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Newsflash: Right Is Not Center

Posted on Jan 14, 2010

By David Sirota

“War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength”—more than a quarter-century after those oxymorons were supposed to pervade an Orwellian 1984, today’s media make such newspeak even more preposterous: On economic issues, we are often told that right is center, center is left, and left is fringe.

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For a year, national reporters (with help from conservative talk-radio goons) have depicted the center-right Obama administration and its corporatist policies as quasi-Marxist. We’ve heard that a government-run public health care option is a “liberal” cause, even as polls confirm that most Americans—not just liberals—support the idea. We’re told that legislators backing no-strings-attached bank bailouts are mainstream “centrists,” while bailout opponents are extremists—even as public opinion surveys say the opposite.

This is Washington’s “fair and balanced” journalism (or “journalism,” as it were) and as two of the most respected metro newspapers show this week, its distortions can bleed into local coverage.

Reporting on independent Bernie Sanders, the Boston Globe headlined its recent profile: “Sanders a growing force on the far, far left—Vermont senator is gathering clout as he takes on the Fed’s Ben Bernanke.”

Polls, mind you, prove that disdain for the Fed chairman transcends “the left.” As a failed regulator and architect of unpopular bailouts, Bernanke is despised by the public at large. Even within the Senate, his renomination faces transpartisan opposition from Republicans like Jim Bunning (Kentucky) and red-state Democrats like Byron Dorgan (North Dakota).

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So depicting Sanders’ fight against Bernanke as a “far, far left” crusade tilts the definition of the economic “center”—the premium label in politics—to the far, far right.

Then came a Denver Post editorial (in fairness, billed honestly as opinion) urging the city’s mayor, restaurateur John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, to run for governor.

In an earlier interview with the paper’s editors, Hickenlooper told the Post that his candidacy will be motivated by his belief that “there should be a lot more people in government who come out of the business community.”

The Post responded in its editorial not by pointing out that the business-government revolving door is already spinning out of control, nor by noting that we’re approaching the historical zenith of corporate-government corruption. Instead, the newspaper gushed.

“Even though he governs a left-leaning city, Hickenlooper has been a pro-business Democrat ... making (city services) more cost-effective,” the paper wrote, before criticizing Hickenlooper’s potential Democratic rival, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, as unacceptably “farther to the left than Colorado’s electorate.”

Notice the suggestion of conflict between “left-leaning” and “pro-business.” There was no mention that the politicians typically labeled “pro-business” were the same ones who pushed deregulatory schemes that destroyed so many businesses in this recession. Likewise, there was no mention that more “left-leaning” initiatives might have averted the disaster.

Notice, too, the technocratic euphemism describing old-line conservatism: “Cost-effective” is code for a mayor who most recently threatened layoffs unless police agreed to give up previously negotiated pay raises.

And, most important, notice the newspaper’s line about Perlmutter. Unlike Hickenlooper, this eminently moderate congressional Democrat with ties to organized labor has twice won a formerly Republican swing district that is a microcosm of his state. Perlmutter, in fact, is living proof that pragmatically progressive economic credentials aren’t “farther to the left” than the electorate—they are squarely in the election-winning center.

The Globe and Post examples, of course, epitomize the larger problem that arises when media voices—whether deliberately or inadvertently—skew the terms of our political debate. War is not peace and right is not center. But such newspeak to the contrary can destructively alter the public’s perception of acceptable and unacceptable, possible and impossible.

David Sirota is author of the best-selling books “Hostile Takeover” and “The Uprising.” He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.

© 2009 Creators.com


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By jimmy, March 5, 2010 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By constitutional determination regarding the educational system, the aforementioned legislation still applies as long as it does not go against the Constitution. This ambiguity is a consequence of the absence of a new Bases and Guidelines Law and characterizes a transition phase until the new law is finally elaborated and enacted. The bill has already been submitted to congress.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 21, 2010 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

RobertG

I agree with your analysis that 70% of the American populace is left, the problem is that a large percentage of that left, don’t know they are left, or should be left, and a large percentage of that left do not vote for the left.

The Stanford Institute did a study of American voters after the 2004 election. Many of those who voted for the right, identified left wing policy statements as being right wing policy statements.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 21, 2010 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

Alice de Tocqueville.

Using the political spectrum as a means of determining political belief does seem to lose its credibility when comparing the political spectrums of different nations to a global spectrum. However, using the political spectrum of each nation does allow for defining the political beliefs of political factions within that nation.

The fact that the U.S. spectrum falls to the right on the global spectrum is something that is obvious to the politically astute, but without using a left right spectrum, how would one be able to communicate that fact?

Would Kucinich or Sanders be centrist in Europe? If their political views remained constant, and they were politicians in a European Country, I maintain that their place on the political spectrum of that country would be relatively easily identified by their colleagues, and the media of that country.

Placing countries on a global spectrum would require a great deal of political acuity, but the political perspectives of certain countries are, and have been identified as being to the left, or right.

Perhaps the political spectrum disintegrates when attempting to identify totalitarian states on the political spectrum. Traditionally totalitarian states have been designated as being right wing, but what about the Soviet Union? Would Stalinists in today’s Russia be considered conservatives? Certainly they wouldn’t be considered to be progressives. They would be reactionaries.

Reaction (re ak shen) 1. An action in a reverse direction or manner. 2. Movement in the direction of extreme political conservatism.

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By ThomasG, January 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, January 19 at 6:31 pm,

JDmysticDJ said: “70% of Back Street America is of the left, really?”

ThomasG’s answer:

The American Populace/Back Street America is unrepresented because the American Populace is “unaware” of its being the Left, and like rocks, the American Populace will continue to be unrepresented until the American Populace becomes aware of being the Left.

The American Populace, the 70% MAJORITY Common Population/Back Street America ARE the Left, if you think that the Left is something else——— what do you consider the Left to be?

