The Watering Hole; Thursday October 17, 2013; “Democracy Under Assault”

In a recent Op-Ed on Truthout.org concerning the GOP-Tea Party economic agenda, longtime Professor of Economics Richard Wolff made note of an obvious and history-verified truism, that “Many Germans in the years before 1933 dismissed the little man with the mustache: He could never take power, let alone keep it.” They were, of course, woefully mistaken, and millions from around the world died in result. Are we about to find ourselves on that same cliff edge? True, we don’t seem to have, at least at this point in time, any little man with the mustache, but we surely do have far too many who appear to think much as he did. They call themselves the Tea Party, and to at least the casual eye they do indeed have a very similar agenda embedded within the shallowness of their self-imposed political and religious fanaticism, one that reads something like . . .

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.” (1)

It May Be Hard to Believe, But GOP Will Become Even More Extreme, Respected Political Forecasters Say.  So reads the title of an article written by Stephen Rosenfeld in which he discusses the conclusions reached by Stan Greenberg, James Carville and Erica Seifert in their recent analysis of a series of focus groups from three red states. Rosenfeld summarizes their findings by noting that the resulting “Democracy Corps report is an illuminating profile of the GOP’s three main factions: the Tea Partiers leading today’s brinkmanship, the evangelicals lining up behind them, and overlooked but still significant moderates. At the front of this stampede are right-wingers who believe they are fighting for political survival in an era where white-run America is vanishing and they’ve lost the culture war.” He also remarks with no equivocation that the “analysis portends that the Tea Partiers and Evangelicals, comprising more than half of the party, will ramp up the rhetoric, accuse Obama of tyranny and possibly even pursue impeachment.

On the broadest scale, it doesn’t require a lot of imagination to grasp the fact that the Tea Party’s Evangelical faction is a major driving force behind much of today’s GOP intransigence; attitudes can be contagious, after all, especially when goals are so simple to define. Their primary operating premise seems to be, simply stated, that the government should, and in fact must, accept that

“. . . its first and foremost duty [is] to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.” (2)  [underscore added for emphasis]

Amanda Marcotte carries the Evangelical intransigent attitude thesis forward in her essay entitled, Four Reasons Right-Wing Christians Salivate for the End times.  She begins by noting that “While there’s much about the Christian right that’s difficult for the rest of us to understand, the preoccupation with the ‘end times’ is close to the top of the list.” She points out that Three out of four evangelicals believe Christ will return soon. This is, of course, mostly wishful thinking—they believe they’re seeing the end of the world because they want to see the end of the world. Why . . . ?”   According to Marcotte, their Four Reasons are:

1. They don’t think they’ll be around for the worst of it.
2. The end of the world would mean they get to have the last word.
3. It provides a distraction from and an excuse to avoid the real problems in the world.
4. They want to see the non-believers punished and themselves instated as the rightful rulers of all mankind.

After a brief analysis of each point, she posits that their “eagerness to see the non-believers punished is so strong in the Christian right that many are unwilling to wait until the so-called “Tribulation” described in the Left Behind books, and to a lesser degree the Bible, is upon us. That’s why, after any great tragedy, there is a rush of eager-beaver pastors willing to say this is what people have coming for being sinners . . .”

“If . . . we are decent, industrious, and honest, if we so loyally and truly fulfill our duty, then it is my conviction that in the future as in the past the Lord God will always help us.” (3)

“Democracy Under Assault”  is the title of a book (published in September of 2004 and summarized here) by author Michele Swenson. Its subtitle reads, “Theopolitics, Incivility and Violence on the Right.” The book is based on the not-so-elusive thesis that theology-based politics invariably see  Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and in so doing, disavow/dismiss science entirely — especially the science which underlies and defines evolution, environmentalism, the thesis that intelligent life may exist elsewhere in the universe than on the Earth — or, for that matter, any other ‘inconvenient’ (read: anti-Christian) science-based premise. Interesting that the book is every bit (if not more) ‘current’ today than it was upon its publication nine years ago; that fact tells a rather gruesome tale, it would seem.

