Totalitarianism in the US: An Accident Waiting to Happen

Listening to Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention, I couldn’t place where I had come across something quite like this before. Then it struck me ”“ Pravda! I used to subscribe to Pravda in high school and college, first to learn Russian, and second, to pursue a college program in Soviet studies. Pravda was a newspaper that specialized in the Big Lie ”“ the Five Year Plan was always ahead of schedule, Soviet industrial capabilities exceeded that of any other country, people were starving on streets all across America. The newspaper was a non-stop stream of lies, just as Paul Ryan’s speech was studded with Big Lies ”“ lies that were easily disprovable, such as Barack Obama did nothing about the Simpson-Bowles recommendations to reduce the budget deficit (Paul Ryan didn’t mention he voted against these recommendations when the House killed any chance of enacting them); or that Obama made it easier for people to live off welfare (the President altered the enrollment rules of welfare at the request of Republican governors); or the Romney favorite ”“ Obama cut over $700 billion of Medicare benefits for individuals (the cuts were imposed on hospitals and insurance companies, not beneficiaries, and Romney has the same cuts in his economic plan).

The Big Lie always has an audacity that dares anyone to challenge it, because even when it is disproved, the liar will keep on repeating the lie, knowing that it will eventually appear as truth to enough people, and that more and more everyone will conclude that no one knows anymore what is truth and what is fiction. A lot of what Ryan said in his speech he has said before, as has Romney, so it is clear this is a deliberate strategy of motivating their base who hate Obama to such a degree they will believe anything about him. But since the Big Lie is just one feature of a totalitarian regime such as the Soviet Union, I began to wonder what other aspects of the Republican Party are Soviet-inspired. The Republicans, after all, have spent nearly seventy years after WWII winning elections by promising America only they could protect the country against its enemies. Most of that time the enemy was godless Communism, and along the way, it is quite possible the Republican Party took on some of the very characteristics of the enemy it had spent so much time demonizing.

I concluded many years ago that a degree in the Soviet political system was relatively useless, but it appears I was mistaken. So out came the classic books by Hannah Arendt, Robert Conquest, and Isaac Deutscher, as well as studies written by a varied group of Kremlinologists and Russian experts. There was reasonable agreement among these writers as to what characterized the totalitarian state that was the Soviet Union, so I used this list to compare the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the Republican Party of the United States. While the Republican Party is by no means operating in the oppressive mode of the CPSU, it is on its way to becoming a totalitarian and authoritarian organization. That implies it will use these methods as tools of governance once it obtains full political power in the US, and since the Democratic Party has proven itself unable to effectively stymie the Republican Party (in some cases it has moved down that same totalitarian path as well), America is in danger of losing its Constitutional safeguards and its traditional form of republican democracy.

Let’s look at some of the key features of a totalitarian governing structure.

Party over polity

In the Soviet Union, the Communist Party was the paramount political governing body, not the state. The Soviet parliament was a theatrical agency designed to give the illusion that the people had any say in policy, when the supreme policy body in the country was in fact the Politburo of the Communist Party. The Republicans have taken one step in this direction, when they announced at the beginning of the Obama administration that the sole objective of Republican policy was to organize his removal from office. Republicans had already showed themselves willing to use the Constitutional power of impeachment to remove a president, even on the flimsiest of grounds, but the Republicans do not currently control the Senate or have enough votes to wield this weapon effectively. Instead, they have chosen to subvert the Constitution altogether by neutering the Senate, tying it up in endless filibusters, and altering it from a body run on majority rules, to one run on super-majority rules. Since the Democrats do not have a super majority of 60 votes to overcome these filibusters, the Senate has been useless for nearly four years. Showing themselves willing to traduce the Constitution, the Republicans have taken the first step towards making the Congress into a theatrical body, good for giving the illusion of providing the people a voice in legislation and policy. The next step would be to find a way to convert the Congress into a permanent rubber-stamp, or at least one that operates that way whenever the Republicans control the White House.

Sham elections

A sham election system occurs when the totalitarian state, as represented by the party, runs unopposed in elections, or always wins an overwhelming percentage of the vote. The US already has sham elections occurring in many parts of the country, especially for House seats, where incumbency becomes a powerful advantage that scares off challengers and chokes off money for opponents to the incumbent. The Republicans benefit from this system, but they don’t control the entire Congress because of the gerrymandering that has divided up most of the seats securely between the two parties. This provides the blue state ”“ red state configuration in US politics, which locks in the Democratic Party in some states, and the Republicans in others. To break free of this restraint, the Republicans have taken to subverting the electoral process in the blue states through voter suppression efforts, and possibly through rigging of voting machine computers. The voter suppression attempts are blatant and out in the open ”“ one Republican official admitted recently the intention was to prevent blacks and poor people from voting. What is on display here is the Republican Party urge to obtain political power at all costs, along with a refusal to play the role of loyal opposition by compromising with the Democrats when they are in power so that the business of the nation can be managed.

State control of the economy

Everything about Republican Party economic ideology speaks to free market capitalism and laissez-faire economics, a far cry from the Soviet model where the government issued detailed five year plans that fed inputs to every major factory in the country. There is, however, a back door way to create state control (or some degree of control) over the economy, and that is by having the government team up with large industrial, financial, and other interests. It’s called fascism, technically ”“ the merger of the state with business as a means of controlling the country ”“ and as we saw in WWII, fascism is a handmaiden to totalitarianism.

The Republican Party has long been known as the party of big business and of the wealthy, but its transformation recently to the party of oligarchs ”“ the party funded by billionaires such as the Koch Brothers ”“ is something quite different. The last time the Republicans were in complete power, they showed themselves willing to auction off government services to the highest bidder (the K Street project, as well as the fund-raising targets set for each Congressman), and they allowed corporate lobbyists to sit in on Congressional mark-up sessions where bills are amended. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling will provide the first test this November as to the power of unlimited corporate donations to campaigns. Since the Democrats have found no way to oppose these developments ”“ since in many cases the Democrats are themselves participating in the destruction of the rule of law and its replacement by the rule of the wealthy and corporations – some form of classic fascism is already operating in the United States (without the brown shirts and trains running on time, but there is always the potential at least for brown shirts to appear on the streets of America. The trains are another story).