If you disagree that the American Populace constitutes a 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States, what part of the American Populace/Back Street America do you think constitutes the Common Population of the United States?

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By Alice de Tocqueville, January 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

By JDmysticDJ, January 19 at 6:55 pm #
Alice de Tocqueville,

A left wing Democrat is a Democrat who is to the left of right wing Democrats. A progressive Democrat is a Democrat who is progressive. A corporate funded progressive is a progressive who accepts corporate funding.


You didn’t have to pray, telling you is no problem at all.

Well, thanks very much, JD (if I may call you that), but, I knew that, and, for me, that is the problem, letting the media define these terms, or strictly American situational politics do so.

Letting what happens in any Democrat politics be defined as ‘progressive’ leaves any real social-democratic program to be characterized as radical ‘far, far left’, when it’s actually way to the right of say, normal in Europe. That’s why I say these terms need to be more strictly defined for Americans, who barely know Genghis Khan from Woodrow Wilson. (Hey, neither do I!)

I do deserve a dig for using such a trite,meaningless
expression as ‘pray tell’, tho.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Alice de Tocqueville

Progressive, adj.

1. of or characterized by progress. 2. advocating progress, as in technology or politics. 3. advancing step by step. 4. noting a verb form that indicates continuing action or state. 5. a person who advocates progress or reform, especially in politics.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Alan MacDonald,

Is there really no left, left? What about Akerlof, is he from the left? Aren’t there a number of College Professors, academics, Authors, Union Organizers, Union Members, Musicians, Actors, Artists, Personalities, Pundits, bloggers, posters, left wing talk show hosts, left wing talk show listeners, etc., etc that are from the left?  What about the left wing of the Democratic Party, don’t they qualify as being from the left?

Admittedly, things look very bleak for the left these days, but is there any other option for intelligent, informed, and indomitable people but to continue fighting against injustice, tyranny, and the madness that has been so prevalent throughout history?

I understand your frustration, but don’t be like W.C. Fields who said “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me for member.”

ThomasG,

70% of Back Street America is of the left, really?  Things are much better than I thought. I think that is something of an exaggeration though, but It’s something to work for.

Alice de Tocqueville,

A left wing Democrat is a Democrat who is to the left of right wing Democrats. A progressive Democrat is a Democrat who is progressive. A corporate funded progressive is a progressive who accepts corporate funding.

You didn’t have to pray, telling you is no problem at all.

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By ThomasG, January 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Alice de Tocqueville, January 19 at 3:08 pm,

I favor socialized capital as the basis of socialized capitalism and have talked about socialized capitalism at length on other threads of Truthdig, here is one link:
http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20091002_hi_ho_american_capitalism/

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By Alice de Tocqueville, January 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG is right; I cringe when I hear ‘Democrats on the left’ or even ‘progressive Democrats’! What, pray tell, is a corporate-funded progressive? At least we can try to insist on clarifying these terms. It does matter what you call things.

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By ThomasG, January 19, 2010 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

I would like to see an American Populace/Back Street America, that agitates to be represented as the one and only Left in the making and enforcing of Legislated Law and Order in the United States that rejects Democratic Party representation of the Left by Corporatist Democrats.

The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are engaged in Political Duopoly that excludes the 70% Majority Common Population of the United States, the American Populace, Back Street America.

As I see it, the American Populace, Back Street America, is the Left and the Left is not represented politically in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States, only the EXTREME Right and the far Right, the Republican Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS and the Corporatist Democrats.

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By Alice de Tocqueville, January 19, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Not only must the MIC be broken somehow, but I’m afraid that any kind of capitalist, ‘free-market’ economy is as obsolete as using leeches to cure disease. There are signs that the earth will not sustain it, for even another generation. It certainly won’t sustain it in any just way!

The kind of huge changes needed to save human life on earth, are not dreamt of in a Libertarian philosophy, I don’t believe, unless it is folded into international law. I admit that I am not very knowledgeable about Libertarians - I come from a large family (the human race)- and have always been confronted with a disparate group to nurture.

JDMysticDJ’s postings seem most accurate to me; but it’s all just conjecture when the mainstream of American politics is so backward.
It’s easy to theorize, and I’m constantly amazed at the number of articles published whose authors congratulate themselves on a brilliant analysis (of a situation that really hasn’t changed except in degree since the Russian Revolution or even before!) but have no suggestion of a way forward that might really happen! 
How do we enlighten and organize ‘citizens’ who are little more than ‘wind-up consumers’? When to we start?

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By Alan MacDonald, January 19, 2010 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ (1/19 @ 5:14), yes 1% owning 95% is incompatible with democracy —“great concentration of wealth or democracy, but not both”.

The problem is particularly acute with non-human, immortal corporations being given the rights of citizenship under the Constitution of the only remaining super-power (kaa the Global Empire’s nominal HQ office).

Much of the apparent confusion, disingenuous arguments, and policy oxymorons on the right can be clearly understood by reviewing economic Nobel laureate George Akerlof’s insight as soon as Bush II ‘took’ office, “this is not normal government economic policy, but a form of looting”.

Today the right (which includes the R&D Party) is nothing but an extremely modern, sophisticated, and well disguised facade of the ruling-elite Global corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE that controls ‘our’ former country by hiding behind the two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy.  This entire corporatist media charade is nothing but a cloak for reactionary EMPIRE posing as American democracy. and its ‘north star’ is fully explained by Akerlof’s insight——power, control, and looting.

As W. C Field’s might have said, “there is no left, left.”  “There is no democracy there in Philadelphia—- if one is talking about the American experiment.”

