Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Debunking a Talking Tea Party Bear

“Did you know our basic freedoms as Americans are under attack?” says an animated brown bear.

“No I had no idea,” the other animatronic bear says, “I wake up every day and don’t feel my basic freedoms are threatened.”

This video (surely it’s gone viral) is reasoned, hilarious, and slightly disturbing at the same time. I like the reasonable response of the non-Tea Party bear to the crazy bear’s fanaticism.

“Obama is worse than Hitler,” the disturbing computer-generated voice of the Tea Partier warns, about four minutes in. “If we don’t vote the Democrats out of office, we will all be living as slaves to the evil liberal elite intellectuals who hate us and hate our freedoms.”

“I’m sorry you live so out of touch with reality,” the rational bear replies.

Filed under: comedy, homophobia, humor, politics, , , , , ,

O’Donnell’s Understanding of The Constitution

The last thing I want to do in this blog is give space and publicity to crazies. Christine O’Donnell is no exception.

Let’s just consider this video for its entertainment value (and the irony that O’Donnell’s Tea Party is so adamant about its adherence to the Constitution).

The Senate candidate’s ignorance of the separation of church and state begins about 2:40, but it’s worth a look-see to hear her thoughts on religious education in public schools in its entirety:

Come on: Separation of church and state? Why would an understanding of this founding principle be important for a civil servant?

Filed under: government, politics, , , ,

A Whole Lotta Crazy: The Glenn Beck Rally

America is “becoming communist”! We don’t teach patriotism in our schools! Barack Obama is anti-progress, a Muslim, and a racist!

Curious about the right’s viewpoints? This video of Glenn Beck supporters at Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” rally speaks for itself–though it may also test your patience.

Filed under: politics, republican, , , , , , ,

BP, Capitalism, and GOP Brainwashing

Christopher Durang, the sardonic playwright and provocateur (I remember playing a minor role in his cutting play Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You when I was still in elementary school), writes a well-reasoned commentary on the oil spill and its evidence of so many ways we’ve gone wrong in today’s Huff Post. Not only does he soundly lambast those who like to rail against environmentalism (“the earth has always been changing” the conservatives say), but he takes corporations and greed-driven financial institutions to task.

The commentary has an air of sadness combined with anger, as if this disaster along our southern gulf is only the culmination of the poor oversight of business, the outlandish Tea Party claims of socialism, our communal overuse and abuse of resources for more cars, more production, more selfishness in sucking up the world’s riches. He’s not alone. I share his outrage. And I imagine he’d have a whole rally of frustrated Americans if we brought his case to the podium.

Citing Bob Herbert in a New York Times op ed, he writes:

If a bank is too big to fail, it’s way too big to exist. If an oil well is too far beneath the sea to be plugged when something goes wrong, it’s too deep to be drilled in the first place.

I’m reminded of the great Harvey Fierstein PSA a couple years ago, when Fierstein asks viewers, with a calm yet menacing restraint, “Where is our anger?” “Where is our anger?” he repeated, over and over. Why aren’t those of us who are pissed off with the greed of corporate America, the co-opting of the national conversation by ridiculous, fear-mongering people like Sarah Palin and the Tea Party maniacs, as vocal and organized and angry as those on the right?

The GOP, for all its misdirected views, has managed to organize and coalesce its values around Christianity and capitalism rather than humanism and rational dialogue. Christopher Durang questions these material values:

Has any Republican read the Beatitudes lately? They’re pretty significant, but you kind of have to be a saint to follow them. Republicans seem to have merged Christianity with … well, laissez-fair capitalism. I don’t think Jesus would approve.

Where is our anger? Have we become too comfortable with all our stuff? Why is it only now, after more than a month since the oil leak started, are we only seeing the devastating–but real–images of all kinds of wildlife covered in oil?

Maybe it’s because those of us with progressive views don’t want to sink to the Republican’s level of shouting. Their lack of discourse (and embrace of shock value and fear-mongering). What else will it take (because a catastrophic oil spill ain’t firing up the crowds) for more of us to get off our padded sofas and take the corporations to task?

Where is your anger?

Filed under: business, consumerism, media, politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

Rand Paul’s Discrimination Under the Law

I’ve been following Rand Paul’s views on civil rights over the past couple days, interested by the division that Paul seems to make between the idea of racism and the intervention of government. He’s against racial discrimination, but should the government protect citizens from it?

In Paul’s opinion, he makes clear that he does not think the government should step into the realm of private business. He’s a libertarian. And his reluctance to endorse the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supports basic principles of libertarianism: small–if nonexistent–government, individual rights above all, and belief in the free market. When Rachel Maddow put his libertarian thinking to real-life scenarios like private restaurants refusing to serve black customers, Paul refused to answer directly. Though he espouses that he doesn’t support discrimination of any kind, he would not vote to protect these customers. In Paul’s view, the private business owner can discriminate as he or she wishes.

Moreover, Bob Cesca connects Paul’s troubling stand with the Tea Party’s racial issues in The Huffington Post:

However, he obviously supports allowing businesses to engage in racial discrimination with impunity. Evidently, if the government says it’s against the law to run a whites-only business, this is a bridge too far for Rand Paul.

Even more troubling, Paul gave this convoluted and misguided suggestion that goes against ADA access policies. Essentially, his viewpoint for people with disabilities is this: If you can give an employee in a wheelchair a first-floor office rather than spend thousands on installing an elevator for the person to access a second-floor office, than this solution should meet societal standards.

Separate but equal was shut down long ago. However, separate but equal is fine by Rand Paul. Is this viewpoint what we want in a voting member of Congress?

Filed under: politics, racism, republican, , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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