Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Is Wrong With Conservatism? Why Obama Never Explained Why We HAD To Stay in Afghanistan, Who Cooked the Planet? & Beck's Bile Spreads Nationwide

I found this little morsel at Americablog (where a commenter had thought it tasty for that crowd) in answer to Paul Krugman's puzzlement over why the G-20 seems to have become Pete Peterson fans (Madmen in Authority), with a "crazy" argument that the US must "reduce the debt at all costs" no matter if it strangles the already-limping recovery and causes massive suffering in its wake. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Recall that his title is "Madmen In Authority." The question he asks is: Why is the G20 demanding immediate fiscal austerity? His answer? Because they've gone crazy.

Really? That can't possibly be right — can it? Let's do what Krugman won't do — assume these people are rational, with understandable goals. After all, these are the G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs — the economic slice through the little handful of people who . . . well, run the whole world. Really. The whole world. So what are their goals? Well, what are the goals of any aristocracy? What would most people's goals be, if they had made it into the aristocracy. Simply put, to remain the aristocracy.

Yum. And not because I think anyone else should partake of this "Conservative" madness. This essay exposes many of the reasons we are subjected without respite to so-called mainstream writers like multimillionaires Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Friedbrain and even David F. Brooks with their special pleadings for the rightful place of their aristocracy in the U.S., and in kind the whole contraption of some definition of "American Conservatism" being supported by people barely able to make a living but dreaming of winning the lottery so they can join the rulers of this land in being able to then take further advantage of people who used to be their bottom-level equals. Please read the whole article if you can as its reasoning is worth taking more than a few moments with as I've just served up an hors d'oeuvre here. (EXTRA: I hate to continue posting this message, but the need is great (and I know that everyone is in need in this economy, truly I do), but if anyone could make a contribution to my PayPal account (or otherwise - contact me for further info), it will be really, really, really appreciated as my financial situation is increasingly desperate right now due to continued long-term unemployment. Please know that I sincerely appreciate everything that you, my kind readers, have done for me in the past financially and otherwise. Especially, otherwise, as the support group for this blog is beyond belief. My belief anyway. Again, my heartfelt thanks. . . and now . . . back to your irregular viewing.)

What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong With It?

Philip E. Agre

August 2004 Liberals in the United States have been losing political debates to conservatives for a quarter century. In order to start winning again, liberals must answer two simple questions: what is conservatism, and what is wrong with it? As it happens, the answers to these questions are also simple:

Q: What is conservatism?

A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

Q: What is wrong with conservatism?

A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

These ideas are not new. Indeed they were common sense until recently. Nowadays, though, most of the people who call themselves "conservatives" have little notion of what conservatism even is. They have been deceived by one of the great public relations campaigns of human history. Only by analyzing this deception will it become possible to revive democracy in the United States.

//1 The Main Arguments of Conservatism

From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval and absolutist Europe, in nearly every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy. These people and their allies are the conservatives.

The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use "social issues" as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats. More generally, it is crucial to conservatism that the people must literally love the order that dominates them. Of course this notion sounds bizarre to modern ears, but it is perfectly overt in the writings of leading conservative theorists such as Burke.

Democracy, for them, is not about the mechanisms of voting and office-holding. In fact conservatives hold a wide variety of opinions about such secondary formal matters. For conservatives, rather, democracy is a psychological condition. People who believe that the aristocracy rightfully dominates society because of its intrinsic superiority are conservatives; democrats, by contrast, believe that they are of equal social worth. Conservatism is the antithesis of democracy. This has been true for thousands of years.

The defenders of aristocracy represent aristocracy as a natural phenomenon, but in reality it is the most artificial thing on earth. Although one of the goals of every aristocracy is to make its preferred social order seem permanent and timeless, in reality conservatism must be reinvented in every generation. This is true for many reasons, including internal conflicts among the aristocrats; institutional shifts due to climate, markets, or warfare; and ideological gains and losses in the perpetual struggle against democracy. In some societies the aristocracy is rigid, closed, and stratified, while in others it is more of an aspiration among various fluid and factionalized groups. The situation in the United States right now is toward the latter end of the spectrum. A main goal in life of all aristocrats, however, is to pass on their positions of privilege to their children, and many of the aspiring aristocrats of the United States are appointing their children to positions in government and in the archipelago of think tanks that promote conservative theories.

