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AdLib On April - 30 - 2012

Agar is a gelatin material that’s used in Petri dishes to grow microorganisms such as bacteria. When stepping back to look at American society as a whole, it seems to be submerged in a sociological agar that cultivates the growth of a bacteria that continues to eat away at the nation.

Whether it’s a fair and sustainable economy, our political system, a constructive level of discourse, a sense of community, education, racial and religious tolerance, many of the aspects of America that have been points of pride in the past, continue to decline and in doing so, corrode American society.

There are a variety of “cultures” in modern day America’s agar-rich Petri dish that are decaying what America is capable of being but among the most toxic is injustice.

Americans have been eyewitnesses to crimes committed by the wealthy and powerful and have seen that typically, they escape justice. Wall Street clearly robbed trillions from the world’s economy through sophisticated fraud, the Bush Administration violated the Geneva Convention by using torture and violated our Constitution by secretly spying on the American people, even the Supreme Court has been an accomplice to the wealthy rigging and buying our elections…and no one pays a price.

No one goes to jail. No one is fired. No one is held responsible for their actions. At least, not when they are wealthy or politically connected.

On the other end of the spectrum, we see police let the white murderers of young black men walk free and harsh criminal sentences applied against young men of color.

We see those fervent about their superiority through religion or race given equal time and presented as “balance” against those who stand for equality and justice.

Some may ask at times why some people plan and do such cruel things to others but simply put, an unjust society is an incubator for terrible things. It creates an environment where some feel they have the right to express their own prejudices and pursue agendas that harm the many while benefiting them and the few like them. They have permission because society doesn’t insist on and enforce justice as an absolute and necessary principle.

Living in an unjust America breeds a sense of discouragement and resignation among many that it is just the way things are that the wealthy are above the law and the expectation of simple human decency.

What does that do to the Petri dish of American society when injustice is virulent? Doesn’t it create an ideal breeding ground for the kind of racism, intolerance, chauvinism and venomous “debate” that has become so mainstream today? Doesn’t it foster the growth and broad acceptance of hateful extremism such as that which has overtaken the Republican Party? In fact, could today’s GOP exist as it is if not for being in an “agar” of injustice?

If Americans witnessed on a regular basis that no one is above the law, especially the wealthy and powerful, might there not be at least some shared belief in justice and fairness amongst most Americans? And if that was the case, might there be more common ground and civility expected of each other?

Instead, in an environment where the law only applies to “the little people”, living in an unjust society is eventually taken for granted by the majority and they become more accepting of seeing that reflected all around them.

By the time the Dems won back Congress in 2006, Nancy Pelosi had already promised in the campaign that Democrats would not seek to impeach Bush for crimes he clearly committed. It’s easy to understand her caution, she likely was concerned that such an action could boomerang against them and generate greater support for Bush, as well as dominate their new term and keep them from accomplishing much of anything.

However, one could connect a direct line between that decision and the decline of the nation’s faith in their government, let alone the rise of the racist Tea Party and the de-evolution of the GOP into a hate machine. We had a President who violated our Constitution and international law (not to mention seizing an unprecedented expansion of power for the Executive Branch) and yet, out of political expedience, the other political party chose to give him a Mulligan because of political considerations.

After that, did anyone really expect that the CEO of Goldman Sachs might go to jail for criminal acts? Or BP execs whose intentional skirting of safety rules caused a platform to explode that killed people and destroyed the livelihoods of many others?

The public outcry and protest to bring George Zimmerman to trial for shooting the unarmed Trayvon Martin was a victory that people can be proud of but consider that in 2012, the functioning of justice in this nation is so hobbled that it required a huge public groundswell just to arrest a white man for killing a black teen.

The entire GOP/Mitt Romney platform is amazingly built right on the principle of injustice. The wealthy should have more, the majority and the poor should have less and give more of their tax money to enrich the wealthy. Health Care and education should only be available to the wealthy, corporations should be free to poison most Americans and be unfettered from robbing them of fair pay and their nest eggs.

How can such injustices be so broadly presented as a viable platform to run on? Of course, the rabid Right Wingers just want Repubs to win, they’re too tunnelvisioned to see they’re voting against their own futures and interests but as the media presents such injustices as reasonable, many others climb on board.

It seems surreal that most all of the historic injustices exhibited throughout American history including racism against blacks and Hispanics, religious intolerance, male domination of women and their rights, the wealthy dominating the majority and their democracy, homophobia, The Confederacy’s animosity and opposition to The North, all of these hateful and unjust sensibilities are all rolled into the basis of the 2012 GOP.

The media cooperates by presenting the GOP and their commitment to injustice as an equal alternative to the Democrats’ views of a fairer society. Really? Prejudice is equivalent to tolerance? Greed is equivalent to fairness? Hate is equivalent to compassion?

