Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

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THE DANGER OF A BROKEN RECORD

September 17, 2009

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“When we lose our curiosity, we disarm ourselves as Americans.”

This quote is not from some philosopher. I didn’t hear it in a political speech or from a CEO. This was said by a man who is a former college football player and coach, a hunter and fisherman, and the owner of two small businesses. 

I’ll tell you who it is later.*

This lack of “curiosity” (or what many of us call “intellectual curiosity”) identifies a shrinking but noisy part of our citizenship. They loudly repeat what they hear, with no concern for the veracity of their words. If they heard it from their favorite commentator, it must be true.

In a nutshell, this is the formula for the success of FOX News and others emulating their format on TV and radio.

The people at FreedomWorks, (Dick Army’s organization), Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project, the Tea Party Organizers and FOX News (the highest rated cable news network) decided to join forces for a show of strength against our President’s policies. With all of that publicity, and all spring and summer to prepare and promote this event, you would think that they would have packed the National Mall on September 12th. If it’s true that a large majority of the 300,000,000+ Americans aren’t happy with this President, one would expect at least 1% (3,000,000) to show up. But that’s not what happened. It wasn’t 1%, it wasn’t 1/10th of 1% (300,000), it was .022% (approximately 66,000) according to the DC police and fire departments. Not a small crowd, but certainly not what it was hyped up to be:

FreedomWorks said there were “…hundreds of thousands…” on their website.

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The video below tries to make you believe that, “Rare footage from the terrace of the US Capitol building and time lapse footage of protesters marching down Pennsylvania Avenue illustrate the gathering of people who attended the March on Washing…”

Here’s a still from the footage. I noted the tower on the left for a reason.

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Using the tower as a marker, watch how many times the same footage repeats to make you think there were far more people in attendance than authorities reported.

Here’s the rebuttal of a statement made at the gathering that ABC News reported 1 to 1.5 million attending.

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In an attempt to discredit the truth, the picture below was distributed showing the National Mall filled with people. Once verified, it was revealed that the photo is at least 5 years old.

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The picture was of the Promise Keepers’ gathering in 1997. Less than one minute of research reveals this. Those with no intellectual curiosity don’t want to know. They find it easier to just repeat what they’ve heard.

I’m not going to bother to show you what FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (who did not show up at his own gathering) had to say about the attendance. They reported anywhere from 1.5 to over 2 million. Unlike their viewership and listeners, the rest of us know how to use a PC for research. 

What we saw at this gathering was a re-run of what we’ve seen all spring and summer: the same derogatory signs, the same all-white crowds and the same speeches. Below are some pictures from this most recent event that could have been taken at any of the anti-Obama events this year.

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It’s beginning to look (and sound) like a broken record.

I can’t stress this enough: what we are witnessing is fear and its offspring: hate (in the form of bigotry). I do believe some are there out of a real concern for this country’s future and not just because they don’t like the color of our President’s skin. But because they are only “armed” with what they hear, they don’t realize they are protesting against their own best interests. Whatever freedoms they think they are losing are not in jeopardy. The so-called “out-of-control government spending” that they are protesting has been going on since the 1980s.

Reagan cut taxes on the top 2% and the deficit doubled in his eight years. Here’s his reasoning:

George H. W. Bush had to go back on his “Read my lips – no new taxes” statement and raise taxes during his term because the Reagan deficits were “out of control.”

In his 1992 debate, George H. W. Bush discusses the recession – obviously Reagan’s economic policies did not work. You also see why Bill Clinton won the election.

When George W. Bush came into office, we were operating with a balanced budget and a surplus. We were also reducing the debt.

Here’s some charts for you visual learners like me. 🙂

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One reason for Clinton’s economic policy success was “Pay-Go” (new spending had to be paid for and could not be added to the national debt). It was, unfortunately, allowed to expire in 2002.

It’s doubtful that anyone in the pictures above has done any of this research. They instead chose to be fearful and angry. What’s more pathetic is publically elected officials who will not stand up for what they know (at least I think they know) is the truth about these issues. They allow the misinformation to continue to divide us, because it’s more important to them to be re-elected than it is to bring this country together. Three of them spoke at the gathering. 

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There is a subtle underlying theme through all of these events starting to creep into mainstream media that is disconcerting. It’s the lack of respect for our legitimately elected President. Not his policies – him. Many of our citizens will never believe that a black man deserves to be President of the United States. Former President Jimmy Carter brought this thought to the forefront in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams on September 15th

I hesitantly agree with some of what he said. My hesitation comes not from disbelief of his words, but from a desire to not attract more disrespect for President Obama.

