Tracking the Growth of American Authoritarianism

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

 

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 MoveOn.org 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 you opponents supporters and why.
  • Inspiring your supporters means avoiding frames and moral values used by Republicans. Democrats need to learn how to reframe the debate and avoid inspiring votes for their opponent.
  • Inspiring you supporters means knowing both your moral values and the moral values of your opponent, and why your moral values are right for all Americans and theirs are only right for a few Americans.

All four books discuss the above list and much more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

From The Victory of ‘Perception Management’:

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

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

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

 

There is still hope …

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

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

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

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

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

The statistical evidence is clear.

We have reached the tipping point.

Revolution is coming, one way or the other.

 


Robert Kennedy on the coming revolution

 

Two views on the coming progressive revolution:

From An independent progressive movement by Houston Blogger Perry Dorrell:

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

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

 

From Fight for Our Progressive Vision by Bernie Sanders:

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

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

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

– Corporations/Billionaires own our government

– Obedient shoppers or Critical Thinkers?

Enslaved by paychecks and debt

– Where freedom is an illusion

– About ME or about WE?

For-profit media conditions consciousness

– Democracy or Republic? No! Plutocracy!!

– The freedom to honor greed

– The freedom to honor torture

– Freedom to imagine national perfection

– Freedom to ignore scientific evidence

– Freedom to bomb for oil

– Freedom to dominate the world

– Where state crimes are hidden

– Where corporate crimes are ignored

– Corporate governance replaced representative goverenance

– Where fearful/hateful minority vote

– The American Revolution of 1800

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The Texas Democratic Party Wanted to Know …

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

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

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

Rep Chairwoman worried about BGTX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busting up banks too big to fail.

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

Suggested Reading for Week Ending 10/26

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

    NPR Contributing to Climate Denial

    NPR’s climate coverage has been fairly stagnant for years

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

    “Inclusive and sustainable Economic Development”

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

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

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 10/19

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


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

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

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

    Unconstitutional Gerrymandering, RGA Funneling Corp Dark Money, Privatizing Public TV, The First Slip of Corp Media, Citizen Actions Against Abuse

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 10/12

  • Federal Court Strikes Down One of the Most Aggressive Gerrymanders in the Country
    One of the most aggressive gerrymanders in the country is unconstitutional, according to a divided three-judge panel in Virginia. In 2012, President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney by three points in the state of Virginia. Nevertheless, Republicans control eight of the state’s eleven congressional districts. Yet, according to an opinion by Judge Allyson Duncan, a George W. Bush appointee, the maps that produced this result are unconstitutional and the legislature must “act within the next legislative session to draw a new congressional district plan.”
  • Republican Governors Association Used to Funnel Dark Money from Corporations
    Fred Wertheimer, a lifelong champion of campaign finance reform, noted that this boo-boo offers “a classic example of how corporations are trying to use secret money hidden from the American people, to buy influence, and how the (Republican) Governors Association is selling it.”
  • Who Rules Public TV? The ONE%?
    Many board members are affiliated with major corporations like Boeing, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. Seventy-five board members, nearly half of all those with corporate ties, are financial industry executives. Another 24 are corporate lawyers.
  • The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga – The Loss of Critical Media
    If you ever wondered how the mainstream U.S. media changed from the hard-nosed Watergate press of the 1970s into the brown-nose MSM that swallowed the Iraq War lies, a key middle point was the Contra-cocaine scandal of the 1980s/1990s
  • People Are Ready for Action
    There is no doubt that the people are rising. Today there are at least three major events taking place – the Ferguson October massive march to end police brutality and racism in St. Louis, the European-wide day of actions against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Agreement (TAFTA) and the Global Frackdown. People are also protesting the World Bank meeting in Washington, DC and the Maine Walk for Peace is beginning.

    We need more campaigns like this. And we need more actions like this lawyer took who saw a black man being stopped by police for no reason other than walking in a wealthy neighborhood. She confronted the police and told them to get out of the neighborhood. We need to understand our legal rights and help each other.

  •  

    The majority of citizens have let this happen by not participating in the political process. Too many citizens are not electing representatives who will work for the majority of citizens. Instead we are letting a ‘minority of us’ elect those who see the majority of citizens as ‘them.’

    Distracted from voting by those in power

    Why privacy matters – “Mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind.”

    “He that does not move, does not notice his chains.”

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion, Media-Info Control, Rampant Cronyism/Corruption   |   Comments Off on Unconstitutional Gerrymandering, RGA Funneling Corp Dark Money, Privatizing Public TV, The First Slip of Corp Media, Citizen Actions Against Abuse   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Activist Supreme Court, America’s Tyrannical Theocracy, Koch Destruction, ISIS Kills Surveillance Reform, Nye on Tar Sands, Infrastructure vs Greed, Economic Hitmen

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 10/5

  • The Supreme Court That Made It Easier to Buy Elections Just Made It Harder for People to Vote in Them
    In case there was any remaining confusion with regard to the precise political intentions of the US Supreme Court’s activist majority, things were clarified Monday. The same majority that has made it easier for corporations to buy elections (with the Citizens United v. FEC decision) and for billionaires to become the dominant players in elections across the country (with the McCutcheon v. FEC decision) decided to make it harder for people in Ohio to vote.
  • Radicalized Right-Wing Activists Pledging Allegiance to Dangerous Agenda
    We are not talking about a fringe minority of disgruntled religious extremists. We are talking about swaths of the electorate who wish to transform America’s secular democracy into a tyrannical theocracy, and if the 2000 general election taught us anything, it’s that America is but one low-turnout election away from electing a religious extremist who wishes to impose the biblical equivalent of Sharia law on gays, minorities, liberals, atheists, Muslims, academics, immigrants, and anyone else they deem undesirable.
  • Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire
    The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”
  • Story Of A War Foretold: Why We’re Fighting ISIS
    Nafeez Ahmed examines how the rise of ISIS was both predicted and evitable, and argues the West’s current military campaign is already being used to neuter mass surveillance reforms at home and will likely produce further political destabilisation in the region.
  • BILL NYE TALKS ABOUT CANADIAN OIL AND THE CERTAINTY OF CLIMATE CHANGE
    I used to work in the oil field, albeit much farther south, in Texas and New Mexico. Oil is noxious, but it’s not that noxious as stuff to spill on the ground. However, when you start taking this tar sand and oil shale, where you’re strip-mining many, many tons of earth to get to this stuff, and then you have to burn a lot of it to make it soupy enough to pump—the environmental impact is huge! And there was some trouble with some train cars, and some explosions.

  • Excessive Reductions of Citizenship Dues for Excessively Wealthy
    Have Depleted Revenue for Maintaining Infrastructure
    Public good supports all Americans. Private enterprise supports key shareholders only


    Economic Hitmen – The Secrete Global Empire for promoting neoliberalism,
    a viral, mutant, predatory form of capitalism

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion   |   Comments Off on Activist Supreme Court, America’s Tyrannical Theocracy, Koch Destruction, ISIS Kills Surveillance Reform, Nye on Tar Sands, Infrastructure vs Greed, Economic Hitmen   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Peoples Climate March, Flood Wall $reet, Embedded Neocons Force War, Students Challenge Conservative Authority, Journalists Manipulated to Support War, Wall $teet Manipulates NYC Fed , Freedom for Us and the Citizens of Gaza

