Thursday, September 27, 2012

Heroes Don't Vote for Criminals.

Rebecca Solnit has written a diatribe in the form of a letter that is being passed around under the title of "We could be heroes."

Yes, we could be heroes, if we were to challenge the two-party dictatorship of the American Brand of Fascism that controls our semi-democratic institutions.

Here is my response.

LOL! Poor Rebecca, having to whine about whiners whining about whiners. Where does all the whining begin? Must be the big bang that whines through the ages.

Poor Rebecca says, “I have a grand goal, and that is to counter the Republican right with its deep desire to annihilate everything I love and to move toward far more radical goals than the Democrats ever truly support.”  Now, I’m all for ambiguity as the natural state of reality, for complexity in goals, for aiming at goals that are actually in different directions, for conundrum and paradox in political positions, but the idea that the road to achieving these two goals of Rebecca’s leads through the town of supporting the Democratic Party is just plain wrong.  It is a misreading of the map so fundamentally upside down that it is like driving to Seattle to see the manatees and gators.

Rebecca can call me “rancid” and I could come up with a few choice adjectives for her, but I will just stick with “poor Rachel” as her letter presents both a poor grasp of politics and of human nature.  Poor Rachel can’t see the cosmology of the radical left because she closes her eyes and ears to it, not because it is not presented.

So, Poor Rebecca admits that she does not deplore with a lot of fuss the “bad things” that Obama does because she expects him to do those bad things.  In other words, she expects him to assassinate people as the stated foreign policy and to kill US citizens and to torture and to pay off his Wall Street buddies while foreclosures burn, and the list goes on and on.  She just doesn’t deplore the leader who fiddles while America burns because she expects the fiddling.  That is the attitude of poverty of thought.

STRAW MAN:  Then Rebecca wheels out the straw man argument that she couldn’t talk to her leftist friends about our ex-Governor Schwarzenegger’s positive respects. That is a straw man argument which has nothing to do with the actual positive and negative aspects of the current president.  Basically, all Rebecca presents in her rant is variations on the logical fallacy of the straw man. 

Next, Rebecca tells us as if we are children in kindergarten that “There are bad things and they are bad. There are good things and they are good, even though the bad things are bad.”  Yes, Rebecca we know this truism. We also know where the wild things are.

Rebecca wants to know, what purpose does it serve to point out that a person who claims to be anti-death penalty is condoning the illegal purchase of lethal injection drugs?  Dear Rebecca, the purpose is to point out the blanket label of “anti-death penalty” is qualified not absolute.  You can celebrate the coolness of Kamala Harris; just don’t claim that her coolness gives her a free pass to escape criticism for where she is not so cool. Rebecca acts as if Obama’s saying he is for peace should not be countered with all the examples of his pro-war mongering including drones killing wedding participants and assassination of US citizens. What Rebecca is blind to is the insanity of a man accepting the Nobel Peace Prize and in his acceptance speech talking about how he is a better warrior. 

Rebecca claims she wants to focus on fixing problems or being compassionate, yet her rant is just as uncompassionate as those she rants against.  Her rant is also just as void of focus on fixing problems as she moans about others.  There is not one fix suggested for our democratic system presented.

Poor Rebecca calls unconstitutional and impeachable acts by the president “dimples on the imperial derriere” and says they are not worth discussing.  Yes, Poor Rebecca doesn’t want to discuss such dirty and troubling things; she wants to talk about the things that look good.

If Rebecca votes for Obama with the belief that fewer people will suffer, then that is her choice based on her calculation. If I vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, with the belief that fewer people will suffer then why doesn’t she grant me this choice, but instead says that my belief is wrong and my vote is just “choosing the greater of two evils”?  See? Rebecca is as guilty of left voter suppression as anyone.   The “evils” slogan in this context comes from the Democrats, not from the leftists, but Rebecca adds another straw man argument claiming that it is leftists who coined and push the “evils” meme.

Another straw man argument made by Rebecca is the one that rants against the left for saying “that there’s no difference” between the two parties.  But there is no leftist who makes that argument.  When people say the choice between the Republican and Democratic candidates for president is a choice between Pepsi and Coke, they are not saying “there is no difference.” Everyone knows that Pepsi and Coke taste different.  What is being said is that when it comes to the things of most importance to the voter the differences in taste are not as significant as the similarity in sugar content.  

Yes, Rebecca, we are facing a right wing that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact.  I call them the American Taliban. And yes, to oppose them requires that we be different from them.  They support and reelect their president no matter what crimes he commits, so we must be different and not support and not reelect our president because of the crimes he commits. Calling Obama’s crimes “minor differences” of opinion is just plain disgusting.  Overlooking Obama’s crimes insures that there is no possibility of changing the conditions that allows him to continue committing those crimes. 