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By glider, January 19, 2010 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

JDmysticD

“what you are suggesting would require that Libertarians give up their Libertarian ideology and become Liberals”

Yeah, you might be right.  I may be reading my own beliefs into it and calling that a compromise.  It does seem to me that nationalizing banking and reducing the size of our MIC by a factor of 10 done properly could produce a incredibly prosperous country (things both groups would support).  Under those conditions the expense of a reasonable social safety net should not be terribly expensive (so it should be less of a sticking point).  Not only would I favor a reasonable minimum wage but I would set a reasonable upper limit on executive salaries.  Along with that we need to put a lot more resources into improving education and making it available to all who want to competently pursue it.  But I could also see strong tort reform, setting up the system with strong incentives for work over welfare, responsible use of a universal health care system, incentives for hard work and risk taking in business.  But yeah, your probably right that this is more of a practical liberal agenda than a libertarian agenda.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 19, 2010 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

glider

The word Libertarian and the phrase “Free market” are anathema to me, but what you are suggesting would actually be a much more progressive economic system than what we have now. However, if I understand your proposal correctly, what you are suggesting would require that Libertarians give up their Libertarian ideology and become Liberals.

You mentioned health care, what about unemployment compensation, food stamps, and a minimum wage? We’ve noticed that “Free markets” sometimes don’t provide enough jobs, or enough jobs that pay a living wage.

Would your vision of a “Free market” include repeal of the Taft Hartley Act? Would collective bargaining be a part of your “Free market”?

My vision of a “Vibrant” market would be a market fueled by full employment, and the purchases made by working people, (or middle class, if you prefer.)

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By JDmysticDJ, January 19, 2010 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

DieDaily

When 1% of the population owns 95% of the wealth, it seems to me that Big Government is not the problem. Let’s not forget that in a democracy, we the people are, ideally, the government.

What the right defines as big government, is a government that regulates their activities, and attempts to bring about economic justice. It may be that “We the people” need a government big enough, and left leaning enough, to combat the excesses of Big Business (Corporatism.)

In your recent post you said,

“I really hate that the Right (yes,
the fake right in my books!) is being co-opted back
into the Republican fold after almost breaking free
due to sheer Bush-disgust. I’m really going to hate
it when sheer Obama-disgust sees the Left return to
the Dems sometime down the road.

I’m sorry but this comment is meaningless to me. The right offered no criticism of Bush policies, and in fact defended them most vociferously throughout the eight years of the Bush Presidency. It was only after right wing economic policies caused economic collapse, and Bush policies became extremely unpopular, that a few individuals from the right expressed any disapproval, and if you ask them for a solution to the problems, what do they say; more of the same.  The only thing they were trying to break free from was Bush unpopularity.

Show me one politician on the right who advocates paying for the wars with tax increases. Show me one politician from the right, other than Gravel, who advocates ending these wars. Where is the fiscal responsibility? There has been no fiscal responsibility on the right since the Centrist Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. Under Dwight Eisenhower the richest Americans were taxed at a rate of 90%.
 
You say,

“I’m really going to hate
it when sheer Obama-disgust sees the Left return to
the Dems sometime down the road.”

Are you saying that Obama’s right wing policies are preferable to the policies advocated by the currently, very small, left faction of the Democratic Party? Or is it that you fear the excesses of both right and left?

My own view is that the left’s progressive policies are always superior to the right’s reactionary policies, but at the very least, you should be able to realize that a correction to the left is now necessary, in order to combat the excesses of Corporatism, and to thwart the possibility of our nation becoming even more militaristic, and yes, more fascistic.

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By DieDaily, January 19, 2010 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

Gotta admit you’re right glider. I don’t know if
you’ve read in other posts where I advocate Webster
Tarpley’s recovery plan for at least a decade. I’m
certainly not of the “libertarian right” (actually I
think it’s an oxymoron!) The beauty (self-styled,
anyway) of my position is that I can pick from the across the great artificial divide at will. For the
short term there’s only one cure: massive public
works, massive universal healthcare with total
ability to bypass ANY insurance at will (like here in
Canada but far better funded to avoid our rather bad
waiting lists…we get instant emergency room service
here in most locations, but the scans and surgeries
are wayyyy backed up or unavailable…it is NOT
health paradise up here, but it’s more than bearable
for most). Anyway, here’s Tarpley’s plan which I so
love:
http://tarpley.net/ (click the red boxed emergency
link top center).

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By glider, January 18, 2010 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

DieDaily,

Redefining the political landscape as freedom/statist suits Libertarianism well, but will result in a lot of push back from the Progressive Left.  The common enemy is Big Money Monopolistic Corporate Power.  Both the disaffected Progressive Left and the Libertarian Right would like to see them removed from the political process.  But how do you otherwise bring these two disparate groups together?  I am strongly pro-capitalism when it comes to producing consumer products and can get behind a libertarian agenda with a regulatory structure to block monopolistic practices to ensure vibrant competition in this space.  Likewise, the isolationist tendencies of libertarians finds good resonance and will free up huge tax monies wasted on the MIC.  But a libertarian structure is absolutely unnatural and completely illogical for dealing with education, healthcare, and taking care of old people in our society.  And this bit is the great divide as we end up with a common enemy but no common vision.  I would like to see a trade off whereby the Progressive Left accepts practices that Libertarians favor to make a vibrant free market system in exchange for a reasonable social security net and equal opportunity quality education for all.

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By DieDaily, January 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, well, I certainly respect your position
too. I don’t agree that dichotomies are necessary or
helpful, nor that either party will do anything but
finish the job, in terms of the fascism. We
definitely in agreement about it being the near the
final stages. I do think you’re right that shorter-
term chaos could result if the people all go
independent if for no other reason than that the
establishment will not go down quietly, to say the
least. I’m sometimes tempted to think that we might
need to take it to the brink to send any sort of
effective message. I really hate that the Right (yes,
the fake right in my books!) is being co-opted back
into the Republican fold after almost breaking free
due to sheer Bush-disgust. I’m really going to hate
it when sheer Obama-disgust sees the Left return to
the Dems sometime down the road. But you could be
right that my unitarian approach to politics is too
idealistic to succeed.

