Tracking the Growth of American Authoritarianism

“Can There Really Be Fascist People In A Democracy?”
Libertarians are stealthily taking over America.

Since the 1971 Powell Memo, America has moved closer and closer to Fascism.


Our Mass Murdering Domestic Terrorists and Their Enablers

Who are these people using WMDs for mass murder in America?

They are men who have been taught that there is a social heirarchy with God at the top. After God comes white, Christianist, males, then everyone else based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, and skin color. This allows them to devalue all those NOT like them. They also believe in severe punishment, up to and including death/war, as a necessary tool for enforcing their world view. “Do what I say or die, you nonhuman animal.”

These are the men who kill others in massive numbers so easily and they are defended by those like them: some of whom are our elected officials who get money from the #NRA and who need to be voted out of office.

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Modern Money Theory/Practice – Fixing an Under-capacity Economy.

From Intro To Modern Money Theory:

“Modern Monetary Theory is partly a description of how our modern fiat, floating exchange rate currencies actually work, and partly a prescription of what we ought to do with this knowledge. MMT realizes that many of the constraints we place on our money system today as well as many of our models for understanding it are actually holdovers from the era of gold-standards and fixed exchange rates that don’t apply at all today.”

Here’s my take on how MMT works to create a national balanced economy that results in full-capacity, full employment, and low-inflation.

Imagine that America’s economic capacity is a swimming pool. This swimming pool is filled with liquid US Dollars. When the US economy is at full capacity the money in the pool is at just the right level. This right level for a full capacity economy is where the number of available jobs equals the number of available workers. Thus the economy is at full employment.

If more jobs exist than workers, the government must reduce the level of money in the pool to full employment levels by reducing the money supply and/or increasing taxes (draining the pool of money). If there are more workers than jobs, the government must pour more money into the pool and bring the level back to full employment, but without raising taxes (draining the pool), which would defeat/slow increasing the flow of money into the economy.

This effort to maintain a balanced economy changes when the deficit, the flow of money into and out of the pool/economy (money supply and taxes) becomes a problem. As long as the economy is at full capacity, the money flow is properly balanced. If that leads to a deficit, more spending than taxing, it’s OK, because the economy is balanced by additional spending from full employment and the purchase of goods and services that would otherwise not happen. The extra money is circulating and maintaining full employment. It also allows people to save money for retirement and pay for health insurance.

On the other hand, if the deficit occurs while there is any imbalance in the full capacity of the balanced economy, it’s a problem. For example, DJT is increasing defense spending by a small amount and decreasing taxes by a much larger amount. This means money is being added to the economy but not it a way that will promote full employment. The economic capacity, or money in the pool, will rise but it won’t result in a balanced economy because most won’t be spent on jobs, goods and services. It will be spent to enrich the one percent.

In other wards, deficits are good if they result in full employment and bad if they result in increased austerity and growing economic inequality.

Also, a balanced federal budget means bad deficits, an economy far below capacity, lots of unemployment, lower wages, under employment, global warming without end, no universal health care, no greening of our energy sources, and perpetual austerity except for the one percent.


The unfolding climate crisis demands that we make an urgent and just transition to a green economy. The question many are asking is, “How will the U.S. government pay for this transition?” In this talk we learn how the U.S. has used “modern money” since we came off the gold standard in 1971, which offers substantial new options which have not been utilized. Modern monetary theory can be used by the federal government to create new green jobs, build a green economy, and fund social programs in a surprisingly affordable and complete way.

Randy Mandell works on Modern Money Revolution, a campaign of 1 Sustainable Planet and, and actively works for climate recovery.

Recorded 11/12/17 at Prospect Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle. Thanks to The Faith and Climate Team.
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False Equavilancy Reinforces Beliefs in an Alternate Reality

I’ve posted multiple times about my concerns with profit-centric MSM and their requirement to put profit before the common good of we the people.

For many, profit-centric news is only kind of news with which you are familiar. Well, back before Reagan, it wasn’t this way. The evening news was only available on three networks, who broadcast over the publicly owned airways, and were required to report the facts of reality if they wanted to use our Public airways. The news staff were forbidden to fraternize with the marketing staff. The news staff were responsible for serving the common good of all citizens. That all ended when the “Fairness Doctrine” was eliminated and the non-profit news of old, was merged into the profit-centric entertainment divisions of the networks.

But now, MSM does what ever it takes to attract the most viewers to the commercial ads they run. They all play the ratings game and brag when possible. The more eyeballs they capture, the more they can charge for those ads.

Part of the effort to maximize their profits includes attracting viewers from both sides of the political spectrum. To do this, they have talking heads from both sides of an issue.

The problem with this balanced reporting is that it presents a false equivalency. Take global warming as an example. Even though the scientific community is split 97 to 3 in favor of man-made climate change, the news is presented as two equal options for the viewer to consider.

This equivalency keeps both sides watching, doesn’t change anyone’s opinion, and keeps the eyeballs on the commercial ads. Here’s another way to report on this issue:

Just be aware of this effort to equate that which isn’t, and it’s ability to reinforce a false reality for those who believe it. It is not in the interest of the people’s common good and is now profit-driven.

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Federal Spending for Sustaining Instead of Destroying LIFE

$700 Billion for the Pentagon – Where Will All That Federal Money Come From? A Few Taps on a Keyboard.

DJT just signed a bill to provide $700 Billion for the Pentagon in FY2018 while Congress is working on a new, enormous, welfare giveaway for the one percent. How is this possible?

Once a federal spending budget is approved, credits to all government spending accounts are added. It’s just a matter of a few keystrokes at a federal government computer. Then, poof, there’s money in their accounts to spend. Nothing was printed. The authorized funds were just added “out of thin air” to these accounts. For some accounts, like the DoD, there will be increases from 2017. For social programs, there will be decreases from 2017.

Guess what. If our federal government officials were of a different political persuasion, they would use the same technique to increase funding for healthcare for all and transitioning to a green economy while creating new jobs for sustaining instead of destroying life.

It’s up to We The People to make this happen – participate in the political process! Help register voters. Help encourage registered voters to vote.

“Modern monetary theory has been used to pay for our bloated military but can be used by the
federal government to create new green jobs, build a green economy, and fund social programs in a surprisingly affordable and complete way.” Learn more.

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What I Would Teach a Child in My Care

  • That self-made individuals are a myth.
  • That empathy is natural and requires nurturing.
  • That we are all responsible for ourselves and each other.
  • That equality is an honorable goal.
  • That we must protect and preserve our common wealth for our benefit and the benefit of all who come after us.
  • That learning is an act of love for all things unknown.
  • That government, of, by, and for we the governed, must equally protect and empower all breathing citizens.
  • That maintaining the people’s government requires citizen participation to avoid control by a minority.
  • That citizenship dues in proportion to one’s use of the common wealth, and growth in population, is absolutely necessary for maintaining a people’s government and the infrastructure of our economy.
  • That the workplace requires democratization to minimize concentration of power that will tend to destroy democracy.
  • That thinking is emotional, mostly unconscious, individually unique, evolved from our predecessors, depends on our bodily experiences, and largely metaphorical.
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Killing The RT Messenger to Void An Alternate Message

“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression. For if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
— Revolutionary activist Thomas Paine

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not fearful men, not descended from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.”
— US broadcast journalist, Edward Murrow

“McCarthy and his team were able to sow fear, paranoia, and a rigid adherence not to democracy or free speech but to intolerance of dissent and the questioning of the received truths that sustained America’s engagement with the rest of the world.”
— Journalist John Wight

Assassinating the messengers to void their message is a very common tactic. Women claiming assault or abuse are blamed for being victims. Members of the communist party were victimized to satisfying the fears of the right. Journalists are imprisoned and KILLED to keep their words from revealing the terror they witness. Now RT is slandered and requested to register as a foreign agent without regard to freedom of the press. When blaming/killing the messenger includes limiting constitutional freedoms, we are likely to lose those freedoms too.

