John Hamilton

John Hamilton
Location
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Birthday
December 31
Bio
I've been around a while, lived in a lot of places, worked in numerous trades and professions, served in the Army, went to school a lot, followed a guru, and write a blog, "While we still have time." My birthday isn't really December 31. I had to put something in.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 17, 2012 8:06PM

Party Pooper

Rate: 8 Flag
While I was riding my bicycle in downtown Madison last Saturday I heard a voice coming from a PA system at the Capitol, and pedaled over to see what was going on. I figured it was some kind of race or kids' event, but it was a "Tea Party" rally. I had my camera with me, so I wandered through the crowd taking pictures to post here. It was the most hateful crowd I have been around, worse than last year's "Tea Party" rally where Sarah Palin was the headliner. I arrived in the middle of a speech by Vicki McKenna, a local "right wing" hate radio talk show host. The vitriol was pretty unbelievable.

I didn't expect any difficulty from the crowd. I stashed my "Recall Walker" button inside my backpack, and figured I was pretty incognito, except my bicycle helmet was a dead giveaway. Biking is not exactly the preferred activity among "right wingers."

At one point I happened across a stack of bumper stickers that said "I Am AFP!" AFP is "Americans for Prosperity," the political advocacy group funded by the Koch Brothers. I picked up one of the bumper stickers, and continued on my way.

Filtering through the crowd, I brushed past a guy who was about 6 feet 5 or 6 inches tall, and who weighed about 240-250 pounds. A muscle-man, big enough to be a pro football defensive end. He's the guy in the white shirt above. He quickly turned around, and yelled "Hey, where you goin' with that?" I stopped, and replied "I thought they were free." He then accused me of taking it from his back pocket, and grabbed it from my hands. I told him I didn't take it from him, but got it from the pile nearby. He insisted I stole it from him, and I said "Keep it! I'll get another one." At that point he changed completely, apologized, and insisted I take the one I originally had. Then he offered to shake my hand. It was surreal. My hands are big enough (barely) to palm a basketball, but this guy's hand was huge. It was like shaking hands with King Kong.  I continued on my way, but took a picture of him on the way out.

I took some more pictures, then talked with some people for a few minutes and left. One guy, a "liberal," was as difficult to converse with as were "right wingers." In polarized times, there isn't much real conversation, but assertion of talking points. It has become a battle of egos, and I don't stick around for long.

One thing that was curious was that there were a lot of big muscly guys there, not the kinds you would randomly see at a public event like Taste of Madison or Art Fair on the Square. A number of them were positioned at the outer edges of the crowd, and some were engaged in casual conversation with State Police. Another curious element was the high visibility of the Koch brothers front organization, AFP. There was a significant intersect between big muscly guys and "I am AFP" guys. Given that these big muscly guys were in disproportionate numbers, it seems a good likelihood that they were brought in from outside the state by the Koch brothers, paid to be there.

Nothing much happened, though there seems to have been some kind of small disturbance during the Vicki McKenna speech. It must have been before I arrived, because I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I asked someone on the way out why there were so few counter-demonstrators, and was told no one knew about it. More likely there was no polarizing presence like Sarah Palin to draw in the crowds like last year. The crowd wasn't very large, the "official" (Walker Dept. of Administration) estimate at about 2000. That was a bit generous. It looked to me to be about 1000 people.

The "Tea Party" isn't much of a movement. It was artificially created in the wake of the 2008 bank bailout at the urging of a TV pundit from CNBC, Rick Santelli. It had some roots before that, and appears to be largely funded by, hmm, the Koch brothers. The combination of hate media and Koch money can stoke the fires of animosity and scapegoating for a while, but without a sound basis in reality it will lose its appeal. Saturday's crowd was smaller than what you would see at a typical high school football game.

This is encouraging. Maybe the country is starting to wake up. It's about time. I'm not so optimistic, at least for the near-term. The more likely case is that Tea Party fellow-travelers are too cheap and/or lazy to bother to make the trip to Madison to stand up for what they believe in. I base this view on my own experience in day-to-day existence. I don't view "right-wing" hate mentality as a political stance so much as a mental condition, a dominance by what some psychologists call the reptilian brain. There are other descriptions, such as the authoritarian personality complex, and the antisocial personality disorder. There is even a sub-group designation of "right-wing authoritarianism."

