Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Tea Party Movement: Republicans were Libertarians for Halloween This Year

I don't vote, but I have been following politics since high school, back when Craig Killborn was still hosting the Daily Show. A lot of people in this country get their information from the fevered egos of pundits, politicians, and pastors, which litter the 24-hour cable new cycle of insanity and stupidity. I, on the other hand, who consider myself to be an evolved being, who only concerns himself with the truth, tends to trust the comical satirists that have never steered me wrong: from the likes of George Carlin and Bill Hicks all the way to the new bearers of the torch of truth with the likes of David Cross and Jon Stewart.

Now I understand that many people are frustrated, not so much where the country is going, but like children in the back seat we just want to know, “Are we there yet!”. Let's not forget that a man who claimed to be our “President” in 2000, who I will refer to as Governor Bush, whether he likes it or not, drove this entire republic toward the Bible Belt in a Hummer that ran on the tears of military families, the American Dream, and the largest budget surplus in American History.

Like I said earlier I don't vote, so I did not participate in electing Obama, who seemed like nothing more than just another demagogue disguised as a populist. The difference is that I'm not upset with what Obama has done, but the order in which he has done it. I think that Health Care is important, but also the most polarizing agenda of this administration. Now granted since many Democrats have become unemployed since November 4th with the rest of the country, in retrospect Healthcare may be a small victory, if, and only if, it is reformed and refined until the country is happy with it.

As a result, this chaos and confusion has made it easier for even sane people, like me, to see a part of the Tea Party agenda, which has quickly been diminished due to the nut jobs and lunatics, reflected in myself. The problems with the Tea Party become evident when one can, as Bill Hick put it, “squeegee your third eye.” of perception and call bullshit when you see it. As a result, I see the Tea Party as nothing more than a Libertarians grassroots movement which has been high jacked, not by fiscal conservatives, like Ron Paul, but by loud mouthed social conservatives like Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell, who are using a fiscal libertarian front to conceal their hideous social agendas. I think all of the sane Americans out there will feel a deep emotional resonance when I say... FUCK THESE ASSHOLES.

These fevered egos on steroids respond to hot topics in the news cycle like a couple of 16 year olds in a chat room, too busy arguing over which Jonas brother is the cutest instead of discussing topics of substance. Perhaps this would be more evident to the general public if we actually presented our news to the public discourse in a rational atmosphere, instead of our overly sensational, and intentionally frightening, new cycle, which I believe Jon Stewart referred to as, “The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator.”

Even when it comes to the news topics we do get, which honestly, garner no real air time, like for instance, whether or not a pastor in Florida should be allowed to burn a Quran on September 11th, It is evident that political hacks, such as Sarah Palin, fail the litmus test when they respond with, “People have a constitutional right to burn a Quran if they want to, but doing so is intensive and unnecessary – much like building a mosque a ground zero.” Oh Sarah, you were so close! That almost sounded like a thought out, rational political statement. But as usual y'all act like fucking children. These are not the kind of people I want running my country. Hey Sarah, Iran is threatening Israel with a nuclear strike! What are you going to do? “Well...I'm going to delete them from my facebook, shortly after I sling some verbal diarrhea.”

Furthermore, being a rational person who considers himself, politically, to be an independent moderate, who is seemingly surrounded by a sea of chaotic, irrational, conspiratorial lunatics on both sides of the political spectrum, I'd have to say that I don't really have much faith in my country or fellow Americans anymore, except of course, for the 215,000 rational, hard working citizens that showed up for sanity in Washington D.C. on October 30th. These are the “real” Americans, or at least the ones that make living in this country worthwhile. The Americans that Sarah Palin referred to as the “real” Americans are exactly the people I avoid entirely and wouldn't even invite into my home.

Also, I'm so sick of hearing about how the Republicans and Tea party support the “little guy”, and how the republicans “won” the mid-term. First of all, the idea that ANY political candidate could represent any of us is a logical fallacy. Both parties are filled with rich cocksuckers who couldn’t be bothered to give two shits about you or me. In fact, the only difference between Republicans and Democrats, besides their social stances, which I could give two shits about, is the means in which they acquire their wealth. Democrats are usually self starters who work hard to acquire their wealth, while the Republicans have amassed the largest silver spoon collection in the history of the world. Secondly, the Republicans didn't win, as much as the Democrats lost. What I mean by that is more people were voting against the Democrats then for the Republicans. And the Tea party candidates only won because they ran as... Republicans! Let's see how many of these pricks would have won if they had ran as Independents, probably none.

