Tracking the Growth of American Authoritarianism

Exposing the "Nobile Lie" of Right-wing Authoritarian Trickle Down Economics
Imagine a third bar for just the Koch Brothers
After WW II, we had a powerful middle class, then Reaganomics started their demise.


Bully’s and Fear Mongers Coerce President Obama

How many wars are today’s neocons willing to promote for the sake of regime change that grows corporate profit?

“The demonizing of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin appears to know no bounds, with the White House and The New York Times going out of their way to mock his request for a meeting with President Barack Obama and then ladling on insults about Putin’s looks and posture”

” … even during Josef Stalin’s brutal reign and during the height of the Cold War, American presidents regularly met with their Soviet counterparts. They did so in a mature and respectful way despite serious disputes between the two nations. From Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, presidents recognized the need to coordinate on important geopolitical issues whatever their personal feelings about the Soviet leaders.”

Are these neocons coercing President Obama into publically disrespecting other world leaders?

“Though I’m told that Obama understands how inaccurate this black-and-white depiction is, he feels that he must go with the flow to avoid being denounced by the neocons and liberal interventionists as “weak.” Thus, Press Secretary Earnest was dispatched to describe Putin as “desperate” and lacking good posture.”


Mr. President,

I really find it hard to understand that you’ve managed to resist the opposition and get the Iran Deal, yet that resistance has tiptoed away as you repeat a very negative, pro-confrontational approach in Syria and Ukraine.

Posted in Avid Militarism, Enemy/Scapegoat   |   Leave a comment   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Small Group Accepts Mass Killings for the Sake of Maintaining Unlimited Freedom.

Conservatives without Conscience,” a minority in America defined by John Dean in his book by the same title, accept the collateral damage of their many wars, including innocent American children and many others taken by mass killings – mass killings that spring from both their war on Ameircans and others not like them, and their denial of limitations on their freedom to punish others, here and anywhere in the world, with our personal and military weapons of mass destruction.

John Dean on right-wing authoritarians

Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children [and children of the world] year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

Mass killings with domestic weapons of mass destruction

When will American voters wake up to realize they can change this? Be the change you want to see. Participate in the political process.

We need a “political revolution” in 2016 to promote peace, not punishment for profit and war.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Avid Militarism, Obsession with Punishment   |   Leave a comment   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Hidden Threats Strain Both the Earth’s Life-sustaining Resources and Life Itself

Unsustainable economic growth and its systemic impacts on the wealth gap, human population, and Earth’s climate are enslaving and abusing all Peoples.

  • Wage theft, debt slavery, and expanding poverty drive the exponential growth of the income and wealth gap and engender a stealthy form of slavery.
  • Lack of universal health care, restricting women’s health care, underfunding of free public education, and growing poverty results in an unsustainable population growth which corporations prefer so as to sell more stuff.
  • The release of massive amounts of green house gases to support unsustainable economic and population growth blankets the earth and keeps the Sun’s heat from escaping into space.
  • All of this, growth of population and poverty for the 99%, accelerating economic growth for the ONE%, defunding the public wealth, and their combined impact on global warming, take away individual freedoms and threaten to drain both the Earth’s life-sustaining resources and life itself.
  • All of this is hidden from us by the wealthiest among us who own the media that are also focused on economic growth above all else, including the TRUTH of unsustainable growth.

(This is based on a new section of Professor Lakoff’s re-released Don’t Think of an Elephant that addresses the systemic impacts of Thomas Piketty’s revelations on the global wealth gap.)

We need a massive and broad “political revolution.”

Posted in Corporate Intrusion, Human Rights Abuse, Media-Info Control   |   Comments Off on Hidden Threats Strain Both the Earth’s Life-sustaining Resources and Life Itself   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Ending American Authoritarianism – A Hybridization of Orwell and Huxley Dystopias, and Resisting It Through Radical Imagination

Henry Giroux re-evaluates the works of Orwell and Huxley compares them to the new American Authoritarianism and proposes actions to reverse it.

The were both right

Both authors provide insight into the merging of the totalitarian elements that constitute a new and more hybridized form of authoritarian control, appearing less as fiction than a threatening indication of the unfolding 21st century. Consumer fantasies and authoritarian control, “Big Brother” intelligence agencies and the voracious seductions of privatized pleasures, along with the rise of the punishing state – which criminalizes an increasing number of behaviors and invests in institutions that incarcerate and are organized principally for the production of violence – and the collapse of democratic public spheres into narrow, market-driven orbits of privatization – these now constitute the new order of authoritarianism.

Koch Brothers are watching

This is the Big Brother that pushes youthful protests out of the public spaces they attempt to occupy. This is the hypernationalistic Big Brother clinging to notions of racial purity and American exceptionalism as a driving force in creating a country that has come to resemble an open-air prison for the dispossessed. This is the Big Brother whose split personality portends the dark authoritarian universe of the 1% with their control over the economy and use of paramilitarized police forces, on the one hand, and, on the other, their retreat into gated communities manned by SWAT-like security forces.

Fear and isolation constitute an updated version of Big Brother. Fear is managed and is buttressed by normalizing the neoliberal claim that it be accepted as a general condition of society, dealt with exclusively as an individual consideration, disassociated from the politics and moral panics endemic to an authoritarian society, and be used to mobilize the individual’s fear of the other. In the surveillance state, fear is misplaced from the political sphere and emergence of an authoritarian government to the personal concern with the fear of surviving, not getting ahead, unemployment and the danger posed by the growing legions of the interminable others. As the older order dies, a new one struggles to be born, one that often produces a liminal space that gives rise to monsters, all too willing to kidnap, torture and spy on law-abiding citizens while violating civil liberties. As Antonio Gramsci once suggested, such an interregnum offers no political guarantees, but it does provide or at least gestures toward reimagining “what is to be done,” how it might be done and who is going to do it.

