Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #747 Bringin’ It All Back Home

Richard Nixon

Citizen Rove

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Introduction: As the country approaches yet another anniversary of American independence, this program looks at the GOP’s political and economic hegemony over American life. With a looming showdown over raising the debt ceiling and the possibility of a U.S. credit default (with catastrophic consequences for this and other countries), we examine a very important article by Robert Parry.

Noting that the GOP is using the same playbook in its destabilization of Barack Obama that the CIA has used in the subversion of foreign governments considered insufficiently cooperative, Parry sets forth the unfolding of this unsavory drama.

Central to Parry’s analysis is comparison of the destabilization of the Allende regime with the subversion of Obama. In addition to deliberately sabotaging the economy, the CIA in Chile and the GOP in the U.S. have utilized a vigorous media campaign to disseminate and popularize the message that the failing economy is due to the failed policies of the seated government.

The desired result is the political elimination of that government.

Parry properly cites the ginning up of phony “populist” phenomena, styled to appear as genuine dissatisfaction with governmental policy. In Chile, housewives and truckers were turned out to highlight the “failed” policies of Allende. In the U.S., the Tea Party fascists have shown up packing guns in Washington D.C. and elsewhere.

The foundation to the success of the destabilization strategy is the economic subversion enginnered in both countries. The failed economy is then blamed on the government and used to bring to power the very subversives who bear responsibility for economic disaster.

Much of the rest of the program recaps key articles presented in FTR #412. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman notes that the GOP deliberately ran up enormous deficits under George W. Bush, with the intent of using the resulting fiscal crisis as justification for the elmination of social programs dear to the public.

Program Highlights Include: The Bush administration’s suppression of a Treasury Department report detailing the spectacular debt that would result from the Bush administration’s policies; columnist Bob Herbert’s accounting of the grotesque inequality of wealth and income distribution stemming from the programs detailed by Krugman and the Treasury report; James Stewart Martin’s warning about the dangers of economic concentration and the possibity that “a calm judgement of business necessity” might lead the U.S. power elite to institute fascism in the United States.

1. Much of the program consists of the reading of important analysis presented by Robert Parry. Noting that the GOP is using the same playbook in its destabilization of Barack Obama that the CIA has used in the subversion of foreign governments considered insufficiently cooperative, Parry sets forth the unfolding of this unsavory drama.

Note that missing from Parry’s analysis is the fact that the national security establishment long ago undertook the domestic application of the same deadly force used to eliminate Chile’s Salvador Allende. The deaths of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, Martin Luther King and many others stand in mute witness to this fact.

Central to Parry’s analysis is comparison of the destabilization of the Allende regime with the subversion of Obama. In addition to deliberately sabotaging the economy, the CIA in Chile and the GOP in the U.S. have utilized a vigorous media campaign to disseminate and popularize the message that the failing economy is due to the failed policies of the seated government.

The desired result is the political elmination of that government.

Parry properly cites the ginning up of phony “populist” phenomena, styled to appear as genuine dissatisfaction with governmental policy. In Chile, housewives and truckers were turned out to highlight the “failed” policies of Allende. In the U.S., the Tea Party fascists have shown up packing guns in Washington D.C. and elsewhere.

Central to the success of the destabilization strategy is the economic subversion enginnered in both countries. The failed economy is then blamed on the government and used to bring to power the very subversives who bear responsibility for economic disaster.

Modern Republicans have a simple approach to politics when they are not in the White House: Make America as ungovernable as possible by using almost any means available, from challenging the legitimacy of opponents to spreading lies and disinformation to sabotaging the economy.

Over the past four decades or so, the Republicans have simply not played by the old give-and-take rules of politics. Indeed, if one were to step back and assess this Republican approach, what you would see is something akin to how the CIA has destabilized target countries, especially those that seek to organize themselves in defiance of capitalist orthodoxy.

To stop this spread of “socialism,” nearly anything goes. Take, for example, Chile in the early 1970s when socialist President Salvador Allende won an election and took steps aimed at improving the conditions of the country’s poor.

Under the direction of President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the CIA was dispatched to engage in psychological warfare against Allende’s government and to make the Chilean economy “scream.”