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 9/28

  • The People’s Climate
    The People’s Climate March on September 21 was a watershed for the emerging global climate movement, with more than 400,000 people taking to the streets of New York City. But New York was only the tip of an iceberg. People in 166 countries, from Argentina to Australia, participated in more than 2,800 events and rallies. Two million activists demanded through an online petition that governments shift to 100% clean energy.
  • People’s Climate March Floods Wall Street
    Thousands of environmentalist and Occupy Wall Street activists gathered in Battery Park early Monday morning in the wake of Sunday’s mass demonstration. The group gathered to prepare for a civil disobedience action known as Flood Wall Street at Battery Park. Flood Wall Street organizers planned civil disobedience in their strategy to highlight a need to go against the financiers of climate change by changing business as usual on Wall Street.
  • Neocons Left Over from Reagan and Bush II Using ISIS Crisis to Expand Right-wing Authoritarian Regime Change Policy
    Whether it’s the Middle East or Eastern Europe, the United States foreign policy is back under control of neoconservatives with the goal of regime change for our enemies or the enemies of Israel.
  • Hundreds of Colorado Students Walk Out in Protest Over Class on “Patriotism,” Respect for Authority
    A student demonstrator, Tyrone G Parks, a senior at Arvada High School, said Tuesday that the nation’s foundation was built on civil protests, “and everything that we’ve done is what allowed us to be at this point today. And if you take that from us, you take away everything that America was built off of.”
  • The Real Reason We Are Bombing Syria
    There were alternatives. The U.S. and the international community could have contained and shrunk ISIS by cutting off its funds and its revenue from sale of oil on the black market. We could have looked to strike a deal with Syria and Iran.
  • HOW FORMER TREASURY OFFICIALS AND THE UAE ARE MANIPULATING AMERICAN JOURNALISTS
    This [Middle East] animosity has resulted in a new campaign in the west to demonize the Qataris as the key supporter of terrorism. The Israelis have chosen the direct approach of publicly accusing their new enemy in Doha of being terrorist supporters, while the UAE has opted for a more covert strategy: paying millions of dollars to a U.S. lobbying firm – composed of former high-ranking Treasury officials from both parties – to plant anti-Qatar stories with American journalists. That more subtle tactic has been remarkably successful, and shines important light on how easily political narratives in U.S. media discourse can be literally purchased.
  • NY Federal Reserve, Too Cosy With Wall $treet to Effectively Regulate
    Ira introduces Carmen Segarra, a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve in New York who, in 2012, started secretly recording as she and her colleagues went about regulating one of the most powerful financial institutions in the country. This was during a time when the New York Fed was trying to become a stronger regulator, so that it wouldn’t fail to miss another financial crisis like it did with the meltdown in 2008.
  •  


    We seem to have forgotten about the Syrians we’re supposedly helping.
    We seem to have forgotten about the Syrians we're supposedly helping


    “… perhaps once we have freed ourselves, we can reach out to free the people of Gaza.”

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Media-Info Control   |   Comments Off on Peoples Climate March, Flood Wall $reet, Embedded Neocons Force War, Students Challenge Conservative Authority, Journalists Manipulated to Support War, Wall $teet Manipulates NYC Fed , Freedom for Us and the Citizens of Gaza   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Neocons Left Over from Reagan and Bush II Using ISIS Crisis to Expand Right-wing Authoritarian Regime Change Policy

    Back at the start of the seventh year of the Bush II administration, January of 2007, I wrote a post about all the leading neoconservatives, and their think tanks, that were supporting or were a part of that administration and its war promoting efforts.

    This posting is about the neocons that President Bush has in his inner circle of friends and staff. It also exposes the spread of neocons within the current administration through quotes from Bush II and his former Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld (Now an “non-paid consultant” for the department.)

    Here, from that post, are what Bush II and Rumsfeld said about their integration of neocons and their ideology in to our government:

    (AEI) met last December with Bush II to present their solution to the conflict in Iraq. Their plan is very similar to The Deciders plan. At an AEI dinner in 2003, Bush II had this to say about Irving Kristol, “You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds.” (And I’m only mentioning a few of those 20.) Also, President Ronald Reagan’s administration attracted so many AEI associates, that the AEI offices were relatively empty.

    The Center for Security Policy was founded in 1988 by Frank Gaffney. Their slogan is, “to promote world peace through American strength.” Their “Keeper of the Flame Award” recipients include Newt Gingrich and Don Rumsfeld. In November 2001, Don Rumsfeld said to Frank Gaffney, “If there was any doubt about the power of your ideas, one only has to look at the number of Center associates who people this administration—and particularly the Department of Defense—to dispel them.” Rumsfeld has been a CSP financial backer and Cheney was formerly a board member of CSP.

    What I didn’t state in that article was that those neocons appointed by Bush and Rumsfeld hired many more into the State Department and Pentagon who are still there. Here’s an example from a Consortium News article:

    What followed in Ukraine had all the earmarks of a U.S. destabilization campaign against Putin’s ally, the elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Behind the scenes was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover who had been an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and who is married to prominent neocon Robert Kagan. Nuland was caught in an intercepted phone conversation with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt handpicking the leaders of the new regime, which took power after Yanukovych was overthrown in a Feb. 22 coup.

    For another example of neocon influence on the Obama Administration, read the short biography of one of the administrations advisors, John Nagl. Here is a quote from that article, which references Robert Kagan, the husband of former Dick Cheney advisor, Victoria Nuland, mentioned above.

    Although he [John Nagl] eschews grand ideology in favor of technocratic approaches to conflicts, Nagl’s promotion of counterintelligence doctrine in current U.S. military interventions made him a favorite of neoconservatives, who featured him at the kick-off of the think tank, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).”[12] FPI is an advocacy group founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan that is viewed by some observers as a successor to the Project for the New American Century [Formerly chaired by William Kristol], a now-defunct group that played a key role in shopping neoconservatives foreign policies during the Bush administration.

    ———————————————————-
    Here is a quote about neocons from Dr. Shadia Drury on their preference for military action:

    With the neoconservatives in power in the US, it will be difficult to conceal the real nature of neoconservative policies. The “stealth campaigns” are not likely to be as effective. The policies are by now very clear: no gay rights, no liberated women, no uppity blacks, lots of prayer in the schools, a strong commitment to the death penalty, and the re-criminalisation of abortion. The latter is particularly important. Of course it will keep the women at home and out of the way so that the world can be ruled by men in the proper manly fashion; but that’s not all. More importantly, it will keep women busy having babies – lots of babies. In this way, women will become useful once again; they will return to their vocation as factories for soldiers – and we need lots of soldiers, for we will have plenty of wars to fight, if the neoconservatives have their way. And it seems they have.

    And here is the end of the Consortium News article by investigative reporter Robert Parry, which I referenced earlier, that includes numerous references to neocons and their preference to war over negotiations in Ukraine:

    That intervention, however, infuriated Syrian rebels who had planned to time a military offensive with the U.S. bombing campaign, hoping to topple Assad’s government and take power in Damascus. America’s influential neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” allies – along with Israeli officials – were also livid, all eager for another U.S.-backed “regime change” in the Middle East.

    Putin thus made himself an inviting neocon target. By the end of last September, American neocons were taking aim at Ukraine as a key vulnerability for Putin. A leading neocon, Carl Gershman, president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the op-ed pages of the neocon Washington Post to identify Ukraine as “the biggest prize” and explain how its targeting could undermine Putin’s political standing inside Russia.

    “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents,” Gershman wrote. “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” At the time, Gershman’s NED was funding scores of political and media projects inside Ukraine.

    What followed in Ukraine had all the earmarks of a U.S. destabilization campaign against Putin’s ally, the elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Behind the scenes was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover who had been an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and who is married to prominent neocon Robert Kagan. Nuland was caught in an intercepted phone conversation with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt handpicking the leaders of the new regime, which took power after Yanukovych was overthrown in a Feb. 22 coup.

    Then, with U.S. officialdom and the mainstream U.S. press engaging in an orgy of Cold War-style propaganda, Putin was demonized as a new Hitler expanding territory by force. Anyone who knew the facts recognized that Putin had actually been trying to maintain the status quo, i.e., sustain the Yanukovych government until the next election, and it was the West that had thrown the first punch. But Washington’s new “group think” was that Putin instigated the Ukraine crisis so he could reclaim lost territory of the Russian empire.

    President Obama seemed caught off-guard by the Ukraine crisis, but was soon swept up in the West’s Putin/Russia bashing. He joined in the hysteria despite the damage that the Ukraine confrontation was inflicting on Obama’s own hopes of working with Putin to resolve other Middle East problems.

    Thus, the initial victory went to the neocons who had astutely recognized that the emerging Putin-Obama collaboration represented a serious threat to their continued plans for “regime change” across the Middle East. Not only had Putin helped Obama head off the military strike on Syria, but Putin assisted in getting Iran to agree to limits on its nuclear program.

    That meant the neocon desire for more “shock and awe” bombing in Syria and Iran had to be further postponed. The Putin-Obama cooperation might have presented an even greater threat to neocon plans if the two leaders could have teamed up to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to finally reach a reasonable agreement with the Palestinians.

    At the center of the neocons’ strategy at least since the mid-1990s has been the idea that “regime change” in Middle East governments hostile to Israel would eventually starve Israel’s close-in enemies, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of support and free Israel’s hand to do what it wanted with the Palestinians. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

    The Putin-Obama collaboration – if allowed to mature – could have derailed that core neocon strategy and denied Israel the unilateral power to decide the Palestinians’ fate. But the Ukraine crisis – and now the plan to pour a half-billion dollars into the Syrian rebels fighting Assad – have put the neocon strategy back on track.

