Friday, October 29, 2010

The NAACP’s Last Desperate Effort

For some time, the NAACP has insisted that the Tea Party is comprised of racists and extremists, and have done everything possible to label it as a "whites-only" club.

Repeatedly, though, they have failed to provide any real evidence. Of course, that fact hasn't stopped those who want to believe it from doing so. Some people feel that any negative word regarding Barack Obama is an unquestionable sign of racism. And the Tea Party is certainly guilty of speaking out against our president, so many of Obama’s supporters have no doubt that the Tea Party is a racist hate-group.

But outside of these aforementioned people, the Tea Party is earning respect and influence in the political landscape, while the NAACP has lost nearly all credibility with the American public. And they had been doing so long before the Tea Party was even a whisper. Essentially, the NAACP is now considered by most as a dinosaur civil rights organization that has little useful potential in today's world beyond rabble-rousing, race-baiting, or community organizing. And there's not much real value in any of those things, except perhaps the latter, which perplexingly became a vital tool for any presidential skill-set in 2008.

The NAACP is gasping its last breaths of relevance before leaving the spotlight. And this is a good thing for most Americans. While we thank the NAACP for its contributions to the struggle for civil rights decades ago, we are tired of more recently shaking our heads at its outlandish claims of racism, and its efforts to prey on Americans’ fear of bigotry.

So now, desperate to remain relevant, they have produced a document meant to expose the Tea Party's racist roots and anti-Semitic values.

I would not doubt that there are very isolated segments of the Tea Party that hold bigoted or racist views. There are bad apples in every bunch; even Barack Obama’s supporting electorate has been proven to consist of blatant racists that suggest the infanticide of white children. But let's be honest. Most people who find the Tea Party to be racist usually think that way because of the perceived lack of racial diversity that the media loves to exploit.

But the Tea Party doesn't get a fair shake with this whole diversity thing. Membership may be largely Anglo-American, and African-Americans or Hispanic-Americans may hold a minority membership, but isn’t that reflective of the actual ethnic ratio of the American tapestry?

Furthermore, the Tea Party is even more disadvantaged by the fact that its counterparts are not even playing by the same rules. The NAACP, for example, is not held to the same standard of ethnic diversity, as its supporters are largely African-American. But we do not see Keith Olberman asking blacks at NAACP rallies, “Where are the white faces?”

The Tea Party is comprised of men and women of all races, bound together by a common set of principles, a shared sense of injustice in the government levying unwanted taxes, and a staunch desire to preserve traditional American values. Race is not a pre-requisite to be in their club, nor is any person denied membership due to their race.

I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud.

So as usual, the NAACP’s claim of racism seems very manufactured and outlandish. But what about the claim of anti-Semitism in the Tea Party?

This is a futile, utterly outrageous attempt to paint the Tea Party some sort of Neo-Nazi organization. The NAACP’s argument is that some (again, very isolated) conservative elements of the Tea Party have been associated with anti-Semitic groups in the past. This is an absurd generalization that would equate to suggesting that the entire Democratic Party is a racist organization because Robert Byrd, a formerly prominent member of the Party, had been an influential member of the Ku Klux Klan. But that would be nothing more than ridiculous exaggeration. And as we know given the evidence in the last few decades, the NAACP is certainly not above that.

But since the NAACP is so eager to bring up the subject of anti-Semitism, perhaps we can take a glance at the broadly anti-Semitic rhetoric of a few African-American political figures that associate with the NAACP.

Barack Obama sat under the tutelage of a man that for twenty years spouted anti-Zionist rhetoric deriding America for its efforts to establish and defend an Israeli state, and is prone to making such comments as “them Jews ain’t gonna let him [Obama] talk to me.” Louis Farrakhan is a well-known and militant anti-Semite. Both were invited to speak at an NAACP event this past summber.

While running for president in 1984, Jesse Jackson claimed that the Jews were conspiring against him after he made a negative comment about Jews in New York, calling the city “Hymietown.” In 1991, Al Sharpton fueled an anti-Semitic riot by delivering speeches demonizing “diamond merchants” (code for Jews), which resulted in a rabbinical student being stabbed to death by a mob shouting, “Kill the Jews!” Both have been associated with the NAACP in the past.

