How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane

By David Neiwert [2], John Amato [3] PoliPoint Press [1] posted on Alternet.org, May 25, 2010 – The following is adapted from “Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane,” [4]due out next month from PoliPoint Press.

Excerpt

On the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States… those who opposed Obama precisely because he sought to become the nation’s first black president — it went well beyond the usual despair….So maybe it wasn’t really a surprise that they responded that day with the special venom and violence peculiar to the American Right…
We are seeing literally hundreds of incidents around the country — from cross-burnings to death threats to effigies hanging to confrontations in schoolyards, and it’s quite remarkable. I think that there are political leaders out there who are saying incredibly irresponsible things that could have the effect of undamming a real flood of hate. That includes media figures. On immigration, they have been some of the worst. There’s a lot going on, and it’s very likely to lead to scapegoating. And in the end, scapegoating leaves corpses in the street…

Full text

On the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United   States, much of the nation — particularly those who supported and voted for him — celebrated the election of the first African American to the country’s highest office. For those who voted for his opponent, John McCain, there was naturally the usual bitterness and disappointment.

Among a certain subset of those Americans, however — especially those who opposed Obama precisely because he sought to become the nation’s first black president – it went well beyond the usual despair. For them, November 5, 2008, was the end of the world. Or at least, the end of America as they knew it.

So maybe it wasn’t really a surprise that they responded that day with the special venom and violence peculiar to the American Right. Like the noose strung in protest from a tree limb in Texas.

Students at Baylor University in Waco discovered the noose hanging from a campus tree the evening of election day, near a site where angry Republican students had gathered Obama yard signs and burned them in a big bonfire. That same evening, a riot nearly broke out when Obama supporters, chanting the new president’s name, were confronted outside a residence hall by white students who told them: “Any nigger who walks by Penland [Hall], we’re going to kick their ass, we’re going to jump him.” The Obama supporters stopped and responded, “Excuse me?” — and somehow managed to keep the confrontation confined to a mere shouting match until police arrived and broke things up.

There were also the students on the North   Carolina State University campus, in Raleigh, who spent election night spraypainting such fun-loving messages as “Let’s shoot that Nigger in the head” and “Hang Obama by a noose.” The university’s administration was so upset by this behavior that it protected the students’ identities and refused to take any legal action against them or discipline them at all.

Those were just warm-ups from the student cheering section. The real thugs, exemplars of the dark side of the American psyche, were shortly to make their mark.

That night, four young white men from Staten Island “decided to go after black people” in retaliation for Obama’s election. The men first drove to the mostly black Park Hill neighborhood and assaulted a Liberian immigrant, beating him with a metal pipe and a police baton, as well as their fists and feet. They drove next to Port Richmond, where they assaulted another black man and verbally threatened a Latino man and a group of black people.

The hooligans finished up the night by attempting to drive next to a man walking home from his job as a Rite Aid manager and club him with the police baton. Instead, they simply hit him with their car, throwing him off the windshield and into a coma for over a month. The pedestrian was actually white, but this crew of geniuses managed to misidentify him as a black man. All four of the thugs wound up convicted of hate crimes and will spend the duration of Obama’s first term in prison. Look for them to turn up on Fox News in a few years claiming to be victims of the oppressive Obama administration.

The day after the election in Midland, Michigan, a discarded Ron Paul activist named Randy Gray (he had been peremptorily dismissed from the Paul campaign when his white-supremacist activism was revealed), dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia, stalked the sidewalk in the middle of a heavily trafficked intersection and waved an American flag. He also toted a handgun.

Police talked to Gray but let him continue his display after he told them his behavior had nothing to do with Obama winning the presidency.

A bus full of schoolkids in Rexburg, Idaho, started chanting “Assassinate Obama” just to tease the tiny minority of their fellow schoolkids who were Obama supporters. In Rexburg — where the population is more than 90 percent Mormon — that’s about three kids in the entire school. District officials didn’t discipline the children who had led the chants, but they did send a letter to the kids’ parents reminding them that students are to be told such behavior is unacceptable.

Then there were the arsons.

On election night, a black family in South   Ogden, Utah, came home from volunteering at their local polling station to discover that their American flag had been torched.

In Hardwick Township, New Jersey, a black man taking his eight-year-old daughter to school emerged from his front door the morning after the election to discover that someone had burned a six-foot-tall cross on his lawn, right next to the man’s banner declaring Obama president. It had been torched too.

Another cross was burned on the lawn of the only black man in tiny Apolacon Township, Pennsylvania, the night after the election. A black church in Springfield, Massachusetts, was burned to the ground the night of the election; three white men were arrested and charged with setting the fire as a hate crime.

And if the election itself wasn’t enough to bring the haters out of the woodwork, there was Obama’s inauguration on January 21, 2009.

Two days before the big event, arsonists in Forsyth County, Georgia, burned down the home of a woman who was a public supporter of Obama; she was in DC for the inauguration at the time. Someone also painted a racial slur on her fence, along with the warning “Your black boy will die.”

On inauguration day, someone taped newspaper articles featuring Obama onto the apartment door of a woman in Jersey   City, New Jersey, and set fire to the door. Fortunately, the woman had stayed home to watch the inauguration on TV and smelled the burning, and she was able to extinguish the fire before it spread. If only she could have done the same for the hate that sparked the act.

The day after the inauguration, a large, 22-year-old skinhead from Brockton, Massachusetts, named Keith Luke decided it was time to fight the “extinction” of the white race, so he bashed down the door of an African American woman and her sister and shot them both; one died. Police cornered and arrested Luke before he could pull off the next phase of his shooting rampage. According to the district attorney, Luke intended to “kill as many Jews, blacks, and Hispanics as humanly possible . . . before killing himself.” When he appeared in court a month later, Luke had carved a swastika into his forehead with a razor blade.

The pain and violence inflicted by these haters were just beginning.

In all, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), inMontgomery,Alabama, counted more than 200 “hate-related” incidents in the first weeks after the election of Barack Obama, a number that more than doubled after the inauguration. We called up the SPLC’s Mark Potok for his thoughts on what was happening. Here’s what he said:
I think there’s something remarkable happening out there. I think we really are beginning to see a white backlash that may grow fairly large. The situation’s worrying.

Not only do we have continuing nonwhite immigration, not only is the economy in the tank and very likely to get worse, but we have a black man in the White House. That is driving a kind of rage in a certain sector of the white population that is very, very worrying to me.

We are seeing literally hundreds of incidents around the country — from cross-burnings to death threats to effigies hanging to confrontations in schoolyards, and it’s quite remarkable. I think that there are political leaders out there who are saying incredibly irresponsible things that could have the effect of undamming a real flood of hate. That includes media figures. On immigration, they have been some of the worst. There’s a lot going on, and it’s very likely to lead to scapegoating. And in the end, scapegoating leaves corpses in the street.

Among the indicators of this spike in violent white racism was a sharp increase in business for white-supremacist Web sites like the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront. It collected more than 2,000 new members the day after the election. One poster to the Stormfront site, a North Las Vegas resident going by the moniker Dalderian Germanicus, reflected the consensus sentiment in the comments: “I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how ‘messiahs’ come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed.”

That theme popped up a lot among the denizens of the extremist Right in the weeks after the election. One middle-aged Georgian, quoted by an Associated Press reporter, voiced the typical view: “I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades, and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.”

For the American Right, 2008 was indeed the end of the world.

From Over the Cliff: How the Obama Election Drove the American Right Insane © 2010 by John Amato and David Niewert. Reprinted with permission from PoliPointPress, LLC, Sausalito, CA [5].

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Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/story/146963/how_obama%27s_election_drove_the_american_right_insane

Links:
[1] http://www.p3books.com/
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/david-neiwert
[3] http://www.alternet.org/authors/john-amato
[4] http://p3books.com/overthecliff/
[5] http://p3books.com
[6] http://www.alternet.org/tags/conservatives-0
[7] http://www.alternet.org/tags/tea-party-0
[8] http://www.alternet.org/tags/birthers-0
[9] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

Is America Losing Its Religion?

The Guardian [1] / By Sarah Posner [2] October 10, 2012 |

Last weekend, hundreds of conservative churches participated [3] in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”, during which pastors preached about electoral politics and sent recordings of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service. It’s a provocation: these pastors and their legal counsel hope to challenge the rarely-enforced IRS rule prohibiting candidate endorsements by tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, and take it all the way to theUS supreme court.

A new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life [4], which confirms previously observed trends of Protestant decline, accompanied by a rise in religiously unaffiliated Americans, casts serious doubt on whether the self-styled church freedom warriors are fighting a politically popular battle. Among the survey’s findings, two thirds of Americans (66%) believe churches shouldn’t endorse candidates. And 54% say churches should stay out of political matters entirely. Even a majority (56%) of white evangelicals agreed that churches should not endorse candidates.

