Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Paul Ryan’s race flap even worse than it looks

Paul Ryan's race flap even worse than it looks

Paul Ryan (Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Salon

The notion that Ryan was dog-whistling to racists is actually the best-case scenario. Here’s the scary alternative

I spent a depressing amount of time this weekend trying to think up a scenario in which someone might say the following without being motivated, to at least some degree, by malign intent.

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”

What I came up with was strained and unlikely, but troubling if true.

In case you slept through last week, the person who said this was congressman and one-time GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. It ignited a fairly heated debate over whether he was intentionally trafficking in racial code words to pander to white conservatives. Ryan claims he spoke inarticulately and was thus misunderstood. For proponents of the dog-whistle theory, the fact that Ryan cited Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve,” was the smoking gun.

For my part, I don’t think they need a smoking gun, because Occam’s razor does all the dirty work. You can take Murray completely out of the equation and the likelihood that Ryan wasn’t at least subconsciously playing to the prejudices of resentful or racist whites is pretty low.

But let’s assume Ryan’s playing it straight, and his defenders, like Slate’s Dave Weigel, are correct when they argue that this is just how Ryan and other conservatives “think about welfare’s effects on social norms.” If that’s true, it’s actually a bigger problem for the right. If Ryan was even a little bit aware of how people would interpret his remarks, or understood the reaction to them when it exploded online, we could just say that some conservatives want to play the Southern Strategy at least one more round, and leave it at that. Close the book on this controversy, without drawing any larger conclusions about the state of conservative self-deception.

But if Ryan genuinely stumbled heedless into a racial tinderbox then it suggests he, and most likely many other conservatives, has fully internalized a framing of social politics that wasdeliberately crafted to appeal to white racists without regressing to the uncouth language of explicit racism, and written its origins out of the history. If that’s the case it augurs poorly for those in the movement who are trying to broaden the Republican Party’s appeal, because it’s easier to convince people to abandon a poor tactic than to unlearn rotten ideology.



In his 1984 book “The Two Party South,” political scientist Alexander Lamis quoted a conservative operative later revealed to be Ronald Reagan confidant Lee Atwater, who traced the evolution.

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N—-r, n—-r, n—-r,’” Atwater explained. “By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—-r’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘N—-r, n—-r.”’

Treating intergenerational laziness of inner-city men as established truth, and bemoaning the ways social spending programs supposedly nurture that “culture,” blends seamlessly into Atwater’s framework.

Weigel interprets the fact that Charles Murray has lately softened his claims as exculpation for Ryan and other conservatives who cite him. But Murray’s just following a social Darwinist’s rendition of the trajectory Atwater traced. I suspect both men are wiser to their intentions than their apologists give them credit for. There are ways to promote conservative social policies that aren’t remotely racialized — they just don’t ignite the passions of resentful white people in a politically meaningful way. If I’m wrong, though, conservatives better hope the party doesn’t nominate Ryan or any like-minded thinkers in 2016.

A quick point of trivia: I first learned about Atwater’s comments years ago, in this New York Times column by Bob Herbert questioning why anybody was surprised to hear GOP education secretary-cum-talk radio host Bill Bennett say, “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

Guess whose program Ryan was a guest on when he stepped in it last week?

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Meet The Five Most Overrated American Presidents

Think Progress

Americans love to rank things. So lists of the best presidents in American history frequently allow historians to duke it out over whether George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt should be remembered as our nation’s greatest leader. Meanwhile, recently departed President George W. Bush already ranks close to the top in polls of historians asked to rank the worst president in American history. Rather than wade into the thicket of which men best or worst served their nation during their time in the White House, we would like to offer a different kind of list. Here are five presidents who routinely rank far above what their performance in office deserves in surveys considering presidential performance:

1. Andrew Jackson


The Democratic Party frequently hosts Jefferson-Jackson Dinners honoring President Jackson and another historic president who is also on this list. It should reconsider this practice, as Jackson’s policy towards Native Americans was only a few steps shy of genocidal. In theory, President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, permitted him to negotiate voluntary agreements with tribes in the southeastern United States encouraging them to exchange their eastern lands for new territory in the west. In reality, Jackson’s forced migration policy was anything but voluntary. By his last year in office, 46,000 Native Americans were removed from their lands, opening up tens of millions of acres to white settlement and slave-worked agriculture. As many as a quarter of the southeastern Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease in the Trail of Tears march that began shortly after Jackson left the White House.

