Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Best Psychotic Right-Wing Quotes from 2009: House Version

My favorite is by Michele Bachmann:

What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing [health care]...We are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom. And we may never be able to restore it if we don't man up.

So...what are you waiting for, Michele?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hurrah for Tom Tomorrow!

(Click to Enlarge)

Who Gives a Damn What Gingrich Thinks?

Evidently, Meet the Press does.

The question is: why??

They Will Lie About Absolutely ANYTHING

Republican hack and propagandist Mary Matalin now is claiming that the 9/11 attacks occurred under Bill Clinton. She also tells a ludicrous falsehood about the economy under Bush.

But then again, Matalin did work for Cheney, so she's used to lying through her teeth as naturally as breathing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Michele Bachmann: Marxist Hater of Freedom!!!

The typical story of right-wing hypocrisy can be found here. Excerpt:


But data compiled from federal records by Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks the recipients of agricultural subsidies in the United States, shows that Bachmann has an inner Marxist that is perfectly at ease with profiting from taxpayer largesse. According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system. If American farms such as hers were forced to compete in the global free market, they would collapse.

Are you really surprised?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Comic Book from Hell

(Click to Enlarge)



(HT: Bartblog on Bartcop)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finally, An Explanation!

(Click to Enlarge)



(From Cracked.com)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yes! A Million Times Over, Yes!

Know Your Enemies: The Koch Brothers

Two right wing billionaires who are helping to bankroll the Radical Right's opposition to the our agenda. Excerpts:

Billionaires David and Charles Koch have been financial leaders in opposing anything that resembles a progressive agenda for years. They have been looming in the background of every major domestic policy dispute this year, and may be the most effective opponents of President Obama's policies. For example, as health care reform protesters descended upon Washington last month, few were aware, as they were greeted with dough nuts and coffee, and handed protest signs and talking points about socialized medicine, that a right-wing billionaire had paid for the meals, buses, or salaries of the helpful guides...

Koch’s hidden presence in the health care debate illustrates the extent to which the right-wing is creating, and then hiding behind, a grassroots fervor of middle-class opponents of health reform.

The AFP, founded in 1984 by David and managed day to day by the astroturf lobbyist Tim Phillips, has spent much of the year mobilizing "tea party" opposition to health reform, clean energy legislation, and financial regulations. According to an article written by a compilation of authors for Think Progress, over the years, millions of dollars in Koch money has flowed to various right-wing think tanks, front groups, and publications. At the dawn of the Obama presidency, Koch groups quickly maneuvered to try to stop his first piece of signature legislation: the stimulus. The Koch-funded group "No Stimulus" launched television and radio ads deriding the recovery package as simply "pork" spending...

Much of the fierce opposition to health reform can be credited to Koch organizations. As the health care debate began, AFP created a front group, known as Patients United, that dedicated itself to attacking Democratic health care reform proposals. The Koch brothers clearly have a financial stake in blocking reform. Koch Industry oil refineries are major carbon dioxide polluters, and George-Pacific, a Koch Industries timber subsidiary, is one of the largest contributors to the loss of carbon-sink capacity.

According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the U.S. and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. So there are clear economic interests in why the Koch brothers would want to block regulatory enforcement, clean energy, labor, and other reforms. But part of their opposition stems from a long family tradition of funding conservative movements to shift the country to the far right.

Yes, the conservative slogan is still the same, year after year:

"I've got mine, screw you."

Michael Lind NAILS It!

A letter from "your" Congressman to you.

Sucker.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paul Krugman Again Tells the Truth--The Conservatives Lie Constantly About the Meltdown

He lays it out straight and true right here. Excerpt:

Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It’s a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It’s a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.

Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.

In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” As Democrats have pointed out, three days before the House vote on banking reform Republican leaders met with more than 100 financial-industry lobbyists to coordinate strategies. But it also reflects the extent to which the modern Republican Party is committed to a bankrupt ideology, one that won’t let it face up to the reality of what happened to the U.S. economy.

Read the whole thing. It's worth it.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

On Foreign Policy, McCain Isn't an "Expert"--He's an Idiot

Take a look at the details here. And let me emphasize the central quote from the posting, from Frank Rich back in September:

To appreciate this crowd's [The Neocon War Fanatics] spotless record of failure, consider its noisiest standard-bearer, John McCain. He made every wrong judgment call that could be made after 9/11. It's not just that he echoed the Bush administration's constant innuendos that Iraq collaborated with Al Qaeda's attack on America. Or that he hyped the faulty W.M.D. evidence to the hysterical extreme of fingering Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. Or that he promised we would win the Iraq war "easily." Or that he predicted that the Sunnis and the Shiites would "probably get along" in post-Saddam Iraq because there was "not a history of clashes" between them.

What's more mortifying still is that McCain was just as wrong about Afghanistan and Pakistan. He routinely minimized or dismissed the growing threats in both countries over the past six years, lest they draw American resources away from his pet crusade in Iraq.

Two years after 9/11 he was claiming that we could "in the long term" somehow "muddle through" in Afghanistan. (He now has the chutzpah to accuse President Obama of wanting to "muddle through" there.) Even after the insurgency accelerated in Afghanistan in 2005, McCain was still bragging about the "remarkable success" of that prematurely abandoned war. In 2007, some 15 months after the Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf signed a phony "truce" ceding territory on the Afghanistan border to terrorists, McCain gave Musharraf a thumb's up. As a presidential candidate in the summer of 2008, McCain cared so little about Afghanistan it didn't even merit a mention among the national security planks on his campaign Web site. He takes no responsibility for any of this. [...]

Along with his tribunes in Congress and the punditocracy, Wrong-Way McCain still presumes to give America its marching orders. With his Senate brethren in the Three Amigos, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, he took to The Wall Street Journal's op-ed page to assert that "we have no choice" but to go all-in on Afghanistan -- rightly or wrongly, presumably -- just as we had in Iraq. Why? "The U.S. walked away from Afghanistan once before, following the Soviet collapse," they wrote. "The result was 9/11. We must not make that mistake again."

This shameless argument assumes -- perhaps correctly -- that no one in this country remembers anything.

Neocon Amateur Krauthammer Upset That Obama Isn't More Enthusiastic About Killing Brown People

The gruesome details are here.

And I just HAVE to steal the illustration that goes with the article:

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Short Takes

*When on earth did Tiger Woods' personal problems become anyone else's business? Since when does he owe anyone an explanation for his private behavior? Why do so many people think they have the right to know intimate details of his life that are none of their concern? Celebrities are not our property; we don't own them, we don't have any right to know about their lives at home, and they owe us absolutely nothing. A lot of Americans can't seem to grasp these facts.