Conservatism in every place and time is founded on deception. The deceptions of conservatism today are especially sophisticated, simply because culture today is sufficiently democratic that the myths of earlier times will no longer suffice.

Before analyzing current-day conservatism's machinery of deception, let us outline the main arguments of conservatism. Although these arguments have changed little through history, they might seem unfamiliar to many people today, indeed even to people who claim to be conservatives. That unfamiliarity is a very recent phenomenon. Yet it is only through the classical arguments and their fallacies that we can begin to analyze how conservatism operates now.

1. Institutions

According to the first type of argument, found for example in Burke, social institutions are a kind of capital. A properly ordered society will be blessed with large quantities of this capital. This capital has very particular properties. It is a sprawling tangle of social arrangements and patterns of thought, passed down through generations as part of the culture. It is generally tacit in nature and cannot be rationally analyzed. It is fragile and must be conserved, because a society that lacks it will collapse into anarchy and tyranny. Innovation is bad, therefore, and prejudice is good. Although the institutions can tolerate incremental reforms around the edges, systematic questioning is a threat to social order. In particular, rational thought is evil. Nothing can be worse for the conservative than rational thought, because people who think rationally might decide to try replacing inherited institutions with new ones, something that a conservative regards as impossible. This is where the word "conservative" comes from: the supposed importance of conserving established institutions.

This argument is not wholly false. Institutions are in fact sprawling tangles of social arrangements and patterns of thought, passed down through generations as part of the culture. And people who think they can reengineer the whole of human society overnight are generally mistaken. The people of ancien regime France were oppressed by the conservative order of their time, but indeed their revolution did not work, and would probably not have worked even if conservatives from elsewhere were not militarily attacking them. After all, the conservative order had gone to insane lengths to deprive them of the education, practical experience, and patterns of thought that would be required to operate a democracy. They could not invent those things overnight.

Even so, the argument about conserving institutions is mostly untrue. Most institutions are less fragile and more dynamic than conservatives claim. Large amounts of institutional innovation happen in every generation. If people lack a rational analysis of institutions, that is mostly a product of conservatism rather than an argument for it. And although conservatism has historically claimed to conserve institutions, history makes clear that conservatism is only interested in conserving particular kinds of institutions: the institutions that reinforce conservative power. Conservatism rarely tries to conserve institutions such as Social Security and welfare that decrease the common people's dependency on the aristocracy and the social authorities that serve it. To the contrary, they represent those institutions in various twisted ways as dangerous to to the social order generally or to their beneficiaries in particular.

2. Hierarchy

The opposite of conservatism is democracy, and contempt for democracy is a constant thread in the history of conservative argument. Instead, conservatism has argued that society ought to be organized in a hierarchy of orders and classes and controlled by its uppermost hierarchical stratum, the aristocracy. Many of these arguments against egalitarianism are ancient, and most of them are routinely heard on the radio. One tends to hear the arguments in bits and pieces, for example the emphatic if vague claim that people are different. Of course, most of these arguments, if considered rationally, actually argue for meritocracy rather than for aristocracy.

Meritocracy is a democratic principle. George Bush, however, was apparently scarred for life by having been one of the last students admitted to Yale under its old aristocratic admissions system, and having to attend classes with students admitted under the meritocratic system who considered themselves to be smarter than him. Although he has lately claimed to oppose the system of legacy admissions from which he benefitted, that is a tactic, part of a package deal to eliminate affirmative action, thereby allowing conservative social hierarchies to be reaffirmed in other ways.

So, how do we, the people, counter this artistocratic heresy?

. . . Build the Democratic Party.

Your model should be Pat Robertson. He is as extreme on the right as anybody in the United States is on the left. Yet his people took over large parts of the Republican Party.

They did this in three ways: laboriously designing a mainstream-sounding language, identifying large numbers of talented activists and training them in the day-to-day work of issue and party politics, and building their own communications systems. Liberals should do the same.

Now, many liberals argue that the Democratic Party would magically start winning again if it would only move to the left. This is lazy nonsense. The Democratic Party has moved to the right for the simple reason that liberals do not have a language that wins elections. To take over the Democratic Party, liberals need to replace the left-wing policies that do not work and, for the policies that do work, get a language that moves 51% of likely voters to vote Democratic.

