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John Cory begins: "So far there is no direct factual connection between the violence in Tucson and the toxic GOP and its subsidiary Tea Party screaming mobs, or the despicable daily spewing of hate-radio or the crazy chalkboard diagrams of the coming end times."

A supporter at a Sarah Palin/Tea Party rally, Boston Commons, Mass., 04/14/10. (photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)
A supporter at a Sarah Palin/Tea Party rally, Boston Commons, Mass., 04/14/10. (photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

A Liberal Dose of Reality

By John Cory, Reader Supported News

16 January 11

Reader Supported News | Perspective

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."
- Samuel Adams

o far there is no direct factual connection between the violence in Tucson and the toxic GOP and its subsidiary Tea Party screaming mobs, or the despicable daily spewing of hate-radio or the crazy chalkboard diagrams of the coming end times.

The false equivalency by the right wing and corporate media that the left does it too is merely a deflection intended to distract and shift focus away from them and their tactics. You can't connect the dots, they say.

A drop of ink on porous paper slowly seeps across the sheet. Multiple drops in multiple locations eventually bleed together without any external help. No one has to connect the dots; they connect themselves.

Thirty years ago Ronald Reagan said, "... government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."


Over the next three decades, vilification of government became a self-replicating meme. Big government fed the cash-driven paranoia machines. Politics got religion with the Moral Majority, which was neither, and Jerry Falwell made a devilish new BFF in Ronald Reagan. The Christian Right was born.

Plop. Plop.

Bogus welfare queens were created from thin air. The dismantling of Unions and the Fairness Doctrine turned news into a product for the corporations, who insisted that they owned the airwaves, not the public. The public good was tossed aside in favor of free-market profiteering without protective regulation.

Money is free speech and some of us have more freedom than others.

Plop. Plop. Plop.

With all this madness came Iran-Contra, the Savings and Loan crisis, HUD grant-fixing scandal, the Lobbyist scandals, EPA scandals and more. An estimated 130 Reagan officials were indicted and/or convicted or investigated for misconduct and/or criminal violations. But Reagan was the best president ever says the GOP.

Big government is bad. Small government, small enough to fit in a President's zipper is good. God be praised.


The Great Microphone of Anti-Democracy was created and funded under Reagan and allowed to grow and smear at will over the following decades.

Politics became reality television. The profits of fear made millionaires of the new hate-media puppets, supported extremist think tanks and generated a publishing industry dedicated to the propaganda of self-appointed "real" America; all in the name of the corporate owners of America.

And where has our liberal progressive movement been?

Pointing out their victimhood at the hands of the GOP and how the GOP is mean. Ignoring the elimination of investigative journalism. Scrambling for consultants and pundits to appear on the TV to provide "balance" while agreeing that both sides do it. Gently promoting "objective" media in a world rewarding biased punditry and outright lies.

Woe, is us! It is so unfair. Whatever can we do?

We need to get off our ass and quit pretending the bastardization of corporate media is something new, or that the hateful politics of the right wing cannot be defeated. We need to face reality and stop looking to billionaires and millionaires to fund us or rent us a megaphone to speak to the people.

We also need to disabuse ourselves of the illusion that the Democrats are on our side, or that they represent liberals and progressives let alone the concept that they represent everyday citizens. Modern Democrats are Mugwumps straddling the fence between self-enriching celebrity and GOP corporate compromise.

All of this is obviously more complicated than my simplistic presentation. But I'm a simple guy that believes in the KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

And if we think MSBC is the anti-Fox or that it is the liberal platform needed today, then we are just dumb. Snark and shouting and satirical lists are not news reporting or analysis, just tribal entertainment for the converted and like-minded.

No, we need to walk our talk. The other side will call us names no matter what we do, so let us embrace their hatred, as FDR said. Let us be proud radicals and fierce promoters of the common good.

Unions and organizations like the NAACP and La Razza have money that could be used to invest in a non-profit internet/newspaper/broadcast network instead of being spent on lobbying politicians.

Think of it, our own news outlet that conducts investigative reporting and covers real issues. Public subscriptions for print editions and sales of apps for iPad and other devices would provide support money too. Media of, by, and for the people!

Think of putting Robert Parry, Chris Hedges, Sy Hersh, Amy Goodman, Laura Flanders, Glen Greenwald and so many other wonderful voices together in one powerful force of messaging.

We pick a half dozen or so prime issues to promote - issues that overlap compatible areas so as to serve multi-functional roles. Here's a short list off the top of my head:

  1. End the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. War creates graves, not jobs.

  2. Universal Healthcare - explain why the US spends $7500 per person on healthcare while most other countries spend $3500. Is it American exceptionalism, or just plain greed?