Show trials and party purges

The Republican Party has not yet been able to use the judiciary as a means of enforcing party dictates (other than through the traditional means of stacking the courts with Republican judges). Even though we haven’t had 1930s style show trials in the US, there has been an ominous development this week that has set the Republicans on the path of purges that weed out undesirables in the party. The usual process of the quadrennial political conventions is for the first ballot to be an open ballot, so that all the candidates who have run in the primaries and who won delegates to the convention will allow their name to be placed in nomination and votes counted from their supporters. Even in the case where a candidate such as Mitt Romney has locked up the nomination, this ritual is observed, if only to preserve party unity in the election (the losing nominees after the first ballot ”œfree up” their delegates and urge them then to vote for the winner of the primaries).

This ritual was not observed this week at the Republican National Convention. Ron Paul received a substantial number of votes in the primaries and had a large number of delegates at the convention. The Romney team pushed some of these delegates off the floor and out of the convention quite unceremoniously, using trumped up reasons (with the seating of the state of Maine’s delegates, for example). Then, when it came time for the first ballot, even though the states went ahead and announced the votes for Ron Paul, the chair would ignore those and announce only the votes for Mitt Romney. Worse was to come. The party introduced rules that will make it much harder in future primaries for someone like Ron Paul to get much if any votes. These were put up for voice vote, and even though the nays obviously shouted louder than the yeas, the chair ”“ in this case House Speaker John Boehner, called the vote for the yeas. In fact, people could see the teleprompter Boehner was using, where it clearly instructed him to say the yeas had won the vote no matter what he heard.

This is a classic party purge, and a number of Ron Paul delegates walked out of the convention in disgust (many of them are using the internet to announce they have left the party altogether). For the first time, and despite the fact Romney is in a very tight race for the presidency, party purity is more important than party unity. Once purges begin they are very difficult to end, and since Romney is something of an empty vessel on matters of principle (his policy program is nothing but the trite Republican bromides of tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, and endless defense spending), it is up to the Tea Party faction to fight it out with the Evangelical Christian faction and the Oligarchic funders of the party to see which side will remain standing.

Summary arrests and disappearances

The Republicans under George W. Bush pushed the nation down a very dangerous path with the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for accused terrorists. No charges were filed against these prisoners, though some have been brought in front of military tribunals. Despite campaign promises to shut down Guantanamo, Barack Obama has been unable to close the camp down. He has also expanded the powers assumed by George Bush which allow the president to order summary executions for suspected terrorists without benefit of trial. Obama has now assumed the power to execute American citizens solely on the strength of his signature.

This is what we know publicly about the assaults on due process and citizen’s rights. Much has been done under secrecy, and Obama has been a foe of transparency in government from the start. He has hounded and punished government whistleblowers far more rigorously than Bush, the most notable being Bradley Manning, who sits in prison now for two years without any charges being filed against him, and with some indication he has been subjected to some of the tortures used against prisoners in Iraq.

None of this has been taken very seriously by the American public, because it has been dressed up as essential for their safety and as protection against terrorism. Nor is this an example of party abuse of power ”“ it is strictly government abuse of power, so far. Alarm will come when the Republican Party takes the step of arresting and disappearing political opponents. If that happens, by then it will be too late to stop the practice.

State control of the media

The Republican Party since the days of Ronald Reagan has had control of the political airwaves ”“ the bandwidth that is used on radio and television for politically-oriented programming. The Republicans dominate talk radio and talk cable television, and Rush Limbaugh, the Spiritual Leader of 55 million registered Republican voters, dominates the talk media celebrities. The Republicans do not have control of the print media, but newspapers and magazines have been shrinking in the face of competition from the internet. Even so, the Republicans have kept up a fierce criticism of the ”œliberal media”, which intimidates any newspaper which wishes to take a liberal line on policy. The defensive response by the print media, and reporters for major television stations, is to adopt a ”œbalanced approach” between conservative and liberal viewpoints, giving equal credence to both. This allows the Republicans to move the political focal point of the country ever rightward, because no matter how outrageous a statement someone like Rush Limbaugh might make, the rest of the media will call him out only briefly if at all. Limbaugh still talks about Sandra Fluke in derogatory terms, for example, and his advertisers have slowly climbed back on board.

The only area of the media not under state or party control is the internet. At the moment, the internet is theoretically wide open, and anti-Republican and anti-government sentiments can be expressed freely. There are attempts, however, to control or shape the discourse. Corporations and the US military pay millions of dollars to have agents monitor the internet at all times for any statements that may be derogatory to their interests. Rebuttals are posted almost immediately, and sometimes legal threats are made against the offending parties. Other countries have gone much further than this. China and Iran censor the internet, using technology made for this purpose by American companies. When the internet intrudes on the prerogatives of any government, the reaction is swift, as was witnessed with Wikileaks. In the US Congress, Republicans have introduced bill after bill to constrict free use of the internet by imposing bandwidth and pricing measures, and while opposition to these bills can forestall progress, eventually the Republicans will win by tiring out the opposition. Inevitably, too, the US government will bring Chinese-style censorship to the internet, at the very least to protect the interests of the government and their partners in business.

It doesn’t seem likely any of this will lead to true totalitarian control of the media, where nothing negative about the government is printed or heard publicly. But totalitarianism creeps in a step at a time, and the first steps in this area have already been made.

Limited rule of law

In the Soviet Union the law was not a tool of justice, but a tool of oppression. Regime critics were dragged before the courts and sentenced to long prison terms. As with many of these other analogies, the US is heading down this path but has a considerable way to go before the courts are completely subverted. The Supreme Court has already begun to be suborned to political party, government, and big business interests; the US Chamber of Commerce, which lobbies on behalf of big business, has had its highest-ever success rate this past session, with the Supreme Court voting in favor of big business, and accepting the arguments in briefs submitted by the Chamber of Commerce, nearly 100% of the time.

Of course, it is not necessary to use the courts at all to subvert justice, and this has been the policy of the Obama administration when it comes to financial crimes. There is more than enough evidence in the public domain to support the establishment of a major investigative task force to prosecute high-profile financial executives, as was done during the Savings & Loan crisis of the 1980s, but the Obama administration refuses to do so. Despite the FBI handing juicy files over to the administration; despite the Senate Banking Committee providing the Justice Department with its evidence of criminal behavior in the mortgage industry, the Justice Department announces time and again that the cases are not worth prosecuting. Jon Corzine, the CEO of the failed financial broker MF Global, which stole over $1.0 billion of its clients’ money, was just given a Get Out of Jail Free card by the Justice Department.