Other liberals argue that the Democratic Party, and the "system" in general, are irretrievably broken, and that they must build a third party, such as the Green Party with its endorsement of Ralph Nader. The difficulties with this notion are hard to count. For one, splitting the left is a certain recipe for centuries of aristocratic domination. For another, building a party with only people who share your opinions to the nth degree is a certain recipe for factionalism and isolation. For another, the Green Party is a chaotic mess that has no serious chance of becoming a mass-based political party.

Life under aristocratic domination is horrible. The United States is blessed to have little notion of what this horror is like. Europe, for example, staggered under the weight of its aristocracies for thousands of years. European aristocracies are in decline, and Europe certainly has its democratic heroes and its own dawning varieties of civilized life, and yet the psychology and institutions that the aristocracies left behind continue to make European societies rigid and blunt Europeans' minds with layers of internalized oppression. People come to America to get away from all of that. Conservatism is as alien here as it could possibly be.

Only through the most comprehensive campaign of deception in human history has it managed to establish its very tentative control of the country's major political institutions. Conservatism until very recently was quite open about the fact that it is incompatible with the modern world. That is right. The modern world is a good place, and it will win.

And if we don't get our resistance act(s) in gear, ex-Assistant Secretary U.S. Treasury, Paul Craig Roberts, fills us in on what is in store for such near-sighted citizens (and reemphasizes the reason for my moving away from the agenda of the Obamaniacs as I have no clue as to what it is). (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Down To The Last Trillion in Red Ink US Treasury Running on Fumes July 27, 2010

The White House is screaming like a stuck pig. WikiLeaks’ release of the Afghan War Documents “puts the lives of our soldiers and our coalition partners at risk.

What nonsense. Obama’s war puts the lives of American soldiers at risk, and the craven puppet state behavior of “our partners” in serving as US mercenaries is what puts their troops at risk.

Keep in mind that it was someone in the US military that leaked the documents to WikiLeaks. This means that there is a spark of rebellion within the Empire itself.

And rightly so. The leaked documents show that the US has committed numerous war crimes and that the US government and military have lied through their teeth in order to cover up the failure of their policies. These are the revelations that Washington wants to keep secret.

If Obama cared about the lives of our soldiers, he would not have sent them to a war, the purpose of which he cannot identify. Earlier in his regime, Obama admitted that he did not know what the mission was in Afghanistan. He vowed to find out what the mission was and to tell us, but he never did. After being read the riot act by the military/security complex, which recycles war profits into political campaign contributions, Obama simply declared the war to be “necessary.” No one has ever explained why the war is necessary.

The government cannot explain why the war is necessary, because it is not necessary to the American people. Any necessary reason for the war has to do with the enrichment of narrow private interests and with undeclared agendas. If the agendas were declared and the private interests being served identified, even the American sheeple might revolt.

The Obama regime has made war the business of America. Escalation in Afghanistan has gone hand in hand with drone attacks on Pakistan and the use of proxy forces to conduct wars in Pakistan and North Africa. Currently, the US is conducting provocative naval exercises off the coasts of China and North Korea and instigating war between Columbia and Venezuela in South America.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden declared on July 25 that an attack on Iran seems unavoidable. With the print and TV media captive, why doesn’t Washington simply tell us that the country is at war without going to the trouble of war?

That way the munitions industry can lay off its workers and put the military appropriations directly into profits. We could avoid the war crimes and wasted lives of our soldiers.

The US economy and the well-being of Americans are being sacrificed to the regime’s wars. The states are broke and laying off teachers. Even “rich” California, formerly touted as “the seventh largest economy in the world,” is reduced to issuing script and cutting its state workers’ pay to the minimum wage. Supplemental war appropriations have become routine affairs, but the budget deficit is invoked to block any aid to Americans - but not to Israel.

On July 25 the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that the US and Israel had signed a multi-billion dollar deal for Boeing to provide Israel with a missile system.

Americans can get no help out of Washington, but the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, declared that Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security is “not negotiable.” Washington’s commitment to California and to the security of the rest of us is negotiable. War spending has run up the budget deficit, and the deficit precludes any help for Americans.

With the US bankrupting itself in wars, America’s largest creditor, China, has taken issue with America’s credit rating. The head of China’s largest credit rating agency declared:

“The US is insolvent and faces bankruptcy as a pure debtor nation.”