    The next question is whether Obama and whatever “realists” remain in Official Washington have the will and the determination to reclaim control of the Middle East policy train and take it in a different direction.

    ———————————————————-

    Whether it’s the Middle East or Eastern Europe, the United States foreign policy is back under control of neoconservatives with the goal of regime change for our enemies or the enemies of Israel.

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Avid Militarism   |   Comments Off on Neocons Left Over from Reagan and Bush II Using ISIS Crisis to Expand Right-wing Authoritarian Regime Change Policy   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    War with ISIS?, Kock Brothers Teaching our Kids, MSM is a Failure, NeoCons Growing al-Qaeda, 1800 Revolution Repeating Now

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 9/21

  • The Questions Congress Should Ask About Obama’s War on ISIS
    “The public is told there’s no imminent threat to the US, so why are we rushing to war? Could weapons given to Syrian rebels eventually be used against the US?” reads an ad placed by MoveOn and Win Without War in Politico. “How could military force undermine nonmilitary strategies? How will we know when our objectives have been met? What is our clearly defined exit strategy? Under what legal authority are we intervening in Iraq and Syria?”
  • The Koch Brothers’ 3-Step Plan to Conquer the Next Generation
    It’s been well-documented by now how the Koch Brothers are sponsoring economic programs at colleges and universities around the country. By itself, this could be interpreted as philanthropy. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a billionaire donating some of his wealth to education. But the greater strategy in the Kochs’ chess game isn’t just to make themselves wealthier, but a far more sinister one. That strategy can be broken down into three steps:
  • How The Main Stream Media Lost All Credibility & Why It’s Too Late To Save It
    In the end, what matters is that mainstream media, despite everything it’s done, the corporate sponsors, the spin zones, the outright awkward political commentaries. From everything to pundits and attractive looking people on the news media, the breaking news graphics to the outright lies told and the misdirection thrown left and right.
  • Blocking a ‘Realist’ Strategy on the Mideast
    In other words, the just-approved congressional action opening the floodgates to hundreds of millions of dollars more in military aid to Syrian “moderates” could actually contribute to al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate gaining control of Syria, which could create a far greater threat to U.S. national security than the consolidation of the Islamic State inside territory of Syria and Iraq.
  • Does Someone Really Have to Do Something to Stop Islamic State?
    Which bothers you more? General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly warning that Obama might have to send in ground troops to defeat Islamic State? Or former president Jimmy Carter supporting Obama’s new war?
  • The American Revolution of 1800
    Remarkably relevant today: Sisson shows why Jefferson’s ideas about ensuring the primacy of the people’s interest over factional politics are as needed today as they were in 1800.
  •  


    No new war on Iraq
    Give peace a chance.

     


    Despotism, Authoritarianism, Single Party State, Don’t Question Authority,
    Excessive Wealth and Income Inequality, Censorship

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Avid Militarism   |   Comments Off on War with ISIS?, Kock Brothers Teaching our Kids, MSM is a Failure, NeoCons Growing al-Qaeda, 1800 Revolution Repeating Now   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Lawrence Lessig’s “The USA is Lesterland” – But It Take More Than Spreading the Funding Influence

    Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

    Please watch the video first.

     

    Lessig ends by saying, “We have lost that Republic. All of us have to act to get it back.”

    I agree with that statement, but I think more is necessary than spreading the funding influence and that we must first remove certain obstacles.

    The Lester Election is always a midterm election and it’s controlled by those who always vote, and currently that’s the right-wing authoritarians. In 2010 in Texas, only 3% of the African-Americans and Hispanics in the 11 largest Texas metropolitan areas voted. That compares to only 34% in 2008. We have Rick Perry, who caters to the “funders,” or insiders, because Texas ranks 51st in voter participation, not because insiders paid for his campaign.

    Texas is not a red state, it's a non-voting state

    If the 99% vote, the “corruption” is irrelevant. If 99% vote, a win by a poorly funded third-party is possible. As Lessig said in the TED talk, “It’s solvable by being citizens.” However, decades of free market fundamentalism, neoliberalism, have replaced critical thinking citizens with lovers of shopping and reality TV and put our “love of this republic” on a shelf in the closet.

    If the 99% votes ...

    Another issue with Mr. Lessig’s proposal is with spreading the “funder influence” across more citizens – “citizen-funded campaigns.” Today’s citizens are just now beginning to seriously strike for a living wage. They can barely pay for their necessities much less contribute to a national campaign fund.

    Vote to refute the ONE%

    Controlling the money flowing into our politics is necessary, but more important is citizens showing up in significant numbers to elect the best candidate in every election. To enable this, we need a living wage, easier access to the polls, and removal of all recently implemented voter restrictions authored by ALEC.

    Posted in Corporate Intrusion, Politics   |   Comments Off on Lawrence Lessig’s “The USA is Lesterland” – But It Take More Than Spreading the Funding Influence   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Resisting Urban Shield, Billionnaire God-like Desires, Public Gas Station, Violating Law Ok If It Saves Money?,

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 9/14

  • Militarization, Surveillance, and Profit: How Grassroots Groups are Fighting Urban Shield
    “The line between police and military is blurring as parallel military tactics are being deployed globally to repress dissent and increase state control over people who are calling for freedom and justice.”
  • How the Koch Brothers and Other Family Capitalists Are Ruining America
    Our imperial tycoons are a mixed lot. They range from hip technologists like Zuckerberg to heroic nerds like Bill Gates, and include yesteryear traditionalists like Sam Walton and the Koch brothers. What they share with each other and their robber baron ancestors is a god-like desire to create the world in their image.
  • Koch Foundation Proposal to College: Teach Our Inequality Curriculum, Get Millions
    The Koch’s philanthropic operation is preaching to academics a free market gospel. But with it comes loads of cash. is this just another billionaire takeover?
  • Kentucky Town Beats High Gas Prices – By Opening a Public Gas Station
    A municipally owned and operated fuel center has opened up in a town in Kentucky in an effort to drive down gas prices for local residents. Is this new model a positive step in the right direct for climate change?
  • There is No Future in War: Youth Rise Up, a Manifesto
    How many times do we have to be lied to, how many times do we have to be tricked, how many times do we have to be exploited until we say enough is enough? We are tired of war! War accomplishes nothing. War only fattens the wallets of economic and political elites, leaving millions dead in its wake. War only leads to more war, destroying the planet and emptying the national treasury in the process.
  • Vermont City Acts Unlawfully & Unconstitutionally, Judge Finds
    At its nasty little heart, this is a story that reflects the power of big banks to get their way, starting with their well paid legislative lobbyist, John Hollar, who also happens to be mayor of Montpelier, where there’s no hue and cry about such blatant conflict of interest. The vested interests in the city have not objected even when the bank-drenched mayor set about in early 2013 to pressure the city manager to muzzle his planning director when she failed to follow his personal party line. Her “insubordination” amounted to exercising her free speech right to support public banking.
  •  


    Vote to refute the ONE%

    STOP the ONE% from buying our government – VOTE

     


    Koch Industries, the company owned by Charles and David Koch,
    is the major stumbling block to a coherent U.S. energy policy

    Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion   |   Comments Off on Resisting Urban Shield, Billionnaire God-like Desires, Public Gas Station, Violating Law Ok If It Saves Money?,   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Functioning Democracies Require Citizen Participation and That …

    • Government is crucial for building a public infrastructure that equally protects and empowers every citizen
    • Citizenship dues are necessary to fund this public infrastructure and that these dues are in proportion to the use of said infrastructure so as to maintain it for future generations.
    • Voting is a right and requirement of all citizens regardless of wealth, family, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
    • Quality public education for all citizens is necessary for maximizing the opportunities for success and for becoming a responsible and participating citizen in the political process that assures the government operates as desired by the people
    • Freedom from abuse by those with EXCESSIVE power requires limitations on those powers enforced by a properly funded government
    • Citizen freedoms, even those listed in the constitution, require limits to avoid harm by those who might abuse them
    • Equality of opportunity for all citizens and progressive citizenship dues on ALL income are absolutely necessary to prevent both EXCESSIVE inequality of wealth and income and a government that no longer represents its citizens.
    • Acceptance of citizen diversity is necessary for long-term surival
    • Growth has limitations and unlimited growth, like cancer or nuclear bombs, will lead to chaos and death
    • Cooperation maximizes the possibility of success for more citizens than I-win-you-lose competition
    • We all do better when we care about our own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of others
    Posted in Protect & Empower   |   Comments Off on Functioning Democracies Require Citizen Participation and That …   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    TTIP-Concerns About Food Safety, Suppressing Civil Disobedience, Tax Reform, KochKash, Lies & Why’s of Ukraine, Stopping Privateering