The reptilian brain, home of right-wingersJohn Dean, former counsel in the Nixon White House, believes that Wisconsin's union-busting governor Scott Walker is an authoritarian worse than Nixon. Having an authoritarian governor is bad enough, but the real damage he can do is when this personality disorder is combined with crony capitalism. There is considerable evidence that this is what is behind Walker's strategy, and he may find himself under indictment at any time.

We'll see. There are no guarantees. We have a corrupt system. My main contention is that climate change will direct our future, and will determine whether we even exist as a species. We have an infinite growth economic system on a finite planet, and the trend for our technology is to displace people with machines and computers. We have an escapist and trivial pop culture that our mass communications media are feverishly hyping. At some point all these dynamics will converge. Then real change will take place. We should plan for it.

_______________________________________________

 

The guy with the "I voted for the American" sign didn't want his picture taken. This is the other side of the sign. As soon as I lined up my shot he lowered his sign. I crouched down to shoot from below, and he lowered it more. So much for "right wing" standing up for one's beliefs.

 

 

 I haven't listened to this song in a long time. It fits here.

 

This also fits.

 

Here's a tune to inspire independent thought.

 

Here's something to keep in mind. This too.

 

I always come back to this song.

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As you must know Fox news often makes it appear as if this movement is much bigger and the Occupy Wall Street movement is much smaller and MSNBC is reporting less on OWS but they have indicated that the tea party is fizzling.

Your description sounds like it is mostly if not entirely AstroTurf that can't work unless they rig the system big time.

It is hard to imagine this happening especially with Scott Walker under possible indictment or the threat of it; but they never should have gotten this far in the first place and the fact that they were able to keep the superior judge in office after a suspicious election and accusations of choking another judge should be a cause for alarm.
There's plenty of alarm in Wisconsin, but we're moving into the final push for recalling the governor. I'm not real optimistic about recalling Walker.

The uprising last year began with the University of Wisconsin graduate students organization, the TAA, and spread to other unions, mainly WEAC, the teachers' union, AFSCME, the union for state workers, and SEIU, which is mainly nurses and other state health care workers.

Then, the "Democrats" got involved, and for the most part they rose to the occasion. They didn't lead the recall effort, though. It has been a grassroots campaign from the beginning. For the governor to be recalled there has to be an opposing candidate. "Democrats" have been slow to offer themselves as candidates, but now there are four. The most likely nominee will be Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in 2010, largely because of the lifeless campaign he waged statewide.

Barrett will likely lose again. He is running in exactly the same manner, relying on TV ads, endorsements, fundraisers, emails, and some social media. His campaign is one of conventional wisdom, declaring "I will restore collective bargaining."

If you compare this statement with "Give me liberty or give me death," "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation...," and even "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," you can see that the recall is an uphill battle.

All four recall candidates are essentially campaigning with "I'm the one! Vote for me!" slogans. What is needed is an explanation to ALL voters of why we have a state government, why it is necessary to pay for it, the role of taxation, why progressive taxation is the only kind that works, and why unions are a necessary component in a functioning democracy.

They need to show some belief in principles of governance. They can't do this because they are run-of-the-mill politicians, and only see a narrow horizon, saying what they think will woo voters. Barrett will lose, but that will only move the effort to the next dimension. It will be a perfect lead-in to abandon the "Democratic" party, and move to the next step, forming a party that is committed to actually doing something.
These dinosaurs just don't know what to do with themselves. They are out of synch with the rest of the world, and cling desperately to a version of the world that existed only in their own pinheads.
As much as I don't like the Tea Party, we can't deny that the movement has elected a lot of people to Congress. Sure, Tea Partiers didn't end up choosing the Republican nominee for president,but it's a bit early to write an obituary.

By itself I enjoyed this article about a Tea Party rally. But I always find it a bit rich to see criticism of the Tea Party on Salon, which is fawning in its support of Occupy (a movement for people just as accepting of conspiracy theories as Tea Partiers, but on the Left - the One Percent is single handedly ruining America through dastardly plots). The articles usually have things about gun nuts and racists in the Tea Party, and they are presented as representative of the Tea Party. But when Occupiers smash windows and threaten people they aren't real Occupiers, but vandals, or better yet, people posing as Occupiers to discredit the movement. And there is always a stab at Fox. I've never liked Fox, but criticism coming from Salon - a "progressive", less-popular, but just as partisan "news" organization as Fox - is just absurd.
Good on you, unlike most you've become self-aware of the Authoritarian demented personality which has been the bane of human existence from Day 1. Any little trip down Herstory Lane shows how they destroy everything they don't understand, which is pretty much everything.

