Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mobilization Of Resentments

The email with an attachment came to me Christmas morning. The forwarded message was titled, “I am honored to do this”. It was from a well-intentioned Christian friend. Unfortunately my friend was not as well informed as he could have been.

The radical right-slanted message presented two horrible lies about the ACLU while hiding behind the sacrifices of the military. Once again we see the dishonest and cowardly treachery of hateful “conservative” Americans. Their hatred for the ACLU, and for liberalism itself, is as blind as it is intense.

The words jumped out in huge letters.

Did you know that the ACLU has filed a suit to have all military cross-shaped headstones removed and another suit to end prayer from the military completely. They're making great progress. The Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus' name in prayer thanks to the wretched ACLU.

This was followed by photos of cemeteries, and photos of mourning troops at memorial services for their fellow soldiers who paid the ultimate price. The fallen were most likely victims of Cheney’s and Bush’s trumped up war in Iraq. Notice how their hatred is not directed at the politicians who sent the soldiers to their needless deaths.

They died because Bush, Cheney, the Neocon warmongers, sycophantic media, and all the other war profiteering politicians frightened the American people with lies. Those soldiers gave their lives because they were told Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. They are dead because they were told they must go to war, because Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. Remember those scary aluminum tubes?

They were slaughtered because they were told Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, and would share them with Al Qaeda. They went to war because they were told Saddam had ties with Al Qaeda. Then they were sent to die in order to kill the Iraqis that would otherwise have come to kill us in America. Remember we had to fight them over there so we wouldn’t have to fight them here.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was really for neither Iraqis nor freedom. The war in Iraq was used for political gains for the Republican Party, and profit for Bush/Cheney cronies.

Now those troops are told to fight and die over in Muslim lands to protect our freedom. To protect our freedom? What freedom is that? Our freedom to scream medical care is socialism, communism and fascism? Our freedom to say our president is a secret Muslim who wants to destroy America? Our freedom to say the president is giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Our freedom to continue the lies of those who started the war? Our freedom to advocate racial profiling? Our freedom to be under warrantless surveillance?

That’s a lot of freedom for somebody. That’s a lot of freedom to scare and blame. That’s a lot of freedom to accuse, bully and threaten. That’s a lot of freedom for powerful economic elites to facilitate Nixonian “mobilization of resentments”.

This forwarded piece of propaganda is a classic example of mobilization of resentments.

Is this the freedom our troops are fighting to protect?

Republicans mobilized the resentments of angry white voters during the civil rights struggle. Republicans are employing the same strategy today with angry white voters. Resentment is being cultivated for an African American president and his entire party. Resentment is fueled by frightening terms like fascism, communism, and death panels. Resentment is mobilized toward the removal, and destruction, of all political opposition to the radical right.

The party targeted by obstruction and mobilization of resentments is the conservative party of the American government. That party would be the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is fairly conservative, likes the status quo and looks after many of the interests of Big Money. Democrats, as a party, didn’t want to step on the toes of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in the health care debacle.

On the other hand, there’s the party of the radical right. The Republican Party works completely in lock step for the top one percent economic elite of the country. They always support wealthcare for billionaires, and war is often their first choice in foreign policy. The Military Industrial Complex Eisenhower cautioned against is a prime mover, beneficiary, and benefactor of the radical right Republican Party.

This is the purpose of free speech as utilized by right wing interests. It is intended for nothing short of complete nullification of the process of democracy represented by the majority of American voters. Radical right wing ideology is intolerant of any rule outside its narrow interests. It will obstruct, demonize, slander and libel any proponents of civil liberties and government service working for the public good. Education, healthcare, collective bargaining, environmental concerns, and the preservation of American jobs are all targets for the radical right. And their voices have dominated the media through the access provided by their vast wealth and economic leverage.

We have a grossly unbalanced information network dominated by indoctrination from radical right interests. A significant part of the population doubts the American birth of the president. A significant part of the population believes Obama and the Democrats are socialists, communists, and even fascists. A significant part of the population believes in death panels. A significant part of the population believes universal health care is a Nazi-inspired conspiracy.

Yes, as extreme and delusional as this seems, the abuse of free speech has successfully sown the seeds of anger, ignorance, and hatred. We hear them tell us Obama and the Democrats are socialists.

We hear from the same voices the line that Hitler and his henchmen were socialists. Never mind that every extremist in the last century, whether communist or fascist, claimed to be socialist. This is because democratic socialism was the middle ground between fascism and communism. This was what people wanted. The Great Depression taught them the lessons of unregulated capitalism. There had to be a better way. FDR”s New Deal was attacked as socialism but it gave many people jobs, and helped turn our country back from the abyss.

Now the radical right is crowing about Hitler the socialist.

Not much has changed. The radical right wingers still believe what Hitler said. The old Nazi still dupes 'em.

Those concentration camps were filled with Jews, liberals, educators, socialists, communists, and anyone else who was not a war profiteering Nazi capitalist or enabler.

Or, maybe I'm wrong, and every government that promotes employment, education, and health care is a Nazi regime. Such is the absurdity of the radical right’s twisted logic.

But then, what would we call a regime that launched a war based on lies, without provocation, while profiting financially and politically from such action? What kind of regime would demand obedience and loyalty while imposing warrantless surveillance on dissident civilians in its Fatherland, or "Homeland"?

What kind of regime would have its chief law enforcement official warning, “Americans need to watch what they say”?

What kind of politician would accuse the other party of giving aid and comfort to the enemy? These are tough questions for anyone who can't remember anything that happened over a year ago, or didn't hear Dictator Dick recently on Fox propaganda.

Any sane, objective, or informed non-authoritarian personality will see the obvious fascism in the American radical right.

The radical right certainly reduces the freedom of speech to the level of vulgar and hateful propaganda. Where’s the counter balance to all this? Free speech cries out for the cause of equality and Constitutional liberty. But that free speech in support of democracy is in short supply in our corporate dominated media.

There are some progressive voices out in the corporate media, but they are a minority.

Who has the resources, time and access to the legal system to fight for the public’s civil liberties and right to know what the government is doing? This brings us back to the “wretched ACLU”.

Here’s what Glenn Greenwald said about the ACLU.

I can say with certainty that most of the evidence now in the public record has come from compelled disclosures by the ACLU’s FOIA litigations:

DOJ documents authorizing the “use of military force inside the U.S.”

The notorious Yoo and Bybee memos purporting to legalize torture in gruesome detail.

The CIA Inspector General’s Report describing the brutality in how those techniques were used.


The funny thing about this forward was a comment down in the chain from a guy named Mike saying, “You should check some of this stuff out. Snopes.com says this is false and the ACLU (as stupid as they can be at times) have never sued over this issue.”

Yet more proof the radical righties don’t care to read, as much as they don’t care about passing along falsehoods.

Knowing well enough that few would read what I wrote, I still added my two cents and hit “reply all”.

If you read below, you see Mike is right.

Anger and hatred is contagious. It is much easier for angry Right Wingers to spread lies and get other people angry, than it is to investigate the reality of an issue. This is one reason why Dick Cheney is not in prison.

Instead of blindly hating the ACLU, remember they even defended the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ollie North when they saw their Constitutional rights threatened.

The ACLU is defending through the courts the SAME BILL OF RIGHTS and Constitution our troops defend. If you support the troops, shouldn’t you also support what they swore upon oath to defend?

We have a Constitutional Democratic Republic, not a theocracy. Wrapping oneself in the flag, in religion, and in militarism is NOT conducive to freedom and equality for all.

By the way, you can thank the ACLU for recently stopping the strip searches of your daughters in school. (One girl was accused of possessing a motrin tablet and strip searched for it.)

Please, people, join us and support the ACLU. Become a freedom fighter, because freedom can’t protect itself.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Cheer

I'd like to thank Media Matters for not only contributing to the cause of truth, but helping to bring the following statement to the light of day. I'm pleased to share, and repeat, this bit of holiday cheer.

Fox News' Bernie Goldberg said, "If they repeat this long enough and often enough -- that Fox News is not a real news organization, it's an arm of the national Republican Party, it's not to be taken seriously -- if they say that long enough, it might become part of bloodstream of the American culture."

Happy holidays to all, and please give Media Matters a generous contribution of financial support.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Simple Explanation: Part Three

A Simple Explanation, In Three Parts

Part Three: What to Do?

We’ve seen from the DEBIT MAP who basically runs our government. We understand the dynamics of the Myths of Liberalism and the Cult of Conservatism that keep the corporatocracy in power. It’s a daunting situation facing the Americans who want some real democracy in their government.

The bottom line is hope for real change and progress lies with “we the people”. If we don't do it, no one else will do it for us.

Work needs to be done to elevate the public consciousness and conscience. This can be done. Over the years Americans have slowly become more aware of environmental issues and grew to accept re-cycling, and energy conservation. They are learning more about global climate change. Especially since the Bush Administration’s muzzle on climate science has been removed.

American citizens are becoming less enthused about our endless wars and occupation. We can still have the most powerful military in the world, even with a massive shift of funding to education and health care.

Education must be accompanied by motivation for the people to understand their part in the process of democracy. Along with math and science, Americans need to learn more history and civics. Instead of posting the Ten Commandments in city halls and courthouses, let’s put the Constitution there instead. If conservatives insist on a pledge of allegiance to the flag, maybe we should insist on a pledge to the Bill of Rights, especially from public officials.

The public must be made aware that their vital interest in government lies in their Constitutional rights. They need to know they are entitled to their general welfare clearly stated in the “We the people” introduction. Also, section 8 of the Constitution provides Congress the power to “collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States”. How can there be general welfare without education, employment, and health care, along with the protections of the entire Bill of Rights? Next time you see a tea bagger griping about taxes, ask them if there‘s a Constitutional basis for all that oppressive taxation they suffer. They likely won’t know, of course. Then you can inform them, and ask why they hate the Constitution of the United States of America.

Democracy is not given to us. We need to fight for it, take it and hold it. Americans have been lulled by corporate media and the Cult of Conservatism into an unconsciousness of this need for the maintenance of democracy. Voting for one corporate candidate over another corporate candidate does not make a democracy.

This brings us to a scary word. But there’s no real reason for anyone to fear this word. Due to the Cult’s lies and deception, many Americans tremble in anger and trepidation over the very word socialism. The Cult’s demonization of socialism must be challenged as the propaganda it is.

They freely interchange socialism with communism to the point where the Cultists think they are the same thing. They are not. Remember, communism is a system of single party rule. You know, like we had under Bush. Democrats are too diverse to rule with the lockstep ruthlessness of the Republicans.

Millions of people are living happily in socialistic democracies. Every socialized program in the US is wanted by the public.

We have a socialized military, socialized law enforcement agencies, and socialized fire departments. The V.A. is socialized medicine vital to the well-being of veterans. Medicare is socialized medicine. Our interstate highways and bridges are a socialized transportation infrastructure. The Postal Service is socialized mail delivery. Why should we be afraid of the mailman? Why should we be afraid of Social Security?