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 9/7

  • EU-US Trade Deal Lets Corporate Interests Steamroll Food Safety, Groups Warn
    We are writing to respond to claims by the European Commission (EC) that there is “no contradiction” in the US – EU trade talks with the “enforcement of high safety standards” in food. We disagree. Fair, sustainable and safe food could permanently be damaged by the transatlantic trade deal on the table.
  • Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
    … in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.
  • Bill Moyers Encore with Joseph Stiglitz: How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class
    In America right now inequality is too great, unemployment too high, public investments too meager, corporations too greedy and the tax code too biased toward the very rich.
  • Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity
    This white paper outlines concrete policy measures that can restore equitable and sustainable economic growth in the United States, in the context of the country’s recurring budgetary crises. Effective policies are within our grasp, because these budgetary crises are the result of political and not economic failings.
  • Politicians Line Up at Big Money Trough
    Money remains the nourishing milk of politics and both parties are lining up to get their fill by hobnobbing with the plutocrats who have the most to share. Whether the Koch Brothers or Vernon Jordan, the process of political corruption shows no sign of ending, Bill Moyers and Michael Winship lament.
  • Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?
    Official Washington draws the Ukraine crisis in black-and-white colors with Russian President Putin the bad guy and the U.S.-backed leaders in Kiev the good guys. But the reality is much more nuanced, with the American people consistently misled on key facts, writes Robert Parry.
  • The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis
    Given the very high stakes of a nuclear confrontation with Russia, some analysts wonder what’s the real motive for taking this extraordinary risk over Ukraine. Is it about natural gas, protection of the U.S. dollar’s dominance, or an outgrowth of neocon extremism, asks Robert Parry.
  • Reclaim The Commons, Stop Privatization
    This week started with Labor Day and witnessed the biggest act of worker civil disobedience seen in a very long time. Yesterday, nearly 500 fast food workers were arrested and many more joined in civil disobedience, marches and rallies in 100 cities across the country to demand higher wages. In addition, the Fight for 15 movement has been joined by new sectors of workers.
  •  


    Owners need to be licensed and carry accident insurance

    Imagine – Autos w/out licensed users or manditory accident insurance …
    … accidental killing 4 all drivers ????

     


    Georgia Cop Caught On Camera Manhandling Woman for Videotaping Public Event

    Posted in Authoritarianism   |   Comments Off on TTIP-Concerns About Food Safety, Suppressing Civil Disobedience, Tax Reform, KochKash, Lies & Why’s of Ukraine, Stopping Privateering   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    World View of Ferguson, McConnell Kisses Up to ONE%, FBI & Charter Schools, ONE% Con Job, Poor 9%, Kochs In Charge

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 8/31

  • Everyone From Tibetan Monks To Iran’s Supreme Leader Is watching Ferguson. Here’s How They’re Reacting
    Why would someone in Gaza care about protesters in Ferguson? One argument is that the resurgence of popular uprisings around the world — the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, for example — has created a kind of global protest culture, one that unites people against oppression across nations. As Goldhammer puts it, there’s now a “certain transnational homogeneity to scenes of riot police clashing with demonstrators.”
  • Caught on Tape: What Mitch McConnell Complained About to a Roomful of Billionaires (Exclusive)
    At a secret meeting of elite donors convened by the Koch brothers, McConnell laid out his plan for shrinking the federal government and whined about having to vote on minimum wage bills.
  • FBI Tracks Charter Schools
    In 2010, Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. has been an ALEC member, declared K-12 public education “a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”
  • The 1 percent’s long con: Jim Cramer, the Tea Party’s roots, and Wall Street’s demented, decades-long scheme
    And there were incredible prizes to be won as long as the bubble continued to swell, as long as the fiction of Wall Street as an alternative to democratic government became more and more plausible. Maybe the Glass-Steagall act could finally be repealed; maybe the SEC could finally be grounded; maybe antitrust could finally be halted. And, most enticingly of all, maybe Social Security could finally be “privatized” in accordance with the right-wing fantasy of long standing.
  • The very rich are angry at the extremely rich
    The guy with the Long Island summer residence says that income inequality is hurting his quality of life. Because of the helicopter noise of the guy he probably reports to. I’m quite sure he is indifferent to his own noise produced by his late model BMW whizzing its fumes in the face his maid waiting at the bus stop. Because you know … that’s just freedom.
  • Kochs to Republicans: All your voters belong to us
    The GOP Data Trust, the company the RNC has been working with on its Beacon effort, is now going to be accessing the voter data from the Kochs’ company, but apparently all of the data will be dumped into the Kochs’ system. Which arguably means the Koch brothers essentially own the Republican party, not just its Senate candidates.
  • Charles Koch Personally Founded Group Protecting Oil Industry Hand-Outs, Documents Reveal
    Documents obtained by Republic Report reveal for the first time that the group was actually founded by none other than Charles Koch, the petrochemical, manufacturing, and oil refining tycoon worth an estimated $52 billion.
  •  

     


    The Kochs’ Anti-Civil Rights Roots:
    New Docs Expose Charles Koch’s Ties to John Birch Society
    Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Intrusion   |   Comments Off on World View of Ferguson, McConnell Kisses Up to ONE%, FBI & Charter Schools, ONE% Con Job, Poor 9%, Kochs In Charge   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    I guess the only thing left to do IS VOTE.

    – First they came for the unions, but I didn’t vote.
    – Then they diverted pay raises for my increased productivity to corp profit and my spouse went to work to help pay the mortgage, but we still didn’t vote.
    – Then our combined income couldn’t keep pace with inflation so we went into more debt with credit cards and refinancing our home equity, but I still didn’t vote.
    – Then they changed the law and made it harder to declare bankruptcy and get out from under excessive debt, but I still didn’t vote
    – Then they replaced my guaranteed-income, professionally-run pension with a hapless 401K plan with limited choices and low returns, but I still didn’t vote.
    – Then they cut my sick leave and vacation benefits and stopped the company match on my 401K, but I still didn’t vote.
    – Then they passed state laws for Voter ID, eliminating early voting, stand your ground assassinations, vaginal probes, and closing women’s health clinics, but I still didn’t vote
    – Then they reduced my work hours so they didn’t have to help pay my medical costs, but I still didn’t vote
    – Then they changed an old law and let banks gamble with what was left of my savings, but I still didn’t vote.
    – Then they sold my mortgage to Wall $treet, but I still didn’t vote.
    – Then they crashed the economy and the value of my home, and I lost my job, but I thought about voting – next time.
    – Then they bailed out the banks and one of those banks is foreclosing on my home, but I’m too depressed to vote.
    – Then they didn’t extend unemployment and Congress is on perpetual vacation to raise money from the ONE% instead of helping us recovery from the Great Recession.
    —– I guess the only thing left to do IS VOTE.


    Paul Weyrich founded ALEC and ALEC wrote draft of Voter Suppression laws for states

     

    Posted in Politics   |   Comments Off on I guess the only thing left to do IS VOTE.   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Amerian Wariors Proliferate War Mentality Across America, Atlantic Ocean Warms, Fracking Protest

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 8/24

  • A Former Marine Explains All the Weapons of War Being Used by Police in Ferguson
    One small way to measure the police violence against black people in Ferguson is to attend to its details. It is in that spirit that I present this simple catalog.
  • New UT Chief’s Military Background is Cause for Reflection
    The University of Texas System’s incoming chancellor may seem like the perfect fit, but his involvement in a long-running criminal enterprise, is sure not acceptable.
  • Innocent Civilian Deaths Caused by Police Militarization
    By sidestepping the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the government has blurred the divisions between the military and the police. The executions of “no knock” search warrants too closely resemble the night raids conducted in Afghanistan and Iraq. When the police become the military, the enemy becomes everyone.
  • The Uncivil War Escalating Across America
    We must not minimize or dismiss what is happening; Ferguson represents an ominous sign of the great chasm that has developed between the police and the people of this country. This, unquestionably, is a war of sorts with the vast majority of firepower possessed by this new-type quasi-military police force. If something is not done to address and solve this problem, and soon, then this country is in danger of becoming a full-blown police state.
  • Ferguson And Global Struggle For Justice
    The same city where Dred Scott challenged slavery has become the place of awakening for current racial oppression. Ferguson exposed the reality of militarized and racist policing and created a teachable moment for the nation.
  • Global warming slowdown answer lies in depths of Atlantic
    This February, the national science academies of the US and UK said the global warming slowdown did not “invalidate” the long-term trend of rising temperatures caused by man-made climate change.
  • Native Americans Launch ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Ride to Protest Fracking Pipeline
    The campaign aims to show the destruction the pipeline would cause the surrounding Native communities and local landowners and stop it dead in its tracks.
  •  

