Tag Archives: Tea Party

Wrong Right

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No sooner had the group taken control of the tiny town than various branches of law enforcement – from local police to the U.S. Marshalls – arrived fully armed and fully prepared for combat. The group expressed anger towards the federal government and decried a system of oppression and brutality. But both the federal government and the police viewed them as mere renegades whose goal was destruction, not revitalization of a battered community. The day after the siege began both entities exchanged gunfire. Seventy-one days later it ended.

The 1973 occupation of the small South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee by the American Indian Movement (AIM) startled most other Americans and garnered international attention. It really shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but many non-Indians believed then their Native American counterparts were content to live in isolation on land carved out just for them. Who outside the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation knew things were so bad? The history of Wounded Knee had already been written in blood. In December of 1890, a violent clash between the Oglala Sioux nation and U.S. federal troops left some 150 Indian people dead. That cataclysm was fresh in the minds of AIM members, including co-founders Russell Means and Dennis Banks, when they overwhelmed Wounded Knee on February 27, 1973. Things hadn’t changed much for the residents of Wounded Knee or all of Pine Ridge, for that matter, in the period since the 1890 event. Poverty, sickness and infant mortality were high, while employment and opportunities were low. The U.S. federal government had failed the entire community. But it didn’t fail to react to the sudden occupation by AIM. If you study that fiasco from the vantage point of AIM and residents of Pine Ridge, you should get an understanding of their angst and the long brutal relationship Native American communities have had with the federal government. If you look at it from the U.S. Marshalls’ view, it was a military success – albeit one that lasted too long for their liking.

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AIM members literally readied themselves for battle when they overran Wounded Knee in 1973, exacerbating the fears of many White conservatives: Indians with guns.

I thought about the 1973 Wounded Knee quagmire, when a group of anti-government activists seized a federal building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon two weeks ago. They’re protesting the treatment of two local men, Dwight Hammond and his son, Steve, by the federal government. The Hammonds had been charged with starting two fires – in 2001 and 2006 – on their farmland that ultimately encroached upon federal territory. The Hammond property has been in their family for generations, but it interlocks with publicly-owned territory managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The government allows Hammond-owned livestock to graze on the federal land. The Hammonds claimed they set both fires on their land strictly as a clearing method and had informed the government in advance. But U.S. officials deny receiving any such notification and claim the family was trying to cover up evidence of illegal deer hunting. The 2001 fire burned 139 acres of BLM land, while the 2006 blaze burned only an acre. Dwight and Steve Hammond were arrested and charged with destruction of federal property and sentenced to three months and 366 days, respectively, in prison in 2013. A series of appeals resulted in early releases for both men. But the government recently backtracked and ordered the men to serve more prison time. By the time they peacefully turned themselves in to authorities, the occupation of Malheur had begun.

The rebellious group’s leaders are the sons of another land owner, Nevada’s Cliven Bundy, who was the crux of a federal dispute two years ago that resulted in another standoff. Bundy, a wealthy cattle rancher, had been using federal land in Nevada to feed his livestock. The government allows people to do that, but the farmers must pay fees. Bundy hadn’t paid his share of fees since 1993, and in 1998, a judge ordered him to remove his cattle from federal land. He refused and in March of 2014, federal officials tried to seize some of his livestock. In no time, a large contingent of supporters descended upon the Nevada ranch, armed and ready to fight. The government backed off and returned the cattle to Bundy without further incident. Bundy apparently still hasn’t paid his fees. Shortly after that incident concluded, Bundy showed his true colors (pun intended) when – recalling his experience driving past a Las Vegas housing project – he said, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. [A]nd in front of that gov­ern­ment house the door was usu­ally open and the older people and the kids — and there is al­ways at least a half a dozen people sit­ting on the porch — they didn’t have noth­ing to do. They didn’t have noth­ing for their kids to do. They didn’t have noth­ing for their young girls to do. And be­cause they were ba­sic­ally on gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young chil­dren, they put their young men in jail, be­cause they nev­er learned how to pick cot­ton. And I’ve of­ten wondered, are they bet­ter off as slaves, pick­ing cot­ton and hav­ing a fam­ily life and do­ing things, or are they bet­ter off un­der gov­ern­ment sub­sidy? They didn’t get no more free­dom. They got less free­dom.”

Looking at the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff and the current Oregon mess, two facts are obvious: the protestors in both situations are White and that the federal government hasn’t fired a shot. At least they haven’t done so yet in Oregon, and I doubt they will. Unlike the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff, the government has been patient.

