The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:40 pm

America’s broken two-party system and the political future of the country
Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/ ... 5SxtTf4.99

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2014 — America’s two party system is broken, has been for some time, and continues without interruption to show ever more clearly that this is so.

There was a time period when this system was legitimate and important for the US, but this is no longer the case. The two main parties have folded in on each other in sick and perverse ways to the detriment of the country. These important, vying ideological impulses once made the existence of Republicans and Democrats and the energy of their law-governed battles, a plus for America.

A main place where these ideological impulses play out is the political arena. Politics thus is inevitable and necessary, even though it always has been ugly. Journalists and commentators love to trot out the history of political ugliness every time someone decries partisanship. But ugly political behavior should be recognized as a distraction, not as the focus when examining America’s dominant parties.

In our time, the core ideological roots of both parties have been compromised by computer aided campaigning run by true believers turned cynics. This is why the two-party system in America is irreparably broken, and no longer rooted in genuine difference.

The US now needs a newly structured political playing field that will allow the country to recover the conversation that once was embodied in its two party system. It is crucial to recover vital conversation between vying ideologies for government and citizenship. This is what has been lost. Now all that remains is the ugliness of the politics. It is not the ugliness itself that necessarily bothers the citizen, but rather the reduction of political life to ONLY ugly politics, in an ideologically vacuous atmosphere. The “parties” have become nothing but primitive gangs squandering national resources to secure for their tribe the spoils of power and money.

The “Republican Party“ should be the collection of political impulses, interpretations, and pursuits arising from easy to identify core assumptions. As should “Democratic Party.” Republicans should represent and fight for realities that support their core convictions about how human beings are best served and supported. As should Democrats.

Republicans believe that mediating structures (usually natural – such as family, and voluntary – such as church, synagogue, temple, club) can be relied upon to temper the bad human impulses (greed, oppression, exclusion) of free people. Thus prosperity for all flourishes in direct proportion to the extent people are made truly free.

Democrats, on the other hand, believe that these mediating structures instead of tempering bad impulses, actually expand and extend these bad impulses, thus “freedom” inevitably results in inequality that must be rectified by the forces of the State. It is the mission of government to use its power to reduce inequality (by force and intervention), and protect and uplift the “victims” of this “badness” that abounds and is perpetrated by anyone who is “free” namely ungoverned. In short Republicans properly should tend to view that the State should endeavor to be as minimal as possible (advancing as much freedom as possible), and Democrats properly should advance the view that the State use force to ensure care and opportunity for the “oppressed” and the disenfranchised.

Any thinking person (i.e., not ideologically rabid and possessed) should recognize some truth in both impulses, and imagine that a nation’s best welfare would arise out of vigorously engaged ‘battles’ among leaders who were genuinely oriented toward the welfare of citizens, instead of oriented toward the spoils of power. What is likely best for a nation is some blend of the radical freedoms and reliance on mediating institutions once presumed to be a Republican impulse, while recognizing and acknowledging benefit from government attention to the welfare of citizens in need and disadvantaged, once presumed to be a Democratic impulse.

A one party system removes the spoils of power element to a better extent that a two party system, and thus would recreate an environment in which this all important debate between two legitimate forms of political ideology can continue to animate the pursuit and implementation of our ideals for government and the people who permit and support it.

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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:43 pm

The Democrats' War on the Two-Party System
How Obama and the Left are working to create one-party tyranny.
https://patriotpost.us/opinion/23768

While conservatives are divided on the political path forward, Democrats are showing themselves to be united in a war against the Republican Party – with one-party rule for America as the endgame. One need only look to the political priorities Democratic lawmakers have recently adopted to gauge this reality. Led by the Obama administration, a party hijacked by far-left radicals is determined to pass comprehensive immigration reform, prevent the passage of election integrity laws, and use the IRS as a billy club to suppress free speech. Republicans who are inclined to dismiss this agenda need only look to California to see the cost of complacency and denial.

