Thom's OpEd Articles from
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Articles on Democracy, politics, and
the corporate theft of human rights
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Ann Coulter and Justice Antonin Scalia to Synagogue - Jews Are Safer with Christians in Charge 10/12/07
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) called on media to stop inviting Ann Coulter as a guest commentator and strongly condemned her comments that Jews should be “perfected” by accepting the New Testament and that America would be better off if Judaism were “thrown away” and all Americans were Christian.
Columbus Day - As Rape Rules Africa and American Churches Embrace Violent ‘Christian’ Video Games 10/08/07
When Columbus first landed on Hispaniola in 1492, virtually the entire island was covered by lush forest. The Taino “Indians” who loved there had an apparently idyllic life prior to Columbus, from the reports left to us by literate members of Columbus’s crew such as Miguel Cuneo.
Columbia University Shows True American Values 09/24/07
Columbia University, by inviting Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak, has shown confidence in the wisdom and adultness of their students and our republic.
The Problem With a “War” Strategy 09/11/07
The eerie juxtaposition of General Betrayus testifying today before Congress, and it being 9/11 (which helped Bush bring us disasters ranging from the PATRIOT Act to the Iraq War and Occupation) brings an opportunity to re-understand what’s been happening here and in Iraq these past six years, and offers an insight into a way forward.
Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts 07/05/07
Our bridges are falling apart (among other things), and its Ronald Reagan’s fault.A few hours before the bridge collapsed in Minnesota, a news release landed (among hundreds) in my email inbox. It was from the right-wing “Heartland Institute” and a Minnesota conservative group calling itself the “Taxpayers League of Minnesota.” It read:
The Libby Commutation: Coincidence, or Conspiracy? 07/05/07
The President of the United States has the unrestrained Power of granting Pardons for Treason; which may be sometimes exercised to screen from punishment those whom he had secretly instigated to commit the Crime, & thereby prevent a Discovery of his own Guilt. – George Mason (1725-1792), the “father of the Bill of Rights,” noting his objection to presidential pardon powers in his first draft commentary on the Constitution of the United States he helped write
The Republican Plan For 2008 Begins Today 05/29/07
It’s difficult to watch Democrats play checkers while Republicans play Chess with Iraq. It’s particularly difficult on Memorial Day as more Americans and Iraqis die. But the Republican Party has been playing politics with Iraq since the day after the Supreme Court installed George W. Bush in office in 2001, and they have no intention of stopping now. They may have borrowed some techniques from Richard Nixon, but they have no intention of repeating his mistakes.
James Madison - “Impeach Bush Over Purgegate!” 03/27/2007
According to James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” if a President were to order or allow the “wanton removal of meritorious officers” such as US attorneys, such an action “would subject the President to impeachment and removal from his own high trust.”
Repeal the Military Commissions Act and Restore the Most American Human Right 02/12/2007
The oldest human right defined in the history of English-speaking civilization is the right to challenge governmental power of arrest and detention through the use of habeas corpus laws. Habeas corpus is roughly Latin for "hold the body," and is used in law to mean that a government must either charge a person with a crime and allow them due process, or let them go free. Last autumn the House and Senate passed, and the President signed into law The United States Military Commissions Act of 2006, which explicitly strips both aliens and Americans of the right of habeas corpus, the right of recourse to the courts (as provided in the Fifth through Eighth Amendments to the Constitution), and denies appeal through mechanisms of the Geneva Conventions to those designated to lose these rights by the President.
The Lost People
As your wise Native American elders here have shared, you know your roots. You know the languages of your great-grandmothers, from before the White Europeans arrived and murdered your people and stole their lands. You know the customs of your people that go back a thousand years, five thousand years, some of you to the time of the original settlement of this area, just as the glaciers receded, nine thousand years ago, and perhaps even tens of thousands of years before that. The ways of your people have been passed down all that time.
Join The Parade For We The People 01/29/07
This issue - the power of the Parade, of We The People speaking up and speaking out and participating in the political process - was the primary debate in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. Tragically, it will again be hotly contested as the House of Representatives begins to investigate potential crimes by the Executive branch and the Bush administration begins to push back and claim executive privilege (a doctrine that appears nowhere in the Constitution).
JFK's Biggest Secret Revealed -- But Will Congress Keep History from Repeating Itself? 10/19/06
Recently declassified files show that in addition to protecting Almeida, agencies from the CIA to the FBI to Naval Intelligence also withheld information to hide their own intelligence failures and domestic surveillance operations, as well as to protect the reputations of their own agencies and key officials. Santayana said, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That is certainly true in this case since, as the following examples show, that is true in this case since all the secrecy has impacted US domestic and foreign policy for decades, and continues to do so.
