Category ►►► Tea Leaves
October 13, 2011
Top Ten Reasons Why Mad Tea Partiers Aren't Even the Least Little Bit Like "Occupy" Fill-In-the-Blankers
- Tea partiers want the poor to emulate the rich; Occupiers want the poor to eat the rich.
- Tea partiers want limited government to create a limitless future; Occupiers: "Strike that, reverse it!"
- Tea partiers get exhilarated by the unsullied wilderness of the United States; Occupiers get a tingle from the unsanitary wilderness of Zucchini Park.
- Tea partiers look at the federal government and are sore as hell; Occupiers look at the federal government and hail Soros.
- Occupiers chant "Solidarity forever!" Tea partiers chant "solvency forever!"
- Tea partiers want to free the American economy; Occupiers want the American economy -- for free.
- Tea partiers believe in great American exceptionalism; Occupiers take great exception to America.
- Tea partiers' favorite book is the Federalist Papers; Occupiers' favorite book is Where the Wild Things Are... which they think is a guide to spring-break in Daytona Beach.
- Occupiers think "grass roots" can be rolled and smoked.
- The dirty, smelly, hippies "occupying" Zamboni Park are adored by the Teamsters. (Who knew?)
- Tea partiers demand an end to insane, trillion-dollar deficits; Occupiers have a trillion insane demands.
- Tea partiers know what the word "job" means without having to look it up in the Devil's Dictonary.
And the number-one reason why mad tea partiers aren't even the least little bit like "Occupy" fill-in-the-blankers...
- Say what you will about tea partiers, their personal hygeine is impeccable.
(Do I exceed my parameters? Very well then, I exceed my parameters, I am large, I contain multitudes.)
April 19, 2010
Emptying My Thimble
Over on my favorite blog, Power Line, Scott "Big Johnson" Trunk has a series of posts called something like "emptying my spindle." The phrase, for those of you younger than Scott (i.e., born after 1907), a spindle is a vicious spike sticking up out of a flat base; the idea -- horrific even to imagine in today's Nerfworld -- is to take important memos (printed on paper!) in one's hand and jam them onto the spike with a lusty whack, where they will stick... along with your hand, if your aim be unsteady. Having been "dealt with," said memos are promptly forgotten until until Doomsday.
To empty or clear one's spindle is thus to go through one's old business and respond belatedly to urgent matters that should have been taken care of months ago. Scott uses the phrase to mean going back through his voluminous file of posts he meant to make but didn't, and write some quick and pithy abstract of his thoughts on the subject, jamming two or three hundred essays into a single post, like a fossil-rich sediment layer.
Well, I don't have a spindle-full of such ancient pith, but I think I can scrape together at least a thimble-full of comtemporary stories about which I have a milliliter or so of fresh pith. So here goes nothing!
A man, a plan, a genocide -- Ahmadinejad!
Secretary of Defense and Bush leftover Robert Gates says President Barack H. Obama has no plan for what to do when Iran gets its nukes. Doesn't that make your chest swell with ideological pride?
A memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the White House warned that the United States lacks a nimble long-term plan for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, according to a published report.
Gates wrote the three-page memo in January and it set off efforts in the Pentagon, White House and intelligence agencies to come up with new options, including the use of the military, The New York Times said in its Sunday editions, quoting unnamed government officials.
But of course, now that Obama's own SecDef has called attention to the gaping hole in our nuclear policy -- whoops, forgot all about that Iran thing -- surely the White House is rushing to rework our strategic posture to take into account this fairly likely scenario, yes? Well, not exactly:
White House officials Saturday night strongly disagreed with the comments that the memo caused a reconsideration of the administration's approach to Iran.
"It is absolutely false that any memo touched off a reassessment of our options," National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Rhodes told The Associated Press. "This administration has been planning for all contingencies regarding Iran for many months."
Ah, contingencies. So what contingencies are in place to deal with a nuclear Iran?
One senior official described the memo as "a wake-up call," the paper reported. But the recipient of the document, Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, told the newspaper in an interview that the administration has a plan that "anticipates the full range of contingencies."
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, who did not confirm the memo Saturday night, said the White House has reviewed many Iran options.
"The secretary believes the president and his national security team have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies with respect to Iran," Morrell said.
Well, that certainly clears the air!
This is one area where President Obama actually has an opinion beyond voting "present." The man is so pure and adamant in his hatred of nuclear weapons that he refuses -- on principle, one must surmise -- to think about them... even to the extent of how to respond if the world's most beligerent and most anti-democratic, and most Jew-hating regime on the planet perfects them. To plan a response is to accept the existence of atoms, which is anathema to the Obamacle.