Mass immigration and sweeping amnesty initiatives are the Democrats' primary tools for realizing their ambitions. A devastating report produced by Phyllis Schlafly, “How Mass (Legal) Immigration Dooms a Conservative Republican Party,” details that reality in no uncertain terms. Citing surveys from the Pew Research Center, the Pew Hispanic Center, Gallup, NBC News, Harris polling, the Annenberg Policy Center, Latino Decisions, the Center for Immigration Studies and the Hudson Institute, Schlafly reveals that immigrants have always been the mainstay of the Democrat Party, emphasizing that this dynamic has been occurring for at least a century. Furthermore, as a result of the current rate of accelerated immigration that brings 1.1 million newcomers to America every year, the GOP will be reduced to fringe status within a decade.

The statistics are daunting. A 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey revealed that 62 percent of immigrants favor single-payer, government-run healthcare. A 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study shows that 69 percent of immigrants favor Obamacare. The Pew Research Center revealed that 53 percent of Hispanics hold a negative view of capitalism and that 75 percent favor bigger government and more social services compared to only 41 percent of Americans. Only 37 percent of naturalized citizens believe the Constitution takes precedence over international law, compared to 67 percent of native Americans.

The state of California represents the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Ronald Reagan carried California with 59 percent of the vote in the 1984 election. Yet beginning in 1986, the amnesty bill that legalized 2.7 million illegal aliens began the transformation of that state from red to blue. Amnesty recipients began becoming citizens, reaching a level of 40 percent by 2009. By 2012, a combination of Hispanic voters naturalized by that amnesty, or related to people who were, gave 70 percent of their vote to Barack Obama. And until yesterday, when a pair of California state senators went on indefinite leaves of absence to fight corruption charges, Democrats had an unassailable supermajority in the state legislature. They still maintain one in the lower house, the State Assembly, while they also control every statewide office and both seats in the U.S. Senate.

Yet there are far more insidious forces at work here. As Ann Coulter explains in a recent column, since the 1965 Immigration Act went into effect, 90 percent of those who have entered the nation on an annual basis have been unskilled, Third World workers. That has produced a glut of low-wage workers whose wages have steadily declined as a result of the influx. But when Republicans counter with economic reality and a list of demands in return for a “pathway to citizenship,” they are labeled “heartless” and “uncaring” with regard to economics and business and “nativist,” “bigoted” and “xenophobic” with regard to immigration.

Democrats have also been unanimous in their opposition to any attempt to improve fairness and oversight of elections. With regard to commonsense voter ID laws, Democrats have managed to convince a substantial number of Americans that protecting the integrity of the electoral process is nothing less than an effort to suppress the vote of minority Americans. Thus, Eric Holder and his minions at the U.S. Department of Justice will continue to pursue lawsuits against the states of Texas and North Carolina to prevent newly enacted voter ID laws from being enforced. They will do so despite a 2008 Supreme Court decision validating the constitutionality of a picture ID requirement for voting in the state of Indiana. Liberal Justice John Paul Stevens declared that the law “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.'”

The Supreme Court upped the ante on that reasoning last year, when it struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Prior to the change, states that had historic records of voter discrimination were unable to change their election laws without approval in advance from the federal government. States like Florida were prevented from purging their voter rolls of non-citizens, a situation unanimously hailed by the Left. “Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

Holder, whose contempt for the rule of law was made plain when he urged state attorneys general to literally ignore those laws they themselves determined were discriminatory, is essentially ignoring two Supreme Court rulings in pursuit of his agenda.

There are glaring problems with that agenda. Nearly three-out-of-four Americans support photo ID requirements for voting. Moreover, despite charges of racism that the demand for photo ID elicits from leftists, the idea that any particular subset of Americans is less capable of procuring such identification is itself bigoted. Democrats' charges of racism are nothing more than projections of their own warped worldview.

Yet far more important is the reality that voter fraud is a genuine problem. Statistics compiled by the True the Vote website reveal the extent. They note that in 2012, voter fraud cases were being pursued in 46 states. In addition, 24 million invalid voter registrations remained on the rolls nationwide, 1.8 million dead voters remained registered to vote, and 2.75 million Americans are registered to vote in more than one state.

Ironically, the principal architect of the problem is Eric Holder and the DOJ. According to former DOJ employee J. Christian Adams, the department refused to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) that tasks the Department with bringing voter rolls up to date by purging dead and ineligible voters. Once again, Holder's determination to selectively enforce the law is the key element here.