Beyond his indefensible treatment of Native Americans, it is ironic that Jackson’s face is now featured on the $20 bill, because he proved such a poor steward of the nation’s economy. Jackson waged war against the Second Bank of the United States, an early predecessor to the modern Federal Reserve, and he required federal land sales to be conducted in gold or silver. Historians disagree somewhat about the role Jackson’s retrograde monetary policy played in triggering the economic depression that began shortly after he left office. But there’s little doubt that, by taking away America’s ability to centrally manage its money supply, Jackson deprived his nation of a key tool it would need to fight off the looming depression. America would not have a central bank for most of a century after Jackson left office, and we paid the price for this fact. Today, banking panics are viewed as rare, disastrous economic events. Yet in the years that America had no central bank, according to Harvard Business Professor David Moss, we experienced more bank panics than any other industrialized nation — such panics occurred in 1837, 1839, 1857, 1873 and 1907.

2. Ronald Reagan


President Reagan ushered in the misguided era of massive deficitsbloated military spendingand tax cuts for the very rich that America still struggles to this day to put to an end. Yet Reagan wrongly receives credit for the economic boom that began a few years into his presidency due to events entirely outside of his control. When Reagan took office, America faced double-digit inflation rates matched with a sharp spike in unemployment. Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, a Carter appointee, chose to break the first problem by exacerbating the second — driving up interest rates in a successful effort to break inflation. When Volcker finally took the brakes off the economy and ended the recession he created by lowering interest rates back to more normal levels, housing and auto sales took off, the economy boomed back to life, and Reagan rode the undeserved credit to a second term in the White House.

As Rosalynn Carter once said, Reagan made America “comfortable with our prejudices.”Reagan infamously began the final leg of his presidential campaign by traveling to the Mississippi town where three civil rights workers were brutally murdered and proclaiming “I believe in states’ rights.” Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis for years. He gave us Justice Antonin Scalia. And he tried and failed to appoint another justice who once claimed that the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters is rooted in a “principle of unsurpassed ugliness.”

3. Woodrow Wilson


Unlike the first two names on this list, Wilson presided over a far more mixed legacy as President of the United States. Wilson created the Federal Reserve. He expanded federal anti-trust law. He signed a law effectively banning child labor, although it would eventually be struck down by a conservative Supreme Court. And his League of Nations formed much of the framework for the modern UN — even if Wilson could not convince his own nation to join the League.

Yet, for all of his accomplishments, Wilson belongs on this list because of his inexcusable record on civil liberties. Wilson’s Espionage Act criminalized the mere act of presenting conscripted men with arguments regarding why they should avoid the draft. And his Sedition Act went even further, banning “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the U.S. government, military or flag. Wilson was a racist who signed laws banning interracial marriage in the District of Columbia and segregating DC’s streetcars. And his elevation ofJustice James Clark McReynolds ranks among the worst appointments to the Supreme Court in American history.

4. Thomas Jefferson


Like Wilson, Jefferson’s legacy is far more mixed than malign, as no one can question the significance of his contributions to American history — beginning with the document thatdeclared us an independent nation. Yet Jefferson’s most important accomplishment as president was also the most important flip-flop in American history. During the Washington Administration, Jefferson led a losing faction seeking to constrain federal power to foster the nation’s economic growth far beyond the limits contained in the Constitution’s text. This narrow vision of the Constitution initially led him to oppose the Louisiana Purchase as president, although he eventually relented and doubled the size of the United States in the process.

Nevertheless, Jefferson’s initial view of the Constitution lives on in the modern tenther movement which would declare everything from Medicare to Social Security to national child labor laws unconstitutional, and it occasionally inspired future presidents to stand athwart American progress. President James Buchanan, who is widely viewed as among our nation’s worst presidents, raised Jeffersonian constitutional objections when he vetoed land grant colleges. President Abraham Lincoln, considered one of America’s greatest presidents, would later sign the same bill Buchanan blocked.

Additionally, while Jefferson may have written that “all men are created equal,” his actions did not match his words. Our third president held hundreds of slaves over the course of his lifetime, freed only a handful upon his death, and often engaged in the unspeakably cruel practice of punishing slaves by selling them away from their families and friends.

5. James Madison


Madison was another man of accomplishment who belongs on this list despite his tremendous contributions to his nation and to the world. Madison’s Bill of Rights formed the backbone of America’s single greatest export: the idea that a nation’s charter should embrace fundamental civil rights that cannot be abridged by government — although these rights would not be understood as limits on state governments until many years after Madison’s death. Like Jefferson, however, Madison also believed that we should ignore the text of the Constitution and impose limits on Congress’ power that, if they existed today, would make Medicare, Social Security and much of America’s educational infrastructure impossible. As president, Madison vetoed a bill to create new roads and canals, claiming that it violated the Constitution.