Other than changing “liberal media” to “profit-centric corporate media,” I concur with this article: “As for those on the so-called left who have remained silent, or worse are gloating over the moves to shut down Russian media, they are like people feeding a crocodile hoping it will eat them last.”

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Growing Our Democracy, Economically, Is Key to It’s Survival!

This growth must go beyond reversing voter suppression, improving public education, and expanding civic participation. Maximizing the rule of democracy for our government of, by and for the PEOPLE must also include democratizing our economy. Record economic inequality must be reversed and it will take more tan tweaking the current economic system.

Expanding the democratic concept will require minimizing our century’s long acceptance of authoritarian economic domination. One place where this authoritarian domination has increasingly worked against we the PEOPLE is the workplace.

Can you imagine a workplace without managers, without a small group of extremely wealthy individuals making all the key decisions on products, employees, benefits, suppliers, and the best use of profits? This non-authoritarian workplace is foreign to most, but it exists, it is growing, and it’s been in place since WWII in some parts of the free world.

Read more about the THE FULL PARTICIPATION ECONOMY in this five part series from Democracy at Work:


Social Exclusion [Part II]

Viable Models — Looking Abroad and in the US [Part III]

The Worker Cooperative as a Bulwark against Social Exclusion [Part IV]

New York City — Where to go next? [Part V]

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Too Much Ado About So Little – Russian Hacks

How effective was Russian propoganda on social media? Who many votes were switched? What other voter numbers are more significant?

But just how many Facebook users who saw this propoganda, actually bothered to vote? A 2010 study of Facebook users showed a small increase of 340,000 votes, nationwide, based on a direct get out the vote plea.

Then there were tens of millions who just didn’t vote, and Texas was worse than the nation, see table below.

Texas is a non-voting state

Also, there was the GOP Operation Cross Check that eliminated upto 7 million minority votes from the 2016 election results.

And what about the large increase for third party candidates. In Galveston county Texas third party vote went from a historical average of 1.4% to 4.5%. Nationally the vote change for third party went from 1.7 in 2012 to 4.1 in 2016. And according to WikiPedia election results, the change in third party votes from 2012 to 2016 was 4,962,440 additional votes.

Many factors affected the 2016 election. This also includes media favoritism. Remember the CEO of CBS saying that DJT may be bad for the country but he’s great for the bottom line – profit. Tens of millions were spent on TV campaign ads telling voters what they already knew about DJT instead of investing in ground troops to make calls or go door-to-door to encourage voting. According to Steve Phillips in his book Brown Is the New White, some $20 million spent on TV ads for a 2014 losing Democratic Senatorial candidate could have resulted in 56,000 more votes for the loser if that money had instead been spent on the GOTV ground game.

Metrics on voting results show that voter turnout is increased by 5% with that kind of ground game. Add to that all the new voter suppression laws past by Republican controlled states with the help of ALEC and since SCOTUS ransacked the Civil Rights Act.

Elections are complex, multi-variant processes and blaming the results on one thing is grossly problematic and suspiciously distracting.

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Democracy In Chains – Adding Corporate Veto Power to America’s Checks and Balances

From the last chapter of Democracy In Chains, by Nancy MacLean, here is how the Koch Brothers and their elite Libertarian cadre are increasing their, white, billionaire, veto power over govt and majority rule:

1. By mandatory and ubiquitous Arbitration Clauses that allow corps to opt out of America’s justice system. Corporations can abuse Americans without reproach regardless of the harm they inflict.

2. By promoting Federal Judicial Activism which ranks Koch’s Economic Liberty over greater equity for the American majority. ” … one must be cognizant of the fact that no matter what those who have good intentions say, any decision that consolidates power in the national government is an attack on the foundation of self-government and liberty.”

3. By reinstating Jim Crow & expanding disenfranchisement: Massive minority Voter Suppression via Interstate Cross Check. After the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United and prior to the 2012 election, GOP Voter Suppression was expanded by 180 bills in 41 states. Massive Election Fraud = Elite minority rule

4. By states passing Preemption Laws to keep municipalities from protecting & empowering citizens: Fight For 15, Marriage Equality, Fracking. All with the help of SPN, ALEC, millions in KochKash, corporate lobbyists, and significant lower eligible voter participation. United States ranks 138th out of the world’s 172 democracies for voter turnout.

5. By “most audacious gerrymander in U.S. history …” to allow legislators to select their voters. After the unfathomable (for the extreme right) election of Obama, this elite right wanted to chose their electorate. The GOP (Koch) evil plan for massive voter control is documented in Redistricting Majority Project. Even though more Democratic votes are cast, more Republicans get elected/re-elected. More Voter Suppression.

To value liberty for the wealthy minority above all else and enshrine it in the nation’s governing rules, as Calhoun and Buchanan both called for and the Koch network is achieving, play by play, is to consent to an oligarchy in all but the outer husk of representative form. – Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains, page 233.

Libertarians are stealthily taking over America.

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Leasons Learned Early by Key Libertarian Messenger Contribute to America’s Dystopia

I’ve been reading Democracy In Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean. Yesterday, I read about some of the lessons learned by James Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan is the main subject of the book and the key producer of 20th Century Libertarian (Koch/Mercer/Friedman/Rand) ideas behind the stealth takeover of America to maximize their elitist, individual, liberty and minimize the freedoms of everyone else.

In the late 50’s, Buchanan and his team from the University of Virginia, were developing and sharing a plan to help the state of Senator Harry Byrd mount a major resistance to the Brown v Board of Education decision by SCOTUS. These good old white boys would rather close all Virginia public schools that attempted integration, and provide vouchers for private schools, than integrate. However, their ideas were no match for state Legislators who were more worried about getting reelected, many more citizens that supported the decision, and the court rulings that found their attempts to resist unconstitutional.

What Buchanan took from these losses, and started working on solutions for, was:

– Ameliorating the re-election fears of state legislators for both resisting federal intervention in state business and, at the same time, ignoring the wishes of their constituents. (Think Gerrymandering.)
– Making sure that our Constitution could no longer be used to block their “state’s rights” efforts to maximize their individual liberties and to force others to adhere to their minority view. (Think Constitutional Convention.)

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The Libertarian Stealth War On America’s Democracy

After decades of refining his extreme, right-wing, ideas on control by the wealthy, James McGill Buchanan, professor at the University of Virginia and head of his very own Thomas Jefferson Center for Political Economy and Social Philosophy department, joined forces with the Koch Brothers, other Libertarians, and vast amounts of KochKash (funds from excessively wealthy, right-wing extremists from around the world) to stealthily and nonviolently:

  • Minimize the freedoms of America’s majority through collective endeavors or federal government intervention, and
  • Maximize the “economic liberties” of their Libertarian minority through suppression.

We all know from reading about The Powell Memo, the Kochs were, and still are, key to funding ALEC, The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and other extreme right-wing organizations since the early 70s. What this books adds is how they developed all their extreme ideas in the late 50s before promulgation by all these right-wing propaganda outlets.

Libertarians are stealthily taking over America.

