Saturday, May 31, 2014

Conservative Tide Continues To Ebb, Particularly On Social Issues


Are Conservative lies and propaganda finally taking them down?  There's a new Gallup Poll that tells us that voter sentiment may have changed in America as David Lauter reports in the LA Times in his story, "Conservative Tide Continues To Ebb, Particularly On Social Issues."

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"May 28, 2014 4:22PM.


"Self-professed conservatives have long outnumbered liberals in America, but the gap has narrowed significantly in the last four years, particularly on social issues, a shift that could harm GOP prospects in future elections.

"On social issues, the number of people who identify themselves as liberal is now almost equal to the share who say they are conservative, according to the latest polling by Gallup. For years, conservatives held an advantage.

"About one-third of Americans identify with either group. Another third call themselves moderates on social issues. As recently as 2010, conservatives had a 17-point advantage over liberals on social issues in Gallup’s polling.

"A similar shift has taken place on economic issues, although the conservative advantage remains bigger in that realm.

"Just as a rising conservative tide helped Republicans in 2010, a waning one -- if it continues – could pose problems for the party in future elections. Republican strategists already worry about the gap separating the party from black, Latino and Asian American voters, and an ideological gap would add to their burden.

"Measuring how people identify themselves ideologically doesn’t necessarily reveal how they will vote on specific issues or candidates. Many Americans do not have consistent ideologies. Moreover, a person who identifies as a moderate in a place like California might easily be considered liberal in Texas. But the shift in how Americans identify themselves on social issues has coincided with stronger support for liberal positions on issues including same-sex marriage, the death penalty and legalized marijuana.

"Moreover, shifts in ideological identification do provide some clues to voting patterns. Typically, the public becomes more liberal when conservatives hold power and more conservative under liberal administrations – seemingly reacting against the perceived excesses of whichever party holds power.

"Moreover, shifts in ideological identification do provide some clues to voting patterns. Typically, the public becomes more liberal when conservatives hold power and more conservative under liberal administrations – seemingly reacting against the perceived excesses of whichever party holds power.

"That tendency proved dramatically true after President Obama’s election, when a conservative flood began to gather in 2009 and peaked in 2010.

"Since then, however, the tide has ebbed. The conservative edge on social issues, 4 percentage points, is the smallest Gallup has measured in the 14 years it has tracked American ideologies. On economic issues, the gap was significant, with conservatives at 42% to 21% for liberals, with 34% calling themselves moderate. But the conservative advantage has narrowed from 36 percentage points in 2010 to the current 21 points, matching the narrowest previous gap, in 2007 and 2008, when Obama first won the presidency.

"Public opinion has not moved across the board. On social issues, the Republican identification as conservative has held steady while Democrats have become more likely to call themselves liberal.

"On economic issues, the two parties have moved away from each other. Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP are far more likely to call themselves conservative now than they were a decade ago. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the largest share identify as moderates on economic issues, but the share who call themselves liberal has grown from about one-quarter a decade ago to more than one-third now.

"The findings underscore earlier polling suggesting the country is more polarized than in the past."


(Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times, contact David Lauter at david.lauter@latimes.com.)

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As usual though, Democrats will probably lose some seats as another story by David Lauter, "Republicans Poised For Midterm Gains, Polling Indicates."

"The latest Pew Research Center poll shows that 47% of registered voters say they plan to vote for a Republican candidate or lean that direction compared with 43% who say they support or lean toward the Democrats.

"Republicans have a particularly strong lead with groups of voters who tend to turn out in midterm elections, according to the poll, which was done for USA Today. Men 50 and older, for example, lean toward the GOP, 55% to 37%.


"Republicans also have a 50%-39% lead among voters in the South, where several of the most hotly contested U.S. Senate races are taking place this year. They have a narrower lead in the Midwest, while Democrats have a small lead in the Northeast and West."

The article notes that a lot can change in six months, but if the Conservatives take over the Senate and you think that Conservatives have inflicted enough misery on their own citizens, you ain't seen nothing yet.



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"I like that about the Republicans; the evidence does not faze them, they are not
bothered at all by the facts."

Bill Clinton.


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Friday, May 30, 2014

New Poll: Americans Think The Supreme Court Is Political, Closed Off, And Got Citizens United Wrong


Are Americans waking up to the depredations against democracy being committed at the Supreme Court?  Maybe so as the title to our post today says it all in a piece by Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.com, "New Poll: Americans Think The Supreme Court Is Political, Closed Off, And Got Citizens United Wrong," and "Only 36% of Americans believe the justices usually decide cases based only on the law, according to a new poll being released Wednesday.


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Supreme Court justices attend the State of the Union speech on Jan. 28. Larry Downing / Reuters
"WASHINGTON — Only about a third of Americans believe the Supreme Court decides cases based on the law alone, according to new polling data about the court.

"According to the new poll, Americans believe the Supreme Court justices are political, letting their personal views sway their decisions — an opinion held across party lines. And more than three-quarters of Americans oppose the Citizens United ruling four years after the Supreme Court handed down the landmark campaign finance decision.

"By large margins, Americans say they would also like to see more openness and accountability from the Supreme Court — on topics from access to courtroom proceedings to financial disclosures and ethics rules — as well as an end to lifetime terms.


"The polling, done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps and provided in advance to BuzzFeed, comes as the justices are considering the final cases of the term, all of which are expected to be decided by the end of next month, and tracks with other polling from Pew and Gallup showing the court’s favorability at historic lows.

"In mid-April, the Coalition for Court Transparency asked the court “to consider making the live audio feed of oral arguments publicly accessible” in letters sent to the justices — a move that the new polling shows is supported by 67% of Americans. An even greater portion of respondents, 71%, said television cameras should be allowed to record and broadcast the proceedings live.