In fact, everything run by government is socialistic. That means the public has ownership. Imagine if every government service was privatized, the taxpayers would have zero input and control. Who would be the first to receive police, fire and health care protection? Well, the “free market would decide” on that. And we all know the market decides in favor of the wealthiest, first and foremost and always.

Americans need to understand democracy can exist and even prosper under socialism; it cannot exist under unregulated corporatism.

Democratic socialism allows civil liberties and freedoms intolerable under the fascistic trajectory of a corporatist national security state. The Bush/Cheney Cartel built the foundation of a police state. Their violations of law must face judgment and their deeds undone. To the degree the rule of law does not apply to its leaders, the US Government is a rogue regime.

We must have an educated and active public that participates in the process of democracy. As Thomas Jefferson said, “No country and no people can be free and ignorant at the same time. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."

It can’t be made any clearer than what old Tom said. The lessons and consequences of ignorance and apathy, not to mention the antiquated Electoral College, were made quite clear by the Bush years.

We know how to reverse the DEBIT MAP corporate lock on power. Democracy’s requirements are not secrets. Well, not yet, anyway. There are some ways to promote democracy without radical change. Having proportional representation, hard copy ballots, and instant runoff elections would help. And dumping the Electoral Collage would be an improvement to the situation. But, there are deeper issues.

To restore the process of democracy, we need to take four crucial corrective measures:

1. No more legal corporate personhood. A corporation is not a human being.
2. No more "too big to fail" financial institutions. They are toxic to our economy.
3. No more media monopolies. More voices and views, not fewer, are needed.
4. No more corporate money, and no more union money, going to federal election campaigns. We need publicly financed federal elections...NOW.

These four big issues are beginning to get more attention than ever. Here’s one example. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced new legislation in just two pages called the "Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act". It calls for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to "submit to Congress a list of all commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and insurance companies that the Secretary believes are too big to fail."

It then says, one year after the law is enacted, the Treasury Secretary would be required to "break up entities included on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States or global economy without a taxpayer bailout."

This is the beginning of a good idea, and word of this idea needs to be spread.

The Cult of Conservatism has been spreading misinformation and outright lies for a long time. It’s time to join the battle for truth.

The corporate media monoliths can be countered with a reinstituted, corporate-free, truly Public NPR/PBS style journalism. So we don’t have to rely on just the “internets”. The surviving print media needs to hear from us.

Progressive talk radio is finally becoming more established. They should reach out more to find common cause with those conservatives who may agree to some dialog other than dueling sound bites. This can be done. Thom Hartmann often has conservatives on his show.

New legislation on corporate personhood and public finance of federal election campaigns can be accomplished if enough people push the politicians hard enough. The people just need to participate in the process.

It’s time to bring to the public discourse the urgent need for real democracy. It’s time to identify, promote and elect representatives who understand the need for these measures. And it’s time to remove the corporatist politicians.

What can we ordinary citizens do to make a difference?

First of all, vote. We can still vote, and the more of us that do vote the better.

Second, be informed.

Follow the corporate money that buys their politicians’ services at opensecrets.org.

Follow the politicians’ misbehavior and help hold them accountable with the watchdogs at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

There are organizations of free thinkers and real optimists out there who work hard for the cause of democracy. Two important filters of truth and fiction in the swirling media madness are Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting and Media Matters for America.

Besides the more well known Daily Kos and Huffington Post, good sources of vital information and thoughtful progressive views are offered by Buzz Flash, Common Dreams, Democracy Now, TPM (Talking Points Memo), and Truthout.org.

Support them and share their information.

And here’s what I think is very important. As long as I have a nickel to spare I will contribute to the ACLU. Their tireless defense of our Bill of Rights needs all the help we can afford to give. They are doing what is most important. We all owe a debt to the ACLU for bringing to light the torture and warrantless surveillance crimes of the Bush Administration. It would take far more than this Simple Explanation to discuss all they do for us. Please help them. Remember, freedom can’t defend itself.

And third, be active.

We need citizen participation in a strong social and political movement for democracy in America. Don’t tell me there’s nothing progressives can do outside the system. Let’s remember when Beck called Obama a racist. It was not the reaction of his fan base that pulled the advertisers by the dozens out of his hour. Let’s remember Lou Dobbs. He and/or his bosses felt the heat from progressives and now he’s off to spew his anger in radical right wing radio or Fox.

Advertisers listen to the public and corporate media listens to advertisers.

We need to unite and motivate American citizens to call, write, e-mail, call again, and face their politicians. They won’t do anything until we rattle their cages and let them know we’re mad as hell and sick of corporatism. We want our Bill of Rights back. Even educated traditional conservatives do.

I know this may sound futile and even foolish to the more cynical types.

Since third parties cannot gain sufficient access at the federal level, and democracy is not a spectator sport, we need to infiltrate and reclaim the Democratic Party. Ordinary people need to rise to the challenge. There is no other way to gain representation of the public interest. The republican wing of the Democratic Party needs to be purged. We cannot survive with both parties owned entirely by Big Money.

Check out Democracy for America. They are promoting progressive values and politicians who share those values within the Democratic Party.

People can actively work to restore American Democracy. Left to themselves, politicians will, at their best, do nothing to change the status quo; and at their worst, they facilitate more corporatism. We the people need to remind them they are supposed work for us. We pay their salaries. And we need to push them to do their real job and represent the people’s interests.

Let’s turn the focus from the corporate tea bagging shills and stooges. If they get all the attention, we deserve to be shut out. There are plenty of Americans other than the Foxsuckers cheering republican obstructionism. In fact, we are a larger group than they are. We just don’t get the corporate money to bus in the masses to a rally. The Anti-war rallies in 2003 were far larger than any Tea Parties, but they were ignored because they were not corporate sponsored and media fed.

We are not helpless and doomed to slide into the subclass of corporate servitude. We have the numbers to support our cause. What we lack is organization, communication and coordination of purpose.

As I said we need a vast shift of consciousness. This is happening. Even conservatives are starting to think something is wrong. Their problem is they are listening to Republicans. Liberals have voted Democrats into a majority. Yet, they know something is still wrong. Their problem is they are listening to Democrats.

Liberals need to talk with conservatives and reach the realization that this is not about Left versus Right. This is not capitalism versus socialism. This is corporatism versus democracy. Some conservatives are waking up to the fact that the Republican Party is not working in their interests. Liberals are waking up to the fact that the Democratic Party is not working in their interests.

Remember, there are traditional conservatives out there who want the Bill of Rights to stand. There are conservatives who opposed the Neocons’ war agenda and the Bush/Cheney surveillance state. Not all conservatives are of the Cult.

Just recently some of these conservatives addressed the trial of Gitmo detainees in New York City. The Cult is screaming as if a bloody Armageddon of terror will sweep over us if we dare bring the terrorists into our country for trial. Former congressman and presidential candidate Bob Barr, American Conservative Union chairman David Keen, and Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist are actually supporting the administration's decision to try and imprison terrorists in the U.S., and even wrote, "The scaremongering about these issues should stop."

We liberals need to tell these non-Cult conservatives we are with them on some important issues. This will require civil and diplomatic relations between camps. Someone has to be the first to advance this alliance. It may as well be us. We need them to understand we are on THEIR side, not Limbaugh’s, Hannity’s, and Beck’s. The multi-millionaire media Cult leaders are proven liars. We have the truth on our side and the truth can set them free from their Cult.

It’s time working class conservatives and liberals realize they have many common concerns and agree that both parties work for Big Money. If liberals and enough non-indoctrinated conservatives come to understand they have both been betrayed by the two parties’ corporatist ways, maybe they can cooperate in efforts toward democracy.

Where there’s unity for democracy there’s real hope.

Yes, this notion can be called nothing more than a dream. It may always be just a dream. But, it’s not just my dream. Some dreams come true. Some dreams grow into greater human consciousness and eventually into a movement.

Think of democracy as a supply and demand commodity. There will be no supply unless we demand it.

If enough of us work together and educate and motivate enough of the public, we can still nurture the American Dream. And just what is the American Dream? Is it about acquiring as much wealth and power as we possibly can? I don’t think so. That would be corporatism.

One of the few great Republicans told us what the American Dream is. “That this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Now this sounds like the American Dream our founders fought and died for. This is what we must struggle for in our time, and in our lives. It’s the American thing to do. It’s the patriotic thing to do if we love freedom.

We have to believe it’s not too late to accomplish these things without a civil war and reconstruction; without systemic collapse and restructuring. It could very well be past the point of no return for American Democracy if we fail to actively participate in revitalizing what’s left of our democratic process. Democracy won’t happen on its own accord. It is up to we the people.

While it is true much of America’s struggle for freedom has been through armed conflict, America’s greatness cannot be measured only by victories in wars.

It is measured by how we preserve and protect freedom and democracy. War should be only the last resort for this purpose. Much is also done through the determination and commitment of citizens to follow the moral imperative that our cause of liberty demands here at home.

It is for all freedom loving Americans to rise to the struggle, and devote our efforts to advance, preserve and protect freedom and democracy.

Our history has been a long fight for freedom. We are a part of this history. And we are part of the future. We carry on the fight for freedom, for ourselves, for our families, for our communities, for our nation, and for our future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Simple Explanation: Part Two

A Simple Explanation, In Three Parts

Part Two: Myths and a Cult

We now see the main problem with the US Government is clearly the overpowering of American Democracy by corporatocracy.

Just last Sunday, a New York Times article featured a classic story of corporatism at work. This was something straight off the DEBIT MAP. In the “debate” on health care, 42 representatives entered statements into the Congressional Record directly from talking points handed to them by lobbyists working for Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche. 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats submitted similarly worded claptrap about research and jobs and a provision that would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to approve generic versions of expensive “biosimilar” biotechnology drugs.

And then there were the insults added to the injury. A lobbyist close to Genentech said: “This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.”

Right, there’s nothing nefarious about corporations writing our Congressional Record, just big business as usual.

Indeed, there certainly couldn’t be bribery here from the corporate campaign donors. Evan L. Morris, head of Genentech’s Washington office, said, “There was no connection between the contributions and the statements.”

Yes, how could anyone possibly imagine such a connection?

Who’s responsible for this ongoing calamity? What is sustaining this mess?

This brings us to the Myth of Liberalism and Cult of Conservatism.

“Wait a minute”, you may be saying. “I know a lot of liberals and a lot of conservatives. I have liberal neighbors who are quite real. And my parents are conservative, but they are not Moonies.”

That’s true. In fact most people are not totally liberal or totally conservative. Almost all of us share opinions and views from both perspectives. Almost all of us want public safety, public education, and yes, public health. We all want jobs, prosperity and security.

And it’s true both liberals and conservatives are opposed to government abuse of power. Liberals, and a few conservatives, see abuse of power in warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention without charges, torture, and war based on falsehood.

Conservatives, and a few liberals, see abuse of power in bureaucracy, the Department of Education, “unfair” taxes of wealth, Medicare, Social Security, and other public services they call entitlements.

As long as inflexible ideology is not in the mix, there can be common ground with most Americans.

