Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why the GOP Remains a Threat to Democracy and World Peace

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

I smell the sweat of a right wing focus group! Since when did the Heritage Foundation put its OK on the new meme: "...but the Democrats are just as bad as the GOP?" Oh yeah? If that's true, then rewind the time machine and vote for Sarah Palin! Or Dan Quayle! Would you support a doctor who advertises: I'm a quack and you may die of a heart attack -- but so is Dr Bob where you may die of cancer?

It's time to take an objective look at GOP psychopathy which is the source and origin of the recent Bush administration. The GOP must be held responsible for catastrophic economic failures and a panoply of capital war crimes so huge that they may never be investigated and prosecuted.

Democratic failures are failures of omission. GOP crimes are crimes of commission. The issue is not whether Dems are better but, certainly, they are different and different in ways that are identified by sociologists and psychologists. The new 'meme' is intended to blur the differences. If this meme is true, then the GOP has nothing else to recommend it; the electorate cannot even vote the lesser of two evils! In advertising, a leading product will distinguish itself from the wannabes. The wannabes on the other hand will try to blur the differences. Brand 'X' is just as good --or Brand 'A' is just as bad! The GOP message is merely: vote for us 'cause the Democrats are just as crooked!

It's fact check time.

The GOP are lying again. Democrats have never tried to rewrite the Constitution as did Bush, supported as he was by the GOP leadership and rank and file. Moreover, Democratic constituencies have never benefited from war as did the elite robber barons who make up the Military-Industrial Complex. The GOP is defined by its real and significant constituency i.e, the top one percent of the nation, owning some 90 percent or more of its total wealth. They are not now nor were they ever members of the Democratic party! Moreover, it was not Democratic policies nor Democratic regimes which brought out this result. It was --specifically --the regime of Ronald Reagan which enrich the rich by way of its infamous 'tax cut' of 1982.

This elite does not care which party it tries to own or corrupt so long as they rule. The ruling elite does not care who takes their payoff money so long as they get a return on the investment! That the ruling elite has succeeded in 'acquiring' and thus owning the GOP is perhaps the most significant difference between Democrats and Republicans. If the Democrats had literally auctioned their 'souls', we would have a right to expect ol' scratch to have lived up to his side of the bargain.

One is either a part of the solution or a part of the problem.

The GOP 'way' requires regimentation and obeisance. They have an agenda: world domination and thus continued profits for the merchants of death, their lobbyists on K-street, and the 'think tanks' and focus groups who are tasked with trying to make the whole scam plausible.

There is the problem of 'organization'. The GOP differs qualitatively from the Democratic party, a difference of structure which follows from the mindset. Numerous studies have identified several 'traits' that are statistically much higher among GOPs than Democrats. Those traits include psychopathy and authoritarianism. Will Rogers put it this way: 'I am not a member of any organized political party; I am a Democrat!"

Independent, creative, constructive thinkers are by definition and inclination anathema to the GOP and the GOP to them! Will Rogers was right. Had he been wrong the Democratic party might have opposed the GOP more effectively. But doing so would have redefined the party and blurred the differences with the GOP. But I don't want GOP-lite! Clinton supporters called it 'triangulation'. I don't think the measly gains have been worth the Faustian bargain required to get them.

John Dean's Conservatives Without Consciences, inspired by some very serious research, is must reading. Though he still claims to be Republican, Dean asserts that the conservative mind-set is characterized by the recurring qualities of 'the unbridled viciousness toward those daring to disagree with them' as well as by the big business favoritism that has cost taxpayers billions. Unless you are a member of the ruling 1 or 2 percent, those 'gains' have come out of your ass.

It was a dirty job but someone had to do it.

Even before Dean published, a Stanford University group had revealed its findings indicating that Republicans have more nightmares and night terrors than do Democrats. Nightmares are generally believed to be manifestations of deep-seated fears, insecurities and anxieties. We must put into that context remarks by Republicans at the GOP National Convention in Houston in 1992. "He made us feel good about ourselves!" They were quite right. Reagan, indeed, made them 'feel good' about being greedy, bigoted, selfish and self-centered, psychopaths.

Deans's book is based upon other studies identifying 'authoritarian' characteristics of the 'conservative mindset', specifically Robert D. Hare's now-standard text on psychopaths, Without Conscience of 1993. As I have charged, this 'type' is challenged to make valid inference from premises. Observations by professional psychologists and psychiatrists have repeatedly confirmed my allegations that 'psychopathic' Republicans often work backward from a conclusion to a premise. This mentality may be expected to deny science, evolution, or pragmatic approaches of any type. This mentality may be expected to support a war of aggression against Iraq and for all the wrong reasons. This group will never admit its failures and it will justify worse atrocities to cover up past mistakes. It is a moral and psychological black hole.

The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' description of antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders, for example, provides a diagnostic context for behaviors that Dean describes as belonging characteristic of "social dominants" and "double highs." Antisocials, for instance, "show little remorse for the consequences of their acts.... They may be indifferent to, or provide a superficial rationalization for, having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from someone (e.g., 'life's unfair,' 'losers deserve to lose,' or 'he had it coming anyway')... They may believe that everyone is out to 'help number one' and that one should stop at nothing to avoid being pushed around."

These people exist as a class! Statistically, they are more often found in the GOP. They are attracted to the GOP --a group of like-minded 'psychopaths'.

This ceased being guess work when Carl Jung --in his 'The Undiscovered Self' --wrote that about 30 percent of every population is certifiably psychopathic, utterly lacking empathy. 'Thirty percent' is about the size of the GOP 'base'. In Germany, Jung's 'thirty percent' became Nazis, in America --Republicans! Not coincidentally, the Republican Party rose to prominence in the US as the party of the so-called 'robber barons', almost all of whom were, arguably, authoritarians, believers in eugenics, white supremacy, and the 'White Man's Burden'.

How many 'robber barons' were Democratic? Was J.P. Morgan or Rockefeller Democratic? Was Henry Ford --whose portrait hang in Hitler's office --Democratic? I don't think so.

Evil is Banal; just ask a Republican

Dr. Gustav Gilbert, tasked with keeping Nazi war criminals alive until they could be hanged, wrote of the nature of evil itself. Evil, he said, was the utter lack of empathy. Hannah Arendt said something similar: evil is banal. I submit that there is no party more banal than the GOP unless it was Nazis who perpetrated genocide with milky-faced bureaucrats, accountants, and pencil pushers. Their infamous 'meeting' at Wannsee was just 'business as usual', bureaucrats and lawyers trying to the loophole that would make legal acts of mass murder and genocide. More recently --during the Iraq war --it was the Bush administration that work mightily to make legal the crimes that it had already committed.

The 'utter lack of empathy' is among the symptoms of psychosis and may be found in spades among those Republicans who cheered Bush's war of aggression against Iraq though Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 911. These 'psychopaths' --driving huge Humvees and SUVs --often said that a war against Iraq would result in the theft of Iraqi oil so that prices at the pump would decline.

American industrialists were not inclined to turn down a quick buck. While Americans were at war with Hitler, the American corporate establishment was ideologically sympathetic to Hitler --his cause, his war aims, his partnership with big corporations like I.G. Farben, Thyssen, Krupp and other big corporations, including American companies, who financed Adolph Hitler. [See: Who Financed Adolf Hitler?]
On December 20, 1922 the New York Times reported that automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was financing Adolph Hitler's nationalist and anti-Semitic movements in Munich. Simultaneously, the Berlin newspaper Berliner Tageblatt appealed to the American Ambassador in Berlin to investigate and halt Henry Ford's intervention into German domestic affairs. It was reported that Hitler's foreign backers had furnished a "spacious headquarters" with a "host of highly paid lieutenants and officials." Henry Ford's portrait was prominently displayed on the walls of Hitler's personal office:

--Henry Ford and the Nazis

Opposition to US involvement in World War II is most often linked to Charles Lindbergh.
However, most AFC supporters were neither liberal, nor Socialist. Many simply wanted to stay out of the war. Since many also came from the Midwest, an area never as sensitive to European problems as the east coast, isolationist arguments was soon buttressed by more traditional prejudices against eastern industrial and banking interests. (Almost two-thirds of the Committee’s 850,000 registered supporters would eventually come from the Midwest, mostly from a radius of three hundred miles around Chicago.)[13] Many AFC supporters were certain industry and the banks wanted war for their own profit.[14] Many other supporters were Republicans who flocked to the AFC for partisan political reasons. [or treasons?] Still others were covertly pro-German. Some were German-Americans whose sentimental attachments had not been diminished by the crimes of the Nazi regime. Others, whether of German origin or not, were attracted to Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism.

--David Gordon, America First:the Anti-War Movement, Charles Lindbergh and the Second World War, 1940-1941, History Department, Bronx Community College / CUNY Graduate Center

Ideologically, Bush and Lindbergh have much in common. It is no stretch to imagine this faction welcoming a Hitler victory in Europe, perhaps plotting a Nazi coup d'etat in the US had Hitler won in Europe. Certainly, Prescott Bush had planned a coup intended to overthrow FDR and install a fascist dictatorship. It would appear that where Prescott Bush failed, his idiot grandson succeeded. [See BBC: US Businessman (Prescott Bush) Planned Fascist Coup in US ]
Lindbergh wanted Hitler to destroy the Soviet Union, and was willing to accept Nazi domination of Europe as the price.[118] His protests to the contrary are not convincing.[119] Long before most Committee members, he had come to believe the existence of the Soviet Union had made Hitler’s dictatorship necessary. The German invasion of Russia in June 1941 made the need to keep America out of the war greater than ever. As a result, the efforts of America Firsters to keep America neutral became more frenetic as German successes in Russia mounted, and Roosevelt’s efforts to enter the war increased.

--David Gordon, America First:the Anti-War Movement, Charles Lindbergh and the Second World War, 1940-1941, History Department, Bronx Community College / CUNY Graduate Center

Lindbergh opposed US entry into WWII for the same reasons the Bush family continued to do business with Hitler and the Nazis' after war had begun. The Bush family were Hitler's trading partners. The Bush family were traitors.
The debate over Prescott Bush's behavior has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.


Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush's involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system and a helpful and dedicated staff at both the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Archives at the University of Maryland.

The first set of files, the Harriman papers in the Library of Congress, show that Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of a number of companies involved with Thyssen.

