The problem we lefties have always had is that we think the other side is playing by the same rules. They aren't. Republicans put their agenda before the good of the nation and before any moral notions of right or wrong. People like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are sociopaths who have no notion of the real damage they do to real people's lives with their horrendous policies.
Take these petitions, for example. Do you honestly believe that Republicans in Congress or Republicans in the Electoral College are going to listen to 4 million, 5 million, 10 million signatures, act according to the will of the majority, and forget their agenda? The only reason Republicans didn't rig the elections of 2008 and 2012 is because too many people turned out to vote for Obama.
If another 4 or 5 million people had voted for Clinton last month, we wouldn't be in this ridiculous position today. Progressives need to start putting the same energy they have for outrage into electing locals who will forward our agenda, who will build a real national organization that works to realize their goals, that works to put like-minded politicians in power. That's the only way we will defeat the Ryans, McConnells, and Trumps for the world.
- Music:Cat's Squirrel - Cream
Congratulations, Bernie Sanders! You Got the President Trump You Wanted.
by Candace Kirby
Yay! You did it, Senator Sanders. You successfully got the most hateful, childish, racist, xenophobic, willfully ignorant, openly sexist presidential candidate ever elected. And you’re obviously feeling quite pleased with yourself.
I’ve been watching your “I am the Savior of the Democratic Party and American People” victory tour, Senator Sanders, and, well, may I just interrupt your self-satisfied back-patting session with a few notes on your performance?
First, it was not Hillary Clinton’s failure to connect with “white working class people” (her very origins) that resulted in Donald Trump’s horrifying win. Nor, perhaps, was it entirely because of Comey’s partisan stunt (although I must note my father in Pennsylvania abstained from going to the polls because of the resultant innuendo, even though he voted for Hillary in the primary; I’m sure he’s not the only one).
Rather, it was in large part because of your ego, Senator Sanders, and willingness to burn down the party in order to further your own platform — a platform the majority of Democrats rejected in favor of Hillary’s more pragmatic, more well-thought-out plans for the country.
As you would say, let me be clear: it wasn’t the DNC that voted you out. It was the Americans who wanted Hillary Clinton to be president, not you.
When you stayed in the race, even with no mathematical possibility of being the Democratic nominee, and viciously attacked Hillary night after night, belittling her credentials, her ethics, her character — hypocritically so, considering you wouldn’t even release your own tax returns — and then allowed Trump to pick up those attacks and run with them…? THAT is when the most damage was done to Hillary. THAT is when you betrayed the Americans you claim to be fighting for, by purposely weakening Democrats’ candidate of choice, a candidate who would have worked her ass off for them — a candidate who’d spent a lifetime working her ass off for them.
To hell with the country for the next four years. To hell with women’s rights. To hell with LGBT rights. To hell with minorities. To hell with the Affordable Care Act. To hell with hard-working immigrants hugging their frightened children. To hell with climate change. To hell with the day-to-day safety of Americans, as long as you got your so-called “revolution.”
Well, bravo! You poisoned the minds of swing voters, you helped hamper voter turnout and you helped defeat Hillary to the detriment of millions! And, yes, a revolution is brewing…!
But it’s not your revolution to lead.
You are not the answer; in fact, you are a significant part of the problem —your tireless campaign to de-legitimize Hillary’s candidacy made it impossible for many of your supporters to embrace her. So now we have empowered White Nationalists, Muslims getting harassed on subways, Roe v. Wade and healthcare in peril, children who cannot sleep at night.
You don’t get to decide where we go from here.
Four million more voters chose Hillary over you, Senator Sanders. Hillary is on track to have nearly two million more votes than Donald Trump. The People have spoken — and we will not be dismissed. We will not silenced. We “loyal Democrats” will work not be cast aside or displaced.
We will not forget the part you so gleefully played in defeating the first female president, a bad-ass who’s advocated for children and women her entire adult life — or how you denigrated President Barack Obama even though he cut unemployment, raised incomes, created 11 million jobs and fought like hell for the Affordable Care Act — all in the name of entrenching yourself as an “anti-establishment” icon.
