Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Emerging Republican Majority.2

In 1969 Kevin Phillips published The Emerging Republican Majority in which he argued that the South, a naturally conservative region, would soon switch its allegiance from its “solid” votes for Democratic office-holders and presidents, dating back to the Civil War, when Republicans carried the banner of anti-slavery and by implication racial equality, to the contemporary Republican party, which had staked out its ideological territory as defending “traditional values” of self-reliance, family and religion. The Democratic party, meanwhile, under the influence of FDR, had embraced social justice, government administered programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and later Head Start and many others, and which was then closer to the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement (which many Republicans still embraced at the time), had become the more progressive party.
    He was right. The Republicans took over the South, not without covertly embracing racist policies, including opposition to Affirmative Action, but later including the practices that encouraged racial profiling, the differential enforcement of drug laws that landed disproportionate numbers of blacks in prison, lock-step support of the gun lobby, that tended to stoke racial fears, and eventually the support of the prison-industrial complex, with its endorsement of long sentences and greater incarceration rates, both of which increased its profits despite great social costs, and finally Stand-Your-Ground laws, with their covert racial content.
    The larger goals of Republicans, however, along with many Democrats, have included the transfer of wealth to the wealthiest, the increase in inequality. After all, it was the wealthiest through their mega-corporations and industry associations that paid them the most. So Republican campaigns, think tanks and political organizations such as Rove’s Crossroads, are lavishly funded by the interests they serve, all with the legal blessing bestowed by Citizens United.
    At the same time, however, there has been a nefarious increase in the number of highly manipulable computerized voting machines, manufactured by companies that openly proclaim themselves sympathetic to Republicans and right-wing agendas, and administered by Republican state election commissions with the help of Rove’s giant organization.
    It must be said that as the Bush administration ended there was call for investigation and prosecution of Karl Rove for his questionable activities in the previous eight years. Had this been done, we might not be in the predicament, where, as Jonathan D. Simon and others have pointed out, there is extremely strong evidence of computerized voting machine manipulation, leading to widespread election theft. See Simon's book Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century. (This is not a new phenomenon: Mark Crispin Miller exposed it in Fooled Again [2007] about the theft of the 2004 Presidental election, but it has become much more endemic, virtually institutionalized since then). The practice has been virtually ignored in the mainstream (corporate) and left-wing press, but the upshot is that it amounts to a situation that in many states Democrats must win by around 60%, while Republicans win elections with only around 40% of the real vote.
    This situation virtually guarantees a Republican majority in halls of power, though they are a diminishing proportion of the actual electorate. It is the rule by the few, representing the richest interests in the country. The increasingly unavoidable conclusion is that this is being done through criminal electoral theft, and it is leading to a deep undermining of our Constitution on many fronts. But as Chris Hedges has pointed out, every fascist or totalitarian state is founded on great crimes.
    How is this possible in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?
    For this we must turn to Sheldon Wollin’s penetrating concept of “inverted totalitarianism.” As he explains in Democracy Inc.: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008), this is a condition in which certain concepts, call them truths, cannot by examined or even uttered in the main organs of communication in the country. Thus it is forbidden to take seriously notions such as the CIA conspiracy to kill JFK (though there is more than ample evidence); the government complicity to bring down the WTC towers on 9/11; and now the rampant manipulation of computerized voting machines always to favor Republicans, and which is most probably responsible for the recent GOP sweep in the 2014 elections.
    This throws into open question the legitimacy of those now in positions of power. As a consequence, the widespread apathy among voters, so bemoaned by liberal commentators following last November's election, can be read as a reaction to this steep decline in the legitimacy of our election system—the very cornerstone of our democracy.
    So if the first “emerging Republican majority” was covertly based on racism, this second one is based on covert criminality. We need to expose it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

National Security State: it's all about MONEY

    On Monday morning’s Democracy Now! (January 5, 2015) author, lawyer, and Harper's Magazine staff writer Scott Horton was  talking about the mushrooming of secrecy in our belligerent operations, such as the recent drone strike in Waziristan, Pakistan, that killed 9 people, and how the CIA has taken over war-making powers, which they cloak with secrecy “for national security reasons,” of course. He notes that our sloppy drone warfare has drawn together the Islamic radicals and the village councils, which formerly kept their distance from each other. But the villages have suffered far too many needless casualties in this undeclared and mostly secret war. So now we have a bigger enemy, with more recruitment, of course.

If we put that together with James Risen's new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, the real agenda becomes apparent: it’s a huge money-maker for the National Security state, the armaments manufacturers, contractors, etc. We’re essentially in the same position as Egypt under al-Sisi's current dictatorship: the military, a major profit-making organization, has taken over the state to insure its own continued income. We do it more subtly, more indirectly, in a more hidden fashion with a more complicit mainstream media—and on a much grander scale.

Disgusting; anti-democratic, a real usurpation of power. This is the "End of America," that Naomi Wolf writes about. It is probably also the reason the government is out to get Risen, demanding he reveal his sources or face prison—he really spills the beans on what this is all about, viz. money, viz. a $70 billion industry, all emerging from the founding myth of 9/11, as Dick Cheney reminded us in his now infamous Meet the Press interview last month, where he said he’d “do it again in a minute,” namely torture (though even the CIA admits it’s ineffectual) which according to him, has prevented another terrorist attack. Horton hits him hard with the legal definition of “depravity,” namely the advocacy of actions that heedlessly cause harm to innocent people. Then he criticizes the press for giving such a criminal so much air time, with so little for his critics, and with no challenges to his outlandish statements.