U.S. intelligence agencies secretly sponsored Chilean news outlets, like the influential newspaper El Mercurio, and supported “populist” uprisings of truckers and housewives. On the economic front, the CIA coordinated efforts to starve the Chilean government of funds and to drive unemployment higher.

Worsening joblessness could then be spun by the CIA-financed news outlets as proof that Allende’s policies didn’t work and that the only choice for Chile was to scrap its social programs. When Allende compromised with the Right, that had the additional benefit of causing friction between him and some of his supporters who wanted even more radical change.

As Chile became increasingly ungovernable, the stage was set for the violent overthrow of Allende, the installation of a rightist dictatorship, and the imposition of “free-market” economics that directed more wealth and power to Chile’s rich and their American corporate backers.

Though the Allende case in Chile is perhaps the best known example of this intelligence strategy (because it was investigated by a Senate committee in the mid-1970s), the CIA has employed this approach frequently around the world. Sometimes the target government is removed without violence, although other times a bloody coup d’etat has been part of the mix.

Home to Roost

So, it is perhaps fitting that a comparable approach to politics would eventually come home to roost in the United States, even to the point that some of the propaganda funding comes from outside sources (think of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times and Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.)

Obviously, given the wealth of the American elites, the relative proportion of the propaganda funding is derived more domestically in the United States than it would be in a place like Chile (or some other unfortunate Third World country that has gotten on Washington’s bad side).

But the concept remains the same: Control as much as possible what the population gets to see and hear; create chaos for your opponent’s government, economically and politically; blame if for the mess; and establish in the minds of the voters that their only way out is to submit, that the pain will stop once your side is back in power.

Today’s Republicans have fully embraced this concept of political warfare, whereas the Democrats generally have tried to play by the old rules, acquiescing when Republicans are in office with the goal of “making government work,” even if the Republicans are setting the agenda.

Unlike the Democrats and the Left, the Republicans and the Right have prepared themselves for this battle, almost as if they are following a CIA training manual. They have invested tens of billions of dollars in a propaganda infrastructure that operates 24/7, year-round, to spot and exploit missteps by political enemies.

This vertically integrated media machine allows useful information to move quickly from a right-wing blog to talk radio to Fox News to the Wall Street Journal to conservative magazines and book publishing. Right-wing propagandists are well-trained and well-funded so they can be deployed to all manner of public outlets to hammer home the talking points.

When a Democrat somehow does manage to get into the White House, Republicans in Congress (and even in the Courts) are ready to do their part in the destabilization campaign. Rather than grant traditional “honeymoon” periods of cooperation with the president’s early policies, the battle lines are drawn immediately.

In late 1992, for instance, Bill Clinton complained that his “honeymoon” didn’t even last through the transition, the two-plus months before a new president takes office. He found himself facing especially harsh hazing from the Washington press corps, as the mainstream media – seeking to shed its “liberal” label and goaded by the right-wing media – tried to demonstrate that it would be tougher on a Democrat than any Republican.

The mainstream press hyped minor “scandals” about Clinton’s Whitewater real estate investment and Travel-gate, a flap about some routine firings at the White House travel office. Meanwhile, the Right’s rapidly growing media was spreading false stories implicating Clinton in the death of White House aide Vince Foster and other “mysterious deaths.”

Republicans in Congress did all they could to feed the press hysteria,  holding hearings and demanding that special prosecutors be appointed. When the Clinton administration relented, the choice of prosecutors was handed over to right-wing Republican Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle, who consciously picked political enemies of Clinton to oversee zealous investigations.

Finally Winning

The use of scandal-mongering to destabilize the Clinton administration finally peaked in late 1998 and early 1999 when the Republican-controlled House voted impeachment and Clinton had to endure (but survive) a humiliating trial in the Senate.

The Republican strategy, however, continued into Campaign 2000 with Vice President Al Gore facing attacks on his character and integrity. Gore was falsely painted as a delusional braggart, as both right-wing and mainstream media outlets freely misquoted him and subjected him to ridicule (while simultaneously bowing and scraping before Republican candidate George W. Bush).

When Gore managed to win the national popular vote anyway – and would have carried the key state of Florida if all legally cast ballots were counted – the Republicans and the Right rose up in fury demanding that the Florida count be stopped before Bush’s tiny lead completely disappeared. Starting a minor riot in Miami, the Republicans showed how far they would go to claim the White House again.