Would these data cause the churches clamoring for a legal war with the IRS to pack their bags and go home? Of course not. In fact, in spite of these trends away from organized religion [5] and away from the entanglement of organized religion in politics, I would expect these culture war battles to ramp up – at least for the time being.

The religious right hasn’t spent millions [6] building up legal advocacy groups, pressing for conservative judicial appointees [7], and training lawyers and politicians to thump the Bible in legislatures and the courts for nothing. They’ve built an infrastructure to fight their battles, even as they lose public opinion wars. For their most ardent supporters, losing in the court of public opinion only serves as a call to redouble their efforts, to fulfil their call to carry out God’s plan for America.

But a provocation for secularists might emerge from these data: can they match the organization and intensity of their political adversaries?

Looking at the Pew survey, one wonders how long the religious right can continue to use the same battle plan. Yet, the data shows they are clearly losing the public. Another survey last week from the Public Religion Research Institute showed that while Mitt Romney [8] has the support of 80% of younger white evangelical millennials [9] (aged 18 to 25), this is a small and diminishing constituency: white evangelicals comprise only 12.3% [9] of that age group. That’s less than half their proportion of the 50 to 64 population. The Pew survey showed that while 32% of Americans aged 50 to 64 are white evangelicals, only 13% of those aged 18 to 29 are.

As Protestants have declined, percentages of Catholics have remained steady. While they are far less homogeneous politically than evangelicals (the Pew poll found Catholics favor legal abortion 50% to 45%, and same-sex marriage 53% to 37%), the generational trend lines might explain why religious conservatives are intensifying evangelical-Catholic alliances around issues like contraception coverage and same-sex marriage. This is further evidence that, despite demographic shifts, they’re not giving up without a fight – instead, shifting their strategy to frame these concerns as ones of “religious freedom”. If they’re a minority, they hope to reap political benefits from arguing at least that they are a persecuted one.

The Pew survey also found there are now as many “nones” as there are white evangelicals – each makes up 19% of the US population. But the generational trends are traveling even more starkly in a non-theist direction: 32% of 18 to 29 year-olds are unaffiliated, and 42% of those describe themselves as atheist or agnostic. That’s over ten points higher than the 21% of 30- to 49-year-old “nones” who describe themselves that way, and more than twice the 15% of 50- to 64-year-old “nones” who do.

That has to worry Republicans [10]. White evangelicals are the most sizable segment of their base and the unaffiliated – in particular, the atheists and agnostics – are the most sizable part of the Democratic base. Still, Republicans maintain a party identification advantage among Christians as a whole (with the exception of black Protestants and all Catholics, which includes Latino Catholics). Because Democrats [11], overall, have a party identification advantage over the GOP (48% to 43%, according to Pew), will those numbers make each party intensify their efforts to make religious voters happy, or encourage them to present a less religious case for election?

With a tight presidential race, and each campaign trying to peel away as many persuadable voters in swing states as possible, appeals to religion – including from the Obama camp – are likely to continue, if only to targeted audiences. Oddly, 67% of all groups, including nearly a third of “nones”, agree it’s important for the president to have “strong religious beliefs”. At the same time, though, 43% of all groups said it makes them uncomfortable when politicians talk about how religious they are.

The numbers are important, telling and potentially transformative for our politics. Yet, questions remain: there’s nothing in the Pew survey on public attitudes about religious freedom, church-state separation or the secular nature of our government. These are the issues around which the “nones” can organize. The religious right, whose leaders maintain America is in the throes of a revival, has spent decades mythologizing a “Christian nation”, denigrating and undermining church-state separation, and questioning the very American-ness of secularists.

While this is just one survey, and the “Christian nation” advocates retain their intensity and organization, there’s evidence here that an opening exists for a new revival: a secularist one.

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/belief/america-losing-its-religion

Links:
[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/sarah-posner-0
[3] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/08/us-usa-tax-pulpit-idUSBRE89700E20121008
[4] http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx
[5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/religion
[6] http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/22/report-tracks-explosion-of-religious-lobbying-in-washington/?hpt=hp_t2
[7] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/08/republicans-judicial-activism-supreme-courts
[8] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/mittromney
[9] http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/6473/young_white_evangelicals_will_vote_romney,_poll_finds/
[10] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/republicans
[11] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/democrats
[12] http://www.alternet.org/tags/religion-0
[13] http://www.alternet.org/tags/religious-right
[14] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

The Romney Men: 6 Filthy Rich Moguls Who Will Do Anything to Elect Mitt

AlterNet [1] / By Lynn Parramore [2] October 10, 2012

The following 1 percent wonders are doing just fine under Obama, but since their worldview is largely restricted to an obsession with their marginal tax rate, they can’t refrain from denouncing the president and thinking of new ways to thwart his re-election bid. The Romney men desperately want to see the first financier president, a man after their own cold hearts.

1. David Siegel, the Bitching Billionaire

Thanks to folks over at Gawker [3], we’ve gotten a look at the noxious activities of David Siegel, founder and CEO of national timeshare giant Westgate Resorts. Siegel is filthy rich and wants you to know it, building himself the largest (and possibly the tackiest) house in America. The documentary The Queen of Versailles [4] follows Siegel and his wife Jackie in pursuit of obscene excess in the form of a 90,000-square-foot homage to bad taste, complete with a 20-car garage, a two-story wine cellar, and a 30-foot stained glass dome.

Though he brags that his company is more profitable than ever, Siegel, an avid Republican, recently sent an email to his thousands of employees suggesting that they would lose their jobs if Barack Obama is re-elected. In addition to dispensing voting advice, Siegel wallows in 1 percent self-pity:

“They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. They label us the ‘1%’ and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I’m building. I’m sure many people think that I live a privileged life.”

Three swimming pools? Privileged? Perish the thought.

In high narcissistic style, Siegel goes on to praise himself for the “hard work, discipline, and sacrifice” that built a company “which by the way, would eventually employ you.” He laments the sacrifices he has endured since the Recession for the good of his workers: “Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.” Siegel spends most of the rest of the letter bitching that shiftless Americans expecting a “bailout” in the form of higher taxes on fatcats will drive him to theCaribbean, where he will ensconce himself under a palm tree and cease to worry about the little people.

Edward Ericson Jr., formerly a reporter for the Orlando Weekly, has a different take [5] on how the slimy Siegel made his money, a tale of running scams and ripping off customers.

2. “Neutron” Jack Welch

The former head of General Electric and big-time Romney fan has been making quite a spectacle of himself since last Friday. Incensed by the favorable jobs report, he went on a conspiracy theory rampage, accusing the Obama administration of manipulating the report in order to secure the election. After receiving a barrage of criticism, he told MSNBC host Chris Matthews [6] that he had no evidence to prove such claims. Then he went on to make them anyway. Why should a gazillionaire bother with evidence?

He has since left Fortune magazine in a huff — the very publication that once named him Manager of the Century — after managing editor Andy Serwer suggested that his claims were absurd.

Ironically, the man levying charges of cooking the books is the one who wrote the cookbook. Barry Ritholtz of the Big Picture reminds us [7] that Welch had a nasty habit of manipulating GE’s earnings while he was CEO of the company. In his article “You Don’t Know Jack, [7]” Jonathan R. Laing describes how Welch committed epic misdeeds at GE while enjoying such perks as an $80,000-a-month New York pad, a corporate jet, payment for country-club fees, and a host of other luxuries.

A funny one to be going on about jobs, Jack Welch is a key architect of the business style focused on short-run profits, overspeculation, and obsession with stock prices, which, in addition to killing innovation and helping to blow up the world economy in 2008, has caused untold hardship for workers. Welch is a long-time champion of increasing profits by laying off employees, destroying so many jobs at GE that he earned the nickname “Neutron Jack.” When he wasn’t thinking of new ways to deliver pink slips, he was busy denying the health threats of PCBs that GE was dumping intoNew York’sHudson River.

“You can’t just call me old and senile,” complained Welch [8] in the wake of the jobs report flap. Okay, that would be mean. How about crooked and despicable?

3. Casino King Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson likes to go big. He heads up possibly the largest gambling and casino operation on the planet. And he spends big-time bucks trying to manipulate the American political system.

Adelson is unhappy with President Obama’s policies on Israel, and claims that’s why he supports Mitt Romney for president. But according to the New York Times [9], his company is also under investigation [9] by the Obama Justice Department for foreign bribery and money laundering. Could the gambling honcho be hoping a Romney victory would make the pesky investigation disappear?