A pair of 2006 reviews of the book on Amazon.com vividly demonstrate the intellectual divide that continues to run rampant in this country. A five-star review proclaims the book to be . . .

“An in-depth examination of the war against pluralistic democracy waged by an unholy alliance of religious nationalists, the hard-core gun lobby, corporate plutocrats and anti-tax, anti-government activists. The book describes the fractured church-state divide, assaults on the independent judiciary, resurrected nineteenth-century science and socioeconomic Darwinism, as well as the revisionist history marking the U.S. rightward political turn.”

And then there’s this one, a one-star review:

“This book saddened me to the depths….I finally had to discard it. I love my country and am heavy-hearted to read such hatred toward people of faith.”

In summary, who knows but what many might one day soon agree that the Tea Party and other factions defined as extreme right do indeed see themselves as convincing evidence that

“It makes no difference whatever whether they laugh at us or revile us, whether they represent us as clowns or criminals; the main thing is that they mention us, that they concern themselves with us again and again, and that we gradually in the eyes of the workers themselves appear to be the only power that anyone reckons with at the moment.” (4)

The last nearly three weeks of government shutdown — along with, of course, the technique of holding the nation’s economic future hostage (simply as an attempt to force the hand of those in government who actually understand they serve ALL of ‘We the people’ rather than just the Evangelical and Neofascist factions) — demonstrate with no hesitation that the United States finds itself, this day, in serious and perhaps even ultimately fatal trouble. Stated another way,

“The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others.” (5)

Time will tell.

Oh, and by the way, I purposely left the quotes numbered 1-5 above unattributed when presented in order to make perhaps a larger case, to ultimately offer a broadened summation, as it were, of the “Democracy Under Assault” thesis. In that vein, suffice to say that each and all are the verbatim words of one person only. And no, that person is not Pat Robertson, not Jerry Falwell, it’s not even Rafael “Ted” Cruz or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin. Nope. The words belong solely to that “little man with the mustache,” Adolf Hitler. Political fanaticism, stoked by religious fanaticism, is apparently a permanently-recurring human condition/affliction, one that is currently underway in the United States courtesy of the melding of the Evangelical biblical literalists with the Fascist contingent of the GOP, those far right fanatics that proudly call themselves the Tea Party. Thus, the history of power acquisition via fear, via greed, is in the process of repeating once again. Here. Here where the attitude of the masses remains the traditional, where the process of “Democracy Under Assault” by political radicals and religious fanatics is by and large “dismissed” by we the people on the basis that they “could never take power, let alone keep it.”

And lest we forget or choose to ignore, here stands a rather vivid statement of method, words which will, with luck, serve to remind:

“(T)he determined gangster is always in a position to make political activity and efforts impossible for decent people. In the name of law and order, the state authority gives in to the gangster and requests the others please not to provoke him.  –Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf   [underscore added for emphasis]

Or, as above-noted Economics Professor Richard Wolff put it,

“The Republican-Tea Party alliance operates a weapon of mass deflection, protecting capitalism from criticism. Sadly, the Democrats neither expose nor attack the Republican project.[underscore added for emphasis]

For further information on the undercurrents which predict and precurse the evolution of democracy to fascism, see: Actung, sie verlassen JETZT den Americanischen Sektor.

OPEN THREAD

87 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday October 17, 2013; “Democracy Under Assault”

  1. (the dejected SOTH – the photo says it all)

    Speaker John A. Boehner before voting Wednesday night. He told his members to hold their heads high, go home and regroup.

    “We fought the good fight,” said Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, who has struggled to control the conservative faction in the House, in an interview with a Cincinnati radio station. “We just didn’t win.”

