Hack, and a Quack

Getting lost in the spin-coverage of Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer and Rand Paul is the essence of what they allegedly stand for.

In common, they espouse theme positions that at best do not make sense and at worst are hateful and bigoted. Two of those themes are “the outsider” and “anti-establishment”. Before I get to specifics, let me ask a few questions for clarity. Please, pardon my pronouns.

What is this being “an outsider” supposed to mean other than you have not been elected yet? How does being an outsider benefit your constituency that elects you to office? What is in it for them? How are you going to get what your constituents elected you to get? Do you work well with others? Can you collaborate and negotiate on your constituents’ behalf, especially since that will be with the “insiders” – you know the people who actually run things?

What is this anti-establishment “no more politics as usual” rhetoric supposed to mean? Does that include anarchy? Does that mean other than usual or abnormal politics? Isn’t normal politics as usual really what voters elect a person to do in the first place? Isn’t the conduct of legislating so that the electorate does not have to what normal politics is about? How is being different from other people who successfully do politics for a living a valid qualifier to hold an elected position?

The Tea Party backed son of big-time insider, the rookie Rand Paul’s opinion on the Civil Rights Act did not get the coverage it deserved. The deniable plausibility defense that his comments were taken out of context is a cover-up story. The story is the Tea Party connection and an unconscionable position that supports invalidating parts of the Civil Rights Act. And even if Paul did not mean it, it is tooth paste out of the tube – hard to get back.

His dad called to coverage “unfair,” as if fairness is a high priority to establishment Republicans and their Libertarian cousins like Ron Paul. That Pops Paul is incumbent is because he plays well with others and has for years deserve noting. His official website proclaims that he is “America's leading voice for” among other things “. . . a return to sound monetary policies.” It does not say when such sound monetary policies existed, although presumably it was sometime before the Civil Rights Act, you know like the “I Like Ike” era. I digress.

Both Paul and Palin espouse positions on off-shore drilling that get incomplete or disconnected coverage. Sarah Palin says she remains a "big supporter of offshore drilling" despite the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to AP. She says it’s safer to dig in Alaska. Of the oil spill Paul says that “. . . sometimes accidents happen.” Each excuses the environmental catastrophe BP created. The Tea Party likes drilling. Never mind the pesky environment or conservation.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s governor has new propaganda that is both evocative and shallow. Jan Brewer is Rosie the Riveter, “Doing the Job the Feds won’t do.” That used to be called codswallop. The Feds are the only ones who can do anything about immigration. Arizona’s racial profiling law is being taken to court by no less than the NAACP and is also a matter of presidential inquiry by the Justice Department. Palin’s contribution is the Tea Party connection.

Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act in 1921. President Warren G. Harding signed the law which established national quotas for immigrants, although Latin Americans are not mentioned. It became the Immigration Act of 1924 and lasted until 1965, when it was replaced by Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. After President Lyndon B. Johnson signed that law it went into effect in 1968 and is pretty much at the core of US immigration law today.

Johnson said of Immigartion Act of 1924, "This system violates the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been un-American in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country." LBJ signed the Civil Right Act. He was not a lawyer.

Neither Palin or Brewer or Paul is a lawyer so they might not recognize that while their speech may produce resonance with populist sentiment, it espouses segregation. They might not know that the 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson endorsed "separate but equal" racial segregation. It might be unclear that the law remained until the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka renounced it 58 years later. They are not lawyers, alright..

The Tea Party and its spotlight-celebrities do like to cheerlead when they play in their ideological theme park -- “limited government, lower taxes, less spending.” If they really want to cut government size, reduce the tax burden and spend less, so much as they say, how come they do not call for ending the Iraq War and bringing our troops home? That would be all three rides in the Tea Party theme park.

The answer is that they are big supporters of the military, never minding that the military is a huge part of the government and is ridiculously expensive. The Tea Party loves guns, the 2nd Amendment and wants to "take the country back." It is anyone's guess how far back they want to take it.

