BILL MURCHISON GETS THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on April 22nd, 2009 by Ed

The best part about being a Republican is that the right-wing media will defend anything. I mean, anything. There is nothing a Republican officeholder can say or do that is stupid, illegal, or offensive enough that an army of hacks won't take to their syndicated columns and talk radio mics to excuse it. This is why you are about to read a nugget of wisdom entitled "Was Rick Perry Just Kidding?" by a fifth-rate columnist whose own mother has never heard of him. If you haven't time to read the whole thing, here is the quick version of what happens in the following paragraphs: Bill Murchison lures Sound Logic and Good Argument into his dank, windowless van and proceeds to finger them.

Sneer, sneer, boo, hiss — and oh, boy!

A piece of prose that begins thusly can only be authored by A) Dr. Seuss or B) a man with a vast number of competing voices in his head. I don't want to give the rest of the column away, but Dr. Seuss died in 1991.

Did the "progressives" ever pour it on my governor, Rick Perry of Texas, for his playful reference at a Tea Party event to "secession" as an option possibly forming in the minds of sensible Texans.

Ah. It was "playful." All expectations that our public officials will not say things that are treasonous or completely retarded go out the window if spoken playfully. In his next column, Bill Murchison will go through airport security making jokes about the bombs in his luggage and wriggle out of legal trouble with a particularly wacky blazer and a spinning bowtie.

Why would we be thinking about such?

ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

Because of "progressive" depredations in Washington, D.C., the governor said, if not in so many words.

Bill is a contrarian. Since good writing involves communicating an idea using the smallest possible number of carefully chosen words, Bill goes for quantity and incoherence. He also sits angrily in his seat while everyone else in the stadium is doing the wave.

The establishment harrumphed and gagged and generally went red. Gail Collins of the New York Times: "[H]ave you noticed how places that pride themselves on being superpatriotic seem to have the most people who want to abandon the country entirely and set up shop on their own?"

That sounds like an entirely reasonable question. The kind a normal person would ask.

Come on, lady, back off a little. No one's going anywhere — as well you certainly know.

"As well you certainly know?" Either this was written in Urdu and translated back into English with a free online translator or Bill puts each word he wants to use on a notecard, scatters them to the afternoon breeze, and lets fate arrange them into sentences.

Nobody's called for a secession convention. I looked up and down the street this morning; not a single effigy of Nancy Pelosi dangled from the live oaks. Driving to the office, I heard no suggestion that we hang Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, or, preferably, both to a sour apple tree.

See? No one's violently trying to secede yet. They're just talking about it, which is always harmless and never progresses to the kind of behavior cited here.

No matter. Sigh.

Do you have any idea how big of a hack one must be as a writer to actually write "Sigh" to communicate that emotion? If your writing is so bad that you can't convey a simple emotion without saying "I AM EXASPERATED RIGHT NOW" then maybe writing isn't for you.

The progressives have the bit between their teeth and seem bent on the usual pretense that these Texans are a bunch of ingrates whom we shouldn't trust as far as we can throw a grand piano.

Ingrates? No, Bill. We think you're borderline-illiterate yahoos in cowboy hats and Chevy Suburbans who say "y'all" a lot thanks in part to some of the worst public schooling north of El Salvador.

Well, you know what? It's too much trouble seceding, even if we could.

This is perhaps the least reassuring reassurance I have ever seen, rivalled only by Oswald telling the security guard "I just want a better view of the parade route so I can take pictures."

And, pace the governor, we can't.

Foil, runs nubuck gracefully. Pong lapdance railroad kidneys. Towel? Gap dash an eskimo!!

Rather than the secessionary right he alleged we brought with us into the Union, we brought the right — undoubted, but similarly impractical — to divide into five states. We'll have to stick around a bit longer.

This reminds me of that time I read the complete set of Time-Life Home Repair and Improvement books on peyote.

That shouldn't deprive us of the right to remind fellow Americans of some practices and virtues our land could do well to renew.

Oh, good. Please do lecture us so that we may become more like Lubbock and Beaumont. When I worry about our Practices and Virtues here in the midwest I often think, "You know how we oughta do things? Like they do things in Corpus Christi."

A key one is regard for the inherent right of local people, even under a federal union, to defend and oversee their own modes of life.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO STATES' RIGHTS!!!!!1!1!!!oneone!!!! A noble concept always used to defend other noble concepts. OMG let's have another nullification crisis!!

