What you have to believe to be a Republican
"Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay first came to power promising to restore democracy to the House of Representatives, supposedly suffering from then-Speaker Jim Wright's tyrannical regime. Even after the Rs drove Wright from office, however, bipartisanship was out of the question for DeLay. In the budget fight and government shutdown of 1995, for instance, DeLay rejected compromise and famously said, "It's time for all-out war."
"I never minded DeLay being a tough guy--it was his syrupy claims to carry the banner for Christianity that I found offensive, as he frog-marched the House toward being a cash-operated special-interest machine. The idea of putting pressure on lobbyists to gie only to Republicans, pressuring lobbying firms into hiring only Republicans and then letting lobbyists sit at the table during committee meetings where legislation was written--it was just screaming overt corruption.
"Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich turned the US House of Representatives, "the people's house," into a pay-for-play machine for corporations. Put in enough money, get your special tax exemption, get your earmarked government contract, get your trade legislation and your environmental exemption, get rid of safety regulation" (Molly Ivins. "WWTD: What Would Tom Do?" Texas Observer, April 21, 2006: 14).
This Is Your Brain on Money: Why America’s Rich Think Differently Than the Rest of Us Economist Chris Dillow cites research by Cameron Anderson and Sebastien Brion, showing that overconfident individuals are seen by others as more competent. He argues that, “overconfident people are more likely to be promoted. And this could have positive feedback effects. Higher status will itself breed even more overconfidence. (E.g. “I got the job so I must be good.”) And if bosses employ like-minded subordinates, the result could be entire layers of management which are both over-confident and engaged in groupthink.” Many other studies cited.
Thom Hartmann: How the GOP Used a Two Santa Clauses Tactic to Con America for Nearly 40 Years This scam has been killing wages and enriching billionaires for decades.
The Republican Party has been running a long con on America since Reagan’s inauguration, and somehow our nation’s media has missed it – even though it was announced in The Wall Street Journal in the 1970s and the GOP has clung tenaciously to it ever since.
In fact, Republican strategist Jude Wanniski’s 1974 “Two Santa Clauses Theory” has been the main reason why the GOP has succeeded in producing our last two Republican presidents, Bush and Trump (despite losing the popular vote both times). It’s also why Reagan’s economy seemed to be “good.”
Here’s how it works, laid it out in simple summary:
First, when Republicans control the federal government, and particularly the White House, spend money like a drunken sailor and run up the US debt as far and as fast as possible. This produces three results – it stimulates the economy thus making people think that the GOP can produce a good economy, it raises the debt dramatically, and it makes people think that Republicans are the “tax-cut Santa Claus.”
Second, when a Democrat is in the White House, scream about the national debt as loudly and frantically as possible, freaking out about how “our children will have to pay for it!” and “we have to cut spending to solve the crisis!” This will force the Democrats in power to cut their own social safety net programs, thus shooting their welfare-of-the-American-people Santa Claus.
Think back to Ronald Reagan, who more than tripled the US debt from a mere $800 billion to $2.6 trillion in his 8 years. That spending produced a massive stimulus to the economy, and the biggest non-wartime increase in the debt in history. Nary a peep from Republicans about that 218% increase in our debt; they were just fine with it.
And then along came Bill Clinton. The screams and squeals from the GOP about the “unsustainable debt” of nearly $3 trillion were loud, constant, and echoed incessantly by media from CBS to NPR. Newt Gingrich rode the wave of “unsustainable debt” hysteria into power, as the GOP took control of the House for the first time lasting more than a term since 1930, even though the increase in our national debt under Clinton was only about 37%.
The GOP “debt freakout” was so widely and effectively amplified by the media that Clinton himself bought into it and began to cut spending, taking the axe to numerous welfare programs (“It’s the end of welfare as we know it” he famously said, and “The era of big government is over”). Clinton also did something no Republican has 'e in our lifetimes: he supported several balanced budgets and handed a budget surplus to George W. Bush.