Of course these are not equivalents and presenting them as such undermines what should be shared principles of all Americans.

Though I think it is only a weak camouflage for greed, I could accept a GOP that believed in Trickle Down economics as more viable than Keynesian economics…as long as they shared the principles of compassion for Americans who weren’t among those promising to trickle down wealth. I don’t think it would be a better world if there was only one party in America, there is a role for a GOP in American politics but not as a party of unrestrained greed and hate. Those are not constructive political values, they are instead what have traditionally been called sins and failings of human beings.

A number of Americans appear to be so fed up with injustice that they have become activists and rise up against them when they appear.

As Americans, we sit back and hope for our nation’s economy to be repaired so we can get back to where we were. When it comes to justice, that’s not the way it works. It will take the people continuing to gather behind the principles that unite us all as Americans and make it clear to the rest of our society, including the media and the GOP, that we won’t accept injustice as a reasonable alternative to what is just, we won’t accept having it constantly presented or proposed as an equivalent or valid position on any issue.

If there is justice for all in our economy, politics and society, many of the problems we face today as a nation could be addressed. People will accept sacrifices for the greater good when it is fair and all people, rich and poor, are asked to reach down just as deep to help. And in a society where justice prevails especially against the wealthy and powerful, there is no breeding environment for the hateful prejudice and class warfare of the current GOP.

There can be confidence again in America’s government and society but not until there is a return to being a nation of laws and justice. Americans are empowered and work together in a culture of justice and fairness, they become apathetic and divided when injustice dominates.

People need to be held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. Allowing people to be “Too Big to Jail” and refusing to apply justice due to political calculations, no matter how well intended, is a miscalculation.

Americans need to see that we have a just society, they need to have some universal values such as a sense of fairness to be able to live and work together on the big problems we face. And the huge partisan gulf in this nation needs to be bridged, greater injustice won’t do that.

As a kid, I must’ve recited The Pledge of Allegiance thousands of times but did the meaning of the words really register? Though I’m not a rabid nationalist and not too sure about having national Pledges of Allegiance, the final part of it should be listened to repeatedly by the MSM and the GOP until it sticks:

…with liberty and justice for all.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

53 Responses so far.

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  1. funksands says:

    Ad really nice piece.

    Our nation, to the cynical observer is one that gives some poor bastard who steals $20 from a 7-11 30 years, and gives someone who steals $20 million from a pension fund a raise.

    I like Sue’s comment that economic equality and a large middle class bred some complacency in how we respond to the creeping normalcy of the situation we have now. As long as we got our cut, what does it matter if someone goes to jail for 40 years for a bag of pot?

    What does it matter if the last abortion clinic in a state gets shut down, or con men and the ticks that feed on the public body get fat and bloated? Why rock the boat?

    These changes have been so gradual, comparatively they don’t look much different than problems from 10-20 years ago. Objectively however if observed by the future historians that unearth the ruins of our civilization, they’ll shake their heads in wonderment that we never permanently learned our lessons of the past.

    • choicelady says:

      ‘Twas always thus, funk. An 18th-Century (or older) ditty you’ve probably read before:

      The law locks up the man or woman
      Who steals the goose from off the Common,
      But lets the greater villain loose
      Who steals the Common from the goose.

    • AdLib says:

      You hit the bulls eye, Funk.

      It’s a combination of many things but some key parts include the co-opting of the middle class into the greed mentality. Little did they realize it was all a con. The wealthy must’ve been chuckling the whole time as people matter-of-factly supplemented their shrinking wages and wealth with dot com stock market earnings, plentiful credit card lines and generous second mortgages…each of them dooming the public to ultimate loss and the wealthy to ultimate gain in a big way.

      The middle class was a co-conspirator, like in a heist movie when the ignorant trusting guy is left behind in the safe after the robbery and never gets his cut.

      Another aspect is the frog in slowly warming-to-a-boil water. As the domination of the plutocracy and ruling class grows gradually more intrusive and powerful, people are too distracted by the immediacy of pressing necessities and the inescapable entertainment thrown at them from every direction.

      Distracted from the thievery of their democracy that has been going on, as each right is encroached on a tiny bit more, it’s hardly noticed.

      However, many Americans have recognized the game for what it is and the last year of populist protests that have made real impacts is a reason to have some optimism.

      I really don’t feel that people are as apathetic, ignorant and passive as they seemed in previous years.

      The Republicans sought to destroy Americans’ faith in their government so they wouldn’t fight their slashing it apart to give the spoils to their corporate bosses. Instead, it has empowered many to step up on their own and take action and this is scary to the RW but they’re too committed to this campaign to stop.