  3. Promote government spending on infrastructure like roads, parks, schools and bridges and playgrounds. Immigrants can earn a living and progress toward citizenship by repairing and building infrastructure and paying taxes including Social Security taxes. Jobs, immigration and saving Social Security all rolled into one.

  4. Taxes - progressive and enforceable on all persons including corporate persons. Taxes are not evil or onerous, they are the investment in America that sustains all of us.

  5. Financial Reform regulation to protect the people. To paraphrase George Carlin, if we're concerned about street crime - that means Wall Street too.

  6. Labor must be protected. The right to a living wage. The right to collective bargaining to protect the powerless from the powerful. Labor is not a product - it is not enslavement for corporate enrichment.

  7. Bring back the Draft with some modifications that expand the age groups, limit exceptions, and include private contractors being converted to active duty and subject to military pay scales. Government contracts must be severely restricted. To profit from death and bombs cannot be a government function. Conservatives should love this because it is patriotic and confirms their mantra that government does not create any jobs. Right?

  8. Support Marriage Equality. "If you're against Gay marriage - don't marry one!" (I saw that on a button.)

Impossible? Why?

In an interview on Democracy Now! Slavoj Zizek pointed out, "Did you notice how strange the word 'impossible' functions today? When you talk about private pleasures and technology, everything is possible. But the moment you go to social changes ... practically everything that disturbs the market is impossible ... we will live forever ... whatever you want ... we will travel to the moon - that's all possible. But a small social change of more healthcare is not possible."

Corporations don't see "impossible." Conservatives did not see "impossible." Fox News and talk-radio were not built in a day, but over years.

If we don't unite and combine our forces, progressives and liberals will drown in the coming corporate GOP takeover of democracy.

In the Pennsylvania coal strikes of 1902, miners wanted to cut their work week from 7 to 6 days and cut their work day from 10-12 hours a day to 9 hours a day and raise wages.

George Baer, president of Reading Railroad, spoke for the owners in what became known as the "divine right" letter when he wrote: "... the rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for - not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men to whom God in His infinite wisdom has given the control of the property interests of the country."

When the letter became public, support shifted to the miners as the public saw what was headed their way. An informed citizenry is the greatest fear of every corporate driven government.

It took progressives years and years to bring change and enlightenment to workers and politicians alike. People like Ida Tarbell, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, Sinclair Lewis, W.E.B. DuBois and so many others all fought and organized and published their cause and the cause of the everyman and the poor and the sick. And it worked; not always in big events, but in small continuous determined steps.

To quote Edward R. Murrow: "We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late."

An ink drop on porous paper slowly seeps across the sheet. Add another and then another, until at last they bleed together to forge their own image and shape.

"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." - Edward R. Murrow


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A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