Moreover, the reality that True the Vote was involved in illuminating the issue of voter fraud ties directly into the Obama administration's most egregious effort to undermine the GOP: using the IRS as its vehicle to suppress free speech.

True the Vote's self-described mission is focusing on election integrity issues, and much of that effort was focused on the Texas Democratic Party and Houston Votes, an ACORN front group. When True the Vote discovered irregularities that were pursued by Texas law enforcement officials, the American left declared war.

That war was pursued with vigor by the IRS after True the Vote applied for their 501©(3) non-profit status in July 2010. Hundreds of questions were asked over and over again. The agency demanded to see owner Catherine Engelbrecht's tweets and Facebook posts. Aggressive audits of her and her husband's businesses, that included investigations by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Occupational Safety Hazards Administration, and the state version of the EPA, the Texas Commission on Environment Quality, were vigorously pursued.

Unfortunately, Engelbrecht's ordeal was hardly an anomaly. As the Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel reveals, Obama's contention that there's not a “smidgen” of corruption occurring within the IRS is as truthful as his contention that American would be able to keep their doctors and health providers once ObamaCare was passed. “Perhaps the biggest fiction of this past year was that the IRS's targeting of conservative groups has been confronted, addressed and fixed,” Strassel writes. “The opposite is true. The White House has used the scandal as an excuse to expand and formalize the abuse.”

The formalization of that abuse consists of offering conservative groups an “expedited” process for getting approval of their 501©(4) tax-exempt status – sold under the guise of pursuing reform. In reality the deal was a thinly-veiled effort to continue inhibiting the activities of those groups. Current rules governing 501©(4)s allow for spending as much as 49 percent of a group's funds on political activity and as much time as they choose to engage in those efforts. In exchange for quicker approval from the IRS, groups had to agree to spend only 40 percent of their funds and time, calculated by the number of hours employees and volunteers worked, on political activity. “The clear point of the 'deal' was to use the lure of 501©(4) approval to significantly reduce the political activity of targeted conservative groups going forward,” Strassel explains.

Some groups, desperate to be approved, took the deal. But at least two that didn't, including one that had been waiting three years and three months for approval, were once again targeted by the IRS, who demanded resubmission of information previously supplied, along with new details, such as the groups' 2012 fundraising letters.

For perspective sake, it should be noted that prior to Obama's presidency, the IRS approval process took an average of three weeks.

Strassel further explains that the IRS's efforts to control speech are transparently political, because the bipartisan Federal Election Commission (FEC) can enforce rules regarding political speech. “But the FEC can't be controlled by the White House, and Democrats have been unable to pass new speech restrictions through Congress,” she reveals.

Nonetheless, in a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee markup last Thursday, Democrats made it clear exactly where they stand. At that meeting, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed two amendments aimed at protecting all Americans from IRS abuses. The first one would have imposed a ban on IRS employees targeting individuals or groups based on their political viewpoints. It would have also made it a crime for any IRS employee to engage in willful discrimination against any groups based solely on their political beliefs, or any policy statements held, expressed, or published by that organization. The second amendment would have amended the tax code to use the definitions promulgated by the FEC to determine whether an organization is engaging in political activity, leaving the IRS to focus solely on taxation.

Both amendments were unanimously opposed by Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, leading to their defeat.

This toxic combination of promoting a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens, along with laying a foundation for voter fraud and codifying suppression of their opponents' political speech, are odious activities when they are examined individually. Taken as a whole, it becomes clear that Democrats are engaged in a concerted effort to fundamentally transform the United States of America into a one-party political system with their party in permanent control. And if it takes ruining millions of workers' futures, destroying the integrity of the electoral process and undermining the Constitution to do so, so be it. As with every historical effort to seize unassailable power, the ends justify the means.

Originally published at FrontPage Magazine.
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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:52 pm

It’s tyranny: Excessive corporatism is de facto tyranny. It destroys an individual's ability to compete in commerce and burdens future generations with never-ending exploitation. The Constitution gives the government the authority to make laws regulating our workplaces, schools, doctor's offices, etc.

Priorities: Come on, folks, cut Obama some slack. You can’t expect him to spend time on the Ukraine situation when he’s so busy filling out his March Madness brackets.

