Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Devilishly Convenient Myth: Deeply Held Religious Beliefs

Hobby Lobby: How the Catholic Supremes
 "Stepped In It" While Pretending to be Judges

Many Americans watching the old Catholic Supremes delivering the now famous Hobby Lobby verdict were still probably comfortable muttering to themselves something along the lines of "Oh well, it IS religious freedom, so I guess it's okay, right? After all, that's why the Pilgrims founded America in the first place."

Now, "religious freedom" -- as it's spelled out in the Bill of Rights -- has everything to do with stopping someone else from telling you that "You'd better start 'believing' what I say, or I'm going to shoot you, steal your cattle, sell your children in slavery and burn down your house. Plus, of course, you'll be going to hell."

Hobby Lobby: The conveniently "Catholic" Supremes [image source]
Although the Supremes weren't, in reality, dealing with anything as stark and definite as this example, they claimed they were, rushing piously even farther out on what was already a really, really rickety limb. The phrase the old Catholic men on the Court selected for the grotesque thing they had just ruled that the Constitution "protected" was to be called "deeply held religious belief."

Notably, the women on the Court wouldn't touch the thing with a stick, and, in fact, spoke right up to say --  in no uncertain terms -- that they not only thought it sucked, but that they expected it to suck even more once all the "deeply held religious beliefs" began, inevitably, oozing out of the wood work from every dark, damp, little cranny.

The Supreme women were right. A mere few hours after the Supreme decision became public, the "ooze" had already become a problem. 

Emboldened, the "carpet baggers of righteousness" had, suddenly, discovered that they, too, had all sorts of "deeply held religious beliefs" -- many of which they had never previously even realized that they held. Nonetheless, now that the "cat was out of the bag," they not only held all these suddenly discovered, yet strangely unlikely, "deeply held religious beliefs," but each and every one of them was equally suddenly suffering under the horrible social and judicial oppression of not being able to, willy nilly, force someone else to adopt the same "deeply held religious beliefs" or, of course, face the consequences.

For a nice Catholic Sunday School boy like Antonioni Scalia, this looked like a perfect job for the Supremes. With nothing more than a stroke of the pen, he and his buddies would guaranteed their after life opportunity to be walking through St Peter's "Pearly Gates" to an eternity of bliss delivered by no one less than an eternally grateful God, himself.

MeanMesa suspects the Supreme Sunday School crowd may have called a few Cardinals to "firm up" the deal before they publicly committed.

Since the Catholic Supremes have pronounced that the new currency of the day will now be these "deeply held religious beliefs," let's take a closer look at what that awkwardly pregnant phrase might possibly mean -- if anything

It has to mean something, right?

Roberts Court Super PACs Rewrite the Bible
 The Catholic Supremes may dream of being Constantine, 
but this still isn't the Council of Nicaea.

Just a bit about the general nature of lawsuits

This Hobby Lobby lawsuit is a quite abnormal sort of affair -- it really isn't particularly similar to what might be considered "barnyard common" matter which must be settled in a court with jurisdiction. A typical lawsuit has some typical parts, but any lawsuit which has scratched and clawed its way through the lower courts to finally reach the Supremes is almost certainly one with more complex issues.

The "typical" components of a "normal" lawsuit are fairly straightforward. There is almost always an "injured party" able present valid evidence of having illegally suffered some form of "material damage." For example, it is extremely difficult to successfully sue someone for simply being "nasty" or to get a restraint order issued simply because someone "creeps me out." A court wants to see "material damage."

When such a case reaches court, the plaintiff has taken the case to trial seeking "relief" from whatever thing, institution or person which has wrongfully inflicted the "material damage," seeking compensation in some form for the damage and probably also asking for some sort of judicial ruling which will stop whatever practice had caused the damage in the future. There are many, many forms of this, but these ideas rough out a general picture.

Lawsuits which reach the Supremes have an additional quality which many lay people don't completely understand. In most cases Supreme Court cases plaintiffs are seeking relief from "material damages" caused by a law which has been passed by Congress, making the US Federal Government the defendant. Often, the exact "material damages" in such complaints arise from some element of the subject law preventing the plaintiff from enjoying his Constitutional rights.

The Green's claim
 of "injury" and "material damage"

In the Hobby Lobby case the particular "material damage" was alleged to have been inflicted un-Constitutionally on the Green family [owners of Hobby Lobby and plaintiffs in the case] by the ACA's provision mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives runs into trouble right away.

Normally, a plaintiff's tangible evidence of having suffered "material damage" might appear in court as photographs of an injured body or automobile, hospital bills, depositions from attending doctors and so on. In other cases such evidence might be accounting records, relevant correspondence. There are settled "rules of evidence," and courts at trial are usually quite insistent that these statutory thresholds be met. The attorneys representing the parties in such suits may argue about parts of the evidence, but the judge will, as necessary, rule on each part of the evidence, settling such contentions, before beginning to consider the merits of the case.

However, this leaves us with the matter of the precise "material damage" suffered by the Greens.

Presumably, what serves as "material damage" in the Hobby Lobby case lies at the end of a very long, very tenuous thread which, somehow, is "implied" to lead straight to St. Peter's famous mythical "Gates of Judgment." Other than this, the Greens seem to emerge essentially unharmed by cooperating with a statutorily defined, legal insurance regulation law requiring specific types of health coverage.

The issue becomes even more contradictory with settled law when the Greens fail to present evidence that 1. they will be denied access to a mythological "heaven" -- argued to be "material damage" -- as an injurious consequence of complying with the ACA's mandate, or, 2. that they will suffer "material damage" prior to their presumed ascent as a result of legally required "complicity" in such a Biblical crime. The fact is that the Greens will not ever be forced to even become aware of any of the consequences of simply complying with the law. The plaintiff's "damage" is to them, at its very best, proximate and the issue of presumption, not direct or physical.

It is unlikely that any Hobby Lobby employee utilizing the contraceptive coverage will ever even actually tell the Greens that this is the case.

The judicial problem with
 "deeply held religious beliefs"

The Catholic Supremes concluded that merely the Green's proclamation of "deeply held religious beliefs" was sufficient to merit protection under their curiously interpreted application of the Establishment language. However, what the Catholic Supremes didn't even bother to add to this inevitably arcane decision was any judicial metric for a useful determination of "deeply."

Absent such a mechanism to establish "deeply-enough" from "not deeply-enough," the decision's applicability is entirely unquantifiable. What remains amid the smoldering tatters of the Supreme jurisprudence is that "deeply-enough" will be an issue of plaintiff "fiat." That is, when any plaintiff argues that any particular "religious belief" is, in fact, a "deeply held" one, the Supremes' new rule of evidence is satisfied at trial. This ruling requires that the plaintiff's claim must be regarded as legitimate, prima facie evidence that he did, in fact, hold such beliefs, that those beliefs satisfied the [heretofore...] undefined test of being "deeply" held, and that he has, as a consequence, suffered "material damage" -- although there is no particular other evidence of it -- as a result of being compelled to contradict them in some way.

The matter of "belief" is also problematic. MeanMesa happily grants syntactical validity to "beliefs" expressing hypotheses. This use of the term is a convenient means to relay the idea that "what is being 'believed'" is, in fact, a hypothetical proposition [subject to logical "existential falsification" -- see below] based on some sort of evidence and awaiting a more formal proof or other substantiation.