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Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+46 # Jennifer Van Bergen 2011-01-16 11:59
Great piece, John. Thank you. I'm circulating it widely.
+50 # Judith Linn 2011-01-16 12:23
Sign me up!! This is the best comprhensive evallllllllllll luation of our situation I have read to date. Brissilant! Ad Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold nad Patrick Kennedy to the list!
+37 # ER444 2011-01-16 14:38
And Michael Moore !!!
+40 # Procyon_Lotor 2011-01-16 12:42
To those who insist "Government is the problem", I reply: "GREED is the problem. It gave us this government." Greed is the disease of mind which we must find a way to neutralize. I applaud the idea of creating a counterbalancin g news outlet, but unless said outlet can somehow diminish the greed in men's hearts, I don't hold out much hope for it.
+25 # AML 2011-01-16 16:18
So true! Greed is what fills the vacuum of lack of spirituality. Not religion, which is another filler, but awareness of ourselves as human BEINGS.
+11 # DaveW. 2011-01-16 17:56
Procyon_Lotor, Agreed, "Greed" is the problem. "Greed is a disease of mind which we must first find a way to neutralize." As much as I'd like to see it, that will NEVER happen. Humanity's inherent nature is one of greed, spoken of by philosophers going back to Plato and Socrates and no doubt beyond. As it stands now Government/Busi ness has become nearly one in the same entity. Cory is correct to lay blame at the foot of Democrats because it has been this party that the "average" American believed they could turn to in an attempt to address grievances. They have increasingly failed in that mission leading to the GOP styled "Corporatocracy " we currently have today. The Citizens V. United decision is going to make it hard to eliminate the influence of large amounts of hard cash in politicians and corporations ever rapacious pockets. We NEED a lot of people to contribute to some National based News Organization that is not beholden to anybody! Why not start a collection in Hollywood, where we always have a lot of pseudo/progress ives (and a few genuine ones) and ask those making 20 MILLION dollars for a piece of celluloid garbage to put up some front money for such an endeavor. Bill Gates seems to do some good things with his insane amount of wealth. Here would be another opportunity. "Greed" is a disease. A disease, in order to be eradicated must be identified. Democrats aren't doing this.
+9 # Procyon_Lotor 2011-01-16 20:31
Thank you for your reply, Dave. Your remarks are appreciated. Note, however, that my admonition was that we must find a way to neutralize greed. This is not the same thing as "curing" it or making it disappear - as you correctly point out, that will never happen. Neutralizing the effects of greed must take a different form. And it USED to; the graduated income tax that properly required the top earners to bear the brunt of the burden - this should also include those corporate "persons" that the right-loaded Supreme Court has given us.
+4 # DaveW. 2011-01-16 22:48
Procyon_Lotor, You're correct about the "neutralization " error I made. The graduated income was "formerly" a means to address this malady known as greed. Obama, I believe, had "perfect" chance to expose GOP hypocrisy and clearly delineate the differences between the two parties with the recent tax bill. He failed, in my opinion,miserab ly. Americans could have gotten a "real" look at Conservative motives if shown tax deals being made to make the rich even richer whilst denying unemployment benefits to fellow Americans, in winter, at Xmas time no less. As services that once were standard across America begin to wither away from a lack of funding we'll see if "the people" might care to "re-examine" just what kind of America they want to live in.
+10 # Roger Bates 2011-01-16 23:55
When someone gets sick from food poisoning then "food is the problem," but we don't say "stop eating food. If "Government is the problem," then propose a way to make it better!
+32 # tomo 2011-01-16 12:52
John Cory has written a really terrific piece! This effort at memory (of the accumulation of bad stuff that has led to the present moment) is very important. If we can't see HOW we lost our way, we're not likely to get back to the good things we once had. John is right on to attack equivalency. It's misused all the times. To bury accountability in "Well, we've all made mistakes," is to abolish accountability. We need to see who made which mistakes, and then be active in undoing the mistakes and sidelining those who have caused them. Cory's "short list" (of eight things to do) would be hard to improve on. Let's get busy!
+31 # steven boyer 2011-01-16 12:53
You will find excellent investigative reporting on Aljazeera - highly recommend it. Progressives are spread too thinly - working on tens of thousands of projects - and often suffer from tunnel vision. The right has become so formidable because they don't do anything else. Must convince all progressive organizations, world wide, to unite around one or two initiatives and to work in solidarity with each other. Solidarity is the key.
+13 # Jim Cap 2011-01-16 13:10
Great article. Excellent list of "prime issues to promote": Except for #7: "Bring back the Draft". I know where your heart is on this, but I beg you to rethink it.

A new draft, or something requiring either “domestic” or military “national service” would be a disaster for all Americans. It would increase the problems we already have. A new draft would ensure a steady supply of “fresh meat” for those armchair war hawks who see either monetary or ideological gain in starting new wars in the future.

It is also somewhat naïve---or just wishful thinking---to argue that a new draft would create wider opposition to future wars. It wouldn’t. The sons and daughters of the wealthy and influential would find some loophole, in one way or another, to escape any real obligation or sacrifice. Very few members of congress would ever have to worry about their own children; they’d make sure of that.

If there were a draft, the wars would continue to be fought largely by the underprivileged , and ultimately nothing would change; except that more families would now be forced to sacrifice their children, whether they wanted to or not.

A new draft would not end our current wars, or prevent any similar future wars. A new draft would probably make such wars easier to conduct and much more likely to occur in the future.

Please; No Draft. Please.
+10 # Glen 2011-01-16 15:22
Jim, you have added a voice to those who refuse to succumb to the mindless encouragement of involving citizens at large in the ongoing game of attacking countries for the bulging coffers of contractors and the Pentagon.

Assuming citizens would automatically rise up against that system and the wars originating with the U.S. harkens back to a time when citizens were of a different mindset, and the government a bit (a little bit) more civilized. The penalty now, for refusing to be forced to serve in the military would be much worse than in the past. If any think not, check out the U.S. system of military prisons and the reasons for incarceration.

The draft is nothing more than a political/psych ological football that has nothing to do with reality, much less telling the truth to citizens.

We are all now expendable. Don't forget that.
+15 # AML 2011-01-16 16:23
No, no, no. The prime rule for reinstituting the draft is: All children, male or female, of our Congress are first in line. No exceptions. No preferential treatment. It's the one deterrent that would work.
+5 # Glen 2011-01-16 16:38
I hear ya, AML, but it won't happen that way. Wishing it won't make it so.
+6 # Jim Cap 2011-01-16 22:54
But Congress would never pass a law like that.

We have to live in reality; and the reality is that if a new draft were instituted, (or "National Service", which is what they'd call it, in order to fool people) the children of the rich and influential will never have to go to a war zone and the rest of us will be forced to hand over our kids to the war makers.