"Majorities of Republican, Democratic, and Independent respondents all told the pollsters that “the current U.S. Supreme Court justices often let their own personal or political views influence their decisions” — 54% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans, and 63% of Independents, for a total result of 60% of respondents agreeing with the statement. Only 36% of respondents agree that “the current U.S. Supreme Court justices usually decide their cases based on legal analysis without regard to their own personal or political views.”


"Specifically regarding the Supreme Court’s Citizens United campaign financedecision from 2010, respondents were told:



"In response, 80% of Americans opposed the decision and 18% supported it. Although Republicans (72%) were less opposed to the decision than Democrats (82%), it was Independents (84%) most opposed to the decision.


"Of the recent decision in McCutcheon, pollsters told people that 'the Supreme Court recently overturned a law that had been on the books for the last 40 years that limited the total amount of money any individual may donate to all federal political campaigns and political parties in a single election cycle.' A slight majority of respondents, at 51%, believed the decision would lead to more corruption, though many, at 38%, believed it would make no difference. Only 8% believe the decision will lead to less corruption.

"As with Citizens United, Independents are most opposed to the McCutcheondecision, with 56% believing it will lead to more corruption and only 5% believing it will lead to less corruption. Democrats are 52%–11% on that count, while Republicans are 47%–12%.

"A majority of Americans, per the polling, also strongly support ending the lifetime tenure of justices. In questions split between the respondents, half were asked whether lifetime tenure should be changed to a fixed 18-year term while the other half were just asked if lifetime tenure should be ended and replaced with a fixed term. The total support for ending lifetime tenure, depending on the wording of the question, is at least 70%, with “strong” support being at least 53%.

"A change supported by 85% of respondents would be for the justices to have to follow the U.S. Judicial Code of Conduct, “the ethical code that binds other federal judges — from which [the justices] are currently exempt.” At the same time, 80% of Americans believe justices should need to disclose “any outside activities paid for by others … in their annual financial disclosure reports.”

"The polling is based on a survey of 1,004 Americans over the age of 18, conducted from April 16–24. It has a margin of error of 3.1% at the 95% confidence level."




********************


It's time to re-read Vincent Bugliosi's book, The Betrayal of America, on the 2000 judicial coup de etat by the Conservative faction in the SCOTUS that put one of the worst presidents in our history in place -- for the scathing version he wrote for The Nation, "None Dare Call It Treason," click here --> http://www.thenation.com/article/none-dare-call-it-treason.

In real estate it's location, location, location and in politics it's timing, timing, timing.  If the House weren't under the control of the Conservatives this would be a perfect time to impeach the Fascist Five.

For those who can't wait until Conservatism is criminalized, you might try kicking them out by voting this year, though traditionally Democrats stay home in mid-year elections along with the Low Information Voters.



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"Today's so-called 'conservatives' don't even know what the word means. They think
I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a
decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders
or the Religious Right. It's not a conservative issue at all."

Barry Goldwater.


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Fraudulent Two-Tiered Justice System


About a third of all Americans believe that the Supreme Court decides law based on politics, and today's post by Carl Gibson at Opednew.com, "Our Fraudulent Two-Tiered Justice System," tells us what else is wrong with America's judiciary.


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'We're all familiar with the golden rule, right? I'm not talking about the 'do unto others' bit from The Bible, but the "He who has the gold makes the rules" one. Nowhere is this golden rule more evident than in the American justice system. And it won't change until we collectively refuse to acknowledge its legitimacy. Matt Taibbi also makes this point eloquently in his book 'The Divide.'

"The most glaring evidence of our fraudulent judicial branch is shown in the treatment of Credit Suisse's admission that it helped up to 22,000 wealthy Americans hide approximately $12 billion in assets from the IRS. Attorney General Eric Holder got everyone worked up into a frenzy when he made a statement that big banks who engaged in criminal activity were 'no longer too big to jail.'

"But that turned out to be false when Credit Suisse, who enabled tax dodging on a massive scale, was allowed to slide back into good graces by paying a $2.6 billion fine, which amounts to 10% of its annual $26.2 billion in revenues. That's a lesser rate than lawful Americans pay in taxes. The penalty assessed by the US Department of Justice is essentially a 'cost of doing business.' Disgust over such lax treatment is likely why the US's top tax enforcer stepped down after negotiating the settlement after originally saying she would favor prosecution of the bank.

"When you combine Credit Suisse's kid-gloves treatment with similar lax settlements for HSBC-- who helped launder money for violent Mexican drug cartels -- and the pittance of a settlement JPMorgan Chase had to pay for swindling millions of Americans out of their homes in fraudulent foreclosure schemes, the golden rule is clearly the guiding principle for the US Justice Department. We need not even mention all of the fraud and deception from Bank of America, Citigroup, and other big banks that created the subprime housing bubble, got bailed out after it burst, and never faced any jail time. Even the chief of the International Monetary Fund has said that the biggest banks haven't changed a bit since the financial crisis.


"However, a much different brand of justice is saved for those without the gold to make the rules. Cecily McMillan, a grad student, while trying to lawfully leave the scene at a protest, had her breast grabbed from behind by a plainclothes police officer who never identified himself as a cop. Reacting reflexively, she inadvertently struck the officer with her elbow. McMillan was then beaten in the street until she had a seizure, was never given medical attention, and was arrested on the charge of assaulting a police officer. At the trial, Judge Ronald Zweibel allowed no discussion of the violent past of her attacker, Grantley Bovell, who had a history of unprovoked attacks on civilians. Zweibel also didn't allow discussion of the NYPD's violent crackdown on nonviolent protesters in the Occupy Wall Street encampment. While McMillan got only three months out of what could have been a seven-year sentence, it's still an injustice that a sexual assault victim was the one to do time, not her attacker.