Oregon protestor, Jon Ritzheimer, displays a family picture on his phone and a copy of the Constitution to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.  He needs bottled water and Ramen noodles, too.

Oregon protestor, Jon Ritzheimer, displays a family picture on his phone and a copy of the Constitution to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. He needs bottled water and Ramen noodles, too.

What would happen if a group of Indians took over the Malheur site and demanded the U.S. federal government stay away for good because it had been Indian land for thousands of years and should remain that way? How would the government react if a group of Mexican-Americans descended upon the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas and ordered the state and federal governments to cease making it a tourist attraction? What if a group of African-American Chicago residents, tired of rampant poverty and police abuses, overwhelmed city hall and demanded the mayor and police chief resign? Can anyone honestly see the U.S. federal government reacting with patience and diplomacy if any of these scenarios actually occurred? If you do, I have a box of gold bullion I’d like to sell you for USD 100.00 a bar; just give me the money (cash only) and I’ll ship it to you postage paid.

The people at Malheur are just a few members of a larger anti-government contingent here in the U.S. While the state of Oregon overall has a reputation as a bastion of liberal ideology, its eastern sectors are much more rural and conservative. The same holds true for its northern neighbor, Washington. For its southern neighbor, California, the northern half is the rural, conservative portion with strong anti-government sentiments. (On more than one occasion some northern California residents have launched concerted efforts to secede from the rest of the state; most recently in 2014.)

There have always been anti-government insurgents in the United States. From 19th century abolitionists to 1960s-era Black Panthers, various groups have organized and protested against what they view as an oppressive regime. The modern-day militia movement spawned from anxiety over tumultuous civil rights protests. Blacks, Hispanics, Indians, women and gays and lesbians form the bulk of their frustration (fear?), as they call for a rebirth of core American values. The militia movement is comprised mostly of devout Christians of European extraction. Publicly they trumpet their concerns about a federal government out of control, but many of their actions shout White supremacy. Any would-be social cataclysms are the stuff of pure hysteria. In other words, these clowns are conjuring up shit that hasn’t even happened.

The U.S. federal government, however, isn’t so left-wing. Cliven Bundy’s oldest son, Ammon Bundy, leads the Oregon militia and has promised his fellow Americans that “we are not terrorists.” The crop of loudmouths seeking the U.S. presidential nomination in the Republican Party have denounced President Obama for not using such terms as “Islamic terrorists” or “Muslim militants.” But they haven’t applied similar monikers to Bundy’s gang in Oregon or to the young White man who shot and killed 9 Black people after a Bible study session in a Charleston, South Carolina church last year. They were quick to slap the terrorist label onto a Muslim couple who ambushed a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California last month, killing 14 and injuring 22. But they offered their usual “thoughts and prayers” after a mentally deranged man opened fire in a Lafayette, Louisiana move theatre last summer, killing 2 and injuring several others, before taking his own life. The Lafayette killer allegedly praised the Charleston killer in a written screed that displays the “angry White male” syndrome in all its raging effervescence. More importantly, both men had purchased their guns illegally.

In 1968, thousands of law enforcement personnel swarmed into Chicago in advance of the Democratic National Convention. Emotions were still raw for many after the recent assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Police swiftly targeted unarmed protestors; part of their paranoia over rumors that leftists planned to spike the city’s water supply with LSD. Mayor Richard J. Daley had the Illinois National Guard in place, as convention participants arrived. The sight of police beating the crap out of unarmed protestors, while business proceeded as usual in the convention center horrified most Americans.

In November of 1969, 89 AIM activists sneaked onto Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and demanded the federal government turn it over to them, so they could convert it into a Native American cultural center. The island had sat mostly untouched, since the government closed the Alcatraz federal prison six years earlier. The AIM occupiers claimed they had rights to the rocky island under the terms of an 1868 government treaty allowing Native Americans to appropriate any unused federal land. And, of course, we all know how great a job the U.S. government has done in honoring those treaties. Officials tried in vain to get the occupants to give up peacefully. Increasingly squalid living conditions and some infighting, however, led to AIM’s complete desertion of Alcatraz by April 1971. Perhaps it was AIM’s reluctance to give up immediately that led to the government’s more virulent response to the Wounded Knee occupation.

The federal government had kept a close watch on Martin Luther King, almost from the moment he became known for his peaceful resistance against American apartheid. The government did the same with the Black Panthers, but they went further and tried infiltrating the group. In 1967 then-California governor Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act, which barred citizens from publicly displaying firearms. It was the closest thing to gun control the future conservative icon ever did, but it was a direct response to Black Panther activities; they had begun patrolling many all-Black neighborhoods to fight crime and stand against police brutality.