Rebecca’s form of defeatism is the fetishism of the politics of hope that blinds her to the actual crimes being committed in her name.  People need hope. But they need hope that is real not just the false promise of hope by a con game played on the voters using the two-party tyranny that keeps the Republicans and Democrats in power switching back and forth.  Rebecca says she want to achieve the goal of countering the Republican right, but that goal can’t be achieved by supporting the very same Democrats who depend on the Republican right for their reason for existence.  Democrats could have countered the Republican right many years ago but have failed to do so becauseit is not in their interests to do so. 

If we want to talk about fixing the problem, about compassion for democracy, let’s talk about fixing the system.  I ask all "big D" Democrats: if you truly believe in "small d" democracy, then why don't you demand that your party (1) turn over the Presidential Debates to a public commission and (2) allow any candidate on the ballot in enough states to win 270 electoral college votes to participate?  If you are a Democrat, how can you say you support democracy yet don't allow a true competition in the political marketplace? The American Brand of Fascism is based on the two-party tyranny of our democratic institutions. The single most important first step to fixing the institutional system of democracy in the USA is for the people to take the control of the presidential debates out of the hands of the private corporation that runs them and is controlled by the two parties themselves and return thepresidential debates back to the people.




Saturday, September 01, 2012

The American Brand of Fascism on Display at the RNC

 The circus of hypocrisy and propaganda that was called the Republican National Convention leaves me with the difficult task of sorting out the plethora of delusional material delivered from the podium. 

Many commentators are presenting the fact-checks on the speeches like VP candidate Paul Ryan’s and showing how virtually every other sentence was a lie of some sort.  Clint Eastwood’s bizarre performance is a cautionary tale about why the logical fallacy of making that straw man argument (in this variation it was the empty chair argument) should be avoided.  See Republicans vs. Straw Men at

Ann Romney’s speech was so much ado about nothing.  Does anyone really choose their president based on his wife’s accolades?  Apparently some do because this silliness is repeated at every convention. But we should deeply consider whether people who vote for a president because his wife says she loves him should even be allowed to vote.

The Republican convention is a clear example of how our democracy has become disabled by people who vote based on delusions and illusion.   The Republican playbook on rhetoric is taken directly from Chapter 6 of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”  The Republican convention doesn’t make any sense until one realizes that it was just a propaganda message to the masses.  Here are several quotes from Hitler’s book by way of understanding what was going on at the Republican convention:

“To whom should propaganda be addressed? To the scientifically trained intelligentsia or to the less educated masses?  It must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses.”
“All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be.
“The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
“the very first axiom of all propagandist activity: to wit, the basically subjective and one-sided attitude it must take toward every question it deals with.”
“The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.”
“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”
“For instance, a slogan must be presented from different angles, but the end of all remarks must always and immutably be the slogan itself.”

 The propaganda slogan of the Republican convention was “We Built It.” The genius of this slogan is that the words themselves are generous and charitable while its meaning is just the opposite in true Orwellian doublespeak.  I can say “We built it” and mean it because as a Buddhist I’m aware of the total interdependency of how anything and everything is built.  The toothbrush held in the hand, the tomato in the salad,  the car being driven on the freeway: none of these are brought to us by some individual at the top of a business who can  take credit for it all, but by the incalculable activities of numberless persons.

However, the different angles applied to the slogan of “We Built It” by the Republicans were actually: “We (not you) built it,” “We (the rich) built it,” “We built it (and you pay for it.),” “We built it (in spite of you),” “We built it (in a vacuum without anyone else’s help),” etc.   The Republican meaning of “We Built It” is derived from the greedy egotistical delusion of an individual as Herculean Hero.  

This egotistical delusion of entrepreneurial self-sufficiency pulling oneself up by one’s own boot straps creates the shadow of enemies seen everywhere out to get us.  What this does is create a mind-set for Republicans to deny the very foundation of our democracy as so eloquently stated by our first Republican president Abraham Lincoln :

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

When it comes down to basics, the Republicans do not believe in Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”   No, they believe in the American Brand of Fascism in which government is controlled by the wealthy and rich elites of our corporate feudalism for the protection of those interests. 

How do I know? Because when the Republicans play upon the middle and lower classes frustrations with government, they don't point out that the problem with government is due to the influence of corporate money on Congress and the President, and they don't demand that we restore government of the people, by the people and for the people. Instead they bring out their favorite long term slogan: "smaller government, less taxes."  But what does "smaller government" mean? To Republicans it means "smaller government (of, by, and for the people)" and smaller government in the departments that regulate the corporations for the good of the people.  Republicans are all for bigger government as long as that bigger government is engaged on the one hand in foreign hegemony and imperialist extension (Defense Department) and on the other hand in domestic surveillance and reduction of civil liberties (Department of Homeland Security).  Every other department of government that actually is for the people can be thrown out as far as they are concerned, but the departments of government that control and dominate the people and instead work only to enforce the power of the corporations just get bigger and bigger.