"Another sexual assault victim who won't ever see justice served to her attacker is the three-year-old daughter of Robert H. Richards IV. Richards is the great-grandson of Irenee DuPont, of the DuPont chemical dynasty. He lives off of trust fund money in a $1.8 million, 5,800-square-foot mansion. Richards' daughter told her grandmother that she didn't 'want my daddy touching me anymore,' detailing her father's history of sexual assault throughout her young life. Richards faced two charges of second-degree rape of a child, which is normally a mandatory 20-year prison sentence. However, his judge allowed him to skate on a probation rap, saying he 'wouldn't fare well' in prison.

"Richards fared much better than Gregory Taylor, a homeless man who was victimized by California's draconian 'three strikes' law. Since 1994, the state of California has had a policy stating that anyone who commits an offense after having previously been convicted of the same offense gets double the jail time. Anyone who commits that same offense again is automatically sentenced to 25 years to life. For most "three strikes" offenders, the harsh punishments they face are simply the result of crimes committed out of economic necessity. In Gregory Taylor's case, he had broken into a church kitchen to steal bread, because he was hungry and had no money. Taylor was sentenced to 25 years, but was mercifully released from prison after eight years behind bars.


"On the other hand, one California man who should have definitely been behind bars for at least 25 years is Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO of RadiumOne. Chahal was caught on video beating and kicking his girlfriend 117 times during a 30-minute attack, and faced 43 felony counts. But Chahal's money and status as a tech CEO in the San Francisco Bay Area got him a lawyer who negotiated his punishment down to probation, attendance at a domestic violence class, and 25 hours of community service. Chahal's attorney is James Lassart, a former federal prosecutor who is also defending state senator Leland Yee, who faces multiple corruption charges. San Francisco Superior Court judge Brendan Conroy didn't allow the surveillance video showing the 30-minute attack to be used as evidence, on the grounds that police obtained the video illegally, while prosecutors argued the video would have been erased if police filed for a warrant.

"We as a nation can see these gross injustices in the judicial sphere, but there are only two options -- either we allow the fraudulent two-tiered justice system to continue, or we refuse to accept its legitimacy, by voting out justices who are electable, voting out the politicians who appoint unelected justices, and simply not respecting the decisions made by the Supreme Court.

"While judges can't state their political opinions when running for elections, it's completely acceptable to ask candidates for judicial posts about whether or not they will uphold the law regardless of a person's privileged status, either in race, gender, or class. What we allow is what will continue."


(Carl Gibson, 27, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nonviolent grassroots movement that mobilized thousands to protest corporate tax dodging and budget cuts in the months leading up to Occupy Wall Street. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary We're Not Broke, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Carl is also the author of How to Oust a Congressman, an instructional manual on getting rid of corrupt members of Congress and state legislatures based on his experience in the 2012 elections in New Hampshire. He lives in Sacramento, California.)

********************


We've already talked about the corrupt "Fascist Five," the Conservative majority on the Supreme Court with our post, "Supreme Court's War On Democracy," but this article completes the picture on the corrupt judicial system in this country.

To those who describe the Golden Rule as "He who makes the rules gets the gold" had to be thinking about the American political system -- especially the judiciary and the banks.


It wasn't that long ago that judges and bankers were prestigious positions, but no more -- thanks to Bush v. Gore and the Low Information Voter who looks the other way when these Conservative judges are elected or appointed.

And once upon a time voters remembered who caused the 1920 Crash and subsequent Depression and voted the Democratic ticket -- until the election of a typical Conservative do-nothing president, Eisenhower and the ascension of subsequent Conservatives starting with Reagan and ending with Bush 43.

Wake up Sheeple, it may be too late to cast off your chains unless we toss these crooks off the bench post haste and criminalize the greatest criminal cartel in history -- American Conservatism.



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"Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear."

William E. Gladstone.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Fake Patriotism of Fox News,


Paul Rosenberg has an article at Alternet.org, "The Fake Patriotism of Fox News," or "What the right doesn't get about Memorial Day," that isn't much of a surprise to our regular readers but might be for the Fox News crowd.


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"Memorial Day — or Decoration Day, as it is also known — is a day of remembrance. But what, exactly, are we remembering? That is a question worth pondering this Memorial Day weekend. But first, to get warmed up, here’s an easier one: Which of these is not like the others?


"(A) On Memorial Day, 1983, President Ronald Reagan attended a summit meeting in Williamsburg, Va., with leaders of the industrialized democracies, while Deputy Secretary of Defense W. Paul Thayer laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery during the Memorial Day ceremony.

"(B) On Memorial Day, 1992, President George H.W. Bush attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he also made brief remarks at an American Legion hall, and played a round of golf, while Vice President Dan Quayle laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

"(C) On Memorial Day, 2002, President Bush George W. Bush attended a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery in France.

"(D) On Memorial Day, 2010, President Barack Obama attended a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, while Vice President Joe Biden participated in the customary wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

"The answer, of course, is 'D' — at least in the Fox News universe. Rightwing media figures quickly attacked Obama for 'trampling on tradition' and showing his disrespect for veterans and the military, as Media Matters reported at the time. On his radio show, Glenn Beck said, 'I am sick and tired — sick and tired — of people believing the lie that this administration has respect for the police or has respect for the soldiers of our country. I’m tired of it.; RedState blogger Erick Erickson tweeted:
"Obama skipping the Tomb of the Unknowns this weekend for Chicago is offensive. Chicago can wait. The Commander-in-Chief has a job to do."
"Then the next day, “Fox & Friends” devoted an entire segment to pondering Obama’s unprecedented insult, with host Brian Kilmeade, historian (with a tenuous grasp on recent history) Richard Miller, National Review’s Andrew McCarthy and former Harry Reid aide Penny Lee discussing Obama’s planned activities for Memorial Day, with chyrons framing the story, 'Trampling On Tradition?,' 'Offensive To Soldiers?' and 'Memorial Day Miss-Out?'

