Tracking the Growth of American Authoritarianism

Income Inequality Worse Than 1928
The past year has been good to the Forbes 400, $800,000 more.
After WW II, we had a powerful middle class, then Reaganomics started their demise.


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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Why Do The ONE% Keep Getting Richer?

An updated report on growing income inequality between America’s profit makers and profit takers shows the growth of income for the profit takers – the top ONE%, who are making at least $394,000/year for 2012. The table below shows how much of the nation’s income went to the top ONE% during economic recoveries.

  • 1973 Low - 7.7%
  • Clinton Expansion - 45.0%
  • Bush II Expansion - 65.0%
  • Recession Recovery - 95.0%

Many factors contributed to this income shift and I discuss those in other postings. Here is a partial list:

  • Excessive corporate and wealthy individual tax cuts since the 1980s
  • Wage theft as savings from productivity increases by millions of profit makers were transferred to hundreds of profit takers who stashed the cash in banks instead of paying the profit makers their due
  • Increased profit maker debt by borrowing their stolen wages from the banks stuffed by the profit takers
  • Increasing the number of profit makers in the work force by adding women to help make up for the loss in stolen wages
  • Competition from overseas as countries recover from destruction of WW II
  • Removing the regulations put in place after the last profit taker excesses
  • Recessions instigated by the profit takers to increase their opportunities for corporate welfare and takeover of public functions (privatization) for profit
  • Replacing representative governance with corporate governance (The Powell Memo of 1971 and Citizens United decision of 2010)
  • Changing corporate bankruptcy and labor relations laws to let corporations steal pension funds and break private unions
  • Bankrupting public infrastructure through tax breaks for corporations to kill public unions, their pensions, and funding of public schools
  • Acceptance of the Ayn Randian world view which emphasises greed and rugged individualism over the equal protection and empowerment of all citizens
  • Tax laws that favor investment income over earned income

One thing that will help reverse this trend is participating in the democratic process – vote the ONE% and their bedfellows out. We can also reverse all the legislation that favors the ONE%, replacing corporations run by profit takers with cooperatives run by profit makers, and overturn the Citizens United decision.

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Unions Must Lead The Fight Against Climate Disruption

Demand freedom from Climate disruption – increased weather extremes and human costs resulting from significant, unseen, and rampant releases of greenhouse gasses.

Naomi Klein spoke to the members of UNIFOR, a new mega union created by the Canadian Autoworkers and the Canadian Energy and Paper Workers Union, on September 1, 2013.

Here are excerpts from her statement:

“It’s not even enough when you can mobilize millions of people in the streets to shout “We won’t pay for your crisis.” Because let’s face it – we’ve seen massive mobilizations against austerity in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Britain. We’ve occupied Wall Street and Bay Street and countless other streets. And yet the attacks keep coming.

” … We need to figure out together how to build sturdy new collective structures in the rubble of neoliberalism. …

“We can’t just reject the dominant story about how the world works. We need our own story about what it could be.

“We can’t just reject their lies. We need truths so powerful that their lies dissolve on contact with them. We can’t just reject their project. We need our own project.

“The case I want to make to you is that climate change – when its full economic and moral implications are understood — is the most powerful weapon progressives have ever had in the fight for equality and social justice.

” … This is a green labour revolution I’m talking about. An epic vision of healing our country from the ravages of the last 30 years of neoliberalism and healing the planet in the process.

“Environmentalists can’t lead that kind of revolution on their own. No political party is rising to the challenge. We need you to lead.

“The battle lines have never been clearer. Climate change is the argument that must trump all others in the battle against corporate free trade. I mean, sorry guys, but the health of our communities and our planet is just a little more important than your god-given right to obscene profits.”

If you’re a union member, share this information with your representatives. If you are not a union member, become a climate patriot like Tim DeChristopher and fight climate disruption where you can.

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Who’s in Control and Who Helped Put Them There?