Republicans Give In To Bush, Betray America 09/21/06
Senators John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham were presented with an opportunity to uphold the fundamental human right known as habeas corpus, or flinch and write a law that would retroactively make sure that George W. Bush could not be prosecuted for violations of habeas corpus in our overseas concentration camps and prisons. It was a contest between protecting the President and protecting the Constitution. The Republican senators flinched, and in last week's so-called "compromise" chose Bush over the Constitution.
Reclaiming The Issues: "Keep George Out Of Jail" 09/21/06
The Republicans are trying to keep George W. Bush out of jail. So far, the media and the Democrats haven't done much to stop them.
JonBenét Died - And Bush Lied? 08/29/06
I was on the air doing my radio program two weeks ago when the story came down the wire that the killer of JonBenét Ramsey had been captured in Thailand just hours earlier.
Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism? 08/28/06
In the years since George W. Bush first used 9/11 as his own "Reichstag fire" to gut the Constitution and enhance the power and wealth of his corporate cronies, many across the political spectrum have accused him and his Republican support group of being fascists.
Reclaim the Issues - "Why Is Bush Spying On Democrats?!?" 07/10/06
Every time Democrats and progressives speak out about George W. Bush's spying on Americans without mentioning that he may also be spying on Democrats, they're playing into Karl Rove's "National Security Frame" and actually strengthening Republican electoral chances in November. To short-circuit this, Democrats need to invoke the ghost of Richard Nixon.
Reclaim the Issues - "It's an Illegal Employer Problem" 07/05/06
Every time the media - or a Democrat - uses the phrase "Illegal Immigration" they are promoting one of Karl Rove's most potent Republican Party frames.
Reclaim the Issues - "Occupation, Not War" 06/19/06
Every time the media - or a Democrat - uses the phrase "War in Iraq" they are promoting one of Karl Rove's most potent Republican Party frames.
Stand Up for Democracy With Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 06/04/06
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written a brilliant new article about the biggest political story in the history of the United States: An American politician illegitimately took the office of president by outright theft and fraud. Although such high crimes and misdemeanors have been rumored in previous elections, none in the history of the republic have been so thoroughly documented. George W. Bush is not the legitimate president of the United States.
The Story of Carl - On Workers Memorial Day 04/27/06
Carl loved books and loved history and, after spending two years in the army as part of the American occupation forces in Japan immediately after World War II, was hoping to graduate from college and teach history, perhaps even at the university level if he could hang on to the GI Bill and his day job in a camera store long enough to get his Ph.D. It was 1950, and he'd been married just a few months, when the surprise came that forced him to drop out of college: his wife was pregnant with their first child.
Democracy Be Damned - Republicans Need Another War 04/11/06
George W. Bush is at it again. This time, reports Sy Hersh in The New Yorker, it'll be Iran. (Those of us who guessed it would have been Syria first apparently underestimated his hubris.) And this time he wants to be able to use nukes.
Today's Immigration Battle - Corporatists vs. Racists (and Labor is Left Behind) 03/29/06
The corporatist Republicans ("amnesty!") are fighting with the racist Republicans ("fence!"), and it provides an opportunity for progressives to step forward with a clear solution to the immigration problem facing America. Both the corporatists and the racists are fond of the mantra, "There are some jobs Americans won't do." It's a lie.
Illegal Workers: the Con's Secret Weapon 03/08/06
Conservatives are all atwitter about illegal immigrants. Some want to give them amnesty. Others want to reinstitute the old Bracero program. Others want to build a wall around America, like the communists did around East Berlin. Some advocate all of the above.
But none will tell Americans the truth about why we have eleven million illegal aliens in this nation now (when it was fewer than 2 million when Reagan came into office), why they're staying, or why they keep coming. In a word, it's "jobs." In conservative lexicon, it's "cheap labor to increase corporate profits."
When Americans No Longer Own America 02/27/06
The Dubai Ports World deal is waking Americans up to a painful reality: So-called "conservatives" and "flat world" globalists have bankrupted our nation for their own bag of silver, and in the process are selling off America.
Rumsfeld and Cheney Revive Their 70's Terror Playbook 02/13/06
Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are at it again. Last week, Rumsfeld told the press we should be preparing for "the Long War," saying of the war this administration has stirred up with its attack on Iraq that, "Just as the Cold War lasted a long time, this war is something that is not going to go away." The last time Rumsfeld talked like this was in the 1970s, in response to the danger of peace presented by Richard Nixon.
Alito - It's the Constitution That's At Stake 01/29/06
Samuel Alito is a big booster of presidential power. Other "constitutional scholars" have been less sanguine.