In other words — golly gee! — Texans might not want exactly the same things Californians want. They might wish lower taxes and less regulation by government. Their approaches to education and health care and energy might differ as well. So also the ways they deal with simple matters like eating: more sirloins in Texas, more tofu on the Left Coast.

Let's look at the rankings.

Life expectancy by state: #10. California, #30. Texas
Adult obesity by state: #10 Texas, #30 California
Heart disease deaths per 100,000: Texas 220, California 191

Nice.

Alas, the Obama regime, as we may decide to start calling it one of these days, has other notions.

"One of these days" = January 2009

It appears to cherish uniformity, the close alignment of ideals and methods: everybody doing the same thing the same way for the same reasons.

Well, technically it believes, as most of us left-leaning yankees do, in trying to bring our slow southern cousins up to first-world standards, perhaps by teaching science instead of the Bible and working on getting those teen pregnancy rates below Nigeria's. I disagree, but the bleeding hearts believe they can fix you. Maybe make you less of an embarrassment. Me, I'm Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. I'm here on a mission of mercy. I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me for a favor. I said, "If you want a favor, take my advice and fire their asses, because a loser is a loser."

You think I'm fuckin' with you, Bill? I am not fuckin' with you.

The Obamanistas may want uniform rules regarding the cars and trucks we drive and the energy those vehicles consume.

Yep. Are we supposed to be ashamed of that? This is not unlike saying "Can you believe these nanny state liberals who want me to stop committing so many rapes?!?" I can live with having judged you on this point.

They want, it seems, national education standards — a goal furthered, as one hates to acknowledge, by a former Texas governor, George W. Bush via the No Child Left Behind Act.

Yep. And here's the important part, so stay with me: this time the national education (sic) standards won't be retarded. Semantics, semantics.

We may even wind up with national standards for humor. A joke, son, ain't a joke no more, and that's the truth.

This is the most forced transition to a slippery slope argument – and not even a good bad argument at that – in the history of whatever language Bill Murchison speaks.

The governor of Texas no more demanded secession from the Union than he called for a Lone Star Beer to be brought him.

Rick Perry, April 15, as the crowd chanted "Secede! Secede! Secede!": "There's a lot of different scenarios. We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."

He raised an eyebrow; he winked. Never mind. A stalwart "progressive" trying to show up conservatives is ever alert to serendipitous events and occasions.

Here's an idea, Bill. Threaten to kill an elected official and give the jury the old "But I winked!" excuse. Write me a letter on your prison stationery letting me know how it worked out for you.

So maybe he shouldn't have said it. That's from one perspective. Here's another: A Union of the sort our wise and virtuous founders thought they were creating is as loose and flexible as a Union can realistically be made; accommodative of divergent viewpoints, and all the stronger for it, all the more united, too.

You know what kinds of viewpoints they didn't accomodate? Secession. That has a way of making us weaker and more divided, not quite stronger and more united.

The Union we seem to see dead ahead through the windshield, with the people of 50 different states all cuffed together in mutual subservience, isn't what the founders had in mind. Good for Rick Perry on that score: He raised a useful subject, even if to his own detriment. Let's enjoy. Such a moment may not come again for a long, long time.

Flawless, Bill. Just flawless. Undermining your own argument, stringing together words into incoherent non-sentences, coming to no conclusion, and fizzling out because you couldn't think of a way to end it – brilliant. Here's the rub. If you consider our current situation "mutual subservience" then your level of anger is appropriate, like if I referred to you as "Child pornographer and white supremacist Bill Murchison." That would justify some pretty extreme anger directed at you. And since none of that is true, you'd be pretty baffled by the response. Yet that's exactly what you're doing here, cubby. Those cuffs and that forced subservience aren't real. They exist only in your head. If the rest of us lived in your head then this piece and Rick Perry's bloviating would ring true and sound to a downtrodden nation like a call to action.

But we live on Earth and you sound like an idiot.

