Lighting the political lamp (it may be on for a couple of weeks), let me begin with a disclaimer, for those of you who don't know me ... I despise all dogmatists, including those on the far-left. As a one-time keynoter for a Libertarian Party Convention, I have the bona fides of someone who has read and understood Adam Smith. In fact, it is for that reason that I know which party the "First Liberal" would vote for, today, if he could. And it's not the one that touts his name the most.
Moreover, if communism was a principal threat to freedom, a generation ago, can there be any doubt that the madness and danger is coming from a different direction today?
=== TEA PARTY INSANITY ===
To see just how crazy it is out there, you really must read this. Confessions of a Tea Party Casualty:
“It was the middle of a tough primary contest, and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) had convened a small meeting with donors who had contributed thousands of dollars to his previous campaigns. But this year, as Inglis faced a challenge from tea party-backed Republican candidates claiming Inglis wasn't sufficiently conservative, these donors hadn't ponied up. Inglis' task: Get them back on the team. "They were upset with me," Inglis recalls. "They are all Glenn Beck watchers." About 90 minutes into the meeting, as he remembers it, "They say, 'Bob, what don't you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.'" Inglis didn't know how to respond....”
Neither do the rest of us, Bob. Apparently, the flabergasted Mr. Reasonableness who sits in the White House simply cannot pause - in his relentless attempts to negotiate - and parse out exactly what it going on.
So let me put it simply. The whole nation knows that the Republican Party was a festering nest of corruption and incompetence, since 1996 or so. (I do not include the first year of the Newt Gingrich Revolution, during which actual conservative values were negotiated with the sitting president, and the parties, together, enacted both Welfare Reform and budget restraints -- a brif era of maturity for which Gingrich was resoundingly punished, by his own party, as it chose to plunge into lunacy.)
Under that party’s misrule, America experienced a steep plummet in nearly all unambiguous metrics of national health - from GDP to home values, from patent rates to small business startups, all the way even to military readiness! The near-perfection of this national decline has never (for some strange reason) been laid out openly by the President or the democrats... probably for the same neurotic reasons that keep them from appointing a special prosecutor, to expose Bushite corruption and theft. But the people clearly know that the Republican brand is soiled, almost beyond repair.
The list of counter-points that the dems could use is astonishing... primarily in their total absence-of-use. For example, picture a 60 second television spot describing what would have happened to Ma and Pa’s Social Security, if the GOP had been allowed to “privatize” it, back in 2004... and who the winners would have been. Or the truth about which party does a better job beefing up the Border Patrol and actually limiting illegal (as opposed to legal) immigration? (Hint, it ain't the GOP, by a thousand miles.)
Or point out that Obama’s so called “socialist” health insurance bill was based on the Republicans’ own 1994 alternative plan. Sure that's well known to folks on the Sunday talk show circuit, but it would be devastating in a 60 second spot... purchased on Fox.
Let’s be clear about the poisonous nature of this campaign to win back Congress by painting the democrats as “even worse.” In order for them to be worse than the Bushites, they must be portrayed as satanic beings... the very same way that the Southern press depicted northerners and Abraham Lincoln, in 1860. The potential effectiveness of this populist campaign of lies is seen in the way a quarter of a million poor southern whites marched off to fight -- very bravely and well -- for the “cause” of protecting the interests of their local lords and cotton barons and slave-owning oligarchs. Hey, don't under-rate it! The method worked for the Rupert Murdochs of past eras. It's working for the Rupert Murdochs of today.
In fact, ok, it is that time again. Cyclically, regularly (and always) keep checking on the Fox News Boycott. You have a right to make your purchasing judgements based on many criteria. Including a list of those who advertise with Glenn Beck.
=== AND A POLITICAL MELANGE! ===
PROFILES IN COURAGE -- A group of 23 Communist Party elders in China has written a letter calling for an end to the country's restrictions on freedom of speech. I'll be commenting in detail about this, soon.
It can be fascinating to see how memes spread across the web, passed from peer to peer. But how can one tell what ideas are grass-roots and which are spread by political campaigns or corporations? Truthy, based at Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing attempts to chart the diffusion of information & misinformation on Twitter – by tracking keywords and retweets.
Take a tour of “Richistan...” the America that Fox is so frantic to get average citizens to ignore.
"The revelation that Rich Iott, a Republican candidate for Congress from Ohio, was an active member of a group of dedicated to understanding the experience of soldiers who served in the Nazi Waffen SS by dressing up in their uniforms — and staging recreations of their battles — has forced historical re-enactors to defend their hobby. "That Mr. Iott engaged in this pastime came to light on Friday, when Joshua Green of The Atlantic published photographs of him in an SS uniform beneath a headline asking, “Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?” Um... the SS? Jumping Jehosephat, if a democrat had done anything remotely like that....
Here's a terrific take-off on WWII cautionary posters about "loose lips sink ships."
The respect-worthy Amitai Etzioni - who is no pantywaist - is pushing for a simple “take care of America first” withdrawal from Afghanistan. (And if they become an enemy state again? Heck, enemy states are FAR simpler to topple than it is to fight a grueling insurgency. Think about it.) Anyway, we could sure have used the three trillion dollars these wars have cost. Spent on R&D, it would have left all our enemies -- and our trade rivals -- in clouds of our (by-now) nearly transhumanist dust! Ah, parallel worlds.
Finally, see a county by-county map of education levels... and how this affects disparities in income. From this it seems self explanatory why - and how - the Fox distraction campaign, to aim the ire of the ill-educated against the well educated, is working so well.
Find the nearest close partisan race and contact the HQ of the candidate you prefer... and help get out the vote!
For more of my articles on see: Politics for the 21st Century