On April 20, 1795, James Madison, who had just helped shepherd through the Constitution and Bill of Rights,
and would become President of the United States in the following decade, wrote:
Challenging Abramoff's "Artificial Aristocracy" 01/09/06
That Jack Abramoff exclusively gave his money to conservative Republicans shouldn't surprise us. While the RNC will try to spin this as "politics" and not as a Republican scandal, much as Bush called his old friend and business associate Ken Lay an "equal opportunity corruptor," the reality is that it's not a corruption that has infected both parties, nor could it be.
To understand why, we have to understand the core conservative governing principle - aristocracy.
Losing Habeas Corpus - "A More Dangerous Engine of Arbitrary Government" 11/14/05
The oldest human right defined in the history of English-speaking civilization is the right to challenge that "power of the executive" through the use of habeas corpus laws. Habeas corpus is roughly Latin for "hold the body," and is used in law to mean that a government must either charge a person with a crime or let them go free. And last week, U.S. Senate Republicans (with the help of five Senate Democrats) passed a bill that would begin to take down that right.
"You Can't Govern if You Don't Believe in Government" 09/26/05
In a May 25, 2001 interview, Grover Norquist told National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Norquist got his wish. Democracy - and at least several thousand people, most of them Democrats, black, and poor - drowned last week in the basin of New Orleans. Our nation failed in its response, because for most of the past 25 years conservatives who don't believe in governance have run our government.
George W. Bush's Noble Cause - Political Capital 08/29/05
It's becoming increasingly clear that the way Bush lied us into invading Iraq, particularly the timing of it all (ginning it up just before the 2002 midterm elections), was done largely so Republicans could win take back the Senate in 2002 after losing it because of Jim Jeffords' defection, and so Bush could win the White House in the election of 2004.
Jefferson Would Have Stood With Cindy Sheehan 08/15/05
Often history tells us how the future may turn out.... But most relevant to today's situation were John Adams' version of Bush's Saddam stories when Adams sent three emissaries to France and criminals soliciting bribes approached them late one evening. Adams referred to these three unidentified Frenchmen as "Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Mr. Z," and made them out to represent such an insult and a threat against America that it may presage war.
TreasonGate - What Did Bush Know, And When Did He Know It? 07/22/05
... Which leaves George W. Bush, as the only other person on that plane with the means, opportunity, and motive.
Supreme Court - Media Ignore Possible "Fascist" Play 07/05/05
The Bush administration is spectacularly good at sleight-of-hand tricks, directing public attention in one direction while they're working diligently in another. The latest trial balloon of "probable" Supreme Court nominees is no exception. While everybody is worried about abortion rights and corporate power, a far more insidious agenda may be at play.
They Died So Republicans Could Take the Senate 06/20/05
The real scandal of the Downing Street Memos, with the greatest potential to leave the Bush presidency in permanent disgrace, is their implication that lies may have been put forward to help Bush, Republicans, and Blair politically. If Bush lied to gain and keep political power, precedent suggests he and his collaborators in the administration may even be vulnerable to impeachment.
Dean Just Told Them The Truth and They Thought It Was Hell 06/10/05
This morning I called the Democratic National Committee to tell them that I support Howard Dean's modern-day version of Harry Truman's dictum that, "I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."
Interview with British MP George Galloway 05/03/05
[Thom Hartmann] I'm wondering, what is your opinion on the legality of Guantanamo Bay and what do you think of the construction of a death chamber there, which was reported by the BBC yesterday?
[George Galloway] Well, it's an utterly illegal process which is being followed.
Carter Tried To Stop Bush's Energy Disasters - 28 Years Ago 05/03/05
In his recent news conference, George Bush Jr. suggested that our nation's "problem" with high gasoline prices was caused by the lack of a national energy policy, and tried to blame it all on Bill Clinton. First, Junior said, "This is a problem that's been a long time in coming. We haven't had an energy policy in this country." As is so often the case, Bush was lying.
Save Andy - And Save America 05/01/05
Just as we occasionally see community fundraising efforts surface with donation collection cans in convenience stores for local folks experiencing medical emergencies, today the progressive community is working to save one of its own.
The Frauds of the Clergy 04/25/05
Why would a multi-multi-millionaire Senator, who consistently votes to harm the hungry and the poor who so concerned Jesus, join forces with religious fundamentalists to stack this nation's highest courts? Could it be because he and his wealthy Republican friends see huge financial benefits for themselves and their corporate patrons in a compliant court?
How Rich is Too Rich For Democracy? 04/18/05
At what point does great wealth held in a few hands actually harm democracy, threatening to turn a democratic republic into an oligarchy? It's a debate we haven't had freely and openly in this nation for nearly a century, and last week, by voting to end the Estate Tax, House Republicans tried to ensure that it wouldn't be had again in this generation. But it's a debate that's vital to the survival of democracy in America. ...continued
Young People: The Key To Republican Single-Party Rule 03/21/05
Democrats and progressives make the mistake of thinking that today's
Social Security debate is about Social Security. It's not. It's about creating
single party rule for a generation or more. To do that, Republicans believe they
need only to grab the hearts and minds of the generation currently under 30 -
and they can do that, win or lose, by properly framing the Social Security debate.
