Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Air America Finds Buyer

According to the Associated Press, Air America Radio, the premiere liberal radio talk network, said it had reached an agreement with a buyer for the network.

Stephen Green, the founder and chairman of SL Green Realty Corp., has agreed to buy the network, which filed for bankruptcy last fall after reaching an impasse with one of its creditors.

Green, the prospective buyer of Air America, is the brother of Mark Green, who has frequently appeared as a guest on the network.

Additionally, Air America host Al Franken will be leaving the station, presumably to pursue a possible run for the US Senate in 2008. Franken recently took a leave from the network in order to do a USO tour for the troops in Iraq, in which Air America syndicated host Thom Hartmann took over the noon to three time slot. AAR plans to replace Franken’s noon to three time slot with Hartmann after Franken’s last day on the air, which is expected to be February 14th.

Air America Radio went on the air with much fanfare in 2004 as an alternative to conservative talk which has dominated the air throughout the 1990’s. Today Air America in joined by other liberal talk networks Head On Radio based out of West Virginia and Nova M Radio, which was founded by the same people who found Air America, and is the home of the no holds barred Mike Malloy Show. Others liberal talk show hosts have seen a large degree of success outside Air America, such as Ed Schultz, Bill Press, and Stephanie Miller, who are all syndicated by the Jones Radio Network.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why Do Conservatives Support States’ Rights?

Politics is a funny thing. The position of any particular political party may vary depending on where we are at as a nation in any particular time period. Political reality, however, does not. It was not always the case that conservatives belonged to the Republican party and liberals belonged to the Democratic party. In fact, the Democratic Party had become the conservative party by the 1840’s, and didn’t transition fully to the liberal party until after the Civil Rights movement. In the 1860’s the Republican party was the liberal and progressive party.

This well understood history has seemed to baffle conservatives as of late, as they frequently try to take credit for liberal progress when the vast majority of the society has seen the benefits of that progress. Nothing could be more clear about this than with the issue of slavery that plagued our nation since its birth.

While conservatives revere themselves in that Lincoln was the first Republican President of the United States, they miss that Lincoln, as was the rest of the Republican party at that time, were all radical liberals. While the knuckle-draggers will certainly have doubt about this, I simply offer this: excerpts from the Republican Party Platform of 1872.
The Republican party of the United States, assembled in National Convention in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th and 6th days of June, 1872, again declares its faith, appeals to its history, and announces its position upon the questions before the country…

During eleven years of supremacy it has accepted with grand courage the solemn duties of the time. It suppressed a gigantic rebellion, emancipated four millions of slaves, decreed the equal citizenship of all, and established universal suffrage. Exhibiting unparalleled magnanimity, it criminally punished no man for political offenses, and warmly welcomed all who proved loyalty by obeying the laws and dealing justly with their neighbors. It has steadily decreased with firm hand the resultant disorders of a great war, and initiated a wise and humane policy toward the Indians…

Note the use of words such as “equal citizenship of all” and “universal suffrage”. The Republican party that once stood for a wise and humane policy towards the Indians. What is the Republican position towards Mexican Indians in this country today? This gets better.
Menacing foreign difficulties have been peacefully and honorably composed, and the honor and power of the nation kept in high respect throughout the world. This glorious record of the past is the party's best pledge for the future. We believe the people will not intrust the Government to any party or combination of men composed chiefly of those who have resisted every step of this beneficent progress…
Imagine a Republican party that once utilized peacefully and honorably composed diplomacy to deal with foreign difficulties? Those days are long gone. It gets even better.
We are opposed to further grants of the public lands to corporations and monopolies, and demand that the national domain be set apart for free homes for the people…
Holy shit! Imagine that, a Republican party that once wanted to eliminate giving public land to corporations and instead eliminate the problem of homelessness by giving everyone in the country a free home that needed one! Not even Howard Dean has the balls to suggest that one.
The annual revenue, after paying current expenditures, pensions, and the interest on the public debt…should be raised by duties upon importations, the details of which should be so adjusted as to aid in securing remunerative wages to labor…
No free trade fundamentalism in this Republican party of old. They believed that trade tariffs should be specifically calibrated in order to increase the wages of working Americans…
[T]he Republican party recognizes the duty of so shaping legislation as to secure full protection…for labor—the creator of capital…
The Republican party being run by a pack full of raging Marxists? Who would have thunk it?
The Republican party is mindful of its obligations to the loyal women of America for their noble devotion to the cause of freedom. Their admission to wider fields of usefulness is viewed with satisfaction, and the honest demand of any class of citizens for additional rights should be treated with respectful consideration.
Just imagine. The Republican party: the country’s first feminists.

And that was the Republican party in the era of the post Civil War days: Raving Marxists, feminists, and abolishionists. In short, radical liberals and progressives. And that is where the Republican party remained for the most part all the way up to the 20th century when things began to shift. It wasn’t until Franklin Delano Roosevelt came in to save the nation from the Great Depression that the Democratic party took a major shift back to its origins as the liberal party. When FDR’s successor, Democratic president Harry Truman desegregated the US military and endorsed Civil Rights legislation, southern Democrats, or Dixiecrats, were outraged enough to form a third party; The States’ Rights Democratic Party.

The importance of the States having a great deal of power came a great deal out of the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who sought to establish a nation that placed a great deal of local power in the hands of the local people, the idea being that local politicians would represent a smaller number of people, and would therefore be more democratic. This idea came largely out of the government structure of the Iroquis Confederacy, a democratically-controlled Indian government based out of the Ohio River Valley region. The Iroquis combined several tribes together under one government for mutual benefit, but made the individual Indian nations under the confederacy sovereign and powerful.