However, if "what is being 'believed'" is something -- not a proposition -- presented utterly without any material or logical evidence whatsoever, the act of "believing" becomes no more than an "insistence" that something unsupported by evidence of any kind be factual.

This was the essence of Justice Ginsberg's scathing minority opinion. Her prediction has become a chilling reality in the days since the Hobby Lobby ruling. "Deeply held religious beliefs" are popping up like dandelions in springtime from every reactionary billionaire anxious to defeat the ACA and, perhaps, save a little money on the employee health insurance benefits the law now requires.

The US health insurance corporations have a cordial hatred of the ACA for understandable reasons. They have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the ambition of permanently defeating it. They have clearly corrupted Congress with their lobbying. However, "joining the posse" are hundreds of billionaires who are watching the amount they must now legally pay for employee health insurance benefits escalate.

Making little effort to conceal the outrage, the heavily soiled, brazenly "interest conflicted" Catholic Supremes have been the "biggest hogs at the trough."

The logical issue of
"existential falsification"

Existential falsification is the classical antithesis of mythological religion -- especially claims of universal authority of religious doctrine [claims usually expressed by various ways in the ancient books] offered to legitimize all manner of wars and conquests, many with ramifications durable enough to last to this present day.

The "existential falsification" idea is from propositional logic. For some kind of statement or proclamation to be a proposition, it must be -- at least potentially -- provably either true or false. While spectacular claims issuing forth from religious mythology may seem to be propositions, there exists no logical means to either verify or disprove them, that is, the means to establish their accuracy or falsehood do not exist [are not "existential"...], hence, the term "existential falsification."

All this would be rather academic if it were not for the "evidence" quandary mentioned above. Although it may be enjoyable to employ the "existential falsification" card in a cocktail party conversation with an over imbibing religionist [MeanMesa uses the term "religionist" to describe an individual who insists on applying of Bronze Age superstitions to modern decisions], it turns out that the logically shabby "material damage" of the "injured party" in our Hobby Lobby lawsuit exhibits the same difficulty.

A plaintiff complaint that his "deeply held religious beliefs" have been violated cannot be proved or disproved within the confines of judicial discipline or the constraints of the rules of evidence present in a courtroom at trial. To argue further that, as a result of holding such "deeply held beliefs," a plaintiff is reasonably entitled -- Constitutionally -- to legal protection from ever being compelled to comply with statutory law contradicting them or even to countenance others near by engaging in behavior contradicting them is a new low for American jurisprudence.

Far from an "easily ignorable legal complexity," the Hobby Lobby decision reached the domestic US to a depth which MeanMesa considers remarkable. Supreme decisions are typically not particularly interesting to Americans, but this one was clearly an exception -- especially to women already wary after red states passed over 1,100 "anti-Roe style" abortion prohibitions in the past five years and tea bag Congressmen have repeatedly implied a desire to also prohibit or limit contraception.

A larger question is whether or not this ruling has further eroded citizen opinion about the Court. In this respect, MeanMesa is no longer specifically addressing the actual decision, but instead, the quite abnormal judicial logic the Court's reactionary majority expressed in this case. This decision is out of character even for a Court whose character was already in question.

Will such an illogical ruling 
discredit the Supreme Court?
Don't worry -- it would be like worrying 
that something would further discredit the Congress.

The following excerpts from an academic paper [12 pages] written about this issue may be interesting. [The link provided is to a downloadable .pdf file.]

Attitudes on Social Cognition
Limits on Legitimacy: Moral and Religious Convictions as Constraints on Deference to Authority

Skitka, Lytle and Bauman
Excerpted. Read the entire article  here.

A common theme that cuts across many controversial issues of the day is that at least one side in each case defines its position in moral or religious terms. Controversies such as abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, and the Iraq War each seem to have advocates and opponents who see these issues in terms of self- evident and fundamental truths about right and wrong. To support alternatives to what is “right,” “moral” and “good” is to be absolutely “wrong,” “immoral,” if not “evil." Disagreements on issues people see in a moral or religious light would therefore seem to be closed to compromise, because to compromise would be to undermine first-order truths or conceptions of the good.

Some argue, however, that the most important role of law is to intervene in exactly these kinds of conflicts. Legal authorities can resolve conflicts and shape subsequent public opinion by placing the imprimatur of the state on one or another set of values. When people perceive an authority or legal system as legitimate, neither “consent of the governed” nor “benefits received” are required to justify obedience. Instead, legitimacy is believed to create a duty and obligation to obey as an imperative that replaces even personal moral standards as a guide or primary motivation.

In a related vein, legitimacy also provides authorities and institutions with a “reservoir of good will” that protects them from backlash from unpopular decisions. Nowhere is the reservoir of good will more evident than in public reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court, an institution that commands an incredible bedrock of public support and perceived legitimacy. Although people may dislike specific rulings, their disagreement seldom if ever erodes the public’s basic belief in the legitimacy of the Court. For example, even when the Supreme Court participated in the highly charged dispute about the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, there was little or no evidence of a decline in the public’s view of the Court’s legitimacy.

Christian Dominionism: 
the Supremes' judicial validation

First, a little about "dominionism." [Excerpted. Read the entire WIKI article  here.]

Dominion Theology
In his 1992 study of Dominion Theology and its influence on the Christian Right, Bruce Barron writes,
In the context of American evangelical efforts to penetrate and transform public life, the distinguishing mark of a dominionist is a commitment to defining and carrying out an approach to building society that is self-consciously defined as exclusively Christian, and dependent specifically on the work of Christians, rather than based on a broader consensus.
According to Diamond, the defining concept of dominionism is "that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns". In 1989, Diamond declared that this concept "has become the central unifying ideology for the Christian Right" in the United States. In 1995, she called it "prevalent on the Christian Right". Journalist Chip Berlet added in 1998 that, although they represent different theological and political ideas, dominionists assert a Christian duty to take "control of a sinful secular society."
In 2005, Clarkson enumerated the following characteristics shared by all forms of dominionism:
  1. Dominionists celebrate Christian nationalism, in that they believe that the United States once was, and should once again be, a Christian nation. In this way, they deny the Enlightenment roots of American democracy.
  2. Dominionists promote religious supremacy, insofar as they generally do not respect the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.
  3. Dominionists endorse theocratic visions, insofar as they believe that the Ten Commandments, or "biblical law," should be the foundation of American law, and that the U.S. Constitution should be seen as a vehicle for implementing Biblical principles.   [Emphasis added: MeanMesa]
When first reading through this explanation of dominionism, a typical American might pause, reassured that the fundamental concept of division between church and state prevents such ambitions from materializing in the Republic. However, this Supreme Court ruling directly overwhelms this traditional protection, and it, on its face, is nothing short of an arrogant legitimatizing of raw dominionist principles.

However, although dominionist factions have been part of most major religions at one point or another, these ultra-aggressive, ultra-nationalist influences have, through most of this history, been either outlawed or, at least, severely tempered by those in power in the interest of national calm. Although the term itself is extracted from Genesis, the nightmarish Old Testament accounts of the prehistoric Jews attacking and slaughtering anyone residing on "land ceded directly to them by their divinity" is often also cited. 