Five Republican partisans on the U.S. Supreme Court – wanting to ensure that the new president would keep their side in control of the courts and recognizing that their party was prepared to spread disorder if Gore prevailed – stopped the counting of votes and made Bush the “winner.” [For details, see the book, Neck Deep.]

Despite this partisan ruling, Gore and the Democrats stepped back from the political confrontation. The right-wing press cheered and gloated, while the mainstream news media urged the people to accept Bush as “legitimate” for the good of the country.

For most of Bush’s disastrous presidency, this dynamic remained the same. Though barely able to complete a coherent sentence, Bush was treated with great deference, even when he failed to protect the country from the 9/11 attacks and led the nation into an unprovoked war with Iraq. There were no combative investigations of Bush like those that surrounded Clinton.

Even at the end of Bush’s presidency – when his policies of deregulation, tax cuts for the rich and massive budget deficits combined to create the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression – the prevailing message from the Establishment was that it was unfair to lay too much blame on Bush.

Shortly after Barack Obama took office in 2009, a Republican/right-wing talking point was to complain when anyone took note of the mess that Bush had left behind: “There you go again, blaming Bush.”

Getting Obama

Immediately, too, the Republicans and the Right set to work demonizing and destroying Obama’s presidency. Instead of allowing the Democrats to enact legislation aimed at addressing the financial and economic crisis, the Senate Republicans launched filibuster after filibuster.

When Obama and the Democrats did push through emergency legislation, such as the $787 billion stimulus package, they had to water it down to reach the 60-vote super-majority. The Republicans and the Right then quickly laid the blame for high unemployment on the “failed” stimulus.

There also were waves of propaganda pounding Obama’s legitimacy. The Right’s news media pressed bogus accusations that Obama had been born in Kenya and thus was not constitutionally eligible to be president.  He was denounced as a socialist, a Muslim, a fascist, an enemy of Israel, and pretty much any other charge that might hit some American hot button.

When Obama welcomed American students back to school in 2009, the Right organized against his simple message – urging young people to work hard – as if it were some form of totalitarian mind control. His attempt to address the growing crisis in American health care was denounced as taking away freedoms and imposing “death panels.”

Soon, billionaires like oil man David Koch and media mogul Murdoch were promoting a “grassroots” rebellion against Obama called the Tea Party. Activists were showing up at presidential speeches with guns and brandishing weapons at rallies near Washington.

The high-decibel disruptions and the “screaming” economy created the impression of political chaos. Largely ignoring the role of the Republicans, the press faulted Obama for failing to live up to his campaign promise to bring greater bipartisanship to Washington.

Hearing the discord framed that way, many average Americans also blamed Obama; many of the President’s supporters grew demoralized; and, as happened with Allende in Chile, some on the Left turned against Obama for not doing more, faster.

By November 2010, the stage was set for a big Republican comeback. The party swept to victory in the House and fell just short in the Senate. But Congress was not the Republicans’ true goal. What they really want is the White House with all its executive powers.

However, following Obama’s success in killing Osama bin Laden on May 2 and with what is widely regarded as a weak Republican presidential field, the Right’s best hope for regaining complete control of the U.S. government in 2012 is to sink the U.S. economy.

Already, the Republican success in limiting the scope of the stimulus package and then labeling it a failure – combined with deep cuts in local, state and federal government spending – have helped push the economy back to the brink where a double-dip recession is now a serious concern.

Despite these worries – and a warning from Moody’s about a possible downgrade on U.S. debt if Congress delays action on raising the debt limit – the Republicans are vowing more brinksmanship over the debt-limit vote. Before acting, they are demanding major reductions in government spending (while refusing to raise taxes on the rich).

A Conundrum

So, Obama and the Democrats face another conundrum. If they slash spending too much, they will further stall the recovery. However, if they refuse to submit to this latest round of Republican blackmail, they risk a debt crisis that could have devastating consequences for the U.S. economy for years – even decades – to come.

Either way, the right-wing media and much of the mainstream press will put the blame on Obama and the Democrats. They will be held accountable for failing to govern.

The Republican propaganda machine will tell the American people that they must throw Obama and the Democrats out of office for stability to return. There will be assurances about how the “magic of the market” will bring back the bright days of prosperity.

