Friday, April 09, 2010

How the GOP Betrayed Lincoln's Great Republican Promise

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Richard Nixon sought the Presidency an underdog. To win he had to reshape American politics. He had to force a realignment which his strategist, Kevin Phillips, called 'Southern Strategy'. Years later, in a televised interview with Bill Moyers, Phillips regretted having unleashed an evil GOP genie.

'Southern Strategy' put Nixon in the White House. What had been a Democratic 'solid South' was transformed --it is said --though it was the same bigotry that had inspired Southern 'Democrats' to promise 'continued segregation' as late as the 1960s. 'Southern Strategy' did not eliminate bigotry, it exploited it! The resulting 'transformation' is the story of which party most successfully kissed up to bigotry, racism, prejudice. For that reason, I take issue with those who write glowingly of a 'transformation of Southern politics'. The emergence of the GOP in the solid, Democratic south is not so novel and more accurately described as just another instance in which the GOP 'triangulates' the stupid and the bigoted, the 'bubbas' and the 'buttheads'!

At the time, Southern politicians openly promised 'continued segregation'. The Civil War seemed recent and many wounds still bled.
From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

--Kevin Phillips re: "Southern Strategy"
There is some quibbling about whether Nixon political strategist Kevin Phillips originated or merely popularized 'Southern Strategy'. In any case, Phillips owns Southern Strategy by putting Richard Nixon into the White House with it. 'Southern Strategy' was the original 'trickle down' theory as local and regional candidates benefited from their identification with the candidate at the top of the ticket. At that time, the biggest prize was the 'solid south'. Nixon won both the south and the White House.

From the ashes of the "Old South" rose a mean and prejudiced spirit. In Monroe, LA, for example, I found in the only large bookstore in town, a huge section devoted to various Civil War books; most dealt with how the South had been betrayed. Across town, just a stone's throw by big city standards is the Civil War Cemetary, a more sobering reminder of tragedy. Farther afield, down the road is Vicksburg, MS, where the forces of US Grant had approached from the Mississippi River from Memphis only to learn that Vicksburg could never be taken by a direct assault. Grant's Vicksburg siege came to symbolize the ideological stand-off. Having grown up in the far reaches of Comanche country, I was not prepared to learn that, in the South, to this day, there is still found a lingering resentment that can only be felt by those who are occupied by a foreign power.

The "Negro vote" had been the GOPs to lose. The GOP had been the party of Lincoln, the party of liberation, the party which ended slavery! It was the "Radical Republicans" --not Lincoln --who had imposed upon the 'South' a reconstruction which turned the 'South' into occupied territory alienating the 'White' vote. The era of "reconstruction" is best known for the terrorist organization it spawned: the 'White Supremacist' Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist organization, blamed as recently as the 1960s for its bombing of the Pacifica broadcast transmitter in Houston. Then, as now, US policies and occupations cause terrorism in response. That's just the way it is. Every foreign occupying army since our ancestors began to walk upright and leave the Savannahs has been opposed by 'guerrillas'!

It would be a mistake to ascribe to the North some mythical moral superiority. Martin Scorsese probably got it right in his great motion picture, Gangs of New York. Lincoln was as despised in New York as he had been in the deep, antebellum south. The economies of 11 states making up the Confederacy were dependent upon slavery to produce and harvest the crops, most famously, cotton. Slavery was illegal in the north but opposed by a mere handful of vocal opponents. Though many have gone underground, others will openly defend the institution of slavery --even today.

Others resent the harsh reconstruction even today. It was Nixon's evil genius that his campaign was able to overcome the natural resentment of his party's role in "reconstructing" the South. It was Nixon's evil genius that allowed, encouraged him to 'tap' that gurgling well-spring of latent resentment, hatred, and prejudice. That the Democrats would pay dearly for having done the right thing even as the GOP has benefited handsomely for doing the wrong thing may explain Democratic timidity today. Democrats have historically paid high very high prices for doing the right thing! As he signed the Voting Rights Act, LBJ famously said that he was, in fact, forever ceding the South to the GOP.

A long story is, of necessity, made short. Nixon's legacy is that of a GOP benefiting from George Wallace's politics of hate as well as from LBJ's signature on the Voting Rights Act. The GOP would find votes wherever there was resentment or prejudice. The GOP would foment distrust when our various peoples might have put the Civil War behind them and moved forward. The GOP would wage war on labor as well as "the nattering nabobs of negativity", Spiro Agnew's code word for academics and free thinkers.

The Civil War looms like a ghost above the body politic. It was just a few years ago that, in Jaspar, Texas bigots dragged a black man at high speeds over back country roads until very nearly nothing was left of his body.

A bit longer ago, the lynchings and public burnings of black people was not merely tolerated, they were celebrated like county fairs. Photographs of the events were mailed as post cards. It made of civic murder a macabre celebration, literally, a barbecue.

American History is of two chapters --pre Civil War and post Civil war. American History cannot be understood without understanding the economics of the Antebellum South and the institution of slavery upon which it depended. The "rise of the South" cannot be understood without understanding how the south that hated Lincoln became Nixon's "Solid South". It is one of the great ironies of convoluted history that as the GOP represents a threat to our freedom, our future as a nation cannot be ensured unless we, at last, effect the words of a Republican.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

--Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

Trailer: Gangs of New York

Thursday, April 08, 2010

How the Right Wing Destroyed America

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The U.S. Supreme Court has decreed: corporations are now people. They have been given rights that only real people had before. Worse --corporations remain 'privileged' in ways that real people could only dream about! Corporations enjoy 'limited liability', a privilege which, in fact, defines them. Corporations are above the law.

