The Republicans have lost the battle against health care for their supporters in the health insurance industry. With no more stalling options, they are trying to use propaganda to scare and distract Americans about the federal government. Most of it is just gibberish.
Be assured of one thing. We are in no danger of becoming a totalitarian, either Fascist totalitarian or a Communist totalitarian state. First of all, only in situations where government is taken over completely by one or the other of these political philosophies does it become totalitarian. Totalitarian means that a state’s political leadership is seamlessly intertwined with its financial and industrial sectors.
Frankly, under President Bush, we were getting pretty close to that with the number of lobbyists in Washington that were actually brought into the departments of government. Now, with the Bush Supreme Court’s decision that corporations can literally come into any political campaign anywhere in the country and buy an election directly, corporations don’t need to go through any kind of political organization. They can go directly to Ohio, for example, and spend as much as they want to elect a Senator.
President Obama is unfortunately the last thing from a dictator. All you need to do is watch his constant pandering to the Right, trying to get their votes, which he never will. To Democrats and Progressives his ongoing and unsuccessful attempt to bring a totally obstructive Republican Party into the mix of legislative matters is weak. Especially, after they have filibustered over 200 bills, his approach, far from being dictatorial is not remotely aggressive enough for a Party anxious to move legislation that the people need.
But that is the Neocon game plan. If you are a propaganda organization like the Neocon Republicans, you need someone to demonize. In a normal society, where there are many different sources of news and information, it would be easy to shoot down all the Right Wing nonsense about our now being some kind of totalitarian society and Obama being some kind of Napoleon. But we have such a concentration of ownership of media by Right Wingers, that it is almost impossible to get the truth out.
Fox News panders to its major corporate advertisers in most cases. But even these relatively conservative organizations have limits and have been canceling some advertising. Fox, despite losing 40, 50, 60 advertisers on Glenn Becks’ program still keeps the truly emotionally disturbed Glenn Beck on the air. His little elementary school civics lessons or mini-history lessons always have a moral at the end, always the same. The little erroneously extrapolated moral is how afraid we should all be of Progressives or of the “big bad government.” Of course that is their message—corporations: good; government regulation: bad.
Big government is all that is between the American people and poisoned food, guns in schools, half of television time devoted to commercials, con-men on Wall Street with fake stock, banks that fail, jobs that will go completely overseas, unions made illegal, pension funds worthless, 10-hour days, 6-day weeks, and no appeal on anything. Progressives also prevent the Neocons from privatizing Social Security, killing Medicare, VA health care, or anything for veterans. (Remember Walter Reed) Of course they would have no taxes at all on corporations. Preventing that kind of social chaos is what big government can do and does right now.
When George W. Bush came to power, some people in various departments, even some Republicans that were still there from his father’s administration, said that they were astonished to see coming through the door to run the place, the very lobbyists who had been trying to shut down all the regulations! That’s who the Neocons work for. They want to get rid of a “totalitarian” government to end regulations we need for our protection from oil and gas companies, utilities, coal, pharmaceuticals, natural resources like copper and timber, as well as manufacturing,
So when someone gives you a tiny little Wikipedia civics lesson from the 18th Century and says that Communism and Fascism are on one end of the spectrum and “anarchy” no government at all is on the other end, that person is wrong. Any government that goes completely out of control in ways that harm the people is one end of the spectrum. On the opposite end is democracy. Democracy that is not tainted by lobbyists, or greedy legislators, democracy that works as it should for the people. That is the other end of the spectrum. It can be centralized or it can be diversified geographically but the key thing is that people learn the issues and decide by free vote.
Take the most pressing issue of the day, health care reform. What was the problem? Can’t get health care or it is cut off, or it doesn’t pay or it denies a legitimate claim or it won’t cover a procedure or prices go up beyond the average family’s ability to pay. 70% of people said…this is no good.