In this latest US outbreak the dominionists have, once again, become violently resurgent. In this case the "mandate" does command the faithful to annihilate their neighbors, but instead, reverts to the suffocating patriarchy of ancient Jewish tribal life.  The Hobby Lobby ruling is evidence of their influence on the Catholic Supremes.

The Roman church has seldom expressed disagreement with military or colonial dominionism -- so long as the dominion conquered or colonized fell under its hegemony.

Women Having Sex Without Consequences
Control of sex is ultimate control.

"...dominionists assert a Christian duty to take 'control of a sinful secular society.' "

The quote from the article [above] needs only a modest extension to illuminate the ambitions of those endorsing this arcane Supreme over reach. Of course, running in the veins of this entire matter is the business and money classes' almost maniacal hatred of the President -- usually a sentiment focusing on criticizing the ACA. Given this, can the "women having sex without consequences" really be reasonably attached to the bizarre positions of every right wing pundit from Limbaugh to the disgraced and discarded GOP Congressional and Senate candidates who died with "their feet in their mouth?"

Is preventing "women from having sex without consequences" the alleged "Biblical principle" anchoring the gaseous complaint of the Greens as plaintiffs? Perhaps the weakest of all the elements embroiled in this case is the claim that the Green's objections are, in fact, based on biblical principles. Further, if, somehow, they were, and if, somehow, this could become "evidence" at trial, what difference should it make?

MeanMesa located the following article from Media Matters, 2011. [Visit the site to read the original article MediaMatters. There is a video of the FOX broadcast.]

Mediamatters blog
July 20, 2011
Mediamatters staff

Not surprisingly, Fox's Heather Childers framed the story as being about whether the government should be involved in women's reproductive health.

But the segment took a particularly vicious and personal tone when Fox News contributor and vice president of Family-PAC Federal, Sandy Rios, attacked IOM recommendation supporter Dr. Cathleen London, calling her "a disgrace to our gender."

Rios criticized London as "a true feminist who makes no sense" and continued to display her own anti-woman agenda by proposing to "let women stop having irresponsible sex. ... Let's stop making excuses and providing a way to get women out of trouble when they should be responsible in their behavior."

Childers also jumped in agreed with Rios that it's "not too much to ask for everyone to stop having irresponsible sex."

It turns out to be only the smallest step from FOX "on air" to the wholly owned Supremes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How the Snarling Tea Bags Started the 2014 US Ebola Virus Epidemic

EBOLA!! No, Just Relax. It's Time for Tea
Wing nut GOP terror mongering at its sleaziest.

Put the roll of construction plastic and the duct tape back in the closet.

Of course there is no ebola epidemic in the United States -- that was just a eye catching title for the post. Still, because there may be MeanMesa visitors not familiar with this viral pestilence, we should probably look briefly at what the ebola virus is actually like in the places where it's a problem. This particular malady wasn't chosen lightly by the fear spewing Republicans. It is hideous.

The problem in their terror soaked scheme comes from an unexpected defect. The robotically manipulable hill billies, bigots and, of late, immigrant children haters, in their Party's base have practically no idea what ebola is. Even worse, aside from the implied suggestion that it should be very very frightening fostered by the GOP "spokesmen," that base of theirs has no interest in knowing anything about it, either.

In fact, the GOP base reveals astonishingly little interest in learning anything about anything besides the twisted talking points eagerly pumped out by those "closer to the oligarchs' think tanks."

A Little Bit About Ebola
Sub-Saharan Africa -- not Guatemala

Where ebola actually occurs [WIKI]
Although the "ebola scare" is extremely cheesy, claptrap nonsense, we should briefly look at exactly why the story falls apart without requiring any additional contradictory facts. 

It does.

The map [right] shows the locations of recorded ebola virus outbreaks -- primarily limited to the time span when such records have been kept. Although there are different strains of the viral infection, the fatal mortality rate is uniformly high across all of them. [Read the WIKI article  here.]

Because of the virus's high mortality, it is a potential agent for biological warfare.
Given the lethal nature of Ebola, and since no approved vaccine or treatment is available, it is classified as a biosafety level 4 agent, as well as a Category A bioterrorism agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has the potential to be weaponized for use in biological warfare. [WIKI- source cited above]

Those infected with the ebola virus generally get much too sick to travel fairly quickly, making the prospect of infected Central American immigrant children making their way across Mexico to the US border extremely unlikely. Even more complicating, ebola virus has never historically appeared anywhere on the American continent with a handful of exceptions of laboratory workers accidentally infected while studying the disease in reseach environments. The lethality of ebola infection is fast moving, making even the transportation of a contagious ebola victim on a direct airline flight into the US very unlikely.

This brief run-down sets the scale for calling the Republican "terror rumor" utter, unabashed nonsense.

The Current Ebola Epidemic in West Africa
There is an actual ebola outbreak going on right now.

The site at offers some good reporting for those who might like to know more. Coverage of the Western African epidemic has been over shadowed by competing events in the domestic media's "news world."

Norman Byrd, Newport Beach News Examiner
June 21, 2014
[Links remain enabled. Excerpted. Read the entire article  here.]

The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated their case count in the Ebola outbreak in western Africa, noting that the death toll has reached a staggering 337 individuals thus far.

Al Jazeera reported June 19 that the Ebola virus is suspected to have infected over 500 people so far in Guinea, where it is believed that the outbreak originated, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The outbreak is the largest on record.

Most of the cases uncovered so far have been detected in Guinea. Most of the deaths have occurred there as well. This stands to reason, as the Ebola virus, a horrific hemorrhagic contagion, has no known cure and, according to the WHO [World Health Organization], has a fatality rate of 90 percent.

The most recent cases have come from Sierra Leone and Liberia. There previously had been no known cases in those countries for two months.

It's NOT a Viral Virus - It IS a Viral Talking Point!
All that's needed is a loud mouth GOP wing nut, a microphone and an audience.

The main thread for this post isn't an ebola epidemic at all. In fact, that imaginary "epidemic" has practically nothing to do with the message here. Instead, we'll have a look at the viral toxin which oozed out of the pink little mouth of this nit wit. did a pretty good job of reporting the facts.

Fear Mongering GOP Congressman Warns Immigrant Children Carry Ebola Virus

July 16, 2014
[ Read the original article  here.]

Republican congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in which he listed unsubstantiated claims that the immigrant children coming across the Mexico-US border were unvaccinated carriers of disease.

Mother Jones reported July 14 that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), an avid anti-immigration conservative, stated that there were reports that the undocumented immigrant children, some of which are being temporarily housed for processing and almost assured deportation back to the Central American nations from which they fled, were carriers of swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis.

"Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning," the congressman wrote. "Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles."

What is particularly troubling about Gingrey's letter is that he is a physician by trade. And then there's the claims he makes, which have no substantiation in fact, a sort of urban myth kind of support system -- like when Rep. Michele Bachmann told her story on the "Today" show about the woman who said the HPV vaccine had caused her child to become "mentally retarded." Add to that the fact that Rep. Gingrey is an advocate of not vaccinating children from certain diseases himself.