Real people meanwhile may be prosecuted for murders and, if found guilty, sentenced and possibly executed. A mere legal abstraction need never fear the hand of justice. They have been made 'people' but very, very privileged people to whom the criminal laws may never be applied. Examples are Exxon with respect to the Exxon Valdez disaster and Dow Chemical, Union Carbide et al with respect to mass deaths at Bhopal.

Real people, meanwhile, have been robbed of any real power by which they may influence the direction of government. The power resides primarily among the corporations and an increasingly tiny elite which control them from the board room. This is symptomatic of dictatorial plutocracies that result when the rich are enriched! We witnessed recently the most absurd SCOTUS decision in U.S. history in which it is decreed that these mere legal abstractions --corporations --are real people to which all the Bill of Rights apply, to which the protections of Due Process of Law apply! This unconscionable outcome is the reductio ad absurdum of right wing thinking in general and fascist policies specifically. Unless this decision is reversed or may irrelevant by law immediately and a Constitutional Amendment in the longer term, you can kiss the last vestiges of American Democracy goodbye.

Today --just one percent of the U.S. population owns more than some 95 percent of the rest of us combined and the trend is toward even greater concentration of wealth into yet fewer hands. The trend began in earnest with the Reagan years --heady boom times for the idle rich, offshore banks and the Military-Industrial complex. But in real America, the growth industries were poverty and crime.

Even in the second half of the 19th Century, when big 'combines' were industrializing the world, it was not believed that these mere agreements on paper were 'people'. Even so, organized labor was in a fight for its life, a fight that it did not lose decisively until Ronald Reagan busted up a strike of air traffic controllers in the 1980s. Concurrently, the conduct of American politics morphed. Politics, over the years, ceased to address the needs of 'people'. Politics became the process by which 'money' bought influence in DC and the various state houses throughout the nation.
We'll never raise as much money as Bush is going to raise and his corporate lobbyists, I can promise you, because he has paid them back in spades.

--James Carville
Carville refers to the very purchase of the government, a purchase analogous to the sale of Rome by the Praetorian Guard which literally auctioned and sold the Empire to nobleman Didius Julianus. The sale was transacted in Greek Drachmas --not worthless Roman sesterces.

Rome was then as the U.S. is now a plutocracy.
KEVIN PHILLIPS: I think we have one now and we didn't, 12 years ago when I wrote THE POLITICS OF RICH AND POOR is when money has ceased just entertaining itself with leveraged buyouts and all the stuff they did in the '80s, and really takes over politics, and takes it over on both sides when money not only talks, money screams. When you start developing philosophies in which giving a check is a First Amendment right. That's incredible. But what you've got is that this is what money has done. It's produced the fusion of money and government. And that is plutocracy. ... a plutocracy in a way that we haven't had before, since the gilded age.

BILL MOYERS But the signers of the Declaration were representatives of America's first and wealthiest families.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, they were, but, you know, a funny thing about that, because they were simultaneously people who were furious with the British. Furious with the British for taxing them, for not letting them make their pig iron into hammer and spades, for not paying the right amount of money for tobacco.

And if you read what they had to say, it sounds like the American version 100 years earlier of what the people out in the plains said about the bankers in New York and the railroad owners in Minneapolis. So they were fighters in a way. And Thomas Jefferson pretty much stuck with that. You had a divergence within the founding fathers of those who became, in the American context, pretty conservative, and those who like Jefferson maintained their anger they had against the British economic elites in the United States.

BILL MOYERS: But where is that anger today? Because the ... the two men who spoke most consistently with what you're saying in WEALTH AND DEMOCRACY in 2000, John McCain and Willi... Bill Bradley, Senator Bradley, both got defeated in their primaries. And they were the ones who were registering the discontent of which you are ... are writing about. What happened? The peop... that the majority of people don't share your convictions and mine?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, I'm not certain whether they do or they don't. But the ... the key thing in the year 2000 was that if you look at all the psychological profiles of the United States, of the electorate during that period, even though the Nasdaq had started to crash they still thought things were pretty good. The real dive didn't come until after the election when you had the miserable elections stalemate and the sagging economy.

So that basically, you never get one of these reactions against big money until you've had this speculative implosion. And normally I think if we were seeing any kind of debate in Washington, and the Democrats have all kinds of things they could say about the Bush dynasty and Enron, for example, it's mind blowing, but they don't.


KEVIN PHILLIPS: I think partly because they're so interested in raising money that they can't see their soul in the mirror.

BILL MOYERS: What has happened to the word equality? When you and I were young men in politics it was a common reference in our political discourse. Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, a lot of others too, but you don't hear it in the political lexicon anymore.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: You hear it in twisted ways. There is a view in some conservative circles that it doesn't matter much what concentrations of wealth you have or disparities of income. It's equality of consumption. It's the right to have Nike shoes, to listen to a boom box, to take a plane ride. And ...

BILL MOYERS: Nothing wrong with that.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, no, but on the other hand, that didn't solve problems in a depression when you had the right to watch a plane fly over Kansas. Or turn on the radio. So you've got these different ledgers that are kept. And people that try to say "consumption is the yardstick" usually have it in mind that democracy is not ... that income differentials are not, they stand for a different philosophy.