However, making our nation more democratic wasn’t what the States’ Rights Democratic Party had in mind. Rather, they existed for one primary purpose, as their slogan proudly proclaimed, “Segregation Forever!”. But what other ideas did the Dixiecrats have? Here are excerpts from the States’ Rights Democratic Party platform of 1948:
We stand for social and economic justice, which, we believe can be guaranteed to all citizens only by a strict adherence to our Constitution…

We oppose…centralized bureaucratic government…

We stand for…the constitutional right…to accept private employment without governmental interference…

We oppose…the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats…

We favor home-rule, local self-government and a minimum interference with individual rights…

We oppose…regulations of private employment practices…

What party sounds like THAT today? Ultimately, there was only one reason why the States’ Rights Democratic Party supported states rights without interference from the federal government. That was for the sole reason to have the ability to continue the plague of racial discrimination in the southern states.

And to Trent Lott’s dismay, Harry Truman won his re-election for President of the United States in 1948, and the modern Civil Rights movement began just 6 years later with the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education.

And whatever happened to the prominent Democrats who broke off into the failed States’ Rights Democratic Party? Like Reagan, both Jesse Helms and Phil Gramm switched their party membership from Democratic to Republican.

So to address the question that began with, why do conservatives support states’ rights? The States’ Rights Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States, Strom Thurmond, could have easily have told you this, even while he was engaging in one of his favorite hobbies of raping black women; and that is simply this:

“Segregation Forever!”

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thank You People’s Cube.

Recently a group of Reich wing nutcases over at The People’s Cube were kind enough to do a write up on a previous post of mine, The Mental Illness Of Conservatism.

I just want to thank all the freaks over there for their kind remarks. I am truly honored. I genuinely mean that.

In that spirit, I’d like to share with the readers of Nitwit Planet with some more fascist lore.

The American Heritage Dictionary’s (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983) describes fascism as:
(1) “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1984) has a similar entry:
(2) “Extreme right-wing totalitarian political system or views, as orig. prevailing in Italy (1922-43).”
Of course, we all know that dictionaries are notorious for their left-wing bias. For that reason, for the modern American to genuinely understand fascism, it is beneficial to examine it’s key characteristics. Dr. Laurence Britt examined those characteristics and found 14 similarities among various fascist regimes of the 20th century. There are:
1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4.) Supremacy of the Military
5.) Rampant Sexism
6.) Controlled Mass Media
7.) Obsession with National Security
8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined
9.) Corporate Power is Protected
10.) Labor Power is Suppressed
11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections

While this may give one pause, we must also remember that professors like Dr. Britt often have a worse left-wing bias than those damned dictionaries. For this reason, sometimes it is necessary to go straight to the horse’s mouth.

In the 1932 Enciclopedia Italiana Benito Mussolini co-wrote with Giovanni Gentile the entry on fascism:
“Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it.”
Mussolini continued saying:
“Fascism is the complete opposite of Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production....Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society.”
The madness continues:
“Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage.”
The beneficial and fruitful inequality of mankind? Sounding a bit like the Ayn Rynd freaks yet?
“Fascism denies, in democracy, the absurd conventional untruth of political equality dressed out in the garb of collective irresponsibility, and the myth of "happiness" and indefinite progress....Given that the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains, and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority...a century of Fascism.”
A century of authority? By this anarchist’s way of thinking that leads us right back to where we began: The Mental Illness Of Conservatism.

Can a great American who kicked some fascist ass help us out here?
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any controlling private power.”

-President Franklin D. Roosevelt
So for the knuckle draggers among us tonight, I afraid I must repeat my plea, not only for the health of our nation, but for your own mental stability. You are a Reich Winger. Seek professional help immediately.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Goodbye Republican Majority.

Today, January 3rd, 2007 is the last official day of the 109th US Congress, and the last day of the Republican Majority. This is the last day that the legislative branch of our nation acts as a tool of the White House. This is the last day in which Bush is immune for his crimes against the Constitution. This is the last day the GOP can give Bush a blank check in Iraq and massive taxpayer-funded no bid contracts to Halliburton. This is the last day that the Reich wing can spy on American citizens with impunity in violation of the 4th Amendment. This is the last day that government officials hired by the GOP can write business-friendly legislation or executive rulings and then immediately be hired by the very businesses they were supposed to regulate. The Christian fundamentalists have been locked into their cages. Tom DeLay is looking at possible prison time. Randy “Duke” Cunningham is living life behind bars. Bob Ney has resigned his post and plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Republican reign of terror is over.

With the new Democratically-controlled Congress the first Muslim and the first two Buddhist Representatives will serve. The first woman to serve as House Speaker will head up the new Democratic Majority. 16 Women will serve in the US Senate, the highest number in US history.

The Democrats have quite a task ahead of them. Wages have stagnated for millions of Americans and the minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 10 years. The federal budget is screwed to hell with massive deficits, spending is out of control, and trillions of dollars in tax cuts have been made for those Americans who can most easily afford to pay them. No oversight exists with private war contractors and profiteers. Our nation’s election system is still vulnerable to electronic hacking. Health care CEOs are making billions in yearly salaries and millions of Americans have no health care at all. Record numbers of personal bankruptcies are being filed to pay health care bills. And last but certainly not least, George W. Bush has acted with impunity for 6 years against the American People.

Make no mistake. Things are about to change, and change real quick. Just about everyone now has heard Pelosi state that “impeachment is off the table”. Is that really the case? Will it be possible to keep impeachment off the table once investigations begin? I’m guessing it won’t be long before we all find out.