  2. That was an excellent post Fru…. carefully read it several times. I had picked up on the end-times arctile earlier in the week after Batshit Bachmann was caught ‘end-timey-whining’ on the radio (and by Jon Stewart). The powerful way you embedded the direct quotes from MK …

    What we have just witnessed was a proto-fascist coup attempt, an attempt to render government impotent and subject to will of a smaller number of ideological fanatics. I suspect the ‘real owners’ (h/t George Carlin) twisted a lot of arms in these last few days to stop it, because there’s nothing worse than the beast you have created getting off the leash to cause mayhem.

    • Thanks, TtT, glad you enjoyed it. I do genuinely sense a parallel to Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch attempt in 1923, that failed attempt by the fascists to take over the legitimate post-war government of Germany. The Tea Party is, without a doubt, a functionally fascist movement. It doesn’t (so far, at least) have a leader with the charisma of a Hitler, but their goals, based as they obviously are on power, fear, and deeply embedded racial hatreds, cannot be dismissed or discounted as something other than the threat they do truly represent.

  3. “We fought the good fight” is the operative GOP talking point this morning.

    That was the same talking point 148 years ago and all the Confederacy had to show for it was a bunch of dead people and a destroyed economy.

    That frugal, govt. cutting waste Insane Clown Posse just cost us all $24billion.

  4. The Morning After..

    Nate Cohn provides details:

    “[R]ed state and Southern representatives voted overwhelmingly against the Senate compromise: 27-91 in the redstates, 25-88 among Southern representatives. Republicans from the Northeast and Pacific voted “yes” by 30-16 margin; the blue states voted “yes,” 32-17. But compared to the fiscal cliff vote, the GOP might be even more cleanly divided along lines of vulnerability and ideology. Republicans from more competitive districts, with a Cook PVI of R+2 or more Democratic, voted almost unanimously for the Senate compromise.

    Any way you slice it, the majority of the Republicans voted to continue a government shutdown and a debt limit threat that were not working very well for the anyone..

    Yep, it’ll get worse.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115224/government-shutdown-2013-vote-reveals-gop-divisions

  5. QOTD:

    “[The Obamacare defunders] hurt the conservative movement, they hurt people’s health care, they hurt the country’s economic situation and they hurt the Republican party … These are the people who said, ‘Plan: Step One, Invade Iraq. Step Two, It turns into Kansas,’ Could I ask if there’s anything in between Step One and Step Two? ‘Oh ye of little faith.’” – Grover Norquist, temporarily coming to whatever sense he has.

    • What Grover and his ilk fail to understand is that the Conservative movement should be hurt. It should be dealt a fatal blow to the head and put out of our misery altogether. It is a movement predicated first and foremost on selfishness. There’s no such thing as a Nation of Conservatives, because there’s nothing binding them except their own self-interests (and the perception that they should help fellow conservatives even though they don’t really want to, and can’t really trust their fellow conservatives to support them.)

  6. You may recall the this quote from yesterday by Congresswoman Jacqueline Speier, about the House: “This is like a pre school that’s gone awry.”

    To wit:

  7. Anyone that is preoccupied with the “End Times” must be really unhappy. They look forward to death thinking that things will be better. Reminds me of the Taliban and the 17 virgins. What happens after 17 virgins are no longer virgins? Does the happiness end?

      • I don’t know what the fascination is, either, but maybe it has something to do with the stupid macho idea of being the first man to “deflower” the woman, that if she had sex before she was “unclean”. It’s a product of a male-dominated penis-loving culture and it makes absolutely so sense whatsoever.

        • Two thousand and loose change years ago, the Great God in Heaven Himself supposedly nailed a virgin named Mary. So there is the precedent, I suppose, that allows boys to be boys.

          My dad’s uncle, Werner Peterson, said once that “Ya, I hear dey’ve proved dat Jesus vasn’t born in Sveden.” (pause) “Dey know dat’s true because dere vasn’t no virgins dere!” 😆

  8. QOTD II:

    “Even at the bitter end, on the last possible day to defuse the crisis before the debt ceiling was breached, over 60% of House Republicans voted to push the US government into default, with incalculable but almost certainly catastrophic consequences. This is a very important point, with very ominous implications, that shouldn’t be forgotten or obscured.