Rather, the administration's policy appears to be cajole, beg, threaten... wash, rinse, and repeat, ad infinitum. And if Iran doesn't listen?
Gates and other senior members of the administration have issued increasingly stern warnings to Iran that its nuclear program is costing it friends and options worldwide, while sticking to the long-held view that a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be counterproductive.
See? "Stern warnings": They do have a plan after all.
Renewing his bows
Speaking of the One Himself, Barack Obama has been bowing recently to all and sundry. From the Heisei emperor of Japan, Akihito, to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, to President Hu Jintao of China, Obama has groveled to them all.
This chaps my hide. What's next... will our president crawl on his hands and knees, scourging and debasing himself (or more likely George W. Bush) in penance for America's sins?
But I tell you this: The day Obama bows to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, I will forever refer to the Windy City community oorganizer as "President Hussein."
You may think it petty; I see it as symbolic... let the world know that he will have chosen up sides.
The mad tea-bash
Bill Clinton, in a fit of retro triangulation cleverly timed to remind us why we really don't miss that administration, has just equated tea-party rallies to the Oklahoma City bombing:
"What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold - but that the words we use really do matter, because there's this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious [read: Democrats] and the delirious [Republicans] alike. They fall on the connected [liberals] and the unhinged [neo-conservative running-dog imperialists] alike," he said.
He warns the country against that lunatic fringe of "tea partiers" who hurl incendiary rhetoric like "Taxed Enough Already" and "repeal the bill." But here's the point missed by throwback leftists such as Mr. C.:
"I'm glad they're fighting over health care and everything else. Let them have at it. But I think that all you have to do is read the paper every day to see how many people there are who are deeply, deeply troubled," he said.
He also alluded to the anti-government tea party movement, which held protests in several states Thursday. At the Washington rally, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota railed against "gangster government."
Clinton argued that the Boston Tea Party was in response to taxation without representation. The current protesters, he said, are challenging taxation by elected officials, and the demonstrators have the power to vote them out of office.
No, actually, they don't; at least in most states, voters cannot recall their U.S. senators and representatives willy nilly as they please (nor do I wish they could). To set the record straight, we have the power to vote some of them out of office six months from now... but not right now.
Alas, in the upcoming demi-year, the Progressivist supermajority can do incalculable and irreversible damage to the United States of America. And we haven't even mentioned the horror that will attend the lame-duck session following the election, when scores of Democrats will know that their careers are ruined anyway... so why not be hanged for an entire abattoir of swine as be hanged for a single sheep?
Clinton says he isn't asking for us to censor ourselves, just tone down the demands; but freedom of speech includes not only the right to present the case for fiscal sanity, but also the right to do so colorfully and dramatically.
When the Left regularly drops F-bombs and N-words, plays the race card like a permanent joker, flashes its get out of jail free card to be exempt from all consequences of its actions and its own violent rhetoric, and encourages its members to confabulate wild, unsubstantiated urban legends for no reason other than to paint Republicans as ogres and cannibals... then why should the anti-Left be restricted to mild, hesitant argumentation, accompanied by much apology and forelock tugging?
I say, unconstrain your rhetoric, so long as you target the real culprits. Let the Left start responding with rational and logical debate, instead of special pleading and threats. Let a thousand points of light bloom. That may not be the Chicago way, but it's the American way.
Frame by frame
I had a fascinating revelation yesterday, what I shall call an "utterly obvious profundity."
Sachi and I were driving through an old section of town, one that was more or less intact from the twenties and thirties. As I looked at the buildings, I abruptly realized something: That world really was just as colorful and three-dimensional as today's. It's just that our only visual window into that world -- movies -- has a narrow aperature and happens to be in black and white.
While Cagney and Bogie and all the rest pursue their violent courses within a noir world of shadow, the real inhabitants of that spacetime locus wandered through the same colors, more or less, as we do today. (By the same token, when Enrico Casuso sang, his voice was not scratchy and drowned out by vinyl or wax hiss; that is simply an artifact of the recording medium.)
Perhaps this just proves my own banality; but I believe more people than myself subconsciously envison yesteryear as we've always seen it on late-night TV: grainy, black and white, occasionally silent, always narrowly constrained to the TV's dimensions... and constantly interrupted by adverts for Cal Worthington and his dog Spot.
My thimble is empty. Tally ho.
