Seeing Red

Rednecks, apparently , love to see red - when it comes to politics. However, Nearly 40% of the Republican party do not actually know what the letters G.O.P. stand for.

I have watched an entire freshman congress get voted in on the largest ever corporate expense in American politics, transform the political process into a dog and pony show - and then attempt to call themselves conservative. Think about this. This means, that spending unlimited sums of money by corporate lobbyism - is supposed to be conservative. I have seen small towns retain and grow their wonderful character. At the gerrymandering of their very soul.

I have had enough. It is noble, that given the weight we have placed, as a country - on the importance of journalism - one of our own great leaders once wrote - Thomas Jefferson - the proper operation of government requires a free press. But how, have we allowed an entire news media entertainment company dedicated to political propaganda, and the undermining of our political process - an organization headed by a man perfectly happy even in his decrepit, pathetic condition - to lie on the witness stand? A man whose idea of journalism is to steal private information from people by breaking into our cellphones. And then, ludicrously attempt to pretend that he can pay hush money to keep the whole thing from being discovered?

Are we surprised that a small website has done more to the operation of a free press - than this multi billion dollar so called "news" organization? The denigration of this organization , from within the reporting of those news media entertainment companies - are at least unified in that regard. Your opinion of the small website might be negative as a result. Even while Wikileaks was in the final running for a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Grant for their contributions to international Journalism. Telling the truth, , to men who made their American fortune and career from it - is an act of patriotism.

News media entertainment, and the news - should never be confused for what they are - and the more I look at this issue - the more I am convinced that it is at the heart of the transformation of conservatism, in America, into a cult. We should never, as a people - be forced to transform our society from the polite, educated, open minded beacon of democracy that it is - into something whose entire purpose was originally designed to sell cheap, half-rate products on the A.M. radio band. Is this our country? P.T. Barnum once wrote that no one ever got poor underestimating the taste of the American people. But seriously - do we have to take the path laid out for us, by a small group of New York Intellectuals , and Kevin Phillips - to a 40 year conclusion that ends up leaving our country broken? Yes, it makes for great A.M. band entertainment. Or rather, it used to be - until they started saturating these shows with so much advertising that they're hardly worth tuning into anymore.

When corporations have taken unprecedented control of American institutions, and our Supreme Court rules that they can take even more - and seven companies controlling 86% of everything that Americans see, hear and read ... What other banner do you think that the worst offender of this modern political propaganda machine, would fly under, other than that of "freedom"? The deeply cynical nature of such organizations should be apparent to anyone. A hybrid of the National Enquirer, and Guy Fawkes. And such format works well, in stuffing the maximum amount of commercials into each and every hour of broadcast. After all. It's all about. Freedom. Right?

Mike Lofgren worked with the Republican Party for 28 years. He served under the venerable presidency of Ronald Reagan, and others that followed. His view of conservatism, is one that - as a political independent, appeals to me. What follows is , what I consider, a beautiful piece of journalism - (it's kinda long, but that's because this thing is really tight! read on, dear reader!)...

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.

The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that? - in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation. For instance, Ezra Klein wrote of his puzzlement over the fact that while House Republicans essentially won the debt ceiling fight, enough of them were sufficiently dissatisfied that they might still scuttle the deal. Of course they might - the attitude of many freshman Republicans to national default was "bring it on!"

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.

In his "Manual of Parliamentary Practice," Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is less important that every rule and custom of a legislature be absolutely justifiable in a theoretical sense, than that they should be generally acknowledged and honored by all parties. These include unwritten rules, customs and courtesies that lubricate the legislative machinery and keep governance a relatively civilized procedure. The US Senate has more complex procedural rules than any other legislative body in the world; many of these rules are contradictory, and on any given day, the Senate parliamentarian may issue a ruling that contradicts earlier rulings on analogous cases.

It is the role of the editor, to define and shape headlines - and to attempt to steer the general narrative of the news paper or reporting agency , into fact. But more and more often these editors seem to be paid their salary to do the opposite. The piece that Lofgren wrote is so powerful, I am compelled to excerpt - again, his conclusions. All the more powerful owing that this man is not a liberal, but in fact - a strong conservative, whose service to his country is beyond reproach..

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.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. 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 ("Government is the problem," declared Ronald Reagan in 1980).

The media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable "hard news" segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the "respectable" media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the "centrist cop-out." "I joked long ago," he says, "that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read 'Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'"

The entire article by Lofgren, is called "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative who Left the Cult". It is a bit more than 140 characters, but you may wish to read it.

So where do we go from here? Well. One redneck seemed to think that it helps bolster the idea that he's some kind of patriot, for supporting all of this (the same , who think they were conservative when the Bush Republicans ushered in the biggest expansion of government in the history of our Country_)... to tell a bunch of football fans that American will never resolve its political differences. And in the process, I guess he decided it was also patriotic to liken his president to Adolf Hitler. Sure, he got fired for saying it. So what. His parent and sponsor organization loves that kind of move - it's political theatre, for them.

This son of the south, believes that we should embrace good old fashioned southern values. A value system that may even embrace ideas from the North. At times.

The old south is a polite place. It is a place where we listen, instead of adamantly being heard. And we should be careful to create an atmosphere in which opposing ideas can be brought forth carefully. Ideas have weight, and substance - and the partisan atmosphere promulgated upon us by a foreign news media entertainment organization owned and operated out of Europe - has resulted in the radical devaluation of our country's ability to foster such calm, and thoughtful debate. They want us to be their colony. But this is America.

Let's Roll.