*And speaking of celebrities, anyone who obsesses about the weight, clothing, hairstyles, or dating lives of famous people is fit for little else intellectually than reading Us and People magazines. People who are morbidly interested in such things are wasting their lives and their minds, in my humble opinion. Then again, these people may have such humdrum and ordinary lives that they must lose themselves in the lives of others. That's even sadder.

*John McCain has been on the major Sunday talk shows repeatedly since he lost the 2008 election by 9.5 million votes and an electoral vote of 365-173. Why? He has proposed no major legislation, he isn't part of the Republican Senate leadership, and his responses to almost any question are tiresomely predictable. Why is he given a platform so often?

*For that matter, as I have said, who really gives a damn what a pathetic, know-nothing amateur like Charles Krauthammer thinks about foreign policy? That the brilliant and insightful Juan Cole, who actually speaks four different Middle Eastern/South Asian languages and is deeply knowledgeable about the Middle East, is heard far less often than a neocon fanatic like Krauthammer, is a damning indictment of our so-called "mainstream" media.

*Salon employs both the brilliant and invaluable Glenn Greenwald and the wretched, demented Camille Paglia. What kind of corporate thinking is reflected in this? I won't be giving a cent to Salon as long as they give Paglia an outlet for her Limbaugh worship, her Obama bashing, and her non-stop lies and distortions. Period.

*If I believed in karma, I would consider it karmic justice that the horrible, pathologically selfish Ayn Rand died of lung cancer because she refused to believe government-issued warnings about the danger of smoking. Gee, what a shame.

*Those who believe in the "Magic of the Free Market" should check out the story of how George Steinbrenner, perhaps the richest owner in all of sports, got the city of New York's taxpayers to finance his grotesque new stadium. Look at it here. Again, for the hundredth time: there is no free market in America. There is a rigged market in which the rich and powerful manipulate the law to benefit themselves. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to get their head out of the Dreamworld.

*President Obama said withdrawal from Afghanistan would start in July 2011 contingent on conditions on the ground at that time. The Right Wing Eternal War Machine has ignored that part and is saying that the President is "comforting" our enemies by "setting a deadline". Are the people who hurl this filth simply: A. Inattentive B. Insanely hostile to anything Barack Obama proposes C. Stupid D. Some gruesome combination of all of the above?

*For all you Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic who don't feel like voting in 2010, remember this: if you don't vote, you're handing America back to the people who wave signs with swastikas and Barack Obama's picture on them. You're handing America to the Sarah Palin fan club. You're handing our nation over to religious fanatics who hate everything our Constitution stands for and who consider you a class of anti-American subhumans. You're turning America over to the sickest, most malicious political opposition I have seen in my entire lifetime. Can you really live with that? Remember: the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. President Obama isn't perfect by a long shot, but ask yourself this: which America do you want--Barack Obama's or Glenn Beck's?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Don't Hate Christmas, I Hate "Christmas Time"

It started in mid-October, a couple of weeks before Halloween: retailers in our neck of the woods started putting up "cheery" wreaths with red bows, accompanied by bells, and Santas. And my heart sank, and an involuntary scowl came across my face: it had started already--one of my least favorite times of year--Christmas Time.

Well I've had it with this. I don't hate Christmas, but by God I've had it up to here with Christmas time.

Allow me to explain.

No one really knows the true birth date of Yeshua ben-Yosef, and the date of 25 December didn't really get chosen as Jesus's birthday until the 4th century AD. Its selection was done (according to some researchers) to supersede the pagan solstice celebrations and perhaps to co-opt the commemoration of Mithra's birthday. But for whatever reason, the date of 25 December was chosen by Christians to mark Jesus's birth, and although it is almost certainly not the true date, it is the one on which they have settled. Therefore, 25 December is a sacred date on the Christian religious calendar.

Yes, the Christian calendar.

I am not a Christian; my wife is a very devout one. But we do share a similar dismay at the ugly, grasping, vulgar, greed driven flood of advertising that washes over us this time of year. Speaking for myself, I have come to hate Christmas retail commercials, with their happy little jingles and the spokespeople merrily suggesting you buy this power tool or that car or this perfume or these clothes. A sacred religious holiday has been taken over by hucksters and grifters who don't give a damn about Christmas's religious significance; they just want your money, and as much of it as they can persuade you to squander. It has become downright offensive to me, as if grasping hands were reaching out of the TV to get me to max out my VISA for the sake of their monetary gain, and to hell with anything else. (It's a great reason to shut off the television, I'll say that.)

Similarly, I hate secular "Christmas" music burbling out at me in every retail store. I don't mind religious Christmas music, because it is, for the most part, quite beautiful, but I am sick to death of tacky, ugly, banal "holiday" music like Jingle Bell Rock and Here Comes Santa Claus. After a half century of being bombarded with this crap, it has become a sort of audio torment. Enough, already!

For most adults, especially in economically tough times like this, Christmas is one of the toughest, most stressful times of the year, when already hard-pressed household budgets are strained even more. The bulk of this burden seems to fall on women, who have been made to feel guilty by countless magazine articles and TV shows if they don't provide their families with the "perfect" Christmas. Time and tempers grow short, and the effort to be "happy" and "merry" often simply results in misery.

During this "holiday season" people are forced to fight their way through crowds of other tired, stressed-out shoppers, spending money they don't have on things they wish they didn't have to buy. And are you trying to eat sensibly? Are you kidding? During this "traditional" orgy of junk food and overeating? The hangover in January is therefore twofold: credit card bills and extra pounds, part of what makes the post-Christmas period so dismal.

Is this what Christmas really should be about?

Some friendly suggestions:

1. Christmas presents should be for children only, tapering off gradually over the years until a person reaches adulthood. Yes, for young children, Christmas is magical. When my first granddaughter was 4, she saw that the cookies and milk she had left out for Santa had been consumed, along with the carrots for the reindeer, and, wide-eyed, she saw the big bunch of presents Santa had left by the tree. Seeing her astonished, joyful face was one of the high points of my life, an amazing moment, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. But as the years go on, and belief in Santa evaporates, Christmas simply becomes a time to accumulate a "haul" of gifts, and older children often become somewhat jaded by the whole thing. And while spouses might want to exchange small, symbolic presents, it seems wasteful (and strange) to me to indulge in spending money to express one's love. In my view, adults would use their money more wisely giving it to:

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

UNICEF

Your local food bank

The U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Foundation

or any other worthy charity you can think of. Help your church or your community organization organize food baskets for the poor. And warm clothing and toys for poor families with children strike me as being much more in the spirit of Christmas than buying a Lexus.

2. Start letting retail stores know that you're getting tired of seeing Christmas displays in mid-October.

3. Start letting advertisers know that their obnoxious "holiday" commercials are driving you away from them.

4. Stop trying to have a "perfect" Christmas that makes you exhausted and miserable, and rather enjoy a "less than perfect" celebration with family and friends. Martha Stewart and her ilk have tried to tell you that if your holiday decorating and food aren't "perfect", then you've failed. Screw that nonsense.