      It will be interesting to see how this year develops, as the Repub and corporate elitists try to strike a killing blow to our social safety nets and economic justice.

      I don’t think the majority will be convinced to march off that cliff, the GOP and plutocrats have made a total error in judgement by underestimating the American people this much.

      But that kind of hubris is what comes from the minds of those who think themselves superior.

      • funksands says:

        Ad, I agree that many people certainly seem to be more aware and reactive to this issue than before.

        I’ve said before that Americans are great once things break. They band together, put their shoulders to the grindstone and fix it.

        Two challenges face us. As CLady mentioned below, the scale of the problem is daunting. Social media is a double-edged sword in regards to this. It made us SO much more aware of the problems that are eating away at us, but it has also made us aware of ALL the problems that face us.

        Do you think this has the potential to diffuse efforts across so many issues that we won’t be able to generate enough attention/pressure to force change?

        If I polled 100 different people on what they felt the biggest problem facing us from an injustice standpoint was, I might get 50 different answers!

        It just seems like if we could just organize enough to focus on 1 thing at a time, we could have a massive ripple effect through the whole system.

        The environmental movement and the first Earth Day pressured Richard Nixon to come up with the EPA, the Clean Water and Clean Air acts because he felt that if he didn’t do it, he’d lose the next election.

        It just feels like we have giant ocean of outrage that is about 3 inches deep.

        • AdLib says:

          Funk, that’s why rallying around and working hard for a Dem sweep of the WH and Congress makes the most sense.

          With Dems fully back in power…and the filibuster cut way back, many of the important issues can get addressed.

          The public can then come together and lobby a responsive government for the changes they want. Republicans are anti-democratic, they see the voice of the people as adversarial and just BS their way around the fact that they do not want to serve The People, just their own and their owners’ interests.

          Even with Dems in power, it’s not a slam dunk, public activism will still be needed to get action on many issues but at least with Dems in control, issues can get addressed.

        • AlphaBitch says:

          Hey Funk -- ever hear John Prine sing “That’s the Way the World Goes Round”? The chorus is “It’s a half an inch of water, and you think you’re gonna drown; that’s the way that the world goes round.”

          (ask Bito: he’s a Prine fan like me)

          Best line ever: a woman once asked him to sing the song about the “Happy Enchilada”. Should have paid attention -- or gotten the lyrics.

  2. jjgravitas says:

    We have every reason to declare the Republican party a terrorist organization since their mission is to bring down the federal government, provide money and power to a tiny sliver of the populace (the 1%) and screw everyone else. They are no better than the Taliban, the Ku Klux Klan (who are all republicans), the Irish Republican Army, and every other terrorist organization. No better.

    • AdLib says:

      jj, though the Repubs may say these kinds of things out of exaggeration and we may criticize them for doing so, the Repubs have indeed held America and its economy hostage for three years in their singular quest to gain power. They’ve threatened to blow up our economy due to the debt ceiling and the budget and some have even threatened the legitimacy and life of the President.

      Here are a variety of definitions of “terrorist”:

      1. A person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.

      2. The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

      3. A terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.


      So honestly, is it really so outrageous to characterize the GOP as a terrorist organization?

    • jjgravitas says:

      Pardon me for being intolerant.

  3. All you said is true but you didn’t put the reason why things didn’t happen in context. The reason the head of GS is not in jail is because the rules of the road were such that what they did was very close to being legal. Just like a cop won’t pull you over going 75 in on a 70 MPH speed limit highway (unless you are a minority of course.)

    Prosecuting the Bush administration would have been unprecedented. Nobody prosecuted LBJ for carpet bombing civilians, JFK for the bay of pigs, FDR for interning thousands and thousands of Japanese Americans not to mention going against Congress and arming the allies, Truman dropping two atom bombs in the heart of major Japanese cities, any president that was involved the genocide of Native Americans and of course slavery and the Civil War. I know the defense is that now we are suppose to know better but remember that a majority of Americans supported ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’. If Obama and the Dems tried to prosecute Bush for war crimes I guarantee you the GOP would be trying to prosecute Obama right now for the same thing. So respectfully your implication that America has changed at least in this respect is wrong. IMHO most of those decisions were far worse. Americans simply give presidents great latitude in dealing with national security crisis.

    Personally I would love to see Bush, Cheney and GS all in orange jumpsuits. You can’t understate how hyper partisanship has blocked any chance to investigate even the causes of the financial crisis. Republicans will never be honest about the financial crisis and always blame it on F&F and Frank and Dodd. Politics where much less partisan during the Nixon investigation which would never happen in this political environment. I’m not trying to excuse what’s happened post Bush just putting context around what happened and why it happened.