March 16, 2010
Grinding Away on the Coffee Party
I first heard about the infamous Coffee Party, supposedly a liberal alternative to the right leaning Tea Party movement, at Hot Air; I watched a couple of videos trying to understand what was its pont. After suffering through the rambling, pointless video promos produced by the "unwitting" founder of the Coffee Party, Annabel Park, I concluded that she must be some naive and ignorant college girl. (For one point, she doesn't even seem get the historical reference to "Tea Party," as in Boston.)
Park claims the anti-Tea Party "movement" started when she ranted her frustration on her Facebook page about all the attention the Tea Partiers were getting:
[L]et's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.
Within hours, she received dozens of responses. Within days, the idea attracted hundreds of fans. Soon the movement caught the major media's eye. The Washington Post and the New York Times featured the story (now there's a surprise!)
Overnight, Annabel Park, a 41-year-old "independent filmmaker" became the leader of Coffee Party movement.
Now, after two short months, the mob has gotten so big that they're already holding a nation wide Coffee rally:
Since February, the Coffee Party has gathered some 120,000 fans on Face book. And it’s set to bring its virtual community together in public for the first time this Saturday. The group has close to 350 kickoff parties scheduled around the country, with thousands of supporters expected to attend, according to Chris Rigopulos, a Boston-based organizer for the group.
What an incredible grassroots organization! What a difference to the stumbling, humble origins of the Tea Parties: That movement started with just a handful of people here and there gathering in town hall meetings. No organizing, no sponsors, no mass media attention. It took a whole year for the various Tea Parties to organize and hold a convention. Compared to the amateur Tea Partiers, the Coffee Party is almost... professional!
Park describes the Coffee Party as non-partisan and "100% grassroots." I grew skeptical of that point the more I watched her; despite my first impression of naiveté, careful listening of her speechs and videos suggest she is an experienced -- and trained -- political activist:
"We object to obstructionism and extreme political tactics that are I think fear-based, not reality-based, and in many ways just deliberate misinformation"
"I think that it's human for people to be nervous about changes in the neighborhoods and in demographics of the country."
“If you don’t believe that the government has any role, then yeah, you should join the Tea Party,” “But there are many of us who that believe we have to have the government addressing these things, representing our interests.”
The careful way Park characterizes Tea Partiers as obstructionists, fear mongers, liars, racists, and anarchists, without directly saying so, takes well-developed skill. This is not the speech of a naive college student or simple independent film maker, whatever that means.
Surprise, surprise, it turns out that her role as leader of that leftist political movement called the Coffee Party is no accident, no matter what the elite media tendentiously claim. As Andrew Breitbart of BigJournalism.com notes:
Yet there was nothing accidental about Park’s anti-Tea Party activism; the Coffee Party’s roots are about as grassy as the signature surface of the old Houston Astrodome; and Park’s facade of cooperation is undermined by her “tea bagger” epithets on Twitter.
Meanwhile, her claim that the Coffee Party is “purely grassroots” and “independent of any party” is laughably rebutted by the fact that the registrant for the website was listed as “Real Virginians For Webb, 14461 Sedona Drive, Gainesville, Virginia 20155” until the information suddenly went private behind a proxy. That’s “Webb” as in Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, one of at least two elected Democrats for whom Park has actively campaigned (as evidenced by this campaign video, “Real Virginians for Webb”:
In fact, Park has been an ardent supporter of Barack Obama since forever... so much so that she made her own pro-Obama YouTube promotional videos:
So intense was her support for the would-be president that Park co-directed a video for the YouTube channel, UnitedForObama, in which she encourages her mother to give a pro-Obama testimonial in their native Korean. The slick four-minute production, titled “Annabel’s Mom Takes on Sarah Palin, In Korean!!!,” features jaunty piano music and English translations of her mother’s homage to Obama, including this comment, which has the vague ring of a “Dear Leader” haiku:I listened to Obama’s speeches/and, though my English isn’t perfect/I started to change my mind about him./I came to understand/what he wanted to accomplish/and what we really need is Obama.
Having now been exposed, Park is hardly apologetic. On the March 4th edition of the Coffee Party USA website, the Party line stated:
Annabel was never paid by the Obama campaign, but she worked very hard as volunteer, as did millions of other Americans. A newspaper inaccurately reported that Annabel held a videographer position. But, if there is anyone who cares about such things, and also cares about getting their facts straight, the truth is very easy to verify.
To date, neither Annabel nor her partner Eric Byler have ever been hired by a political campaign or by a political organization. They are active citizens who, as volunteers have knocked on doors, made phone calls, and made videos:....
They are proud of a record of inventive civic engagement and have nothing to hide. If they didn't want people to see their work, they wouldn't have put it on YouTube!