One of the problems, which arose from the “Historic” election in 2008, was the idea that it was more historic than superficial. More people in this country responded favorably to the political candidate that was either “younger” or “experienced” depending on their demographic, or had the same skin color or genitalia as them. Also, to all of the women out there who got excited about a female in the White House, let it be known that Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin are the worst role models for woman since Kate Moss and Martha Stewart. Whoever thinks that these are “strong women” needs to seriously have their head examined. Both of these “things” bear no resemblance to the everyday working class women and mothers of America. They don't empower other women, but continually perpetuate the idea that to compete with men you have to act like them.

This past mid- term was no exception. If anything it shows how much America is in dire need of a credible third party, and I don't believe it is the Tea Party, since it can't stand on its own without the GOP. The current system belittles the independent voter throughout the entire primary process, since it does not allow them to participate, and values them only in the final weeks and months running up to the actual election. If we want to do anything to restore this republic we need to seriously think about the topic of campaign finance reform, and must pass tougher laws. Attempts at campaign reform in recent years have been at best sparse and a worst a joke.

For instance, In 2002 the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that was sponsor by Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ), which was intended to combat corruption, restricted the quantity and regulated the content and timing of political speech, which did nothing but help incumbents like McCain and Fiengold, since they had other outlets for self promotion. They also added a Millionaires Amendment, which punished wealthy, self promoting candidates who could finance their campaigns without the aid of soft money from special interest groups.

The Tea party started out as a good idea, but as time has passed it has become a caricature of itself, which has lost focus. I agree that we should begin to vote out any and all incumbents, especially those that are holding the political process hostage. The only difference is that I believe if we want any real change we should start giving third party candidates and independents a chance to prove themselves instead of this insane political pendulum where we keep swinging from one extreme to the other once we get tired of a party.

-The Dead Guy


  1. I think you meant to say deficit,rather than "surplus".

    George Carlin was a fine social commentator and stimulator of thought,but he was still just a comedian,not educated on the topics he spoke about.And as such,it becomes difficult to free his relevant commentary from his jokes at times. He said he "rooted" for humanities "destruction".

  2. Anonymous,

    I am curious what you mean when you say that Carlin was uneducated on the topics about which he spoke. If you are indicating that his lack of formal education was a hindrance to his understanding of historical and current events I disagree rather strongly. I know plenty of people who are formally educated and wholly incapable of understanding American History. Additionally, I know a vast many people who never even completed high school yet who are well read and intelligent enough to engage in civil discourse. Perhaps, if you are going to argue for the necessity of formal education, you ought to invest in a remedial English course for yourself as your comment, in addition to being disrespectful, is rife with grammatical and spelling issues.

  3. Also, yes, Carlin did once state that he was rooting for HUMANITY'S destruction (not sure why you included scare quotes there). However, he did so in the context of a discussion on the inevitability of said destruction, claiming he had stopped worrying over something he had no power to control and had opted, instead, to sit back and enjoy the show. If doing such a thing is not a sign of intelligence, then I am not sure what is.

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  5. I meant surplus. Many Americans, like yourself, forget that during the 2000 election each candidate had to lay out their budget, detailing their plan for a 2 trillion dollar surplus for the next 10 years. Gore wanted to spend it on education, Health-care and the environment, and Bush blew it on two wars and tax cuts for the rich. Comedians like Carlin and Bill Hicks recognized and understood the irrational charade of American politics and broke it down for the rest of us. Comedians, like politicians, are orators, the difference lies in their intentions. Politicians use language to conceal the truth. Comedians use language to liberate the masses and enlighten them to the fact that they're "being fucked in the ass!" , while hopefully getting them to laugh at this perpetually insufferable situation.

    - The Dead Guy

  6. >NALAYT,At you first point.I misunderstood your intention.You are correct."Surplus" is the right word.But you place a lot of weight on comedians for your conclusions.Comedians are not bearers of truth.Comedians are entertainers.
    >Shanana,What I meant to say was the George Carlin was not a scholar in this field.I don't understand your response though.So what if a million people you know weren't educated about something know about something?That doesn't say anything about George Carlin.I never said that it was impossible to know anything w/o formal education.The quote I used shows maybe a bias from Carlin or maybe a lack of insight in that area.Or maybe it was a joke.Maybe it was not.Why did you critisize my grammar?We all make mistakes.
    >NALAYT,I don't have a problem with the whole article.It seems pretty consistant with the views of the comedians you mentioned.I just disagree.If you don't vote then why is your solution to vote?