Real liberalism exists as much as conservatism in the public. It’s another story with government. Liberalism has been not only institutionally discouraged in government by the entrenched power of Big Money, it has been actively libeled and slandered by the radical Right. The Right has unilaterally defined the terms and the issues, and framed the debate to their advantage over the past few decades.

The real struggle, of course, is not between liberals and conservatives. It is between corporatocracy and democracy.

The Myth of Liberalism becomes clear when we look at how few liberals there actually are in government. Beyond Sanders, Feingold, and Franken in the Senate, I have a hard time seeing many more. I’m sure there are more than three liberals in the House. Let’s be generous and say about ten percent of the Senate and House of Representatives are liberal. What are they going to do against the ninety percent who do the bidding of their corporate masters?

Contrary to the Right Wing media circus, liberals have not been in charge in decades. And they still are not in charge.

Look at the financial collapse. If liberals were in charge we’d never have de-regulated Wall Street. Clinton was a company man working with the Republicans. It was not liberalism when Obama joined the Bush Administration in the TARP bailout for the banksters.

Look at the health care debacle. If liberals were in charge we’d have a single payer system of health care in this country. Instead we see endless haggle over a so-called public option that still channels money into insurance company pockets. It was not liberalism we saw when Obama met with big Pharma and let them set terms for their participation in the health care debacle.

Look at foreign policy. If liberals were in charge we’d have fewer dead soldiers, or none, returning to our shores. It was not liberalism we saw when Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan. Instead we’ve seen an escalation of troops in Afghanistan and pressure for more.

Look at our state of justice. If liberals were in charge we’d see Dick Cheney on trial for war crimes. Instead we see him fear mongering and undermining democracy at Fox.

It’s plain to see the influence of liberalism at the federal level has been reduced to non-existent.

The Cult of Conservatism, on the other hand, is thriving. And no wonder, it has all the money of corporate America behind it. With that financial leverage, the Cult of Conservatism has enormous access to corporate media. As we all know, money talks. And it talks incessantly in the mainstream corporate media and the Right Wing media of talk radio and Fox.

The Cult of Conservatism does not include all conservative people. I’m not necessarily referring to the fiscally prudent or socially reserved common folk. Many people live a conservative personal life style that doesn’t have much to do with politics.

The Cult of Conservatism is the right wing propaganda arm of corporatism. It is the authoritarian voice of a system of indoctrination. The purpose of the Cult of Conservatism is to sell a belief system. They need people to accept without question the idea that conservatism is good and everything else is evil.

The conservatism they promote is based on emotion, not on reason, logic, or fact. Their conservatism is devoid of compassion, love, and concern for the health and well-being of everyone outside their Cult, who is not a fetus. The emotional component of this conservatism is based on manipulation of ignorance, resentment, racism, fear and anger.

The only love exhibited in their world is for wealth and power. They embrace a system of authoritarian social control, through unrestricted surveillance by law enforcement and harsh punishment for those convicted of crimes. Of course this does not include corporate criminals and Republican politicians like Scooter Libby.

Their belief system embraces militarism and war over diplomacy and peace. Patriotism (to the flag, not the Constitution) is their primary virtue, along with obedience and loyalty to the Cult leaders. Above everything else is blind devotion to the bottom line of corporate profit. If more money was made through peace than war, they would be pacifists. Their god is Mammon, cloaked in a superficial facade of pseudo-Christianity. They do not love their neighbor and they do not love their fellow man.

They need the common folk to embrace an ideology that is openly hostile to their economic interests. For the corporatists to prevail, their politicians need the support of those people that would not share the benefits of their agenda.

Thus we were constantly deluged with their messages. For years the Cult worked to undermine, subvert, and destroy the very idea of liberalism. It cast liberals as unpatriotic for not blindly adhering to nationalism, militarism, and corporatism. Liberals were called treasonous for questioning the Bush/Cheney warrantless surveillance and torture crimes.

The Cult worked endlessly to demonize liberalism as ungodly satanic legions of secular humanists out to slaughter babies and burn the flag. The indoctrination is hammered in endlessly. Government can’t do anything right. Government is always the problem. Big Government is bad. Taxes are bad. Tax and spend Democrats are bad. Government regulation of business is very bad. Regulation and public services are socialism. And socialism is very, very bad.

This propaganda is crucial to the success of the corporatocracy behind the Cult. They run a thriving propaganda operation that has successfully redefined important terms through which to push their agenda. The Cult has been quite adept at manufacturing its own myths to confuse the people.

Perhaps the most famous myth from the Cult of Conservatism is the “liberal media”. You see, all the Cult had to do was substitute the inaccurate word “liberal” for the accurate word “corporate” to create their myth. Everyone has now heard the myth of liberal media. This lie has been repeated so often by so many that it has become accepted by at least half the American public.

The Cult has redefined the Estate Tax on inherited wealth as a “Death Tax”. Most Americans would rightly not be overly concerned with how much poor little rich kids scoop up when the wealthy Old Man who was never home finally croaks. Notice how falsely calling it a Death Tax not only gets attention, it throws in a little fear mongering as well. Death scares everybody, right? Now the Death Tax myth frightens those poor people who would otherwise never have heard of an Estate Tax.

This worked so well, the Cult decided to call health care counseling a “death panel’. See the pattern here?

The Cult claims to represent freedom. And they do in a limited sense. According to Cicero, “Freedom is participation in power.” The Cult of Conservatism has a great deal of power. But their freedom and power is not democracy and freedom for America. It is freedom for the power of wealth.

The Cult must be exposed and its victims need de-programming. This will not be easy. The indoctrinated believers have had their senses of fear, anger, frustration and confusion manipulated and aggravated for a long time. They are suspicious of ideas not fed to them by the Cult.

This indoctrination is so powerful the followers can’t even see the obvious fact that the interests of private and corporate wealth are always held over the interests of the public welfare. The cultists are enraged over health care to the poor and oblivious to the vastly larger corporate welfare handouts to Big Money.

Remember the Cult of Conservatism plays the God card to these frightened souls. As with the Divine Right of Kings, God’s will is invoked as the guiding force behind the Cult. This Cult is as medieval as witch burning and inquisitions. They are proponents of execution and torture. Humanity is not so far removed from the Dark Ages.

The Cult frightens people with horror stories of a non-existent myth of gun control. It promotes imaginary myths of threats from different sexual orientation. Fortunately the God, gays, and guns fabrications and hysteria are losing their hold on folks. I can see some hope in these strange and cruel times.

Let’s compare the results of the latest efforts by the Cult of Conservatism to the efforts of its opposition.

We’ve seen the Fox/Republican Tea Parties, and the angry True Believers carrying ridiculous signs of the fictional “Death Panels”, “We Come Unarmed: This Time”, and “National Socialism Death Camps”. There was nothing positive or constructive or helpful to any person accomplished by these rallies.

Now contrast this image with the reality of a “Life Panel” in Louisiana. There was a free health clinic for the uninsured in the convention center in New Orleans. Over a thousand people without insurance were treated. Some had life-threatening diseases like hypertension and diabetes diagnosed. They surely would have eventually been among the thousands of Americans to die without health coverage. Now they at least have a start towards treatment. This was made possible by donations from compassionate Americans in response to Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Health Care.

Some real and tangible good is being done. My friends, there are grounds for optimism.

The True Believers are finally becoming more marginalized. We can be thankful for the Tea Parties, where the Hannity insanity-afflicted, Beckerheaded Foxsuckers expose the rampant raging lunacy within their group.

The Cult of Conservatism is finally being challenged by some voices, albeit relatively few, in commercial media. Air America radio and the three evening hours of MSNBC are still dwarfed by the machinery of talk radio and 24/7 right wing propaganda from Fox. But there are others out there doing their part in the struggle for democracy.

What can we do to make a difference? We’ll discuss this in part three of A Simple Explanation.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Simple Explanation: Part One

A Simple Explanation, In Three Parts

Part One: What’s the Problem?

Here we are now, over a year since the historic election of America’s first non-white male president. And coincidently, today marks the tenth anniversary of the Financial Services Modernization Act, also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. We’ll get back to this later.

So here we are, living in the bright new era of hope and change and transparency of government, right? No more of the senselessly cruel and illegal Bush/Cheney wars. And the time has come for those war criminals to face justice, right? No more abuses of our Constitutional rights from the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the Warner Defense Authorization Act, and Bush’s FISA Amendment. No more warrantless surveillance of citizens and extraordinary renditions to other countries for “special treatment”. And thank goodness we have no more shrouding and obstructing of justice with claims of state secrecy for national security, right?

No? Well then at least we have Americans finally getting something back from the government through greatly expanded, affordable health care, uh, right? At least the American public is happy about something these days, aren’t they?

They’re NOT? There’s a mass of dense-minded citizens who are duped into believing that anything to expand health care coverage beyond the clutches of insurance companies is socialism...communism.....fascism??

Oh, dear.

You mean to tell me things STILL really suck? We need some answers here, don’t we?

All right, I’m a simple-minded guy who wants to see these huge problems with some clarity. I’d like to understand the collapse of America’s social, political, and economic stability in a simple way that I can comprehend. Let’s see if we can sort out some way to explain this mess.

So, just what is the major malfunction of the US Government? Does it do anything right? Does it accomplish anything? What does it do? Who does it work for? Or maybe it’s performing exactly as it has been designed to function.

Most of us can agree on this much of the problem. It’s the politicians, stupid. Yes, if we narrow it down, we find the two primary flaws of our government are the Republican and Democratic Parties.

There’s plenty to be disgusted and furious about with these people. If there’s incompetence, sleaze and corruption anywhere, we find plenty throughout our esteemed two party system. What difference is there between them anyway?

The Republican Party claims to work for the people. Most of us know this is laughably absurd, but it’s true. They do make that claim. And they certainly work to get votes from a lot of the people. They pander to the fundamentalists and other conservative religious types. They developed the “Southern Strategy” to exploit racial tensions surrounding the civil rights movement in the South. The Republican Party has naturally done very little in the way of legislation, apart from occasional efforts to fuse church and state, for the benefit of lower income white voters. But they’ve mastered the manipulation of their grievances and resentments well enough to maintain huge voter support from average, middle to low income Americans.

To see who the Republican Party really works for, all we need to do is follow the money. The campaign contributions and lobbies all point to Big Money.

So, who then, you may ask, does the Democratic Party work for?

The Democratic Party also claims that it works for the people. They boast of representing the middle class, unions, the working people, the unemployed and the poor. Well, maybe the minority of democrats, that don’t feed at the same corporate trough as the Republicans suck from, give enough a damn about them to court their votes.

Nevertheless enough Democrats enable the Republicans to continue a corporatist agenda in the US Government. Behind the facade of a representative democratic republic stands a corporatocracy. “Corporatocracy” is a word we never hear from the corporate media. In fact, I still can’t find the word in a dictionary.

But, we can find these two words in the dictionary:

Corporatism. noun - the principles, doctrine, or system of corporative organization of a political unit, as a city or state.

Corporatist. adj. - Of, relating to, or being a corporative state or system.

A massive corporatist agenda has now emplaced corporatism as the controlling influence in our government.

I have drawn up a simple map of the corporatocracy. In order to have a handy easy term I use a little acronym I call a DEBIT MAP.

