"If you break the public unions in Wisconsin you can break them everywhere." — Rachel Maddow

Ok, maybe Julian Assange didn't exactly parachute into Wisconsin. But he might have! And the pathetic fact is, that link-baiting baloney is what got you here. And that was my mission.

Why? Because with Gov. Scott Walker's outrageous effort to crush collective bargaining for state workers, the right wing has effectively declared war against unions, progressivism, and the American middle class, while most of the left is still sitting on the side of the road, like a brooding Rent-A-Wreck, with its ass stuck in neutral.

My good friend @karoli can bring you quickly up to speed.

With her usual knack for cutting through all the clutter, via Crooks and Liars:

Conservatives Declare War on Unions While National Media Snores

But my mission here….

Is to point out that while this issue has been building for well over a week, the American left has been mostly asleep until yesterday.  Naturally, the mainstream media did its best to help it snooze for as long as possible.  Only yesterday did CNN even show up in Wisconsin. And until last night, Twitter and Facebook were mostly abuzz with the usual updates about Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, Glenn Beck, a dwindling bit of Egypt, the Chris Christie Minstrels, and the usual celebrity cacophony of moronic blither-blather.

No one was expecting this Battle of the Bulge for the Democratic party and our fading unions to come up in this way, or this suddenly. But here it is. And now, the big question is, will progressives finally fight hard, or just die quickly?  If you can't see what the GOP is doing with this issue, you simply don't get anything that's happened to  this nation over the past 30 years in general, and certainly in the past five years since Fox News became the steering gear for the Republican Party's ship to nowhere. So just shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

But if you do get it, then you realize that this can and should be a magic moment in our history. A moment where we can rise up and show this fetid teaparty army and their plutocratic puppet masters like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson that there is still a strong majority of sensible people in this country who know that a fair society is the only one that will ever survive long term.  And this generation of wrecking crew Republicans won't just delay that fair and just society. They will crush out any possibility of there ever being one. At least in this country.

And that would be a sad fail of unparalleled dimension. An easy win will have passed us right by due to our own apathetic lethargy and a mass delusion that all the horrible things happening to us were never quite as bad as they seemed. Our collective will to resist an obvious insurrection of selfishness will have failed to come alive at the very moment that it must, and the American experiment will probably die right here in the lab.

So maybe we needed a Julian Assange to land in Wisconsin. We shouldn't have needed anything that dramatic to smack us out of our cynical slumber. But now something even better is on the ground our there in cheesehead country. Something very big and very beautiful. We only have to get behind this moment and push it with all our might… and we can win.

We really can win.

Yes we can.

Vital View

Rachel Maddow: Wisconsin Is About The Survival of The Democratic Party

Vital Read

Labor's Last Stand, By John Nichols (The Nation)

Related Reading

Angry Wisconsin workers occupy Capitol (Peoplesworld.org)

DNC Expands Role In Labor Protests To Ohio, Indiana, by Amanda Terkel (Huffington Post)

George Carlin on the American Dream (with transcript)

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

Doug Terry is veteran television and radio reporter in Washington, DC who publishes the Terry Report. I read him fairly often, and for some reason, I am only now introducing him to you. I suppose the reason is simply that his often brilliantly concise essays just failed to hit any marks I was obsessing about that particular week. 

No matter, you can meet him now. Never mind the ugly website. He'll fix that someday (I hope). Here is some great content to get you started on this very gifted explainer of political memes, moments and mayhems:

*MUST READ* Why The Right Hates Washington, DC

Have you ever wondered? What is the great “evil” that the  Republicans, the right and the far right see in the Federal government? Why does the Tea Party crowd say “centralized government” as if the phrase were a code word for socialism or communism, those twin forces that once united our nation in opposition?

Explaining this phenomenon is certainly a subject worth longer treatment, but, for anyone wondering, a few points can be laid out in short order that might help to clear up the situation.

The Palin Problem

What Palin is doing is amazing. She is raising Reagan into something he was not, she is slamming the entire developmental history of the Federal government going back to, say, Hoover in the 1920s and she, if she were to be believed, she suggests that her own party was asleep at the wheel, because they were making no such exaggerated charges at the time Reagan came into office. Reagan’s famous statement that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”  was preceded by the words “In the present crisis” (whatever that means). It was not a blanket, cover all statement, it was limited to that particular moment and era, even if not clearly defined.

