Kevin Phillips: The Unholy Trinity

You can’t have a full, fresh start after you’ve been the top of the heap, and the heap has kind of imploded in part and you’re building it up again. But it’s clear that once a country goes through one of these ringers, and its role changes, that a lot of constructive things can happen. … It’s never a total set of problems, there’s always some good side to it. But economically, it’s usually a wringer.

Kevin Phillips on Open Source

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

Kevin Phillips [Katherine Lambert]

Following up on yesterday’s Last Throes of Neoconservatism show with Francis Fukuyama and Niall Fergusson, a dissection of our missteps as a “benevolent hegemon” overseas — our empire, as Fergusson insists we call it — we’re turning our attention back to our own shores with Kevin Phillips and his American Theocracy.

Phillips has a simple but far-reaching thesis: that our country is addicted to oil, God, and debt, and that this unholy trinity will be the end of us. “These developments have warped the Republican Party and its electoral coalition, muted Democratic voices, and become a gathering threat to America’s future,” he writes. (And warped them enough, it’s fair to say, that the former senior strategist for Nixon’s 1968 campaign and author of The Emerging Republican Majority is, as of 2002, no longer a registered Republican.)

His reading comes as much from history — of Rome and Imperial Spain, of the Dutch and the Brits — as from the careful eye on U.S. electoral shifts and trends that brought him to the Nixon administration in the first place. But even with its historical references and outwardly sober style, this is a five-alarm call.

So step right up, Open Sourcers, with water or with fuel: what do you want to know from Kevin Phillips? For starters, do you buy his thesis? Do you see a connection between petrol addiction, stratospheric borrowing, and a belief in (or prayer for) Armageddon? Do you have your own empire-crumbling trinity?

Kevin Phillips

Author, American Theocracy and American Dynasty, among many others

Charles Maier

Professor of History, Harvard University

Author, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and its Predecessors

Related Content

  • Nikos

    Kevin Phillips has long been my favorite Republican – except, oops! Now he’s an independent.

    He’s admirable for his criticism of his old party’s consistent demagogic manipulation of public ignorance and prejudice.

    He’s an example of a brilliant and well-educated man growing wiser with age.

    Kevin Phillips rocks.

  • Potter

    I just heard him today on “Fresh Air” with Terri Gross. Also the New York Times Book Review this week has him featured on the front cover. I look forward to the show.

  • fiddlesticks

    I just heard an interview with Kevin Phillips on Fresh Air.

    He is worth listening to.

  • fiddlesticks

    I especially liked his distinction between manufacturing capitalism and finance capitalism. I don’t believe it’s a concept that originated with him, but he uses it well.

    We need more of this kind of analysis.

  • nother

    I would love to take Mr. Phillip’s premise and turn it on its side for a moment. If hypothetically, the US is still atop the heap in twenty years, what will it be that kept us there? What in our American stratosphere could potentially trump the “unholy trinity?�

    If we can illuminate the dormant positives of the present, we can put them side by side with these glaring negatives, and we will have at worst – a more rounded view, at best – renewed hope.

    Before we all post-pile onto this thread with diatribes of our demise, it would be great to hear what some Open Sourcers think might be the positives, the guiding lights that could lead us back to land.

    What is your “holy� trinity of America? Thinking quickly, mine is the kinetic diversity of New York City, the individualistic spirit exemplified in Emerson, Whitman, Ellington, and Rosa Parks, and a basic fundamental understanding and appreciation of the vital need for checks and balances.

  • Potter

    Nother, I agree, about our multi-culturalism, particularly as evidenced in New York City and probably the West Coast, Miami as well ( eh?) would make us worthy of salvage. This is the first thing that comes to mind

    We have a “can do” spirit- we are problem solvers. That’s what got us to the Moon and Mars, cures diseases, invents ipods.

    We have fallen short but we believe in equal rights, equal opportunity; the common man/woman can achieve greatness. You can start with nothing and from nothing and make something of yourself.

  • fiddlesticks


    “I would love to take Mr. Phillip’s premise and turn it on its side for a moment. If hypothetically, the US is still atop the heap in twenty years, what will it be that kept us there? What in our American stratosphere could potentially trump the “unholy trinity?â€? ”

    History is full of civiliations that amassed wealth and then declined. Just as amassing power of wealth doesn’t happen all at once neither does decline.

    Twenty years is a blink of an eye in the life of a civilization.

  • fiddlesticks

    What happened to the show? I thought it would be broadcasted tonight?

  • cheesechowmain

    fiddlesticks, I’m probably restating the obvious, but neither the Belarus show nor the Kevin Phillips show a scheduled date. I’m not sure what’s up. Usually there is a scheduled date, at least I think so. Probably a simple oversight? Or, I’m having reality distortion.

  • Ben

    I would like to know what the “final straw” was that caused Mr. Phillips break with the GOP and whether or not he ever feels duped or let down by the party he helped push into power. Can his experience of how attitudes within Republican idealism have changed be easily explained to someone who wasn’t around to observe the political climate in the 60s, 70s, and 80s?

  • kel

    Ah, Kevin Philips. I just picked up his latest book American Theocracy. It is interesting to see how he has matured with age. It reminds me of the old canard: To be a Republican when young you must have no heart. To still be a Republican when old, you must have no mind. Kevin Philips is a living example of how the rational mind can overcome the two Republican pillars of Greed and Avarice. Bravo!

  • nother

    Yes Potter, that was going through my mind as well – Our ingenuity, our “can do” spirit. Thankyou for the positive thoughts.

  • fiddlesticks

    Yes, cheesechowmain, the web people need to get their act together.

  • fiddlesticks

    The use of religion for political ends sucks.

    I hope we can come to the end of the latest “great awakening” soon.

  • Nikos

    Right on, fiddlesticks.

  • Nikos

    btw, fs: my ‘right on’ was for your 8:17 post.

    As for 8:16 — I knew that Kevin Phillips was scheduled for Wed. It says so somewhere, and did so earlier too. And this way we all get a longer chance to dig up some Phillips (or at least to listen to the Fresh Air show), which is a good thing!

    It’s all good.

    Especially because the Belarus program (I stole a web-listen this afternoon) sketches a country deluded by a paternalisitc governing style that denies that any other form of government can deliver peace and affluence…

    Sound familiar?

    A perfect set-up for the Phillips show!

  • Nikos

    Kevin Phillips begins his 2004 American Dynasty thusly:

    To the memory of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose words in his 1961 farewell address once again demand attention and respect:

    This conjunction of an immense Military Establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the Federal Government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications…

    In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert annd knowledgable citizenry can comple the proper meshing of the huge industrial and miliraty machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and golas so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    January 17, 1961

    Sobering stuff.

    The preface alone of American Dynasty is worth a read – but it’s too long for me to copy. Perhaps later tonight I’ll add a post of highlights. In any event, you can find American dynasty in your local library (probably) and read the preface before Chris sits down with Phillips tomorrow.

    While you’re at it and if you’ve the time, try to read American Dynasty’s Chapter 7: The American Presidency and the Rise of the Religious Right.

    It’s enough to make ya spit.

  • Nikos


    here’s that Eisenhower again, spell-corrected!

    This conjunction of an immense Military Establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the Federal Government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications…

    In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    January 17, 1961

  • nother: Thanks for introducing a positive twist on things.

    Here are my three graces for the country.