Here is the DEBIT MAP of the Corporatist Empire that has dismantled the vestiges of democracy in the US.

DEBIT: Defense, Energy, Banking, Insurance, and Telecom industries
MAP: Media, Agri-business, and Pharmaceutical industries

This is a far from complete list of the Big Money interests that corrupt our government, but it is probably the bulk of it. There are others. The mining industry, surveillance and security businesses, and the private corporate prison complex are a few of the others who contribute to the lack of accountability of the government to the people.

The DEBIT MAP Corporate Empire will continue unless there is massive social, political, or financial upheaval.

Upheaval need not be violence. Violent change would be avoided if the government would recognize and restore our rights, if the government worked for the public good.

The public good is measured in its education, employment, and health. If the government worked for the people, it would provide an environment of education, employment, and health care.

So, how do we get the government to see this? There seems to be little choice in our corrupt system. As George Carlin said, “You don’t have choices. You have owners.”

We’ve seen ample proof that Wall Street owns most of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. This did not happen overnight.

Here are five pivotal points leading to the dominance of our system by corporatocracy. They were abetted by the Judicial, Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government.

1. The Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County vs. The Union Pacific
Railroad in 1886 was used to grant corporate personhood. Although this
personhood was not specifically worded in the decision. It was added by a
clerk. J. C. Bancroft Davis wrote that the Chief Justice had said all the
Justices had agreed that corporations are persons. Chief Justice Waite
specifically disavowed this later in writing. Davis happened to be a former
president of a small railroad, and was thus the man to endow corporations
with all the rights of living person.

2. The Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 was the fateful decision
that turned corporate money donated to political campaigns into protected
“Free Speech”. De facto bribery was now legalized.

3. The repeal of the Glass/Steagall Act (1933-1999) through the passage of
the Financial Services Modernization Act, also known as the Gramm-Leach-
Bliley Act of 1999 allowed investment banks to merge with commercial banks. It also allowed financial institutions to merge with insurance companies. This opened the door to unchecked banking and insurance company abuses from Wall Street.

4. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 is famous for creating the “Enron Loophole” and the resulting swindles. It also granted free license to the mortgage backed securities, credit default swaps, derivatives and other Wall Street shell games.

5. These insidious insertions of corporate leverage into government needed only the dark years of the Bush Administration’s total lack of its oversight and regulatory obligation. What followed was the near collapse of our economy. Then the banksters pulled off the greatest extortion of American taxpayer money in history, known as the monstrosity called TARP, the Troubled Asset Recovery Program.

The media watch dogs had turned into lapdogs of the government, and the government watchdogs turned into lapdogs of Wall Street.

Both Republican and Democratic Parties became subsidiaries of Wall Street, leaving third parties and independents out in the fringes and irrelevant.

Since the corporate media is embedded in the two corporate parties of the US government, there is little access for third or fourth parties to have a voice.

Democracy in the US was not killed by the conservative Supreme Court’s selection of Bush/Cheney over the will of the majority of voters. I would say that was more like the burial of democracy. It was dying and they needed to it put out of sight.

We see the US Government has become a vast right wing engine of empire and corporate profiteering. It is nearly completely unresponsive to the public interest. Why is this, and how can this be happening? We’ll examine this in part two of my Simple Explanation.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Foxsuckers Thwarted

Today the tea bagging agitators were sent out by Fox News and other corporate interests to harass politicians and stage photo ops in DC. But they ran into some competition for attention. They found their wide-eyed crusade against health care was overshadowed by the horrible shootings at Fort Hood. The Hannity insanity would have to take a back seat on the media wagon to the insanity of mass murder.

The seventy-five suicides over the past six years at the US Army base were now augmented by at least a dozen murder victims. As the old song goes, military madness is killing our country; not to mention the widespread slaughter in the Af-Pak-Iraq quagmires.

Before the Fort Hood Massacre erupted, one of the radical Right’s favorite bleach-blonde mouthpieces put on an interesting display this morning. The brilliant English actor Ian McKellen was a guest on the View. The not-so-brilliant Elisabeth Hasselbeck was set to pounce. She mentioned the swine flu and asked him if he was vaccinated.

Mr. McKellen answered, “No, I’ve not been vaccinated. I was advised I didn’t need it, but it is available to me free on the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.”

Applause came from the studio audience.

Undeterred, our Palin pal hostess pressed on.

“We look at Goldman Sachs, ok? Private industry has the shots.”

The notion of private industry CALLING the shots would probably never occur to her.

“You give it over to the government. You don’t know the order in which they’re going to administer it.”

Well, maybe we know a little. They distribute the vaccine first to those most at risk of fatality from the flu, and those who request it.

Then she went on a bit of a schizo-tangent. “And also I do think we need to rely on government for emergency situations. This is an emergency situation.”

What’s that emergency again? Could it be just the flu, or would it be the fact that thousands die in this country every year without health coverage? She seems slightly reasonable so far. You don’t suppose she’s about to twist her spiel into something convoluted and contradictory, do you?

Now she pours the kool-ade. “Giving the government our health care is not the answer here.”

So, what is the answer, miss know-it-all? She doesn’t say. They never say, do they?

Mr. McKellen tries to reason with her. “The government doesn’t run the National Health Service. It’s run by the doctors and the hospitals.”

“That’s what they’d like you to believe, I’m sure,” zings back our Fox-indoctrinated bimbo. Then catching herself, she adds, “Over here in the United States it would not be the case.”

Here was her big chance to explain just who would be managing health care in the US. Would it be politicians tapping your knee for reflexes in the examination room? Perhaps those meddling Washington DC bureaucrats will be jabbing the tongue depressor down your throat, demanding you say, “Ahh”, while they ponder sending you off to a Death Panel.

I’m afraid we’ll never know. We’re just supposed to be afraid. That’s what’s important.

Sir Ian McKellen, like the average factory worker in Britain, didn’t have to worry about facing bankruptcy as a result of his treatment for prostate cancer. He could have explained a lot to little Lizzie about the National Health Service, but I’m sure he knew she wouldn’t listen anyway.

Instead he simply said, “It’s been going an awfully long time and I wouldn’t be as healthy as I was now if I hadn’t had the National Health Service.”

Once again applause came from the studio audience.

“I’m glad you’re very healthy,” Lizzie conceded. “It is my personal belief, and the belief of many others, I do not want the government running our health care.”

Little Lizzie couldn’t even get one pair of hands to clap in agreement with her belief.

Whoopi Goldberg then asked about Mr. McKellen’s new movie. My goodness. It looked like that evil old socialism scored a point against our brave defender of the insurance industry.

Liz must have been certain her beliefs would be validated by the next guest. It was none other than Fox anchorman Shepard Smith.

Our fairly unbalanced reality game show celebrity offered Mr, Smith her biggest question of the day. “Do you think it was an unfair thing that the Obama Administration did then, by trying to single out Fox, say not MSNBC?”

Liz must have thought Shep had been drugged by some of McKellen’s socialized medicine in the green room when he replied, “Oh, it’s not a new thing. Administrations have been fighting with news organizations since time began.”

This was supposed to be a big day for Liz and her fellow teabaggers. Once again reality stepped in to thwart them.

Lizzie couldn’t cope with someone who was actually helped by national health care. Shepard Smith didn’t buy into her Fox persecution fantasy.

The Beckerheads’ media assault was upstaged by someone even crazier than most of their group.

Now watch the Foxsuckers try to blame this Fort Hood incident on liberals. You know they will.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dithering Dick

I hope all of you are having a nice fall season. I have to say I’ve been enjoying a pretty good autumn this year. There’s been no election year induced stress from worrying about another presidency stolen by the Republicans. The economy has not been shattered. And we taxpayers have not been extorted by the corporate criminals on Wall Street. Well not lately, anyway.

So I’ve been taking a break from my usual three to four hours of daily news reading and watching. Four hours! Seeing this in print shocks me. Pretty pathetic, and that doesn’t include my Stewart and Colbert viewing. I’ve still been keeping tabs on the imperial circus of permanent war, and the health care debacle, er debate. I’ve learned to not expect any “change” from the US Government, so why fret so much?

Anyway, I’ve been quite happily enjoying a beautiful October. I like spending quiet time sitting on the deck, or walking my German shepherd named Lucy Jean. She keeps me healthy with two or three walks a day, and it’s working out for her as well. She’ll be fifteen years old in December, bless her heart.

And I have been spending some not-so-quiet time too. I have been getting together to play music with old friends, and even some new friends. Most everyone should do more of what they love doing, right? It isn’t complicated, but sometimes we need to be reminded.

Well, today I glanced at the TV only to see the sneering mug of former VP (and still the leading voice of American fascism) Dick Cheney.

In his typical reptilian tone he hissed, "President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission."

Then he snarled, “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger. It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity. Make no mistake. Signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries."

In less than a hundred words from this lying, cowardly, treasonous war criminal we see the same old bald-faced dishonesty, scapegoating, projection, and blaming of others for his own utter wrongheadedness, malevolence and failure.

In other words, he’s still spewing more of the same, tired, old evil bile. The really sick part of all this is the fact that he is not screaming this from his prison cell. Almost as twisted is the fact that too many Americans still believe this vile crook. Never underestimate American arrogance and ignorance.

Today, National Security Network Senior Adviser and retired General Paul Eaton, who oversaw the training of the Iraqi military from 2003-2004, had something to say about Dick.

"The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it. 2. Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.

"The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy 'experts' have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan.”


Well said, General. If you don’t mind, I’d like to add my little critique. Shall we dissect this cancerous tumor of Reich Wing contagion, and maybe frame, contain, and contrast it with truth and light?

Let’s start with this “afraid to make a decision” bit. Apart from his blatant and ubiquitous fear mongering, we see the obvious comparison to the sinister and destructive decisions decided by the Big Dick and his Decider. Why can’t Obama decide on a whim the deaths of thousands of innocent human beings? Sounds like some kind of character flaw, eh, Dick?

“While America’s armed forces are in danger.” How’d that happen, Dick? It’s not like you, and somebody you know, were asleep at the switch; and then dismissed the guy who delivered the “Bin Laden planning to strike in the US” August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing with “Your ass is covered,” right?

No, you were too busy thinking up a reason to invade Iraq for oil, profit, and re-election. Oh, and also to put America’s armed forces in danger.

“Unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission." Sort of like you were unable to go to Vietnam to complete the mission, eh, Dick? Of course you had other priorities, didn’t you?

Here’s a good one. “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger. It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity.” You mean the war you and George started but couldn’t finish while you dithered over it for six years?

“It's time for President Obama to do what it takes.” Yes, and realize that agreeing with you, Dick, about it being a war of necessity will be the worst mistake of his life.

And let’s go back to “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.” And what were you up to, Dick, “while America’s armed forces were in danger” during the war in Vietnam? Perhaps you were too busy dithering over your next draft deferment, right, Dick? How about getting a deferment for spawning a hateful voice for the next generation? Liz can cheer on, and then dodge, her generation’s war just like dear old Dad did with his.