When George W. Bush was given the White House by the Supreme Court (Gore won the popular vote by over a half-million votes) he reverted to Reagan’s strategy and again nearly doubled the national debt, adding a trillion in borrowed money to pay for his tax cut for GOP-funding billionaires, and tossing in two unfunded wars for good measure, which also added at least (long term) another $5 to $7 trillion.
There was not a peep about the debt from any high-profile in-the-know Republicans then; in fact, Dick Cheney famously said, essentially ratifying Wanniski’s strategy, “Reagan proved deficits ''t matter. We won the midterms [because of those tax cuts]. This is our due.” Bush and Cheney raised the debt by 86% to over $10 trillion (although the war debt wasn’t put on the books until Obama entered office).
Then comes Democratic President Barack Obama, and suddenly the GOP is hysterical about the debt again. So much so that they convinced a sitting Democratic president to propose a cut to Social Security (the “chained CPI”). Obama nearly shot the Democrats biggest Santa Claus program. And, Republican squeals notwithstanding, Obama only raised the debt by 34%.
Now we’re back to a Republican president, and once again deficits be damned. Between their tax cut and the nearly-trillion dollar spending increase passed on February 8th, in the first year-and-a-month of Trump’s administration they’ve spent more stimulating the economy (and driving up debt by more than $2 trillion, when you include interest) than the entire Obama presidency.
Consider the amazing story of where this strategy came from, and how the GOP has successfully kept their strategy from getting into the news; even generally well-informed writers for media like the Times and the Post – and producers, pundits and reporters for TV news – '’t know the history of what’s been happening right in front of us all for 37 years.
Wanniski was tired of the GOP failing to win elections. And, he reasoned, it was happening because the Democrats had been viewed since the New Deal as the Santa Claus party (taking care of people’s needs and the General Welfare), while the GOP, opposing everything from Social Security to Medicare to unemployment insurance, was widely seen as the party of Scrooge.
The Democrats, he noted, got to play Santa Claus when they passed out Social Security and Unemployment checks – both programs of the New Deal – as well as when their "big government" projects like roads, bridges, and highways were built, giving a healthy union paycheck to construction workers and making our country shine.
Democrats kept raising taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things, which didn't seem to have much effect at all on working people (wages were steadily going up, in fact), and that added to the perception that the Democrats were a party of Robin Hoods, taking from the rich to fund programs for the poor and the working class.
Americans loved the Democrats back then. And every time Republicans railed against these programs, they lost elections.
Wanniski decided that the GOP had to become a Santa Claus party, too. But because the Republicans hated the idea of helping working people, they had to figure out a way to convince people that they, too, could have the Santa spirit. But what?
“Tax cuts!” said Wanniski.
To make this work, the Republicans would first have to turn the classical world of economics – which had operated on a simple demand-driven equation for seven thousand years – on its head. (Everybody understood that demand – aka “wages” – drove economies because working people spent most of their money in the marketplace, producing demand for factory output and services.)
In 1974 Wanniski invented a new phrase – "supply side economics" – and suggested that the reason economies grew wasn't because people had money and wanted to buy things with it but, instead, because things were available for sale, thus tantalizing people to part with their money.
The more things there were, he said, the faster the economy would grow. And the more money we gave rich people and their corporations (via tax cuts) the more stuff they’d generously produce for us to think about buying.
At a glance, this move by the Republicans seems irrational, cynical and counterproductive. It certainly defies classic understandings of economics. But if you consider Jude Wanniski’s playbook, it makes complete sense.
To help, Arthur Laffer took that equation a step further with his famous napkin scribble. Not only was supply-side a rational concept, Laffer suggested, but as taxes went down, revenue to the government would go up! Neither concept made any sense – and time has proven both to be colossal idiocies – but together they offered the Republican Party a way out of the wilderness.