Of course, the reality of a new Republican administration, especially with a GOP Congress, would be the return of the old right-wing nostrums: more tax cuts for the rich, less regulation of corporations, more military spending, and more privatization of social programs.

Any budget balancing will come at the expense of labor rights for union employees and shifting the costs for health care onto the backs of the elderly. Yet, all this will be surrounded by intense propaganda explaining the public pain as a hangover from misguided government “social engineering.”

There is, of course, the possibility that the American people will see through today’s Republican CIA-style strategy of “making the economy scream.” Americans might come to recognize the role of the pseudo-populist propagandists on Fox News and talk radio.

Or Republicans might have second thoughts about playing chicken on the debt limit and running the risk of a global depression. Such a gamble could redound against them. And, it’s hard to believe that even their most ardent billionaire-backers would find destruction of their stock portfolios that appealing.

But there can be a momentum to madness. We have seen throughout history that events can get out of hand, that thoroughly propagandized true believers can truly believe. Sometimes, they don’t understand they are simply being manipulated for a lesser goal. Once the chaos starts, it is hard to restore order.

That has been another bloody lesson from the CIA’s operations in countries around the world. These covert actions can have excessive or unintended consequences.

Ousting Allende turned Chile into a fascist dictatorship that sent assassins far and wide, including Washington, D.C. Ousting Mossadegh in Iran led to the tyranny of the Shah and ultimately to an extreme Islamist backlash. Ousting Arbenz in Guatemala led to the butchery of some 200,000 people and the rise of a narco-state. Such examples can go on and on.

However, these CIA-type techniques can be very seductive, both to U.S. presidents looking for a quick fix to some international problem and to a political party trying to gain a decisive edge for winning. These methods can be especially dangerous when the other side doesn’t organize effectively to counter them.

The hard reality in the United States today is that the Republicans and the Right are now fully organized, armed with a potent propaganda machine and possessing an extraordinary political will. They are well-positioned to roll the U.S. economy off the cliff and blame the catastrophe on Obama.

Indeed, that may be their best hope for winning Election 2012.

“The GOP’s CIA Playbook: Destabilize Country to Sweep Back into Power” by Robert Parry [Consortium News]; AlterNet.org; 6/9/2011.

2. Much of the rest of the program recaps key articles presented in FTR #412. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman notes that the GOP deliberately ran up enormous deficits under George W. Bush, with the intent of using the resulting fiscal crisis as justification for the elmination of social programs dear to the public.

‘The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.’ So wrote the normally staid Financial Times, traditionally the voice of solid British business opinion, when surveying last week’s bill. Indeed, the legislation is doubly absurd: the gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke, yet the cost without the gimmicks is so large that the nation can’t possibly afford it while keeping its other promises.

“Stating the Obvious” by Paul Krugman; The New York Times; 5/27/2003.

3. Mr. Krugman suggests that “a fiscal train wreck” is indeed intended.

But then maybe that’s the point. The Financial Times suggests that ‘more extreme Republicans’ actually want a fiscal train wreck: ‘proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door.’ Good for The Financial Times. It seems that stating the obvious has now, finally, become respectable.

It’s no secret that right-wing ideologues want to abolish programs Americans take for granted. But not long ago, to suggest that the Bush administration’s policies might actually be driven by those ideologues—that the administration was deliberately setting the country up for a fiscal crisis in which popular social programs could be sharply cut—was to be accused of spouting conspiracy theories. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s] Yet by pushing through another huge tax cut in the face of record deficits, the administration clearly demonstrates either that it is completely feckless, or that it actually wants a fiscal crisis. (Or maybe both.)

Here’s one way to look at the situation: Although you wouldn’t know it from the rhetoric, federal taxes are already historically low as a share of G.D.P. Once the new round of cuts takes effect, federal taxes will be lower than their average during the Eisenhower administration. How, then, can the government pay for Medicare and Medicaid—which didn’t exist in the 1950’s—and Social Security, which will become far more expensive as the population ages? (Defense spending has fallen compared with the economy, but not that much, and it’s on the rise again.)

The answer is that it can’t. The government can borrow to make up the difference as long as investors remain in denial, unable to believe that the world’s only superpower is turning into a banana republic. But at some point bond markets will balk—they won’t lend money to a government, even that of the United States, if that government’s debt is growing faster than its revenues and there is no plausible story about how the budget will eventually come under control.