Snowden on Privacy

In spite of his vivid imagination, “Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.” …

… Orwell’s dark image is the stuff of government oppression whereas Huxley’s is the stuff of distractions, diversions and the transformation of privacy into a cheap and sensational performance for public display. …

… Corporations use new technologies to track spending habits and collect data points from social media so as to provide us with consumer goods that match our desires, employ face recognition technologies to alert store salespeople to our credit ratings, and so it goes. …

… the most dangerous repercussions of a near total loss of privacy involve more than the unwarranted collecting of information by the government: We must also be attentive to the ways in which being spied on has become not only normalized, but even enticing, as corporations up the pleasure quotient for consumers who use new digital technologies and social networks – not least of all by and for simulating experiences of community.

… Just as we can envision Orwell’s and Huxley’s dystopian fables morphing over time from “realistic novels” into a “real life documentary,” and now into a form of “reality TV,” privacy and freedom have been radically altered in an age of permanent, nonstop global exchange and circulation. That is, in the current moment, the right to privacy and freedom has been usurped by the seductions of a narcissistic culture and casino capitalism’s unending desire to turn every relationship into an act of commerce and to make all aspects of daily life subject to market forces under watchful eyes of both government and corporate regimes of surveillance.

Ferguson riots caused by militarized police state

… Each day, new evidence surfaces pointing to the emergence of a police state that has produced ever more sophisticated methods for surveillance in order to enforce a mass suppression of the most essential tools for democratic dissent: “the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse.” …

… It is worth repeating that Orwell’s vision of surveillance and the totalitarian state look mild next to the emergence of a corporate-state surveillance system that wants to tap into every conceivable mode of communication, collect endless amounts of metadata to be stored in vast intelligence storage sites around the country and potentially use that data to repress any vestige of dissent.

… Aided by a public pedagogy, produced and circulated through a machinery of consumption and public relations tactics, a growing regime of repression works through the homogenizing forces of the market to support the widespread embrace of an authoritarian culture and police state.

Relentlessly entertained by spectacles, people become not only numb to violence and cruelty but begin to identify with an authoritarian worldview. As David Graeber suggests, the police “become the almost obsessive objects of imaginative identification in popular culture … watching movies, or viewing TV shows that invite them to look at the world from a police point of view.” …

… Violence has become the organizing force of a society driven by a noxious notion of privatization in which it becomes difficult for ideas to be lifted into the public realm. Under such circumstances, politics is eviscerated because it now supports a market-driven view of society that has turned its back on the idea that social values, public trust and communal relations are fundamental to a democratic society. This violence against the bonds of sociality undermines and dissolves the nature of social obligations as freedom becomes an exercise in self-development rather than social responsibility. …

By integrating insights drawn from both Huxley and Orwell, it becomes necessary for any viable critical analysis to take a long view, contextualizing the contemporary moment as a new historical conjuncture in which political rule has been replaced by corporate sovereignty, consumerism becomes the only obligation of citizenship, and the only value that matters is exchange value. Precarity has replaced social protections provided by the state, just as the state cares more about building prisons and infantilizing the US public than it does about providing all of its citizens with quality educational institutions and health care. The United States is not just dancing into oblivion as Huxley suggested; it is also being pushed into the dark recesses of an authoritarian state.

The co-existent lack of interest in the loss of privacy, citizenship redefined as obedient shopping, individual greed and responsibility suppressing social responsibility and caring for others, the indifference to violence against the 99% in the context of a “war on …” mentality, and the lack of citizens participation in the political process, expose the growing authoritarian state in America.

The situation is dire when people no longer seem interested in contesting such power. It is precisely the poisonous spread of a broad culture of political indifference that puts at risk the fundamental principles of justice and freedom, which lie at the heart of a robust democracy. The democratic imagination has been transformed into a data machine that marshals its inhabitants into the neoliberal dream world of babbling consumers and armies of exploitative labor whose ultimate goal is to accumulate capital and initiate individuals into the brave new surveillance-punishing state that merges Orwell’s Big Brother with Huxley’s mind-altering soma.

Giroux suggests five actions to ignite a new resistance to put a stop to America’s growing hybridized, authoritarian, dystopia:

First, there is a need for what can be called a revival of the radical imagination. This call would be part of a larger project “to reinvent democracy in the wake of the evidence that, at the national level, there is no democracy – if by ‘democracy’ we mean effective popular participation in the crucial decisions affecting the community.” Democracy entails a challenge to the power of those individuals, financial elites, ruling groups and large-scale enterprises that have hijacked democracy. At the very least, this means refusing to accept minimalist notions of democracy in which elections become the measure of democratic participation. Far more crucial is the struggle for the development of public spaces and spheres that produce a formative culture in which the US public can imagine forms of democratic self-management of what can be called “key economic, political, and social institutions.”

Second, young people and progressives need to create the institutions and public spaces in which education becomes central as a counternarrative that serves to both reveal, interrogate and overcome the common sense assumptions that provide the ideological and affective webs that tie many people to forms of oppression.

Rejecting [Massive] Criminalization [through wars on drugs, poor, women, minorities, and youth.]

… individualization of the social is one of the most powerful ideological weapons used by the current authoritarian regime and must be challenged.

Under the star of Orwell, morality loses its emancipatory possibilities and degenerates into a pathology in which misery is denounced as a moral failing. Under the neo-Darwinian ethos of survival of the fittest, the ultimate form of entertainment becomes the pain and humiliation of others, especially those considered disposable and powerless, who are no longer an object of compassion, but of ridicule and amusement. This becomes clear in the endless stories we are now hearing from US politicians disdaining the poor as moochers who don’t need welfare but stronger morals.

