Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote a blog post titled “What If the Tea Baggers Win?” In that post I discussed what the optimistic scenarios were concerning a Tea Bag victory come November, with the Tea Baggers basically either at odds with their traditional conservative leadership or at odds with the rest of Congress. Either way, a victory – albeit a minor one – for common sense.

But there was a pessimistic scenario as well. What would the US look like were the Tea Baggers to win and to be able to effectively implement their policies? What kind of America would that be? Herewith, I present to you Tea Bag Utopia.

In the Tea Bag version of the US, education will be mostly religious, private education affordable only by the very few wealthy people left. Science will be relegated to a minor position within the “education” community and teachers will be required to adhere to strict standards of conservative comportment which will ignore facts, will treat religious belief as the only truth, and will punish those who choose to try to think freely. Book burning and banning will be commonplace. Believing other than the Tea Bag Orthodoxy will kake you an enemey of the State. (See positions of the Texas Board of Education; Christine O’Donnell; Sarah Palin; Daniel Webster; Rand Paul)

Pre-marital sex will be a crime. Masturbation will be a criminal act, punishable by stoning. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies will sky-rocket. Child- abuse will be protected by law, and the abused will be considered the criminal. Incest and rape will be considered no more than minor felonies, while the victims of incest and rape will be ostracized, ridiculed, and demonized. The sins of the criminal shall be passed onto the victim. (See the position of Ron Johnston; Sharon Angle; Christine O’Donnell; Sarah Palin; Daniel Webster; Rand Paul).

Being gay will be a criminal act. Being an adulterer will be a criminal act, unless you are one of the elite few. Being a woman with a job will be a criminal act; again, unless you are one of the elite few. Women will be subservient to their husbands; will be unable to divorce; and forced to remain in abusive relationships. (See the position of Daniel Webster; Newt Gingrich).

If you are a person of African, Caribbean or Latin descent, you will be forced back into slavery if you’re black, because as everyone knows, slavery was good for Blacks, or deported for being Latino. Nor will you be allowed to go to any store or restaurant you wish to go to, and racism will be allowed to be institutionalized once again. (See position of Trent Franks; Carl Palidino; Rand Paul; John McCain; Michelle Bachman; Sharon Angle; Joe Arpiao; Jan Brewer; the list continues).

Should you be a senior citizen, expect to have no Social Security and no Medicare. These programs will be phased out almost immediately upon the ascension of the Tea Baggers. Poverty amongst seniors will grow to epidemic proportions. (See Position of Sharon Angle; Christine O’Donnell; Sarah Palin; Rand Paul; Newt Gingrich; Ron Johnston; Paul Ryan; etc., etc.).

Poverty in America will explode, as the middle class get squeezed to the breaking point, paying for more and more tax cuts for the wealthy, who will create fewer and fewer jobs in America – since they do not presently create jobs anyway – until the majority of “good” jobs have been outsourced to cheap labor in other parts of the world.. The wealthy will have greater and greater influence on the public dialogue, their pets in the Tea Party Movement doing the bidding of a minority of those considered wealthy. (See WSJ Poll: 2/3 of those making over $250,000 believe taxes on wealthy need to rise).

Healthcare coverage will be non-existent. Insurance companies will be able to drop you from your coverage whenever and however they feel like. Every illness will be considered a pre-existing condition. Every doctor’s visit will be just another opportunity to avoid paying for your coverage. If you are pregnant, do not expect insurance to have to cover pre-natal or post-natal care. If you have a child with a learning disability, do not expect insurance to help with the costs involved in taking care of that child. If you have HIV, do not expect insurance to cover cost of drugs which can prolong your life. Do, however, expect that the Government will come knocking at your door to find out just what sex crime they believe you have committed. (See position of Sharon Angle; Christine O’Donnell; Rand Paul).

The Deficit will continue to spiral out of control, fueled by the Wars being fought in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea. As ¾ of the discretionary budget of the United States is already made up of paying for some form of defense spending and the Tea Baggers have stated quite clearly that they intend to actually grow the defense budget, this goes without saying. Cutting out every program presently found in our Government except Defense spending will not dent the Deficit. Growing the Defense Budget will simply continue to raise the Deficit. (See position of Sarah Palin; Rand Paul; Daniel Webster; Ron Johnston).

Religious intolerance will continue to grow. The Government of the United States will become a Theocracy. The Old Testament of the Bible will be the only law unto the land, with those not adhering to its teachings being ostracized and attacked for their heretical beliefs. Except, of course, if you can pay your way out. State-supported religion will be introduced and enforced much like the State-supported religion in Saudi Arabia, with religious police coming into your bedroom, spying in your windows, demanding access to your private life. The security apparatus of the State will continue to grow, as the security apparatus of the State will be one of the State’s few remaining functions. Any deviation from Tea Bag Orthodoxy will make you an Enemy of the State. (See position of John McCain; Sarah Palin; Christine O’Donnell; Ron Johnston; Daniel Webster).

Given that these are the professed positions of the so-called leaders of the Tea Bagger Movement, one needs to ask just what in this scenario appeals to people? These positions have all been put forward by the people mentioned above. Given all this, are we to believe that the people going to these rallies truly understand what they are calling for? Because if we do believe that, our country as we know it – a country that purports to believe in freedom and justice – will be neither free nor just.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Happens If Tea Baggers Win?