5. Remember that a lot of Christians are becoming increasingly appalled by the commercialized orgy that surrounds Christmas. While I don't subscribe to the idiotic "War on Christmas" garbage that Fox "News" puts out, it might not hurt to be sensitive to those for whom this holiday has deep meaning. (For the record, my beloved sister is a retired Methodist minister who is still close to her heathen, apostate brother, and my wife celebrates Christmas with great reverence.)

I remember a time when I still believed. It was Christmas Eve service, one that had started with the inspiring, chill-giving Angels We Have Heard on High, led by our choir as they walked in procession down the aisle. The service was punctuated by the beautiful Gospel story from Luke and countless sacred hymns, and ended with each person lighting candles in our darkened church while the congregation sang Silent Night. The feeling of closeness and kinship and love for all people I felt at that moment was overwhelming. That service struck me as more meaningful than any useless Christmas party or unneeded gift ever could be.

I no longer embrace faith, but I still embrace Christmas as a symbol of charity and remembrance of our fellow humans. I'd like to see Christmas time once again be something sacred and special, instead of a significant period of GDP growth. I still love Christmas.

Now if only we could get rid of "Christmas Time"!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"This is the most exasperatingly stupid woman on the planet."

So vents John Cole, and he is exactly correct. His target is Palin, the lying village idiot. Read her borderline demented attempt to explain Ronald Reagan's foreign policy in regard to the Soviet Union. And then tell me that this knuckleheaded GRIFTER AND CON ARTIST is fit for any public office, much less the Presidency.

BTW, I love the last paragraph of Steve Benen's post on this matter:

I can think of plenty of politicians who are genuinely, unambiguously dumb. I've even met a few, and marveled at how they were able to attain any kind of political responsibilities, given their limited intellectual prowess. But I don't think I've ever seen a politician as conspicuously unintelligent as Sarah Palin gain national prominence. She represents the very worst American politics has to offer, and the embarrassment she brings to the political system is severe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Psychotic Right Wants to See President Obama MURDERED

Can there be any doubt?

Sarah Palin as a Fundamentalist, Theocratic Eva Peron

Frank Schaeffer has the goods here. Palin is, without doubt, the most dangerous politician in America today, the visible spearhead of the fascist, theocratic, lunatic Right, a cult that is determined to impose a Right-wing religious dictatorship on our country. Some interesting excerpts:

Here's a woman whose husband associated closely with the Alaska secessionist party, which itself associates with lunatic fringe secessionist groups and far right militias nationwide. Here's a woman who stabs John McCain in the back, the man who brought this small town mayor and one time Alaska Governor to national prominence. Here's a woman who quit the job of governor to become a full-time rabblerouser in the style of a Munich 1930s beer hall putsch.

And what's her backing? The Rupert Murdoch/Reconstructionist Empire, the marriage of hard right capitalism with harder right Old Testament would-be theocracy.

Without Fox News she'd be nothing. Without the 5 million Murdoch paid her for her book she'd be stuck scraping by on $100,000 speaking fees. Without the millions of evangelicals who are Fox News' audience Fox would not exist. And who ghosted the book for her?

Lynn Vincent, the features editor of World, a fundamentalist flagship magazine. Vincent also ghost wrote the memoir of Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the former head of the Army's Special Forces Command, who believes that his job in the U.S. military was to defeat Satan for the Christian nation of America.

The Radical Right is determined to make Palin--a demented, lying sociopath--president of the United States. We must be vigilant and guard our republic against this terrible possibility at all costs. If the Palinites ever seize power, it will mean the death of our nation--and the end of our children's future.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Bush Legacy: 1 in 6 Hungry in the U.S. in 2008

Another crisis caused by Bush's conservative policies. Excerpt:

The magnitude of the increase in food shortages -- and, in some cases, outright hunger -- identified in the report startled even the nation's leading anti-poverty advocates, who have grown accustomed to longer lines lately at food banks and soup kitchens. The findings also intensify pressure on the White House to fulfill a pledge to stamp out childhood hunger made by President Obama, who called the report "unsettling."

The data show that dependable access to adequate food has especially deteriorated among families with children. In 2008, nearly 17 million children, or 22.5 percent, lived in households in which food at times was scarce -- 4 million children more than the year before. And the number of youngsters who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million.

Among Americans of all ages, more than 16 percent -- or 49 million people -- sometimes ran short of nutritious food, compared with about 12 percent the year before. The deterioration in access to food during 2008 among both children and adults far eclipses that of any other single year in the report's history.

Shocking and disgraceful. Another "badge of honor" for the Radical Right.


Sorry for the Inactivity Lately

Been readin' and writin' a lot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On Veterans Day 2009

Thank you to all those who have served our nation in uniform. When the country needed you, you were there. Everyone owes you a debt of gratitude, and as President Lincoln said, our nation has an obligation to care for you and your families. For all you have done, God Bless You.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Greenwald on the Fort Hood Tragedy

As usual, Glenn Greenwald has an intelligent take on the reporting surrounding yesterday's terrible events at Fort Hood, Texas. Give it a read and tell me what you think.

I extend my condolences to all the family members of those who died.

I would also like to add:

1. That we don't know all the motivations of the murderer, but he appears to have been an Islamist fanatic.

2. The shooter's religion will be used by some as an excuse for an accelerated witch hunt against Muslims.

3. The Radical Right will tie this all to President Obama, somehow.

This is So Freaking Brilliant

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The 11/3 Project
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


By the way, what Democratic commentator is even in the same Universe of lying, unhinged, neo-P.T. Barnumesque lunacy as Glenn Beck?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Right Wing Fanatics Comparing President Obama's Health Proposals to TERRORISM

The whole filthy, disgusting story is here.

They have no shame. They have no morals. They have no sense of proportion. And they have ZERO respect for the victims of genuine terrorism. But after all, these Glenn Beck-style right-wing bastards routinely defecate all over Holocaust victims and those who died in the Gulag by comparing President Obama to Hitler and Stalin, so why should anyone expect them to honor the memory of those who died on 9/11?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lawrence O'Donnell DESTROYS Disgusting Fraud and Liar Liz Cheney

Lying Liz is actually CRITICIZING PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR HONORING RETURNING WAR DEAD in Dover, Delaware, something her WAR CRIMINAL FATHER NEVER DID. Watch O'Donnell's response:





I have nothing to add.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jon Stewart Explains How Fox "News" Works

About Roger Ailes, President of Fox "News"

Lieberman Blocking Health Care Reform Because He's Been BOUGHT OFF by the Insurance Industry

Lying, two-faced, snake-in-the-grass Joe Lieberman will join his fellow right-wingers in a filibuster against the desperately needed health care reform bill when it comes to the Senate floor. Lieberman, who campaigned for re-election in 2006 while promising to support health care reform, is doing everything he can to kill that which he specifically promised to promote. He is doing this at the behest of the insurance interests that have employed his wife and given to his campaigns. As Joe Conasan says:


Compared with [Susan]Bayh's lucre from Wellpoint and the other corporations whose boards she graces, the earnings of Hadassah Lieberman appear paltry. Yet even though she has retired, for now, from counseling the pharma and insurance industries, the devotion to public health she has long proclaimed is still tinged with hypocrisy. Upon leaving Hill & Knowlton, Hadassah joined Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer charity, as a paid "ambassador." Again, it isn't clear what she does besides posing for photo ops in places from Brazil to Israel, but as a Komen advocate she is supposed to be trying to prevent women from losing their lives.