Lastly, any attempt to make clear the massive misery, exploitation, corruption and suffering produced under casino capitalism must develop both a language of critique and possibility. It is not enough to simply register what is wrong with US society; it is also crucial to do so in a way that enables people to recognize themselves in such discourses in a way that both inspires them to be more critical and energizes them to do something about it.

Orwell and Huxley saw America “devolving into pathological states in which politics was recognized in the interest of death over life and justice” but over the last 4 decades America has devolved into a despotic authoritarian state that neither “Orwell nor Huxley could have imagined.” Reversing this violent, corporate lead, course will take many “spirited forms of collective resistance willing to reclaim the reigns of political emancipation.”

For Huxley, there was hope in a pessimism that had exhausted itself; for Orwell, optimism had to be tempered by a sense of educated hope. Only time will tell us whether either Orwell or Huxley was right. But one thing is certain: History is open and the space of the possible is always larger than the one currently on display.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion, Disdain of Educated & Artists, Human Rights Abuse, Media-Info Control, Obsession with National Security, Obsession with Punishment   |   Comments Off on Ending American Authoritarianism – A Hybridization of Orwell and Huxley Dystopias, and Resisting It Through Radical Imagination   |   Email This Post Email This Post

The New Socialism and Bernie Sanders, #FeelTheBern

From Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist, but what does that term mean?:

There are essentially two types of socialists in modern Western democratic politics. Social democrats are effectively what the left is in nearly every Western European and North American country. They might find socialism laudable, but have made peace with enacting changes to capitalism to make it more equitable. Social democrats enacted policies typically referred to as the mixed economy or welfare state, such as Social Security and universal health care. While U.S. Democrats don’t use these labels, social democrats generally define the center-left of the political spectrum in the West.

The above article makes some other points that are worth commenting on.

1. What the author calls “libertarian socialism” is also called Democracy at Work, by professor Richard Wolff, a self-taught marxist economist.

2. The author of the article indicts the profit-centric media by claiming they would be harder on Sanders than on Clinton. Thus Sanders would supposedly lose even though he represents the values of more Americans, than all the Republican candidates combined. This was not only self-contradictory but did its part in promoting a self-fulfilling prophecy that is applied to populists by both Reps and Wall $treet Dems.

To add to the above article on socialism is this one, by Richard Wolff, that reviews the history of socialism definitions and redefines it for the 21st century:

… Doing so culminates in new definitions of socialism for the 21st century focused increasingly on democratizing the workplace – at the micro-level. That is the key change that was missing from previous socialisms. It must be added to old definitions that were over-focused on substituting socialized for privately owned means of production and substituting planning for markets. …

Socialism in and for the 21st century must now define itself in clear distinction from both regulated private capitalism and state capitalism. Only then can we begin our strategic debates over precisely which socialist goal to set and pursue.

#FeelTheBern …

Posted in Politics   |   2 Comments   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Pro-war, Regime Change, Neocons Have Controlled our Interventionist Foreign Policy for Decades

Back in January, 2007, as The Shrub, GWB, began his final year in office I wrote a blog post titled Bush’s Administration – Neocons Everywhere According to Bush and Rumsfeld. In September of last year, I wrote another posting called, Neocons Left Over from Reagan and Bush II Using ISIS Crisis to Expand Right-wing Authoritarian Regime Change Policy.

This last article was written with information from Consortium News and journalist Robert Parry, who is known for exposing the Iran/Contragate of President Reagan. Well, with all the talk of war in Ukraine and Syria here is a new article from Robert Parry on the neocons and “Liberal interventionists” who strive for “regime change” for the sake of democracy, freedom, and the expansion of the American empire. And of course, these war mongers are supported, not questioned, by our profit-centric media.

Liberal interventionist Samantha Power – along with neocon allies – appears to have prevailed in the struggle over how President Obama will conduct his foreign policy in his last months in office, promoting aggressive strategies that will lead to more death and destruction.

Today, Power is a leading force opposing meaningful negotiations over Syria and Ukraine, again staking out “moralistic” positions – rejecting possible power-sharing with Assad in Syria and blaming the Ukraine crisis entirely on the Russians. She doesn’t seem all that concerned about impending genocides against Assad’s supporters in Syria or ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

Growing the American Empire has deadly consequences for America’s sons and daughters, and many others.

Posted in Avid Militarism, Human Rights Abuse, Obsession with Punishment   |   Comments Off on Pro-war, Regime Change, Neocons Have Controlled our Interventionist Foreign Policy for Decades   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Winning in Politics – Inspiring Your Supporters to Vote

The above list is of the subtitles for four books. Books on understanding how the brain works and it’s effects on winning in politics I’ve read three of them and am reading the fourth.

Winning political campaigns is a lot of hard work. It’s about building/training a team, access to voter databases, tools for identifying likely supporters from those databases, making phone calls, knocking on doors, getting funding for a non-profitable endeavor, and inspiring your supporters to get out and vote.

Republicans are wining elections because they do all of the above. Democrats have been failing and their main weakness is inspiring the supporters to go their polls and vote. Facts and policies alone don’t inspire. Vision and what’s morally right for America do.

The four books above discuss how and why Democrats are in this situation of losing the messaging/inspiration game. What does it take to inspire supporter to vote? Here is a partial list:

  • Inspiring supporters requires a communication network for the party’s moral messages. Democrats don’t have one.
  • Inspiring supporters requires moral messages that reach the hearts and basic beliefs of your supporters. Democrats are mostly about facts.
  • Inspiring supporters requires respecting fellow Democrats and not dismissing their efforts to further the cause< ./li>
  • Inspiring supporters requires consistency in the moral message. Getting Democrats to be consistent and unified is like herding cats.
  • Inspiring supporters requires that you frame your message around your moral values. Democrats would rather just negate Repub values.
  • Inspiring your supporters means understanding what inspires you opponents supporters and why.
  • Inspiring your supporters means avoiding frames and moral values used by Republicans. Democrats need to learn how to reframe the debate and avoid inspiring votes for their opponent.
  • Inspiring you supporters means knowing both your moral values and the moral values of your opponent, and why your moral values are right for all Americans and theirs are only right for a few Americans.