So Annabel Park is a veteran Democratic media shill, trained and experienced; yet she did all that work for candidate Obama without being paid. Translation: Park is a diehard liberal (and Obamic) partisan. And far from being grassroots, this "movement" is a cynical ploy designed to manipulate inattentive viewers into believing that the left-liberal dogma spewed forth by the Coffee Party on a daily basis accurately represents real America.
Look for the elite media to keep percolating the Coffee Party right up through the November elections. Then abruptly, the fame and adulation will stop, and Annabel Park will be dropped to the floor, like an outgrown and broken toy.
Enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame, Ms. P; you and your "partner" both.
February 20, 2010
What Makes Lefty Run?
Sachi and I got to talking about the Tea-Party movement, and she asked me why the Left hated the Tea Partiers so much. "They don't," I said; then groping for an explanation of what suddenly seemed so clear, I made a slight correction: "It's the liberals who hate and despise Tea Partiers, mocking them as "tea baggers" and such. The hard-core Left isn't full of hate... it's full of terror: I believe they are more terrified today than they have been since thirty years ago."
The rest of this post is my attempt to analyze my mini-revelation, explain it, and justify it.
The Left is terrified because, more than any other political group, they know a growing popular front when they see one; and they're seeing one now.
A popular front is an extremely broad-based coalition of political forces that normally oppose each other. In rare moments, the stars align, and so do the groups; what results is a mass movement that can wash away the status quo like a burst dam. The movement doesn't have to include all or even a majority of the citizenry; but it is large enough to push aside any countervailing coalition -- which means whatever the front wants, it gets.
Lefties understand the unstoppable raw power of a popular front; that's why their own strategy for seizing control of a country and "communizing" it invariably includes creating a popular front of dissent and protest against the established government, local or colonial. But a popular front needn't be based on leftist ideology; there are several examples in recent history:
- The Khomeinist revolution in Iran depended upon a religious popular front that rose up against Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979.
- The Communist revolution in post-WWII Vietnam was driven by a popular front against colonial France.
- The Communist revolutions in WWI-era Czarist Russia and post-WWII Nationalist China both depended upon international socialist popular fronts that turned into a general uprising against the established State.
- The National Socialist takeover in 1920s-1930s Germany included a popular front against Communism and for German monocultural nationalism and Fascism.
- The French Revolution required a popular front that arose against the jaw-dropping financial and dictatorial excesses of the Bourbon kings.
- And the American Revolution critically depended upon a popular front revolting against the loss of home rule and the attempted subjugation by Mother England, thousands of miles away.
In each case, political groups forged alliances with hereditary enemies that more often fought each other hammer and tooth -- for example, American aristocrats like Washington and Jefferson allying with lawyers and tradesmen (John Adams, Patrick Henry) against British rule. That kind of widespread movement is what defines a popular front.
The Tea Party front is the worst nightmare of the hard-core Left -- a patriotic, small-government, capitalist popular front. While Tea Partiers are not specifically Republican, leftists realize that GOP leaders (Sarah Palin) and candidates (Scott Brown) are far better positioned to appeal to Tea Partiers than are Democrats: All Republicans must do is match their words with deeds; but Democrats would have to (a) repudiate everything they have said and voted for in the past four decades, then (b) convince Tea Partiers that this time they're sincere!
The Scott Brown election is a perfect example of the relentless power of a popular front; I mean the timeline of the election itself, not its consequences. On November 4-8, a Suffolk University poll had Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, ahead of state Sen. Scott Brown by 31% (58-27); in early January, the Boston Globe had her still ahead by 15% (50-35), while even Rasmussen had her 9% ahead (50-41).
Two weeks later, Brown beat Coakley by nearly 5%, 52-47. That represents a swing of 36% in just two months; and there is really nothing else to account for such movement other than a popular front. No terrible scandal engulfed Ms. Coakley, no state of emergency, no powerful or charismatic Republican leader turned the election into a referendum upon him- or herself; in fact, the closest analogy to that last is that Barack H. Obama personally went to Massachusetts two days before the election and campaigned with Coakley.
Tea Parties will likely have only a small (but significant) impact in 2010; what terrifies the prescient Left is the next election. Given another couple of years to build, and assuming nothing happens to destroy it, the popular front could produce a Noachian cataclysm on presidential and congressional elections then... as well as on state and local elections across America, which could lead to generational capitalist hegemony.
If the Tea Parties turn into a full-blown, patriotic-American popular front, which I think likely, Democrats, liberals, and lefties could go from winning it all in 2008 -- to being inundated and immolated by the tsunami of 2012.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
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