Playing with Fire

Every once in a while, I read something that makes me want to pound my head against the nearest wall.

A few days ago, this was the “something.”

The article addressed the dogged determination with which Republicans in Congress have opposed any and every proposal coming out of the Obama White House–even, as we have seen, proposals that had originally been theirs.

That strategy was eventually articulated publicly by former Republican Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren.

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

…There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.” This ill-informed public cynicism, in its turn, further intensifies the long-term decline in public trust in government that has been taking place since the early 1960s – a distrust that has been stoked by Republican rhetoric at every turn.

I know this is an era of exceptionally strong partisanship. I also know that both parties routinely engage in behaviors that do not serve the common good.

But I also know–and there is ample research confirming—that trust in the enterprise of government is absolutely essential to the operation of that government. To deliberately undermine popular belief that government as an institution is both necessary and (in the main) beneficial is to intentionally destroy its ability to function.

Accountability is important. No one in her right mind would suggest that every government program is well-run (or even necessary), or that every government official is a wonderful person devoid of self-serving motives, or that we should turn a blind eye to ethical and legal transgressions. We need to identify and correct the very real problems that exist. But with all its imperfections, with all its opportunities for mischief, the American administrative state has served us well.

Making governance impossible in order to gain political advantage so that you can ultimately control  the institution you have neutered is rather obviously short-sighted.

If true, it is also–and I use the term advisedly–evil.


  1. But now there are many educated liberal thinkers in the world that are on to them (the GOP obstructionists) and I believe they will see another stunning loss to the next liberal President (hoping for Bernie). What we have on our side is that 80% of the population under 50 have been educated by the public school systems and 40% of those are now college graduates. Yes, I know, forever the optimist. (I made up those stats, lol)

  2. AgingLGrl; “educated” doesn’t necessarily mean intelligent, nor does “liberal thinkers” mean they will take action and go to the polls to vote. If that were true; the 2010 election would have gone the other way and wrenched control from the hands of that GOP group who ADMITTEDLY organized to stop all forward motion of the Obama administration. They have managed this with “uneducated” voters following their “far-right conservative thinking” and their actions which they label “religious freedom”. They are those staunch Republicans I referred to before who believe they belong to the elite political organization somehow remaining unaware they support those who are taking away their rights. Racism is a much stronger basis for political decisions than common sense and awareness of current conditions. It is deeply ingrained in their makeup from an early age and supported by fear-mongering and Bible-thumping and blatant lies repeated till it becomes a truth when heard often enough.

    We were told years ago about the organized faction of the GOP Sheila refers to in today’s blog. Where were those “educated and liberal thinkers” on the many election days at all levels of government since that organization began in 2008? It is THEIR heads we should be beating against the wall, not our own and certainly not Sheila’s.

  3. We have this very situation going on right here in our lovely state of Indiana. The GOP is systematically destroying public education, one of our most valued institutions. But in Indiana, these people don’t necessarily rely on the low information voter, but the voter apathy they have helped create through their tight control over legislative districts, the voting process and even who can run for office. Add to that the party faithful that is so devoted they will vote for a state representative (Eric Turner) that says he will resign immediately after elected and you get a government that functions on a narrow ideology instead of the will of the people.

    A perfect example of this is the Teachers’ friend (not!) Bob Behning, House Education Committee chairman who has put up a bill that will provide the funding for re-scoring the disastrous 2015 ISTEP test. He is willing to waste millions of dollars to make his point, to support his ideology, that public schools are bad and he has to prove that is so.

    The GOP plan to privatize our public education system is very similar to the poisoning of the citizens of Flint Michigan at the hand of Governor Rick Snyder’s ideology. He has been more than willing to inflict irreversible harm on citizens that he has probably labeled as low information, or non voters and because of that he failed to protect them. It will take billions of dollars and generations to repair the damage his policies have caused. And it will take millions if not billions to correct the damage the GOP is inflicting on public education.

  4. JoAnn. I agree 100% with your on the nose post. Let me add, this plan to block everything was not a secret. Rush Limbaugh proudly announced this right after Obama was sworn in the first time. “We will make him fail.” They didn’t, of course, but they have paved the way for some kind of dictatorial administration to take the country over.