The NAACP’s accusing the Tea Party of anti-Semitism seems to hold little water. But when you consider the anti-Semitic past of these African-American political figures associated with the NAACP, it really hearkens to the proverbial pot and kettle.

The Tea Party should have no problem deflecting these nonsensical claims. If anything, it furthers the damage to the credibility of the NAACP. Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express suggests that this event makes it obvious that “the NAACP has abandoned the cause of civil rights for the advancement of liberal Democrat politics.”

And that should come as no surprise to most Americans. Strong-arming, race-baiting, community organizing and activism are the NAACP’s calling cards, commonly used to extract money from private business and the wealthy under the guise of “social justice.” I’d say the organization meshes rather nicely with the current administration in Washington.

William Sullivan

Friday, October 1, 2010

The EPA's Showdown in Texas

In May of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency alleged that Texas was not meeting the expectations set forth by the Clean Air Act, so the federal agency would take over permitting and licensing for the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, the Clean Air Act is 40 year old legislation that is meant to address public health concerns and has nothing to do with the deterrence of global warming, so it is suspect that the EPA is using it as justification to regulate carbon output.

But the state of Texas is prepared to fight tooth and nail to preserve its right to regulate the emissions of its vast energy industry. And they have good reason to do so. As Peggy Venable of the Washington Times notes, “shoehorning greenhouse gases into that 40-year-old law [the Clean Air Act] would force churches, schools, warehouses, commercial kitchens and other sources to obtain costly and time-consuming permits. It would grind the economy to a halt.” Naturally, the EPA wants to ease the friction for Texans, so they have been willing to apply a “tailoring rule” to “reduce the number of regulated sources.”

But for Texas, that just isn’t good enough. In the event that you’ve never heard of the Alamo, suffice it to say that we Texans are pretty big on taking a stand where matters of principle are concerned, and we know that what the EPA is trying to do just ain’t right.

Federal law does not give the federal government the right to regulate greenhouse gases, so the addressing of such issues is left to each state respectively, per the Tenth Amendment. Therefore, the imposition of federal oversight in Texas’ energy industry is a direct violation of its Constitutional right.

Beyond this fact, dramatic reductions in pollutants have taken place throughout the last decade, making it quite apparent that Texas is doing a terrific job meeting its stated obligations as declared by the Clean Air Act. And as far as those carbon emissions that the EPA is so eager to consider pollutants, Peggy Venable goes on to address their concerns on that matter, too:

According to Department of Energy and EPA data, since 2000, Texas' carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel usage have fallen more than those of almost any other state and every country except Germany as a result of our policies to foster renewable energy, make the electricity market more competitive and efficient, and improve our environment.

So even in regard to the greenhouse gases that are not addressed in the Clean Air Act, Texas is still way ahead of the curve. The EPA could be focusing of something else and addressing real problems rather than fabricating them. So why is this administration pressing Texas in an effort to take over its energy regulation?

Certainly, considerable revenue could be obtained by forcing energy companies to purchase licenses. And sure, Texas would be the biggest cash cow as it will require more licenses than any other state. But there’s an allegorical significance that makes the Texas vs. EPA showdown particularly interesting.

The EPA’s recent power-grab closely resembles the shenanigans of Barack Obama’s administration, which has exceeded the bounds of its federal authority to impose oversight upon all sectors of American production via makeshift and erratic legislation.

And Texas is representative of the kind of place that Americans have always gone to get away from that sort of thing, dating back to frontiersman and politician Davy Crockett who, when he became tired of the politics of Andrew Jackson’s cronies in Tennessee, left his political career and took up residence in the state after allegedly telling them, “You can all go to Hell, I’m going to Texas.” He viewed Texas as a land of opportunity, free of the bureaucratic yokes that were found elsewhere. And today, American families and American businesses flock to Texas for the exact same reason. Texas has no state income tax, low cost of living, thriving job markets, and a lot of room to grow.

And we Texans like it that way, so we will not back down. If the EPA and this administration insist, we and our leaders are more than willing to make our state the venue where Americans will see a political fight of epic proportions.

This figurative bout is bound to be a manifestation of the struggles between liberalism and conservatism, authoritarianism and republicanism; a battle royal for the very soul of our country. And perhaps we can declare, for good and all, whether we want to be ruled by kings who can change our laws as they please to impose their will, or whether we want to live as free men whose laws protect us from such tyranny.

William Sullivan