As Mother Jones noted, the congressman has himself pushed legislation to discourage some kinds of mandatory vaccinations in the United States. He has a long-standing relationship with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a far-right medical group that opposes all mandatory vaccines.

Besides, there has never been an Ebola virus outbreak in the Americas where humans contracted the pathogen. (However, there was an outbreak at a medical holding facility for test monkeys in Reston, Virginia, where a variant strain, Ebola Reston, was discovered. No humans were infected during that outbreak.)

At present, there is a catastrophic outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa. In fact, it is the worst outbreak in history and just recently topped 600 in dead, according to Reuters. The disease, however, is so far relegated to the nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.

According to the CDC, the Ebola virus is actually a family of viruses and are some of the world's most dangerous pathogens. Hemorhaggic fevers, they generally present with influenza-like symptoms and progress to massive internal bleeding. Contraction of Ebola is fatal more often as not.

If his pestering the CDC with a letter that carries spurious information wasn't time-wasting and ignorant enough, Gingrey was also wrong about those diseased immigrant children. The Texas Observer reported that not only are Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran children (the Central American nations the children are primarily from) more likely to be vaccinated than their counterparts in the United States, but NBC News reported that many of the immigrants are carrying their medical records with them to the U.S.

It would appear that Rep. Phil Gingrey has conflated the very real crisis in Africa with the immigrant children situation slash border security concerns presently affecting the Mexico-US border. But doing so is not only distracting, it places the congressman at the forefront of irresponsible fearmongering in his efforts to push for stronger border security and stricter immigration reforms. He joins, among others, fellow Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) in brandishing fear and ludicrous responses to the current border security and immigrant children situation.

Last week, congressman Gohmert said that President Obama should send troops into Mexico to stop the immigrants and the drugs. He also stated that terrorists were using the border to get into the United States, a claim that he said was informed by unnamed border officials.

Gingrey's Phony "Hemorrhagic Virus" Goes Viral  
On the Right Wing Peripheral Media
Oh boy! Happily, the "no facts" were injured while preparing this rumor.

We're talking "really peripheral," here. Once the Congressman "quoted" the "unnamed border security" guard, the ebola, Dengue Fever and tuberculosis tale instantly "grew legs" of its own. The usual right wing -- fact free -- mouth junk pundits grabbed it up, broadcast it for a few minutes, then finally actually "tasted" the ridiculous story and promptly dumped it.

However, a little ways farther back into the darkness the little stinker encountered its next strange collection of grotesque "pet owners." In the basements of moms' house across the nation creepy little doom and terror forecasters seized on the rotten thing immediately -- promptly claiming that it was the best bit of whore house propaganda since Reagan invented sliced bread.

Briefly ascending from their "low readership" wet dream fantasies, Gingrey's tall tale emerged as a nothing less than a "shining beacon of hope and opportunity" which could usher their little home spun "news outlets" into an atmospheric dream realm inhabited by two digit audiences in practically no time.

Surprised, mom was so encouraged by the extraordinary, frothy optimism she heard from her usually morose off spring in the basement that she made pork chops and kraut for a special dinner.

Let's have a look at a few samples which illustrate just how far back in the "back woods" the Congressman's awesome "breaking news" fabrication ventured before the train wrecked. Our first visit will be to Natural News, a heady, inebriated mix of vitamin suggestions and Obama-phobia masquerading as a self-help site. [Visit the site here.]

Natural News
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Mike Adams

Natural News: The federal government's policies of allowing the mass migration of infectious disease-carrying people into the United States while transporting them to America's largest cities is a "perfect blueprint" for seeding a deadly pandemic. Right now, we are witnessing the engineering of a public health and humanitarian disaster optimized for rapid disease transmission that puts all Americans at risk.

The perfect blueprint for causing 
a nationwide pandemic of infectious disease

When I realized the pattern of what was happening here, it suddenly become obvious: this the "perfect storm" of infectious disease. And the White House stance of standing down while this public health crisis worsens is beyond reprehensible... it is negligent and dangerous to us all.

It almost seems as if a runaway pandemic is what this administration wants. Unable to accomplish anything based on its failed philosophies of usurpation and despotism, this administration's only remaining tool seem to be fomenting crisis, then exploiting that crisis for political gain.

After all, compare the government's handling of unvaccinated school children to its handling of illegal immigrants. Infectious disease is so dangerous and deadly in public schools, we're told, that even a healthy child with excellent hygiene and zero symptoms of any sickness must be denied a public education if they refuse to be vaccinated against diseases that haven't existed in America for decades (such as polio).

But at the same time, the White House and its supporters openly welcome massive waves of illegal immigrant children flooding across the border in the United States regardless of what diseases they may be carrying: AIDS, swine flu, tuberculosis, influenza and others. After all, those are future Democratic voters!

This unrelenting wave of immigrants -- which the White House has no intention of stopping -- is already infecting U.S. Border Patrol agents to potentially deadly diseases. "...Doctors providing medical care for immigrants being released by U.S. Border Patrol ahead of their court dates say those recent detainees were not appropriately screened or treated for illness while in federal custody," reports the Texas Tribune.

Our next example is this breathless "breaking news" from someone named Dr. Rich Swier. Clearly, the brave All American mom with the sign in the photograph has received Congressman Gringrey's "startling revelation" about the dangerous outbreak of ebola trying to sneak through the border to infect her "little darlings." [Visit the site here. ] It looks like the "riot police" and "Federal Marshals" part of the Doctor's report must have "crept in" somewhere along the line before Dr. Rick had a chance to spread his "urgent" tale.

See, there really were a few Federal Marshals in Murietta [Ca.] trying to protect the bus loads of immigrant children from these "ebola fighting" wing nuts, but by the time the tea bag "Road Warriors" had finally found an actual bus [it turned out to be a load of YMCA kids from a near by town headed for summer camp], the actual immigrant children has already crossed the "border" several days previously and thousands of miles to the east in Texas. If the Congressman's wild fantasy had any shred of credibility while it was still fresh, that is, while he was still ranting about the unnamed border guard in the "Dengue Fever stage," by the time it got to Murietta not even the outright lies survived to reach Dr. Rich's pronouncement intact.

Our next example comes from the Latino Rebels web site. MeanMesa was somewhat heartened by the picture because it shows that the Congressman's hare brained, now already quite road weary, fish story had finally joined up with the calibre of tea bag misspelling which could serve as comic relief. Perhaps. the short skirt, under better circumstances, -- forget it.

What began as Gingrey's "fantasy quote"
[Image - Latino Rebels]
There really is a point to be made amid all these complaints and guffaws.

This crazy, fabricated tale was originally cooked up by some think tank psych tech working for an oligarch PAC somewhere. Neither knuckle dragging Gingrey nor anyone in his staff could have ever assembled "all the moving parts" without the assistance of someone who had read Encyclopedia Britannica at some point.

Yet, we can look at the examples -- Natural News and Dr. Rich Swier -- and see the incredible depth to which this icky little fantasy penetrated into the wing nut world all around us. There is, unmistakably, a real constituency of health care free Obama-phobes still grumbling and stumbling to the constant propaganda of the oligarchs.

