The attacks on the people will begin to increase now. The hugely wealthy backers of the Republican Party got what they wanted….more money . They will use it to fund more radio and television and Internet programs and ads and videos and articles attacking the Left, the Liberals, the Progressives and the Populists. They will do so for one very good reason, at least to them. More money.
The simple math is this. Even if only pay 20% taxes…which many, many more very wealthy people now will—you still pay $200,000 in taxes on $1,000,000 in income. No one wants to pay taxes. The richer you are the more you pay. So the more it upsets you.
Corporations will now have much more money to use lobbying and giving to Pacs that will support Republican legislators. The battle is going to get harder to keep from losing the Social Security and Medicare you paid for or now pay for to those who don’t like paying all that money in taxes.
Since Ronald Reagan, we have had all kinds of economic theory and various excuses about the inefficiency of government. It is all crap. The real battle is over who pays how much in taxes. And the rich just won a huge battle because the hicks still don’t get it. They are still worried about whether they can keep your daughter from having an abortion while the rich will get one anyway and in the meantime you lose the ability to live indoors in your old age.
So the ignorant and or the stupid in our society, who were identified and isolated and used by both the Republican Party and the Russians, allowed them to rig an election. (Yes, the Russians. Find “Frontline” on YouTube and you’ll get the truth. You don’t need to wait for Mueller to indict Trump.)
It didn’t happen overnight. First we elected the Neo-Fascist Scott Walker in Wisconsin because we got lazy and the Koch Brothers didn’t. Then we allowed Michigan not only to elect Rick Snyder but we allowed the entire Michigan legislature (like the Wisconsin legislature) to go Republican. As soon as everything was in their control, they started running people off the election rolls. Hillary lost in Wisconsin by around 10,000 votes. The Republican legislature and Walker in Wisconsin had already lopped 100,000 Democratic voters off the list of registered voters. The same thing, only worse, happened in Michigan, and Pennsylvania…but also in many other states, like Ohio.
Here is a good rule. Don’t make voting decisions based on what a legislator says; follow what he or she does. In other words, if a legislator votes to give huge tax breaks to billionaires but wants to cut Social Security, what does that tell you? Well, moron, you can wait until that legislator votes to cut your Social Security—YOUR Social Security–you paid for it. Or you can vote him or her out now, right away.
Yes, this means voting against billionaires. A billionaire is a person who has ten million dollars to spend each year for 100 years. And in that last year, he still has to find a way to spend ten million dollars, even if he only hid his money in a coal mine his entire life. These are not people you should feel sorry for. Think of the guy in Chicago who buys and sells stocks, using computer algorithms. He just bought the top four floors of a building overlooking Lake Michigan for $53 million dollars to carve out a simple place to live. So you might start wondering whether five or ten or even twenty of that $53 million might not have gone to affordable housing or even clean shelters for one or two of the 80,000 homeless in the Chicago area. Or you might want to weigh what taxing him another ten points would do to him as opposed to what losing $300 of her monthly $1,000 Social Security check would mean to an elderly woman with no savings.
It isn’t Socialism to want to help people. Churches do it every day. Besides providing community for people to associate and help each other, it is one of the few good things churches do. We had this same situation in the late 19th and the early 20th Century with robber barons. They worked people for 48 hours or more a week while they literally imported multi-million-dollar European mansions, which they rebuilt here, stone by stone. Are we there again?
In 1987, Ronald Reagan overturned the Fairness Doctrine, which said that anything you say that affects politics on the radio or television must have the balance of an opposing position. Why? Because we need to know the truth. We can’t have a man like Trump running around lying all the time and not know the truth. If a Rush Limbaugh goes on the radio and accuses Hillary Clinton of stealing money from the Clinton Foundation, or being involved in murdering one of her best friends, or causing the death of one of her ambassadors, a good friend, in Benghazi…none of which is even remotely close to being true and is easily refutable…then, under a Fairness Doctrine, Rush Limbaugh would have to offer someone the opportunity to give opposing information. Without the Fairness Doctrine, people like Limbaugh and Mark Levin and Michael Savage and Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt and Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity…all paid Right Wing commentators, multi-millionaires from propaganda by the way, are not obliged to tell the truth. And they don’t.