I'll never agree to a draft. Let's not naively play into their hands. Reject any calls for a draft.
+3 # Richard Schmidt 2011-01-17 07:20
I have long believed that a universal draft, exempting nobody, would be a reasonable solution to our ever increasing desire to make war. The only exception I might include would be someone who was medically declared to be mentally incompetent. if you're in a wheel chair, do office jobs. Everyone would go. No more exemptions for rich people.
+3 # Glen 2011-01-17 09:46
Supporting the draft is the same as supporting war and U.S. attacks on other countries. Besides, the U.S. government now hires mercenaries. Why should any of us be subjected to the draft. As I said earlier in this thread - there would be no way to end it once reinstated, and no way to avoid it.
+5 # Elmont 2011-01-17 18:38
I'm not so naive as to believe that I'll change anyone's mind on this issue, but here's my two cents anyway. I absolutely support a universal draft, or call to national service, or whatever name it might go by. Not because it will lead to more or fewer pointless military interventions, but because it will lead to a more involved and connected populace, one that would take civic participation as a given. A major reason that the right-wing noise machine is so successful is that there are so few informed, involved and participating citizens who are paying attention. A large number of Americans are completely disconnected from the very concept of a functioning democracy. Almost half of wage earners pay zero income tax, and well over half of eligible people don't vote. Very few people ever leave their comfort zone of friends and family--they've never met, much less understood anyone outside their narrow geographical and cultural circle. If you think this is unimportant, try reading what the "greatest generation" vets have to say. The changes that would follow a universal draft would be immensely helpful not only to our national polity, by which I suggest a healthy democracy, but progressive thought as well.
+3 # Capn Canard 2011-01-19 16:36
Jim Cap, I beg to differ. The reason that we are in a fustercluck is that the stated rationale of the WEALTHY is the prime mover of the rationale for war.(i.e. they have said that the war is about "freedom", and NOT about controlling oil resources) Many people(though not a large minority) are aware of this already. The anti-war movement is small because the argument that those who are in the military HAVE CHOSEN TO JOIN. If many were there because of REQUIRED SERVICE, instead of CHOOSING to SERVE, then it is probable that it would be easier for many to support ending the wars. Having no draft gives war mongers a step up in the debate of popular opinion. If the wealthy were to start losing sons and daughters it is reasonable to presume that they would get skittish about supporting illegal wars. Remember never MIS-underestima te the power of ignorance ...or of the arrogance of the wealthy.
+25 # BishopAndrew 2011-01-16 13:12
The tea party and its high priests, Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter and O'Riley do have blood on its and their hands! They provide the matches for every ideological pyromaniac in the country. They and the right wing serve the god of profit and if you can hit them in the coffers of their temples which is the money they make on selling hate among others, then this god will assign them the lowest chambers of Ghenna!
+26 # Linda A 2011-01-16 13:27
This indeed is a great article.
You will have Canadian support and maybe show leadership that we Canadians could follow in order to prevent our own right wing from aiding and abetting corporate takeover of our media and political parties.
But -- how will this inspiring message become reality?
How do we take the first steps?
+6 # Vicki C. 2011-01-16 14:20
Quoting Linda A:
This indeed is a great article.
But -- how will this inspiring message become reality?
How do we take the first steps?

I suggest that you/we listen to Norman Goldman's ideas on how to take these first steps. He's advocating, with practical steps, a way to combat RW extremism and advance a progressive agenda. He has a daily show with free podcasts. please listen. I personally don't have the financial means, but do have plenty of motivation, confidence, and energy.

Norman Goldman--an attorney and progressive talk show host. Seriously, he's even-handed and makes a lot of sense.
+9 # AML 2011-01-16 16:26
I forget what the ratio is, but the RW has more or less co-opted the airwaves, our PUBLIC airwaves, and unless we demand equal time, we won't get it.
+19 # epmorgan 2011-01-16 13:37
Excellent commentary John, and I totally agree that it is well past time for EVERYONE to get involved, organize and tackle the leviathan that has been created to take the place of our democratic politics. I have written elsewhere on similar historical themes, tracing back to the 1960s era and explaining the role the mass media have played in creating this leviathan. We need to keep those corporate media clearly in focus as we organize and reach out to others.
+13 # Susanna 2011-01-16 13:52
And sign me up! Ditto on "best evaluation"! Thanks.
+13 # Richard Schmidt 2011-01-16 13:58
Wow!. Thank you for speaking truth to power. But if great journeys begin with the first small step, what is our first small step??? I'm old and maybe I don't matter any longer, but I'm really scared about what America appears to have become. I am frightened for my grand children and my great grandchildren.
+10 # historywriter 2011-01-16 14:07
It can indeed be done. In Minnesota, we have Mn2020 that has mostly professional journalists who were either let go in budget cuts or who quit. Joel Kramer is editor and CEO. Before starting MnPost, he spent 4 1/2 years as executive director of Growth & Justice, a progressive economic think tank and earlier, was was executive editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and from 1992 to 1998 he was publisher and president.
NNpost was funded initially (a nonprofit) by Kramer and his wife, and also gets money from subscribers, voluntarily, although you can look at it free.
As the name suggests most of the news that is covered is MN oriented, but not completely. All we need is someone (or several someones) with enough money to star it and continue helping it.
-12 # Johnny Genlock 2011-01-16 14:10
My, my! I must observe that this online Ink Blot Test does reveal pathologies. Loughner's Jewish mother attended Synagogue with Giffords. The dear hopefully recovering Congresswoman supported gun rights and real borders; a liberal democrat a Tea Partier could "live with." While the article leads with a quote from Samuel Adams, the quote from Reagan about government being the problem and not the solution is equally a sentiment of the Founders. Tea Partiers would also applaud the anti-Corporatis m expressed herein. You just leave us when you wax romantic for planks of Marx's Manifesto. Other than that, . . . think Globally, act locally, . . real social change is local. You do not need an inflatable Uncle Sam toy for a security blanket. Don't compel us with Big Gov't. Sell us locally. We're your neighbors.
+9 # CTPatriot 2011-01-17 04:33
You mean like the way selling locally worked for:

- ending slavery
- ending racial discrimination
- allowing interracial marriage
- allowing women to vote

And I love how you claim that tea baggers agree with us on anti-corporatis m yet support all the conditions that allow it to fester, particularly a weak federal government with little to no regulatory power.

I bet it would be a hoot to play Monopoly with tea party rules. I'd be sure to make myself the banker and pay myself thousands under the table when nobody was looking. After all, with no central power to make and enforce the rules, the rules are what I say they are. And if you don't like it, TS.
+1 # charsjcca 2011-01-19 10:57
You adequately describle the state of affairs with respect to laws. If we do not have laws we do not have law-breakers and no prisons. I can go for that because I know the power elite will think they have a right to make laws.
+9 # Tee 2011-01-16 14:20
Great article! The problem with the democrat establishment is that they are so compromised by the AIPAC Zionist element within the party. The AIPAC Zionist is also in bed with the zionist religious right in the republican party.

All four of these element defend an unethical Israeli government. The truth is that the democratic leadership have a great bit of disdain for progressive democrats, but rely on the progressive democrats for vote, financial support, and the footwork.

The greatest anger I have seen from Obama and Clinton has been toward progressive democrats. Where is Obama or Clintons anger at the conservatives for shooting Gabby and other democrats?
+1 # charsjcca 2011-01-19 11:00
Did you miss it. Gabnby is part of the AIPAC Zionist element. Also, you did see her 'reading' that fraudulent version of our Constitution on January 6, 2011.
+15 # wfalco 2011-01-16 14:22
Mr. Cory describes what I've been thinking but have been unable to coherently articulate. The KISS philosophy is important, particularly for us liberals/progre ssives with all of our favorite causes.
I think a starting point (just for now) is save Social Security from greedy private hands and explain how health care reform will be beneficial to most Americans. Like many I was very disappointed in health care reform once it evolved into insurance reform. But it's something worth saving and building on. The republican agenda to overturn this helpful legislation can, hopefully, jump start some healthy and vociferous opposition to their plans.
+1 # charsjcca 2011-01-19 11:05
You can not un-ring a bell. Actually, we can NEVER take it off the books. It will always be with us. The only way out is to defund it.
+13 # Karl Novak 2011-01-16 14:34
A draft is tantamount to sharing the death and destruction of lives. The upper crust of our country is immune from the negative outcomes of war. It is about time that the sons and daughters of our congressional members be included in our armed forces. Then maybe, this exclusive group will be more thoughtful before giving up their responsibility to actually follow the constitution which requires a vote.
+7 # Jim Cap 2011-01-16 22:58
But Congress will NEVER allow the sons and daughters of the rich, influential and well-connected to go to war. Never!

Don't let them fool you with talk about a "Fair Draft" or "National Service for All Young People". It's nonsense.

The sons and daughters of the well-connected will fulfill their "National Service Obligation" by working as lifeguards at their country club, or backpacking in the Grand Tetons. And the rest of us will watch our kids do all the dirty work of war and occupation.

No draft, under any circumstances. Please.
+7 # Bruce Gruber 2011-01-16 15:28
PART 1: Government is not the PROBLEM. Government IS the SOLUTION (OF LAST RESORT).

If everyone got along just fine and nothing bad ever happened, if we all looked out after one another, drove reasonably, studied hard, shared our happiness and wealth, treated those with whom we didn't agree with respect, and contributed to the common good via self tithe and good spirit, the there would be little need for ANY government. (Though sewage treatment, garbage collection, emptying bed pans and numerous other activities don't easily lend themselves to volunteer effort)

But, when difficulties arise, whether among men or between man and nature, most often it is necessary to coordinate and aggregate resources to address and resolve the problems. Inevitably there arise differences over what solutions at what price, by whom, toward what end which must be resolved.