Teresa Heinz Kerry - Hacking the "Mother Machine"? 03/10/05
"Two brothers own 80 percent of the [voting] machines used in the United States," Teresa Heinz Kerry told a group of Seattle guests at a March 7, 2005 lunch for Representative Adam Smith, according to reporter Joel Connelly in an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Connelly noted Heinz Kerry added that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."
Moses Didn't Write The Constitution 03/03/05
Two main arguments are being put forward these days about state-sponsored displays of the Ten Commandments. The first is that they are the basis of Anglo-Saxon law, leading to ancient British law, leading to American law. The second is that sometimes the displays of them are purely decorative, part of a larger display of other legal and/or religious symbols (as is seen in the Supreme Court chamber itself).
When Democracy Failed: 2005 02/22/05
It started when the government, in the midst of an economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed....continued
Progressives and Democrats: Assert Your Brand! 02/10/05
Politics is all about branding. And brands are not about issues or details - they're about identity.
"Nobles Need Not Pay Taxes" 02/01/05
A new aristocracy is taking over not just the United States of America but also the world. ... This is more than just a tax cut story. It's about a fundamental shift in power and wealth from average people and the governments they had formed to represent them, to the capture of those governments and economic enslavement of their people by corporate aristocracies.
The Robber Barons' Party 01/20/05
The Robber Barons are back. They're staging a celebration of their power in Washington, DC, where they help write the majority of legislation and hold captive all but a very few of our nation's legislators.
First They Came For The Terrorists... 01/10/05
The Gonzales confirmation is not just about the torture memos. It's much bigger than that. If Bush continues to roll back human and civil rights - and the installation of Alberto Gonzalez as America's chief law enforcement officer is very much a part of his campaign to do so - we may be facing a "Pastor Niemöller moment" sooner than most of us could have imagined.
Dialing In For Democracy 01/03/05
Jeff Taylor is one of Vermont's three electors - representatives elected by the citizens of Vermont to vote for President of the United States. He and his two peers have joined the electors of several other states in signing resolutions asking their state's congressional delegation to protest the Ohio slate of electors.
"If they can have fair elections in Kiev," Taylor told me, "why not in Cleveland?"
The Myth of National Victimhood - All Wrapped and Delivered for Christmas
It's Christmas week - Adolf Hitler's favorite season after he declared an official merger of church and state - and, ironically, conservatives are using the occasion to mount a new and bizarre attack.
Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power
What if there really was no need for much - or even most - of the Cold War? What if, in fact, the Cold War had been kept alive for two decades based on phony WMD threats? What if, similarly, the War On Terror was largely a scam, and the administration was hyping it to seem larger-than-life?
Scalia To Synagogue - Jews Are Safer With Christians In Charge
Antonin Scalia, the man most likely to be our next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, turned history on its head recently when he attended an Orthodox synagogue in New York and claimed that the Founders intended for their Christianity to play a part in government.
How To Take Back A Stolen Election
"Never again!" says the slogan in an email I received from an activist friend.
"Never again will we allow a stolen election in the USA!" But how are we going to stop it?
'Stinking Evidence' of Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida
There was something odd about the poll tapes. (And it always seemed to favor George W. Bush...)
Restoring Trust In The Vote
This is a Game Where Principles are the Stake
Take heart. Democracy has come under assault in America before, we've survived, and the nation actually became stronger for the struggle.
Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.
And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004.
The Ultimate Felony Against Democracy - Privatizing the Vote 11/04/04
The hot story in the Blogosphere is that the "erroneous" exit polls that showed Kerry carrying Florida and Ohio (among other states) weren't erroneous at all - it was the numbers produced by paperless voting machines that were wrong, and Kerry actually won. As more and more analysis is done of what may (or may not) be the most massive election fraud in the history of the world, however, it's critical that we keep the largest issue at the forefront at all time: Why are We The People allowing private, for-profit corporations, answerable only to their officers and boards of directors, and loyal only to agendas and politicians that will enhance their profitability, to handle our votes?
McKinley or Roosevelt? This Election is as Much About the Past as the Future 10/25/04
From the Gilded Age to the Great Depression to today, the economic agenda of conservatives has been easily summarized in two words: "cheap labor." Nowhere was that more clearly on display than in the recent decision by Judge William S. Howard that "relieved" coal companies from having to pay already-earned retirement benefits to coal miners in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois.