Tags:

THE NUMBERS RACKET

Posted in Rants on April 21st, 2009 by Ed

Last week I had my first professional success in the world of political science, as one of the better-known academic journals accepted one of my submissions for publication. It deals with projections of population change in the 2010 and 2020 Censuses (yes, "censes" is also acceptable) and what that will mean for Congressional apportionment and the Electoral College. I've accumulated more experience with and knowledge about the Census and American population dynamics than the average Joe in political science. Allow me to share what I've learned: the Census is seriously fucked up. And what do you know, most of the existing flaws benefit the conservatives who are screaming like tea kettles about the insidious Obama Census plans.

The right is well into their predictable pant-shitting hysterics about the President's decision to have the director of Census 2010 reporting directly to the White House. How this is appreciably different than having him report to the Commerce Secretary, a person hand-picked by and reporting directly to the President, is unclear. How this is appreciably different from the four years that the Congressional GOP spent trying to pass legislation in the 1990s to monkey with Census 2000 is unclear. It's not like the potential for political manipulation isn't real – the Census is laden with latent flaws that benefit the GOP.

Shocking, I know.

The root problem is that the traditional image of the Census-taker going door-to-door and taking a head count of each American became a logistical impossibility more than a century ago. That may have worked in 1790 but it goes without saying that it is not feasible in modern America. Thus the Census is forever dealing with the problem of how to count people who can't physically be counted. The GOP has a simple answer: don't. As the undercounting is vastly more prevalent in densely-packed urban areas, statistical adjustments to account for the uncounted are called a sinister Democrat ploy.

While "sampling" – projecting a large population based on a small sample – is not permitted, the Census does use a statistical technique called hot deck imputation to fill in missing data points. After an address has not returned the Census form and after the Census-takers have made multiple visits to the address without contact, the Bureau will impute the data based on neighborhood characteristics. In other words, they can't extrapolate but they can fill in a few blanks. The constitutionality of this technique was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Utah v Evans (2002). Imputation has little partisan impact (the awarding of the final Census 2000 Congressional seat to North Carolina instead of Utah was not only a wash for the GOP but a fluke – it could have been almost any two states) but sampling, which would produce a more complete population count, does. Therefore the inverse is also true – not sampling has a partisan impact that hurts Democrats.

The right are also in hysterics about Obama's devious plan to "count every illegal alien" as Skeletor Michelle Malkin shrieks. Here's Dirty Secret #1 about the Census: they've always counted illegal and legal immigrants. The Census is a count of the number of people in a box. Distinctions are not made between voter and non-voter, adult and child, citizen and non-citizen. The bile-spewing reaction this fact produces on the right is exactly as you would expect, but…OK, Michelle. Who do you think is benefitting from this? Let's stop counting non-citizens and see what happens to the population counts in Texas, Arizona, Florida, and across the plains (where immigrant labor in agriculture, meatpacking, and manufacturing subsidizes the entire economy). While California would also take a hit, overall, "Red America" is the beneficiary of this little-reported fact.

And here comes the best part: prisons. The GOP never has a problem with the ridiculous way the Census counts prisons. Throughout the country we stick our giant carceral warehouses in rural (read: economically desperate, willing to do anything to get state cash flowing through the streets of Podunk) communities who subsequently see their populations increase by five or ten thousand. These new "residents" have no political rights, of course, but the human chattel comes in handy when it's time to draw legislative district boundaries! What, like Susanville, California would be important without its four CDC facilities? Right.

The Census procedures are well on their way to becoming the next big thing in the uniquely American art of fucking up what should be very simple: counting stuff. What pregnant chads and Diebold EVMs did for the past decade the Census will do for the next several years. Those extra Congressional seats, Electoral Votes, and Federal dollars are vitally important and partisans are willing to fight for them in the streets, in Congress, and in court. Any level of political manipulation in the Census process is undesirable, but as ultraconservatives ramp up their poorly-informed jihad against liberal scheming it is worth remembering that the status quo is absolutely riddled with holes and – coincidentally, I'm sure – tilts the process in favor of the Welfare Queen States of red America.

R.I.P. TO BOTH

Posted in Quick Hits on April 20th, 2009 by Ed

First, I am done with Teabaggers. They stopped being interesting six weeks ago and I'm amazed my stamina held out this long.

Second, Little did not wake up this morning. Brief services were held in the garden. Her favorite activity was escaping from her cage to join Liz in bed; now she has escaped from the biggest cage of all.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Rest in peace, friend.