    • choicelady says:

      KQ -- thank you for saying all that. Years ago, after working full time for McGovern, I was saying to a friend in 1974 how sad I felt he was not in office. This was as Watergate was really blowing up and Congress was investigating (a role they COULD have had in Bush and Cheney, BTW.) My friend said I should be glad he wasn’t in office because Watergate NEVER would have been investigated post hoc, that McGovern would have been drawn and quartered for persecuting a former president. I was shocked to my foundations -- and then realized that he was right.

      The proper place for this is right where it exists -- the International Criminal Court. It has placed both Bush and Cheney under virtual house arrest -- neither of them can leave the country or they will be picked up and brought to the Hague for trial. NO nation has ever prosecuted its own leaders for crimes against humanity, and unless or until Congress actually does intervene, this nation will be no exception. It gives me some real pleasure to know these two horrid abusers can’t leave our shores. It’s not everything -- but it is something.

    • AdLib says:

      KQ, I think that the dynamics are more often than not, those with power and money escape responsibility for that very reason. However, I don’t think that’s for the best. Bush should have been investigated and prosecuted if the facts showed what they appear to. Bill Clinton was impeached for something as trivial as lying about sex so it wouldn’t have seemed inappropriate in comparison.

      To get even, might the Repubs in the House have tried to impeach Obama for some trumped up charge? It would be their right to do so but just as suicidal as it was against Clinton.

      Some people run red lights and get away with it but we wouldn’t take traffic lights down for that reason. So while many Presidents and politicians have gotten away with violations of trust and in some cases, US and world laws, I think we should endeavor to hold those in the future responsible for their actions.

  4. AlphaBitch says:

    Please watch the interview with the author James O’Shea that talks about how far the media has gone from its mission. Short video in link.


    • bito says:

      AB, that was very interesting and helped me understand that Zell Miller should be behind bars.

      • AlphaBitch says:

        Hey Bito! Did I mention that O’Shea has received SIX Pulitzers??? His CNC has folded, due to lack of support financially. Pity. I did send him a quick email to try and locate Dixon. We’ll see if he responds………

        Baby Girl is coming to my town on May 10th. She will be here for 4 days before going BACK to AFG. She has received a 4 year scholarship to Bucknell and we hope she is back and safe by August. Keep her in your prayers. I’ll send you photos if you want.

        EDIT: OK, Mr. O’Shea did not personally receive the Pulitzers, but it was the Chicago Tribune under his leadership that did. He has won several other very prestigious awards


        My bad and hurried self must now run off -- again.

        • bito says:

          AB, six Pulitzers? Is that all what does he do in his spare time? :-) That is astonishing.
          I did get your email about Baby Girl and that is fantastic news, a 4 year scholarship! I just REALLY worry about her going back home. I hope she stays safe and there will be a candle lit for her safe return.

          • AlphaBitch says:

            I’ll show her your post, Bito. I hope so too. You will be among the FIRST to know when she gets back -- promise! I’ll let you know if/when my Syrian daughter makes it too. I’m not sure why I give my heart to these kids who come from such dangerous places. But they gots it! (So do you, dear friend) -- AB

            • AlphaBitch says:

              Bito: Now I blush! But you haven’t seen the body lately -- it’s pretty substantial and can hold the heart!

              I once asked a woman why -- after losing a friend in an air crash -- it left SUCH a hole in my heart; her answer was: “So there’s space for someone else to come and fill it up!” I have never forgotten that. And when those “holes” appear, I just wait patiently for the next “filler”. They show up, if you wait.

              Off to make dinner, dear one. TTYL. -- AB

            • bito says:

              AB, you have such a big heart your body can’t contain it. Lucky for us we get to share some of the overload.

  5. AlphaBitch says:

    Will SOMEONE please help me? I have tried for months to track down Don Dixon, the kingpin behind the Texas S&L crash and the resultant crash of regulations, but he has effectively disappeared. SOMEONE please read the Daisy Chain. If you want to talk about where we are today, start with this. And then help me find Dixon.

    • SueInCa says:

      So I google the Daisy chain? I will try to help you but I need a starting point

      • AlphaBitch says:

        Hi Kes’ (my BNF) BFF.

        The man’s name is Don Dixon. He bought out Vernon Savings and Loan (in Texas) and began lying and cheating his way through the process. I think he may be the one most single guilty person in that whole 80s thing, which is ringing more and more true each and every day, some 30 years later. It frightens me.

        Don went to prison for a few years, then was released. I’ve tried googling him, but I”m not as great a sleuth.

        I did write the book’s author to see if he had any info, and will keep you posted. DO get a copy of the Daisy Chain and read it -- if you dare. Scare the pants off you.

        I would just like a follow up -- I want to know where that creep is, what he is doing. If he is working in any way, shape or form with the financial industry, we are screwed. Thanks my BNF’s BFF!