  7. Anon,
    You're right, George Carlin was not, by formal definition, a scholar. However, that is not what you said in your original comment. You said that Carlin was uneducated about that which he criticized. My ultimate point was that, if we take "educated" to mean aware of and well versed in the history, processes and philosophies which form the basis of a mode of thought in any given discipline, then he certainly was.

    As far as the quote you used to exemplify Carlin's lack of education, you took a portion of a joke out of context and did not explain why you feel it is an indication of a lack of insight or of a bias on his part. When taken in the context which I offered it seems fairly insightful to me. If you listen carefully to that particular bit, which, if I recall correctly was taken from a talk show conversation, Carlin is saying that he sees a decline as an inevitability and, as such, he feels it is more fruitful to stop trying to gain control of something which he can not have an effect on and instead sit back and enjoy the circus. I think that being able to differentiate between the things we can control and the things we can't can certainly be taken as a sign of insight. In fact, there are entire philosophical and theological debates based on such a thing. Additionally, one could argue that having the ability to recognize the historical signs of a decline can be taken as a sign of education. I do think you could posit that this particular comment is quite cynical, but not that is an indication of a lack of insight or education.

    You asked me what my statement about formal education says about Carlin, and you're right to point out that I did not relate it to Carlin specifically, so here we go. From reading his books and watching untold numbers of his interviews and bits, I can tell you Carlin was certainly a well informed and well read man. Additionally he spend a good portion of his 71 years on this earth observing human behavior and offering commentary on it. Again, what is scholarship but carefully examining such things?

    You seem to take the position that comedians can not offer a glimpse into the truth of the human condition. Given your surrounding comments regarding Carlin's education, I assume you have some matrix for what makes one a "bearer of truth", and that such a matrix includes, on your line, some sort of formal scholarship in politics. If that is what you are indicating, then I wonder what you make of the fact that we gain much of our cultural and historical insight from works of fiction, poetry, and art, many of which were authored, not by formal scholars, but by those who were simply good observers. I think it is a mistake to dismiss comedy's ability to offer us a glimpse at universal truths.

    Finally, perhaps I was too quick to criticize your grammar, but I do think that it is a mistake to anonymously offer a criticism of one's education and consequent ability to offer useful commentary if you're not going to be careful about such things. I realize that the way I went about pointing that out to you was a fairly cheap shot, and I apologize for my own lack of respect there.

  8. Anon,
    My response is fairly long, and will be split between two comments.
    You're right to point out that Carlin was not a formal scholar in the field of politics. However, and I should have made this more clear in my original response, the fact that he was not a formal scholar does not mean that he was uneducated. From reading all of his books and watching untold numbers of his interviews, one can see that he was very well read and well studied in the philosophies, history and modes of thought which form the basis of our political and social systems. My original point was that this certainly does qualify him as one who is capable of offering valuable social and political commentary.
    In regards to me criticizing your grammar and spelling, perhaps I was too quick to do so and in so doing, came off as fairly disrespectful myself. I do apologize for that, but I still think that it would be a good idea to be a bit more careful with that when you are criticizing another person’s education.

  9. You are taking the position that, as entertainers, comedians are not bearers of truth. However, I’m not sure what you mean by that. If you are saying that comedians do not offer straight forward list of facts and opinions, then I suppose that you are right. However, many of the great universal truths of the human condition are brought to bear through works of art, literature and poetry. If that which entertains cannot offer truth, then what do you make of Shakespeare, Dante, Picasso and Whitman? What about the great political commentary offered by the likes of Moliere, Orwell, Beckett and Vonnegut, or the philosophical insight which can be gained from Sartre? Just as those authors and entertainers offered a valuable insight into the human condition and into the political climates in which they wrote, so too does Carlin. The quote you used to exemplify his supposed lack of education, when taken in context of the larger discussion, can be taken to show insight into our eternal struggle to understand what we can and can’t control. In fact, if I recall correctly, Carlin was saying that he saw a decline as an inevitability and, as such, he felt it was futile to attempt to stop it so he had decided to “sit back and enjoy the show”, taking whatever pleasure he could from it and continuing to live his own life. I think this can certainly be taken as insightful, as it shows a good deal of historical and social understanding, as well as a good deal of wisdom. In fact, there are countless philosophical and theological discussions devoted to gaining the ability to differentiate between that which we can and can’t control. At best, I think you could safely posit that his position was cynical in nature, but not that it lacked insight.