Tags:

TUNNELING TO CHINA

Posted in Rants on April 20th, 2009 by Ed

I can't imagine a lazier blog post for someone left of center than "Fox News is a joke," a statement which immediately redlines the nearest No Shit meter. As hard as it may be to conceive, though, in the past two weeks the network has jumped a new and bigger shark. To watch their "coverage" of the teabagging non-movement is to watch a network that no longer puts up the slightest pretense of being a news organization and fully embraces its role as a free 24-hour infomercial for mobilizing the vast herd of idiots who stare at it unquestioningly throughout the evening hours.

"But Ed," you say, "where have you been? This has been the case for 13 years." No. This is different. It hasn't been like this before. Having already hit rock bottom years ago, the network now appears to be tunneling through the Earth at a frightening pace.

Teabagging organizers seem extraordinarily proud of their alleged 200,000 person turnout on April 15. Leaving aside the fact that the figure is vastly inflated, that number isn't terribly impressive given the two weeks of round-the-clock fawning coverage and pleas for turnout on the network of record among bovine Americans. Am I overstating it? Media Matters has a massive list of videos, broadcast screenshots, quotes, and details on the network's decision to aggressively promote the events. While the network feebly attempted to hide behind a "coverage isn't promotion" defense, it is undermined considerably by the persistent liberal bias of reality:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Every on-air personality sprinted out from behind the news desk to "cover" these "events." FoxNews.com contained a complete list of the dates, times, locations, and websites of the protests. They gave copious airtime to bobbleheaded promoters like Malkin and Instarube but also to "grassroots" organizers like this shaved ape who organized the Houston bagging.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

They interviewed the tool who wrote the "Tea Party Anthem" in his spare time between gigs behind the local bus station. But as bad as the promotional campaign was – and Media Matters effectively documents the whole thing – it pales in comparison to the live coverage on the 15th.

Watch Neil Cavuto, who spent the day at the Sacramento teabagging, make up an attendance figure when he thought his mic was off and then triple it on the air. Watch a Fox News "reporter" (apparently on loan from local frat house) ask viewers, "(W)hen are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?"

When all was said and done, the total amount of free marketing and promotion provided to the far right think tanks who created this non-event was staggering: 23 individual segments and 73 on-air promos in just eight days. What would that have cost at the going advertising rates? Other networks responded by all but ignoring the protests except to mock them, as this CNN reporter did on the 15th. This resulted in the predictable paranoid hysterics about media bias. What no one cares to explain, of course, is what about this was worth covering, what the objective was, and what was accomplished. The answers are nothing, nothing, and nothing, respectively.

While Murdoch media have always been shameless mouthpieces for the right interrupted only by ass-kissing editorials, I'm not sure that American audiences have ever seen a news network resort to infomercial-style hard selling for weeks on end to promote a specific event – an event that Fox sponsored. We can safely imagine that were the shoe on the other foot and CNN anchors were broadcasting live from "CNN Presents: Rallies to Support President Obama," Beck et al would be gushing blood from every orifice in an effort to expel as much biblical rage as possible before their black little hearts exploded from the strain.

Tags:

NPF: DONG RELATIVELY WELL

Posted in No Politics Friday on April 17th, 2009 by Ed

One could argue that this isn't strictly a No Politics Friday, but I submit that Republic Magazine – THE VOICE OF THE PATRIOT MOVEMENT has leapt several sharks from politics into legitimate comedy. One of my colleagues seized several free copies of it whilst I was photographing teabaggers, and the last time I had this much fun reading a magazine it was 1982, I was wearing He-Man pajamas, and the magazine in question was Highlights. Ironically, the two magazines have many things in common. The primary difference appears to be Highlights' more stringent editorial standards and Republic's lack of Goofus & Gallant.

If this magazine was edited, it was edited by an ad hoc panel of homeless alcoholics. Nestled among advertisements for every single dealer in gold and silver bullion on Earth one finds numerous examples of outstanding writing and editing. In a piece entitled "How to Prosper in these Hard Economic Times" – replete with helpful tips like "1. Cut back on spending" and "4. Change your occupation" – the author suggests that we "move to a different part of the USA which is dong relatively well." As Indiana is dong fine, I am unaffected by this advice.