Part of this coup has been the takeover of the Republican party through the primary process. Two members of their minority cadre are Mike Pence and Ted Cruz. So, these Libertarian billionaires now own the GOP, and coincidentally are corporate leaders. Their corporations are just a tool for funding their stealth, non-violent, Libertarian coup.

Watch as Amy Goodman interviews Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy In Chains. This new book details this coup of America by a minority of Libertarians who know their ways will never be accepted by a majority of Americans, and is based on a recently discovered, long forgotten, and extensive archive at the University of Virginia and other historical records as annotated in its 60 pages of notes and 19 page bibliography.

Read a review of MacLean’s book at

At the birth of our nation, we rebelled against an external, wealthy, oligarchy that blatantly and violently minimized our freedoms. Now a new, well-organized, internal oligarchy, led by a minority of extremist Libertarians with fine tuned ideas and hordes of KochKash, are stealthily minimizing our freedoms and neutering our federal government.

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Voter Suppression: Legalized, Rationalized, and Self-inflicted

Voter Suppression: Legalized, Rationalized, and Self-inflicted

Right-wing extremists have been promoting voter suppression since the founding of America.

Since Brown vs Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act, it was started anew with the Nixon’s war on drugs and using three strikes to get more convictions on felony charges. Now, after SCOTUS killed part of the Civil Rights Act, we’ve seen Voter IDs laws, shorter early voting periods, the end of same day registration, closed polling locations in minority neighborhoods, malfunctioning voter equipment sent to poor neighborhoods, lost voter registration forms, shutdown of minority voter registration efforts, and most recently voter roll purges of millions of minority voters in 30 states with the Interstate Cross Check actions.

And behind all this is Kochcash (any funds from right-wing billionaires) to pay for getting state laws written via ALEC, funding of the Tea Party to inspire right-wing extremist voters, and compilation of minority voter lists for purging those with similar names.

This and MORE has helped to bring Democratic legislative losses to almost 1,000 since 2008, with the largest jump in 2010.

The ‘MORE’ includes a profit-centric media that puts profit before public service. As the CEO of CBS said, DJT may be bad for the country, but he’s great for the company’s bottom line. This is a media that ignores those who discuss issues, gives free air time to those who lie fabulously, and helps suppress the vote further as voters tire of political waring.

The ‘MORE’ includes decades of right-wing messaging that promotes tax cuts for the wealthy to cripple government functions and then blaming government for failures. Messaging that promotes privatization of the government they have broken. Messaging that promotes me over we. Messaging that justifies inequality by promoting greed, individualism, self-discipline, self-made, and direct causation. Messaging that promotes war (punishment) on women, on poor, on LGBTQ, on people of color, on nations with dirty energy sources, on non-Christians, and on all those not like the right-wing ideal of white, successful, authoritarian men. All of this messaging makes voter suppression acceptable. ‘Those people’ don’t deserve to vote. They are morally inferior.

The ‘MORE’ includes excessive reductions in citizenship dues for those who meet this white, successful, authoritarian male ideal which means less funding for government to protect and empower its human capital. Their tax rates are reduced, especially for investment income. They also receive corporate welfare and can externalize corporate costs which maximizes both their profit and the harm done to the world’s citizens. The result of this wealth transfer it that most citizens spend all their time working. They don’t have time to vote and may lose their job if they take the time.

The ‘MORE’ also includes Democrats using Republican-lite messaging, Right-wing voters have replaced most moderate Republicans with the more extreme brand of Republican or Libertarian by using effective messaging to support their extreme agenda. These voters have a mindset that affirmatively responds to this language. Democrats using Republican-lite, right-wing messaging, will only reinforce the mental frames that inspire right-wing voters to vote for the right-wing candidates. If the right-wing extremists won’t accept their moderate brothers and sisters, what makes Democrats think these voters will vote for a Republican-lite Democrat?

The ‘MORE’ includes suppressing Dem-leaning voters by ignoring the issues by which these voters are harmed. Issues are set aside in favor of speaking Republican-lite, sounding like your opponent, or asserting that you’re not your opponent, As analysis of the 2016 election,, shows there are far more Dem-leaning voters who either didn’t vote or voted third-party, than there are voters who switched from Obama to DJT.

Bottom line is: The right has fine tuned massive voter suppression and the left needs to stop helping them suppress the vote by imitating them.

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Bashing Loses – Speaking Values Wins

Complaining about the idiocy of the opposition is such a distraction – a waste of time – and provides little incentive for Democratic voter turnout.

Democrats need to talk about how they will address the massive economic, social, racial, and environmental injustices perpetrated by the radical right-wing demagogues for the last four decades. Democrats need to speak to how they will equally empower and protect all citizens from the abuses of the extremely wealthy and the greedy multi-national corporations. Democrats need to speak to how they will equally maximize the freedoms of all citizens and stop others from maximizing freedoms for only the wealthy and the greedy multi-national corporations. Democrats need to speak to how they will reverse the destruction of our public infrastructure, which has occurred through both massive tax breaks for hedge fund managers, investors, and corporations, and through privatization. Democrats need to speak on how the profit motive supersedes the public interest, fabricates fake news, and destroys public infrastructure, which destroys the foundation for all that is private.

In other words, Democrats must maximize individual freedoms, rebuild our infrastructure, re-establish an independent free press, and take back our government from the oligarchs like Robert and Rebekah Mercer?

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Protection, Empowerment, Freedom from Injustice, and Participation – Rebuilding the Middle Class

As an American Baby Boomer, I’ve lived under two different systems of government:

Post depression/post WWII and pre 1980s government:

Government of, by, and for the People requires:

  • Government with the moral purpose to equally protect and empower ALL the People such that 1) People’s individual freedoms are maximized and 2) Economic, social, racial, and environmental injustices are minimized, and
  • Active participation (voting and paying citizenship dues) of a majority of the people to maintain such a government.

Post 1980’s government:

Government of, by, and only for the successful requires:

  • Government with the focused purpose to protect and enrich only the successful such that their individual freedom and wealth are maximized without concern for any resulting injustices, and
  • Active participation (voting, lobbying and campaign payments) of just the successful, and their admirers, to maintain such a government.

Fortunately, I benefited greatly from both the former system of government and many other factors. Unfortunately, even though my daughter, and others her age and younger, shared similar factors, they will continue struggling with the latter system of government.

The latter system, which is killing our middle class, will continue until we re-learn that government of, by, and for ALL the People is key part of the solution.

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A Historical Perspective on Why Free Trade (NAFTA, TPP) Has Screwed the American Middle Class for 30 years

The following are from an article by Thom Hartman, where you can read more:

When Washington became president in 1789, most of America’s personal and industrial products of any significance were manufactured in England or in its colonies. Washington asked his first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, what could be done about that, and Hamilton came up with an 11-point plan to build American manufacturing, which he presented to Congress in 1791.

By 1793, most of its points had either been made into law by Congress or formulated into policy by either Washington or the various states.

Those strategic proposals built the greatest industrial powerhouse the world had ever seen, and were only abandoned, after more than 200 successful years, during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton (and remain abandoned to this day, as President Obama prepares to further expand “free trade”).

China, instead of following our recent path, implemented most of Hamilton’s plan, and it brought about a remarkable transformation of that nation in just a single generation.

China has been following the lead of Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea during the past half century, and has become an industrial powerhouse as a result. And, ironically, each of those countries got their strategy from us:

South Korea did all this in a single generation by closing its economy and promoting its export industries. A decade earlier Japan had done the same thing. Forty years earlier Germany had done it.