Further, that "constituency" is not specifically just a geopolitical phenomenon. To be a member, one must be eagerly naive to the degree that stories such as Gingrey's ebola epidemic are comfortably credible.

THAT state is not the result of political persuasion. No "silver tongued" propagandist convinced these people to be stupid. No political strategy produced the spelling on that woman's sign. The "work" which has carefully groomed this bizarre demographic into such an embarrassing place was, necessarily, accomplished slowly, relentlessly -- and perhaps most importantly -- quite maliciously.

We are staring at the results of an accumulated effort. Congressman Gingrey's half baked scheme is not the problem. The possibility that Gingrey's scheme could infect such a wide spread collection of voluntary "hosts" is the problem.

THAT's the epidemic.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Showing the Colors: Ukraine's Moment of Dignity and Discipline

Opinion: The Worldwide Impact 
of the Destruction of Malaysian MH17

MeanMesa has spent most of the evening watching reports and analysis about the Malaysian airliner that was shot down in East Ukraine. Because MeanMesa is rather selective about "news choices," most of what appeared was fairly balanced and rational. However, with respect to the manner in which Ukraine's government is handling the situation there is an unavoidable trend "rattling" around in the back ground which could spell trouble later.

Let's begin with the scope of the "public opinion" audience. In the 24 hours prior to the crash there were no fewer than 55 commercial airliners flying the same route over East Ukraine where MH17 was attacked. Every passenger on every one of those 55 other airliners is sitting somewhere at his destination tonight watching roughly what MeanMesa was watching here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Further, all across the planet just under 10 million passengers board an airliner every day. An "easy estimate" would suggest that at least half -- probably more -- of those passengers are also watching the coverage about Malaysian Flight MH17.

The point is simple. 

Many of the people watching that news coverage have heard very little about Ukraine. When the violence in Kiev was in the news, they may have been paying attention, but almost immediately after political matters began to stabilize, that attention was, once again, scattered over competing news stories. It was "nothing personal." This is the way that "news" competes for attention all the time.

We can "chase this rat" just a little farther. 

In the minds of all those viewing coverage of the attack there is a growing acceptance of the idea that the Russians are responsible for this. Predictably, in the coverage MeanMesa watched there was no shortage of allegations that the SAM missile was a Russian Federation weapon and that those operating the system were either Russians themselves or Ukrainian sympathizers trained by Russians.

How the Story is Playing in the Russian Federation
Of course it's a different story, but it's still interesting.

Naturally, the story is intentionally obscured within the Russian Federation to offer political cover for the President, but the citizens of Russia are "old hands" at seeing through government propaganda. In any event all those interested have, by now, seen on their Internet connections what the people on the remainder of the planet think about it.

Putin has a comfortable clutch of reactionary nationalist voices surrounding him who, most likely, think Russian Federation culpability in the matter is just swell. However, the Russian oligarchs in the next room, already bruised and battered by the US sanctions program, are probably slightly less eager to join the chorus. Those economic sanctions were increased and expanded just before this incident happened.

The state controlled media rushed into the scene insisting that Russian domestic coverage be purposefully deceptive and biased. But that same state control has shown itself -- at least to Russian "news" consumers -- to be awkwardly meat handed in such matters, ineptly presuming that the domestic audience was far more credulous than facts would support.

"On the street" in the Russian Federation there is probably no great appetite for more war making or even for economy wrecking, overly dramatic, Putin style bellicosity. The wild dream fantasies of reviving the old Soviet hegemony are generally inhabitants of the "higher atmospheres" only found closer to the Kremlin. Average Russians hold essentially the same priorities they've traditionally held for centuries -- all focused on opportunity, security and their standard of living.

Russian history has firmly established that nationalist pride offers neither beets nor cabbage. It's also established that incompetent attempts at nationalist pride offer even less.

How the Story is Playing in East Ukraine
Start with the Russian version, then add a little dread and foreboding.

Most Ukrainians living in the "contested regions" to the East would simply like it all to stop. This is not to imply that the stubborn Russian sentiments have been set aside, but the violence and destruction -- which is now real and growing -- were not part of the original pitch which enticed them into such boldness only a few months ago. These Eastern Ukrainians are now, thanks to MH17, facing some serious, unanticipated "modifications" to what had a few days ago been, more or less, a settled expectation.

The final chapters of the East Ukraine story have suddenly been rewritten by a new author who seems to be famous internationally but is a stranger in the town.

What questions are confronting the previously optimistic and hopeful East Ukrainians and the militias? How have the changed conditions altered the mainstream ambitions which have hosted -- or driven -- things to their current state?

Matters are strongly suggesting that the Russian have, in fact, finally finished with their creepy, GRU designed "weapons injection" and destabilization policy. The price was getting uncomfortably high before this screw up, but now, it's clear that the "sky's the limit."

Russian BUK rocket launcher in East Ukraine [Daily Star - UK]
The Kiev Ukrainian government would never consider shooting down an airliner, and the well equipped and trained Russian "regulars" camped east of the border would have known that it was an airliner. Ahem. Somebody decided it would be a good idea to hand over the SAMs to the local, unwashed hill billies in Donetsk. MeanMesa suspects that this plan might have looked like a winner at some point along the line, but -- however someone reckless enough to blow up MH17 got control of the missiles -- it's done now, and the fat's in the fire

The cautious Europeans, always previously reluctant to actively "join in" with punishing sanctions, have now been "beaten into a new bravery" by the political inertia of a constituency comprised of the hundreds of thousands of the sympathetic, the irate, the concerned, the relatives and the acquaintances of the dead -- whose corpses still languish in the summer heat on the rebel held fields at Grabovo.

There was no propaganda or hyperbole required to inform the East Ukrainians of all this. They know what happened, and they are quite worried about what will happen next. This brings us to the point of this post.
How the Story is Playing in the United States
Obama and Putin

By this time Putin has felt the first chilly draft of the cold wind of inevitability. The time will come, sooner or later, when the Russian President will publicly acknowledge his country's part in what happened, take the lumps and probably lose his next election.

Even worse,  the events unfolding paint the portent of an eerie repetition of Obama's successful foreign policy in action -- examples in Libya and Syria come to mind. This is no over complicated, foreign policy machination delicately laced together in a back room at the White House to embarrass Putin or the Republicans. This is precisely matched to President Obama's standard approach -- facing reckless, irrefutable danger, garnering solid international support and exhibiting the confident dignity which heralds to all those "in the way" that this will proceed in just the direction it had when it started.

President Obama didn't need to "throw down a gauntlet." Whoever shot down that airplane and who ever provided the missile have already handled the "gauntlet throwing." Further, the White House "talk" on the matter has been "terse and laconic," a calm, measured statement of intent -- not flamboyant rhetoric. This may have been far more disturbing to the Russians than a more dramatic response could have ever been.

The implacable steadiness of the White House policy leaves little hazard for a partisan political attack from the domestic flank. If President Obama's critics had found the temerity to ask ask, "Why hasn't someone been doing something about this?" President Obama's answer would be "I have been."

How is Kiev Handling It?
Opportunities never arrive without peril.

Perhaps it's now time to address that "unavoidable trend 'rattling' around in the back ground which could spell trouble later" that was mentioned at the beginning. What role does "Dignity, and Discipline" play in this picture?

