WH Didn’t Want to Acknowledge Drone Program

After missing “Up With Chris Hayes” Sunday morning, I caught an extremely important tidbit from the show reported by Politico.

First, let me say that I would be a devoted “upper” if it were not for the demands on my time as wife and mother to my toddler and infant. It is a far more important show than “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” and “This Week.” The significant content varies, tends to be much more relevant than the headlines the other three stick with and the diversity of guests is more than laudable. Sometimes Chris speaks when he should listen and interrupts when he should stay quiet, but I cannot judge one who must command a two-hour show for the same faults I myself commit routinely.

According to Politico today, Robert Gibbs revealed that, upon becoming White House spokesperson, he was instructed not to acknowledge the existence of the drone program. He gives the matter its necessary weight, saying he thought the practice undermined confidence in the administration.

Many, including Dan Rather, assert Obama has not fulfilled his promise of more transparency. Now, I agree that Obama has not been nearly as transparent as many of us had hoped. Obama’s counter that his has been the most transparent administration in history is no real defense. One’s sin cannot be justified because of others’ greater sins. We are all accountable for own actions.

The fact remains, however, that using unilateral executive authority to order the deaths of anyone, let alone American citizens, is wrong.

Our democracy was constructed under the main guiding principle of checks and balances. Certain executive orders and privileges should and do exist. Assassination, however, should not be among them.

The revelation that the Obama administration did not want their voice to address the drone program illustrates an extreme dereliction of duty. As someone who has cast two votes for Barack Obama as president, I demand my executive give full accounting of the history of this military practice and bring it inline with constitutional, legal and moral foundations.

So must all who voted for Obama.

We cannot impugn the Bush administration gravely for their perpetration of torture and then give our representative a pass on KILLING people. It will be the liberals who change Obama’s procedures and we must demand action. Silence is consent. This is not a gray area. There must be action. Now.

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NYTIMES on Drone Pilot Stress

Educating myself on the world of drones. The more we know, the better judgments we make.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/drone-pilots-found-to-get-stress-disorders-much-as-those-in-combat-do.html?_r=0

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4

Even With the Iraq War Going SOOOOOOO Wrong, Bush Still Wins Election. So, Yes, This Could Happen Again.

Ugh. It was almost unimaginable. In a very short time, the country had gone from post-9/11 unification to vastly divided over the Iraqi War and an ugly, grotesque resentment by many Americans towards Muslims arose – many times ending in violence.

Simply stated (as Cheney would say), Bush screwed the pooch. As did all his boys. And Condoleeza.

Our intervention in Iraq was a nightmare that wouldn’t end. It devolved so quickly, that by election season 2004, I was no longer a moderate, independent voter. Watching the war hellishly unfold day after day, week after week pushed me farther and farther into the liberal column. I would atone for my support of Bush by likely never voting for another Republican again. It became clear that all Republicans do is tear asunder what the rest of us try to build and progress.

I was truly never fond of Gore and Kerry. They didn’t really have fire-in-the-belly Americans like to see in their executive leader. But they did have better decision-making capabilities and so many more men and women would be alive and kissing their children and putting gas in their cars and laughing at stupid jokes had Gore or Kerry carried the electoral college. But Justice Scalia and state constitutional bans on gay marriage prevented that.

A vast number of Americans are incensed by the sins of the unrepentant Bush et. al. As a former political analyst and current political junkie, I think on it quite often. I work out quite a bit to American Idiot by Green Day – a masterpiece, musically and lyrically providing stunning, often avoided insight by the popular music crowd. The album’s message clear and true: Americans were mindless lemmings, not asking questions, not conducting analysis, and allowing an un-fucking-necessary war to be launched in their name. Shame doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Relevant Questions Today

Would Bush have gone into Iraq had 9/11 not happened? He would have tried, but it would have been much, much harder to convince the public to support him.

Would Obama be president had Bush lost? Probably not.

Would McCain have ended the war? Certainly, undoubtedly not.

Could this happen again? Absolutely.

