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Rabid.

That is the description of today's right wing extremists, uttered by Bob Lutz, the design engineer of the Chevrolet Volt, the hybrid vehicle that gets up to 200 mpg.  

He also uses other adjectives, like "misinformed."  You see, Lutz is a conservative, a Republican.  And Lutz cannot for the life of him understand why today's right wing extremists are attacking his car, which is made by Americans, in America, and is helped in the market with a tax credit created by George Bush.

He doesn't understand because he does not want to.  Like in polite society you just don't want to admit that someone is a fraud or a criminal.  So he is in denial.

But I understand it.  I understand it all too well.  And we all should.

The right wing extremists are fighting a war against the United States of America, against the established government, against the Constitution, against the laws of the land, and against all major governmental and public institutions.  They are employing violent rhetoric, extreme ideology, and divisive appeals to overthrow the government of the United States.  

In this war they will grab anything and use it as a weapon.  If they can't find anything they will make something up.  If it is unbelievable because it is a fantastic lie they will repeat it until it settles into the mind of the public and becomes accepted as fact.

There are no gullible, "misinformed" uneducated or misled right wing extremists.  There are only soldiers in the war to destroy this nation.  Look at them:  they are angry, they are in attack mode, and they want to tear down everything we have built in the last two hundred years.  They are a mob.  They trample all reason.  Just like military forces marching to war, they are tightly controlled, highly conformist, and ruthless.  

They conduct raids.  Any person who stands up and becomes a visible target quickly draws fire until they are battered into submission and silence.  They use fabrications, confabulations and verbal and literal terror campaigns targeting opponents, their wives, their mothers, their children, their co-workers, and their homes.  

One example of such a terrorist campaign is the movement to destroy the legal rights of Americans to control their own health care and do their own family planning.  Doctors have been killed and injured, nurses have been killed and maimed, facilities have been torched, millions of verbal and written threats have been issued, all in a decades-long campaign to make the health care that was once a legal right of every American in a free country now almost impossible to obtain.

In field after field, the right wing extremists have thrown well established knowledge out the window, have ridiculed, mocked, persecuted, assaulted, threatened, humiliated, and destroyed scientists, and have set up a huge phalanx of shills to undermine the confidence the people have in the knowledge carefully developed over decades of scientific research.  In this they have succeeded.  The public confidence in science has dropped dramatically leaving a vacuum where the right wing extremists can rush in with their dogma and take control.  

People who are out there publicly discussing climate change, evolution, economics, biology, health care, public education, and other social policies, have long ago learned (and repeatedly said) that the extreme right wing does not discuss or debate in good faith but that they simply swamp discussions with empty slogans, lies, and incendiary fabrications, spam bulletin boards and comment boards, and simply wear out their opponents.    

Their true agenda is so radical and so extreme that they cannot tell the voters.  They also cannot tell the voters just how centrally controlled they are.  So in state after state, local legislators come up with bills and proposals word by word out of ALEC templates, but for all the public knows, these are local initiatives.  In fact they are centrally and nationally controlled and strategically pushed by front people in the different states.  

Besides total secrecy about the inner workings and tight national control of the extreme right wing, they use red herrings and pretense.   Charter school movements are used to establish a beach head so that the all-out invasion and gutting of public education can proceed when the time is right.  The myth and big lie of heroic and fantastic charter schools that rescue inner city kids is used to destroy public education.  So-called "education reformers" are sold to the public like soap and cereal, often based on test scores as fraudulent as a three-dollar bill.  Tax outrage is used to gut governments and destroy the leverage of workers so that private profiteers can move in.  Tax cuts as instruments of economic growth, an idea admitted to be a hoax by none less than the Budget Director of Ronald Reagan, are used to shrink the government until it can be flushed down the drain, in the words of a well known ideological leader of the extreme right wing.  

This is a war and the extreme right wing knows it and acts accordingly.  In a war you don't care about the legal fine points or the good character of the people that are in battle with you and on your side.  And so the extreme right wing tolerates extremes of corruption among their ranks as long as the corrupt people know what side they are on.  

True to history, much of this war is being fought by mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, and hired guns.  The military industrial complex, the insurance complex, the energy complex and cartel, the finance complex, the pharmaceutical complex, and the law enforcement industry all generate massive armies of paid warriors in this movement to destroy the United States of America.  These are the kings and queens and royal families of today, sending hungry peasants out as crusaders to plunder government and institutions and terrorize the countryside.  Just as the crusades were sold with rigid religious ideology, today's destructive wars are sold to the people with highly emotional and extremist ideas and severe value judgments.  "God is on our side!" rings the call of the warriors then and now, and now it is used to condemn gays, health care providers, teachers, state workers, intellectuals, minorities, welfare recipients, the infirm, unions, and anyone who gets in the way.  Collateral damage is routine.