So perhaps someone should point out to her what will happen if her husband kills healthcare reform this year. Millions of uninsured and underinsured women will continue to delay or simply fail to get preventive medical care, including mammography, because they cannot afford those procedures. Thousands of them will die as a direct result of that foregone care, just as thousands die each year from lack of insurance. The swiftest way to save those women from breast cancer is health insurance reform -- and the filibuster will be their death sentence.


And the Democrats let this son of a bitch keep his committee chairmanship after Lieberman campaigned for McCain and spoke at the Republican National Convention!! No wonder so many people think the Democrats are weak and gutless.

That's because so G-d damned many of them are.


UPDATE:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Joe Lieberman Is a True Independent
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorReligion

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

John Cole Reminds Us of What a REAL War on Press Freedom Was

It was the tactics the Bush Administration used to bully, intimidate, mislead, and manipulate the media. Cole's excellent examples:

Paying Armstrong Williams, Michael McManus, and Maggie Gallagher and others for favorable opinions about WH policies or to attack opponents of the WH.

-Planting Jeff Gannon to lob softball questions.

-Used reporters to out a CIA agent, then sat by and watched reporters go to jail to protect their sources.

-Fed reporters misinformation about WMD in Iraq, then used those reporters stories as corroborating evidence of the existence of WMD in Iraq.

-treated Helen Thomas like a leper.

-waged a coordinated campaign against NBC.

-kicked all the NY Times reporters off of their planes.

-the Pentagon Pundit program, which sold the war by planting former military officers on networks. Uncovering this story earned a journalist the fucking Pulitzer.

-Staged mock press conferences with FEMA employees pretending to be reporters.

-allowed Ari Fleischer to tell everyone (but directed at journalists) they needed to “watch what they say and what they do.”


By the way, again, just for the record, I'll say this: Fox "News" is merely the propaganda arm of the Republican Psychotic Right Wing. It bears as much of a relationship to journalism as did Pravda under the old Soviet regime. It employs pathological liars and thugs like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and is run by a right-wing Republican hack/hitman named Roger Ailes, who has the ethics of a starving sewer rat, which just barely puts him above Karl Rove.

Period.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An American Speaking a Truth We All Need to Hear

Buchanan: White Americans Want "Their" Country Back

Check it out here. Disgusting racist trash of the worst kind. I like this response:

Black Americans have shed blood in every American war since the Revolution. This country, even the very Capitol building in which today's legislators now demand to see the birth certificate of the first black president, was built on the sweat and sinew of slaves. Before we were people in the eyes of the law, before we had the right to vote, before we had a black president, we were here, helping make this country as it is today. We are as American as it gets. And frankly, the time of people who think otherwise is passing. If that's the country Buchanan wants to hold onto, well, he's right, he is losing it.

Good riddance.

Sullivan weighs in here:

From the beginning, in its very marrow, this country was forged out of that racial and cultural interaction. It fought a brutalizing, bloody, defining civil war over that interaction. Any European student of Tocqueville swiftly opens his eyes at the three races that defined America in the classic text. Has Buchanan read Tocqueville? And that's why it seems so odd to me that the election of the son of a white mother and a black father is seen as somehow a threat to American identity for some, when, in fact, Obama is the final iteration of the American identity - the oldest one and the deepest one. This newness is, in fact, ancient - or as ancient as America can be. The very names - Ann Dunham and Barack Obama. Is not their union in some ways a faint echo of the union that actually made this country what it is?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Right Wing Clown Show: Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer possesses an M.D. in psychiatry and is gifted in the study of mathematics. I simply note these things to help prove a point made by the late Laurence J. Peter about those who rise to their level of incompetence. Peter observed that people who were highly competent or gifted in one field often jumped into a field where they could rise to this level, displaying their ineptitude in fields far removed from their original areas of expertise. Perhaps no other right-wing commentator exemplifies this insight more than Charles Krauthammer. Krauthammer fancies himself an expert in both foreign policy and domestic politics. His utter incompetence in these areas is simply breathtaking, as this article documents. Among other things he "predicted"--

  • That NATO would not be able to use air power effectively in the Balkans.
  • That the invasion of Iraq would be known in history as "The Three Week War".
  • That Barack Obama would never be elected president. (Krauthammer, hilariously, said Rudy Giuliani was the likely winner.)
  • That Afghanistan would NOT turn into a quagmire.
Read the article, folks, and, on your own, look into Krauthammer's incredibly belligerent, war-like statements on virtually every other foreign policy issue. The facts are stark and simple:

IN FOREIGN POLICY AND POLITICS, CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER IS A DANGEROUS, KNOW-NOTHING AMATEUR. KRAUTHAMMER LITERALLY DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL HE'S TALKING ABOUT.

But oddly enough, it never seems to shut him up.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Financial Industry Runs America

The big banks are handing out obscene compensation packages just one year after they damned near pulled down the entire world economy with their greed, incompetence, and borderline criminality. Kevin Drum is rightfully incredulous:


I sort of feel like I've run out of things to say about this. There's an insanity here that's almost beyond analysis. Wall Street can spark an economic slowdown that misses destroying the planet and causing a second Great Depression only by a hair's breadth — said hair being an 11th hour emergency infusion of trillions of taxpayer dollars — and then turn around and use those trillions to return to bubble levels of profitability within 12 months. And they can do it even though the rest of the economy is still suffering through the worst recession since World War II. It's mind boggling.

Big Finance's lobbyists are so powerful that nothing is likely to be done about any of this, and the banks will be allowed to once again go their merry way without restraint.

And you wonder why I get so bent out of shape.

Lou Dobbs, OUT!

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Most Popular Nation in the World?

The United States of America, up from #7 last year. And the reason? From the director the highly respected poll that determined this:

"What's really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States in 2009," explains Simon Anholt, NBI founder and an independent advisor to over a dozen national governments around the world. "Despite recent economic turmoil, the U.S. actually gained significant ground. The results suggest that the new U.S. administration has been well received abroad and the American electorate's decision to vote in President Obama has given the United States the status of the world's most admired country."