Ronald Reagan was the first national Republican politician to fully embrace the Two Santa Clauses strategy. He said straight out that if he could cut taxes on rich people and businesses, those tax cuts would cause them to take their surplus money and build factories, and that the more stuff there was supplying the economy the faster it would grow.
There was no way, Wanniski said, that the Democrats could ever win again. They'd be forced into the role of Santa-killers by raising taxes, or anti-Santas by cutting spending. Either one would lose them elections.
When Reagan rolled out Supply Side Economics in the early 80s, dramatically cutting taxes while exploding spending, there was a moment when it seemed to Wanniski and Laffer that all was lost. The budget deficit exploded and the country fell into a deep recession – the worst since the Great Depression – and Republicans nationwide held their collective breath.
But David Stockman came up with a great new theory about what was going on – they were "starving the beast" of government by running up such huge deficits that Democrats would never, ever in the future be able to talk again about national health care or improving Social Security.
And this so pleased Alan Greenspan, the Fed Chairman, that he opened the spigots of the Fed, dropping interest rates and buying government bonds, producing a nice, healthy goose to the economy.
Greenspan further counseled Reagan to dramatically increase taxes on people earning under $37,800 a year by doubling the Social Security (FICA/payroll) tax, and then let the government borrow those newfound hundreds of billions of dollars off-the-books to make the deficit look better than it was.
Reagan, Greenspan, Winniski, and Laffer took the federal budget deficit from under a trillion dollars in 1980 to almost three trillion by 1988, and back then a dollar could buy far more than it buys today. They and George HW Bush ran up more debt in eight years than every president in history, from George Washington to Jimmy Carter, combined.
Surely this would both starve the beast and force the Democrats to make the politically suicidal move of becoming deficit hawks. And that's just how it turned out.
Bill Clinton, who had run on an FDR-like platform of a "New Covenant" with the American people that would strengthen the institutions of the New Deal, strengthen labor, and institute a national health care system, found himself in a box.
A few weeks before his inauguration, Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin sat him down and told him the facts of life: he was going to have to raise taxes and cut the size of government. Clinton took their advice to heart, raised taxes, balanced the budget, and cut numerous programs, declaring an "end to welfare as we know it" and, in his second inaugural address, an "end to the era of big government."
Clinton was the anti-Santa Claus, and the result was an explosion of Republican wins across the country as Republican politicians campaigned on a platform of supply-side tax cuts and pork-rich spending increases. State after state turned red, and the Republican Party rose to take over, ultimately, every single lever of power in the federal government, from the Supreme Court to the White House.
Looking at the wreckage of the Democratic Party all around Clinton by 1999, Winniski wrote a gloating memo that said, in part: "We of course should be indebted to Art Laffer for all time for his Curve... But as the primary political theoretician of the supply-side camp, I began arguing for the 'Two Santa Claus Theory' in 1974. If the Democrats are going to play Santa Claus by promoting more spending, the Republicans can never beat them by promoting less spending. They have to promise tax cuts..."
In reality, his tax cuts did what they have always 'e over the past 100 years – they initiated a bubble economy that would let the very rich skim the cream off the top just before the ceiling crashed in on working people. Just like today.
The Republicans got what they wanted from Wanniski's work. They held power for thirty years, made themselves trillions of dollars, and cut organized labor's representation in the workplace from around 25 percent when Reagan came into office to around 6 of the non-governmental workforce today.
Over time, and without raising the cap, Social Security will face an easily-solved crisis, and the GOP’s plan is for force Democrats to become the anti-Santa, yet again. If the GOP-controlled Congress continues to refuse to require rich people to pay into Social Security (any income over $128,000 is SS-tax-free), either benefits will be cut or the retirement age will have to be raised to over 70.
The GOP plan is to use this unnecessary, manufactured crisis as an opening to “reform” Social Security - translated: cut and privatize. Thus, forcing Democrats to become the Social Security anti-Santa a different way.
