Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In A Nutshell (no pun intended): Here's What's Wrong With The Tea Party Movement - Intellectual Dyslexia.

Today, the Tea Party held a demonstration in Boston.  One of the guest speakers (the Big Draw™) was 1/2 term former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

She trotted out the same jingoistic, bumper-sticker catchphrases ("Drill Baby, Drill!") and ("we'll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion – and you can keep the change.") strung together by her usual, otherwise incoherent,  word-salad.  
The crowd loved her.  
Somehow, the Tea Partiers think she's "one of them," in spite of the fact that between her book and speaking engagements, Grifter Palin has raked in an estimated $12 million since abdicating the Governor's office.

Folks, she's not "one of you."

She is now filthy rich.  She doesn't really care about you, except that you can continue to maker her wealthier.

Almost a year ago, Bristol Palin's baby daddy Levi Johnson nailed it.  

Do not delude yourself, Tea Party people.  This is designed to make her more rich.  She even demands rock star treatment these days.

But I digress.  This post isn't really about Palin.  
She's merely another symptom of the problem... the intellectual dyslexia from which the Tea Partiers suffer.

Here are a couple of examples.
From today's article in the Boston Globe:
John Killion, a US Postal Service worker from South Boston, one of the other Tea Partiers in the group... said it was his first Tea Party event ever and he was looking forward to hearing Palin speak. "She tells it like it is," he said. (emphasis mine)
So, the guy is a government worker, employed by a government agency that is subsidized by taxes; issues him a paycheck; and provides some pretty decent healthcare and retirement benefits... and he sees no intellectual dishonesty in his protest against the government that provides him a decent living (paid for with the dollars of his fellow Tea Partiers).

On NPR today, I listened to a story that compared the original Boston Tea Party in Dec. 16, 1773 with the current Tea Party objectives... and was struck by the fact that most modern-day Tea Partiers know little or nothing about the original one.  Most think it was about "high taxes" (which is, of course, what they have been led to believe).
It wasn't.
The crux of the original demonstration was two-fold.
The first issue was "taxation without representation."  
The colonist objected to the fact that even though they were taxed by the British government, they had no representation in Parliament... therefore, no say in the matter.  
Modern-day Tea Partiers can't legitimately make the same complaint.  They have elected representation in both houses of Congress.
The second issue was a British government "bailout" of the British East India Company. It gave a tax break that enabled British East India Company to undercut Colonial tea merchants, threatening their businesses.

So, one might make the comparison with today, and say that the Tea Partiers are justified in "protesting a bailout and their own unfair taxes."

But the fact is, what the British were doing is little different than what the US is doing today with companies like Exxon,which paid out some $47 billion in taxes - but NONE to the USA.  They aren't alone, either, and haven't been for some time.  

But I have yet to hear ONE Tea Party member decry the fact that they, and most of us ,pay more in  income taxes to the US than Exxon does.

But near the end of the story, Christen Varley, the President of the Greater Boston Tea Party (who says that a year ago she was a housewife who decided to get involved in politics) was confronted with one fact:
When it comes to taxes, the Obama administration has actually cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans through a federal income tax credit.  (emphasis mine)
Varley's reaction?  She doesn't believe that — no matter what the government says.

How can you engage in meaningful discourse with people who simply deny facts they don't like?

I don't know, either.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Here's A Shocker: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Knew Hundreds of Gitmo Prisoners Were Actually Innocent

This really isn't anything new, it's something many people have been saying for a while now.

What makes it newsworthy is that Larry Wilkerson, former top aide to Colin Powell, Secretary of State when all this went down, has made a signed declaration making this accusation, as part of a lawsuit brought by a Sudanese man, Adel Hassan Hamad.

Hamad was a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay from March 2003 until December 2007, and, in this lawsuit, filed April 8 against a list of American officials, he claims that he was tortured by US agents while in custody.

It should be noted here that Hamad was repatriated to Sudan without charges on December 12, 2007.

According to an April 9, 2010 article from the Times of London, Wilkerson claims that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld knew full well that most of the prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp were actually innocent... but "feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror."

Instead, they "deemed the incarceration of innocent men acceptable if some genuine militants were captured, leading to a better intelligence picture of Iraq at a time when the Bush Administration was desperate to find a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, thus justifying the Administration’s plans for war with that country."   (all emphasis mine)

Huh.  Now that's a big surprise, isn't it?
From the article:
"Colonel Wilkerson, a long-time critic of the Bush Administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and the war in Iraq, claimed that the majority of detainees — children as young as 12 and men as old as 93, he said — never saw a US soldier when they were captured. He said that many were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000. Little or no evidence was produced as to why they had been taken."(emphasis mine)
So... most of these guys were captured using a "Turn in your neighbor for fun & profit™!" program?

That's a real reliable method (as an aside - if these men didn't have terrorist leanings before they were made prisoners, what are they odds they do now?).

It will be interesting to see what kind of news coverage Hamad's lawsuit, and Wilkerson's statements therein, receives.

I'm betting that in the US media, it will scarcely raise an eyebrow.