Annoucing that beating President Obama “isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” Adelson has unleashed $70 million trying to influence the outcome of the 2012 elections — more than any individual has spent in any U.S. election to date. He has vowed to spend up to $100 million in total by election day.

Adelson also has a special knack [10] for helping the new class of Asian elites enjoy ridiculous luxuries, such as a drink that comes with a one-carat diamond available at his nightclub inSingapore’s Marina Bay Sands casino. The drink sells for $26,000.

4. Donald Trump: Plutocratic Personality Disorder

When it comes to stratospheric greed and arrogance, it’s hard to beat the Donald. How could a man famous for the phrase, “You’re fired!” not love a man who claimed to enjoy putting people out of work [11]? Naturally Trump just can’t say enough good things about Romney. And he fully has Mitt’s back on those repugnant remarks made at a Florida fundraiser that characterized nearly half the country as freeloading losers. Trump announced [12] that not only should Romney not apologize, but that “what he said is probably what he means.” Much obliged for the clarification.

When Obama’s name comes up, the words “birth certificate” are never far from Trump’s lips. That and frequent questions about the president’s academic credentials.

The poster child for plutocratic personality disorder, Trump is obsessed with talking about himself, naming things after himself, and surrounding himself with pictures of – you guessed it — himself. Maybe that’s to compensate for the fact that he’s actually a pretty crappy businessman and perpetually in need of money. After spending time with Trump and discussing his various luxury properties, the New Yorker’s Mark Singer concluded [13] that the man “had aspired to and achieved the ultimate luxury, an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.”

5. and 6. Koch Brothers, Unlimited

No list of Romney men would be complete without the billionaire brothers who made their fortune in the oil and gas industries. Over three decades, Charles and David Koch have spent more than $100 million pushing their freaky libertarian agenda, which for years they did on the QT until the Obama presidency horrified them to such a degree that they could no longer hide in the shadows. There is no tax they don’t abhor, no environmental protection they don’t wish to kill, and no safety net they don’t ardently desire to shred. Romney, who aims to shield the rich from paying their fair share of taxes and offers an energy plan tailored to the needs of the oil, coal and gas industries, is their man forWashington.

The damage that these tycoons do to our natural world, our democracy and our sense of public trust would be difficult to overestimate. Whether they’re trying to resegregate schools (they tried to do this to my very own public school district in Wake County, North Carolina), repress votes, privatize Social Security, or dump toxic waste into rivers that sicken whole communities, the Koch brothers are indefatigable in their efforts and inexhaustible in their check-writing. (Check out the documentary The Koch Brothers Exposed [14], featuring AlterNet’s political writer Adele Stan.)

As AlterNet executive editor Don Hazen has noted [15], Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan is the Koch brothers’ hand-picked darling, a perfect vehicle for their twisted, cult-of-selfishness Ayn Rand philosophy. Ryan serves his masters by repeating Koch falsehoods on Medicare [16], scheming to steal your retirement [17], denying climate change [18] and cutting taxes on the rich and corporations.

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/romney-men-6-filthy-rich-moguls-who-will-do-anything-elect-mitt

Links:
[1] http://www.alternet.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/lynn-parramore
[3] http://gawker.com/5950189/the-ceo-who-built-himself-americas-largest-house-just-threatened-to-fire-his-employees-if-obamas-elected
[4] http://www.magpictures.com/thequeenofversailles/
[5] http://blogs.citypaper.com/index.php/2012/10/vote-obama-out-or-youre-fired/
[6] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/05/usa-economy-jackwelch-idUSL1E8L5E4P20121005
[7] http://www.smartmoney.com/invest/markets/you-dont-know-jack-18796/
[8] http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/jack-welch-tells-twitterverse-hes-not-old-or
[9] http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/embracing-sheldon-adelson/
[10] http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/the-001-percenters-drink-from-sheldon-adelson/
[11] http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57355212-503544/mitt-romney-i-like-being-able-to-fire-people-for-bad-service/
[12] http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81328.html#ixzz28v7cKTE4
[13] http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/04/donald-trump-mark-singer.html#ixzz28v5LKwbZ
[14] http://http://www.kochbrothersexposed.com/
[15] http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/9-reasons-romneys-choice-paul-ryan-veep-smarter-you-think
[16] http://www.politicususa.com/policy-wonk-paul-ryan-medicare-lies-straight-koch-brothers.html
[17] http://wallstreetonparade.com/2012/09/how-dangerous-is-the-charles-kochpaul-ryan-ticket-to-your-social-security/
[18] http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/13/1119905/-Is-Paul-Ryan-doing-the-Koch-Brothers-Bidding

Grover Norquist – Romney Will Do As He’s Told

By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit, posted on winningprogressive.org, October 10, 2012

Excerpt

At the conservative “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut Svengali said about Mitt Romney:

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United   States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group started by oil billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. The AFP funds the “Tea Party” and special interest groups that work against Democratic initiatives, opposing protections for workers, the environment, labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Regarding the “legislation that has already been prepared”, perhaps you also remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). The corporate funded organization that rewrites the laws that govern our lives. Through ALEC and the model legislation written by the organization, corporations have a voice and a vote in our daily lives. You didn’t really believe Citizens United was an accident did you?…

Full text

At the conservative “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut Svengali said about Mitt Romney:

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United   States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group started by oil billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. The AFP funds the “Tea Party” and special interest groups that work against Democratic initiatives, opposing protections for workers, the environment, labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Regarding the “legislation that has already been prepared”, perhaps you also remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). The corporate funded organization that rewrites the laws that govern our lives. Through ALEC and the model legislation written by the organization, corporations have a voice and a vote in our daily lives. You didn’t really believe Citizens United was an accident did you?

The Ugly Duckling

How and why do you suppose a candidate who was so poorly thought of became the celebrated nominee? Here’s what leading Republicans have said about Romney:

Rick Santorum: “”We need someone who’s bold and courageous, someone who’s willing to go out and say, ‘I’m for these things because they are my convictions,’ not because I put a finger in the air and that’s where the public is today…..Why would we pick someone who’s had a record that is as a liberal governor of Massachusetts to lead our country at a time we need fundamental change?”

Gingrich:This is a campaign of people power versus money power…. He understands a lot about finance, but finance is not the free market, and Wall Street is not Main Street, and giant businesses are not small businesses.”

Michele Bachmann: “If you look at Mitt Romney, he…has been very inconsistent on his positions. He has been on both sides of the abortion issue, on both sides of the issue of same-sex marriage.”“They (voters) want to know what’s the truth. They’re not interested in a chameleon.”

Rick Perry: “I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies, if they truly were venture capitalists, but they’re not…..They’re vulture capitalists.”

Rush Limbaugh: “ Mitt Romney is not a Conservative….Romney is a flip-flopper like John Kerry was; he’s gonna be saying one thing here when he gets to the White House is gonna turn into a moderate. I can think of things, like 2006 or 2007, Romney inMassachusetts says, “I’m not a conservative Republican, I’m a moderate.”

“TheMassachusettshealthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance. Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.”

Mike Huckabee: “I think a lot of people are deceived, and you have to ask do people want to elect a president who has been dishonest in order to get the job and said things about his opponents that simply aren’t true?”

Sarah Palin: Romney should both release his tax returns and substantiate his claim that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs.

Senator Marco Rubio: “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for President, but they didn’t.”

Sheldon Adelson: “He’s not a bold decision maker…”

Former GOP Virginia Rep. Tom Davis: “He may not be Mr. Personality, uh, you know, this is a guy who gives a fireside chat and the fire goes out.”

Rudy Giuliani: “I’ve never seen a guy change his position so many times, so fast, on a dime.”

Former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman: “I don’t think that Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to create jobs in the LBO (leveraged buyout) business. The LBO business is about how to strip cash out of old, long-in-the-tooth companies and how to make short-term profits. All the jobs that he talks about came from Staples. That was a very early venture stage deal. That, you know they got out of long before it got to its current size.”

David Frum: “…..the problem is that Romney hasn’t shown backbone to stick with his positions.”

George Will: “Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate… Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis…”

And last but not least:

John McCain: compiled a 200 page Romney opposition research book which is available online thanks to BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski.

Now they all support Romney for President? Flip-flopping must be contagious. But then again, like Grover Norquist said, “….We just need a president to sign this stuff….a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

http://www.winningprogressive.org/grover-norquist-romney-will-do-as-hes-told

Why Are Americans So Easy to Manipulate and Control?

By Bruce E. Levine [2] AlterNet [1] / October 11, 2012

Excerpt

What a fascinating thing! Total control of a living organism! — psychologist B.F. Skinner

The corporatization of society requires a population that accepts control by authorities, and so when psychologists and psychiatrists began providing techniques that could control people, the corporatocracy embraced mental health professionals….