BILL MOYERS: Didn't the word "equality" disappear because the people who believe in inequality won the elections?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, there's a certain truth to that. And going back to the time when we were both in politics on different sides of the aisle, the ... one of the great weaknesses, in my opinion, in liberal politics, was to start talking about social equality in a way that had never really occurred in the United States. People came to this country as immigrants and they ... they suffered all kinds of hardships and "no Irish need apply" and everything you could name. Nobody ever tried to draw blueprints for bussing the Irish around Boston ...


KEVIN PHILLIPS: ... or things like that. And there was a sense that equality in the social sense could be obtained through government, that became powerful in the '60s. And in my opinion, that was the beginning of the tending of the idea of equality in the sense of ... of economics. Now, conservatives will still say all that matters is equality of opportunity.

BILL MOYERS: The market will produce the equality.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Yes, exactly.

BILL MOYERS: You ... you know that I was quite taken with your book "The Politics of Rich and Poor," what, a decade ago?


BILL MOYERS: 1990. In it you told of how the wealthy had made great gains in their power. They had ... are you writing the same thing now? Has it changed quantitatively and qualitatively?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: I think there are two stages, the 18- ... the 1980s were the first stage in the sense that Ronald Reagan wanted people to have a chance to get rich. He liked entrepreneurs, he liked people who owned 14 department stores or two movie studios. It wasn't for the big old steel companies or anything, but he liked money. And he and Don Regan, the Treasury secretary, created a political culture in which fashion became in, making money became in, paper entrepreneurialism was the key, all the leveraged buyouts. And that was a whole culture of... people got a lot of money at the top.

But what you got then in the 1990s was, in my opinion, stage two. And this was the technology mania, and the rise of the securities markets, taking technology and making this incredible bubble out of it. And a new crowd of people got rich. Plenty of the old people, but a whole lot of new people. New people who tended to have a more liberal politics in many cases, to name Internet companies, things like Yahoo! and AskJeeves, and what have you.

If you look at the list of new money in the Forbes 400 say in 199... 1998 or 1999, when the Internet crowd was coming in big time, we've got an awful lot of Democrats. And the Democratic Party has in its own way started to be a party of a different type of wealth. The Republicans have the smoke stacks and the polluters and the ranchers and the oil companies, and the Democrats have a lot of the communications media, a lot of biotechnology, a lot of the coming stuff ...

So what we've got are two sets of people in Washington who basically because of the whole demand of financing campaigns go to people with money. They go to different sets of money and you've sort of got what you had in politics before the Civil War: the Democratic Party, that basically was in with a southern plantation aristocracy, and Republicans who are in with the merging industry. Nobody was for the little guy.

BILL MOYERS: What's the ordinary Joe and Jane to do? I mean, the guys running these cameras working here, whom you've met, they can't write big checks to either political party or political candidates, and yet it's a struggle not to leave people despairing today when they read an analysis such as "Wealth and Democracy." What are the average folks to do?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, one thing I think they have to do is they really have to say on certain issues, which are not strictly party issues, we've just got to mobilize on the issues, whether it's campaign finance or other things like that. But secondarily they've got to work to make the party system make a difference. You can't have two parties that represent different flavors of great wealth and expect not to see all these weaknesses continue to grow.

BILL MOYERS: But you've already said that both parties spend all their time raising money. And they don't listen to the people running the cameras. They listen to the people writing the checks.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Yeah, well, some of the time they do, because you keep reading about votes in Congress periodically, where these outrageous proposals, be they tax or trade or other things, they only make it through by one, two, three votes. People are standing there twisting arms of Presidents, giving them six post offices and three favors.

Now, if there wasn't some responsiveness to public opinion and a sense that things have gone too far, that wouldn't happen. So the trick is to mobilize somehow or other institutions in this political culture that will take those issues on which Congress ... some of them would like to be made to vote against their contributors. And, you know, I'm ... I'm not sure how to do it. I think ...

BILL MOYERS: It took a rich man, Ross Perot, to make it happen in any significant manifestation ... eight years ago, ten years ago.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: But see, part of the thing in ... in the United States, is that the minority of rich people are usually on the side of trying to make America work like America. You had in the last election, in the three people who were running sort of as populist, John McCain, millionaire, son and grandson of four-star admirals, Bill Bradley, multi-millionaire, former basketball player, even Ralph Nader's got three or four million dollars worth of investments. So all kinds of people go against what should be their interest financially because of what they think is the right thing to do. That's really something to build on.

BILL MOYERS: What's been the biggest change? You ... I was in Washington in the '60s, you came right after, helped elect Richard Nixon, we were both in our 30's then, very young 30's, what's been the biggest change in Washington since we were young men there?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: I think the entrenchment of money in ways you can't even begin to count. It used to be that when a new wave politically came to Washington they swept it out. And that was certainly true with Lincoln, it was certainly true with FDR. It couldn't happen even in the '60s, in my opinion. There's no way to sweep now. The whole structure was just a pyramid of ... of economic influence mongering.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think the new McCain Feingold ban on soft money will have any positive impact on this?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Oh, it'll have some positive impact, but in many ways, it's gonna be another version of the lawyers and accountants full employment act.

BILL MOYERS: So what do we do?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Keep fighting. I think there are signs that it's turning now. To me one of the most important milestones will be if people, and I include the media here, have the courage to document and put on the front page what they won't really touch now, which is ...

BILL MOYERS: Which is?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: All the examples of the Bush family's role in the rise of Enron. Here, we're running around, we're blaming these accountants, these tricksters that were in Enron, but George W. and George H.W., his father, were very much involved in the whole rise of Enron's influence and power in this country. But you ... you don't see that. People in the press have a lot of trouble touching these issues right where the rubber hits the road.