Here’s what we will do: We will carry Hillary’s torch. We will fight the hatred promoted by the incoming administration. We will not immediately reject candidates for DNC chair simply because they are long-time members of the Democratic Party, because experience doesn’t make you “establishment,” it makes you ready to hit the ground running. We will spread messages of hope. We will work to elect the right people in midterms. We will invite you to the four-million-member-strong Pantsuit Nation Facebook group, so you can witness the overwhelming enthusiasm and heartbreak for Hillary — a powerful movement that’s not fading way and whose collective voice can help effect positive change moving forward. We will rally around new leaders who bring us together, not further divide. We will implore you to drop the holier-than-thou attitude, in the interest of much-needed unity, and make a genuine attempt to find common ground.
We will tell you to stop “Bernsplaining” and wagging your finger at us, Senator Sanders. You may be pleased with yourself, but many of us are not pleased with you. We’re not going to smile politely anymore.
- Music:Lifelong Fling - Over The Rhine
They've been talking about it for years, openly and with glee. They want to "shrink government until it's small enough to drown in a bath tub." That's what everything they've done since 1976 has been all about. During the Bush years, they thought they could do whatever they wanted ("Heckava job, Brownie!") and get away with it, even when reality would occasionally appear. Remember Bush immediately after the 2004 election, bragging about his "mandate" and setting his goal on destroying Social Security?
After the country had the nerve to elect a Black man to the White House, not once but twice, and by huge electoral margins (so large they couldn't rig those elections), they've latched onto White identity politics and open racism. The outlandish and unprecedented obstructionism of the last 8 years only served their ultimate goal to break government. Donald Trump is nothing more than the ultimate Tea Party candidate--clueless and proud, determined to destroy the government of the United States so that it can never be corrected.
I get myself into trouble by expressing this as a Republican problem because it invites comparisons with the poor Democrats, who are clueless in their own way. You can't keep playing by the rules of government as they were in the 20th Century. The art of compromise, which served the nation for so long, no longer means anything. If Democrats cared as much about winning as they do about purity, Republicans would be the nearly extinct party.
What we have now and what we have been seeing for the last 15 years or longer is a slow-motion coup. The Republican Party controls Congress and soon the White House not because of any electoral mandate, but because of gerrymandering and election rigging. It's a false majority. American city dwellers routinely turn out to vote against Republicans. In the last election, they did so in large numbers. The question is, what can ordinary urbanites do to resist?
- Music:Prison on Route 41 (Bonus) - Calexico and Iron & Wine
Why Do White Working-Class People Vote Against Their Interests? They Don’t.
Corporate Democrats have never advanced their interests—and at least Republicans offer a persuasive story about why they are getting screwed.
By Kirk NodenNOVEMBER 17, 2016
In 2011, Ohio voters repealed Senate Bill 5, an attack on collective-bargaining rights. Not only was the bill repealed by a wide margin, but it was repealed in 82 of the state’s 88 counties, with huge numbers of white working-class voters rejecting Governor John Kasich’s signature piece of legislation. The fight left Kasich the second most unpopular governor in the country. Yet just three years later, Kasich swept back to reelection with a 30-point victory—and talk of running for president. Since Trump’s election, my mind keeps going back to that fight over SB5—and our failure to gain any lasting advantage from it. We as progressives are not linking key phenomena together in a way that captures the anxiety that white working-class people in America increasingly have. And worse yet, we don’t have an economic agenda that addresses that anxiety.
Why do white working-class people vote against their interests? They don’t. Corporate Democrats have never advanced their interests—and at least Republicans offer a basic, if misleading, story about why they are getting screwed. When I first started organizing in Youngstown, Ohio, many people told me I must read Sean Safford’s Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown, which argues that Youngstown collapsed as a result of a lack of social networks. It is an absurd explanation for what happened to the city—but embraced by many thoughtful progressive leaders there. In fact, Youngstown has been left hobbled because progressives failed to secure economic power.
The first step was the collapse of the industrial heartland. This hit white working-class people incredibly hard—and it remains a phenomenon that is not understood on the East and West Coasts. It is painted as a natural evolution of our economy and as if the onus is on people to adapt to it. This fails to capture how many families and communities were dependent on the industrial economy. Many Ohioans are now staring at a future where they themselves and their kids have less opportunity than their parents. In a place like Youngstown, that means not only an inability to get a well-paying job at the steel mill; it also means owning a house that has failed to appreciate in value for 20 to 30 years, in a city that continues to lose double-digit percentages of its population every 10 years. It is not just a stripping out of economic opportunity but a stripping away of identity for these communities. It is the sense of abandonment and perpetual decline that people feel mired in. Resources, jobs, decent housing, quality neighborhoods and schools are all in decline. It creates a “scarcity mentality” for white working-class people and others who live in the heartland.