Dang it, though, it just seems to me there are so
many issues on which the “two sides”
agree…especially the burning issues. Reducing
government power and size should be something we can
all see the clear and present need for, and one way
of eliminating controversy over what the government
should do vis. a. vis. right/left differences would
be to kick it’s but right out of said controversy,
handle things at the state level, and then move where
you like the way they do bidniss! I hope that we are
not caught in an endless federal left-right oscillation that continues to go nowhere.

I sure appreciate your post though. And the fact that
your eyes are open to the fact that all is not well
in Camelot in a really bad way! Keep doing what you
do best which is to move carefully and skeptically,
keeping us all anchored.

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By ThomasG, January 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, January 18 at 7:18 pm,

Your post has shined a ray of sunlight into an otherwise cold dark place—— thank you very much.

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By ThomasG, January 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, January 18 at 7:18 pm,

JDmysticDJ said: “Political discourse requires that dichotomies be defined. The political spectrum has been the template for defining dichotomies. I will continue to use this template - Although it may be somewhat flawed by anomalies - because using the political spectrum is still the best method of identifying political belief.”

You have shined a ray of sunlight into an otherwise cold dark place——thank you very much.

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By ThomasG, January 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, January 18 at 7:18 pm,

JDmysticDJ said: “Political discourse requires that dichotomies be defined. The political spectrum has been the template for defining dichotomies. I will continue to use this template .............. because using the political spectrum is still the best method of identifying political belief.”

You have shined a ray of sunlight into an otherwise cold dark place——thank you very much.

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By ThomasG, January 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, January 18 at 7:18 pm,

JDmysticDJ said: “Political discourse requires that dichotomies be defined. The political spectrum has been the template for defining dichotomies. I will continue to use this template .............. because using the political spectrum is still the best method of identifying political belief.”

Your post has shined a ray of sunlight into an otherwise cold dark place——thank you very much.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

DieDaily

Political discourse requires that dichotomies be defined. The political spectrum has been the template for defining dichotomies. I will continue to use this template - Although it may be somewhat flawed by anomalies - because using the political spectrum is still the best method of identifying political belief.

You have stated your belief that dichotomies are false in respect to history, and in modern analysis. When I attempt to show you that the left is defined by beliefs and actions, you criticize the right in order to prove that the left/right dichotomy is false.

The left is based on egalitarian values, while the right is based on authoritarian values. I’m surprised that you are unable to recognize these distinctions.

One of the sad realities of life is that members of the rank and file often become authoritarian when they become a part of the ruling order, that is to say that they move from the left towards the right. Apparently, their recognition by the ruling order makes the ruling order seem more legitimate in their eyes. However this does not in delegitimize the left, it only delegitimizes the individual(s) who have moved from the left to the right.

I respect you for what you do best, that being exposing hypocrisy, and providing real evidence that refutes popular misconceptions.  However, denying the very real differences between left and right will cause political chaos; the kind of chaos that could/has usher(d) in the final stages of fascism.

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By ThomasG, January 18, 2010 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, January 18 at 5:18 am,

The Left/Right Divide is between the duopoly of “Wall Street and Main Street” on the Right and “Back Street”, the American Populace on the Left.

The American Populace/Back Street America is NOT represented in both Houses of Congress and has not been and will not be represented by the White House unless the American Populace/Back Street America stand up en masse and demand that they be represented in the Making and Enforcing of Legislated Law and Order that is in their best interest; it is time for a change. 

It is time for Back Street America, the American Populace, the Left and Liberals, to stand up against false frames such as “artificial divide” and the “Two-Party Political System” that represents the so called “American People” as a whole and leaves the American Populace/Back Street America unrepresented.

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By DieDaily, January 18, 2010 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

PSmith, de profundis clamavi, incredible posts. Wonderful to read. The ranks of the people who see past the left/right artificial divide are swelling quickly now. It confirms that there is always hope!! Right now Iceland is the country to watch. They are achieving in action what we are just mid-way into waking the public (ourselves) up about.

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By ThomasG, January 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

de profundis clamavi, January 17 at 8:16 pm,

Don’t forget the Kool-Aid.

The American Populace/Back Street America should be trying to take over the Democratic Party in the Primary Election Process.

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By de profundis clamavi, January 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

According to the Nobel committee, and their peace prize laureate, Barack Hussein Obama, the path to peace is through escalating the war in Afghanistan and blowing up villages in Pakistan with CIA drones.

War is peace. This is exactly what our President says, without irony, and apparently he expects us to listen and believe. Amazingly, he is still listened to and believed by millions of people, especially people outside the USA.

But for many, many, many of us who worked and donated and voted for Obama’s campaign, the uncomfortable truth has become impossible to deny. We have been betrayed.

Anyone who genuinely wants peace, democracy, universal healthcare, workplace rights, full employment, universal access to education, the end of poverty, the end of predatory lending, usury, institutional speculation and fraud, a halt to global warming, the end of wasteful military spending (US = 1/2 world’s total), the end of outsourcing foreign policy to mercenaries and assassin squads, the end of torture, illegal detention, kidnapping and rendition, the end of keeping the world’s largest prison population behind bars in the name of an idiotic “war on drugs”; anyone who wants these things and voted for Barack Obama in the hope his election might make these things at least possible if not instantly attainable, and anyone who STILL believes in Obama’s “change” and STILL calls himself or herself a Democrat is a self-deluded chump.

Wake up from your dream world and recognize that the Democratic Party are no more nor less than the “good cops” acting in partnership with the Republican “bad cops”, both of these parties being in the employ of a City Hall under the firm control of the CEOs of the banks, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the arms manufacturers and dealers, the military careerists and the media moguls.