        • SueInCa says:

          Sweetie it is me, Sue. I looked up Don dixon and I found someone in the Silicon Valley. He founded Trident Capital in 1993 and is a big wig with politicians and others in the area. Could he be your guy? I tried Daisy Chain but will look it up on Amazon I assume it is O’Shea who wrote it?


          • kesmarn says:

            May I barge in here as Best Frenemesis/Friend Forever?

            Would this be at all helpful?


            Muhwahhhh! To two of my favorite Planeteers! 😀

            • AlphaBitch says:

              Holy crap, Batman! Way to go!! It’s the Badman.

              Kes, you earn Queen of the Sleuths for today. Silly me -- I didn’t even know that Corporationwiki existed……but I can research what we found and get all the updates I need, thanks to you!

              Mwahhhhh back at ya. BNFF

          • AlphaBitch says:

            Hi Sue -- I was just writing to you as Kes’ BFF. Kes has now declared us to be Best Nemesis Forever or BNF. It’s so confusing even to me!

            Sorry but that is the wrong Don Dixon. That was a smart and perhaps smarmy but not as smarmy man. The one I’m looking for was actually IN prison at the time Trident was formed. I’m telling you -- he’s “disappeared” which is what makes me so nervous.

            Yes, look up ‘The Daisy Chain’ by James O’Shea. GREAT read and as relevant today as it was 30 years ago when happening or 20 when written. Amazing book. Then you’ll know WHICH Don Dixon we are looking for.

            Thanks, Sue. You are so good at this. I’m a pretty good hound dog, but this guy eludes my every attempt to find. -- AB

            • AlphaBitch says:

              Sue: But that was in 1990. Granted, he would now be 72, but I can’t believe he would just be a total zero. I want to know where his hand has been. I see nothing -- and I’ve looked at obits -- to indicate he is anywhere. I’ve just never seen anyone vanish so completely!

            • SueInCa says:

              I found this in the LA Times

              DON RAY DIXON

              S&L owner

              Perhaps the highest of the high-fliers, Dixon, 50, was a real estate developer who bought control of tiny Vernon Savings in north Texas in 1982 and used it to finance a regal lifestyle. He pleaded not guilty to misusing thrift funds for campaign contributions and prostitutes. Was last believed to be operating out of a small office on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.


  6. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, not too long ago I watched an archived PBS documentary on the Nixon Watergate scandal-- a situation that I always thought was a true low point in American history. Until Dubya came along.

    But there were also a few things I had forgotten — things that made the whole tawdry episode seem a little less depressing. There were a few people who stood up to Nixon — even when their own careers were on the line.

    Bernstein and Woodward are the most obvious names, of course. They had to have known that it was risky for them and for their newspaper to break the Watergate story.

    Then John Dean -- although he’d been allied with Nixon earlier -- refused to play along with the dishonesty and blackmail any longer. Even later testified against his boss.

    Archibold Cox was a courageous prosecutor who vowed to follow the investigation “regardless of where it would lead.” When it led to the top and he wouldn’t drop it, it cost him his job. And Eliot Richardson, in a face to face confrontation with Nixon, refused to follow orders that he knew were in violation of Nixon’s authority as head of the executive branch only (and not dictator-in-chief). William Ruckelshouse did the same.

    Ironically Nixon said: “Eliot, it’s obvious that you’re willing to put your own self interest above the needs of the nation as a whole.” (At least one thing was the same back then as now: paranoid projection.) Richardson gasped and then — with great self-control — said: “Mr. President, I guess we have a difference of opinion on that.”

    I guess what I’m saying is that — even in that shady era — we had a judiciary that couldn’t be bullied or bought. Newspapers that printed the truth -- even when it offended the powers-that-be, and people who stood up and said a resounding NO to presidents who tried to overreach their authority.

    As your op-ed piece suggests, there’s more than a little doubt in the 21st century that the same could be said. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to spin that into the media’s favorite thing: the feel-good story.

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, I thought about connecting the dots back to Nixon and Watergate but as you keenly point out, in the past there were still people of conscience in the GOP who would stand up against wrongs. After Watergate, many laws were put into place to restrict elected officials from doing corrupt things so in a way, it led to a temporarily better system.

      Today, it’s Thunderdome, there are no rules, no consciences and no principles in the GOP. It is all about winning at any cost and doing whatever it takes to win. And once in power, they’re willing to use blackmail and extortion, threatening to push the entire nation off a cliff if they don’t get what they want.

      Yep, there is no feel good story here, it is about the total collapse of conscience in the GOP under the weight of enormous greed.

      I see many in the nation realizing what has been and is going on but far more who know something’s not right but can’t figure it out…and can even be convinced it’s the fault of Obama and the Dems for not just allowing the Repubs to trickle down all over us.

