Friday, April 2, 2010

Conned-servatives' Socialist Menace

To most Teabaggers and other Reich Wing Republican American Conned-servatives, everyone who does not blindly believe radical right wing lying politicians like Cheney, McConnell, DeMint and Boehner, or radical right wing lying propagandists like Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity, are all Socialists. We unbelievers are also just as often accused of being Marxist, Stalinist or Communists as well. Obama, of course, is proclaimed to be the big Socialist/Marxist-in-Chief.

If anyone would ask one of those Ditto Heads, Fox Suckers or Beck-erheads what socialism actually is, or better yet, what the differences are between socialism and communism they wouldn’t have a clue. And why should they? They are true believers of the largest and most pervasive campaign of propaganda and indoctrination known to humanity. They cannot see a system of corporate media uncritically “reporting” on corporate lobbied politicians, who take corporate cash to run for office in a corporate controlled government, as Corporatism. In fact where can you even find the word “corporatism” in media? We can’t. Look for socialist, communist, Marxist, Stalinist and you’ll find them all over the corporate media.

As we have seen, Wall Street and insurance companies have bought their influence in the US Government to the degree we cannot get ANY effective regulation of big banks, or little more than insurance company profit expansion as so-called “health care reform”. More PUBLIC money has gone to prop up failed PRIVATE corporations than ever before. And this is what the Reich Wingers call socialism.

If a government is of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations it is Corporatism. And if said government embraces an aggressive, militarist foreign policy, along with judicially unrestrained surveillance and detention of citizens, we have fascism. Conned-servatives don’t want to be told the truth, of course. They have their finely crafted corporatist beliefs almost as deeply ingrained into their minds as a cult member’s unquestioning belief in the cult leader. Any outside ideas are despised and denied exactly as a cult member would refuse pleas from friends and family to leave the cult.

This is exactly why the Cult of Conned-servatism brainwashes its victims into believing any opposition to the corporatist agenda is something evil and frightening. The word “liberal” was once effectively demonized enough to do the trick. It has now failed, because as we have been told, the most “liberal” person in the Senate was elected into the White House. The corporatists needed new scare words. No longer do we hear about “Obama the liberal”. He is now Obama the foreign born Marxist/Stalinist/Socialist/Fascist. It doesn’t matter which term they use. The point is to cultivate ignorance and instill fear and anger. The propagandists have succeeded.

One poll reveals the extent of their success. This is one is provided by Daily Kos/Research 2000

39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached,
29 percent are not sure, 32 percent said he should not be voted out of office.
36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States,
22 percent are not sure, 42 percent think he is a natural citizen.
31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a "Racist who hates White people" -- the description once adopted by Fox News's Glenn Beck.
33 percent were not sure, and 36 percent said he was not a racist.
63 percent of Republicans think Obama is a socialist,
16 percent are not sure, 21 percent say he is not
24 percent of Republicans believe Obama wants "the terrorists to win,"
33 percent aren't sure, 43 percent said he did not want the terrorist to win.
21 percent of Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election,
55 percent are not sure, 24 percent said the community organizing group did not steal the election.
23 percent of Republicans believe that their state should secede from the United States,
19 percent aren't sure, 58 percent said no.
53 percent of Republicans said they believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama.

In the famous words of Bush/Cheney, “Mission Accomplished”. The contest for influence in our government is not between liberals and conservatives. It is between democracy and corporatocracy. Democracy is losing largely because corporate money is behind the dominant voices in the corporate media. Democracy can thrive under socialism. It perishes under corporatism.

For anyone still interested in reality, here’s a tiny bit of light shed on socialism. Emphasis added.


Published on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 by The Nation

Socialism? Not Quite, Say the Socialists
by John Nichols

My friend Myrtle Kastner, proud campaigner for peace and economic and social justice, has, she suggests, been "quite amused" by the health care debate that reached the end of the beginning with President Obama's signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23.

What's so amusing?

"As I understand it, we have taken over the country," says Kastner, who is a proud member of the Milwaukee local of the Socialist Party. [1] "The Republicans in Congress, the talk radio, all through the health-care debate, they've been saying its proof that the Socialists are in charge. Can you believe it?"

