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Conservatives Just Need to Be IGNORED

For the health and benefit of the country, nigh the world, we have to learn (and that means teach, as well) that today’s conservatives just need to be IGNORED, and ridiculed.

They constantly assert their legitimacy in the national debate despite being wrong (you name it they’ve been wrong about it, a short recent list includes Obamacare, hyper-inflation, Iraq, Ebola, stop and frisk, chaos at the borders, my god you name it they’ve been wrong about it for fucking ever!)

Just because it is noteworthy – let’s include fluoride is a Communist plot, interracial marriage is a Communist plot, Social Security, Medicare – all Communist plots! Think that’s just fringe stuff, not mainstream GOP conservative thinking? Ronald Reagan warns against Medicare in 1961 and the right unpacks it as if it’s relevant against Obamacare 50 years later.

As we’ll discuss later climate change is… you guessed it. The absurdity is legion and such absurd beliefs are at the heart of the entire conservative movement today. Everything people need is a threat to FREEDOM. Everything business needs IS FREEDOM.

They constantly assert their legitimacy in the national debate despite being hyperbolic.

They constantly assert their legitimacy in the national debate despite flat out lying about history a brief list of outrageous nonsense: the founding fathers were Christian Conservatives, like them, The New Deal made the Great Depression worse, black people were better off because of slavery, etc. etc. you get the picture.

They constantly assert their legitimacy in the national debate despite being racist. And OMG here at the Heritage Foundation

They constantly assert their legitimacy in the national debate despite being almost maliciously rockheaded in thought and deed or electing rockheads to office (again too numerous, see Tea Party, see Bachman, Gohmert, Steve King, Steve Stockman, Virginia Foxx, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Renee Elmers, an almost endless list of stupid statements, stupid legislation, stupid assertions, stupid reasoning, stupid actions and stupid inactions on local, state and national levels). They’re turning us into a nation of stupid.

They constantly assert their legitimacy in the national debate despite being pigheadedly against science, math and facts (97% of climate scientists around the world are on the take but those in the employ of extraction industries are scrupulously honest).

And this is really the big one because global climate change is by far the biggest, most alarming red lights flashing issue we have ever faced as a species. Their intransigence on this issue is holding worldwide society back from addressing catastrophic changes that will devastate communities in the near term and could make the planet unlivable in the long term. And amazingly, the easy question they cannot answer is “what if you’re wrong?” Their misguided faith in either (a) a deity that wouldn’t allow devastation to happen (“God is up there” – Sen. Imhofe), (b) man’s ability to devise technology to fix it if it does happen, or (c) that it is indeed a complete hoax, a worldwide conspiracy concocted to bring about worldwide socialism (yes, they really believe that), makes them hold their breath and just say “no” to any reasonable, rational action to stay disaster. They are more afraid of any possible economic costs of dealing with the problem rather than the rising seas, acid oceans, droughts, floods, storms, extinctions, etc.

Conservative think tanks make up the entire campaign against global climate change action, create all the talking points to feed to the Right Wing Noise Machine, lobby all the GOP politicians on those talking points. And have cowed the media into diminishing coverage of the issues because it’s “political.”

It’s a breathtaking display of head in the sandism that is absolutely holding us back from the actions we need to take as a society. And only because somehow, someway, they are taken seriously enough despite being consistently WRONG that they get away with their latest boneheaded reasoning and shit flinging outrage.

Smart People, Steep Learning Curve

Dems did not learn from 2000.

They did not learn from 2010. They said they did, but they didn’t.

You cannot run away from your values and assets. One shouldn’t have to write that sentence. It’s like saying “you cannot run away from oxygen.” Why would you want to?

Dems do run away from their values and assets because they don’t trust them and they believe they have to play “smart” political games. How’s that working for you?

This is actually remarkably simple.

If you rely on simple nostrums, platitudes, primal fears, greed and ignorance then you can formulate very basic messages and play all sorts of mind fuck games with the public.

But if you want to appeal to the better angels of people’s nature, logic, rationality, facts, science, math, etc. then you better damn well be willing to stand up straight and stand for those values 100% and do not be afraid to be pedantic about it. Be a thought leader that drives the debate. DANCING AND PLAYING ‘SMART’ POLITICAL GAMES WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU!

Boiling it Down

You can either have capitalism regulated by democracy or democracy run by capitalism. You can’t have both unfettered capitalism and democracy because the unfettered capitalists won’t allow it. Money is speech, don’t you know?

Our entire history has been one where the moneyed interests pretty much run the show lock, stock and gold plated barrel. Occasionally, when they run things into the ground — ’cause shit happens — and for their own preservation by the way, they will permit certain enlightened conservatives to enact very limited progressive policies to mollify the public. See Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, not all that much else actually.