One hardly has to read a newspaper or any other national news network (except for Murdoch’s Fox News,) to see that what these Right Wing commentators say is untrue. They stay on the air because the owners of these radio networks are themselves often Right Wing. Rupert Murdoch of the Fox News Channel has made a fortune slanting the news towards the slugs of the world. Fox News is simply a place for those who want to watch a pretty blonde cross and re-cross her legs while two stiffs on either side of her tell us how wonderful the Republicans are and how the Democrats are out to get us. Goebbels is dancing in his grave.
Limbaugh, literally a radio vagabond until the repeal of the Fairness Docrtine became popular because, without legal restraints—and he still has none—he could come on air and lie. The Right Wing saw its opportunity and never stopped adding to its list of those who will spew hate, say anything they are paid to say, and built nationwide networks that only featured “Conservative” Right Wing radio commentators.
We know who their listeners are now because they voted in such great numbers for Donald Trump. Almost 63 million people voted for a man who is demonstrably and clearly, without question (and almost totally unapologetically) a liar, a pervert, a racist, a hypocrite and a slanderer. He has, at various times and for various reasons, randomly or capriciously fired people from their jobs, publicly insulted individual women, deliberately refused to pay workers, lied about co-workers or political opponents, or fired people who disagree with him and people who merely pointed out his damaging activities to others.
Republicans love him. They think he is wonderful. He intends to remove access to health care, to remove safeguards on water and the atmosphere in cities, to sell off the most pristine areas of the country, national parks and monuments belonging to all the people. He wants to reduce or eliminate Social Security because he believes that people who, unlike him, were not blessed by having been born into a wealthy family, should have that money stolen by the rich to repay some of their taxes.
He believes tax cuts, primarily for the wealthy and corporations are a good trade-off for the estimated $24 billion dollars that Paul Ryan says must be cut from Medicare. This means higher co-pays, higher premium costs to a system that is already 30% more cost-efficient than private health care plans. It is unimportant to Trump that most citizens worked for 40 or 50 years deducting parts of their income to go to annuities barely enough on which to survive.
He doesn’t care that even with Social Security, many people are forced to survive on $12,000 to $13,000 per year of which rent is often over half that amount. In other words, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, all the other Republicans in Congress…all of them…and Trump…want to cut these poverty incomes by even more. These meager subsistence incomes will then become homeless incomes or starvation incomes. This is “Making America Great Again”?
All day, every day, the drumbeat of Right Wing radio attacks the politicians like Richard Durbin who want to help the people and lionizes the Right Wing Republicans, like Mitch McConnell who pander to the rich. You cannot look at the daily activities of the Republicans without seeing this. Two things that the Republicans have done should disqualify them from office totally. They voted to repeal Obmaacare which is the sole source of access to health care for about 30 million Americans. They did so without offering any replacement. In other words, you would go back to the pre-2010 health care system. That would make health insurance companies richer while making daily life horrific for tens of millions of average American families. Next, they voted to pass (fortunately it did not pass) a bill that would eliminate all inheritance taxes. In other words, they clearly wanted the rich to make their children and grandchildren (most of whom are already rich) even richer without paying taxes on the money they receive with less effort than those buying a lottery ticket. These are the people the Republicans want to help. Not you.
There is a reason that the Solid South, the former Confederate states, the former slave states, the Dixiecrats, the Segregationists, all vote together. Do you see a similarity in the terms, the words used to describe them in the above sentence? If is very clearly the remnants of the disease, of racism. There is, for some reason, a majority of Southerners who still cling to several erroneous propositions. First, that African Americans are inferior by nature. Not because of the fact that they were imported from African societies without traditions of written culture, not taught English, kept like farm animals, chained and beaten, not allowed to learn to read, not allowed to socialize, not allowed to leave the plantation or in later generations not allowed to attend white schools, vote, or enter many public places where they might associate with educated whites. This went on for generation after generation after generation.
