Archive for the ‘Democracy’ Category

This Must Not Stand!
October 6, 2013

This morning NPR/KQED did a program on the Vietnam Wall. I caught some of it. I get emotional over that time. People I knew died in that war. Their names stand on that massive black granite. That was my time, my youth. It sticks with me. It sticks in my throat. It brings tears to my eyes today. And I look at the country today and I think ‘What did they die for?’ Never mind that it was a misbegotten war. At bottom those men fought not against some vague Communist threat, but for a vision of America as a good, decent place where the ideal was equality and fairness for everyone, a place where everyone had a fair and just chance to make their life into whatever they wanted.

No more.

The country has become a cesspool of vile and ugly politics and greed and hatred. The politicians have sold their souls to the rich and the rich want everything else too. They want to live with their boot on the neck of the poor, of the workers, of the middle class. They degrade education so they won’t be challenged by people who can think, so they can provide a steady stream of mindless drones for their minimum wage jobs.

The men who died in Vietnam didn’t die so the Koch brothers and their kind could turn America into a fascist fantasyland. They didn’t die for Exxon to pollute the land and the air and the water for obscene profits. They didn’t die for a bunch of Tea Party ignoramuses and bigots to corrupt the political process with their ignorance and hatred.

But that’s where we are today. It is disgusting. This isn’t the America any soldier died for. This is an America of lies and greed and deceit. This is an America whose vision has been corrupted by small-minded men and women who trade in lies and greed and deceit to feather their own nests at the expense of every working man and woman, of every man and woman struggling to make a good and decent life for their family, of every man and woman battling for a decent education and a fair chance to build the life they want.

This is an America whose vision has been corrupted by hatred, by racism, by bigotry against the poor and the disadvantaged, by the hatred, the racism, and the bigotry of a small group of politicians and rich men who care nothing for the country and whose every thought they direct at taking everything they can get their manicured, soft hands on, taking everything they can from the poor, from the workers, from the people who made it possible for the rich to wallow in their excesses of wealth.

This cannot stand.

It must not stand.

If it stands there will be blood in the streets, there will be wailing in the nights, there will be a genuine war that will make the bloodbath of the American Civil War look like a picnic, the draft riots of that time like afternoon tea on the lawn, and from abroad people of other nations will see an America writhing in madness and insanity. And all so a few people, a handful of rich people and their kneeling servants in Congress, in every political system in America, can get for themselves more, and more, and more.

This cannot stand.

It must not stand.

It must not.

In the name of every man and woman who has died or been torn up fighting for a proud vision of a free and democratic America, this must not stand.

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Good versus evil, a thought…
April 18, 2012

This morning I went through some negativity regarding the United States, its culture, its politics, and so on. Nothing unusual about that.

But then I got to thinking that when anyone points out the negatives, which are indeed massive, some pollyanna will come along and say that it’s not that bad, that there are plenty of good things, and so on and so forth. I generally regard those sorts of comments as coming from our ostrich brain.

To a certain extent they’re right. There are some good things one can point to. They are apparently different to everyone, either in kind or degree.

But here’s the problem:

Good is hard.

Evil is easy.

And most humans, the great preponderance of humans, will usually opt for the easy way. That explains the anti-intellectual, the anti-science, the anti-immigrant tenor of the culture. Evil would have us teach religious mythology as science in our schools. Evil would have us bomb into the Stone Age cultures we don’t understand. Evil would have us eliminate most of government because it’s complex and costs money and is not easy to understand, except for the parts about bombing back to the Stone Age cultures that require us to use intelligence to understand. All of that is the easy way. That’s the way much of the country is going, wants to go.

And of course the politicians feed off of that, regurgitate it to their masses of constituents, who then accept the lies and distortions as truths and demand more, which the politicians give them, aided by a journalism establishment that too often goes for the easy way.

We seem to have decided, as a nation, that ignorance is acceptable, that science and intellect are crimes, and that killing is better than smiling and shaking hands and sitting down to talk. Life is just easier that way.