    Is it unfair, one-sided, or exaggerated to suggest that the national Republican Party has become a dangerous menace to the republic, with no clearly visible redeeming features? I don’t think so,” – Jeff Weintraub.

    http://jeffweintraub.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-solid-majority-of-house-republicans.html

  9. Jeb Bush has advice for Republican Party “We have to have an agenda, we just can’t be against what’s in front of Washington, D.C. … maybe actually pass a law through the regular, normal order and see if it works.”

    Oh Jeb, you’re so 1980.

  10. someone tell me exactly why ,i or anyone else would fathom doing this?

    11:38 a.m. CDT, October 17, 2013

    The New York Times reports: A new company will allow fans to acquire a financial interest in professional athletes, with an initial public offering for a minority stake in Houston Texans running back Arian Foster set to become the first buying opportunity.

    Fantex Holdings, a start-up backed by prominent financial and sports executives, plans to market stocks that are tied to athletes’ value and performance.

    Get the full story: NYTimes.com

    Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

    • Sounds like an extension of fantasy football for people who have lots of disposable income. It certainly won’t be something sanctioned by the NFL, for a variety of reasons.

    • Probably the worry is the use of “imply” when he should have simply said it: Gohmert IS dumb. Stupid. Idiotic. Period. Republicans, as we all know, always and invariably demand the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. / / /

  11. MOM….you never taught me about lying fucking Republicans assholes.

    1. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
    “Your room looks like a tornado hit it.”
    2. My mother taught me about RELIGION.
    “You better pray that comes out of the carpet.”
    3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
    “If you don’t straighten up I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”
    4. My mother taught me about OSMOSIS.
    “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
    5. My mother taught me about the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
    “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.”
    6. My mother taught me about ENVY.
    “There are millions of less fortunate children in the world who don’t have wonderful parents like you.”
    7. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
    “You are going to get it when we get home.”
    8. My mother taught me about GENEOLOGY.
    “Take your shoes off in the house. You’re not a horse.”
    9. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
    “One day you’ll have kids… I hope they turn out just like you!”
    10. My mother taught me about LOGIC.
    “Because I said so, That’s why.”
    11. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
    “You’ll sit there until you eat all your vegetables.”
    12. My mother taught me about IRONY.
    “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

    • The GOP Shutdown Is Sedition and Shouldn’t be Forgiven

      The definition of sedition says among other things that “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire… by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States… they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

      And in case you hear that “force” means physical violence only, here’s the legal definition of extortion (a felony): “The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” “Official right” means a government official claiming he or she is acting under the law to commit extortion.

  12. An incredible quote from a Tea Partier who seems to no longer care about getting a majority:

    “There are two views on the right. One says more Republicans is better; the other says better Republicans is better,” said Dean Clancy, vice president of public policy for the Tea Party group FreedomWorks. “One view focuses on the number of Republicans in the Senate, the other on the amount of fight in the senators.”

    Enjoy your permanent minority status.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/10/the-conservative-war-on-the-gop/280637/

  13. Excellent post, frugal. What we are seeing in the aftermath of this fraudulent debacle could be called the Tebow Effect. People with an agenda hyping a talent for ideological reasons that turns out to not be ready for first string play.

    • Obama is responsible: If the President hadn’t made the republiscums drag out the debt limit deal Mathews would have been able to spend more time selling his book and you would have developed an interest in it. Fucking President!!

  14. Weather Channel Founder: Polar Bears Have Increased Because “Eskimos” Are Now “More Civilized”

    John Coleman, who is a weatherman for the independent news station KUSI News after being “forced” out of the Weather Channel, said in a segment on climate change this week that polar bear populations have increased because “the Eskimos no longer kill the polar bears for the meat and furs in order to stay alive, it’s — we have now become more civilized in our Eskimo populations around the poles.”

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