Where’s the outrage? Outraged liberal media whines about North Korea Dictator winning reelection with 100 percent of vote. Funny, where were they when Obama won election and reelection with 108 percent of the vote in some precincts?

Don’t cover it: There you go again — prime real estate and free advertising on the front page for the local porn shop. Maybe someone at NTH gets store credit in exchange for the favor.

Stay out of it: Would someone tell my why our president feels he has to stick his nose into other countries’ business, mainly Russia, as we have our own problems that need to be taken care of?

Loved it: It is stories like "Sharpsburg farm offers fresh alternatives" that keeps me as a subscriber to the NTH. Thanks for it and others!

Watch your manners: We'll be happy in the future to remind today's Obama apologists that if they want anything from the next president they must refrain from treating him the way they treated George W. Bush.

What about us? It must be nice that ECHS marching band and NGH marching band get to travel somewhere to perform. NHS marching bands goes nowhere.

Change the focus: Obama is concerned about getting housewives to work. Maybe he should be concerned about getting freeloaders and deadbeats on welfare to work.

It’s about priorities: I am sure Obama has spent more time working on his picks in the brackets for the NCAA basketball tournaments than he has in the Ukraine situation.

Don’t throw trash: Why do people think it's okay to throw trash from their cars? I've lived all over the US, but nowhere is the problem as bad as the rural South. The volume of garbage on the side of the roads in Coweta County is embarrassing.

They hate us: I lived for 20 years in three European countries, as well as in Africa and Asia. I can tell you they all ridiculed and disliked us. They thought we were ignorant and arrogant, and this was before Obama. During the Bush era, they hated us. Go talk to them, they will tell you why.

Don’t go see it: Anyone who would spend their hard-earned money to go see Lady Gaga try to sing and get vomited on while onstage has a serious shortage of brain cells. Parents, please monitor what your children listen to and are influenced by.

http://www.times-herald.com/opinion/201 ... for-Friday
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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:12 pm

Destroying middle class

Into the sixth year of ideological rather than economic policy, America finds its middle class decimated by its self-anointed champions: Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

Taxation, regulation and legislation have killed jobs and income. The labor participation rate is at a 35-year low.

With food stamps, disability and welfare at record highs, Obama and his party demand amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens — further depressing wages and job opportunities for the unemployed.

As the EPA shuts down coal plants and kills thousands of high-paying jobs by fiat, the “crony capitalist in chief” forces the middle class to subsidize his “Big Green” campaign donors' billion-dollar pursuit of green “unicorns” amid solar-powered windmill farms at the expense of the U.S. economy. The rest of us get $4-a-gallon gas and skyrocketing energy bills.

Exploding heath-care costs and premiums, along with the requisite tax increases courtesy of ObamaCare, further erode middle-class budgets and standards of living while “quantitative easing” monetary and zero-interest-rate policies decimate savings and inflate all household goods.

As surely as liberalism births failure, liberalism seeks a scapegoat. In Orwellian fashion, the impotent GOP is the designee.

If the devil's greatest trick is convincing the world he does not exist, the political equivalent is Democrats' propagandist sleight of hand, anointing themselves protectors of the middle class — while methodically dismantling and destroying it.

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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:23 pm

The fraud of Obama’s NSA “reform”
27 March 2014

The Obama administration’s proposal to modify the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone records spying program is a political fraud. Far from curtailing the NSA’s activities, the administration is seeking to expand the amount of data to which the spy agency has access, while obtaining a legislative imprimatur for the illegal and unconstitutional activities of the American government.

Details of the White House plan have not been released, but the basic outline is clear. Instead of phone record data being stored on the NSA’s own servers, the information will be retained by the telecommunications companies, which will be required by law to make it available on demand, in standardized form and on a continuously updated basis. Phone companies will retain call records for 18 months, which the NSA and White House deem sufficient for their purposes.

Requests for data by the NSA will be approved by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a rubber-stamp body that routinely grants spy agency requests. The NSA will be given access to the data of anyone who is two degrees of separation (or “hops”) from a target, while “targets” will be defined in extremely broad language.

Perhaps the most significant component of the proposal is one that has been buried in the media coverage. The new legislation will reportedly require telecommunications companies to give the NSA access to cell phone records, a central preoccupation of the spy agency. US officials disclosed in February that only about 30 percent of all call records are available to the NSA because of the widespread use of cell phones, which have up to now not been part of the information handed over to the government.