      There does need to be a sustained campaign in this nation against greed and corruption, it sure seems like it’s going to take many years of un-brainwashing enough people out there to turn the GOP into the permanent minority party it should be and only the party of the hateful and ignorant.

    • bito says:

      Watergate, Dubya and now this version of the GOP are my three lowpoints. They don’t give a flying fig about this country and compromise is a four letter word. Looking at the number of filibusterers and going so far as to put the US at the brink of default are some of their lowpints. And why, because of “That Blackman in the White House.”
      As much as the R’s hated FDR,during the Depression, they didn’t block every bill, they worked for the betterment of the country, not this Congress.

      • choicelady says:

        They actually tried to stage a coup -- it failed because they recruited WW I hero, Smedly Butler to lead it, and he would not and exposed it all. Every single person in that coup later joined in with the founder of The Family -- the C Street People -- and have been exercising their power covertly ever since.

        For me the watershed year was 1976. We elected a president tied to the highest levels of global capital in the Trilateral Commission which published a book citing “the distemper of democracy” that required a scaling back of democracy along with unions, a free press, and a few other little obstacles, so that global capital could run free. Carter bought it hook, line, sinker. And we were off and running on deregulation of absolutely everything while shutting us all up if we protested.

        Vietnam was over, we’d embraced the “Me Decade” seeking personal fulfillment over politics, and we were tired, tired, tired of the conflicts of Watergate and the war. Students were adults now and also tired of being poor. We started to fragment -- we did not care about other people’s problems. Whatever it was was THEIR issue, not ours. We paid NO attention to the first stages of union bashing, the snubbing of people of color, crackdowns on rights -- hey, we’d won the big issues of the 60s. All was good.

        Then came Reagan who very well may have committed treason to get the hostages retained to win the election. Iran Contra was pretty clear evidence of that, but the big evil doers were NOT punished, and we never investigated where the Contras were selling their dope to get funds to fight the Sandanistas. Well -- it was to our communities of color, and that was fine. That was THEIR problem, not ours.

        De-indstrialization, union bashing, S&L debacle, demonizing the poor, racism with both Welfare Queens and Willy Horton -- it all came flying by us, but we paid no attention. Not our problem. Even with Clinton, cuts in the social safety net, the end of Glass-Steagall, NAFTA and outsourcing, shutdowns and deindustrialization all went on ’cause hey -- not OUR problem.

        And it remained “not our problem” until late into Bush’s administration. It became “not our problem” really until last year when FINALLY people began to rise against the system. But most of this would NOT have grown so large and powerful if we’d done something 35 years earlier, if we’d practiced solidarity and care. We ignored it all, and it grew without pushback from us. And now we’re trying to kill globally-spread kudzu when we might have had success stopping the initial shoots.

        How did this happen? We let it. We ignored the Supreme Court, we yelled at the TV instead of Congress, we could not be bothered to write or call or FAX or even email our elected official -- much less work for them. And we stopped paying attention to details about policy or even how our government WORKS. So in rising against the system -- the Rage Against the Machine -- we are in peril of not yet understanding what works, what doesn’t, and we are targeting a lot of WRONG things.

        It took us almost 40 years to get here. We have to be in this for the long haul, and we HAVE to stop dismissing and demonizing one another over crap differences of opinion. We also have to start celebrating what is GOOD from anyone -- even people we don’t ordinarily like -- and be willing to tear down traditional walls. You can’t abide the Catholic Church’s war on women? Well -- how are they on economic justice, immigration, and social safety net? And Catholics have to start standing up to violent anti-abortion people in their own ranks and stop the justification of murder their own -- Kopp and others -- use to kill abortion providers.

        And we have to make other people’s issues our own. We have to honor labor, get involved in Trayvon’s case and ALL other acts of injustice against communities of color. We have to care about the lives and families of immigrants. We have to protect Muslims and others who are targets of hate. And we also have to try to understand why those who perpetrate hate are doing so.

        It’s a lot of work. I’m not at all sure most of us are ready for it. It’s exhausting and stressful. But Democracy is NOT a spectator sport, and no one person -- not even PBO -- can fix it. It’s ours to lose. And this time the loss may be permanent. We cannot afford to sit back and see “what happens”. We have to make sure of the outcome and not leave it to fate.

      • kesmarn says:

        b’ito, those R people were a different breed, weren’t they? I mean, they were no angels. Certainly not to the poor. But they were at least pragmatic enough to realize that they’d better work with FDR to a degree or there’d be something really scary lying in wait for them.

        I think the beginnings of the “government is bad” mentality started shortly thereafter. They decided they never wanted to be put in the position of having to “work with” any president again. The goal then began to be to have the president working for them in the future.