  5. Republicans are and have been up against the perfect storm. The best of the opposition following the worst that they’ve ever fielded. In a perfect world they would have accepted reality and tried to rebuild.

    But they choose instead to take desperate measures that were on display on the Jumbotron Thursday night – appeal to the most marginal Americans that were consumed by Facism by branding fear – fear that those who much prefer control over others to freedom for all would swallow whole.

    Politically they have pulled it off quite flawlessly in my opinion. Fortunately for America though, we are not quite in numbers that stupid. Close but no cigar.

    It was a high risk gambit. Either no consequences for Cheney’s performance or ignominy. All in.

    I’ve been worried for years that their anti-Americanism would be rewarded. That the destruction of democracy predicted by some philosophers since its inception was at hand.

    Now I sleep better at night because of the signs that they are starting to crumble. Their base did swallow their bait but has now turned against them even. And control nuts do not a collaborative alliance make. They are and will continue to eat each other.

    The remaining question is if and when Republican leadership will accept the reality of their lost bet. Jeb Bush certainly does. The world outside of America certainly does. Bernie Sanders certainly does. And a growing number of Americans certainly do.

    America eill move on. We’ve chosen free, informed, and unafraid. We’ve found cognitive courage and it will save us from ourselves.

  6. Theresa, MitchcConnell announced his one objective was to defeat Obama on 12 just after Obama took his path. That should have been a reprimand by the Senateat the least for publicly declaring he was not going to abide by his own oath of office. They’re elected to serve the people, not their party.

  7. This strategy delivered the new Tea Party as the “I’m mad as hell” party circling around Trump and Cruzes hateful platform . And they may eventually reside in the Oval Office, to the dismay of the GOP leadership.

    How serendipity.

    What I don’t understand is we see 20-something percent approval ratings with greater then 90% reelection rates.

    “I’m mad as hell” yet still vote them in makes as much sense as smoking to cure lung cancer to me.

    Just saying.

  8. To All,

    This is going to get me into a lot of trouble, but I’m going to say it anyway. “Democracide: The Far Right’s Path to Power” was a collaboration between my long-time companion and myself. I provided the strategic intelligence, but Barbara had the background in religion and history. She had a BA in English from Middlebury, an MA in Religious Instruction from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and an MA in History from the University of North Florida. The voice in “Democracide” is a feminist voice.

    Barbara had Parkinson’s, the worst type: Lewy Bodies. I was her caregiver for over five years. During her last week in March of 2009, I made this comment about the future: “……Women are our only chance.” Barbara’s comment back to me: “I’m real proud of you for saying that.” She never said anything like that to me before that day. There was nothing wrong with her long-term memory. The Parkinson’s had caught up with her. Two days later she had her last attack and was taken to a hospice facility from the hospital. She died the next week.

    Both participating in and observing this blog, I know I was right in what I said. At the deepest level of the Religious Right/Far Right Movement now under the “Tea Party” brand is a RACIST WHITE MALE CABAL. They are elite deviants and they represent the DNA of the movement.

    Unfortunately, most white males are reluctant to call them out……. either because they do not want to relinquish “white male privilege” or are fearful of the repercussions that will follow if they do the right thing.

    Are $$$ a valid excuse for allowing the future of your family to be destroyed?

  9. Marv, thanks for sharing. Regarding your comment about most white males being reluctant to call “them” out, I believe that most men would never consider relinquishing their male privilege – not just white males, but males in general.

  10. What is interesting to me is how fervently those low information voters hold their positions. Closely held beliefs are impervious to facts. The fact is that Republicans understand marketing so much better than Democrats and they have used that to their advantage, especially since GO-PAC. If Democrats don’t get serious and understand the old adage, “All politics are local,” we will continue down this same route toward the destruction of our democractic republic.

  11. What is interesting to me is how fervently those low information voters hold their positions. Closely held beliefs are impervious to facts. The fact is that Republicans understand marketing so much better than Democrats and they have used that to their advantage, especially since GO-PAC. If Democrats don’t get serious and understand the old adage, “All politics are local,” we will continue down this same route toward the destruction of our democractic republic.

  12. Everybody with power wants to keep it, everybody else wants it. That’s universal.

    When Republicans conceived of their anger and fear brand they assumed that only Republicans would be susceptible – a miscalculation on their part. It’s become cultural and nearly out of control.