Bush & Scalia: "You want privacy rights? Pass a law!" 10/12/04
In an eerie juxtaposition during the second presidential debate, both George W. Bush and Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia - each in their own sort of code - were saying at the same time that if Bush is elected in 2004, women who get abortions will probably face criminal prosecutions, and our rights of privacy will evaporate.
Columbus Day Celebration? Think Again... 10/11/04
If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the island on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a blowtorch and burned away anything green. Even the ocean around the port capital of Port au Prince is choked for miles with the brown of human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the air, it looks like a lava flow spilling out into the sea. The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for what's happening in the whole world.
Who Was Right About the "Global Test"- Jefferson or Hitler? 10/04/04
...In the days since the debate, that clip and its related Bush spin has been replayed so much and so often by the media that it's likely more Americans have heard it than heard the original debate itself. And of those who heard the debate, by this time most have probably forgotten Senator Kerry's actual words, and only a few may have noticed the impeachable High Crime committed by George Bush to which they pointed.
Just Cut Out Their Tongues 09/07/04
The CBS/Rather/Bush/Guard affair - regardless of how it ultimately turns out - has brilliantly deflected the issue of George W. Bush having strings pulled to get him into the Guard, and then not fulfilling his service requirements. Anytime the issue is raised in the future - regardless of facts or context - partisan Republicans will simply dismiss it by saying, "Those documents were forged." That four-word sound byte will be remembered long after the details of Bush's failures have dimmed from popular memory. Politically, it was a masterstroke. And not only does it hurt Bush family enemy Kerry, but also gets back at Bush family enemy Dan Rather, against whom they've nursed a 16-year grudge.
Bush Family Wounds America Below The Belt Line 09/07/04
In 1988, the Bush campaign planted a lie in the media that Michael Dukakis had suffered from depression after losing an election for governor. According to Susan Estrich, his campaign manager, it cost Dukakis six points in the polls. A Bush family friend planted another lie that Dukakis' wife, Kitty, had once burned a flag at a demonstration - and Dukakis took another hit in the polls. The Bush family is at it again, with the now-well-documented lies told from the pulpit - er, podium - of the Republican National Convention, including lies told directly to the American people by George W. Bush himself.
What Would Machiavelli Do? The Big Lie Lives On 08/26/04
There is nothing new about the Swift Boat ads. German filmmaker Fritz Kippler, one of Goebbels' most effective propagandists, once said that two steps were necessary to promote a Big Lie so the majority of the people in a nation would believe it. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that "even the most feebleminded could understand." The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.
Cheney Speaks to the Reptile Brain 08/17/04
It's Willie Horton all over again. The Bush family is subjecting Americans to psychological operations, only the level of sophistication and deception is an order of magnitude higher than it was in 1988. And it could turn the election, if not used effectively in rebuttal. Here's how it works, and how Dick Cheney just used it masterfully:
Ralph Nader: Let The Voter Beware 08/06/04
The frauds and deceptions of the Bush administration are legion and, sadly, to be expected, based on the Bush family's past (from sweetheart business deals going back to WWII, to smearing John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, to lying to the American people just before the election of 2002 about the threats Iraq posed). But few people expected Ralph Nader - one of America's finest defenders of the public interest and the commons - to employ deception in an election.
The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here" 07/19/04
The Republican National Committee has recently removed from their website an advertisement interspersing Hitler's face with those of John Kerry and other prominent Democrats. This little-heralded step has freed former Enron lobbyist and current RNC chairman Ed Gillespie to resume his attacks on Americans who believe some provisions of Bush's PATRIOT Act, his detention of American citizens without charges, his willingness to let corporations write legislation, and the so-called "Free Speech Zones" around his public appearances are all steps on the road to American fascism.
Scrooge & Marley, Inc. -- The True Conservative Agenda
There is nothing "normal" about a nation having a middle class, even though it is vital to the survival of democracy.
As twenty-three years of conservative economic policies have now shown millions of un- and underemployed Americans, what's "normal" in a "free and unfettered" economy is the rapid evolution of a small but fabulously wealthy ownership class, and a large but poor working class. In the entire history of civilization, outside of a small mercantilist class and the very few skilled tradesmen who'd managed to organize in guilds (the earliest unions) like the ancient Masons, the middle class was an aberration.
If a nation wants a middle class, it must define it, desire it, and work to both create and keep it.
The Choice This Year Is Between Empire and Democracy... 05/31/04
Having lived in Germany and extensively interviewed many (now elderly) former members of Hitler's Nazi Party (and one spy for him) for a book I was writing on the religion of the Nazis, I can say categorically that Hitler had (or at least his people believed he had) a Vision. It was a vision of a world at peace (for 1000 years, no less), a world purified of disruptive or "undesirable" people, a world united in what Hitler called "A New Christianity," a world where things worked smoothly and people were happy because of "strong, steady leadership" (even during times of change), a world guided by a leader who held tenaciously to a singular vision.
