I echo most posters here who laud Laura for her succinct overview of our current state.
But I'd would strongly emphasize that whomever controls the media controls the populace.
I'm sad that real journalism is dead/buried, and what's replaced it is embarrassing.
The biggest reason for the rise of this disgusting form of liberalism, the utter lack of responsibility in Congress, and the void of understanding among voters... is that there is no longer a 4th Estate.
The 'news' media is no longer feared by people in office - they're all feeding from the trough of our attention, while refusing to do their job... to be our eyes & ears, and ask questions needed to get answers we use to help us live our lives.
No journalism = no accountability.