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Palmer Raids, Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy, Barack Obama: Peas In A Pod
January 3, 2012

In WWI we had the Palmer raids of A. Mitchell Palmer, Attorney General of the United States. In the early 50s we had the insanity of a dipsomaniac Wisconsin U.S. Senator, Joe McCarthy. Now we have the 21st century final fall from grace as the President of the United States, Barack Obama, accompanied by United States Senators of both political parties, officially putting pretty much the final stamp of approval on what was formerly the “world’s greatest democracy” becoming just another tyranny of the powerful few.

Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University, details the black act of Congress, at Common Dreams and at his blog:

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment, to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country … and citizens partied in unwitting bliss into the New Year.

Under cover of signing the Defense Authorization Act, and once again lying about his intentions, Obama drove the nail into the coffin of civil rights, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, and every other ‘guarantee’ of civil liberty and protection from tyrants that Americans have assumed. And one of his excuses was that he had to sign the act to support the troops by funding them.

The latest claim is even more insulting. You do not "support our troops" by denying the principles for which they are fighting. They are not fighting to consolidate authoritarian powers in the president. The "American way of life" is defined by our constitution and specifically the bill of rights. Moreover, the insistence that you do not intend to use authoritarian powers does not alter the fact that you just signed an authoritarian measure. It is not the use but the right to use such powers that defines authoritarian systems.

Read it all. And follow the link to Turley’s post about some Montana citizens seeking to recall their two Senators who voted for the nightmare.

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Redistribute Wealth? Hell Yes!
December 3, 2011

The Republican Tea Party makes a lot of noise accusing the Democrats, or anybody to the political left of the RTP screamers, of trying to redistribute the wealth, of handing over taxpayer money to the lazy poor who refuse to work, a category of citizens that includes everyone who is not a Republican or not wealthy enough to give gobs of money to the RTP.

The so-called redistribution of wealth is, in the cowled eyes of the RTP  stalwarts, socialism or communism or tyranny or whatever the flavor of crap Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist are handing out that day.

As  a result of RTP (and its predecessor Republican Reagan Party) influence and actions over the past thirty years or so, we have, ironically, seen wealth redistributed. Taxpayer money has flowed up to the wealthy, who have used it to buy politicians, buy legislation favorable to the acquisition of more and more wealth, and undermine democratic representative government in the United States. So simply on that score alone the RTP show themselves to be hypocrites pandering to the wealthy classes by distributing to them the money generated by the middle class and the working class and the working poor.

And in fact there are not enough wealthy people to do what the RTP ideologues believe wealthy people do. They cannot spend enough, consume enough, if you will, to make a mass society whole and functional. The money flows to them and stops. The only way to get it flowing is to pry it from them by taxing it.

Unfortunately for American society, a one-way flow of cash is a sure way to destroy American civilization. A civilization thrives on the circulation of money throughout the society, on money flowing down and up and laterally. Money’s the grease for the wheels of civilization. When one class of people collects the bulk of the money, the wheels stop turning and the society risks collapsing on itself and turning to chaos instead of rational governance.

The RTP is okay with that. They don’t want to spend taxpayer money on anything other than making sure that the wealthy keep their privileged status and pay little or no tax. That is their stated position. They’ve stated it over and over. It is their only position on governance, other than maintaining and expanding an already oversized military which they use to brutalize any third world country they decide they don’t like e.g., Grenada, Panama, most of Central America, Vietnam, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran soon enough, etcetera ad nauseam. That’s pretty much the sum of the RTP programs and policy.

Unfortunately for the RTP one of the primary functions of government, of successful government, is the redistribution of wealth. Government collects taxes from the citizenry and puts that money to work where it will do the most good in maintaining a vital, thriving, democratic society. Government doesn’t do that perfectly: as a classic example of imperfection one need only remember the famed Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” sought by the Republican establishment a few years ago. But on the whole, under a reasonable and rational government, the system works to the benefit of society.