All four books discuss the above list and much more.

Some might say that learning about how the brain works, and framing and reframing are too academic for the average Democrat. However, until we learn what the Republicans know about inspiring voters, Demcrats will continue to lose political races. We have something to learn and we have a teacher to teach us!

Also, as a college grad, my greatest difficulty with reading the one technical book in the bunch was that it was my first attempt and I found I was having to re-learn what my basic moral values and basic beliefs were. What was the right set of moral values for America? What were the moral values of America as written in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and what do my moral values say about the moral values I want for America? So, I don’t recommend the first book I read, The Political Mind, as a staring point. Instead, I suggest that if you are going to run as a Democrat for any office, or you know someone who intends to, you should read the updated version of Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff.

Professor Lakoff is a cognitive linguist. In other words, he studies how the brain works with respect to language. Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract with America inspired Lakoff’s research into the workings of the brain as it responds to words and phrases. As a progressive, and as an expert on language, he was puzzled that he didn’t understand why a large group of people would respond positively to this document. What was it about the brains of the individuals for whom this document made sense, but made no sense to him.

One last point. President Obama’s campaigns made good use of reframing and reaching out to the hearts, moral values, and basic beliefs of his supporters. He did more that build and train a team. He did more than find supporters and contact them. He did more than just list facts and talk about his policy. He was inspirational.

Posted in Protect & Empower   |   Comments Off on Winning in Politics – Inspiring Your Supporters to Vote   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Trans Pacific Partnership, Pros and Cons – Good for Corporations, Very Bad for Children or Workers

Here is a list of typical “pro TPP statements” with my cons.

“free trade has boosted American commerce more than it has hurt.” On a macro scale, I’ll stipulate to that. However, that benefit has not been fairly distributed across our economy. Just look at income and wealth inequality – that gap, that began growing in the 80s, has become excessive during the life of NAFTA and other free market fundamentalist (neoliberal) policies.

Middle class productivity gains go higher up the food chain ...

” … the deal that would eliminate tariffs and other financial barriers to trade, create reliable cross-border supply chains, harmonize trade and investment regulations, and protect intellectual property. Sounds like a no-brainer.” Sorry, something as unknown and complex as TPP can never be a no-brainer. Anything this complex needs more eyes looking it over than just the eyes of those who stand to benefit the most.

” … granting President Barack Obama fast-track authority to close a deal … ” Checks and balances, a founding element of this nation, keeps those with power from becoming abusive with that power. This is “trust but verify,” but without the verify.

” … that is good for the American economy.” Again there is the macro view for America’s economy, but how fairly is this “good” shared with the workers of America? Won’t TPP just widen the income and wealth gaps across the world?

” … we do know that trade between the three countries [NAFTA] has accelerated.” And again, was this good for everyone in these countries or just those at the top? Avoiding corporate limits may be good for business, but is unfettered business good for citizens?

” … Mexico now exports more vehicles than Japan to the United States …” Is that because Japan moved their manufacturing jobs to Mexico for the lower labor and shipping costs? Good for a few Toyota executives and major shareholders, but bad for many Toyota workers.

“Manufacturing has doubled in Mexico, slowing illegal immigration by Mexican citizens to a virtual halt, ” Illegal immigration is another complex situation and attributing a near-term slow down to just manufacturing is ignoring other near-term factors like the Great Recession, the border fence, the increase in Border Patrol staff, failing to pass immigration reform, and fear of ranting racist politicians. What does illegal immigration look like during the life of NAFTA (12/8/1993)? Here are a couple of graphics that answer this question.

Immigrantion as a percent of population

NAFTA became law on 12/8/1993 …

U.S. Border Patrol historical  apprehensions

” … workers have moved into more advanced manufacturing and service jobs.” An important descriptor is missing: “low paying.”

” … companies can’t get enough skilled workers, and the unemployment rate is well below the national average.” And the reason for the lack of skilled workers is excessive tax breaks for corporations and thus lower funding for the public education systems. The American free market fundamentalist economy is good for business but not for educating school children and skilled workers.

” … 38 percent tariff on beef exported to Japan [will be eliminated] …” What’s good for the cattle and corn industries is not necessarily good for the ranchers, farmers, or the health of the Japanese people. Also, won’t increased demand coupled with strains on our ability to produce mean higher food prices for Americans?

” … international consumers can afford to buy more American goods.” This is probably especially true compared to other countries where wages and citizenship dues are higher. However, these reduced tariffs will never result in increased wages for workers, only increased corporate profits and more excessive executive compensation.

“The argument for free trade is that it lowers prices to the consumer and provides more options.” No. Free trade lowers corporate costs and the savings will accrue to corporate executives and major shareholders – not lower product prices. Also, with more and more mergers and acquisitions, there are fewer producers and fewer options for consumers.

” … reauthorize Trade Adjustment Assistance, a federal program helps people and businesses that lose out in these deals to move into new businesses.” Does anyone think that the anti-government Republican controlled Congress or a pro-TPP President will even dream about reauthorizing this “federal program?”

“The one thing that will squelch the genius of commerce is putting limits on it, …” This goes totally against our founding principle of checks and balances! Those with unrestrained power are prone to abuse that power. International mega banks without limits are now too big to fail, or prosecute. They know no limitation and fear no retribution for their past or future transgressions. In fact, trying to limit international commerce will result in governments getting sued by corporations with the ratification of TPP:

The chapter covers agreements on investments from one TPP nation to another, including empowering foreign firms to “sue” other states’ governments, as well as regulations around investor-state dispute settlements and tribunals.

