Lunatic Fringe

February 28, 2011

But a few short months after gaining access to political office, the Tea Party is revealing itself as a demented fringe whose values clash with those of main-stream America.  TP legislators in Congress and several state houses have put forth legislation to:

  • Redefine rape as not rape
  • Kill childhood nutrition programs
  • Privatize all schools
  • Destroy unions
  • Legalize assassination of abortion doctors
  • Sell off public utilities
  • De-fund the EPA and FTC

Repealing the Truth

The cuts to the EPA are not about reducing deficits.  Their purpose is to end regulation of pollution and carbon emissions by the coal and oil industries (the very same industries, it so happens, who bankroll the TP.)  All unnecessary hindrances to commerce, the TPers argue, as they insist Global Warming is a hoax, an international conspiracy.

Last year, Michele Bachmann incited her constituents to armed resistance of any government policies that fight climate change.  This month, the GOP-led House voted to cut funding (all $2.3 million) of the IPCC, calling the highly respected, non-partisan, Nobel-peace-prize-winning, international science body, “corrupt” and “nefarious”.

The Montana legislature is now considering a bill which declares that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.”

Last week on Capitol HIll, TPers in both houses introduced legislation (under the Orwellian title, “Energy Tax Prevention Act”) to “repeal” (sic) the EPA’s “scientific determination that greenhouse gases threaten human health and welfare.”

That’s right, folks — the Tea Party is solving Global Warming by declaring it illegal.

Space Man

In New Mexico, new TP governor Susana Martinez named geologist & former Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmitt to head her state’s Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources.  Schmitt is a verifiable lunatic, and not just because he was the second-to-last man to walk on the moon.

A fervent denier of GW, Schmitt believes “the ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making.”  In 2009, Schmitt submitted an unsolicited paper to NASA claiming that, contrary to irrefutable data, the Earth is cooling and that polar ice has returned to 1989 levels.  Schmitt’s paper trots out a series of already-debunked challenges to climate change, then urges a wait-and-see approach until better data can be collected via observatories on the Moon and geological surveys of the surface of Mercury.

In his 2008 letter announcing his resignation from the elite Planetary Society, Schmitt warned that the U.S. would never become a “deep space-faring nation” because “the government-run, politicized K-12 school system will not currently support such [a multi-generational] endeavor.”

Schmitt is both a big fan of, and frequent guest on, the Alex Jones Show, the late-night conspiracy theory & supernatural sightings radio program. It was during a 2009 interview on Jones’ show that Schmitt linked groups like the Sierra Club to the USSR:

I think that there are individuals … who have taken — shall we say captured the environmental movement and turned it into what was previously considered the communist movement. I think the whole trend really began with the fall of the Soviet Union. Because the great champion of the opponents of liberty, namely communism, had to find some other place to go and they basically went into the environmental movement.

Schmitt has a solution to the world’s energy needs: the immediate establishment of private, lunar mining colonies to extract Helium 3 for use in (yet-to-be invented) fusion reactors, a scheme that an MIT report declared “wildly impractical”, with more energy expended on carting the helium isotope back to Earth than could ever be generated.

Schmitt’s presence in Martinez’ administration was intended to lend an air of scientific legitimacy to TP policy. Apparently, Martinez had a change of heart, as Schmitt abruptly disqualified himself by refusing the state-mandated background check.  No doubt a less flamboyantly eccentric GW denier will be found for the post.

Lunatics in Power

TPers claim to be ordinary people, like you or me.  Yet the TP is a minority group whose adherents believe in things like chemtrails, HAARP mind control, global conspiracies, and the existence of Sharia law in Battle Creek.  They twist American History to fit their ideology, and embrace biblical literacy while denying the solid Science accepted by the rest of the world. It’s also a group which hoards gold and ammunition in anticipation of the imminent Armageddon predicted by the likes of Glenn Beck.  Such a group can be described only one way — lunatic fringe.

There’s at least one other instance in recent history of a lunatic fringe coming to power, and things didn’t turn out too good.  Like the TP, that group of lunatics believed an international conspiracy had ruined their nation’s economy.  They too, espoused pseudoscientific theories, and revised History to fit their ideology.  Their political leaders were considered to be crackpots and laughing stocks.  Few took them seriously, but, thanks to substantial funding by a rich industrialist, they were able to win a large bloc of seats in the 1930 Reichstag elections, and take complete control of the government two years later.

