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.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

You Know What? I'm SICK AND G-D DAMNED TIRED of Idiots Like This Guy

He's a right-wing psychotic Republican from Georgia who claims that President Obama is trying to establish a totalitarian state. You can read the specific "arguments" this knuckle-dragging cretin is making by hitting the link. But I'll tell you something:

I have no interest in "negotiating" with scum like him. I just want to do one thing:

CRUSH HIM.

I've f---ing had it with people like this idiot and Bachmann and Boehner and Cantor and all the rest of the mentally unbalanced, pathological liars that comprise the vast majority of the Republican congressional delegation. I've had it with the Birther psychotics, the Texas Traitors (the secessionists), the people screeching about the President's address to American school children, the Tea Party morons (who wouldn't know a real Communist if one walked up and bit them on the ass) shouting "Communist!" at President Obama, the creationist clowns, repulsively stupid bastards like James Inhofe from Oklahoma, crooks like Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff, closet-case homophobes, lying propaganda hacks like Hannity, borderline psychopaths like Beck, vicious racist con artists like Limbaugh, and the rest of the stinking pile of horse shit that comprises the vast bulk of the conservative movement in America today. My God, these people are even screaming that a Republican Senator from Utah with a damn near 100% conservative voting record, isn't conservative enough, and should be challenged from the Right!! The reasonable or sane Republicans and conservatives are being drowned out by these fruitcakes, and the Republican Party's leadership kowtows to the Radical Right on EVERY ISSUE.

No, I won't compromise with these losers.

No, I won't argue on their terms.

No, I don't have to respect them.

And Mr. President, PLEASE get it through your head: a lot of these psychotics won't be happy until you, your wife, and your children are dead. You're just a Nigger Liberal who deserves to die as far as the Radical Right is concerned. Stop trying to reason with them.

Go Chicago on their asses. And win the fight for the vast majority of America.

You know--the sane part.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

More Scenes from Inside the Right Wing Insane Asylum

Once again brought to us by the one and only Michele Bachmann.

This is what progressives are up against folks. Outright, raving lunacy of the worst kind.

How can our country live when one of our political parties is viciously dishonest and psychologically unbalanced and the other is too gutless and spineless to govern effectively even when they win?

My God, What a Fool

You'll shake your head at this one, folks.

This is what passes for journalism in the America of 2009.

Why is This Psychotic on the Air?