    While I think that that will benefit us in terms of a clear Democrat election mandate this year I also think that it’s important to realize that beyond that blessing is a curse – anger and fear are among the worst perspectives from which to make good decisions and plan progress.

    The truth is that we have much to fix. Climate change; health care; education; energy supply and demand, technology and realization; politics almost in its entirety, infrastructure, 200 dead a day from gun violence; America’s competitive position in a global economy. And to fix any of it much less all of it we need clear heads. Anger and fear may be motivating but they are the enemies of cognition and all of those problems are complex to say the least.

    Can we fan the fires until Nov then bank the coals immediately after? No.

    Another complex problem to ponder.

  13. And why did ANYONE vote for Reagan after he said the scariest words anyone could hear were ‘I’m from the government and I’m hear to help you?’ He was running for president, and in one sentence told the public what he thought of the job he would do. Got elected to two terms. Imagine if your doctor were to say, ‘the scariest thing you can do is call a doctor when you’re sick’ think she would be practicing for long?

  14. Many, many thanks for this Sheila and also the link to the actual Lofgren article which everyone needs to read in full. What a horrifying and hugely disturbing article it is!! If what he has written is accurate then the “slow walking coup d’e etat” that I have been trying to describe to friends and family is a far more accurate description than I ever realized. That these malevolent-minded fools would deliberately sacrifice both the political and societal cohesion of this country, essentially its future, our future, to further their ideological aims and the aims of their oligarchical puppet masters is beyond reprehensible. It is treasonous and I’m not one that throws that term around lightly.

    I hope that Lofgren’s article and your blog post related to it get the widest possible dissemination. Every American, regardless of their political stripes, needs to know about the vicious game that is being played on all of us so that we can derail it, stop it, and expose these people and what they are attempting to do. Those that are in Constitutionally-sworn positions in the government that are involved in this directly have forfeited their rights to those positions and also the oaths that they swore to assume them.

    Just despicable in the extreme!!

  15. I remember telling people right after Gore vs GWB when the election was in doubt that we were witnessing an American coup d’e etat.
    The Republicon Debate was a good example of their strategy – Gather in the Bible Thumpers, the NRA types, the fearful of fill in the blank ethnic group, New York Values, etc. They are rabidly opposed to the ACA, but have no program to replace it. All the while the Big Money sits back and smiles knowing they have stirred the pot, no matter which Republicon wins their Fascist-Corporate Agenda will prevail.

  16. Thank you Marv for sharing your very personal situation.

    This white $$$ male, is ready for the fight against the oppressiveness of the White Male controlling establishment.

  17. Conservatives say frequently that government ought to be run like a business. There is a political science term for such a government. Dictatorship.

    Why do they think that the dictator of a corporation can pay him/herself basically whatever they want to?

    Good businesses and good governments are dictatorships of the customer. Frequent in government, rare in business.

  18. I do not appreciate the “stop Obama no matter what” strategy of the past 7 years, nor the politics of fear that is so prevalent in that same time period. What disturbs me more is the lack of understanding in this group that conservatives learned the tactic from liberals. Where was your outrage when democrats were gerrymandering? Did you express your contempt for the movie exploring a Bush assassination? Did you reprimand your party for the “pushing granny off the cliff” commercial? Did you find LBJ’s ad implying Goldwater would drop the big one? Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan worked together. So did Clinton and Gingrich. Please stop pretending that Democrat legislators have not been every bit as obstructive.

  19. Marv, thanks for your excellent timeline charting the growth of the Religious Right until 1993. Because I lived in Virginia Beach, VA from 1975 through 2000, I’m familiar with Pat Robertson and his influence on the Religious Right’s movement in national politics. Robertson’s operational center is located in Virginia Beach where he began The 700 Club, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and Regent University.

    Yes, Pat Robertson presents himself as a crack-pot as per his ‘praying away a hurricane from Virginia Beach’ (did not work, btw) to his recent announcement that David Bowie is not dead but rather was abducted by demons. It’s easy to dismiss Robertson as simply another crazy; however, he’s a highly educated crazy by virtue of his graduation with high honors from Washington and Lee University and from Yale Law School and by virtue of growing up in a prominent Virginia political family where he was nurtured on political strategies. His father Willis Robertson served 30+ years as a Democrat in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.