    50 Years of progress - in technology
    From Birmingham to Ferguson, the only progress in 50 years is technology

     


    CLASSIC DAVE CHAPPELLE CLIP NAILS POLICE BRUTALITY PERFECTLY
    Posted in Authoritarianism, Avid Militarism, Environment   |   Tagged   |   Comments Off on Amerian Wariors Proliferate War Mentality Across America, Atlantic Ocean Warms, Fracking Protest   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Warren or the Golden Calf, Information Warfare, Another Secret TA, NPR Fooled, AUMF=Endless WAR, Perry/Prison

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 8/17

  • Elizabeth Warren’s 11 Commandments
    For progressives just recently let out of the bondage of the long Clinton-Bush interregnum, it would thus be a shame for them to put their faith in a golden calf like Hillary Clinton — no matter how electable she may seem today — when Warren and the Promised Land beckon from just around the corner.
  • Why Is the U.S. Really Helping the Kurds, Now?
    Obama’s defense of Erbil is effectively the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal—as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example—are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company, as Al Swearengen would well understand. Life, Swearengen once pointed out, is often made up of “one vile task after another.” So is American policy in Iraq.
  • The Berlin Wall and Missed Opportunities
    The U.S. State Department’s obsession with “information warfare” as a strategic weapon has made U.S. credibility one more casualty of the Ukraine crisis, along with any remaining trust in the mainstream U.S. media. It was not always thus, laments ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
  • There’s Another Mammoth Global Trade Agreement You’ve Never Heard Of
    Here’s what we know: Fifty countries, including the United States, the EU nations, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey, have been in TISA talks since 2012. The resulting agreement will set the terms for almost 70 percent of global trade in “services”: everything from banking and construction to telecom and tourism.
  • NPR Presents CIA-Backed Group as Independent Expert on Snowden’s ‘Harm’
    Yes, by blatant cherry-picking you can produce “a compelling story”–as in, good enough to fool NPR.
  • INSIDE THE GRAND JURY: WHY TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY WAS CHARGED WITH TWO ALLEGED FELONIES
    If convicted of the first felony count of abusing his office, Perry would face a penalty of between five and 99 years in prison. Perry also faces two to ten years in prison if he is convicted of the second charge of the indictment.
  • 60 Words And A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History
    The White House said that the operations in both Libya and Somalia drew their authority from the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, a 12-year-old piece of legislation that was drafted in the hours after the Sept. 11 attacks. At the heart of the AUMF is a single 60-word sentence, which has formed the legal foundation for nearly every counterterrorism operation the U.S. has conducted since Sept. 11, from Guantanamo Bay and drone strikes to secret renditions and SEAL raids. Everything rests on those 60 words.
  •  

    60 Words Make War Perpetual
    AUMF

     


    Endless War Enabled by AUMF – Listen to Radio Lab’s Review of AUMF
    Posted in Authoritarianism, Avid Militarism   |   Comments Off on Warren or the Golden Calf, Information Warfare, Another Secret TA, NPR Fooled, AUMF=Endless WAR, Perry/Prison   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Hoarding Cash, InvertersRDeserters, Putin a Target?, Yahoo PGP, PO Bank, Disaster Goes Unreported

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 8/10

  • Cash Hoarding becomes an Addiction
    Several studies have been done since the Great Recession, and we’ve learned that many of the CEOs who devastated our economy weren’t only greedy, but nearly 40% of them bombed at their jobs—and that 10% were psychopaths. Some studies have also revealed that the wealthier they were, the more likely they were to be more narcissistic and more unethical. So unless they were lucky enough to be born into wealth, many of these “job creators” were using nefarious means to accumulate their vast wealth—contrary to the popular myths that they accomplished this with just hard work and/ or a great idea.
  • Minority Astroturf Group Gets Comcast-Affiliated News Site To Remove Article About Minority Astroturfing On Net Neutrality
    Last month, we wrote about the vastly different views on net neutrality from a variety of minority and latino organizations. The key to the story, not surprisingly, was that the minority groups that are heavily funded by the giant broadband troika of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast apparently think that true net neutrality would be a disaster for the minority community — while the groups not funded by those corporate giants believe that more open and free internet devoid of fast and slow lanes is a good thing for the minority community.
  • Why National Security Has Nothing to Do With Security
    Some reflections on these grim prospects were offered by General Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which controls nuclear weapons and strategy. Twenty years ago, he wrote that we had so far survived the nuclear weapons era “by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.”
  • Victory! Walgreens Backs Down After Threat Of Boycott #InvertersRDeserters
    Insiders said Walgreens’ board had decided that the intense political pressure on companies examining inversions could have a significant impact on its reputation among American consumers.
  • Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?
    As the pieces of this puzzle fill in, the image that emerges is of a possible Ukrainian ambush of a jetliner heading into Russian airspace that had markings very similar to President Putin’s official plane. As shocking as that picture may be, there is a grim logic to it, given the demonization of Putin who has been likened to Hitler and Stalin by pundits and politicians from Ukraine to the United States.
  • Yahoo to begin offering PGP encryption support in Yahoo Mail service
    With PGP encryption implemented in a browser plug-in, though, messages are encrypted before they’re transmitted, and the private keys cannot be disclosed by Yahoo because the company doesn’t possess them.
  • Why Banking at the Post Office Could be a Better Option than Payday Loans—and Wall Street
    Physical and operational structures already exist that could help USPS offer basic financial services: prepaid debit cards, mobile transactions, new check cashing services, savings accounts, and even simple, small-dollar loans.
  • Do You Recognize The Culture Of War?
    Each week we see reports of police violence and increasing militarization of police departments. Sometimes police violence is blatant as was this attack on young protesters in Mexico that caused death and serious injuries. And sometimes it is more subtle and dispersed, as this murder of a young Latino in Denver. Sometimes it gets national attention, as is the case of Eric Garner. And sometimes it is part of a daily phenomenon as these youth in Chicago recount.
  • TAILINGS PONDS ARE THE BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF
    Last Monday, a dam holding waste from the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in the remote Cariboo region of British Columbia broke, spilling 2.6 billion gallons of potentially toxic liquid and 1.3 billion gallons of definitely toxic sludge out into pristine lakes and streams. That’s about 6,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water and waste containing things like arsenic, mercury, and sulphur. Those substances are now mixed into the water that 300 people rely on for tap, hundreds from First Nations tribes rely on for hunting and fishing, and many others rely on for the tourism business.
  •  


    Monday: Mount Polley Dam broke causing 5 million cubic toxic chemicals
    to flow into creeks & waterways
    Posted in Authoritarianism   |   Comments Off on Hoarding Cash, InvertersRDeserters, Putin a Target?, Yahoo PGP, PO Bank, Disaster Goes Unreported   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Ayn Rand Fever Dream, ALEC Legislator Auction, Populism for Dems, Wealth Correlates to Denialism

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 8/3

  • The people of the United States must work to end the interventionist violence of the U.S. Empire
    The historian who chronicles US Empire,William Blum, issued his 130th Anti-Empire Report this week. In it he notes that the US, by far, is seen by the people of the world as “the greatest threat to peace in the world today” with 24% taking that view. Only 2% see Russia as such a threat, and 6% see China.
  • Texas GOP’s Platform Is an Ayn Randian Fever Dream
    Imagine the official presentation of a worldview concocted by conspiracy theorists and an assortment of cranks and grumpy people. Conjure a document written by scribes possessed of poison pens soaked in the inkpots of Ayn Rand and the Brothers Grimm, caught in the grip of a dark dystopian fantasy of dragons and specters, in which everyone’s wrong but thee and me and we’re not sure of thee.
  • ALEC Agenda in Dallas:
    Also at this year’s meeting, ALEC’s task forces will consider bills to make it virtually impossible to enroll in Medicaid, expand charter schools to further bankrupt traditional public schools, expand exports of “natural gas” from fracking, and undermine the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air and Clean Water Act regulations.
  • Protesters Lock Down Inside of Hilton in Protest of ALEC Convention
    Thursday morning, two community members from the organization Blackland Prairie Rising Tide locked themselves to stair banisters inside of the Hilton Anatole hotel at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual national convention in Dallas, Texas. Subsequently, two more protesters dropped a banner from a banister in the hotel lobby reading “We Suffer, ALEC Profits.”
  • Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren: They Have Less in Common Than You Think
    Hillary Clinton’s political allies want Democratic primary voters to believe that the former secretary of state is just like populist Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and they’ve been claiming that there are no differences between the two possible presidential contenders. There’s just one problem: That’s not true.
  • Opportunities for Action
    What is striking are our common experiences – the neoliberal economic agenda being forced upon our communities, the lack of democracy and the need for resistance and creating alternatives.
  • Why People Are Organizing to End U.S. Empire
    Thirty-five years from now, America’s official century of being top dog (1945-2045) will have come to an end; its time may, in fact, be running out right now. We are likely to begin to look ever more like a giant version of England at the end of its imperial run, as we come face-to-face with, if not necessarily to terms with, our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, and sagging economy.
  • Study: Rich Republicans Are the Worst Climate Deniers
    The study finds that among Republicans, as levels of income increase, so does their likelihood of dismissing the dangers associated with climate change.
  •  