Mr. Harold Williams ("Surviving Martial Law") prepares us for the complete collapse of society, an event that every issue of the publications throughout THE PATRIOT MOVEMENT has called "imminent" for the last fifty years. He breaks down into distinct stages the transition from normal life to a fascist gulag state. At the beginning, "Since you'll be exposed to controlling troops, please NEVER LOOK IN THEIR EYES!!" That is how they steal your soul. Avoid it. The key to surviving a societal collapse, however, is food hoarding. This is even more important than gold hoarding (note: gold hoarding is still REALLY FUCKIN' IMPORTANT). Since your neighbors are not paranoid smart enough to have hoarded 30 or 40 shipping containers full of dried beans and emergency biscuit rations, they will all want your food. Some of them will want to steal it, but that is OK since you are prepared with a Doom-like arsenal of high powered firearms. The biggest threat to your supply of bomb shelter cuisine is your own kindness.

When you see starving children, it will be natural to want to feed them. STOP. BAD. WRONG. DO NOT FEED THEM. In fact, go to great lengths to conceal the fact that you have food and then beggars won't be an issue. Maintaining secrecy is simple:

Never tell teenagers anything…a sign in front telling the world that you have food will work as well. Do not feed their friends.

In short, "DON'T FEED A KID WHO IS NOT YOUR OWN, NO MATTER WHAT." The magazine (er, "magazine") then gives us an op-ed from Ron Paul, one that reads as though he scrawled it on a Western Bacon Thickburger wrapper while taking a dump in an airplane lavatory. But hey, he's Ron Paul. We recognize that name. He lends "credibility" to this enterprise.

Wrapping things up is a two-page list of "100 Items to Disappear First in a calamity" – with eight additional bonus items "From a Sarajevo War Survivor"!! My favorites: #77 Tang and #100 Goats/Chickens. Not sure why the final two get lumped together as a single item, but I do know that I have a 300 foot tall grain silo full of Tang in rural Idaho so #77 is good to go in Ed's world.

If the survivalist right didn't exist I would have to invent them. That's how much pleasure I derive from them. Note that Republic Magazine offers complete online issues and they'll mail you an old-fashioned paper one if you ask. Dong with that information what you will.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Posted in Quick Hits on April 16th, 2009 by Ed

One of the Teabaggin' pics was the front page on Huffington Post today (who, after I emailed them and pointed out that the photo did NOT originate with Think Progress, gave me a photo credit) and now I just saw it on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. No credits there.

I don't expect that money should change hands for using a photograph posted on the interwebs, but it would be nice if they at least noted the source.

Tags:

LET THE BULLSHIT FLY!

Posted in Quick Hits on April 16th, 2009 by Ed

Ed's count of people at the tea party: 150
Ed's acceptance of his friends' estimates in place of his own, which may have been low: 200~250
Commenter in Teabaggin' thread: "closer to 500"
Bloomingtonteaparty.com: "Perhaps 1000 PATRIOTS!"

Get your bullshit overinflated numbers right, boys.

ED GOES UNDERCOVER TEABAGGIN'

Posted in Rants on April 15th, 2009 by Ed

So my good friend Scott pointed out that for all of my talk about Teabaggin', I was strangely ambivalent about the opportunity to see one in the flesh. Well, my inner anthropologist and innate love of freaks won out in the end. Resolved: I would walk freely among the Teabaggers, pretending to be one so that I might learn of their ways.

The first question was if I could successfully infiltrate them. I'd need something like a Soldier of Fortune t-shirt, a bandana, a ratty old Army coat, and the ability to look like a mouthbreather with an IQ of 98.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

CHECK.

Next, I would need someone with a funny sign that Teabaggers would laugh at without realizing that it was making fun of them. Liz?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

CHECK. Note the twin bags hanging testicularly.

But what would we see there? Would there be misspellings?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Oh HELLSYEAH there would be misspellings. (If that's not clear, the Patriot's sign reads "Remember Descent the highest form of patriotic.") He sign make good! Was that an isolated example of poor facility with the English language?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I have a theory that you should never protest against something until you can spell it correctly. I must admit that I got a chuckle out of "Don't Tax Me, Bro." But now for the important questions: would there be racist signs? Come on, tell me there would be racism.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Ha ha ha! Homeschooled rural Indiana kids hold the darnedest signs. Would there also be wingnuttery? Would there be old people? White ones?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Guys hawking guns? Well, he knows his audience!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Yes, it was quite the human zoo. The thing is, everyone looked like they were having so much fun being furious, bitching, moaning, and directing all sorts of hate at the concept of taxation. I decided to give it a try with some archaic flags as a backdrop.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I AM SO MAD ABOUT MY ENTIRELY REASONABLE TAX BURDEN WHICH IS THE SMALLEST IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD AND WILL GET SMALLER THANKS TO THE NEW PRESIDENT!