    The fact that Robertson is highly educated and also is well steeped in national politics makes him a formidable foe via the tentacles of his Regent University graduates across the US. A quick local segue into Indiana Gov. Pence’s evidently being swayed by a far right wing religious organization, the Indiana Pastors Alliance, provides a direct link to Pat Robertson. The Executive Director, Dr Ron Johnson, of the Indiana Pastors Alliance located in Crown Point, IN also received his MA and his Doctorate from Pat Robertson’s Regent University in Virginia Beach.

  20. With all due respect Ken Glass, while your point is well taken who’s pretending? All of what you keyed is true and also history. Since I was 11 years old when LBJ’s campaign aired their infamous “flower petal” spot against Barry Goldwater I really didn’t have much to say about it at the time. I studied it as well as lots of other “infamous” and “dog-whistle” ads while I was in school years later. Since I first began studying political science at the university-level in 1977, I have seen a huge number of examples of political campaign ads that are way, way over the top over the intervening years from all sides of the American political universe. Nothing, however, like this.

    Saying that, however, doesn’t hide the fact that this current crop of “Republicans” have a lot more on their agenda than their predecessors ever had and their attempts to completely hoodwink American voters have gone far further than what you’ve eluded to that occurred in the past. What they have been doing is to create a “mood’ in this country through fear-mongering and even worse media-driven tactics that would support an agenda which is tantamount to creating a totally-locked in irretrievable dictatorship/oligarchy (there, I said it), not fairly typical campaign parlor tricks aimed at one-upping an opponent in a given election. These people, apparently, slept through their civics or social studies classes in grade and high school and grew up with some very cockeyed ideas on popular governance as well as freedom in this country. This is not traditional American political gamesmanship but something far more devious, far more cynical, and far more problematic.

    If what Mr. Lofgren stated is, in fact true, then all Americans, regardless of their political stripes should be totally appalled at what is being proposed. To infer that all is fair in love and politics, particularly in regard this kind of “politics”, and that the opposite side has done things that are of this scope as well is just not accurate. Sorry, but if you can find examples where anyone else has created such an agenda, involving such aggressive propagandistic subterfuge on a similar scale, then please show us. Maybe it would ward off the chill that I felt from reading Mr. Lofgren’s piece and also keep dear Sheila from marring the walls in her house from the impact of her noggin on them as well.

  21. BSH,

    That was great. Your journalistic talents are now exposed. Nothing has really changed since 1993. It has just gotten worse.

    Not the best example, but it is like HIV. Eventually, without treatment in most cases, it becomes full blown AIDS and deadly.

    Santa Claus Trump is starting to explode. We must prepare for Cruz in the next few weeks. Basically, he is not that much more different than Ben Carson. They both have serious character flaws. And in the long run, they can’t escape from REAL competition from people like Sheila Kennedy and you.

    The Koch Brothers can attempt to buy off NPR, but they can’t keep everyone under wraps. Right?

  22. Marv, I suspect this election cycle is different than the usual election. People are angry. Democrats are angry, and Republicans are angry. No longer are voters receptive to a candidate saying I feel your pain; voters are looking for a candidate who says I feel your mood.

    Sanders feels the mood as he’s angry with Wall Street and billionaires. Trump feels the mood and is angry simply because he’s taken the temperature of the man on the street corner.

  23. Marv,

    No problem at all. :o) I was raised by a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, my Mom. Her mother and her grandmother were both members of the Republic National Committee representing Indiana from the early 1920’s through the late 1950’s. My great-grandmother also belonged to the NAACP back when 1 out of every 3 Hoosier males belonged to the KKK. All three of them prided themselves as being “Abe Lincoln” Republicans, with my Mom also having a deep loathing of the John Birch Society as well. They all would be horrified by what their “Grand Old Party” has fallen too as I am as well.

    My Dad was the odd man out, so-to-speak, in my family since he was a Democrat from an equally long line of Democrats. I grew up listening to my parents debate local, state, and national politics over our kitchen table, mainly at breakfast almost every day in one form or another. Neither of them called each other Nazis or Communists. Your parents shape your values to a large degree and I’m glad that both of mine were thoughtful, engaged, and also civil in their political discussions. Since my Dad was a homicide detective with IPD and nearly always armed with his trusty Smith & Wesson I’m glad that they were.