If our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” then empowering corporations to sue the only entity, whose moral purpose is to protect and empower its people, makes our government of the corp, by the corp, for the corp. Then protecting and empowering corporations is the moral purpose of government and people are disposable.

With every responsibility, there are consequences. Hopefully, lessons learned from the consequences result in more responsible future actions. Also, every freedom must come with some limitations. These limitations prevent abuse of the freedom and will require laws where self-restraint fails and society suffers.

TPP will have unfortunate consequences for most citizens, and corporations will never be held responsible for the abuse of the new, anti-government, freedoms granted by TPP.

TPP is not what most people and the earth need, now or ever. It will amplify the externalized, harmful, costs of free market fundamentalism from the past 4 decades and assure the destruction of life as we know it, except for the extremely wealthy who can afford their own protection and empowerment.

Posted in Corporate Intrusion   |   Comments Off on Trans Pacific Partnership, Pros and Cons – Good for Corporations, Very Bad for Children or Workers   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Checks and Balances – Supporting the United Steel Workers

The founders of America included a fundamental idea in our Constitution: checks and balances – one branch of government checks another. This important idea is basic to our way of life and applies to any situation where abuse of power must be kept in check. This is especially important when those with power take advantage of their power. When the power abuser is an employer, the only check and balance for the employees sufferring the abuse is a union. But even then, the members of the union are not as financially prepared as their employer when it comes to resolving mutual concerns. This is the case for the United Steel Workers. Please back the fundamental idea of checks and balances by helping to empower the USW:

* Material Donations – Food (non perishable), Diapers, Food Gift Cards:
Deliver to: USW, Local 13-1, 311 Pasadena Blvd, Pasadena Texas 77506 or 2527 Texas Avenue, Texas City 77590 and to USW, Local 13-227, 704 E. Pasadena Fwy, Pasadena, Texas 77506.

* Picketing Assistance:
Report to USW, Local 13-1, 311 Pasadena Blvd., Pasadena, Texas 77506 – or USW, Local 13-1227, 704 E. Pasadena Fwy, Pasadena, Texas 77506. You will be assigned a Gate

* Monetary Donations:
Mail to or deliver to: USW, Local 13-1, Strike Assistance, 311 Pasadena Blvd., Pasadena, Texas 77506 and to USW, Local 13-227, 704 E. Pasadena Fwy, Pasadena, Texas 77506

Posted in Protect & Empower   |   Comments Off on Checks and Balances – Supporting the United Steel Workers   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Supressing Hope Is Futile – Integrity, Moral Values, and Insurrectional Democracy

Externalizing hope will defeat the casino capitalism of the authoritarian right. Here are three requirements for getting there:

1. Progressives who deny their core values, lose, and can’t inspire the underpaid, overworked, debt ridden, and generally oppressed to take action. Dave Johnson discusses the lack of political integrity to inspire citizens:

The results clearly show that voters in 2010 did not abandon the Democrats for the other side, but they did forsake the party in another important way: Many stayed home.

… polling shows that many “independents” are to the left of Democrats and many others are to the right of Republicans. They are not “in the middle” or “between” but rather are more likely to stay home and not vote for candidates who move “to the middle.” Those independents to the right of Republicans are not going to vote for Democrats no matter how far “to the right” the Democratic candidate goes.

“The dumbest thing Democrats could do right now is listen to those like Third Way who urge Democrats to repeat their mistake by caving to Republicans and corporations instead of fighting boldly for popular progressive reforms and reminding Americans why they were inspired in 2008,” Green says.
Again [2012], the Republican campaigned to the right, the Democrat campaigned “in the middle.” The result: Republicans showed up to vote, Democrats stayed home.

Conclusion: You Have To Deliver For And Campaign To Your Base Or They Don’t Show Up
Republicans campaign to their base and win. Democrats who sound like Republican lite bore their base and lose.

==> Hope is engendered by those who remain true to their moral values.


2. Winning against free market fundamentalism/casino capitalism/neoliberalism requires learning new concepts. These new concepts include hypocognition, bi-conceptionalism, systemic causation, reflexivity, strict father vs. nurturing parents, communicating moral values and facts win over facts alone, and equality requires freedoms.

Professor George Lakoff discusses these concepts and how to effectively express ones moral values to inspire individuals to take action. He ends his interview with:

I want to leave them [the reader] with the idea that all language has to do with how people think, that this is about how brains work, and that we have two moral systems going on here; that politics is about that, that language affects it in that way, and that it also has to do with a communication system. You can’t do without a system of communication getting those ideas out there all the time, not just at election time. Part of that is the idea that progressives have a lot to say about freedom, and not only a lot to say, but essential things to say about our democracy and about what freedom is, and they can appeal to people in ways that they’re not doing now.

“Messaging matters, George Lakoff tells Salon, but the key to politics is combining message with a moral grounding”

==> Inspiring hope against authoritarian rule requires effectively communicating progressive moral values, which builds the foundation for policies that equally support all citizens.


3. In addition to moral integrity, learning new concepts, developing a winning set of messages, and creating a nationwide, perpetual, communication system to repeat these messages, there is also a need to understand both how our fundamentalist capitalist system is replacing our republic/democracy with a plutocracy, and how this economic system converts critical thinking citizens into obedient shoppers who have forsaken hope and see little reason to participate in the current ailing political system.