The government also kept track of civil rights activist César Chávez who led a series of farm worker strikes in California, beginning in 1962. Documents in the archives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prove they had him and his followers under surveillance. He, too, was a target of Reagan who bore a dislike of organized labor. Reagan appealed to White conservatives in his first run for the presidency by promising to do as much as he could to return America to its pre-1960s period; before all the non-Whites had the audacity to demand equality, voting rights and other such anarchist claims.

The whole world was watching the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago:

Fights even broke out inside the convention hall, proving how nasty politics and media can be.

 

In contrast, the government reacted slowly to the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s, which naturally corresponded with the rise of Black civil rights. Despite frequent lynchings, church bombings and other violent acts, the FBI didn’t even consider infiltrating the Klan until after the disappearance of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.

Although conservative voices slam government overreach with such things as the Affordable Care Act, the feds have treated mostly-White anti-government groups with care. Two 1990s-era events – Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas – are often cited by conservatives as hallmarks of government gone awry, but actually show just the opposite. In August of 1992, a standoff erupted between government agents and a family of White separatists, headed by Randy Weaver, in Ruby Ridge; a mountainous region of northern Idaho where many fellow White separatists had established themselves. The siege resulted in the deaths of one federal agent and Weaver’s wife, Vicky, and son, Sammy. The FBI had the Weavers and family friend Kevin Harrison under surveillance for months; in their native Iowa, they had ties to White supremacist groups that the government suspected were responsible for a series of bank robberies throughout the mid-West, beginning in the 1980s. Authorities didn’t believe the Weavers were tied directly to the robberies, but that they served as a conduit for firearms trafficking. Randy Weaver had been charged with selling two sawed-off shotguns and was scheduled to appear in court. When he didn’t, the family and Harrison came under greater scrutiny.  While still in Iowa, the Weavers allegedly sent their kids to school wearing Nazi armbands.

Conservatives equally slammed the government over its response to the Branch Davidian siege in Waco in the spring of 1993. As with the Weavers, the feds believed the group was stockpiling weapons and ammunition, which ultimately proved true. Moreover, Branch Davidian leader David Koresh was suspected of child molestation. When agents approached the Davidian compound, they were met with a hail of gunfire. A lengthy standoff ensued whereupon the government tore into the compound with military-style precision; killing 76 people, including 23 children.

However, social conservatives haven’t been so quick to condemn the actions of law enforcement during the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia. Established in 1972, MOVE (much like their White counterparts) is an anti-government group whose members all adopted the surname “Africa,” in symbolic protest of the Atlantic slave trade that stripped millions of Africans of their identities. The group came under federal surveillance from the moment of their inception. In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, May 13, 1985 (Mother’s Day), police literally dropped a bomb of C4 explosives on one portion of a section of row houses in West Philadelphia. The resulting conflagration killed 6 adults and 5 children, injured several others and destroyed 61 residences. Like the Weavers and Branch Davidians, MOVE members were no angels. They had more people living in one house than city rules allowed; windows were covered with plywood; and they blasted the neighborhood with loud music and vociferous protests. Police also suspected – rightfully – that the group possessed a large cache of weapons and ammunition.

Aftermath of the 1985 MOVE disaster.

Aftermath of the 1985 MOVE disaster.

Still, in a recent editorial, Jesse Walker questioned the legitimacy of denouncing the Oregon protestors as “terrorists.”

“The occupiers do have guns, and they have said they’re willing to use them if the cops come storming in,” Walker opines. “Yet they have no hostages, they haven’t fired at anyone, and if they do fire, they will almost certainly not aim at a civilian but at someone professionally charged with removing them from the premises. You can call that a lot of things, but it’s absurd to call it terrorism.”

In typical right-wing fashion, Walker goes on to point to the Ruby Ridge and Waco affairs as reasons the government is taking a cautious approach with the Oregon group. Anyone who views Randy Weaver and David Koresh as heroic figures isn’t just misguided; they’re assholes. One of them was Timothy McVeigh, mastermind of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which he said was revenge for Waco. McVeigh was videotaped near the Branch Davidian compound during the standoff holding a sign asking observers if they felt their religion met government approval.

White supremacists and serial pedophiles are essentially terrorists. What else should they be called? People with “emotional issues”? While many White conservatives still refer to Ruby Ridge and Waco with anxiety, many Blacks view the MOVE bombing more as a blatant example of the usual police brutality. But I haven’t heard any African-Americans refer to MOVE members as heroes.