You can follow Doug on Twitter at @terryreport

 

Rarely has Stewart, or anyone else, taken this woman's bullshit and so thoroughly gutted it. This farce of a "politician" is an embarrassment to all Americans, past, present and future. 

Please retweet this widely by using the Tweet button below so that this video might get seen by millions. It doesn't just shred her credibility, but also that of Hannity, Fox, Republicans, and most every other conservative slop merchant continually trying to sell us ridiculous lies instead of anything resembling responsible policy that can deal with our many complex issues of the day.

Nonsense is nonsense

…and it should be exposed as such; often and always. There are few right wing lies quite so annoying as "the Nazis were Leftists/Socialists/Communists" lie. The revisionist hooey whores like Jonah Goldberg have made it easier for this orchestrated stupidity to gain new traction with his "Liberal Fascism" screed. The left, as it is quite good at doing lately, has utterly failed to push back against this absurdity in any focused manner, so this too gains acceptance among those who think Obama was born in Kenya, the media is liberal, Canadians are overwhelming the U.S. health care system, and government can't create jobs.

I don't have time to write a detailed primer on this topic, but let me put down a few good articles you can use to defuse this idiotic argument. It's not hard. I will update it as I have time. If you know of some brief or extended articles I should add here, please pass them along to me via Twitter or in comments below.

Please use the Tweet button below and help pass this along to friends, neighbors, and sane countrymen. Thanks!

Brief Debunkers

The GOP uses deception and fears to try to break the president and his agenda for change. Ultra-right broadcasters even lie about our World War II enemy. Their claims about health care, big business and "socialism" in Nazi Germany are not only untrue, but vicious and ignorant

The Myth 1 — The Nazis were National Socialists and therefore Nazism is a form of socialism. The left-wing parties like Labour and the Greens are therefore similar to the Nazis politically.

The Truth 1 — Nope: a common mistake propagated by people who think that a name means what it says. Take the Democratic Republic of Congo, the German Democratic Republic or the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea). Any takers for claiming them as being democracies?

Extended Debunkers

To most people, Hitler's beliefs belong to the extreme far right. For example, most conservatives believe in patriotism and a strong military; carry these beliefs far enough, and you arrive at Hitler's warring nationalism. This association has long been something of an embarrassment to the far right. To deflect such criticism, conservatives have recently launched a counter-attack, claiming that Hitler was a socialist, and therefore belongs to the political left, not the right.

The primary basis for this claim is that Hitler was a National Socialist. The word "National" evokes the state, and the word "Socialist" openly identifies itself as such.

However, there is no academic controversy over the status of this term: it was a misnomer. Misnomers are quite common in the history of political labels

SPLC has some great articles in their archive that reveal just how many of the more vicious and ignorant Nazi myths have been morphed and migrated into American extremist's culture. Often with the tacit approval of many mainstream conservatives and Republicans.

Related

The baby boomers and the price of personal freedom

As the postwar baby boomer generation begins to enter comfortable retirement, their children face a future of massive debt and uncertainty

Yet the big question of our time, after the financial crisis and the prospect of years of low growth and high unemployment, remains what it was in 1968. Capitalism cannot continue as it has at home and abroad. There needs to be a countervailing force to hold it to account and keep it honest. CEOs cannot enrich themselves for ever, without limit, with no wider economic and social consequences. If today's market economies cannot create jobs and prosperity for the mass of the working population, the restiveness will grow.

Although written in August…

this essay didn't get nearly enough play in America.  While it focuses on the cultural sea changes in Britain since the 1950s, its central premises use American counter-cultural events, memes and movements as the defining frames of almost every substantial change that has affected both of our nations since the end of World War II.

The bottom line? Despite some social changes which have unquestionably been good, our dismantling of the old cultural and political regimes have not seen a corresponding rise of new ones that can govern, or govern well. And the consequence of that will now be seen as the conservative lunatics in both countries have taken the reigns of power, with far less knowledge of, nor interest in, the goals of social justice that defined (at least our popular conception of) ourselves for decades.

While the American left, armed with ever scarcer charity dollars to produce the advocacy efforts we desperately need, progressive billionaires seem disinterested in the struggle, and a social networking/media revolution appears far more centered on selling corporate entertainment products and the technology and journalism celebrities who help them to pimp those products to an ever shrinking proportion of the electorate that still has any disposable income at all.