Here are some excerpts from a recent article on authoritarian driven austerity and how it’s neoliberal polices have taken control of our political system, which in turn makes it challenging for principled leaders to inspire passive, but hopeful, citizens to take action:

Austerity measures not only individualize the social; they also produce massive disparities in wealth, income and power that impose immense constraints on people’s well-being, freedom and choices, while serving to undermine any faith in government, politics and democracy itself. The distrust of public values and egalitarian approaches to governance coupled with a wariness, if not a disdain for group solidarities and compassion for the other, nourish and promote a dislike of community engagement, social trust and democratic public spheres. Austerity produces a world without safety nets or the social and political formations that embrace democratic forms of solidarity. Clinging “fiercely to neoliberal [supporting unrestrained free market capitalism] ideals of untrammeled individualism and self-reliance,” many young people not only embrace therapeutic models of selfhood but develop a deep distrust, if not resentment, of any notion of the social and shun obligations to others.

By eroding the middle class and punishing working and poor people of color, it becomes difficult for radical movements to emerge, and consequently politics gets emptied of any hope for a democratic future. In the midst of a culture of survival and the normalization of violence, thoughtlessness prevails as time becomes a deprivation focused largely on the need to simply stay alive. Under such circumstances, time becomes a burden, making it difficult for individuals to think critically, grapple with complex problems and resist neoliberal [supporting unrestrained free market capitalism] notions of citizenship, which define citizens largely as consumers. As critical thought withers and citizenship turns into a pathology, democracy is reduced to matters of self-interest and falls prey not only to a depoliticizing cynicism, but also a call for anti-democratic alternatives such as the demand for “illiberal democracy,” which is taking place in Hungary and “is characterized by extreme nationalism, free-market capitalism designed to promote the interests of the state, government control of the media and concentrated power in the executive branch of the government.”

The turn to authoritarian capitalism is on the rise and can be found in “Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.” The principles of authoritarian capitalism are also on full display in the austerity policies pushed without apology by Republican Party extremists and their Democratic Party cohorts in the United States. Channelling Ayn Rand, right-wing politicians such as Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio argue for the most extreme austerity policies under the guise that moral weakness and greediness are the debased characteristics of those citizens struggling for financial support and social provisions in the age of austerity. In this discourse, it is not surprising that austerity measures find their ideological legitimation in the notion that self-interest is the foundational element of agency and that selfishness is the highest civic virtue. Rand’s insistence that “there is no such thing as society” when coupled with an aggressive assault on all things public and social does more than disparage democracy; it becomes a blueprint for the rise of fascism. Even liberals such as Paul Krugman are sounding the alarm in the midst of rising inequality and the emergence of totalitarian ideologies that make the circumstances ripe for the appeal and rise of totalitarian ideologies that gave birth to the horrors of fascism and Nazism in Europe in the 1930s.

==> Stopping the destruction of the world by free market fundamentalism/casino capitalism/neoliberalism requires political integrity, effective, long-term, communication of progressive moral values, and turning hope outward by educating a small segment of the two-thirds of non-participants and getting them to join “in transformative collective action” to create a new radical, “insurrectional democracy.”

Here is an example of meeting these requirements:

Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion, Human Rights Abuse, Media-Info Control   |   Comments Off on Supressing Hope Is Futile – Integrity, Moral Values, and Insurrectional Democracy   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Inequality is Worse Than You Think, Why So Many Accept It, and The Inevitible Progressive Revolution

From: Peak Inequality: The .01% and The Impoverishment of Society:

Beyond these baseline costs, looking at moderate costs for a family of four owning a home in a median family area, with one car, education and retirement costs factored in, it will cost $130k a year. Add a third child and a second car into the mix and it will cost roughly $150k a year. Only 1.46% of the overall population makes over $150k per year. In other words, in the current economy, the average traditional American Dream is only attainable for the 1%. The 99% has been mathematically eliminated from the traditional American Dream. If they want to have a family and own a home, they are now sentenced to a lifetime of economic insecurity and ever-increasing debt.


From Conditioned Consciousness: How the .01% Gets Away with Trillions:

… many of us feel powerless to change things. It is stunning to hear so many people say that they can’t do anything about it. Far too many people think that we can’t create change; that is the primary reason why we don’t. Why do you think that we can’t change the world? How did you come to that conclusion? Who taught you to believe that?


We should also ask why, after the Vietnam War debacle, do we now think war is so indispensable?

From The Victory of ‘Perception Management’:

Though Reagan’s creation of a domestic propaganda bureaucracy began more than three decades ago – and [Senior] Bush’s vanquishing of the Vietnam Syndrome was more than two decades ago – the legacy of those actions continue to reverberate today in how the perceptions of the American people are now routinely managed. That was true during last decade’s Iraq War and this decade’s conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is bigger than ever, but his neocon messaging barely stands out as distinctive, given how the neocons also have gained control of the editorial and foreign-reporting sections of the Washington Post, the New York Times and virtually every other major news outlet. For instance, the demonizing of Russian President Putin is now so total that no honest person could look at those articles and see anything approaching objective or evenhanded journalism. Yet, no one loses a job over this lack of professionalism.

At this advanced stage of America’s quiet surrender to “perception management,” it is even hard to envision how one could retrace the many steps that would lead back to the concept of a democratic Republic based on an informed electorate. Many on the American Right remain entranced by the old propaganda theme about the “liberal media” and still embrace Reagan as their beloved icon. Meanwhile, many liberals can’t break away from their own wistful trust in the New York Times and their empty hope that the media really is “liberal.”


There is still hope …

From The Coming Revolution: Evolutionary Leap or Descent into Chaos and Violence?:

The ultimate point is that there is presently more than enough wealth and capabilities to solve societal problems. We can truly evolve society in unprecedented fashion. We live in the most wealthy and technologically advanced society in the history of civilization. In the US, we have $94.4 trillion in wealth. People should not have to struggle and be buried in debt to get basic necessities and live a healthy life.

Most people are unaware of the paradigm shift in technology and wealth creation that should have provided economic security and made life much more enjoyable for everyone well over a generation ago. We haven’t evolved the political and economic system because the mainstream media has not revealed to the general public that we have $94.4 trillion in wealth, with $25 trillion of it unused. If people knew that this much wealth existed, and could comprehend the implications of what could be done with just a fraction of it, we would have a revolution.