Example No. 1: Drone strikes. We do not know enough about this offensive weapon that is likely a valuable tool in the efforts to prevent another attack against the U.S. If, however, Obama alone is deciding who dies and who lives, he has extensive powers protected once again by the “classified intelligence” argument that absolutely should be augmented.

Example No. 2: Wall Street. The investment bankers on Wall Street brought the global economy to its knees. The economic destruction has likely lead to large numbers of early deaths, as well as having blow-torched the economic livelihoods of countless people worldwide. Not one executive has been prosecuted for this grand malfeasance and the public outcry is a whisper.

Example No. 3: Global Warming. U.S. fossil fuel consumption, extensive environmental destruction, and unchecked corporate transgressions to our air, water, food, ground have helped cause climate change, heralding mass storms, wildfires and floods that threaten the existence of towns, neighborhoods and people. Only in the most recent couple of years have the majority of Americans expressed their concern over this growing, looming danger.

Wreckage can be wrought and Americans – even with their access to information and freedom of speech – will turn a blind eye again and again. I have no doubt that, under the right set of circumstances, Americans will permit their leaders to conduct great evils in their name. Should I be amazed that Republicans support their leaders as they conduct voter suppression, attack the most fundamental rights of women and abandon the poor?

The United States of America is a wonderful country, but we, as its citizens, have an awesome responsibility to do right by each other and hold the powerful accountable. We cannot remain idle. We cannot keep quiet. We cannot ignore. That was the lesson of the Iraq War. Let’s not have to learn it again.

Writing this blog series has been a huge catharsis. I will never relinquish my responsibility in supporting the war, but I won’t stop talking about it, either.

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3

The War Goes Bad Fast

The overthrowing of Saddam Hussein only took a matter of weeks, if not days. The bastard had gone into hiding and their army quickly disbanded. Shock and awe. It seemed like attaining victory would be much easier than we thought. Visions of Iraqis celebrating in the streets as they tore down statues and decimated murals of Saddam were fulfilling, stroking our egos and reinforcing our self-perceptions as benevolent Americans, intent on sharing (not imposing!) our freedoms and democracy.

Soon, however, things started to not feel right. At least, no to this young analyst. My sources in the Iraqi opposition were complaining that the U.S. was not keeping them informed of the goings on and weren’t making strides in helping establish a credible government.

Then the looting started. Iraq has previously been an epicenter of mathematic discovery, a bastion in terms of world academia, modernity, development before Islam and dictatorial rule snuffed it’s beacon for the pursuits of knowledge. Iraqi artifacts were second to none in comparison to the rest of global antiquities. And the black market for such priceless gems of history is boundless and insatiable. Was it surprising the U.S. was wholly illprepared to protect these treasures? Not for this Monday-morning quarterback.

Quickly, Iraqi’s newfound freedoms lead to a mass surge in sectarian violence. The majority of Iraqi Muslims are Shia, also the majority of Muslims in Iran, but the Sunni faction retained control of power in Iraq for centuries. This ended when the American military ended the rule of Saddam Hussein and did not anticipate the horrific civil war that would ensue.

Then an al Qaeda faction settled in, intent on fighting the Americans wherever they could find them. Over the months, as American troop and Iraqi civilian deaths mounted, the media reported time and again that the troops were not properly equipped with adequate armor to prevent the increasingly effective ambushes.

As the Bush administration handed out contracts to favored companies instead of bidding them out, their corporate cronies began their mission of attempting to bring Iraqi oil exports online. War profiteering among FOBs (friends of Bush) began on a mass scale as billions of U.S. dollars were absorbed out of the country, out of sight of the IRS, by American businesses while American troops came home in coffins, missing limbs, or even suffering severe brain damage.

For the life of me, I will never understand why the majority of servicemen and women and veterans vote Republican.

Iraq’s infrastructure was seriously third world. What did work didn’t work most of the time and was easily damaged by various attacking factions. This meant American companies getting their hands on Iraqi oil production was, quite literally, a pipe dream. Promises by Rumsfeld and Cheney that the war would be short, cheap and paid for by Iraqi oil production turned to dust.