"Media Matters commented on this farcical charade as well, pointing out just how precedented Obama’s actions were, despite claims to the contrary:
"If the thrust of the attack is that this “breaks tradition” and is therefore possibly “offensive” to soldiers, then conservatives either need to abandon this talking point or embrace the idea that several of their Republican heroes also hated the troops."
"But that’s not how the noise machine works, which Erick Erickson demonstrated on Twitter yesterday.
"Obama skipping the Tomb of the Unknowns this weekend for Chicago is offensive. Chicago can wait. The Commander-in-Chief has a job to do."
"Neat trick, eh? This is evidence Obama hates the military because conservatives like Erickson have previously questioned Obama’s “support for soldiers and belief in American Exceptionalism.” Basically, Obama hates the military because conservatives claim Obama hates the military. That’s CNN-quality analysis right there.


"But the point of citing all the above is not to dwell on how conservatives demonize America’s first black President, manufacturing evidence against him out of their own projected hostility toward him. This is all a part of some much broader picture — an overall poisoning, so to speak, of everything precious to them that escapes their control. We get a hint of this broader picture from another Media Matters post noting how the rightwing media has accused Obama of waging war on all sorts of cherished American holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Easter, Ramadan, Halloween.

"Media Matters has been following the imaginary 'War on Christmas' since its inaugural campaign in 2004. In a typical entry, on November 29, 2012, Media Matters noted:
"Fox News demonstrated the fundamental hypocrisy of its claim that progressives are engaged in a war on Christmas by expressing outrage at Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee because he uses the term 'holiday tree' rather 'Christmas tree' to refer to the tree that will adorn the statehouse during the holiday season. However, minutes later, Fox announced that it would host its own 'holiday wish list' segment."
"Weeks later, just days before Christmas, they reported:
"Bill O’Reilly’s annual fight against the manufactured 'War on Christmas' has become a revered holiday tradition over at Fox News. Just like last year, in December O’Reilly has spent more time on his show discussing the 'War on Christmas' than actual military conflicts. As usual, events O’Reilly identified as a unified 'War on Christmas' were almost always isolated incidents from around the country, usually pertaining to concerns over separation of church and state or efforts to make holiday celebrations more inclusive."
"Of course, the idea of defending purely Christian holidays is fundamentally absurd, considering how impure they are in the first place. Easter is basically a spring fertility festival (rabbits, eggs, get it?) and Christmas as we know it is similarly syncretic (as a very unhappy Christian explains at length here). But beyond the absurdity is the right’s poisonous ill-humor — exactly the opposite of the good feelings people naturally bring to these celebrations.

"An even darker perversion is at work in the holidays related to patriotism — Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veterans Day in particular — in which mindless jingoism is promoted, along with a torrent of divisive accusations. The true meaning of patriotism has its origins in the tradition of civic republicanism, of the sort that was practiced by the Renaissance-era Italian city-states. In a world dominated by large feudal hierarchies, with powerful militaries at their command, citizens of republics were collectively and individually responsible for sustaining the sphere of relatively remarkable freedom they enjoyed — including, but not limited to being responsible for military defense. The spirit of patriotism which animated them derived from the fact that they were responsible for continually re-creating the political community that gave their lives meaning. It was a feeling that no feudal subject could feel — patriotism and civic republicanism were inextricably linked.

"This is not to say there weren’t other forms of — well, loyalty, if you want. These are as old as humanity itself. They are most positive in the form of family bonds, and decidedly darker in the form of jingoism, with a spectrum of shades in between. But patriotism was more than loyalty. It was ownership. It was identity. And it was a large part of why America initially distrusted standing armies, and sought to protect itself through its state-level militias — which is the real reason behind the Second Amendment. It was not really until the 19th century, with the invention of modern nationalism and mass militaries, that a counterfeit simulacrum of patriotism emerged — one devoid of the critical consciousness that civic republicanism required.


"Although America was founded in part on the civic-republican tradition, today we find ourselves with patriotism, nationalism and jingoism all jumbled together and confused. And nothing, ultimately, is more damaging to true patriotism than this, because jingoism and nationalism regard the critically-minded patriot as the most insidious traitor. We saw this played out clearly when Iraq veterans began speaking out to end the war they had been sent off to fight, and Rush Limbaugh referred to them as “phony soldiers' — a smear that he then tried to retroactively rewrite, after he was called on it.

"In the civic-republican tradition, soldiers never stop being citizens, too. The obedience they owe on the battlefield as soldiers is entirely limited to that role. Their role as citizens is primary, and requires honesty, candor and critical thinking on their part. Nationalism and jingoism tend automatically toward war, but classical republics were relatively small and potentially fragile political entities. The patriotism that sustained them saw war as rarely necessary, and always dangerous, so it was naturally much more circumspect.

"So it is with true patriotism today. It is, significantly, a counterforce to nationalism and jingoism, much more than it is akin to them. And so, for the warmongers, true patriotism is something to be feared, hated and destroyed. This is an even deeper, broader animosity than the anti-Obama obsession I described above. It is an animosity to independent thought, to critical reflection, to care and judiciousness — and also to learning the lessons of history.

"This naturally brings me back to my original question — what, exactly, are we remembering on Memorial Day? We can begin by remembering the origins of Memorial Day itself. First celebrated nationally, with funereal ceremonies at 183 cemeteries in 27 states, on May 30, 1868, it was specifically a remembrance of the Civil War dead, originally under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Union veterans. Over time, it brought together the remembrance of those who had died on either side of the war. Only after World War I was it expanded to honor all those who have died in America’s wars. This makes it particularly ironic that those at Fox News, and elsewhere in the rightwing media, sometimes seem more interested in starting a new civil war, than remembering the last one.