On July 12, Niall Ferguson, an historian of empire, warned that the American empire could collapse suddenly from weakness brought on by its massive debts and that such a collapse could be closer than we think. Deaf, dumb, and blind, Washington policymakers prattle on about “thirty more years of war.”

(Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary U.S. Treasury, Associate Editor Wall Street Journal, Columnist for Business Week, Senior Research Fellow Hoover Institution Stanford University, and William E. Simon Chair of Political Economy in the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. )

And the latest on the state of our biological existence from Paul Krugman (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Who Cooked the Planet?

July 25, 2010

Never say that the gods lack a sense of humor. I bet they’re still chuckling on Olympus over the decision to make the first half of 2010 — the year in which all hope of action to limit climate change died — the hottest such stretch on record. Of course, you can’t infer trends in global temperatures from one year’s experience.

But ignoring that fact has long been one of the favorite tricks of climate-change deniers: they point to an unusually warm year in the past, and say “See, the planet has been cooling, not warming, since 1998!” Actually, 2005, not 1998, was the warmest year to date — but the point is that the record-breaking temperatures we’re currently experiencing have made a nonsense argument even more nonsensical; at this point it doesn’t work even on its own terms.

But will any of the deniers say “O.K., I guess I was wrong,” and support climate action? No. And the planet will continue to cook. So why didn’t climate-change legislation get through the Senate? Let’s talk first about what didn’t cause the failure, because there have been many attempts to blame the wrong people.

First of all, we didn’t fail to act because of legitimate doubts about the science. Every piece of valid evidence — long-term temperature averages that smooth out year-to-year fluctuations, Arctic sea ice volume, melting of glaciers, the ratio of record highs to record lows — points to a continuing, and quite possibly accelerating, rise in global temperatures.

Nor is this evidence tainted by scientific misbehavior. You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers — allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media. You don’t believe such things can happen? Think Shirley Sherrod.

Did reasonable concerns about the economic impact of climate legislation block action? No. It has always been funny, in a gallows humor sort of way, to watch conservatives who laud the limitless power and flexibility of markets turn around and insist that the economy would collapse if we were to put a price on carbon. All serious estimates suggest that we could phase in limits on greenhouse gas emissions with at most a small impact on the economy’s growth rate.

So it wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.

If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, you’ll find that they’re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting climate-change denial, or Koch Industries, which has been sponsoring anti-environmental organizations for two decades.

Or look at the politicians who have been most vociferously opposed to climate action. Where do they get much of their campaign money? You already know the answer.

By itself, however, greed wouldn’t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice — above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment.

There are a number of such climate cowards, but let me single out one in particular: Senator John McCain.

There was a time when Mr. McCain was considered a friend of the environment. Back in 2003 he burnished his maverick image by co-sponsoring legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. He reaffirmed support for such a system during his presidential campaign, and things might look very different now if he had continued to back climate action once his opponent was in the White House. But he didn’t — and it’s hard to see his switch as anything other than the act of a man willing to sacrifice his principles, and humanity’s future, for the sake of a few years added to his political career.

Alas, Mr. McCain wasn’t alone; and there will be no climate bill. Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price.

And once again, Paul Craig Roberts gets the final rational word on our coming demise (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

The Year America Dissolved

July 27, 2010

It was 2017. Clans were governing America.The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable.

As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities. The newly formed tribes expanded to encompass the relatives and friends of the police.

The dollar had collapsed as world reserve currency in 2012 when the worsening economic depression made it clear to Washington’s creditors that the federal budget deficit was too large to be financed except by the printing of money.

With the dollar’s demise, import prices skyrocketed. As Americans were unable to afford foreign-made goods, the transnational corporations that were producing offshore for US markets were bankrupted, further eroding the government’s revenue base.

The government was forced to print money in order to pay its bills, causing domestic prices to rise rapidly. Faced with hyperinflation, Washington took recourse in terminating Social Security and Medicare and followed up by confiscating the remnants of private pensions. This provided a one-year respite, but with no more resources to confiscate, money creation and hyperinflation resumed.

Organized food deliveries broke down when the government fought hyperinflation with fixed prices and the mandate that all purchases and sales had to be in US paper currency. Unwilling to trade appreciating goods for depreciating paper, goods disappeared from stores.

Washington responded as Lenin had done during the “war communism” period of Soviet history. The government sent troops to confiscate goods for distribution in kind to the population. This was a temporary stop-gap until existing stocks were depleted, as future production was discouraged. Much of the confiscated stocks became the property of the troops who seized the goods.