We are sick and tired of this Chicken Hawk squawk. Make no mistake, It hurts our allies and emboldens our adversaries, and is a disgrace to every honest, law abiding, peaceful American.

And in one way I agree with Dick about “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.” It’s time to arrest the men who lied to us in order to put those troops in danger. They are war criminals, traitors, torturers, and murderers. Make no mistake.

Monday, September 14, 2009

American Republican Suppression Engine

Many ordinary folks consider themselves to be conservative. They generally tend to be regular decent people. They care about others and are capable of great kindness. They may not pay a lot of attention to what goes on in Washington DC, and maybe they think Fox News is actually an unbiased “fair and balanced” news source.

Apart from CNN, it’s possible these good folks are unaware of other televised information sources besides Fox. Pretty much all cable outlets provide Fox in the basic package while anyone who wishes to watch MSNBC would have to pay extra. There truly is an exposure factor in favor of the O’Reilly Factor.

Regular Americans like things to stay pretty much as they are, at least in their personal world. When changes happen beyond their control, they are usually not seen as changes for the better. They may see people with different skin color or apparel moving into town. They may learn that this is not so terrible after all. But, they also may notice many of the familiar old local businesses disappear. In some of the worst cases, folks who see themselves as conservatives may lose their jobs. They may lose their health insurance or even their homes. It is also possible they will be forced into bankruptcy by medical costs, even if they have insurance.

These changes are bad.

All of a sudden Americans watching Fox News find themselves getting angry and frightened. Fox tells them who is to blame for their troubles.

And then the politicians step in. Republicans (and corporatist Democrats) will claim to be conservative so these folks identify with them and vote for them. The conservative politicians join Fox News and tell them these awful changes are the results of liberals imposing their evil liberalism into America.

This is called scapegoating and political propaganda. These are not conservative tools. These are right wing tactics to get people to vote for politicians who have an agenda that is not in the best interests of the vast majority of voters. It is more than clear that modern Republican Conservatism isn’t really traditional conservatism at all. It is difficult for Americans to grasp the idea of just who is blocking any government policy that would be favorable to the working people.

In order to oppose something one must first clearly identify the antagonizing forces suppressing the will and well being of the people. These sinister and dark forces that wield enormous power and embody such greed are a threat to over 99 percent of our nation’s citizens. Let me put a name to this entity.

It is the huge American Republican Suppression Engine, or ARSE.

The Big ARSE will tell you they are conservative and represent the common people. They will tell you they want to preserve the family, traditional values, religion, patriotism, and of course law and order. They will even openly advocate American military and economic supremacy over the world. They rigidly support the economic interests of the wealthiest people in the country, to the measurable detriment of the rest of us.

By the way, Republican suppression is not manifested entirely within the Republican Party. Enough Blue Dog Democrats embrace the Republican American Suppression Engine to make it truly bipartisan. Blue Dog syndrome is apparently due to the lack of oxygen up the corporate ARSE’s where conservative Democrats’ noses are known to frequent.

The Republican American Suppression Engine is the primary political movement of our time. It is also called Corporatism, with a generous portion of Cheney-style authoritarianism stirred into the mix for additional control through fear and anger manipulation.

When we take a closer look, we see these ARSE politicians follow a distinct pattern.

By their traditional definitions, liberalism is supposed to promote change, and conservatism is supposed to be against change. Who have been the primary agents of change in the past 30 years? Republican Conservatism has taken control of our government and has brought about more change than liberalism has accomplished in 60 years.

In response to $3.7 billion in lobbying money between 1998 and 2007 from the financial sector, the Big ARSE has deregulated the financial industry. That worked out fine, didn’t it?

We see the same kind of influence from the insurance/pharma/medical industry that will be dictating (and rationing) our health care. They are pouring ten million bucks every week into bribing politicians and confusing the pubic about health care.

ARSE has worked tirelessly to suppress every legislative attempt to benefit consumers, the public interest, the poor, and middle class.

Progress, growth, shared prosperity, and adaptation have been suppressed by stagnation, greed, militarism and re-distribution of wealth to the top one percent. In fact the wealth redistribution has overwhelmingly benefitted the top tenth of one per cent.

Let’s check the record.

According to the article on the Bush legacy in the September 11th issue of the Atlantic:

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially.

And we learn from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Two-thirds of the nation’s total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, and that top 1 percent held a larger share of income in 2007 than at any time since 1928, according to an analysis of newly released IRS data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.

During those years, the Piketty-Saez data also show, the inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households grew more than ten times faster than the income of the bottom 90 percent of households.

The smothering forces of the big ARSE have increased poverty, restricted and eliminated health care for millions, slaughtered countless thousands in war, and brought our economy to the brink of collapse. They have strangled the Constitution by lying to Congress, the American people, and the world, in order to start their war for power and profit. They undermined Habeas Corpus, rationalized and embraced torture, rendition, and warrantless surveillance of citizens.

We’ve seen the crazed and confused conservatives whining at town halls, “We want out country back.” We hear Rush and his ditto head parrots shouting about wanting their country back, too.

Well, fine, I kind of want MY country back, too, but what country is that? Is it the criminal regime of Bush/Cheney they yearn to restore? Perhaps, but I think they want the “good old days” back. Most of the loudest of these whiners grew up in an America that nurtured its working class through the liberal programs of FDR’s New Deal.

Those confused conservatives’ former standard of living and thriving economy was boosted by the very target of their political leaders. The Big ARSE has successfully demolished nearly all vestiges of the New Deal. They’ve had the privatization of Medicare and Social Security in their sights for a long time.

The Big ARSE has done everything possible to subvert the people’s government into a right wing engine of militarism, national security police state, and corporate profiteering.

The New Deal has been replaced by the Big Screw. Americans’ health and future are being poisoned by the toxic crap flowing from Fox News, the primary orifice of the Big ARSE.

So, the question we must ask is one that we can be sure will NOT be asked by corporate media and other establishment voices. Just what does Big ARSE Conservatism want to conserve?

It is the ARSE’s intention to put a cramp on the system, obstruct freedom, and dominate the rest of the entire body politic.

It’s time for some serious ARSE kicking.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who's A Nazi?

Like many of you, I enjoy a nice cup of tea now and then. It is such a calming and civil thing to do. And it got me thinking.

Those pitiful Tea Baggers can't even enjoy their tea; all they can drink is the kool-ade.

Here’s what one of them asked Barney Frank yesterday.

As she clutched her photo of Obama with a mustache drawn onto it, she self-righteously posed this artificial raspberry flavored challenge. “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy...Why are you supporting it?”

Frank’s response was eloquently on target. “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”

So he answered her. “As you stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I’ve said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing so.”

I guess she likes to listen to Rush Limbaugh. Rush has been the most vehement pourer of the Nazi kool-ade lately. You may remember this began when Rush falsely claimed Nancy Pelosi called Town Hall shouters Nazis. She didn’t. But that’s no reason for Rush to not come unhinged from reality.

Here are some samples of his loathsome bile, from just ONE SHOW on August 6th, followed by a classic lie at the end.

The Speaker of the House accusing people showing up at these town hall meetings of wearing swastikas -- that is not insignificant, folks. That is -- this woman is deranged. ....She's basically saying that we are Nazis. She is saying that the people who oppose this are Nazis. And I'm gonna tell you what, I'm going to run down a list here later on the program, but this party -- the Democrat Party, and where it's taking this country, the radical left leadership of this party bears much more resemblance to Nazis' policies than anything we on the right believe in at all.

It is Obama who is astroturfing. It is Obama who is manufacturing right from the White House, sending out his brownshirts to head up opposition to genuine American citizens who want no part of what Barack Obama stands for and is trying to stuff down our throats

They accuse of us being Nazis, and Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook. Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business -- they hated big business. And of course we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution.... they banned smoking. ...and they were for cradle-to-grave nationalized healthcare.

This is why I have always bristled when I hear people claim conservatism gets close to Nazism. It is liberalism that's the closest you can get to Nazism and socialism. It's all bundled up under the socialist banner. There are far more similarities between Nancy Pelosi and Adolf Hitler than between these people showing up at town halls to protest a Hitler-like policy that's being heralded like a Hitler-like logo.

Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate.

Oh, another similarity. Obama is asking citizens to rat each other out like Hitler did.


These are just a few examples. Believe me, there are plenty more.

Here’s the kicker from August 10th: “Nobody was comparing Obama to Hitler.”

What the...? So Nazis were against big business, pollution, and smoking? Anything you say, Rush. Poor Rush has been obsessed with comparing liberals and democrats to Nazis. He was also calling all of us who disagree with him kooks.

Those of us who have a basic understanding of psychology can clearly see the projection being displayed here.

If you listen to Rush, you’d think Hitler was the first person who had the notion of universal health care.

Not surprisingly, that’s not true. Germans had the right idea before Adolf, before Paul von Hindenburg, and before the Kaiser, even. It was Otto von Bismarck, not the Nazis, who established a national health care system in Germany. And he was not a socialist or a Nazi. He was the Chancellor of Germany and Minister-President of Prussia. He was also an anti-socialist aristocrat, kind of like George W. Bush, but more compassionate. The Bismarck model featured regulated insurance coverage for everyone. The key factor was coverage, not profit.

Somebody must have told Rush about Bismarck, because recently Rush declared Bismarck was a “lefty”.

Let’s make something clear. Socialists, liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, or even American Reich Wing fascists are not Nazis.

However, American Reich Wing fascists share more than a few of the Nazis’ attitudes toward others. They despise democracy, liberalism, the arts, humanities, unions, real socialists, intellectuals, ethnic and racial minorities, homosexuals, and black presidents.

It can be tempting to call them Nazis by their adoration of militarism and unquestioning worship of law enforcement. We may be reminded of Nazis when we see them embrace the anger and hatred fed to them by their authoritarian leaders.

Like the Nazis of old, they are excited into a flag waving frenzy when their country invades countries that never attacked or threatened them. The American Reich Wingers angrily attacked anyone who questioned the Bush/Cheney wars and illegal surveillance programs as unpatriotic or worse. The RW’s also supported spying on peace groups, regarding them as potential terrorists or threats to America.

Yes, the Nazis did all this and more, but our rabid Righties in America are still not the same as Nazis. There are differences that need to be examined.

American Reich Wing fascists are so ignorant they don’t know what real Nazis were like. Real Nazis would scoff at them and regard the tea bagging, Fox-indoctrinated, ditto head imbeciles as mere oafish amateurs, corporatist stooges and useful idiots.

American Reich Wingers are for the most part a cheap imitation by comparison.

Most of the two-bit, tin-horn, dimwitted American Reich Wing fascists pale when compared to the original Nazis. Sure, American fascists destroyed our economy and devastated the middle class and public sector. And yes, they engendered world-wide anger, resentment and disappointment towards their country by belligerent war-mongering and war making. It just wasn’t accomplished on as grand a scale.

Our RW’s are only capable of implementing the destructive aspects of the Nazis. They build nothing to benefit their fellow citizens. They contribute nothing to advance education, health care, jobs, workers’ rights, public works, culture, and services for the unemployed and homeless.

