30 12 / 2012
There are many opinions on what constitutes personality, but it can generally be considered to be the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns of an individual, and in fact, can be attributed to a nation in certain circumstances. People from around the world typically have two distinct opinions about America; on one hand, it is the government and its policies that many foreign people either love or hate, and on the other hand, it is the American people that define America. For the most part, the American people are good, decent folks whose primary focus is, like most human beings, taking care of their families and living peaceably, but there is a loud, very vocal segment of the population intent on imposing their dysfunctional worldview borne out of their belief that Americans are exceptional and infallible according to god’s holy dispensation, and it provokes them to disregard the rights and autonomy of individual citizens and foreign governments alike, and it is just one reason America suffers from personality disorder.
There were two specific events over the past week that highlight why Americans are not all exceptional, and it is on account of intolerance for dissent and belief that an American’s will supersedes that of a sovereign nation. To be clear, this is not an indictment of all Americans, but it does impugn a mindset in this country that hypocrisy and double-standards are part of Americans’ personality. The outrage over a television personality’s criticism of America’s love affair with guns instigated a movement to deport him, and a sovereign nation’s law restricting American’s from adopting their children incited a condemnatory statement from the State Department after complaints from irate childless American citizens.
One of the hallmarks of so-called hard-right “patriots” is their immutable adherence to the Constitution and all of its tenets, and yet they reserve the most important right, that of free speech, for themselves. After the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, television personality Piers Morgan spoke out against the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment and the Wild West mentality of many of its supporters, and because he was exercising the Constitutional right of free speech, a phalanx of patriots demanded his immediate deportation for expressing his opinion.
This is not a rare occurrence, or something reserved for British television hosts. This column’s author fields on average 10 to 15 death threats per week from uber-patriots and evangelical fanatics for expressing an opinion that does not comport with their vision of America, and the irony is that each threat of violence is related to an alleged attack on their Constitutional rights. There is a reason the Founding Fathers gave freedom of religion, speech, and the press the top spot in the Bill of Rights, and that they did not make them conditional on agreeing with conservatives, because the idea of “freedom” is not conditional, at least not in a free society like America. Still, conservatives have set conditions on speech dependent on whether or not one agrees with their views on guns and religion, and it has come to define America’s personality as intolerant and spreads the message that speech is not free if it is anti-gun or anti-god.
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. families as retaliation for the Sergei Magnitsky Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama which imposed sanctions on Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of a whistle-blower. The reason for the ban is irrelevant because as a sovereign nation, Russia has the right to self-governance irrespective of childless Americans’ wishes or belief their rights supersede a foreign government’s internal affairs. The incident highlighted many Americans’ belief that their individual wishes override all others, foreign or domestic, and it portrays all Americans in a selfish, arrogant, and entitled light that has become the overriding personality trait of this country’s people. It is true of gun rights activists, religious liberty fanatics, anti-government maniacs, and bigots of all shapes and sizes, and it is on display for the entire world to see. It is a travesty that all Americans are portrayed as self-indulgent and entitled, because it is not an accurate characterization of the American people, but it is the one that the world sees more than any other.
18 6 / 2012
A long-term transportation package that would re-authorize current spending on highway construction projects and lock-in infrastructure spending for future projects appears all but dead thanks to Republican obstruction in the House of Representatives. With time running out before current authorization ends at the end of the month, House Republicans are demanding the Senate add approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to a transportation bill that already passed with widespread bipartisan support.
House and Senate negotiators have been meeting for weeks — since the Senate passed its bill, 74-22 — to work out a compromise, but the House GOP has repeatedly threatened to walk away unless the pipeline is attached. Now, the legislation is all but dead, an industry source told The Hill.
I suppose they can’t let the economy improve before November…
16 6 / 2012
Spoiler alert: his proposal also includes moving the food stamp program from a federal program to a state-by-state one.
“The cuts would result in an average benefit cut of $90 per month for nearly a half a million households, according to Congressional Budget Office.”
I am eagerly awaiting his proposal to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate subsidies, since at least one company out there has abused them. Because if we find one exception, it means we need to overhaul the entire program, right?
I fucking hate my senator. So much.
The Congressional Budget Office didn’t finish the sentence. Allow me:
“The cuts would result in an average benefit cut of $90 per month for nearly a half a million households who are already practically starving.”
16 6 / 2012
Michael Cook at Talk Business reports on the warm reception a speaker received at a recent Ozark Tea Party rally June 9 in Mountain Home for telling this “icebreaker” joke in her approximation of black dialect:A black kid asks his mom, ‘Mama, what’s a democracy?’
“‘Well, son, that be when white folks work every day so us po’ folks can get all our benefits.’
“‘But mama, don’t the white folk get mad about that?’
“‘They sho do, son. They sho do. And that’s called racism.’”
The Baxter Bulletin, which covered the event, captured audio of the episode and reported that the crowd laughed heartily at Tea Party Board member Inge Marler. Afterward, one Tea Partyer, the local group’s founder Richard Caster, told a questioning reporter the joke was in bad taste. Marler also told the newspaper she regretted telling the joke (after being called on it), saying she found it on the Internet. (The Devil made her do it?)
Remember that item the other day about a study that found that the geographic likelihood of people Googling for terms like “n***er joke” tended to correlate with anti-Obama voting patterns?
Some 500 were on hand for the Baxter County gathering. The audience included Sen. Missy Irvin (R-ALEC), who sent out a Tweet from the event: “Great rally this afternoon for the Ozark Tea Party in Baxter County. Great job @RichardCaster!” Cook has called on all the Republican politicians in that area to repudiate Ms. Marler. I’d be happy to add the words of any who’d choose to do so. Or defend Marler, for that matter.
PS — A politician doesn’t face much risk telling race jokes in Baxter County, where the population is .2 percent black.
PPS — There are more white people on welfare than black people.