In the end, the NSA will get access to even more data, and it will do so in even closer daily collaboration with the giant companies that exercise a virtual monopoly over the US phone networks.

That the proposed “reform” has been drafted by and for the military-intelligence apparatus is clear from the figures who are backing it. The White House is working closely with the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, both of whom have hysterically denounced Edward Snowden and journalists who have published his revelations for exposing the truth to the American people.

Aside from minor differences, including whether the FISC gives its stamp of approval before or after the NSA collects data from the telecommunications companies, Obama’s proposals are broadly similar to those unveiled by Rogers and Ruppersberger on Tuesday—a plan given the Orwellian title, “End Bulk Collection Act.”

The call to “end the bulk data program” has also been endorsed by outgoing NSA head General Keith Alexander, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein.

The sham “reform” announced this week is the outcome of an extended political process. Snowden’s leaks, which began last spring, have revealed a vast police state spying apparatus that operates outside of all legal and constitutional constraints, creating a serious crisis for the government.

Snowden has exposed not only the phone records program, but the seizure and monitoring of emails, text messages, internet chats and an array of other information in the United States and countries throughout the world. The US has engaged in international cyber espionage and cyber warfare and targeted foreign leaders. The NSA has collaborated with its partners in other countries to tap into the Internet backbone and access virtually all online communications and activities. It has worked systematically to break encryption methods, while installing malware on targeted computers all over the world.

Top administration figures, including the president and the heads of the various spy agencies, are implicated in impeachable and prosecutable offenses, including the systematic violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Government officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have been exposed as perjurers.

The revelations have generated enormous popular opposition—a fact to which Obama alluded Tuesday when he spoke of the “skepticism” of the American people toward the intelligence apparatus. The exposure of a totalitarian spying network has severely undermined the legitimacy of the state.

In response, the Obama administration and intelligence agencies have pursued a multi-track strategy. They launched a vicious campaign against Snowden, who committed the unpardonable sin of revealing government criminality. The administration defended the legality of the spy programs, lied shamelessly about what the government was doing, and worked with the media to bury the most significant revelations.

At the same time, the White House has sought to counter popular sentiment by calling for fig-leaf reform measures drawn up in close consultation with the NSA itself.

A significant political aim of the NSA “reforms” now being prepared is to establish a bipartisan consensus in Congress, bringing together the White House and Republicans with Democrats who have postured as critics of the spy programs (such as Senator Ron Wyden, who declared Obama’s proposal “exciting news for the constitutional rights of the American people.”) The illegal programs are to be codified in laws passed by Congress, further entrenching and institutionalizing them, while providing cover for those guilty of criminal offenses. Continuing popular opposition will be treated as illegitimate and criminalized.

Among those who have praised Obama’s announcement is Snowden himself, who declared it “a turning point” and the “beginning of a new effort to reclaim our rights from the NSA and restore the public’s seat at the table of government.” Obama, Snowden wrote in a statement, has confirmed that “these mass surveillance programs… are in fact unnecessary and should be ended.”

In Snowden’s case, one is dealing not with political duplicity, but a lack of understanding of the social and political forces that are driving the police state measures that he has courageously exposed. However, illusions about the character of Obama’s proposals are highly dangerous, for the working class and for Snowden personally. The administration’s “reforms” are entirely compatible with an intensification of the vendetta against the NSA whistle-blower.

The entire process that began with the initial Snowden revelations nearly 10 months ago has confirmed that there does not exist a significant constituency within any section of the political establishment for the defense of democratic rights. This is because the erection of the apparatus of a police state is rooted in the immense growth of social inequality and the determination of the corporate and financial aristocracy to pursue a deeply unpopular policy of endless war abroad and social counterrevolution at home.

A real turning point in the defense of democratic rights will come not from the actions of Obama, the intelligence-agent-in-chief, but through the independent political mobilization of the American and international working class against the capitalist system.