Goods reappeared in markets under the protection of local warlords. Transactions were conducted in barter and in gold, silver, and copper coins.

Other clans organized around families and individuals who possessed stocks of food, bullion, guns and ammunition. Uneasy alliances formed to balance differences in clan strengths. Betrayals quickly made loyalty a necessary trait for survival.

Large-scale food and other production broke down as local militias taxed distribution as goods moved across local territories. Washington seized domestic oil production and refineries, but much of the government’s gasoline was paid for safe passage across clan territories.Most of the troops in Washington’s overseas bases were abandoned. As their resource stocks were drawn down, the abandoned soldiers were forced into alliances with those with whom they had been fighting.

Washington found it increasingly difficult to maintain itself. As it lost control over the country, Washington was less able to secure supplies from abroad as tribute from those Washington threatened with nuclear attack. Gradually other nuclear powers realized that the only target in America was Washington. The more astute saw the writing on the wall and slipped away from the former capital city.

When Rome began her empire, Rome’s currency consisted of gold and silver coinage. Rome was well organized with efficient institutions and the ability to supply troops in the field so that campaigns could continue indefinitely, a monopoly in the world of Rome’s time.

When hubris sent America in pursuit of overseas empire, the venture coincided with the offshoring of American manufacturing, industrial, and professional service jobs and the corresponding erosion of the government’s tax base, with the advent of massive budget and trade deficits, with the erosion of the fiat paper currency’s value, and with America’s dependence on foreign creditors and puppet rulers.

The Roman Empire lasted for centuries. The American one collapsed overnight.

Rome’s corruption became the strength of her enemies, and the Western Empire was overrun.

America’s collapse occurred when government ceased to represent the people and became the instrument of a private oligarchy.

Decisions were made in behalf of short-term profits for the few at the expense of unmanageable liabilities for the many. Overwhelmed by liabilities, the government collapsed.

Globalism had run its course. Life reformed on a local basis.

For the final irrational word~ (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Glenn Beck's Incendiary Angst Dangerously Close to Having a Body Count
The pundit's crusade against the Tides Foundation is the latest in a line of tirades that have led to violence

By Eric Boehlert On his Monday radio show, Glenn Beck highlighted claims that before he started targeting a little-known, left-leaning organization called the Tides Foundation on his Fox News TV show, "nobody knew" what the non-profit was.

Indeed, for more than a year Beck has been portraying the progressive organization as a central player in a larger, nefarious cabal of marxist/socialist/Nazi Obama-loving outlets determined to destroy democracy in America. Beck has routinely smeared the low-profile entity for being staffed by "thugs" and "bullies" and involved in "the nasty of the nastiest," like indoctrinating schoolchildren and creating a "mass organization to seize power."

As Media Matters reported, the conspiratorial host had mentioned (read: attacked) the little-known progressive organization nearly 30 times on his Fox program alone since it premiered in 2009, including several mentions in the last month. (Beck's the only TV talker who regularly references the foundation, according to our Nexis searches.)

So yes, Beck has done all he can to scare the hell out of people about the Tides Foundation and "turn the light of day" onto an organization that actually facilitates non-profit giving. And guess what? Everybody in America would have found out about the Tides Foundation last week if Byron Williams had had his way. He's the right-wing, government-hating, gun-toting nut who strapped on his body armor, stocked a pickup truck with guns and ammo, and set off up the California coast to San Francisco in order to start killing employees at the previously obscure Tides Foundation in hopes of sparking a political revolution.

Thankfully, the planned domestic terrorist attack never came to pass because California Highway Patrol officers pulled Williams over for drunk driving on his way to his killing spree. Williams quickly opened fire, wounding two officers during a lengthy shootout. Luckily, Williams wasn't able to act out the ultimate goal of his dark anger - fueled by the TV news he watched - about how "Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items," as his mother put it.

Williams wasn't able to open fire inside the offices of the Tides Foundation, an organization "nobody knew" about until Glenn Beck started targeting it. And thankfully, Williams wasn't able to take his place alongside a growing list of domestic, anti-government terrorists, such as the recent Pentagon shooter, the Holocaust Museum gunman, the kamikaze pilot who flew his plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, and the Pittsburgh cop-killer who set up an ambush because he was convinced Obama was going to take away his guns.