    1. the bill of rights

    2. multiculuralism

    3. the incredibly rich and diverse natural environment

    These aspects of our country are currently under threat by our government but these are what I feel compelled to defend and where I place my hopes for the nation.

    And now I’m going to listen to today’s interview with Kevin Phillips on Democracy Now! You can hear it or watch it at….

  • Nikos

    Selections from the Preface of American Dynasty:

    “My original ambition was to identify and explain the Bush-related transformation of the U.S. presidency into an increasingly dynastic office, a change with profound consequences for the American Republic, given the factors of family bias, domestic special interests, and foreign grudges that the Bushes, father and son, brought into the White House.�

    “The result is an unusual and unflattering portrait of a great family (great in power, not morality) that has built a base over the course of the twentieth century in the back corridors of the new military-industrial complex and in close association with the growing intelligence and national security establishments. In doing so, the Bushes have threaded their way through damning political, banking, and armaments scandals and, since the 1980’s, controversies like the October Surprise, Iran-Contra, and Iraqgate imbroglios, which in another climate or different time might have led to impeachment.

    “I am not talking about ordinary lack of business ethics or financial corruption. During the late twentieth century, several other presidents and their families have displayed these shortcomings, and the public has been understandably blasé. Four generations of building toward dynasty, however, have infused the Bush family’s hunger for power and practices of crony capitalism with a moral arrogance and backstage disregard of the democratic and republican traditions of the U.S. government. As we will see, four generations with clandestine arms deals and European and Middle Eastern rogue banks will do that.�

    “After four generations of connection to foreign intrigue and the intelligence community, plus three generations of immersion in the culture of secrecy (dating back to the Yale years of several men in the family), deceit and disinformation have become Bush political hallmarks. The Middle Eastern financial ties of both Bush presidents exemplify this lack of candor, as do the origins and machinations of both Bush wars with Iraq. Appendix B in this volume reviews the family’s penchant for secrecy and for cleaning and locking up government records.

    “It doesn’t help that the major media have tended to use kid gloves with the family…

    The Bushes have also benefited from the Democrats’ apparent reluctance to investigate the connections, misdeeds, and malfeasances of a popular president such as George W. Bush. Others have made the point that if a Clinton-era special counsel was necessary for Whitewater, why not a Bush-era special counsel for Enron?�

    “…the party of my youth and middle age has changed enormously…in 1969, I supported the GOP campaign argument that public policy had gone too far in trying to squeeze religion out of American life. Now the voter backlash against that early squeeze has so reversed the national discussion that the opposite threat is crystallizing: there is a Republican party dangerously dominated by southern fundamentalist and evangelical constituencies, willing to blend biblical theology into U.S. Middle Eastern policy and attach faith healers to the advisory structure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The research I did in writing chapter 7 was a revelation to me, as I hope it will be to readers.�

    “(The Bushes) are a public family…that is writing a new definition of the presidency. They are bending public policy toward family grudges and interests. What matters is their policy and conduct in that emerging role. The further evidence, since 9/11, of the Untied States becoming an embattled imperium, even showing faint specks of garrison state thinking, only double the stakes.

    Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty; 2004; Viking-Penguin

    This guy is my kind of Republican. (Which is pretty funny for those who know my politics!)

    And weirdly, he writes a bit like me…well, better than me, anyhow. 😉

  • Nikos

    okay. a lot better than me!

    ‘ts gonna be a fine hour of ROS.

  • cheesechowmain

    re: nother’s wonderful suggestion: For me, I see folks who continually grapple with practical dualities:

    A gut level understanding about teamwork & individualism.

    The balancing of the common good and a respect for privacy.

    A nation conceived in the ideals of life, liberty, & happiness and born in the fire of a revolutionary war and brought to the brink by a civil war. It shows both our nobility and our potential for cruel cynicism. A country conceived in simple but high ideals, yet often falls short. As the wounds ripen and fail to meet these goals, there is a continual process of fortifying the ideals in practical expression. An ability to heal, a process that still continues from the civil war wounds. I think this has left deeper scars than any other war. We should observe this when considering the Iraq conflict and future adventures.

    And since I can’t count worth spit, I’ll add a fourth element to my Trinity:

    Freedom of religious observance from the tyranny of the state and freedom of civil state affairs from religious dominance. Clearly, contemporary problems are arising; the wedgies are running political campaigns and playing mega-flocks like fiddles. We must observe vigilance to maintain the Jeffersonian wall. But, not at the expense of a worship at the alter secularism or objectivity. Backlash: barbaric behavior has occurred under religious regimes and secular regimes.

  • cheesechowmain

    Nikos, thank you for posting these excerpts. It sounds like chapter 7 is quite a read. I view the erosion of the wall-of-separation as one of the most dangerous occurences in recent times. Peggysue, you sure ticked off three important items. Thank you for that and thanks to nother for reminding us to balance this out. And fiddlesticks, amen on the 8:17.

  • nother

    Ok fiddlesticks, I revise my premise – 40 years, how about 120 years, all I’m asking for fiddlesticks – is a hypothetical.

    Thank you peggysue, I am very much looking forward to Mr. Phillips views, it’s just feels better to begin the discussion on fertile ground.

    Speaking of fertile ground, your natural environment comment invokes images of the vibrant shades of brown during the fall in Vermont, the piercing blues of seas in the keys of Florida, the sparkling crystal of ice engulfing Alaska, the sharp ravenous mountains of Colorado.

    You inspired me to look up the bill of rights. I took notice on:

    Amendment IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I just learned that not only was this administration wire-tapping without a warrant, they were conducting searches without a warrant. I love this new era of “our war on terrorismâ€?, is there any law that this war doesn’t supersede? What laws did Nancy Reagan’s “war on drugs” supersede?

    This is great, what freedom! – if we can throw #4 of that guideline bill of rights by the wayside, surely we can get rid of that cumbersome #1 – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Let’s clear the decks; these “old laws� are getting in the way of progress! Of security!

  • nother

    Beautiful Cheeschowmain! Duality – Perfect!

    You write of the “continual process of fortifying the ideals in practical expression� What a great expression of the way Americans live their life!

    I have two riffs off your idea of American duality, a positive and a negative:

    First the negative – do you remember Stanley Kubrick’s movie “Full Metal Jacket?â€?

    A soldier in the movie wears a helmet that reads “born to kill� on one side and has a “peace� symbol on the other. Is that not a metaphor for our troops in Iraq or what?

    My positive riff off your premise of duality is from your statement “A gut level understanding about teamwork & individualism.� I’m reminded of the great Jazz groups that have thrived with a delicate balance of full band and improvised solos. I’m also reminded of the World Series winning “idiots� of the Boston Red Sox that won a team championship with a bunch of hairy pugnacious individual characters.

  • There is duality and then there is synchronicity.

    Japan’s Antiwar Element as ‘Enemy of the State’

    Japanese democracy took a large step backwards with the arrest of 3 men for posting antiwar fliers

    U.S homeland security chief Chertoff to visit Japan to discuss security issues

    Gov’t OKs bill to fingerprint, photograph foreigners

    The reach is long, the grip is firm and the fingers oh so probing.

  • diemos3211

    I can’t come up with three things, but I will add my (inconsiderable) weight to the ingenuity point. I think that in the relatively near future technolgy will largely democratize the means of development and production, and I think that Americans will excel in an environment that puts a premium on vision and creativity.