Consider the historical impact of Hamilton’s plan, which was adopted in a series of piecemeal legislative and executive action steps mostly by 1793: Tariffs became so important that they constituted pretty much the only source of revenue for the federal government until the Civil War, were the single largest source of federal revenue from then until World War I. And even when government had grown exponentially as we led up to World War II, fully a third of all federal revenues came from tariffs.     [Note: Free trade, by eliminating tariffs, is like excessive tax breaks for the wealthy, they rob the government of revenue to enforce the moral purpose of government to equally protect and empower all the people such that 1) Their individual freedoms are maximized and 2) Economic, social, racial, and environmental injustices are minimized.]

After 34 years of Reaganomics, we’ve completely flipped this upside down. We’ve become the world’s largest exporter of raw materials, the world’s largest importer of finished goods, and the world’s largest debtor. We now export raw materials to China, and buy from them manufactured goods. And we borrow from them to do it. Our trade debt right now stands at over $11 trillion, and it’s the principle reason why one-seventh of all assets in the United States are foreign-owned.

See the full article for Thom’s recommendations.

Today Thom Hartmann reviewed this history on FreeSpeech TV.

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A New Costly Cold War?

Are profit-centric media and supporting profit-centric defense contractors promoting a new cold war, via Russian Hack hysteria, and boosting support for more defense spending? Are regime change neocons fanning the flames for a new cold war to remove Putin from power? Will a new cold war require an even larger, all ready unprecedented, war budget? Will the Republican controlled Congress require cuts in remaining FDR/LBJ social programs to offset new, questionable, war spending? Will dear-in-headlights Democrats support war and social program cuts or will they consider other options and views?

The CIA has provided misinformation for past regime change efforts as in Iraq and in other nations. Are they now promoting regime change in America?

As Robert Parry of Consortium News puts it:

“So, as the Democrats chart their future, they need to decide if they want to leapfrog the Republicans as America’s “war party” or whether they want to pull back from the escalation of tensions with Russia and start addressing the pressing needs of the American people.”

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Two Definitions of Government – Progressive vs Corporate

This was a response to part of business editorial on DJT’s “Wheeling and Dealing” over the Carrier jobs.

I agree that DJT’s approach to governing is frightening.

What I take issue with is this statement from the editorial:

“The government’s job is to provide an educated workforce, quality infrastructure and a regulatory environment that fosters fair competition in a free market.”

What that statement says to me is that government is all about protecting and empowering businesses and that the people will some how benefit from “trickle down” in the form of jobs. Jobs with low pay, limited hours, and no benefits.

I prefer a definition of government that is about We the People and one that charters businesses to support the people:

Government of, by, and for the People requires both:
– A government with the moral purpose to equally protect and empower all the People such that
– The People’s individual freedoms are maximized and
– Economic, social, racial, and environmental injustices are minimized, and
– The active participation of a majority of these People to maintain such a government.

To contrast these two views of government, I’ll reference phrases from the above editorial statement:

– “educated workforce” Yes, the People must be educated, but the primary purpose of that education is to create competent citizens first, then enable them to succeed through employment of their choice. Education as a workforce is secondary to being a responsible citizen and maintaining government of, by, and for the People. Citizens must be knowledgeable of the different systems which affect their lives and must be able to elect government officials who can maximize those systems to support the People.

– “regulatory environment that fosters fair competition in a free market” Yes, we want fair competition, but today’s free market fundamentalists don’t want any regulation that limits their freedom to maximize profit. Regulations, however, are about protecting the People from abuse by those with power who can’t self-regulate their freedoms.

– “quality infrastructure” Again the primary purpose of infrastructure is to protect and empower the People. The fact that this also benefits private enterprise is necessary for the economy but also secondary to the purpose of the People’s government.

The People are not here to serve enterprise. Enterprise and government are here to serve We the People and we need to re-establish government that protects and empowers the People and regulates enterprise to eliminate abuse of the People.

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What will DJT do to Make American Great Again (MAGA)?

Remember the Tea Party motto Take Our Country BACK? Back to where, I once asked a local Tea Party leader?

As a boomer, I enjoyed a well-regulated economy that wasn’t influenced by the many conservative think tanks of today and free market fundamentalism that grew out of the 1971 Powell Memo. What I, especially as a white male, also enjoyed was a world economy dominated by the United States. I had a lifetime of wage growth that out paced inflation. I had great benefits. My veteran status helped me secure my BS degree. My single, divorced, mother helped purchase our first home and purchase my teenage cars.

That kind of life is gone for my daughter and the millennials. But it’s what those, who voted for Obama in 2008 and DJT in 2016, are familiar with and would like to go BACK to. Also, DJT is a boomer, except he was born into extreme wealth and remembers this time too.

What enabled those pre 1980 decades of American dominance in the world economy? It was WWII. Asia and Europe had to rebuild while the United states was the country getting paid to help them rebuild.

So, might DJT’s answer to the MAGA question be another world war! He’s hiring several generals. He’s identified the enemy. Now all he needs is a military and as soon as he takes the oath as president, he has control of the largest and best equipped military the world has ever seen.

On the other hand, he wants to kill the pork program called the F-35.

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Why Privatize Social Security? More Wealth Transfer for the 1%

Transferring wealth from the 99% to the 1%

Right-wing authoritarian Republican politicians, like Paul Ryan, believe that the individual is solely responsible for their success or failure. Their moral righteousness is based on one’s self-discipline and ability to plan for every contingency. That leaves the 99% to fend for themselves regardless of circumstances beyond individual control, like anyone who abuses their individually, self-regulated, power over others. This leads to a government that ignores all citizens except the financially successful.

They also believe that unfettered capitalism is the best tool for their “self-made man” to achieve success.

All this leads to the privatization of all government programs like free public education, non-profit public utilities, socially/citizen financed Social Security, and socially/citizen financed Medicare, all of which protect and empower the 99%. Privatization shifts government priorities to protecting and empowering the 1% and that’s morally wrong as are the greedy right-wing beliefs.

To highlight the two different views on government, here are two definitions. There are two parts to each: Government Purpose and Citizen Participation. These definitions are independent of the economic system used, but address the control/freedom of that economic system.

Progressive government:
A Government of, by, and for the people requires:
– A government with the moral purpose to equally protect and empower all the people such that their individual freedoms are maximized and such that economic, social, racial, and environmental injustices are minimized, and
– The active participation of a majority of the people to maintain such a government.

Conservative government:
A Government of, by, and for the successful requires:
– A government with the purpose to protect and empower only the successful such that their individual freedom and wealth are maximized, and
– The active participation of only the successful to maintain such a government.

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Ready For Rule by a Dictator? – When Will The People Respond?

Since 2005, I’ve written 425 blog posts, , and most of them have been about America’s growing authoritarian state. I’ve had a lot of help along the way from many others more knowledgeable than me.

It started with a paper given to me by a friend written by Lawrence Britt, on the 14 traits of a proto-fascist government. After reading John Dean’s 2006 book, Conservatives Without Conscience, I posted this article on Fascism in America and three related posts. This last post is my most viewed post and has been seen almost 3,800 times since it was published in 2006.

Now America’s authoritarian state is about to take a quantum leap and become a bigger threat to all of us who don’t follow the new leader. There will be a select few who will follow.

Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. … And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.

— John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience

Authoritarians were taught all their lives, under threat of abusive punishment, to respect and follow their chosen leader without question. They have selected DJT. DJT is already a corporate dictator and he will take that punishing leadership style to The People’s House. On top of that, the Republican right-wing authoritarians will unquestioningly follow DJT’s orders, as will a few authoritarian Democrats. Luckily, there is a small number of progressive Democratic Senators who have already drawn a line in the sand and will resist, but they need a lot of people support and acknowledgement by the media.