"But the history I’ve just summarized is decidedly incomplete. Before the first national celebration in 1868, there were widely scattered local commemorations, and the very first of these we now know to be a most remarkable one, as described by prize-winning Yale historian David W. Blight, author of 'Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.' In a piece he wrote for the Newark Star Ledger, Blight explained:
"Charleston, South Carolina…lay in ruin by the spring of 1865… largely abandoned by white residents…. Among the first troops to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the Twenty First U. S. Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the formal surrender of the city." 
"Thousands of black Charlestonians, most former slaves, remained in the city and conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war. The largest of these events, and unknown until some extraordinary luck in my recent research, took place on May 1, 1865."
"As Blight describes, at least 257 union soldiers had died in an outdoor prison at the former planters’ horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club. Twenty-eight black workmen went to the site, re-buried them properly, constructing a formal cemetery, surrounded by a high white-washed fence.

"Then, black Charlestonians in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people on the slaveholders’ race course. The symbolic power of the low-country planter aristocracy’s horse track (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freedpeople. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing 'a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before."
"Such was the first Memorial Day. Those who gathered to honor and remember were overwhelmingly black. Those they honored and remembered were overwhelmingly white. But their fates had been inextricably bound together. And that is, ultimately what they came to remember — that we are, indeed, one people after all, one people, of one blood:
"Following the solemn dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: they enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches, and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantry participating was the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th U.S. Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite. The war was over, and Decoration Day had been founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been all about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic, and not about state rights, defense of home, nor merely soldiers’ valor and sacrifice."
"The memory of that event was quite deliberately forgotten in the years that followed — years in which the memory and meaning of the war itself were drastically transformed, a story that Race and Reunion captures brilliantly (see my review here). But now, almost 150 years later, that memory, that story has been revived again. At the end of his piece, Blight concluded:
"Some stories endure, some disappear, some are rediscovered in dusty archives, the pages of old newspapers, and in oral history. All such stories as the First Decoration Day are but prelude to future reckonings. All memory is prelude."
"Which is why I don’t want to tell you what to think this Memorial Day, instead of what Fox News is telling you. I have retold one once-forgotten story. But there are countless others. All I want to tell you is to listen. But you already knew that."


(Paul H. Rosenberg is senior editor at Random Lengths News, a biweekly serving the Los Angeles harbor area. He runs the site Merge Left, a community of progressive thinkers free to submit their own content.)


********************



A decent person would be sickened by the continual lies over at Fox "News."

From The Atlantic:

"Fox News is losing younger viewers at an even faster rate than its competitors. With a median viewer age now at 68 according to Nielsen data through mid-January (compared with 60 for MSNBC and CNN, and 62 to 64 for the broadcast networks), Fox is in essence a retirement community ... If it is actuarially possible, its median viewer age will keep creeping upward. (It rose by two years over the course of 2013.)"


We've posted a few articles about the genesis of the show here: Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News and here: Understanding The History And Purpose Of Fox News.  There's more, much more...just do a search on our site for "fox news" and "roger ailes."

It's gratifying to know that the demographics are doing Fox News in, but in the meantime they're still a sickening bunch, aren't they.

When Conservatism is criminalized, minions of the GOP like this "news organization" will remember Fox Snooze in the deep recesses of  their minds.



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"Trying to get today’s Republican to accept basic facts is like trying to get your dog
to take a pill. You have to feed them the truth wrapped in a piece of baloney, hold
their snout shut, and stroke their throats. And even then, just when you think they’ve
swallowed it, the spit it out on the linoleum."

Bill Maher.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is Republican Obstructionism Criminal?


We're trying something a little different today with an article by self-described Conservative John Dean at Verdict a few years ago called "Is Republican Obstructionism Criminal?" that asks "whether Republicans are, in effect, obstructing, if not destroying, our government with their actions in violation of the federal criminal code."

The basis for criminalizing Conservatism is simple: Conservatism is a vast rightwing criminal conspiracy that should be criminalized just like any other criminal cartel, and Mr. Dean gives us just one instance of the Conservatives' criminality.

(See the detailed biography of Mr. Dean at the end of the article for those that weren't around at the time of the Nixon Watergate scandal.)


********************


"We have just survived another wrenching Republican shakedown. My last column addressed the illegality of this GOP tactic in broad terms. That column, in turn, caused several people to inquire whether or not this behavior was also criminal. Given the public disgust with this behavior, and the GOP threat to continue using what amount to thug tactics, it is not an unreasonable question.

"Thus, the question is whether the Congressional Republicans have entered into a criminal conspiracy by using the tactics they are now employing. More specifically, the inquiry is into whether Republicans are, in effect, obstructing, if not destroying, our government with their actions in violation of the federal criminal code, namely Section 371 of Title 18, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud (read also: obstruct) the government of the United States. Let’s look at the law, the facts, and the reality.

"The Law: Conspiracies to Defraud the United States



"The federal government’s general conspiracy statute is set forth in Title 18 of the United States Code at section 371, making it a crime for two or more people to conspire 'to defraud the United States or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.' See 18 U.S.C § 371. This language is very broad, so what does it actually mean?

"There are few better sources to explain this federal statute than the analysis by the Congressional Reference Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Resources Manual (CRM), which is the guidebook for U.S. Attorneys. Both describe this law in similar terms. (Unless otherwise noted, I have omitted the citations in drawing on their explanations.)

"Every criminal conspiracy must have an illicit agreement between two or more persons. As the CRS notes, 'the essence of conspiracy is an agreement, an agreement to commit some act condemned by law…. The agreement may be evidenced by word or action; that is, the government may prove the existence of the agreement either by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence from which the agreement may be inferred.' CRS further notes, 'Nevertheless, mere association, standing alone, is inadequate; an individual does not become a member of a conspiracy merely associating with conspirators known to be involved in crime.' In short, to become part of the conspiracy takes affirmative and improper words or actions by each of the co-conspirators.

"What does it mean 'to defraud the United States' as prohibited by the statute? CRS states that the 'fraud covered by the statute reaches any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful functions of any department of the Government' by 'deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.' Both CRS and CRM note that the plot directed against the United States or a federal agency need not necessarily deprive the United States of money or property; rather, all that is needed is a plan calculated to frustrate the functions of any entity of the United States.

