Sunday, June 27, 2010

#225 Tea Baggers III--Empty Baggage

So, really, this is about all they've got. (Notice the Glenn Beck T-shirt.) Somewhat less than a null set.

But, okay, he's a Muslim. It's in his genes, of course. His father was not only guilty of the heinous crime of miscegenation, but of Islamization of the gamete. Don't these far-right religious Fundies know how good they've got it with Obama. He's altogether waaay too Christianist for most people who know better. Remember the President's more-than-cozy connection with the execrable Rev. Wright, and Candidate Obama's sucking up to the Prop #8 guy, Rick Warren. Or his continuation of Dubya's Christian-skewed,"faith-based" federal programs. Etc.

Okay, he's a Marxist too. He'd like to keep Social Security and Medicare the way they are, even though they represent precisely and socialistically this: "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need." We have a progressive income tax in this country--though right now at the lowest level (unfairly so), progressive-percentage-wise, in history. Substantial amounts of these revenues indeed go to those according to their need: the unemployed, unwell, and un-young. The retired folk among the Tea Bagging rabble accept this implicitly, even when they distractedly hold up a sign that reads, "Keep your gov't. hands off my Medicare." And don't they know, too, that 4o% of Americans get their paychecks, directly or indirectly, from public funding of one sort or another? Yes, we're downright Maoist.

Again, they don't know how good they've got it with the increasingly centrist and even--some would say--right-leaning Obama. Health Care Reform, because of far too many compromises, could be called a Republican and Big-Med victory in disguise. Same thing with the back-pedaled Financial Reform package. As for the Middle-East Wars, he's been cloning G. W Bush all along. This last being THE heartbreaking disappointment of an otherwise A-level game for our new President, for, against all odds, he has pretty well got the trains running on time, and in the right direction.

Likewise, the Tea BAGGERS' faux-historical nod to the original Boston Tea PARTIERS (lets all try to use the two terms to distinguish the latter from its illegitimate descendant), including the cute acronym T.E.A. = "Taxed Enough Already," won't wash either because

1) as mentioned already, these angry old white men are NOT being TAXED by some foreign power (oops, I guess they view Obama that way) across the pond, but by their duly elected local, regional, and federal REPRESENTATIVES whom they can, of course, vote in or out of office;

2) any and all taxes on personal income of Americans presently total a paltry 9.2%--the LOWEST SINCE HARRY TRUMAN (according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis);

3) as promised, 95% of Americans have seen their income taxes DECREASE under President Barack Obama--the BIGGEST TAX CUT SINCE RONALD REAGAN.

So where's the beef?--that is, beef? in either sense: substance ... none, valid complaint ... none. One thing is clear: there is certainly and a priorily NO connection at all with those "brave" tax-protesters of 1773, except perhaps in some little flamboyant costumery.

Ironically then, and fittingly too, the Tea Baggers' strongest link to any sort of external reality whatsoever is with that (now) infamous act of mutual oral/genital sex. (more)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#224 Tea Baggers II--Mad Hatters

Yeah, they're nuts. And justifiably subject to ridicule, especially when the off-color connotations of "tea-bagging" became known to everybody but apparently themselves. Pundits on the left turned punsters quickly enough, making fun of TB slogans like "Lick the Liberals" and , of course, their incredibly-named leader, former congressman Dick Armey. Irony overdose. And visual puns too: look at this typical Bagger with tea-sack dangling from his "cocked" tri-corner hat. Even Rachel Maddow missed that little treasure trove of paronomastic fun.

My favorite is Bill Maher's quip of some months ago (can't locate exactage) that went something like this: "The Tea Baggers have taken something meant to be loving and beautiful [the oral-genital thing] and turned it into something ugly and hateful." As their pseudo-Libertarian darling Rand Paul proved with his Jim Crow remarks last week.

Point is ... you can throw all of the Tea Bag outrage "into a cock'd hat." And it would still be devoid of content. The original thought no doubt was to compare the Boston Tea Party protests of 1773 against the Tea Act, which imposed import duties/taxes that the colonists opposed. But since they were unrepresented in the British parliament, they had nothing to do with it's imposition, nor did they have the means, other than strenuous petition and boycott, to repeal it. Taxation without representation, and all that. The historical analogy is nothing more than mad-hattery around a crazy tea-table of empty cup-rattlers. (Whew.)

We're verging on almost geologic time here, I know, but for well over a hundred years the colonists had been PAYING various and sundry TAXES voted on and imposed by duly elected LOCAL and independent representatives of the separate colonies. The British were actually very enlightened imperialists in this respect. And 99% of "Americans" before the 1760s were proud to be called "Englishmen" because of it. (Incidentally--can't resist--the legendary call-to-arms for Lexington and Concord, "The British are coming!" ... "The British are coming!" would not have made sense. Everybody was British. More likely the word, if any, was "Regulars" or "Redcoats")

Here are the important differences. First of all, and most obviously: the Tea Baggers ARE REPRESENTED. Local and federal taxes are imposed by their/our elected officials. Duh. But the original Tea Partiers decidedly WEREN'T represented when it came to Parliament, and had no say-so nohow about any of those additional taxes/duties voted upon way across the pond and executed by His Majesty's gub'mint. Except in the that one fulminatory case, ALL of these were repealed during that contentious decade and, to be fair, the rate of taxation was minuscule, especially when compared to what residents of Great Britain had had to pay all along.

The Motherland was heavily in debt, due to the long war with Napoleonic France, some 0f which was fought on American soil. Just ask Col. G. Washington about that. Somebody had to pay for this expensive overseas war, and who better than the Afghans--sorry, colonial Americans--whom the British had been protecting from those nasty French and Indians. (Feel free to substitute Taliban. We never learn.)

But King George et alia decided finally to make a stand at the Tea Act. Big mistake. And the rest is history. (more)