The second set of papers, which are in the National Archives, are contained in vesting order number 248 which records the seizure of the company assets. What these files show is that on October 20 1942 the alien property custodian seized the assets of the UBC, of which Prescott Bush was a director. Having gone through the books of the bank, further seizures were made against two affiliates, the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation. By November, the Silesian-American Company, another of Prescott Bush's ventures, had also been seized. --

British Guardian: How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power

By now it is common knowledge, verified in the public record, that in October of 1942, Prescott Bush was accused of "Running Nazi front groups in the United States". He was charged under the Trading With the Enemy Act as the US government shut down the operations at New York's Union Banking Corporation.

Bush's actions might have been considered high treason. They are interesting by virtue of the myriad connections about what is commonly referred to as the "Bush Crime Family" and partners --Avril Harriman, the Rockefellers, Allen Dulles, James Baker III, Gulf Oil, Pennzoil, and ominously, Osama bin Laden. The connections are labyrinthine, involving a host of corporate connections, high ranking Nazis, the CIA and Allen Dulles.

More recently, we have learned of yet more Bush family treasons: Prescott Bush, the "President's" grandfather, was involved in a fascist coup attempt to overthrow the government of the United States.
The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

--William Bowles, The Bush Family Saga

Now that the cat is out of the bag, Bush apologists would have you believe that the Bush/Nazi nexus is long over. Not so! Documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress confirm that the Bush family continued 'Nazi' dealings well into 1951. GWB's grandfather, Prescott Bush and his 'Nazi' colleagues --a 'secret web of Thyssen-controlled ventures' --routinely attempted to conceal their activities from government investigators.

This web including former New York Governor W. Averell Harriman and younger brother, E. Roland Harriman and the New York private banking firm of Brown Brothers Harriman, presided over a 'quarter-century [1924-1951] of Nazi financial transactions. These activities included a financial relationship with the German city of Hanover and several industrial concerns. They went undetected by investigators until after World War Two.

The sub-plot is equally interesting. Allen Dulles found a 'young Naval Officer' who was in charge of captured Nazi documents that would have revealed Dulles to have been a traitor to the United States. The 'young Naval officer' eagerly sold out, agreeing to bury the documents if Dulles would finance the young man’s first political campaign. The 'young Naval officer' was Richard Nixon.

By contrast, people attracted to the Democratic party are not attracted to the GOP for these very reasons. As a rule, 'authoritarian' types are not interested in joining the Democratic party, attracted as they are to a party that more nearly embraces 'German discipline'.

The 'mentality' which became Nazi in Germany became Republican in America

Psychopaths prefer to be told what to think. I am telling them to shut the fuck up. In both the Nazi party and now, in the GOP, they are told from the top what to think, how to think and how to 'spin' it.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it's a duck. Bush's criminal and unconstitutional assault on the Bill of Rights as much as the well-planned campaign of frauds intended to justify the attack and invasion of Iraq 'swims like a duck'. It is traced to identifiable 'conservative mindsets' as they have been identified by eminent psychologists. Psychologist Bob Altermeyer calls these people RWA, or Right Wing Authoritarians.

Dean's 'Conservatives Without Consciences', cites the work of Bob Altemeyer who sums up his own work accurately and wittily in The Authoritarians.

'Authoritarians' are submissive to authority as were Hitler's Nazi minions but they are, like Adolph Hitler and George W. Bush, tyrannical when they are themselves in power or positions of 'authority'. This mentality is most surely the origin of the Nazi war criminal defense: "But ve vere only folloving orters!"
With eagerly subservient Republican majorities controlling both houses of Congress, Bush and his vice-president could do anything they wanted. And so they did. Greed ruled, the rich got big, big tax cuts, the environment took one body blow [190] after another, religious opinions decided scientific issues, the country went to war, and so on. Bush and his allies had the political and military power to impose their will at home and abroad, it seemed, and they most decidedly used it.

A stunning, and widely overlooked example of the arrogance that followed streaked across the sky in 2002 when the administration refused to sign onto the International Criminal Court. This court was established by over a hundred nations, including virtually all of the United States’ allies, to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and so on when the country for whom they acted would not or could not do the prosecuting itself. It is a 'court of last resort” in the human race’s defense against brutality.

Why on earth would the United States, as one of the conveners of the Nuremberg Trials and conceivers of the charge, 'crimes against humanity,” want nothing to do with this agreement? The motivation did not become clear until later. But not only did America refuse to ratify the treaty, in 2002 Congress passed an act that allowed the United States to punish nations that did join in the international effort to prosecute the worst crimes anyone could commit! Talk about throwing your weight around, and in a way that insulted almost every friend you had on the planet.

But the social dominators classically overreached. Using military power in Iraq to 'get Saddam” produced, not a shining democracy, but a lot of dead Americans, at least fifty times as many dead Iraqis, and the predicted civil war. The 'war on terrorism” backfired considerably, as enraged Muslims around the world, with little or no connection to al Qaeda, formed their own 'home-grown” terrorist cells bent on suicide attacks--especially after news of American atrocities in Iraq raced around the globe. Occupying Iraq tied down most of America’s mobile ground forces, preventing their use against the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan which had supported the 9/11 attacks, and making American troops easy targets in the kind of guerilla warfare that produces revenge-driven massacres within even elite units.

--Bob Altemyer, The Authoritarians
Both Altemeyer and Dean are confirmed in their opinions of the state of the American conservative movement by 'conservative' criticism leveled at them. It is characterized by fallacious appeals to authority and orthodoxy --tactics that are observed to be rampant throughout 'conservative' politics.
Their [Altermeyer, Dean] work does not appear to have earned widespread acceptance among academic psychologists. No matter: in Dean’s mind, as he spends the bulk of Conservatives Without Conscience arguing, the theory of the authoritarian personality establishes the malevolence of conservatives as scientific fact.
Dean, of course, speaks from the 'experience' of having been a 'Goldwater Conservative'. I speak from the experience of having interviewed numerous 'conservatives' and, in the process collecting a series of 'self-reinforcing' rationalizations.
Is it true, for example, that 'Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us”? Maybe Altemeyer thinks that anyone who answers 'yes” pines for a charismatic nationalist leader a la—who else? Adolf Hitler. But, in fact, any effective political leader could fit the description. In the civil-rights era, for example, did not our country 'desperately need' (to rectify injustice) a 'mighty leader” (he certainly had a large following) such as the sainted Martin Luther King Jr. who was willing to 'do what it takes” (organize marches and boycotts) to 'stamp out” (end) 'sinfulness” (segregation) and 'radical new ways” (racist backlash)? Logical consistency would compel nearly everyone to agree with the statement, no matter how provocatively phrased. If it turns out that only conservatives say that they agree, this shows only that conservatives understand the meaning of words.

--Conformity Without Conscience, The American Conservative
The 'refutation' misses the point that 'conservatives' --statistically --will never recognize any other condition. In other words, any status quo --especially those caused by the conservative mindset itself--will always be seen by the RWA as requiring a strong leader. Nothing is proven. The 'conservative' mindset just repeats a faulty premise or, worse, mistakes a pre-conceived notion for one. The conservative mindset may never notice or grasp the significance of evidence that the 'mindset' itself and policies issuing it from it are the cause of the status quo cited to justify war, torture, or even atrocities. This is most certainly the case with 'terrorism' cited to justify wars of aggression and torture which are themselves the root cause of 'terrorism'. You have thus entered the circular, self-reinforced world of GOP delusion! [See: Terrorism is worse under GOP regimes]

Typically, as predicted by Altemeyer, his studies are dismissed not because they are objectively flawed but because they do not conform to pre-conceived, conservative models of the world.

It does not follow that because Martin Luther King Jr may have been a 'great leader' that he was, therefore, 'authoritarian'. It is interesting that the example of Ghandi was not cited by the conservative authors whose assumptions are predictable and self-reinforcing: that no one but 'authoritarian conservatives' may be great leaders. Conservative logic argues as follows: Martin Luther King was a great leader. Therefore, he must have been an 'authoritarian conservative'. In the GOP/conservative bizarro world, houses precede their foundations, conclusions precede their premises. Welcome to Alice in Wonderland!

That, of course, brings me to yet another symptom to be found in abundance among members of the Bush regime and his many supporters throughout the GOP: delusions! Delusions are typically associated with 'psychoses' --schizophrenia, global psychopathology. I am inclined to assign Bush and his supporters into one of two camps: those who are truly 'delusional' and those who exploit delusions for political gain, i.e, those who know better but tell the lies anyway knowing that they will be eagerly lapped up by those whose belief in them is irrational and symptomatic. The GOP thus feeds upon its own insanity.

Yet another category are those 'Republicans' who may know better but for emotional reasons chose to support Bush. It was Republicans of this sort who supported the disastrous economic policies of Ronald Reagan, 'trickle down' theory, in particular, because it made them 'feel good about themselves'. The tax cuts, they willfully believed, would not merely make them even richer but monies not paid in taxes would somehow 'trickle down' and assuage them of the guilt they might have felt about being petty, greedy, intellectually dishonest members of a self-absorbed and 'psychopathic' elite of 'Right Wing Authoritarians'.
The last string of studies I want to lay before you ... concerns authoritarians’ willingness to hold officials accountable for their misdeeds. Or rather, their lack of willingness--which catches your eye because high RWAs generally favor punishing the bejabbers out of misdoers. But they proved less likely than most people to punish a police officer who beat up a handcuffed demonstrator, or a chief of detectives who assaulted an accused child molester being held in jail, or--paralleling the trial of US Army Lt. William Calley--an Air Force officer convicted of murder after leading unauthorized raids on Vietnamese villages.


If some day George W. Bush is indicted for authorizing torture, you can bet your bottom dollar the high RWAs will howl to the heavens in protest. It won’t matter how extensive the torture was, how cruel and sickening it was, how many years it went on, how many prisoners died, how devious Bush was in trying to evade America’s laws and traditional stand against torture, or how many treaties the US
broke. Such an indictment would grind right up against the core of authoritarian followers, and they won’t have it. Maybe they’ll even say, 'The president was busy running the war. He didn’t really know. It was all done by Rumsfeld and others.”