If you have ever kicked yourself for voting for Nader in 2000 instead of Gore, it’s time to give yourself a reprieve. Gore only found his conscience and his voice after he’d left Democratic party politics. What exactly did Gore do to combat global warming during the 8 years he was VP? Can you think of anything at all? I can’t. Would Gore have started the war in Iraq? Maybe not, but then, think again. Just look at the conduct of Democrats in the White House, bending over backwards to reassure the career soldiers and the armaments industry and the paranoid xenophobes that Democrats aren’t “soft on [Terror/Communism/Drugs/Islamo-Fascism/whatever creation of paranoid fantasy that American politicians are currently using to scare a gullible and propaganda-fed population into good behavior]”.

Maybe Obama would find that he has a conscience too, and principles, if he were not in the office of President and acting as the leader of the good cop party. But that’s where he is and we can expect nothing good to come from him.

The US constitution is held up as the very embodiment of democracy, and we are constantly urged to support wars to spread this “democracy” round the world. But I don’t see much democracy here. I see a system of institutionalized political gridlock that makes it impossible for anything to get through Congress without the blessing of the corporate elite.

War is Peace.

Oligarchy is Democracy.

Greed is Charity.

Free Speech is worth nothing unless you have millions for commercial time.

Aggression is Defense.

Destroying industries, communities and whole regions is Creative.

Bankruptcy will make us Rich.

I am fed up with oxymoronic lies.

I urge all of you to join me in the destruction of the two-party system of American politics.

Here’s how it’s done:

Vote for progressive third party candidates or don’t vote at all.

Buy nothing that is produced by the global capitalist economy.

Never use a credit card if you can use cash.

Settle on a plot of land and start growing vegetables and raising chickens.

Since we can’t ban guns, buy one.

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By wildflower, January 17, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

RE David Sirota: “War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength”

And if Mark Kleiman’s “Gitmo Torture Rumor” is correct, we will find out soon if torture is pampering:

1. “Three of the deaths at Guantanamo in 2006 were torture-homicides: the victims died in the process of “enhanced interrogation.”

2. The deaths were covered up.

3. Both the orders to torture and the orders to cover up “came from the top.”

4. There is now eyewitness (participant?) testimony.

5. The story is set to break Monday.”

http://www.samefacts.com/

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By bozh, January 17, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

DaveZ,
We were once- before the rise of shamanism and later ‘religions’ [read please cults], i educe from the facts that we have survived,very interdependent or free.

Had we been so disparate in wealth and power and living most likely in clans, there wld have been intraclan wars and bloodshed because the few demented people who wanted to control- or actually controled the clan- had no army, ‘laws’, cia.

Also the intended victims wld have more stones, cudgels than clergy, shamans, and nobles.
Work and work place was owned by each person. There was work for everyone. Even children worked.
Asked to come along and pick berries, nuts they were most likely overjoyed to do that.
And most importantly there was no schooling as now to turn them against one another or to render them unsane!

Even today one can observe how quickly they learn to amuse selves and enjoy games they invent and one another if not directed by adults.

But many r afraid to go to school. They dread it because they abhor and fear being rated or ‘failing’ in the eyes of an unknown person.
That’s one of the greatest terrors one can inflict on innocent children!

Once they r out of school they have learned to defend own servitude and even by killing innocent children in distant lands.

I think u fear socialism. And perhaps not as it is now, but as it can become, as it was 10-15 k yrs ago: with a much gregarious and interdependent society; not of course in utopian manner.


Once that is achieved,?all people wld love it so much that ?all wld rather die than go back to an asocialist strictures and structure of society.
I know i wld! tnx

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By Alan MacDonald, January 17, 2010 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Sirota is absolutely correct—- the real ‘center’ of all average Americans is far to the left of where the corporatist Empire’s two-party ‘Vichy’ facade of government (and the Empire’s MSM) says it is. 

This FACT is not surprising since average Americans are much like average people living in European and Japanese nominal democracies—- which are the type of ‘social democracies’ that are the only sustainable model of any government in a post WWII and post-Empire world. 

However, this truth is not acceptable to the ruling-elite Global corporate/financial/militarist Empire that guilefully controls ‘our’ former country, and which Christopher Hedges perfectly diagnosed as an “Empire of Illusion”.

This is much bigger than any single issue (including health care). This is related to Democratic Party errors much earlier than Coakley’s campaign. Lastly, this is much more dangerous than what happens to the Democratic control of Congress in 2010—- or the entire Democratic Party.

Yes, this is a national political model (much as Brown is a model of a friendly fascist ‘Ken Doll’)—- but beneath the surface, and beneath the ‘Vichy’ facade of polite ‘center right’ vs. ‘center left’ discussion and ‘fair and balanced’ coverage in the corporatist media—- lies an egregious strategic error by the Democratic Party of where the political center of America really lies, and a gutless misjudgment and appeasement from that error which could well make Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement and negotiation of a “lesser of two evils” pale in comparison.

Yes, the Brown model is a “template” and ‘national model’ of seminal political significance in our waning Republic—- our ‘commonwealth’, our common interests, and our common good.

The seed of the Democratic Party strategists’ error in misjudging the ‘center’ of the real popular democratic America was first diagnosed by Ralph Nader in his 2000 campaign when he said, “the Green Party platform actually represents the majoritarian view of all average Americans”.  But even in 2000 the Democratic Party’s error was already a decade old, and the wound from their error was mortal—- they tried to play a game of tackle football with the corporatist Empire’s first string ‘R’ team and tried to run to what they thought was the center left of the line. 

Nader was not a friendly ‘Ken Doll’ candidate, and the corporatist media excoriated, ignored, and easily blocked his true majoritarian popular center campaign (which was far to the left of where the Demos dared run) to the delight and payment of the ruling-elite Global corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE that now even more fully controls ‘our’ former country by hiding behind the façade of its two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy.