The original Nazis could at least build something. Apart from the munitions and armaments they did construct Olympic stadiums, railroads, the autobahn and infrastructure for their country.

The horrible destruction they wrought came from their hatefulness, brutal authoritarian police state, and wars of aggression.

Thankfully, most Americans will never be fascists. Very few even call themselves Nazis.

But fascists live in America and they don’t need to be a majority to do their harm. Look at the type of folks at Blackwater/Xe. The rest of us need to watch them closely and do our best to keep them out of power.

The overreaction by the crazed racists to a black president is bad enough.

The horror of it all is these angry, frightened, ignorant people are capable of becoming even more dangerous. As the abortion doctor killers, Pittsburgh cop killer, Holocaust Memorial killer, and thousands of wannabes seethe in their hatred, all they need in order to be set loose on innocent Americans is another Dick Cheney in the White House with his corporate media propagandists calling those who dissent socialists or communists, or... Nazis. It doesn’t matter. Stupid Americans have proven they don’t know the difference anyway.

And right now, another Dick Cheney, or worse, is thinking about running for president.

But we liberals, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, and yes, kooks as well, have learned so much from the rabid Righties lately, haven’t we?

Let’s review our most important lesson from those town hall shouters.

We learned Obama is a Democrat, foreigner, liberal, Marxist, authoritarian, Communist, Socialist, AND a Nazi...all at once. His wallet must be so full of membership cards he'll never need to find a chair to sit on.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Misinformed Christians

Maybe you saw the woman holding her Bible up in the air and chanting “This is the only truth.” She was one of a group of conservatives following instructions to disrupt Democratic representatives meeting with constituents. Perhaps she was inspired by Republican lobbyist Dick Armey’s Freedom Works’ guide "Rocking the Town Halls-Best Practices."

Maybe she was following Conservatives for Patients' Rights. It's a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization that's run by a former hospital executive and generally slippery greedy fellow named Rick Scott. Or maybe she was taking her cue from Americans for Prosperity. They’re listed on the RecessRally.com page under the name of their own subsidiary, Patients First. The national chairman of Americans for Prosperity is the 19th richest man in the world. A man named David Koch.

These are organizing forces behind the Right Wing offensive against the free speech and democracy being attempted at these meetings. The Republican Party tells us, "What Democrats call mob rule, the average American calls democracy. These kinds of despicable characterizations of middle-class Americans smacks of elitism."

So let’s get this straight. The 19th richest man and his fellow Republicans are in no way promoting anything resembling elitist interests.

Right. And Hitler’s Brown Shirts were promoting democracy by doing the exact same thing. The Brown Shirts were charged with disrupting political opponents’ meetings.

Now, I’m not saying these duped citizens are Nazis. Although Rush was telling his brain-dead listeners today how much Democrats are like Nazis. You all know how famously those Nazis promoted nationalized health care and questioned their military/industrial complex. Oops, that last part was from Republican President Eisenhower. He fought against the Nazis.

What I AM saying is these conservatives shouting down meetings are doing the same thing Hitler’s Brown Shirts did. And I’ll bet there were many German Christians among them. Many German Christians believed Hitler was one of them. They were misinformed and blinded by ideology, of course. Today we see many American Christians who are similarly misinformed and ideological.

Let’s take a look at what misinformed Christians have been up to and see if we can find any historical pattern.

Misinformed Christians set out to kill for Christ on their Crusades.

Misinformed Christians launched a bloody Inquisition.

Misinformed Christians burned people at the stake in Europe.

Misinformed Christians hung “witches” in Salem.

Misinformed Christians followed Hitler.

Misinformed Christians believe Obama was not born in the US.

Misinformed Christians believe Obama is a racist.

Misinformed Christians don’t want government-sponsored health care.

Misinformed Christians want VA health care for veterans.

Misinformed Christians want to keep Medicare.

Misinformed Christians don’t know VA and Medicare are successful government-sponsored health care.

Misinformed Christians believe government-sponsored Health care is Communism.

Misinformed Christians are frightened by Socialism.

Misinformed Christians do not know what Socialism is.

Misinformed Christians watch Fox News.

Misinformed Christians believe Right Wing propaganda.

Misinformed Christians are frightened and angered by Right Wing propaganda.

Misinformed Christians repeat Right Wing propaganda.

Misinformed Christians don’t know Right Wing propaganda is funded by Mammon.

Misinformed Christians believe government sponsored health care will kill old people.

Misinformed Christians don’t know for the top 10 corporate health insurers profits are up over 430% the past 7 years.

Misinformed Christians prefer the insurance companies influence our politicians.

Misinformed Christians believe in free speech.

Misinformed Christians will disrupt others’ right to free speech at meetings.

Misinformed Christians follow instructions titled "Rocking the Town Halls-Best Practices."

Misinformed Christians don’t care that "Rocking the Town Halls-Best Practices" was funded by corporate money.

Misinformed Christians shill for corporate profits against the public’s health.

Misinformed Christians serve the interests of Mammon.

Misinformed Christians forgot Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”

Misinformed Christians don’t care that health care costs cause bankruptcy.

Misinformed Christians would prefer $10 trillion go towards war than care for our own.

Misinformed Christians want to deny health care to millions of Americans

Misinformed Christians forgot Jesus healed the sick.

Misinformed Christians forgot who said, “Blessed are the merciful”.

Misinformed Christians believe we are a Christian Nation.

I think I see a pattern here...

Misinformed Christians aren’t very Christian at all, are they?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Birthers and Racists and Brats

By some thoughtless impulse I flipped the TV channel to another station.

I heard the commentator's voice explaining, “All he’s doing is bloviating. He’s just bloviating. That’s all it is.” The commentator was Bill O’Reilly, and he was talking to his guest from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“It takes one to know one,” I thought to myself, while wondering who the subject was of Bill-O’s remark.

I learned it was none other than Lou Dobbs of CNN. It looks like old Lou is coming more unglued than ever. His pathological obsession with all those leprosy spreading immigrants living in his narrow imagination was apparently shutting down more parts of his brain.

Yes, Dobbs has joined the “Birthers”. This is the sect of the lunatic Right Wing that is even less grounded in reality than O’Reilly. In fact, Bill says the Factor “investigated” this issue and found the wackos’ notion of Obama’s foreign birth “bogus”.

Man, thank goodness for O’Reilly’s prowess as an investigative journalist. When old Bull O Really sides with sanity over delusion, maybe there IS some hope, after all. Or, maybe I’m getting carried away. The Ridiculous Right has legions of Birthers marching among them. Many Republican congressmen are pandering to this crazed crowd. Toss in Glenn-the-Reality-Impaired Beck’s equally ridiculous accusation that Obama is a racist, and we see some significant mass madness over on the conservative, or I should say confused side of American politics.

Now, as any sane observer would ask, what would happen if this situation were reversed and liberals said some outrageous thing about a republican? Why, they’d be accused of treason, of course. And you could bet there would be some major Republican political theater along with it. Remember the Senate resolution condemning the liberal antiwar group MoveOn.org for publishing a newspaper ad?

Why don’t we see Democrats behaving like Republicans when they feel some slight against them? Could it be Democrats and liberals are the mature adults here?

I have a theory. Those tough talking, flag waving, sanctimonious hypocrites are crybabies. Yes, they act just like a bunch of immature little whiners.

Amazingly, the richest and most powerful are the biggest crybabies. Conservative talk radio whiners and republican politicians are always crying abut something. Most of their complaining is about their own insatiable greed, of course. “Waa! I want my Bush tax cuts permanent!” “Waa! I’m a poor unfairly taxed millionaire!” “Waa! I don’t want everyone else to have health care!” Waa! I want the insurance companies to have their way!” “Waa! Government is supposed to work for Big Business!” “Waa! Obama is a socialist!” “Waa! Obama was born in Africa!” “Waa! Obama is a racist!”

And yes, Progressives have many complaints as well. They speak and write about rampant injustice. They illuminate the class warfare waged against the poor and middle class. They correctly say the rich are clearly the winners in this contest. But, unlike the emotionally charged howling from the Right, Progressives base their claims on verifiable fact and history.

The crybaby Right cannot base their arguments on reality. Since they confuse journalism with liberalism they can’t support their claims with documented verifiable facts. In fact, they scream the “liberal media” is to blame for everything.

Let’s look at what Sarah Palin, the quitter with lipstick, said in her Quittin’ the Governorship Speech the other day.

“Some straight talk for some—just some—in the media, because another right protected for all of us is freedom of the press and you have such important jobs, reporting facts and informing the electorate and exerting power to influence. You represent what could and should be a respected, honest profession that could and should be a cornerstone of our democracy.

Democracy depends on you. And that is why—that‘s why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how about, in honor of the American soldier, ya quit makin’ things up?”

Like a child behind Mother’s skirt, they love to hide behind the troops and patriotism so they can accuse opponents of not being “real Americans”.

It’s time to spank these spoiled little brats and tell them to grow up and face reality. Most Americans want the government to work for all of us, not just for the richest one percent. Obama is not a racist. Obama does not pal around with a terrorist. Obama is not a socialist. Obama won.

Let’s tell those folks who cheered the stolen 2000 election something. Let’s remind those who stomp their feet and hold their breath because the guy with the most votes won last year’s election.

Let’s remind them of what they told us back in 2000.

Get over it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gates Gate

A travel fatigued and sickly college professor walking with a cane was arrested by Cambridge police and everybody has to chime in. Talk radio filled countless hours of air time. The President, after admitting he didn’t have all the facts, decided the police acted stupidly.

Now we have a right wing representative from Michigan pushing for a congressional resolution demanding Obama apologize to the Cambridge Police Department. Representative Thaddeus McCotter must come from a very prosperous district in the state. Michigan is suffering the highest unemployment rate in the country. Old Thaddeus has his priorities, though. I bet those unemployed constituents are cheering his noble crusade for truth and justice, while they eat their boxed mac and cheese and count their remaining food stamps.

We all know what happened. Henry Louis Gates was returning home from China and found his front door jammed shut. A neighbor saw him attempting to push it open, called the police and reported a possible B and E. She mentioned in her call that the guy had luggage and may even live there.

Sgt. Crowley arrived to save the day. Soon professor Gates was placed in handcuffs, arrested and carted off to jail. So, what’s the big deal? Nothing stupid was done, right?

Yes, Gates did get upset and he made some remarks like the cop not knowing who he was “messing with”.

I read the officers’ report and learned that Gates presented ID after the officer had entered the house. Crowley stated Gates “appeared to be a resident but was uncooperative”. Gates was indignant and annoyed about the cop’s intrusiveness. Crowley asked Gates to “step out onto the porch and speak to me”. That’s a smart way to calm someone down, right?

Crowley reported he was “led to believe Gates was lawfully in the residence”. Then as Crowley was leaving the residence he told Gates he would, “speak with him outside.” So Crowley was followed out onto the porch.

Professor Gates was then arrested for “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior.”

I have 25 years of experience in a maximum security environment. I have been in many situations that required an even temperament to prevent people from getting hurt. After reading the cops' report, I see this could be a good teaching case for officers to learn about unnecessary escalation of an incident.