[Noam Chomsky and Lewis Mumford said] society ruled by benevolent control freaks—was antithetical to democracy...Behaviorism and consumerism, two ideologies which achieved tremendous power in the twentieth century, are cut from the same cloth. The shopper, the student, the worker, and the voter are all seen by consumerism and behaviorism the same way: passive, conditionable objects…, there is an insidious incentive for control-freaks in society

The Anti-Democratic Nature of Behavior Modification

Behavior modification is fundamentally a means of controlling people and thus for Kohn, “by its nature inimical to democracy, critical questioning, and the free exchange of ideas among equal participants.”…

In democracy, citizens are free to think for themselves and explore, and are motivated by very real—not phantom—intrinsic forces, including curiosity and a desire for justice, community, and solidarity.

What is also scary about behaviorists is that their external controls can destroy intrinsic forces of our humanity that are necessary for a democratic society….

Behavior modification can also destroy our intrinsic desire for compassion, which is necessary for a democratic society…How, in a democratic society, do children become ethical and caring adults? They need a history of being cared about, taken seriously, and respected, which they can model and reciprocate…

Full text

What a fascinating thing! Total control of a living organism! — psychologist B.F. Skinner

The corporatization of society requires a population that accepts control by authorities, and so when psychologists and psychiatrists began providing techniques that could control people, the corporatocracy embraced mental health professionals.

In psychologist B.F. Skinner’s best-selling book Beyond Freedom and Dignity [3] (1971), he argued that freedom and dignity are illusions that hinder the science of behavior modification, which he claimed could create a better-organized and happier society.

During the height of Skinner’s fame in the 1970s, it was obvious to anti-authoritarians such as Noam Chomsky (“The Case Against B.F. Skinner” [4]) and Lewis Mumord that Skinner’s worldview—a society ruled by benevolent control freaks—was antithetical to democracy. In Skinner’s novel Walden Two (1948), his behaviorist hero states, “We do not take history seriously”; to which Lewis Mumford retorted, “And no wonder: if man knew no history, the Skinners would govern the world, as Skinner himself has modestly proposed in his behaviorist utopia.”

As a psychology student during that era, I remember being embarrassed by the silence of most psychologists about the political ramifications of Skinner and behavior modification.

In the mid-1970s, as an intern on a locked ward in a state psychiatric hospital, I first experienced one of behavior modification’s staple techniques, the “token economy.” And that’s where I also discovered that anti-authoritarians try their best to resist behavior modification. George was a severely depressed anti-authoritarian who refused to talk to staff but, for some reason, chose me to shoot pool with. My boss, a clinical psychologist, spotted my interaction with George, and told me that I should give him a token—a cigarette—to reward his “prosocial behavior.” I fought it, trying to explain that I was 20 and George was 50, and this would be humiliating. But my boss subtly threatened to kick me off the ward. So, I asked George what I should do.

George, fighting the zombifying effects of his heavy medication, grinned and said, “We’ll win. Let me have the cigarette.” In full view of staff, George took the cigarette and then placed it into the shirt pocket of another patient, and then looked at the staff shaking his head in contempt.

Unlike Skinner, George was not “beyond freedom and dignity.” Anti-authoritarians such as George—who don’t take seriously the rewards and punishments of control-freak authorities—deprive authoritarian ideologies such as behavior modification from total domination.

Behavior Modification Techniques Excite Authoritarians

If you have taken introductory psychology, you probably have heard of Ivan Pavlov’s “classical conditioning” and B.F. Skinner’s “operant conditioning.”

An example of Pavlov’s classical conditioning? A dog hears a bell at the same time he receives food; then the bell is sounded without the food and still elicits a salivating dog. Pair a scantily-clad attractive woman with some crappy beer, and condition men to sexually salivate to the sight of the crappy beer and buy it. The advertising industry has been utilizing classical conditioning for quite some time.

Skinner’s operant conditioning? Rewards, like money, are “positive reinforcements”; the removal of rewards are “negative reinforcements”; and punishments, such as electric shocks, are labeled in fact as “punishments.” Operant conditioning pervades the classroom, the workplace, and mental health treatment.

Skinner was heavily influenced by the book Behaviorism (1924) by John B. Watson. Watson achieved some fame in the early 1900s by advocating a mechanical, rigid, affectionless manner in child rearing. He confidently asserted that he could take any healthy infant and, given complete control of the infant’s world, train him for any profession. When Watson was in his early forties, he quit university life and began a new career in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.

Behaviorism and consumerism, two ideologies which achieved tremendous power in the twentieth century, are cut from the same cloth. The shopper, the student, the worker, and the voter are all seen by consumerism and behaviorism the same way: passive, conditionable objects.

Who are Easiest to Manipulate?

Those who rise to power in the corporatocracy are control freaks, addicted to the buzz of power over other human beings, and so it is natural for such authorities to have become excited by behavior modification.

Alfie Kohn, in Punished by Rewards (1993), documents with copious research how behavior modification works best on dependent, powerless, infantilized, bored, and institutionalized people. And so for authorities who get a buzz from controlling others, this creates a terrifying incentive to construct a society that creates dependent, powerless, infantilized, bored, and institutionalized people.

Many of the most successful applications of behavior modification have involved laboratory animals, children, or institutionalized adults. According to management theorists Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham in Work Redesign (1980), “Individuals in each of these groups are necessarily dependent on powerful others for many of the things they most want and need, and their behavior usually can be shaped with relative ease.”

Similarly, researcher Paul Thorne reports in the journal International Management (“Fitting Rewards,” 1990) that in order to get people to behave in a particular way, they must be “needy enough so that rewards reinforce the desired behavior.”

It is also easiest to condition people who dislike what they are doing. Rewards work best for those who are alienated from their work, according to researcher Morton Deutsch (Distributive Justice, 1985). This helps explain why attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-labeled kids perform as well as so-called “normals” on boring schoolwork when paid for it (see Thomas Armstrong’s The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, 1995). Correlatively, Kohn offers research showing that rewards are least effective when people are doing something that isn’t boring.

In a review of the literature on the harmful effects of rewards, researcher Kenneth McGraw concluded that rewards will have a detrimental effect on performance under two conditions: “first, when the task is interesting enough for the subjects that the offer of incentives is a superfluous source of motivation; second, when the solution to the task is open-ended enough that the steps leading to a solution are not immediately obvious.”

Kohn also reports that at least ten studies show rewards work best on simplistic and predictable tasks. How about more demanding ones? In research on preschoolers (working for toys), older children (working for grades) and adults (working for money), all avoided challenging tasks. The bigger the reward, the easier the task that is chosen; while without rewards, human beings are more likely to accept a challenge.

So, there is an insidious incentive for control-freaks in society—be they psychologists, teachers, advertisers, managers, or other authorities who use behavior modification. Specifically, for controllers to experience the most control and gain a “power buzz,” their subjects need to be infantilized, dependent, alienated, and bored.

The Anti-Democratic Nature of Behavior Modification

Behavior modification is fundamentally a means of controlling people and thus for Kohn, “by its nature inimical to democracy, critical questioning, and the free exchange of ideas among equal participants.”

For Skinner, all behavior is externally controlled, and we don’t truly have freedom and choice. Behaviorists see freedom, choice, and intrinsic motivations as illusory, or what Skinner called “phantoms.” Back in the 1970s, Noam Chomsky exposed Skinner’s unscientific view of science, specifically Skinner’s view that science should be prohibited from examining internal states and intrinsic forces.

In democracy, citizens are free to think for themselves and explore, and are motivated by very real—not phantom—intrinsic forces, including curiosity and a desire for justice, community, and solidarity.

What is also scary about behaviorists is that their external controls can destroy intrinsic forces of our humanity that are necessary for a democratic society.

Researcher Mark Lepper was able to diminish young children’s intrinsic joy of drawing with Magic Markers by awarding them personalized certificates for coloring with a Magic Marker. Even a single, one-time reward for doing something enjoyable can kill interest in it for weeks.

Behavior modification can also destroy our intrinsic desire for compassion, which is necessary for a democratic society. Kohn offers several studies showing “children whose parents believe in using rewards to motivate them are less cooperative and generous [children] than their peers.” Children of mothers who relied on tangible rewards were less likely than other children to care and share at home.

How, in a democratic society, do children become ethical and caring adults? They need a history of being cared about, taken seriously, and respected, which they can model and reciprocate.

Today, the mental health profession has gone beyond behavioral technologies of control. It now diagnoses noncompliant toddlers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and pediatric bipolar disorder and attempts to control them [5] with heavily sedating drugs. While Big Pharma directly profits from drug prescribing, the entire corporatocracy benefits from the mental health profession’s legitimization of conditioning and controlling.