Not surprisingly, many of the lawyers working at the Justice Department are holdovers from the Bush administration, which began this practice of selective application of the laws, when it ignored evidence of torture by the CIA in Iraq, or evidence of deliberate leaks of sensitive national security information by the Vice President’s office in the Valerie Plame affair. Justice continues to be meted out, sometimes severely, to petty criminals, drug dealers, and tax cheats, but not to politically connected, powerful, and wealthy people.

The security state

Republicans introduced under George W. Bush the first extensive expansion of a domestic security and spying apparatus. There are a variety of government agencies, chief among them the NSA, which are now known to spy and eavesdrop on the conversations of millions of American citizens. The No Fly rules established an extensive and arbitrary policy that forbids certain citizens from entering an airplane. Borders have been shut down, and a preposterous security screening process, complete with requirements that people remove shoes, belts, and all personal possessions, has been put in place that seems to have very little to do with actual security and everything to do with training the public to behave in an obedient, deferential and docile fashion in the face of officialdom. This process continues, with the introduction of body-scanning machines that give small doses of radiation to the passenger, while affording Michael Chertoff, former head of the Department of Homeland Security, an extremely nice living since he lobbies the Obama administration to use the machines manufactured by his client, OSI. There are two benefits here to the government: an established member of the political elite, one of thousands who rotate in and out of government and lobbying jobs, is allowed to grow rich off his government service; and the American people are forced to endure yet another degrading and intrusive inspection just because the government says so. The public goes along with these demands sheepishly because it has no choice. There are no politicians demanding an investigation into the Chertoff abuse of power (he first began investing in these body scanning companies when he was head of Homeland Security), and few politicians are interested or willing to stand up to the massive internal security apparatus that the Republicans put in place after 9/11.

The US is not at the stage where everyone must travel about with their ”œidentity papers”, subject to inspection by an official at a moment’s notice, and subject to imprisonment for any irregularities in the papers. Searching one’s papers was a common tactic used by the Germans in WWII to round up Jews. But wait ”“ if you are Hispanic, in certain states you are indeed subject to arbitrary inspection of identity papers and arrest. And if you are black or Latino, you now must produce your identity papers in certain states if you ever show up at a voting booth. The message here ”“ brought to us by the Republican Party ”“ is get out of the country if you are not a legal immigrant, and don’t bother to vote if you are poor without a car or home-bound and can’t get a proper government license.

Can the US Reverse Course?

What we have established here is that the political system in the US has taken the first steps towards authoritarianism, which leads to totalitarianism. These first steps do not allow anyone to say Aha! ”“ the Republican Party is no different than the Communist Party. The Republican Party still operates within the confines of the two-party system. The Constitution is still operative for the most part, and even Republican judges have stood up to their own party on occasion when it comes to expansion of state power. The American people have free access to information, at least through the internet, and they can go about their personal business largely unfettered, even though they are watched by cameras anytime they are in public, and their electronic communications are being monitored.

But that’s not the point. The Russians of 1920 had some personal safeguards as well, though opponents of the tsar were known to be tortured and arbitrarily imprisoned or executed. Then along came Lenin, who believed in party supremacy over all aspects of the government, including the military and the state police. Lenin died at a relatively young age in 1924 of a stroke, and his successor, a man he did not trust, took matters one step further ”“ Stalin began imprisoning and executing his political enemies and anyone who stood up to his abuse of power. A few objected, but paid for their courage with their lives. Everyone else cowered and shivered before the tyranny that was put in place in the Soviet Union.

This can’t happen in the US, you might say, because it has a long history of honoring human rights, and ingrained democratic practices and impulses that will prevent descent into totalitarianism. But the US also had a long history of abhorrence of torture, born out of the Enlightenment of the 18th century. Now we have a former President and Vice President of the United States bragging about how they used torture while in office, and they would do it again if they had to. No one in the US is clamoring for them to be punished, and the man who has the authority to do so ”“ Barack Obama ”“ and who says he outlawed torture, has reportedly approved its use in the case of Bradley Manning (who is also apparently being allowed to rot in his jail cell for the rest of his life without ever being charged with a crime or brought to trial).

You see how the pavement is being laid out, and how so much has changed since Reagan took office, determined to overdo the political reforms that were put in place after the Watergate scandal. American citizens are being watched routinely as they go about their daily affairs; they cannot travel freely about the country without being humiliated at airports; some cannot travel at all without the risk of being profiled, stopped, and arrested; they are being taught and trained to obey petty government officials, and at this point most Americans would march freely into a prison camp if they were told if was for their own safety from terrorists; their civil liberties are increasingly circumscribed, to the point any American can be arrested, held without trial, and executed if the government desires; government is thoroughly in the pockets of big business and oligarchs who fund the two major political parties; the courts are now being used to promote the interest of government and business, and criminal behavior by business actors or politicians is ignored; the media tout only the government line and label dissenters and objectors as misguided souls or fools.

And behind all of this are the two political parties, who are increasing their stranglehold on the political system, and permanently locking out any other players. And while the Democratic Party still professes to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, it is a Democratic president who has furthered the policies of the Republican Party that promote authoritarianism and eventual totalitarianism. And every time the Republican Party obtains hold of the White House, it lays yet more pavement that leads to totalitarianism. It looks for ways to convert this country to a one party system, and it seeks the means to neuter Congress and the courts into useless lapdogs of the president. It is so confident of its hold on power and its ability to hoodwink the people, that it has offered for president a man who is an exemplar of the corporate, oligarchic elite who have already severely damaged the economy (but not at their own personal expense). It has also taken a dangerous step toward purging the party of all but the most faithful, and in so doing, it has shown its confidence that the electoral system is rigged or close to being rigged in its favor, so that it is irrelevant whether the Republican Party shrinks to a small band of true believers ”“ they will still control the government.

If offers for Vice President a man on the surface who is a decent husband and father, but who throughout his adult life has worshipped the memory and teachings of a woman who reveled in her own sociopathy, who taught that selfishness is a virtue, and who patterned her literary heroes on a serial killer from the 1920s.