At that point, either taxes will go up again, or programs that have become fundamental to the American way of life will be gutted. We can be sure that the right will do whatever it takes to preserve the Bush tax cuts—right now the administration is even skimping on homeland security to save a few dollars here and there. But balancing the books without tax increases will require deep cuts where the money is: that is, in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

The pain of these benefit cuts will fall on the middle class and the poor, while the tax cuts overwhelmingly favor the rich. For example, the tax cut passed last week will raise the after-tax income of most people by less than1 percent—not nearly enough to compensate them for the loss of benefits. But people with incomes over $1 million per year will, on average, see their after-tax income rise 4.4 percent. The Financial Times suggests this is deliberate (and I agree): ‘For them,’ it says of those extreme Republicans, ‘undermining the multilateral international order is not enough; long-held views on income distribution also require radical revision.’

How can this be happening? Most people, even most liberals, are complacent. They don’t realize how dire the fiscal outlook really is, and they don’t read what the ideologues write. They imagine that the Bush administration, like the Reagan administration, will modify our system only at the edges, that it won’t destroy the social safety net built up over the past 70 years. But the people now running America aren’t conservatives: they’re radicals who want to do away with the social and economic system we have, and the fiscal crisis they are concocting may give them the excuse they need. The Financial Times, it seems, now understands what’s going on, but when will the public wake up?


4. Highlighting the cataclysmic dimensions of what the Bush administration did, The Financial Times set forth the deadly dimensions of the fiscal impact of the Bush tax cuts. One should not overlook the fact that this information is from a report commissioned by the Treasury Department, suppressed by the administration, and ignored by the US media.

The Bush administration has shelved a report commissioned by the Treasury that shows the US currently faces a future of chronic federal budget deficits totaling at least $44,200bn in current US dollars. [Emphasis added.] The study, the most comprehensive assessment of how the US government is at risk of being overwhelmed by the ‘baby boom’ generation’s future healthcare and retirement costs, was commissioned by then treasury secretary Paul O’Neill. But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits.

The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the US is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 per cent across-the-board income tax increase. . .

Mr. O’Neill, who was fired last December, refused to comment. The study’s analysis of future deficits dwarfs previous estimates of the financial challenge facing Washington It is roughly equivalent to 10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of US economic output or more than 94 per cent of all US household assets. [Emphasis added.] Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, last week bemoaned what he called Washington’s ‘deafening silence about the future crunch.’

The estimates reflect the extent to which the annual deficit, the national debt and other widely reported, backward-looking data are becoming archaic and misleading as measures of the government’s solvency. Mr. [Kent] Smetters, now a University of Pennsylvania finance professor, said tax cuts were only a fraction of the imbalance, and that the bigger problem ‘is the whole [budget] language we’re using.’ Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on long-term budget accounting alleged in a recent Boston Globe editorial that the Bush administration suppressed the research to ease passage of the tax-cut plan.

“Report Warns of Chronic US Deficits” by Peronet Despeignes; The Financial Times; 5/29/2003; p. 1.

5. In his last column for The New York Times, Bob Herbert chronicled the depth of the failure of GOP economic policies executed under George W. Bush.

. . . . Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent. [Italics are mine–D.E.]

This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.

A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year. . . .

“Losing Our Way” byb Bob Herbert; The New York Times; 3/25/2011.

6. The broadcast presents discussion indicating that the white working class voting bloc may well hold the key to Obama’s reelection.

. . . .Each election cycle there occurs a tired ritual, in which pundits and reporters rediscover that yes, indeed, there are still a lot of white working class voters in America, and they represent a serious vulnerability for the Democrats. But just this once, let’s skip the period where everyone initially ignores this group and cut straight to the chase: There will be a lot of white working class voters showing up at the polls next November, and the degree to which they support (or abandon) President Obama could very well make or break his reelection.

In 2008, during his otherwise-solid election victory, Obama lost the white working class vote by 18 points. In 2010, however, things got much worse: Congressional Democrats’ experienced a catastrophic 30 point deficit among the same group. While the first number is a figure Obama could live with repeating, the second could very well prove fatal.