Bruce E. Levine [6], a practicing clinical psychologist, writes and speaks about how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His latest book is Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite [7]. His Web site is www.brucelevine.net [6]

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/why-are-americans-so-easy-manipulate-and-control

Links:
[1] http://www.alternet.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/bruce-e-levine
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Freedom_and_Dignity
[4] http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19711230.htm
[5] http://www.alternet.org/story/153634/7_reasons_america%27s_mental_health_industry_is_a_threat_to_our_sanity/?page=entire
[6] http://www.brucelevine.net/
[7] http://www.amazon.com/Get-Stand-Populists-Energizing-Corporate/dp/1603582983/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292688109&sr=1-8
[8] http://www.alternet.org/tags/psychiatry-0
[9] http://www.alternet.org/tags/consumer
[10] http://www.alternet.org/tags/authoritarianism
[11] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

Liberalism’s Glass Jaw

by Ross Douthat, New York Times, October 9, 2012

Last month, Republicans staring at defeat in November alternated between blaming Mitt Romney and blaming the American people, when they should have been looking harder at the flaws in contemporary conservatism. Now that Romney has surged back into contention, liberals are making a similar mistake. They’re focusing too intently on the particular weaknesses of President Obama’s debate performance, rather than on the weaknesses in Obama-era liberalism that last Wednesday’sDenver showdown left exposed.

Four years ago, the Obama presidency was hailed as the beginning of an extended liberal renaissance – a new New Deal, a resurrected Camelot, a return to the glory days of Lyndon Johnson beforeVietnamwrecked his presidency. Health care reform was the highest priority, but it was only supposed to be the beginning. With the Democrats enjoying huge congressional majorities, everything seemed to be on the table: Immigration reform, a program to combat climate change, card-check legislation, a wave of trust-busting in the banking sector – and at the least, the very least, a return to Clinton-era tax rates.

There is no world in which all of these hopes could have been perfectly realized. But the ways in which they’ve been disappointed have delivered some hard lessons. It isn’t just that Obama failed to live up to the (frankly impossible) standard set by his 2008 campaign, and the media adoration that accompanied it. It’s that the nature of his failures speak to the limits of the liberal project, and the tensions and contradictions within the liberal coalition.

Sometimes Obama-era liberalism has disappointed because it has failed outright. The defeat of cap-and-trade legislation and the stillborn push for immigration reform exposed the deep fissures within the Democratic party, and particularly the divide between the enlightened do-goodism of the party’s upper middle class supporters and the economic interests of its remaining blue-collar constituents.

The steadily worsening deficit picture, meanwhile, has been a reminder that an expanding government balance sheet only makes sense if you can persuade taxpayers to pay more to cover it, which Obama’s party hasn’t done. More importantly, given the limit to how much money can be extracted from the wealthy, it only makes sense if you persuade middle class taxpayers to pay more, which Obama’s party hasn’t even tried to do.

But the Obama administration’s legislative successes have offered hard lessons to liberals as well. Indeed, it’s the failures of the successes, if you will, that have cast the longest shadow across his re-election effort.

First, there was the failure of stimulus bill to deliver anything like the kind of rebound that Obama’s technocrats confidently projected. This failure isn’t necessarily an indictment of the theory behind Keynesian economics. But at the very least it exposes two limitations on Keynesianism in practice: The difficulties that even experts can have assessing the true state of the economy, and the ways in which the push and pull of democratic politics makes it difficult to simply keep throwing money at a problem.

Then came the White House’s failure to sell the public on its health care bill, which exacerbated the stimulus’s underperformance – by leading to months of wrangling when Washingtonshould have been reckoning with the economy instead – and then cost the Democrats dearly at the polls in 2010. This failure of salesmanship doesn’t in and of itself discredit the bill’s provisions. But at the very least it demonstrates that the redistributive policies liberals favor will only be accepted if they’re founded on a secure base of economic growth – growth that Obama’s policies, unlike F.D.R.’s or L.B.J.’s, have conspicuously failed to produce.

More broadly, all of Obama’s signature accomplishments have tended to have the same weakness in common: They have been weighed down by interest-group payoffs and compromised by concessions to powerful insiders, from big pharma (which stands to profit handsomely from the health care bill) to the biggest banks (which were mostly protected by the Dodd-Frank financial reform). It may have been an empty rhetorical gesture, but the fact that Romney could actually out-populist the president on “too big to fail” during the last debate speaks to the Obama-era tendency for liberalism to blur into a kind of corporatism, in which big government intertwines with big business rather than restraining it.

Again, every administration has its share of disappointments, and every ideology has to make concessions to political reality. But what we don’t see in this campaign cycle is much soul-searching from Democrats about the ways in which their agenda hasn’t worked out as planned.

Instead, in a country facing a continued unemployment crisis and a looming deficit crunch, liberals have rallied behind a White House whose only real jobs program is “stay the course” and whose plan to deal with long-term deficits relies on the woefully insufficient promise to tax the 1 percent. When Obama insiders wax optimistic about what a second term might bring, they mostly talk about pursuing legislation on climate change and immigration yet again, without explaining why things will turn out differently this time around.

This lack of a plausible vision, more than his stutters and missed opportunities, is what doomed the president in last week’s debate. His responses to Romney were strikingly backward-looking – alternating between “we’re already doing that” and “we tried that under Republicans, and it didn’t work,” and rarely pivoting effectively to “here’s what we should do next.”

It’s not that Romney offered some detailed, brilliantly persuasive alternative. He didn’t, and couldn’t, because his party has at best a sketch of a policy agenda rather than a blueprint. But Romney isn’t running for re-election, and this was a case where merely seeming forward-looking, energetic and reassuring was enough to remind Americans of all the ways that the Obama era has disappointed them – and in so doing, sent shivers down liberalism’s glass jaw.

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/douthat-liberalisms-glass-jaw/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121010&pagewanted=print

Myth and Its Dangers

by Gary Hart, published by HuffingtonPost.com, October 7, 2012

Excerpt

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John Kennedy, speech at Yale University during the Cold War

…Myths in politics… “Widely held but false idea” is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage…myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction…Myths in politics are dangerous… Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth. If this strange world were the product of mere laziness it might be understandable. But today’s political myths are more perverse. They are a conscious hiding place from a changing, challenging, and often uncomfortable new world….Myths which have no basis in truth, or which do not operate as metaphors for religious truth, eventually fade away with the passing of those who perpetuate them and in the face of reality and fact. But the most dangerous myths create demons where none exist, the demons being anyone who disagrees with the myth-makers. In the meantime, however, they serve not only to delude the deniers but to frustrate our Founders’ belief in the progress of the human mind.

Full text

Myths play a central role as metaphor in many world religions, according to Joseph Campbell. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth he studied the world mythologies, found common themes in a wide variety of cultures, and reached a startling conclusion: myths, he said, come from dreams and, therefore, people around the world have common dreams. It is a profound and still controversial insight for religion, psychology, and human culture. Students in all these fields continue to consider the power of myth.

Myths in politics, however, play a much different role. “Widely held but false idea” is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage. For reasons that are still unclear, myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth thatIraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

There are other cases in point. Barack Obama is a Muslim born inKenyaand therefore not an American citizen. These are myths, yet they are widely believed in certain circles. Poor people are poor by choice. A classic myth. A rising tide lifts all boats. Much more true when we were an industrial society and manufacturing products created jobs. Much less true when the economic tide is one of finance and money manipulation which lifts the gilded yachts but not the rowboats of the rest of us. Jobs are not created when crackpot financial schemes make hedge fund managers rich. Thus, a myth.

Myths in politics are dangerous. In an important speech at YaleUniversityduring the Cold War, John Kennedy said:

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

He was speaking of the myths on both sides that perpetuated a Cold War in a dangerous way.

Exactly 50 years later, no assessment comes closer to describing much of our current political world. Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth.

If this strange world were the product of mere laziness it might be understandable. But today’s political myths are more perverse. They are a conscious hiding place from a changing, challenging, and often uncomfortable new world. Globalization, immigration, cultural and racial diversity are threatening and frightening to many who wish to freeze the former comfortable world in time and prevent any change.

Myths which have no basis in truth, or which do not operate as metaphors for religious truth, eventually fade away with the passing of those who perpetuate them and in the face of reality and fact. But the most dangerous myths create demons where none exist, the demons being anyone who disagrees with the myth-makers. In the meantime, however, they serve not only to delude the deniers but to frustrate our Founders’ belief in the progress of the human mind.