"The Justice Department’s analysis states that since the Supreme Court’s 1910 ruling in Hass v Henkel and its 1924 ruling in Hammererschmidt v. U.S. ,this statute is sufficiently broad 'to include any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of any department of government.' In Hammererschmidt the Court stated: '[I]t also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful government functions . . . by means that are dishonest.' But, the Court noted, mere open defiance of the governmental purpose to enforce a law by urging those subject to it to disobey it is not necessarily defrauding the government under this law. Thus, 'obstructing' government when done by 'deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest' is essential to the conduct being criminal.

"Have Republicans been obstructing government? You betcha, and they openly admit it and many are even proud of doing so. Have they employed deceptive practices? Let’s look at their conduct, and whether their actions are potentially in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.

"The Facts: GOP Behavior in the Shutdown and Regarding the Debt Limit Ceiling



"It first occurred to me that Congressional Republicans might be criminally conspiring when I was reading the New York Times report 'A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning.' Shortly after President Obama began his second term, according to the Times, 'a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy' to repeal Obama’s healthcare law. At their 'secret' meeting place, they developed a 'blueprint to defund[] Obamacare.' with conservative organizations providing hundreds of millions of dollars to fund this effort. At first blush, this certainly read like the stuff of illicit and conspiratorial agreement.

"The Times report continues that while the Obamacare opponents did not seek to shut down the government, apparently they hoped that the Democrats and President Obama would simply comply with their demands nonetheless 'the activist anticipated that a shutdown could occur' and accordingly enlisted Tea Party members of Congress who they knew both hated Obamacare and had no problem shuttering government operations. Accordingly, they launched a hell-bent effort to nullify Obamacare by refusing to fund it. But the legal status of 'defunding,' however, is anything but clear.

"As I noted in my prior column, defunding a law to nullify it certainly appears unconstitutional. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich agrees, and summed it up nicely: 'The Constitution of the United States does not allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by defunding it. If that were the case, no law is safe. A majority of the House could get rid of unemployment insurance, federal aid to education, Social Security, Medicare, or any other law they didn’t like merely by deciding not to fund them.'

"The Times article, however, notes that the tactic of defunding has been around for years. 'Congress has banned the use of certain federal money to pay for abortions, except in the case of incest and rape, by attaching the so-called Hyde Amendment to spending bills.' In fact, defunding is not unlike 'impoundment' was, before it was prohibited. Impounding appropriate money was first done by President Thomas Jefferson and was long considered an inherent presidential power. But Richard Nixon’s abuse of the impoundment power resulted in its being severely restricted by an Act of Congress in 1974. (GOP abuse of defunding power should result in its being prohibited as well, and should be undertaken as soon as Democrats control Congress and the White House.)

"Notwithstanding the uncertain legal status of defunding, it could still be possible to violate the broad terms of 18 USC 371 given the leading cases interpreting this statute. Thus, if there is an illicit agreement to obstruct government, which has been undertaken by 'deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest,' the law has been violated. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that a number of Republicans have agreed to obstruct government and are employing deceit, craft or trickery, or dishonest means to accomplish their objective. Yet, as wrong as their behavior may be, I do not believe they should be charged criminally for their actions.

"The Reality: Prosecutions Are Not Always Appropriate for Nixonian Behavior



"When I tested my analysis of 18 USC 371 and its potential application to the current behavior of the Republicans at the core of this misconduct on a former federal prosecutor, he agreed that there are undoubtedly some Republicans who are acting criminally under this statute, while others are merely acting stupidly, albeit in violation of the broad language of this criminal statute. He also agreed that even if indictments could be drafted under this law, they should not be. This, in fact, would be a misuse of the criminal law.

"Nixon’s abuses of power resulted in several decades of the increasing criminalization of politics, primarily through an Independent Counsel law that was easily abused for political purposes, and did far more harm than good. Some scholars believe that criminalizing politics helped produce the current political polarization. Others claim that the extremism of today’s right wing can be traced to Nixon’s 'Southern strategy' and the belief of many conservatives that Nixon was unfairly hounded from his high office by Democrats’ efforts to criminalize his abuses of power (when they had tolerated similar abuses under Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson). Because no one can win arguments regarding these contentions, it seems wise to do nothing as rash as criminalizing political actions that will likely further exacerbate the problem with these insurrection-minded Republicans.

"The solution to the Republican use of extortion by creating short-term, temporary spending and debt limit laws is not the criminal process; rather, it is the ballot box. Republicans cannot rule successfully by their ongoing political tantrums. The American public has figured this out, with some seventy-five percent opposed to the GOP’s tactics. This is not a winning strategy.

"Richard Nixon infamously said, 'If the president does it, that means it is not illegal.' Nixon was never prosecuted for his illegal behavior, but history has its own way of indicting those who operate outside the rules of regular political order. It will be the same with Tea Party Republicans who have made Nixonian-style behavior their standard operating procedure. In the end, just like Nixon, they will lose."


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"John W. Dean, a Justia columnist, is a former counsel to the president.



"John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Before becoming White House counsel at age thirty-one, he was the chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, an associate director of a law reform commission, and an associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice.

"His undergraduate studies were at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science; then a graduate fellowship at American University to study government and the presidency before he entered Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD with honors in 1965.

"John recounted his days at the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books: Blind Ambition (1976, with new extended afterword in 2010) and Lost Honor (1982). After retiring from a business career as a private investment banker, he returned to writing best-selling books and lecturing, not to mention being a columnist for FindLaw's Writ (from 2000 to 2010).

"Other books include: The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court (2001), Warren G. Harding (2003), Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (2004), Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches (2008), and Pure Goldwater (2009).

"While working on his next book, John continues as a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications (since 2003), and he is an occasional television commentator. John is currently engaged as well in an extended continuing legal education (CLE) series that examines impact of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct on select historic events of Watergate with surprising results – The Watergate CLE."