Suppose somewhere in the state of Iowa there exists an important bridge that is on the verge of failure. It is beyond patching and must be replaced. One might note that there are many such bridges in the country.

The state of Iowa can raise half the money, say, and turns to the Federal government for the rest. The Feds provide the money, from taxpayer funds (which is where all the money comes from in the first place), in the form of a loan, or perhaps a grant, or some other financial vehicle. Iowa can then proceed to design and build the new bridge.

But it is not government that builds the bridge. The Iowa Rundown Bridge Authority hires a private design firm and a private engineering firm.

Those two companies can now afford to hire some new people, and maybe expand their physical plant, thus putting some construction companies to work. Perhaps they buy new computers, putting a couple of more people to work at a computer company in Colorado.

Eventually steel is ordered, and concrete, and lumber. Those manufacturers might hire more people, buy more goods, buy more equipment, distributing the wealth, as it were.

Finally construction begins. Construction workers are hired and begin to draw their wages. They might now be able to afford to improve their house, buy a new car, buy a new home, and so on. Every purchase of goods helps more companies, helps more people, helps the society. Tax dollars have been distributed where they are needed and society benefits.

The RTP holds that money should go to the top, to a few people, to their so-called job creators. In fact those people do not create jobs, other than in minor ways, perhaps by hiring undocumented immigrants to cut their lawns, or increasing the number of financial drones in the bowel that is Goldman Sachs and the like. The wealthy invest their money in financial instruments that make more money but that don’t benefit society, if at all, anywhere near the level of benefits that building that new bridge in Iowa brings to society. Wealthy people are economic dead ends. Money flows to them and stops. The RTP would have the rest of society stand there with hands out hoping for the wealthy to trickle some money onto them. The RTP’s oft-stated philosophy claims it would do away with handouts, and yet they virtually guarantee that handouts are all that are left for the bulk of the citizenry.

And yes, there are problems with this model of economic operation. To function it must  have constant growth: more and more people must buy more and more goods. In the long run it is unsustainable, and in fact, considering what we have done to the environment that we absolutely depend on to sustain life on the planet, that system is deadly.

Controls are needed. Regulations are required. Governance must depend on rational, logical choices and decisions based on the best science and knowledge we can obtain. Growth must be constrained with the least damage to populations, and ultimately population must be constrained. These are legitimate concerns and must, absolutely must, be acted upon relatively soon.

But if the United States continues to act in ways that continue the RTP’s actual and stated policies, the country will fail to thrive, fail to survive. The United States is not “exceptional”, as the RTP and other juvenile minds crow and boast. It is subject to the same logic, the same failings, as every other empire throughout history. The sooner the United States and its adolescent leadership give up the idea of being special, of being exceptional, of existing outside the laws of governance and science and human behavior, the sooner it can confront reality and deal with its problems and help to lead the world away from the brink.

But for better or for worse, that bridge in Iowa must be built if the country is to survive.

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A Little Perspective: Aristotle vs. Republican Tea Party
November 27, 2011

The RTP insists over and over that government is too big, that it interferes in business too much (and apparently not enough in people’s private lives), and that American government should be shrunk to the size of a bathtub and then drowned.

Obviously these people are not thinkers, demonstrate no concern for their fellow Americans, and don’t give a damn about community outside their enclaves of thoughtlessness. They want whatever they can get their hands on, whether it be salary and wages without taxes, or teachers working for a pittance in a public school system damned by lack of funds, or roads and bridges crumbling into uselessness. All that seems to matter to them is that we have a big, bad military to protect us from all the evil they imagine exists in the world planning to get them and make them bow to some god or orthodoxy which is as ludicrous as their own vaunted system of superstitions.

