Radical Right Reality Check

Radical Right Reality Check

Radical Right Reality Check

Coming up short and wide right

As usual, the market fundamentalists miss the mark in diagnosing state budget ills

Okay, here are some basic facts that everyone who's paying attention ought to agree on when it comes to the current state budget picture:

  1. 1. Times are very tough - Like most of the rest of the nation, North Carolina's economy is in recession. Business activity and personal incomes are down and unemployment, foreclosures, evictions and the need for services are up.

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Radical Right Reality Check

Joe McCarthy lives on

Raleigh right-wing group unearths commie plot at UNC

It’s been interesting (and a little frightening) to watch the responses that next week’s election seems to be provoking on the far right. Though paranoia and a general desire to foment fear of “the other” has always been a prominent part of the right’s playbook, the possibility that voters may actually usher in some real change next week seems to have given rise to a new and powerful wave of fear mongering that would have warmed the heart of old Tail Gunner Joe and his faithful sidekick, Roy “Redbaiter” Cohn. See for instance, Elizabeth Dole’s pathetic attacks on a moderate-to-conservative, one-time Sunday school teacher named Kay Hagan.

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Wolves in sheep’s clothing

It's time to stop referring to Raleigh's right-wing think tanks as "libertarian"

For years, conservative writers and commentators in the collection of think tanks funded by Raleigh chain store magnate Art Pope have claimed that were about advancing a "libertarian" message and agenda. Hence the endless stream of columns and reports and blog posts about "liberty" and "freedom." The Locke Foundation even entitles its budget proposals "Freedom Budgets."

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Market fundamentalist snake oil

The far right's desperate energy policy prescriptions

It is a familiar theme. We've all witnessed and participated in it in our own lives and watched it unfold countless times in history books, Shakespeare, other works of literature, movies and television. You know the pattern, it goes like this:

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Taking back the debate

Why progressives are often out-shouted by a noisy minority and what can be done about it

One of the big news stories in North Carolina this week concerned an incident that actually occurred more than a month ago. It involved the sad and scary story of a family (a mother and her three minor children along with a church friend) whose car was pulled over late at night on Interstate 85 in Alamance County. The reaction it has provoked should provide an important lesson to progressives on the state of the current public debate in our state and nation.

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April Fools comes three months late

More bizarre claims about the environment from the far right

For those who frequent the world of political websites and blogs, one of the best and most insightful places on the Internet is the outrageous news website parody known as The Onion. If you haven't checked it out, you really ought to.

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Mistaking the avoidance of responsibility for “freedom”

According to a National Public Radio tribute, the recently deceased film director Sydney Pollack was fond of the following statement that he included in more than one of his many successful films: "You think that not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth." He used it to skewer the CIA and other serial prevaricators. If Pollack had lived and was now directing the movie exposé of the modern American political right, he might well have used a somewhat similar line to shine a light on their increasingly shrill "think tanks" and pundits. It would go something like this: "You think that increasing your own wealth and comfort and ignoring everyone else is the same thing as freedom." ...
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Reviving the “Old Deal”

The far right offers up its anti-poverty program

We Americans are notorious for our short attention spans and memories. So perhaps it's understandable, if not excusable, that many people delude themselves into believing that the "good ol' days" were somehow always superior to the modern era. Progressives, for instance, need to be careful at times not to get too carried away in deriding modern technology and consumerism lest we forget that the world of bumpy two-lane roads, non-wrinkle free clothes and two or three dreary TV stations wasn't always as much fun as some like to think.

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The far right denies that there’s an affordable housing shortage

Consider the following basic difference between modern progressives and the market fundamentalist right. For most progressives, the world is a complex and imperfect place in which humans struggle to address the problems that confront them - both individually and collectively. In this worldview, society makes use of public and private structures (government and the market) as part of an ongoing effort to build a better, freer, healthier, and fairer world. ...
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The right wing attacks public greenways

Unfortunately, it's not an April Fools joke

Ever wondered if Raleigh's market fundamentalist "think" tanks had too much time and money on their hands? Well, if you had any doubts, you probably ought to check out the John Locke Foundation's recent attacks on that most pernicious of socialist conspiracies, the public greenway.

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A “back of the envelope budget”

More irresponsible fiscal proposals from the far right

Whatever its flaws (and rest assured, there are a lot of them) one thing can be said for certain about what goes into crafting the state of North Carolina’s budget each year: It is a complex and challenging process. Even at its closed door worst, in which only a few powerful lawmakers pull almost all the strings, putting together a balanced $20 billion budget for an entire state is serious business.

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Revisionist propaganda

Latest slander against one of America’s greatest accomplishments is part of the right’s long-term strategy

During his recent visit to North Carolina, scholar and social commentator George Lakoff helped demystify some of the startling political and policy successes enjoyed by the American far right over the last few decades.

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Going to extremes

How some national and local conservatives deal with the wacko right

For progressives who see him as a cranky, old, anti-choice war hawk it’s sometimes hard to understand why the far right dislikes and distrusts John McCain. A recent essay in the New Yorker magazine, however, captures the essence of that divide in the following McCain monologue from his “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus:

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Conservatism at its worst

The Bush administration’s proposed farmworker rules

One of the great schisms in modern American (and North Carolina) conservatism is the divide between pro-business wing and the xenophobic talk radio crowd – particularly around the issue of immigration and immigrant workers.

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Using tragedy for political purposes

The far right’s latest misleading rhetoric on criminal justice By Rob Schofield One of the greatest challenges to sound, democratic government is the tendency of legislative bodies to be swept up in the tide of public emotion and to act based upon what sounds like good policy rather than what actually is good policy. A glance at the period that followed September 11, 2001 and the enactment of the disastrous “USA Patriot Act” (in which few if any members of Congress even had the opportunity to read the massive new law before it was rammed through is the classic modern example). In such instances, even ordinarily thoughtful lawmakers who know better can be caught up in the opinion tidal wave and opt for the political safety of going silently along with the flow rather than the politically risky course of public opposition. ...
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Radical Right Reality Check

Some friendly suggestions

New Year’s resolutions for the right wing By Rob Schofield In the spirit of the season, this edition of Radical Right Reality Check offers our take on some traditional New Year’s resolutions and how they might be of use to our friends on the ideological right (and maybe even to a few progressives as well). [...] (more...) ...
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