The Teabaggers are Peasants

Glen Greenwald:

What’s really happening with these protests is that the genuine rage and not unreasonable economic insecurity of these citizens is being stoked, exploited, distorted and manipulated by movement leaders for entirely different ends. The people who are leading them—Rush Limbaugh, the Murdoch-owned Fox News, Glenn Beck, business-dominated organizations of the type led by Dick Armey—are cultural warriors above everything else. They’re all in a far different socioeconomic position than the “middle-income Americans” whose anger they’re ostensibly representing. Their principal preoccupation is their cultural contempt for various groups (illegal immigrants, the “undeserving” poor, liberals) and their desire to preserve the status quo whereby the prime beneficiaries of government policies remain themselves: the super rich and the interests that control Washington. It’s certainly true that many of these protesters are driven by the standard right-wing cultural issues which have long shaped that movement—social issues, religious fears, cultural and racial divisions, and hatred for “liberals” as Communist-Muslim-Terrorist-lovers. For many, all of that is intensified by the humiliation of being completely thrown out of power, at the hands of the first black President. But much of it is fueled by the pillaging of the corporations and Wall St. interests which own their government.

Matt Taibbi:

Actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish . . . can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff.

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My Voting Guide

Tim Wayne's 2008 California Ballot Initiative Voting Recommendations

Here are my voting recommendations for the November election for California ballot initiatives. Candidates and local San Francisco recommendations are coming up later.

I will re-post this again right before Tuesday, November 4th.

Proposition 1a – Yes
Proposition 2 – Yes
Proposition 3 – Yes
Proposition 4 – NO
Proposition 5 – YES!
Proposition 6 – Nope
Proposition 7 – Yes
Proposition 8. – NO!
Proposition 9.  – No
Proposition 10 – Yes
Proposition 11 – YES
Proposition 12 – Yes

Here are my reasons:

Proposition 1a
I've always wanted to be able to take the train from San Francisco to San Diego. Currently, we can't. And that's retarded. Tax money should be spent on useful stuff, and a high-speed rail line is extremely useful. And a hell of a lot safer than driving. And cheaper and better for the environment.

Proposition 2
I've always been bothered by the horror stories of factory farms. I think we should aim towards a more humane treatment of farm animals and this bill is written to help get us there.

Proposition 3
Kinda sorta yes.
I don’t like paying for things with bonds. It’s the worst way to pay for something — we end up paying twice as much, after interest. Plus, it seems this is the sort of thing that should be dealt with by the legislature. But, how can you say “no” to a children’s hospital?  So, color me conflicted.

Can you say no to this boy?


Proposition 4
No, no, a thousand times NO.
The opponents of choice and reproductive freedom, in their never-ending quest to chip abortion rights (and other privacy rights) away around the edges, have succeeded in their latest anti-choice stealth campaign. I urge you to please VOTE NO!

Proposition 5
I like this bill for several reasons:
1. I am absolutely against the drug war. People should not be thrown in prison for possession of marijuana. It’s stupid beyond belief. The “war on drugs” has caused far more damage to our country and its citizens than drugs ever have. This bill would turn possession of pot from a misdemeanor to an infraction (like a traffic ticket).  It will save us a TON of money in enforcement.
45,000 California citizens right now in prison for possession of small amounts of marijuana will be released.
It will clear up lots of prison space for actual criminals
The Prison Guard Union is against it. That alone is enough for me to support it.

Proposition 6
No thanks.
This initiative removes sentencing discretion from judges. Hey, do you know what we hire judges to do? To exercise  JUDGMENT. This bill automates the process and this sort of thing leads to messy unintended consequences (like the dude who got twenty-five years in the slammer for stealing a slice of pizza from a garbage can behind a pizza joint — as a taxpayer, do you really want to pay for keeping someone in prison for twenty-five years for stealing a slice of pizza? I don’t.  it’s totally retarded.)
This initiative also removes some of the rights of people who have served their time and paid their debt to society. I’m against that, too.
Also, I think lately that police have a bit too much power.