********************


While we've usually kept lawyering in the background, especially in matters of specific ways to criminalize Conservatism, Mr. Dean has shown us the first step -- the conspiracy itself as Conservatives are open for indictment when they become part of the Grand Conspiracy, as "...to become part of the conspiracy takes affirmative and improper words or actions by each of the co-conspirators."

In simple language, "...all that is needed is a plan calculated to frustrate the functions of any entity of the United States," and "...obstructing government when done by 'deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest' is essential to the conduct being criminal."

Yup, that sounds like our criminals over at the GOP!

Parenthetically, Mr. Dean and his friend the former federal prosecutor have made a mistake in believing that no arrests should be made, because the "ballot box" is the way to oust these criminals from high office.  No mention is made of the Fascist Five at the Supreme Court or gerrymandering.

Like we said, Mr. Dean is a self-described Conservative.



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"Must be nice to be a Republican senator sometimes, because you get the fun of
breaking sh*t and the joy of complaining the sh*t you just broke doesn’t work."

Jon Stewart.


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Monday, May 26, 2014

How Republicans Became The 'Stupid' Party: Turning Right, Refusing To Recognize Facts And Change


We start off the new workweek with an article written by Edmund Fawcett at Salon.com, "How Republicans Became The 'Stupid' Party: Turning Right, Refusing To Recognize Facts And Change."


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"We once had two centrist liberal parties. Here's the story of how the GOP fringes took over the mainstream.



(Excerpted from "Liberalism: The Life of an Idea")

"In the United States, think tanks played their due part in the Republican realignment of 1980. In Washington, two Catholic conservatives, Edwin Feulner and Paul Weyrich, started the Heritage Foundation (1973), and the following year Murray Rothbard, a libertarian thinker, founded with friends the Cato Institute. Both institutions struck political Washington to begin with as a rest home for aging cranks. Political Washington had soon to think again. Under Ronald Reagan, libertarian economics and conservative moralism entered the pamphlets and speeches of Republicans. Soon libertarians, antigovernment campaigners, and moralizers became the party’s mainstream, pushing moderate Republicans to its fringe or out of the party altogether.

"Thatcher attacked the state while using its power to free that of the market. Reagan similarly ran against government so as to run government with like purpose. Whereas Thatcher made government sound selfish or naughty, Reagan made it sound comical. 'The nine most terrifying words in the English language,' he used to say, 'are, "I’m from the government and I’m here to help."' The differences ran deeper. In Britain the arguments of the 1970s and 1980s were among liberals. It was a rerun of the old inner-liberal argument, met many times in this liberal story, between more government and less government. Thatcher was right-wing and for all her talk of freedom was overfond of power, but she was still liberal. Despite her party label, Thatcher passed Hayek’s checklist for not being conservative with relative ease. In the United States, matters were more complicated. For the American right had liberal and nonliberal streams.

(Friedrich Hayek was a libertarian and "Hayek wrote an essay, 'Why I Am Not a Conservative'...in which he disparaged conservatism for its inability to adapt to changing human realities or to offer a positive political program, remarking, 'Conservatism is only as good as what it conserves.'" -- Joyce, Jnr.)


"Politically speaking, in the 1950s Democrats and Republicans converged at the liberal center. The liberal historian Hartz and the liberal student of politics Lipset were not alone in treating the United States as if it in fact was as John Rawls thought it ought to be: a country of manageable disagreements framed by overarching liberal concord. American politicians had always wrapped themselves in the flag of liberty. Equally they had claimed to stand for America above party. At midcentury, to left and right, it was possible to believe in an opportune pairing of liberalism and Americanism, that mix of civic pride, national loyalty, and provident superiority that had served as an image of unity in a period of rapid immigration before 1914 and in two world wars.

"By the 1970s, the pairing of liberalism and Americanism was more contested than believed. Each element was under challenge. To the left, identity politics helped split the old Roosevelt-Truman Democratic coalition. The party began to caucus less by state and city than by color, ethnic group, and gender. To the right, moral politics began to harden and narrow the Republican Party, making a once minority wing into a dominant, illiberal core. Crudely, you no longer needed to be all-American to be a good Democrat. To be a good Republican, you no longer needed to be all-American. You simply needed to be good, which meant upright, God-fearing, and, in a partisan shift of meaning, liberal-loathing. Whether as the description of a historic achievement, the delineation of a social ideal or as a partisan political label, the word “liberal” in American politics became a flag of war.

"As the postwar American right recovered its intellectual self-regard, four groups stood out. One, mentioned earlier, was represented by market economists and old critics of the New Deal. A second group included anticommunists, smoking out collectivists in an anticollectivist society. A third group were traditional conservatives, disturbed by cultural democracy, permissiveness, and a loss of 'civility.' William Buckley, a quick-witted Catholic controversialist, united and modernized the anticommunists and the traditionalists. Buckley started the National Review(1955), which played a similar part in the right’s revival as the New Republic had played in the liberal tide forty years earlier. Buckley had a talk show, Firing Line—again, on public television—in which bien pensants leftist guests were sometimes surprised to meet a well-informed, dialectically formidable adversary. Buckley’s achievement was to weed out the crackpots and make the ideas of the intellectual right count again. A fourth group were the New York neoconservatives. Many were ex-Marxists, and all were liberals, though liberals who had been 'mugged by reality,' in the words of one of their luminaries, Irving Kristol. The neoconservatives cohabited with Nixon and Reagan, but mostly abandoned the Republicans when the Republicans abandoned the center.


