Pondering the relentless drumbeat sounding out of the Tea Party right wing of the Republicans, demanding no tax hikes, and draconian cuts and austerity in favor of paying down the national debt, I am curiously reminded of a tragic incident in January 2007.
On January 12, 2007, in Sacramento, California, a 28-year-old mother of three died when she was goaded by three radio talk show fools on station KDND to consume far more water than was safe during an on-air competition.
The radio DJs involved – Lukas Cox, Steve Maney and Patricia Stewart – laughed and ignored warnings, including from a nurse’s aid who called into the show, that drinking too much water was dangerous. There are chilling recordings of the show that prove the depths of indifferent depravity that were involved.
The DJs said they knew it was dangerous, aware of a similar “water intoxication” death two years earlier, but pushed the contestant, nonetheless. It was, for them, just too much fun to stop, or even slow down. The victim died at her home shortly after leaving the station, and her cause of death was “water intoxication.”
While the DJs, plus seven others involved with the incident, were fired, by the fall of 2009 the owners of the radio station were found liable by a court for $16 million in damages to be awarded the family of the victim. The court found the station to be 100% responsible, and the victim 0% responsible.
What haunts me about the incident is how much it mirrors the values in our culture today. With a false sense of entitlement, stupid, selfish Americans insist they must have it their way, and if anything like science or prudence counsels otherwise, those things get kicked to the curb in favor of the immediate gratification these people demand they’re entitled to.
This is the underlying ethos in the Tea Party’s growing incivility and resolve to bully into submission anyone, especially in the GOP, who is critical of their goals.
It is well documented that the Tea Party gets its impetus from origins that are very wealthy and powerful. They are puppet masters operating barely behind the scenes to pull the emotional strings of fearful people, faced with less and less already, angry over the prospects that government may curtail shallow pursuits of their personal preferences.
When a demagogic Texas governor calls the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve “treasonous,” one should ask, “treasonous against whom?” Is it against the top 20 percent of the nation that controls 80 percent of the wealth, and want to keep it that way?
Gov. Rick Perry claims more new jobs have been created in Texas than anywhere else, but Texas is tied with Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs, and still has a higher unemployment rate than most.
This is what reminds me of the “water intoxication” case. The Tea Party has adopted a belief system, on behalf of its masters, which those in charge know is toxic and destructive to the nation. But there is no stopping the “fun” they are having, and they are locked into a mode that will not stop until the victim, in this case, the U.S. economy, chokes.
They ignore science, they ignore history. They put deprecating labels on them both – to them, “Keynsian” is a dirty word. They are locked into radical Austrian School free market, Social Darwinist, “might makes right” views, indifferent to where those approaches led in central Europe in the early 20th century. They, by the way, have nothing to do with how America was built.
The puppet masters in this case want to drive the U.S. into a deflationary spiral, another Great Depression, not only to limit President Obama to a single term, but to protect and enhance the value of the wealth they hold in debt instruments.
This is their dirty little secret. The top wealth tier, here and abroad, want Americans to pay off their debts while inflation rates are at historic lows and bordering on deflation.
Were inflation to kick in, the value of their existing debt assets would erode, and this is what the Tea Party is deployed to prevent.