You Say You Want a Revolution?

Some people have said they miss my political commentary. Well, you get what you ask for.

If you’re a fan of the mainstream media (and I used to be), you’ll be surprised to find out that a group of people (upwards of several thousand) have been “occupying” Wall Street (well, Liberty Park). They are now into their third week. You didn’t know that? Not surprising. The MSM (and, yes, I have been tempted to call it the “lamestream” media, but I don’t want the association) have been noticeable in their absence of coverage. Oh, when the arrests started they were quick to point out that the police were handling the “disruptive protesters.” Only Democracy Now!, Free Speech TV, and Current TV have devoted any time to what is motivating this true grassroots movement, as opposed to the various Tea Parties who have been bankrolled by the Koch Brothers.

So, what is motivating the people who call themselves “Occupy Wall Street?”

For one thing, the Wall Street Robber Barons came close to tanking the economy by taking advantage of an almost regulation-free financial environment and got bailed out and not one of them has spent a single minute being held accountable for that.

For another thing, the top one to two percent of this country have decided that they need to keep their wealth–not spend it on job creation, what an effing myth that is–so they can live higher on the hog, and the middle class, which they disdain and have decimated, and the poor–who got that way through all fault of their own–can wallow in the gutter of American Exceptionalism.

For yet another thing…no, I think those two things about cover it.

The minute I saw an NYPD white shirt named Anthony Bologna pepper-spray women who were committing the crime of standing on a sidewalk, I wanted to grab my kaffiyeh and head up there. When I saw a twelve year old girl in handcuffs, I wanted to set fire to the barricades and shut the effing place down. When I watched the police trick demonstrators onto the causeway of the Brooklyn Bridge then arrest 700 of them for blocking traffic, I was ready to tear the place down.

Fortunately, with age, I’ve been able to temper those urges. Forty years ago, I marched in some of the greatest demonstrations in the history of this country, and we turned the opinion of the country on a war, and we brought down a lying, corrupt president. Then, we moved on. We got jobs and houses and mortgages, swelled the middle class, and we let others–though not many of them–do the demonstrating thing.

Now, we find our place in that great middle class has come under attack from people with scads of money who have decided we need to pay for everything–their tax cuts, their wars, their third or fourth house, their new yacht–and we also need to give up our benefits and our rights to collectively bargain because they don’t like those concepts. They want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare because people should pay for their own retirement and health care–that’s what they’d have you believe. The truth is they don’t like letting anyone who really works for a living into the upper class. Only they get to live the high life and how dare we mere peons aspire to emulate them and live comfortably?

I agree that in some ways we need a revolution, but it has to be a revolution of the ninety-nine percent, not that envisioned by the Tea Baggers, who, in their ignorance, believe that the Koch Brothers aren’t using them for their own political ends. We have lost our compassion in this country. We blame the poor and the dwindling middle class for the woes rampant, unregulated capitalism has created. We hate anyone who is not rich, white, male, Christian, and born here. This is the America the Koch Brothers, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, et. al., have made and want to enshrine.

Support Occupy Wall Street by joining them in person or virtually. Wake up and smell the revolution or be crushed by the top one percent’s Humvee.

What Really Motivates the Birthers?

Just coincidentally a week or so ago, I was looking for something in my desk and came across an envelope with my mother’s handwriting on it. Just one word–“Important.” I had a vague memory of seeing it when I was going through papers after her death, so I decided to open it. Guess what I discovered? A Certificate of Live Birth.

For some reason I needed a copy of my certificate of live birth in 1990 and sent for it. The certificate itself is a Xerox on elaborately bordered, special paper (manufactured by the American Bank Note Company, no less), which bears the words, “Certification of Vital Record.” It was produced by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Health, Division of Vital Records. At the bottom right is the seal of the Virginia Department of Health. At the bottom left is a raised version of that same seal. In tiny print at the bottom, it reads, “This is to certify that this is a true and correct reproduction or abstract of the official record filed with the Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.” That’s followed by the photocopied signature of the then State Registrar.

It has a birth number and all sorts of interesting statistical information. Of particular note is box 15 “Birthplace (State or foreign country)”. Typed in is the word, “Virginia.” Not, Virginia, USA; just Virginia. As certified by the doctor attending, a Dr. Jones–hmm, that sounds like a made-up name, doesn’t it–it even includes the time of birth: 2:20 a.m.

All of this bureaucratic information, the birth number, the raised seal, even the facsimile of the original record, etc., is reminiscent of the Certificate of Live Birth for Barack Hussein Obama, which I’ve viewed at Politifact.com, a 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, by the way. However, according to Donald Trump and other birthers, there is a question as to whether I was really born in Virginia, because for them, a certificate of live birth doesn’t cut it.

I guess my mother and father conspired before my birth to make me a bureaucrat in a Federal agency, so they submitted false information to the Commonwealth of Virginia so it would appear I was born there. How devious is that?

Then, deeper in the envelope, I found a 1976 version of my certificate of live birth. Though the middle portion of this version is the exact same record as the 1990 version, the whole certificate is a Xerox. Uh, oh. I now have two versions of my certificate of live birth. Highly questionable. The information on both versions match to every letter and comma, but two versions? I better not run for office–I have my own conspiracy in the making.

Then, there’s the whole matter of one citizen verbally abusing another citizen over the production of a “long form” birth certificate. I went to Virginia’s state government Web site and searched for “long form birth certificate.” No hits. Apparently, either of my two versions of my certificate of live birth is a long form birth certificate because it’s the only birth certificate Virginia issues.

I am still amazed that we’re discussing this in America. I’ve written before about how my mother and her family came to America when she was very young and how a town in Virginia “adopted” them, got them SSN’s, and any other government form a citizen would need. So, yes, I’m an anchor baby, apparently. The fact that my mother wasn’t a citizen didn’t come to light until the late 1970’s when she and my father were supposed to go to the Soviet Union at the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an agricultural expo. She simply refused to apply for a passport, and my father finally figured it out and decided it would be way too complicated to get her “established” as a citizen. They didn’t go. Several flags got raised, but my mother was never investigated. She even served several times on juries. The difference, of course, was my mother looked like the majority of people in the country at the time she immigrated. She was European and white, not of African descent and dark, like our President.

And that, my dear Watson, is the crux of the matter and the answer to the question I posed in the title of this post. Would anyone be questioning the validity of President Obama’s certificate of live birth if he were as white as Sen. John McCain? Of course not. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone when his father, on active duty in the military, was stationed there. That should hold the same concern for the ignorant Tea Baggers who raise the issue of the President’s birth, but it doesn’t. (By the way, children born overseas to American citizens, whether on active duty in the military or not, are U.S. citizens, but you have to dig into the law to know that, and we all know the Tea Baggers only go for the superficial.)

Most people and the media, as usual, have tried to overlook the overt racism in Trump’s and the other birthers’ claims, saying it’s just politics as usual. No, it’s not. Every time Trump or Bachmann or the half-governor of Alaska or any of the other self-aggrandizing publicity hogs mentions that the President may not have been born here or questions why he doesn’t produce that elusive long form birth certificate, call them on their racism. Point out exactly what they are–so insecure we have a President who doesn’t look like them that they have to resort to childish finger-pointing and bullying. They are racists, plain and simple. That, not patriotism, is their sole motivation.