At this point, a significant portion of the population knows that our present system is unsustainable and unstable, even many of the richest .01% will now acknowledge that. We already have a critical mass of aware citizens, we just need to inspire and organize them to build the cultural and political will.

Alas, the horrifying socio-economic reality haunts me; after extensive research, it is clear that we don’t have much time left before we descend into chaos. If we want to change things through nonviolent methods, the window of opportunity is closing fast. We need to radically intensify the pace in which change is occurring. The .01% and political class must urgently acquiesce to the needs of the people. As John Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

The statistical evidence is clear.

We have reached the tipping point.

Revolution is coming, one way or the other.


Robert Kennedy on the coming revolution


Two views on the coming progressive revolution:

From An independent progressive movement by Houston Blogger Perry Dorrell:

The strongest argument for a progressive movement, independent or third-party, remains that the two corporate political parties are still essentially one; half of the duopoly is just meaner and more cruel than the other. Do ya really think the disparity between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush makes up enough of a difference to motivate the 2/3rds of Americans who did not vote in 2014 to storm the ramparts supporting one or the other? …

So where does that leave an independent progressive movement? Same place it’s been for a while: sitting at a standstill. So what options remain for a progressive revolution? Let’s begin at the beginning: progressives must vote. Period, full stop. They also have to cast ballots in the Democratic Party primary occasionally, for the kind of candidates they want to see nominated by that party. And when the Democrats fail to nominate those candidates, then independent progressives have to vote for Greens — or Socialists, or independents who are aligned with the left — on every single ballot line they appear. That’s the only way that there will ever be a progressive revolution in the Democratic Party. There will be no change made otherwise.


From Fight for Our Progressive Vision by Bernie Sanders:

First and foremost, against an enormous amount of corporate media noise and distraction, it is imperative that we not lose sight of what is most important and the vision that we stand for. We have got to stay focused on those issues that impact the lives of tens of millions of Americans who struggle every day to keep their heads above water economically, and who worry deeply about the kind of future their kids will have.

Yes. We make no apologies in stating that the great moral, economic and political issue of our time is the growing level of income and wealth inequality in our nation. It is a disgrace to everything this country is supposed to stand for when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when one family (the Waltons) owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent. No. The economy is not sustainable when the middle class continues to disappear and when 95 percent of all new income generated since the Wall Street crash goes to the top 1 percent. In order to create a vibrant economy, working families need disposable income. That is often not the case today.

Posted in Corporate Intrusion, Media-Info Control   |   Comments Off on Inequality is Worse Than You Think, Why So Many Accept It, and The Inevitible Progressive Revolution   |   Email This Post Email This Post

My Recent Tweets on #AmericaInFiveWords – Reliving the American Revolution of 1800

– Corporations/Billionaires own our government

– Obedient shoppers or Critical Thinkers?

Enslaved by paychecks and debt

– Where freedom is an illusion

– About ME or about WE?

For-profit media conditions consciousness

– Democracy or Republic? No! Plutocracy!!

– The freedom to honor greed

– The freedom to honor torture

– Freedom to imagine national perfection

– Freedom to ignore scientific evidence

– Freedom to bomb for oil

– Freedom to dominate the world

– Where state crimes are hidden

– Where corporate crimes are ignored

– Corporate governance replaced representative goverenance

– Where fearful/hateful minority vote

– The American Revolution of 1800

Posted in Authoritarianism   |   Comments Off on My Recent Tweets on #AmericaInFiveWords – Reliving the American Revolution of 1800   |   Email This Post Email This Post

The Texas Democratic Party Wanted to Know …

I just responded to a Texas Democratic Party Survey. Here are their questions and my answers:

What do you think we could have done differently?
All organizations that are working to elect Democrats need to coordinate their activities to reduce duplication of effort, provide a consistent moral message, and increase effectiveness of getting non-voters to the polls. In our county, BGTX, unions, and candidates we all doing their own thing and I suspect the same thing happened in other counties. I started working with BGTX in April of 2013 and worked with them all the way through election day. One example of lack of coordination was the follow-up calls made for the mail-in ballot requests and applications. BGTX used their extensively corrected VAN database to make calls. Others used out-of-date VAN data to make calls.

What were your favorite moments or stories of 2014?
The day when the local county Republican chairwoman referenced one of my tweets in her urgent message to Republicans warning that BGTX was a threat and they better vote.

Rep Chairwoman worried about BGTX

What do you think we can do to get more Democrats to the polls?
Stop backing neoliberal (free market fundamentalism) ideology and get back to our moral foundation of equally protecting and empowering all citizens. The voters who would vote for us and our values see no difference between Dems and Rep. They are both owned by those with excessive money. Sponsor resolutions and/or legislation against “corporations are people” and “money is speech.”

What do you think Democrats need to do to win in the future?
Learn from the Republicans, who have been winning the message war for decades: preface all communications with the moral value of why what we want for America is morally right.

Republicans motivate their supporters to vote with fear of their fellow citizens. Democrats need to motivate their supporters by appealing to their compassion for their fellow citizens. Protect All Americans from Corporate Abuse: Vote Democratic. Empower Citizens, not Corporations: Vote Democratic

Regardless of the particular arguments you want to use, we need to embed them in a moral value foundation. What makes our argument morally right? If we start with a moral value they can agree with, they will more likely agree with the rest of our argument.

For example, for our system of self-government to work we need fair elections.

The moral responsibilities of our government is to equally protect citizens from those with excessive power and to equally empower citizens for both success and effective self-governing. When that moral responsibility is diminished, citizens are harmed.