Gary Hart is President of Hart International, Ltd.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-hart/myth-and-its-dangers_b_1946636.html?utm_hp_ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=100812&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

Conspiracy World – Editorial NYT

New York Times, October 9, 2012

When Republicans began questioning President Obama’s birth certificate four years ago, it seemed at first like a petulant reaction to a lost election, a flush of nativist and racist anger that would diminish over time. But the preposterous charges never went away. As this election cycle shows, many in the Republican Party continue to see the president as the center of a broad and malevolent liberal conspiracy to upend the truth.

To live and seethe in that world of conspiracy theories means rejecting any form of objective reality. When unemployment numbers make the administration look good, they are obviously “cooked.” When poll numbers put Mr. Obama ahead, they are skewed. Birth certificates are forgeries. Safety-net programs are giveaways to supporters. Health insurance reform is socialism. And campaign donation disclosure is antibusiness.

It’s an upside-down version of life, and it is not innocuous. When desperation leads political critics of the president to discredit important nonpolitical institutions — including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office — the damage can be long-lasting. If voters come to mistrust the most basic functions of government, the resulting cynicism can destroy the basic compact of citizenship.

Last week, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate had fallen to 7.8 percent, depriving Mitt Romney of his standard talking point that the rate had never been below 8 percent during Mr. Obama’s term. No one expected Republicans to celebrate a positive trend for the country, but almost immediately the anchors on Fox News and the editors of right-wing Web sites saw something more sinister: a conspiracy, led by the Obama campaign, to manipulate the numbers to make the president look good a month before the election.

The charge was absurd. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which along with the Census Bureau conducts the underlying household survey, is run by career civil servants and is impervious to political pressure and manipulation, as all but the hypnotized in Washington understand. But, this time, the conspiracy theorists went beyond the usual suspects. Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric, said Mr. Obama’s Chicago staff obviously changed the numbers, though he had no evidence of chicanery beyond the outrageous charge that the numbers came from an “ideologue division of the federal government.

To Mr. Welch and his fellow cynics, the facts were inconvenient, so they had to be wrong. And not just wrong, but deliberately so. That’s the same mentality that led ideologues last month to accuse independent pollsters of deliberately skewing polls to show Mr. Obama ahead, though no such charges are emerging now that Mr. Romney is improving in the polls. And this trend is reinforced when people who know better, like Newt Gingrich and Senator John McCain, trash the civil servants at the State Department and the Congressional Budget Office. (Mr. Romney, to his credit, did not question the latest jobless figures.)

Democrats aren’t happy about the latest polls, but they aren’t suggesting Mr. Romney is manipulating them, just as they didn’t undermine the Bureau of Labor Statistics when the jobless numbers were high. Many are far more worried about a conspiracy that is verifiable and serious: the concerted effort by Republicans over the last four years to deprive minorities, poor people and other likely Democratic supporters of their voting rights.

That, of course, doesn’t seem to bother those who see “Chicago’s” evil hand everywhere. When there is real-world evidence of political collusion, the conspiracy theorists are nowhere to be found.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/opinion/conspiracy-world.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121010

The Amnesia Candidate by Paul Krugman

by Paul Krugman, New York Times, April 22, 2012

Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? If you’ve been following his campaign from the beginning, that’s a question you have probably asked many times.

But the question was raised with particular force last week, when Mr. Romney tried to make a closed drywall factory in Ohio a symbol of the Obama administration’s economic failure. It was a symbol, all right — but not in the way he intended.

First of all, many reporters quickly noted a point that Mr. Romney somehow failed to mention: George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, was president when the factory in question was closed. Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?

Yes, it does. Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009, that is, before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. So theOhio speech was a perfect illustration of the way the Romney campaign is banking on amnesia, on the hope that voters don’t remember that Mr. Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall.

How does the campaign deal with people who point out the awkward reality that all of the “Obama” job losses took place before any Obama policies had taken effect? The fallback argument — which was rolled out when reporters asked about the factory closure — is that even though Mr. Obama inherited a deeply troubled economy, he should have fixed it by now. That factory is still closed, said a Romney adviser, because of the failure of Obama policies “to really get this economy going again.”

Actually, that factory would probably still be closed even if the economy had done better — drywall is mainly used in new houses, and while the economy may be coming back, the Bush-era housing bubble isn’t.

But Mr. Romney’s poor choice of a factory for his photo-op aside, I guess accusing Mr. Obama of not doing enough to promote recovery is a better argument than blaming him for the effects of Bush policies. However, it’s not much better, since Mr. Romney is essentially advocating a return to those very same Bush policies. And he’s hoping that you don’t remember how badly those policies worked.

For the Bush era didn’t just end in catastrophe; it started off badly, too. Yes, Mr. Obama’s jobs record has been disappointing — but it has been unambiguously better than Mr. Bush’s over the comparable period of his administration.

This is especially true if you focus on private-sector jobs. Overall employment in the Obama years has been held back by mass layoffs of schoolteachers and other state and local government employees. But private-sector employment has recovered almost all the ground lost in the administration’s early months. That compares favorably with the Bush era: as of March 2004, private employment was still 2.4 million below its level when Mr. Bush took office.

Oh, and where have those mass layoffs of schoolteachers been taking place? Largely in states controlled by the G.O.P.: 70 percent of public job losses have been either inTexasor in states where Republicans recently took control.

Which brings me to another aspect of the amnesia campaign: Mr. Romney wants you to attribute all of the shortfalls in economic policy since 2009 (and some that happened in 2008) to the man in the White House, and forget both the role of Republican-controlled state governments and the fact that Mr. Obama has faced scorched-earth political opposition since his first day in office. Basically, the G.O.P. has blocked the administration’s efforts to the maximum extent possible, then turned around and blamed the administration for not doing enough.

So am I saying that Mr. Obama did everything he could, and that everything would have been fine if he hadn’t faced political opposition? By no means. Even given the political constraints, the administration did less than it could and should have in 2009, especially on housing. Furthermore, Mr. Obama was an active participant in Washington’s destructive “pivot” away from jobs to a focus on deficit reduction.

And the administration has suffered repeatedly from complacency — taking a few months of good news as an excuse to rest on its laurels rather than hammering home the need for more action. It did that in 2010, it did it in 2011, and to a certain extent it has been doing the same thing this year too. So there is a valid critique one can make of the administration’s handling of the economy.

But that’s not the critique Mr. Romney is making. Instead, he’s basically attacking Mr. Obama for not acting as if George Bush had been given a third term. Are the American people — and perhaps more to the point, the news media — forgetful enough for that attack to work? I guess we’ll find out.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/opinion/krugman-the-amnesia-candidate.html?_r=0

 

The Fascinating Story of How Shameless Right-Wing Lies Came to Rule Our Politics

By Rick Perlstein [2], article first appeared in Mother Jones [1], posted on Alternet.org, May 26, 2011

Excerpt

It takes two things to make a political lie work: a powerful person or institution willing to utter it, and another set of powerful institutions to amplify it. The former has always been with us…So why does it seem as if we’re living in a time of overwhelmingly brazen deception? What’s changed?…a network of media enablers helps it to make a sound — until enough people believe the untruth to make the lie an operative part of our political discourse.

…right-wing ideologues “lie without consequence,” as a desperate Vincent Foster put it in his suicide note nearly two decades ago. But they only succeed because they are amplified by “balanced” outlets that frame each smear as just another he-said-she-said “controversy.”…What’s new is the way the liars and their enablers now work hand in glove. That I call a mendocracy, and it is the regime that governs us now.

Full text

It takes two things to make a political lie work: a powerful person or institution willing to utter it, and another set of powerful institutions to amplify it. The former has always been with us: Kings, corporate executives, politicians, and ideologues from both sides of the aisle have been entirely willing to bend the truth when they felt it necessary or convenient. So why does it seem as if we’re living in a time of overwhelmingly brazen deception? What’s changed?

Today’s marquee fibs almost always evolve the same way: A tree falls in the forest — say, the claim that Saddam Hussein has “weapons of mass destruction,” or that Barack Obama has an infernal scheme to parade our nation’s senior citizens before death panels. But then a network of media enablers helps it to make a sound — until enough people believe the untruth to make the lie an operative part of our political discourse.

For the past 15 years, I’ve spent much of my time deeply researching three historic periods — the birth of the modern conservative movement around the Barry Goldwater campaign, the Nixon era, and the Reagan years — that together have shaped the modern political lie. Here’s how we got to where we are.

PROLOGUE: Just Making Stuff Up

When an explosion sunk the USS Maine [5] off the coast of Havana on February 15, 1898, the New YorkJournal claimed two days later, “Maine Destroyed By Spanish: This Proved Absolutely By Discovery of the Torpedo Hole.” There was no torpedo hole [6]. The Journal had already claimed that a Spanish armored cruiser, “capable, naval men say, of demolishing the great part ofNew York in less than two hours,” was on its way. “WAR! SURE!” a banner headline announced.