    Also to add to nother’s 0252 post-

    The drug war has arguably affected our 4th amendments rights in the extreme. Largely as a result of the so-called War on Drugs there are all sorts of forfeiture laws on the books. Did you know that the government and law enforcement can seize all sorts of property from you? Did you know that they can do this without even arresting you? Did you know that you can be stopped on the street and have cash “confiscated” for almost no reason?

    The so-called War on Terror has added its own fun twists.

    Did you know paying off your credit card bill all at once will get you investigated by the Department of Homeland Security? It’s enough to make you paranoid, eh?

  • Potter

    Diemos- yesterday this point about the drug laws that you make was in/on the air— I had not thought of that before but the current restriction and invasions are a continuation, built on laws that enable the prosecution of an endless drug war. So the war on drugs segues into the war on terrorism, eating away at us. We recently were alerted to this business about paying off the credit card provoking investigation. This meshes with the credit card companies not wanting you to pay it off anyway. They are charging what 30% now??

  • peggysue, thanks for the pointer to Kevin Phillips’ interview on DN. Wow, is he articulate. Thank goodness he is speaking up about critical issues like peak oil and the looming debt crisis.

    I thought he spent too much time discussing Bush, though. Unless WB is impeached, he will only be there a couple of more years, even if they may seem like a couple of lifetimes. Rather than wasting time repeating how intellectually challenged Bush is, I would have liked to hear more details about some of the other key players and mechanisms that are threatening the empire or might redeem the nation.

    I hope Chris can gently steer Mr. Phillips away from his obvious frustration that the Christian Right has hijacked his old party and that the sun is starting to set on a once proud power.

    The challenge is not how to sustain a position of global dominance but rather how to embrace what is virtuous and humane about America and renew her democratic institutions.

  • Potter

    Nother- regarding your two riffs on American duality- terrific! (Mar 22, 3:34)

    We have a wealth of creativity in all fields– in music, Jazz, blues, folk/bluegrass and classical. In painting abstract expressionism, pop art,in literature as was said, Emerson, Whitman to Capote, Mailer, Bellow, and on. Hollywood.

    I like CCM’s “A nation conceived in the ideals of life, liberty, & happiness”….. the idea that you could have happiness. I suppose that is connected with opportunity to realize yourself, your goals. This is connected to individuality, or “rugged individuality” ans exemplified by the cowboy ( John Wayne) image ( exploited by GWB) or Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca ( and numerous other films). ( We fall short of course, but what an ideal and I think it was new with us)

  • Potter

    Sidewalker Amen to your 8:06 post above:

    “The challenge is not how to sustain a position of global dominance but rather how to embrace what is virtuous and humane about America and renew her democratic institutions.”

    My blogmeister has referred me to this piece on dailykos called “Shame” by a young contributor named Georgia10 who expresses what many are feeling at this time. A couple of years more of this will do a lot of damage as you can already feel the damage in this post.

    It’s a challenge is also to keep spirits up and eyes wide open, waiting, not knowing quite what to do, not ignoring or being able to ignore what is going on.

  • Potter,

    It is a rude awakening of sorts for this young person to find out that the ideal America home he thought he lived in is, after all, errected with the steal institutional beams and girders of a powerful State.

    It is sad that she has to feel ashamed, which probably shows she was raised to love her country unconditionally, indeed one of weaknesses of the US.

    Kennedy famous line, “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” got it wrong. Citizens should always ask what their country (and hear I mean the Nation-State institutions supported by taxes) can and is doing for and to them. At the same time, people should seek what they can do to insure that their Nation-State institutions work to uphold their rights and to benefit the many and not the few.

    Still, her awakening and slowly that of a long slumbering public (I hope this is happening) can only be good for the US and for the rest of us.

  • Oops, the hes and shes are all over the place in that last post. I had better get to bed.

  • h wally

    One hope I see is that it is getting very difficult for the powers that be to hide their true motives and actions. When corruption is exposed to the harsh light of day it scrambles to correct its image but not its motives or actions. I see our country and perhaps even the idea of democracy going through a period of crumbling and correction. Our government, at present, is filled with some very devious people, an old guard. As they are arrested, exposed, or die they’ll hopefully be replaced by younger, people who have strong and good ideals. Right now we’re in transition and the rats are scrambling to hold on to what they have but the tide will change.

  • Nikos

    It was by the sober sense of our citizens that we were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy to republicanism, and it is by the same agency alone we can be kept from falling back.

    — Thomas Jefferson

  • Nikos

    A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.

    — Thomas Jefferson

  • Nikos

    Blest is that nation whose silent course of happiness furnishes nothing for history to say.

    — Thomas Jefferson

    (ain’t this fun?)

  • I’m hoping that Phillips will go into his thoughts on how to reform or restructure our government.

    One thing I can’t help but wonder in light of all these conservatives coming around is… what took them so dang long!?

  • Nikos

    Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: (1) Those that fear and distrust people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. (2) Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist; and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves.

    — Tom, again (Jefferson, explicitly)

  • Nikos

    I’ll bet this, even if not directly quoted, is the spiritual essence of Phillips’s newest book:

    But would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm, on the theocratic and visionary fear that this government, the world’s best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself?

    — T. Jefferson

  • Nikos

    Re nother’s addictive suggestion (thanks, pal!) that’s got us all busy being not merely appreciative but creative citizens:

    This is a long one, friends, and chock full of good ol’ Thomas Jefferson. I’ll break it into four parts, and hope I can post it in an unbroken sequence.

    (And now you all know where my Thomas Jefferson ‘carpet bombing’ originated!)

    Several folks have already stolen my faves (especially the stunning American natural environment that Peggy Sue reveres: me too!), so I’ll take a different tact, and, using a founder of the country, posit three ideals I’d like to see eventuate before the end of my life.

    This thread evinces a distinct sentiment that’s not merely hopeful, but searching and yearning for positive change. This is praiseworthy. Perhaps we can take it a step further, and begin to converse not merely on hopes but on means. But, as always, it pays to start with basics.

    I – Thomas Jefferson says:

    “I believe… that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.

    “The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted, indeed, in some degree, to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, & often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.

    “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.

    “Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance.

    “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

    “Self-interest, or rather self-love, or egoism, has been more plausibly substituted as the basis of morality. But I consider our relations with others as constituting the boundaries of morality. With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties, obligation requiring also two parties. Self-love, therefore, is no part of morality. Indeed, it is exactly its counterpart.

    “Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effects of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

    “Above all things, lose no occasion of exercising your dispositions to be grateful, to be generous, to be charitable, to be humane, to be true, just, firm, orderly, courageous, &c. Consider every act of this kind, as an exercise which will strengthen your moral faculties & increase your worth.�

    These sagacious sentiments are much of the essence of secular humanism:

  • Nikos

    II – Thomas Jefferson says:

    “I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.

    “What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

    “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.

    “A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. �

    My ideal America therefore retires the 18th century republic in favor of a parliamentary democracy:

  • Nikos

    III – And what sort of policies ought our forthcoming democracy toil to create?

    Thomas Jefferson says:

    “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term…to the general prey of the rich on the poor.

    “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.

    “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.

    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    “I hope we shall take warning from the example [of England] and crush in it’s [sic] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country.

    “Lay down true principles and adhere to them inflexibly. Do not be frightened into their surrender by the alarms of the timid, or the croakings of wealth against the ascendency of the people.

    These prescient sentiments have a 21st century descendant called social democracy:

  • Nikos

    IV – Lastly, to water this humanistic seedling of liberty, economic fairness, and grass roots democracy, we must provide to our citizenry a liberal education ( ).