Even if he is elected as Vice President, or eventually succeeds to the presidency, Paul Ryan may well remain a decent, family man. But who follows him? Which president will take that fateful step of detaining or arresting a political enemy, just to teach him a lesson? From there things can spiral down very quickly, and a democratic government can convert itself almost overnight into a totalitarian dictatorship, with no one really noticing at first. It’s happening in Russia right now. The machinery is being put in place for it to happen in the US. These preparations are not part of some conspiracy by Republicans or Democrats to destroy democratic governance in America ”“ they are more a result of circumstances giving politicians the opportunity to expand their power and wealth at the expense of democratic traditions and safeguards. These preparations are being motivated by personal desires for power, and by personal greed.

But once the building blocks of totalitarianism are in place, all it takes is an accident of nature ”“ one man in the Oval Office with such a desire for power, with a sociopathic inability to sympathize with others, with a lack of morality, to use the machinery at his disposal for his own dictatorial fancies. America is now exposed to that accident of nature, and as we all know, accidents do happen.

41 comments to Totalitarianism in the US: An Accident Waiting to Happen

  • mmeo

    I’ve been referring to the New York Times as Pravda-on-the-Hudson, and to the Washington Post as Izvestia-on-the-Potomac.

  • quiet Bill



    As you noted:

    And behind all of this are the two political parties, who are increasing their stranglehold on the political system, and permanently locking out any other players. And while the Democratic Party still professes to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, it is a Democratic president who has furthered the policies of the Republican Party that promote authoritarianism and eventual totalitarianism. And every time the Republican Party obtains hold of the White House, it lays yet more pavement that leads to totalitarianism. It looks for ways to convert this country to a one party system, and it seeks the means to neuter Congress and the courts into useless lapdogs of the president. It is so confident of its hold on power and its ability to hoodwink the people, that it has offered for president a man who is an exemplar of the corporate, oligarchic elite who have already severely damaged the economy (but not at their own personal expense). It has also taken a dangerous step toward purging the party of all but the most faithful, and in so doing, it has shown its confidence that the electoral system is rigged or close to being rigged in its favor, so that it is irrelevant whether the Republican Party shrinks to a small band of true believers – they will still control the government.

  • Steve Hynd

    This post is reminiscent of many written as we headed for the 2004 and 2008 elections. While there’s an element of “most important election EVAH!” agitprop in many such posts, I don’t think that’s a motive here. The danger really is present and we’ve seen that Dems are just as adept at gliding in the machinery of totalitarianism – ubiquitous surveillance, state secrecy as an excuse for everything, condoning torture as a step to accepting it – as anyone in the Republican Party. Nice post, N.

  • Scott R.

    About the highest praise I can offer is, “I wish I had said that”. Right on partner…, write on.

    I hate to dispute our editor in chief (Steve)…, but I do think this is probably the most important election ever. I finally got around to reading Stauss and Howe’s “The Fourth Turning”. Their prediction was that the Fourth Turning (Crisis) would begin “around” 2005 and some sort of “catalyst” would trigger this new saeculum. I would say that 9-11 and/or the financial meltdown was that catalyst. This passage in the prophecy chapter rings out:

    Soon after the catalyst, a national election will produce a sweeping political realignment, as one faction or coalition capitalizes on a new public demand for decisive action. Republicans, Democrats, or perhaps a new party will decisively win the long partisan tug-of-war, ending the era of split government that had lasted through four decades of Awakening and Unraveling. The winners will now have the power to pursue the more potent, less incrementalist agenda about which they had long dreamed and against which their adversaries had darkly warned. This new regime will enthrone itself for the duration of the Crisis. Regardless of its ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand private sacrifice. Where leaders had once been inclined to alleviate societal pressures, they will now aggravate them to command the nation’s attention. The regeneracy will be solidly under way.

    While the Democrats and Obama may be clueless and inept…, the Republicans have an agenda…, and you outlined it perfectly Numerian. I am afraid that my fellow Americans are buying the lie that the Republicans are selling…, but hope that they wake up to the real agenda. Thanks for trying to get the truth out there partner. Many thanks indeed.

  • someofparts

    “Alarm will come when the Republican Party takes the step of arresting and disappearing political opponents.”

    That is why the railroading of Don Siegelman concerns me so much. The prosecution has been nothing but political, based on no real case. This is being done to someone as high profile as a state governor. It includes the sad qualifier that Obama is doubling down on helping the Republicans get rid of the guy.

  • chalo

    because the choice is between an oligarch looter, and a cooperative servant of oligarch looters. The rate of our descent may change if the challenger wins, but the direction not one bit.

    The fix is in. Elections are subverted before they take place. It really doesn’t matter whether anyone votes now. What matters is to prepare for what comes next. Reduce your needs; maximize your flexibility; maintain your health. Be too insignificant for them to bother crushing and too poor to reap for profit. After the jackal finishes clearing out the chicken house, eventually he will starve.

    These are not like the clever arch villains of history. They are only pirates. They will be more surprised by their rapid self-defeat than we are.

  • jo6pac

    one evil will kill us overnight and the other by a thousand cuts but still evil.

    I’ve been doing just that for about the last few yrs and some friends think I’m nuts others are just starting to do the same.

    I’m not worried about the pirates but elite that control them. Yes the pirates will be thrown under the bus but there will be knew ones to take their place as another cog in the wheel for the overlords

    Thanks N great stuff

  • steeleweed

    what our “Reichstag Fire” event will be.

    I don’t always agree with Chalo but “…prepare for what comes next. Reduce your needs; maximize your flexibility; maintain your health…” is right on.

    Excellent post over at Nature Bats Last.

    Poetry is the only way we can talk about what is beyond language.

  • Nat Wilson Turner

    but important to note the context in which this is happening. The GOP is the party of reaction against decline. Economic decline, demographic decline, military decline.
    The GOP voter base is the angry white middle-aged (and up) male. Not only are they personally dying out, going broke, and feeling pinned to the wall by changing demographics and culture but they’re in a position to do something about it.
    This is the scary dying gasp of a once formidable monster. Hopefully they’ll run out of money and military power before they manage to impose a totalitarian nightmare but it’s going to be close.

  • mauberly

    tell Numerian he has posted well.

    He’s dead right. So much of the problem is in the lack of imagination of our leaders, left and right, and the moneyed influence that no one in power will turn loose of.

    There are simply no statesmen.

    Eastwood, in his directed and produced rambling weakness, seems among the best we have.

    Pretty sad.

    Which is what I think he was trying to show.

    http://mauberly.blogspot.com/

  • Michael Collins

    That’s what’s behind both facades.

    We’ve hit bottom already. The craziness so evident is the pain we have to endure as a new system emerges (or, if it doesn’t, as we wither away to nothing muchness).