Liberal Talk Radio - Let The Water Cooler Wars Begin ... 05/17/04
Rush Limbaugh has, at various times, claimed credit for the elections of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush - and given how narrow electoral margins have been recently, he may be right. But now, in a free-market fashion that even conservatives have to salute, the tide is turning.
Time To Reconsider Jefferson's Call For Universal Service... 05/05/04
Many of the world's mature democracies require every high-school graduate to serve a year or two of either military or nonprofit service. At first blush, this may seem like an oppression by government, but history shows it's actually one of the best ways to prevent a military from becoming its own insular and dangerous subculture, to prevent the lower ranks of the military from being overwhelmed by people trying to escape poverty, and to keep military actions of the government accountable to the people.
The Founders of America extensively considered this same issue.
Bush Fails History...Jefferson Predicted Iraq... 04/21/04
Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon thought they could bomb Vietnam into accepting democracy. George W. Bush thinks he can do it with Iraq.
But the first American president to consider how best to grow democracies - Thomas Jefferson - had some very different thoughts on the issue. LBJ and Bush would have done well to listen to his thoughtful words in a letter he wrote on February 14, 1815, to his old friend in France, the Marquis de Lafayette.
Exposing the Conservative Straw Man - "Productivity"... 04/12/04
Thomas Jefferson wrote in a September 28, 1821 letter, "The government of the United States, at a very early period, when establishing its tariff on foreign importations, were very much guided in their selection of objects by a desire to encourage manufactures within ourselves."
Conservatives don't want you to know this, and - even more frenetically - are working to prevent any discussion of "protectionist" tariffs on labor.
Democracy - Not "The Free Market" - Will Save America's Middle Class
Here are a couple of headlines for those who haven't had the time to study both economics and history:
1. There is no such thing as a "free market."
2. The "middle class" is the creation of government intervention in the marketplace, and won't exist without it (as millions of Americans and Europeans are discovering).
Gay Marriage? Blame It On Jefferson... 02/20/04
"It's never been tried before." "The Bible doesn't mention it." "Civilized people have never done things this way." "No society in the 6000 years of the history of civilization since Gilgamesh has suggested such a thing." "It'll create social chaos, ultimately destroying the nation." "It's just too radical an idea for people to accept."...
How Global Warming May Cause the Next Ice Age... 01/30/04
While global warming is being officially ignored by the political arm of the Bush administration, and Al Gore's recent conference on the topic during one of the coldest days of recent years provided joke fodder for conservative talk show hosts, the citizens of Europe and the Pentagon are taking a new look at the greatest danger such climate change could produce for the northern hemisphere - a sudden shift into a new ice age. What they're finding is not at all comforting...
A Fistful of Kryptonite Against SuperGeorge... 01/06/04
In this season of blockbuster movies, it's useful to remember that one of the first lessons aspiring novelists and screenwriters learn is that the goodness of a hero is defined by a single quality - the badness of his opponent. From Superman's Lex Luthor to Batman's Joker to Indiana Jones' Nazis to Luke Skywalker's Darth Vader, for a hero to be perceived as larger than life, he must have a larger than life enemy....
Conservatives Target Testicles 12/20/03
Rush Limbaugh just declared psychological war on the working white males of America,
although most of them probably didn't realize it. This week Limbaugh rolled out a "funny"
faux advertisement for the "Hillary Clinton Testicle Lock Box" that now any woman can use
to clamp down on men's testicles just like Hillary does....
The Founders Confront Judge Moore 11/20/03
Judge Moore, the "Ten Commandments Judge" in Alabama, says the controversy he and Fox news have stirred up is about religion. But it's not about religion. It's about power. A power that seeks, ultimately, to replace democracy....
Free Yourself from Conservative Talk Radio: 12 Steps to Recovery 11/4/03
Step 1: Admit that you were under the sway of right-wing, anti-democracy radicals.
This is the first step for every conservative or "ditto-head" listener on the way to recovery. It is important to understand that the people you were listening to are not "compassionate conservatives," "Republicans," or "pillars of morality." They're right-wing conservative radicals, more interested in strong corporations than strong democracy, and you must be honest with yourself about that fact....
Republicans - Please Take Back Your Party 10/24/03
Today's so-called Republicans have established a mind-numbing record at polluting the environment; bloating government; appointing crony partisans; pushing the nation into debt to fund tax cuts for the rich; legislatively catering to the world's largest corporations; opposing women's rights; kneecapping states, local communities, and schools; eviscerating constitutional protections of liberty at home; and devastating our nation's reputation abroad....