All the vigilante attacks appear to have been fueled by an almost pathological hatred for the U.S. government - the same open hatred that right-wing bloggers, AM talk radio hosts, and Fox News' lineup of anti-government prophets have been frantically fueling for the last year, pushing doomsday warnings of America's democratic demise under President Obama.

And the sad the sad truth is we're going to see more like Byron Williams. We're going to see more attempts at vigilante violence during the Age of Obama simply because the right-wing media, led by Beck, continue to gleefully (albeit irresponsibly) stoke dangerous fires with the kind of relentlessly incendiary rhetoric that has no match in terms of modern day, mainstream use in American politics or media.

Just listen to Glenn Beck:

Progressives "are sucking the blood out of the republic" and are "gonna start getting more and more violent."

"To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter."

"[Y]ou will have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun" and "before I acquiesce and be silent."

"This game is for keeps"; "[Y]ou can shoot me in the head ... but there will be 10 others that line up."

"There is a coup going on."

There is a stealing of America. God help us in an emergency.

And don't forget about the unhinged response when health care reform was passed in March: "Get down on your knees and pray. Pray. It's September 11th all over again, except that we didn't have the collapsing buildings." After financial reform passed last week, Beck told his audience, "Your republic is over."

Meanwhile, Andrew Breitbart's website recently tagged Obama as the "suicide-bomber-in-chief," while the conservative Washington Times just last week published an op-ed - by a former congressman, no less - asserting the President poses more of a threat to America than Al Qaeda.

Note that the radical right's media rhetoric is no longer even political in a partisan sense. Instead, it's purely revolutionary. It isn't, "We think taxes should be lower" or "Obama should be more hawkish overseas." It's, "There's an insidious and deadly plot afoot by Democrats and progressives to strip Americans of their freedom and this country of its greatness." Obama is now the incarnation of evil (the Antichrist?), and his driving hatred for America, as well as for democracy, runs so deep that he ran for president in order to destroy the United States from inside the Oval Office.

. . . Indeed, the relentless message that right-wing audiences hear is unequivocal and inescapable: Do something! Take action!

And last week, Byron Williams, likely inspired by Glenn Beck's Tides obsession, grabbed his guns and set out to do just that.

When will the voice of reason be heard again?

Obama needs to make a speech addressing these issues and putting the Deficit Commission out of work.

Suzan _______________

6 comments:

libhom said...

I think Krugman's critics in this case could be answered as follows.

Fiscal austerity during a time of global recession is a risky game. A global depression could create so much social upheaval that many in the plutocratic oligarchy would lose their positions, perhaps their lives.

Keep in mind that Krugman is very much a part of the elites that he is critiquing.

Liberality said...

So was FDR but he still supported equalizing opportunities for the lower classes.

Great article. I will print it off and reread in full. Nut shell"

But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are.

Yeah, they like they are better than everyone else so they deserve to have more.

Liberality said...

Oh, and I think the economic elite are trying to bring down the social democracies in Europe. I know that as a liberal in this country I point to their success stories as an example of what we should do here. Just a thought.

Suzan said...

I'm with you, Libhom, but the elites don't think the social upheaval will affect them, you know. They're protected!

Fiscal austerity during a time of global recession is a risky game. A global depression could create so much social upheaval that many in the plutocratic oligarchy would lose their positions, perhaps their lives.

Yeah, Lib, baby. That is it in a nutshell isn't it? "You mean they aren't better than everyone else inherently? Waaaaahhh!!!!"

But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are.

You are also right about the elites doing a fine job on all democracies across the board.

Of course, we've had to listen to how our system was the best for over 30 years now when anyone who traveled to Europe/Scandinavia saw the truth. My perverse guess is that this is the price we peons have to pay for having access to the internet: just when we got cranking about how to duplicate decent programs for the lower classes over here . . . .

I think the economic elite are trying to bring down the social democracies in Europe. I know that as a liberal in this country I point to their success stories as an example of what we should do here.

Thanks for commenting, friends!

S

Tom Harper said...

That article "The Year America Dissolved" sounds quite prophetic. Not 'til 2017, though. Cool, so we still have seven more years to kick back :)

Unfortunately I don't think it'll take that long. The movie Idiocracy takes place 500 years in the future, and right now it seems like that dystopia is just a few years away.

Suzan said...

You and me both, Tom.

I fear you are right, sweetheart.

S