But there is nothing new under the sun…

Aristotle’s belief that humans are by nature political animals (i.e., who live in an organized society) and that the state is a positive force in bringing about the good life (rather than only being a necessary evil whose purpose is to keep order) had a great impact in both the theory and practice of statecraft. Aristotle’s view of the state provided ammunition to secular rulers against claims of ecclesiastical interference and supremacy, and was a major element in the defeat of the idea of a universal Christian monarchy ruled by the pope.

That’s from The Medieval World View: An Introduction.*

It’s the same battle American society is fighting today. We’re not in much danger of being ruled by the creaking pederasts in the Vatican, but it’s difficult to imagine that the fundogelicals fueling the mindless rage on the right would rule with a lighter hand than the vicious princes of delusion in the Vatican applied during the Inquisition.

And it’s certain that the RTP doesn’t believe that the state, i.e., the American government, could ever be a force for bringing the good life to Americans. They seem to think that nobody in government is an American, other than the right-wing crazies in Congress who are as thoughtless and vapid and loud as the bulk of the RTP itself these days. For the RTP government only exists to project American power (e.g., bombs, bullets, cluster bombs, denial and ignorance of science, slaughter, and arrogance) around the world and police power against anyone who dares to object to the coming rule of ignorance and arrogance and sheer stupidity that characterize the RTP.

Life back in the days of Aristotle and in the millennium of the medieval world was brutal and cold under the weight of princes and barons and priests. The people with the gold and the armor and the weapons and the crucifixes trampled pretty much anyone who got in the way of their lust for power and greed for wealth. It’s hard to imagine the current crop of wannabe rulers in the RTP want life to be much different, especially since that’s where their policies would take the world.

And where’s today’s Aristotle to drive them from the doors of the temples of democracy?

* The Medieval World View: An Introduction: William R. Cook, Ronald B. Herzman, Oxford University Press, 2d edition, softcover, p. 27

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An Impolitic Proposal…
October 11, 2011

    It’s become obvious over the past couple of decades that American governance has fallen down the rabbit hole, but not into the cartoon universe of illogic envisioned by the Disney studio. The American rabbit hole is dark, and it is dangerous, and it is becoming more so by the day. American society is being riven and shredded, broken into battling pieces playing a game deadlier than the Red Queen’s chess ever conceived of being. The forces of ignorance, ideology, hatred, and lust for power have taken center stage and now drive policy.

    In the short term, which may last decades, or be done relatively quickly, these forces and conflicts will work themselves out. The country may be better for that, or it may be worse, which may be the more likely result.

    In the long term, the country requires fundamental change if it is to continue to exist as a free representative republic.

    What follows is a possible path, an ideal, if you will, to be pursued.

    The primary consideration, the one thing that underlies any sort of reform in the long term, is education. Education on at least two levels, the general education of the public, and the professional education of anyone aspiring to work in government in either the bureaucracy or in elective office or offices appointed by elected officials.

    First, consider general education. Currently the mantra in general education from the early elementary grades through high school is testing. Standardized testing. The MCAS is an example of the sorts of high stakes testing the education bureaucracy wants to rely on to make decisions about education. High stakes testing has been developed for, I believe, the convenience of the bureaucrats, not for the education and edification of the students. Using a set of standardized numbers lets the bureaucrats make neat and clean decisions about educational policy without having to deal with the messiness of all those individual students.

    Students are learning how to pass the tests, but it would appear they’re not learning much else that would be of value. Colleges routinely complain that entering students aren’t prepared to do college level work. They can’t write, can’t do numbers, can’t read effectively, can’t think critically.

    On top of that, teachers are regularly excoriated by the political classes, parents, and ideologues of all stripes. The  schools are underfunded. Teachers apparently often find themselves having to spend part of their salary buying supplies for the classroom. Books are often out of date, too often by decades, and their content is too often decided by people with political agendas immured in dogma and ignorance and blind ideology.

    In a word, the public schools are failing their students and they are failing the country. Education should not be a political football, arranged and rearranged by whatever ideologues manage to get themselves elected locally and nationally.

    For elementary and high school grades I propose a different path, a different standard.