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My tweet to Jesse Walker after reading his editorial last week.

More recently, the Occupy Wall Street movement was practically halted before it gained any real traction. The group of racially diverse upstarts launched reasonable protests against the same government as others; theirs, however, were directed towards the affluent bankers and hedge fund managers who almost destroyed the U.S. economy and plunged the nation into the worst recessionary period since the Great Depression. The protestors were mainly peaceful and non-violent, yet police from New York to San Francisco plowed into them with mace and batons. Scouring the news about Tea Party rallies – where racist diatribes and threats of violent insurrection are common – I can’t find one incident where police even tried to stop them.

I don’t know what will happen next with the Oregon standoff. Malheur is primarily a bird sanctuary, so I hope no avians are harmed. The interlopers have put out a call for much-needed supplies, such as bottled water and toiletries. In a strange sort of way, I support their frustration in that I have no faith in the U.S. government to do anything right. The years since 2001 have pretty much proven that. Along with bottled water and deodorant, I’d provide a copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which the group surely has. But, my copies would highlight this essential passage:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Even though the term “men” can now be easily translated to “people,” I want them and their supporters to understand they are no more deserving of this thing called the “American Dream” than anyone else. We all possess that inalienable right to “life” and “liberty” – whether we drink bottled water or not.

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I Hope Ted Cruz Runs for President

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz splashed onto the political scene two years ago when he easily won the seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Well-educated and highly intellectual, Cruz was a championship debater at Harvard University and, in 2003, became the youngest Solicitor General in the state of Texas; a role he served in until 2008. Unlike many first-year senators, Cruz quickly established himself as a rugged individualist by being blunt and outspoken. He held true to his base by bashing anyone and anything that didn’t fit his narrow agenda: taxes, regulation, the federal government, and, of course, President Obama. While the Republican National Party was already moving in a more staunchly conservative direction, Cruz seemed to break off his own small faction that slid even further to the right; making Hitler and Stalin look like tree-hugging liberals.

In September of 2013, Cruz incited a shutdown of the entire federal government over funding for the Affordable Care Act. He spoke on the Senate floor for 21 uninterrupted hours and was hailed as a hero by his “Tea Party” acolytes. Cruz and his Republican cohorts were unwilling to reach even a modest agreement with Democrats and Independents on funding the government; so on October 1, 2013, it essentially shut down. Approximately 850,000 workers were furloughed, and another 1.3 million were required to report for work with paycheck dates. The 16-day stalemate was the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history and cost about $24 billion. As usual, whenever government officials skirmish, average citizens bore the brunt of the shutdown.

Now that Republicans are scheduled to take control of both houses of Congress next month, Cruz is demanding that funding for any of Obama’s programs – namely the ACA – be severed and any presidential appointments be thwarted. In other words, Cruz is pushing for nothing to get done so he can prove his point.

For all of these reasons, I sincerely hope Cruz runs for president in 2016. Not because I like and admire him. I want to see his arrogance get shoved down his throat.

Cruz is already positioning himself for a run. He’s engaged in the vital prerequisites: he’s visited the state of Iowa several times (Iowa is where the nation’s first voting primaries are held each election cycle); he’s solicited a bevy of affluent donors; and he’s expressed his unmitigated support for Israel. All he has to do is give a speech at Bob Jones University saying he doesn’t think Negro slavery was all that bad, and he’ll be good for the Republican Party’s nomination.

But I think once Cruz enters onto that stage, spouting off his vitriolic rhetoric and twisted views on American values, he’ll be shocked to learn not everyone loves him. His right-wing extremism will become apparent. Politics has a way of cutting people down to size. I sincerely feel Cruz will get diced up quicker than squid at a sushi restaurant.

A brief examination of Cruz’s voting record shows his true dimension. Among other things, he’s voted against funding for highways and transportation (three times); the “Bring Jobs Home Act”; the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act”; “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act”; the “Minimum Wage Fairness Act”; the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act”; the 2014 “Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act”; the 2013 “Employment Non-Discrimination Act”; and the 2013 “Student Loan Affordability Act.”