The Iraq War had quickly become an unsolvable quagmire, highlighting the sheer stupidity of a president intent on showing up his father, surrounded by profit-hungry supporters, who failed in his primary mission of empowering, to the best of his ability, the U.S. military to find and destroy al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Next Up:

Even With the Iraq War Going SOOOOOOO Wrong, Bush Still Wins Election. So, Yes, This Could Happen Again. Quite Easily, In Fact.

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

In Truth, Convincing Americans Wasn’t Hard

Americans hated Saddam. Everybody hated Saddam. He unleashed chemical weapons on his own people in 1988. Uday, Saddam’s son, was in charge of the nation’s athletic programs and treated his flock as poorly as his father treated the rest of the country. Torture and murder by the regime was prolific and horrific. The accounts rendered by those who survived can keep you up at night. Most Americans had heard some of these accounts.

This was why, when Cheney and McCain proclaimed their belief that the U.S. would be greeted as liberators, most of us agreed. Who wouldn’t want their tyrannical dictator overthrown, killed or brought to justice?

This assumption goes to the very root of the ignorance of the majority of Americans regarding the war – which is fairly excusable. But it isn’t excusable for the administration not to have educated themselves on the culture, religion and politics of Iraq to delve deeper – beyond the atrocities of Saddam.

This should have been one of the main lessons from the Vietnam War. Understand your enemy, understand the field of war, understand anything and everything related to a military action that will certainly result in the loss of life. Vietnam introduced us to guerrilla warfare and the end of state-to-state conflict as we had known it across a millennium. One of the main reasons the U.S. failed so demonstrably in Vietnam was that they did not understand who their enemy was and how they operated. And tens of thousands of Americans perished or faced abysmal futures because of it.

But Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and most of the neo-conservative hawks had never seen combat, many of them having gone to significant lengths to avoid the draft or stay out of the war. And men who have experienced military conflict firsthand are more reticent to engage, or send others to engage in warfare.

Had I been older, had I understood the lessons of our past, perhaps I would have been more dubious about going to war. But I wasn’t and I didn’t and I was just another ignoramus watching as the drums beat louder and louder.

So, we start with an ignorant American public and combine it with an ignorant presidential administration with ties to oil companies, a decade-old grudge and a commander-in-chief who would chew broken glass if it prevented him from appearing weak. All they needed was a catalyst.

September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda attacks the World Trade Center and the Pentagon successfully. An attempt on The White House is averted by a number of brave souls in the skies over Pennsylvania.

Now, the Bush administration had an entire country suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, ready for revenge. It could not have been more perfect.

Next Up:

The War Goes Bad Fast

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

MSNBC’s documentary, “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War,” based on Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s book of the same name was absolutely worth the watch. Not long enough, I say.

The documentary didn’t produce any revelation regarding the dubious case for the war in Iraq I had not seen previously. This is apparently the case for reading the book, which has many more examples of the lies perpetrated by the Bush administration in the run-up to the war. But the video footage alone easily brought me back to late 2002 and 2003 in the run up to the invasion.

I was glad we were going in. At the time, I was a twenty-something geopolitical analyst and actually conducting interviews with a number of higher-ups in the Iraqi opposition. Those men will spill it to a young, Western girl eager to get a scoop worthy to impress her former Russian military intelligence boss. All of us were anxious to see Saddam get what he had coming.

And He Had It Coming

The first Iraq War was my awakening to the world outside the United States. As a junior high kid living in Houston, my school bus would pass the railroad tracks upon which military equipment, tanks, etc. was shipped out. A good friend’s dad came back and let us all explore his gas mask and other camo gear. Video of scud missiles coated the television. And, while we were told the U.S. was coming to the rescue of an ally, it was clear at the time that our ally’s possession of oil was a major factor in our military participation.