Many of us recognize that capitalism regulated by, balanced by, and working with government works really well for the greater numbers of people when its been done. It’s a bottom up approach. It’s a mixed economy, stupid. It’s also pretty much what every other industrialized economy does with not so much controversy.

But one of our major political parties has taken as an article of almost evangelical faith the most hard core economic creed that the capitalists are always right and the economy is always top down.

Enlightened conservatives they are NOT! They do not even accept the few ameliorating adaptations we’ve made for the greater good. They merely tolerate Social Security, Medicare, public schools, public anything, etc. while working to undermine them under the radar. They had unions forced on them for a period but always worked to beat them back and finally won.

How we got to such a place in the 21st century where a very 19th century version of America could be espoused is a heluva story. They really still believe that America was better off when courts denied government the ability to regulate business and, theoretically, everybody was free to engage in whatever contract they saw fit – which in reality left most of the population really no better off than indentured slaves to a fabulously wealthy overclass. It’s an undemocratic vision of economics that has never, ever worked, which is why we needed the amelioration – and of course, we still do!

But that reality, that one of the major political parties has adopted an extreme and dangerous advocacy of unfettered economic elitism without the public really being aware and alarmed is perhaps the even bigger story.

It All Went to Hell When the Hippies Took Over

When Peter Thiel is interviewed by Glenn Beck no good can come from it.

Eccentric billionaire Thiel said something that I’m sure conservatives will nod their heads and think, “yeah, that’s right.” But the rest of us will facepalm.

I think one of the … you know, the countercultural in the ’60s was the hippies. You know, we landed on the moon in July of 1969. Woodstock started three weeks later, and with the benefit of hindsight, that’s when progress ended, and the hippies took over the country.

Today the counterculture is to believe in science and technology. You know, our society, the dominant culture doesn’t like science. It doesn’t like technology. You just look at the science-fiction movies that come out of Hollywood — Terminator, Matrix, Avatar, Elysium. I watched the Gravity movie the other day. It’s like you would never want to go into outer space. You would just want to be back on some muddy island. And so I think we’re in a world where actually believing that a better future is possible that you can have agency and work towards a better future, that is actually radically countercultural.

Yeah, iPhones, Tesla, solar power, they don’t exist.

Furthermore, this is from people who back the party that denies science on climate and reproduction and they’re calling liberals Luddites? Just ridiculous.

BUT, here’s where it gets real:

Conservatives actually think that the 60′s counterculture did take over America when it really had about 5 minutes in the sun and then got railroaded by the Reagan Revolution.

Reading Rick Perlstein’s “The Invisible Bridge” about that time between Watergate and Reagan has helped me to put into words the frustration with that period and conservatives in general. It was right then, that moment in time when America could have woken up from its slumber and opened its eyes. Could have matured into a country ready to examine itself honestly. But the right wing backlash to Watergate, Roe v. Wade, the Pentagon Papers, the humiliation of Vietnam, etc. “shut that whole thing down” to quote the great Todd Akin. Half the country was ready to move forward: grant women equality under the ERA, take responsibility for our foreign adventures, clamp down on the excesses of our clandestine services, embrace more openness in government and private life – change the channel from Lawrence Welk to Saturday Night Live.

But no. That was too much change, too fast for some. And we’re still living with the consequences of that backlash today.

Instead the regressives took over almost immediately. Activists protested busing and school books while “law and order” politicians exploited the fear of a changing world citing the evils of crime, inflation, oil embargoes, abortion, sexual freedom. They conflated all change both good and bad, with the new permissiveness. It’s no coincidence that the 70′s brought a flurry of nostalgia for the 50s. And Republican conservative operatives and their benefactors exploited all of it to nudge the country back into the pre-Watergate/Vietnam box.

So we were cheated out of the country we could have had.

The perfect analogy for the squelching of progress in this period (and the answer for Thiel’s nonsense) is the technical and policy sob story that Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House in 1976 and Reagan tore them down. I reiterate, where would we be today if the energy policy of the Carter Administration had not been ripped out root and branch by the carbon loving dinosaurs of the Reagan Administration?

How is it possible that in 2014 women are not constitutionally equal with men?

How are we still fighting over reproductive rights?

The Hippies didn’t take anything except the culture, that which Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan could not reverse. They couldn’t make George Carlin shave his beard and put a suit back on, but they kept the pressure on so that you still can’t say the 7 words you can’t say on TV on TV. Except now we have cable and streaming.

Peter Thiel can suck it!