Utopia is not close at hand. Charity is a limited commodity in a depressed economic environment, Agreement by victory through force (police or military action) is our most widely manifested method for resolving differences, and even the smallest groups of humans seem driven to differ, argue and resent rather than evaluate, compromise and agree with one another.
+9 # Bruce Gruber 2011-01-16 15:28
PART 2: Government becomes the most effective method by which humans have attempted to work together. The power to implement decisions has become the means by which necessary things get done. Somebody ALWAYS bitches.

Big government, small government, liberal or conservative, capitalist, communist, socialist, fascist, monarchical, totalitarian, democratic, plutocratic, corporate, welfare or religious ... mankind keeps trying or struggles under the yoke of virtually ALL of our experiments ... and SOMEBODY always bitches ... somebody always has an ox that gets gored.

John Cory has laid out a clear, concise justification of progressive, liberal thought on the goals and purpose for activist government with a humanitarian bent. Perhaps opponents would like to offer an alternative for debate - before we kill one another out of righteousness.
+6 # robhood 2011-01-16 16:12
Face it, if Soros or the Kennedys won't establish a "people's network", they are really Not "leftists". They are part of our "elite problem", not part of the solution!
-5 # Phil 2011-01-16 16:46
I'm having a great deal of trouble verifying the quote from FDR referenced in the text.

"No, we need to walk our talk. The other side will call us names no matter what we do, so let us embrace their hatred, as FDR said. Let us be proud radicals and fierce promoters of the common good."

I've used Google and found no reference showing FDR ever said such a thing.

Google provided two great sources for FDR quotes:

As Obama and Reagan say, Trust, but Verify. I still need verification evidence, or we can't trust you here or elsewhere.
+7 # johncorye 2011-01-16 17:59
in his Oct. 31, 1936 speech, FDR said:"...We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred."

You can read the whole speech at the link below.

+4 # tm7devils 2011-01-16 22:41
RE": FDR quote - Phil, you sound like you want to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Did you "Trust but Verify" when Bush said that Iraq had WMD so we must attack in order to "save" our american Way of life'?
-9 # Johnny Genlock 2011-01-16 16:48

This may take extra brain vitamins, . . . but the reason we cannot all just join hands and COMPROMISE together is the nature of collectivism. In a perfect world we would all look to each other and find perfect consensus and accord. That's not the world we're living in. Instead, looking to each other becomes a game of guesswork and each collective undertaking needs a Voice to guide it. Whatever intuitive function used to choose the voice, the result is the same. All collectives must be administered. Right there you've created a hierarchy where there should only be equality. Your administrators, a Soros, a Kennedy, become your elite controllers. There is no substitute for being all you can be as an individual. When you get there you've become a conservative or libertarian. Big Gov't just gets in your way, steals your steam, your self-direction. Who needs it?
+6 # tm7devils 2011-01-16 23:20
Johnny Genlock 2011-01-16 14:48

Looks like those Vitamins were just sugar pills.

Big Government? Who needs it?

Without a government to regulate the powers to be (the controlling/"el ite" class), the remaining 98% of us would be the "other" class who would have to do their bidding at whatever payment and conditions they saw befitting.

I suppose your definition of "Small" Government is one that doesn't have the power, or teeth, to protect the working man and his environment from those who would enslave us if given the chance.

If you're part of the 2%, I can see where you are coming from, if not, I don't understand why you would want to set up conditions that would subjugate you and your heirs.

The corporations of the World care for you as much as you do for a rock on the ground - you either kick it out of your way or step over it.
+10 # maddy 2011-01-16 16:51
In 1930 the wealthy like Koch, Prescott Bush and others backed the American Liberty League to try and overthrow our government, oust FDR and Implement the Hiterian Policies,-- now the same are backing the Tea Party to do the same. Fasicism is just around the corner in 2012
-4 # Johnny Genlock 2011-01-16 17:00

I grew up a liberal, Bruce. My father ran government programs. At the end of his career he confided that he was the only director he knew that was actually honest with the people's money and resources. Every other program he encountered was criminally corrupt; petty fiefdoms for fat cat bureaucrats. I always hear from my liberal friends referring to this program or that, "These things take time; need tweaking." Problem is, the tweaking never comes to an end, the programs grow more and more bloated. You think you can declare by fiat just, honest, ethical administrators. My bias for individual liberty versus government is from a life of observation of what works and what doesn't. Somehow in this liberal-conserv ative bipolar game we have let the reins slip from our hands. What is running government now is corporatism, monopolism. We have the best government money can buy, but we didn't have the deepest purses. The NeoCons infest both parties. Witness Warhawk Joe Lieberman continually trying to hit the hot button on Iran.
-4 # Johnny Genlock 2011-01-16 17:04

