Barbarians Inside the Gates

40

by
Joseph O’Shaughnessy

Yesterday, Monday, July 10th, the President announced his nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy. He nominated an attorney and judge by the name of Kavanaugh, although the name is not really important. This candidate was put up, along with a couple of dozen others by the Federalist society. So he may have been number two or number twenty-two. They are all the same. They have the same values, the same prejudices, the same political motivations, and most of all, the same allegiance to one political party. And that political party has allegiance only to a mere handful, perhaps as few as several hundred, enormously wealthy and powerful men.

Oh, they will claim to be “good family men” and truly “concerned” for the American people. They will be visibly—very visibly charitable with their money or their time. But when the time comes to vote against health insurance companies who throw people off their rolls, bankrupting them when they should be rushing to assist them….these judges will be missing in action. Judge Neil Gorsuch voted against a man and for a trucking company when the man was fired for leaving his truck to find safety during a violent snowstorm. Oh, yes, they will protest…the strict construction of the law”…but that is a lie. When it comes time to arbitrarily overturn 40 years of legal precedent and vote against women—and 63% of the American public—in favor of religious zealots….then, they will show up.

And, why would we call these people barbarians? If you follow a barbarian, then, what are you? Are you civilized? Then, if you are, why are you following a barbarian? After the war they didn’t give Nazis a culture test. They didn’t ask them if they liked Hitler or thought he was right about the Jews. If they were Nazis, they were Hitler. They made Hitler possible. They made the death of 6 million Jews and 50 million people, including 500,000 dead Americans, possible. If you work for Trump, you’re a Trump-ite. And if you are a Trumpite, these days, it means you are a Fascist. You are someone who will go along with any kind of slur or ridicule, accurate or not, hurtful or not, racist or not…to achieve what you want.

Look at this video. It explains what Trump is all about and how—if we let it happen–good people can be destroyed by people like Trump.

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So how did this come to be? Trump would never have even won the nomination or perhaps even have been let into a hall where a Republican President would have been nominated in the 1970s. People like Gerald Ford, a conservative economically but a decent, honorable man, ran the Republican Party in those days. But it actually goes back, to some degree, earlier than that.

In the Summer of 1971, Lewis F. Powell, as damaging a human being who ever lived, sent a memorandum to the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in which he laid out a basic strategy for the United States to become a nation influenced by corporate America. It was a strategy that would becom the foundation for Conservative politics. It would couch all daily conversations in their relative value to the growth of corporations and sell that to the American people as, basically—the People should be and are beholden to corporations and their owners for jobs.
Every piece of propaganda, from Conservative “idealism’ to Trump barbarian Neo-Fascism has flowed from that memo…written by the chief advocate and attorney for the Tobacco Industry.

By 1973, several of the major super-rich who had their own Neo-Fascist leanings, such as the Koch Brothers, had already started the propaganda war, originating the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute to promote the idea that without the favor of the giant corporations, workers would be destitute and any anti-corporate attitude was not only ungrateful but dangerous to society.

The Koch Brothers were the sons of Fred Koch, the leading founder of the John Birch Society whose political advocate was Joe McCarthy, a Wisconsin Senator, an ambitious, thuggish politician who would later be censured and die an early death, a drunk. Even in those days the Koch Family had no scruples, as the John Birch Society and McCarthy even attacked the U.S. Army, and its leadership and even George C. Marshall, who led this country to victory in World War II, created and fostered the Marshall Plan which saved Europe and perhaps prevented World War III, and was a Virginia gentleman of impeccable character, one of the finest and most honorable leaders in the history of this country.

Contrast that man, one who would not even discuss or bother to defend himself or his character against the crude Republican attacks of those days, with our current President, a person of visibly low moral character, a daily, blatant, and open liar, a sexual deviant, a predatory, arrogant, churlish, adolescent—as President of the United States. It is our most embarrassing and humiliating historical period already, after less than two years.

The great watershed in our country’s political path came at a moment of weakness in 1980, when we elected a man whose surface qualities, all carefully cultivated as an actor, a television performer, a corporate public speaker, and then a political figure, combined with a dishonesty that, to this day, despite fact after fact, was so disarming that many people still cannot believe it.

Ronald Reagan was the right man at the right time for the Conservative—and we now know—anti-labor movement. At the time, what we didn’t know was how closely tied Ronald Reagan was, through the employer to whom he was so totally beholden—General Electric, the largest corporation of that era, and Conservative politicians, through his wife, to twhom he felt and even closer and virtually unbreakable tie
Reagan was a man of genial personality on the surface. He had a temper and a serious side and a good intellect. He was not “misguided” into the absurd “supply side” theory.