Two narratives emerged about the collapse of the industrial heartland in America. The one from the far right has three parts: First, that industry left this country because unions destroyed productivity and made labor costs too high, thereby making us uncompetitive. Second, corporations were the victims of over-regulation and a bloated government that overtaxed them to pay for socialist welfare systems. Third, illegal immigration has resulted in the stealing of American jobs, increased competition for white workers, and depressed wages. Together these three factors led to the collapse of manufacturing in America. This, sadly, is a story that many Americans believe. The second narrative, promoted by corporate Democrats, is that the global economy shifted and the country is now in transition from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy. This story tacitly accepts the economic restructuring of the heartland as inevitable once China and other markets opened up.
The most accurate narrative is one we never hear—and that I think is illustrated well in the collapse of Youngstown’s steel mills. When the corporations who operated the mills shut them down, the community organized en masse. Key religious and community leaders stood up against “the severe consequences when corporations decide not to modernize older facilities, view relocation of industry as a logical result of corporate opportunities for profit, or shift capital altogether to other investment opportunities.”
A coalition organized to reopen the mills as cooperatives owned by the workers, community members, and private investors. After a feasibility study showed that reopening the mills was economically viable, the coalition appealed to the federal government for loans to purchase and modernize the plant. Despite an initial commitment, the Carter administration backed off. Apparently, Jimmy Carter worried that supporting the project would jeopardize his reelection bid and bowed to lobbying by steel corporations who saw it as a threat, which was countered by only tepid support from the national Steelworkers Union leadership, who worried worker ownership might undermine the union.
The collapse of the industrial heartland resulted from a choice about whether we would reshape our economic models to serve workers and communities over profits—or continue to serve corporate interests that painted the global movement of capital as inevitable. The right blamed unions and regulation. The Democrats tried to explain the collapse as a weather phenomenon that we all needed to adjust to. Efforts to reshape the economy were marginalized and defeated by both parties; business and organized labor each supported the collapse of the city of Youngstown.
The impact of this betrayal on white working-class people was a universal distrust and dislike for institutions—none of which were able to defend their livelihoods or their futures. The unions didn’t stay around to organize a new strategy for revitalizing Youngstown. They moved to another line of defense elsewhere, as they grew increasingly insular and focused on protecting their shrinking base. One of the only people not to abandon white working-class people in Youngstown was the county sheriff, who became a hero because he refused to evict from their homes people who had lost their jobs in the collapse. His name was Jim Traficant and he later became a congressman. Even when he ran for office while in prison (for corruption and bribery convictions) decades later, he still won 25 percent of the vote. He was in personality and rhetoric a precursor to Donald Trump. Deindustrialization was a traumatic experience for white working-class people. Yet we act surprised when this constituency exhibits post-traumatic-stress disorder. And it is we who perpetrate the myth that they are voting “against their interests,” despite all the facts on the ground indicating that for them it makes no difference which party is in power. They have lived through 40 years of decline.
De-industrialization was a traumatic experience for white working class people. Yet we’re surprised when this constituency exhibits PTSD.
Connected to this is the phenomenon of the increasing diversification of America—primarily in strong market cities and communities. The “public” in these communities is increasingly diverse, and white working-class people who live in a climate of scarcity begin to believe that support of the “public” is supporting the “other.” Also, white working-class people have no experience of living in a place where the economy has been anything but miserable for decades, so they don’t understand how immigrants could be coming to the United States and not “steal” someone’s job. East and West Coast liberals want to frame this as the simple statement that white working-class people are just racist—or vote against their economic self-interest. That is a failure to understand the complexity of what is happening in places like Ohio. That is not to discount race. Race is undoubtedly a very important piece of this.
The issue of race is intertwined with the phenomenon of decreased opportunity for white people, scarcity of resources, and the clash of two Americas—weak market and strong market. Immigrants, by and large, are not moving to places like Ohio. In fact, a study a few years ago showed that out of the four US metro areas with the lowest immigration levels, two were in Ohio: Youngstown and Dayton. Immigrants are moving to places that have opportunity, strong local economies. White working-class people in Ohio don’t understand how those economies work, and see immigrants having more opportunity than they do. There is truth to this, in that weak-market cities offer far less opportunity than strong-market cities.