When this happens, Democrats must remember Jude Wanniski, and accept neither the cut to disability payments nor the entree to Social Security “reform.” They must demand the “cap” be raised, as Bernie Sanders proposed and the Democratic Party adopted in its 2016 platform.
And, hopefully, some of our media will begin to call the GOP out on the Two Santa Clauses program. It’s about time that Americans realized the details of the scam that’s been killing wages and enriching billionaires for nearly four decades.
Slavehood 2017 By Peter Koenig [an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America.] May 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
When in the 18th and 19th Century African slaves did not ‘behave’, they were cruelly beaten sometimes to death as a deterrent for others. They were deprived of food for their families. Their women were raped. They were traded to even harsher white masters. Their lives were worth only what their labor could produce. They were treated as subjects, devoid of human warmth.
Today we have become all slaves; slaves to the powers of mafia bankster of finance; slaves to the western lie-propaganda; to the lobbies and their giant all dominating corporations – to the war-industry, because we happily believe what we are told about ever-increasing terrorism that needs to be fought with eternal wars; slaves to the environment-destructive hydrocarbon industry; to the pharma-industry; to the Monsanto-ized agroindustry; to senseless consumerism – and foremost – and summing it all up: to greed, endless greed that drives endless growth, nurturing endless competition fomenting adversity, destroying solidarity, instead of amical cooperation for a harmonious human cohabitation.
As people of western nations, we are enslaved to an all-engulfing neoliberal fascism – to a predatory economy. Corporate lie propaganda drip-feds our brains. We haven’t even noticed it. We are enslaved to so-called ‘leaders’, put in office by obscure foreign masters of deceit – the ever-stronger corporate controlled propaganda machine – the six all controlling Zion-Anglo media, whom we believe whatever lie they vomit – because it is more comfortable to believe a lie than to confront the truth – that’s self-imposed slavehood.
That’s how far we have gone. Because we are clearly on an almost irreversible downward track – sliding and running towards our own demise – into darkness – the darkness of chaos and bloody wars, endless wars against self-invented terrorism; wars that keeps our western economy running – and our armchair politics alive. Wars that kill and slaughter millions and millions – but all in ‘far-away’ lands. We are told we are protected. Our police and military watch over us. The new gods – money and military.
Although ‘pride’ was never an appropriate term to integrate our soul and minds, as we the western powers – have for centuries enslaved, raped, exploited and slaughtered the indigenous people, those who have for millennia, for history of mankind survived and passed on our human genes from one murderous civilization to another, always in the hope that the new one would see the light.
We can only hope that the patience of these native people, the survivors, our saviors – will prevail, that before we disappear in darkness, in the void of a manmade blackhole, we will awake, open our eyes and seek the light – become finally human, the term we have fraudulently applied to ourselves – the western civilization.
Independent thinking has become a crime, as it impedes the advancement of slavehood. Education is designed to kill individual thinking and the wide range of inventiveness – because it’s dangerous – for those who enslave and control us. ‘New-speak’ education has to make us thinking what the system wants us to think. That’s what western education has become in the last 50 years – a farce to keep us as non-thinking idiots.
Idiots are easily enslaved and exploited and sent to wars – to steal foreign resources to satisfy the greed of a few. We love to be cannon fodder, as we were told – enslaved – to believe that good patriots love to die for their country. We are blinded and avoid seeing that we are dying fighting to satisfy puppet leaders’ greed for power and money – whose power is nothing more than that allowed them by the Masters who control the world and who pull the strings on their marionettes.
"Neoconservatism--the term was Michael Harrington's--originated in the 1970s as a movement of anti-Soviet liberals and social democrats...
"..in the 1980s.. its growing contempt for international law and its exaggeration of the Soviet threat. Today's neocons are a shrunken remnant of the original broad neocon coalition...