So far this has been an episode of "dueling talking points" between Moscow and Kiev. Although this was predictable given the flush of propaganda issuing from both sides even before the MH17 incident, it's time for Kiev to decisively pull away from the scrap fight. There are no more "undecided minds" remaining on the field waiting to be finally persuaded with such manipulative efforts.

The Russians have invested heavily in promoting an artificial image of their country's urbane "normalcy." The domestic propaganda around this current matter has embarrassed them. It is usually not the case that the latest "wagon load of smelly propaganda" issuing forth from the Moscow government falls apart so quickly and so visibly within the Russian Federation's borders.

The excitement and fire has now officially drained from what had previously been a modestly effective "boiling pot" of Putin style ascendancy and arrogance accompanying dealings with Ukraine since the invasion of Crimea. However, the point here is that in some cases roughly the same may be said about Kiev's rhetoric, too.

The world is painfully aware of the difficulties that the Ukrainian government is facing. However, the world is also waiting for a clear glimpse of the "new personality" of the Ukraine's "new government" to emerge during this challenge. Up until this hour the "nature" of the Kiev government and the new man in charge, President Poroshenko, has been an unknown quantity already tainted by misperceptions conveniently foisted into the mix by foreign parties with "a dog in the fight."

There are no "hearts and minds to be won" remaining on any side of this. All the "hearts and minds" have now seen and felt the gravity of what has been done with MH17.


The best outcome for displaying Ukraine's "new personality" will come from a dignified, measured response to what's happened in the East. This will be a reassuring "show of strength" far more impressive than simple outrage or overly passionate reaction. Tactics employed now will become recent history when longer term goals can finally be addressed, and those tactics will provide the "shade and tone" -- the foundation -- which will ultimately determine what comes next for Ukraine.

At this juncture there is no advantage to be gained from continually attempting to persuade global opinion to agree that Ukraine has been treated very badly. The world knows this already. That said, almost the opposite is also the case.

Now, Ukraine can offer a "window" through which the world can see a dignified, stable, autonomous country with a new government in place steadfastly embracing rather serious difficulties with the regional bully, and this is the right image. This is the image that will pay dividends long after any sympathetic, maudlin sentiment has been long forgotten.


Regardless of the shallow "reportage" seen in the domestic US media, there is a war underway in Ukraine. None of the parties seems particularly interested in simply "going home to lick their wounds." So far, Petro Poroshenko has comported himself quite well as a military commander, but the thing remains far from out of the weeds at this point. Even if the Russians finally come to their senses and stop injecting WWIII equipment -- and ambitions -- into the East, there still remain many bullets to be fired before it's quiet again.

MeanMesa hopes that those in Kiev understand that they have strong friends in the West.

However, the importance of this discipline business grows to glacial proportions amid such violent conflict, and just as certainly, after it, too. Again, the world will watch to see how the new government behaves through all these challenges. There may an almost unrelenting impulse for vengeance or dominance -- neither one, if indulged, foretelling much promise for long term peace or much of a good international reputation, either.

This is the time for Ukraine -- all of it together -- to shine as a good example of how these things can be resolved. This world needs something shiny somewhere.

пожелание успеха

2014: Getting Ready for the Water Cooler

MeanMesa seldom posts entire quotes from individuals, but this particular one is "just what the doctor ordered" for those inevitable "little chats" we'll be having with the wing nuts as the 2014 mid-term elections approach. Just get comfortable and spend a few minutes with this Bruce Bacon's "Brief History of US Conservatism."  [All links are left enabled.]

Bruce Bacon

America's Conservative Road to Destruction

 - A Brief History

July 6, 2014

I was born in the early 50's, spent 8 years in the Air Force, and had the chance to raise two great kids and enjoy a prosperous America before the right wing tentacles grabbed two thirds of our government. I've watched this happen in my lifetime as have many of you. Please take a few minutes and grab a fresh cup of coffee (or tea), sit back and and review the timeline I've put together. Yes, it is lengthy, but our American government wasn't infiltrated over night. It was a calculated effort. This note explains not only what happened, but chronicles the pre-determined sequence of events that allowed it to happen.

Conservatives reading this will immediately be on the defensive. And you should be. But all the evidence presented here is documented and undeniable. These are the facts.  And denying facts is precisely what you have been systematically conditioned to do. If you read this through to the end, (which I challenge you to do) you'll know exactly what is meant by that statement. 

Anyone who values and cherishes what our founding fathers built for us would call this treason - the intentional undermining of the United States Government to satisfy corporate goals, including the transfer of trillions of dollars in public funds. This note details the most massive fraud perpetrated against a population in human history - the defrauding of every citizen of the United States of America, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or lack thereof.

This is an attempt to present a timeline sequence of events and activities, over the last 64 years, beginning with the McCarthy Era. I believe we have evidence that the Republican Party of the United States of America has colluded, then planned and executed heinous financial and social crimes against the people of the United States of America. The Republican Party has, with the intention of complete social upheaval and financial domination, undermined the very institution of the United States government. At its most basic level, this is a case of cause and effect. Think of this as a root cause analysis.Evidence included.

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.

McCarthyism and the Red Scare was thwarted by a gutsy journalist by the name of Edward R. Murrow. Murrow was not restricted by political ties - he asked the hard questions and spoke the truth. When was the last time you saw this level of journalistic courage in the United States of America?

"One of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods was an episode of the television documentary series See It Now, hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow, which was broadcast on March 9, 1954. Titled "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy", the episode consisted largely of clips of McCarthy speaking. In these clips, McCarthy accuses the Democratic party of "twenty years of treason", describes the American Civil Liberties Union as "listed as 'a front for, and doing the work of', the Communist Party", and berates and harangues various witnesses, including General Zwicker."

Fast forward to 2012.  Sound familiar?  It should:

"I have here in my hand a list of 205 communists ..."
-U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Florida.

Now to 2013
"Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s prosecutorial style of questioning Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, came so close to innuendo that it raised eyebrows in Congress, even among his Republican colleagues. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called Cruz’s inquiry into Hagel’s past associations “out of bounds, quite frankly.” 

You will soon see the connections...where we were in the 50's and why we're seeing it again. It's all by design. But now it is for money. For "business."

Fred R. Koch (1900-1967)

Koch started his career with the Texas Company in Port Arthur, Texas, and later became chief engineer with the Medway Oil & Storage Company on the Isle of Grain in Kent, England. In 1925 he joined a fellow MIT classmate, P.C. Keith, at Keith-Winkler Engineering in Wichita, Kansas. Following the departure of Keith in 1925, the firm became Winkler-Koch Engineering Company.

Extended litigation which he eventually won effectively put Winkler-Koch out of business in the U.S. for several years. Koch turned his focus to foreign markets, including the Soviet Union, where Winkler-Koch built 15 cracking units between 1929 and 1932. The company also built installations in countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the early 1930s, Winkler-Koch hosted Soviet technicians for training.

Having succeeded in securing the family fortune, Koch joined new partners in 1940 to create the Rock Island Oil & Refining Company, which is today known as Koch Industries. Rock Island Oil & Refining had no public relations department, having no relations with the public, and the Koch family went out of its way to avoid doing business with the government. In 1966 he turned over day-to-day management of the company to his son, Charles Koch. As of this writing, Koch industries is valued in the neighborhood of $100 biillion dollars. 