--Altermeyer, op cit
Applying standards inequitably must surely stem from the observed inability of 'conservatives' to think logically. 'Conservatives' work backward from conclusions, in a biased search for supporting premises. Dick Cheney is a text-book example! He recently quashed facts not liked by the conservative 'authoritarian' in power; he moved to quash a report that supports the critics of the Bush administration with regard to the greenhouse effect.
"This is the story of a White House and vice president's office that work together to squelch information, to squash it, to stop it from getting to the public so that there would be no information out there, so that there wouldn't be a push for them to act," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who appeared with Burnett at a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Boxer accused White House Press Secretary Dana Perino of lying about the redaction of Gerberding's testimony and engaging in a cover-up.

--Cheney Wanted Cuts in Climate Change Testimony, Boxer Claims Cover-Up, ABC News
It is in this mindset that we find the origins of the GOP attack on the Bill of Rights.

Altermeyer believes that conservatives have a problem with 'evidence' in general. This is an issue that seems especially relevant to the debate about 'torture', a debate in which the 'conservative' defense of Bush is flatly indefensible.
Authoritarian followers aren’t going to question, they’re going to parrot. After all, in the ethnocentric mind 'We are the Good Guys and our opponents are abominations”--which is precisely the thinking of the Islamic authoritarian followers who become suicide bombers in Iraq. And if we turn out not to be such good guys, as news of massacres and the torture and murder of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers, by the CIA, and by the arms-length 'companies” set up to torture prisoners becomes known, authoritarian followers simply don’t want to know. It was just a few, lower level 'bad apples.” Didn’t the president say he was sickened by the revelations of torture, and all American wrong-doers would be punished?


Sitting in the jury room of the Port Angeles, Washington court house in 1989, Mary Wegmann might have felt she had suddenly been transferred to a parallel 76 universe in some Twilight Zone story. For certain fellow-jury members seemed to have attended a different trial than the one she had just witnessed. They could not remember some pieces of evidence, they invented evidence that did not exist, and they steadily made erroneous inferences from the material that everyone could agree on. Encountering my research as she was later developing her Ph.D. dissertation project, she suspected the people who 'got it wrong” had been mainly high RWAs. So she recruited a sample of adults from the Clallam County jury list, and a group of students from Peninsula College and gave them various memory and inference tests. For example, they listened to a tape of two lawyers debating a school segregation case on a McNeil/Lehrer News Hour program. Wegmann found High RWAs indeed had more trouble remembering details of the material they’d encountered, and they made more incorrect inferences on a reasoning test than others usually did. Overall, the authoritarians had lots of trouble simply thinking straight.

Intrigued, I gave the inferences test that Mary Wegmann had used to two large samples of students at my university. In both studies high RWAs went down in flames more than others did. They particularly had trouble figuring out that an inference or deduction was wrong. To illustrate, suppose they had gotten the following syllogism:
All fish live in the sea.
Sharks live in the sea..
Therefore, sharks are fish.
The conclusion does not follow, but high RWAs would be more likely to say the reasoning is correct than most people would. If you ask them why it seems right, they would likely tell you, 'Because sharks are fish.” In other words, they thought the reasoning was sound because they agreed with the last statement. If the conclusion is right, they figure, then the reasoning must have been right. Or to put it another way, they don’t 'get it” that the reasoning matters--especially on a reasoning test.

Authoritarians do not 'infer' well; in other words, as a class, they lack critical thinking skills, logic! They are often fail to execute simple syllogisms.
A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality".

Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.

"This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes," the authors argue in the Psychological Bulletin.

One of the psychologists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aversion to shades of grey and the need for "closure" could explain the fact that the Bush administration ignored intelligence that contradicted its beliefs about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The authors, presumably aware of the outrage they were likely to trigger, added a disclaimer that their study "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false".

Another author, Arie Kruglanski, of the University of Maryland, said he had received hate mail since the article was published, but he insisted that the study "is not critical of conservatives at all". "The variables we talk about are general human dimensions," he said. "These are the same dimensions that contribute to loyalty and commitment to the group. Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity, but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

--Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve
We should teach people while they are still in school real critical thinking skills! Now --that would shake up the political landscape and blast holes in the 'conventional wisdom'. It would also put more than a few loudmouths, pundits, and poll-impaired consultants out of a job! Somehow --the message must be made clear even to conservatives, in language that even they must understand: torture is not OK! EVER! It is immoral and it is a war crime! Bush is culpable and should be prosecuted.

A new poll of citizens’ attitudes about torture in 19 nations finds Americans among the most accepting of the practice. Although a slight majority say torture should be universally prohibited, 44 percent think torture of terrorist suspects should be allowed, and more than one in 10 think torture should generally be allowed.

The findings of the poll put the United States alongside countries like Russia, Egypt and the Ukraine and lagging far behind allies like Great Britain, Spain and France in how its citizens view torture.

The poll found 53 percent of Americans believed all torture should be prohibited; the average in all 19 countries polled was 57 percent. Poll: 44% of Americans favor torture for terrorist suspects

--Nick Juliano, Tuesday, 24 June 2008, Majority disapprove of torture, 1 in 10 favor in any instance

Ronald Reagan must be forever remembered as a feeble minded 'psychopath' who made an entire 'party' of psychopaths feel good about themselves thus relieving them of something that both the GOP rank and file and 'psychopaths' in general find oppressing: responsibility. The GOP raison d'etre is that of escaping responsibility, though it is only through the acceptance of responsibility for one's own actions that one is free. In this context, it is easy to understand the GOPs fascination with authoritarian and fascist-leaning regimes. When a dictator is in charge, the individual is relieved of all responsibility for his life and others. But neither is he free!
PRINCETON, NJ -- There is a significant political divide in beliefs about the origin of human beings, with 60% of Republicans saying humans were created in their present form by God 10,000 years ago, a belief shared by only 40% of independents and 38% of Democrats.

Gallup has been asking this three-part question about the origin of humans since 1982. Perhaps surprisingly to some, the results for the broad sample of adult Americans show very little change over the years.

Between 43% and 47% of Americans have agreed during this 26-year time period with the creationist view that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so. Between 35% and 40% have agreed with the alternative explanation that humans evolved, but with God guiding the process, while 9% to 14% have chosen a pure secularist evolution perspective that humans evolved with no guidance by God.

The significantly higher percentage of Republicans who select the creationist view reflects in part the strong relationship between religion and views on the origin of humans. Republicans are significantly more likely to attend church weekly than are others, and Americans who attend church weekly are highly likely to select the creationist alternative for the origin of humans.


Although it is not a front-burner issue (particularly in light of the economy and the price of gasoline) the issue of teaching evolution in schools came up on the campaign trail last year, and could resurface in one way or the other between now and the November election.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is facing the challenge of gaining the confidence and enthusiasm of conservative Republicans. Turnout among this group could be an important factor in determining the final vote outcome in a number of key swing states. As seen here, Republicans are in general sympathetic to the creationist explanation of the origin of humans, and if the issue of what is taught in schools relating to evolution and creationism surfaces as a campaign issue, McCain's response could turn out to be quite important.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 8-11, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
I prefer facts to frames, verifiable data to punditry, reality to myth making and slick, focus group approved propaganda. Jacob Bronowski summed it all up very well in a single sentence: behave in such a way that what is true may be verified to be so!

Mel Brooks - The Hitler Rap

Additional resources

Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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Friday, February 20, 2009

Harvard and Northwestern Economists: GOP tax cuts and resulting emergence of the elite class caused the financial crisis

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The financial crisis results directly from inequitable GOP tax cuts which have benefited only the GOPs elite base. The effect is that of a US economy 'contracting' with each tax cut. The scheme was conceived and promoted by American fascists --the big banks, the GOP, the MIC and the CIA. The result: the US economy is among the most inequitable economies in the world. Growing disparities between rich and poor were at one time associated only with a developing Third World or Latin American 'Banana Republics'. Now --it is clear that they are behind America's imminent fall. [See: Screw the Big Banks! Bailout the Small Depositors!]

The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.
The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.

During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.
How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation’s elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General "Wild Bill" Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation’s rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that "OSS" stood for "Oh, so social!"
Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society’s elite.
By the 1950s, the CIA had riddled the nation’s businesses, media and universities with tens of thousands of part-time, on-call operatives. Their employment with the agency took a variety of forms, which included:
  • Leaving one's profession to work for the CIA in a formal, official capacity.
  • Staying in one's profession, using the job as cover for CIA activity. This undercover activity could be full-time, part-time, or on-call.
  • Staying in one's profession, occasionally passing along information useful to the CIA.
  • Passing through the revolving door that has always existed between the agency and the business world.
Historically, the CIA and society’s elite have been one and the same people. This means that their interests and goals are one and the same as well. Perhaps the most frequent description of the intelligence community is the "old boy network," where members socialize, talk shop, conduct business and tap each other for favors well outside the formal halls of government.
--Steve Kangas, The Origins of the Overclass
Since Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut of 1982, "conservatives" have been fond of talking about a 'great Reagan Recovery' which they cite as proof of "Reaganomics", 'trickle-down theory', otherwise called supply-side economics. It is not just bullshit! I believe that it is deliberate bullshit, a bald-faced lie cooked up inside a right wing 'think tank'! With 'Reaganomics', the government itself became nothing more than a shakedown scheme, a competitor with the mob.

It must be pointed out that following the tax cut, the nation plunged into recession, the worst since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression of 1929. Nevertheless, conservatives will persist in citing a three percent growth rate following two years of severe recession as proof that "wealth trickles down". This assertion fails to address key questions.

Who benefited from the recovery?

How long did it take for the nation to regain lost ground?

Did Reagan's tax cuts bring about more growth than would have normally occurred?
The record shows that the growth rate was 3% between 1979 and 1989 --the same as the growth rate between 1973 and 1979! There was, then, no improvement with "voodoo economics" than without it. There was no "Reagan recovery"! Wealth did not trickle down! Wealth moved, flowing upward at alarming but predictable, exponential rates.

Reagan did not perform nearly so well as Jimmy Carter, who is, in fact, among the nation's best 'performing' Presidents in terms of the growth of GDP and jobs. Everything said by the right wing about Carter is a bald face lie! Carter ranks number two on the list of best Presidents since World War II. From that same list, the top five are Democrats. The bottom three are goppers.
However hard you may look, you will not find in the official stats any confirmation of GOP/Reaganomics whatsoever. Go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, the BEA! You will find, rather, confirmation of a more pernicious trend: the rich began to get even richer.

With the ascension of Ronald Reagan, the poor began to lose ground at alarming rates. It seems almost to have been deliberate. The late Steve Kangas believed it was deliberate just as I believe that the war against Iraq continues to be a payoff to robber barons that make up the Military/Industrial complex.