I hope this election is as low as America will go, but I’m not yet seeing a public that is paying attention or responding en masse. I’m also not seeing a profit-centric media that will forego profit for the sake of exposing this threat to our democracy and act as a catalyst for the People. (There is, however, one media exception, Free Speech TV.)

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Understanding Your Right-Wing Authoritarian Neighbors And Why You Can’t Re-wire Their Minds

Based on the work of others, primarily Professor George Lakoff, an expert in cognitive linguistics – how the brain uses and responds to language, here is what I’ve come to understand about those who support people like racist, misogynist, DJT and other right-wing authoritarians who prefer using dog whistle language.

First here is a quote from John Dean (Nixon White House counsel) from his 2006 book Conservatives Without Conscience:

“Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. … And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.” (Keep in mind that DJT secured about 26.7% of the eligible voters and they vote!!!)

The following is what I have taken from Lakoff’s work. This right-wing group adhere’s to a set of beliefs, or moral values, and related understandings which drive their policies and the people they support. These beliefs are foreign to your’s, mine and all progressives, but explains a lot about them and how their brains are wired differently.

First of all, they have a strong belief in a moral hierarchy for humans and all things non-human. At the top of this hierarchy is a Christian God. Next is Christian/successful white men. At the bottom are poor, single, black women with kids who all follow Islam. If you are successful (self-made), as DJT appears, and white, you must be Christian because only white Christians have the self-discipline to succeed. This belief in hierarchy then leads to an understanding that inequality must be normal and immutable. This then justifies harming of those inferior and pillaging the Earth’s natural resources with no fear of consequences or concern for systemic impacts.

These fellow Americans also believe individuals have singular control over their success – there are no external factors you can’t work around if you just work hard enough. If you have self-discipline, you will become a self-made success. So, successful corporations and billionaires deserve government welfare as reward for their singularly self-made success. Conversely, if you are not successful, it’s singularly your fault. You lack self-discipline and deserve what you have. You also deserve nothing from fellow, successful, Americans, especially via government controlled wealth transfer. Also, this self-discipline/self-made success begets a self-righteousness and moral superiority for those at the upper levels of the hierarchy.

Their self-made man belief is also based on a fundamental, easily observed and demonstrated, process called direct causation. (If you do ‘A’, ‘B’ will happen immediately and without question.) We have all learned it as part of growing up. The problem is that most right-wing authoritarians have only limited understanding of systemic causation (‘A’ will occur provided ‘B’ occurs, provided that ‘C’ happens, and ‘C’ happens provided ‘D’ happens, etc.), which plays a major role in one’s success or failure. This is why this group can’t accept concepts like global warming – there is no direct relation between extracting fossil fuels from Texas shale and extreme warming of the atmosphere over the North Pole.

Direct causation also contributes to a black and white view of the issues and those who support an issue. There is no grey. There are no extenuating circumstances. Issues/policies are morally right or wrong – no compromise. You are with them or against them. You are for the war on non-white terrorists or you are a traitor. Your success or failure comes singularly from your self-discipline and has nothing to do with when or where you were born, what family you were born into, who their friends are, the teachers or preachers who came and went, the laws in effect and whether they equally protected and empowered all or only those who were successful, etc.

Their favorite tool for reinforcing direct causation is abusive punishment, starting as early as 18 month’s of age. Refuse to learn their right-wing moral values and the punishment will escalate until you comply – thus a belief in war at any cost and torture. They believe that all children are born evil justifies this tool. Only severe punishment teaches what is morally right: hierarchy, inequality, torture, and self-made success.

Another side effect of abusive punishment is the severe reduction of one’s ability to empathize. Research shows that empathy, through mirror neurons, exists in every healthy brain at birth. However, abusive punishment suppresses empathy wiring to allow acceptance of social hierarchy and inequality. Abusive punishment combined with a social hierarchy liberates these folks from concern for other less equal/successful Americans.

Systemic causation, compassion, shades of grey, equality, all threaten the right-wing authoritarian worldview and their self-identity. Our beliefs are key to our self-identity and any facts to the contrary are a threat and result in a loud and violent defensive response for this right-wing group. They will apply abusive punishment, including civil and international war, to preserve their self-identity and it’s foundation – their beliefs.

These right-wing beliefs also lead to acceptance of government welfare for large corporations, to-big-to-fail banks, and billionaire hedge fund managers, and, conversely, to purposely leaving those without self-discipline to the vagaries of unrecognized systemic causation.

As John Dean said, these neighbors are “so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds.” They are who they are because of what they believe. In their mind they are morally right and they don’t have the neural wiring to understand otherwise.

You cannot change their beliefs without rewiring decades of neural hard wiring and isolating them from endless hours of right-wing media that reinforces their beliefs.

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Greedy Free Market Fundamentalism is Killing Our Middle Class

What is killing our middle class is the replacement of a more SHARING economic system, which considers all STAKEholders in the economic system, with a free market fundamentalism, or neoliberal economic policies based on maximizing GREED for the few!

Greedy neoliberal economic policies that:

  • Above all replaces rewarding the hard work of productive workers with rewarding only those at the top of the corporate pyramid
  • Lets our public infrastructure and public services decay while providing excessive cuts in citizenship dues (taxes) for the extremely wealthy,
  • Privatizes our public services, like public education and prisons, which transfers accountability from our elected representatives to major corporate share holders who prioritize profit above service and are only accountable to major stockholders,
  • Grants human rights to non-human entities called corporations which are no longer required to support the public good,
  • Provides greater freedom of speech to those with greater wealth,
  • Gives huge sums of money to corporations to-big-to-fail, in the form of bailouts and corporate welfare, while forcing austerity and excessive debt on citizens,
  • Replaces tariffs, that protected jobs, with free trade agreements that move jobs overseas and labor costs to the lowest common denominator in a world market,
  • – Replaces professionally managed and corporate funded pension plans with personally managed and self-funded 401Ks,
  • Replaces company paid benefits, like sick-leave and vacation, with fewer benefits,
  • Lets corporations consolidate into larger and larger financial entities while ignoring our anti-trust laws,
  • Provides greater protection to corporations while at the same time eliminating citizen’s abilities to individually, or as a group, to take legal action against corporate abuse,
  • implemented the pro-corporate Powell Memo of 1971 by the world’s richest families like the Kochs,
  • Believes in self-made individuals and can’t fathom the external effects of systemic causation on their success
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Who’s The Real Enemy of Our Democracy? Widdle Donnie Thwimpie or ???

The distraction of Widdle Donnie Thwimpie is all over the news as the worst ever candidate for an American president, while mainstream media ignores the real enemy of our democracy:

This should be no surprise. The corporate take over of our government was detailed in the 1971 Powell Memo and has been funded by families like the Kochs ever since. It’s been a slow process and was foisted onto the public by the corporate purchase of our free press.

In addition to top-level Executive branch staff appointees referenced in this article, there are hundreds of permanent civil service employees who were hired by corporate stooges/staffers in past administrations.

In terms of foreign policy, pro-war, regime-change, neocon stooges have been hired into our government by those key staffers to get us into war in Iraq and soon with other countries. There are also plenty of neocons in our military leadership to support our pro-war civilian leadership.

In terms of economic policy, free market fundamentalists, or neoliberals, have also been embedded to promote austerity, defunding of public education, profit over people, and privatization of all government functions except execution of war.