Gee. I guess Chicago's failed Olympic bid doesn't mean the world "rejected" President Obama, as the lunatic, anti-America, Right wing insists.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Anti-American , Lying, Unpatriotic Republicans Work to Undermine American Foreign Policy

The disgusting details are here. The latest offenders are the repulsive right-wing trolls DeMint and Inhofe, who are DIRECTLY going against official U.S. policy and doing so outside of the United States.

And the language of my headline--anti-American, lying, unpatriotic? That's what the Republicans would have been shouting had the Democrats acted against Bush in the same way.

Liars, frauds, and hypocrites.

Anti-American Right Wingers Cheer Chicago's Loss of the Olympics

Unpatriotic cretins like Malkin and the folks at Red State love ANY "defeat" for President Obama, even one that hurts America's interests. Once again, we see who and what they really are.

Oh, and BTW--George W. Bush pushed for Chicago's selection as well when he was president.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Demented Psychotic Bachmann Strikes Again

Now she claims that health care reform will allow schools to give out abortions. Read the link if you don't believe me. And don't miss the comments from Michele's fans, who are just as insane and dishonest as she is.

Michele Bachmann IS the Republican Party. This is what they are--crazed, unhinged, and paranoid to an astounding degree. The Republican "base" is now the greatest threat to America's survival as a rational society.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

YES!! More Like This, Please!

Right-Wing "Intellectual" Asserts That Women Should NOT Have the Right to Vote

Think I'm kidding? Check out the wretched John Derbyshire here.

Unbelievable. Simply, completely, utterly, unbelievable.

The Neanderthal Right is alive and well.

(I apologize to all Neanderthals for that last statement.)

Right Wing TRAITOR From NewsMax Advocates Military Coup Against President Obama

Digby is on the case here. (Scroll down past the repulsive picture of Lou Dobbs.)

By the way, NewsMax (which has scrubbed the post) claims that the author is merely an independent blogger affiliated with the site. BULLSHIT. The author of this treason has written regularly for NewsMax for TEN YEARS.

The radical Right is dangerous and needs to be stopped for the sake of our country's future.

Mr. President, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stop trying to compromise with these people!

Jon Stewart Destroys Lying Idiot Hannity Again

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This is the Person Jay Leno Gave a Platform To

Our "favorite" Rush Limbaugh Quotes

■ "I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back; I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."

■ "You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed."

■ "We're not sexists, we're chauvinists--we're male chauvinist pigs, and we're happy to be because we think that's what men were destined to be. We think that's what women want."

■ "Feminism was established to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream."

■ "What if [Fidel] Castro shows up and says I endorse Kerry? The Black Caucus would like that...." "Castro's the kind of guy that Kerry would probably lionize." In the December 2004 issue of Cigar Aficionado, Limbaugh lionized Cuban cigars, whose flavor the French-loving, Castro-economy-supporting, East-Coast elitist compared to Bordeaux grapes.

■ "The answer is to go out and find [drug users], convict them, and send them up the river." "All of us who accept the responsibilities of life and don't destroy our lives on drugs, we'll pay for whatever messes you [drug addicts] get into." All this was before Limbaugh admitted he was addicted to opioid painkillers--which he allegedly purchased illegally--and that he had spent a month at a drug rehab facility. "There's no hypocrisy" in his previous remarks, he said.

■ Democrats "don't like God," "hate this Constitution," "hate freedom," and "hate this country."

■ "You don't hear the Democrats being critical of terrorists." Democrats "celebrate privately" the terrorist bombing Madrid in March 2004. "[W]hat's good for Al Qaeda is good for the Democratic Party [and] for John Kerry." "[W]e know what [Al Qaeda] want: they want Kerry, they want the Democrats in power."

And of course, there are Limbaugh's comparisons of President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

And THIS is who NBC and Jay Leno are giving even MORE exposure to???

Republicans Eagerly Embrace the Lunatic, Paranoid Radical Right

There is apparently no limit to how insane the radical Right can get. The Republicans will still eagerly embrace them, no matter what they advocate. Think I'm exaggerating? Check this out:

The radicals running the How To Take Back America Conference are so nutty, you'd think GOP lawmakers and leaders would want nothing to do with them.

Take Janet Folger Porter, for example, who's helping run the event. Porter, a leading right-wing activist and talk-show host, believes the United States is "cursed" for having elected President Obama, who took office as the result of a communist conspiracy. She's told her audience that the H1N1 flu vaccine is really a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans, and that the Obama administration is creating internment camps for conservative
s.

Those views are simply INSANE. As in, evidence of paranoid delusion. As in, bordering on outright psychotic. And Republican office holders FLOCK to these events.

Remember, folks, these are the people who want to return to power in 2010. This is what the Republicans really are--the voice of madness, the spokespeople for the asylum dwellers. They MUST be stopped, if America is to have any chance of survival.

When will enough be enough?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Former Bush Interior Secretary Involved in MASSIVE Scandal

The Los Angeles Times has the story here. Excerpt:

The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department.

The criminal investigation centers on the Interior Department's 2006 decision to award three lucrative oil shale leases on federal land in Colorado to a Shell subsidiary. Over the years it would take to extract the oil, according to calculations from Shell and a Rand Corp. expert, the deal could net the company hundreds of billions of dollars
.

Did you read that? HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars. This is HUGE.

Now ask yourself:

How many times have you heard of this?

And how many times have you heard about whatever Glenn Beck is bitching and moaning and lying about this week?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Well, I'm Convinced!



By the way, 35% of New Jersey conservatives think Obama either is the AntiChrist, or are not sure.

Insanity. Pure, utter, raving insanity.

Bipartisanship, Mr. President? Is that really possible?

Bush Had 47 "Czars"; Glenn Beck Continues to Be a Lying Clown



From HuffPo, here:

[In reference to Republicans squawking about this]:

These elected officials seem to be unaware of some basic facts. Many of the people they insist need to be confirmed by the Senate already have been confirmed. Many of the people they consider to be holding unprecedented appointments are merely filling well-established positions. In some cases, these lawmakers seem to have forgotten that they themselves passed laws that mandated the appointments. And in a few cases, they just select some established functionary at random -- like a State Department envoy or the Deputy Secretary of the Interior -- and call that guy a "czar" just for fun!

What kills me about stuff like this is the arrogance Beck displays. Does this obnoxious idiot really think no one is going to challenge him or fact check him?? That no one is going to do the three minutes worth of research it takes to expose him, once again, as a fraud and a liar? Does he really think he can just casually spread this BS and not be called on it?

Apparently, the answer to all these questions is "yes".