But after a year of propaganda by Fox News and by the 90% of radio talk show hosts who are subsidized by the Right Wing owners of radio networks, the propaganda of “scare and confuse” has worked to confuse many people. The health insurance industry poured $400 million into media and campaign funds to try to stop the health insurance bill. But Democracy worked. The People elected Barack Obama and just enough Democratic legislators to get the job done.
On one side you had all the usual suspects…Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, Orrin Hatch, John McCain, Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions, Joe Barton, Jeff Hensarling, Paul Ryan, Steven King, John Boehner, Michelle Bachmann…all the people who at one time or another have come out for one or another special interest, whether it be for war contractors or pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, Wall Street brokers, oil and gas companies or tobacco. So why would you trust them in a health care debate? Run the other way, fast.
On the other side are people like Keith Olberman and Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews and Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart and Barbara Boxer and John Kerry and Joe Biden and Tom Harken and Bernie Sanders and Henry Waxman and George Miller and Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean…people who spend their lives trying to help others. And their new leader is a guy who knows what it is like to be poor and knows how the poor live, and what they need, because he volunteered to live and work to better those communities…Barack Obama.
The more formidable your opponent, the more you must demonize him. You structure the message to deliver the opposite of what is true. While the Germans were being told, with what must have been some surprise, that the Jews were oppressing them on a daily basis, the Nazis were, in fact, oppressing the Jews. If you have a good humanitarian, bi-partisan, populist President, what you do…if you are Fox News and the Republican Party…is to demonize him as loudly and as often as you can with “the big lie.”
You call him a dictator, running a totalitarian state that is somehow composed of Communists and Socialists and Fascists. If you control the entire news cycle, and you are part of the Neocon propaganda machine, you need no evidence..just the same message repeated over and over again…the technique of the “big lie.”
The economy is helping the big lie when it comes to groups demonstrating against government. It is not unusual. The same things occurred in the 1930s, with all kinds of kooks coming out on the radio against Roosevelt. We know that the tea party organizers have made connections with a variety of extremist groups, successors to the old Aryan Nation gun-and-bomb toting anarchist militia. We know that the tea party groups have actually joined with many White Supremacist groups to hold their meetings and marches. Fox News both promotes and supports this type of violent, anti-American, anti-government rhetoric.
Fear of big government, the big lie again, has created fear on the part of many citizens and given a cause to others who were already upset, but were Republicans. You see, the tea party and similar movements are railing against the old ways. But like Senator Jim Bunning, who protested against big spending, he was protesting against himself. He was in fact one of the ringleaders of the big Republican deficit-spending spree from 2001 to 2008, resulting in $12 trillion in debt.
But the tea party people can’t rant against themselves. So they blame a man who was not in office when these things happened. They blame a man who was handed the deficit by his predecessor. The bail out of Wall Street happened in October of 2008 by George W. Bush because of policies of deregulation on his watch. Barack Obama did not take office until January of 2009.
This battle is not about health care or deficit spending or jobs. This is a battle by the Republican Party to show that they have some control over matters in Washington. They need to show that they still have some clout. If they do not, they will lose eventually. Their constituents are now the big corporations and Right Wing Think Tanks and their lobbyists. As Jim Bunning’s callous act and John Kyl and Jeff Sessions’ support for it show, they do not care whether a million Americans have the unemployment payments that were cut off through Bunning’s action.
But rather than criticizing all the time, it is important to note positive things. For example, there is a health care reform bill coming. The Democrats did eventually break the Bunning blockade and get unemployment benefits flowing again. The Democrats, the progressive party, are generating legislation that will pass in a whirlwind when the reconciliation process starts and the “super-majority” rules are suspended or disbanded. Jobs bills, green energy bills, union protection bills and more will all pass the Senate, where they have been sitting for months.
The Neocon Republicans will always, resist and complain and cry and despair and continue to use propaganda to try to scare the American people. The Progressives will continue to move forward for the American people.