    (And, like CCM, math ain’t my strong suit – so this is four ‘memes’ instead of three.)

    “Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.

    “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.

    “I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county, to consist of a few well-chosen books, to be lent to the people of the country under regulations as would secure their safe return in due time.

    “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.�

    To be honest, I could have gone on and on – and even have plumbed the riches of Madison and Franklin. But this, from Jefferson, is plenty.

    A cornucopia.

    Finally: nother? See what you done? 😉

  • nother

    Thanks Nikos! for the dispatches from Tom: “A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.”

    That’s what I was looking for with my post, the “true principles� of America that will trump the “unholy trinity.�

    We can add Jefferson’s idea of American’s sober sense, to Peggysue’s rich natural environment, to CRM’s idea of duality, to Potter’s creativity and “can do� spirit, to our tasty gumbo of cultures, to the beautiful ideal of “happiness� that we wrote into our constitution, to opening day in 11 days!

    Spring is here, I feel a tangible sense of renewal.

  • Potter

    Two questions for Mr. Phillips:

    I heard him say that for the Neocons, spreading democracy was the icing on the geopolitical cake. Can he explain? Does this mean that they were insincere, didn’t give a hoot, it was just a cover for the real reasons for our military invasion of the Middle East? ( oil). Was GWB helping to bake the geopolitical cake or a naive icer?

    Could Mr. Phillips please elaborate on the intriguing insight about the switch from a base of manufacturing to finance and what this has meant and will mean.

    And a comment. I think at least part of the reason George W has made the choices that he has is because of a dominant controlling mother. This then would be a way of proving power and control, fighting the powerlessness. Not be the first time in history by a long shot that this has happened….

    I remember George HWBush running fro Pres- how badly he wanted to BE President…. not to accomplish what he may have believed in, but to “be president”. I feel the same way about the son. They wanted the power, they needed the power for personal reasons.

  • Nikos

    a Thomas Jefferson tangent: I just heard James Yee (the wrongly accused Gitmo chaplain) on the BBC quote Thomas Jefferson: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism� … but, sadly, this isn’t T.J. but Howard Zinn!

  • Nikos: Don’t be sad, I think my favorite professor (Zinn) must have been paraphrasing Jefferson because I’ve seen bumperstickers with that quote attributing it to TJ.

  • Potter

    James Yee is not John Yoo?

  • cheesechowmain

    nother: “A soldier in the movie wears a helmet that reads “born to killâ€? on one side and has a “peaceâ€? symbol on the other. Is that not a metaphor for our troops in Iraq or what?” You nailed amigo. Excellent.

    “I’m reminded of the great Jazz groups that have thrived with a delicate balance of full band and improvised solos.” You nailed amigo.

    Sidewalker 4:27 “There is duality and then there is synchronicity.” You nailed it amigo. BTW, thank you for all the excellent backgrounders on Japan; they are very much appreciated. “Tent Mura … had shrunk to seven, mostly middle-aged activists who shared a cluttered second-story office in Tachikawa.” This has that old testament prophet in the wilderness familiar. I can relate.

    Sidewalker 8:06 Yes! To riff off “Unless WB is impeached…” and h_wally’s “Right now we’re in transition and the rats are scrambling…” It is my belief that President Bush, VP Cheney, and some cabinet members should be brought to legal proceedings whether they are in office or out-of-office. I believe it would be instructive if it happens out of office (obviously, not an impeachment process at that point). Statute road blocks/limits? IMO, their policies are unpardonable. Blue sky, but when pendulums swing unpredictability recurs.

    Thank you nother, diemos, potter for not letting the drug war slip down the memory hole. And Nikos, thank you for the Jeffersonian flights of insight. Jefferson. Now there was a man of incredible dualities. BTW, Kevin Phillips rocks. Thanks to folks for the Fresh Air info. And thanks to ROS for putting these shows together. Superb.

    The always quotable nother: “Spring is here, I feel a tangible sense of renewal.” Playball!

  • Nikos

    CCM said: “Jefferson. Now there was a man of incredible dualities.�

    True. The very same set of Wikiquotes I mined for 24 karat democratic gold couch his benighted views of race.

    Yet ‘benighted’ is exactly the word, because aside from the self-justifying ratiocinations employed by all slaveholders, Jefferson couldn’t have known then that ‘race’ is a scientifically baseless concept – and utterly and completely arbitrary. (See: .)

    We’ve only come to understand this sort of thing in recent decades, and it’s still but slowly creeping through the populace to overturn our dreary era of ignorant bigotry.

    And it’s ‘Exhibit A’ of my case for a resurgent national commitment to a liberal education.

    Anyway, Jefferson isn’t a god or even a saint, but a man, who considering his times, was remarkably brilliant, wise, and humanistic. And, like any gold-mine, eventually the vein peters to a halt in ignorantly valueless rock. Or: to get at the wheat, you’ve go to accept the nasty chaff.

    Diemos: you’re hardly an ‘inconsiderable weight’, pal. You’re a welcome addition: thanks for being articulate, thoughtful – and brave enough to jump into the ROS mosh-pit with us older punksters. Post more.

    Potter: nice questions. Hope Chris asks. Nice commentary too. (But you knew I’d think so, didn’t you?)



    Lastly (for now…only for now):


    “Now what I get a sense of from all of this — and then topped obviously by spending all the money in 2000 to basically buy the election — is that this is not a family that has a particularly strong commitment to American democracy. Its sense of how to win elections comes out of a CIA manual, not out of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.â€?

    — Kevin Phillips writing about the Bush family in American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

  • Nikos


    Potter, you were pulling our collective leg, were’nt you?!


    Nice work. 😉

  • cheesechowmain
  • cheesechowmain
  • cheesechowmain

    re: rats motif. fiction and non-fiction accounts off the of the top-of-coconut

  • Nikos

    I wasn’t able to listen to the Fresh Air show (some weird failure of interface between my old computer and NPR/WHYY), but I was able to get this from WBUR:

    It runs about 15 minutes.

    Also, since Phillips’s message is in no small part a warning concerning our massive national debt, here’s one more gem from ol’ Tom Jeff:

    I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.

  • cheesechowmain

    Nikos I had to listen to this using Windows Media Player. The real audio player wouldn’t work.

  • Nikos

    This transcript is awesome. Hilarious, even. Well, in a morbid sort of way, of course. And you don’t need any ‘link to listen’ – it’s really just a transcript:

  • h wally

    I see another lovefest forming. Peggy Sue writes: “One thing I can’t help but wonderin light of of all these conservatives coming around is….what took them so long?” They’re NOT coming around, they’re just repositioning themselves waiting for the next wave. They’re opportunists and they have no loyalty to anyone. What if, tomorrow, all of them from Bush on down, with tears in their eyes, said: “Whoops, we’re really sorry. We’re leaving.” Would we all rush to embrace them with tears i our eyes? On the Bob Edwards show, I heard the story of a woman who wasa nurse for 18 years. One day she overdosed a couple of terminally ill patients who had their lifesupport removed and were waiting to die. Out of compassion she helped them die a painless death. She was tried, convicted and is now serving 50 years. This administration has done so much worse and their policies have resulted in thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injured. They’ve sacked our economy and filled their pockets. These neocon changelings had their noses in the trough and profitted nicely. Now they’re profitting again by going on speaking tours and writing about it. Why is it the lower income levels in this country suffer under much harsher penalties for their actions. Stop being so benevolent, wake up, hold them accountable. There are many more people out there who didn’t lie and steal from us. Have them on the show. I’ve heard much discussion about the cost of the war. One thing never mentioned is the true cost. What if all that money had been spent on education and healthcare and all the other positive things we could have done. Those things didn’t get done. All the people killed and wounded wouldn’t be and who knows what they might have contributed. We didn’t have to go to war. For one thing I don’r recall a large outcry from the Iraqi people askoing us to come. Sometimes I get very frustrated with peoples appathy. Someone go get Nero and ask him to bring his fiddle.