The U.S. forces beat back the Iraqi invaders decisively, but Bush Sr. still lost the election. Americans have a short memory and an economic recession will trump war drums in every voting booth. Still, Saddam was now a figurehead of my youth. History, government, world affairs, international relations, development of civilization easily captured my academic attention. In other words, I was now plugged in, turned on to the goings on of our world.

The Soviet Union had collapsed, and American national politicians are forever in need of an international foe so they can scare up votes, donations, victory. And Saddam Hussein made a much easier political boogie man than North Korea’s Kim Il-Sung, his son Kim Jung-Il afterwards, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran’s Ayatollah.

It’s his own fault, really. Saddam wasn’t content with his decades-long dictatorship, wealth of palaces, iron grip on power, he also liked to fuck with everyone. If he thought he could get away with expanding the borders of his control, he would have – but a war with Iran and his failure in Kuwait taught him otherwise. So, instead, he spent the latter part his life screwing with global powers. Defying no-fly restrictions, throwing U.N. weapons inspectors out, keeping alive the question of the mortality of U.S. MIA soldier whose fighter had crashed during the war and much more.

And though genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, as well as the Japanese economic implosion and the emerging Chinese economy, and the creation of the Euro zone demanded U.S. foreign policy precedence, Saddam was always, always on the periphery. Just being a goddamned asshole and doing everything he could to make everyone think he was a much bigger threat to our lives and countries than he actually was.

He was writing his own end long before he actually met it. So, when 2003 came, good. The motherfucker was asking for it.

An Unnecessary War?

The Vietnam War has had little bearing on my direct life. I have no close family who fought in Nam. An amazing history teacher at my high school who had seen the worst of the worst during the war was generous enough to share his history in detail with us; but that was it. The words “unnecessary war” meant nothing to me.

Furthermore, in college, I learned the origins of war. Desire for power is the leading cause for conflict. Whether it’s money, religion, territory, the male hunger for domination lies at the foundation of most hostility between nations, tribes, cultures, states.

An interesting development, however, has emerged in the last century. Democracies tend not to war with each other.

This has become a leading contention in neo-conservative Bush doctrinaire decision-making. Sure, we can spend long hours parsing the daddy issues George W. Bush brought to his administration that made him primed for the intentions of the draft-dodging hawks who surrounded him. But, for the rest of us, an offensive war in Iraq was justified not only because Saddam was a huge dick and would harm the U.S. given the chance, but because democracy in the Middle East meant peace in the Middle East. And the U.S. – under Bush II – could deliver that.

Next Up:

In Truth, Convincing the Public Wasn’t Hard

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4

Sassy Liberal Recommendations 2.15.13

A few things I thought were interesting:

Hubris

Rachel Maddow is hosting an MSNBC documentary next Monday, February 18, “Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War.” The previews haven’t mentioned the book “Hubris,” on the same subject matter, by superstars Michael Isikoff and David Corn, but I can’t wait to watch it.

Robert Draper

I’m a massive fan of Robert Draper and basically consider him to be a political investigative reporting god. His recent piece “Can the Republicans Be Saved From Obsolescence?” is a classically good read, with a look into the right wing intransigence on new technological tools for campaigns. It was yummy. Draper always delivers.

The Next Economic Crash is on the Way

I don’t know if I’ll be sitting here in ten years wondering why no one read this Huffpo piece on the next crash, “Wall Street Setting Itself Up For Next Derivatives Crisis, Market Participants Warn”. Plenty of analysts have warned banks will just find a way around Dodd-Frank and we need Glass-Steagall back, but since Washington has its head up Wall Street’s ass, another crash is more likely than good economic policy out of the Capitol.

Athlete Ally

I was so encourage after seeing a segment on The Cycle with Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbedejo publicizing Athlete Ally, an organization aimed at supporting the LGBT community in sports. If professional sports is “the last closet,” Athlete Ally could be an effective and uplifting wrecking ball.

Turning Texas and Florida Blue

Texas blue, Florida blue, Ted Cruz red, Rick Perry fading, Hillary Clinton comingThis is a fun piece from The Hill about the Democratic Party taking Texas and Florida. This cannot happen fast enough and I really want to be a part of it!