  10. Richard Jeni once said that, "Comedians probably have more license to tell the truth than anybody" mostly because of the fact that they are self employed, and are answerable to no one. Politicians, CEO, Clergymen and Salesmen can never be trusted because they are always answering to something or someone else. One of the best examples of how these comedians where very educated about politics and the politics of war is their experience with such topic, Carlin lived through everything from Vietnam to our current mess, And both Carlin and Hicks showed American audiences a different way to look at the First Persian Gulf War (1992). Both of these comedians demonstrated to their respective audiences that they probably knew more about the situation then the rest of the rest of the country, and could see through the bullshit. Just watch Carlin's Jammin' In New York form 1992, even Hicks said afterwords that there was electric in the air that night.

    Carlin also set forth a few rules that everyone should probably live by when it comes to politic:

    1. I never believe anything the government tells me.

    2. I don't believe anything I'm told by the media, who, in the case of the Gulf War, functioned as little more than unpaid employees of the Defense Department, and who, most of the time, operate as unofficial public relations agency for the government.

  11. This is alot to respond to.I hope you don't mind that I took some time to think about everything you said before I decided that I was going to respond. >Shanana,I didn't mean to attack George Carlin's education.But to question if he can be thought of as an expert.My first comment praised him in part.What I meant by saying that comedians are not truth bearers is this.Not that they cannot say truth but that its not in their job description or definition.Comedians are supposed to make people laugh if they do this job well.I would be lying if I said I knew about most of the authors and artists you mentioned but I know why you used them.And you are correct that they offer a lot for us to consider.But what are these universal truths?I don't know them.But is Shaksphere qualified to speak about science?Is Carlin?Maybe...but not necessarily.You seem to agree strongly with the author whereas I do not.You seem to be very familiar with George Carlin but does this mean that you agree with the author that all comedians or most should be considered valid references when it comes to politics?Have you read as much of all of them?I'm not trying to be mean but you said something that bothered me.When I quoted Carlin I was thinking of a comedy special and you called this a "discussion".Maybe in a way it is.But how do we determine when comedians are serious and when not?How do we determine when they are telling truth and using hyperbolie or extreme exaggerasion?George Carlin,Picasso,you,and me are more than just one label.Do we agree on this?Can comedians tell the truth?Yes.Should we assume they do?I say no.What about conservative comedians?Honestly I think politics are difficult to follow.Comedians make it seem easy.The author said that the crowd at the John Stuart rally were rational people.Why?It was a concert and a comedy show.Would it show as much of it was Steven Tyler's Rally To Resore Sanity featuring John Stuart?
    And I accept your apology.But I wasn't very offended.I was just saying.

  12. >TheDeadGuy,I can see that you and I are not likely to agree here.But I will be fair and respond to your comment also.No offense.But I don't care what Richard Jeni says.By quoting him our dispute comes back to the beginning.He is not a scholar but an entertainer.You said something that I have a problem with,you say politicians,CEOS,religious leaders,and sales people can't be trusted.This degrades a big group of people and their ideas and their humanity.Lets look at the 2 rules you bring up.Rule 1 is flawed because the government can tell the truth.Do you believe this?If you do then it would not be wise to follow this rule.Do you listen to the FDA at all or other institutions?What if the Gov says it has captured martians?What is it says it hasn't captured martians?If you disbelieve everything the Gov says then they can control you.All they have to do is tell you the opposite of what they want.What if a comedian works for the Gov?Now lets go to Rule 2.George Carlin was in the media.If this is true then you are choosing which media to believe.What about John Stuart?His show shows tons of news clips.If I am right to question these rules in this way then I am right that George Carlin is not telling the truth.He might be honest with what he knows or thinks but this isn't the same.Maybe I'm wrong.Maybe I am not.Now lets come back to my original point.I said that comedians can be good commentators and stimulate thought.Do you agree with me?Were they good commetators because they all know the truth or because they question what they are told?If it is because they question things then you should question the comedians.You compared John Stuart to Glenn Beck.I agree with this comparison but not because they are both news people.I think Glenn Beck is a comedian and enertainer.And I ask you my other question in case you forgot to answer it.If you don't want to you don't have to.Why do you say that you don't vote and then say that the solution is to vote?