BILL MOYERS: Well, when you've got anchors making eight, nine, ten million dollars a year, when you've got a handful of huge media corporations owning over half of the outlets in this country, do you expect much populism from those people?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: No. And that's the fundamental problem. How do you get dynasties to talk about other dynasties? I think it's a real difficulty. Unfortunately, that means that some of us have to start talking about stuff we'd rather not do all the time because if you don't make a lot of friends by doing it ... it's tough, but a dynasty is a dynasty is a dynasty and these problems are there, and this incredible amount of money is ... is just staring this country's historical role in the face

BILL MOYERS: How do you explain that the pro-wealth policies of the right, the conservatives, have endured so much support among working Americans and low income Americans?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, all I can say is if I were a Democratic senator, I would go on and make a speech that might remind Democrats of stuff they haven't heard in a long time. You get professors who are dedicated liberals and they go on and they make these speeches and nobody pays any attention. You have to basically go in there and do a number. You have to go in there and just stand there and describe who supports somebody, who is paid for and who has done this, that and the other.

If the Democrats wanted to take all these issues out and run 'em up the flagpole, there is still plenty of people ready to salute. That's why we have some of these close votes. But you've got to be willing to do it. And I understand why a lot of them don't want to do it. But, you know, who's gonna do it? Ralph Nader couldn't do it. His friends dropped him when he talked about all of this.

--Kevin Phillips, Author of 'Wealth and Democracy', Now with Bill Moyers
Why does the GOP insist upon repeating failed strategies? Reaganites promised that the stimulated economy would outgrow the deficit and the budget would be balanced "...within three years, maybe even two." It didn't! Reagan tripled the deficit and, on the way, doubled the size of the federal bureaucracy. Reagan's tax cuts were followed promptly by the longest and worst recession since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression. As Robert Freeman correctly points out: "...Jimmy Carter's last budget deficit was $77 billion. Reagan's first deficit was $128 billion. His second deficit exploded to $208 billion. By the time the "Reagan Revolution" was over, George H.W. Bush was running an annual deficit of $290 billion per year."

How will Bush the lesser compare to Reagan? By the year 2002, Citizens for Tax Justice were already writing:
Over the ten-year period, the richest Americans—the best-off one percent—are slated togwb0602a.gif - 10559 Bytes receive tax cuts totalling almost half a trillion dollars. The $477 billion in tax breaks the Bush administration has targeted to this elite group will average $342,000 each over the decade.

By 2010, when (and if) the Bush tax reductions are fully in place, an astonishing 52 percent of the total tax cuts will go to the richest one percent—whose average 2010 income will be $1.5 million. Their tax-cut windfall in that year alone will average $85,000 each. Put another way, of the estimated $234 billion in tax cuts scheduled for the year 2010, $121 billion will go just 1.4 million taxpayers.

Although the rich have already received a hefty down payment on their Bush tax cuts—averaging just under $12,000 each this year—80 percent of their windfall is scheduled to come from tax changes that won’t take effect until after this year, mostly from items that phase in after 2005.

1968 was the year in which measured postwar income was at its most equal for families. The Gini index for households indicates that there has been growing income inequality over the past quarter-century. Inequality grew slowly in the 1970's and rapidly during the early 1980's. ...Generally, the long-term trend has been toward increasing income inequality. Since 1969, the share of aggregate household income controlled by the lowest income quintile has decreased from 4.1 percent to 3.6 percent in 1997, while the share to the highest quintile increased from 43.0 percent to 49.4 percent. Most noticeably, the share of income controlled by the top 5 percent of households has increased from 16.6 percent to 21.7 percent. Over the same time period, the Gini index rose 17.4 percent to its 1997 level of .459.

Income Inequality, Census Bureau

The trend began then has continued: October 2003 figures from the US Census Bureau make stark reading:
Median household incomes are falling The number of Americans without health insurance rose by 5.7 percent to 43.6 million individuals.

The number of people living below the poverty line ($18,392 for a family of four) climbed to 12.1 percent — 34.6 million people.

Wages make up the majority of income for most American families. As "Downward Mobility," NOW's report on workers and wages illustrates, many American workers are facing corporate efforts to cut pay and benefits, which could lead to more American families struggling to stay out of poverty.

The results in black and white:
  • Twenty percent of the population own 84% of our private assets, leaving the other 80 percent of the population with 15.6 percent of the assets.
  • In 1960, the wealth gap between the top 20 percent and the bottom 20 percent of Americans was thirty fold. Four decades later it’s more than seventy-five-fold.
  • Either way -- wealth or income – America is more unequal, economists generally agree, than at any time since the start of the Great Depression…
  • And more unequal than any other developed nation today.

The most pernicious effect of GOP economic policy is the effect of declining opportunity, a corollary of declining in wealth among all but the very rich.

It is merely rhetorical to ask: why does the GOP seem to repeat ad nauseum utterly failed strategies that have never been shown to work? The answer is simple: the GOP sales pitch is what Reagan Budget Director David Stockman called a 'Trojan Horse'. The purpose of the tax cut is not to trickle down. The tax cuts always do precisely what the GOP insiders know they will do: they enrich the GOP base! Here is how someone who lived through the Reagan nightmare remembers it:

I was in the automotive field at the time, and dozens and dozens of established tool manufacturers, unionized shops, producing high quality tools, small companies with deep roots and real a commitment to the towns they were in all across the Midwest and the local communities, went out of business.