So, don't try to sell me on the collectivist grand scheme. Somebody's always guiding, administrating. It's not true unity of purpose. Sooner or later that elite inner core begins serving its own purposes and not those of the people. We all love a parade once in a while. But at the end of the day it is the right of self-direction of the individual, the power over one's own purse, one's own time, destiny; that really counts. That's truly liberal.
+3 # Ken Hall 2011-01-20 00:27
Big gov't is not the problem, unresponsive gov't is the problem. The smaller gov't that Reagan and Conservatives advocated is what we've got now, a service agency for large corporations, responsible only to corporations. This is an old debate. George Washington, for instance, was a promoter and adherent of strong federal gov't. What would benefit most people in the US is a strong federal gov't that is responsive to "We The People". It was the New Deal that built the middle class. We have to find a way to duplicate that success. "Smaller gov't" has been the watchword for the past three decades and look where it's gotten us. Time to change direction and establish a new New Deal.
+8 # giraffe 2011-01-16 17:12
And we had better start before the Patriot Act potential makes the Powers of those mentioned above have the Power of the Nazi Power in Germany!

Assange is an example of the government's power to "make up rules" to stop Freedom of the First Amendment's power to publish that which we know.

The treatment of the "uncharged" Private to took the information from the government's UNPROTECTED competers is just one more example of BIG Brother doing its dirty work.

How do we begin? That is the next question. Are those who could lead - afraid for their lives? G-d, I hope not.
+7 # Roy 2011-01-16 18:11
What other country with its institutional greed and lack of regulations could bankrupt other countries and create world wide economic repercussions. Yes, only in America.
+7 # brianf 2011-01-16 20:20
Although I like his idea, it saddens me profoundly that John Cory doesn't mention the issue that is more important than all the other issues he mentions put together.

The ignorance is vast on both the Left and the Right when it comes to global warming and climate change. Not one politician or commentator or even mainstream environmental organization understands how bad the situation already is. Not one.

There is a long lag time, so when I say "already is" I am referring to changes in the decades and centuries to come that will disrupt human life so profoundly that none of the issues Cory mentions will have any relevance.

I'm not exaggerating. I've been studying the science for years, and it's been obvious for years that this could dwarf everything else if we didn't stop it in time. But the latest science shows it already has. The best scenario now is a horrible future.

Please put things into perspective. Who will even remember any of those issues when billions are starving, the economy has completely collapsed, conflict is ubiquitous, and the worst is still centuries away? Stopping global warming MUST be the top priority for us all, or we will fail. And if we fail, we lose everything.
+4 # Steven Wagner 2011-01-16 22:19
I'm sympathetic, at many places completely in agreement. Nothing matters more to me than progressive politics; and many of these things I've worked for all my life in my tiny way. But — coercing people into becoming killers for the State? I would walk away from the whole package rather than put my name to that. And no coerced "domestic service" either. Please consider rethinking #7. — Yours - in solidarity - S.W.
+7 # Patricia Chang 2011-01-16 23:54
The deep pockets in the Democrat Party could have formed a consortium and bought NBC. Instead, The rogues at Comcast are buying it. Where is the Progressive Group to take over Gannett or other big print media corporations? I have been saying this for years,Liberals, Progressives need big media outlets. We cannot reform the Republicans or Democrats. They are too corrupt, too ensconced in the Good Ole Boy system, too greedy for power and wealth. They throw out a few crumbs of cake, but first take care of themselves. They are NOT going to reform anything. Why kill the geese laying the golden eggs? Obama is all smoke and mirrors. The Far Right is vicious and crazy. What is the solution? It is a Third Party; but it can't be weak and tentative like the Green Party; or bigoted, gun crazy, and in denial of facts like the Teanuts. The Media has basically made Palin and the Teanuts. They are controversial. They sell. If the Progressives ever want to have a serious chance, they must have serious, widely heard voices. The Progressive Blogs and Websites preach to the choir. We must get beyond that.
+6 # voiceman42 2011-01-17 10:32
A terrific piece. You seem to have captured what we, the unwashed masses have felt for a long time. It will never happen, but were taxpayers to be the sole source of financing elections, some of the fear of Democrats to fight back and stop being timid, might enable our side of the equation to be more even. When our side is damned if we do and damned if we don't, we are just damned and only the right wins. It would be fascinating to watch if this wasn't happening to us. The nausa that comes up when those smug bastards on the right refer to Democrats as the Democrat party harkens back to Mr. Reagan when he fogot that he had been a Liberal and it was a good descritive word and not something smarmy to be loathed. Oh how the word smiths on the right turned everything upside down. Grover Norquist and his ilk have done a great disservice to our country and if some of the great Republicans who were good men and women would show some outrage at what has happened to our country, our nation's civility...but no, their only interest is getting reelected again. It's always been hard for me to understand why a millionaire or 400 millionaire as Daryl Issa is purported to have, why would he take a job that pays 170 thousand? Unadulterated power and perhaps a side dish of greed. Plop. Plop. Plop!
+8 # Don Rubin 2011-01-17 12:06
More than 2,000 years ago, Marcus Aurelieus answered the ethical and moral dilemnas we still face with these words:

" If it is not true, don't say it. If it is not right, don't do it."