Parallel with this "culture war" is a war for resources and policies inside the federal government, a war the extreme right wing is winning in the name of the global war on terror.  There we see the starkest and the darkest contempt for the United States Constitution in a century, with extra-judicial killings, black sites, the systematic disappearing of people not seen in the Western Hemisphere since the Desaparecidos, all in the name of a war that is going on every day and everywhere.  For the first time in American history your living room has legally been declared a war zone.

As part of this war for federal resources a gigantic security apparatus has arisen in America, the "Department of Homeland Security."  This huge organization serves as a central coordinator of hundreds of agencies in all 50 states (each of which now have grant-rich "Emergency Management Agencies") with incredible amounts of money flowing to them, huge caches of military equipment going to law enforcement agencies nationwide, a steady supply of training, conferences, and consultants, constant drills and exercises, and more outlandish equipment than anyone knows what to do with.  This organization has demonstrated in its response to Katrina that it is not about managing emergencies - it is about control of the population.  The extreme right wing is ready for all out war on the streets.

For most of us, none of this is news.  So, why am I stating the obvious?

Because we progressives are not acting like we realize what is going on.

The other side knows what it is doing.  We don't.  We act like appalled, confused, distressed innocent civilians who are caught in a war zone and cry.

We are like chess players looking at the board, realizing we are in a good  position, only to have the opponent take the chess board, smash it over our heads, kill us, and be declared the only survivor and winner.

We are like Archimedes (the inventor of modern geometry and the principle of levers) who drew his geometry problems in sand on the floor in his house.  When Roman soldiers stormed in and trampled all over his drawings, he urged:  "Do not disturb my circles!"  They trampled his circles and killed him.

Here is how we fail to rise to the challenge.  

1.  We, our media, our web sites, our blogs, and yes, that includes dkos, are completely focused on the outrages of the other side.  It is as if we were undertaking a national campaign to convince the public that we don't like Republicans.  Our posture is completely and totally defensive.  Most of our writing and broadcasting is in the vein of " ... you won't believe what that Republican came up with now!"

2.  We don't even agree on consistent language.  We easily and quickly agree to use the language of the other side, from death taxes to "right to life" to "value voters" to the word "conservative."  Just this last week, for the very first time in decades, a major Democratic political figure called the extreme right wing proposals what they are, radical and extreme, not "conservative."  There is nothing "conservative" about the Republican Party, or ALEC, or Scott Walker, or Michelle Rhee, or Randall Terry, or Ann Coulter, or Rush Limbaugh, or Paul Ryan, or Bill Kristal, or Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum.

3.  When we have good people with excellent ideas, we do not elevate them to great "thinkers" in our community that produce the kinds of position papers and policy proposals that motivate and move us into action.  No.  We let people like Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and Alan Grayson get eaten up by internal fights and languish on the fringes.  

4.  We appoint the kinds of national leaders that signal strongly to us and the nation that we have already given up the fight and are now only negotiating the terms of the surrender.  This is how we wound up with loser candidates like Hart and Dukakis, and "business friendly" presidents like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.  During the terms of all these presidents, union membership declined, jobs went overseas, and of course, famously, "welfare as we know it" was ended throwing hundreds of thousands of adults and children into more poverty.  And now here we are, with Obama, the ultimate "centrist" sell-out to business and the security state, the man who took the greatest mandate for change in recent history and skillfully converted it into more of the same, only worse; the man who continued the legacy of previous presidents in giving big corporations more leverage to destroy American workers by making them compete with peasants from China and Africa.

5.  We have no ideas.  As has been pointed out here many times, we have no coherent and consistent believe system, and whatever we do have, we don't communicate it.  Ideas need to be multi-level.  You need to have a fundamental value system, which is then expressed in a coherent set of policy ideas, which then has derived proposed legislation.  The fundamental value system must be expressed in a coherent set of ideas, and for political purposes, these ideas must be distilled into positive and affirmative slogans that you can shout from the rooftops.  If you don't have ideas that you believe in, that you can consistently "shout from the rooftops" then you will fail to persuade, you will fail to convince others, and you will not prevail.  The last idea we had, disastrous as it was, was "Look for the Union label."

6.  We do not have an organized message delivery system.  We don't have hundreds of think-tanks, policy institutes, thousands of "expert" shills, or reliable media outlets.  We do not have any captured industries whose interests are naturally aligned with ours.  They have gutted our unions, so we simply no longer have any machine to deliver message and vote.  And now they are instituting voter ID laws that will prevent some of our constituents to vote.  We don't have a highly rated answer to Rush Limbaugh.  You know why?  Because we don't believe in anything that we ever bothered to distill into the things outlined in point (5).  And talk shows or news magazines about the outrages of what the other side is saying and doing - that only goes so far, with all due respect to Maddow, O'Donnel, Al Franken and Olbermann.  

We are toast.  Turn out the lights.  The party is over.  They will not rest until every American has the same rights, privileges, standard of living, and benefits as a day laborer begging on the curb; the privileged will live in walled and razor wired enclaves like in South Africa; the security state will put Stalin Russia to shame; and women will have the same standing as they do in Saudi Arabia.  The New Dark Age is dawning.  

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