Reagan’s goal was to establish himself as a strong leader of a party dominated by those with potentially unlimited economic power. He did that by justifying tax cuts for hugely wealthy individuals and giant corporations by literally cutting taxes on the wealthy in half. It made him the strongest leader of any political party since Franklin Roosevelt.

Reagan’s policies not only tripled the national debt but also began the transition from a country with a strong Middle Class to one with the greatest income and wealth inequality in the world. His ability to mask his intentions and the background that led him to the Presidency, and his public persona of hope and “idealism” while creating rationales for abandoning the poor, the mentally ill, and minorities was enabled through a carefully cultivated image of genial goodwill towards all.

Reagan was like a lovely boat traveling down the river, admired by all on shore, not realizing that it was being guided remotely here and there by unseen hands, never quite touching shore, never delivering anything but smiles and waves to those along the way. All the while, the Republican party was enhancing and broadening the big lie, Reagan’s chief fault…that tax cuts lead to greater economies…to create a powerful political party on the Right that would eventually drive out all Republican moderates.

George H.W. Bush has much to answer for in all this. At first, he called Reagan’s economic plan, the foolish Atthur Laffer “trickle down” tax cuts (masquerading as “supply side” economics) for what it was, “voodoo economics,” But later he reneged on that statement, even going so far as to say that he had never said it. He eventually paid for his indecisiveness when the unforgiving Republican Party, already in the hands of very wealthy and powerful corporations, would not forgive his decision to raise taxes to cut huge deficits. They refused to support him and he lost an election to Bill Clinton.

By the early 2000s, the Koch brothers, through their semi-annual meetings between Republican politicians and billionaires, had created a huge war chest…hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle. They began to use their influence and money to pick their own candidates and spent enormous sums to toss out Conservatives who did not follow their instructions.

Thus came about the Tea Party, the first truly—Neo-Fascist group devoted to ending the Republic voting against all spending that might one day raise taxes on their sponsors, the super-rich. The job of the Tea Party is to put control of government completely in the hands of an economic aristocracy. The billionaires own the corporations. That isn’t a matter of dispute. With the Koch brothers, it isn’t hidden. It is a private company. They own almost all the stock.

With others, like Robert Mercer, the trail is a little harder to follow. A multi-billionaire who quietly earns huge sums, virtually tax free from his Wall Street hedge fund, he has given enormous sums to the Republican Party. Most recently he is infamous for another of his companies, Cambridge Analytica, which used Facebook to identify certain kinds of confused, often economically disadvantaged and discontented individuals and then lie to them about Donald Trump.

These propaganda messages were guided by Steve Bannon, one of the producers of “Clinton Cash,” one huge, politically motivated, hatchet job on Hillary Clinton before the 2016 campaign. It was acknowledged by the general media to be “propaganda” which was a nice way of saying that it was..and it was…100% total fabrication—one huge lie– presented as absolute fact! And of course, in good traditional propagandist style, Trump then simply used those lies as fact, to call for the government to “Lock her up!” during his campaign speeches.

Bannon was also one of those involved with the Citizen’s United people who gave billionaires legal ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to elect a Right Wing Neo-Fascists to government. There has been some ignorant comment by the press that Bannon and Trump were part of a “populist” movement. The facts, of course, proved to be different. In 1910 one could never imagine the press of that era to have called Andrew Mellon or John D. Rockefeller “populists” no matter how many good things they promised or how many dimes they scattered among poor children.

Teddy Roosevelt was a populist. Robert LaFollette was a populist. William Jennings Bryan was a populist. They were populists because they had always supported the people. Hitler was never a populist. Mussolini was never a populist. They were merely propagandists, who were uncovered only too late. These aren’t allegations. Bannon always worked for the Right Wing rich. He was Trump’s campaign manager. Before that he worked for the man who headed up Citizen’s United. People who work for the rich, to advance greedy, selfish policies for the rich, at the expense of the poor are the opposite of populists.

Moreover, people who support nationalist, Right Wing policies in Europe today, are never, and never should be, called “populists.” Being popular or appealing to currently popular ideas or trends is not the same as being a “Populist.” A Populist is a politician who has a record of supporting and creating legislation that comes directly from the needs of the “populus” the Latin word for “people.”