Proposition 7
I hate to support a bill simply because of who is funding its opposition, but if the Prison Guards’ Union, NAMBLA, the American Family Association, the Klan, Exxon or PG&E are involved with a bill, you can count on me voting the other way. In this case it's PG&E who is, once again, funding a fairly nasty campaign against some type of energy bill. Maybe they think they will lose money if it passes. Who knows? I do know that it is usually a safe bet to stand against them.

Proposition 8.
No. Duh.

Proposition 9.
I don’t like the parole hearing reductions. Why take this step? seems needlessly punitive. I’m already suspicious of “victims” initiatives. The unintended consequences of such bills in the past have had a stark, chilling effect on our civil liberties.
If these measures are necessary, let the legislature take care of this. That's what the legislators are there for – to represent us. Let them. This sort of policy should not be decided at the ballot box.

Proposition 10
Yeah, sure, why not?
This is another bill I am supporting based on who is supporting it and again on who is against it. I like the people in favor of it (upstanding green organizations, not the crazy ones) and I loathe the people against it (again, the PG&E).  

Proposition 11
I’m in favor of non-partisan redistricting, even if it’s not necessarily in my favor (but as long as it’s fair). And since our districts, which once used to be more grid-shaped, have been gerrymandered into obscenely unfair shapes and this has raised the incumbency rate to somewhere in the high eighties or ninety percent. It’s a system that reinforces and entrenches the status quo. It’s easier to unseat a misbehaving incumbent of either party with a primary challenge if he or she isn’t representing a ninety-plus district.
The people in support of this bill are the ones who are always in favor of transparency, fairness, and good government. The people opposed to this bill are running a dishonest campaign: they’re lying about who is making up their organization, they are obfuscating on their source of funding and they are using sensationalist, misleading scare tactics in their arguments. You know a tree by its fruit.

Proposition 12
This is a no-brainer. The State government backs housing loans to veterans. These are loans, not grants, so the state gets most of the money back. Win-Win. No one but the crazies oppose it. 

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Dear Mr. Governator…

Wockner has an open letter so good, I copied it, changed it up some, printed it out and sent it to Ahnold.

Dear Gov. Schwarzenegger,

As the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in California sits on your desk for the second time in three years, I wonder…

How do you want to be remembered?

What do you want people to say about you 20 or 50 years from now?

Do you want to be remembered like Gov. Pete Wilson? As someone who did the wrong thing when presented with a historic opportunity? As someone who, for purely political reasons, blocked, for a few more years, an inevitable civil rights advance?

Surely you remember Pete's veto of California's first gay anti-discrimination bill in 1991. You were here in California then.

I know you know Pete did the wrong thing, because you have signed a whole bunch of gay rights bills since you've been governor — making California a fairer place where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people finally now are almost equal citizens.

Almost. Because we still can't get married. Because you vetoed the same-sex marriage bill that our elected Assembly members and senators passed in 2005.

Now they've passed it yet again, and there it sits on your desk beside your beautiful humidor.

I hope you realize this is likely the last thing of any significance that we gays are going to ask of you. Because when you let us get married, our 40-year battle for equal rights will have come to an end in California. Because we'll finally have full legal equality. And it's all up to you, Sir.

You know, when Pete vetoed that gay rights bill in 1991, gays rioted in San Francisco and Los Angeles. And there were huge protests in San Diego, West Hollywood and Sacramento.

We should have taken to the streets again in 2005 (peacefully, of course) when you decided, for your own political reasons, to veto a bill passed by our elected representatives that finally would have allowed us to no longer be second-class citizens.

I say "political reasons" because I know you're not personally anti-gay. You have nothing against us. You have gay high-level staff. You've actually signed more gay-equality bills than any governor in U.S. history. Did you know that? And you've even actually said you're not personally opposed to same-sex marriage.

I say political reasons because you must have vetoed that bill to avoid upsetting that certain percentage of anti-gay bigots who cling to the California Republican Party. You must want something from them down the road.

