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Health Care & Environment

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

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  Print view: US Voters Drink Reaganism's Kool-Aid
STUPIDITY:

US Voters Drink Reaganism's Kool-Aid

by Robert Parry
Published on ConsortiumNews.com on Monday, 1 November 2010

Already weakened by three decades of slow arsenic poisoning from Reaganism, the United States ordered up a new dose of Ronald Reagan’s special “government is the problem” elixir in Election 2010 – and it is hard to envision how this willing victim will soon, if ever, recover.

Perhaps the most telling of all the exit polls from Tuesday was that a solid majority of voters declared that they thought “government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals,” paraphrasing Reagan’s favorite political theme, one that has been at the center of America’s stunning decline.

Animus against Big Government has always had a populist appeal and surely some of Washington’s clunky actions have fed this disdain. But Reaganism is, in essence, the populist, smiling face of Big Money ruthlessly neutralizing the one institution that could threaten corporate dominance of America, a democratized and energized federal government.

Today’s victorious corporate Republican chieftains and their Tea Party foot soldiers are just the latest embodiment of Reagan’s dark legacy. They favor cutting taxes for the rich; slashing social programs; reducing regulations on corporations; weakening the power of unions; ignoring needed investments in national infrastructure; disdaining environmental science; and trusting “the magic of the market.”

This Republican strategy that Reagan popularized in the early 1980s has – over the past three decades – returned the United States to a second Gilded Age of extreme wealth at the top, a shrinking middle class, growing desperation among the working classes, rampant stock speculation, and a bubble-and-bust economy.

Yet amazingly, millions of Americans went to the polls on Tuesday and voted for this approach. In Rust Belt states – such as Ohio and Pennsylvania – which have substantial interest in manufacturing jobs related to the auto industry, voters punished Democrats who saved General Motors and Chrysler, and favored Republicans who would have blocked the bailout.

Voters also sent the conflicting message that they wanted the federal government to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” but also cut the deficit. They then empowered Republicans whose major idea for job creation is to slash taxes for the richest top two percent of Americans, an approach that has been ineffective in job creation but is expected to add about $700 billion in red ink over the next decade.

Other craziness lies ahead. Media pundits are already hectoring President Barack Obama to move right and cooperate with the Republicans, but the Republican leadership has made clear that its primary goal for the next two years is to make sure that Obama is defeated in 2012.

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” declared the Senate’s Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, shortly before Election Day.

Other key Republicans have announced that they will not compromise on what they regard as their “principles” or on the anti-government message that they discerned from the voters.

In short, Obama faces the prospect of continued Republican obstructionism except that now the GOP is in a much stronger position. When the economy continues to sputter – as it almost surely will – the news media will blame Obama, either for “failing” to achieve bipartisanship or for “failing” to heed the supposed electoral message and shift rightward far enough.

Meanwhile, Republicans are angling to regain control of all three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The dream of Karl Rove’s “permanent Republican majority” appears to be alive and well.

The Left's Reaction

It’s also a safe bet that the American Left will continue to berate Obama for not being “left enough,” for not somehow enacting socialized medicine or for not getting Congress to approve other sweeping progressive legislation.

But the voters told pollsters that they felt Obama was too much of a left-wing activist. Indeed, House Democrats, who took the hardest votes for progressive legislation such as a “public option” for health care and a cap-and-trade system to combat global warming, took the brunt of the Republican assault.

While Republicans were unseating progressive legislators like Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, many progressives were deserting Obama and the Democrats by not voting or casting ballots for minor third parties. Some even campaigned against Democrats who fell short on some issue or another.

For instance, anti-war activist David Swanson, who is based in Charlottesville, Virginia, opposed his local congressman, Rep. Tom Perriello, for voting in favor of a war funding bill. Perriello, a staunch Obama ally and possibly the most progressive congressman ever elected from that conservative district, lost his reelection bid by about 9,000 votes.

History may shake its head over why so many progressives abandoned the nation’s first African-American president less than two years after his election. [For more on the tragic history of this electoral strategy, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The ‘Teach-the-Dems-a-Lesson’ Myth.”]

But the story of Election 2010 is more troubling than just Democrats coming up short on Obama’s promises of “change” or some disaffected progressives sitting on the sidelines for an off-year election. This is the culmination of calculations and miscalculations dating back to the 1970s when the Left and the Right chose diametrically opposite approaches to national politics.

The Left, which then had the upper hand in media and a strong reformist voice in Washington, opted to reduce its presence in the nation’s capital in favor of "organizing" the countryside. There was a professed fear among some progressives of being co-opted by Washington insiderism.

Media also was considered expendable, as promising news outlets were shuttered, like Ramparts magazine and the Dispatch News wire service, despite having broken important investigative stories that changed the frame of the national debate. Other left-of-center publications, like The New Republic and The Atlantic, were sold to neocons or conservatives.

The Left settled on a new slogan: “think globally, act locally.” But this reliance on “grassroots organizing” failed miserably to counter the Right’s new strategy of investing heavily in national media outlets, think tanks and pressure groups to lobby on behalf of corporate interests and to go after troublesome mainstream journalists.

The Republicans also played whatever hardball was needed to win, and the Democrats – after the Watergate scandal ousted President Richard Nixon in 1974 – lost their stomach for standing up to the GOP’s nastiness. [For details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

Reagan’s Victory

Reagan’s victory in 1980 was the first clear indication of the direction of things to come, but the Left continued with its strategic withdrawal. The Democrats chose to finesse the Republican onslaught of well-funded attack groups by tacking to the center and cozying up to corporate interests themselves.