John Dean referred to them as Conservatives Without Conscience in his 2007 book by that title. (There was no Tea Party in 2007.) Robert Altemeyer, a key contributor to Dean’s book, refers to them as right-wing authoritarians (RWA):

  • Social/religious RWAs are mostly followers and are mostly members of, or identify with, the Tea Party
  • Neocons are extreme punishment RWA leaders who run pro-war think tanks
  • “Double high” RWAs are psychopathic super leaders – jury, judge and executioner – like Cheney and most corporate CxOs, and all are plutocrats.

Most followers depend on Fox News and hate radio for reinforcing their right-wing world view, and few even elect a small number of RWA Democrat followers. All RWA leaders are either elected officials from the Republican Party or work for Fox News, conservative think tanks or hate radio – along with some Libertarians.

RWAs represent only 20 to 25% of the populace, but they control most state governments and our federal government. A fearful RWA minority of followers, who always vote Republican, elected this RWA minority leadership that has brought our democracy to the brink of total destruction.

Equally troubling is a larger group of citizens, who have been tricked into thinking shopping is more important than voting or participating in any way in our politics. This group’s lack of participation has made it easy for the politically active RWA minority to take control.

In Comment on the Tea Party Professor Robert Altemeyer puts it this way:

… Most Americans do not like radicals of any stripe, they want gifted people running the government, and they will turn on liars once they discover the lies. Thus Sarah Palin hurt the GOP ticket in 2008. But in the short run, meaning this year of 2010, I see a great danger. The rock-solid Republican base has been recharged and augmented. It will bust a gut to send as many radical social/economic conservatives to Congress as possible. While the Tea Party movement is opposed by a significant part of the population, the rest of the electorate is up for grabs. And not many people understand who is controlling the Tea Party movement, who is in it, and what they will do if they come to power. Significantly more Republicans than anyone else tell pollsters now that they are certain to vote in November. And although Democrats appreciably outnumber Republicans in the country, more people say they plan to vote for a Republican candidate than a Democrat. Combining the zeal of the Republican grass-roots with a slowly recovering economy, a less-than-popular president, and the sentiment that “Whoever‟s in/running Congress now should be thrown out on his ass,” I predict the Republicans will score a great victory in November[, 2010].

Unless. Unless the least authoritarian part of the American population out-organizes, out-hustles, out-reaches, out-recruits, out-communicates, and out-delivers the votes drummed up by the most authoritarian part. They did exactly that in 2008, and achieved unimagined victories. So it can be done, by patiently and sensibly explaining to moderate, independent, “middle” voters exactly who got us into this mess, and who has done nothing to get us out of it except constantly say “no”—like someone who stands on the hose when you‟re trying to put out a fire. And if the Tea Partiers succeed in getting more and more extremists running on the Republican ticket, that should open huge differences between the Democratic candidates and them. That can produce victory after victory—thanks to the Tea Partiers.

But alternately, the least authoritarian folks can find a dozen reasons to do little or nothing, and then the authoritarians will win.

Unless more non-participating, non-RWAs get out and participate, the election in 2014 will at least maintain RWA control.

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America’s Two Party System – The Good, Bad, and The Really Ugly

First of all, a short summary of The Lucifer Effect. It explains how events like Mi Lai, Abu Ghraib, and The Stanford Prison Experiment turned good people evil.

Part of this explanation involves “bad barrels.” A bad barrel is an environment in which a person lives or works which negatively alters how that person completes assigned tasks. Anyone living in a bad barrel is highly susceptible to performing evil acts that they would otherwise never consider. Individuals who are known as ‘good’ outside the bad barrel learn to commit acts that they would never consider outside of the bad barrel.

The prison at Abu Ghraib was one such bad barrel. Professor Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect, inadvertently created a bad barrel, a mock prison, in a basement at Stanford University. The war environment, or maybe even a war mentality, can create a bad barrel. I have posted that listening to Fox Noise and hate radio in isolation also creates a bad barrel.