    First, high stakes standardized testing would be abolished. Children are individuals. They have differing abilities, capacities, and interests. They are not a mass of clones, nor a mass of equals, and should not be stuffed into a mass system.

    What’s needed is a professional teaching corps of highly trained, highly motivated teachers. A teaching degree should be as difficult to attain as a doctorate, but not as expensive. The successful teacher should be relieved of any debt incurred.

    Second, the communities must support their schools and their teachers. That means professional level salaries. That means no interference from politicians or from parents. That means increasing the tax base and the taxes to support modern schools and sufficient numbers of teachers to provide small class sizes. That means allowing teachers to use their own judgment and creativity in managing their classrooms. The Finnish model is an excellent example of effective modern education. That,  or something as effective, should be instituted nationwide.

    As for content, the usual reading, writing, and arithmetic, but taught in various manners to fit the individual students in any given classroom. But beyond that, there must be an emphasis on logic and critical thinking and scientific thinking, and these should start in the first grade and be rigorously pursued all the way through high school graduation and into college. Rather than hoping that students will absorb the principles through coursework in standard subjects, critical thinking skills must be taught in their own right. They are the absolute foundations of effective learning and education.

    That is the general basis of general public education. Everyone in the country would be educated in  such a system.

    The second level to consider is how to educate the people who choose government service, either in the bureaucracy or through elective or appointive office. An effective education for these people is absolutely critical to the continued success, even the continued existence, of the nation.
 
    Consider that the population of the United States is approaching four hundred million people, and that those people live in a complex world. There are no simplicities in the world anymore, not in politics, not in international relations, not in our relationship to our biological environment.

    Governance involves fifty states, hundreds of cities, thousands of towns, vast infrastructure, complex financial arrangements, understanding complicated interrelationships among those elements and the environment, and understanding a variety of world cultures and our relationships and interactions with the rest of the world .

    We can no longer afford to have simple-minded men and women operating from a narrow perspective governing the country. We can no longer afford to have ideologues, untutored in critical thinking, untutored in simple facts, running the nation. We must no longer allow just anyone who wants to run for office to run for office.

    We need instead to create a highly educated political class. Not an exclusive class, not a privileged class, not an authoritarian class. Membership, if you will, would be open to anyone who can qualify, and one of the hallmarks would be that the government would provide serious aid and assistance to those who want to commit to public service.

    Here’s a suggestion on how to accomplish this.

    First off, implement the general education system proposed above.

    Second, the first two years of college would be exploratory for all students, giving them time to sample various disciplines and possibly come to a decision about their future. The country might also institute a required public service stint of two years as a mandatory prerequisite for entering college: it could encompass military service or community service of some sort. Two years of working in the community could well give most students a leg up on the maturity they need to make  serious decisions about their education and their life. The current system of rushing from high school directly into college seems to end up with two years of college wasted.

    But the meat of the matter for the politically inclined would be the professional coursework required.

    To begin with, students will already have a solid grounding in logic, critical thinking, and scientific thinking, gained through general education. But they will continue to study in those areas as well as be expected to apply those principles to all their other courses.

    And those other courses would be broad ranging. World history, American history, political philosophy, political science, at least one language (they should have picked up fluency in at least one during general education), general philosophy, science, economics, statistics, law and ethics. The latter is not a vision of lawyers in government, but people knowledgeable about the principles and history and applications of law in the United States. Along with law there must be study of the institutions of government, their history and evolution, and the details of their functioning. And serious study of ethics.

    In addition, once a student makes a commitment to public service, or before he makes a final commitment, he must undergo rigid and thorough psychological testing, and, if deemed necessary, psychological or psychiatric counseling. The country has had more than enough of rigid, delusional, and blindly authoritarian people in office.

    It should be noted that a political career would not gain a person any special perks or positions. He gets a salary and a pension, and his salary and pension must be in line with average or normal salary expectations of the citizenry.