Best Think of The Week: Rubio in Slow-mo

I haven’t laughed out loud so much at a political fuck-up since Romney’s eyebrow raise during the town hall debate with Obama. This Deadspin slow-mo video of the Rubio dry mouth horror is priceless. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Recent Republican History, Part 3 of 3

The Tide Turns

Progress cannot be stopped. And no matter how much the religious Christian base wants to dictate American cultural norms to reflect their golden visions of the past, time marches onward. Technology has allowed society to obtain information, share it, use it to grow and raise their voices and move forward.

Older commentators are repeatedly awed by the rapid pace at which societal changes are happening. That only in 2004, the majority of Americans opposed the marriage equality and now most support it. That a recent survey indicated a greater percentage of singles did not want to date virgins than in even the recent past. Nor did survey takers find it a requirement that a partner be of the same race or religious background. A sea change, they call it.

But if we are defined by our immediate environment, than new media has redefined our immediate environment and access to information has changed our idea of normal and appropriate at light speed. Our ability to absorb data and events no matter how large or small, far or near has created a new, more educated and faster-changing generation that is empowered to make good decisions, appreciate differences and demand positive economic and social change.

With our new technologies, it has become apparent that the boogie men of the Republican electoral victories – gay people, illegal immigrants, muslims – aren’t so scary after all. People now see that the Republicans did get their precious tax cuts in 2000 and the economy LOST jobs. That the Republican leadership sold the country on an unnecessary war costing thousands of American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. They see that the Republicans didn’t want to pay for the policies they enacted.

The public sees that Republicans have. No. Solutions.
They want to ignore inner-city violence because the majority only affects minorities.
They want to ignore women facing economic inequality and domestic violence and unwanted pregnancy.
They want to ignore the hardship and pain faced by those who would dare seek the lifelong dream of almost any human to share their life with the one they love.
They want to ignore the sick children and poor elderly to whom the health care industry has closed its doors.
They want to turn their backs on those who would risk life and limb to cross our borders only to care for their families.
They want to laugh in the face of proven diplomatic efforts and force foreign nations to bend to the will of our bombs.
The decrease of middle class wages, the growing poverty class, the expanding wealth gap have done nothing to change Republican economic policy.
They want to keep their corporate tax subsidies while using the deficit they created to attack successful Democratic policies.
They want to oppose any responsible gun control legislation despite U.S. murder rates overtaking deaths in war. Despite young children being gunned down in their classrooms.

Republicans can no longer ignore the necessity for good governance and then dupe Americans into believing that it is the government that is broken. They are broken. Their party is broken. Their ideology is broken. Gone are the days when Americans could only rely on a few newspapers and half hour news programs to understand what they are doing to our country.

Our ready access to information means people can easily choose to throw off the chains of their know-nothing origins. The right wing hermetically-sealed bubble is growing so small, it may soon burst. Corporate titans and their paid-for Washington lackeys are finding their reliable religious bases no longer large enough to dictate political outcomes.

Karl Rove, a big business scalawag, was probably so smug in 2004 as his little plan to put anti-marriage equality amendments on all the state ballots got all the religioners out to vote and drove up the numbers for Bush. His banter about “the permanent majority” revealing his delusions of grandeur and self-assuredness.

Now, after unleashing the beast, the know-nothings are taking over. Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Joe Walsh, Todd Akin, Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell and a whole slew of others aren’t content with simply supporting the establishment Republican Party – they want to run it. They’re no longer willing to let the big money hosses run the show as long as they can chew on the pro-life, pro-discrimination scraps.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

It would be a laugh-a-minute riot if these know-nothings weren’t wreaking havoc with the national government.

The know-nothing candidates are so distasteful, so repugnant to the regular, independent, moderate voter, they’re actually helping Democrats across the land seize victory and repel the self-serving policies of the economic elite.