Crowley certainly could have been more professional about this. It was obvious that these were not young thugs attempting a B and E. The “step outside” line could have been regarded as over-reaching and even threatening. The situation could have been de-escalated if the cop had a cooler head. After the cop knew Gates lived there, it was the officers’ presence that escalated the situation. Crowley should have left the scene. His business was finished. By his staying, the situation became a contest of egos, not a public safety matter.

Cops are not paid to win a shouting match at a person’s home.

This is assuming the report was written in complete honesty. Cops do lie sometimes.

I agree Obama should have kept his mouth shut on this, but he was right the first time. Crowley acted stupidly and let the situation blow up out of proportion.

As to Thaddeus McCotter’s hare-brained resolution for a presidential apology on this minor incident; I have a better suggestion.

I’d like Obama to apologize for bigger transgressions.

What about his protecting Cheney’s secret testimony in the Libby/Plame CIA leak? He used the same old Bush “state secrets” dodge for illegal surveillance.

Let’s see if he will apologize for betraying our nation’s constitution by “looking forward’ past the Bush/Cheney war crimes.

I’d certainly like Obama to apologize for saying some things. Let’s start with that one about, “Nobody is above the law”.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Around And Around

I recently had the pleasure of coming across a blog called Gun Toting Liberal. I recommend you all check this blog.

“Gun toting liberal, eh,” I thought, “Sounds like my kind of guy”.

There was a post written by a conservative guest titled “Lesson For A Liberal”. You have to hand it to GTL. He knows how to stir up some active comments.

The writer is a golf instructor who was giving a lesson to his liberal student. During the lesson the woman said to him, “The greedy corporations that created this mess will pay for what they did, don’t worry Chris, our President will take care of us.”

Feel free to go read the entire piece, but for our purposes here and now, that clip should suffice.

Friendly guy that I am, I thought I’d leave a thoughtful comment. Soon afterwards, off we went, around and around with my new conservative friend, FandB.

I know this kind of repartee can be annoying to some people, but sometimes I really like it. If you are also inclined to enjoy a spirited exchange, I offer to you this little spin on the carousel for your entertainment and edification.

Comments:
***

Just as it is naive for the Left to believe Obama will "take care of us", we see the mirrored reflection of the Right's similarly misplaced belief in warrantless surveillance by an unrestrained national security state. Our freedoms are protected by enforcement of the Bill of Rights, not by the false promise of hope by Obama, and not by the false promise of safety by Bush/Cheney rogue agencies.

There is a valid argument that the US and the world would be just as safe, if not safer, without an NSA or CIA. Unfortunately these agencies deny us the very facts we need to debate the issue.

And yes, greed exists in corporations. They serve their bottom line. Businesses who grew in the US and were nurtured by American workers, would betray those employees in a heartbeat and send those jobs overseas. Not all of them, but too many have done just that. My wife even had to train her Indian replacement. It is not in the nature of Big Business to be benevolent and merciful.

Dave Dubya

***

People need to accept responsibility for their actions, and they need to understand the effects of their actions on others, including the effects on corporations. Corporations respond to the demand from their customers. If their customers demand lower prices for goods and services than they are able to achieve in the U.S., then there is pressure from their customers to move overseas to lower their costs.

Just as businesses would "betray" the "American workers" who "nurtured" them, the very same American workers would betray the businesses they worked for in a heartbeat if they could buy down the street and save half a buck.

And the American worker is also not without responsibility in this matter. Every year, Workers demand higher and higher pay and benefits (even though their work usually does not improve much, if at all, from year to year). The workers threaten to destroy the business if they don't get what they want. So when it reaches the point where sales decline due to higher prices forced by higher wages, businesses have to choose between off-shoring, out-sourcing, raising prices, or shutting their doors.

When customers demand lower prices, and workers demand higher wages, the business is left with too few options.

Now this is where the liberals jump in and scream that the people running the companies get paid too much, they should cut their own pay. It is a fundamental difference between the free market capitalism that built this great nation, and the socialism that is destroying it. The problem is, the liberals can't see that (1) the big bad CEO doesn't earn enough to make a difference in the above scenario, even if his pay were cut to zero it would have a marginal effect at best; and (2) if companies don't pay enough to attract the talent needed to run the company, it will fail anyway.

If the American workers, who expect to get paid more and more every year, were to develop new ways to do things, better, faster, cheaper ways to produce. And if they were to do it consistently year after year, there would be several differences between the way things are now and the way they could be. America would not have a trade deficit - as long as our quality and productivity improve year after year after year, our goods and services would be the lowest priced and the highest quality in the world. Not only would Americans only want to buy American made goods, the rest of the world would want American made goods. Our unemployment rate would be nil. Our tax rates would be lower. Everyone would be insured through their employers, since profits are high and everyone is working. And on and on...

So I still believe that the American worker CAN make a difference, and should strive every day to make that difference.

The movement away from accepting personal responsibility for your own actions, and toward expecting more and more from the government, has led to the deadly spiral that we are in now.

Remember, the big scary evil "corporations" don't exist in a void, and they don't run themselves. They are run by people, EVERY SINGLE ONE of whom is just trying to make the best living they can for themselves and for their families. The people running the corporations are ALSO American Workers.

FandB

***

F and B- I'm such a dope, all this time reading your posts I always though you just had an odd name that rhymed with Bambi. Then I saw Chris split it with a "&" , now I see the light.

Dave W. (I catch on so fast!)- The government overstepping the line with U.S. Citizens is indeed a serious issue and a big problem that is compounded by technology. However, I dare say the vast majority of spying is much more innocuous and safe from abuse than you may realize. Back in the old days, an overseas spy might befriend and pay a janitor to get the trash out of some dictator's office to get a sense what was going on. Now, with so much information being created and stored electronically, agencies use different methods of gaining information. As powerful as the tools are to gather information, the agencies struggle with the problem of netting "dolphine with the tuna". And when it comes to phone calls, e-mails,texting and such, there are millions of worthless "dolphine" information for the few tuna they are after. It is hard not pull in sometimes unauthorized information on U.S. citizens, but my opinion is that it is a very rare day when one of those "Alphabet" agencies actually wants to have infomation on a U.S. citizen that it wasn't authorized to have.

Mike Hatcher

***
FandB,

Personally, and like many other Americans who may still have an income, I will always spend a little more on products made in the US over an import. That is, if I even have the choice.

I must say I’ve never heard that the reason for the horrific job losses in the US is the irresponsibility of workers looking for lower prices and their greed for better wages. But it’s OK, I guess, for the company and its bosses to do what it takes to achieve those same things. Executive and CEO pay has risen exponentially, often regardless of performance, while economic stagnation and depression close in on most Americans.

I’d like to see someone explain that to the unemployed. I suppose that’s why there’s Fox News, eh, F and B? F and B... Hmm, why does that ring a bell? Listening to the shrill cries of the Right, you’d think the middle class was expanding out of control and lynching the rich, instead of shrinking into a distant memory. An informed middle class is exactly what the ruling political and corporate elite want to suppress.

And say, don’t those trade deficits and job losses have something to do with corporate friendly “Free Trade Agreements”?

I am also surprised to learn that corporations are run by people who, unlike those selfish laborers, are free from the influence of greed; even the Wall Street banksters, I suppose.

Well, that’s “Free Market Capitalism” for you. It’s a good thing they have reverse socialism to bail them out. We all work for them now. That is so much better than that evil kind of socialism that uses tax dollars to provide public services like police and fire departments and infrastructure. If someone doesn’t have the sense of personal responsibility to put out his house fire, or catch the arsonist burglar who broke into his house before he started the fire, then he gets what he deserves, right?

You know what else liberals can’t see? They can’t see “free trade” and “free markets”. They see a revolving door relationship between politicians and corporate lobbyists. They see two thirds of corporations paying no income taxes. They see Big Business filling the campaign funds of both parties. They see corporatocracy. They see the golden rule where those with the gold make the rules.

You’re right FandB, American workers can make a difference. As long as they shut up, accept a lower standard of living, give up on health care, and gratefully serve their corporate masters for minimum wage.

Mike,


Remember this line? “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way..." – G. W. B. 4-20-04

We liberals, and conservatives who understand the Fourth Amendment, call that a lie.

It may well be that “the vast majority of spying is much more innocuous and safe from abuse,” but the fact remains it has been, and is done, without Constitutional accountability and oversight. Journalists were specifically targeted and had their phones and email wiretapped. At least that was the case with James Risen of the New York Times. Perhaps he was being punished for reporting illegal surveillance by the Bush Administration. (There goes that pesky First Amendment as well.) Just how much warrantless spying on innocent Americans for no probable cause is acceptable? And just who do you trust with that power?

Do you trust the likes of General Michael Hayden? Maybe you remember he was the former NSA director who was rewarded with a new job as CIA boss by Bush/Cheney.

And do you remember Hayden being questioned by reporter Jonathan Landay in January of 2006?

Landay of Knight Ridder began his question by stating that "the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures." Hayden then interjected: "Actually, the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That's what it says."

Landay politely corrected him, saying, "But the measure is 'probable cause,' I believe." But Hayden insisted: "The amendment says 'unreasonable search and seizure.'" When Landay continued, "But does it not say probable--" he was interrupted by Hayden, who said, "No.... The amendment says 'unreasonable search and seizure.'"

Astoundingly, Hayden then said, “Just to be very clear, believe me. If there’s any Amendment to the Constitution that the employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it’s the fourth. And it is the reasonableness standard that is in the Amendment.”

So, here it is:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This leaves me with some questions.

Why would our corporate media allow such ignorance of our rights by powerful leaders go unreported? Could it be their tight relationship with the telecom industry that was soon granted immunity for their part in the illegal surveillance? Why do they attack a constitutionally protected free press as the dreaded “liberal media” and embrace unconstitutional abuse of power by radical dishonest Right Wing conservatives?

And one more question. Except for the Second Amendment, why do Right Wing conservatives dismiss and scorn the Bill of Rights?

-Dave Dubya

***
Dave Dubya: ” I will always spend a little more on products made in the US over an import” — not enough people are willing and then actually follow through and do it. That’s a large part of the problem.

“I’ve never heard that the reason for the horrific job losses in the US is the irresponsibility of workers looking for lower prices and their greed for better wages” — I realize it is a bitter pill, and not very PC, but in order to solve a problem, you have to attack the root cause, not the symptoms.

Businesses ONLY sell what people buy. The buyer is ALWAYS in control, not the seller.
Most people have trouble understanding this concept. They are used to being controlled by government and have forgotten that government should not be the one in control.


Your next paragraph, Dave Dubya (hmmm…why does that sound familiar), is just a feeble attempt to bash the right and is completely meaningless, especially in terms of fosteriing a productive discussion on the serious, but solvable, issues that the U.S. now faces.

All of your questions were answered in my first post. All of the corporate actions you disagree with are brought about through the actions of businesses trying to satisfy the needs/desires of consumers. It isn’t the other way around as liberals would like you to believe. If everyone took responsibility for their actions, stopped buying foreign made products, demanded U.S. made products, etc., all these things would change.