This is toxic mix for white people—little to no engagement with immigrants and people of color (Youngstown is also highly segregated), increased pressures on their family, and no one offering a clear vision forward. It is easy to see why the right-wing narrative is so compelling—it offers formidable enemies (government and unions) and an economic vision that corporations will create new jobs if those enemies are defeated. In that narrative, white working-class people will have opportunity again. The left offers no such clear enemy—and we’ve been immersed in identity politics that have further alienated white working-class people.
Imagine how different the world could be now if Democrats and unions hadn’t sold out steel workers in Youngstown. We wouldn’t have to send delegations to Spain to examine the Mondragon Cooperatives—they could just drive to Youngstown. Instead, what we have is growing resentment from these communities. This was summed up well in a New York Times article from 2012:
And as more middle-class families like the Gulbransons land in the safety net in Chisago [County, Minnesota] and similar communities, anger at the government has increased alongside. Many people say they are angry because the government is wasting money and giving money to people who do not deserve it. But more than that, they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it.
We are at a crossroads in the Midwest. We need to offer people both a simple narrative about good jobs and strong communities and the policies that create them—and an economic analysis and vision that is more than simply basic Keynesian economics of taxing the wealthy and corporations and having the government build public infrastructure. We have to have an agenda for the middle of the country. Otherwise, the right-wing narrative and people’s fear of the other will unravel us.
The philosopher Richard Rorty warned us decades ago:
[M]embers of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots….
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion…. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
In the wake of Trump’s victory, there will be a temptation by progressives to redraw the electoral map and to imagine a path to winning presidential elections that abandons the Midwest, focusing instead on states with the “Rising American Electorate” such as Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Florida. Even before this election, there were numerous articles on the declining importance of Ohio as a swing state, its stagnant demographics, “hostile” electorate, and population loss that will likely reduce its number of electoral votes again after the next census. But such a path will only accelerate this country’s being ripped apart.
We are in the darkest moment of America’s history, where fascism, misogyny, and hate have propelled Trump to the presidency. He won by sweeping the Midwestern states, a place that many progressives call “fly-over” country. If we want to save this country, we will have to organize and build an agenda that address the issues that have propelled so many people into enough despair that they voted for Trump. It is time progressives became serious about building economic power.
Eight years ago, I was totally burnt out on yelling at Republicans. Obama had won the biggest electoral mandate since Ronald Reagan, and it seemed conservatives were on their heels and falling backwards. So I stopped posting in this community. The Great Migration to Facebook was underway, and LJ was quickly becoming a ghost town.
But Republican bullshit did not stop, the Republican Party did not implode, and indeed, many of their gullible White followers were so enraged that a Black man was now sitting in the White House that they took to the streets like a bunch of dirty hippies. Suddenly we were seeing guys in colonial garb screaming about government spending, and chubby White ladies wearing tea bags on their heads. At the time, I wondered where these Teabaggers were during the Bush years, when billions were simply thrown away in shrinking-wrapped bundles. The Tea Party never stopped protesting, and the media ate it up.
And as usual, the Democrats acted like a herd of cats and fell soundly asleep as the GOP stole not only the 2010 Mid-Terms, but scores of elections at state level all over the country. In the next several years, Republicans proceeded to gerrymander their way to fake majorities after the 2010 Census numbers. As they reclaimed both houses of Congress, Republican Obstructionism began to reach treasonous levels. Dozens of government appointments went unfilled, 2 government shut-downs occurred, causing the US to lose its credit standing, as the GOP simply refused to govern. When Obama again crushed them at the polls in 2012, I thought the worst was over.
But it didn't stop. After Sandy Hook, it became apparent that the Republicans were putting party before country in the most severe ways we had ever seen. I begin to lose the plot here for personal reasons in my own life. But to me, the biggest issue in the last 4 years has been the growth of the right's alternate reality, which the so-called mainstream media allowed to fester.
By 2015, when Donald Trump began what he thought was going to be simply a protest campaign, millions of people believed in a world that simply did not exist, one with soaring unemployment and high crime rates. They believed the recovery had never happened. Such an audience is primed for a demagogue like Trump. He is the ultimate Tea Party candidate. But he also embodied the alternate reality most conservatives now inhabit. And the Obstructionists in Congress played right into the chaos.
Personally, I was busy with other things and then struggling with health and employment issues, so I didn't think to come back to LiveJournal and rant about Ryan, McConnell, and Cruz. But last week's election woke me up and now I'm fucking pissed. Excuse me if reason escapes me for a while. But those bastards were conned and we will all have to pay for their gullibility and greed.