Why? Because with deregulation any hustler could get virtually unlimited financing and set up manufacturing plants overseas producing exact copies of American made tools and flood the US market with them with no fear of the Reagan administration enforcing any laws against them.

It also became easier, and far less risky, to get financing to set up a thousand junky identical chain outlets than it did for small local businesses to get credit or tax relief - restaurants, auto parts stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, florists - thousands and thousands of small businesses chewed up and destroyed.

We have a younger generation of people who have no personal experience with so many things - local businesses and tight knit communities, affordable, convenient and efficient public transportation, wages that allowed one person in a household enough income to support the family, homes that were homes, not investments, easy access to public recreation, confidence in the safety of food and other consumer items, all regulated and inspected for the public welfare, freedom from the relentless intrusion of corporations into our lives, and on and on and on.

Reagan destroyed the country, and if we try to gloss over that (which at the very least Obama's remarks have done) or if we buy into the dishonest rationales and excuses and obfuscations that the Reagan administration used to disguise their agenda and to sell it to the public, we surrender any chance at real change, we bury the coffin forever into which the right wingers have put the left - and by extension, the majority of the American people, and we condemn ourselves to living in this ongoing nightmare of destruction and human suffering.

It is not time to make nice with the Reagan legacy propagandists, even by implication or omission. It is time to relentlessly and fearlessly point out that the crisis the country is in is best described and analyzed as the chickens coming home to roost from the Reagan era.

It is time to fight. It is not time to heal or move on—no matter how attractive and appealing this may be—it is not time to paper over the profound divide in the country, it is not time to accommodate or apologize for

--Found on the Democratic Underground

Paul Krugman can always be depended upon to put this kind of thing in perspective.
Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Maybe Mr. Obama was, as his supporters insist, simply praising Reagan’s political skills. (I think he was trying to curry favor with a conservative editorial board, which did in fact endorse him.) But where in his remarks was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?

For it did fail. The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder. Yes, there was a boom in the mid-1980s, as the economy recovered from a severe recession. But while the rich got much richer, there was little sustained economic improvement for most Americans. By the late 1980s, middle-class incomes were barely higher than they had been a decade before — and the poverty rate had actually risen.

When the inevitable recession arrived, people felt betrayed — a sense of betrayal that Mr. Clinton was able to ride into the White House.

Given that reality, what was Mr. Obama talking about? Some good things did eventually happen to the U.S. economy — but not on Reagan’s watch.

--Paul Krugman, Debunking the Reagan Myth

Reagan/Bush tax cuts are payoffs to the very rich for their support. For everyone else, the GOP prescription is simple: just take another dose of what's making you sick.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

U.S. Atrocities: Collateral Murder

The following is excerpted verbatim from Wikileaks. It is an account of the murder of civilians by the U.S. military which has absolutely NO legitimate business in Iraq in the first place! Out of Iraq now! Round up and charge ALL U.S. personnel involved must be arrested, charged and detained until they can be tried for murder.

Additionally, every U.S. government official involved in the U.S. government's conspiracy to attack and invade Iraq upon lies and deceptions should be arrested now and detained until they can be tried for capital war crimes including overt violations of U.S. Codes, Title 18, Section 2441, war crimes for which the penalty is death.

Not only are the perps depicted in the act of committing murder, they lied about afterward. That's a crime in and of itself!

International law and common decency requires that every member of the U.S. government materially involved in the illegal war crime --the U.S. attack and invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq be held to account now!


5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.

Why I moderate comments

  • SPAM: 'comments' that link to junk, 'get rich' schemes, scams, and nonsense! These are the worst offenders.
  • Ad hominem attacks: 'name calling' and 'labeling'. That includes the ad hominem: 'truther' or variations!

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Why Bushco Should be Prosecuted for 911

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

There is not a shred of credible and/or admissible evidence to support the Bush administration's official conspiracy theory of 911. The theory is ludicrous on its face --that 19 Arab Hijackers, coordinated from deep inside a cave in the mountains of Tora Bora managed to hijack four commercial airliners with which --it is theorized --they attacked the United States. There is absolutely no evidence to support what is, in fact, a ludicrous, stupid, utterly baseless conspiracy theory.

Right wing partisans concocted it knowing, of course, that Americans have been conditioned by previous GOP regimes to embrace lies and bullshit! At first, it was enough to marginalize critics: just call them conspiracy theorists or truthers. Not merely ludicrous, this is desperate name-calling, a tactic often motivated by guilt and associated with diminishing IQs.

The conclusion consistent with a growing body of peer-reviewed science is this: nothing said by Bush about 911 is true. Secondly, Bushco's ludicrous cover story is the looniest conspiracy since Ali Baba and his 40 thieves! They, too, were 'co-ordinated' from inside a cave but without cell phones! Ali Baba was a thief! Bush, however, is a mass murdering traitor to the people of the United States.