    Jim Hightower Addresses Coalition of Hundreds in Dallas to Protest ALEC 41st Convention
    Posted in Authoritarianism   |   Comments Off on Ayn Rand Fever Dream, ALEC Legislator Auction, Populism for Dems, Wealth Correlates to Denialism   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    AFP Ranks Legislators, Powell Memo, ALEC Funding, Tea Party Fear/Hate, Domestic Terrorists, US Empire

    Suggested Reading for Week Ending 7/27

  • See How Americans For Prosperity Ranks YOUR Congressmen on free market fundamentalism – Neoliberalism
    Top 10 DEMs get ratings between 20% and 39%, like Jim Matheson (D) of UT at 35%, or Mike McIntyre of NC with the hightest lifetime ranking at 38%. The lowest REP ranking is 42% and there are 60 REPs with a ratings higher than 89% – leaders on the “Conservative Road to Destruction.”
  • America’s Conservative Road to Destruction – A Brief History
    We have come to the point of time in our history where facts no longer have merit, where laws are selectively broken if they in some way show support for our president or the government he represents … and those tentacles run deep INTO our federal government – both bodies of Congress and the Supreme Court. And ALEC helped get us to this point.
  • A CMD Special Report on ALEC’s Funding and Spending
    But ALEC membership does provide other rewards for legislators. It allows them to rub elbows with rich, out-of-state potential donors to their election campaigns and also to build similar relationships with ALEC’s state corporate members.
  • Tea Party’s Self-Harming Hate
    We could also repeal the ban on immigrants collecting SNAP and Medicaid benefits during their first five years in the United States. Passed as part of the 1996 welfare reform, the ban reduces immigrants’ economic options, and thus their ability to refuse the worst jobs.
  • Right-Wing Militias Are Thriving – and the Media Won’t Talk About It
    Virtually all of the far right’s conspiracist beliefs are equally transparent lies, if you can trace them back far enough. But that assumes a truth-seeking function on somebody’s part—an assumption that’s clearly unwarranted. In our age of savagely decimated newsrooms, fact-free “he said/she said” journalism appears to be the only kind that most organizations can manage—a style that naturally gives the advantage to those like Bundy who just make things up, carefully tailored to bolster their arguments.
  • The people of the United States must work to end the interventionist violence of the U.S. Empire
    … the US, by far, is seen by the people of the world as “the greatest threat to peace in the world today” with 24% taking that view. Only 2% see Russia as such a threat, and 6% see China.
  • The Empire Economy Does Not Serve the Economy or People
    Thirty-five years from now, America’s official century of being top dog (1945-2045) will have come to an end; its time may, in fact, be running out right now. We are likely to begin to look ever more like a giant version of England at the end of its imperial run, as we come face-to-face with, if not necessarily to terms with, our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, and sagging economy.
  •  


    We are the cavalry for which we are waiting.
    Posted in Authoritarianism   |   Tagged ,   |   Comments Off on AFP Ranks Legislators, Powell Memo, ALEC Funding, Tea Party Fear/Hate, Domestic Terrorists, US Empire   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Tea Party Religion, Picthforks for the Wealthy, Women’s Economic Security, ALEC

    Suggested Reading Week Ending 7/20

    Posted in Authoritarianism   |   Comments Off on Tea Party Religion, Picthforks for the Wealthy, Women’s Economic Security, ALEC   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Excessive Corporate Intrusion Is a Major Factor in Maximizing Inequality

    When FDR and LBJ passed laws which maximized equality by providing protections such as Social Security, the right to unionize, and medicare, corporations only saw added costs for doing business. While America helped rebuild the world after WWII, these costs were ‘acceptable’ since there was little competition from other nations. This barely acceptable situation became less so in the ’60s after the creation of the EPA and the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Eventually, corporate acceptance of all this higher overhead which helped equalize, protect and empower citizens, became a concern as Europe and Japan became economically competitive.

    In response, the corporate attack on the laws of equality began. In 1971, Lewis Powell, a partner for over a quarter of a century at Hunton, Williams, Gay, Powell and Gibson, wrote a plan to start replacing representative governance with corporate governance and to increase inequality: The Powell Memo. Powell stated:

    [The] American economic system is under broad [government] attack.

    Business must learn the lesson … that political power is necessary; that such power must be assiduously cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination—without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business. … Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.

    Powell wrote this memo for his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The CofC then spread the memo to corporations across the nation. President Nixon nominated Lewis Powell as an associate justice on the Supreme Court a few months after he released the memo and the Senate then confirmed him.

    The counter attack proposed in the Powell Memo not only included increasing corporations’ presence in the nation’s capital, it also included changes in their business model. Decades of implementing this attack has not only allowed the corporate takeover of our national and state governments, it has ravaged our economy and reversed most of the laws that had expanded equality.

    Implementing the Powell plan resulted in changes to the bankruptcy laws to put corporations in charge of the process. This happened under the Carter administration. The Clinton Administration and Congress cancelled the Glass-Steagall Act. The Reagan administration extended the 401K savings plan to all employees, not just executives. The actions of Reagan laid the foundation for elimination of corporate-paid pensions and put retirement in the hands of Wall $treet.

    In the workplace, corporations removed unions, reduced benefits, and replaced workers by shipping jobs overseas. They also saw the opportunity to steal wages of millions of workers for the massive benefit of a few executives. As worker productivity increased, wages stagnated but executive salaries and bonuses accelerated. Income and wealth inequality grew and is now at record levels.

    To hide this wage theft, corporations made credit more and more obtainable. Credit cards and refinancing of equity growth in home values kept the middle class content as their wealth slowly fell under increasing debt. The interest on this debt went to corporations – creating more income inequality as workers borrowed their stolen wages and enriched the ONE%.

    In addition to wage theft for productivity gains, corporations have fought to keep the minimum wage stagnant. They would prefer no minimum wage at all. This increased the income inequality gap further as inflation devalued the worker’s dollars and the ONE% invested in capital that grew faster than inflation.

    Working through ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporations have increased inequality for minorities and/or the poor. We have new voter ID requirements and fewer opportunities to vote early, especially in minority and/or poor communities. After all corporations want to make sure those who suffer from their abuses have less ability to vote their legislators out of office.

    Also through ALEC, corporations have increased inequality for women. We have far fewer clinics for women’s health issues and more laws affecting women’s health choices while there are no new laws affecting men’s health choices.

    One of the favorite tools of the corporate plan to replace representative governance with corporate governance is privatization of public institutions. Combine this with excessive corporate school tax breaks and you shift the cost of higher education to the students – another ball and chain of debt for the 99%. While students must borrow trillions for higher education and corporations avoid school taxes, public colleges and universities alter their business model to substitute personal gain for quality education. Much like the huge corporate wage gap, higher education now enriches the university presidents and board members while impoverishing the staff and faculty. So, students take on enormous debt and most higher education employees see little income growth – inequality between the 99% and the ONE% grows.

    One of the tools citizens have is the internet. But corporate intrusion/governance is trying to take that over. Instead of upgrading the nation’s internet infrastructure to world standards and provide better service for all Americans, corporations want to create a fast lane for the wealthy and only upgrade it for those who can afford excessive payments for that upgrade.

    A lot has happened since 1971 to increase inequality in America and those changes are accelerating with two recent decisions by SCOTUS: Citizens United in 2010 and McCutcheon in 2014. These decisions allow corporations and extremely wealthy individuals to flood untold amounts of “Koch Kash*” into our political process and maximize inequality in all its forms.