If the moral responsibilities of the government are privatized, then they are either ignored or minimized by corporations, and citizens are harmed. If the right to vote is not equally applied as the result of corporations writing laws through ALEC, then citizens are disenfranchised. If citizens are not equally educated to think critically due to excessively reduced corporate citizenship dues, then citizens are more easily manipulated by corporate and billionaire ads to vote against their own best interest. If multinational corporations, that owe no allegiance to America and are incorporated in another country, can spend unlimited funds on political ads in American elections, then citizens are ignored by politicians who are elected with corporate donations.

As corporate governance replaces representative governance, more harm comes to citizens and the likelihood of fair elections becomes an illusion.

What are you looking forward to in 2016?
Selection of candidates who are not corporate lackeys and who will equally protect and empower flesh and blood citizens.

What issues are a priority for 2016 you’d like to add?
Responding to climate destruction to minimize the future impact of dirty energy on those who are not part of the ONE%. The ONE% are the only one’s who can afford to live on a dying planet. The poor will suffer the most while we ignore global warming.

Reversing Citizens United and other activist rulings by the SCOTUS that empower corporations and promote abuse of citizens.

Busting up banks too big to fail.

Posted in Protect & Empower   |   Comments Off on The Texas Democratic Party Wanted to Know …   |   Email This Post Email This Post

Erik Prince Still Free, Ferguson Police Abuse, Who Can’t Vote in Texas, Corp Attack On Democracy, NPR Part of Problem, Doughnut Economics

Suggested Reading for Week Ending 10/26

  • Christianist Erik Prince Remains Free as Blackwater Guards Convicted for Killing 14 Iraqis in Massacre
    First of all, Erik Prince is a radical right-wing Christian supremacist who, from the very beginning of the so-called war on terror, viewed the role of Blackwater in the world as being neo-crusaders. And he is a radical anti-Muslim. And he hates the religion of Islam. And he—his company, basically, was allowed to operate in an atmosphere where they would kill Muslims for sport inside of Iraq.
  • Police in Ferguson Committed Human Rights Abuses
    Police in Ferguson, Missouri, committed human rights abuses as they sought to quell mostly peaceful protests that erupted after an officer killed an unarmed black teenager, an international human rights organization said in a report released on Friday.
  • A Missing Piece in the Texas Voter ID Debate – Number of Texans without ID
    Republican state officials working to pass a voter photo ID law in 2011 knew that more than 500,000 of the state’s registered voters did not have the credentials needed to cast ballots under the new requirement. But they did not share that information with lawmakers rushing to pass the legislation.
  • Vermont Attorney General’s Office Releases Draft GMO Labeling Rules
    In Vermont, GMO labeling law goes into effect July 2016. However, a lawsuit has been filed by food companies. Who will prevail?
  • The Corporate Assault on Direct Democracy
    The direct democracy of ballot initiatives – where voters get to vote yes or no, without any politicians in the way – is a treasured part of the fabric of 24 states and many more cities. But around the country, there’s been a disturbing trend this year: When initiatives threaten corporate interests, lawyers run to court to prevent voters from even getting the chance to vote.
  • NPR Guts Its Environment And Climate Reporting Team, Becomes ‘Part Of The Problem’
    Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center and one of the country’s top climatologists, told ClimateProgress, “This is a sad commentary on the current state of our media and, in particular, environmental reporting. Climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge we face as a civilization. Yet NPR apparently feels that it only deserves a fraction of one reporter.”
  • Want to Solve Climate Change? Tackle Inequality
    Humanity’s central challenge in the 21st century is to meet the human rights of all people within the capacity of Earth’s life-support systems. In other words, we need to get into the doughnut: the safe and just sweet spot between social and planetary boundaries …

    NPR Contributing to Climate Denial

    NPR’s climate coverage has been fairly stagnant for years

    Doughnut Economics — Creating a Safe and Just Place for Humanity.
    (Framing of planetary boundaries.)

    “Inclusive and sustainable Economic Development”

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion, Election Fraud, Human Rights Abuse, Media-Info Control   |   Comments Off on Erik Prince Still Free, Ferguson Police Abuse, Who Can’t Vote in Texas, Corp Attack On Democracy, NPR Part of Problem, Doughnut Economics   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Fixing Our Broken Economic and Law Enforcement Systems, Private Empire vs Earth, People Take Action

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 10/19

  • Beyond Orwellian Nightmares and Neoliberal Authoritarianism
    Those who fight against neoliberalism [free market fundamentalism, casino capitalism] must not settle for reforming a system that is as broken as it is dangerous. Any viable, transformative struggle will need a boldly democratic vision; durable, longstanding organizations and strategies that make politics meaningful.
  • The Post-Michael Brown Agenda Provides Goals For The Movement To End Racist, Militarized Policing
    The militarization of U.S. police is a new phenomena that is being routinely misused and spurred by federal policy that makes military equipment available to local police. It’s time we create a mass transformative movement toward a path of change.
  • How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties
    … Taylor told me about charts she had seen, apparently online, placing Steyer at the center of a web of liberal interests: a conservative answer to the many liberal diagrams of “The Kochtopus.” The connections were all real, or at least many of them were. That was the whole point of playing multiples. But the comparison seemed to bother her. “There’s a private empire and the Earth,” she said. The Earth was there for all of us.
  • Communities Standing Up
    This week we are inspired by the communities that are standing up to police abuse and by the students in Mexico and Hong Kong who are placing themselves at risk in order to fight for their rights.

    How to Fix Law Enforcement
    Hey Kids, check out my militarized police

    What The People Have to Say: Voices of Protest in Ferguson and St. Louis

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Avid Militarism, Corporate Intrusion   |   Comments Off on Fixing Our Broken Economic and Law Enforcement Systems, Private Empire vs Earth, People Take Action   |   Email This Post Email This Post