(Social Security is very likely the next privatization victim. Just as corporate-funded, guaranteed-income, pension plans were replaced by employee-funded, mostly shrinking, market-dependent 401Ks, so too will the wealth of government managed SS be replaced by self-guided 401Ks and transferred to the ONE%.)

Beware of the distraction promoted by profit-centric media. They must keep their profit masters content or learn to live like the rest of the 99%. Question what’s behind this distraction and realize what is at stake: our democracy.

Then understand, you have only one option left: Vote.

Profit masters control our view of the world

If the 99% votes ...

Vote to refute the ONE%

CEOs distract employees from wage theft

We are governed by Reps owned by mega corps

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Updates on America’s GOP Authoritarianism – Trump Leading The Way, GOP Split, GOP Dictator

Here are links to three articles on American Authoritarianism and selected quotes from each:

The Rise of American Authoritarianism

Trump embodies the classic authoritarian.

Donald Trump could be just the first of many Trumps in American politics

The political phenomenon we identify as right-wing populism seems to line up, with almost astonishing precision, with the research on how authoritarianism is both caused and expressed

Authoritarians are a real constituency that exists independently of Trump — and will persist as a force in American politics

If this rise in American authoritarianism is so powerful as to drive Trump’s ascent, then how else might it be shaping American politics?

The social threat theory helps explain why authoritarians seem so prone to reject not just one specific kind of outsider or social change, such as Muslims or same-sex couples or Hispanic migrants, but rather to reject all of them

Non-authoritarians who were sufficiently frightened of threats like terrorism could essentially be scared into acting like authoritarians

Authoritarians generally and Trump voters specifically, we found, were highly likely to support five policies:

  • Using military force over diplomacy against countries that threaten the United States
  • Changing the Constitution to bar citizenship for children of illegal immigrants
  • Imposing extra airport checks on passengers who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent in order to curb terrorism
  • Requiring all citizens to carry a national ID card at all times to show to a police officer on request, to curb terrorism
  • Allowing the federal government to scan all phone calls for calls to any number linked to terrorism

If Trump loses the election, that won’t remove the threats and social changes that trigger the “action side” of authoritarianism

We may now have a de facto three-party system: the Democrats, the GOP establishment, and the GOP authoritarians

After Trump: How Authoritarian Voters Will Change American Politics

This is a big group of people now, and it’s not going away

The GOP had already become the party of American authoritarianism

There are now two Republican parties, and neither can win the White House

Congress in the authoritarian era: more divided, more extreme, more unruly

The problems in the Republican party aren’t just problems in the Republican party. They’re problems for all Americans.

Democratic agendas, which often involve expanding programs or imposing new regulations, Skocpol pointed out, are more likely to require new laws. Republicans, on the other hand, can count inaction as a win when they manage to block that kind of expansion. Worsening polarization will exacerbate this.

Perhaps GOP voters in those states will divide, or perhaps authoritarian-minded voters will nominate Trump-style candidates who alienate the rest of the state, thus allowing Democrats a shot at winning otherwise unwinnable races.

That level of partisan bias gives the GOP a great deal of protection against its voters defecting to the Democrats. In other words, there is something that still unites Republican voters in both the authoritarian and non-authoritarian camps: They really, really don’t like Democrats.

What matters is not just that authoritarians’ influence within the party is rising, but when it is happening: at a moment when the party is institutionally far weaker than it has been in the past. Its leadership is less in control of rank-and-file, less able to steer voters, and often contradicted or undermined by party elites, such as donors, who have a growing ability to push their own agendas.

The Republican establishment, less able to control a party that is increasingly driven by donors acting on their own agendas, has grown weak and fractured. The scale of the authoritarian movement would have shaken any party, but today’s GOP is especially unable to resist or control it.

Donald Trump’s tactics are disturbingly similar to those of actual dictators

But now that the Donald has made a career shift, abandoning the boardroom in favor of the campaign trail, he could use some role models of his own. In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that he’s already found them: Whether Trump is aware of it or not, he appears to be increasingly following the unwritten playbook of tricks used by dictators and autocratic leaders the world over.

Rule 1: Wink at violent supporters to intimidate the opposition

Rule 2: Tell your supporters that your political opponents are enemies of the state

Rule 3: Intimidate or co-opt journalists to ensure positive coverage

Rule 4: Use strict libel and sedition laws as weapons

Rule 5: Hint that if the election doesn’t go your way, your supporters will respond violently

Step one is to claim that the election was wrongfully stolen from you. Step two is to unleash your supporters, who now believe their chosen candidate was denied rightful office, on the streets to cause riots or violent chaos. Step three, the end goal, is to graciously accept the presidency, or perhaps a significant role in a “government of national unity” in exchange for telling your supporters to stand down.

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Our Choices In November: (Neoliberal Austerity or Neofascist Racism) and Bad to Worse Levels of International War(s)

Here are two interviews comparing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. One with Dr. Henry Giroux and the other with Dr. Cornel West:

This Is Hell! | On violence, neoliberalism and the hallucinatory anti-politics of the Trump era

If we can’t change consciousness, if we can’t get people to identify with the issues in a way that make them appear very real to their lives, then all of a sudden anger gets distorted and rerouted into something worse – it becomes racism, it becomes a movement mobilized by the need for saviors, it becomes a movement that embodies the worst possible political alternative.

Cornel West: Why I Endorse Green Party’s Jill Stein Over “Neoliberal Disaster” Hillary Clinton

Hillary is a neoliberal disaster:

A neoliberal disaster is one who generates a mass incarceration regime, who deregulates banks and markets, who promotes chaos of regime change in Libya, supports military coups in Honduras, undermines some of the magnificent efforts in Haiti of working people, and so forth. That’s the record of Hillary Clinton. So there was no way—when my dear brother, who I love very deeply, Bernie Sanders said she will make an outstanding president, I said, “Oh, I disagree with my brother. I think she’ll—I don’t think she’ll make an outstanding president at all.” She’s a militarist. She’s a hawk. She could take us into war with Russia. She could take us into war with Iran. So, I mean, I think she’s—she’s dangerous in terms of her neoliberal ideology—not as a woman, because I’m supporting, of course, my dear sister Jill Stein.

Trump is a neofascist disaster:

Now, Trump is a neofascist in the making. There’s no doubt about that.

Because neofascism in the United States takes the form of big money, big banks, big corporations, tied to xenophobic scapegoating of the vulnerable, like Mexicans and Muslims and women and black folk, and militaristic policies abroad, with strongman, charismatic, autocratic personality, and that’s what Donald Trump is.

With Trump we get our version of corporate sponsored Fascism and internal war plus world war. With Hillary we get corporate driven neoliberal austerity with rioting mobs of the abused at home and world war.

So, austerity is better than concentration camps, right?

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It’s All About Voters Who Are Angry at the Establishment.

The BREXIT surprise resulted from a broken political system burdened by an austerity driven, neoliberal, economic system under the EU that drove angry voters to the polls.

Is this a precursor for a surprise in the US presidential election? Aren’t American voters likewise burdened with a broken, dysfunctional, political system that can’t fix the injustices caused by extreme economic, social, racial, and environmental inequality? Aren’t they being subjected to the same austerity driven, neoliberal, economic solutions pushed by the same corporate leaders who drive the EU economic system and the trade agreements like TPP and TTIP? Won’t we have angry voters on the right who select a property magnate for their presidential candidate and angry voters on the left who refuse to vote for an establishment candidate?

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More Than Ever, Dems Need Progressive Independents to Win – Two Perspectives

Based on two different graphics about voter preferences, one for party and one for progressive vs conservative, Dems will win only if they inspire the progressive base and progressive independents to vote.