- Music:Earthquake - 13th Floor Elevators
We don't need ‘unity’ after Trump's election. We need resistance.
By Derrick Clifton @DerrickClifton
I held out hope.
Hope that reason would prevail. Hope that a seasoned public servant would triumph over a reckless political amateur. Hope that a campaign with unifying messages would soar above the divisive rhetoric of its opponent. Hope that a woman would shatter the highest of high glass ceilings at long last, in a resounding triumph over the old boys' club. I held tight, even when all signs pointed to a bitter outcome that, sadly, is as uniquely American as NASCAR or apple pie.
In a dimly lit Lakeview bar last Tuesday night, a friend and I embraced as she sobbed uncontrollably, fearing how the outcome of the election would affect her reproductive rights, access to health care, and struggles for racial justice. Not far from us, a queer woman in the bar clutched her chest. Next door, what started as a boisterous LGBT watch party morphed into a wake.
This time at the ballot box, hate trumped love. And the people I love—many of them members of groups Donald Trump's campaign openly vilified and attacked—began grieving what felt like a stunning betrayal.
My denial and disbelief quickly turned to anger that night, and for the foreseeable future, that's where I'll stay. It's also where tens of thousands of protesters across the country, including those here in Chicago, continue to dwell.
Acceptance is not an option. Nor is the kind of empty "unity" many politicians are calling for.
But in resistance, there's another kind of unity.
( Read more...Collapse )
It's not the same brand of "unity" Trump encouraged in his victory speech, nor is it necessarily the coming together requested by other elected officials. It shouldn't be. But everyday Americans of all stripes can unite to resist any impending harm against those who are most vulnerable.
The day after the election, President Obama spoke from the White House Rose Garden, sounding at times as if he were addressing the country after a national tragedy. "We have to remember that we're all on the same team," he said.
And moments before Obama's remarks, Hillary Clinton addressed the country too, wearing purple to symbolize the unification of red and blue (as well as the dignity and purpose of the suffragists). She urged the public to accept the election results and to look to the future. "We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead," she said of Trump.
Clearly Clinton opted to "go high" after a campaign that was undeniably low. She was dignified in defeat.
But this was no ordinary loss. As much as I respect Clinton and the president, I must disagree with their calls for unity and forbearance. We may all inhabit the same country, but we should know by now that we can't be on the same team as the people who deny our basic humanity and would deprive us of our rights.
How can we find unity when our president elect pledged to ban Muslims, incited violence against protesters at his rallies, repeatedly disparaged Mexicans, and chose a running mate who's OK with directing tax dollars towards electroshock therapy to "cure" gay people?
How can we find unity when the president-elect opened the White House doors to a white nationalist, naming former Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon as his senior adviser and chief strategist?
We can't accept the normalizing of white supremacy, as some media outlets and everyday people ignore it or refuse to name it—instead sanitizing it with the "alt-right" label coined by its proponents, or depicting its leaders as benevolent or benign.
We can't accept the hundreds of incidents of harassment and violence directed at marginalized people in Trump's name. Like the one at a Minneapolis high school where students scribbled WHITES ONLY and the N-word on a bathroom door. Or the one in a suburban Detroit school where students yelled "Build the wall!" at their Hispanic classmates. Or the one in Utah, where a gay couple found FAGET and HOMO DIE spray-painted on their car.
We can't accept that a Chicago man was allegedly beaten for supporting Trump either. It's horrific. But it does appear to be a more isolated incident, as reported attacks on marginalized people far outnumber any reported attacks on Trump supporters.
Calls for unthinking, uncritical unity and acceptance won't stop these attacks or quell the concerns of marginalized groups and their allies, who fear that our civil rights and liberties are now at risk.
What we need now is a unified front, not only to challenge the status quo, but also to resist the autocratic order likely ushered in by the election—one in which the victor lost the popular vote, let's not forget. People who believe in justice, who believe in protecting and aiding society's most vulnerable people, can't regard a Trump administration as though it's some kind of new normal.
We can't just "get over it," as we have with previous defeats at the ballot box. What Trump has wrought isn't ordinary. And at every level, with the fullest force, there must be unity in resistance.