  • cheesechowmain

    Dr. ML King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Monseñor Óscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Sister Helen Prejean, K.P. Reinhold Niebuhr, Most Reverend Desmond “Scruff-of-the-Neck” Tutu, pre-presidential Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Dalai Lama, et al.

    A naive question: why don’t we see more religious leaders of this type integrated into the current political climate? Has the electorate lost/misplaced its moral and ethical compass? Are we reaping the revenge of the south that Harold Bloom has alluded to on ROS? Here’s his thoughts about some of this complete with a an allusion to the Trinity:,6000,1669276,00.html

    re: h_wally. I would sight Professor Glenn Loury as an example of someone who has had a credible and tangible change of direction. The change must be tangible and accompanied by vigilance. I believe I understand the tenor of your posts, but reconciliation is not necessarily equated with apathy. As I believe Sidewalker pointed out over in the neocon post, in Japan many war criminals were repurposed and reintegrated into the culture. The disposing of human capital should always be considered with extreme care. However, I think I understand you point. Some mistakes have stakes that are so high, behavior associated with them so odious, that rehabilition is not an option. South Africa faced many of these dilemmas. It is not a perfect science.

    ROS did an excellent interview with Professor Glenn Loury:

  • h wally

    I don’t see the connection between post war Japan and this situation. These people show no remorse they just slip on by unscathed. I would hope you would extend this same lienancy to some of the two million people now filling our prison system for far less serious or far reaching crimes. I’d believe these guys more if they’d jumped ship before things started getting bad. Look at all of the republicans distancing themselves from Bush. Is it true contrition or just a wise political move. The same with all those folks now saying they never heard of Kack Abramof.

  • h wally

    The republican party isn’t becoming a religious party. They only pander to a religious voting block. Show me some fine religious activities the republicans have initiated. They only use these people then go about sacking the country. Abortion, gay marriage are only decoys placed out to draw our attention away from what’s really going on. Bush speaks in soundbites. Your soundbite proves my point. Bush is lost and has no Idea about what she’s taking about.

  • cheesechowmain

    “would hope you would extend this same lienancy to some of the two million people now filling our prison system for far less serious or far reaching crimes.”

    Absolutely. And I was definitely considering this in my response. Rehabilitation and punishment has definitely become a serious problem. Examples: drug war punishments. White collar crimminals who plunder. Disproportionate representation. I think I can grok some of this. And, I advocate a legal accounting of our President, VP, cabinet, and other administrative functionaries. BTW, I enjoy your posts and they stir a deeper examination. Please keep after us!

  • Nikos

    h wally (god bless you, my Guttersnipe brother!), you know already how I want to hold the Elephant’s people-crushing feet to the fire. But I’m wondering if you’re conflating Kevin Phillips with the neo-cons.

    If not, disregard the rest of this post.

    What Phillips seems to represent is a Republican party more like the Eisenhower era – without the elitist racism and xenophobic bigotry – whose virtue is small-government republicanism (small ‘r’). If this was the message of today’s mainstream Right, I could live with it – and battle like hell with them to create instead in this country a genuine social democracy.

    I could then argue full tilt with Phillips, but not feel that I was conversing with kleptocratic vermin, as we must in this contemporary, increasingly benighted body politic.

    Aside from this nuance of difference, I’m pretty much on board with your 5:52 PM, March 22, 2006.

    Nice work: it got my blood boiling.

    Post more!

  • h wally

    Thanks cheese. I’ll calm down. Am I alone or did anyone else catch on to what Bush was up to when asked the question about Armageddon. He wasn’t trying to avoid saying Armageddon he was moonwalking away from the question. He doesn’t have a clue. I’d love to hear him sit down with some Ivy league theologian. Bush only speaks intelligently when reading someone elses words.

  • fenixfacs

    Fertility correlates strongly with religious conviction. In the United States, fully 47 percent of people who attend church weekly say that their ideal family size is three or more children. By contrast, only 27 percent of those who seldom attend church want that many kids.

    High fertility also correlates strongly with support for George W. Bush. Of the top 10 most fertile states, all but one voted for Bush in 2000. Among the 17 states that still produce enough children to replace their populations, all but two — Iowa and Minnesota — voted for Bush in the last election. Conversely, the least fertile states — a list that includes Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut — went overwhelmingly for Al Gore. Women living in Gore states on average have 12 percent fewer babies than women living in Bush states.

  • mtaney

    Just what kind of internet ivory tower does Christopher live in?

    Armegeddon christians in the Bush admin are news to him?

    I don’t get it. My main news sources are NPR New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, and the New Yorker. Articles about this stuff have been appearing pretty regularly for years in these venues.

  • h wally

    Ok, Nikos, I’ll listen. I may just be lumping phillips together with a seeming flood of exrepublicans coming out of the closet. Like I said, I’d be much more impressed if they’d spoken up before. It reminds me of all the congressmen pushing lobby reform.

  • Not to nit pick but… don’t confuse fertility with fecundity. They are two different things. A person can be fertile and choose not to be fecund.

  • h wally

    Great post fenixfacs, perhaps this countries are more hormonal than anything else.

  • At least for the time being we have that choice.

  • h wally

    Great post fenixfacs, perhaps this countries problems are more hormonal than anything else.

  • My last 2 posts were in response to fenixfacs – I didn’t reference because I thought I would come up right after fenixfacs but some other posts slipped in between – sorry if that didn’t make sense.


    fertile but not fucund

  • fenixfacs

    A Los Angeles Times analysis found that Bush won 97 of the 100 fastest-growing counties.

    “If the Democrats don’t do well” in places and with groups “that are growing faster than others,” said Gersh, “they are going to be in trouble.”

  • cheesechowmain

    peggysue, your posts are both fertile and fecund. We’ll have to agree to disagree! :^)

  • h wally

    I think the Chinese are smarter than us. They won’t waste their money on a war. They’ll destroy us economically. Why destroy such a nice place when you can get it by default. This country is a lot like enron. See the similarities? Just before the collapse they had lots of people telling everyone everything was alright, while the crooks sacked the treasury. They too had a few that peeled off when the end was in sight

  • fenixfacs

    ’04 Voting: Realignment — Or a Tilt?

    By any measure, President Bush and his fellow Republicans had a good night on Nov. 2. The question now is whether the election results set the GOP up for a good decade — or more.

    As some partisan operatives and political scientists see it, Bush’s reelection victory and simultaneous Republican gains in the House and Senate suggest that an era of divided government and approximate parity between the major parties is giving way to an era of GOP dominance.

    The realignment debate underway since Nov. 2 is more than an academic parlor game.