I don't know what that might be. Some folks have said you might want to run for the U.S. Senate, and don't want to provoke the anti-gay bigots to run someone against you in a Republican primary election.

But when the history books are written, Governor, the anti-gay bigots are going to be remembered in the same way we remember racists today. As an embarrassment from a less-enlightened, less-evolved era of U.S. history. I know you don't want to be in the same chapter as George Wallace in a textbook students will read 50 years from now.

I know you don't want to have happen to you what happened to poor Pete Wilson last month in San Diego.

Some folks got together and built a statue of Pete, privately funded, on private property, in the heart of downtown. They wanted to say thank you to him for his key role in the revitalization of San Diego's downtown core when he was mayor here.

Pete came for the lovely ceremony in Horton Square. But he didn't get to hear much of it. And neither did the hundreds of well-heeled guests who came to thank him.

That's because there were hundreds of protesters less than 100 feet away banging on drums, yelling through bullhorns and chanting, "Tear down the statue, tear down the hate" and "Pete Wilson's gotta go: Racist, sexist, homophobe."

The protesters were Latinos and gays.

The gays carried signs reading, "We remember AB 101." That was the simple gay rights bill that Pete vetoed in 1991, thereby leaving gays unprotected from discrimination in California for eight more years until another governor finally signed it.

The Latino protesters remembered, all too well, Prop 187. That was the unconstitutional immigrant-bashing ballot initiative that Pete championed and voters passed in 1994.

Yup, that's right. Voters have been known to use the ballot initiative process to do dumb things, wrong things, even unconstitutional things — things that people in the future will look back on with horror.

When you vetoed the same-sex marriage bill in 2005, you cited another ballot initiative passed by voters — one that prohibits California from recognizing same-sex marriages conducted in places where same-sex marriage is legal — like Canada, like Massachusetts, and Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and South Africa.

You said you didn't like the idea of the Legislature being the ones to legalize same-sex marriage. You said it should be up to the voters, or to the courts.

But did you know that when the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage there, all the anti-gay bigots screamed that this was activist judges run amok — and that the matter should have been decided by the Massachusetts Legislature?

I guess you know that. I guess you know all this. I happen to agree with the anti-gay bigots in Massachusetts that having our elected representatives legalize same-sex marriage is a better way to go about it than having the state Supreme Court do it, which may well happen here in California in just a few months anyway.

We elect the Assembly members and senators to represent us. If Californians had been so horribly outraged that our elected representatives voted for same-sex marriage in 2005, then California voters would have retaliated against those legislators who voted for marriage equality.

But voters didn't. And this year's same-sex marriage bill got more votes in the Legislature than the one in 2005 did.

I actually have more to say, Sir, but I'm at the word limit imposed by my editor. So let me end where I started. I wonder, Mr. Schwarzenegger: How do you want to be remembered?

Rex Wockner
San Diego

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Spare us the goodbyes

True words from David Mixner:

I was tempted not to write anything about Karl Rove’s departure since there will be so much print devoted to it. However, this man has had an impact on so many lives. His legacy of war, division and even hate cannot be overlooked, especially as the spin doctors try to whitewash his destructive role over the past six years with a genteel swan song. Karl Rove does not deserve praise either for his so-called public service or his perceived political skills. Rove

Rove’s contribution to our national discourse was to refine the political art of division, anger and attack after the horror of 9/11, a time when the nation needed to be united more than ever before. He callously used the LGBT community as a political punching bag and encouraged those who bitterly attack us by giving them political legitimacy. He ceded the Republican Party to Robertson, Falwell and others, who used the White House to build even more power and raise even more money for their personal agendas. People who literally preached hate against the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities had Rove’s counsel and support. Then, he dragged out the Federal Marriage Amendment and dressed up George Bush in the Rose Garden to endorse it.

If Rove is remembered for anything, however, he should be reviled for hawking massive lies to a fearful nation in order to build support for the invasion of Iraq. He created a political strategy around questioning the patriotism of those that disagreed with the war. Instead of addressing the flawed conduct of the war, he filled the air with slick PR catchphrases like “shock and awe” and “mission accomplished.” Rove always seemed to be the last to let go of a lie, even insisting that weapons of mass destruction would still be found in Iraq long after everyone else had moved on.