    The Money Party RSS

  • Raja

    Common Dreams/Black Agenda Report, By Glen Ford, August 31

    There’s no getting around the fact that the United States is the Mother of All Police States. China can’t compete in the incarceration business. With four times the U.S. population, it imprisons only 70 percent as many people – about the same number as the non-white prison population of the U.S. Even worse, 80,000 U.S. inmates undergo the torture of solitary confinement on any given day.

    When U.S. corporate media operatives use the term “police state,” they invariably mean some other country. Even the so-called “liberal” media, from Democracy Now! to the MSNBC menagerie, cannot bring themselves to say “police state” and the “United States” without putting the qualifying words “like” or “becoming” in the middle. The U.S. is behaving “like” a police state, they say, or the U.S. is in danger of “becoming” a police state. But it is never a police state. Since these privileged speakers and writers are not themselves in prison – because what they write and say represents no actual danger to the state – they conclude that a U.S. police state does not, at this time, exist.

    Considering the sheer size and social penetration of its police and imprisonment apparatus, the United States is not only a police state, but the biggest police state in the world, by far: the police state against whose dimensions all other police systems on Earth must be measured.

    By now, even the most insulated, xenophobic resident of the Nebraska farm belt knows that the U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. He might not know that 25 percent of prison inmates in the world are locked up in the U.S., or that African Americans comprise one out of every eight of the planet’s prisoners. But, that Nebraska farmer is probably aware that America is number one in the prisons business. He probably approves. God bless the police state.

    [...]

    Civilized people now recognize that solitary confinement is a form of torture. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, reports that solitary confinement beyond 15 days at a stretch crosses the line of torture, yet, as Al Jazeera recently reported, it is typical for hundred of thousands of U.S. prisoners to spend 30 or 60 days in solitary at a stretch. Twenty thousand are held in perpetual isolation in so-called supermax prisons – that is, they exist in a perpetual state of torture. Studies now show that, all told, 80,000 U.S. prisoners are locked up in solitary on any given day. That’s as many tortured people as the entire prison system of Germany, or of England, Scotland and Wales, combined.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t affect Presidential race as not in a swing state- why do we put up with this year after year.

    still important despite Obama’s atrocious foreign policy record (Biden and Gates warned him)

    to show up and have progressive votes counted against the tide of
    stone age limitation on women’s rights.

    “I guess it’s just been that way since Eve ate the apple:”

    Female GOP delegate’s philosophy of women.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/09/01/republicans_vs_straw_men/

    There are lies on both campaigns, but so far they’ve been overwhelmingly Republican. Let’s see what happens next week.


    The origin of the universe has not as yet been shown to be a conspiracy theory

  • Scott R.

    Steve and I agree on a lot of thing…, most things. Especially campaign finance reform. I was disagreeing with him on the importance of this election. From “Obama=77% Dubya”:

    After all, despite Democrat fearmongering of the “most important election EVAH!” kind, ignoring that Republicans have ruled the roost for at least half of the last century and haven’t managed to destroy the United States yet.

    The operative word is yet. I may have misinterpreted his meaning…, there and in the comment in this thread…, but I took it to mean that it really doesn’t matter who wins this election and it will be just same old, same old, for the country. I don’t believe that “most important election EVAH” is just fearmongering. I honestly believe that handing the reins to the Republicans at this time and place in history would be a major catastrophe in the long run…, not just the near term.

    Other than that…, right on Steve…, write on.

  • Anonymous

    I honestly want to understand your reasoning why having a GOP win right now would be “a major catastrophe in the long run…, not just the near term” and how it could possibly be even slightly close to “the most important evection EVAH”.

    First of all, in the long term, … it’s going to go back and forth between GOP and Dem. What exactly will happen this next term as opposed to the ones after that which will be so future-determining in the long term?

    In the short term, my point (and Steve’s, as I understand it) is that Obama is doing most of the same things Bush etc. were doing, and Obama intends to keep doing those, which are for the most part the same things Romney plans to do, despite any sound bite promises (like hope and change, or true conservatism or Ryan plan) that any of them make… they will continue what they have been doing for the oligarchy, without change.

    (Also see nymole’s comment below about why she thinks it won’t make that much difference)

    So, I’m all ears, as Ross Perot said in a debate!

  • Scott R.

    potential Supreme Court appointments.

    2. War…, to “get the economy going again”. I will always contend that was the Wee Bush’s motive for his “rush” to war with Irag…, based on pure lies. We may see it with Obama…, it is a certainty under Romney.

    3. Fiscal discipline. Republicans spout it…, but Reagan tripled the national debt…, the Wee Bush doubled it. Romney will shatter those barriers while obliterating the social safety net.

    4. I don’t equate Obama’s lack of initiative in changing the Wee Bush’s policies with initiating such policies himself.

    5. Obama has held things together despite overwhelming odds to the contrary…, and the Republicans stated objective of ensuring his failure.

    6. The Republicans have demonstrated that they will sacrifice any and all in order to maintain the wealthy elites tax breaks. Obama didn’t show much backbone in letting them back him down over keeping their tax cuts in exchange for extended unemployment benefits.

    7. Those are just off the top of my head…, maybe I will post more after I get the chores done…, and have a few beers to loosen up my tongue !!!! : )

    Later partner…, and thanks for asking.

  • JustPlainDave

    …quite a small set of foreign relations / national security policies. The policy spectrum is a heck of a lot broader than that. Me, I got no difficulty believing that a Romney administration would be much worse domestically (and internationally), given current circumstances, than a second Obama administration in many other policy areas.

    Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” ~ Steve Jobs

  • Scott R.

    you have confused me?

    The vast majority of those “articles” track back to…
    …quite a small set of foreign relations / national security policies.

    Just not sure which…, except #2 are “foreign relations/national security policies”?

    But yeah…, a Romney election win would be “…worse domestically (and internationally)…” by an order of magnitude that is unimaginable. I admitted in “Old Hippies” that I felt that the Bush v Gore election would not make a difference…, and admitted that I was WRONG. I am afraid that there will be a lot of people that will have to make that same admission if we see Romney pull a Truman v Dewey headline. And as I hinted at in “Old Hippies”…, I think that might be a distinct possibility here.

  • Scott R.

    and a few more than a few beers Bill. You did ask “why” didn’t you?

