Maura O’Connell with a song that I always wanted to sing for my kids (because it’s how I feel about them), but they’re boys and they’d just think it was hokey:
Tomorrow is the day the Tea Party proves they’re not racist, by sponsoring a diversity event here in Philadelphia at Independence Mall, 12 to 3. The only speaker whose name I recognize is noted champion of diversity Andrew Breitbart. And it’s FREE! Can you believe it?
See you there!
(I totally stole this from Bob Cesca!)
If we go back to 1929, we’ll see some interesting parallels to our current moment. When that depression started, millions lost their livelihoods to pay for the bankers’ crisis. Faith in capitalism sunk to rock bottom. The public flocked to two major ideologies that offered a way out: socialism and fascism.
Socialism presented a solution to the crisis by saying, roughly: “Capitalism is flawed because it divides us into rich and poor, and the rich always take advantage of the poor. We need to organize the poor and workers into unions and political parties so we can take power for the benefit of all.”
Socialism attracted millions of followers, even in the United States. The labor movement was enormous and kept gaining ground through sit-down strikes and other forms of direct action. The Communist Party sent thousands of organizers into the new CIO, at the time a more radical union than the AFL. Socialist viewpoints even started getting through to the mass media and government. Huey Long was elected Senator from Louisiana by promising to “Share Our Wealth,” to radically redistribute the wealth of the country to abolish poverty and unemployment. (He was assassinated.) Socialism challenged President Roosevelt from the left, pushing him to create the social safety net of the New Deal.
On the other side, fascism also emerged as a serious force and attracted a mass following by putting forth something like the following: “The government has sold us out. We are a great nation, but we have been disgraced by liberal elites who are pillaging our economy for the benefit of foreign enemies, dangerous socialists, and undesirable elements (like Jews). We need to restore our national honor and fulfill our God-given mission.”
When people hear the word fascism, they usually think of Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, where successful fascist movements seized state power and implemented totalitarian control of society. Yet fascism was an international phenomenon during the Depression, and the United States was not immune to its reach. General Smedley Butler, the most decorated Marine in US history, testified before the Senate that wealthy industrialists had approached him as part of a “Business Plot” and tried to convince him to march an army of 500,000 veterans on Washington, DC to install a fascist dictatorship.
Today we are approaching a similar crossroads. When I hear the story of the Business Plot I think about the Tea Party, which has sprung from a base of white supremacist anger, facilitated by right-wing elements of the corporate structure like Fox News. This is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. The tea-partyers have moved from questioning Obama’s citizenship, to now trying to reverse the gains of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the ability of everyone, regardless of color, to enjoy public accommodations like restaurants.
I think it’s fair to name the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Christian Right, etc. parts of a potential neo-fascist movement in the United States. Their words and actions too often encourage attacks on people of color, immigrants, Muslims, LGBT folks, and anyone they don’t see as legitimate members of US society. Ultimately, many in this movement are pushing for a different social system taking power in the United States: one that is more authoritarian, less compassionate, more exploitive of the environment, more militaristic, and based on a mythical return to national glory. This is not a throwback to Nazi Germany. It’s a new kind of fascism, a new American fascism. And it’s a serious threat.
TRENTON (AP) ― Saturday is the last day that New Jersey will inspect motor vehicles for mechanical problems.
Inspection stations will just check emissions on vehicles five years or older starting Monday. Motor Vehicle Commission administrator Raymond Martinez says the changes will save the state about $17 million. Most of the savings come from scrapping 2.4 million mechanical inspections and re-inspections performed each year and by shifting new car emissions testing back a year.
School buses, limousines, jitneys, taxis and other commercial-plated vehicles will still be checked for emissions and mechanical defects. New Jersey will become the 30th state that doesn’t look for bald tires, worn brakes, non-working lights and turn signals, and cracked windshields.
I hope this isn’t premature, but I haven’t seen an ant since yesterday morning. That Terro stuff really works!
“Candy-flavored meth”? Pot brownies? And not one damned senator voted against it.
You know, I was just thinking we weren’t putting enough people in jail for marijuana…
My, this did my heart good. I wish we had more Weiners, Graysons and Frankens:
House Republicans late Thursday were able to corral enough votes to defeat a bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to those sickened by toxins resulting from the 9/11 attacks.
In the process, they set off a host of fiery speeches and denunciations from their Democratic colleagues and produced a veritable YouTube moment from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y), whose district includes many of the affected.
At the heart of the debate was a procedural maneuver made by Democrats to suspend the rules before consideration of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The move allowed leadership to block potential GOP amendments to the measure (there was worry that Republicans would attach something overtly partisan in hopes that it could pass on the otherwise widely-popular measure). It also meant that the party needed a two-thirds majority vote.
When the final tally was announced, there were 255 representatives for the measure, 159 against. The defeat of the bill, which would have provided free health care to those affected during the 9/11 rescue and recovery, likely means that the court system will have to settle compensation issues.
Weiner spoke right before the vote when it was clear that Republican lawmakers would stake their opposition on grounds of procedural concerns. But for the grace of the C-SPAN cameras, he managed to stay physically behind his lectern.
“The gentleman will sit!” he declared at one point, addressing, it is believed, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). “The gentleman is correct in sitting!”
By the way, for Montgomery County residents: Your nice “moderate” Republican Jim Gerlach voted against this bill. You might want to let him know how you feel about that.
The Republicans have been bashing the Dems for not pushing this bill, and now that it’s on the floor, they’re blocking it:
WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans have blocked a bill to increase small business lending, dealing a setback to President Barack Obama’s jobs agenda.
The bill would have created a $30 billion government fund to help community banks increase lending to small businesses, combining it with about $12 billion in tax breaks aimed at small businesses. Some Republicans, however, likened it to the unpopular bailout of the financial industry.
Democrats and Republicans will continue to negotiate amendments to the bill. But Thursday’s vote will make it difficult for Congress to pass the bill before lawmakers go on their summer vacation.