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Conservative Commentator Denounces Limbaugh's Vile Racism

It's good to see honest voices on the right. Dreher is referring to Limbaugh's ugly assertion that a recent black-on-white assault on a school bus is now typical of "Obama's America". Excerpt:

It's undeniably true that black males, as a group, are disproportionately responsible for violent crimes today (and blacks are disproportionately victims, too). This is important to talk about. This means something. I hate the kind of political correctness that demands we pretend not to see what we see. But as far as I'm concerned, if the Limbaughs of the world are going to be doing this kind of thing, and trying to blame, with no logical grounds whatsoever, a black president for black-on-white violence, and if they're going to do this in an increasingly hysterical atmosphere of protest against that black president, I don't want to talk about these things at all. Now is not the time. With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, they are quite simply tearing the country apart.

Lou Dobbs: Right-Wing Liar, Conspiracy Monger, Racist



Hey, CNN--send this jackass to Fox "News" with the rest of the fruitcake propagandists, where he belongs!

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP, Patrick Swayze

Not unexpected, but still sad. He left way too early. He fought cancer courageously, and he will always be remembered for his vitality and his great heart. We'll miss you, Patrick.

The Best Analysis I've Yet Seen of the Right's Crazed Hatred for Obama

It comes from a reader of Andrew Sullivan. Read it yourself and tell me what you think. Excerpt:

The right is projecting its shadow onto Obama. The same qualities that make him a saint to the left make him the devil to the right - he is easy to project onto.

That is why he is the out of control spender when they sat on their hands through all of Bush's malfeasance. That is why his talking to schoolchildren is dangerous when our government wiretapping its citizens wasn’t. That is why saving the financial system from years of Republican regulation is taking away our future. The more evil revealed about the right’s excesses on torture, or wars of choice, or nearly destroying the economy, the more evil Obama will look in their eyes, as they cannot tolerate owning responsibility, because in their own minds they are only good.

That is why he is the Fascist/Communist/Socialist/Muslim… that is the list of our shadow projections over the last 60 years. In their minds he is now the USSR ("my grandchildren will have to stand in line for toilet paper!") or even the Anti-Christ. The Obama they see is a projection of their own psyche, not that actual man in the White House. Missing birth certificates, death panels, indoctrinating children, these are all the projections running in their own heads, not things happening in the real world
.

Sunday, September 13, 2009




(Hat Tip: Lance Ehlers at Slowcurl)

Greenwald Nails It: the Attacks on Obama Are Nothing New

They attacked Bill Clinton just as brutally and dishonestly (although I would add the President Obama's skin color alone provokes rage in many conservatives). The fact is simple: as far as radical right-wingers are concerned, no Democratic president, however legitimately elected, has the right to govern. Unless these ultra-conservative thugs are stopped, they will continue to use these lying, ugly methods again and again. Excerpt:

Nothing that the GOP is doing to Obama should be the slightest bit surprising because this is the true face of the American Right -- and that's been true for a very long time now. It didn't just become true in the last few months or in the last two years. Recent months is just the time period when the media began noticing and acknowledging what they are: a pack of crazed, primitive radicals who don't really believe in the country's core founding values and don't merely disagree with, but contest the legitimacy of, any elected political officials who aren't part of their movement. Before the last year or so, the media pretended that this was a serious, adult, substantive political movement, but it wasn't any truer then than it is now. All one has to do is review their behavior during the Clinton presidency -- to say nothing of the Bush years -- to see that none of this is remotely new. Nothing they're doing to Obama is a break from their past behavior; it's just a natural and totally predictable continuation of it.

Read the whole thing, folks. It's good stuff.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

RIP, Norman Borlaug

You might not know the name, but Norman Borlaug, whose innovations in plant breeding spurred the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s which DOUBLED world grain output and saved the lives of hundreds of millions of people, has died at the age of 95. (His Nobel biography is here.) In an era of despair, Borlaug created hope and helped to give life. He was one of humanity's greatest benefactors, and I think we should honor his memory. He showed us what quiet greatness really is.

More From the Right Wing Insane Asylum



The Nazi T-4 program exterminated tens of thousands of mentally ill and chronically physically ill patients between 1939 and 1941. People were killed by lethal injection and small-scale gassings. By comparing President Obama's deeply compassionate and humane health care proposals to this, the ASSHOLE holding this despicable sign is spitting on every T-4 victim.

Open your eyes, folks. This is the Republican Party, 2009.

A FOUR HUNDRED PER CENT Increase in Death Threats Against the President Since 20 January

And the Secret Service says it FAR SURPASSES ANYTHING ever seen before.

People, we have stripped the mask off the radical right. This is what they really are.


Some of You Wonder Why I Hate Them







And to the last person, the piece of scum holding the sign equating President Obama to the 9/11 terrorists, I have only one response: drop dead and burn in hell.

I have NOTHING in common with these people, NOTHING. And you don't know how happy that makes me. There can be no compromise with radical right-wing slime like this. There can only be OUR VICTORY and THEIR DEFEAT.

Period.

Ha Ha Ha! Another Massive Tea Bagger FAIL

On C-Span, evidence of only 30 thousand right-wing protestors at the "million-man" Tea Bagger Woodstock in Washington. Let me be the first to say--



BTW, pathological liar Michelle Malkin is claiming 2 million.

Does she think everyone is as stupid, gullible, and unhinged as the Tea Bagger knuckle draggers are? Doesn't she think people can see??

Right-Wing History Lesson

(Click to enlarge)

Friday, September 11, 2009

President Obama Commemorates the 9/11 Attacks

PATRIOT DAY AND NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE AND REMEMBRANCE, 2009
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, and the smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism and resiliency of the American people shone brightly on September 11, 2001. We stood as one people, united in our common humanity and shared sorrow. We grieved for those who perished and remembered what brought us together as Americans.

Today, we honor the lives we lost 8 years ago. On a bright September day, innocent men, women, and children boarded planes and set off for work as they had so many times before. Unthinkable acts of terrorism brought tragedy, destruction, pain, and loss for people across our Nation and the world.

As we pay tribute to loved ones, friends, fellow citizens, and all who died, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideas and ideals that united Americans in the aftermath of the attacks. We must apprehend all those who perpetrated these heinous crimes, seek justice for those who were killed, and defend against all threats to our national security. We must also recommit ourselves to our founding principles. September 11 reminds us that our fate as individuals is tied to that of our Nation. Our democracy is strengthened when we uphold the freedoms upon which our Nation was built: equality, justice, liberty, and democracy. These values exemplify the patriotism and sacrifice we commemorate today.

In that same spirit of patriotism, I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad.

In April, I was proud to sign the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Originated by the family members those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance is an opportunity to salute the heroes of 9/11, recapture the spirit of unity and compassion that inspired our Nation following the attacks, and rededicate ourselves to sustained service to our communities.

Throughout the summer, people of all ages and backgrounds came together to lend a helping hand in their communities through United We Serve. As this summer of service draws to an end, we renew the call to engage in meaningful service activities and stay engaged with those projects throughout the year. Working together, we can usher in a new era in which volunteering and more service is a way of life for all Americans. Deriving strength from tragedy, we can write the next great chapter in our Nation's history and ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the promise of America.