    “Something fundamental and significant happened in this election that creates an opportunity for” the Republicans to remake national politics over the long term”

    Most significantly, in the view of people who suspect a realignment, exit polls showed Bush cutting into Democratic advantages with some historically Democratic groups — especially Hispanics, who gave Bush 42 percent of their votes, compared with 35 percent in 2000.

    he does fear that the results highlight serious structural problems for Democrats. In addition to the higher number of Republican-leaning states — a major GOP advantage in the Senate — the Democrats are getting trounced in the outer suburbs of metropolitan regions.

  • kel

    Please ask Kevin Philips about the Republican obsession with starving the federal govenment. How can you run a 21st century government with an 19th century tax base?

  • fenixfacs

    China will bury US? Look who else thought that they would do that and look where they are now.

    We will bury you

    Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev famously used an expression generally translated into English as “We will bury you!” (“Мы ваÑ? похороним!”, or “My vas pokhoronim!”) while addressing Western ambassadors at reception in Moscow in November, 1956. [1]

  • h wally

    fenixfaxs: You’re really pointing out the brilliance of Karl Rove. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  • fenixfacs

    Clinton, Giuliani, McCain Still Dominate for 2008

    Little change in support since December

    Clinton 41% McCain 53%

  • h wally

    I didn’t say they’d bury us, I said they’d repossess us. They’ve already bought us. The soviets tried to match us bomb for bomb and went broke. Bombs didn’t destroy the soviet union economics did.

  • Potter

    Gore/Hart in ’08. here here!!!

  • fenixfacs

    By the time China will ba able to challenge the US, they will not be China anymore.

    Increasing internal riots in China – the dragon is shaking from inside

  • Potter

    Nikos- yes about Yoo and Yee…. gotcha.

  • h wally

    Potter, Dust them off and crank them up. Aren’t there any new faces out there? Surely there are some idealistic fresh faces not featured in the yellow book.

  • Potter

    it’s all crumble if we nix science.

  • fenixfacs

    Chinese Riots provide bleak picture of society’s ills

  • Nikos

    Nice show, gang!

    Plus, I get to hear it again on the air tonight at 9PM PST!

  • cheesechowmain

    Current political machinery rewards risk adversity, mediocrity, & status quo. It will likely take a serious crisis before quality candidates rise.

  • h wally

    By the time China is able to challenge us? I think they are challenging us and we’re slowly backing away. They hold a lot of notes. Look at the trade deficet. Ever wonder why we don’t do anything about it. They are on the rise. They may have their riots but they are building and changing. We’re holding onto a tattered image that most of the world doesn’t believe anymore.

  • Potter

    “Fascinating and I must say depressing .., Kevin” (.Chris)

    (It helps to have a glass of whine).

    H Wally…. I don’t want new faces. I want those old faces. They are seasoned, wise and I would love to see them give it a good whack…

    Kevin is is love with Hilary I think…… Ii agree she is very smart but I am disenthralled by her pandering. If I had to choose between McCain and Hilary it would probably be Hilary. I think Kevin Philips wants McCain though I think he smells what I have gotten a good whiff of: he’s an arch conservativie panderer in maverick’s clothes.

  • h wally, how can China challenge this? (heavy on the sarcasm)

    Little Tycoons: A Pint-Size Model Of the Lust for Power

    By Robin Givhan

    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Friday, March 17, 2006; C01

  • Nikos

    Right on, CCM (7:47). That’s why we gotta folks like allison and you to run!

    I’ll write the incendiary campaign pamphlets if you want.

    Or try to, anyway…

  • h wally: 5:52 post – I agree

    Angela Davis in 2008!

  • h wally

    Gotta go, The local chapter of the communist party, of which I am a member, is meeting tonight. I’m giving a speech praising our brothers in china. We will bury you decadent capitalist dogs. I’m taking names. If you renounce your evil ways before we land, you’ll be reeducated and have fine factory jobs for life.

  • fenixfacs

    Potter you say that you think that Philips want McCain? I think that he said, out right, that he preferred McCain over Clinton.

    I have been watching a pattern in the guests on ROS and I think that I see one emerging.

    The shows are billed as one thing yet guests, at least the credible ones, seem to say another. Phillips obviously dislieks the religous undertones in Bush’s politcs yet he practically endorses Bush’s handpicked successor (who, by the way, polls showing a hands down defeater of any current challenger). The other guest, the Harvard Professor, is also less than totally anti-Bush.

    Fergussen – doesn’t want to end, what he sees as a US Empire he wants to help us administer it better. Fukiyama is basically the same – he dislkes the way the Neo-Conservatives have inlfuenced the use / growth of US power but he really just wants to help us do both better.

    All offer the same thing – A new and improved version of what we are already doing.

    I don’t ever really see another side credibly argued by the guests. Can’t the producers find a credible opponenent against which these facilitators of the quest for ever increasing US dominance and power would have to battle? Are they to be unchallenges except from the posts here on this page?

  • timothy price

    Kevin Phillip’s evolving thought is like watching an amoeba discoving a mousetrap. If you want to get a good look at what is happing, I suggest you read Adam Whitestone’s abosolutely astounding, ( truthful, fact filled) book, The Ravings of a Lunatic. You will learn a great deal and take a long, long look at the evolution of life on earth, and see the course which ALL carbon based life follows as it evolves. It is available through Amazon and other places. It cuts through like nothing else and for those who have enough eduction in chemistry, geologic history, political history, and even Bilbilical knowledge, the book is thrilling in revealing where the power is, where it is heading, and what might be done, individually, and as a nation. As the back cover says, “It will change the way you see more than anything else you have ever read”.

    timothy k. price

  • Potter

    fenixfacs hello…. It sounded to me like Kevin Phillips was equivical about both Hilary and McCain. I think he likes McCain over Hilary on principle ( he is still a Republican at heart but does not like what has happened to the party… especially under the Bushes). He conceded that HIlary is very bright and that is appealing. I agree. Her smarts are such a contrast to what we have now. I do not think McCain has as much integrity and independence as he would have us believe or that his reputation grants him. I think Phillips suspects that too. It’s very troubling that McCain wants “intelligent design theory” to be taught along side of evolution in science class for instance. This is pure pandering. He should know better.

  • babu

    aside to Nikos: How do you get the show before 9 pm PST here?

  • fenixfacs

    Potter – I understand you feelings regarding McCain / Clinton but I am SURE that Philips wasn’t equivical re: Clinton. He said that she was unelectable because of her last name, assciation with Bill and his financial supporters. I’m not saying that he right that’s just what he said. And, if it were more important, I’d relisten to the podcast to here what he said exactly re: McCain.

    But I still think that the “balance” of these shows are off center – in this regard to my point above. The blog end of ROS seems to be much more to the opposite side of that of the guests, even when then showed is billed / marketed a certain way as to look more radical than they turn out to be.

    I haven’t read Philips book and might not just because, after this show, it seems that I know what his main points will be – and I agree with most of them. But, that is also saying that it seems like he is a “New and Improved” guy for conservatism / capitalsim etc.

    I have read all of Ferguson’s last 4 books and Fukiyam’s last 2 (actaully reading his latest which is why I probably won’t have time to read Philips’) and they both are “New and Improved” guys as well.

    Are there any “none of this is working so let’s do something completely different” thinkers, like many of the commentators on this site are, that ROS can get on the show?

    Just seem like there is “a lot of smoke but not much fire” in these discusions regarding change. Maybe it is like Fukiyama predicted when he coined the phrase “The end of history” and that there really are currently, no serious alternatives to the systems / philosophies / thoughts that are currently prevelent.