Only 29% of the voters will unquestioningly support Democrats.

According to results of the above Gallup poll, if only the Democratic base voted, Dem candidates would get no more than 29% of the nation’s votes. If only the Republican base voted, then Rep candidates would get no more than 26% of the nation’s votes.

In other words, both parties need the independent voters, who represent 45% of the nation’s voters, to win any elections and/or for their opponents supporters to stay home on election day. Some of those independents are truly independent and vote for a third-party, but most will lean either Repub or Dem/conservative or progressive.

Assuming negligible votes for third parties, then Dems need at least 22% of these independents to win. That gives Dems 51% and Reps 49%. That leaves 23% of the independents for the Repugs/conservatives and they need 25% of independents to win.

The New American Majority is progressive

Now take a look at the New American Majority pie chart above to see what that winning 51% for Dems is composed of – progressive whites and progressive people of color. This chart is from Steve Phillips’ book titled Brown Is The New White, in which he and his team analyzed the Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) data from the Census bureau and a detailed CNN exit poll data from the 2012 national election which included voting numbers by race and many other demographic factors. (Appendix A of the book goes into detail on how this chart was determined.)

In this chart, independents are split between the shrinking conservative-leaning and the growing, mostly, progressive-leaning voter, especially the Millennials.

To win that 51% of existing 2012 progressive voters, Democratic candidates must publicly and repeatedly address the concerns of this progressive voting majority: economic, social, racial, and environmental injustice. In other words, what will Dems do to minimize the, what are now extreme, inequalities born out of these injustices?

Note in the Phillips’ pie chart, the 49% of whites and people of color who vote Republican/Conservative, including right-leaning independents. Also note, that John Dean, in Conservatives Without Conscience, identified the radical right, which helped elect the Tea Party to Congress, as 20 to 25% of the US population. If you add to this 25% an additional 3% of conservatives who seldom vote unless enabled by a leader like Trump, then that leaves 21% (49-28) for the right-leaning independents based on the first graphic above.

Even though the odds are now in favor of progressives taking back our government from corporate control, Trump can still win if Democratic candidates don’t inspire the left-leaning independents and their base to vote by speaking about progressive values – assuming that voter suppression and election fraud equally impact both parties.

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To What Degree Will November Election Complete Corporate Coup of America?

Now that the party primaries are over, it appears that the profit centric MSM has guided the voters quite convincingly. We ended up with the candidates which both media’s profit masters most approve of and which voters have the lowest approval of.

Our democracy is just an illusion as long as a minority of voters select our leaders. The last two Texas governors were elected by less than 21% of all registered voters and the primaries represent an even smaller minority.

There is no conspiracy to select these candidates, just a decades old plan for a corporate coup which this minority of voters is either blind or obedient to. And with the Dem Party minority turnout even smaller than the minority Repug turnout, the profit masters may have one of their own as POTUS.

The Powell Memo of 1971 laid out the plan for this coup and everything seems to be going as planned.

What will the November election bring us?

Profit masters control what we read and watch on main stream media:

Profit masters control our view of the world

Dem voter turnout down from 2008 to 2016 for California primary:

Winning is harder when voters not inspired to vote or are discouraged from voting

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Dr. Bob Altemeyer on Donald Trump and Authoritarian Followers – Who Will Stop Them?

Professor Altemeyer, was referenced extensively in John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience and in this blog. He has written a summary on authoritarians and related articles.

If the New American Majority, discussed by Steve Phillips in Brown Is The New White, don’t participate in the political process, these authoritarian followers will make Trump our next president.

The New American Majority is progressive

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Policy Priorities for Winning in November with the New American Majority (NAM)

RE: Brown Is The New White by Steve Phillips (This is my kind of book. Filled with quantitative and qualitative details, and progressive policies for the mind, and, more importantly, backed up and supported by progressive values for the soul.)

Hope your Memorial Day weekend included remembering a loved one who served our country.

The New American Majority is progressive

Phillips’ new book, in addition to quantifying NAM, also includes two chapters on planning and policy. I thought it would be worth sharing highlights from the policy chapter and a couple of related figures.

Policy Priorities for the New American Majority:

Chapter 7 of Phillips’ new book, referenced above, recommends ideas for reaching out to the New American Majority. Here are some excerpts on the economic injustices of America and recommended policies to rectify them:

“Today’s racial wealth gap is a modern-day manifestation of the fact that America was built on land stolen from Native Americans and Mexicans, and developed by the backbreaking labor of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans.”

Manifestation of white privilege from stolen land and  slave  labor

“Economic inequality is the defining issue of our time.”

“Beyond the morality of the matter as motivation to act, there are also significant strategic reasons to pursue an economic agenda.”

“Accepting the premise that Whites are in a privileged position because they have been favored as a group throughout our history while others have been held back as a group is the first step toward thinking about sweeping public policy solutions to address our racial wealth gap.”

“I don’t expect these things — returning of land and reparations — to happen anytime soon, but if they sound outrageous, then by comparison, other policy proposals to correct injustice —

making massive investments in education,
enacting comprehensive immigration reform,
establishing universal voter registration,
ending mass incarceration,
adopting ‘Polluter Pays’ taxes nationwide, and
imposing a wealth tax on the richest 1 percent — should seem modest ….”

Phillips then details each of these policy proposals, which I won’t go into here, and closes with “the way to win.”

“A bold social just agenda is the key to bringing forward and bringing out the best in progressive Whites. Progressive people are not simply motivated by material self-interest; there is a value and benefit to living in a more just and equal society and having a sense of meaning and purpose in one’s life. Given this moment in time, a strong social justice agenda could help progressive Whites who often find themselves asking ‘What is justice?’ to answer the question with decisive, nondefensive, bold action.”

“Championing economic justice is more than moral and just. It’s also the way to win elections.”

“People of color vote in lower numbers because many of them feel that most of the U.S. public policy agenda has little relevance to their lives.”

“The political power of fighting for economic justice and its potential became clear in Obama’s 2008 campaign when he specifically addressed ‘the wealth and income gap’ in his campaign speeches, grabbing the attention of voters everywhere.”

“Attacking and forcibly removing Native Americans from America’s fertile fields, enslaving and economically exploiting Africans in America, launching a war against Mexico so Texas could continue to practice slavery, encouraging Chinese immigration to build an economically valuable railroad but then explicitly excluding Chinese from becoming citizens, and racially restricting access to mortgage loans in economically expanding neighborhoods were not unfortunate aberrations carried out by a few rogue officials and bad actors, the likes of which we don’t see any more. These were official policies of the Unites States of American”

“Although justice has long been delayed, those who bore the brunt of those attacks now have the numbers to serve as the cornerstone of a New American Majority. With those numbers, with that majority, we have the opportunity — indeed the obligation — to make new public policies. Policies rooted in justice and dedicated to the proposition that all people are indeed created equal.”

In chapter 8, Phillips warns us that Republicans also know the demographic change is coming and they have been working on their outreach programs since 2012. Just look back at the mix of candidates they had during the debates. The book was completed before Trump won all the primaries, but Phillips did mention Trump as a complicating factor.

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Right to Slave Wages is Now Possible as Your Own CEO.

Another example of information you won’t get from profit centric MSM that must keep its profit master happy by entertaining the masses:

Steven Hill has written Raw Deal. Using companies like Uber and AirBnB, Hill discusses the next move in cheapening the wellbeing of the worker.

