Truckin’ to Treason: The Hot Air of Secession

by WALTER BRASCH

A white Ford F-250 pick-up rumbled through town, a Confederate rebel flag on a pole behind the cab; on the rear bumper were a pro-life and three Anti-Obama stickers, two of which could not be revealed in a family newspaper.

It wasn’t a lone wolf protest; several cars, trucks, and homes in the area sport similar flags and messages. During the summer, when a 4-wheel Jamboree and a Monster Truck rally are held at the local fairgrounds, attracting thousands from a multi-state area, many trucks fly rebel flags, insignia, and political statements. During the annual eight-day fair at the end of September, vendors sell all kinds of items with the Confederate battle flag, most of them made overseas.

The rebels say they are fierce independents. But, being a “rebel” doesn’t mean you can complain about paying taxes, while also denying climate change and evolution. Nevertheless, those flying rebel flags, although they may be disenchanted and alienated from the mainstream, are still part of traditional mainstream America.

They may claim they oppose “Government” (also known as “gummint”) intruding upon their lives, but think it’s perfectly acceptable for government to make rules about the people’s sexual practices and to invade women’s bodies.

They also believe government has the duty to create laws to require national identification for every citizen and establish restrictive measures that weaken the rights of all people to vote, especially those who aren’t White establishment Republicans. When the U.S. invaded Iraq for reasons that were questionable at best, chest-thumping jingoistic “rebels” were the strongest supporters of military action. But, they remained largely silent when liberals and social activists spoke out about soldiers not being given adequate body armor, and military hospitals not giving the wounded adequate treatment. They have also remained largely silent about the one-fourth of America’s homeless who were combat veterans.

These pretend-rebels gave standing ovations to the PATRIOT Act that established numerous ways the government could violate citizen rights granted by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments. When the federal courts ruled parts of the Act to be unconstitutional, the “patriotic rebels” complained about activist judges.

They listen to conservative talk radio and Fox News, all of which bash the mainstream media, but don’t recognize that the very sources they turn to for information are also mainstream media, owned by establishment multi-millionaires.

They willingly agree with Mitt Romney, even in defeat, that 47 percent of Americans are takers who “want stuff,” but don’t recognize that one of the biggest takers who wanted more “stuff” was Romney himself, who ran a venture capital company that existed to take over other companies. Even fellow Republicans during the primaries called Romney not a venture capitalist but a vulture capitalist.

In a local newspaper, which daily opens a full page, sometimes two full pages, to dozens of one or two paragraphs of grammatically-scurrilous rants from local citizens, are variations of President Obama being a Kenyan-born Muslim who is leading America into Communism and self-destruction, their thoughts mimicking the screed of conservative talk show hosts, pundits, and bloviators.

But the rebel who drove the white F-250 doesn’t live in the Deep South; this is in the rural red center of blue-state Pennsylvania, home of the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg, the turning point of the Civil War.

The Civil War-known as the War Between the States among Confederate sympathizers-is still being fought. Almost 25,000 Pennsylvanians have now signed petitions to have the Keystone State secede from the union.

More than 700,000 citizens upset about the re-election of President Obama in the past two weeks have signed petitions calling for their states to secede. The states with most of the signatures are Red States, paralleling the former Confederacy, which receive far more in federal dollars than their citizens pay. They are also the states where numerous polls reveal at least one-fourth of all citizens don’t believe in the separation of church and state. Maybe the U.S. can convince Iran and Saudi Arabia, theocratic dictatorships, to annex those states.

However, Texas, with more than 120,000 signatures, leads all lists of petitions. It would be tempting to send the Lone Star State back to Mexico. They get Texas, and the U.S. gets Acapulco, Cancun, and Mazatlan. In 2009, running for re-election, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, trying to burnish his ultra-conservative credentials, had even suggested that not only did he align himself with right-wing extremists but that Texas could become so mad at the federal government they might consider seceding. But now, he says he disagrees with the citizens who ignorantly claim the 10th Amendment gives them right to secede.

Perhaps it’s because Gov. Perry realizes that the only way a state can secede from the union, according to the Constitution, is not by having a majority of citizens petition the White House or even having an election, but only by an armed insurrection, something that didn’t work in 1861-and won’t work today.