The USA has never faced a crisis like this. Last week, I was thinking that the Republican Party was on its last gasp, only to find that no one on the Left showed up at the polls, something about purity tests and elites. Whatever. White people displayed their privilege on both sides, and everyone stepped on a rake. Now, the Pussy Grabber (I am loathe to even say the fucker's name!) is embarking on a disaster course. Oh it's historic, all right, a historic disaster.
First, he seems determined to radicalize as many Muslims as he can by creating a Nazi-like registry and treating them all like second class citizens. ISIS will also make the Orange Nightmare their own recruiting bitch. We can expect to see many more terrorist attacks on US soil in the next 4 years.
Second, President Pussy-Grabber, who doesn't even know what the president even does, is going to allow the radical GOP asswipes like Paul Ryan gut the social safety net, putting millions of people, some of whom voted for this shit show, in poverty and financial risk. Women especially will feel the pinch as their taxes won't be cut--unlike the already bloated One Percent, who can expect to get even richer.
Third, fourth, fifth, I can't even begin to imagine. Our only hope is that he will be impeached (either because of blatant corruption even his Republican Congress can't ignore, or revelations that he truly is a puppet of Russia) or he will resign because the job is just too much for his tiny brain to handle.
The thing about Trump is that everything he says is either a lie or projection. When he said the election was going to be rigged for Hillary, he meant it was being rigged for him. He won narrow majorities in a few states all controlled by Republicans who took great pains to suppress the vote in Democratic areas. Clinton won the popular vote by more than 1 million. Only in America does "democracy" work this way. We all stepped on a rake!
...from a comment posted on Facebook by Alex Schiller:
"Bill Clinton cheats on his wife. Impeach him. Trump proudly brags about sexual assault (and has cheated on his wives). Elect him. Hillary oversaw the department of state while 4 people died in an embassy attack. Put her in jail. 2 Republicans were in office while over 200 people died in embassy attacks. No problem. Immigrants don't pay taxes. Round them up and kick them out. Trump doesn't pay taxes. He's a business genius. Hillary's foundation only spent 87% of their donations helping people. She's a crook. Trumps foundation paid off his debts, bought sculptures of him, and made political donations to avoid investigations while using less than 5% of funds for charity (and he got shut down by NY State). So savvy... Put him in the white house. Trump made 4 billion dollars in 40 years, when an index fund started at the same time with the same "small loans" he received would be worth $12 billion today... without a trail of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits and burned small business owners. He's a real business whiz. Hillary took a loss of $700k. She's a criminal. Trump is the first candidate in the modern era not to release his tax returns, and took a billion dollar loss in 1 year. Genius. Hillary takes responsibility for private email servers and apologizes. Not credible. Trump denies saying things (on the record) he actually said (on the record), he's just telling it like it is.
Your arguments are thin. Your ignorance of reality is shocking. Your double-standards are offensive, and your willingness to blindly support him and recycle the rhetoric is absurd. Your opinion is not fact. Your memes are not news articles. And your hypocrisy is not a platform."
After watching all day on Facebook and elsewhere the breathtaking cognitive dissonance and utter stupidity of conservatives after the (quite frankly surprising) Supreme Court decision today regarding the Affordable Care Act, I'm more convinced than ever that conservatives have different brains than moderates and liberals. The conservative brain is defined by its enormous sensitivity to fear. They are afraid of anything different, anything they can't control, anything that might make them have to acknowledge that other people have different experiences and opinions. Their fear response helps explain their penchant for accepting all the myths they've been fed all their lives: the myth of the American Dream, the myth of American Exceptionalism, the myth of Ronald Reagan (their great prophet who said "Government is the problem, not the solution"), the myth of Jesus (anyone who has actually studied the sayings and teachings of pure biblical Christianity would realize that Jesus would be a liberal Democrat were he to suddenly appear in the 21st century). You only have to look at Arizona to see that fear in action. There's a state government convinced they are being over-run by illegal immigrants from Mexico, when the facts say the opposite is true: No one from Mexico is crossing the border to Barbarian Land today. And 5 or 10 years ago when illegal immigration was at its height, those same immigrants were welcomed victims of economic exploitation by the well-to do who profited from their below-minimum-wage labor.
It's much more sad than funny. Even the Buzzfeed post of conservatives vowing to move to Canada is really a very sad reminder that these people live in a reality-challenged world. To them, myths are reality and facts are the conspiratorial products of liberal intellectuals who somehow have more power than the ultra-rich corporations who are the real rulers of America. One conservative on Facebook said "I'm scared shitless what Obama will do," and I thought, "Why are you afraid of Republican policy?" She is afraid of anyone who is different in any way, anyone who thinks at all. She seems to believe that anyone who disagrees with any of her myths is being "mean" and "hateful," no matter how politely you word your response.