        • choicelady says:

          kes -- they were different even far more recently than the 30s. When my brother applied for CO status during Vietnam, the person who championed him was IL Senator Chuck Percy. Never batted an eye or expressed doubt about my brother’s commitment. Could you see a GOP Senator doing that today? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed entirely due to northern GOP votes. Only one of the Southern Dems voted for it -- Hale Boggs -- and even Al Gore Sr. voted AGAINST it. The first post-Reconstruction Black Senator was a Republican.

          The GOP may have been overly business friendly, but they were not devoid of concern for the welfare of the nation or of all its people. The major turning point for the party was not just, IMHO, the morphing of segregationist Dems into segregationist GOP but the embrace by the party of the religious right extremists. Their agenda was not just about “cultural values” on sexual issues (1973 Roe v Wade gave impetus to be sure) but about commandeering the nation for a narrow, theocratically based business elite to rule.

          That alliance of businesses people (religious or not) with theocrats is extremely dangerous. And only now, over 30 years later, are we waking up and paying attention.

          • Barry Goldwater, the once nicknamed “father of American conservatism,” did warn us about people Like Jerry Falwell and the RR. He was quite prescient about the dangers of religion in politics. He knew that religious fanatics would completely transform the GOP into a theocratic based political party.

          • kesmarn says:

            Well said, c’lady. The combination of ruthless greed and religious fanaticism is a potentially explosive mix, no doubt.

    • Well said kes. That was before politics became some weird sort of sport. Hooray for our team, no hooray for OUR team. The blending of “news,” with entertainment has gone a long way to erode our justice system and even our basic principles on the national level.

      Watergate happened during a time when our 4th estate were still the last bastion against tyranny and injustice. The last defender of democracy. That was before the corporations figured out how to make millions while turning the national dialogue into pablum and a boredom killing machine.

      • kesmarn says:

        I’ve often wondered, KT, whether the Roves and the Norquists of a couple decades ago studied that era carefully to determine what the “mistakes” of the RW were back then. Objective media? Gotta get rid of that. Un-bought Supreme Court? No way. Justice Department that actually investigates seriously? Nuh-uh. Presidents who resign when they’re caught in criminal acts? Never.

        They made sure they did things “right” the next time around.

        • choicelady says:

          What chills me is that the 1975 blueprint for globalism that dovetails with theocratic dominance came not from the ultra Right but from the moderate quasi-liberal base. Corporations seeking a global economy proposed all that has come to pass, and while it was to their benefit to rein in a free press, it was even more to the benefit of the religious extremists and hate mongers. It was proposed that democracy itself had become excessive and needed to be curtailed.

          Anyone wanting to read this can still find the blueprint, Crisis of Democracy by Michael Crozer et al. It’s still being used in college classes today which chills me to the bone. Best to get it from the library -- the book now is very pricey.

        • kes, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I think Rove also studied quite a bit about Joeseph Goebbels. I’m not comparing Rove to being a Nazi, but I have little doubt that he has used some of Goebbel’s propaganda tactics.

          • kesmarn says:

            Exactly, KT. Especially the Big Lie part of Goebbels’ tactics, and the concept of repeating it so often that it becomes the truth to the people who hear it.

            Funny, I just started reading Theodore Abel’s “Why Hitler Came to Power.” It’s really interesting so far!

            • and especially this one, by Hermann Goering.

              “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

  7. SueInCa says:


    Well written op ed -- this has been coming on for years. I read somewhere that during the 70’s,80’s and 90’s the citizens of the US were happy because the “greed is good” meme was pretty much for everyone, not in the sense everyone was rich but the middle class could certainly afford a home, two cars, college for the kids. Some might say that it was only possible because two parents were working and perhaps they are right(I personally would not trade the career I had for homemaking) but the level of attacks against our “ingrained” institutions had not yet gained momentum and the 1% was stealthy. They knew they had to take it slow. They knew they had to keep the people otherwise occupied while they slowly ate away at the fabric of our society.

    In reality I believe that the GOP has been hijacked, some in their party were in on the hijacking. I read a piece the other day that indicated the Libertarian party knew all along that they could not really mount a viable third party so they slowly took over the republican party. I posted the link to the article I read yesterday. The thing is, they can only go ahead with their evil plan by keeping everyone in the fight. As long as the little people are sniping at each other the 1% can continue on their merry way. People(some) are basically lazy, they want it fed to them instead of going after it themselves and perhaps in the course of doing so develop some critical thinking skills. It takes work to surf the web and decide what is right and what is not. What is true and what is false. Too much work for some so they buy into the meme of the day. GOP -- Dems are ginning up a false narrative, we are not racist(never mind that we do things day in and day out that proves the claim) and

    Dems -- watch the racist go get him declare war on them(while we make decisions like choosing not to bring impeachment proceedings against Bush or while we fight our president behind closed doors) you are never going to know.