Koch's anti-Soviet views led him to become a founding member of the John Birch Society. Koch claimed that the Democratic and Republican Parties were infiltrated by the Communist Party, and he supported Mussolini's suppression of Communists. Koch wrote that "The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America" and characterized welfare as a secret plot to attract rural blacks and Puerto Ricans to Eastern cities to vote for Communist causes and "getting a vicious race war started."

Consider those words for a moment. This is the genesis of where we are today.

The John Birch Society
The John Birch Society (JBS) is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism and limited government. It has been described as radical right.  Businessman and founder Robert W. Welch Jr. (1899–1985) and oil tycoon co-founder Fred R. Koch developed an elaborate organizational infrastructure (consider today's right wing structure) in 1958 that enabled them to keep a very tight rein on the chapters. Its main activity in the 1960s, says Rick Perlstein, "comprised monthly meetings to watch a film by Welch, followed by writing postcards or letters to government officials linking specific policies to the Communist menace."

One might surmise that if they had such a problem with "Communism" they would also have a problem with our goods being manufactured in Communist countries. In fact, they don't. Remember, Fred Koch helped develop Communist infrastructure in the Soviet Union. Fred Koch hated the Soviet Union and he hated Communism. In fact, during his years of litigation in the lawsuit he eventually won, he learned to hate organized government. The words "greater good" were lost on him. Fred Koch was not only an oil tycoon, he was also a racist, as evidenced by the quote above. He had no regard for the black man in America and certainly no sense of social justice or the value of contributing to the system. He did, however, value money and power above all else and passed those (and his anti-communism/anti-minority) attributes on to his sons. This is our first clue as to what this might really be all about. And why we are where we are now.

Fast forward; the 60's
The free-wheeling social times of the 60's concerned many businessmen. Numerous social concessions had been made by the Right in the '60's; women’s fight for equal rights, the rise of significance of the black contributions to America, equality for blacks in America. The rise of Cesar Chavez who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association on the west coast occured during this time. Not insignificantly, a man by the name of Ralph Nader pushed for safety in the American automobile industry after years of slaughter on America's Eisenhower-era interstate highways. One man, Lewis Powell was particularly disturbed by the trend. Powell decided to do something about it. Engineer a game plan. A blueprint that, if followed precisely, would ensure government empowered corporate domination over the American people for the forseeable future. 

The Powell Memorandum - the Blueprint
In 1971, Lewis Powell, a successful tobacco lobby attorney, penned a document that is known as the “Powell Memorandum.” In this document, which was sent to Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Powell extolled the virtues of blending business interests with political interests. It was a win-win if government could be a partnerwith business. A win-win for business and government, and an undeniable lose-lose for the citizens of this country. Powell was smart - knew how to cover all the bases and he was in it for the win:

Attack on all fronts - Education / Regulation / Media

Letter from Syndor acknowledging receipt of Powell Memo:

Think about the ills of our society today. American men and women just like you and me, all affected, in some way. From income disparity (union busting, lack of labor rights) to right wing media ownership (all major media conglomerates) to the perpetuated myth of trickle-down (how'd that work for us?), to the de-valuation of science, to the massive deterioration of our public school system, to our crumbling infrastructure, to the fact that you will not hear this story in mainstream media - we, you, me,  our children, our grandchildren, and our very earth are literally living the results of the success of the Powell Memorandum today. 

What this is really all about
Coincidentally, in the fall of 1972, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) made a surprising announcement: It planned to move its main offices from New York to Washington, D.C. As its chief, Burt Raynes, observed:
We have been in New York since before the turn of the century, because we regarded this city as the center of business and industry. But the thing that affects business most today is government. The interrelationship of business with business is no longer so important as the interrelationship of business with government. In the last several years, that has become very apparent to us.
The organizational counterattack of business in the 1970's was swift and sweeping — a domestic version of shock and awe. The number of corporations with public affairs offices in Washington grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982, nearly 2,500 did. 

Boy howdy, did they jump on the DC bus, and boy howdy, did they find willing participants. In their quest, the funds changed hands quickly, and the selling out of us - the people who elected them - began in earnest.  The new, collaborative group of our elected politicians and business executives became colluding partners. Here's the short list:

  • they funded & built lobbyist groups, in reality, politician cash-exchange groups.
  • they funded & built central messaging entities:  The Heritage Foundation,  CATO Institute, American Enterprise Institute, ad nauseum.
  • they identified & funded elected politicians who were willing to relinquish OUR Democracy for their cash and power (1995 Legislative / 1980 Executive) 
  • the politicians inserted complicit attorneys into the judicial system   (Executive -> Judicial 1986/1988/1991/2005/2006)  
  • they created & passed legislation to change the media rules – eliminated the Fairness Doctrine  1987-Judicial  1999-Legislative 
  • they identified & promoted their wedge issues, i.e. identify domestic and foreign "enemies" (abortion, guns, God, gays, Communist, Muslim, poor, unions, teachers, women’s rights, unemployed, black, Hispanic...)      
  • they teamed with the religious right. A monumental combining of dogmas, which would prove to be invaluable when support of the Republican Party would have to rely on faith alone. Clearly, they hooked the religious right on wedge issues. The religious population was already faith-based. It's not a stretch to create a faith-based political party. They already deny facts and evidence. Brilliant. 
  • with regulations lifted, they were able to create a conservative media propaganda voice (Fox "News" - 1996), fueled by wedge issues to control the hearts and minds. (side note: Roger Ailes pitched the idea to Nixon, but Nixon turned his nose at the idea calling it "too expensive.")
  • they fueled & promoted a hatred for the Government created for US by OUR founding fathers. (Remember drown it in the bathtub?) 
  • they ensured that outright lying in media would be legal. (2003, 2007)
  • they attained a strong Supreme Court majority (2005)
According to the Vanderbilt Law Review study, this politicized hiring trend reinforces the impression that the Supreme Court is "a super-legislature responding to ideological arguments rather than a legal institution responding to concerns grounded in the rule of law." 

  • Corporations achieve "personhood." Decided January 21, 2010
  • The Judicial branch guts campaign finance laws. Decided April 2, 2014
  • The Judicial Branch allows corporations to dictate medical insurance coverage based on the religious ideology of the corporate executives. Decided June 30, 2014

It becomes obvious that the Powell Memorandum game plan has been executed magnificently. The Judicial Branch now has a majority, and the House of Representatives, with the help of re-districting (they can't win if they don't cheat), has shown it has the power to shut our government down. Hopefully you are beginning to see by now that accusations of "Communism" and "Socialism" are now nothing more than a means to an end. And we've seen another tact executed with precision: Demonize anyone not in line with their agenda. Think about how our president has been treated. Our first lady. How progressives are treated. How rape victims are treated.  How anyone not in line with their agenda is treated. Have you noticed a trend yet? Does Fox "News" make sense to you now?

Next Step: De-legitimizing the Body of Government
The combined corporate/conservative political body could not destroy the entity that controls it (our government) from within unless the government itself is de-legitimized - convince the citizens to hate their government, so that they could wrest control from the citizens. They got to work on it. You know how many hearts and minds have been converted if you've been paying attention. You might even have family members who have been converted. Here's how they did it.