Imagine if you will that the House leader calls a vote for what is considered an important piece of legislation by the party. But instead of having a clear majority, the leader finds there is a fight going on with a large and vocal minority not only holding up the bill but in some instnaces choosing to side with the minority party against it. Is this Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, you may wonder, given how badly Democrats have done at behaving like Democrats and voting for the poor, the working and the middle classes? No, it's John Boehner - or possibly Eric Cantor - vs. the Tea Baggers.

The Tea Baggers - I call them that since they self-identified as such - consider themselves the only ones who know the true meaning of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, even though most of them have never bothered to read either document. They, like their GO(B)P brethren, hate Government and anything to do with Government, so, naturally, they believe they should be the ones running the very institutions they hate. They hate Social Security, even though many Tea Baggers are on Social Security; they hate any kind of Govenrment funded Healthcare, unless it's their Medicare, they hate any and all entitlement programs, unless they are the programs which pave their streets and essentially make their lives easier. As an example, I give you Sharon Angle, who has no problem complaining about public healthcare while, it turns out in one of many fits of irony, she avails herself of it.

And if that's not enough, Tea Baggers demand to have access to your bedroom. Don't have sex, don't be gay, go to the one true church (whatever the hell that means), and don't believe you can be who and what you are if you happen to be different from their belief as to who or what you should be.

Nor should you try at all to become educated. Education is for people who think, and being a Tea Bagger, that leaves most of them out. Science and Math are Liberal conspiracies against God and American Exceptionalism. The earth is 6,000 years old, evolution is just a theory, and Global Climate Change is just another form of taxation. So believeth the stupid. See Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell.

So back to our House scenario: either way, the GOBP loses. I'm sure the Party of No believes that once they get elected the Tea Baggers will fall into line. Perhaps, perhaps not. If they do, they will have very short political careers, as the likelihood that the Tea Baggers who turned out for these candidates turning out for them again will be close to nil. If they don't, then they will achieve none of their goals, as the likelihood that all of the GOBP will go insane, while greater than the first scenario, is hopefully also nil.

These are the optimistic outcomes should the Tea Baggers win come November. I give these outcomes a 50 - 50 chance. The pessimistic outcome is one no sane person should have to contemplate. Imagine a US run by Tea Baggers - debt spiraling out of control, social services non-existent, social protections non-existent, wars everywhere, religion mandated in the classroom, anyone who is different being hounded. The Tea Baggers speak about being for positive change, yet nothing they want is positive.

If we wish to move forward in this country, we must realize now that though they are our fellow citizens, they believe more in their ideology than they do in the concept of citizenship. They do not see any common cause. And that, by itself, should frighten anyone who has even half a brain in their head.

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Friday, September 17, 2010


I am not an economist, nor do I pretend to be one. In point of fact, I don't consider myself to be particularly good at math or economics. Given that, I expect I shall be roundly attacked after writing this by people who consider themselves to be much better at economics than myself yet who will be exceptionally and unequivacally wrong in just about their entire analysis.

How can I say that, given that I have made it clear I am not an economist? Because I intend to discuss Tea Bag Economics - the economic theory which plainly states that you can continue to cut taxes without cutting the spending of any of your - meaning Tea Party - sacred programs. Let's start with the basics.

The Tea Party claims to be against deficit spending and the deficit in general. They demand that government cut spending. Yet when asked what exactly they will cut, they mention programs which have marginal impact on spending. For instance, foreign assistance. A great deal is made about how much of our tax dollars are being spent overseas for foreign assistance, yet if you look at the figures, foreign assistance doesn't even register. It barely makes any of the graphs. Or let's talk about the Department of Health and Human Services - one Department Tea Baggers like to kick around. The Budget for this Department is $78.7 Billion. That's a decrease of 1.7%. Now, no one is saying that $78.7 Billion is not a great deal of money. But here's the thing - the Defense Department Budget is nearly 10 times that amount. In fact, the Defense Department Budget is 68% of all discretionary Federal spending - it is the major beneficiary of income tax dollars. Not Social Security, not Medicare or Medicaid. Those programs are paid for by separate taxes, not income taxes (although the argument will be that all taxes are income taxes - and in a way that is correct, but misleading).

So, when you break it all down, you have the majority of income taxes - as we generally regard them - going to Defense spending. Now, the obvious question is, will Tea Baggers support cutting the Defense budget? To hear them talk, the answer is no. So just how serious are they about deficit reduction?

Not very, as it happens, as they will also not support paying for any of this spending. How else can you explain their constant admonishments against income taxes? Assuming that they wish to have the smallest government possible and we do away with every single department and program within the Federal Government except the bare minimum, even in that Tea Bagger paradise, the present rate of income taxes would not reduce the deficit nor in fact provide the revenue necessary to continue present trends in defense spending, interest on the national debt and simply running a bare-bones government. The math does not work.

And with the Tea Baggers calling for even less in tax rates and demanding that revenue be even lower, there is no intellectually honest way to reduce the deficit, to pay off our debt. Doing away with every program in the Federal Government except debt repayment and Defense will still not bring us out of deficit as the money coming in is less than the money going out. And Tea Baggers aren't honest enough to admit that lowering taxes will in no way improve that equation.

So when Jim DeMint or Rand Paul or Christine O'Donnell or Sarah Palin tell you that maintaining tax cuts for the rich will not affect the deficit and they have a plan to reduce the deficit without raising taxes, they are simply lying. They care more about their ideological dislike of taxes than they do about the health of the nation.