Thursday, September 30, 2010

FBI Could Face Backlash from Right and Left

The recent raids by the FBI on Chicago and Minneapolis peace and justice activists is a bad omen for everyone concerned about civil liberties. Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, left or right, abuse of power by the government is antithetical to the founding principles of America.

We are experiencing a teachable moment about the potential power of a left/right coalition. The time-tested technique of "divide and conquer," used by the establishment to maintain power, breaks down when they cannot divide the common interests of people on the left and right.

These recent FBI raids didn't go unnoticed by bloggers on the right, as evidenced by a post on, which displays the range of conservative views. True, you have some on the right who are partisans who can take anything, "Obama eats vanilla ice cream", and twist it into an anti-Obama conspiracy. But they aren't principled conservatives and can be dismissed. However, others on the right get it.

The calculus is simple; combine the numbers of people on the left with the numbers on the right who share principled views on limits of government power and the FBI could be facing a potent backlash.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Right Wing Establshment Looking Down on Right Wing Populists

Since including some clips of Glenn Greenwald in the last GDAE Podcast I've been digging a little deeper into his work. I came across the following and, though out of context, thought it worthy of sharing:

For as long as I can remember -- decades -- I've been hearing that the new incarnation of the GOP is far more radical and dangerous than anything that preceded it, and it tragically threatens to banish the previously Reasonable, Serious, Adult version of that party. That was certainly said about Ronald Reagan, as he argued for the elimination of the Department of Education, brought in cabinet officials like Ed Meese and Jim Watt, catered to Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, and nominated people like Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. That was certainly said about the Gingrich-led GOP of the 90s, with their Contract with America, obsessions with law-enforced morality, and impeachment of Bill Clinton. And it was said over and over about the Bush/Cheney era that ushered in the Iraq War, the torture regime, broad executive lawlessness, and an endless roster of vapid, know-nothing ideologues and religious fanatics in the highest positions.

Given all that, I'd really like to hear what it is about Christine O'Donnell, or Sharron Angle, or any of these other candidates that sets them apart from decades of radical right-wing elected officials who came before them? They seem far more similar to me than different. When was this idealized era of GOP Adult Reasonableness?

The context was a blog post, entitled "The misguided reaction to Tea Party candidates," which explores how "ruling class" conservatives look down their collective noses at the likes of Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell. These elites claim that Palin and O'Donnell are particularly "radical;" however, Greenwald exposes the hypocrisy of "radicals" from the elite class labeling "radicals" from lesser class strata.

The excerpts above seemed to sum it up for me. It seems that the right wing radicals are slinging class warfare mud, but don't even realize it. Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for pointing it out.


Salon dot Com, Glenn Greenwald Blog

First posted on GDAEman Blog.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

GDAE Podcast - Episode 33

Common Interests on the Left & Right - Part IV

  • Principled and Unprincipled Conservatives: Will Bunch, Author of "The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama," on the Tea Party movement and the recent primary elections.

  • Principled and Unprincipled Liberals: Glenn Greenwald, former constitutional and civil rights litigator now writer and blogger.

  • Prosecute Bush... and Obama?: Ideological consistency of "principled" people on the Left and Right should reach the same conclusion about Bush and Obama administrations; they both abuse power. Glenn Greenwald commentary.

  • MUSIC: "You're American" by Brian Fox .

Play Episode 33 from this page:

Click to Download Episode 33.

Listen to Part III in the series, Episode 32:

Listen to Part II in the series, Episode 31:

Listen to Part I in the series, Episode 30, (20-minute abridged version):

Previous Episodes & 60-Sec Promo:
GDAE Podcast 60-Second Promo

GDAE Podcast Episode 30 April 30, 2010 - Common Interests on the Right & Left
GDAE Podcast Episode 29 March 31, 2010 - Right Left Populist Unity?
GDAE Podcast Episode 28 March 7, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 27 February 21, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 26 February 7, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 25 January 19, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 24 December 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 23 November 29, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 22 November 11, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 21 October 18, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 20 October 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 19 September 27, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 18 September 16, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 17 August 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 16 July 30, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 15 June 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 14 June 10, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 13 May 22, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 12May 5, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 11 April 24, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 10 April 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 9March 28, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 8 March 15, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 7 March 1, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 6 February 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 5 February 6, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 4 January 24, 2009

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Power of Principled People on the Left and Right

I continue to explore a subject that is summed up in the question,

"Do populists on the left and right have enough in common that they could join together and challenge the status quo establishment?"

I'm not talking about political party "bi-partisianship" in Washington. I'm referring to activists who advance positive change on the basis of promoting principled values and not necessarily through party politics.

