Republicans and the conservative media should think twice about the frantic irrationality they are courting with their attacks on Obama and the Democrats. From the "birthers" who question the President's U.S. citizenship to the town-hall-meeting shouters stirred up about creeping "socialism" in health care reform, we now arrive at the wingnut suggestion on Newsmax of a possible military coup.

Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz are pouring fuel on the fire, with their specious claims that closing Guantanamo and rolling back Bush-era torture techniques leave America in imminent danger of a new terrorist attack.

The hatred and suspicion the right is feeding are about as far from reasoned argument as you can get. "The President is not a real American!" "They are going to take away your health insurance!" and "We are in for another terrorist attack!" are about as disparate as charges can get. That suits the purpose of keeping the rightwing base riled, no matter what the topic. But it comes at a terrible price.

"Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for 'fundamental change' toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America," John L. Perry writes on Newsmax. "A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible."

I have often wondered how the more genteel chin-rubbers on the right like David Brooks and Bill Kristol justify providing the intellectual underpinnings and, in Kristol's case, the campaign support, for this kind of craziness. Kristol can appear on the Daily Show with Jon

Stewart--http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-july-27-2009/bill-kristol-extended... and joke about his (genuine) support for Sarah Palin and his leadership attacking the health care plans of Hillary Clinton and Obama. Brooks can address the audiences of NPR and the New York Times as a kind of cultural kindred spirit with classic conservative philosophy that criticizes materialism. But both have to look in the mirror in the morning and recognize who they are helping, ironic detachment notwithstanding.

In the 1990s the hatred of Hillary and Bill Clinton reached a fevered pitch. The Republican political establishment, while not exactly embracing the more out-there elements in the party, nevertheless spent countless hours parsing Clinton's impeachment and its titillating details as if that were completely legitimate and important. Bomb-throwers like Anne Coulter got their start making outrageous remarks and the whole showbiz of rightwing attack media grew tremendously.

The poisoned atmosphere has been getting thicker since the Clinton years. After the Monica Lewinsky story broke out of the tabloid ghetto and held the entire government hostage for a season, the Republicans developed a bigger, better character-assassination and disruption apparatus. And while the murderous hatred of a Democratic President that emerged on the right then seems even worse today, in a way, Americans are also savvier. We have heard a lot of this stuff by now.

The health care debate is a perfect example of the careful marshaling of wingnuts by Washington insiders to achieve a political end. The town hall meeting shouters got instructions on how to disrupt their members of Congress and silence supporters of health care reform from Dick Armey's lobbying organization.

The ridiculous charge that a Medicare-like public option would be "socialism" caused five Democrats to join the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee in voting against a modest public option in the committee this week.

But the majority of Americans still favor the bugaboo Medicare-for-all-who-want-it system that Senator Orrin Hatch ominously warned could grow from a public option into full-blown single-payer, and, horror of horrors, put the insurance companies out of business one day.

In some ways the vehemence of the opposition is the most encouraging news to emerge from the health care reform efforts in Congress. Reform's opponents know they have to yell as loud as they can and change the subject a lot to try to distract people from the obvious problems with our private insurance system.

Health care reform that includes a full public option is not fully dead, despite the "Marxist" and "socialist" epithets.

It takes a lot of effort and a lot of support to stand up for such decent public policy options in the face of the right's threats of violence and mayhem.

But it will take a lot more psychological effort for the Republican establishment types to live with themselves if the craziness they are flirting with comes to fruition.

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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