Building bad barrels of significance takes a lot of resources, and “Koch Kash” from multinational corporations and individual billionaires are key resources, especially since the publication of The Powell Memo and the Supreme Court’s activist Citizens United decision.

Our national politics now include at least two major bad barrels. One of those barrels is encircled by The Beltway around Washington, D.C. which contains over 20 corporate lobbyists for every Congressional representative. The other is The White House. Civil servants, spanning decades of influence, have also helped bring us to where we are today. The predominant political influence inside those barrels is right-wing authoritarianism.

These right-wing authoritarian bad barrels, with all the lobbyists, civil servants, and Koch Kash, will corrupt almost every politician sent to Washington, D.C., regardless of party affiliation.

Those two bad barrels have taken decades to create and that transition is how we’ve gone from good, to bad, to ugly. And getting back to ‘good’ may require getting from ‘ugly’ back to ‘bad’ first.

Here are the definitions of the good, bad and ugly in terms for our two-party system and authoritarianism:

Good – From the passage of Social Security in 1935 to passage of The Clean Air and Clean Water acts of the early 1970s, we maximized the protection and empowerment of citizens. This period included more liberal to moderate perspectives in both parties and a populous that had suffered a depression and multiple wars together giving them a sense of community and caring for others.

Bad – The Powell Memo of 1971, which kicked off this era, was the formal declaration of corporate war on American democracy. It was the beginning of the end of our citizen-driven government. This period began the purge of liberals from both parties and the takeover of the Republican party by the authoritarian religious right.

Ugly – This era signifies almost absolute control by a right-wing authoritarian minority, funded heavily by right-wing corporate America and right-wing billionaires. Almost all Republicans and a few Democrats represent this minority. In the Senate, they represent a minority of small populated states with right-wing voters. In the House, the Tea Party represents the major portion of this minority. Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Senator Bill Frist gave rise to this era in the mid 90s.

We made a lot of progress after the Great Depression, but during the ugly years we lost so much and we suffered the Great Recession. To get back to the good years, we must both redefine American capitalism to promote sustainability and democracy, and educate and involve more citizens, especially minorities, in the political process to destroy the bad barrels in D.C. and rid us of the, white, right-wing authoritarian, minority. This minority is currently tearing down our system of representative governance and replacing it with one of corporate governance run by the ONE% with Koch Kash, all to prove they are right and punish the rest of us.

The July 25, 2013, email newsletter from Popular Resistance put it this way:

A simplified explanation of the strategy to transform our society from a greedy plutocracy to a cooperative democracy, from our destructive path to a sustainable future, is that there are two simultaneous tracks – protest [including voting] what we do not like and build what we want. We call this “Stop the Machine-Create a New World.”

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Corporate ‘Takers’ of America

As states give to and take from national citizenship dues coffers, some get back more than they give, and Red states are the biggest net takers. That leads me to another comparison, but one looking at large multinational corporations, and a question for which I don’t really know the answer. What is the net income/loss for the nation, or states for that matter, as corporations give and take, especially, if you go beyond what they might pay in citizenship dues and include transfer costs related to pollution, its impact on our health, and poorly paid employees with no benefits. How many large multinational corporations would be defined as ‘net takers?’ Just the dirty energy industries like Koch Industries? Just fast food? Just Wall Mart? Just high-tech? Just international banks? Just hedge fund managers? Just brokerages? Or all of these and many more?

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ALEC Was Inspired by The Powel Memo of 1971 – Corporations Taking Control of Our Government

Depending on your media sources, you may have seen the news about the 40 year anniversary of ALEC – American Legislative Exchange Council. Well, ALEC and other conservative, pro-corporate governance of America, organizations were inspired by a document published 42 years ago. On August 23, 1971, attorney, and future Supreme Court Justice, Lewis F. Powell Jr, drafted a confidential memorandum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that is now know as The Powell Memo. It “describes a strategy for the corporate takeover of the dominant public institutions of American society.”