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as Patriot Day, and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2009, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001. I invite the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with other ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

Power

Power may be defined as the ability to carry out one’s will, or to have one’s will carried out by others. It can be thought of as the ability to arrange human reality in such a way so as to benefit or serve one’s interests. Human power arises, biologically, out of the pecking order that evolves in any primate group, an order based on strength, speed, agility, intelligence, and quite often, simply the sheer desire to exert control. In the earliest human societies, power may have been based on hunting or gathering skill or the ability to harness the mysterious forces that seemed to exist beyond the physical plane. Very simple societies may make decisions collectively, but as they become more complex and their numbers grow larger, the number and complexity of the decisions that have to be made grow correspondingly larger as well. The possession of special skills and knowledge, along with the accumulation of material wealth, will tend to make those possessing these things the decision-makers—in other words, those who exercise power.

The positive exercise of power is the ability to create a set of circumstances one desires in order to enhance an already favorable or promising situation, or to exploit possibilities. The negative exercise of power entails the ability to stop an undesirable situation. Both motives may be deeply intertwined in any given circumstance. Power exists on a very wide continuum, ranging from completely absent to ultimate (within the limits of human capacity and natural restrictions). From a psychological standpoint the feeling of power can be extremely satisfying, or at the very least reassuring. Power can become so pleasurable that certain people come to enjoy exercising it for its own sake.

Power can be expressed or exercised at the interpersonal level, or it may be expressed or exercised at a larger level of social organization. In prehistoric times, power existed in the context of tribes, usually nomadic groups, and was often diffuse in nature. With the rise of organized city states along the Tigris-Euphrates, Hwang-Ho, Indus, and Nile River valleys, and the establishment of similar entities somewhat later in such disparate spots as central Mexico, the northern Andes mountains, and Zimbabwe, power took a more definite and discernible form. Now there were groups of humans who had the responsibility of defending established, sedentary civilizations. These groups of humans established codified forms of power, and exercised it both for the defense of their own societies and the perpetuation of their own (or their family’s) power.

The exercise of power can take many forms, but its uses can be boiled down to a couple of broad areas:

A. The ability to compel or persuade other humans to do our will and to serve our interests. This can involve either getting others to do something we desire or to stop them from doing something we do not desire. This covers an enormous range of possibilities, of course. Sometimes what we do not want others to do is to keep existing, and we use our power to kill them. Humans have exercised this power more times than we can count. On other occasions we seek to force other humans to perform services for us against their will, or take actions they would otherwise not take.

The ability to inflict suffering and/or death on others is the exercise of power in its rawest, crudest, most basic form. This is power through threat, the oldest form of interpersonal or societal power that exists. If others have reason to fear us—to credibly believe that we can kill them, maim them, inflict pain on them, deprive them of their property, deprive them of their physical freedom, or inflict such harm on those they love and care about—we can compel their obedience, or at the very least restrain their behavior. Such power flows from the possession of deadly force and the ability to use it. Sometimes this deadly force can be seen in the powerful physique of another human. (We must imagine that large, muscular primates have always dominated their respective groups or societies.) Most often, deadly force is expressed by the possession of weaponry. In a society the possession of deadly force may be the exclusive domain of those who govern, or it may be spread throughout the population to various degrees. However, it is inconvenient and impractical to use physical threat exclusively to control a society. The constant effort needed to instill fearful obedience would be physically and psychologically exhausting, not to mention prohibitively expensive. It is desirable that there be positive, genuine assent to a society’s stated goals among the general population, that the obedience and conformity of the population be at least partially voluntary. In order to gain this assent, the exercise of power over others can take forms more subtle and sophisticated than the mere brandishing of weapons. In societies lacking in personal freedom of choice, either in the past or in the present day, those who have ruled or rule might have used or may use any of the following methods to gain assent:

1. Convincing (or compelling) others to believe in a specific set of religious beliefs. These religious beliefs generally entail the existence of an ethical system to control or channel human behavior. Obedience to the religion comes from the hope of reward or the fear of punishment in a hypothetical afterlife.

2. Gaining control of all the means of economic production, thus tying the well-being and prosperity of the population to the well-being and power of the ruling class.

3. Controlling all forms of education and information, to restrict and shape the beliefs of the population and bend their wills in directions favorable to the ruling class.

4. The inculcation of powerful group identity in the society’s members, the creation of a strong Us vs. Them mentality. In modern authoritarian societies, the ruling class can use patriotism/nationalism as the means to instill this sense of identity. The creation of this sense of identity usually involves the demonization and dehumanization of some other group of humans, casting them as the feared and hated Other, a group toward which we can behave in any manner we choose, even to the point of extermination. This group identity, of course, helps legitimize the authority of those who claim to speak for the group and embody its values.

The other major use of power:

B. Control over parts of the natural environment through technology. The object of technology has always been, ultimately, the extension of human power over nature. Tools are designed to magnify human physical effort, and to accomplish work which a human cannot do through the use of his or her own body by itself. Meta-technologies, which I define as the employment and bringing together of various small-scale technologies in the service of a large, overarching technological achievement (such as the development of automobiles, aircraft, computers, oil wells, dams, steel mills, energy systems, or information networks) are the largest efforts we make to control nature and extend our own powers over the world. The earliest civilizations used technology (and later the scientific and mathematical principles on which they rested) to build weapons, walls, containers, irrigation projects, religious buildings, and other essential structures or objects. Power in human civilization has often gone hand in hand with technical and scientific breakthroughs, and the political control of technology has been crucial in the extension of human will over both nature and others. Ultimate technological power (which may not be even theoretically possible) might entail such things as the ability to control the weather, reshape the surface of the Earth instantaneously and at will, the ability to extend the Earth’s physical structure into space, the ability to harness unlimited energy for the human community, the ability to control the Sun and keep it from destroying the Earth, the ability to move about the physical Universe instantaneously and at will, and the ability to achieve perfect health and eternal physical life for all humans.

The exercise of technological advances always—always—entails unexpected consequences, and tends to redefine human ideas about the nature of reality and the limits of the possible. If enough technological changes occur in a society in a short period of time, they will so alter the outlook of most of the society’s members that these changes will bring about major transformations in social interaction and the perception of human relationships themselves. Those individuals who seize the possibilities inherent in technology-driven social change often come to have great power.

Obviously, the development of weapons (tools for the infliction of death, physical suffering, and property destruction) has had an enormous role in human efforts to extend power over the world. It can be argued that weapons technology has done more to alter power relationships on this planet than any other factor.

So power is about the control of others and the control of nature (or at the very least, defense against the unpredictability of other humans and the capriciousness of nature).