The notion of "principled" seems to be a core concept that helps define what I'm talking about above. When I say "principled" I mean that they have consistent political views. Their ideology is consistent. Because, when somebody espouses what is supposed to be a core value, like saying that "freedom means minimal government intrusion in our lives," but then turns around and supports capital punishment at the hands of the same bumbling, corrupt, excessive government they want to limit.... I see it as inconsistent at best and perhaps even hypocritical.... they certainly aren't principled in their political views, because they are flip-flopping on their principles.

Since I come at this subject from the Left, my perspective is to ask the question,

"Which people on the right could be partners with people on the left?"

and up crops the answer,

"principled people who share common concerns about abuse of power in our country. People who are concerned that our democratic ideals are being subverted."

More on this:

Examples of Left/Right Collaboration to Secure Power for the People

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Revolutionary Mood

Don't ya get the feeling we're heading toward a revolution? Everything is broken and everything is connected, so the only real fixes involve fixing everything.

Only half-measures are being taken at best, and we're so deep in the hole that full-measures might actually push us over the brink.

The nation is divided and the extreme right is.... giving me the willies... how 'bout you?

Then there are the other Americans, believing the evening news and, blaming themselves for making bad financial choices as if that explains the economic predicament.

Meanwhile, those in the establishment are enriching themselves, and gathering behind the humongous security network, in preparation for the coming debacle.

What did I forget? Oh yea. The match.


These thoughts paraphrase the thoughts of Czarist Prince Peter Kropotkin's "Spirit of Revolt" 1880.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Un-Tapped Power-Block

Connecting the dots back to the last post,

People are rejecting both parties. The quick reversal of public support for the Democratic Party ... reveals something deeper. ... general repulsion of the establishment political parties by a large swath of the public has not yet become an accepted part of the mainstream narrative. ... This is in part because the establishment media controls the narrative to a large extent.

Which is where we left it.

The corporate media are intertwined with the political establishment that is being rejected by more and more people. The political establishment has become impotent and people don't want half-measures. The media, drinking from the same punch bowl of celebrity and money, do a dance of poking and prodding the political establishment, but they also employ half-measures; we don't get quality news.

It seems that polls suggest people reject the media establishment too, but then it also seems that people still tune in to it and parrot it. (Is there some TV-addiction involved?). Perhaps the growing media reform movement will become more popularized and create a ground swell of the public tuning out; effectively boycotting TV.

This scenario might be more plausible than first meets the eye. One reason is that media reform is a topic that appeals to both the left and right wings; it's a cross-over subject. That means there is a natural block of people whose numbers are larger than on other issues that split the left and right.

Other examples include opposition to the financial bailouts with no strings attached, the call to audit the Federal Reserve that gained a unanimous vote in the US Senate, numerous civil liberties issues like the government spying on US citizens and the erosion of Habeas Corpus, just to name a few. On these subjects, there is a history of the left and right coming together in a power-block.

I think this power-block, despite its natural instabilities, has significant untapped potential that could be organized.

I'll leave it there for now, but if you're curious about this topic, check out More on the Left and Right Joining Forces.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Obama's Bad Numbers: Sign of Something Deeper

It's true that the poll numbers about mid-term election losses could be wrong; but for argument sake, lets assume that the majority of the voting public is now leaning towards the Republicans, or more accurately, leaning away from the Democrats. That's a quick turn-around just two years after removing the Republicans from power in the White House and Congress.

The quick reversal of public support for the Democratic Party is evidence that a large portion of common people have little allegiance to either party. No news there. However, the sense that people are leaning away from the Democrats after having just rejected the Republicans in 2008 says something deeper. People are rejecting both parties.

This also isn't news. Most of the news has been about Tea Party activists rejecting establishment Republican candidates; however, it wasn't long after the 2008 election of Barack Obama that people were predicting he would loose his base of support if he took the corporate track. Obama has taken the corporate track on the bail outs, health care and financial reform. Now the predictions are coming true, including Gallup poll figures showing a lack of enthusiasm among people registered as Democrats; Obama has lost many of his ground troops for getting out the vote.

The loss of Congressional seats by the dominant party during a mid-term elections is a decades old pattern and much has been said of this. What has not been said much is that this back-and-fourth is a sign of the public rejecting both establishment political parties, but having little other choice. This insight of a general repulsion of the establishment political parties by a large swath of the public has not yet become an accepted part of the mainstream narrative. This is in part because the establishment media controls the narrative to a large extent.

That's the setting, or the political landscape. Where do things go from here? That's a topic for another post.