    The Big Lie always has an audacity that dares anyone to challenge it, because even when it is disproved, the liar will keep on repeating the lie, knowing that it will eventually appear as truth to enough people, and that more and more everyone will conclude that no one knows anymore what is truth and what is fiction.

    … the Republicans have taken the first step towards making the Congress into a theatrical body, good for giving the illusion of providing the people a voice in legislation and policy. The next step would be to find a way to convert the Congress into a permanent rubber-stamp, or at least one that operates that way whenever the Republicans control the White House.

    … the Republicans have taken to subverting the electoral process in the blue states through voter suppression efforts, and possibly through rigging of voting machine computers. The voter suppression attempts are blatant and out in the open – one Republican official admitted recently the intention was to prevent blacks and poor people from voting.

    Everything about Republican Party economic ideology speaks to free market capitalism and laissez-faire economics, a far cry from the Soviet model where the government issued detailed five year plans that fed inputs to every major factory in the country. There is, however, a back door way to create state control (or some degree of control) over the economy, and that is by having the government team up with large industrial, financial, and other interests. It’s called fascism, technically – the merger of the state with business as a means of controlling the country – and as we saw in WWII, fascism is a handmaiden to totalitarianism.

    The Republican Party has long been known as the party of big business and of the wealthy, but its transformation recently to the party of oligarchs – the party funded by billionaires such as the Koch Brothers – is something quite different. The last time the Republicans were in complete power, they showed themselves willing to auction off government services to the highest bidder (the K Street project, as well as the fund-raising targets set for each Congressman), and they allowed corporate lobbyists to sit in on Congressional mark-up sessions where bills are amended. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling will provide the first test this November as to the power of unlimited corporate donations to campaigns.

    The Republican Party has not yet been able to use the judiciary as a means of enforcing party dictates (other than through the traditional means of stacking the courts with Republican judges). Even though we haven’t had 1930s style show trials in the US, there has been an ominous development this week that has set the Republicans on the path of purges that weed out undesirables in the party.

    The Republicans under George W. Bush pushed the nation down a very dangerous path with the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for accused terrorists.

    The Republican Party since the days of Ronald Reagan has had control of the political airwaves – the bandwidth that is used on radio and television for politically-oriented programming. The Republicans dominate talk radio and talk cable television, and Rush Limbaugh, the Spiritual Leader of 55 million registered Republican voters, dominates the talk media celebrities. The Republicans do not have control of the print media, but newspapers and magazines have been shrinking in the face of competition from the internet. Even so, the Republicans have kept up a fierce criticism of the “liberal media”, which intimidates any newspaper which wishes to take a liberal line on policy.

    Not surprisingly, many of the lawyers working at the Justice Department are holdovers from the Bush administration, which began this practice of selective application of the laws, when it ignored evidence of torture by the CIA in Iraq, or evidence of deliberate leaks of sensitive national security information by the Vice President’s office in the Valerie Plame affair. Justice continues to be meted out, sometimes severely, to petty criminals, drug dealers, and tax cheats, but not to politically connected, powerful, and wealthy people.

    Republicans introduced under George W. Bush the first extensive expansion of a domestic security and spying apparatus. There are a variety of government agencies, chief among them the NSA, which are now known to spy and eavesdrop on the conversations of millions of American citizens. The No Fly rules established an extensive and arbitrary policy that forbids certain citizens from entering an airplane. Borders have been shut down, and a preposterous security screening process, complete with requirements that people remove shoes, belts, and all personnel possessions, has been put in place that seems to have very little to do with actual security and everything to do with training the public to behave in an obedient, deferential and docile fashion in the face of officialdom.

    But once the building blocks of totalitarianism are in place, all it takes is an accident of nature – one man in the Oval Office with such a desire for power, with a sociopathic inability to sympathize with others, with a lack of morality, to use the machinery at his disposal for his own dictatorial fancies. America is now exposed to that accident of nature, and as we all know, accidents do happen.

    As I said in my comments to Numerian, “I wish I had said that”. So I say it again now with these quotes.

    I have bashed Obama too…, but it seems that that bashing has been interpreted as supporting the Republican party in some circles. And my gosh…, if “Old Hippies” are supporting the Republican party…, what the hell? At this point in time and place I don’t want there to be any doubt that I think the Republicans are a greater evil…, and if advocating for a lesser evil is a sin…, I am a sinner.

    If there is a real danger here…, I believe that it is the misconception that this election is inconsequential. There could be nothing further from the truth.

    The Quillayute Cowboy

  • JustPlainDave

    …prime movers there are notably short on actual data. Is this reality, or a demonstration of the power of meme? Most everywhere that I’ve seen it expressed where I actually know the background, it’s been wrong…

    Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” ~ Steve Jobs

  • JustPlainDave

    …in the article that is the prime mover for the assertion that Obama is “77% Bush”. The article, with its “articles”, can be found: here.

    Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” ~ Steve Jobs

  • Raja

    Washington Post, By Joe Davidson, August 30

    Unemployment in the private sector too high?

    One way to improve that is to turn thousands of federal jobs over to corporations.

    That’s what Republicans call for in the platform they adopted this week in Tampa.

    The platform says Transportation Security Administration “procedures — and much of its personnel — need to be changed. It is now a massive bureaucracy of 65,000 employees who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers. We call for the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible and look toward the development of security systems that can replace the personal violation of frisking.”

  • Numerian

    A corporation is somehow going to become less intrusive, friendlier, more efficient, more respectful of civil rights, and quicker to capture terrorists sneaking through airport security? Under what motive will these miracles happen? The profit motive? An increase in employee bonuses? Health care benefits for the workers?

    I’d vote for two and three as possible ways by which a private employer could produce good service from security checkpoint employees at airports. But the problem is corporations have no interest in rewarding employees at that level. Bonuses are for executives and health care benefits continue to be cut back, especially now with dreaded Obamacare around the corner.

    Besides, we used to have a system like this. It was run by the airlines before 9/11, in conjunction with airport management.

    Europe does a reasonably good job of airport security post 9/11, without the need for passengers to remove shoes, and without the body-scanners. Employees are polite, not officious, and they don’t act like police officers, demanding silence and instantly punishing anything they view as insolent. At most airports lines move quickly and you don’t have to go through repeat lines from terminal to terminal (the exception is Heathrow which can have nightmare lines). Why can’t the US learn from that? If you bring corporations into the process you bring the profit motive into the economics, and eventually passengers will have to pay these corporations their profit through higher fares. Far better to reform the way the US government is doing things than pretending corporations can magically do it better.