Any theory -especially an 'official' one -must meet certain minimum criteria:
  • It must be verifiable!
  • Unless it is a revolutionary discovery in the field of physics (like Einstein's Relativity, for example) it must be consistent with the established science of physics.
  • It must be consistent with Occam's razor, that is, it must explain rather than raise additional issues or insoluble problems. That's why Einstein's theory survived. It explained. It did not obfuscate. It simplified much of our understanding of the universe by equating gravity with a curvature of space-time.
  • It must articulate the 'probable cause' that a crime was committed and the 'probable cause' to begin a specific investigation of suspects not upon 'reasonable suspicion' but 'probable cause'.
It is the job of theory to explain and any theory that does not explain must be trashed. It's time to trash the 'official conspiracy theory' of George W. Bush. It's time to act upon the 'probable cause' that it was the Bush regime itself which conspired, perhaps with foreign entities, to perpetrate a treasonous mass murder in order to accomplish the following goals:
  • Justify attacks and invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Secure the oil fields of Iraq for the benefit of Bush's 'oil industry sponsors'!
  • Justify and attack civil liberties and due process of law in the U.S. as specifically articulated in the U.S. Patriot Act itself, a law that must be utterly repudiated with massive civil disobedience!
The events of 911 accomplished all these goals with ease fooling a shocked, stunned American public in the bargain. The short list of fatal problems with the official conspiracy theory include numerous false statements by Bush and members of his administration. Demonstrable lies told about 911 are themselves criminal acts and should be prosecuted. When Bush lied to Congress and to the American people about 911, he broke the law; he committed an impeachable offense, a criminal offense for which he may still be prosecuted and sentenced. His order to attack and invade Iraq is itself a war crime, a violation of U.S. Codes, Title 18, Section 2441 which prescribes the penalty of death!
(a) Offense. Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

--U.S. Codes, Title 18, Section 2441 War crimes
The lies told about 911 are designed to mislead the public and hide from them the truth. The best suspects are Bush, his NEOCON co-conspirators, the leadership of the GOP, various Pentagon brass, and other complicit murderers inside the Axis of the Military/Industrial Complex and K-Street, specifically the so-called 'Jewish Lobby' which exploits the specter of 'Arab' terrorism to extort BILLIONS from the U.S! This gang of crooks, liars and traitors are responsible for perpetrating the treasonous, murderous crime of 911. Bush is the primary suspect for several reasons:
  • Those who lie about crimes do so to cover up guilt. Bush has never told the truth about 911.
  • Bush has not merely lied; he has actively, consistently and deliberately tried to cover up the crime of 911 with overt and identifiable instances of obstruction of justice, lies, and overt intimidation. This --I believe -is persuasive evidence of his guilt and/or complicity.
Tim Roemer let the cat out of the bag when, like Donald Rumsfeld, he referred to a 'missile' that struck the Pentagon. In addition, there were the early news reports before 'officialdom' was able to insist that the media report only the official conspiracy theory. Those early reports consisted of anchors like Dan Rather and Peter Jennings talking about 'controlled demolitions', field reporters declaring that no airliner had struck the Pentagon, and, of course, the famous BBC report that WTC7 had fallen even as it was seen still standing behind the reporter.

Who lies about a crime? An innocent person? Indeed, NO! An innocent person has an interest in making sure the truth about a crime is known. By contrast, only the guilty are motivated to lie about a crime. Lies about crimes are told in order to hide the truth.

Lies about crimes are obstructions of justice. If told under oath they are perjury. Lies about crimes speak to the issue of guilt because lies about crimes are told by the guilty in order to cover up the crime and escape punishment. Only an idiot would order the destruction of evidence if it might clear him/her of charges and/or prove his innocence. A guilty person, on the other hand, is motivated to:
  • lie about the crime
  • destroy evidence that might convict him
  • blame others for his own deeds
  • mislead the public
Bush has done all of those thing and all of those things speak to his guilt! The best suspects are Bush, his NEOCON co-conspirators, the leadership of the GOP, various Pentagon brass, and other complicit murderers inside the Axis of the Military/Industrial Complex and K-Street! This gang of crooks, liars and traitors are responsible for perpetrating the treasonous, murderous crime of 911. Bush is the primary suspect for several reasons:
  • Those who lie about crimes do so to cover up guilt. Bush has never told the truth about 911.
  • Bush has not merely lied; he has actively, consistently and deliberately tried to cover up the crimes of 911 with overt and identifiable instances of obstruction of justice, lies, and overt intimidation.
The vehemence with which the Bush theory is defended in the face of reason and fact is a clue that this theory is not merely wrong, it is a deliberate lie, a cover story intended to hide to the truth. 'Truth' itself is demonized in defense of lies! The liars should be required to testify before a Federal Grand Jury investigating this act of high treason and mass murder against the sovereign people of the United States. And, if they should lie to the Grand Jury, they should be arrested, charged and locked up! Some may elected to tell truth to avoid this bad outcome. Some may choose to sing like canaries. Some may point the accusing finger at Goerge, Dick, and Donald. Some may implicate the so-called 'Jewish Lobby' or "Mossad'!

Any 'theory' that raises more issues than it explains is a bogus theory; any theory which requires that the many holes in it must be patched up is best discarded in favor of:
  • a new investigation an assessment of verifiable facts not additional baseless assertions
  • an insistence upon a theory consistent with established and verified science.
There might have been an investigation! What happened? Who brought the hammer down? Who managed to shut up people like FBI Director Robert Mueller who stated that there is no evidence to connect the 'said' 19 'hijackers' with the events of 911.

The 'official' NTSB flight data was released upon an FOIA request. That data places FLT 77 at an altitude of 273 feet above the ground with about a second of impact with the Pentagon which is just 71 feet tall! And --to clear up an ignorant suggestion --the altitude derived from the data released by NTSB is 'above ground', not above 'sea level'.

How did the American public manage to forget that several of the alleged 'hijackers' were interviewed by the BBC after they were said to have died in the attacks. How did the mainstream media miss what should have been the lead story on every major network and that is: there are no hijacker names on the pathologists report released to Dr. Olmsted in response to an FOIA request. There is, therefore, no evidence that Hanjour's remains were autopsied, no evidence that his remains were even recovered or buried in Arlington National Cemetery. There is no evidence that any 'alleged' hijacker ever board any airliner at any time over the period of time in question.