Joseph Kishore

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03 ... cle_mobile
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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:46 pm

The Rise and Fall of American Exceptionalism

A few months ago, Vladimir Putin wrote an Oped in the New York Times questioning America's claim to excep-tionalism. In fact, he was saying out loud what leaders all over the world were increasingly muttering under their breath. One of the reasons why the Russian President could permit himself to retaliate for a century of Russia bashing by the West is his relationship with Europe, gained not by sending tanks across the continent (which is in fact a peninsula of Eurasia), but through close economic ties built up after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Europe is an exercise in Other toleration among a hundred different peoples in a relatively small area. While seeing itself as superior to other nations and civilizations, it is acutely aware of being part of the wider world, whose center of gravity is moving toward the BRICS countries led by Russia and China.

In a fundamental difference, America's notion of Otherness has always implied rejection. The Pilgrim's leader, John Winthrop told them that "the eyes of the world' would be upon Christ's "city on a hill', hence their behavior must be above reproach - or "exceptional'. They saw toleration as a moral failing and exiled individual religious dissidents from their colonies. The subsequent overthrow of British sovereignty signaled an enduring suspicion of both government and foreigners: in 1798, the first of several legislative acts codified that exceptional American trait with the four Aliens and Seditions Acts targeting Americans suspected of sympathy for a foreign power.

For almost three hundred years, two oceans kept the United States isolated from the give and take between neighbors on other continents. America remained alone and proud of it, interacting with other nations only to ensure that they served our needs, bought our products and agreed with our definition of freedom.

As I outlined in my 1989 book Une autre Europe, un autre Monde , published in France with a grant from the Centre National du Livre, there is a fundamental difference between American and European definitions of democracy stemming from their diverging views of freedom. The American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of Human Rights lay down the same legal protections, but the young nation's pursuit of happiness left mutual responsibility out in the cold, in contrast to the Jacobin proclamation of "liberty, equality, fraternity'.

That motto swept across the globe and eventually led much of Europe and the Third World to build welfare states. In America, however suspicion of both government and foreigners endured: the notion of equal opportunity spawned by the natural wealth available to all foreclosed any notion of community responsibility for individual well-being. As government became a tool of capital, the drive to the West fostered entrepreneurship, while the less daring became "wage earners'. The progressive movement that came into its own with the fight against slavery was a victim of that trajectory. In 1917, Congress renewed its drive against all things foreign with another Sedition Act , and in 1918 it passed the Espionage and Aliens Act , which contradicted the Declaration of Independence's assertion that:

"Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The media's loss of independence contributed powerfully to this development. The New York Times' nineteenth century definition of purpose was beyond reproach ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times ):

We shall be Conservative, in all cases where we think Conservatism essential to the public good;--and we shall be Radical in everything which may seem to us to require radical treatment and radical reform. We do not believe that everything in Society is either exactly right or exactly wrong;--what is good we desire to preserve and improve;--what is evil, to exterminate, or reform.


However, as advertising chipped away at lofty ideals, journalists were tamed to serve corporate needs. In the nineteen thirties, President Roosevelt was a member of the upper class, but like Lenin, Mao and later the Castro brothers, he knew that robber capitalism was leaving too many people out in the cold. The corporate-owned press obediently conflated his New Deal with socialism, and socialism with "foreign', strengthening right-wing resis-tance to progressive ideas.

In 1938, that resistance led Congress to create the infamous House un-American Activities Committee , unleashing what became known as a "witch hunt' against suspected Communists, with Senator McCarthy doing likewise in the Senate. The ideological crime of leftists was enhanced by the conviction that they were "beholden to a foreign power'. Uncritically reported by the media, terrifying machinations lead to hundreds of ruined careers and several suicides. Sixty years later, legislation that deprives children of illegal immigrants born in the United States of citizenship, flouting centuries of Roman law known as jus sol, descends directly from the fear of Others and in particular foreigners that has held sway since the days of the Pilgrims. (Openly murderous organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, formed after the Civil War endure to this day, inspiring skinheads and Neo-Nazis.)

Information about the wider world has virtually disappeared from the media, and criticisms of that lack continue to be answered with finality that "the American public is not interested in foreign affairs'. The rest of the world knows that fascism unabashedly serves the few, while socialism is at least intended to serve the many, but America's lapdog press deliberately confounds these two ideologies and condemns a religion that requires a daily act of charity.