  • McCain’s speech at the Republican convention praising Bush destroyed any sympathy I may have ever had for him. Hillary voted to give Bush the war powers and I hold it against her (same goes for Senator Cantwell). These are not happy choices in my book.

  • h wally: I meant that I agreed with your post of 5:52 and did not mean to insinuate you were a fellow Angela Davis fan. Sorry. I was posting while at work and reaching across the cash register to the laptop at a weird angle so my posts tend to be abbreviated perhaps to the point of negligence.

    New Topic: Yes, let’s get some unapologetic never was conservative and never will be guests on the show.

  • Nikos

    Babu: I get the show on KUOW2’s web-stream. It’s a mercurial prospect though, because the phone lines out here on the Olympic Peninsula are cheap junk that convey data at less than half the speed of typical urban and suburban lines. And ‘high speed internet’ is for me nuthin’ but an elitist pipe-dream! (sigh I’d love it, though.) Even so, this week the connection has been as good as can be expected: no transmission problems or ‘rebufferings’. I speculate the much of the inconsistency is due to the variables of traffic on the Qwest phone network.

  • fenixfacs, your March 22nd, 2006 at 8:05 pm post is spot on. That is the point I have been trying to make these last few days (though you did a much better job of it).

    Their shift is to keep their position as the voices that whisper in the ear of power. They read the trends and they again want to be right there to say, hey! I called that a few years ago so listen to me. Though in fact they actually just early on presented a popular version, since less acceptable voices have already put forth much of what they are saying.

    Having them on the show is fine I think. This is supposed to be an open source. I also agree with Nikos that it is better for them to speak out on issues like peak oil than not at all. This said, that does not mean we should be fooled by their softer and gentler conservativism. In some ways we should actually be more frightened since, as you suggest, they are just gearing up for the next round and taking the winds of change out of the more democratic and progressive sails, so to speak.

    Please keep posting.

  • babu

    Re fenixfacs 8:05 & 8:55:

    ” I have been watching a pattern ROS…..The shows are billed as one thing yet the guests…” and

    “But I still think that the “balanceâ€? of these shows are off center – in this regard to my point above. The blog end of ROS seems to be much more to the opposite side of that of the guests, even when then showed is billed / marketed a certain way as to look more radical than they turn out to be.”

    fs, I’m interested to hear a little more on what you’re getting at? The shows are live interviews. The blog is independent, triggered by the earliuer announcement of the topic and guests and then commenting on the actual show. Everyone says whatever they want; there’s no so-called tollbooth to require posters to agree or even stay on topic.

    Your comments relate to an observation of mine, namely, that the blog might be enriched/focused/

  • babu

    sorry, I accidentally clicked. To continue:

    Your comments relate to an observation of mine, namely, that the blog might be enriched/focused/kept on point if the guests were required or encouraged to visit the blog and participate at some level. They’re not, and the pattern which I observe is that they generally never do.

    Actually, I just realized that I can’t say this because they could very well be here anonymously.

    But there IS a disconnect between the show and blog. What are your or anyone else’s thoughts on this?

  • fenixfacs

    babu and sidewalker – I guess that I state it more clearly then illustrate it with an analysis.

    I think that the CENTER OF GRAVITY of the points of view here, online, are generally more progressive / left of center / what ever than the guests are. I AM NOT saying that this is bad, its just an observation of what I feel is the situation. Even when there are mutliple guests it is rare that even the most progressive / left of center guest is to the left, or even close to the center of , where the opinion here is. But, if you also look at the way the materials for the shows position it, they appear to create conflict, controversy until the guests show up then the tend to agree or have more in common with each others view than the ROS online communtiy has with them.

    Being an engineer by education I am visualizing it as a Venn Diagram.,GGGL:2005-09,GGGL:en&sa=N&tab=ii&oi=imagest

    So, imagine circles that represent the views of the guests and then, on average, the views of the online community here. Then imagine another ciricle that represents the way the the shows are set up.

    Using this proceedure on today’s show my version would look like this:

    All the way to the left, would be a circle that represents the views on the ROS online community. To the right would be a cirlce that represents Philips’ views – it would barely overlap / intersect with the first one. Then farther to the right Dr Maier’s at it would overlap / intersect Philips’ alot, maybe mostly, but wouldn’t overlap the online ROS community’s at all. Then somewhere to the left, overlapping more of the ROS online community’s circle is one that describes how the shows are set up. But invariably, the onair portion of the show almost always stays focused on the right two most circles.

    Remember by right I mean that in a relative sense in that both the right most circles for this show would be the left of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz etc but whose wouldn’t be right? But, even with that there are more overlapps between the Neo-Con crowds circles that I described above and the guests than between the guest’s circles and the online communities.

    Describing the Venn diagram from right-to-left:

    Neo-Cons will use war, business, what-ever to expand the US Empire / infuence etc = Right most circle, if there was one but I describe it here just a reference.

    Maier says that empires come and go but bascially the US is an “average” empire so could last 100 or 1,000 years etc = circle that would overlap Neo-con / right most one if there was one.

    Philip’s says he was once Republican then left and doesn’t like religion, debt and portions of modern economy but besides that might support McCain (whose circle, I would sugggest would be somewhere between Maier and Neo-con’s, overlapping both) = circle that overlaps Maier and even a little of Neo-cons, once agin. if there was one.

    Then comes the circle the describes how the show was set up. Somewhere between Philips’ circle and the ROS online commnutity’s, overlapping both.

    Then, to the left, intersecting Philips’ somewhere between say, 50% and none, is the ROS’s online communitity’s circle.

    But I would suggest, that the on-air portion of discussion was always moving back-and-forth somewhere between the centers of Philips’ circle and Maier’s.

    And, if you want to use this model for the “They killed Kenny, I mean, Neo-con” show, I think that you can.

    Don’t know if I did a good job describing it but just my guess. If you want to try, you might try open another browser page with the link to Venn diagram link while you do so ( I had a piece of paper with my version in front of me as I typed).

    babu and sidewalker – don’t know if this helps / adds anything but look forward to your comments.

  • babu

    I just heard the show. Sorry I’m late.

    If Phillips is right: “2015 to 2025 is going to be very rough…� we do need a change of plan, and we do (sometimes) get there by voting.

    They reviewed all the obvious candidates and came up empty. At the same time it made me giddy to hear Hilary discussed so strongly w/o ANY reference to gender. Got me thinking abot EMILY’S LIST.

    Early Money Is Like Yeast. Yeast?

    Yeast: (5) An agent of ferment or activity: political agitators who are the yeast of revolution�

    A substance (person? idea?) which, when added under favorable conditions, causes an exponential increase in the thing to which it was added.

    Pols call this ‘legs’ but we’re looking for the yeast body. It’s probably in plain sight, everywhere. Ready to be added.

  • babu

    fenixfacs: Thank you for the Venn diagrams.

    Do you think that there are any little overlaps that might be harboring yeast?

  • babu, fenixfacs, thanks for your interesting input. I’ve now participated in the discussions here for a couple of months and have wished in some way for greater interaction between the posts and the broadcast/guests. I imagine there are some practical difficulties involved in making it a wide-open forum, in the way of a town-hall meeting or round-table discussion, but there must be some way to get nearer to an “open source”.

    I think it would be interesting to actually hear from Brendan about the process by which a show comes to fruition. How, for instance, is ROS different from On Point? Of course the chance to suggest show topics, to introduce possible guests and to raise questions before the show are I believe three differences. Are there others?