There is no evidence that Hani Hanjour was at any time on any flight connected with 911. The Washington Post reported than Hanjour was not on board Flight 77 because he did not have a ticket. [Washington Post, 9/16/01] It's hard to imagine Hanjour -a skinny 120 lbs -overpowering the crew, forcing his way on board armed only with a box cutter, forcing the hunky pilot and co-pilot out of the cockpit and not only flying the 200 ton airliner but maneuvering it in ways that experienced pilots say is simply impossible. This is not Alice in Wonderland and we are not required to believe six impossible things before losing our lunches. [apologies to Lewis Carroll]

There is, in fact, no case against the 'alleged' 19 Arab Hijackers whatsoever. There is no probable cause to indict them! There is no admissible evidence. There was no case! There is no reason to believe the Bush cover story with respect to 911, Iraq, the nuclear threat, the raison d'etre for the illegal presence of the US in the Middle East. There is no defense against mass murder and war crimes charges against Bush, the government of the United States, the Pentagon brass and co-conspirators throughout K-Street and the Military/Industrial complex!

Major Holes in the Official Lie

There are no Arab names on the autopsy report of Fl 77 victims released to Dr. Olmsted in response to his FOIA. Now --an autopsy report is official, admissible in court. It has bona fides. But anyone can type up a 'passenger list' at anytime, even after the fact. But an autopsy report is evidence. The passenger list is just a meaningless piece of paper that proves nothing. Not a scrap of airliner wreckage traceable to a 757 was ever found at either the Pentagon or PA. Anyone still believing Bush's theory, I say: prove it! Show me the wreckage. If you believe an airliner crashed into the Pentagon, show me the fuselage.

There are more troublesome problems with this aspect of the crime called 911. Proponents of the official theory have often maintained that all the passengers on board Fl 77 were not only autopsied, they were identified by sampling DNA. In the next breath, they will 'explain away' the fact that no fuselage traceable to any airliner of any sort was ever recovered and/or photographed on the Pentagon lawn. It 'vaporized' in the heat, they say. I have bad news for these 'theorists', these violators of Occam's razor and that bad news is this: every reputable scientific source, journal or university source I have consulted agrees that Aluminum vaporizes at 11,000 degrees F which NASA says is about 1000 degrees hotter than the surface of the sun! If Fl 77 burned, it did so at Kerosene fire --camp fire --temperatures! And Kerosene fire temperatures are insufficient to either melt steel or vaporize aluminum!

The Worst is Yet to Come

It must be pointed out that to posit a 'vaporization theory' is to concede that no fuselage traceable to a 757 was ever recovered; else --why try to why no airliner fuselage was found. Bush proponents are left with facts that utterly destroy their position: there was no fuselage, there was no wreckage, there was no airliner! Bush lied about acts of high treason and mass murder in order to cover them up! There are but two motives to lie about it: a) he is held hostage my the axis of CIA/Mossad; b) he is a willing partner, a traitor, a mass murderer!

"Multiplicity ought not to be posited without necessity."

A U.S. Global Hawk was, in fact, flown by remote control from the U.S. to Australia completely by remote control. The test was a success. And so too it's lethal and murderous strike on the Pentagon where it deposited and left behind its rotor! Pennsylvania

There are photographs of a ditch in PA, a small ditch at that. We are expected to believe that a 757 managed to bury itself via that small ditch. I don't think so! I have bad news for the official theorists and a much better, common sense explanation: a) the ditch was dug by the backhoe clearly seen in photographs of the scene; b) like the Pentagon, there was absolutely no wreckage found that was or is traceable to a 757; c) no --the 757 did not penetrate the earth like a meteorite.

Not even meteorites do that. Meteorites break up upon impact, exploding creating a crater. They do not bury themselves into the ground unless the ground is either molten or marshy and the PA was neither.

I grew up within ten or twenty minutes of the world's third largest meteor crater near Odessa, TX. Back the in the 30s the University of Texas attempted an expensive retrieval of a 'mass' that was hoped had buried itself beneath just inside the Earth's outer crust. It was hoped that the mass would be found, retrieved, studied. It didn't happen because there was no such large mass.

Most meteorites explode on impact which explains the fact that around a meteorite crater may be found huge chunks of stony-iron meteorites. The Odessa crater, it is believed, is but a fragment of a much larger mass that continued on to crash into Arizona. Briefly --NO! Flight 93 did NOT bury itself beneath the top soil. Neither meteorites nor airliners bury themselves under the soil like a gopher. Both meteorites and airliner leave behind clearly identifiable 'wreckage'! And to those who believe an airliner did a gopher routine in PA, I say: PROVE IT! Dig it up and show me! Otherwise shut up!

And, if you happen to be a part of the Bush team, give yourself up and submit to prosecution for accessory to mass murder and high treason!

Has anyone put forward an explanation for the existence of the backhoe? There is no other evidence of any other 'work' underway at that location. One must conclude that the backhoe raison d'etre was the creation of a 'ditch' that Bushies could point to and say: Fl 93 buried itself into the earth there! BS!