  • Scott R.

    Meanwhile in “freedom and democracy” america, at their Tampa, Florida, nominating convention, the Republican Party showed its true colors. It is a Brownshirt Party.

    The tyrannical Republican machine refused to allow Ron Paul’s name to be mentioned or his delegate count to be presented.

    Reports from the Republican nomination convention read like reports of Stalin’s takeover of the Communist Party or the Nazi takeover of the German state. Rules adopted at the convention eliminate any grass roots input. The Republican politburo is supreme. The party is subservient, and the members’ voices are eliminated. Mimicking Lenin, the Republicans declared that Republican rule “means neither more nor less than unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules. Nothing else but that.”

    As Mother Jones reported, Ron Paul supporters shouted from the convention floor, “Fuck You, Tyrants!” http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/08/ron-paul-supporters-rebel-convention-floor-fuck-you-tyrants

    The Republicans are the party of “freedom and democracy.” The Republicans are the party most controlled by the neoconservatives, who are strongly allied with Israel’s far right-wing government and are most hostile to the US Constitution. The Republicans are the party that gave us the PATRIOT Act, the first massive assault on the US Constitution. The Republicans are the party that gave us 9/11. The Republicans are the party that gave us the $3 trillion war against Iraq based on the Republican party’s lies about “weapons of mass destruction.” The Republicans are the party that gave us the $3 trillion war in Afghanistan based on lies about Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. The Republicans are the party that gave us the supremacy of the President over both the US Constitution and US statutory law; the executive branch is bound by neither according to the Republican Federalist Society members of the US Department of Justice (sic).

    Obama is a despicable patsy, a front man for powerful private interests, and Democrats should be totally ashamed to have elevated such a cowardly lowlife. But as awful as Obama is, a vote for Republicans is a vote for Hitler or Stalin. Indeed, the election of Romney and Ryan would be worse than either.

    The rest of the piece was on the topic of the Pussy Riot propaganda being spewed about in the mainstream media…, Putin Is Demonized While Democracy Fails In Amerika

    The Quillayute Cowboy

  • Don

    in good conscience, cast a ballot for either candidate, or either party.

    I hear people whose judgment I respect voice similar sentiment in support of their candidate (Obama/Romney): that the other would be worse….

    All potential voices opposing the status quo were eliminated from the race.

    The issues that matter are not even on the table. Those remaining are various degrees of horribly flawed policy.

    We’re fucked.

    I did inhale.

  • Raja

    Far better to reform the way the US government is doing things than pretending corporations can magically do it better.

    If the goal were better customer service at lower cost, then what you say makes sense.

    Can you imagine the Republican party of 1950 or 1960 putting something like this in their platform?

    What is the real goal? To enrich their (new, corporate) benefactors? To loose the security apparatus from the legal shackles imposed on the Government?

  • Scott R.

    luckily I don’t live in one of the swing states…, so I won’t have to vote for Obama. But if I did live in a swing state…, I would have to. The reality is that Obama or Romney will be our president for the next four volatile years that lie ahead…, and I fear much more a Romney Regime than Obamination.

  • Don

    Clusterfuck Nation.

    By James Howard Kunstler
    on August 27, 2012 8:08 AM

    History will notice — even if we are too chickenshit to face it now — that the extraordinary turpitudes of US politics today represent an unprecedented failure of American manhood. It’s everywhere and pervasive along the spectrum of party politics, as untruth is everywhere and pervasive in American life.

    The Republican case is too painfully obvious – Congressman Todd Akin being only the latest buffoon from the vast red state flyover cultural wilderness of franchise food and franchise thought to expose himself as lacking the basic male decency to defend womanhood against the consequences of plain-and-simple rape. In Dixieland Republicanism – now a misty region-of-mind that extends way beyond the old Confederate borders – you have the perfect confluence of sheer stupidity with the put-on, fake religiosity of men too weak to take responsibility for their own actions. They can just pawn everything off on Jesus: the good, the bad, the mystifying, the shameful. All the Republican men have to do is show up at the Nascar oval in time for barbeque. As for the courage of convictions, watch VP-designate Paul Ryan haul his mom out before a crowd of Florida retirees to prove his allegiance to Medicare and Social Security – two programs he would like to dismantle – on top of the fact that his mom is exactly the sort of multi-millionaire who a sane society would means-test out of receiving old-age support from the less fortunate taxpayers.

    The Democratic party case is more interesting to me, being a life-long registered Democrat, perhaps partly accounted for by my Manhattan Jewish upbringing. I was coming-of-age and paying attention when Lyndon B. Johnson chose manfully to sacrifice the future votes of all Dixieland – his home territory – by signing legislation aimed at resolving the unfinished business of the Civil War. Even the fiasco of Vietnam that followed the Civil Rights years was acknowledged by many Democrats then in power as a tragic error. They had the courage of men conscious in crisis.

    A perverse residue of those Civil Rights years lingers on today in the campaign for gay marriage, which affects to be identical in substance, and which is now, ironically, the only vector of action in Democratic politics inviting male valor – while it is also a huge distraction from many far more pressing tribulations we face, from resource scarcity to the well-being of the only planetary ecosystem we call home. I say, ironically, because gay marriage represents an existential endeavor that seeks to escape or nullify the fundamental tensions of the two-sexed human race. Like all things fashion-oriented, its essence is novelty, and the essence of novelty is that its charms wear off. Sooner or later, the charm of being not quite a man and not quite a woman will seem less than compelling to those not directly preoccupied by it. I bring it up because the Democrats have (foolishly) made it the public’s business to the exclusion of other things. So, for Democrats, the last remaining imaginable act of male valor in the arena of politics is to come out of the closet. Where else is valor found in Democratic politics? What amount of valor has been attached to the act of fighting to reestablish the rule of law in American finance, upon which the fate of the nation truly hangs?

    None. Zero. Last week Mr. Obama’s Department of Justice dropped its case against Goldman Sachs’s CDO swindling operations – a case that was served up on a silver platter by the report from Senator Carl Levin’s Senate subcommittee hearings. Not one lawyer in the entire DOJ took a public stand against that act of gross negligence. It’s only the latest in a long string of failures-of-nerve in the desperately needed rescue of legitimacy in American affairs. Every agency head, every person in authority in Mr. Obama’s government has evaded the single-most pressing issue of our time. From the center of power to the margins of power and everywhere in between, real masculine courage is absent.