“Two thirds of corporations paying no income taxes” is SHEER FABRICATION on your part Dubya. Making up statistics is no way to make meaningful contributions to improving the situation in the U.S.

Your comment regarding what American workers are capable of is about as pessimistic as you can get. It just shows how deeply ingrained the lack of understanding goes.

FandB

***

GTL,

I must thank you for this opportunity to engage in friendly discourse and debate. It’s a good thing to see two sides presented without shouting and interruption.

FandB,


I see you prefer a black and white world of absolutes. "Businesses ONLY sell what people buy. The buyer is ALWAYS in control, not the seller." While that may provide some comfort to a right wing belief system, it does little to aid in one's grasp of realty. The minimum wage employee who must spend the bulk of his paycheck on gas to get to his job is not in control. The same worker is also mandated to buy insurance for that car. That is not in his control.

My comments are not so much "a feeble attempt to bash the right", but simply my effort to bash what is wrong. (IMHO, that is.) I happen to agree with conservatives who support the right to firearm ownership, but it's sensible to regulate and to deny that right to psychotics and criminals. And I agree with them that abortion is a horrible thing. However I do feel it is not up to a man, or the government, or some church to make what is clearly the woman's personal painful decision..

True liberalism dwells in thoughtful, fair-minded people who yearn for a government that works for the public good. You may be surprised to learn most folks embrace both liberal and conservative ideas.

Both progressive and conservative interests in our Constitutional directives to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty” are undermined by corporate agendas. Liberals were called traitors when they questioned the motives of war profiteers/mongers Cheney and Rumsfeld. The Right accused us of “hating America” by objecting to Bush’s illegal, corporate telecom-assisted domestic spying. Those same voices are now howling about some foreign born socialist who wants to destroy capitalism while palling around with a terrorist. Give me a break.

Liberalism TM exists primarily in the fevered fantasies of right wing propagandists. It is not in the corporate-bought government of the United States.

My pessimism is grounded in the historical facts from Reagan’s “trickle down” myth to Bush/Cheney’s Enron/Halliburton style corporatism. Corporatism, masked as conservatism, has been the guiding force in US Government policy for 30 years now

I will not go in circles with you over these issues. I will, however, assert myself when accused of dishonesty. (“Two thirds of corporations paying no income taxes” is SHEER FABRICATION...) If you want sheer fabrication, I suggest tuning in to Rush Limbaugh, Bill O Reilly, Sean Hannity and their countless legions who can only make their points by outrageous comments and sheer fabrication. Feel free to fact check those folks if you have the curiosity that is obviously lacking in their listeners.

My “fabrication” is from the General Accounting Office report mentioned by many sources, excluding Fox News, of course. I have included a couple for you. I accept your apology.

---
Christian Science Monitor April 19, 2004

The April 2 release of a General Accounting Office report on corporate taxes could hardly have been better timed to get press attention. Just as millions of Americans were filling out their federal 2003 tax forms to beat the April 15 deadline, the GAO study indicated that most corporations owed no taxes from 1996 to 2000, a boom period for corporate profits.
Those untaxed corporations earned $3.5 trillion of revenues.
---
SF Chronicle Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When the taxman cometh, most corporations wave him on by, according to a government study released on Tuesday.
About two-thirds of U.S. companies and foreign firms doing business in this country paid no federal income taxes from 1998 to 2005, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., called the report "a shocking indictment of the current tax system."

To be sure, many of the nonpayers were small or new companies that probably made no money. But the report said that about a quarter of large corporations - ones that had more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts - paid no taxes. In 2005, for instance, 3,565 large U.S. companies and 998 large foreign-owned companies operating here did not pay any income taxes.


Dave Dubya

***

“The minimum wage employee who must spend the bulk of his paycheck on gas” --- as I said, we need to get to the root cause of the problem. Why is this employee only earning minimum wage? Trying to solve the wrong problem does not bring us closer to a solution that is equitable for all.

“mandated to buy insurance for that car” --- This varies from state to state. Who is responsible for this nanny-state law? (Hint: It usually falls under the same political discussion as 'Affordable Health Care')

“woman’s personal painful decision” --- why is the decision painful? Because every woman who has an abortion knows that she is killing her own child. That's why.

Why do liberals not have empathy for the baby that is being executed, often through excruciatingly painful and Torturous “procedures.” Who is protecting their rights?

Liberals are OK with torturing babies to death, but if we waterboard a murderer we should be hanged for Treason. Hmmmm.... Something's not quite right in the liberal camp.

“True liberalism dwells in thoughtful, fair-minded people who yearn for a government that works for the public good.” --- That sounds like conservatism to me.

“undermined by corporate agendas” --- They are also undermined by the left wing socialist agendas.

Regarding the whole “war profiteer” scenario you brought up, have you looked at what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan lately? Yeah, looks like Bush and Cheney were right. Again.

“I will not go in circles with you over these issues” --- Heh, I don’t blame you.

Dude. Apology not tendered. Don’t make so many assumptions. :-) You back-pedaled on that fallacy yourself, even after giving it a decidedly leftist spin.

It is funny how the lefties repeatedly single out three or four conservative talk show hosts and then throw out their little snipes, like ‘fact check them’. Maybe the lefties who believe the venom spewed by the New York Times, MSNBC, most of the other MSM outlets, CNN, etc. should do a little Fact-Checking themselves rather than believing everything uttered by The Party of Hate and the new official State-Run Media.

(Hint: When a company doesn’t pay income taxes, it usually means the company did not make any money. Just as Joe Private Citizen doesn’t pay any income taxes if he has no taxable income.)

Why do the lefties always try to spin it to look like the companies made tons of money and paid no taxes.

(Another Hint: People (and corporations) don’t pay taxes on assets, gross receipts, or revenue. They pay taxes on Net Income, i.e. ‘Taxable’ income)

FandB

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Hi, FandB,

I am delighted to see you are agreeable to some of my points, just as I agree with some conservative views. See, we can make progress. Even though such agreements may be similar to Sarah Palin and a geologist agreeing that the Earth is old; old, as in six thousand years to Sarah, and old as in billions of years to the geologist.

What, no apology? I guess if you’re never wrong you never need to apologize. (Hint: I originally said “income taxes”. You copied and pasted that, remember? Thanks for clarifying, though.) In good faith I provided the documented source of my corporate tax point and you rejected it with your un-documentable claim of fallacy. I understand. Righties do tend to confuse journalism with liberalism, and right wing ideology with fact.

Speaking of journalism, since Fox “news” is not journalism, and thus also never wrong, I agree with your suggestion to fact check the rest of the corporate-owned media. I remember when the New York Times parroted the Bush Cheney lies about Saddam’s “nukular” weapons, sinister aluminum tubes, and scary mushroom clouds. I also remember the Times telling us, on Bush’s behalf, about Saddam training al-Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons. (After no evidence was found to support their propaganda, Cheney wanted to waterboard Iraqis to get them to “confess” to these falsehoods.)

Yes, the corporate media do tend to drink that right wing kool-aid, don’t they? And since media ownership has not changed since back in 2002 and 2003 when they were whipping up war fever, your “state run media” description has a certain ring of truth to it. Why didn’t you and Rush tell us back then that the media was state run? Oh, maybe it’s because progressives were making similar accusations.

And I’m with you buddy, I never blindly believe anything uttered by the Party of Hate, or democrats either, for that matter.

I won’t pick at any of the other unsubstantiated assertions you made. Instead I’ll just respond to a few of your questions, and then I’ll shut up like a good little liberal and let you have the last word.

“Why is this employee only earning minimum wage?”

He’s getting minimum wage because the company will not pay him more. The Right hates the minimum wage and thinks it’s too generous, remember?

“...mandated to buy insurance for that car” --- This varies from state to state. Who is responsible for this nanny-state law?”

That would be the insurance companies, not those socialists.

“Have you looked at what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan lately? “

Yes, I have. Obama is escalating the war is Afghanistan. That would be a “surge” to you folks on the Right. And like the escalation in Iraq, many more of our troops will have their lives sacrificed to a political/corporate agenda. Many more will suffer long term disabilities and PTSD. These vets will need to be treated by government run health care systems supported by our tax dollars, right? You do support our troops, and would gladly contribute your tax money for their care and rehabilitation, wouldn’t you? I would hope you’d not want to cast them into the streets and say “It was your own irresponsibility that got you wounded. You’re on your own.”

I see the Iraqis STILL want us out of their country and celebrated the day our military committed to remain on their bases outside of their cities. Both countries have untold thousands of terrified civilians paying the price for our wars of terror. I see innocent lives still being blown away in both countries. Innocent American, Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani blood still pours into the ground. Halliburton/KBR profits are up. Mission accomplished.

For the cost of Bush’s war for re-election, political capital, and profits for his cronies, we could pay for health care for every American. That paints a pretty clear picture of Neocon values, doesn’t it?

“Why do the lefties always try to spin it to look like the companies made tons of money and paid no taxes?”

Because it is true. Since you have such high regard for responsibility, who do you think should be responsible for paying the tax dollars required to finance the above-mentioned wars? Is it asking too much for corporations who profit from wars to pay some taxes to wage them? Who should pay the taxes to build and maintain the infrastructure, public services, legal system, military, law enforcement, etc.? If corporations bear no responsibility in supporting these “socialist” institutions and public works, even though they freely avail themselves of said services and infrastructure, then that leaves the rest of us to pay for it all. The public gets stuck paying for the facilitation of corporate profit. It looks like we have a new guiding economic principle in the USA. Private corporate profit is to be extracted at the public’s expense.

There are your Fair and Balanced responsibilities, eh?

One thing I hope you understand, FandB, is we both love this country and want what is best for our land and its people. At least I hope you love this country more than you love right wing conservatism. Although our visions of those ends differ, we can co-exist as long as we respect each other’s right to disagree. I won’t call you a goose-stepping fascist if you don’t call me a treasonous commie. ;-)

Dave Dubya

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You’ll have to go over to GTL’s blog to see FandB’s “last word”. But first I want to show how I explained something for FandB at a different post.

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You obviously have it in for “corporations” for some reason, and that is jading your perspective.

FandB


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FandB,

Don't get me wrong. I give my hard earned money to corporations. All I want in exchange is what I pay for. Isn't that fair? I do not want them buying off my representation in government with money they get from me or anyone else. That is what happens when corporate money fills the campaign coffers of politicians.

And to see them get away with not paying their taxes is an insult to me.

Government policy bought by corporate money and influence is Corporatism. That is antithetical to the principles of democracy.

I am not against capitalism, I am against corporatism.

I am not against corporations, I am against corporatocracy.

All that money greasing the skids for Big Business and special interests takes all the democracy out of our government.

So you see, I am an old-fashioned American, just like you, who values my freedom, self determination, and representation along with taxation through a free democratic republic.

Dave Dubya


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I tried to be the gentleman and offered FandB the last word. He graciously obliged. Then, wouldn't you know it? True to the nature of right wing conservatives everywhere; he took the last word, right after he took the second-to-last word. He took one more delusional jab about liberals being “OK with torturing babies to death”. There's just no satisfying them is there?