    Further, the question of money in politics must be resolved. Donations to politicians, to their organizations, to political parties, would no longer be legal. Campaign finance would be government funded, through taxes: if citizens are not willing to finance excellent governance, then they will have to settle for mediocre, or as the case is today, bad, governance.

    Campaigns would be severely limited in time. For example, Presidential campaigns might be limited to three months prior to the election. Senatorial and House campaigns to relatively less time. Similar restrictions would apply to local and state elections.

    Advertising on television and radio would be free. Radio and television corporations use broadcast frequencies that belong to the public. Corporations should not be charging money for fulfilling civic obligations.

    Additionally, the revolving door between bureaucrats, politicians, and corporations must be permanently closed. No member of the government may leave the government and take a private sector job lobbying the government. For example, a member of the Senate Banking Committee could not leave government to work for a bank in any capacity that would require him to interact officially with the government. He might get a job as a bank officer, but contact with government on any issue affecting the bank would be forbidden. And there must be a period of time after he leaves government when he could not work in banking at all. Nor could he work for any other business which would require contact with government officials to further the corporation’s issues.

    On the other side, the chairman of, say, Goldman Sachs could not serve the government in any capacity having to do with finance or banking. And for him to serve in government at all he must have completed the professional education and training required of all public servants, and never mind his work at Goldman Sachs.

    Furthermore, the insidious and irrational legality stating that corporations are persons and have the rights of persons must be wiped off the books. That bit of delusional legalism devalues human beings and corrupts government. And it is patently false. Were corporations persons, then the tobacco companies would have been put to death decades ago. Corporations are legal entities, paper existences: they have no human rights.

    Some will say that this program will create an elitist ruling class, that it makes it impossible for anyone who wants to run for Congress to do so, that it eliminates the common man from aspiring to public service.

    To the contrary. Public service would still be open to anyone. There would be no bar to any citizen willing to undertake the education required – there would be scholarships and so forth readily available. If you are poor and want to go to college, you will be able to do so.

    As for the common man, it is to be hoped that an enlightened and rigorous educational system will see to it that there are no common men, but that all are well educated.

    There would be no elitist ruling class. Governance would come from educated men and women who would receive no special favors from society, and who would not be allowed to turn their government service to benefit themselves. No one would, in fact, be allowed to enrich themselves or their families through government service. You would get your government pay, which would be reasonable and in line with the pay of the populace at large, and that would be all. No speaking fees, no outside income, no deals, no special favors. You would pay for your own haircuts, your own health insurance and medical bills, your own parking tickets, and so on. If you are rich to begin with, you would forego your riches for as long as you serve in government: you must live on your government salary and derive no benefit from whatever fortune you may have earned or inherited, nor can you undertake any action in government that would increase your fortune.

    Good governance requires committed, ethical, honest, highly educated people, and that’s just for starters. The United States does not have either good governance nor people in office who can provide good governance. American government, as currently existing, is corrupt, destructive to democracy, detrimental to the people governed, and internally violent. It is wasteful and inefficient. It falls all over itself as it seeks to undo its principled good and replace the good with the cruel and the exploitative. It is falling rapidly into that dark place where governance is done by the ignorant, the thoughtless, the delusional, the arrogant, and the greedy.

    It’s time for change. Not hope: hope is not a plan. Change requires action. Change requires planning. Change requires intelligence and long-term commitment.  And change must go deep into the structure of society. We need to start clawing our way back out of the rabbit hole and turn our backs on the Red Queens of ignorance and ideology.

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Another Sickening Republican Wants Into The Senate From Nebraska
August 9, 2011

This guy is the Attorney General of Nebraska. He’s disgusting and he’s a hypocrite.

Republicans really can’t stand poor people, disadvantaged people, people who struggle to feed themselves and their family, people who aren’t filthy rich, people who have little or no political power.