    Perhaps if we could return to that level of civility in our political discourse instead of being on what are akin to Civil War skirmish lines maybe, just maybe, we could all sort all of this malarkey out and make some real sense out of it. Then we could perhaps put this all back together and hammer out a future that all of us would benefit from. While I’m by nature an optimist being such isn’t easy at all these days. Nevertheless, it must, somehow, happen.

  24. @All

    I thought you might be interested in the following from “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future, Nations and Business” by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013) pp. 125-126:

    “…..the old model of an opposition organization is shifting: Groups today have websites instead of offices; followers and members instead of staff; and they use free and publicly available platforms that liberate them from many fixed costs. There will be so many of these digital fronts in the future that competition for attention between groups around the world will grow fierce.
    The profusion of new voices online and the noise they’ll generate will require all of us to adjust our definition of a dissident. After all, not everyone who speaks his or her mind online—which to some degree is almost everyone with an Internet connection—can be branded a dissident. The people who surface in the next wave of dissident leaders will be the ones who can command a following and crowd-source their online support, who have demonstrable skill with digital marketing tools, and critically, who are willing to put themselves physically in harm’s way. Digital activism, especially when done remotely or with anonymity, lowers the stakes for would-be protesters, so true leaders will distinguish themselves by taking on physical risks that their virtual supporters cannot or will not. And it’s more likely than not that those who have deep knowledge of constitutional reform, institutional building, and governance issues but lack the tech savvy of other activists will run the risk of being left behind, finding it difficult to stand out in a virtual crowd and to prove their value to new, young leaders (who may fail to understand the relevance of their experience).”

    Schmidt is executive chairman of Google and Cohen is Director of Google Ideas ( at the time of publication in 2013).

    What they are saying is that there has to be more than a terrific internet ariticle by Mike Lofgren. The Tea Party must be met by an effective COUNTERVAILING force (organization) which isn’t going to be The Southern Poverty Law Center nor the Democratic Party. The Tea Party is a Movement. So was the National Socialist Party.

    TV sportscasters don’t win football games. Teams do. General Managers do. Coaches do. Players do.

    I suggest, from 45 years of tracking this attempted Religious Right/Radical Right political takeover, that the “Tea Party” would melt away from an effective countervailing force.

  25. Marv, my heart goes out to you. And I am a white male who agrees and gladly relinquishes his white male privilege. I am Gen X and I think we will find as time goes by my generation will be better, and the one after that even better than mine in this regard. The scaly old hands clinging to power are losing strength, and with all their money they will not be able to avoid the deaths of themselves and their lousy culture.

  26. It had to happen! It has begun! The pancake makeup is beginning to crack and run. The hair dye is at least three different shades, “birther” issues have cropped up in their own sordid bunch, and the in-fighting is now out in the open.

    The party that could hardly keep from saying, “That ****** in the White House,” (and many DID say it!) is beginning to crumble right before its blind collective eyes.

    The fellow in the “sneer chair” behind and to the left (love saying that!) of the President at the SotU address had practiced it well. His teacher, the one with the really deep tan and who has now retired to the beach, I suppose, taught him well. Even when the entire audience and both parties cheered the President, the fellow in the sneer chair could only sneer.

    The plot thickens and it certainly isn’t over. They can’t even get out of their own way.

  27. Marv, I believe you’re talking about disintermediation, a $64 term meaning dumping the middleman. Savvy political candidates today are noted for sidestepping the traditional middlemen – the political party, the press, the pollsters, and any number of old-guard grand pooh-bahs. These savvy candidates sell their candidacies directly to the voters via the Internet which is shaking the bedrock of the old rule books for traditional campaign strategies.

  28. Betty,

    “the pancake makeup is beginning to crack.”

    I like that. You’re right, It’s just like a broadway play that folded before it made the big-time in New York.

    This whole Republican charade is nothing more than an unoriginal stage production of the real thing which featured the hatred of Jews in Nazi Germany. It’s just a new cast. The Director and original stage manager, Gordon McLendon, was a nut case. The U. S. is not the Germany of the 20’s and 30’s where the Jewish community was less than 1% of the population.