Even as this pattern became obvious – with the Right’s media machine becoming a powerhouse and with the Left left with no messaging capability to speak of – the progressives refused to change course. Building media remained near the bottom of the Left’s priority list. [For more, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Left’s Media Miscalculation.”]

In 1992, when the Democrats finally clawed their way back to power – mostly due to Republican mistakes and divisions – the chasm only widened between corporate Democrats like President Bill Clinton and a Left that although it had dissipated its own influence still demanded progressive policies from the governing Democrats.

The Right’s powerful media machine also gave the Republicans enduring strength even after suffering a stinging defeat at the polls. The locker-room-style rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and other hard-talking Righties had a potent appeal especially to white working- and middle-class males.

It didn’t take long for the Republican media advantages – and the Democratic weaknesses – to prove decisive with a GOP landslide victory in 1994. It was no accident that the victorious House Republicans made Limbaugh an honorary member of their caucus.

However, despite the Left’s deepening media deficit, almost nothing was done through the 1990s. Rather than engaging in the hard work of building outlets for explaining the nation’s problems to the American people and offering practical solutions, the Left opted for fanciful notions about third parties somehow changing the national political dynamic.

In 2000, many progressives rallied to Green Party candidate Ralph Nader under the deceptive slogan “not a dime’s worth of difference” between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Nader’s success in siphoning off energy and votes from Gore allowed Bush to stay close enough nationally and in Florida to steal the White House with the help of five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gore’s shortcomings aside, Bush's “election” may have marked the end of American democracy as a meaningful concept. Besides his theft of the presidency, Bush further stacked the U.S. Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues, as Democrats again shied away from nasty confirmation fights.

Last January, the Bush-appointed ideologues – John Roberts and Samuel Alito – along with right-wingers chosen by Reagan and George H.W. Bush opened the floodgates to secret corporate donations that inundated Election 2010.

Obama’s Mistakes

Obama’s core political mistake may have been trying to stabilize a very sick patient – the U.S. economy – rather than applying more radical remedies. His stabilization approach largely worked, at least for those heavily invested in the stock markets which have rebounded to two-year highs.

Obama’s stimulus plan and auto bailout also saved many jobs that would have been lost if he had adopted a laissez-faire approach.

His other option would have been to shake up an already badly shaken system by, say, nationalizing ailing Wall Street banks. He also could have challenged the Washington power structure by ordering investigations of Bush-43’s war crimes and bringing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to prompt conclusions.

But that course of action would have risked a wider economic collapse, even worse joblessness and bitter conflicts between Obama and potent political/media interests in the power centers of Washington and New York. He would have faced even more accusations of overreaching.

Plus, the weak American Left would have provided little meaningful political support. More than likely, it would have continued to find something to criticize.

The media reality that Obama faced was what I encountered last month when I was driving late at night from upstate New York back to Washington. To stay awake, I sampled what was available on the AM dial and was stunned to discover how many different right-wing voices there were sneering at Obama and the liberals. I could find no channel that offered an alternative.

Even decades into this dangerous media imbalance, the Left mostly continues to ignore its messaging gap. Wealthy progressives spend some money on tracking what the Right is up to (i.e. Media Matters) and subsidizing non-controversial investigative journalism (i.e. ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity), but they still do little to support real independent journalism that examines systemic problems or high-level crimes.

After Obama’s election in 2008, the Left’s most promising – though flawed – media effort, Air America Radio, was deemed expendable by wealthy progressives. Rather than spend the money and provide the management skills to improve Air America, they pulled the plug in January 2010, the same week of the Supreme Court’s ruling on corporate donations. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “US Democracy’s End of the Road.”]

Today’s other progressive media operations remain fragile or limited.

MSNBC, which is owned by General Electric pending a sale to Comcast, has experimented with a liberal evening line-up (only after failing at everything else, including trying to out-fox Fox). But MSNBC could easily shut down its experiment if it senses a risk to the interests of its corporate parent, whether GE, a charter member of the military-industrial complex, or Comcast.

Faced with this paucity of independent or left-leaning media, many rank-and-file progressives have turned to the liberal-oriented irony of Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who sponsored a massive rally for sanity on the National Mall last Saturday.

However, as many progressive writers have noted, Stewart and Colbert are primarily entertainers, not activists committed to changing the political/economic system.

So, Tuesday’s congressional elections represented the latest wake-up call to American progressives that they must make a much bigger commitment to building media. However, they have shown a remarkable tenacity to hit the snooze button no matter how loud the alarm.

Instead of action, one can expect a number of articles from the Left about how Obama and the Democrats failed because they weren’t leftist enough. Despite all the evidence, the Left remains obstinate against the need to reconsider what it’s been doing for the past several decades.

The bottom line is that the Left has a fanciful view of its own influence, or perhaps its problem is an unshakeable faith that the working class will somehow naturally understand its own interests.

However, a near-voiceless progressive movement and a noisy Right telling fearful Americans that they should again follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps make a dangerous combination, only likely to get worse when Reagan’s centennial birthday is lavishly celebrated in 2011.

Based on Tuesday’s elections, the American people appear eager to march down the old road marked by Reaganism, even if the path leads to vats of Kool-Aid laced with arsenic.


Robert Parry

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.

Mr. Parry's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on November 3, 2010.
 

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