Happy days are definitely not here again.

(c) 2011 by ‘tamerlane.’ All rights reserved.

Egypt’s Spirit of ’11

February 3, 2011

Over the past week, every official statement from the U.S. government concerning the situation in Egypt has referred to the state of Egypt as an ally.  It’s time the American people recognize that the freedom-seeking people of Egypt are our allies.  So far, we’ve abandoned them in their moment of need.

While discretion and official decorum were appropriate as the crisis unfolded, Mubarak’s latest gambit is the last straw.  The attacks on journalists was a crude attempt to manipulate the story line, and it will backfire.  The insertion of small numbers of mounted, armed thugs into a peaceful march by millions of everyday people is both despicable and desperate.  Moreover, these actions provide clear cause for our government [read: president, if we had one] to publicly call for Mubarak’s immediate resignation.  The best we get is perhaps some back-channel massaging of Soliman by the State Department.

Is There No Hope for Change?

The military holds the key in Egypt, and so far they’ve performed admirably, considering the very fine line they had to tread.  They will sooner or later back the right horse — be it Suleiman or el Baradei — once it’s certain who the right horse is.  The Egyptian military is largely funded by the US, so this should be a slam dunk for us, but the White House appears confused, uninterested, or working off another agenda.

America seems paralyzed by fears of a radical islamic coup in Egypt.  Yet, only were the situation to devolve into a protracted civil war — unlikely, since the vast majority of Egyptians are of one mind in this — would a narrow window open for the Muslim Brotherhood (“MB”).  Among the entire world, only the Israelis — and it seems, our White House — wish to see Mubarak linger.  For the Israelis, it boils down to protecting a single policy: the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip.  That’s petty, it’s narrow-minded, and it actually poses Israel far greater long-term harm by creating an unstable or radical neighbor.

Fear the Bogieman!

A large dose of skepticism is in order when listening to the chicken little alarms in the American media about the MB.  To the psychos on the far right, Tunisia, Egypt — these are but the first tiles to fall in a “domino effect” (a term last heard when referring to Indochina in the 1960’s) of muslim regimes.

Reichspropagandaminister Beck goes beyond that, calling this is a “Sarajevo moment”, the first spark in the “Coming Insurrection” of international jihadism. One must surmise that Beck & Co.’s answer to this crisis is to prop up Mubarak.  That would please the American far right, AIPAC, and Benjamin Netanyahu.  It would, however, majorly piss of 83 million Egyptians.  In truth, continuing to support Mubarak is the best possible way to create the very jihadist regime Beck swears he dreads.

Actually, a MB takeover of Egypt is Beck’s wet dream.  Know why Papa Bush was so dejected when the Berlin Wall came down?  The right-wing had just lost its best bogieman ever, the Soviets.  With 9/11, Baby Bush found a new bogieman to scare the public — Radical Islam.  Like viewers of SAW IV, the American public seems eager to indulge in irrational fears and swallow the right-wing distortion of the news from Egypt.

Egypt’s Berlin Wall Moment

For a more level-headed perspective, look abroad.  For english readers, The Guardian UK and (surprise!) Aljazeera offer the most comprehensive, up-to-the-minute, and balanced coverage.

It’s the German media, however, that seem to have recognized the true meaning, the spirit, if you will, of the coming change in Egypt.  The Germans can relate — it was a peaceful revolution, with people literally using their bare hands to tear down the Berlin Wall, that brought freedom to East Germany after decades.  We Americans, fixated on the bogieman, fail to grasp the importance of this moment for Egyptians, to embrace their passion and determination.  We still talk vaguely of our “Spirit of ’76”; the freedom-seeking Egyptian people today are filled with their own “Spirit of ’11.”  We should be standing by their side, not standing on the sidelines.

In an interview, an Egyptian architect participating in the protests dismissed Western fears of a MB takeover as “inconceivable. We want our freedom, not religious oppression,” he stressed. “People in the West need to finally understand that also in Egypt, the will of the people is inviolable.”

Lip Service

America gives lip service to spreading democracy around the world.  Today, spontaneously, democracy is struggling to arise in Egypt.  One, hard shove is all it that’s required to remove Mubarak and usher in freedom.  America has the ability, but not the inclination, to provide that much-needed shove.
Shame on us hypocrites.
(c) 2011 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.