Good times. And now a word about the event. First, I must give non-ironic, sincere props to the event attendees. The weather was lousy and there were at least 150 people there. I tip my hat to that. Good turnout. The consensus estimates among my cohort (me, Liz, Scott, Amanda, Patti, and Will) was somewhere between 150 and 200 attendees. That is respectable; now let's get a good chuckle out of how ridiculously they inflate it.

The event itself lasted about four minutes. A guy with a bullhorn led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave a "speech" that lasted just long enough to pop a bag of microwave popcorn. At this point about half of the crowd left. Literally, they sighed a collective "OK, I've done my part" and ambled back to their SUVs. What remained was a smaller number of vocal sign-wavers who lined a street that receives very little traffic and shouted at passing cars. They seemed to be mistaking the horn honks and waves as an upswell of support, but I think most of the passersby were making fun of them.

In summary, the crowd was decently sized, 99.9% white, 90% over 60 or under 6, 50% cowboy-hatted, and REALLY angry about…something. It was far from a grassroots political movement. It was a bunch of people who overcame their revulsion toward other people long enough to stand in the same place for 180 seconds before disbanding and rushing to the nearest Waffle House. No real media showed up and, in a not-coincidence I'll have much more to say about next week, there was no police presence. I guess big groups of white people without permits don't necessitate quite as many angry cops as an anti-war rally!

It was an honest oversight, I'm sure. Just remember, this is the face of real America, and the face of a new revolution sweeping the nation. Look upon it and tremble:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

TAKING BETS

Posted in Quick Hits on April 15th, 2009 by Ed

Who will be the first wingnut blogger or Fox News pundit to blame lousy turnout at their little circle jerks on the shitty weather pervasive across the midwest and east coast today?

Sorry that God hates you, guys!

THE UNSILENT NON-MAJORITY

Posted in Rants on April 15th, 2009 by Ed

One of the downsides of being part of a team of crack experts over at Instaputz is that, like Glenn Reynolds, I feel like I have already talked to death this ridiculous Teabagging "movement" which culminates in today's astroturfed Tax Day mass bitch-ins. Everything that needs to be said about how meaningless this talk radio-driven spectacle is has already been said. We know these rallies are just a meeting place for militiamen, septuple-chinned suburban commandos (who, hard working as they are, somehow have the day off), the dregs of the local trailer parks, College Republicans who've never had a job but feel quite strongly about Unions and taxes, and a grab-bag of societal detritus with the interpersonal skills of a rabid wolverine. Leaving this aside, I'll make two comments about the nomenclature these Indoor Kids have chosen to use for their circle jerks.

First, "Tea Parties." The level of historical ignorance necessary to adopt this term is difficult to conceive. In the Boston Tea Party, wealthy colonists protested a tax on tea by dumping their tea in Boston Harbor – cutting off their noses to spite the King's face. They took something that was worth a lot of money and said "We'd rather piss away a thousand dollars worth of tea than allow you to tax it." Where is the connection to what is happening in 2009? Is this gaggle of sheep going to dump their paychecks, their SUVs, their HDTVs, and their iPhones in a body of water? Toss them in a bonfire? Commit any kind of self-sacrificing act of protest? No. They're going to bitch. That's what conservatives do. They bitch and whine like a bunch of poncy hairdressers.

I apologize for the grievous insult to poncy hairdressers implied in that analogy.

If it's not about bitching, then what is it about? Protesting deficits? Whoops. Republicans cause deficits and Democrats fix them. Tax increases? Unless all of these jackasses are making $250,000+, nope. I'd be willing to bet that 99.99% of the bozos putting on a show for the cameras got a nice tax cut from B. Hussein Obama. It's not about anything. It's about angry, angry people who just want to make a very public show of how angry they are. About stuff.