There really are socialists in America, unapologetic adherents of the social gospel of Norman Thomas and the "an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all" working-class populism of Eugene Victor Debs - and, of course, of the remarkable Milwaukee tradition that produced Socialist Mayors Emil Seidel, Dan Hoan and Frank Zeidler, as well as the nation's first Socialist congressman, free-speech champion Victor Berger.

Kastner celebrates the history of Socialism in Milwaukee, and keeps it alive with a steady schedule of meetings, lectures and, of course, the annual party picnic in a local park - No. 113, she notes, reminding any and all that the Milwaukee Socialists have been a steady presence on the American political landscape for more than a century. Maybe it was the early start that made the Milwaukee Socialists so successful - a success that earned international headlines one hundred years ago this April, when the party's endorsed candidates swept the city's 1910 municipal elections. Suddenly, the city that made beer famous had a Socialists school board, a Socialist city council and a Socialist mayor, Seidel, who appointed as his aide a young scribbler named Carl Sandburg.

They ran things so well that, for most of the next five decades, the good burghers of Milwaukee kept putting Socialists in charge until, finally, the last of the Socialist mayors, Zeidler, voluntarily stepped down in April, 1960. (A year later, an aging Sandburg, would read his poetry at the side of the nation's new president, John F. Kennedy, who like most presidents of the 20th century did not mind fraternizing with Socialists.)

It has been almost exactly 50 years since a capital "S" Socialist last ran a major American city, let alone anything more major.

But, now, a bemused Myrtle Kastner notes that her party appears to have taken complete charge of the U.S. government - or so House Minority Leader John Boehner, various and sundry sulking Republican politicians, and their amen corner in the media (led by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity) would have us believe.

What surprises Kastner is not merely the fact that the party, which sometimes has a hard time filling all the chairs at its meetings, organized the takeover without informing her - or, to her knowledge, any other Socialists.

What seriously surprises her is that the health-care reform legislation that's been passed by Congress would be characterized by anyone who knows anything about economics or politics or history as "socialist."

"I'm afraid it's not socialized medicine," she says of the plan, which maintains private health-insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and nursing homes - most of which saw their stock values rise after the legislation was enacted.

Indeed, the Socialist Party stands in opposition to President Obama's approach.

"This is not a healthcare reform bill," says Socialist Party USA co-chair Billy Wharton, "It is instead a corporate restructuring of the American healthcare system designed to enhance the profits of private health insurance companies disguised with the language of reform".

As the Socialists note:

"The bill passed by the House (March 21) would mandate all Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a fine. It would also create health insurance exchanges, an idea crafted by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, where people would purchase insurance from private companies. Those not eligible for Medicaid but who still could not afford to purchase insurance would receive public funds from the federal government to purchase bare bones coverage insurance plans from private insurers.

(Socialists) opposes this restructuring on the grounds that the mandates allow private insurers to use the coercive power of the state to enhance their private profits. Insurance credits will serve as a public subsidy to private companies. It is yet another case of public money that could be used for necessary social programs being funneled towards companies that engage in practices that are abusive and detrimental to the overall society."

Wharton argues, as would any self-respecting Socialist, that "public funds would be better spent in creating a national single-payer system. Democratic socialists see such a system of open access to care as one part of a larger transition toward making health-care a guaranteed human right for all."

That's a far cry from anything the Democrat in the White House has proposed. Indeed, as Wharton wrote in his recent Washington Post piece -- titled "Obama's No Socialist. I Should Know" -- "The funny thing is, of course, that socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat -- one of a generation of neo-liberal politicians firmly committed to free-market policies."

So Myrtle Kastner is amused, and perhaps a little thankful to Limbaugh, Beck and the others who keep talking about "socialism." She's hoping that young people, in particular, will want to learn more.

And what will she tell them?

"I know they call Obama's plan ‘socialist,'" says Kastner. "But if the point is to make sure everyone has health care and that costs are kept down, Socialists really could have come up with something better."

Obama's No Socialist. I Should Know.
By Billy Wharton Washington Post Sunday, March 15, 2009

It took a massive global financial crisis, a failed military adventure and a popular repudiation of the Republican Party to make my national television debut possible. After 15 years of socialist political organizing -- everything from licking envelopes and handing out leaflets to the more romantic task of speaking at street demonstrations -- I found myself in the midtown Manhattan studio of the Fox Business Network on a cold February evening. Who ever thought that being the editor of the Socialist magazine, circulation 3,000, would launch me on a cable news career?