The dependable vote of the know-nothings is now smaller in number and undependable, and has ceased to benefit the establishment – mature, but greedy – Republicans who will, on occasion, make the right choice if it is to their benefit to help the little people.

And so, the Republican Party, the party of tradition, is returning to its 60’s roots with a division between the know-nothings and the free-market, profit-margin hound dogs. Republicans always talk about how they want to return to the country to the good ole days. Funny that they always forget to mention what the tax rate was during the good ole days.

I can’t speak for all the liberals or atheists or political junkies out there, but after the torture (literally) of 8 years of George Walker Bush, we deserve this. This is fun. It tastes good. It feels good. Pour me another because I could watch this shit all day long.

Recent Republican History, Part 1

Recent Republican History, Part 2

Recent Republican History, Part 2 of 3

Christians Become the Epitome of Know-Nothing Political Pawns

Now that Republican political leaders learned they can conquer the evangelical Christian vote by catering to their social whims, they set about using those votes to benefit their corporate sugar daddies. The Republicans were now fully onboard with a right wing strategy rooted in evangelical churches to systematically limit civil liberties of others.

With this electoral power, Republicans were now free to push policies supported by big business. Clean environmental regulations became anathema to the Right. While the threat to the ozone layer by aerosol cans was accepted as fact in the 1990’s, Republican policy and message-makers, like Fox News, began to dismantle the importance of reliance on fact and evidence as a requirement to decision-making.

From the mid-1990’s on, the mostly-white, strongly Christian Republican voter hitched their wagon to the right-wing media and the successful meme that “mainstream media” was a tool of the liberal left an not to be trusted. All of the sudden, global warming was a dubious concept cooked up by ambitious scientists and their liberal supporters. That former Vice President Al Gore chose to use the fight against global warming as his platform after his 2000 electoral college loss, was the perfect repellant right wing politicians could serve up to their voters as reason to oppose any significant efforts to curb carbon emissions and impose improved environmental standards. Republican donors’ bottom dollar was at stake, after all.

The current position among Republicans is to accept global warming exists, as the weather and wrath of Mother Nature wreak greater havoc more rapidly than the Right assumed would happen, but not that it is man-made. Meaning corporate interests are still safe among Republican politicians.

The global warming argument is only one example of many in which the Republican Christian base now find it not only acceptable, but popular to disregard information and data as a tool for the creation and imposition of solutions by government. The teaching of abstinence has no positive effect on the prevention of teenage pregnancy – yet it is required for many programs if they wish to receive government funds. Trickle-down economics has been proved a failed policy again and again, yet the Republican base will always mimic the false argument that tax cuts create jobs.

In this Age of Information, as the numbers of non-religious grow, the rest of us have watched as the right wing creates a tighter and tighter seal around their hermetic bubble. It is not surprising that the vast majority of Republicans are strongly Christian and fearful of change and progress.

It takes a grand amount of suspension of disbelief for the developing mind to continually accept the stories in the Bible, as not only fact, but as guidelines for behavior. It is scientifically impossible for the Earth to be 6,000 years old, for the Earth to have been completely covered in a great flood, etc., etc. Yet, most Christians are inculcated from birth to believe these stories. To disregard their common sense.

It is no great leap, then, to ask these minds who are unappreciative of intelligence – who, in fact, refer to the left as the “intellectual elites” – to then disregard well-researched, credible data upon which to make reasonable, rational, sound conclusions. The religious Republican base is more than happy to ignore reality if this leads to the achievement of their social policy aspirations.

As the baby boom generation entered their fifties sixties, and became the demographic most likely to vote, the Republican stronghold on the electorate held fast. The older generation was also much less likely to use new technologies to obtain information. Their access to information was limited to television – i.e. Fox News – and their peer group.

This group is much more likely to believe in conspiracy theories much like the latest that President Obama covered up the killings in Benghazi to win the 2012 election. This group is much more willing to believe any false narrative that shores up their belief that their way of life is the right way and only way to live. That undocumented workers and gay marriage are a threat to the fabric of American society. That minorities vote democrat merely because they want to mooch on the responsible members of society. This group is told repeatedly by right wing media that they are good and everyone else is evil and if they vote Republican, their values will be upheld and everyone else will be responsible for themselves just like they are.