Second, they've brought back the Nixonian "Silent majority" to refer to their Legion. There are several problems with this, the most obvious being that it is neither silent, given the sheer quantity of wailing/gnashing of teeth/rending of garments being done by these gasbags, nor is it a majority. See, we left wing pinkos had our own "Tea Party" back in November, the end result of which made it pretty clear who is not a majority. Semantics aside, here's the real problem with the "grassroots/silent majority/Real Americans" argument, the same problem we encounter when this argument is thrown at the cameras during elections – it smacks either of barely-concealed racism or a misguided belief that it is 1952.

The right, as Thomas Frank has written about for 20 years, is so very, very desperate for working-class authenticity. This is why they continually trot out pathetic characters like Samuel the Unlicensed Plumber or vague stereotypes like "small business owners" and "America's farmers." As the benefits of Republican governance accrue almost entirely to the wealthy, they must go to great lengths and make endless promises they have no intention of keeping (Abortion! Guns! Culture wars!) to get Down With the People. Hence this very curious "grassroots, real Americans" aspect to the masturbatory coverage of these events in the right-wing media.

Did Sean Hannity get out from behind a desk and attend the immigration amnesty rally in Los Angeles to which 500,000 people showed up last year? Did Fox News dedicate around-the-clock coverage and nearly unbearable homerism to the Iraq War protests which over a million Americans attended (150,000 in San Francisco alone) five years ago? Did Glenn Reynolds claim that government needs to Listen Up and Get the Message and Pay Attention and all this shit when 800,000 people (NYPD estimate; protesters claimed over a million, but such estimates are inevitably high) marched in New York City in 2004 to protest the RNC? Do any of these hacks wax patriotic about the millions upon millions of people who did something real and substantive in electing the new President – not standing around bitching, not listening to talk radio millionaires give speeches in a park amidst misspelled, homemade signs – last November? Of course not. Why? Because "those people" aren't Real Americans. See, Real Americans means white people. Angry, middle-aged, rural or suburban white people.

The mongrel brown hordes who show up to anti-War rallies or who elected our new "non-American" (BLACK! Did you hear the dog whistle? BLAAAAAAAAAAACK!) President don't really matter but when real America speaks, guv'mint damn well better listen. And it just so happens that Real America is always a dumb white guy in jeans and a flannel. A lard-assed white woman with seven kids, a perm, and a 4th-grade reading level. A hillbilly with a Confederate flag, a misspelled placard, or both. A yuppie who's fed up and just isn't going to take the horrible treatment to which society has thus far subjected him.

And this is why I came to the 1952-or-racism conclusion earlier: that hasn't been America for decades. What the left has is real America, and boy-howdy does that drive the authenticity-seeking right crazy. An Obama rally, or an immigration amnesty rally, or an anti-war rally consists of people across age groups, religious denominations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, income ranges, and lifestyles. THAT IS AMERICA. To claim otherwise is inarguably ignorant; only whether that ignorance is willful is open for debate. Read Instarube as he wanks away about the virtue and authenticity of his fake movement (nauseatingly pimped by Fox, funded by elite right-wing think tank money):

These aren't the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before.** They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasn't seen lately, and an influx of new activists.

Energy that hasn't been seen in our politics lately? Given that he spent most of the 2008 Election locked in a 69 with Hugh Hewitt, it's understandable that he missed the Obama campaign. It's understandable that, as a painfully square, so-white-I-make-Dick-Cheney-look-like-Eldridge-Cleaver hillbilly teaching at a 4th-rate law school in Tennessee, Glenn might have a skewed impression of what this country really looks like. But come on, you lazy prick. In the information age there is no excuse for failing to inform oneself about reality even while swaddled in a cocoon of nodding heads and simple declarative sentences.

I know not if the racial aspect of this ridiculous talk about Real America and Authenticity is rooted in ignorance or bigotry. I don't know if these people really think that it's 1952, that America is homogeneously white, rural, and thumping the (Protestant) Bible while living Leave it to Beaver lives, or if they simply think that white people are more important. But the inescapable fact, a fact that these little wankfests will only serve to reinforce, is that the left has America – multicultural, diverse, non-Evangelical Christian America – and the right has a bunch of tactless, clueless, out-of-touch, and perpetually angry white people pissing and moaning about their taxes.

How refreshing.

**(Note how the fact that these people are too selfish and lazy to have participated in any sort of mass political activity before is presented as a virtue, as is the fact that they now mobilize for the noble cause of their own love of money.)