"..the example of Israel has inspired American neocons to embrace tactics like preventive war and "targeted assassination"..
"..the naton has value only as the host or carrier of a potentially universal ideology, which must be spread abroad by force of arms and subversion... kind of crusading secular messianism...
"The redefinition of American patriotism as zealotry... disrespect for actual American institutions...
"The neocons claim to be Wilsonians, but it's hard to see much of Wilson in their celebration of Kipling-style imperialism" (Michael Lind. "A Tragedy of Errors." The Nation, Feb. 23, 2004, 23-29).
"For the past couple of years, these messianic global manipulators have quietly been out to topple Hugo Chaves, the duly elected president of Venezuela. What threat does Chaves pose to us? None. Zero. Zip. What's his "crime"? He's too "leftie," not beholden to the oil giants operating in Venezuela, not properly obedient to U.S. power...
"Reams of internal documents have now surfaced showing a startling effort by the Bushites to undermine the legitimate government of Venezuela -- a blatantly antidemocratic effort that, ironically, they rationalize by asserting that Chavez is not democratic enough to suit them. Last year alone, they funneled a million of our tax dollars into opposition groups seeking to overthrow Chavez and install Venezuela's moneyed class in power" (Jim Hightower. "Government Scripted 'News'." Texas Observer, 4/23/04: 15).
"..Bush's doctrinaire economic agenda is to return America to a pre-Roosevelt, laissez-faire, robber-baron era. He's actively dismantling the legal framework that for nearly half a century has assured a middle-class.." (Jim Hightower. The hightower Lowdown, June 2004: 5).
""Stepford Republicans"" (Molly Ivins. "Molly's Fans and Foes Weigh In." Texas Observer, 7/30/04: 14).
"Their stated and open aim is to strip from government all its functions except those that reward their rich and privileged benefactors... the public's property?... Privatize it. Sell it at a discounted rate to their corporate cronies...
"It is the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime...
"...they bask in the company of the new corporate aristocracy, as privileged a class as we have seen since the plantation owners of antebellum America and the court of Louis XIV. What I can't explain is the rage of these counterrevolutionaries to dismantle every last brick of the social contract..." (Bill Moyers. "This is Your Story. Pass It On." Texas Observer, 8/13/04: 4-9, 38).
"Robert B. Reich takes on the Bush conservatives in his new book, dubbing them 'Radcons' -- radical idealogues who see true democracy as an obstacle to be overcome" (http://www.alternet.org/, June 17, 2004).
"... the Taliban wing of the GOP... they bar the door to new moderates... hound senior House members who deviate from relgious-right stances on abortion and gay rights or who display a willingness to work with Democrats" (John Nichols. "Hunting for RINOs." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 31).
"Christianity in this country has become almost synonymous with right-wing fanaticism, conservative politics and -- courtesy of Mel Gibson -- a brutally sadistic version of religious experience" (Dan Wakefield. "The Anti-Warrior." The Nation, July 12, 2004: 34).
"...a direct association exists between the magnitude of a man's femiphobia and his tendency to embrace right-wing political opinions" --from the book The Wimp Factor, by Stephen J. Ducat (Advertisement. The Nation, Oct. 11, 2004: 25).
"...neoconservatives [are] admirer[s] of the late political philosopher and refugee from Nazi Germany Leo Strauss... Strauss' idea of hidden meaning... suggests that deception is the norm in political life... in Straussian thought, a degree of public deception is considered absolutely necessary" (Alterman, Eric. "When Presidents Lie." The Nation. Oct. 25, 2004: 22).
"In the ranks of the new conservatives, however, I see and experience much hate. It comes to me in violently worded, ignorant and irrational emails from self-professed conservatives who literally worship George Bush. Even Christians have fallen into idolatry. There appears to be a large number of Americans who are prepared to kill anyone for George Bush....