There are times, of course, when human power is inconsequential or irrelevant. When natural disasters strike, they are oblivious to all human wishes. All humans can do in such situations is to protect themselves in any way that they can and clean up afterward with whatever power they still retain. Natural disasters have rearranged power relationships on a number of occasions in human history.

It can be argued that much (not all) of human history is the story of the exercise of, struggle over, resistance to, or the creation of power. War, after all, is about power. Government is about power. Politics is about power, and nothing else. And the acquisition of material wealth, which is intimately affected by war, government, and politics, is in itself very often a raw power struggle.

So where do we fit into all of this?

The establishment of the United States and the development of American society have been consumed with issues related to power. Those who started the United States sought, in some very significant ways, to break with a human past that was overwhelmingly authoritarian in nature. Those founders, virtually without precedent, established a form of government that denied certain powers to the members of the government and granted certain powers and rights to those in the general population (with important exceptions). The system they established reflected a deep understanding of the dangers of concentrated power. They divided power laterally, in the creation of executive, legislative, and judicial power, and vertically, in the establishment of federal, state, and local power. They also deliberately and consciously extended rights and powers that were exercised solely by citizens. Thus did our nation’s founders attempt to grapple with this fundamentally important question: who will get to have their will carried out, and how will this will be expressed?

Shamefully, disgracefully, tragically, human slavery was allowed to survive because its abolition would have harmed the economic power of certain people. Rights were not extended to women because this would have violated the social power of men and gone against centuries of tradition, the weight of which should never be underestimated. Native Americans were to be brushed aside or wiped out. But however flawed, the new Republic in North America was an astonishing experiment. Never before had there been a republican form of government spread over such a wide geographic area. Many outside observers expected its imminent collapse. But the new nation proved more resilient than these observers expected.

Its institutions and its resilience notwithstanding, America, being a human construct, developed with all the controlled chaos and conflict of any other human project, and out of this ferment natural centers of power emerged. Since economic freedom was guaranteed, and the laws favored business, there emerged a class of people who were talented, lucky, ruthless, and intelligent enough to gather great wealth unto themselves. Scientific and technological advances facilitated this process enormously, of course. And with this great wealth there emerged great political power, because economic power and political power are inextricably linked. American conflict has often centered around this economically-fueled political power. Whether it was the Hamiltonian vs. the Jeffersonian vision of the nation’s future, the Jacksonian revolt against the banks, the attempt to defend slavery as an economic institution, the post Civil War industrial era, the battles over gold vs. silver backed-currencies, the great urban vs. rural divide of the late nineteenth century, the battles over trusts and monopolies, or the struggles in the twentieth century to control the expansion and exercise of arbitrary power, whether that of the government or the economic upper classes, the issue has always been: who will decide our course? Whose wishes will be carried out?

In America, with the exception of times of natural crisis (and even here the responses to these crises will be predicated on human power relationships), someone is going to be exercising power. Who will be doing so? What institutions will dominate the contests that will inevitably arise? In contemporary America, there are multiple sources of power. Let’s look at them:

A. Government, at all levels. Government is not a thing; it is, rather, a process, a way humans accomplish certain objectives. In our nation, those who govern control the strongest and most technologically advanced weapons (in most cases; many local governments are seriously outgunned by the surrounding populous). Those who govern at the national level have the power to create money; those who govern at almost all levels have the ability to tax (or at least request tax money). Those who govern pass laws, issue regulations, enforce the law, build and maintain infrastructure, and carry out a host of subsidiary functions. The national government grew enormously in the 1930s and 1940s, in response to the grave challenges of the era. The confrontation with the Soviet Union and the establishment of a basic safety net guaranteed that governing would continue to grow and be a significant power center. (In fact, it may be argued that the growth of the national security apparatus after the Second World War created a semi-secret, parallel government, one whose actions are not known to the public and are not fully controllable by those in the “civilian” government.) Because government has such enormous impact on all areas of American life, a whole host of groups has arisen to try to influence those who exercise government power. These groups are sometimes astonishingly successful in exercising such influence.

B. Business, especially the financial sector. Business is the source of the vast majority of jobs for average Americans, and often times the chief source of influence on those who govern. Business is not a monolithic entity by any means, but our largest businesses wield enormous power. The huge economic power business exercises in America affects every area of human life. Government policies are often determined by those in the government who are sympathetic to business’s most powerful leaders. In certain periods, concentrated economic power has gained the upper hand—the Gilded Age of the 1870s through the 1890s, the 1920s, and, I would argue, the period from the late 1970s through today. Quite often business and government leaders are somewhat interchangeable.

C. Media companies, which are of course part of businesses. There are much more media today than ever, but the largest mainstream media businesses control a highly concentrated share of the market in such areas as radio and television. Certain powerful individuals (such as Rupert Murdoch) exercise huge media power.

D. Various interest groups attempting to influence government, business, and/or media. These groups span the gamut of issues and causes, and vary tremendously in their financial resources and clout. I would argue that the majority of Americans are represented in some way, shape, or form by at least one interest group, the “factions” that James Madison warned us of in Federalist #10, and a constant source of friction between ordinary people.

E. Religious groups, which of course are an interest, but not necessarily an economic one. Religious groups frequently attempt to influence public policy and exert control over individual behavior.

F. Individuals, who attempt to exercise as much control over their own lives as their individual circumstances will allow. Individuals are of course under the law, immersed in the economic system, dependent on outsiders for their news, and they share interests with many others. They also tend to have religious convictions.

G. Educational institutions, which are often significant recipients of public moneys and at the higher levels, sources of research and development. Virtually every American is exposed to them for many years. Their quality varies significantly, and education reflects all the diversity and conflict of American life.

H. Scientific enterprises and the scientific community in general, which are in turn deeply connected to business, government, and education.

I. Organized crime, which has insinuated itself into all areas of American life and which controls a huge “underground” economy of hundreds of billions of dollars, fueled chiefly but not wholly by the traffic in illicit drugs.

It is the challenge of our political system to balance these sources of power (and to control organized crime) so as to allow none of them to exercise unlimited authority over the others. In the America of 2009, economic power reigns supreme. Many Americans (not all, by a long shot) are intensely materialistic, and businesses are happy to exploit this trait constantly. The wealthiest players in the financial industry now essentially control the Congress and have great influence in the White House. The courts are generally sympathetic to them as well. It is this America, our America that, alarmingly, now finds its very existence threatened, What many conservatives do not understand is this: unlimited private economic power can be just as destructive and dangerous as unlimited government power. Indeed, many social conservatives actually want the worst of all possible worlds—a nation in which private greed rules over all, and in which the government exercises terrifying power over individual freedom, regulating the “morality” of the people relentlessly, intruding into every area of private behavior. It is up to us, the progressives, to understand what power is, how it works, who exercises it, and the way unlimited power—from any source—threatens our freedom and our future.