Friday, June 25, 2010

Max Blumenthal goes inside the Tea Party

This program leans heavily to the left but it's kind of interesting. Blumenthal isn't the most charismatic on camera personality but I agree with his observations about the tea partiers that
"I think these people are hurting economically, a lot of them are, and they're seeking solutions in irrational ways and they're blaming forces that have nothing to do with their pain... but there is a grass roots rage. The question is, how can that rage be channelled into something positive that can bring a genuine populist movement that's multiracial and multi-political together and direct it against power?"
I would prefer it if he had said "apolitical" instead of "multi-political" as political factions are a major part of the problems this country faces and often the very obstacle that stands in the way of solving those problems.

Another observation made by Blumenthal regards the origins of the tea party movement:
"This tea party movement says that they're libertarian but they're clearly authoritarian. When they talk about getting the government out of their lives, they're just talking about lowering taxes even though it wouldn't actually benefit them--it would only benefit the rich--but they're happy to have the government in the bedroom."
Diehard tea party advocates would probably bristle at that accusation of authoritarianism but I think that Blumenthal is identifying the fact that this movement--which had libertarian roots--has been hijacked by right-wing extremists and the most conservative operatives of the GOP base who are in fact authoritarian when it comes to things like civil liberties, LGBT issues, prohibition and foreign policy. These are "values" that are embraced by Republicans, not true libertarians who don't think that it's government's place to infringe on those very rights that Republicans fight so hard to control.

That being said, I invite you to watch this program and, as my late mother would say, take it for whatever it may be worth--and as long as it's still online. I doubt there's permission to host the whole program here.

Max Blumenthal goes inside the Tea Party from Ram Bam on Vimeo.

FYI: The video file is 40 minutes long but the program itself is only 28 minutes. Then there's 12 minutes of blankness. You can skip that part. ;-)

Here's an extended scene hosted by

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bishop brags about earmarks that he voted against

So, Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah's 1st congressional district issued a statement dated May 28, 2010, in which he brags about a great deal of money that he earmarked for Utah in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 5136).

Now, I have no problem with his earmarks but he went on to say that when the bill was in committe, the "[bipartisan] process produced a decent bill, and I supported it.”

I imagine a lot of people might read right up to that point where he says, "I supported it," and infer that that equalled a "Yes" vote on the bill.

And they would be incorrect. As the entry on shows: Bishop voted "No."

Bishop's web site did not make this very clear. After his declaration that he "supported it," Bishop--in the final paragraph--complained about the process on the floor of the House and said that by adding language in regard to "don't ask, don't tell" the Democratic leadership "took a bipartisan product and turned it into a partisan tool. It didn’t have to be this way.”

But he didn't say that he voted against the bill. Why? Because it would be contradictory to his earlier statement that he "supported it."

I wanted to get clarification on this little matter and, thankfully, the name and phone number of a Bishop staffer was provided right at the top of the page: Melissa Subbotin 202-225-0453

This is the gist of our conversation:

Me: Why doesn't Congressman Bishop say on his own web site that he voted no on the final bill, H.R. 5236?

Ms. Subbotin then proceeded to give me a civics lesson about the committee process and the debate on the floor and how things change. I found it a little condescending so I continued...

Me: I understand how the process works but I would like to see a statement on the Congressman's website stating that he voted NO on the bill.

Subbotin: He supported the original bill.

Me: But he voted NO on the FINAL bill.

Subbotin: You're implying that we're intentionally trying to mislead something.

Me: I feel misled.

Subbotin : Well, you shouldn't feel misled... We don't say that he didn't support the final vote.

(I had to think about that for a moment and she's right: They didn't say that he didn't support the final vote... that's the problem.)

Me: I feel it's disingenuous for you guys to brag about all this money coming to Utah and not say that he voted against it because it implies that he voted FOR the bill.

Subbotin : Okay.

Me: I'm asking that you put a statement on the web site that says that Congressman Bishop voted no on the final bill.

Subbotin : Okay... We'll take your request into consideration.

Me: (laughing) Thanks for blowing me off.

Bragging about all those earmarks certainly implies that Bishop wanted the bill to pass. That the evidence shows so clearly that he voted NO says something entirely different.

I just checked before hitting the "Publish Post" button and it appears that Congressman Bishop's staff has updated the web page to show that the Congressman voted NO on the final passage of the bill. Looks like they're going to embrace the doublethink. ;-)

I wonder if Subbotin Googled me and discovered that I'm running for Congress in district 3?