Second, because Liberals, that is Yankees, don’t agree with this proposition, that Blacks are inferior, Yankees are deceitful. Even the large minority of Whites in the South that do not believe any of the above still have some reservations about those who are not from “the South.”
Third, this group of Southerners believes that science is something used to trick people out of deep-seated but irrational religious beliefs. This is the only conclusion one can come to when, for example, a southern member of the House, a doctor of medicine, head of the Republican-controlled House Science Committee says that dinosaurs lived with men when the world was created….6000 years ago. This man, remember, whose public statements everyone knew, was sent to Congress by several hundred thousand people in a Congressional District in Georgia. So, it certainly can be judged, at least some will, that if you are a population that will elect and then repeatedly re-elect someone like that, you are also stupid. That doesn’t seem likely, not hundreds of thousands of Americans. So there must be an alternative reason why Southerners would vote for such a man. Well, once again, the obvious answer may be…race? Does he send the subtle signals to that majority of Southerners who elected him that he is a racist? It is an obvious choice because that seems to be what binds all the Republican voters in these states together. They vote as a bloc—Confederate, Southern, Baptist…whatever you want to call it. They vote against government and for the rich and powerful, not realizing, even now with this obvious clod of a President, that they are voting against their own best self interests. Their commonality is their confederate heritage, which is long gone, over a century past. Don’t we all now agree that this was merely an economic blip, a mistake when personal greed, again, took hold of our better natures? Slavery? Really?
Is the South so backward, the majority that is, that it cannot break free from people lie the detestable, child-prostitute seeking, four times married Rush Limbaugh? Or others who promote disreputable people like the disgusting Donald Trump? What happened to those special qualities of dignity and serenity and benevolence that were always the ideals of Southern gentility while the North scrabbled through the dirt and grime of industrialization? How have we come to this wretched state of fat, tattooed, dirty-jeaned, scruffy truck drivers and their rifles tacked up on the cabs of their pickup trucks, whose idea of civilization is beer and shooting holes in highway signs? Some people an some parts of the South have much to teach the rest of the United States about manners and good taste and family life. But it can never lead while this type of person dominates our perception of the Southern personality. Americans as a whole will never agree that becoming White Trash is an image to which we all should aspire.
So, in some areas, rural and Southern, listening to these Right Wing agitators has become a habit. And watching a biased commentary on the truth each night on Fox News has become a regular event for many people in the South…and in the North. It is not uncommon for people to listen to Limbaugh or Prager or Levin or Hewitt all day, trying to destroy the reputations and the work of people who are fighting against the billionaires and the corporate executives working for them. CEOs now make about 350 times what the average worker makes…so whom do you think your CEO is going to support…workers or billionaires?
The same people who listen to these Right Wing propagandists all day, in the evening watch people like Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter or Tucker Carlson on Fox News. These people are also now multi-millionaires, paid propagandists for the Republicans and therefore the corporations who sponsor ads on Fox News or support publishing companies like Regnery who publish their books. The same captive audience that watches them, also buys their books to find out the “truth” about Hillary or Barack Obama.
Does it ever occur to the idiots on the Right who consume these books or watch these programs that the very people who have initiated the CHIPS program to bring affordable health care to poor children or the man who fought so hard and tried so hard but unsuccessfully to bring Republicans on board to a national health care program—does it never occur to these hicks that Fox News is attacking the very people who are trying to help the average citizen and in particular those with even less political clout? While on the other hand, Fox News constantly praises those who spend more on wars, want endless tax breaks and want to cut government services to the bone?