    And they have attacked all the institutions that made America a better nation, budget, Unions, good paying jobs, our judicial system, our education system, our housing market, our pensions, our social security, our healthcare, medicare you name it they have attacked because they know a busy public will not have their eyes wide open. It is hard to reach out to the least among us when you are so busy defending your own well-being.


    • AdLib says:

      Very good points, Sue. During that period of the 80’s and 00’s, the wealthy did use “Greed is Good” to lure Americans into record credit card and mortgage debt, able to corrupt our laws and government during that time because as you say, everyone felt like they were wealthy as they bought what they wanted and were too busy celebrating greed to see how it would be used to destroy their futures.

      It was part of the plan, enlisting Americans into supporting greed and the corporate/wealthy agenda.

      Now, the tide has receded and left all those living in the lower lying areas devastated while the wealthy are doing just fine on the high ground.

      So now, their agenda of cutting the safety net and protections for the majority continues but without the ability to bribe the public to go along with it…though some are still vulnerable to greed.

      Yesterday, LO played that clip of Paul Ryan slobbering over how wonderful Ayn Rand was, how she was the inspiration for his career in politics and how he requires all his aides to read her books. So, there has been a growing selfishness and inhumanity in the GOP naturally, under the guise of “Libertarianism” in any case which is a perfect fit for so-called Libertarians to join in on.

      And for the record, Libertarians are not necessarily devoid of compassion and some support the safety nets while opposing the scope of government in other ways.

      Again, I am so bewildered that a party that attacks just about every principle America stands for and just about every segment of the population except older white men, could be even competitive in national elections.

    • bito says:

      Sue, you may like this article and it fits right in with much of what AdLib is saying on the injustice and you only have to look the R’s for much of the reason due to the recalcitrance of the GOP and their hard swing to the right.

      Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

      Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?

      Also, stop lending legitimacy to Senate filibusters by treating a 60-vote hurdle as routine. The framers certainly didn’t intend it to be. Report individual senators’ abusive use of holds and identify every time the minority party uses a filibuster to kill a bill or nomination with majority support.

      Look ahead to the likely consequences of voters’ choices in the November elections. How would the candidates govern? What could they accomplish? What differences can people expect from a unified Republican or Democratic government, or one divided between the parties?

      • AdLib says:

        Excellent article, Bito and indeed, on the same page as our discussion here.

        There is no equivalence any more than America was as bad as Nazi Germany for fighting back against them.

        • bito says:

          AdLib, but as the OP-ED states, it is as much the fault of the MSM. Rarely do they report it that the R’s, the minority party, blocked another bill using the filibuster. What you get is “such an such bill failed in the Senate.” The MSM could if they wanted to make the word/action “filibuster” a chicken shit/low handed action and not just gloss over it as a common action. Shame the party that blocks even a debate of a bill via a filibuster. Remember it was an unusual vote and rarely used. Medicare and Medicaid weren’t blocked under LBJ and they were quite controversial.

          I lay some blame on the MSM.

          (Yes, it is a very good OP-ED!)

          EDIT: it might help if the MSM said that the R’s blocked debate and any amendments to the bill, not just that the bill was blocked.

          • AdLib says:

            Bito, you know I’m right with you on that, the MSM is the enabler and protector of the creatures that make the GOP what it is.

            They are the corrupt cops who look the other way at crimes that are committed because they’re on the take and profit from continuing crimes.

            The deception they play on the public, as if they are on the side of the people and fulfilling the important democratic role of an independent press, is really terrible.

            However, I do lay the primary blame for the crime at the feet of the actual perpetrator, that is, the Republicans. At the same time, corrupt cops come a close second in my book.

      • I have been pissed off about the 60 vote rule for quite some time now. That is NOT democracy as it was intended. It’s nothing but a “gimmick,” to give more power to the minority of those legislators in a given issue.

        • foodchain says:

          KT, it’s about winning a war (against any opposing party): it has nothing to do with governing. The GOP are more clever at winning than ruling or even-wow-governing. This is the old world at work; a ruling class that plays internationally courting each other, while the servant class supports and sacrifices for them. Oh happy days.

        • AdLib says:

          Killgore, this angers me at the Dems in the Senate as much as the Repubs. They could change that rule at the beginning of a new session but act like losers, more interested in protecting their ability to filibuster WHEN they are back in the minority than empowering themselves while they’re in the majority.

          IMO, you disarm it when you’re in the majority and use a simple majority to get so much good stuff done that you get re-elected into a bigger majority in subsequent elections.

          Instead, it’s all about preparing to lose.

      • SueInCa says:

        Thanks Bito I am going over to read the whole thing.

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