The fervent Christian base became the know-nothings that were easy prey for big business. These sitting ducks were easily manipulated into supporting economic policies that were harmful to them. They were so ready to swallow this ideology which soothed their egos, that the only acceptable policies became that ones that reinforced their judgements of others and a potential solution outside their line of thought was completely unacceptable.

In the end, these upper class white male politicians and business leaders repeated whatever script they had to regarding social and civil policy to get all these know-nothings on board as they pilfered and plundered the U.S. (and world) economy.

Up next:
The Tide Turns

Recent Republican History, Part 1

Recent Republican History, Part 3

Recent Republican History, Part 1 of 3

I don’t know about everyone else, but this political junkie, a.k.a. government major, is having spectacular time watching Republicans in the throws of an identity crisis. Republican history over the last ~50 years is incredibly interesting to me and now, in the Age of Information (this cannot be understated), we basically have a front row seat to a huge transition that will affect U.S. government small and large for years to come.

The cliche “history repeats itself” and philosopher George Santayana’s quotation, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” are playing out in real time on our national theater of the absurd.

Mass Exodus of Conservative Democrats to the Republican Party

The Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s led to a great purging in the Democrat Party. Those who opposed integration, including large swathes of the South, changed their voter card to Republican. In rural areas, this transition has been slow – which is why areas of Texas countryside might still have a majority of voters registered Democrat while voting overwhelmingly for Republican candidates. This is also why Oklahoma, perhaps the slowest progressing state in the country, is also the only state in the country that had more counties go red in 2008 than in the previous election.

This is why I cringe when people say the Republican Party is the party of Lincoln. Not so, really. The demographic that populates the Republican Party today would have in no way supported Lincoln or his efforts. The current Democrat Party is the true standard bearer of Lincoln’s policies.

The make-up of the Republican Party during its massive transition in the 60’s had quite a similar representation to the current one: the know-nothing, conspiracy theorists, as personified by the John Birch Society and the “fiscal conservative,” low-tax, laissez-faire, plutocracy, corporatocracy supporters. Of course, I’m simplifying because this. Is. A. Blog.

Role of Christianity in Republican Victory

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s ascension to the presidency, solidified a marriage between these two parties by A., catering to the religious right and B., enforcing extreme messaging discipline. The Moral Majority movement illuminated the reality that low-tax, profit-worshipping Republicans can attain greater levels of victory if they also appear fervently Christian and support legislation catering to strongly-Christian voters. Wealthy white men who previously couldn’t have cared less about a poor teenager’s pregnancy termination now had the strongest of principles opposed to the medical procedure.

The rise of Prosperity-Christianity and the mega-churches during this time-period is no coincidence. No longer were Republican voters chained to the main legacy of Jesus Christ of caring the poor and the sick. Religious leaders across the land began indoctrinating their legions with the idea that God and his son want their followers to be prosperous, even rich.

The right wing leadership, including church leaders, created a culture in which it was through the church that people should care for the poor, not the government. Church donations were the method by which one helped their fellow man, while government was called the false idol and the paying of taxes an insupportable exercise in all but the most minimum of circumstances. Instead of supporting Planned Parenthood, a health provider for millions without health insurance, most highly-religious Christians endorse adoption programs run through churches, especially in the event a gay couple would choose to adopt an orphaned child. The Catholic Church, who runs a large amount of adoption agencies across the countries, would prefer an infant remain in a foster home rather than have two loving parents of the same gender.

Over the years, the Republican party became consumed by an un-Christlike, yet highly religious ideology. This would eventually help herald the undoing of the Republican Party on a national scale. The state scale is still a story untold.

Next up:

Christians Become the Epitome of Know-Nothing Political Pawns

Recent Republican History, Part 2

Recent Republican History, Part 3