"The Iraqi War is serving as a great catharsis for multiple conservative frustrations: job loss, drugs, crime, homosexuals, pornography, female promiscuity, abortion, restrictions on prayer in public places, Darwinism and attacks on religion. Liberals are the cause. Liberals are against America. Anyone against the war is against America and is a liberal. "You are with us or against us."...
"This is the mindset of delusion, and delusion permits no facts or analysis. Blind emotion rules. Americans are right and everyone else is wrong. End of the debate....
"That, gentle reader, is the full extent of talk radio, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal Editorial page, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and, indeed, of the entire concentrated corporate media where noncontroversy in the interest of advertising revenue rules" (Paul Craig Roberts, http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20050120&fname=usconservatives&sid=1&pn=1, 1/25/05).
Subject: Psalm 23, updated
Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days
of thy term,
(Source: email from Irene Scharf, 2/25/05)
Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:
Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime,
The United States should get out of the United
Government should relax regulation of Big Business
"Standing Tall for America'" means firing your
A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her
Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of
The best way to improve military morale is to praise
Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless
If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents
A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our
HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of
Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy.
Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk
Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad
A president lying about an extramarital affair is an
Government should limit itself to the powers named
The public has a right to know about Hillary's
You support states' rights, which means Attorney
What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital
Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is
(from Lionel's Reading Room).
"Conservatives complain relentlessy that they do no get a fair shake in the university, and they want parity--that is, more conservatives on faculties. Conservatives are lonely on American campuses as well as beleaguered and misunderstood. News that tenured poets vote Democratic or that Kerry received far more money from professors than Bush pains them. They want America's faculties to reflect America's political composition. Of course, they do not address such imbalances in the police force, Pentagon, FBI, CIA and other government outfits where the stakes seem far higher and where, presumably, followers of Michael Moore are in short supply. If life were a big game of Monopoly, one might sugggest a trade to these conservatives: You give us one Pentagon, one Department of State, Justice and Education, plus throw in the Supreme Court, and we will give you every damned English department you want" (Russell Jacoby. "The New PC: Crybaby Conservatives." The Nation, April 4, 2005: 11-16).
"The United States Government is currently run by a group of people for whom verifiable truth holds no particular privilege over ideologically inspired nonsense... demonstrating Bush's willingness to mislead the nation in the service of his ideological obsessions...
"...the unhappy fact is that almost everything this Administration tries to sell to Americans is snake oil, and the mere act of reporting it without comment implicates the media in the fundamental dishonesty that is this President's modus operandi. When he says "freedom," he means the freedom of the United States and its allies to jail and torture anyone they choose. When he says "liberty," he means the liberty of other governments to profess to share the alleged aims of US foreign policy and then--like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Egypt--jail and silence all critics without inconvenient criticism from the United States" (Eric Alterman. "Better Red Than Dead?" The Nation, Feb. 28, 2005: 11).
"Without question, if we all used the same vocabulary, the neoconservative movement would collapse. That's why the government has to pay columnists, favricate its own news and invent its own language to win the war of public opinion...
"... Bush-speak... touts a culture of lise, this while promoting permanent worldwide war...
"And so rather than rebuking the illegal war culprits, the neocons simply change the meaning of words and reward each other with new appointments...
"Nowadays, military death squad killings in Afghanistan and Iraq have become "targeted assassinations." And the president is completely against torture, as long as he defines its meaning, this while ensuring that US troops act with impunity and are exempt from the International War Crime tribunal.
"At home, politics trumps science and delusion is now the national pastime. There is no global warming. Propaganda promotes freedom. Corruption occurs abroad and pollution-friendly rules are now "clear-air" initiatives. Universal health care is satanic, and bankruptcy is now only an option for big business. And his deficit-inducing tax cuts that favor the rich are propelling the economy...
"...the deceptive use of language by the US government... we are supposed to perceive ourselves not as "savages," but as under siege from savages" (Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez. "The culture of life." Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 18).
Colby Glass, MLIS