“Republicans still control the Senate and the White House.”
“Until recently Republicans had a virtual lock on state government.”
Republicans have been pulling out all the stops to achieve majorities: disenfranchising Democratic voters, gerrymandering aggressively, and manipulating the voting machines.
A handful of private rightwing corporations count our votes with proprietary software. Is it a coincidence that statistical and pattern evidence from exit polls indicates that vote counts are being shifted to the right?
Exit polls show: – vote counts shifting in one direction (to the right), statistically impossible – large discrepancies appear in competitive races but not in noncompetitive races – hand counted ballots and computer counts are congruent in noncompetitive elections but not in competitive races – noncongruence between small precincts and large counties in competitive races (it’s easier to manipulate votes in large districts) – In 2010, with 300 safe House seats Republicans won an unprecedented 128 of the remaining 135 seats; they won all the close races; they should break about even – in 2014, the approval rating of the Republican Congress was about 8%, yet the Party of No gained more seats even though progressive ballot measures have passed by wide margins (even in non-blue states)
Follow Jonathan Simon’s interviews at http://codered2014.com/. He is the author of "Code Red: Computerized Elections and the War on American Democracy” (2018 edition).
Trump’s get-rich-quick schemes and seminars, including his books, were a con. His casinos were a con. His paid speeches on behalf of self-help gurus such as Tony Robbins were a con. Tales of his sexual prowess, spread by himself masquerading over the phone as a Trump spokesperson, were a con. His building projects were a con. Trump even had, Johnston writes, “imaginary employees.” Trump and his kleptocrats and grifters are today triumphant, and neither democratic norms or simply human decency will inhibit their pathological lust for more.
Perhaps it was inevitable that this poison would come to dominate our culture and our politics. It is the triumph of artifice. We live in an age when the fake, the fraudulent, the fabricated and the theatrical supplant reality. Trump’s manufactured persona was advertised on a reality television show. He sold this manufactured persona, as his ratings declined and he was in danger of being taken off the air, to become president. There are legions of agents, publicists, consultants, scriptwriters, celebrities, television and movie producers, wardrobe consultants, pollsters and television personalities dedicated to creating the myriad illusions that saturate the airwaves with Barnum-like lies. We can no longer tell the difference between illusion and reality; indeed when a version of reality is not verified on our electronic screens and by our reality manipulators it does not exist. The skillful creation of illusion and the manipulation of our emotional response, actions that profit the elites to our financial and political detriment, have seeped into religion, education, journalism, politics and culture. They solidify mob rule and magical thinking. Trump’s crass vulgarity, greed, unchecked hedonism and amorality, along with his worship of himself, are intrinsic to America, but his ascendancy, and the ascendancy of the character traits he personifies, represents cultural death.
Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His books include: "The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government" and "The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted."
Where is the call for the New Peace Deal that would free up hundreds of billions from the overblown military budget to invest in green infrastructure? Where is the call to close a majority of our nation’s over 800 military bases overseas, bases that are relics of World War II and are basically useless for military purposes? Where is the call for seriously addressing the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons?
As part of a New Food Deal, we could erase these inequities by shifting land use, investment, and subsidy patterns away from corporate giants and towards regenerative agriculture’s local networks of farmers and food growers. Building food security across the country region-by-region will better address future climate disruption than expecting unresponsive monopolies with cheap food and expensive advertising to do it. Rural economic development has the added benefit of putting a safety net under rural populations maligned and rendered invisible by neoliberal policies and politicians.
For the education chapters:
…and other nonsense…
As Chomsky might have added, Sanders’ oligarchy-imposed “failures” would have been great fodder for the disparagement and smearing of progressive, left-leaning and majority-backed policy change. “See,” the reigning plutocratic media and politics culture would have said, “we tried all that and it was a disaster!”
That and more are reminders of something I made a special point of highlighting (with no special claim to originality) in my 2014 book, “They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy“: Campaign finance is just the tip of the iceberg in how the American capitalist ruling class owns and runs the political and policy systems the United States. It’s got nothing to do with Russia.
Meanwhile, though, political money matters a great deal as we race into the 2018 midterm contests and the 2020 elections with U.S. “election integrity” still unprotected from the special plutocratic power of America’s wealthy masters. Nobody in Congress is talking seriously about passing bills to remove private cash from the public elections—or even to mandate reasonable “dark money” disclosure. Fuming about Moscow’s allegedly powerful conspiracy against our supposedly democratic elections looks more than a little ridiculous when considered alongside the deafening official silence on America’s own oligarchic electoral system.