The legal sidelining of our two hundred year old egalitarian constitution, amended only twenty-seven times, began with a 19th century Supreme Court clerk's stroke of the pen that granted corporations the advantages of personhood. Money and perks have always been used to make government responsive to certain interests, but in no other country has this practice been codified. American enemies of solidarity recently shut down the government for two weeks in their efforts to kill Obamacare, as a world universally committed to free healthcare looked on in astonishment, and religious conflicts exacerbated by a lack of equity spread across the globe.

The paranoia that defines the United States could have faded during the rebellious sixties, but the flamboyant raiments of the counter-culture's political message only succeeded in fanning the flames until it was "born again' under the neo-conservatives. Finally, we got Wall Street Wizards who divided us into consumers and debtors, as they bankrolled the plundering of the world's wealth. In contrast to the rest of the world, America relies on volunteers for services that should be met by society as a whole, while right wing propaganda fosters a lazy attitude among government employees, reinforcing the impression that it is wasteful. We are only "citizens' when we vote, and if needed services are not profitable, "we' don't get them, because they cost "taxpayers' too much. The media blackout has been carried to such an extreme that Americans are oblivious to the fact that the world is marching on without them.

Watch Putin's English language channel ( RT.com ) for a few days and you will realize that capitalist Russia, far from throwing the solidarity baby out with the Communist bath water, sees itself as a social democracy (albeit with a less developed civil society than Western models), convinced that the community must protect its individual members from want (to use Franklin Roosevelt's famous but long forgotten phrase). In a supreme irony, it is Russia that now defends the principles enshrined by Washington in the United Nations Charter. They are modeled on revolutionary France's Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen which specifies that:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circum-stances beyond his control.

RT systematically takes the side of the Third World against the IMF's "structural adjustments'. President Putin simultaneously promotes family values and encourages modernization in the federation's Islamic republics while condemning mindless consumption. Putting past squabbles aside, Russia has joined with China in a formidable opposition to America's agenda of globalization powered by a me-society.

In contrast, although individualism reigns supreme, the notion of each person's intrinsic worth, based on his conscience, which I call internal authority, is ignored in the land of the free. Not only have we eliminated the individual's say in how her money is spent, we have accepted the idea that we cannot afford solidarity to ourselves. Enchanted by cinematography, which makes the most unlikely fantasies seem real, and distracted by so-called reality-tv, Americans have abandoned most of their internal authority to the daily spin intended to save them from the big bad world of solidarity.

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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Why do so many conservatives see themselves as tough guys?

While slumming in the right-wing blogosphere earlier today, I saw a headline that read as follows:

“Obama To Putin: Will You Remove Your Troops From Ukraine, Pretty Please? — Putin To Obama: No.”

This sort of nonsense is emblematic of the Republican right’s penchant for pseudo-macho posturing. We’re the manly men, they seem to be saying. We’d know how to deal with Putin. We wouldn’t let him humiliate us, as Barack Obama is doing.

(Funny thing, by the way, about the right-wingers’ attitude regarding President Obama. Their message gets a bit mixed-up when they portray him in one breath as weak and spineless and in the next breath as a bully. On one day, he’s an effete Ivy League smart-ass; on the next, he’s a thug from the streets of Chicago.)

But inevitably, the conservatives never stray far from their self-image as America’s manly daddy and protector. If it was up to them, they’d teach that Putin punk a thing or two.

It’s all bluster, of course. None of the Republicans in Congress actually are calling for a shooting war with Russia. That would be insane. Americans in general want us to stay the hell out of this Russia-Ukraine business. The last thing they want is any military involvement. That’s the way they felt about the situation in Syria, too.

But public opinion notwithstanding, the conservatives can’t help but swagger, especially with regard to foreign policy. They’ve declared themselves unimpressed by the economic sanctions Obama has imposed on Russia, even though those steps are taking a toll. I guess they think he’s not growling enough or something.

The most hilarious aspect of this macho make-believe is the claim that Ronald Reagan would know how to handle Putin. Ronald Wilson Reagan was much more of a man than Barack Hussein Obama is, they say.

Would that be the same Ronald Reagan whose stint in the Armed Forces during World War II was confined entirely to duty in Hollywood? Would that be the same Ronald Reagan who hastily withdrew U.S. troops from Lebanon when terrorists killed hundreds of Marines in the bombing of a U.S. barracks in Beirut?