In my last article [Screw the Big Banks! Bailout the Small Depositors!], I charged that obscene income and wealth disparities, having the effect of effectively removing trillions of dollars from the US economy are to blame for the current 'financial crisis'. Lately, I have discovered additional support for my position in the work Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University and NBER Ian Dew-Becker, Harvard University.
... we identify a second of market-driven incomes which do not share super-star elements of audience magnification, namely lawyers and investment bankers including hedge fund managers. Third are the CEOs which differ because their incomes are not driven by the market but by decisions of their peers, with the presumption of self-serving reciprocity. We devote particular attention to conflicting papers endorsing alternatively a market-driven and management-power-driven explanation of the explosion of CEO relative pay. Why are American incomes at the very top increased so much relative to incomes below the 90th percentile and also relative to top incomes in Europe and Japan? In this paper we distinguish three types of top-level incomes. The first group consists of super-stars, driven by the market demand for sports and entertainment stars where media have magnified the reach of the very top individuals, and where the effort of the worker is the same whether the audience is a single person or ten million people. Second, we identify a second of market-driven incomes which do not share super-star elements of audience magnification, namely lawyers and investment bankers including hedge fund managers. Third are the CEOs which differ because their incomes are not driven by the market but by decisions of their peers, with the presumption of self-serving reciprocity. We devote particular attention to conflicting papers endorsing alternatively a market-driven and management-power-driven explanation of the explosion of CEO relative pay.

--Unresolved Issues in the Rise of American Inequality [PDF], Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University and NBER Ian Dew-Becker, Harvard University
How is it possible that an entire nation is so easily brainwashed? The question answers itself and the operative word is 'brainwashed'.

Journalism is a perfect cover for CIA agents. People talk freely to journalists, and few think suspiciously of a journalist aggressively searching for information. Journalists also have power, influence and clout. Not surprisingly, the CIA began a mission in the late 1940s to recruit American journalists on a wide scale, a mission it dubbed Operation MOCKINGBIRD. The agency wanted these journalists not only to relay any sensitive information they discovered, but also to write anti-communist, pro-capitalist propaganda when needed.
The instigators of MOCKINGBIRD were Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham was the husband of Katherine Graham, today’s publisher of the Washington Post. In fact, it was the Post’s ties to the CIA that allowed it to grow so quickly after the war, both in readership and influence. (8)
MOCKINGBIRD was extraordinarily successful. In no time, the agency had recruited at least 25 media organizations to disseminate CIA propaganda. At least 400 journalists would eventually join the CIA payroll, according to the CIA’s testimony before a stunned Church Committee in 1975. (The committee felt the true number was considerably higher.) The names of those recruited reads like a Who's Who of journalism:

  • Philip and Katharine Graham (Publishers, Washington Post)
  • William Paley (President, CBS)
  • Henry Luce (Publisher, Time and Life magazine)
  • Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, N.Y. Times)
  • Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star)
  • Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami News)
  • Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal)
  • James Copley (Copley News Services)
  • Joseph Harrison (Editor, Christian Science Monitor)
  • C.D. Jackson (Fortune)
  • Walter Pincus (Reporter, Washington Post)
  • ABC
  • NBC
  • Associated Press
  • United Press International
  • Reuters
  • Hearst Newspapers
  • Scripps-Howard
  • Newsweek magazine
  • Mutual Broadcasting System
  • Miami Herald
  • Old Saturday Evening Post
  • New York Herald-Tribune
Perhaps no newspaper is more important to the CIA than the Washington Post, one of the nation’s most right-wing dailies. Its location in the nation’s capitol enables the paper to maintain valuable personal contacts with leading intelligence, political and business figures. Unlike other newspapers, the Post operates its own bureaus around the world, rather than relying on AP wire services. Owner Philip Graham was a military intelligence officer in World War II, and later became close friends with CIA figures like Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Desmond FitzGerald and Richard Helms. He inherited the Post by marrying Katherine Graham, whose father owned it.
--Steve Kangas, The Origins of the Overclass
This so-called 'bailout' is a daylight theft which has already netted the GOP elite some 1.5 trillion dollars in bailout monies. So --where's the money now? Where's the recovery? Where are the culprits hiding out? Why has there been no investigation of this monumental fraud, a fraud that makes Enron look like a Sunday School picnic --or at the very least a dress rehearsal?

Only the big banks have benefited. None of the money has trickled-down; the economy continues to 'contract' at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent. This time, the plan may backfire. Fat cats are scrambling to escape a black hole of their own creation. True to their evil natures, however, the GOP elite are not above putting the screws to you as they themselves get sucked past the event horizon.

Already the goppers have renewed their assault on the Social Security trust fund, the government's only success story. The smart money 'bailed out' long ago. What's left is a mad melee in search of a federal bail out. The profits have been taken. The best that can be hoped for now is 1) the end of the GOP; 2) that only the crooked architects of this disaster are victimized by it. Alas--that's too much to ask. Cynically, the world just doesn't seem to work like that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Screw the Big Banks! Bailout the Small Depositors!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

It was last fall, as Americans dared hope that a new administration would take office just in time to save America, Bush announced a first big 'bailout' which would, we were told, prevent a financial collapse, a great depression, a panic! Not least among many reasons the bailout failed is the fact that the wrong people got the money. 

Although Richard Nixon had famously claimed "We are all Keynesians now", nothing could be further from the truth now.Thanks to the misplaced reverence for Augustus Reagan, we are all still Friedman monetarists --not Keynesians. That is why the bailout failed and it is the reason future bailouts will fail unless something is done to address the root cause of collapse: the wrong people got the money! 

It was only last fall that the FED and officials of the Treasury Department 'rode to the rescue' of all the wrong people, specifically, the very financial institutions that created this mess to begin with. In the wake of all this failure, incompetence and criminality, there was great hand wringing, wailing, gnashing of teeth because the 'n' word had been uttered. Nationalize the banks! At this point, it won't make any difference.As 'the Who' famously said, 'the new boss, same as the old boss'. What is needed is not a new boss following the same, tired, failed policies. What is needed is some intelligent thinking about what drives economies! Here are some clues: banks do not drive economies. Rich elites do not drive economies. Governments do not drive economies. Big corporations do not drive economies though many board chairs are deluded and believe themselves to be 'captains of industry'. Bullshit!
More than 83 corporations have offshore subsidiaries where their funds are protected in tax havens in the Caymen islands such as: The Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and even Pepsi and General Motors who received 13.4 billion have hundreds of millions of dollars in tax havens offshore. All these corporations receive protection from paying the US government their taxes and the loss to the US is into the 100 billion dollars of lost tax revenue.< Senator Carl Levin a democrat from Michigan and Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota requested the report to be released and are pushing for new laws prohibiting these bailout scam corporations from being tax dodgers while asking for bailouts from the taxpayer
The Government Accounting Office includes 63 of the 100 largest contractors who receive government contracts also have accounts in tax haven countries.
--Bailout Corporation Tax Havens in Caymen Islands
The bailouts failed because the wrong people got the money. The government would have done better had it just put billions of dollars in mason jars, buried them in a land fill and let the unemployed dig them up! That is as true now as when Keynes first proposed it back in the thirties. You can bet those folks would have spent the money and, by doing so, revived the collapsing, moribund GOP economy that Bush left us.  

Instead, Bush gave the money to fat cats who parked it in offshore tax havens --a fact that may be solely responsible for the worst contraction of the US economy in a quarter century, an annualised 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008! That's the worst result since 1982, the year of Ronald Reagan's big tax cut. It was also the year of the 'Reagan Recession', the worst since Herbert Hoover's GOP 'Great Depression'!
Of the 100 largest public companies, 83 do business in tax-haven hotspots like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands, where they can move their income into tax-free accounts. .In the list of 100 companies that GAO studied were 63 with major federal contracts, including Caterpillar, BearingPoint, Boeing, Merck & Co. and Kraft Foods. ...Legislators gave particular attention to the 14 companies on the list that received bailout money from the Treasury in the recent financial meltdown. 
--GAO Report: Off-Shore Tax Havens for Bailed-Out Companies and Government Contractors?
In the meantime, more banks are going bust. Let them fail! Fuck the banks.
With two of the nation’s largest banks buckling under yet another round of huge losses, the incoming administration of Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve are suddenly dealing with banks that are “too big to fail” and yet unable to function as the sinking economy erodes their capital.

Particularly in the case of Citigroup, the losses have become so large that they make it almost mathematically impossible for the government to inject enough capital without taking a majority stake or at least squeezing out existing shareholders.
And the new ground rules laid down by Mr. Obama’s top economic advisers for the second half of the $700 billion bailout fund, as explained in a letter submitted to
  • Congress on Thursday, call for the government to play an increasing role in the major activities of the banks, from the dividends they pay to shareholders to the amount they can pay executives.

--New York Times, Rescue of Banks Hints at Nationalization
We should have been bailing out the depositors. By 'depositors', I am not talking about big corporations, who, like the banks, have taken monies out of the US economy. For example --General Motors which pocketed $13.4 billion and then promptly squirreled it away in 11 offshore subsidiaries. GM's 'financing arm, GMAC received $5 billion in bailout and quickly exported to two offshore units. 

GMACs majority owner is the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. Boycott them!If Obama were a part of the 'revolution', he would have already nationalized the crooks, seized their assets and put the monies back into the hands of original depositors whose expenditures would most certainly revive the ruined economy that the GOP thinks it has washed its guilty hands of. The trend in which an increasing tiny elite of about one percent of the total population would end up owning more than the rest of us combined is, at last, having the effect I warned about.

The Reagan years can be summed up briefly. He doubled the size of the Federal Bureaucracy and tripled the national deficit. The most pernicious effect of GOP economic policy is the effect of declining opportunity, a corollary of decline in wealth among all but the very rich.It is merely rhetorical to ask: why does the GOP seem to repeat ad nauseam utterly failed strategies that have never been shown to work? Reagan's Budget Director, David Stockman called Reaganomics a 'Trojan Horse'. He understood that tax cuts were not intended to trickle down. 