There was that piece of Republicrap South Carolina Lieutenant Governor last year comparing the poor to stray animals. Now there’s this Nebraska wannabe degrading welfare recipients…

“The raccoons – they’re not stupid, they’re gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don’t send them to work, they’re gonna take the easy route."

TPM has the story.

Why is he a hypocrite? Here’s some interesting info from a commenter at TPM.

73 percent of Nebraska farmers received some sort of payment in 2009.

10 percent of Nebraska farmers collected 62 percent of the
money.

$306.1 million in direct payments was collected by Nebraska
farmers in 2009.

10 percent of Nebraska farmers collected 56 percent of payments from 1995-2009.

Nebraska was fifth among states in total farm payments at $14
billion from 1995-2009.

Source: Environmental Working Group.

Guess those Nebraska farmers must be some of the laziest bastards in the country, eh? And how much do you want to bet that the top gummint welfare recipients among those farmers are big donors to the Republican party which this scumbag Bruning calls his political home?

Yowsah! Republicanism at its finest!

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Why Republicans Must Never Govern America Again
July 11, 2011

 

image

The Three Stooges

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Women’s Plastic Surgery Assface Award winner, gave a profound insight into the dark, foul heart of modern Republicans on Fox News Sunday.

He is quoted at TPM in the context of stating why he believes foreign terrorists should not be tried in civilian courts:

"These are not American citizens. We just found with the Caylee Anthony case how difficult is to get a conviction in a U.S. court," Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on "Fox News Sunday."

Think about that for a second. Never mind the dumbasses playing at being terrorists. Think about the Anthony case and what old lady McConnell is saying.

“…how difficult it is to get a conviction in a U.S. court…”

Never mind what you think about Casey Anthony’s guilt or innocence or whether you think the jury was on drugs and the judge an agent of international communism.

Senator Mitch McConnell, a leader of the Republican party, decided that Casey Anthony should have been convicted of murder. His logic leads directly to the assertion that since she was charged she must be guilty.

Why bother with trials? The Senator believes she must be guilty, so just take the bitch out and hang her.

Never mind that she had a trial, that evidence was presented, and that evidence was challenged, and that a jury of her peers sat there for six weeks and heard everything both sides had to offer before retiring and finding her not guilty.

Nope. McConnell and his modern Republican pals don’t think we should do it that way. They think we should do justice another way: if you’re charged by the authorities, you are guilty. That’s very modern, no?

As modern as the Inquisition. As modern as feudalism. As modern as a lynch mob.

But the old whore Mitch might be right. It might be impossible to get civilian courts to convict a lot of the people locked up in Guantanamo and other hellholes the United States has established around the world for so-called terrorists. It might be impossible because in large numbers of these cases there is no evidence. No credible evidence.

There’s hearsay, when some guy wanted to get rid of his neighbor so he could get hold of the guy’s donkey or his wife.

There’re statements made under torture. Those are as reliable as confessions gained by the Inquisition’s torturers. And really, don’t kid yourself that Americans don’t torture people anymore. Bush and his fellow Christians started us down that road as a matter of policy, and we’ve learned that the current President’s word is pretty much worthless, so we’ve no credible grounds to believe we no longer torture people.

And there’s a host of other problems with the whole terrorist evidence situation. But perhaps the most fundamental one is that the United States considers a terrorist to be any person who fights against the invasion and destruction of his country by the Americans. And that pretty much makes the real terrorists to be the Americans.

A good civilian defense lawyer could very likely shred any case brought against these defendants – it’s more than likely most of them are innocent of any crime, and are more likely the victims of the vast war crime industry that we call the United States. That’s the real reason for the Republican call for the use of military kangaroo courts. Without that faux justice the real truth about what America has become might come out and people in Washington might actually have to pay a price for the innocent blood in which they are drenched.

No, the real problem is that McConnell and his friends can’t wait to completely corrupt the civilian system so that they can turn it against United States citizens, so that they can accuse their political enemies and have their accusations stand as proof of guilt, just like in the good old days the Republicans want to drag this country back to. The good old dark days of White rule, of oligarchic rule, of flat out simple firing squad governance.