I honestly don't understand how anyone could be so paranoid, but I don't have a hyper-sensitive fear response. But yes, people in the civilized world pay higher taxes for universal health care. Yes, sometimes people in the civilized world have to go on a waiting list for non-emergency medical services. But they do not have to pay high personal health insurance costs, and no one has to worry about suffering from financial hardship simply because they got sick, so they end up with a higher standard of living. Here in Barbarian Land, it's everyone for themselves. Fearful people tend to be more selfish.
And now, 30 years after Reagan began this anti-reality movement in the American populace, we've crossed a threshold that will be very difficult, pretty much impossible, to return from. Facts don't mean anything to these people, and trying to point out the hypocrisy and the senselessness and the foolishness of their opinions is futile. For years, public opinion polls have shown that the majority of Americans agree with liberal positions but vote based on personal fear.
I keep hoping the political tide will turn back to the left. Historically, these great pendulum swings of American public opinion last about a generation. My hope is that as the Baby Boomers slowly recede into nursing homes and graveyards, their grandchildren will be less fearful, more inclined to see facts as facts and not conspiracies against their parents' ideology.
Usually, these shifts are triggered by economic shocks. We saw the beginnings of it last summer with the Occupy Movement, but until the 99% (it's more like 80%--20% are yuppie types who live comfortably just outside the gated communities and only care about the new Old Navy opening in the mall down the street and whether they left their smart phone in their land Rover) can articulate the struggles of those left behind by stagnant wages and crippling personal debt and offer concrete solutions (besides protesting in the streets), the fearful conservatives will continue to define the debate.
Maybe now these animals will be brought to justice! What the Bush Administration did in our names makes me sick to my stomach.Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest.
by Ralph Lopez
MON SEP 19, 2011 AT 10:31 PM PDT
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office. The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company. The company was under contract to the Department of Defense. The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the "mass acquisition" of American weapons. The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Monday, September 26, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet. Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding.
Much more at the source. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/20/1018370/-UPDATED:-Welcome-to-Boston,-Mr-Rumsfeld-You-Are-Under-Arrest
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
by Mike Lofgren, Truthout
Saturday 3 September 2011
Barbara Stanwyck: "We're both rotten!"
Fred MacMurray: "Yeah - only you're a little more rotten." -"Double Indemnity" (1944)
Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten - how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats' health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats' rank capitulation to corporate interests - no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.
But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.
To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.
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Well, as usual, the Democrats blew it. Despite no cooperation from Republicans, they did try to make the right moves. They just didn't bother to tell anyone.
They gave the middle and working classes tax cuts, but didn't tell them about it. It was buried in the Stimulus package and distributed in increments through payroll checks. Few people noticed the slight increase in their checks, and there were no town criers advertising it to the people. Instead, the Democrats allowed the Fox News Narrative to take hold in the public imagination--the Democrats Raised Your Taxes! And Look How Much They Are Spending!
And the Stimulus was the right idea---in fact, it showed results in the recent numbers showing growth in the last 5 quarters. It just wasn't communicated well. Most economists know that government spending is a necessary response to a recession. But naturally, says FNC, The Democrats Are Killing Your Children With Deficit Spending!!!!!
And the Dems also passed important Wall Street regulations and consumer protections against credit card companies and banks and health insurance companies.
But few Democrats ran on their record. It's obvious to me that they need their own propaganda channel on basic cable, beamed to the cities where their true strength lives and works and doesn't vote like the vanilla people in the red suburbs who are glued to FNC lies and myths as they guzzle high fructose corn syrup and deep fried pig skins, turning off their propaganda only for the weekly NASCAR event.
The truth is often Counterintuitive. But you have to communicate reality better. Too many people still think the sun revolves around the earth.
This year, more than ever, the strategy of voting against is important.
I'm fairly sure one of the main reasons the pathetic rogues gallery of fringe candidates suddenly thrust into the mainstream by the Teabaggers and Fox News are polling so high is because most people are disappointed with the way their representatives have been conducting themselves in the last 2 years, not because most Americans agree with Sharon Angle or Rand Paul.