That's just how they are sold. Rather --the tax cuts always do precisely what the GOP insiders know they will do: they enrich the GOP base! They are 'laundered' pay offs. Thanks to enlightened tax policies during the administration of FDR, the US was at its most egalitarian throughout WWII and the post war era. Things did not change dramatically until the rise of 'Reagonomics', a polite word given the transfer of wealth upward to those already rich and will only invest it offshore where it cannot possibly help provide jobs at the local level. This is truly 'mainstreet' vs 'Wall Street'.

The rise of Ronald Reagan brought with it a spreading of wealth upward to the upper classes and Wall Street insiders, in fact, an increasingly tiny elite of just one percent of the nation which owns more than 90 percent of the nation's total wealth. That fact is graphically illustrated above. The result is factually documented by the government's own agencies --Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Commerce-BEA, et al. Income inequality is measured by what economists call the GINI index. The higher the GINI, the greater the inequality. These numbers, recognized and cited by economists from Friedman to Krugman, from Keynes to Galbraith, invariably increase during GOP regimes.Now --as the late Steve Kangas pointed out, 'conservatives' will claim that correlation is not 'causation'. I think conservatives are wrong on that point, but if, in fact, GINIS always go up under GOP regimes, what difference does it make?The pragmatic solution is simply this: fire the GOP! Permanently! 

We cannot afford to continue to support both the GOP and its elite, pampered, privileged sponsors in business, industry and government. See more about 'income inequalities' at: What do liberals believe about income inequality? Also: Myth: The rich get rich because of merit.

The 'contraction' of an economy is typically called a 'depression'. The US economy is contracting due to 1) the transfer of wealth to but about one percent of the population; 2) this 'elite' has transferred most of its wealth offshore where it has absolutely no good effect on the domestic US economy. The current collapse of the US is the end result of a trend that was begun with the passage of Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut for his rich, elite base. The year was 1982. Historians willl write of that date that it was the beginning of the end of the American empire.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A New Fat Cat-Government Conspiracy to Loot Social Security

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Under the cover of 'Economic Crisis', the Axis of Wall Street, K-street, and the GOP schemes to loot the Social Security Trust fund. This axis of evil wants to use the Social Security trust fund to 'bailout' the crooked banks who created the financial crisis to begin with. When times were good under Clinton, we were told that Social Security had to be scrapped. The trust fund was running out of money, we were told. Now, when times are bad, they are telling us that Social Security needs to be scrapped because it is a success.

The 'trust fund' that we had been told was going broke is coveted because it was NOT going broke. It is now seen as a means by which greedy, incompetent and failing banks can be bailed out! Would the greedy bastards go after a bankrupt program? I don't think so! To the greedy, incompetent bankers who have already squirreled away billions of bailout bucks offshore, I say: you give me the money you secretly transferred out of the country and let me do something constructive with it!

If I were Barack Obama, I would investigate and charge thousands of Wall Street Insiders with insider trading, fraud, theft, and Enron-style accounting. It may be fitting to hold these trials in the Superdome. New Orleans could be rebuilt with admission prices, season tickets, and ancillary rights.

Proponents of this outright theft of YOUR money, argue that this is the way the government should 'recover' billions that have been wasted so far 'bailing out' the very banks who created the crisis to begin with. These venal fat cats have targeted your Social Security Trust fund, Medicare, and Medicaid. They have targeted it for theft! Those wanting to loot Social Security now had supported Bush's plans to 'save Social Security' by destroying it.

Bush had wanted to replace government-guaranteed retirement benefits with private accounts that would have been subject to the whims of Wall Street. What if Bush's attack on Social Security had succeeded? Social Security would most certainly have been kaput by now --a victim of Bush's incompetent handling of the American economy.

In the meantime, Bush's 'bailouts' have done no good whatsoever. Why? Like GOP taxation and fiscal policies, the Bush 'bailouts' were 'trickle down' bailouts that benefited all the wrong people. None of the 'Bush bailout' money found its way into the economy in ways that would stimulate growth, create jobs or encourage consumer spending. Rather, billions wound up in offshore in tax havens maintained by the increasingly tiny elite what has gotten exponentially richer --at your expense. This trend began with Ronald Reagan's tax cut of 1982. Now --the same crooks, liars and idiots who alone benefited from Ronald Reagan's incompetent economic policies have targeted your money for outright theft.
These players are promoting a tricky way to whack Social Security benefits, but to do it behind closed doors so the public cannot see what's happening or figure out which politicians to blame. The essential transaction would amount to misappropriating the trillions in Social Security taxes that workers have paid to finance their retirement benefits. This swindle is portrayed as "fiscal reform." In fact, it's the political equivalent of bait-and-switch fraud.

Defending Social Security sounds like yesterday's issue--the fight people won when they defeated George W. Bush's attempt to privatize the system in 2005. But the financial establishment has pushed it back on the table, claiming that the current crisis requires "responsible" leaders to take action. Will Obama take the bait? Surely not. The new president has been clear and consistent about Social Security, as a candidate and since his election. The program's financing is basically sound, he has explained, and can be assured far into the future by making only modest adjustments.

But Obama is also playing footsie with the conservative advocates of "entitlement reform" (their euphemism for cutting benefits). The president wants the corporate establishment's support on many other important matters, and he recently promised to hold a "fiscal responsibility summit" to examine the long-term costs of entitlements. That forum could set the trap for a "bipartisan compromise" that may become difficult for Obama to resist, given the burgeoning deficit. If he resists, he will be denounced as an old-fashioned free-spending liberal. The advocates are urging both parties to hold hands and take the leap together, authorizing big benefits cuts in a circuitous way that allows them to dodge the public's blame. In my new book, Come Home, America, I make the point: "When official America talks of 'bipartisan compromise,' it usually means the people are about to get screwed."

--The Nation, Looting Social Security
Fat cats are exploiting this crisis in order to loot Social Security. They resent the fact that Social Security is the government's greatest success story. They covet $billions$ in the Social Security trust fund. They wish to steal your money and re-distribute it among nation's richest one percent who are sure to squirrel your money away offshore in a bank beyond the scrutiny of the government.This is fascism, socialism for the rich elites.

Thanks to Ronald Reagan and the father-son crime syndicate of Bush Sr and Jr, only a rich, evil elite of just one percent of the nation owns more than some 90 percent or more of the rest of us combined. Will the looting of your money for the purposes of welfare for the rich stimulate the economy? NO! As was the case with Bush's bailouts, it will find its way into tax havens offshore, in fact reducing the amount of money in the US. It will hasten the depression by further contracting the amount of money available for spending.

Many pundits and editorial boards still give Mr. Bush credit for trying to "reform" Social Security. In fact, Mr. Bush came to bury Social Security, not to save it. Over time, the Bush plan would have transformed Social Security from a social insurance program into a mutual fund, with nothing except a name in common with the system FDR created.

In addition to misrepresenting his goals, Mr. Bush repeatedly lied about the current system. Oh, I'm sorry - was that a rude thing to say? Still, the fact is that Mr. Bush repeatedly said things that were demonstrably false and that his staff must have known were false. The falsehoods ranged from his claim that Social Security is unfair to African-Americans to his claim that "waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing Social Security."


But the campaign for privatization provided an object lesson in how the administration sells its policies: by misrepresenting its goals, lying about the facts and abusing its control of government agencies. These were the same tactics used to sell both tax cuts and the Iraq war.

And there are two reasons to study that lesson. One is to be prepared for whatever comes next on Mr. Bush's agenda. Despite the tough talk about Iran, I don't think he can propose another war - there aren't enough troops to fight the wars we already have. But there's still room for another big domestic initiative, probably tax reform.

--Paul Krugman, Social Security Lessons
The best thing the government could do with the Social Security trust fund is to leave it the fuck alone. Social Security is probably the Federal Government's ONLY success story, hence the envy with which those monies are viewed by venal, greedy, lying fat cats, Republicans and their paid conspirators on K-street and the Heritage Foundation.
The first thing to know is that Social Security is a bad deal for workers today, offering a much lower return than other investments.

Social Security payments are, in theory, made out of that fund. A depression is often called a 'contraction' because the supply of money literally contracts. As a result sales plummet, jobs decline, industries and businesses go belly up. These venal fat cats are just trying to line their pockets before making their final getaway.

And looking to the future, things only get worse. Younger workers are right to question whether Social Security will be able to provide them with promised benefits when they retire. The huge tax hikes required would exact a great cost on our economy, on employment opportunities, and on future generations.

For over 70 years, Social Security has helped to keep millions of elderly Americans from poverty. But the program rests today on unsound footing.

--Heritage Foundation Lies About Social Security
Given the current economic collapse, aren't you glad the Heritage Foundation gang of fat cats failed to get their greedy mitts on your money?
What it really is a government program with a dedicated tax. We take the payroll tax and it’s used to pay benefits to retirees. And 20-plus years ago, the commission led by Alan Greenspan said, you know, we are going to have this problem as the baby boomers reach retirement age. We will have a higher ratio of retirees to workers, and we better get ready for it. Social Security, the payroll tax was increased. There were some other things, a small rise in the retirement age set in motion. So that Social Security would run a surplus, which would be used to accumulate a trust fund, and this would tithe us over, some ways into the aging of the population. And that on its own accounting is working just fine.

I mean, one of the things that we need to know is that the estimates of the day at which the trust fund runs out, just keep on receding further into the future, because the program is doing so well at running surpluses. So, ten years ago, people said it was going to run out in 2029. Now the official estimate is 2042. Realistically, it’s probably going to go well into the second half of the century. Now how does this become a crisis? Well it becomes a crisis by changing the rules. By saying, oh, well, actually, that surplus that we’re running because of the tax increase that was designed to prolong the life of Social Security, that’s not real. Because it’s invested in government bonds which are a perfectly good asset, for anybody else, but not for the Social Security administration. And so, there was a real crisis that people saw in the 1980’s. They dealt with it. The solution worked very well, but because this administration, because the Republican party doesn’t want Social Security to remain, because they have always wanted to get rid of it since Franklin Roosevelt, they have decided to redefine the rules so as to call it a crisis when realistically, we have a huge budget problem, but that has nothing to do with Social Security.

--Paul Krugman on Social Security, the Decline of the Dollar and Healthcare
Why don't we loot the Heritage Foundation's bank account and distribute all that monies among working folk who lost their jobs and careers during the Reagan years?

Why don't we LOOT the billions that have been quickly squirreled away offshore and re-distribute that money among the millions whose lives have been ruined by the export of US industry that was begun under Ronald Reagan?