    It’s only a production for national suicide. The only beneficiaries are our enemies.

  29. BSH,

    “…….dumping the middleman”

    You have to do that to be effective. Yehuda Bauer, an Israeli, is (or was) the foremost expert on strategies against fascist type movements. The deep forces behind the Republican attempted takeover are using a Nazi playbook.

    You must have three things, according to Bauer, for victory: Allies, a front, and means to counter-attack. You can’t create that winning formation with the use of a “middleman.”

    You’re right again.

  30. BSH,

    Let me add something to my previous post concerning: “means to counter-attack.”

    Hopefully, by having the better intelligence, counter-intelligence, and counter-deception capabilities a counter-attack will be unnecessary.

    “If you listen to my plan and use it you will win.” ~Sun Tzu

  31. Marv; I have been trying all day to find words to express my feelings regarding your openness about the life and love you shared with Barbara; hard to do when it is obvious the pain of her loss is still raw. You are a man of intelligence, integrity and honor; a man who can love completely and commit totally to the woman you shared so many years with. You give the same commitment to your neighbors, your city, your state and your country by fighting the battle for others who do not have your strength to do what is right. Thank you; your input always has truth and the depth of your passion to make things right comes through loud and clear. We who follow Sheila’s daily blog also follow your wisdom and your sage advice along with her’s.

    Thank you,

    your friend JoAnn

  32. Ken Glass you confuse me. You seem to be compelled to support somebody, who? Conservatives? Republicans? Bush?


    It seems for every point made here about the dysfunctionality of all of the above your response is yes but in your mind all alternatives are just as bad.

    Was there any time or party or politician or policy that you support? Was America ever functional in your opinion? Is there anything that you feel needs to be solved today?

    Or should we all just move someplace else and give the Indians their continent back.

  33. What JoAnn and Tom said! Marv, you’re a gem! Thanks to Sheila for this space, lest we explode from not being able to get this stuff out.

  34. Betty,

    “Thanks to Sheila for this space, lest we explode from not being able to get this out.”

    You’re so right about Sheila. I’ve been telling my friends for the past few months that this is the most important “free space” in America, because of the strategic political importance of both Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Indiana as a whole.

    Since NPR forced Neal Conan the host of “Talk of the Nation” into retirement in 2013, there hasn’t been any other place to voice any effective political dissent NATIONALLY other than With all due respect to Diane Rehm, she is no Neal Conan. Neal has real character. That’s why they took him off the air. NPR needed to placate their financial sponsors like the Koch Brothers.

  35. @All

    For a deeper understanding of Diane Rehm, I refer you to her interview with Bernie Sanders last year. Make up your own mind.…

  36. If you seriously think they give a damn about you banging your head, you’re deluded. if this is your strongest response to their sabotage, then stand aside. The Democrats have to do better than this pearl-clutching umbrage.

  37. Pete! I want to solve the healthcare crisis and contrary to your perception, ACA is not even a mediocre start. I want to solve the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare before anyone considers a greater entitlement (single payer). I want to do an efficiency analysis on the welfare system. We have been lifting up the poor for over half a century and we still have a poverty rate of 15%. We have a tax rate on small business that is the highest in the industrialized world and regulations growing more than 10% per year both of which discourage business and produce a drag on the economy. The current mode in liberal land is to punish businesses who move operations off shore instead of making changes that encourage business to stay. We have a tax code that is approaching 100,000 pages that no one can explain and that costs tens (or is it hundreds) of billions of dollars and labor to attempt compliance. I do not pretend to have enough knowledge of foreign policy, but I’m pretty sure insulting Great Britain and Israel while sucking up to Russia and Iran is not building confidence. i have never been a fan of “this is how we’ve always done it” but I am even more skeptical of the tendency to jump for anything new because “change is always good”. So many are tempted by the comment, “Well, we have to do something!” My response to that temptation is “Doing nothing is better than doing something that makes things worse!”

  38. David Clow(n),

    “If you seriously think they give a damn about you banging your head, you’re deluded.”
    “If this is your strongest response to their sabotage, then stand aside.”
    “The Democrats have to do better than this pearl clutching umbrage.”