  13. First of all I have voted before, and maybe I would vote more often if the system was overhauled. If, as an independent, I were allowed to vote in the primary, maybe I'd think more highly of voting. Sure I can write someone in but that would be a wasted vote, and it's unlikely that any politician could win an election on a write in alone, as far as i know. We've obviously seen the flaws in the electoral as well and should be scrutinizing it more thoroughly. I do believe that there is a difference between an artist and an entertainer, Alan Moore describe the difference quite well in this documentary "The Mindscape of Alan Moore", where he stated that:

    "Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They're not seen as transformative forces, that can change a human being, that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment, things with which we could fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we're waiting to die

    "It is not the job of artists to give the audience what the audience want. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn't be the audience, they would be the artist. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need."

    In this sense Carlin is an Artist, and more specifically a social satirist, which is more then just a comedian. Bob Hope is JUST a comedian and entertainer, none of his material was as engaging as social critics like Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks. These people have challenge the status quo over and over again, and for any of their jokes to work effectively there must have a seed of truth. This is why the Daily show is so funny in their critique of politics and 24- hour new cycle. The humor doesn't come from the comedian so much as these politicians, who have their heads so far up their own asses that they can't see their own absurdity. The best example of this was the charade behind the bill for health insurance for 9/11 survivors or don't ask don't tell. The truth is in the actual absurdity, all Jon Stewart does is take this absurdity and get us to laugh at it. Carlin and Hicks, did this better then anybody, they would merely offer up a kernel of truth wrapped in sarcasm and satire, and have us rolling on the ground at something that should, and probably still does infuriate us. You know the saying "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down." well With Carlin and Hicks their was very little sugar, which makes idea like rooting against humanity hard to swallow for some people.

    - The Dead Guy

  14. (This is another 2 part response)
    First, let me say that I definitely do not mind you taking time to think before you respond. I appreciate it very much as part of what this blog is hoping to do as a whole is to inspire thoughtful discussion. We don’t have to agree, we just have to engage in civil discussion. You ask what universal truths can be gained from some of the artists I mentioned. Well, I suppose the need for love is a big one, as is the need for thought and understanding and the need to question everything. I think there a great many Truths out there, but that every artist I mentioned works with or displays at least one of these.
    Is being a truth bearer part of the definition of comedian? No, but I think that truly good comedians do offer us some sort of truth within their satirical works. Often, I think that they allow us to see some of the uglier truths more easily because they are helping us to laugh about them. I think this is what separates art from mere entertainment.
    I liked your question about Shakespeare and science, although I can’t answer it as I know nothing of him beyond his work and he did not concern himself with that particular topic. However, I think science and politics are different in that our political system is meant to be owned and operated by all citizens whereas science is a niche field. If we take our political system to be one of equality, then anyone who is entrenched in it can be considered a valid commentator. Additionally, I think that Carlin’s display of knowledge certainly does qualify him as an expert.

  15. Speaking of Carlin, you took issue with me referring to the quote you used as being taken from a discussion. I have seen him use that quote in at least two actual discussions. One with Bill Maher and one with Joy Behar, so in the literal sense, yes it was part of a discussion. One can also say that any time a commentator sparks a discussion such as the one we are having right now, they are participating in said discussion.
    Finally you asked about my level of agreement with The Dead Guy. Yes, I do agree with him that all of the comedians cited in his piece offered a good deal of insight into our political situation. I have seen most, if not all of their performances, but not read any books by them. In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that he and I agree on a great many things, but that we are not always in agreement on political or social issues (he’s my partner). You also asked about conservative comedians, I can’t actually think of any off the top of my head but would love to see some. Most of the comedians I am familiar with never actually claim either party or framework, but tend to criticize both sides equally. Regarding The Rally to Restore Sanity, I think it was a good example of American citizens coming together to say “Hey, we’re mostly rational and moderate, but our news cycle is not and we are tired of that.” I don’t think it would have been any different if Steven Tyler had held it under the same sentiment. I think the important thing about that particular event was the message, not the person who had called for it. I also think that politics are difficult to follow, but I think that part of that is due to the fact that our news cycle runs on fear mongering and polarization, as opposed to unification and civil discourse.
    I truly hope you continue to comment, as this is exactly what I believe our country needs: A variety of people having thoughtful and civil discussion.

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  19. What extremes, the pro-business party on the right and the pro-business party on the left?