Nevertheless, there is one possibility for those who so willingly signed secession petitions, mouthing off before they understood the penalties for treason.

For more than four decades, these conservative pretend-rebels told everyone who disagreed with them and protested American policy that they were un-American and unChristian. Not knowing even the basics of the Constitution or political philosophy, the conservative “rebels” called protestors for social justice pinkos, Commies, and traitors. They drilled into the public discourse the mantra of “America-love it or leave it.” By their own actions the past two weeks, it may now be time for a few hundred thousand to pack their bags and take their own advice.

[Walter Brasch proudly calls himself a social activist who, although he often disagrees with government actions, believes in the right of the state to exist and to protect its citizens from all forms of terrorism and stupidity, both foreign and domestic. His current book, which looks at the American Revolution and the Revolution of the 1960s, is Before the First Snow, available at amazon.com and www.greeleyandstone.com]

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Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D.

Bailing Out Climate Change Deniers

The Agriculture Department announced new measures this week to aid drought stricken farmers in the Midwest.  It allows hay and pasture use in public lands for additional counties hit hard by climate change.  Scientists told Congress this week that global warming is accelerating to such an extent that it has moved baselines.  In other words, the definitions of what is “normal” are moving.  As the world heats up we’re seeing even more powerful weather patterns emerge:  storms, flooding, drought, wildfires, etc.

The red states in America’s heartland have kept electing radical conservatives like James Inhofe who refuse to accept the reality of the science.  They prefer to seize on a narrow definition of the word “trick” in a Penn State professor’s email years ago instead of accepting the fact the word has multiple definitions and, in the context used,  doesn’t mean what they thought.  Meanwhile now the Midwest is burning up as Texas did a year ago.  Crops are failing and ranchers are sending herds to the slaughterhouse because there isn’t ins’t enough feed.

Farmers are like foolish gamblers flocking to casinos who double down on bad bets.  They keep voting red in spite of the fact the policies espoused by the representatives are destroying their farms and their lives.  They’ll do it again this year even as their crops fail and they ask taxpayers to bail them out.  These die hard “free market” aficionados scream for socialized bailouts when their own votes destroy their farms instead of accepting personal responsibility for their failures.

In a true free market we’d allow them to fail and let the market replace them with smarter, more progressive thinkers.  If voting Republican for decades resulted in their losing their shirts and they then double down on their bet don’t they deserve to lose?  This is no different than how we bailed out Wall Street then allowed them to go and do it all over again.  Stupid is as stupid does as the movie says.  Why are we, as taxpayers, doubling down again on these losers?  End the subsidies and bailouts for farmers who sowed the seeds of their own failure backing idiots in Washington and allow their “free market” to restore some sanity.  

These folks cannot claim to hold these ideological beliefs so dear then abandon them as soon as climate change devastates their livelihoods.  It isn’t like no one saw this coming.  The computer models on climate change have been scarily accurate.  Greenland has melted for crying out loud, seas are rising, the Arctic ice is largely gone and these morons still go around claiming that 97% of the world’s scientists have been wrong.  They want to have their cake and eat it too, at our expense.

The catastrophic costs of climate change are beginning to sink in and it isn’t pretty.  There’s no way we’ll ever be able to cover all the losses so let’s not begin now.  Arguments that doing something would cost jobs and hurt the economy were funded by the oil, gas and coal industries.  They brainwashed these fools into believing their propaganda and now that the shit is hitting the fan they want us to pay up.  I say no.  

Instead of continuing to pay billions in fossil fuel subsidies they screamed that clean, renewable energy firms like Solyndra got some and failed.  In reality we should have been eliminating all fossil fuel welfare programs and shifted those to clean energy as Obama has tried to do.  These Red State farmers objected, elected obstructionists and now their own failures at the polls are costing them their crops and farms.  I say good riddance, your own stupidity and gullibility has brought you down.  Let’s allow new people to go onto your abandoned farms, practice better judgment and move forward, if at all possible at this late date.

Unfortunately the rest of us are paying higher food prices, dealing with future shortages and, perhaps, famine because of the stupidity of the red states.  Let them turn blue from failure.  If you really believe in free markets let the market take you down.