There is one seemingly innocuous fact about Cruz that may play into the hands of his opponents: he wasn’t born in the U.S. He was born in Canada; something from which he doesn’t shy away. Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was born in Cuba and lived under the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. In 1957, Cruz managed to escape Cuba and arrive in Texas with only 100 U.S. dollars and the clothes on his back. He had supported Fidel Castro, but now claims he didn’t know at the time that Castro was a communist. There’s a politician, if I’ve ever heard one! In the 1960s, Cruz met and married Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson. Eleanor was born in Delaware to Irish- and Italian-American parents. Rafael and Eleanor Cruz moved to Alberta, Canada where they worked in the oil industry. In 1974, the Cruz family (now including little Ted) moved back to Texas. Rafael and Eleanor divorced several years later. Why they abruptly relocated to Canada in the first place and when exactly they were married and divorced remains unclear. But doubts about Sen. Cruz’s citizenship keep surfacing.

In order to qualify to be President, the U.S. Constitution states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

The precise definition of “natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States” has confounded plenty of legal scholars and amateurs. To many of us, it simply means that you were born in one of the 50 United States, a U.S. territory, or a U.S. military base. But, if at least one of your parents was born in the U.S., then you are a U.S. citizen. My mother, for example, was born just outside of México City in 1932; yet she and her three siblings were U.S. citizens because their father was born in Michigan in 1902. Does that mean she’s qualified to run for U.S. president? I’m not certain. I don’t think she’d want the job anyway; she’d scare the crap out of too many people.

The issue of U.S. citizenship in relation to the presidency has come up before. In 1964, when Barry Goldwater garnered the Republican Party’s nomination for president, some speculated he wasn’t qualified, since he’d been born in Arizona, three years before it became a state. In 1968, when George Romney sought the Republican nomination, he didn’t avoid the fact he had been born in México in 1907. Both of his parents had been born in the U.S. and allegedly fled religious persecution by relocating to México where they and fellow Mormons set up a Mormon colony that still exists. (In reality, the Romneys wanted to maintain their polygamous lifestyle.)

The right-wing hysteria surrounding President Obama’s birthplace and birth certificate is well-documented. The self-righteous “birther” gang maintains that Obama was born in Kenya, like his father, and not in Hawaii, as the president’s birth certificate declares. Some people still don’t realize Hawaii is one of the United States. When I worked for the wire transfer division of a bank in the 1990s, we’d invariably get calls from branch offices asking if a transfer to Hawaii was domestic or international. Not much was made of the fact Senator John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, when it was still a U.S. territory.

Ted Cruz tackled his own citizenship last year when he released his official Canadian birth certificate and then renounced his Canadian citizenship. I’m sure Canada was heartbroken.

Citizenship matters aside, Cruz may feel self-assured about a presidential run. Anyone who dares to tackle such an office has to be extremely self-confident and just a little bit arrogant. Cruz will find, though, that he has to appeal to a much larger base of people than the gaggle of conservative hardliners that orgasm with his every word. For one thing, he’ll have to appeal to Hispanics. That’ll be especially tough. I guess you have to understand the Hispanic identity in the U.S. Cuban-Americans don’t like to be dubbed “Hispanic” or “Latino” because that places them in the same category as Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Guatemalans, etc. For some ungodly reason, some Cuban-Americans – Rafael Cruz among them – think they’re superior to other Spanish-surnamed peoples in the Western Hemisphere. As comedian Paul Rodriguez once noted, “When Mexicans enter the U.S. illegally, they take them to jail. When Cubans enter the U.S. illegally, they take them to Disney World.”

Ted Cruz will have no choice but to court Hispanics – and everyone else, regardless of ethnicity – if he wants to live in the White House and be considered the “Leader of the Free World.” It won’t be easy for him; not at all. He won’t be able to justify his extremist views to a broader audience. Then he’ll find himself on that sushi board. And me, personally, I think sushi is disgusting.

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Cruising for Trouble

Okay, I know the title of this essay is a bad play on the name of Ted Cruz, the former Solicitor General of Texas, who hopes to replace Kay Bailey-Hutchison in the U.S. Senate this year.  He’s a Republican, of course, and since I’m not too fond of Republican politicians – especially the species creeping out of Texas – I have to criticize him.  Cruz isn’t just a Republican; he’s a “Tea Party” Republican – that wacky band of closet Nazis who emerged after our biracial president took office.  The “Tea Party” clan has grabbed the GOP by the throat and wants to send America back to the good old days of the 19th century, when only White heterosexual Christian males had power.