Two years ago, on the 40th anniversary of The Powell Memo, Greenpeace posted a story about it:

“Historian Kim Phillips-Fein describes how “many who read the memo cited it afterward as inspiration for their political choices.” In fact, Powell’s Memo is widely credited for having helped catalyze a newbusiness activist movement, with numerous conservative family and corporate foundations (e.g. Coors, Olin, Bradley, Scaife, Koch and others) thereafter creating and sustaining powerful new voices to help push the corporate agenda, including the Business Roundtable (1972), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC – 1973), Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1977), the Manhattan Institute (1978), Citizens for a Sound Economy (1984 – now Americans for Prosperity), Accuracy in Academe (1985), and others.”

What are we willing to pay for unlimited free enterprise – the loss of our representative government?

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Corporate Servitude IS Replacing Equal Protection and Empowerment by the Government

Listening to a right-wing caller on the Thom Hartmann show recently, reminded me of a key element from the right-wing authoritarian message machine. They make false claims about government, but the real problem is: massive corporate servitude. From any contract we sign that forces us into arbitration if we are harmed – arbitration that favors the corporation, to medical care costs set by the corporate “chargemaster,” to corporate commercials selling us things we don’t need, to corporate sponsored ALEC writing our state laws, to thousands of corporate lobbyists in our capital, to exorbitant corporate campaign donations, multinational corporations govern our lives. And they have the resources to sue anyone if anything impacts their profits.

“Excessive [corporate] intrusion” into all areas of our democracy is the major problem we are facing today. Corporate governance, which is only accountable to a few major stockholders, has replaced our representative governance, which is now only loosely accountable to its citizens. Remember the polls showing 90 percent of the public wanting limitations on guns sales and the 45 Senators that voted against that law? But no one’s talking about this problem because the right-wing authoritarians are pushing a false problem which they have manufactured and which supports their only reason for existence – to prove they are right.

Remember, you won’t find ‘protecting and empowering citizens’ in any corporate charter or by-laws. Protection and empowerment is the moral responsibility of nurturant parents and representative government.

Corporate governance diminishes our liberties and freedoms. Women are losing their liberty to choose – unless they can afford ‘safer’ for-profit facilities. Citizens are losing their right to vote unless they can pay a for-profit government contractor for a voter ID. Some of us still don’t have the freedom to walk our streets – just for the sake of maintaining gun manufacturer profits.

Corporate servitude IS replacing equal protection and empowerment of citizens by its representative government – except for the ONE%, who can afford their own protection and empowerment. One day, corporations will be selling our children to the wealthiest bidder.

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What’s Really Best for an ‘Unwanted’?

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” — Thomas Jefferson

Just as it is the moral responsibility of nurturant parents to protect and empower each child equally, so it is the moral responsibility of a people’s government (of, for and by) to equally protect and empower each citizen. The children, as they mature, and later, as they become citizens, should benefit significantly from a balanced implementation of this moral responsibility. I say “should” because multiple variables affect the actualization of this responsibility and the well-being of children and citizens.

One variable is caring. The benefits of actualizing this moral responsibility are maximized when parents and/or governments care deeply for all those for whom they are responsible. Funding/income/revenue is another variable, but caring is more significant than funding, and most other factors. Caring has life long psychological impacts. Funding is fleeting and just one of many useful tools in life’s tool box.

So, to maximize the benefits of the moral responsibility to equally protect and empower our children and citizens, maximize caring and make sure the funding is available as needed to compliment that caring. Or to minimize the benefits, eliminate the caring and withdraw the funding.

And isn’t the latter just what the Texas Legislature and No Care Perry are doing to millions of Texan women? But what should one expect from right-wing authoritarians who only care about themselves and are making sure they secure all the funding. They cut school funding and enabled transfer of some of the available funding to for-profit corporations. They rejected Medicaid funding, among other hateful acts, and now they want to force women to give birth to children in this state where minimal caring is a primary government goal.