To the extent that the ‘Brown model’ is the ‘national model’ of not only the GOP (as some in the media suspect) but of the entire two-party ‘Vichy’ front for this Global corporate Empire (which it most certainly is), then 2010 is going to be much more dangerous than a few gutless Democrats losing Congress.  2010 to 2012 could well be a much more visible slow-motion train-wreck and burial of the entire American founding and noble ‘experiment in democracy’.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By Outraged, January 17, 2010 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

Re: DaveZx3

“A victim is the slave of the victimizer.  Do not allow yourself to be a victim, and you will never be enslaved.  Real life is for the men and women with the courage to live it head on, no favors, no guarantees, as little government as possible, as few taxes as possible.”

So… I was wondering DaveZx3, does that include not taking those tax deductions you might be ENTITLED to?  If you qualify for a tax deduction you are ENTITLED TO IT….right?  In my book, that’s an entitlement.  If you don’t take ANY tax deductions, including the standard one, I’ll believe you’re part of the “men and women” who have “a real life”.

Btw, your comment “ Do not allow yourself to be a victim”.... can you explain in detail how this is done?  I feel certain “Crime Stoppers” would like to schedule a meeting with you since apparently (according to you) this can be accomplished.

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By Mike3, January 17, 2010 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

Just to add to PSmith’s excellent analysis, only Americans consider CNN as left-wing reporting. But it’s not as if Sirota has said anything we didn’t already know, what he reveals here (and very well) is that nothing has changed in the land of blind that doesn’t even have a one-eyed King. We thought we were going to get one in Obama, even my old hero George Galloway was taken in: he of Mr. Galloway goes to Washington fame – but no, it’s business as usual in the White House, the Pentagon, Corporate America, the Banks, the Empire, Israel rules okay, the exploitation of the middle and working class and of course the genuflecting, groveling, subservient American media and press. And in the background the slow creep of fascism. The quiet issuing of tazers to the police: and now the full-body scanners at airports that have absolutely nothing to do with stopping terrorists, but a lot to do with intimidation and humiliation. The slow but inexorable replacement of capitalism by fascism: yes, the elites are prepared to make that financial sacrifice.

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By DaveZx3, January 17, 2010 at 3:11 am Link to this comment

By bozh, January 16 at 1:19 pm #

“As long one doesn’t own or have a share of work-means of production, one is a serf;i.e., one is not free or interdependent.”

That sounds like 1930’s Gramscian propaganda. 

If you think there is more freedom in ownership than there is in non-ownership, you are deluded.  Ownership is its own severe form of oppression and an encumberance upon your liberty, all for the sake of ego. 

Besides, if you really want to be an owner, get a job at a company that has an ESOP, or one that you can buy stock in.  Or start your own company.  Millions have done it successfully. 

Besides, as
G.Anderson, January 16 at 5:18 pm #
states, “.. Our most important product is people…”

So invest in yourself, your education, your skills, your expertise, your health, etc.  No one can take these things away from you.

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By DieDaily, January 17, 2010 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

glider, extremely well put. You use actual terms such as “Libertarian” and “Corporatist” that have meaning, whereas Left and Right do not.

bozh, I agree that the word “slavery” doesn’t apply to us. Owners have been responsible for providing for their slaves. We don’t have that. Serfs is a much better term.

DaveZx3, nobody has postulated that every single person working for every single corporation is being treated as a slave. So, how exactly can your anecdote be relevant? You obviously take great pride in your abilities and good fortune and that’s a good thing, but think of Walmart and of the concepts of compassion and even of vicarious knowledge. Walmart is increasingly the norm. I challenge you to imagine working your way up through Walmart while retaining your stated belief that everything’s fine and dandy for everybody. Also, do you feel that you had good opportunities as a young person? Were you able to access a decent school? Did you grow up in the slums?

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By Alice de Tocqueville, January 16, 2010 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

Some very good points here, and the thrust of the article is good, but Sirota leaves the impression that if a majority agrees with a position, it is, therefore, not ‘left-wing’. So, if everyone wanted the workers to own the factories [if we had any, that is], and single-payer health CARE, and progressive taxation, that wouldn’t be left-wing?
These terms have an objective definition; they are not relative to American current opinion, as PSmith pretty ably described.
Margaret Thatcher made a comment once - commemorating her great friendship with Ronnie ‘Raygun’ to a group of his admirers - to the effect that in Britain they have socialists to deal with, which “you don’t have here.” Here, no one dares BE a socialist, and that’s the point.
Gore Vidal put it thus: “American politics is a bird with two right wings”. That’s why we never get anywhere; we just flit about in circles.

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By Alan MacDonald, January 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sirota has it dead on, and the Democrats fatal error of letting the supposed political center of American democracy be pushed further right every year for the past several decades is, as Rev. Wright might say, “coming home to roost” in the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday.

This is much bigger than any single issue (including health care). This is related to Democratic Party errors much earlier than Coakley’s campaign. Lastly, this is much more dangerous than what happens to the Democratic control of Congress in 2010—- or the entire Democratic Party.

Yes, this is a national political model (much as Brown is a model of a friendly fascist ‘Ken Doll’)—- but beneath the surface, and beneath the ‘Vichy’ facade of polite ‘center right’ vs. ‘center left’ discussion and ‘fair and balanced’ coverage in the corporatist media—- lies an egregious strategic error by the Democratic Party of where the political center of America really lies, and a gutless misjudgment and appeasement from that error which could well make Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement and negotiation of a “lesser of two evils” pale in comparison.

Yes, the Brown model is a “template” and ‘national model’ of seminal political significance in our waning Republic—- our ‘commonwealth’, our common interests, and our common good.