Cruz has been playing right into the gnarly hands of the far right; placating them with a variety of outrageous claims and blatant lies.  For example, he thinks billionaire businessman George Soros and the United Nations are conspiring to eliminate golf in the U.S.  As if that would be a bad thing.  Cruz also apparently adheres to the growing reemergence of nullification; a 19th century philosophy that states can invalidate any federal laws they don’t like.  The Affordable Health Care Act has become their favorite target.  In his first campaign ad, Cruz states, in his role as Solicitor General, he made it easier for Texas to kill an “illegal alien.”  It’s a reference to a 2008 case, Medellin vs. Texas, in which the state argued that it shouldn’t have to comply with the Vienna Convention.  The Vienna Convention is a 1969 treaty requiring countries to inform foreign nationals who are arrested that they have the right to legal counsel from their home country.  As of 2010, 112 states had signed it, including North Korea, which even honored it when it captured 2 American journalists in 2009.

Cruz has an apparent disdain for illegal immigrants – which I do, as well, to some extent.  But, from a cultural standpoint, you have to understand where this could lead.  Cruz hopes to appeal to Texas’ growing Hispanic population – most of whom are of Mexican or Central American extraction.  Most of them – despite what you may hear on FOX News – are either native born residents or legal immigrants who don’t commit crimes.  Here’s where it gets really interesting and personal.  Cruz is only half-Hispanic; his father was born and raised in Cuba where he had fought against and been tortured under the brutal regime of Fulgencio Batista.  Batista had come to power in 1933 and ruled Cuba until Fidel Castro led a successful coup in 1959.  Batista was an anti-communist ideologue, which endeared him to the U.S.  But, he revoked many personal liberties, such as the right to strike.  His secret police force allegedly killed thousands of people on the island nation.  Under his command, only a handful of families owned most of the land and therefore, held the bulk of the wealth and power.  As in most Latin American nations at the time, a wide gap existed between the wealthy and the poor; kind of like how the U.S. is becoming now.  Cruz’s father fled to the U.S. in 1957, arriving in Austin, Texas with $100.  But, Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, that bastion of socialist anxiety right-wing extremists generally hate so much.  The “Tea Party” crowd frequently compares the Affordable Health Care Act to Canada’s universal health care policies – e.g. socialism.

Back to the Hispanic thing.  While most Hispanics trend Democratic when voting, Cuban-Americans, in particular, lean Republican.  And, as a group, Cubans seem to despise other Hispanics, mainly Mexicans and Puerto Ricans.  I don’t know why, but I’ve seen it and felt in the overall Hispanic community in Dallas.  I think it’s because Cuba is such a devoutly communist country; one of the last remaining bastions of Marxist theology in the world and the only one in the Western Hemisphere.  Therefore, when its residents flee to the United States, they are truly running for their lives.  But, no such compassion lands upon the shoulders of refugees from war-torn nations elsewhere in Latin America.  To paraphrase comedian Paul Rodriguez, ‘when Mexicans come here illegally, they take them to jail; when Cubans come here illegally, they take them to Disney World.’

Like any good Republican extremist, Cruz despises Barack Obama; believing the President is collaborating with Soros and others to turn the U.S. into a “European socialist union.”  He wants to gut both Social Security and Medicaid, feeling they have already pushed the U.S. towards that dreaded socialist state.  It doesn’t seem to matter that those programs have prevented millions of elderly and / or disabled people from slipping into poverty.  Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan feels the same way.  Neither will probably get much of the Hispanic vote and will have a tough time sweet-talking senior citizens.

Cruz is facing Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and member of the Texas House of Representatives.  Surprisingly, the Dallas Morning News endorsed Sadler for the U.S. Senate; amazing in that the paper has almost always recommended the Republican candidate.  That’s why I scratch my head in confusion every time some local right-winger hollers like a cow going into labor that the News has a leftist agenda.

Alas, I’m afraid Ted Cruz will win that coveted Senate seat next month.  When many Texans go to the polls, they seem to leave their brains in their vehicles, while making sure they have their guns.  It’s getting dangerous even for us moderates here in Texas.  And, the fact that a far-right fundamentalist like Ted Cruz could end up in such a powerful position doesn’t bode well for the United States as a whole.

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A Thousand Words

You remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words?  This one was taken at a “Teabagger” rally and clearly says: ASSHOLE!

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Quote of the Day

“We know that some people have expressed concerns about one of our humor cards that references President Obama and tea parties.  That line of cards has successfully poked fun at both sides of the political debate for many years.  It is never our intent to offend anyone.  We apologize if anyone was offended.”

– Hallmark, in a statement after some Tea Party advocates expressed outrage at a recent Hallmark graduation card.

You mean to tell me that the same band of loud-mouthed bigots got their feelings hurt over a greeting card?  Altogether now – who cares?!

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