The instigator was a politically ambitious publisher, William Randolph Hearst [7]. Kicked out of Harvard for partying, and eager to make a name for himself outside the shadow of his mining-magnate father, he made his way to New York, where he led the way in a sensationalist new style of newspaper publication — “yellow journalism.” In a fearsome rivalry with Joseph Pulitzer [8], he chose as his vehicle the sort of manly imperialism to which theWashington elites of the day were certainly sympathetic — although far too cautiously for Hearst’s taste. “You furnish the pictures,” he supposedly telegraphed a reporter, “and I’ll furnish the war.” The tail wagged the dog. At a time when the only way to communicate rapidly across long distances was via telegraph, it proved easy to make up physical facts.

More than six decades later, that still seemed to be the case. “Some of our boys are floating around in the water,” Lyndon Johnson told congressmen to goad them into passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution [9] authorizing war in 1964, after a supposed attack on an American PT boat. “Hell, those dumb stupid sailors were just shooting at flying fish,” LBJ observed later, after the deed was done. That resolution inaugurated a decade of official American military activities in Southeast Asia (unofficially, we had been carrying out secret acts of war for years). A full-scale air war began the following February, after the enemy shelled the barracks of 23,000 American “advisers” [10] in a South Vietnamese town called Pleiku. But that was just a pretext. “Pleikus are like streetcars,” LBJ’s national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, said — if you miss one, you can always just hop on another. The bombing targets had been in the can for months, even as LBJ was telling voters on the campaign trail [11], “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

It would have been possible all along for some intrepid soul to drop the dime on the whole thing. There were many who knew or suspected the truth, but with a villain as universally feared as communism was during the Cold War years, denying the facts felt like the only patriotic thing to do.

Then everything changed.

The ’70s: Question Authority

Walter Cronkite traveled to Saigon after the Tet Offensive in 1968, saw things with his own eyes, and told the truth: The Vietnam War was stuck in a disastrous stalemate, no matter what the government said. That was a watershed. By 1969, none other than former Marine Commandant David M. Shoup endorsed a book on the war called Truth Is the First Casualty [12]. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers [13], the Department of Defense study that plainly revealed that just about everything Americans had been told about Southeast Asia was flat-out untrue. When the Nixon administration ordered the newspapers not to publish the Papers, Supreme Court Justice Hugo* [14] Black thundered back [15] that “for the first time in the 182 years since the founding of the Republic, the federal courts are asked to hold that the First Amendment does not mean what it says.” The searing melodrama of the Watergate investigation exposed new Nixon lies every day.

America, it seemed, had had enough. In the mid-’70s, the investigating committees of Sen. Frank Church and Rep. Otis Pike revealed to a riveted public [16] that the CIA had secretly assassinated foreign leaders and the FBI had spied on citizens. Ralph Nader became a celebrity by exposing corporate lies. The mood of the Cold War had been steeped in American exceptionalism: The things America did were noble because they were done by America. Now, it appeared that America just might be susceptible to the same cruel compromises and corruptions as every other empire the world has known. Truth-telling became patriotic — and the more highly placed the liar, the more heroic the whistleblower.

The investigative reporter became a sexy new kind of hero — a shaggy-haired loner, too inquisitive for his own good, played by Warren Beatty [17] and Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman [18]. Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer from Plains, swooped in from nowhere to take the White House on the strength of the modest slogan “I’ll never lie to you.” And during his presidency, one of the grand, founding lies of western civilization itself — that there need be no limits to humans’ domination of the Earth — was questioned as never before.

The truth hurt, but the incredible thing was that the citizenry seemed willing to bear the pain. All sorts of American institutions — Congress, municipal governments, even the intelligence community (the daring honesty of CIA Director William Colby [19] about past agency sins was what helped fuel the Church and Pike investigations) — launched searching reconstructions of their normal ways of doing business. Alongside all the disco, the kidnapped heiresses, and the macramé [20], another keynote of 1970s culture was something quite more mature: a willingness to acknowledge that America might no longer be invincible, and that any realistic assessment of how we could prosper and thrive in the future had to reckon with that hard-won lesson.

Then along came Reagan.

The ’80s: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

In researching this period, I’ve been surprised to discover the extent to which Ronald Reagan explicitly built his appeal around the notion that it was time to stop challenging the powerful. A new sort of lie took over: that the villains were not those deceiving the nation, but those exposing the deceit — those, as Reagan put it in his 1980 acceptance speech [21], who “say that the United States has had its day in the sun, that our nation has passed its zenith.” They were just so, so negative. According to the argument Reagan consistently made, Watergate revealed nothing essential about American politicians and institutions — the conspirators “were not criminals at heart [22].” In 1975, upon the humiliating fall of Saigon, he paraphrased Pope Pius XII [23] to make the point that Vietnam had in fact been a noble cause: “America has a genius for great and unselfish deeds. Into the hands of America, God has placed the destiny of an afflicted mankind.”

The Gipper’s inauguration ushered in the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” era of political lying. But it took a deeper trend to accelerate the cultural shift away from truth-telling-as-patriotism to a full-scale epistemological implosion.

Reagan rode into office accompanied by a generation of conservative professional janissaries convinced they were defending civilization against the forces of barbarism. And like many revolutionaries, they possessed an instrumental relationship to the truth: Lies could be necessary and proper, so long as they served the right side of history.

This virulent strain of political utilitarianism was already well apparent by the time the Plumbers were breaking into the Democratic National Committee: “Although I was aware they were illegal,” White House staffer Jeb Stuart Magruder [24] told the Watergate investigating committee, “we had become somewhat inured to using some activities that would help us in accomplishing what we thought was a legitimate cause.”

Even conservatives who were not allied with the White House had learned to think like Watergate conspirators. To them, the takeaway from the scandal was that Nixon had been willing to bend the rules for the cause. The New Right pioneer M. Stanton Evans once told me [25], “I didn’t like Nixon until Watergate.”

Though many in the New Right proclaimed their contempt for Richard Nixon, a number of its key operatives and spokesmen in fact came directly from the Watergate milieu. Two minor Watergate figures, bagman Kenneth Rietz (who ran Fred Thompson’s 2008 presidential campaign [26]) and saboteur Roger Stone [27] (last seen promoting a gubernatorial bid by the woman who claimed to have been Eliot Spitzer’s madam) were rehabilitated into politics through staff positions in Ronald Reagan’s 1976 presidential campaign. G. Gordon Liddy became a right-wing radio superstar.

“We ought to see clearly that the end does justify the means,” wrote evangelist C. Peter Wagner [28] in 1981. “If the method I am using accomplishes the goal I am aiming at, it is for that reason a good method.” Jerry Falwell once said his goal was to destroy the public schools. In 1998, confronted with the quote, he denied making it [29] by claiming he’d had nothing to do with the book in which it appeared. The author of the book was Jerry Falwell.

Direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie made a fortune bombarding grassroots activists with letters shrieking things like “Babies are being harvested and sold on the black market by Planned Parenthood.” As Richard Nixon told his chief of staff on Easter Sunday [30], 1973, “Remember, you’re doing the right thing. That’s what I used to think when I killed some innocent children inHanoi.”

1990-Present: False Equivalencies

Conservatives hardly have a monopoly on dissembling, of course — consider “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Progressives’ response has always been that right-wing mendacity — cover-ups of constitutional violations like Iran-Contra; institutionalized truth-corroding tactics like when the Republican National Committee circulates fliers claiming that Democrats seek to outlaw the Bible [31]– is more systematic. But the deeper problem is a fundamental redefinition of the morality involved: Rather than being celebrated, calling out a lie is now classified as “uncivil.” How did that happen?

Back in the days when network news was the only game in town, grave-faced, gravelly voiced commentators like David Brinkley and Eric Sevareid — and on extraordinary occasions anchors like Walter Cronkite [32]– told people what to think about the passing events of the day. Much of the time, these privileged men unquestioningly passed on the government’s distortions. At their best, however, they used their moral authority to call out lies with a kind of Old Testament authority — think Cronkite reporting from Saigon. It drove Johnson out of office, and it drove the right berserk.

On November 3, 1969, Richard Nixon gave a speech claiming he had a plan to wind down the war. The commentators went on the air immediately afterward and told the truth as they saw it: that he had said nothing new. Ten days later, the White House announced that Vice President Spiro Agnew was about to give a speech that it expected all three networks to cover — live.