After all, their stated objective, spoken by United States Senator Mitch McConnell, is to bring down the elected President of the United States, and the current situation in Washington demonstrates that they are more than willing, and able, to destroy the economy and anything else American, in order to do just that.

Their real progenitor, their real hero isn’t Abraham Lincoln. No. The real hero of Republicans, the man they look up to, the man they admire the most, the man they seek to emulate, that fellow’s name is John Wilkes Booth.

And the political system they most admire is one, any one, based on the practices and ideals of the medieval Inquisition.

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Walt Disney Company Sinks Into Moral, Ethical Sewer: Seeks To Trademark ‘SEAL Team 6’ For Profit
May 16, 2011

It’s bad enough Walt Disney took away the dignity of mice, ducks, dogs, dwarves, and whatever else he could get his hands on, but now his corporation has started the process of trademarking the name of the SEAL team that killed Osama Bin Laden.

SEAL Team 6 is a United States military unit, and as such all aspects of it belong, if it can be said to belong in this sense, to the American people, not to the Walt Disney corporation.

SEAL Team 6 at its core is trained to engage in profound violence to kill human beings. It is one thing to knock Mickey Mouse senseless in a cartoon. It is quite another form of violence, a moral violence in an unquenchable lust for profits, to appropriate the name and values of  a group of men trained to commit genuine, murderous violence, no matter their cause.

And Disney’s move can be seen not only as a disgusting grab for cheap profit but also as the trivialization of  a crew of dedicated, skilled military men and the democratic values they believe they are fighting to sustain.

No doubt that if Disney succeeds in grabbing this trademark the men of the SEAL teams and the American people will not see one damned penny of the money the Disney greedsters collect as they cheapen and destroy American military values. Perhaps their ad campaign will boast, “SEAL Team 6, the Mickey Mouse of the American people!!”

I’m  put in mind of the line from the film The Pawnbroker, where a customer accuses the pawnbroker, “People bring you a dream and you give them a dollar.” Except that Disney has it backwards: a free democracy allowed Walt Disney to create his corporate empire, and in return his corporation kicks the legs out from under democracy and trashes its values and steals its money.

Disney, in going after the SEAL Team 6 trademark, shows itself to have diseased values dredged from the corporate sewer.

Michele Bachmann Called Out By A High School Sophomore
May 14, 2011

From The Minnesota Independent:

A high school sophomore from New Jersey is challenging Rep. Michele Bachmann to a debate on civics and the U.S. Constitution. Here’s the letter she wrote to the Representative of the Tea Party of Ignorance, Paranoia, and Hatred:

Dear Representative Bachmann,

My name is Amy Myers. I am a Cherry Hill, New Jersey sophomore attending Cherry Hill High School East. As a typical high school student, I have found quite a few of your statements regarding The Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted. The frequency and scope of these comments prompted me to write this letter.

Though I am not in your home district, or even your home state, you are a United States Representative of some prominence who is subject to national media coverage. News outlets and websites across this country profile your causes and viewpoints on a regular basis. As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole.

Rep. Bachmann, the frequent inability you have shown to accurately and factually present even the most basic information about the United States led me to submit the follow[ing] challenge, pitting my public education against your advanced legal education:

I, Amy Myers, do hereby challenge Representative Michele Bachmann to a Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics.

Hopefully, we will be able to meet for such an event, as it would prove to be enlightening.

Sincerely yours,
Amy Myers

The Lion’s money is on Amy Myers. That’s an easy bet: the Bachmann woman hasn’t the guts to get in a debate with anyone intelligent. It’s instructive to read the letters in the Independent responding to Ms. Myers letter – some are pure Republican attack machine howls demeaning the young woman. Imagine that: grown up Republicans afraid of a high school sophomore. Oh, wait, the girl apparently has a brain and knows how to use it – Republicans should be afraid.