The Battle Hymn of the New Liberal Media: A Good Business Plan 10/16/03
In the last Democratic debate, one of the questioners pointed out that fewer Americans identify themselves as either liberals or Democrats than at any time since before Roosevelt's New Deal. The implicit question was, "What's so bad about you guys that Americans have decided 'liberal' is a curse word and people are embarrassed to call themselves Democrats?"....
Rush Limbaugh May Teach Conservatives A Lesson 10/03/03
The reaction to the drug problem - and drug felonies - recently alleged against Rush Limbaugh highlight sharply the differences between conservative morality and liberal/progressive morality.
Conservatives often mistakenly proclaim themselves the sole holders of morality...
Might Bush's Blank Check for War Bounce If He Deceived Congress? 09/19/03
On Tuesday, September 16, 2003, George W. Bush said what virtually every other senior member of his administration had been going out of their way to refute....
The Genetically Modified Bomb
Imagine a bomb that only kills Caucasians with red hair. Or short people. Or Arabs. Or Chinese...
Blood, Oil, and Tears - and the 2004 Bush Campaign Strategy
The two words we never hear in the corporate media's discussion of Iraq are "oil" and "nationalism." Yet these are the keys to understanding why we got into Iraq, why we only want "limited" involvement from the U.N., why we won't succeed in stopping attacks against us in Iraq, and why George W. Bush's crony capitalism and aircraft-carrier-landing phony-warrior drama have so terribly harmed our nation and set up a disaster for our children's generation.
Turn Your Radio On - The Unions' Answer to Right-Wing Static
"If America's largest and most conservative corporations can own and influence big chunks of the American media," some have asked, "then why not our most established and respected unions?" It turns out that unions can get into the media business - and one already has, creating what has recently become America's only operational commercial liberal talk radio network, officially introduced to the industry this month with a prominent ad in Talkers Magazine...
The Theft of Your Vote is Just a Chip Away
Are computerized voting machines a wide-open back door to massive voting fraud? The discussion has moved from the Internet to CNN, to UK newspapers, and the pages of The New York Times. People are cautiously beginning to connect the dots, and the picture that seems to be emerging is troubling...
Dear Clarence Thomas: It Happened on July 4, 1776
In 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote a note to James Madison about the future possibility of a president who didn't understand the principles on which America was founded. "The tyranny of the legislatures is the most formidable dread at present," he wrote, "and will be for many years. That of the executive will come in its turn, but it will be at a remote period."
The new so-called conservatives claim the power to violate citizens' private lives because, they say, there is no "right to privacy" in the United States. In that, they overlook the history of America and the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776. And they miss a basic understanding of the evolution of language in the United States....
How An Earlier "Patriot Act" Law Brought Down A President 06/16/03
Many Americans are suggesting that the Patriot Act (and its proposed "improvements" in Patriot II) is totally new in the experience of America and may spell the end of both democracy and the Bill of Rights. History, however, shows another view, which offers us both warnings and hope...
Midnight Ride of the Rabble 06/04/03
Let's be blunt. The real agenda of the new conservatives is nothing less than the destruction of democracy in the United States of America. And feudalism is one of their weapons...
The Crime of the Century: A never-ending war against terrorism 06/30/03
During this lull in the fighting between the 2002 election cycle Iraq conflict and the soon-to-come 2004 election cycle conflict, it's a good time to (anonymously) sit in a library or bookstore and browse "The Turner Diaries" and Gore Vidal's "Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace." ...
The Real War - On American Democracy 04/12/03
In the midst of news of foreign wars, Americans are beginning to wake up to the real war being waged here at home. It is, however, a confused awakening...
How To Take Back America...03/24/03
Marching in the streets is important work, but wouldn't we have greater success if we also took control of the United States government?
When Democracy Failed - The Lessons of History... (Thom's article about the parallels between
Bush's administration and Hitler's rise in Germany.)03/16/03
The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world. It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack.
The Empire Needs New Clothes...03/11/01
It's easy to vilify George W. Bush as a cynical warmonger, anxious to attack Iraq to repay the oil companies that funded his election campaigns. But to do so is to make a dangerous and fundamental error, and such a myopic view of the Bush administration's policies puts America's future at risk.
Now Your Vote Is The Property Of A Private Corporation... 03/07/03
Santa Clara County, of all jurisdictions in America, should have known better. They could have started by looking at Florida.
Healthcare Reveals Real "Conservative" Agenda - Drown Democracy In A Bathtub... 02/25/03
They're hoping Americans won't notice. Indeed, in late February a "senior administration official" presented The New York Times
with a masterpiece of obfuscation and avoidance of responsibility.
"If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines"... 01/31/03
Maybe Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel honestly won two US Senate elections. Maybe it's true that the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular war veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was, as his successful Republican challenger suggested in his campaign ads, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate. Maybe George W. Bush, Alabama's new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles.