Being the anti-establishment outsider for limited government who gets elected makes a great movie theme, like Frank Capra’s classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But it ends there. The rhetoric is codswallop. The Tea Party connection of Palin the Jack, Brewer the Hack, and Paul the Quack has a segregationist tilt. The essence that is lost due to inadequate coverage is the disingenuousness of the themes being peddled with such Tea Party pandering.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


It was only a matter of time before Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer united. In solidarity they unveiled a new website and launched the call for a petition against boycotts. Those pesky boycotts by such cities as Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, St. Paul, West Hollywood, Florida, El Paso, and Boulder must smart. Before considering boycotts, however, let me first congratulate Sarah Palin’s producers for giving for giving her the best chant she has had to date.

The “…do your job” bit is great rube-rhetoric. After telling the NRA that president Obama and his administration want to take away their guns and ammo, while they “gut the 2nd Amendment,” last week, she took her pseudo-event show on the road again. “We are all Arizonan” goes perfectly with the show because it’s so easy to say. However, this grandstand is not just a show as it seems.

One understands that this ubiquitous it is serious and on purpose. However, the outcome might not be what Palin and Brewer think it will be, assuming they think anything. What they think they are standing for is contrary to what it really is. Neither of them ever says anything about equal justice under law. American flags and a call for female grizzly bear protectionism cannot disguise what that stand is.

Their stand does two things.

First, it sets back women elected as governors or to other high office to Geraldine Ferraro’s time. Second, it sets civil rights back to the Kennedy Administration’s time. They are not standing for border protection. They are standing for an unconstitutional law and the suspension of habeas corpus. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legal segregation existed in the name of protection too.

A boycott is a show no less than the Tea Party Movement, which is show business. If boycotts seem only symbolic it is because they lack show business and aside from San Francisco mayor Newsom, they lack star-power in the articulate spokesperson position. However, unlike the tea folk’s show, the boycott has monetary impact on the red ink state of Arizona as well as its national appearance.
NY Daily News reports that “backlash from Arizona's law could also cost the Phoenix area at least $90 million in revenue.”

Palin brings bright lights with her. Whether or not, as the Associated Press insists, she is a potential 2012 candidate for president aside, she has the phrase that pays rube-rhetoric and all. Brewer needs all the help she can get. It just has not dawned on anyone that voters will have these heady moments to look back upon as they recalibrate who their elected officials are going to be. Ask John McCain how that is working out.

The best of Palin's rube-rhetoric goes to blaming the president for the immigration law that Brewer signed. The president was being kind when he called the law “misguided.” In the 1980s Arizona initially rejected officially observing Martin Luther King’s Birthday as a holiday. Boycotts changed that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Targeting Ethnic Studies

Arizona’s governor is a Republican, a white, and a woman. Keep that in mind even though it is obvious. If you thought that her attack on civil rights was bad form, get ready. Another measure has come before her for signature and the ink is dry. The measure targets an ethnic studies program in Tucson and has been condemned by a United Nations panel. The Associated Press is a little vague on the condemnation part of the story.

"The governor (Brewer) believes ... public school students should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people,” according to a spokesperson. That does not sound like anything that United Nations human rights experts would condemn in a report, but they did. The measure suggests that Arizona students were being taught racial resentment and hatred as well as being taught to devalue individuality. But what do UN experts know about Arizona?

State schools Chief Tom Horne, a Republican running for attorney general, “has been trying to restrict the [Tucson Unified School District Ethnic Studies] program ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in 2006 told students that ‘Republicans hate Latinos.’" That is incorrect. Huerta only personified and personalized the objective of Republican hatred. Republicans do not hate Latinos. Republicans hate truth.

Additionally, the Associated Press reports “The measure prohibits classes . . . that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.” That suggests that on top of everything else Arizona public school students are taught, they have classes in sedition.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said of signing an unconstitutional piece of legislation into law a couple of weeks ago that she "firmly believed it represents what is best for Arizona." Evidently that includes invalidating the Civil Rights Act and suspending habeas corpus.

That legislatures and governors cannot elect whether or not their state is part of the Federal Union is just an inconvenience. I would have thought that a Republican white woman governor would know that. But as I say, Republicans hate truth.