But, to the Tea Baggers, and, only isolationists would choose an innuendo such as that as a label in about their only act of innocence. The QUESTION simply jumps off the page: Who starts an Anti-Taxation Movement just when Taxes hit their all time low? The answer is coming. Now, if their issue isn't Taxes, and, it can't be- simply can't, lowest since Ike, then, what is it? Who are they? And what is it?

First, who are they? Well, a quite small number of them are simply good people, brainwashed, but not bad people in their hearts. But, who are the rest ... they are, named by Conservative Hero and Champion Mr. Buckley himself, they are, THE VULGARIANS, again, named by the Father of Modern Conservatism, not some bleeding heart pinko.

The Kochs? Vulgarians? But, they donate to museums and stuff! Well, think again, their Daddy and the Welchs were the scum Buckley knew would be the Death Knell of his movement ... so, he and even Goldwater kept them out of the Party at all costs. Their Birch Society was, and is, a known joke, paranoid imbeciles gorging on credulity. But, Rove and Luntz and the new "leaders" of the To'R'y Party of AmeriKKKa have let them out of the cellar as they feel they have no choice, so that's who, but, again, WHY?

Well, since it CAN'T be Taxes, despite the acronym, then what, exactly, is different? What? What exactly? Well, your photo tells all: our BLACK HAWAIIAN FEARLESS LEADER is, um, different how again? What? Exactly? Yes, he voted not for the Keny-, I mean, the Hawaiian. In fact, they simply can't accept he's even Hawaiian. He is a Black Man, though he has no African American descent whatsoever. He's Hawaiian, yet that is NEVER discussed. Basically he's a N$%&*r and that is the problem.

Any doubts?

Auwe (Alas)
Part of the maturing process is learning not to just say anything that comes to mind just to express an opinion. Salon is hardly fawning in support of the Occupy movement. The website is set up as a "Progressive" analysis opinion salon, hence the name. Over the years there have been "right wing" writers featured, such as David Horowitz and Andrew Sullivan, but in both cases their work degenerated into personal disputes and nastiness.

I didn't write an obituary. I wrote about what I observed, and included some background on local issues and my surmise on "right wing" mental states, again based on observation and psychological research.

Regarding the Occupy movement, it is a burgeoning movement that is synthesizing and exploring ways to be effective. It is not a monolith, and, like any movement, is vulnerable to infiltration and co-optation by people with a wide variety of motivations. There really is a Wall Street, and it is the physical location of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. As such, its occupants (legal) wield great power. They are able to buy politicians and regulators, and the maldistribution of income and wealth in this country can be directly laid at its big doorstep.

Salon is not the seat of perfection in the Universe, but criticizing it for being what it is should give one pause on visiting the site at all. Politico or something bland like golf.com or weather.com might be more suitable.
Great post. I went to a Tea Party rally a few years ago and it was very similar to your description.
These people are not only surreal but actually so narrow and shallow that they'd not really be able to debate anything that is reality based.
They are a fabrication of F*X and other outlets. These brain stems have no plan and are ever so proud of it. Anything that gets Obama out is good and anything that impels his tenure is bad. I actually feel that they can only handle simple thought processes, like a talented lab animal ... they are only that. They are telling us what this experiment in the Twilight Zone is really about: creatures like Glen Beck and Ted Nugent do not build credibility. Real Americans that care have one thing in common: they bring solutions, or at least, try as best that they can.
* - Any vowel or bowel
I forgot to mention that if you click on the pictures bigger versions appear. You can hit control click and get them in a new tab. You can see more detail, and some of the people in the background are pretty amusing.

I think we're on the verge of a major exposure and disgrace to all this "right wing" crap. As anyone familiar with my writing already knows, I don't believe the mythical spectrum of "left" to "right" either exists or is metaphorically useful, except to people who are bound by affiliation and intellect. I see "right wing" as a mental condition, and is is given power by people who need a powerful enemy to be afraid of. These people are mental defectives. They can do great harm, but they don't deserve any bestowal of legitimacy.
At OWS you find dead bodies, riots, fires, and murders. Guess that would have been more to your liking. They certainly did a number on Oakland to the point the Democratic mayor begged them to leave.
Those signs are scary. It would be interesting to know where they come from because they're not homemade.
Harrison - OWS wasn't about Democrats. They are as much a part of the problem as Repugs.
I never said OWS was about Dems.