As president, Reagan was lots of things — good and not so good. But he was not one to jump at every opportunity to send our military into armed conflict — unless you’re counting that minor skirmish in the tiny island nation of Grenada, the nutmeg capital of the world, for a war that a street gang from any American city could have won.

Nor did Reagan display any decisive manly wisdom when his administration sold weapons to a state sponsor of terrorism.

No, the only way the likes of Reagan fits into the macho fantasies of today’s conservatives is if you remain ignorant of his real record.

But that’s no problem, right? Reality is not going to interfere with the self-image of the GOP’s tough guys, right?

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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:54 pm

The most hilarious aspect of this macho make-believe is the claim that Ronald Reagan would know how to handle Putin. Ronald Wilson Reagan was much more of a man than Barack Hussein Obama is, they say.

Would that be the same Ronald Reagan whose stint in the Armed Forces during World War II was confined entirely to duty in Hollywood? Would that be the same Ronald Reagan who hastily withdrew U.S. troops from Lebanon when terrorists killed hundreds of Marines in the bombing of a U.S. barracks in Beirut?

As president, Reagan was lots of things — good and not so good. But he was not one to jump at every opportunity to send our military into armed conflict — unless you’re counting that minor skirmish in the tiny island nation of Grenada, the nutmeg capital of the world, for a war that a street gang from any American city could have won.

Nor did Reagan display any decisive manly wisdom when his administration sold weapons to a state sponsor of terrorism.

No, the only way the likes of Reagan fits into the macho fantasies of today’s conservatives is if you remain ignorant of his real record.

But that’s no problem, right? Reality is not going to interfere with the self-image of the GOP’s tough guys, right?

Read more: http://blogs.e-rockford.com/applesauce/ ... z2xOnuUwvS
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial
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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:40 am

“I have no definite plans for the future outside of trying to get a position in some business, probably as a salesman.”

— Ronald Reagan, on a student loan application in the late 1920s

Reagan later noted that had he received the sales job he wanted at Montgomery Ward, he almost certainly would never had become an actor, let alone Governor of California and President of the United States.

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Re: The Two-Party System

Postby vbattaile » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:05 am

Obama a disaster, but House GOP isn't helping

If Tom Jefferson, Sam Adams, Madison, Hamilton, et al. were here today, they would all be wringing their hands in utter despair. The U.S. economy continues to crumble, unemployment is out of control, the national debt has passed $17 trillion and is climbing with no evidence of restraint. The occupant of the White House is a pretend President and the Congress is composed of a Senate that is led by a fool who claims that everyone but he is a liar and a House of Representatives that represents only the self-interests of its members. The Democratic Republic that once was the greatest nation in the World is now a shambles. It is not surprising that the U.S. has become impotent in the context of world economics and diplomacy.

But wait. I hear the trumpets sounding the arrival of our hero, Leonard Lance. He raises his thundering baritone voice above the dim of those neer-do-well scamps in the House who fritter away their chance to work with each other in forging legislation that smells like pork and apparently, occupy themselves by shouting at each other. Luckily, we have Mr. Lance. He chides the pretend President for balking at the opportunity to approve the Keystone Pipeline despite the fact that the State Department has studied the project several times and concluded that there is no significant environmental risk involved. Further, Lance has collaborated with a Democrat (Anna Eshoo) to “draft legislation that promises to provide the National Institutes of Health with the resources to make progress in developing diagnostic methods and treatments that are lacking for pancreatic cancer patients”.

Forgive me, but isn’t the country embroiled in a struggle to prevent the imperialistic pretend President from completely destroying the national health system? Pancreatic cancer is a horrible disease and anything that can be done to get it under control should be given commensurate attention. My question is: If, by chance, Mr. Lance’s draft legislation eventually results in progress in treating pancreatic cancer, will there be adequate trained doctors, staff and the needed facilities remaining to apply the related treatment or, for that matter, treatment for any malady?

What the country needs is for the pretend President to grow up and start acting like a real President and work with, not against the Congress. We need a Congress composed of patriots who focus on doing what the country needs then to do. Any politician who fails to do a good job for the country must be gone after the next election. That test also applies to Mr. Lance.

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2014 ... ck_check=1
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