Now Corporations Claim "The Right To Lie"... 01/01/03
While Nike was conducting a huge and expensive PR blitz to tell people that it had cleaned up its subcontractors' sweatshop labor practices, an alert consumer advocate and activist in California named Marc Kasky caught them in what he alleges are a number of specific deceptions. Citing a California law that forbids corporations from intentionally deceiving people in their commercial statements, Kasky sued the multi-billion-dollar corporation.
Instead of refuting Kasky's charge by proving in court that they didn't lie, however, Nike instead chose to argue that corporations should enjoy the same "free speech" right to deceive that individual human citizens have in their personal lives...
Americans Revolt in Pennsylvania - New Battle Lines Are Drawn... 12/19/02
The good citizens of Pennsylvania have done it again. Back in 1776, they hosted at Liberty Hall in Philadelphia a gathering of people radicalized by the predations of the East India Company. The world's first multinational corporation then held a virtual stranglehold on commerce and politics in North America, and brazenly used British troops as its enforcers. On the first week of December, 1600, when she created the East India Company, Queen Elizabeth I became the first CEO monarch, and by 1776 King George II was following in her footsteps with his sizeable holdings in and open advocacy of corporate rule.
The Railroad Barons Are Back - And This Time They'll Finish the Job... 12/11/02
The railroad barons first tried to infiltrate the halls of government in the early years after the Civil War. The efforts of these men, particularly Jay Gould, brought the Ulysses Grant administration into such disrepute, as a result of what were then called "the railroad bribery scandals," that Grant's own Republican party refused to renominate him for the third term he wanted and ran Rutherford B. Hayes instead. As the whitehouse.gov website says of Grant, "Looking to Congress for direction, he seemed bewildered. One visitor to the White House noted 'a puzzled pathos, as of a man with a problem before him of which he does not understand the terms.'"
Talking Back To Talk Radio - Fairness, Democracy, and Profits... 12/03/02
"All Democrats are fat, lazy, and stupid," the talk-show host said in grave, serious tones as if he were uttering a sacred truth. We were driving to Michigan for the holidays, and I was tuning around, listening for the stations I'd worked for two and three decades ago. I turned the dial. "It's a Hannity For Humanity house," a different host said, adding that the Habitat For Humanity home he'd apparently hijacked for his own self-promotion would only be given to a family that swears it's conservative. "No liberals are going to get this house," he said.
Goldwater's Ghost In The Voting Machines... 11/16/02
Computers in the electoral process started in 1964, the year Goldwater opposed Johnson for the presidency. Back then, though, when states bought computers to read punch-card votes, the states owned and operated the computers, and the electorate could thus examine their processes and results. Even Barry Goldwater, ever suspicious of the creeping power of government, approved: the process was relatively transparent.
Time to Remove the Bananas...and Return Our Republic to Democracy... 11/06/02
Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush both seem to have a funny idea about democracy: they think it's about voting. Saddam was able to win his election without even having to use corporate money or Supreme Court justices appointed by a relative: just hold an election and therefore it must be a democracy. Bush and many, if not most, other American politicians, think that giving hundreds of millions of dollars to huge media corporations to carpet-bomb the minds of voters means that democracy is served when a vote is held.
Revealed: Why Germans Oppose War in Iraq - French Fries... 11/01/02
An hour ago, I was standing deep in a Franconian forest of central Germany, gazing in amazement at the time-hidden ruins of an ancient castle, Nordek, that was first built in A.D. 950 and finally abandoned about 500 years ago. The massive stone structure looms two hundred yards above the Steinach river, and was probably built by the local warlord to control the trade on the river. A sign on the castle identifies three medieval wars that were fought for control of it, and, no doubt, for control of the river's trade.
Madison’s Ghost on The Intoxicated Presidency - and its Corporate Support Group... 10/25/02
I just returned from Argentina. People there understand Machiavelli, I discovered; when he wrote his instructions to The Prince, that, “Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose…” it would make perfect sense to anybody who’d lived through Argentina’s past half-century.
The Dinosaur War - To Protect Corporate Profits... 10/11/02
I thought of it as dinosaur blood when it dripped on my hand this morning, and it made me wonder how the US war strategy would change if Saddam made a small recalibration in his business practices.
Dismantling Democracy - What's Behind the Magic Trick of War?... 09/22/02
I was about 12 and into the first year of a very brief career as a magician, in partnership with my best friend Chuck and his stepfather, the late professional stage magician Jim Edwards. Chuck and I were going to perform on a local TV show, and Edwards counseled us to “always control where your audience is putting their attention.” And the greatest of a magician’s tricks, he said, was to have the audience watch the illusion, and let them notice some small thing that they thought was the trick making it work, while you were pulling off a third and wholly unnoticed thing out of the range of their attention.
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