It the wake of this new digital ship of fate,  the principles of  social justice which defined the aspirations of western culture for two generations now seem to be regarded by too many as quaint relics. Like so many of the defining words, images and ideals of the Woodstock generation, they feel to be vectored toward the deep six of history. And when they're gone, I fear that the weight of whatever ghost ship remains on the surface—a lifeboat carrying only the very wealthiest of survivors, for as long as it can stay afloat—will ultimately capsize and sink us all.

We'd better find a better boat,  or learn how to swim under water.


Read the article

Related

Those Dirty Fucking Hippies Were Right

Please spend the next few days sending this to everyone you know. Drag people to watch it, if you must. Then drag them to the god damn polls.

We won't get a second chance.  It's show time. We either save America this Tuesday, or can just pack it in. They will only grow stronger, and quickly deny us another chance by any means available to them.  They only pretend to love the constitution. They could not care any less about it. They never did. They want this nation, and they plan to take it.  We stop them now, or it will be very nearly impossible to stop them later.  Be afraid.

 

Apparently, some conservatives are having a tiff with a twitter user named @wingnutwatch.  They made some convoluted youtube movie about it called "Twittergate".  For reasons I cannot really figure out, two of my tweets are in this video.  As best I can tell,my tweets merely mention words and concepts I'm known for, and try to explicitly or implicitly connect them to whatever bizarre effort—real or imagined—the video addresses.

I don't have a working relationship with @wingnutwatch under that, or any other name, and I wouldn't have such involvement in anything like the alleged schemes if I could. I don't know how much of this "plot" they speak of was real, if any, and I really don't care. I simply don't want to be associated with any kind of willful manipulation, real or imagined.

I have no interest playing any kind of political game with conservatives on Twitter or anywhere else. They, and the billionaire proxy astroturfers like AFP and Freedomworks have made politics so hateful and ugly in this country, the last thing I want to do is engage in the same kinds of gutter-level activities that got us here. When I confront conservatives, it's upfront and in their face, as it should be.

So if someone tries to suggest I am in any way involved with these efforts, please direct them here. Thanks.

This legendary rant is even better when read. The transcripts I could find always sucked. So I've made what i hope is a more readable version below, so this classic piece of polemical gold can be shared and understood more widely. I've read it dozens of times. I still can't find a flaw in it, or anything even exaggerated. He's right. We're fucked. Unless we think of some way to fight back.  I have my ideas. Do you? 

Read it first.  Then watch the video. Then read it again.  Then share it far and wide with the little green button. Retweets do count.

Transcript

But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason it will never, ever,  EVER be fixed.

It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got.

Because the owners, the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now, the BIG owners! The Wealthy… the REAL owners! The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.

Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying,  lobbying, to get what they want.  Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want: 

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. Thats against their interests.

Thats right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that!

You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place! It's a big club, and you ain’t in it!  You, and I, are not in the big club.

By the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means, continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about you….they don’t give a fuck about you… they don’t give a FUCK about you.

They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL.  And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Thats what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick thats being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

It's called the American Dream,because you have to be asleep to believe it.

Related

George Carlin's daughter,  @kelly_carlin, on her first radio show with guest Paul Provenza, talking about this routine.

The Tea Party Jacobins — Mark Lilla, NY Times Book Review

A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now. Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century. It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that. This is the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets.

I would have missed this, had it not been for the ever watchful @jayrosen_nyu who tweeted it again because it was his most popular recent link. For good reason.

There is almost nothing I could write that could make the point better than this thoughtful and prescient post does. Everyone should read it—twice.  It could be the first really complete overview of what is actually happening to this nation, and just how dangerous a predicament we are in.

The concorporate media is part of the problem, so they are hardly going to be the one's to tell this story well, despite articles like this which sneak into their product mix now and then.

If I have any criticism at all, it's that it pays far too little attention to Roger Ailes, the Koch brothers, Dick Armey's Freedomworks, and all the other cynical forces of darkness that are gaming the Tea Party movement—and America—more and more each day.

Please  click the GREEN Retweet button below, and help others understand this growing menace to this foundering American experiment.

Read: The Tea Party Jacobins