The media whirlwind began in October with a call from a New York Times writer. He wanted a tour of the Socialist Party USA's national office. Although he was more interested in how much paper we used in our "socialist cubby hole" than in our politics, our media profile exploded. Next up, a pleasant interview by Swedish National Radio. Then Brian Moore, our 2008 presidential candidate, sparred with Stephen Colbert. Even the Wall Street Journal wanted a socialist to quote after the first bailout bill failed last fall. Traffic to our Web site multiplied, e-mail inquiries increased and meetings with potential recruits to the Socialist Party yielded more new members than ever before. Socialism -- an idea with a long history -- suddenly seemed to have a bright future in 21st-century America.

Whom did we have to thank for this moment in the spotlight? Oddly enough, Republican politicians such as Mike Huckabee and John McCain had become our most effective promoters. During his campaign, the ever-desperate McCain, his hard-charging running mate Sarah Palin and even a plumber named Joe lined up to call Barack Obama a "socialist." Last month, Huckabee even exclaimed that, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead, but the Union of American Socialist Republics is being born."

We appreciated the newfound attention. But we also cringed as the debate took on the hysterical tone of a farcical McCarthyism. The question "Is Obama a socialist?" spread rapidly through a network of rightwing blogs, conservative television outlets and alarmist radio talk shows and quickly moved into the mainstream. "We Are All Socialists Now," declared a Newsweek cover last month. A New York Times reporter recently pinned Obama down with the question, "Are you a socialist, as some people have suggested?" The normally unflappable politician stumbled through a response so unconvincing that it required a follow-up call in which Obama claimed impeccable free market credentials.

All this speculation over whether our current president is a socialist led me into the sea of business suits, BlackBerrys and self-promoters in the studio at Fox Business News. I quickly realized that the antagonistic anchor David Asman had little interest in exploring socialist ideas on bank nationalization. For Asman, nationalization was merely a code word for socialism. Using logic borrowed from the 1964 thriller "The Manchurian Candidate," he portrayed Obama as a secret socialist, so far undercover that not even he understood that his policies were de facto socialist. I was merely a cudgel to be wielded against the president -- a physical embodiment of guilt by association.

The funny thing is, of course, that socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat -- one of a generation of neoliberal politicians firmly committed to free-market policies.

The first clear indication that Obama is not, in fact, a socialist, is the way his administration is avoiding structural changes to the financial system. Nationalization is simply not in the playbook of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team. They favor costly, temporary measures that can easily be dismantled should the economy stabilize. Socialists support nationalization and see it as a means of creating a banking system that acts like a highly regulated public utility. The banks would then cease to be sinkholes for public funds or financial versions of casinos and would become essential to reenergizing productive sectors of the economy.

The same holds true for health care. A national health insurance system as embodied in the single-payer health plan reintroduced in legislation this year by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), makes perfect sense to us. That bill would provide comprehensive coverage, offer a full range of choice of doctors and services and eliminate the primary cause of personal bankruptcy -- health-care bills. Obama's plan would do the opposite. By mandating that every person be insured, ObamaCare would give private health insurance companies license to systematically underinsure policyholders while cashing in on the moral currency of universal coverage. If Obama is a socialist, then on health care, he's doing a fairly good job of concealing it.

Issues of war and peace further weaken the commander in chief's socialist credentials. Obama announced that all U.S. combat brigades will be removed from Iraq by August 2010, but he still intends to leave as many as 50,000 troops in Iraq and wishes to expand the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A socialist foreign policy would call for the immediate removal of all troops. It would seek to follow the proposal made recently by an Afghan parliamentarian, which called for the United States to send 30,000 scholars or engineers instead of more fighting forces.

Yet the president remains "the world's best salesman of socialism," according to Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. DeMint encouraged supporters "to take to the streets to stop America's slide into socialism." Despite the fact that billions of dollars of public wealth are being transferred to private corporations, Huckabee still felt confident in proposing that "Lenin and Stalin would love" Obama's bank bailout plan.