    Add to those US Supreme Court decisions the new Pacific and Atlantic trade agreements, written and negotiated by corporations, and national governments are further disemboweled. Finalizing these agreements will cripple governments, lessen their ability to protect and empower citizens, and promote inequalities created by corporations and billionaires.

    As corporate intrusion/governance grows, privatization is annihilating all that is Public. Protecting and empowering citizens by the government stops and inequality grows as the Private replaces the Public.

    ————————————
    The foundation of the Powell Memo and the Koch Brothers 1980 Libertarian Manifesto includes a belief in inequality. This belief in inequality includes a hierarchy for human life. It puts God at the top, as the senior authority figure, with white males next to dominate all others. At the bottom are poor, minority, women (especially black).

    The concept of the rugged self-made individual, which has been proven false, also bolsters this belief in inequality. Direct causation, where the individual has direct control of his success as long as he learned the moral purity provided by self-discipline, is the basis for the self-made man. The individual should just foresee and plan around any circumstance that could reduce his chance of success. If he lacks the moral self-discipline to achieve success, then he deserves his unequal situation. This false idea of the self-made individual ignores many factors which affect equality of opportunity and are beyond the control of the individual: time of birth, parents of birth, place of birth, relatives, friends of parents and relatives, teachers, preachers, etc.

    These external, uncontrollable, factors are referred to as systemic causation which are demonstrated by the butterfly effect, from Chaos Theory, and the scientific process of evolution. Both show that adding, subtracting, or modifying input factors produces changes in outputs. Whether it’s a collision with a giant asteroid, exposure to radioactive emissions, a divorce of parents, the birth of a sibling, moving to a new location, having parents that follow the strict-father or the nurturing family model, attending a well-funded or poor public school, exposure to toxins in the air or water, refusing vaccinations, preventing background checks for gun ownership, turning public K-12 into pipelines to prison, losing everything to an “act of God” or climate destruction, corporate and billionaire ownership of the government, pathetic regulation of dirty energy, food, and drug producers, sending our children into war for corporate benefit, etc, life changes from that point on and there is little you can do to keep it from happening.

     

    *Koch Kash pays those who steal our freedoms – It’s any corporate or billionaire monies used to buy our state and federal governments and enact freedom robbing laws.

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    Neoliberal, Free Market Fundamentalist, Ideology of The 1971 Powell Memo Reflected in Koch Brother’s 1980 Manifesto


    Poisoning the chanels of communication.

    Decades later, Lewis Powell codified Vice President Wallace’s “method” in The Powell Memo of 1971. The result was a proliferation of conservative think tanks like the Cato institute, thousands of talking heads all over commercial media, Fox News, hate radio, and a pushback on all the public programs which were part of the war on poverty or any governmental function which restricted the freedom of free market fundamentalism – neoliberalism.

    In 1980, the Koch brothers followed up with their manifesto as documented in the Libertarian party platform. The villainy of this manifesto is the destruction of all that is Public via privateering. In other words, economic neoliberals, like the Koch brothers are replacing what is morally best for a large majority of Americans with what is extremely beneficial for only them, the ONE%.

    Here are just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform which free market fundamentalist David Koch ran on in 1980:

    • “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.” [SCOTUS is nearly done with this.]
    • “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
    • “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”
    • “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
    • “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”
    • “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. … Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”
    • “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”
    • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
    • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”
    • “We support repeal of … minimum wage laws.”
    • “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. … Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”
    • “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”
    • “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”
    • “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
    • “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”
    • “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”
    • “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”
    • “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”
    • “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
    • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”
    • “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”
    • “We oppose all [Except for the ONE%.] government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. … The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.” [Except that these wealthy “individuals” want it all and don’t share even voluntarily with the poor.]
    • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.” [Notice the distribution priority of this list.]
    • “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
    • “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
    • “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”

    Add to this, both our neoliberal SCOTUS, with their Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions on more-money-equals-more-free-speech, and the worsening wealth and income gaps, and you have the ONE% takeover of America – aided and abetted by their for-profit media, ALEC, and plenty of neoliberal politicians selected by the ONE%.

    Vice President Henry Wallace warned us 70 years ago about American fascism. Is it too late to stop this right-wing authoritarian future? It will only take 3.5% of the 99% to make it happen. Are you part of that participating 3.5%?


    IncomeInequality

    Posted in Corporate Intrusion, Media-Info Control   |   Tagged ,   |   1 Comment   |   Email This Post Email This Post

    Right-wing Authoritarian Neoliberal Ideology Has Prevented Universal Health Care for Americans

    Economic neoliberalism, or free market fundamentalism, has been at work for decades in America transferring more and more wealth from the masses to the ONE%. Privatization of all that is public (SS, Medicare, pensions, etc.), or putting it on the back of individual consumers,is key to this transfer. Another avenue for this transfer has been the marketization of Health care where the public option was avoided in favor of uncontrolled private corporations.

    The quotes below are from an article that details a thorough history of the privatization of our health care since WWII and, to some extent, health care in Europe.

    Unfortunately, America is leading the way for the economic neoliberal approach. This model has, and will continue to, transfer more wealth from the many to the ONE% as we all pay more for health care, or decide to purchase something else and risk catastrophic illness. It will cost us more and more for health care as employers and the government reduce coverage and increase copays and deductibles.

    “The neoliberal turn in American health care, that is to say, is part of a much more fundamental transformation, beyond the borders of both America and of health care, and away from the promise of economic justice itself.

    “While the ACA will undoubtedly help many, there can be no mistaking the close resemblance of Obama’s plan to Nixon’s, and of its marked divergence from the universalism of Kennedy’s. The health care political center, in other words, has moved to the right very sharply indeed. Perhaps the greatest testament to this is the fact that the ACA, despite its roots in the proposals of moderate conservatives of previous eras, is now deemed rank socialism by today’s conservatives.

    “But beneath the complexity of the law, the essence of the neoliberal vision … becomes clear. The fundamental social-democratic idea of universalism — of an entire population with the equal right to equally comprehensive health care benefits — has all but disappeared from the political center.

    “The doctrine of consumer choice, whether with respect to the selection of tiered “bronze, silver, or gold” health benefits, or of choosing to divide one’s ‘own money’ between health care and other goods, has been almost quietly triumphant. Of course, this great neoliberal transformation in the political economy of American health care wasn’t the result of the vagaries of nature or the unique cultural proclivities of Americans: it was part and a parcel of a much larger corporate-driven transformation [as laid out in The Powell Plan of 1971], which, over these same years, has drastically exacerbated inequality while simultaneously fraying the substance of American civic democracy.”

    Two elements of this history that were not pointed out directly were:

    • Harry Truman became president because the Democratic party ousted FDR’s progressive vide-president Henry Wallace. The possibility of universal health care was pretty well doomed at that point.
    • In 1971, Lewis Powell wrote a memo at the request of his close friend and head of the US Chamber of Commerce. The Powell memo formalized the development of a national messaging system to promote the neoliberal policies discussed in this article. This new system, including The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, was effective as soon as the Carter Administration.

    While low overhead universal health care is held in abeyance by a minority of wealthy, economic neoliberals, where’s their “Wal Mart” of healthcare to provide capitalism’s cost effective replacement? It’s not going to happen. There’s still more wealth to transfer and expanding uncontrolled health care is accelerating the rate of transfer.

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    Edward Snowden Exposed Our Authoritarian – Dual – State

    The following are excerpts are from a recent article by Chris Hedges:

    Snowden, we are told, could have reformed from the inside. He could have gone to his superiors or Congress or the courts. But Snowden had numerous examples—including the persecution of the whistle-blower Thomas Drake, who originally tried to go through so-called proper channels—to remind him that working within the system is fatal. He had watched as senior officials including Barack Obama lied to the public about internal surveillance. He knew that the president was dishonest when he assured Americans that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret and hears only from the government, is “transparent.” He knew that the president’s statement that Congress was “overseeing the entire program” was false. He knew that everything Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the press, the Congress and the public about the surveillance of Americans was a lie. And he knew that if this information was to be made available to the public he would have to do so through a few journalists whose integrity he could trust.

    Societies that once had democratic traditions, or periods when openness was possible, are often seduced into totalitarian systems because those who rule continue to pay outward fealty to the ideals, practices and forms of the old systems. This was true when the Emperor Augustus dismantled the Roman Republic. It was true when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized control of the autonomous soviets and ruthlessly centralized power. It was true following the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazi fascism. Thomas Paine described despotic government as a fungus growing out of a corrupt civil society. And this is what has happened to us.