For example, the health care debate in the summer of 2009 was a ridiculous circus of lies, paranoia, and irrationality, and President Obama scored a flat-out F for not taking control of the facts.
And the bill that finally came out of that debate was so lukewarm that no one was happy with it. A majority of Americans wanted some kind of public option, but we all watched in dismay as the president and congress once more bent over and kissed the asses of industry and lobbyists.
This congress passed more bills than any congress in years, and many of those bills helped working people, most of whom were completely unaware that they received tax cuts and important consumer protections.
But polls show that voters don't like congress. And it's obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that the real impetus of the Teabaggers is racism.
I admit that I have been very disappointed with Obama, but I knew in 2008 that he was going to be a centrist, not a progressive.
But even though I do not like how he squandered the largest electoral mandate since the days of Reagan by foolishly and stubbornly insisting on working with Republicans, who in turn were just as determined not to compromise at all, staying home during this election is not an option.
We should all be holding our noses and voting AGAINST these extreme and incompetent Teabaggers. In the case of Illinois, I feel strongly that Democrats and liberals will turn out to vote against Bill Brady, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who has promised to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, eliminate the minimum wage, and cut $1 billion from the state's education budget.
I have been voting against Republicans for 25 years. The Democrats are not my party--they are too conservative for me.
But the alternative is intolerable. I know that most Americans, when they understand the issues and don't confuse the facts with the propaganda, side with Democratic principles.
So I am holding out hope that at the last minute, many disgruntled voters will cast ballots to stop the extremists. The Republicans will gains seats, but I do not think they will gains as many as some opinion polls suggest.
And if they do, the actions of the idiot Teabaggers will inspire those voters to return to the polls in 2012 to re-elect the centrist president, who by then will be seen as an heroic figure fighting to keep extreme ideas out of the mainstream.
We're all acting surprised at the vitriol and anger of the Teabaggers. But we have forgotten how entrenched racism is in America. So it's no wonder that the first Black president would inspire such a backlash.
I know what it's like to live inside a political bubble. In November 2004, I was shocked and dismayed when I took a presidential poll with one of my freshmen composition classes at Loyola University Chicago and Bush beat Kerry. By a lot.
Most of the students in that class were from well-to-do suburban families who tend to lean heavily toward Republicans. But I thought most people in Chicago were as appalled by the Bush Administration's policies as I was.
I was getting almost all of my news from either Liberal Internet websites or The Daily Show, so I was effectively locked in a political bubble, unwilling to understand why Bush was so popular.
He really wasn't that popular but was still riding the patriotic post 9-11 wave. Several students said they didn't think it was a good idea "to change leadership in the middle of a war."
Meanwhile, Bush won the election, either by squeaking by or by widespread voter fraud. Either way, he didn't have a very large mandate. Republicans barely controlled Congress, but cocky George acted like he was Reagan after the 1984 election. "I have political clout and I plan to spend it," I remember him crowing to the softball Media.
That was his high water mark. He wanted to privatize Social Security, the Republican dream since FDR, but his colleagues in Congress knew that doing so would have been political suicide, similar to trying to outlaw abortion rights. It would have awakened a sleeping giant--the millions of Americans who don't bother to vote--against them.
So I can understand why so many of the extremist kooks running today under the Teabagger banner think they are about to initiate a second American Revolution. They think everyone thinks like they do and can't stomach the thought of a Black man in the White House (the true motivation of these people).
Some of these whack-jobs are going to be elected. And when they are, they will see who their real masters are. Not the closet-racist senior citizens who want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare, but the corporate fat cats who care only about their own bottom lines.
The Teabaggers' pet agendas won't hunt beyond congressional committees. And even if they did manage to privatize Social Security or defund the Department of Education or repeal a woman's right to choose, they would awaken the masses of the apathetic, who, if they voted in every election, would usually vote for Democrats.
It's going to be as though dozens of 6th and 7th graders suddenly found themselves in a college classroom taking college classes. They are going to be completely lost and their only viable function, which will be bad enough, is going to be to add to the Republican obstructionist voting block.
I'm not trying to downplay what is happening in this strange election cycle. I know it's both pathetic and dangerous, and strong evidence that American democracy is critically ill.
But I also content that the Teabaggers are the Republican Party's desperate last gasp. It's a generational thing. Many of the same college students who voted for Bush in 2004 also voted for Obama in 2008. They tend to favor gay and women's rights and are generally more socially liberal than their grandparents.
Time is not on the Republicans' side.