Huckabee is clearly no socialist scholar, and I doubt that any of Obama's policies will someday appear in the annals of socialist history. The president has, however, been assigned the unenviable task of salvaging a capitalist system intent on devouring itself. The question is whether he can do so without addressing the deep inequalities that have become fundamental features of American society. So, President Obama, what I want to know is this: Can you lend legitimacy to a society in which 5 percent of the population controls 85 percent of the wealth? Can you sell a health-care reform package that will only end up enriching a private health insurance industry? Will you continue to favor military spending over infrastructure development and social services?

My guess is that the president will avoid these questions, further confirming that he is not a socialist except, perhaps, in the imaginations of an odd assortment of conservatives. Yet as the unemployment lines grow longer, the food pantries emptier and health care scarcer, socialism may be poised for a comeback in America. The doors of our "socialist cubby-hole" are open to anyone, including Obama. I encourage him to stop by for one of our monthly membership meetings. Be sure to arrive early to get a seat -- we're more popular than ever lately.


Tom Harper said...

"...ask one of those Ditto Heads, Fox Suckers or Beck-erheads what socialism actually is, or better yet, what the differences are between socialism and communism they wouldn’t have a clue."

But it would be funny, in that cruel sadistic sort of way, to listen to those dumbasses sputtering and hemmning and hawing, trying to put into words a concept they can't even grasp.

Dave Dubya said...

The Conned-servative dupes do love to prattle on mindlessly.

It would be a lot funnier if Beck and co. didn't pontificate by stirring up baseless fear and hatred. At the Searchlight NV rally he said, "If we don't face the truth right now, we'll be dead in five years -- this country can't survive." He tips us off to his secret plan,"stockpiling food".

Nan said...

Of course, if you do ask them, all they do is repeat talking points ad nauseum and/or accuse the person asking the questions of hating America. Talking with Faux News viewers can be like trying to have a conversation with a rock, but of course not quite as enlightening.

Dave Dubya said...

Those rocks only tell us a bunch of liberal geological gibberish about the Earth being more than 6 thousand years old. How dare they disagree with Sarah Palin?

TomCat said...

Great post Dave. I did something a few days ago, but not this extensive.

Socialism and capitalism are not political systems. They are economic systems.

WQhat we have today is neither capitalist or socialist. It's corporatist.

Once we add the political system, we have a corporatist plutocracy.

libhom said...

The irony is that the socialists are correct about the wealthcare bill.

The racism of the right is so obvious. Obama supports their policies at least 90% of the time, but their hatred of the melanin content in his skin is so fanatical that they don't even notice.

Dave Dubya said...

TomCat and Libhom,
I would suggest Socialism is the only antidote to corporatism. We need to re-legitimize and reclaim the socialist concept of Government of, by, and for the people. I love informing the Reich Wingers that Jesus was the first great socialist. Free health care, contempt for the wealthy money changers and sanctimonious religious leaders, generous to the poor, and above all a "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars" tax policy. Not a word about abortion or homosexuality. Sounds like socialism to me.

Jolly Roger said...

The struggle is more accurately described as one of Fascism vs. freedom. Benito would be delighted to see how far his ideas have advanced in the US today.

Dave Dubya said...

Jolly Roger,
WE know it's between fascism and freedom, but THEY think we are the fascists. Since there's a problem with them getting definitions straight I thought I'd put it in terms they might understand. Since we know they hate democracy and embrace the agenda of the economic elite, maybe we can draw a clearer distinction for them to understand.

Aw, what am I thinking? It doesn't matter. There can be no debate or dialogue when one party refuses any kind of definition of terms and ignores reality.

Never mind.

TomCat said...

Dave, if by Socialism, you mean the Social Democrat philosophy common in Europe, I agree.

Teeluck said...

Reality...another word Repuglickers do not know the meaning of...after all, it must be part of their fictitious God's plan...

Dave Dubya said...

Yes, I see nothing short of Democratic Socialism that can be the antidote. Corporatism is so entrenched we need radical change. Even if we can only reverse corporate personhood and get public financed elections, we could see some light in the darkness. Those are huge, but vitally necessary steps.

They deny and hate reality because it conflicts with their belief system. It's all about "beliefs" to the simple medieval mindset.

TomCat said...

Dave, as you well know, I am in 100% agreement with both.