    No one who lives under constant surveillance, who is subject to detention anywhere at any time, whose conversations, messages, meetings, proclivities and habits are recorded, stored and analyzed, can be described as free. The relationship between the U.S. government and the U.S. citizen is now one of master and slave. Yet the prerogative state assures us that our rights are sacred, that it abides by the will of the people and the consent of the governed.

    The defense of liberty, which Snowden exhibited when he cast his fortune, his safety and his life aside to inform the public of the forces arrayed against constitutional rights, entails grave risks in dual states. It demands personal sacrifice. Snowden has called us to this sacrifice. He has allowed us to see who we are and what we have become. He has given us a chance. He has also shown us the heavy cost of defiance. It is up to us to seize this chance and dismantle the prerogative state. This means removing from power those who stole our liberty and lied to us. It means refusing to naively trust in their promised reform—for reform will never come from those who are complicit in such crimes. It will come through Americans’ construction of mass movements and alternative centers of power that can mount sustained pressure. If we fail to sever these chains we will become, like many who did not rise up in time to save their civil societies, human chattel.

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    Success of 50 Years Of Fighting to End Poverty Minimized by 30 Years of Neoliberal Economics, But …

    … social change is happening and growing inequality is the great enabler.

    Relative to Bill Moyer’s 8 stages of successful social change and postings in Popular Resistance, we are in Stage 6, “Majority Public Support.”

    8 Stages of Successful Social Change

    According to the review of this framework in Popular Resistance, “During the current phase, the movement seeks to create broad and deep consensus over the issues that have been raised in the ‘Take-Off[ Occupy Wall Street].’ Our job is to win over the hearts and minds of the American people.”

    As Bill Moyer puts it, “The movement must consciously undergo a transformation from spontaneous protest, operating in a short-term crisis, to a long-term popular struggle to achieve positive social change. It needs to win over … an increasingly larger majority of the populace and involve many of them in the process of opposition and change … The majority stage is a long process of eroding the social, political, and economic supports that enable the powerholders to continue their policies. It is a slow process of social transformation that creates a new social and political consensus, reversing those of normal times.”

    In a follow-on Popular Resistance article, the authors expanded on the majority stage:

    Our goal is to build a mass movement, which has the support of super-majorities of Americans and has mobilized up to 3.5% of the population. Therefore, the target of our protests is not the government or a corporation, the target is the people, to educate and mobilize them. … The foundation of the current phase is massive public education and building support in all segments of the population for the values of the movement. This is done through grassroots organizing in the local community. People will gain a greater understanding of how the problems of the present system affects them; how the present system violates their values and principles; and how it is in their own self-interest to do something about it.

    The PR article continues on with examples of how this mass mobilization has recently manifested itself as citizen action.

    Another manifestation of Stage 6, or Majority Public Support, comes from a recent article by Paul Krugman, The War Over Poverty. In his article, Krugman points out the fear on the right and the new found courage on the left, “Fifty years have passed since Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. And a funny thing happened on the way to this anniversary. Suddenly, or so it seems, progressives have stopped apologizing for their efforts on behalf of the poor, and have started trumpeting them instead. And conservatives find themselves on the defensive.”

    Krugman goes on to review the old right-wing neoliberal lies for why the war on poverty has failed and then points out that right-wing authoritarian lies are changing, changing because fewer of the 99% believe the old lies as they fall closer to, or into, poverty. Krugman explains this countervailing force of increasing inequality on the success of the War on Poverty this way:

    … if progress against poverty has nonetheless been disappointingly slow — which it has — blame rests not with the poor but with a changing labor market, one that no longer offers good wages to ordinary workers. Wages used to rise along with worker productivity, but that linkage ended around 1980. The bottom third of the American work force has seen little or no rise in inflation-adjusted wages since the early 1970s; the bottom third of male workers has experienced a sharp wage decline. This wage stagnation, not social decay, is the reason poverty has proved so hard to eradicate.

    Or to put it a different way, the problem of poverty has become part of the broader problem of rising income inequality, of an economy in which all the fruits of growth seem to go to a small elite[The ONE%], leaving everyone else [The 99%] behind.

    Krugman concludes with:

    You can see the new political dynamics at work in the fight over aid to the unemployed. Republicans are still opposed to extended benefits, despite high long-term unemployment. But they have, revealingly, changed their arguments. Suddenly, it’s not about forcing those lazy bums to find jobs; it’s about fiscal responsibility. And nobody believes a word of it.

    Meanwhile, progressives are on offense. They have decided that inequality is a winning political issue. They see war-on-poverty programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and the earned-income tax credit as success stories, initiatives that have helped Americans in need — especially during the slump since 2007 — and should be expanded. And if these programs enroll a growing number of Americans, rather than being narrowly targeted on the poor, so what?

    So guess what: On its 50th birthday, the war on poverty no longer looks like a failure. It looks, instead, like a template for a rising, increasingly confident progressive movement.

    Broad and deep consensus over the issues” enables social change. This consensus is growing as inequality/poverty expands in both impact and realization. The right-wing authoritarians realize the recognition of inequality is spreading and they have resorted to a new set of lies to try to maintain inequality while the left has started pushing for improvements in the tools for fighting inequality and reducing poverty.

    As inequality grows, social change is inevitable.

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    Maximizing Profit Morfs The Fourth Estate Into Stooge for Hire.

    For some time, I have been promoting the use of profit-free media for news. There is a long list of such sources in the sidebar of this blog which I update frequently. As I experienced recently, Twitter was the major and almost exclusive source on news of the #MillionMaskMarch organized by Anonymous.

    Remember, remember, the fifth of November.

    I’m promoting these other sources because today’s major news media are only about maximizing profit. If the moral responsibility of our ‘free press’ is to check and balance our government, then the profit motive has subverted their responsibility significantly. Sometimes, this subversion turns ‘The Fourth Estate’ into a stooges for hire.

    While the free press has refused to do their job, individuals, at great personal risk, have taken action. They have taken on the presses’ moral responsibility of checking and balancing the government and exposing the actions taken by the government on behalf of their corporate/ONE% owners.

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    Contested Concepts – The “O” Word

    The following quote is from a blog posting by Marc Farinella :

    “Two final points from Lakoff; here’s the first: Don’t be fooled by contested concepts,which are abstract ideals such as fairness, justice, caring, equality, and liberty that appear to have generally agreed upon definitions but which actually mean completely different things to different people, depending upon their moral/political worldview … that is, depending upon whether they have a strict or nurturant interpretation of the concept. For example, for liberals (who value caring for fellow citizens), “fairness” may mean that the rich should be required to help provide for those less fortunate, a position that requires redistribution of wealth through government intervention. For conservatives (who value liberty to pursue self-interests), “fairness” may mean that everyone should be allowed to keep what they earn through their own efforts, a position that implies government non-interference except to protect property rights.”

    Let me add to that.

    “Obamacare” to conservatives, and their value of “liberty to pursue self-interests” and ‘pro-life’ stance, is a threat through government takeover of health care and death panels for grandma. Both are lies, but that’s what they have been told by their authority figures. For progressives, “who value caring for fellow citizens,” the ACA ( I would have named it Health Care Freedom Act.) is the first step to Medicare for all citizens.

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    We Are All Born Equal — Just Not With Equal Opportunity

    Progressives claiming that right-wing authoritarians are irrational is like right-wing authoritarians claiming minorities are mentally inferior to whites. They both ignore basic biology. The human brain works the exact same away in every human without physical brain damage. This is well established by research over recent decades. So, these dehumanizing statements are just wrong.

    Research shows that the various differences between individuals or groups of like-minded individuals are due to the ‘programming’ of the individual brains. This programming varies as each individual lives their lives and each life is greatly affected by circumstances beyond one’s control – until we leave the ‘nest’ and gain some control.

    We do not chose our birthday (day, month, year, century, millennium etc.). We do not chose where we are born (field, house, hospital, neighborhood, city, state, country, world, universe, etc.). We do not chose our parents ( nurturant or strict-father; poor, middle class, or rich; drop out, high school grad, BS, MS, or PhD). We do not chose our siblings (none, older, younger, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). We do not chose our other relatives just as our parents had no choice. We do not chose our parents friends. We do not chose our K-12 schools, teachers, or religious leaders. Yet all these external factors greatly influence what we each became and how successfull we are.

    If David Koch and I had been switched at birth, I’d at least be richer and he’d be poorer and worried about income inequality.

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