Why don't we TAKE BACK this government? Why don't we tell Obama to get on board or get the fuck out of the way? Why don't we seize the bank accounts of the GOP leadership that is conspiring to loot your monies even as we write and post?

We don't we wage a real revolution and take this nation back?

As millions of ordinary working people are anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years, an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.
"We have magneto trouble," said John Maynard Keynes at the start of the Great Depression: most of the economic engine was in good shape, but a crucial component, the financial system, wasn't working. He also said this: "We have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand." Both statements are as true now as they were then.

How did this second great colossal muddle arise? In the aftermath of the Great Depression, we redesigned the machine so that we did understand it, well enough at any rate to avoid big disasters. Banks, the piece of the system that malfunctioned so badly in the 1930s, were placed under tight regulation and supported by a strong safety net. Meanwhile, international movements of capital, which played a disruptive role in the 1930s, were also limited. The financial system became a little boring but much safer.

Then things got interesting and dangerous again. Growing international capital flows set the stage for devastating currency crises in the 1990s and for a globalized financial crisis in 2008. The growth of the shadow banking system, without any corresponding extension of regulation, set the stage for latter-day bank runs on a massive scale. These runs involved frantic mouse clicks rather than frantic mobs outside locked bank doors, but they were no less devastating.

What we're going to have to do, clearly, is relearn the lessons our grandfathers were taught by the Great Depression. I won't try to lay out the details of a new regulatory regime, but the basic principle should be clear: anything that has to be rescued during a financial crisis, because it plays an essential role in the financial mechanism, should be regulated when there isn't a crisis so that it doesn't take excessive risks. Since the 1930s commercial banks have been required to have adequate capital, hold reserves of liquid assets that can be quickly converted into cash, and limit the types of investments they make, all in return for federal guarantees when things go wrong. Now that we've seen a wide range of non-bank institutions create what amounts to a banking crisis, comparable regulation has to be extended to a much larger part of the system.

--Paul Krugman, What to Do
Staring into an abyss, we stand on the brink of a new 'Great Depression'. Those who must bear with greed and incompetence, responsibility brining us to this point, now scheme to subvert our only economic success story. As the late Steve Kangas reminded us, retirement before 1935 condemned huge numbers of seniors to starvation in the streets. It was Social security alone that addressed this problem and eliminated it.

Social Security not only provided the American elderly with a pension, some of that spendable income found its way back into the economy and created jobs. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson expanded Social Security and, by doing so, reduced senior poverty from 30 percent to 12 percent. Now --for all the wrong and wrong-headed reasons, an increasingly uninformed and unintelligent right wing covets the monies that have a proven record of success in difficult times. There are two words for these people: crooks and fools!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time To Stick a Fork in Reagan's Ass

by Ed Encho

The Bastard's Dead!

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.

--Imperial Grand Prophet Ronald Reagan (mystically foreseeing TARP)
With the passage of the massive economic stimulus plan set to be signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday in Denver the dying squeals of Republican piggies grown fat on the failed policies of Ronald Wilson Reagan are becoming more shrill, psychotic and deafening. The stimulus plan, even as diluted as it is by the inclusion of all of those great tax cuts that have resulted only in proving that trickle down economics is nothing more than Gulliver pissing on the heads of the Lilliputians (translation: the working class) and doing so with sadistic mirth. What the stimulus package represents more than anything even including the ridiculous fucking tax cuts is that the end of an era is nigh and that the machinery of government is being slowly redirected to a previous form where it was not weaponized by overly wealthy pigs, Wall Street looter capitalists and avaricious corporations who only stand for, to borrow form the words of the late Hunter S. Thompson:
... the systematic destruction of everything this country claims to stand for except the rights of the rich to put saddles on the backs of the poor and use public funds to build jails for anybody who complained about it.”
It is the entire American fascist system that has been so painstakingly and expensively constructed over the last half-century this is now at stake, the bullshit war on the American middle class that was cloaked in anti-communism, sanctified by Senator McCarthy’s witch hunts, cemented into place by the resentment politics of Richard M. Nixon and writ into religion by the cult or Reagan is in serious jeopardy. The withering attacks of the minority Republicans along with their ugly public tantrums promoted by a plethora of pocket media kingmakers and a propaganda machine still owned by the ruling classes are nothing more than a siege on the Alamo battle to preserve the false legacy of their false prophet Saint Ronnie of Pleasantville, USA.

I: The Cult of Reagan Idolatry

He was always a fraud! There wasn’t a legitimate bone in the man’s body, he was a failed movie star who hit the political jackpot when he slithered into the Republican party and onto the ultimate stage of national politics. From the beginning Ronald Reagan was a phony, a bad B movie actor who found his place as a pitchman for the conservative movement. Reagan was a rat bastard and a fink who sold out his Hollywood peers to the anti Communist rage of the McCarthy witch hunts of the fifties and used his tenure as leader of the Screen Actors Guild as a springboard to launch his political career.

His presidency was the result of an America struggling against itself to come to terms with societal contradictions brought on as a result of the civil rights movement, the counterculture of the sixties, Vietnam and Watergate and none other than William F. Buckley himself put it best when he used the following description in a column regarding Saint Ronnie: .. “a bumpkin with oratorical gifts pandering to American self-esteem”. Reagan was a man who put forth a strong daddy image and was able to reduce complex issues to their simplest terms, the better for a populace slowly undergoing the chronic dumbing down perpetuated by the cable and satellite television explosion of the 1980s.

Nearly every one of the serious problems that America faces today and that newly crowned President Barack Obama faces had its roots during the Reagan era. The rich got richer and the rest, well let them go eat some fucking government surplus cheese, especially the goddamned welfare queens. The Reagan administration was a breeding ground for the delusional, non-reality based crony capitalists and Ayn Rand worshipping ‘free-market’ fanatics whose worship at the altar of laissez-faire economics still has them out prospecting for fool’s gold in Galt’s Gulch. It was Reagan appointee Alan Greenspan who actually hung out with Rand along with a gaggle of ghouls and assorted other weirdos in a group known as The Collective during the period that the holy tome Atlas Shrugged was being written. The canonization of Rand and the greedy and callous selfishness called objectivism and the absorption of the absurd crock of horseshit came to become dogma in America where monopoly and the destruction of economies are the end result of this sort of sociopathic behavior. When boiling all of this misbegotten and ultimately ruinous junk science down to its very essence it is an unwritten rule that for every fucker there are tenfold of fuckees, that is what capitalism is when it becomes cancerous and co-opted by the rentier class and the sleazy operators who rapaciously wring every last penny of profitability out even if it means offshoring millions of jobs and creating a permanent underclass who are born into this world without any shot at the mythical American Dream.

Now as the entire big con game becomes more apparent, we can all thank Ronald Reagan and the slavish devotees to the grand myth for the era of sloth, stupidity and scumbags that produced a generation of toxic shit that has set America back a century and set the nation on a course towards insolvency. The ugly lie of Reaganism must be exposed, stripped naked and laid out on an autopsy table, a bit of skillful use of a scalpel utilized to peel back the rotten flesh and expose the diseased organs. In less graphic terms, the legend itself needs to be debunked. The signs of desperation in the Republican ranks are encouraging as well as the books that are beginning to be written, books like Will Bunch’s Tear Down This Myth, the first of what I hope will be an attempt to strip away the revisionist history of the past three decades or so and allow for a national rejuvenation along to a return to true American values of economic fairness, equality and compassion that have been buried under a mountain of manure.

In order to roll back the creeping tide of fascism that has become so much a part of all that is American in early 2009 it is of utmost importance that Reaganism be recognized as the product of right-wing crackpots who in a mere quarter century have gutted this country in the name of voodoo economics and promoted an authoritarian dogma that served as a springboard for the rule of the Bush-Cheney-Rove Axis of Evil and the corruption of every relevant institution that has been staffed by fascism enabling cronies, zealots, crooks, grifters, con-artists, jack booted thugs and flim flam men. Such is the system as it exists today and as we now slowly begin to sift through the wreckage it is the mutated capitalist strain virus of Reaganism that infected the body, destroyed the immune system once known as checks and balances and then metastasized further into the global financial system which is now in freefall and widespread unrest threatens to bring down entire governments.

As with alcoholics and drug addicts, the recognition of a problem is the first step to recovery and the canonization of doddering Dutch as some sort of iconic national father figure needs to be exposed as the heretical think tank folderol that it always has been since its initial rollout as a product in the aftermath of one of the darkest and most tumultuous eras in our history. The Reagan administration went for the throat right out of the gates, organized labor was attacked with vigor with the firing of striking air traffic controllers and destruction of their union, the Sherman antitrust act became irrelevant and the fairness doctrine was eliminated to allow for the right-wing to use their limitless resources to propagandize the media. The return of the wealthy elite and robber barons to power and prominence was facilitated by the ability to distract and deceive. Karl Marx was only partially right when he stated that religion was the opiate of the masses, it is but that was prior to the advent of television and when the two are combined the potency is jacked up to the highest possible level. The power brokers knew this and with his Hollywood background Ronald Wilson Reagan was the perfect front man for the myriad of their ideological schemes that would wage war on progressive society and deal a staggering blow to economic fairness and equality in the land of plenty.

The 1980’s and the coming of Reagan’s cutthroat neoliberalism gave rise to the mantra of Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” in a decade where corporate raiders became role models and unfettered Wall Street uber capitalism became the driving force of our social order. It was the great national regeneration decade and that fabulous and almighty leader was our champion, the iconic president who would make things right, who would deal harshly with those bastards in Iran unlike his milquetoast predecessor, who would restore the national glory and make us that shining city on the hill.

It was morning in America again.

A couple of ambitious young Republican gangsters Grover Norquist and Jack Abramoff who would contribute largely to the decimation of America long after the hallowed Ronnie had left the building. The story of these two scumbags who would along with a cast of thousands turn the entire government into a spoils system with a ruthless cadre of fixers to ensure compliance is told very well by author Thomas Frank (What’s the Matter With Kansas?) in his latest book called The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.

I excerpt the following from Frank’s lengthy piece in a recent issue of Harpers Magazine similarly entitled The wrecking crew: How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing
The story begins in 1980, the year of the “Reagan Revolution,” when there appeared on the national scene a phenomenon that bewildered political observers: legions of politicized, energetic college students who were conservatives rather than liberals or radicals, as had been typical in the two decades previous. And not only were their politics deeply square but the idol of this unlikely youth craze was the oldest president ever. Reagan’s entire Pennsylvania campaign, for example, was run by a lad of twenty. In 1984, the aged actor won 60 percent of the college-student vote. The historical turnabout was irresistible, and Reagan Youth became one of the great journalistic clichés of the period, powering hundreds of newspaper columns and at least one beloved TV sitcom.