His spiteful spin was a disservice to the nation. His significant role in selling the war contributed to the destruction of a country, the deaths of American soldiers and the further proliferation of terrorism in the Middle East. In the name of war, he advocated for the violation of human rights and principles of due process.

Rove is no political genius and his service deserves no praise. He masterminded a cynical reelection strategy for a flawed president and sold an unnecessary war to a wounded people preoccupied with nightmares of 9/11. I believe that history will judge Rove harshly, measuring his victories by the profound damage he inflicted

It's a good thing I ain't God or Karl Rove would have a nice case of bone cancer.

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My letter to Mayor Newsom:

I can handle waiti ng half an hour for an N to show up at Carl and Cole during morning rush hour to take me down town. It sucks but it happens so frequently I’m used to it. I can deal with the cattle-car conditions on the N itself—hundreds people packed in like doomed galley slaves. I can withstand the constant barrage of delays in the tunnel. I’ve even grown accustomed to the terrible customer service: the surly, mean, dismissive attitude shared by most Muni drivers. These drivers routinely display the stereotypical worst behavior of the protected civil servant whom only a gun rampage can get fired for cause.
With the new T-line, all of this has gotten immeasurably worse, but I have been riding the Muni for a few years now and I’m used to all these annoyances. What I cannot handle, what no citizen of our great city should EVER have to handle, is riding on the Muni during the hottest week of the year, when half the Muni cars on the N have the heater on.  On the way home last night and again tonight, I was stuck on standing-room only, outbound-N with the heater running full bore.

As a Jew, I paniced momentarily, recalling that our Govenor was raised by an SS man.
WHY in the NAME OF GOD are the heaters going in these cars? It must have been a hundred degrees! People were already squished together, sweating and stressed and upset while old people stripped  and fanned themselves, just an inch from fainting dead away, and the HEATER was BLASTING from the ceiling like a infernal kiln. What circle of Hell, I wondered, had I been banished to at last?
Mayor Newsom, hard working San Franciscans should not be treated like this. We SHOULD NOT be subject to such dangerous conditions on a daily basis, as we commute to and from our jobs where we earn the money that pays you and the City Council and subsidizes the Muni. These conditions are unacceptable. I can guarantee that the first person to hit the deck from heat exhaustion will cost the city plenty. I will certainly voulanteer to testify in their suit. Does your budget have a surplus for the possible law suits that await?
I ride the Muni by choice: to help the environment, to save on parking, to avoid traffic. All the typical San Francican tree-hugger virtues.  Yet I am being punished for my choice. I feel punished because the conditions on the Muni feel, in every way, like punishment. A kind of daily purgatory. Are you aware that the new Pope abolished purgatory? Are not steamrooms still banned in San Francisco?
I don’t care what you have to do to fix this, just fix it. FIRE who you need to fire. Retire deadwood supervisors.  Raise taxes to pay for maintenance people to fix the cars. RAISE THE FARE TO $2.00! Start a guest worker program for foreign cable car repairmen. I would happily pay more to have a nice commute to work. Hell, I think I *deserve* a TOLERABLE commute! I'm certainly willing to pay for it!
PLEASE HELP US!  I voted for you. I even worked on your campaign.  Please do not let me down. I appreciate many of the progressive choices you've made during your term to make San Francisco a beacon of hope for many. However, if you can't maintain the transportation infrastructure that you are responsible for, do not expect my support come reelection time. You are leading a city, not a morning talk show. Great hair and good looks will take you only so far in politics. Please act like my mayor and fix the damn MUNI.

Tim Wayne

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Average political blog reader

from the 2006 Blogads readership survey:

The median political blog reader is a 43 year old man with an annual family income of $80,000. He reads 6 blogs a day for 10 hours a week. 39% have post-graduate degrees. 70% have contributed to a campaign.

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I love Barbara Boxer

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