"Among Republican activists, the 'antigovernment' movement had cross-cutting streams. One was a libertarian, almost anarchist right, with roots in the American past, in antifederalism and localism. Another was a diverse crowd of resentful conservatives, who had not accepted modern American society, either for its multiracialism or its permissive secularism. Suspicion of elites, dislike of the 'coasts' and a discourse of states’ rights or local community linked the two first groups. A larger stream than either was accounted for by disappointed liberals. Such voters had expected government to protect them from the ups and downs of capitalism. They had expected the United States not only to win its wars but to be loved by the world for doing so. Unlike libertarians, the disappointed did not want a political scrap. They did not telephone talk radio to bellow about big government and elite conspiracies. Politics, if anything, bored the disappointed. Many were independents, without durable party loyalty. Sometimes they had voted Republican, sometimes Democrat. They were the center of gravity in American elections, its broad, pragmatically conservative middle ground that was generally needed to win national elections. Unlike libertarians and resenters, the disappointed were at home with modern government in modern society. Their parents or grandparents had voted for Roosevelt-Truman Democrats. The disappointed, in the large sense, not the partisan sense, were liberals. In 1972, disappointed liberals voted for Nixon and twelve years later for Reagan. Though the term jars given present-day American usage, inclusion of the disappointed as liberals better describes the actual political ground. A fourth element in the 'antigovernment' mood of the 1970s must not be forgotten. It came from Democratic liberals who exposed the warfare state’s misuse of spies and the political abuse of power, mostly visibly in the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation in 1975. Those liberals had not meant it, but their campaigns of investigation and exposure, then as now, also encouraged disenchantment with government.

"Reagan understood those many 'antigovernment' streams. As an old Roosevelt Democrat and former head of Hollywood’s actors union he was himself one of the disappointed. Though a divorced, nonchurchgoer, he took the Bible literally, it seems, and could tell a fundamentalist Christian audience in sincerity that there was 'sin and evil' and that everyone was 'enjoined by scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it' with all their might. He knew, as Lincoln had known, how to sneak behind the proprieties and appeal to white prejudice. He rocked audiences with jibes at big government’s expense so skillfully that they forgot in their glee that big government was what Reagan was asking them to let him run.

"Reagan was courteous, relaxed, fun at dinner for his guests, impatient with detail and ruthless with colleagues. It was said he made Americans feel better about themselves but was indifferent to how many of them lived. He seized rather than made his opportunities. He inherited a defense buildup started by his predecessor. He inherited a burst of high-tech creativity that buildup had kick-started. He inherited a chairman of the federal reserve, Paul Volcker, who had pushed interest rates to 11.5 percent a year before Reagan took office, a brutal step which by early in the new presidency had cut double-digit inflation to 3.5 percent, so smoothing a path to the long economic boom that lasted into the new century. Reagan inherited a superpower rivalry that the United States was on course to win as its Soviet rival, mired in its own failures and shadowed by a rising China, began to implode. With practiced grace and skill, Reagan made the most of those opportunities. He knew when to push at an open door, calling dramatically in Berlin in June 1987, 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.'

"Reagan told his barber, Milton Pitts, that he had come to office with five aims: restoring morale, lowering tax rates, increasing spending on defense, facing down the Soviet Union, and scaling back government. He had done all but the last, he said. If so skilled a politician as Reagan, who was dealt such a good hand and who had such a popular following, was unable with all the powers of office to complete his fifth task, perhaps the answer was that America’s disappointed majority did not really want it to be completed. Perhaps they did not want less government but better government, and government they could again place their confidence in.

"Reagan was remarkable in combining in one body several political beings. He appealed to two wings of American liberalism, New Deal Democrats and tight-money big business Republicans. He knew how to appeal, too, to illiberal Bible Belt Christians and to beyond-the-liberal-fringe libertarians. After Reagan, the Republican Party fell into the hands of the religious right and antigovernment fundamentalists. A once liberal party shrank into something at or beyond the edges of liberalism. In the decades after 1980, the share of American voters calling themselves Republican halved. A coin-toss win of the presidency in 2000 and the gerrymandering of congressional districts disguised large and growing Republican weaknesses. Nationally at any rate, Republicans were becoming a minority party. They were again becoming a 'stupid' party in the sense that Mill and Keynes had meant when calling British Conservatives stupid: a party that turned its face from the facts and refused to recognize change."


(Excerpted from “Liberalism: The Life of an Idea” by Edmund Fawcett. Published by Princeton University Press. Copyright 2014 by Edmund Fawcett. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.  MORE EDMUND FAWCETT.)

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This excerpt from Fawcett's book covers a most interesting period in Conservative history.  Bereft of any Conservative "philosophy" to explain themselves (See John Dean's remarkable book, Conservatives Without Conscience), their think tanks" made up some theories that served well to hide the fact that their philosophy was a monetary one -- to serve and protect the interest of their rich and power hungry overlords in a country supposedly governed by a participatory democracy.

From our main site, Objections Rebutted, several letters from Thomas Jefferson, claimed by the Conservatives as "one of them," we see just the opposite:


"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all." --Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824.

"Men have differed in opinion and been divided into parties by these opinions from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. The same political parties which now agitate the U.S. have existed through all time. Whether the power of the people or that of the [aristocracy] should prevail were questions which kept the states of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot. And in fact the terms of Whig and Tory belong to natural as well as to civil history. They denote the temper and constitution of mind of different individuals." --Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1813.


"The division into Whig and Tory is founded in the nature of man; the weakly and nerveless, the rich and the corrupt, seeing more safety and accessibility in a strong executive; the healthy, firm, and virtuous, feeling confidence in their physical and moral resources, and willing to part with only so much power as is necessary for their good government; and, therefore, to retain the rest in the hands of the many, the division will substantially be into Whig and Tory." --Thomas Jefferson to Joel Barlow, 1802.

"The parties of Whig and Tory are those of nature. They exist in all countries, whether called by these names or by those of Aristocrats and Democrats, Cote Droite and Cote Gauche, Ultras and Radicals, Serviles and Liberals. The sickly, weakly, timid man fears the people, and is a Tory by nature. The healthy, strong and bold cherishes them, and is formed a Whig by nature." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823.

It only remains for neuroscientists to discover a way to nip Conservatism in the womb.



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"The Republicans believe in the minimum wage — the more the minimum, the
better."

Harry Truman.


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