Wow y’all stagnated wages and destroyed us with student loans and stole all our retirement and destroyed the environment in favor of the economy (which only helped the rich, not the majority of Americans) but hey, we’re SO SORRY about Sears and Applebee’s, I guess.
…and things to do…https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/12/11/bad-ideas-industrial-complex
by Mike Lofgren, a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His books include: "The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government" and "The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted."
Why spend our money coming up with green, sustainable forms of energy when we can just destroy the earth and fight wars over oil?
A good little primer on the depths of the corruption of the regressively worsening tax and inheritance laws scamming of the possibility of a viable social, economic, and political Democracy…
From the always interesting Chris Hedges:
And from that a quote and REference to another major playuh…
The economist Karl Polanyi understood that there are two kinds of freedoms. There are the bad freedoms to exploit those around us and extract huge profits without regard to the common good, including what is done to the ecosystem and democratic institutions. These bad freedoms see corporations monopolize technologies and scientific advances to make huge profits, even when, as with the pharmaceutical industry, a monopoly means lives of those who cannot pay exorbitant prices are put in jeopardy. The good freedoms—freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of meeting, freedom of association, freedom to choose one’s job—are eventually snuffed out by the primacy of the bad freedoms.
“Planning and control are being attacked as a denial for freedom,” Polanyi wrote. “Free enterprise and private ownership are declared to be essentials to freedom. No society built on other foundations is said to deserve to be called free. The freedom that regulation creates is denounced as unfreedom; the justice, liberty and welfare it offers are decried as a camouflage of slavery.”
“The idea of freedom ‘thus degenerates into a mere advocacy of free enterprise,’ which means ‘the fullness of freedom for those whose income, leisure and security need no enhancing, and a mere pittance of liberty for people, who may in vain attempt to make use of their democratic rights to gain shelter from the power of the owners of property,’ ” Harvey writes, quoting Polanyi. “But if, as is always the case, ‘no society is possible in which power and compulsion are absent, nor a world in which force has no function,’ then the only way this liberal utopian vision could be sustained is by force, violence, and authoritarianism. Liberal or neoliberal utopianism is doomed, in Polanyi’s view, to be frustrated by authoritarianism, or even outright fascism. The good freedoms are lost, the bad ones take over.”
For the Economy/Political Chapitres…
I did not know abnout this… Chris Hedges, as usual, makes a strong case and this article rings true…
on an early announced candidate for 2020 and other possible Dem challengers:https://theintercept.com/2018/11/11/richard-ojeda-2020-president/
https://voteojeda.com/ possiblu contact him to get involved early…
Studies on dark money roots and leanings…
A working title for at least an essay in the FM: "A Primer For Overprivileged White Americans
a quote for a chapter- or even the whole Book
From: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/12/10/heresy-white-christianity By Chris Hedges
“People cannot bear very much reality,”
and another, equally resonant:
“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, and it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.”
-James Baldwin, from "Sonny’s Blues"-
"Christianity is essentially a religion of liberation,” Cone writes. “The function of theology is that of analyzing the meaning of that liberation for the oppressed community so they can know that their struggle for political, social, and economic justice is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor is not Christ’s message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology. In a society where [people] are oppressed because they are black, Christian theology must become Black Theology, a theology that is unreservedly identified with the goals of the oppressed community and seeking to interpret the divine character of their struggle for liberation.” -James H. Cone-
“[I]t was too much of an emotional burden to explain racism to racists, and I had nothing to say to them. I decided to have my say in writing. I’d give them something to read and talk about.”
“I write on behalf of all those whom the Salvadoran theologian and martyr Ignacio Ellacuría called ‘the crucified peoples of history,’ ” Cone writes in his memoir. “I write for the forgotten and the abused, the marginalized and the despised. I write for those who are penniless, jobless, landless, all those who have no political or social power. I write for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and those who are transgender. I write for immigrants stranded on the U.S. border and for undocumented farmworkers toiling in misery in the nation’s agricultural fields. I write for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, on the West Bank, and in East Jerusalem. I write for Muslims and refugees who live under the terror of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. And I write for all people who care about humanity. I believe that until Americans, especially Christians and theologians, can see the cross and the lynching tree together, until we can identify Christ with ‘recrucified’ black bodies hanging from lynching trees, there can be no genuine understanding of Christian identity in America, and no deliverance from the brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy.”