    What are you talking about? I don’t believe anyone participating in this blog, whether they agree with me or not, think I’m “banging my head.” And who are you? I’m willing to “stand aside,” but before that, I’d like to hear a little about your background. What have you ever done? Or better still, what could you “do better than this “pearl-clutching umbrage?” Or is it simply that you’re just another pathetic troll? My guess its the latter.

  39. Ken, why is getting 11,000,000 additional people covered with health insurance not a good start?

    The SS trust fund has almost $3,000,000,000,000 in it. If that’s insolvent I want some insolvency.

    Why do you want to focus on the few percent of the budget devoted to social welfare instead of the 50% military portion. I really want an answer this time.

    What poverty rate would your plan achieve? Oh, wait a minute, you don’t have a plan.

    Which compromise to health, safety, the environment, pharmaceuticals, market competition, home land security, etc do you want we the people to give up for higher corporate profits.

    I don’t understand your foreign policy whining at all. Our position in the world has never been more respected. The only thing in the news is the countries that are scared to death that we are stupid enough to elect one of the Republican clowns.

    Ken, pay attention to news. Turn off Fox. Join the real world.

  40. Ken likes to tell us that liberals are as bad as conservatives. He concludes this because he accepts as gospel standard brand marketing lore from GOP fear and anger brand marketing. He doesn’t defend them but attacks liberals as being just as bad as reported by conservative “news” media.

    He’s iconic of those Americans lost in the Republican herd being driven against American interests.

    He falls for lies but that doesn’t mean that we need to. We can find the truth. He chooses not to.

  41. Those conservatives watching Fox Spews can’t get over the fact that President Obama keeps doing wonderful things for his people, like free citizens from Iran (or make a nuclear deal no less). In ’08 and ’12, the President won the elections in a landslide. 2010 and 2014 were a result of gerrymandering even though Liberals got more votes, not because of the President’s approval rating. Another reason no one is voting could be that candidates don’t motivate the voters. Just my 2 cents.
    Really like you Marv.

  42. BSH,

    “Marv, thanks for your excellent timeline charting the growth of the Religious Right until 1993.”

    You’re partially right about “Democracide: The Far Right’s Path to Power” being a timeline, however in 1993 it was provided as “Warnings Intelligence.”

    The following is from “Surprise Attack: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to Benghazi” by Larry Hancock (2015), p. 6 :

    “Our first point of focus in the Japanese strikes of December 1941 is on the strategic warnings that were provided to the commands that would come under attack.

    Threat indications and indication analysis are the key practices in what was to become a highly developed strategic intelligence specialty, “Warnings Intelligence,” formalized during the Cold War.

    Warnings intelligence involves the constant search for developments, indicating that a hostile state or group is preparing an action that could affect American national security. To quote Cynthia Grabo, an intelligence service authority on the practice, “An indication can be a development of any kind. Specifically, it may be a confirmed fact, a possible fact or an absence of something, a fragment of information, a photograph, a propaganda broadcast, a diplomatic note, a call-up of reservists, a deployment of forces, a military alert, an agent report or anything else.” Some of most significant indicators relate to the steps, including the marshaling and movement of military forces, that the adversary would need to take in order to initiate hostilities.”

    To further make my point, the following is from “Germany Jekyll and Hyde: A Contemporary Account of Nazi Germany” by Sebastian Haffner (1940), pp. 294-295:

    “…..Such will be the first moment to count on internal revolts against the iron might of the Nazi regime. But this moment must be carefully contrived. It seems time to begin to plan it; although it needs quick and hard thinking and lessons in new political formulas. When the sacrifice of his life is demanded of the ordinary man on the battlefield, it is not too much to ask of the politicians, whether they be Englishmen, Frenchmen, or emigrant Germans, that they should not spare their energies. Imagination, resolve, courage—these in war, are the indispensable virtues no less of the politician than of the officer at the front. Allied statesman and Germany’s exiled leaders are on their mettle.”

    met-tle n. [var. of METAL] spirit; courage; ardor; prepared to do one’s best ~Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus

    WARNING ALERT: Ted Cruz is now moving to the forefront. He’s a much more dangerous than Donald Trump and much more difficult to defeat. This is not going to be some win-win situation leading up the November election. It’s going to be a “zero sum” game. Much more like war than anything we have ever experienced in this country since the Civil War.

    We have to be ready for it if our democracy is to survive.

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