The speech was an excoriation of those very networks and their Stern White Men [33]– “this little group of men who not only enjoy a right of instant rebuttal to every presidential address, but more importantly, wield a free hand in selecting, presenting, and interpreting the great issues of our nation…. The American people would rightly not tolerate this kind of concentration of power in government. Is it not fair and relevant to question its concentration in the hands of a tiny and closed fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one, and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned and licensed by government?” Those in the habit of exposing the sins of the powerful were no longer independent arbiters — they were liberals. Such was the bias, Agnew argued, of “commentators and producers [who] live and work in the geographical and intellectual confines of Washington,DC, or New York   City,” who “bask in their own provincialism, their own parochialism.”

Foreshadowing Reagan’s framing of reform-minded truth-telling as a brand of elitist meddling, Agnew singled out for opprobrium the kind of reporting that “made ‘hunger’ and ‘black lung’ disease national issues overnight” (quotation marks his). TV reporting from Vietnam had done “what no other medium could have done in terms of dramatizing the horrors of war” — and that, too, was evidence of liberal bias.

Agnew’s remarks reinforced a mood that had been building since at least the 1968 Democratic National Convention, when many viewers complained about the media images of police beating protesters. By the 1980s the trend was fully apparent: News became fluffier, hosts became airier — less assured of their own moral authority. (Around this same time, TV news lost its exceptional status within the networks — once accepted as a “loss leader” intended to burnish their prestige, it was increasingly subject to bottom-line pressures.)

There evolved a new media definition of civility that privileged “balance” over truth-telling — even when one side was lying. It’s a real and profound change — one stunningly obvious when you review a 1973 PBS news panel hosted by Bill Moyers and featuring National Review editor George Will, both excoriating the administration’s “Watergate morality.” Such a panel today on, say, global warming would not be complete without a complement of conservatives, one of them probably George Will [34], lambasting the “liberal” contention that scientific facts are facts — and anyone daring to call them out for lying would be instantly censured. It’s happened to me more than once — on public radio, no less.

In the same vein, when the Obama administration accused Fox News [35] of not being a legitimate news source, the DC journalism elite rushed to admonish the White House. Granted, they were partly defending Major Garrett, the network’s since-departed White House correspondent and a solid journalist — but in the process, few acknowledged that under Roger Ailes, another Nixon veteran, management has enforced an ideological line top to bottom.

The protective bubble of the “civility” mandate also seems to extend to the propagandists whose absurdly doctored stories and videos continue to fool the mainstream media. From blogger Pamela Geller [36], originator of the “Ground Zero mosque” falsehood, to Andrew Breitbart’s video attack on Shirley Sherrod [37] — who lost her job after her anti-discrimination speech was deceptively edited to make her sound like a racist — to James O’Keefe’s fraudulent sting [38]against National Public Radio, right-wing ideologues “lie without consequence,” as a desperate Vincent Foster put it in his suicide note [39] nearly two decades ago. But they only succeed because they are amplified by “balanced” outlets that frame each smear as just another he-said-she-said “controversy.”

And here, in the end, is the difference between the untruths told by William Randolph Hearst and Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the ones inundating us now: Today, it’s not just the most powerful men who can lie and get away with it. It’s just about anyone — a congressional back-bencher, an ideology-driven hack, a guy with a video camera — who can inject deception into the news cycle and the political discourse on a grand scale.

Sure, there will always be liars in positions of influence — that’s stipulated, as the lawyers say. And the media, God knows, have never been ideal watchdogs — the battleships that crossed the seas to avenge the sinking of the Maine attest to that. What’s new is the way the liars and their enablers now work hand in glove. That I call a mendocracy, and it is the regime that governs us now.

 

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/story/151109/the_fascinating_story_of_how_shameless_right-wing_lies_came_to_rule_our_politics

Links:
[1] http://www.motherjones.com
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/rick-perlstein-0
[3] http://motherjones.com/
[4] http://motherjones.com/about/interact-engage/free-email-newsletter
[5] http://www.pbs.org/crucible/tl10.html
[6] http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq71-1.htm
[7] http://www.zpub.com/sf/history/willh.html
[8] http://www.pulitzer.org/biography
[9] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/249172/Gulf-of-Tonkin-Resolution
[10] http://books.google.com/books?id=KUEEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=pleiku+attack&source=bl&ots=UW2LWGBinB&sig=MYXAjdHf_shPcy8qPqXz831-aEQ&hl=en&ei=4_yVTbafAYT2swP_3IHbBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFcQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=pleiku%20attack&f=false
[11] http://millercenter.org/president/lbjohnson/essays/biography/5
[12] http://www.amazon.com/Truth-first-casualty-illusion-reality/dp/B0006C04GW
[13] http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1871.html
[14] http://motherjones.com/print/106121#correction
[15] http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0403_0713_ZC.html
[16] http://www.archive.org/details/militarysurveill00unit
[17] http://parallax-view.org/2009/08/14/the-parallax-view-an-introduction/
[18] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/features/dcmovies/allthepresidentsmen.htm
[19] http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wcolby.htm
[20] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macram%C3%A9
[21] http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/speeches/rhetoric/rraccept.htm
[22] http://books.google.com/books?id=5crGrqD4W-sC&pg=PA385&dq=were+not+criminals+at+heart,+reagan&hl=en&ei=Iv-VTe-NIZCssAOJi6nIBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=were%20not%20criminals%20at%20heart%2C%20reagan&f=false
[23] http://books.google.com/books?id=CExclJtH1qYC&pg=PT55&dq=America+has+a+genius+for+great+and+unselfish+deeds.+Into+the+hands+of+America,+God+has+placed+the+destiny+of+an+afflicted+mankind&hl=en&ei=Sv-VTeHUBpDksQOMkoTTBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=America%20has%20a%20genius%20for%20great%20and%20unselfish%20deeds.%20Into%20the%20hands%20of%20America%2C%20God%20has%20placed%20the%20destiny%20of%20an%20afflicted%20mankind&f=false
[24] http://www.amazon.com/American-Life-Mans-Road-Watergate/dp/0689106033
[25] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-perlstein/i-didnt-like-nixon-until-_b_11735.html
[26] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/12/AR2007111202007.html
[27] http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/02/080602fa_fact_toobin
[28] http://www.amazon.com/Your-Church-Grow-Peter-Wagner/dp/1579105890
[29] http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Missing+book+mystery%3A+solved%3A+Pennsylvania+sleuth+helps+Americans…-a0108267238
[30] http://books.google.com/books?id=ajLBlZwwB0IC&pg=PA594&lpg=PA594&dq=Remember,+you%27re+doing+the+right+thing.+That%27s+what+I+used+to+think+when+I+killed+some+innocent+children+in+Hanoi&source=bl&ots=6mS-kaKp16&sig=wdYabimj6yGr2G4LZL5QTVVmYcY&hl=en&ei=1wGWTcGuNYv2tgPmmdjZBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Remember%2C%20you%27re%20doing%20the%20right%20thing.%20That%27s%20what%20I%20used%20to%20think%20when%20I%20killed%20some%20innocent%20children%20in%20Hanoi&f=false
[31] http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/24/politics/campaign/24bible.html?pagewanted=print&position=
[32] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/17/eveningnews/main5170556.shtml
[33] http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/spiroagnewtvnewscoverage.htm
[34] http://climateprogress.org/2009/02/15/george-will-global-cooling-warming-debunked/
[35] http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/white-house-vs-fox-news-not-just-fox-opinion/
[36] http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/
[37] http://www.slate.com/id/2261552/
[38] http://motherjones.com/media/2011/03/james-okeefe-investigative-journalism
[39] http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://i.cdn.turner.com/trutv/trutv.com/graphics/photos/notorious_murders/celebrity/vincent_foster/torn-note.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/celebrity/vincent_foster/7.html&usg=__Z0cPXO2891PC9TAeInEOhROgQZs=&h=439&w=410&sz=67&hl=en&start=0&sig2=kBBnUa8GdqXFygMwvW0veA&zoom=1&tbnid=VGTO_WY8FWbowM:&tbnh=123&tbnw=116&ei=JQWWTdytG5S4sAP01qXrBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dfoster%2Bsuicide%2Bnote%26hl%3Den%26prmdo%3D1%26biw%3D1920%26bih%3D890%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=118&vpy=68&dur=1684&hovh=232&hovw=217&tx=114&ty=107&oei=JQWWTdytG5S4sAP01qXrBQ&page=1&ndsp=82&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0
[40] http://www.alternet.org/tags/media-0
[41] http://www.alternet.org/tags/gop
[42] http://www.alternet.org/tags/conservatives-0
[43] http://www.alternet.org/tags/lies
[44] http://www.alternet.org/tags/nixon
[45] http://www.alternet.org/tags/breitbart-0
[46] http://www.alternet.org/tags/political-lying
[47] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B