The outstanding PBS documentary series FRONTLINE has produced a documentary that explains Putin’s role in the Trump election. We have tried to edit it down to manageable scale so you can see what happened.
It will also help explain why President Trump’s campaign is under investigation. The video is long but very important. After the video, we have tried to reveal how others try to suppress the vote and take over our democratic election process using both wealth and stealth.xxx
Putin isn’t the only one trying to sew dissent and division among Americans. There are very powerful forces, enormously wealthy individuals, like the Koch Brothers and others whose goal is to control our Democracy. And how are they doing it? By purchasing the loyalty of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States to their causes, which are directly opposed to your causes. For one example, they do not like the growth of government. The reason they do not is that, despite the fact that they pay only about 15% of their income in taxes, they see no reason to pay even that much. After all, it comes to millions of dollars a year. Of course they are left with billions after they pay their taxes, amounts that they could never spend and could only invest with the greatest of difficulty.
Beginning in about 1990, the Citizens’ United political Pac began lobbying and then suing in federal courts to overturn all legislation prohibiting billionaires and millionaires from spending as much as they wanted in elections. The Koch Brothers, the principal culprits, and like-minded friends fought for and finally won their case with a Republican 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court.
And by unconscionably holding up the appointment of a Supreme Court justice for another year, the Republican Senate, now we know totally dedicated to the will of billionaires like the Kochs, made it almost impossible for many years to overturn Citizens’ United. Ironically, the money the Koch Brothers donated, over $200 million from 1990 to 2010, was used in part to defeat the candidacy of one of America’s finest legislators, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and elect his opponent, the son-in-law of another billionaire owner of an international packaging corporation, and an ultra-Right Wing advocate.
Not only were those 80,000 fake news stories and Facebook posters and Twitter accounts used against Hillary Clinton. They were also used to lie about people like Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, running against Feingold, portraying him as an advocate for working families and children, when one of his first acts after re-election was to vote to remove 30 million people from accessibility to affordable health care. So the Fascists persuaded the people of Wisconsin to go from a population who had in the past supported a Senator, Feingold, in the mold of one of the all-time great legislators, Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, to then vote for Johnson, one of the least intelligent and most distasteful in the Senater. And now sacrificing the great potential of helping Wisconsin citizens by having Feingold in that position.
But these things are not happening because people are stupid. It is happening because of Ronald Reagan. In 1987, Ronald Reagan, apparently tired of having his lies about the economy and his phony campaign against the Russians (who were literally falling apart from the inside) exposed by knowledgeable economists and experts on geopolitical statistics, decided to do away with the Fairness Doctrine.
Radio commentators no longer had to deliver the facts on issues. Rush Limbaugh soon came into prominence as someone who could go on the radio, lie, and then building on that lie, accuse people like President Clinton of ruining an economy which was, in fact, the best since the period after World War II would later even surpass the post war years. Limbaugh, paid $40 million a year by owners of networks backed by Conservative oil barons and people like heir to billions and mining and lumber magnate William Mellon Scaife, spent his time spreading many of the false stories about Hillary Clinton, which is why you didn’t have somewhat universal health care until President Obama.
The lies of Rush Limbaugh reaching millions of people per day, sent out over the national Right Wing networks and other Conservative broadcasters, were all you could hear during almost any time of day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. anywhere across the heartland of the United States. He appealed to and encouraged racists, bigots, white supremacists, drunks, the small minded, those who felt themselves oppressed because they were white or those who felt themselves oppressed because “Liberals” were educated and they, having wasted their educational years, were not.
Hundreds of other newly billionaire-supported Conservative radio hosts made careers by taking every piece of legislation meant to help average American families…union organization, health care, lower prescription prices, availability of housing, higher minimum wages…all these Middle Class issues were turned into “Liberal” government giveaways. It became so bad, that when Senator Claire McCaskill asked members of a town hall if they were against government health care programs, everyone raised their hands. When she asked them how many would like to give up their Medicare…none raised their hands. The Republican Right Wing radio hosts had somehow persuaded Missourians that what they actually believe was not what they believed. They spun these simple and apparently simple-minded citizens around like a playground carousel. And they still do.
If you watched and were not already persuaded by your own prejudices, the movie “Clinton Cash” and other books and movies about Hillary Clinton show absolutely nothing at all wrong with her. In one movie, the one single thing that was not just conjecture based on these Limbaugh-style lies and inferences from unproved (and even illogical) statements was that she seems to have fired the White House travel manager and installed her friends from Arkansas…or at least hired them…to handle travel. Of course, the former travel manager was prosecuted and fined $30,000 and was later given another civil service post, even after having proved to have something that must have been wrong. Even so, the Clinton movies never mention this, nor do they ever tell the Clinton side of the story.
Political power, as you saw from the video, is what this is all about. In Georgia, the young political idealist and former Washington staffer, the Democrat, was attacked with overwhelming force by Right Wing televisions commercials that literally showed riots, with dangerous looking characters, in dark clothes, African-Americans setting fire to buildings. This, the billionaire sponsored Citizens United unlimited funds campaign said was what would happen to Atlanta area citizens if Jon Ossoff were elected. Did the right-thinking, liberally minded, honest, intelligent citizens of Atlanta stand up for the truth? Jon Ossoff was defeated and a hack politician, a formerly discredited and poorly regarded state representative went to Washington to represent the bigots.
Think about it: 15,000 fake social media accounts and 80,000 fake news items against Hillary Clinton on social media. And they won, even though 3 million more Americans were smart enough to see through it all. So, now what will happen? Let’s start with health care. With a Republican President, the Republicans in the House, once they decide who wins between the Right Wing, who want to cut Obamacare to the bone, or the Ultra-Right Wing, who want to simply repeal it and go back to the dog-eat-dog days of 20% per year increases in employer-based health care premiums alone, with no guarantees of coverage, then we will have a bill that favors the rich.