The Target: Congressional Intelligence
This is the successful effort to dumb-down the body of Congress, with Newt Gingrich at the helm:
"It’s true that both parties have outsourced much of their policy development over the years. Groups like the Center for American Progress to some extent do for Democrats what Heritage does for Republicans (or did prior to Jim DeMint’s takeover), and plenty of lawmakers from both parties take their policy instructions from Wall Street lobbyists. But whereas for Democrats the outsourcing of policy has happened more by necessity, for Republicans it’s been by design. Newt Gingrich began the process in the 1990s with his attacks on in-house congressional expertise. Leaders like Tom DeLay in the House and Rick Santorum in the Senate advanced that process in the 2000s with the “K Street Project,” an organized effort to place GOP Hill staffers in key jobs in the most important D.C. law firms and trade associations." 

The Target: The Institution of Government
What strategy would you use to ensure the turnover of our government to corporate institutions? One tact is to de-legitimize government as an entity. The success of this particular tact is evidenced by the low popularity of Congress, and it is absolutely by design: The Lofgren Corollary

"A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption.Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner." 

And then there's ALEC

American Legislative Executive Council - Conservative legislation pre-written to satisfy the pro-business/anti-citizen agenda, now adopted by states with conservative majorities. This legislation has little to no regard for human lives or environmental consequences.

Funding and spending (you'll see the Koch name again):

Health and safety net bills: 

Environment, energy and ag bills: 

Are any politicians in your state members? (Note the overwhelming political affiliation)

1985 to 2008
Starving the Beast - the transfer of public wealth to private interests 
The most heinous crime of all - the Right's bloating (transfer the wealth) and subsequent (social program) defunding our Federal Government (socialize the losses).  A transfer of wealth to the tune of $12 triiion - here's proof:

In the words of former Reagan official, Bruce Bartlett:
"I believe that to a large extent our current budgetary problems stem from the widespread adoption of an idea by Republicans in the 1970s called “starve the beast.” It says that the best, perhaps only, way of reducing government spending is by reducing taxes. While a plausible strategy at the time it was formulated, STB became a substitute for serious budget control efforts, reduced the political cost of deficits, encouraged fiscally irresponsible tax cutting and ultimately made both spending and deficits larger." 

And don't believe anyone who says the Democratic Congress did it. 

2008 to Present
Getting the Citizens on the Bandwagon
With the debt run up to the multi-trillions thanks the Starve the Beast and the (by design) global recession, AND a black man in the White House it was time to seize the moment - create an opposition to the government by leveraging the circumstances (not to mention execute the final phase of Starve the Beast) was time to pull the pin on the grenade they called the Tea Party. They had willing participants in the South. To the Johnny-rebs a black man in the White House was an abomination (Obamanation). They were in the (tea)bag. To others, the massive debt had finally become evident. Most seemed to miss the fact that Obama's predecessor had been starving the beast at record rates. But they were easily manipulated into believing it was the Liberals, or even Obama himself who had run up the debt. How easy are they to convince? Here's one example:

A Third Of Louisiana Republicans Blame Obama For Hurricane Katrina Response Under Bush

2009 to Present
The Tea Party
Funded and strenghtened by Americans for Prosperity - Koch front group
  • Leveraged racial prejudice against a mixed race president
  • Leveraged unimaginably high debt incurred by Starve the Beast
  • Repurposed old John Birch Society talking points
  • Enough candidates were elected in 2010 to shut down OUR government
  • In states with conservative majorities, laws have been implemented in record time with the effect of shutting down family planning centers, shutting down unions, liberalizing gun laws.
2013 to Present
Groundswell - the 30 Front War - Now They're Just Rubbing it in Our Faces
Without a doubt, Groundswell is the most blatant conflict of interest in the history of the United States Supreme Court.
The wife of Justice Thomas, Ginny Thomas:
Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for "a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation," according to documents obtained by Mother Jones. 

As if their policies haven't ALREADY fundamentally transformed our nation.

That was the cause. The following is the effect.

The Damage - incalculable 
What have they done?  
  • Monetary and Social Damage - Starve the Beast - Increase debt to reduce social funding:  cost - trillions - leave the citizens holding the debt
  • Transfering the wealth at the state level - See the Kansas crisis for details
  • Blame our president for their actions:
  • Leveraged, cultivated, and promoted racism. 
  • Transfer of public funds to private interests by way of the General Fund (Social Security): cost - trillions
  • Reduced Revenue - In line with starving the beast: cost - trillion
  • War for Profit - Half a million human lives lost, hundreds of thousands of displaced families: cost - trillions. Cost to families, incalculable
  • Tanked the Economy - Loosened regulations, enabled endemic wall street fraud, "temporary" tax cuts, massive unemployment: cost - trillions
  • Created massive unemployment: cost - half a trillion in benefits alone
  • Brainwashed masses, through propaganda messaging, outright lies - allowed by law.
  • Consolidated media - Control the message
  • Cultivated, promoted and celebrated ignorance - Split American families - truth no longer matters (you might even have examples in your family.)
  • Manufactured Christian heresy (Jesus was a Republican) is now accepted as truth. (would Jesus let children starve when He could stop it? Would Jesus stand at our border and scream at children "We don't want you here either!")
  • Promoted extremism (private militias, Bundy)
  • With the help of the NRA, promoted armed revolt
  • Attempted to de-legitimize science

If you're still with me here, focus on the following sentence. Read it twice.
We have come to the point of time in our history where facts no longer have merit, where laws are selectively broken if they in some way show support for our president or the government he represents...and those tentacles run deep INTO our federal government - both bodies of Congress and the Supreme Court.

From our vantage point today, we have an immensely powerful opponent. The opponent owns two thirds of our government. The opponent has virtually limitless funding. The opponent owns the media. The opponent owns the minds of millions of citizens. 

However. The founding fathers created the United States government FOR us. The only real power they gave us was our vote. Individually, we are weak. Collectively, we are an unbeatable force.

It's time to turn this abomination around.

Please vote for Democrats at every level of government. Yes, Democrats have been sucked in, we all must admit that and we have plenty of evidence. But unlike Republicans, there are some Democrats who represent what our founding fathers had in mind. Bernie Sanders. Cory Booker. Elizabeth Warren. Al Franken. Tammy Duckworth. Dennis Kucinich. Russ Feingold. Alan Grayson. Sherrod Brown. John Lewis. Bruce Braley. Joaquin Castro. Elijah Cummings. And plenty more. 

It's time for our government to represent us again. Our only real voice is our vote and I urge every capable and qualified American citizen to vote Democratic at every level of government. A statement must be made and it can ONLY be made by us.

I can think of no Republican to name as survivor. Is there a remaining Republican politician who has not voted in-line, who has not obstructed, who has opened his/her mouth and spewed the Tea Party->Koch->John Birch Society->Senator Joseph McCarthy line? No.

The expiration date for the Republican Party is November 4, 2014.

Let's all make that happen. And recruit a new, blue voter in November. A niece, a nephew, or even a friend who has never voted.

We must overwhelm to win.