He is also quoted as saying:

"A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself."

Since then, many have lost both these ideals and their moral compass or simply put it away, along with their conscience. As a result, feigning insult, in a loud voice, has become the touchstone response to all issues with which one may not agree, while real answers to real problems are left on the cutting room floor.
+5 # DanetteB 2011-01-17 17:24
This is a terrific piece and couldn't have said it better! Progressives have got to unite!!!
+3 # Marilyn Russell 2011-01-18 02:12
One small thing we could do is print up t-shirts ( I did so with one that I wear) that says:
"Turn off the TV - Get your own personality!"
+1 # Bruce Gruber 2011-01-18 10:03
To Johnny Genlock:
I would confess that I did not intend to promote adherence to Utopian idealism as some false equivalency with progressive or liberal goals or principles. I am pessimistic about Planet Earth's battle for survival against mankind's primitive instinct for conquest as insurance. My use of "If" as introduction was perhaps too cute.
To me, your father's message sounded more wistful than pragmatic - disappointment that his lone example failed to inspire his peers, or that his limited power to do 'good' did not succeed against greed and self service (possibly less likely among government employees than corporate managers).
Your interpretation and application of his observations (on the failure of morality and altruism) as justifying 'self direction' (to escape being led or supervised ?) - seems to justify your belief that individual effort generates the most 'success' or prevents the frustration of being controlled or influenced by others.You seem to feel 'common good' is the antithesis of self interest.
To me, THAT is a core principle of civilized behavior - acceptance that our common interests bring us to a better place than individual concerns or efforts. Successfully hoarding your purse or thinking you control time or destiny are unlikely probabilities. But, the Kochs, Rush, Neal and Hannity would be proud.
+3 # DrAnne 2011-01-18 12:41
Great piece - thank you!!!

I'd make it an even 10 ("Commandments" ?), invoking some earlier posts/columns/blogs:

9. Commit ourselves to preservation of the ideals of justice. Prosecution for war crimes, unlawful detention, torture, and graft is not just for small countries with difficult to spell names and capitals known only to quiz show champs. The Big Banana Republic must stop spying on its own.

10. Turn our collective faces to the TRUTH. This includes understanding and acting on the reality of global climate change, and various local examples of environmental degredation. Yes, we must face real facts.

-1 # charsjcca 2011-01-19 10:53
Why would a state be in the business of issuing marriage contracts to private individuals who with to cooperate with each other? Approving a marriage is NOT a legitimate public function.
+1 # wendy 2011-01-19 11:20
mean and vitriolic rhetoric is not just a phenomena in political media circles, it has totally penetrated our culture. You can see it everyday in TV shows and commercials. It has become totally acceptable to treat other people with condescension and derision.
+2 # Capn Canard 2011-01-19 15:57
John Cory's piece is perhaps one of the best commentaries that I've read on RSN. Some good comments above as well. IMO the real problem is that GREED has usurped GOOD SENSE. This is a problem of PROFIT, and profit is the instigator of all these disasters. It isn't even a problem of Left v Right. Anything, absolutely ANYTHING, can be rationalized when there is a PROFIT to be made. I like the idea of an economy that is not based on a Monetary System(i.e. Quantitative, as in how much?), but on a system that is based on Quality(how good?). planting seeds ...
+1 # Susanna Miller 2011-01-21 23:58
Cory's piece is well- written-but as was asked-How do we begin to fix things? what is the first step? I believe that #1 is an excellent education for all children-teachi ng critical thinking skills-I agree too that TV numbs+dumbs us down-there's too much emphasis on celebrities/ath letes/sports and commercials. some channels sell themselves to advertise products-why not free access to educational programs or have History,Discove ry,etc.channels buy that time.
Until the general populace becomes thoughtful, discerning; until they understand how the economy works and it's global impact; until they have the judgement to understand that sensitive diplomacy drives our relations with other governments; and that we have to have intelligence organizations to provide security; and until they learn of Man's struggle with morality and civility-we can not hope for them to understand how government works. every American citizen should be required to learn a foreign language-some of this can be available on TV.

I also disagree with the generalizations that the rich and powerful never have their children in the Military-for centuries many of the most prominent famlies were Military families. VP Biden's son just served as did McCain's and yes,Palin's. Apologies to my fellow progressives-- but if we are to be effective-- we have to be accurate.

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