Next, we will have a tax cut bill which we already know eliminates one huge source of revenue for the government altogether…the (rich man’s only) estate tax elimination. Does this help you? If you are inheriting an estate which you probably never worked an hour to build, that is more than $5,000,000 or, if you are married, over $10,000,000, then no it does not give you anything. It does, however, greatly reduce government revenues so that Republicans can complain again about greater and greater deficits, which they have generated in each and every year they have been in office since Reagan. This, in turn, means that they can use Limbaugh to tell his idiot listeners that they don’t deserve the Social Security payments into which fund they have been paying premiums every year of their entire work history. And Medicare, which the Republicans want to end…plan, in fact, to end and install a “voucher” system, according to Paul Ryan.
Trump is not “draining the swamp.” He is the swamp and he is expanding it with his Cabinet and with his new Supreme Court pick, a hard-core Neo-Fascist. The American people must learn that the former Republican Party should now be re-designated (if not in your conversations at least in your minds) as Neo-Fascists. Neo-Fascists are not simply politicians who want to get elected. They are politicians who are so obsessed by being elected politicians that they will take anyone’s money and do whatever that person or organization demands. Of all the seats in the United States House of Representatives, there are now only 50 or 60 seats that are not so gerrymandered that a Democrat has even the remotest chance of election. Trump has already showed by his actions that he is a “lying Republican” which might be another way to define what I call “Neo-Fascist.” In other words, he says things like “repeal…do not replace” which means go back to the unfair and corporate-profit motivated health care of the past. Or he says: “tax reform” which he says does not help him or the other billionaires but then immediately cuts estate taxes completely…which by definition only helps multi-millionaires and billionaires. I don’t know how much evidence is needed or how much damage he must do to the people before the fools will see that he, too, is just another Right Wing billionaire Fascist.
Why is all of this important? It is important because a Neo-Fascist government is something new in this country. People, especially our current crop of high school and college graduates were raised long after the last big war, and totally out of memory of those early days of the 20th Century, when turmoil led to social action and social action was quietly and secretly replaced by dominant,single-minded Fascism. It is the evolution of that kind of government that is so important today.
Fascist governments begin slowly, usually as a response to some economic catastrophe. In our case, it was the Bush-Cheney Great Recession, or what I would call the Bush-Cheney Market Crash and Depression of 2008. Let’s go back a bit and recall that the government loaned banks hundreds of billions of dollars to keep them open. Sixteen million people were thrown out of work, almost two million for over two years! Unemployment reached one in ten people and President Obama persuaded the Republican Congress to authorize another $787 billion in fiscal activity to jump start the economy, which was not enough by at least half a trillion dollars.
Over the next four years, the Republicans obstructed government at every turn. Senator McConnell, the Republican leader, said…out loud…in public…as if it were acceptable, that he was going to shut down any and everything that President Obama tried to do for the next four years. Over the next four years, Republicans filibustered over 400 bills that President Obama and the Democrats tried to pass in order to help the ailing American worker.
But, once again, racist Rush Limbaugh came to the aid of the Republicans and the rich. And now he had assistance, not only from hundreds of lying radio commentators, but also from Fox News channel. Former Republican Party Chairman and apparently a pervert, Roger Ailes, simply took instructions from the current Republican Party leaders and his global Right Wing advertisers, like the military contractors, big oil and big pharmaceuticals. He passed along the, by now Neo-Fascist, talking points to his commentators, Sean Hannity and another pervert, Bill O’Reilly, who then sent the lies out to their audiences of ignorant or willingly Fascist Republican supporters.
Not many people realize that only ten percent of all Germans were Nazis. But the Nazis, using things like women’s auxiliaries and youth movements of all kinds, brought more and more people close to the Nazi party. Times were good but the Germans, because they needed those associations or jobs were willing to overlook growing animosity towards Jews, and some Catholics and union members and newspaper editors and homosexuals. Things were good for a while. And then the pull of power, that Germans were the greatest military power in the world (they were, at that time) and that they were a superior race, overtook the normally even-tempered and decent German nature. Over time, in order to maintain order while proceeding with their other activities, such as killing Jews, exiling artists, creating large prisons, spending enormous sums on materials for war, and tolerating no dissent, the Fascists became more and more autocratic. That happens in every Fascist country. The oppression accelerates because people want to rise up because they are oppressed, and so it continues in an endless cycle.
For us…well, we are in the early stages of Neo-Fascism. Only recently have the oligarchs taken over our electoral process. Our military does threaten other countries but, in our case, with some justification. A larger and larger mass of people are poor and the other end of the spectrum has gained enormous power. In our time, there is no question. With a little less militaristic appearance but with just as much dedication to total domination, the Fascist are those formerly known as Republicans. And if you don’t see yourself that way, despite the fact that you are on the same side as Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Louis Gohmert, Steve King, or the kiler and his gang in Charlottesville or the mobs that attacked protesters at Trump’s Neo-Fascist rallies…or Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coultr…then, you’d bette declare yourself an Independent or a Democrat. And soon.
You see, the Nazis were only a tenth of the population of about 69,000,000 Germans and Austrians. And while 6,900,000 Germans and Austrians died in the last three years alone of the Nazi rule, and a country was destroyed completely and took 20 years to begin to build itself back from destitution, of those 6,900,000 million dead, not all were Nazis.
Most were just average citizens, like you and me, who stood bye until it was too late.