Indeed, if Republicans can replicate that 30 point deficit in 2012—a margin which seems increasingly possible given the recent bad news about the economy—Obama will have little to no room for error among his other constituencies. For example, even if, as expected, the share of minority voters increases from 26 to around 28 percent in the next election and Obama receives the typical 75 percent of that vote, while the share of white working class voters declines by another 3 percentage points, a 30 point hole in Obama’s white working class support would mean that the overall support he needs to win the election was teetering right on the knife’s edge. In such a scenario, Obama would have to hold essentially all of his white college graduate support from 2008 (47 percent, a historic high for Democrats) to be assured of victory.

And make no mistake about it, GOP strategy for 2012 will start with the white working class and attempt to drive up support among this group as high as possible. . . .

“The White Working Class: The Group that Will Likely Decide Obama’s Fate” by Ruy Texeira; The New Republic; 6/20/2011.

7. Corporate America has turned its back on the U.S.  middle class, with results that may well rebound on Obama’s electoral chances and play into the Republican strategy.

The big mystery in the United States today s why the job crisis is not at the center of the political and economic debate. After all, the numbers–and the human tragedies they reflect–could not be bleaker. . . .

. . . Politicians and pundits on the left have begun warning that this relative indifference to joblessness is worse than a crime, it is a mistake. In a blog posting, former labour secretary Robert Reich said “the economic burdens of America’s vast middle class may be catching up with the street.” Unless more jobs are created soon , he warned ‘American consumers will not hae enough purchasing power to buy what the private sector can produce.’

The reality may be even more chilling: Perhaps U.S. business is learning to get by just fine, thanks you, without middle-class consumers. While that may be good news for chief executives and shareholders, it could be the beginning of a new and socially wrenching political logifc that leaves the great American middle class behind.

Wall Street, which is paid for smarts, not sentiment, has this figured out. In a newspaper interview earlier this month, Robert Doll, chief equity strategist at BlackRock, the largest money manager in the world, pointed out that the fortunes of U.S. companies and the fortunes of the country as a whole are diverging: ‘The U.S. stock market and the U.S. economy are increasingly different animals.” . . .

“U.S. Middle Class Becomes a Big Business Afterthought” by Christia Freeland; Toronto Globe and Mail; 6/0/2011.

8. The broadcast concludes by revisiting the work of James Stewart Martin, the Justice Department official charged with helping the dissolution of the transnational corporate links that enabled the rise of Hitler and the Nazi war of aggression. One of the most important aspects of Martin’s eloquent book is his warning for the future. Having witnessed firsthand how easily the American business interests were able to subvert the economic restructuring of Germany, Martin feared for the future of the United States. Noting that economic concentration in Germany had made it possible for a small number of powerful interests to put Hitler in power, Martin noted the same pattern of economic concentration becoming evident in the United States as of the late 1940’s. He offered a stark warning for future generations of Americans.

. . . .The ecopolitical masters of Germany boosted Hitler and his program into the driver’s seat at a time when the tide in the political fight between the Nazis and the supporters of the Weimar Republic was swinging against the Nazis. All of the men who mattered in banking and industrial circles could quickly agree on one program and throw their financial weight behind it. Their support won the election for the Nazis. We must assume that the same thing is not yet true in the United States. We do have economic power so concentrated that it would lie in the power of not more than a hundred men—if they could agree among themselves—to throw the same kind of combined economic weight behind a single program. They have not agreed yet. . . . If the United States should run into serious economic difficulties, however, most of the conditions for a re-enactment of the German drama would already exist on the American stage. The slight differences within the camp of the fraternity then may be the only real barrier to the kind of integration of the financial and industrial community behind a single repressive program, like that which the financiers and industrialists of Germany executed through Hitler. Are we safe in assuming that it would take a grave economic crisis to precipitate the dangers inherent in economic concentration? The basic integration of the financial and industrial groups in the United States is evident when we look at the increase of concentration in the past few years. . . .

(All Honorable Men; James Stewart Martin; Copyright 1950 [HC]; Little, Brown & Co.; p. 295.)

