The Growler Party

Here’s how Upton Sinclair introduces the judge that confronts Jurgis, one of the central characters in The Jungle:

court system“Pat” Callahan—”Growler” Pat, as he had been known before he ascended the bench—had begun life as a butcher boy and a bruiser of local reputation; he had gone into politics almost as soon as he had learned to talk, and had held two offices at once before he was old enough to vote. If Scully was the thumb, Pat Callahan was the first finger of the unseen hand whereby the packers held down the people of the district. No politician in Chicago ranked higher in their confidence; he had been at it a long time—had been the business agent in the city council of old Durham, the self-made merchant, way back in the early days, when the whole city of Chicago had been up at auction. “Growler” Pat had given up holding city offices very early in his career—caring only for party power, and giving the rest of his time to superintending his dives and brothels. Of late years, however, since his children were growing up, he had begun to value respectability, and had had himself made a magistrate; a position for which he was admirably fitted, because of his strong conservatism and his contempt for foreigners.

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Republicans For Obama

It is well acknowledged that today’s GOP has gone to the zoo … on Mars. But not all Republicans have sucked on the tea-bag and many have looked at the current political environment with a somewhat more rational mind. What we see is Republicans for Obama:

Why Obama

The Republican party isn’t what it used to be. Our leaders and our most vocal activists have written moderates out of the party and have refused to work with the other side, to the detriment of the nation. Center-right presidents such as Reagan, Bush Sr., Ford, Nixon and Eisenhower would have no chance being nominated today.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney has not proven to be able to stand up to our party’s most extreme elements. Instead, he has fallen for the “one-size-fits-all” mentality that tax cuts for the already-wealthy will solve all of our problems, and has no workable plans to solve the challenges we face.

President Obama has shown himself to be a common-sense centrist. He has cut taxes when necessary, has taken steps to protect the environment, and has aggressively pursued Islamic extremists who threaten America. Most notably, he has reformed our healthcare system by signing a Republican-inspired healthcare plan into law. In most other points in our party’s history, Obama would fit in well as a Republican.

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Romney’s Lying Machine

Robert Reich in his BLOG discusses the overt and oft repeated lies coming from Mitt Romney or his supporters. Reich contends that with all the money the Romney campaign and other dark money organizations are putting behind political ads in the battleground states, the obvious lies are gradually gaining some ground:  people think they’re true no matter how many other outlets demonstrate that they are lies.

This, of course, is the Goebbels contribution to political campaigning:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Reich ends his post by summarizing the question of what kind of man Romney actually is:

So Romney’s lying machine is working.

But what does all this tell us about the man who is running this lying machine? (Or if Romney’s not running it, what does it tell us about a man who would select the people who are?)

We knew he was a cypher — that he’ll say and do whatever is expedient, change positions like a chameleon, eschew any core principles.

Yet resorting to outright lies — and organizing a presidential campaign around a series of lies — reveals a whole new level of cynicism, a profound disdain for what remains of civility in public life, and a disrespect of the democratic process.

The question is whether someone who is willing to resort to such calculated lies, and build a campaign machine around them, can be worthy of the public’s trust with the most powerful office in the world.

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