The seed of the Democratic Party strategists’ error in misjudging the ‘center’ of the real popular democratic America was first diagnosed by Ralph Nader in his 2000 campaign when he said, “the Green Party platform actually represents the majoritarian view of all average Americans”.  But even in 2000 the Democratic Party’s error was already a decade old, and the wound from their error was mortal—- they tried to play a game of tackle football with the corporatist Empire’s first string ‘R’ team and tried to run to what they thought was the center left of the line. 

Nader was not a friendly ‘Ken Doll’ candidate, and the corporatist media excoriated, ignored, and easily blocked his true majoritarian popular center campaign (which was far to the left of where the Demos dared run) to the delight and payment of the ruling-elite Global corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE that now even more fully controls ‘our’ former country by hiding behind the façade of its two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy.

To the extent that the ‘Brown model’ is the ‘national model’ of not only the GOP (as some in the media suspect) but of the entire two-party ‘Vichy’ front for this Global corporate Empire (which it most certainly is), then 2010 is going to be much more dangerous than a few gutless Democrats losing Congress.  2010 to 2012 could well be a much more visible slow-motion train-wreck and burial of the entire American founding and noble ‘experiment in democracy’.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By G.Anderson, January 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

... Our most important product is people…

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By bozh, January 16, 2010 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree that the word “slavery” does not fit what is happening in US and other lands. I often use the word serfdom for the relationship btwn nonowners of work and owners of work-place of work.

As long one doesn’t own or have a share of work-means of production, one is a serf;i.e., one is not free or interdependent.

The ideal relationship is being interdependent. And not just on level of labor but also on levels of information, education, religion, governance, lawmaking, etc.

In a sharply divided society as US, lower classes appear mmuch dependent on higher classes in all levels of human interrelationships.

In short, cosa nostra or highly developed interdependence for the highest class and cosa mias for highly dependent and odds underclasses. tnx

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By WDRussell, January 16, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This side controls Congress, no wait the other side controls Congress. Get real folks, corporate greed controls Congress.
I am over 60 and in my lifetime there has never been one year in which either house has been controlled by card carrying union workers.

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By ardee, January 16, 2010 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Dave’s words prove only that nuance appears lost and that there were undoubtedly those who were quite comfortable being slaves.

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By DaveZx3, January 16, 2010 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

By G.Anderson, January 15 at 12:19 pm #

“Americans live under oppression, not freedom. Because we live under the control of corporations who believe in slavery. They have created a state within a state, where our external rights, are meaningless, because they are swept away by the policy’s of our corporate life”

G.Anderson, I am sorry you hate your job that much.

I have worked under a corporate business organization for the past 25 years, except for one period of 3 years where it was a sole proprietorship.

I always had the feeling that they needed me more than I needed them, and every job I had, I walked away from after 3 to 4 years to move on to bigger and better things.  I had never had the feeling that I was enslaved by the corporation. 

It was always a mutual agreement.  I gave my labor, and they gave me the agreed upon paycheck.  If my labor was insufficient or of the paycheck was insufficient, each had the freedom to terminate the relationship.  This is the principle of “employment at will”. 

Of course every entity engages in their own form of propaganda.  Ignore it.  If it gets to heavy, quit.

I do not see where slavery is involved here.  The idea of slavery is that you are not free to walk away.  I never felt that I was not free to walk away, and I did it regularly, just because I could.

In America, the citizens have the ultimate control over government and the private sector.  But Americans love the victim roll.  It allows them to feel justified in receiving something for nothing.
It allows them to feel justified in their feeling that someone owes them something. 

A victim is the slave of the victimizer.  Do not allow yourself to be a victim, and you will never be enslaved.  Real life is for the men and women with the courage to live it head on, no favors, no guarantees, as little government as possible, as few taxes as possible.  The individual is sovereign.

“life free or die”

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By rollzone, January 16, 2010 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

hello again. i will try to be clear. a Democrat is all for spending for services for the city. an example would be garbage collection. he notes the current contract was a no bid favor, in return for some previous contribution. he opens the service to bidding, and finds more frequent contractors that cost less. the public is very happy about this. the former Democrat was too far to the left for his constituency. he was an unprincipled spender. a wealthy man trying to operate in a middle class environment. what is meaningless to him has profound consequence in that liberal environment. they are both liberal Democrats, however one is far too left.

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By TAO Walker, January 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Much of the CONfusion here is traceable to a CONgenital tendency among domesticated americans and ‘others’ to persist in the F-U-tile exercise of trying to describe (and understand) their collective predicament in the deliberately vague abstract terms they were fed in their high-school civics classes (or their ‘offshore’ equivalents)....and which are, of course, pounded ceaselessly into them by means of the mass-media, as has already been noted below.  Those with the stomach for it, though, will be much more usefully accurate in their assessments if they employ the bottom-line blood-‘n’-guts lingo of industrialized livestock raising and meat-production.

G.Anderson is right, as far as it goes, to note that some of “....your huddled masses” are looked-at as “lab rats” by their plutoligarchic wannabe ‘owners,’ but that is much too generous to all CONcerned, and doesn’t go anywhere near as far as there is.  Some relative few might be ‘enjoying’ as much as they can stand of that pitiful ‘status,’ but most are actually inmates of the now “global” feedlot operation that is in-fact the terminal stage of the entire “civilization” process.

Your tormentors mean to eat you all alive (well….something less than half-alive by-now), tame Sisters and Brothers.  If you can’t respond to their motives and methods here, on gruesome and grotesque display everywhere, as just that basic and simple, then you’re as good as devoured already.

“Civil rights”?  Wanna bet your sweet asses?

HokaHey!

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By Emilio, January 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sounds like the natives have had it up to their neck and are sharpening their machetes and pitchforks for the revolt against the feudal overlords.  Our wise “leaders” should take heed that the sentient beings that they govern are being governed by consent, and when that consent vaporizes it’ll be all she wrote.