9. The last paragraph of Martin’s book, published in 1950, may well forecast what the GOP has in mind for the U.S. As Robert Parry notes above, if the GOP can destabilize Obama, their “alternative” program will simply be more of the same, tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for everyone and everything else. In that this will no more create jobs than it did during the Bush years (see the Bob Herbert column above), the formal imposition of fascism to “deal” with the popular dissatisfaction stemming from the inevitable failure is a possibility to contemplate.

That imposition of fascism may well stem from some monster terrorist incident, or perhaps a natural or civic disaster (California earthquake or a nuclear power plant meltdown).

. . . The moral of this is not that Germany is an inevitable menace, but that there are forces in our own country which can make Germany a menace. And, more importantly, they could create a menace of their own here at home, not through a deliberate plot to bring about a political catastrophe but as a calm judgment of ‘business necessity.’ The men who would do this are not Nazis, but businessmen; not criminals, but honorable men.

(Ibid.; p. 300.)


7 comments for “FTR #747 Bringin’ It All Back Home”

  1. I have maintained and continue to maintain that the GOP (aka. Republican Party) is a centrifuge of evil in the universe. An axis of evil, if you will. However, I do not believe the Democratic Party is better, or has any less a vested interest in control and authoritarianism. Both parties have killed America. A friend of mine recently told me about a sign on the storefront of a politically vocal person which had the Republican Party with the Nazi symbol (the Nazi swastika) and the Democratic Party with the sickle and hammer of the CCCP (aka. Soviety Union, USSR) and the text read “pick one”.

    Posted by Joshua Laudermilk | July 6, 2011, 7:03 pm
  2. Some comments:

    (1) Parry fails to parry GOP intentions when he could have sourced the full quote and its origin:

    “Make the economy scream” was a direct quote from Nixon, under advice from Kissinger, in a communique to the CIA:


    (2) This was a powerful edition of FTR for me, not least because I’ve been proselytizing for years that 1973 Chile is their plan for America.

    There’s a lot to learn from the 1973 Chilean coup.

    Chile’s coup culminated in “Operation Condor” which has been covered by Dave in AFA #24-28, FTR #223, FTR #259, and FTR #490 (an interview with Robert Parry).

    Operation Condor was a 1975 covert multinational program to assassinate & kidnap/round-up & torture liberals.

    Strangely, in 2005, Team Bush gave us a dress-rehearsal that “nabbed” 10,000 in a single week. The interesting name of this operation was “Operation Falcon”:


    (3) Chile’s first order of the coup was to privatize Social Security:


    Failed Nevada Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle in 2010 explicitly lauded Pinochet and called for Chilean-style privatization of Social Security.

    President Obama seems to be willing to compromise Social Security:


    This isn’t just another Obama capitulation, but rather part of a pattern:


    Even though centrist Democrats as big as Charles Schumer are affirming Dave’s & Robert Parry’s thesis of economic sabotage —


    — nevertheless, Obama’s pro-GOP trend continues with his snub of Bill Clinton’s very sound idea of deferring this crisis until the economy is better:


    Obama says NO to Bill Clinton’s idea:


    Let the economy scream, indeed.

    (4) FTR #412, one of the best of FTR, is the first place I start with friends when trying to spread the word about FTR. I have handed-out many CDs of FTR #412. This episode will now be a companion piece in my future efforts to expand the FTR listening audience.

    Posted by R. Wilson | July 6, 2011, 7:52 pm
  3. @R. Wilson: Why am I not surprised that Nevada’s Sharron Angle would be promoting that asshole Pinochet?
    Also, FTR #412 sounds really fantastic as an intro. Got any others to suggest? I’m all ears. =)

    Posted by Steven | July 8, 2011, 2:49 pm
  4. Try FTR #651, The Engineer Has Wrecked The Train

    Posted by Sandra | July 13, 2011, 10:15 pm
  5. @Sandra: I appreciate the advice, thanks. I’ve been a little behind on getting the information out(low hard drive space is an issue at this point.), but I’m hoping to get back on it soon. =)

    Posted by Steven | July 15, 2011, 8:49 pm
  6. Keyword: “Super Congress”. Say g’night, Gracie.

    Posted by brownzeroed | July 23, 2011, 8:36 pm
  7. occupy wall st is popular but does not have the big money of the tea party. now we have a ‘socialist’ front vying against a fascist front. will it end like 1933?

    Posted by bob hope | October 23, 2011, 2:07 am

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