And just how will forcing the delivery of an ‘unwanted’ alter the strong and natural tendency of women to care for a child – especially one from a pregnancy complicated by horrendous situations like rape or incest?

Is it really morally right to bring an ‘unwanted,’ especially one created from abuse, into such an uncaring world?

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” — Thomas Jefferson

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Shelby County v Holder Ruling – Keeping Texas Red

Here’s another message I’ve sent to the Supreme Court:

On behalf of the Texas Republican Party, thank you.

With our contested voter ID law and formerly illegal district maps being implemented, the Battleground Texas effort will have an even more challenging time of turning Texas blue.

Thanks for delaying the inevitable and keeping Republicans in control of Texas for some unknown number of additional years. Thanks for assuring that future presidents of the United States are less likely to be Democrats and, in turn, for making sure you are joined by future justices of like partisanship.

Shame on the Robert’s right-wing, authoritarian, activist members – “The Hateful Four.” You’ve overthrown decades of still valid court precedence based on gut feel instead of discriminatory laws passed by Texas and other ALEC controlled state legislatures.

Things have changed “dramatically” since the Civil Rights Act. We have ALEC. We have billionaires like the Koch Brothers buying our government. We have a Supreme Court that has voted in favor of the US Chamber of Congress more often than not. We have hate radio. We have partisan entertainment referred to as news. We have banks to big to prosecute. We have more and more wealth concentrated with those of excessive wealth. We have a Congress that is controlled by a minority, extreme right-wing caucus. We have fewer union members. We have negative wage growth for average Americans. We have millions more without health insurance. We’ve had a Great Recession and we have a Supreme Court that is aiding this destruction of our democracy .

If you agree, make a donation to Battleground Texas.

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Supporters of DOMA, Prop 8, and Texas Special Session SB 5 – How Their Authoritarian World View Can Predict Their Actions

While driving home from lunch today and listening to the discussion on NPR’s ‘Talk of the Nation’, the strong unreasonable comments of a caller disturbed me.

This caller was stating that overruling California’s Proposition 8 was not right. Prop 8 was the will of the voters of California and as such was the law of California voters. The courts had no authority to overrule people’s desires. What the people wanted was what was right.

There was no reasoning with this caller about the legal process of determining if a law was constitutional or not. For him it was all about the will of the people, as if they were always right.

In the battles against DOMA, Prop 8, Texas 2013 Special Session SB 5 and others to come, we need to understand why this caller, and millions of others like him, including Perry, Dewhurst, Taylor, and Dan Patrick, don’t see these issues the way progressives do.

Throughout my blog, I refer to these individuals as right-wing authoritarians (RWA) or conservatives without conscience as John Dean calls them. The key word is authoritarian. These authoritarians come from what Professor George Lakoff calls the strict-father family model. There is a dominant male figure who rules this family and who uses severe punishment to teach respect for authority and to teach what is right. This family model includes a subordinate female who does as directed by the authoritarian male.

The male authoritarian places high value on his sense of what is right. His gut tells him he is right. His authority cannot be questioned and if it is, he will mete out the appropriate level of physical punishment to correct the situation.

In the case of the RWA who called supporting Prop 8, his gut told him he was right about that support and it’s authority/constitutionality could not be questioned. How dare the US Supreme Court, or any other court, question what he ‘knows’ is right. These courts are wrong and deserve some level of punishment. How he and others like him will vent their anger, who knows? They will certainly use their anger to GOTV.

Now apply this to what happened in Austin with SB 5 on June 25th. There are a lot of upset Texans, grown as RWAs who strongly desire to teach the orange shirted mob what is right by applying an appropriate punishment.

With that it mind, I predict our state leaders will come back in the second special session with a more evil SB 5 to punish women even more deeply, and they will line the walls of the visitors’ gallery and halls of the capital with as many state troopers and other law enforcement as they can muster to keep the “unruly” orange shirts under control.

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