    Where was valor in the face of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, when some Democrat in the two other branches of government could have proposed a legislative remedy, even a constitutional amendment, to clarify the distinction between the standing of citizens and corporations in wielding money as political speech? Who in Obamaland has asked Jamie Dimon to account for JP Morgan’s missing $6 billion? And, of course, Jon Corzine is still at large.

    In fact, all the male energies in American political economy have been directed lately in the service of a one multifarious enterprise: the support of fraud, which includes the promotion of untruth, the protection of the wicked, and the evasion of reality. That can only end badly as this vast cargo of lies passes through the event horizon of circumstance and sucks us into the unknown territory that lies beyond the fall of empire. You can be certain of this: genuine male energy will re-emerge from the shadows and that energy will re-engage the still unresolved tensions abroad in this land. When they do, anything can happen. For now, the election of 2012 remains a mere pussy riot.

    The storm churning through the Gulf of Mexico may remind us just how large and uncontrollable the forces of nature are as the curtain rises on the political season of a grievously misled nation.

    I did inhale.

  • Numerian

    I think we are on to something if men of the caliber of Paul Craig Roberts and James Kunstler are seeing what we are seeing.

  • Scott R.

    the get-go Numerian. Keep it up…, carry on…, right on partner…, WRITE on.

  • Steve Hynd

    ‘This Is the Most Important Election …’

    Is Election 2012 the most important in American history? Not unless the outcome largely determines whether we have a civil war. The most important since 1860? Almost certainly not. The most important in our lifetime? Odds are against it, and even if it turns out to be so, we can’t reliably predict that going in. If anyone tells you that “this is the most important election…” best to keep your wits, secure your wallet, and insist that at best they’re guessing — whereas at worst they’re repeating what they’ve promiscuously said about bygone elections too.

    I’ve only been around for US elections since 2001, but I recall partisans on both sides telling us each election since then (midterms too!) was the “most important election ever”. You can only cry wolf so many times.

  • Scott R.

    I am no student of presidential elections, so I am remiss to state that this is probably the most important election ever. I guess I could blame reading “The Fourth Turning” and watching some of the RNC on PBS. Luckily I was out feeding the horses when Eastwood came on, so I missed that. I don’t read or watch Limbaugh or O’Reilly or any of the mainstream media, so I haven’t seen the others cited in your link that continually site elections as the most important ever. This is the first time I have cried wolf…, in fact I went out of my way to downplay the significance of the Obama election in this piece at The Agonist, The Election That Changed the World. I said:

    The Election That Changed the World…,
    no, no, no…, not the election of Barack Obama. Though I sincerely hope that I will someday write that about it.

    I went on to talk about what Carter’s defeat by Reagan meant for the course change of our ship of state. I ended with:

    No…, Jimmy Carter wasn’t the best President we ever had. But he was the best man we ever had as President. And if Barack Obama is half the man that Jimmy Carter is…, maybe I will someday be writing about another election that changed the world.

    No…, Obama is not half the man that Jimmy Carter was. But I do see similarities between them…, as well as glaring differences. And I do see a steady hand on the tiller of our ship of state from Obama. No radical course changes. Just a slow but steady sail toward a still iffy recovery. If Romney and the Republicans take hold of the tiller, they will shove it hard to starboard and set us on a course to certain disaster.

    So…, this is the first time I have cried wolf…, and I hope I am wrong and it is unwarranted. But remember…, the little boy was right…, when people quit listening.

    And…, right on partner…, write on.

  • Anonymous

    I think he was quite funny and like any good actor, he kept your focus on him at all times, with his delivery and his Invisible Obama schtick (an old acting school device that he probably learned 60 years ago). He was, in a lot of respects, the highlight of the week for the delegates, if you go by entertainment value and maybe even receptivity to his message.

    The problem wasn’t Eastwood. Nor was it Invisible Obama. It was the empty hat that followed him on stage. The contrast between live-wire Eastwood and dead-meat Romney was just too much to ignore. Plus, Eastwood contradicted Romney on several points. Put that together, and Clint did real damage to the nominee. And if he winds up to be the only thing anybody remembers from this convention, as many suggest, it is because Romney offered up nothing to notice, especially for non-Republicans, who have been hearing about tax cuts, deregulation, small business and evil Obama forever.

    By the way, this was the first speech of Romney’s I ever watched, and I found him rather creepy. He has a way of looking at the audience, then directly at the camera, and then back at the audience, that comes off as robotic and practiced. A really good political speaker addresses the audience, and lets the camera pick up on his or her connection to the audience. This allows the viewer to feel as if they are part of the audience. Romney’s attempts to seem as if he is speaking directly to you are simply too forced, and frankly – very few speakers can pull off speaking for any length of time to the camera directly. I can think of Bishop Fulton Sheen, Liberace, Mr. Rodgers, and perhaps a few modern televangelists (and definitely not Joel Osteen, with his bizarre fluttering eyes). Romney gives the impression he’s a classic snake-oil salesman, and he’s worse than Nixon in that respect.

  • quiet Bill

    and since you mentioned Joel Osteen, I had to go look him up!

  • quiet Bill

    Former presidential candidate John McCain has described Osteen as “inspirational”.

    Osteen’s sermons and writings are sometimes reproached for their use of the concepts of prosperity theology, or the prosperity gospel, a belief that wealth and power are rewards for pious Christians.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Osteen

  • Scott R.

    I came back in and caught the last of Eastwood. I thought he might have been drunk.., I wasn’t…, yet. There is a link to the videot here on The Ag…, I assume. I didn’t watch it because I used to have some respect for him. I think “Unforgiven” is a classic…, and one of my top ten movies of all time. I haven’t watched his performance at the RNC in entirety because I just hate to see someone I like completely humiliate himself. I was afraid that is what I would see if I watched it.

    As for Romney…, I couldn’t agree more. But he demonstrated the same characteristics in the primaries. The Republicans just don’t have anyone else to offer. But their message seems to transcend all shortcomings of their offerings of candidates…, I’m fucking scared partner.

  • Numerian

    By Kurt Eichenwald – well argued with a lot of detail, from a man who used to vote regularly for Republicans. He says the party must be stopped here and now.

    http://kurteichenwald.com/2012/09/the-five-reasons-why-romneyryan-must-be-defeated-in-2012-and-why-conservatives-should-hope-they-are/

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