Hijacked Flights Had Been 'Mothballed'

There is a cloud of suspicion about all the flights that were said to have been involved with 911. American Airlines itself made an entry on WIKI that none of the AA flights said to have been involved in 911 had been scheduled to fly that day, indeed, had not been scheduled to fly for the previous six months. What does the 'official conspiracy theory' have to say about that? The 'official conspiracy theory' cannot explain why only 'mothballed' flights were was suddenly pressed into 'service' on 911, pressed into service which would result in every one of them being utterly incinerated, vanished, buried in a rabbit hole in PA, or, perhaps beamed into another dimension. As of this date, no one has yet produced a single scrap of wreckage that that has been or is traceable to any of the flights that are 'alleged' to have been involved in the events of 911.

How does the 'official conspiracy theory' explain how flights not scheduled to fly managed to get into the air that day?

The information from AA changes the paradigm by raising compelling doubt that the said flights flew at all! At the very least, the burden of proof is upon Bushco to prove that the flights flew. It is incumbent upon the official conspiracy theorists to explain why the said flight were suddenly taken off the 'no-fly' list on this day of all days! Why? Bushco must explain the timing and the reason for the sudden change!

The Spontaneous Collapse of WTC 7

WTC 7 was NOT struck by an airliner yet it collapsed but not before its collapse was reported by a BBC reporter while it was still standing for TV viewers to see still standing behind her as she reported its collapse. If there is an innocent explanation, I have never heard it! Moreover, the collapse of WTC 7 is completely inexplicable and utterly unexplained by Bushco's official conspiracy theory. I suggest that whomever 'leaked' the report to BBC knew that the collapse was imminent. Their timing was bad! With any luck, their timing may yet prove fatal!

The 'Buscho Official Conspiracy Theory' is Impossible

Therefore, it is a lie! Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes said: "When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains however implausible must be the truth!" The key points of the official conspiracy --the Pentagon Strike, the backhoe ditch in PA --have eliminated essential ingredients of the official lie. I am content to let the work of my friend Dr. David Griffin and Professor Steven Jones address the utter impossibility of the official stories with regard to the Twin Towers. The collapse of wTC 7 is an obvious controlled demolition, the fall of which was reported before it happened.

I will venture but one scenario at this point: a US GLOBAL HAWK was programmed to strike the Pentagon. It carried a conventional payload --not a nuclear one. It left behind a 'smoking gun', an engine rotor traceable to a U.S. Global Hawk and it would have been had there been a real investigation.

Bushco ordered the destruction of evidence. The destruction of material evidence of a crime IS a crime and should be prosecuted. It has not been as yet but there is no statute of limitations on mass murder, nor, I believe, high treason, nor violations of U.S. Codes, Title 18, Section 2441, war crimes triggered by the events of 911!

As most of the evidence has been destroyed upon orders from Bushco, the above approach, I believe, is all that we have left. Keep in mind, however, that the above cited U.S. carry with them the death penalty for violations resulting in death. How many civilians have died in both Afghanistan and Iraq because Bush participated in the events of 911? How U.S. citizens have likewise died because they were ordered to attack and kill Iraqis though Iraq had nothing to do with 911, in fact, had nothing but the oil that was coveted by Dick Cheney's 'Energy Task Force' which met, before 911, for the purpose of carving up the oil fields of Iraq! I ask you: what guilty knowledge would motivate the conspirators if not the guilty knowledge that soon, the U.S. would find a way to be at war with Iraq!

In the meantime, evidence that would earn Bush a death sentence was destroyed for the same reasons that EVIDENCE is destroyed in every other cover up of every other crime since crime became profitable. The evidence was removed and ordered destroyed by 'usual suspects', suspect who might have been convicted by it and sentenced to death! Death is motive enough for guilty peole to cover up their crimes, destroy evidence and lie about their crimes! The evidence was ordered destroyed by Bush to protect the guilty. Who BUT the guilty are most motivated to ORDER the destruction of evidence? The corollary is also true: only an IDIOT would order the destruction of evidence IF it would clear him of all charges or, in other ways, prove his innocence. In that scenario --Bush is either GUILTY or he is an idiot. He just wants to you think he's a completely idiot! Never fear, he is smart enough to save his own sorry ass!

The demonstrable lies told by this gang of traitors is probable cause to convene an independent Federal Grand Jury that will use the power of the subpoena to 'roundup the usual suspects' --Bush, Cheney, Rummie, Rice, Myers, various Pentagon Brass and Bush partisans inside the CIA. Recall --that Bush Sr was, at one time, director of the CIA and there is evidence he had connections with the CIA at the time of the JFK assassination.

It is my hope that a Federal Grand Jury will 'round up the usual suspects', subpoena them, and prosecute them for the lies that will be proven! By law, anyone knowingly spreading Bush's lie with respect to 911 are guilty of obstruction of justice. That surely applies to anyone in the Bush administration which knew better but fell into line and supported the Bush cover story anyone. I urge these people to come forward. A compassionate prosecutor may find it useful to be merciful to anyone willing to tell the truth about how the Bush administration may have conspired and assisted Mossad in a murderous, treasonous attack on the people of the United States. Should one among these traitors cracks and spills the beans so much the better.
SPECIAL TO AmerCIAnassassinations:

Re-posting my articles without my permission and without both byline credit AND a link back is an illegal infringement of copyright and a violation of your Blogger T.O.S. You have done it several times and I will file a formal complaint with Blog Spot.

I have often given other bloggers permission to cross-post, excerpt and, in other ways, share links and information. 'Fair use' often covers quoting or citing original or differing sources and, in those cases, a citation and a link back is considerate. In every case, there is reciprocity. I have found at least two of my recent articles in their entirety on the above named site and there is no link back or author credit given. I find this to be an egregious breach of common sense and etiquette. Stop ripping me off!