It should never be lost on the rest of Amerian society that this ugly majority in the South, from Virginia on the East to Texas and Arkansas in the West has helped billionaires, by providing a solid base of support, raise the national debt to what are now unsustainable levels. The Republicans are going to call for cuts in social services, while we already see them asking for more money for defense. James Mattis, while perhaps a very solid choice for Secretary of Defense, is no shining example of a political leader. He may have good military instincts, but the military has never seen a budget from which it did not wish to extract as much as is politically possible without a revolution. We have over 700 military bases around the world. We have more nuclear missiles and ten times more aircraft carriers than the rest of the world combined. We have silent nuclear submarines. We have and entire, huge complex of Homeland Security organizations. We just raised the pay on soldiers and sailors and airmen. We do not need more money than is normal….equal to other domestic spending…going to the military .
In the end, the issue is greed. We have always had an establishment, primarily in the East, but also to some extent in the 20th Century on the West Coast as well, that was what could be called “moderate.” Those on the Right Side of the moderates disliked Liberals whom they felt were too generous with other people’s money. They wanted lower taxes and less government, but while they supported Republicans and some fiscally sound Democrats, they also saw the needs in society and went along. Then there were the very wealthy Democrats who lived very good lives, built fortunes over generations, paid high taxes as the cost of a strong, well functioning government, and at the end gave away large sums to universities, hospitals or various kinds of research. Yes, there were a few kooks who left their money to their dogs. But for the most part, the very rich were grateful and benevolent. Even almost all the rich in the oil patch.
Then came Reagan and the justification for greed. That we all live in the “survival of the fittest. ” Billionaires should not only inherit hundreds of millions but when it grows—because oil keeps coming out of the ground or real estate keeps appreciating—their “genius” should allow them to keep more and more all the time and thus subtract more and more from the poor and the existing political system.
They decided, after the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, to hire a host of Conservative tale show hosts to dominate the airwaves with supposedly highly academic reasons why they should keep all their money and government should get none. People are lazy. Immigrants come here to live on welfare. People should save more and not depend on Social Security. 401Ks are as good as pensions. Good health, not matter what the Constitution says, is not a right. Deficits don’t matter. All these things are trumpeted every single day by every single Right Wing radio commentator.
There is only one division in this country, no matter how hard the Right Wing billionaires, the Kochs, the Adelsons, the Anschutzes, the Griffens, the Trumps and all their think tanks and private propaganda organizations try to tell you there are. There are now just two groups: the roughly 3 million rich and the 318 million rest of us. The rch want only one thing: more money. To make sure they get it, however, they need to have a totally complicit Congress, President and Supreme Court. They have that now.
Greed recognizes no boundaries. It is a kind of sickness that prevents good men from seeing the truth and causes them to overlook the damage they do to others. They justify it in their minds in numerous ways. They give away enormous sums, but small sums to them. They always find the good outcomes in their minds to balance the bad outcomes that kill or maim or put people into the street. It always comes back to the addiction to money…greed.
People say…well, if they have all the money in the world, all the money they could ever spend, then why would they do what you say they do? We say it because it is true. Why would anyone attack very wealthy people who do only good with their money and who contribute to society. And many, many of the Right Wing rich give away huge amounts, as we said, to charity and other worthwhile causes? We would never attack them without good reason. In fact, we applaud them, admire them for those actions. But when they hire ex-tobacco lobbyists to create organizations to fight against health care for millions of people who are often desperate—people with cancer, serious heart conditions, babies who need operations just to live—then we have to fight against them.
John D. Rockefeller Sr. was one of the country’s most hated men. He lived long enough to worry about this and actually hired a public relations expert to create an image for him as a gentle old grandfather, tossing dimes to children. His son, a quiet reserved man, John D. Rockefeller Jr., had he been fully recognized, would perhaps have been one of the country’s most revered men. He spent his life doing two things. First, he continued to manage a vast oil empire, keeping it intact. Second, and more and almost more importantly, giving away money in such amounts and with such intelligence and vision that it became almost an art form. Over a lifetime, he gave away more than twice the amount eventually left to his surviving children and grandchildren.
