The GOP is on the Eve of Destruction

For reasons hard to fathom, the Republicans seem to have made up their minds: they will divide, degrade and secede from the Union.

Turn on your TV or computer, pick up a paper or magazine and you can see and hear them baying at the moon.They will do so with bullying, lies and manipulation, a willingness to say anything, no matter how daft or wrong. They will do so by spending unheard of sums to buy elections with the happy assistance of big business and wealthy patrons for whom the joys of gross income inequality are a comfortable fact of life. By gerrymandering and denying the vote to as many of the poor, the elderly, struggling low-paid workers, and people of color as they can. And by appealing to the basest impulses of human nature: anger, fear and bigotry.

Turn on your TV or computer, pick up a paper or magazine and you can see and hear them baying at the moon. Donald Trump is just the most outrageous and bigmouthed of the frothing wolf pack of deniers and truth benders. As our friend and colleague Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch writes, “There’s nothing, no matter how jingoistic or xenophobic, extreme or warlike that can’t be expressed in public and with pride by a Republican presidential candidate…”

Just four-and-a-half years ago, Washington mainstays Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein shocked the inside-the-Beltway establishment (especially the press, with its silent pact to speak no evil of wrongdoers lest they deny you an interview) when they published their book, It’s Even Worse than It Looks…

In the years since, an ugly situation has only gotten increasingly dire, with right-wing radicals whipped into a frenzy by a Republican establishment that thought it could use their rage, only to find it running amok and beyond their control…

All of these sad examples are but symptoms of a deeper disease – the corruption and debasement of society, government and politics. It is a disease that eats away at the root and heart of what democracy is all about.Take a look at some of their other plans, including the riders congressional Republicans are contemplating for inclusion in the omnibus spending bill that must be passed by December 11. The whole mess is a Bad Santa’s list of loopholes benefiting High Finance, tax cuts for the rich, and budget cuts for everyone else, even as they drive the nation deeper into debt and disrepair…

Why? For an analogy and an answer we have to go back to the slave-holding Democrats of the 1840s and 50s who were prepared to destroy the Union if necessary to protect and expand the brutal system of human slavery on which their economy and way of life were built…If the Republicans – and the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln — had not championed and fought to preserve the Union and its government, the United States would have been no more.

Now it is the Republicans who are willing to wreck the country to maintain the gross inequality that divides us – inequality which rewards the party leaders and their donors, just as slavery rewarded white supremacists. They would tear the Republic apart, rip to pieces its already fragile social compact, and reap the whirlwind of a failed experiment in self-government.

The bigoted heart the Republican Party now relies on for support is America’s bastion of racism and hatred, the Solid South, the Confederate South.

No, racism isn’t limited to the South anymore than the ego-smitten clot of Male Supremacists is bound only to southern white males. Stupid is everywhere. Just like ignorance. But, the Republican Party has chosen to march to the drum of secessionist hypocrites. Lemmings carrying the flag of hatred with or without stars and bars.

Great analysis by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

Jesus was a zombie, right?

A man is facing more than $500 in fines for a unique Christmas display that has left some neighbors reeling.

This is the second year in a row that Jasen Dixon has set up a zombie-themed nativity scene outside his home in Sycamore Township, Ohio – complete with a Walking Dead-worthy baby Jesus, Virgin Mary and Joseph.

Like last year, Dixon says he has been ordered to take down the display for allegedly not complying with local rules about yard displays…But Dixon believes that the local government’s objects to the display have more to do with the nativity’s undead theme than to regulations…

My father hates it. The other neighbors, they drive by and give me a thumbs up…”

Dixon says he thought up the idea last year as a way to publicize 13 Rooms of Doom, the haunted house he manages.

Last year, he was ordered to take the display down because he didn’t have a permit. However, he refused.

This year, he says he made sure to fill out the right paperwork, but again he was ordered to disassemble the scene in his front yard…

The city says that every day he fails to take down the display, he will be charged a $500 fine. As of Friday, he had already racked up that amount.

Politicians in Ohio mostly belong to the Christian flavor of Taliban. Dixon’s lucky he hasn’t been sentenced to death by stoning.

You’re a Nazi and other truths according to Trump’s fact-checking

trump-urinal

Donald Trump has long been at odds with our beleaguered leagues of fact-checkers, who regularly award him “Pants on Fire,” “Four Pinocchios” and other colorful rulings on his truthiness.

Yet somehow such definitive, unanimous debunking never seems to faze the Republican presidential front-runner. And I think I’ve discovered why.

It’s because Trump — like Socrates, among other trailblazing truth-seekers throughout history — has developed his own innovative method for fact-checking. Rather than relying on stale, lamestream-media techniques such as gathering evidence, crunching numbers or consulting experts, he takes a different route: He goes online and sees whether random people agree with him…

Reality may have a well-known liberal bias, but Trump’s Twitter followers do not. Nor do the conspiracy theory Web sites from which Trump also seems to glean much of his information and policy ideas…

I began to wonder: What’s it like to navigate life as Trump does? What’s it like to learn about human existence via Twitter, Reddit message boards and the Drudge Report?

To find out, I compiled a list of things you’d learn were true if you fact-checked them solely by seeing whether strangers on the Internet agreed with you.

Some of the Top 10:

1. You are a Nazi. I am a Nazi. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both Nazis. Everyone on the Internet is, eventually, a Nazi, according to other people on the Internet who disagree with them and who themselves become Nazis if any conversation goes on long enough…

3. You have cancer. Several really, really rare forms of cancer. Also lupus, mad cow disease, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and a urinary tract infection. Or maybe it’s just a common cold? Either way the ailment(s) can be cured by purchasing dietary supplements from a sketchy Web site featuring testimonials from a person currently running for president. Modern medicine is for losers…

5. If only Ron Paul had been president, we would not have had the secret hyperinflation pandemic currently ravaging the nation. Also, gold and bitcoins have been and will continue to be the safest places in which to store your life savings, excluding perhaps your mattress, a Nigerian prince’s bank account or your hollowed-out spare copy of “Atlas Shrugged.”

9. Obama is a secret Muslim. Also maybe Thomas Jefferson was a secret Muslim. As with Nazism, pretty much everyone you dislike is a secret Muslim. Unless they already admit to being a Muslim, in which case they’re probably also a secret Mexican who wants to steal your job.

And if you don’t forward a link to this blog post to at least 10 people you’ll have nightmares the rest of your life about some bearded old Red glaring at you.

Mount Etna erupts


Click to enlargeMarco Restivo/Barcroft Media

The night sky lights up over the east coast of Sicily as Mount Etna’s Voragine crater erupts for the first time in two years. The giant plume of smoke and ash thrown up by the blast creates a dazzling display of volcanic lightning, a mysterious phenomenon seen in many of the most powerful volcanic eruptions.

It is thought that ash particles rubbing together inside the cloud could lead to the buildup of an electric charge that triggers the lightning strikes…

Wow!