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By lichen, January 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

Yes, criminal privatization that reduces services and rises their costs to the average person is termed “cost effective.”  And the right wing corporatist crusade, marching on through the democratic and republican parties, is here disguised despite the fact that nothing under the surface changes once the three houses of government switch hands between the parties; war, corporatism, and environmental destruction are the goals of them all.

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By scotttpot, January 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Say a lie long enough and it starts to become the “common wisdom’‘.
America is addicted television to and gets its “common wisdom” from corporate
media.
The Asses on the television machine are paid millions to convince us torture is a
legal gray area . Peace and compassion are leftist . Absurdistan.

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By Felix Felix, January 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democrats and democratic principles are always a more nuanced ideal that seeks to please everyone even when some people fail to realize that they are pushing against their own welfare (no pun intended).  It’s a way of politics that is too easy to counter with single sentence slogans and loud noises. “You lie!” just appealed more to the right and their ignorant fringes. It mobilized them better than our appeal to try and establish a human and progressive healthcare solution was able to mobilize our party.  ‘Course it doesn’t help that we’ve far too many BlueDogs and “moderates” who always make me wonder when they switched parties to become Democrats or if they ever really did leave the Republican fold.  It’s easy to make the claim that Right is Center when we now have right wingers entrenched in our own caucus.

Would it be wrong to start checking the voting history of candidates and ask them if they ever registered republican?  I’m not saying that precludes them from running but it certainly warrants a second look over their policy choices and voting record.

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By bozh, January 15, 2010 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How often must pols tell u that in US u have the rule of law?
In effect telling u to shut up and accept this fact?
Thus, all criticism, pleading, condemning, wishing cannot ever change a single law.
Only ‘lawmakers’ can enact new or amend-emend old ‘laws’ and in accordance with the constitution and not our bitching-wishing-condemning.

Note please that even the constitution is a ‘law’. And each US war is legal. Not having healthcare is legal. Being ruled is legal. Having next to zero political power is legal.
Killing innocent people in distant lands is legal.
In short, u are living in the land ruled by laws.
Slavery, lynching was legal. Civil war was legal. The next 30 wars US wages will all be legal.
Note also that US constitution cannot be understood; it can only be interpreted.
Note that no collumnist wld dare tell u this! And they abhor that and fear reading-responding to what i have just said.
Cosa nostra for “them” is legal. Cosa mias [250mn of disorganized and unrepresented people in congress, judiciary, and WH is also legal and a constitutional demand. That’ the statis one can count on. tnx

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By G.Anderson, January 15, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Underneath, all the double think, and Winston Smith type journalism, there is the reality that millions of American’s live in everyday.

That reality, free from the glittering lights of show business, is that Americans live under oppression, not freedom. Because we live under the control of corporations who believe in slavery. They have created a state within a state, where our external rights, are meaningless, because they are swept away by the policy’s of our corporate life.

Increasingly those, corporations feel free from the constraints of government, as government has come increaslingly under their control and manipulation.

Poisoning your food, your air, your water, your bank account, the thoughts you think, along with reading your e-mail, tapping your phones at work, investigating your life, demanding your health information, demeaning you, and skirting the intent of decades of labor laws, that are inconvienient to them.

And you are paying for it, and their incompetency, on so many levels.

We are lab animals to them. We have our water, and people chow changed every once in a while, and the news print in the bottom of our cages is cleaned when convienient to them, that is all.

They have us believing that we can stand in line for success, living in dreams of hope for the future, looking only at the knighted few at the top, instead of those living in filth and squalaor below us.

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By glider, January 15, 2010 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

The root of the confusion is that we do not have a system capable of supporting either European-Style leftest positions, or for that matter Libertarian-Style rightest positions (where smaller companies would be put on a equal footing with large companies).  Because American politics is fueled by Big Money we have Left and Right policy being defined by the same Big Corporate interests but with a different spin.  Therefore, in Healthcare, European-Style Leftist Single-Payer is ignored when a “leftest” is swept into power.  And it becomes Corporatist Left (core mandated purchase of private insurance product) versus Corporatist Right (unregulated anti-trust exempted corporate cherry picking of healthy low cost customers).  So in America we do not really have true Left and Right (in Libertarian tradition) but rather only Big Corporation intrepretations of both.

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By KISS, January 15, 2010 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

You’re absolutely right, David. Throw bigger bucks than you’re opponent on TV and you will win. Much like the defendant with the best lawyer.It is a game and the Amerikan people keep falling for the same ol’ same ol’. We are very slow learners.

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By bozh, January 15, 2010 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Way out for me is to evaluate all name calling as meaningless-meaningful.Or that meanings are in people and not words.

In any case, it is not of any import to me when people say what person IS. What is important to me is what people do and say and not what they ARE!

Once people accurately-adequately describe what a person does or says, one can use a label for that.
I do think that all or most pols, ‘educators’ priests, collumnists know what i have just posited.

But i also conclude that they are part of the system; thus, they have an asssigned task to avoid an enlightenment.
Most of the time they dwell on peripheral issues, personality; avoiding like a plague the facts of the greatest import. tnx

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By DieDaily, January 15, 2010 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Heck ya! That’s the problem with “left” and “right”.
They are meaningless terms, perfect for meaningless
lives. Just eliminate the scale. It’s a fake scale.
There is only Individualism vs. Statism. All the rest
is window dressing.

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By ardee, January 15, 2010 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

The kernel of truth within this article is the hint that we the people are being far too easily manipulated to think in ways that make the fascist take over of our government rather easily accomplished.

If government is cyclic in nature then we are disturbingly spinning to the right in this current cycle..

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By rollzone, January 15, 2010 at 12:24 am Link to this comment

hello. it took you all those tag words to spit that into the wind? there are big distinctions between a Democrat opening public services to multiple bidders, resulting in cost effective liberal spending; and ignorant money waste. the terms and distinctions are appropriate, and you need a better education to more thoroughly research your spin.

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