Why do the Super-rich sometimes spend their lives seeking more wealth, that we have seen from how much a billion dollars actually represents, that they can never spend and barely know that they possess? More than likely, they do it for the same reason that alcoholics, waking up in the gutter, arise, clean themselves up, carry on through the day and then completely oblivious to the condition they were in that morning, begin again that night. It is a habit that they cannot break on their own. They must find help. For alcoholics it is a group like AA or the Betty Ford Clinic. There is no such organization for the Super-rich. In this country it is not considered a disease but a fine attribute to be cultivated.
We know what happens to go beyond wealth and power to become dictators. They never give up power. The more people want them to reduce their wealth and power, the more radically and violently they react. The result is always the same. Hanged by the people or torn limb from limb in the public square. Assassinated or driven into exile. There are but a handful of men in history who, having enormous wealth and power have given it up, returned it to the people.
The opposite of highly intensified riches and power is not Socialism. Socialism says that government distributes goods and services to the people in as equal a manner as is possible. Communism tried to distribute goods equally and yet motivate with personal awards and privileges. That system was proved to fail. The Capitalist system, it is abundantly clear through the last several hundred years of history, creates the best possible society. But Capitalism, while offering the opportunity for success and wealth and some influence on society also requires, as John D. Rockefeller Jr. also said—responsibility. Those who make great fortunes have the responsibility to use that money, earned from the work of others on their behalf, not only for themselves but also to advance the lives of others. That is not economics. It is good social policy. History has proved that increased financial rewards leading to greater material possessions, greater status, living conditions, security or even added capacity for benevolence move society forward at a faster pace.
Capitalism in the hands of a truly democratic society, one with a true majority voting system, is usually dependable. The majority is rarely out of touch with the needs and wants of the minority. With persuasiveness, and justification, a minority can win a majority. When, however, a democratic system falls into the hands of an oligarchy…a few powerful individuals…and the ability to know the truth is removed from the majority of citizens, Capitalism can become Fascism. When all the power in government to make decisions on life or death, war or peace, is located in the hands of a few powerful men, the people suffer. The reason is simple. While we all would like to run things…who wouldn’t…the fact is that those leaders who have the best outcomes for the public in mind are almost always those who will make their case to the public openly and accept the decisions of the public graciously. That is what democratic government is all about.
In the Untied States, our democratic system, while good,, has one serious flaw. We have allowed private individuals and organizations to spend inordinate amounts of money to buy the votes of legislators. That system, the system that allows lobbyists to spend huge amounts of money to influence legislators should have been changed long ago. We have made slow, steady progress. But we are now in as great a period of danger from powerful domestic forces as we faced in 1941 from international Fascists.
We now have a President who clearly, demonstrably, has an agenda that favors very powerful men. Yes, primarily men. And powerful…billionaires, generals, corporate CEOs, inherited wealth, legislators that can be bought…almost exclusively Republican. (ALEC, the Koch Brothers national organization of corporations, who lobby in every state legislature, has thousands of members. At last count, out of thousands of men and women who accept ALEC trips and bonuses and campaign support only one—1—was a Democrat. ) You and I do not have a million dollars to spread around our state legislature to buy up enough votes to pass a bill to, say, prevent local communities from building a local, faster Internet. COMCAST, Time Warner or AT&T do, and they spending as sponsors of the ALEC group of state lobbyists.
Suppose a state representative has been very good to the big corporations, introducing, let’s say, legislation that would prohibit anti-pollution legislation (that actually happens.) Then he runs for the House of Representatives and is supported by ALEC. Then he runs for the Senate and is supported by ALEC and by Super-Pacs that raise money from these same people. To whom do you think that legislator owes his allegiance. Unless the people can break through the barrage of daily propaganda, the corporate public relations people and Right Wing radio will make him sound like a man of the People.
So beware. The worst is not over. The worst is not even coming for the average families in the United States of America. The worst is here and it will continue unless you get out and stop it.