    Still, once the show starts, as you have mentioned, there seems to be a disconnect. Usually only one of our comments are directly referred to, though Chris may be quietly taking in more of the discussion here and using it as a base for his questioning. But to what extent?

    I also feel ROS is still not bringing in many international voices, which could be because it is quite US centric. Even international issues have a decidedly American flavour. Sometimes it seems like eating at a Chinese restaurant in Iowa. I understand that the show is produced in the US and is I guess mainly intended for a US audience, so this is expected. Yet Chris says he wants to invite the world in and connect. Unless something changes, I wonder if this is possible.

    I know the ROS staff is really trying hard to do something original and I commend them for that. So I hope this is taken as constructive criticism. Also, the contributors here every day give me faith in the goodness of people. I love reading everyone’s sincere comments and think that there is something special about Chris that draws people in. Still I have to admit that I had different expectations when I first read about this new format.

    What do others think?

  • Potter

    That’s why sidewalker’s perspective from Japan is so valuable. In time I hope we will have more international show. Don’t forget the show is barely one year old. ( birthday?)

    Though Chris mentions posters from time to time, I do recognize our blog chatter woven into his questions.

    My criticism of the guests is that they are lumped or paired together such that we get to know each less deeply and there is less, even no room for callers.

    I don’t know why guests do not contribute to the blog. Once or twice this has happened and I thought it was very positive. That would help the fenixfacs circles interlock. Perhaps they do not want to get involved in a back and forth. But that can be accomodated a time limit on when they would be posting.

    I understand that Kevin Phillips is blogging over at TPM Cafe this week by the way. I think this is the correct link:

  • Since I am alone here again talking into a glittering Tokyo night, I thought I would go off this thread’s topic a little and write about my discussion with my mother-in-law, who was a 14-year-old jr. high school student in Morioka when the Pacific War ended with Japan’s surrender. I have never really asked here in too much detail about her experience, but the discussions from the past several days, especially about empire, stirred me up and I thought I would inquire a little.

    Specifically, I wanted to know how a people so thoroughly indoctrinated in the ideology of divine nation could so easily give it up and embrace a form of liberal democracy/capitalism. At least from her experience, she does not think that most people were in fact so indoctrinated. They followed the authorities out of fear. They didn’t cheer each military victory, like they would the local baseball team, and they were quite angry that they were forced to sacrifice so much for the war effort, such as giving up the metal used in their houses or forsaking their education to work in the munitions factories.

    I don’t know if from her experience we can generalize. There were of course schools and families with extreme nationalists in them. But I rather suspect, at least from what I know, they were the exception, only they held power and eventually drove their country to ruin. She fears again that the nationalists are gaining strength and that the younger generations are oblivious to what’s going on as they busy themselves with pop culture and she is angry that the journalists, as just a hype machine, have abandoned their duty to challenge the authorities. She also wishes here leaders would follow the constitution that brought peace back to her homeland and kept, to some extent, the paleo-cons in check.

  • Potter, how come you are up so late, or is that the break of dawn where you are? Should I be greeting you with a good morning?

  • h wally

    Sidewalker, my wife’s family is from Japan. One thing that was part of their participation in the war was their belief in the emperor. He was more of a god than just a leader and to die for the emperor was an honorable thing. After the war the empoeror denounced the idea of dying for him. I don’t know a lot about the details of their politcal system at that time but I think that ,as in our country now, certain people saw an opportunity and used this idea to get people more involved in the war.

  • Back to the topic of this thread…

    Did anyone else notice that one of the articles in the April issue of National Geographic (I can’t help it, I like the pictures) is titled Nuclear Power, with a teaser…It’s controversial. It’s expensive. And it just might save the earth?

    The nuclear industry must love Mr. Phillips talk of peak oil.

  • h wally, my mother-in-law thinks all the talk of the Emperor as a god is blown out of proportion. She says the people around her never thought so. But there are true believers in any group, too.

  • icantgoon

    Mark Fiore sums it up brilliantly–

  • Here is one guy’s refutation of the Dying for Emperor story.

  • Thanks, icantgoon. Said in so few words. Fiore is a genius.

  • h wally

    The point I was tryting to make wasn’t that all peopel in Japan believed the emperor was god. My point was that it was a belief among some people and that belief was exploited in the same way christianity and islam are being exploted by other groups and governments.

  • h wally

    Read the biography of Yukio Mishima for aan insight into the kind of thinking I’m talking about. I’ve spent a lot of time discussing these things with my wifes family in Kyoto. They were among the heirarchy before the war.

  • h wally, I agree, that biography is an insight into the kind of mind that takes a belief or ideal to extreme ends. And some people just exploit the ideal for gain. You are right that there are parallels with what is going on in some circles of Christianity and Islam.

  • h wally

    Thank you sidewalker. I appreciate your taking the time to respond to me. I can’t match the intense intellectual capabilities of some of the wonderful contributors to this sight but I still think I have something to say. I’ve always been curious and early on I chose the life of of a vagabond. A l;ot of my understanding of this world has come from working and living with “simple” people, the ones whose lives are most affected by a lot of the things we discuss here. I sometimes feel there is a disconnect between the intellectual side of things and the harsh realities of life. It’s one thing to discuss nuclear proliferation over coffee at starbucks and another to sit and listen to a 90 year old woman remember how it felt to be on the receivinf end of one of those monsters. I’ve worked as a volunteer in many poverty stricken areas of this world and I’ve seen the cost of “whoops”.

  • Nikos

    h wally: your 11:22 AM says it all, pal: it literally choked my up.

    The real human cost of all our jingo is unacceptable.

    Fighting for change is the only decent human thing to do. And it’s gotta start with taking down the world’s overabundance of sacred cows — like American republicanism and its doctrines.

    Up the revolution.

    god bless all us guttersnipes…

  • Potter

    Hi guys…. sidewalker the interview with your mother-in-law was wonderful.

    I think we are about 12-13 hours difference. (The clocktime on these posts is not correct by some minutes I believe). So now you would be maybe 9 in the morning Tokyo. Good morning. yawn 🙂

  • Potter

    Hello h wally– thanks for your 11:22 am above. You have plenty to say.

  • Nikos

    For more Phillips, see:

    After today it will be in the ‘Recent Shows’ archives in the lower right section of the page: ‘Select a Date’ – it was Monday, March 27, 2006, hour one.

  • brushworks

    maybe you should have Jacob Weisberg on to say why Phillips is way off.His articale is in id/2138947/

  • Gizmo Logix

    Yeah, I read it. Jacob starts his article with the grand statement, “Kevin Phillips is wrong about everything.” Then goes on to rant about how Phillips is embellishing the impact the religious right have on this country by picking out examples of oil prices and suggesting that the evangelicals have lost power. Hmmm, a two page article is supposed to refute Kevin Phillips WHOLE book? Talk about embellishment.

    I would agree that Phillips uses fear tactics on his stories of “Skull and Bones” and “Evangelicals.” But most of what he say talks about specific relationship regarding the theocratic-like Bush administration. Key word, specific! I don’t look at what Kevin Phillips says as an explanation for everything about the Bush administration.

    Here’s another Jacob Weisberg article…regarding our one and only, “Snake Oil Salesman.”


    How Bush chose stupidity…

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » WASHINGTON (AP) ” The number of newly laid-off()

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » … are not fighting against the general concept()

  • Pingback: Why Affirmations Fail And The Building Blocks Of Great Affirmations. |