These sons of Reagan had a strong sense of generational self-awareness, and they loudly told the world how they had come by it. In the midst of the interminable Iran hostage crisis, a crowd of them at one college campus were supposedly so moved by a showing of Patton that they demonstrated spontaneously in favor of a nuclear attack on that country, shaking the ivory tower with chants of “First strike now!” Another well-known story of the era was how a bunch of privileged kids at Dartmouth College, a traditional fortress of privilege, decided that embracing the traditional politics of privilege and mimicking the traditional manners of the privileged were actually acts of great daring, exposing them to persecution by tyrannical liberals. Then there was Jack Abramoff, a College Republican leader in the Boston area who gained, according to the John Birch Society’s Review of the News, a “reputation as one of the most innovative of the national Conservative youth leaders” after he mounted such a massive grassroots push for Reagan in 1980 that he almost single-handedly shifted Massachusetts into the Republican column.

Abramoff, a burly fellow from Beverly Hills, came to Washington in 1981 to assume the chairmanship of the College Republican National Committee. Back in the Vietnam days it had been leftists who fought the power, he explained to reporters. But “now we’re the campus radicals.” His newly energized College Republicans (CRs) fanned out across the nation, instructing clean-cut kids on how to use the tactics of the Sixties left for their own causes. A snapshot of Abramoff using a bullhorn to rally a conservative throng was proudly reproduced in the CRs’ Annual Report for 1983, just across the page from a photo of Ralph Reed, who was then Abramoff’s right-hand man, pumping his fist at the head of a swarm of angry, sign-waving conservatives. In both instances the young men had gone into action wearing neckties.

It was Abramoff’s friend Grover Norquist, then a recent graduate of Harvard Business School, who came up with a plan for changing the very nature of the College Republicans. Norquist made a study of the CRs, developing a scheme to transform them from “a resume-padding social club,” as one account puts it, into “an ideological, grassroots organization.” Abramoff made Nor-quist the College Republicans’ executive director, and the two put Norquist’s theory into action. They purged the “old guard.” They amended the group’s constitution, establishing a structure that made the Washington office more powerful, and rewarded proselytizing on campus.

What the rising conservative sensibility of those years treasured above all else was “confrontation” with the left. It called for a quasi-military victory over liberalism; it would have no truck with civility or fair play; and it made heroes out of outrage-courting lib-fighters like Reagan’s communications director Pat Buchanan, the organizer Howard Phillips, and the young Jack Abramoff.

The first and most noticeable characteristic of this new militancy was an air of swaggering truculence. There are, of course, bullies from every walk of life and every political persuasion, but on the right bullying holds a special, exalted position. It is no accident that two of the movement’s greatest heroes—Tom DeLay and Oliver North—had the same nickname: “the Hammer.”

Jack Abramoff filled this bill perfectly. He had reportedly been something of a bully in high school and had now grown into a “hard-charging” and “dynamic” leader, in the assessment of conservative magazines, an ass-kicking weight lifter who could quiet the commies with his fists if they got out of line. The gangster fetish of his later years is by now familiar to the whole world—his constant references to The Godfather, his black trench coat and fedora, his Meyer Lansky memorabilia, the murderer argot that will no doubt serve him and his friends well during their prison years.

Abramoff himself derided the moderates he had ousted from control of the CRs as “wishy-washy country-clubbers” and insisted that he had transformed the organization into an “ideological, well-trained, aggressive, conservative” outfit. “Fighting the Left with a goal of victory” became the official, stated purpose of his College Republican cadres, according to an essay Abramoff wrote for the group’s 1983 Annual Report. The CRs were “fighting America’s last stand,” he blustered; they would “defund the enemy wherever possible,” one of his lieutenants added. According to the journalist Nina Easton, CR officers had their underlings memorize the gory opening monologue from the movie Patton, only with the word “Demo crat” standing in for the word “Nazi.” Other young rightists of the period went a step further. J. Michael Waller, the editor of the Sequent, a student paper at George Washington University, actually took breaks from red-baiting professors in order to zip down to Central America and hang out with the Nicaraguan Contras and the death-squad faction in El Salvador.

War was the order of the day, from President Reagan’s fight with the air-traffic controllers right down to the college campus, where Abramoff became famous for his declaration: “It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently.” War plus revolution, actually. Abramoff liked to describe his CRs as “the sword and shield of the Reagan Revolution,” and in 1984 the young firebrand used his moment at the rostrum of the G.O.P. convention in Dallas to lecture the assembled small-business types on revolutionary theory.
That notorious chickenshits like Abramoff and Norquist sought to cloak their assault on America in militarist terms while not serving themselves is basically a requirement for entry into the fascist Republican party. Hell, what could be more Republican than using whatever means possible to weasel out of actual military service and then send others to die for your smug arrogance and the freedom to shit on all that is American. The list is long, too long of those sort of neocons, the adult versions of the nerd pack who used to huddle in the high school library conquering the world by Avalon Hill board games and the always popular Risk. Sure there are some who actually have served such as George W. Bush who flew a desk in a reserve unit until his coke habit got out of hand and the media creation that is John McCain whose recklessness as a Make Believe Maverick ironically resulted in his being shot down in Vietnam and winning a stay in the infamous Hanoi Hilton that he would use as the launch pad for his national political career – but the list of those who have actually had the guts to serve and serve honorably is short and bereft. Of course there is General David Petraeus but that ass kissing little chickenshit is a story for another time and ties into a much deeper and more disturbing fixation with the culture of the glorification of militarism here in the Homeland.

II: Adrift in the Land of the Angry White Male

It was always absurd, this idea of a savage campaign against “elites” being led by a poofy wordsmith like Rush Limbaugh, a Harvard fatty like Grover Norquist, a dickless academic like Newt Gingrich, and a diaper-dumping oligarch like George W. Bush. They were just another band of mischievous aristocrats who played at being the voice of the common man - these new wingers sold themselves as the champions of the fucked-over little guy, in this case the terminally frustrated boobus Americanus, who for decades had been made to sit idly by while ethnics stole his job, evil liberals mocked his religion and his simple way of life, and media “elitists” shut out his views and sent porn and married queers into his living room via the television set.

-Matt Taibbi

In their rise the brink of conquest the Republican party became masters at harnessing backlash politics or the politics of resentment as a basis for duping befuddled and angry Americans into voting against their own economic self-interests out of a need for revenge against minorities and the great liberal conspiarcy of the cultural elites. The dark master Richard Nixon was of course a criminal mastermind and practically wrote the book on the politics of divsion. Tricky Dick excelled in using red-baiting, race-baiting and whatever divisive tactic would allow him to rise to power. The best study of Nixonian tactics is in Rick Perlstein’s brilliant Nixonland where it is also noted that Ronald Reagan built his own political career on a similar strategy. It was during Reagan’s reign as Governor of California during the tumultuous period of societal unrest during the 1960s that Reagan became a right-wing hero. His denunciations of the hippies, "look like Tarzan, walk like Jane, and smell like Cheetah" and the hated University of Cal-Berkeley, "a hotbed of communism and homosexuality" made him into a rising star. When the now infamous Powell Memorandum laid the blueprint for the think tanks, the media takeover and the preservation of the status quo it was only a matter of time until the actor Reagan could be rolled out as the smooth talking frontman for the product of oligarchy and imperialism.

Of course the hippies would have to be demonized, turned into cartoon characters as would the effete snob liberals who would stand in the way of the new fascism and it's avuncular face, that of the great communicator, the strident anti-communist warrior king. The failure of the Vietnam war would be blamed on the liberals and the media and the seeds of white populist resentment would be sown as the farm crisis decimated the American heartland and a porcine loser named Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was plucked from obscurity and transformed into a modern day Father Coughlin. Evangelical Christian churches would be subverted by well financed, politically connected fanatics to wage the culture wars and to become the foot soldiers of the Reagan (and later Bush) Revolution. The hostility level had to be cranked up in order for the Republicans to succeed in remaking America in the image of the same jokers who once glorified the uber fascist Benito Mussolini by featuring him on the cover of Fortune Magazine while singing the praises of the efficiency of his business model. There was the ugly and some might say outright treasonous takedown of Bill Clinton over his sexual dalliances which provided rocket fuel for the extremist reactionary right's hate machine, and on the morning of September 11th 2001 that fuel became nuclear.

But I digress....

The conditions on the ground in early 2009, the beginning of the era of Barack Obama and the end of the lie of Reaganism are those of unmitigated fury as the right confronts the greatest threat to the supremacy of their cancerous capitalism since the days of the hated Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The battlefield is overrun by the defenders of failed dogma and by the well paid servants who stand to lose their meal tickets. Already, in the early weeks of the Obama administration the Republicans have squealed like stuck pigs, outraged at the massive jacking up of the debt to somehow staunch the bleeding and to create jobs for the jobless. Of course they never gave a rat’s asshole when Lord Bush was robbing from their grandchildren to build the police state infrastructure, wage illegal wars of aggression where trillions of dollars were sucked down a black hole inhabited by the slime creatures that are blood barters and war profiteers.

One would figure that the Republican fascist party would have been somewhat humbled after their mangy asses were taken to the woodshed by voters back in November but that would be naïve. Hitler never stopped after his failed beer hall putsch and neither will the devil-spawn of McCarthy, Nixon Reagan and the Bush family. Despite a silly and childish attempt at crafting some sort of bi-partisanship by the Obama administration they were shanked in the back by a dirty pack of double-dealing, jack-booted, America hating vermin who damn near succeeded in derailing the stimulus. Not that it won’t fall anyway after the king of capitulation Harry Reid and his fellow Democrat assclowns in the Senate allowed the poison pill of hundreds of billion dollars in those wonderful tax cuts that have worked so well at destabilizing the country by destroying the middle class to be inserted into the goddamned thing. The most unsurprising kick in the balls to Obama came from media darling and reputed ‘maverick’ John McCain (you may remember him as Sarah Palin’s running-mate) who spat on the new president’s outstretched hand. Of course McCain is also the self-admitted former war criminal who dropped napalm on civilians and then when his plane was shot down in Nam went on to make propaganda pieces for those dirty communists. But yet in this land of the dumb it is Jane Fonda who is still vilified decades after that filthy illegal murderous war ended with America slinking off after igniting the entire region, killing millions and allowing a rogue faction of the intelligence sector to establish a massive drug trafficking network, some of the profits of which would fund Reagan’s bloody little soirees into Central America to prop up despots and their vile torturing regimes.