And while I do believe there is racism in the afore mentioned events, I do not want to leave you with the idea that I think everyone that attended is racist. The issue is in desperate need of serious and thoughtful discussion, but I’m concerned that even the most constructive conversation may be twisted into dangerous dialogue. This is when a lack of curiosity morphs into something far more harmful.

I pray this period of our nation’s history is not marked by something that I’ve lived through too many times before.

Dangerous dialogue, indeed.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

* Ed Shultz, 09-15-09

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REMOVE ALL DOUBT

April 20, 2009

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Some of us are old enough to remember when the Lipton Tea Company introduced the “FLO-THRU” tea bag. It was unique because it had four sides instead of two and you could see through it.

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Much like that tea bag, it was easy to see through these “Tea Parties” on April 15th.

These events were neither spontaneous nor created at the grassroots as was reported on FOX News. They were sponsored by very wealthy people like Former House Speaker Dick Army (R-MS) and his organization, www.FreedomWorks.com

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and by Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and his organization, www.AmericanSolutions.com.

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In Dick Army’s case, he was serving his corporate clients.

They were also sponsored by FOX News – regardless of what they said – under the guise of “news coverage” with extensive interviewing of Gingrich, Army and many others who were scheduled to speak on April 15th. It was wall-to-wall coverage on all of their shows.

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They used advertising time to promote these events. Some of their commentators spoke at these “Tea Parties.” In other words, they were funded, in part, by FOX News. THAT is sponsorship.

People at the gatherings looked foolish trying to tell reporters what the “Tea Parties” were about. “It’s about our taxes going higher!” “It’s about the bailouts!” “It’s about big government!” “It’s about our country becoming a fascist country!” “It’s about the government spending our money!” “It’s about maybe seceding from the union because we don’t like the government telling us what to do!” “It’s about what he just said!”

If any of these statements were true, these events would have taken place when George Bush handed out what he clearly stated was “…700 billion dollars in taxpayer money…” in September, 2008.

There were others that thought it was about abortion,

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immigration,

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Christianity,

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ACORN,

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and even the American Revolution of the late 1700s.

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Apparently, many did not get the memo.

This was not about big government, higher taxes or bailouts. Taxes under Ronald Reagan were higher than they are now – for everyone. Obama’s tax plan reduces taxes on those earning $250,000 or less. My guess – and I’m being generous – is that 99% of the attendees have annual incomes that are far less than $250,000.

It was not about socialism, communism or fascism. It’s doubtful that anyone in the crowd could give you a clear definition of any of these terms. I hesitate to think how much more foolish they would have appeared had they tried.

Nor was it about a growing debt or deficit spending. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who attended, that understands the complexities of our government’s financial system.

No, this was about something very different and no one told the truth.

Instead, they hid behind their statements of “coded” rhetoric like the ones above and those that I wrote about in The Ostrich Syndrome and in my pre-R&O entry, Faith Trumps Fear.

Take a look at some pictures that you probably didn’t see in the mainstream media:

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The man in the above video does not know the definition of fascism.

Let’s be honest: he and everyone else using this rhetoric didn’t have the courage to say what they really meant: “I’m here because I hate the fact that a BLACK man and his BLACK family are living in the WHITE House!”

Here’s a Glen Beck Tea Party organizer in a bar, talking about the communist infiltration that’s been going on for years in our country and telling people to take their kids out of college. This is exactly what we don’t need in this country: more uneducated people. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts he barely finished high school.

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Take a close look at the signs in the pictures. Listen to the rhetoric in the videos. The truth always reveals itself, no matter how hard people try to hide it. Do you see any people of color? No. Not even the head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, was invited to speak. Plenty of other elected Republicans and Republican commentators spoke. Why not Steele?

Those who attended these events were duped into believing that these demonstrations were about “…the high taxes under the Obama Administration.” The truth is the only taxes that are going up – and not until 2011 – are the taxes on very wealthy people, some of whom help to orchestrate these events. This “hoax” was propagated through fear, to manipulate the Low Information Voter into doing the dirty work so that the “organizers” could maintain their distance from the hate-filled signage and foolish statements.

This was vintage FOX News. It scared people into thinking that they are going to lose their “freedoms” or their “money.” They baited the very same people they misinform everyday into gathering with insulting signs and incendiary words about the President of the United States and then exploited them on their network. These folks couldn’t articulate – with any semblance of cognition – a cohesive reason for their presence. They couldn’t discuss policy – they don’t know enough about it. They don’t even know the meaning of some of the terms they used. They were just regurgitating what they heard on FOX News. It’s sad to know that in the 21st century, there is still 1/10 of 1% of the population that can be drawn in to this idiocy like moths to a flame.

Mark Twain once said, “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Too late.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com