Employment used to include a living wage, a pension plan, a health plan, sometimes even paid overtime, vacation time, sick leave, 401K with a company match, etc. And these were all mostly paid for by the employer.

Then came the move to contract workers, where you got a living wage and much reduce benefits.

Now, with Uber, under the guise of being your own CEO, you depend on others to pay you, you then pay a percentage of your income to Uber to use their system for finding customers, and you take on all the expenses and liabilities of doing business. You have no benefits except “being in charge.” You must provide all the tools for the job, like your car. You have to figure out how to pay for the increased costs of driving and how you will replace your car sooner than you expect. You have to pay higher car insurance fees for all the extra driving you do and risk you take. You not only have to pay your share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, you have to pay the employers share as self-employed business owner.

And all the money you send to Uber is almost pure profit – for them.

Welcome to the #ShareTheCrumbsEconomy / #GigEconomy

“A 2014 study commissioned by the Freelancers Union found that more than one in three workers — 53 million Americans — are now freelancing. Other estimates predict that within 10 years nearly a majority of the 145 million employed Americans — 65–70 million workers — will be so-called independent workers. Sharing economy companies like Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Postmates and Homejoy claim they are liberating workers to become independent — “their own CEOs” — in reality, workers are forced to take ever-smaller jobs (gigs and micro-gigs) and wages while the companies profit handsomely. Indeed, some workers have multiple employers in a single day. Even many full-time, professional jobs and occupations are experiencing this shift toward precarity. Business consultancy MBO Partners has estimated that the number of freelance workers is projected to outpace full-time workers by 2020.”

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Questions for Millennial Bernie Supporters on Behalf of Boomer Bernie Supporters

How much of the following would you either agree with or can offer a more accurate/corrected summary?

– Is incremental, slow, change no longer acceptable?
– Is working from within the rigged system not worth the effort to re-rig it?
– Are you feeling disenchanted and is this disenchantment driven by the massive inequality of economic neoliberalism and the pro-war, neocon-driven, foreign policy?
– Would this disenchantment drive you to vote for Trump if Bernie is not the Democratic nominee?
– Will you continue the #PoliticalRevolution even if Sanders is not nominated?

Here is a detailed reply from Mark.

Nation shifting to the left

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Trump Ascendency Should Be No Surprise

It is a natural result of many factors including, but not limited to:

– Decades of repeating that “government IS the problem” and predatory privatization of our government

We are governed by Reps owned by mega corps

– Decades of disempowering the people’s government while empowering
the excessively wealthy with even more power by both:

– Giving them excessive reductions in citizenship dues
to help starve the government, and
– Allowing corporations to divert savings from productivity
increases from millions of productive profit makers to a
very few, non-value added, profit takers at the top, who
put those savings in tax shelters further starving govt.

Top marginal US income tax rates since 1920

Increase income from productivity gains by workers went to executives instead.

– Enabling a communication network of profit centric media,
via changes in our telecommunications laws, who’s profit is:

– Required by a very few empowered profit takers, and
– Maximized by entertaining citizens, who are told
shopping, not voting, is patriotic

Distracted from voting by those in power

CEOs distract employees from wage theft

Who will save us from a Trump Presidency?

If the 99% votes ...

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November election – How to Minimize War and It’s Fuel: Greed

The Powell Memo of 1971 formalized our path to this point in our corporatocracy. Since the corporate plan laid out in this memo has: been funded by the likes of Koch, Coors, Olin, Bradley, Scaife, and others; has constructed a massive pro-corporate infrastructure of think tanks and lobbyists; and has had several pro-corporate rulings by SCOTUS, our REAL national problem is that it’s owned by Wall $treet, hedge fund managers, and Realestate tycoons.

In addition, these profit hoarders have fostered both foreign and domestic wars to transfer more wealth from the poor and middle class to the ONE%, or to distract and divide us. The foreign relations ideology of the neocons has been promoting the American Empire for decades through regime change in SA, ME, and Eastern Europe. The economic neoliberals have enabled economic wars on citizens through free market fundamentalism and privatization of public institutions like prisons. Then there is the war on drugs, women’s health, and the poor.

So, my biggest concerns are America’s corporatocracy and it’s profit driven pro-war mania. Stopping these acts of greed is a must. We need a massive and united #PoliticalRevolution.

How is the revolution maximized and what are our most likely options?

The maximum possibility is achieved with:
– An independent president, Bernie Sanders, with the largest separation from the ONE% and Wall $treet and significant campaign funds from millions of individuals – not from corporations or PACs
– A massive turn-over in Congress with a 2/3s majority in both houses.

The first less than optimum possibility is:
– A Democratic president, Hillary Clinton, with ties to pro-war neocons and Wall $treet, but who may continue with a more progressive agenda than President Obama
– A massive turn-over in Congress with a 2/3s majority in both houses to keep a Democratic president more in line with progressive desires of those who elected them.

Next less than optimum possibility is:
– A Democratic president, Hillary Clinton with ties to pro-war neocons and Wall $treet, but who may continue with a more progressive agenda than President Obama
– A less than massive turn-over in Congress to push a progressive agenda

Next option:
– A third-party candidate. This will only improve the chances for a Republican president. Now if Bernie broke away to run as a third-party, this could be a real close race depending on whether Trump is the opponent? Trump can’t get more than about 30% of America’s vote. That may leave 40% to split between Hillary and Bernie. Doesn’t sound like a good option until voter turnout gets to 80%.

The key to the first maximum impact option is a unified and massive vote by whites, blacks, Hispanics, and millennials. However, the black vote for Sanders is a potential problem, which could be partially off-set by the enthusiasm of the millennials. This is also best for changes to SCOTUS and will promote values that best support “us.” #NotMeUs

The second option is just not likely. Hillary has inspired more fund-raisers than high turnout voter rallies. Millennials see her as part of the problem and will not change their historical non-participation in politics for her. Blacks like her and they are 13% of the US population.

The third option is likely with Hillary as the Dem nominee and that means at least 4 more years like the last eight. Since Republican bigotry is matched by Republican misogyny, Hillary will be resisted as strongly as Obama. This does not bode well for SCOTUS appointees that would support values of “we the people.”

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It’s past time for a broad-based political revolution to reverse decades of damage to America

I participated in a recent poll by and they sent me a follow-up survey to understand why I chose Bernie Sanders for MoveOn to endorse. Here is part of my survey feedback:

I’m a leader in the Texas Democratic Party who sees America following in the missteps of Texas on the road to oligarchy and single party rule. Free market fundamentalists have been pandering to billionaires and CEOs for too long. Their cancer of excessive greed was born out of the 1971 Powell Memo and has resulted in ALEC, SPN, AFP, lots of conservative think tanks, Liberty University, purchasing control of universities, profit-centric media that can’t afford to air any news that speaks ill of their wealthy puppet masters, predatory privatization, excessive tax cuts for the wealthy, trade agreements that ship good jobs overseas and lowers wages to the lowest common denominator, Congressional districts that select their voters, deteriorating public infrastructure, bloated military budget to go with their war-mongering, regime change, foreign policy, and voter suppression.

Apathetic voters are a root cause of Texas and America’s current deterioration, but they have been mislead by free market fundamentalists and their profit-centric media to think that citizenship is defined by how much they shop. In addition, their freedom to participate in the democratic process has been limited by decades of stolen wages and increasing, high-cost, debt which force them to work multiple jobs. There is either no interest or no time for voting by two-thirds of eligible American voters.

Then there is voter intimidation created by new Voter ID laws to scare voters into staying home.

It’s past time for a broad-based political revolution to reverse decades of damage to America.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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 your 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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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