The Republican party has long been a haven for reactionary thugs, neo-Nazis, out and out fascists, perverts, pederasts, braggarts, loudmouths, authority worshippers and the same sort of immoral degenerates, the dregs of society that Hitler used to much success in populating the ranks of his Sturmabteilung (SA). It worked out so well that Der Führer had to ultimately undertake an intervention to prevent them from turning on him that is famously known as the Night of the Long Knives. In any sort of normally functioning political system a similar purge would have occurred in a failed reactionary party after having their clocks cleaned but America post-9/11 is anything but a normally functioning society. If nothing else the remnants of the disciples of the false god Reagan have dug in even deeper, real dead enders, like the Japanese who had to be literally burned out of their caves and tunnels even after defeat was a certainty. One gets an idea of just how demented that this particular party is when one member, Pete Sessions of Texas proudly compared his party to the Taliban when being interview about strategy during the Obama era. What the fuck is up with that? Didn’t the Taliban become the enemy after that oh so glorious and politically serendipitous day of 9/11/01? Isn’t America at war with the Taliban for allegedly aiding and abetting the great bogeyman Osama bin Laden? Did Sessions really just come out and say that he and his party are studying the methods of terrorists? Such a thing would have been cause for an extraordinary rendition under the Bush-Cheney junta, perhaps closing Gitmo is premature because we have an admitted fifth column waging war against America from within and being far more successful than al-CIAda could have ever hoped to be in even their wildest of wet dreams.

And there is also opportunity in undermining Obama and allowing the economy to continue to deteriorate so that he can be blamed in 2010. A rising star is a guy named Eric Cantor, a bespectacled little snake whose role model is none other than Newt Gingrich is a rising power in the neo-Confederate rump that is still beholden to the preservation of the Reagan temple of greed and has emerged as a particularly virulent critic of President Obama’s attempts to save capitalism from itself. Hanoi John along with his loyal sidekick Lindsey ‘five rugs for five bucks’ Graham, (the Republican Senator least likely to surprise anyone were he to be found in the men’s room of a rest area off of I-95 with a cock in his mouth ala Larry Craig)."If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed" hissed Graham in his Gomer Pyle singsong, a longtime component of the three headed monster of McCain-Lieberman-Graham (although the wandering Jew has been somewhat chastened after his fall betrayal when he was out stumping for McCain and the bizarre and unconscionable holding onto his prized seat as Der Chairman of Der Kommitee of Heimat Security). You have to love the way that the fascist Republican party is now crying like a pack of Sarah Palin's clubbed baby seals...wasn’t this the criminal syndicate that once boasted as a national leader a slimy little greaseball from Texas named Tom DeLay who once allegedly said on bi-partisanship
“Fuck that, it’s time for all out war?”
The losers of November’s election were out hitting the Sunday morning horseshit circuit in force decrying the lack of deference from Obama and the supine twits in Harry Reid’s Senate when it came to honoring the spirit of Reaganism, what’s next, they exhume the old bastard’s rotting corpse and haul it around like some ghoulish sequel to Weekend at Bernie’s? The house still sets the rules too, the media is still bought and paid for, this much is already evident with this beautiful little example: Obama's use of fear card may backfire. So Obama is now a fear-monger despite not one fucking peep about the eight year reign of terror by the Bush regime during which Americans were conditioned to see swarthy Arab terrorists in every dark corner, under their beds and as a result turned into the world’s largest coward colony courtesy of apocalyptic conjecture about smoking mushroom clouds, manipulation of the infamous threat level matrix for political means and the canonization of Jack Bauer, a man who would rip the testicles off of a toddler with a pair of pliers in front of it's mother for god and country. Obama is going to have a rough time taking on the consolidated fascist media colossus and the highly paid celebrity whores who pass themselves off as journalists. Operation Mockingbird is alive and well and even more dangerous now that the entire national media is owned by a handful of corporations with interlocking directorates. Now there has been talk about reinstating the Fairness Doctrine which might not be a bad idea in leveling the playing field against the sort of fascists that former Roosevelt Vice President Henry A. Wallace once so accurately pegged:
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism.
But any reinstatement of such rules in the current era of systemic rot and deterioration would only be selectively enforced to keep out those who question the state and the system itself. You will never see the Fairness Doctrine used to offset Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and any number of other demagogic clones. While this is a popular idea with many liberals it is only going to be eventually turned on them and other alternative media voices including bloggers who dare to question the legitimacy of the oligarchic status quo.

But the media is a huge problem and the onslaught of propaganda pumped out to prevent even a diluted bucket of horse piss of a stimulus package illustrates that any sort of return of the government from its current role of protector of corporate interests and the wealthy will be fought tooth, fang and claw in a destructive battle of attrition that will continue to transform families and friends into warring factions that can be exploited by the same ruthless scum who have rigged the tables so successfully, some could say too successfully.

How this is all going to end up is impossible to tell, the American eugenics project to create the perfect Idiocracy, a reverse master-race has any sort of reformer like Obama facing some seriously nasty odds, just think of the Detroit Lions hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after next year's Super Bowl and you get the general idea. Frank Rich of the damned liberal New York Times wrote a piece this weekend entitled They Sure Showed That Obama that would tend to create some optimism in those readers less cynical than I. It was this line that killed me though and only further underlines the ongoing demographic problems facing Obama and anyone else who tries to change the system.

Rich refers to: The beefy, beer-drinking, deer-hunting white guys — incessantly interviewed in bars and diners — would never buy the skinny black intellectual. Herein lies the problem, despite what may have happened during the election this is a nightmare block of the population and not one to be trifled with because old prejudices die hard and as always liberals have shown a proclivity in overestimating their ability to reach those who within their thick, Neanderthal skulls have banned logic and reason. I'll put in a plug for a big favorite of mine, the moral beacon in this sick land of denial and dumbness and that would be for the brilliant writer Joe Bageant and his book Deer Hunting With Jesus, trust me, it's a must read.

Now I may not be a hunter (personally I think it’s fucking slaughter) but I am one hell of a beefy, beer-drinking white dude, a military veteran and have 11 tattoos as well if that is any sort of an added qualification to the shithack D.C. conventional wisdom. Despite that I am smart enough to not be hoodwinked by a bunch of pampered, elitist, chickenhawk charlatans trying to bait folks like American Me into voting against my own economic self interests. Shit, my grandfather was a Romanian immigrant who joined a union to go work at a meat packing house (but only after at age 15 he filled his pockets full of ball bearings in order to qualify for the job's required weight), fought in World War II in the Pacific in some of the most vicious of cleanup operations and as an FDR democrat hated the sleazy, fascist snake oil salesmen that were Republicans. Thank God that he died before that fraudulent piece of shit Ronald Reagan was President but my grandmother who survived him by nearly thirty years cursed the Gipper and that punk assed borderline retard George W. Bush until her dying breath. The point is that most people from that particular era (never mind the 'greatest generation' hogwash) weren't so easily duped, and their ability to own a home, raise a family, take vacations on one income are a testament to they way that things used to be in this country before the rats and chiselers hijacked the system.

So as one of the manly men who are largely supposed to buy into the anti-elite propaganda peddled by the fifty-million dollar a year degenerate child fucking dope addict I have always taken great offense at just how fucking stupid that the average American beer swilling, swinging dick angry white male can be. Hell, I love drinking beer (and lots of it), shooting guns (although not at unarmed animals), watching football, driving fast, hating the insipid tyranny of political correctness and ogling nekkid women but I also don’t get suckered into that anti-intellectual horseshit that makes one of those clueless, testosterone and alcohol fueled dopes who are as mad as hell but too fucking dumb to realize that they should be really mad at the millionaire lardasses like Limbaugh who are very well paid to dupe these knuckle-draggers into consistently voting AGAINST their own economic well being.

Listen dudes, there is nothing macho in being stupid and unless y’all get a clue your sex lives will continue to be comprised of drinking a twelve pack of cheap malt liquor and whacking off over the latest issue of Penthouse or whatever other fuckrag that you pick up at your local convenience store's jack rack. Stop fantasizing about coming on Sarah Palin’s tits, stop reveling in the falsehood that everyman Joe the Plumber is a working class hero and pick up a book once in awhile, willful ignorance is not a virtue and more importantly the mind that you save may be your own.

And maybe, just maybe the inhabitants of this land of shame, sin and sorrow can finally shrink the legacy of Ronald Wilson Reagan to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub. In a time when even the maestro Greenspan openly admits that he fucked up big time then I suppose that anything is theoretically possible.

Editors Addendum:

While Reagan was President, the US federal deficit tripled even as the Reagan government shifted the burden for repaying those deficits to America's hard-pressed working class, already victimized by the Reagan "depression" of some two years. Edward Wolff, in his article, "How the Pie is Sliced: America's Growing Concentration of Wealth" (American Prospect, Summer '95), estimated that in a brief time period known as 'the seven fat years' only the nation's upper quintile, the richest 20 percent, benefited, receiving as much as ninety-nine percent of the "new wealth".
In Britain, where the richest 1 per cent of the population owns 18 per cent of the nation's wealth, fully half the population now lives in households that receive means-tested benefits And in the United States, where wages have been falling steadily, especially for the less skilled, and real poverty is increasing sharply, the richest 1 per cent now owns nearly 40 per cent of

--Is It Global Economics or Neo- Laissez-Faire?

Like latter day aristocrats, Reagan devotees tried to justify their having grown richer at everyone else's expense. Their new riches were the result of merit, they said. Facts do not support them. Numerous studies of Fortune 500 companies reveal that there is no correlation between exploding pay to high ranking executives and company productivity or profitability. In fact, the reverse may be true. Companies exhibiting the greatest pay inequalities also suffer the worst product quality. Other studies have found that more egalitarian societies enjoy the fastest rates of economic growth. May we now lay to rest the corpse of Reaganomics, trickle-down theory, and supply side economics?

--Iran/Contra Redux: How Bush May be Financing al Qaeda and Other Terrorist Organizations