While They Kept Talking About Ottawa…

If it bleeds it leads is so pervasive that even on supposed progressive news outlet MSNBC significant time was spent last night on the attack in Ottawa yesterday. Chris Matthews spent nearly his entire hour connecting the attack to Isis, Ebola and Republicans justifiably scaring people in to voting for them! I know that Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow know that other, arguably more important, things happened yesterday and should be given at least a minute or two… But they can’t. It would take more courage than they apparently have to say “we’ll do 5 minutes on Ottawa because everybody’s covering that and then move on to blah, blah, blah.” They know their producers will look at them like they have two heads.

But in the meantime yesterday…

Andrew Cuomo (not his dad) actually used the Republican dodge phrase “I’m not a scientist” to parry a question about fracking. How appropriate for the supposedly democratic governor who helped the GOP keep control in Albany to mimic asinine GOP talking points. They got amazingly scientific about Ebola, really fast.

Four Blackwater mercenaries were found guilty of murder stemming from an incident in Iraq in 2007. It’s big news when anybody is held accountable for atrocities these days. The verdict was a shock

Chris Christie (f/k/a The Luckiest Man in America) gave one of the most douche bag responses to the Republican failure to understand both basic economics and basic economic realities of life in denying the efficacy of and need for a decent minimum wage.

“I don’t think there’s a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in America who are saying, ‘You know honey, if my son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all our dreams would be realized,” he added. “Is that what parents aspire to for their children?”

Sorry, that’s douche bag deluxe.

The NBC cameraman who contracted Ebola is Ebola free. Also, with every passing day and no more Ebola patients coming forward the American Ebola mania fades away.

I’m sure there’s other stuff that would have been more interesting to watch than the same footage of Canadian police looking around with guns drawn over and over again.

Germany Eliminates College Tuition

My reaction to the parts of Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko”, where he shows how other countries provide universal healthcare to their citizens as a right, was disgust and the realization that Americans are suckers. We’re being screwed by our government and the assumptions that we live with that we’re all on our own and our government is not really there to help the individual succeed, no less thrive. Germany, and other Western countries, have a different view of government. Which is odd because many of them got their constitutions from ours, but their interpretation of it is 180 degrees different from our Supreme Court and the traditional pre-New Deal 19th century understanding that stubbornly persists today.

Besides healthcare, education should be a right. We pay lip service to it as being essential to our future as a society, besides being an individual’s best bet for success. Europe actually does it.

“We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents,” Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement. Her words were echoed by many in the German government. “Tuition fees are unjust,” said Hamburg’s senator for science Dorothee Stapelfeldt. “They discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

We are being screwed by our assumptions and our inability to live up to our democratic promise as a nation. If anybody ever says to me, “but we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic” I’ll punch them in the throat.

Hudson & East River Tunnels Will Have to Close For Maintenance, Thanks Christie

This is going to be very, very, very bad. There are two 100 year old tunnels under the Hudson River that carry up to 24 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains an hour. There are four tunnels under the East River that carry Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit (NJ Transit has a rail yard in Queens) trains.

All of these tunnels suffered damage from flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy.

And now they have to be closed and overhauled.

One at a time. For up to a year each. And it’s going to be very bad for the most heavily travelled commuter corridor in the country.

Worth noting, that two brand spanking new tunnels were supposed to have been in construction right now, bless Jesus and Robert Moses! But they’re NOT being constructed goddammit! Because of Chris Christie f/k/a The Luckiest Man in America. Christie, in the great Nixonian tradition, grabbed whatever Port Authority money earmarked for this project that he could grab with his grubby hands and used it for projects that he could grease local politicians with – mostly the renovation of bridges that have nothing to do with the Hudson crossings. Apparently, like Robert Moses who hated tunnels because you couldn’t see them and couldn’t maximize the visual PR value of them like a massive new bridge spanning a body of water, Christie saw no benefit to him in the tunnels that had been 15 years in the planning and so cancelled them.

[True and alarming historical note: Robert Moses wanted to build a bridge from the Battery to Brooklyn instead of the eventually built Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. A bridge in that space would have been built right where Battery Park is today and would have disrupted almost all of the historic downtown Wall Street area. Thankfully, activists and city officials fought his plan and won with the ultimate help of FDR’s War Dept. that claimed the bridge would compromise national defense by interfering with ship traffic in the NY bays.]

My question that has never been answered is how can one person make such a short term decision to derail (pun intended) a very long term project that will effect commuting in the region for decades.

Secondly, with so many high end NJ tax payers effected by his decisions how he didn’t pay more of a price for this horrifically bad decision I’ll never understand. This decision alone should make you a pariah.

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