To his credit, however, Madison would oppose the efforts by modern conservatives to revive the least appealing aspects of his constitutional vision. Although Madison opposed the creation of the First Bank of the United States on constitutional grounds, he signed the bill creating the Second Bank, noting that “Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, and (most important, by failing to use their amending power) the American people had for two decades accepted” the First Bank. Unlike so many of today’s conservatives, Madison understood that he had no right to toss out decades of well-settled constitutional law just to satisfy his own pet theory.

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The Slow Motion Lynching of President Barack Obama

The following essay is by author,  Frank Schaeffer.  When I started this blog I mentioned him here.

The essay is compelling and thought-provoking yet may be uncomfortable for some…

Patheos

I’ve watched liberal and right-wing commentators alike blame the president for being lynched. They say “he’s not reaching out enough” or “he’s too cold.” It’s the equivalent of assuming that the black man being beaten by a couple of thug cops must have “done something.”

I am a white privileged well off sixty-one-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago.  The New York Times profiled my change of heart saying that to my former friends I’m considered a “traitorous prince” since my religious right family was once thought of as “evangelical royalty.”

I’ve just spent the last 7 years writing over 200,000 words in blogs and articles in support of President Obama. My blogs on the Huffington Post alone would add up to a book in support of the President of over 300 pages. Weirdly, I just realized that through all my writing, this has been the first time in my life I’ve personally gone to bat for a black man. It just happens that he’s a president. But my emotional stake in his life is now personal.

So I’ve changed from a white guy who used to read news about some black man getting shot or beaten by cops or stand-you-ground types who assumed that the black man must have “done something,” to a white guy who figures that the black man was probably getting lynched. I’ve changed ideology but I’ve also changed my gut intuitive reactions.

I’ve changed because if this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White house, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law review is being lynched?

One famous liberal commentator wrote a book on how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil could disagree and still be friends. Why, he asked on many a TV show promoting his book, couldn’t President Obama be like that? Because, I yelled at the screen, those two men were white Irish Americans and part of a ruling white oligarchy.

Because, I yelled, you might as well ask why Nelson Mandela didn’t talk his jailers in South Africa into seeing reason.

Because, I yelled, the president is black and anytime he’s reached out he’s pulled back a bloody stump.

Because, I yelled, liberal white commentators have been as bothered by a black man in the White House, who’s smarter than they are as much as right-wing bigots have been bothered.

Because, I yelled, President Obama has been lied about, attacked, vilified, and disrespected since Day One.

Because, I yelled, this country may have passed laws so blacks can vote and eat in a white man’s world, but in our hearts are stuck in a place more like 1952 than 2013.

We’ve been watching a slow motion lynching of a moderate brilliant family man, a father, and faithful loving husband. The Republicans in Congress are so dedicated to lynching the President they’ve been willing to shut down our government and risk the future of our economy.

Evangelical “Christians” have been so stuck on putting a rope around this black man’s neck they have denied their faith and been the backbone of the lying Tea Party who spawned the so-called “birthers” and the rest of the white trash driving our news cycle.

Roman Catholic bishops have denied their tradition of helping the poor and been so eager to destroy this president they aligned themselves with white Evangelical bigots and tried to stop health care reform, all because the President wants to give women a fair shake. The bishops even called him “anti-religious” because the president wants insurers to pay for contraception.

This is a slow motion lynching of a black man who is so moderate and centrist that he favored Wall Street enough so that the Left is all over his case. He’s so “radical” and “leftist” and “hates America” so much, and “coddles our enemies” so much, that he killed bin Laden and used drones to kill our enemies. He’s such a “socialist” that he presided over the revival of our economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and led us to the present day stock market boom. President Obama is such a “Marxist” that he tried to give insurance – not socialized medicine – to all Americans.

President Obama never answered back to the disgusting southern right-wing rubes from the former slave states that have tried to belittle, mock and stymie his presidency shouting “You lie” in a million ways, while actually meaning “You lie, nigger!”

And did the “enlightened” Left have President Obama’s back? No. They carp about his “failure” because a website was slow to get running! The white privileged “progressive” few were too busy blaming him for getting lynched and telling him how to craft policy while a rope was put around his neck again and again and tightened with each filibuster, each lie told on the radio, each self-defeating scorched earth action to stop him from succeeding, even if it meant taking us all down too.

We don’t like to admit who we really are. So we make excuses and blame the victim. I’m ashamed for our country, a country my Marine son fought for in two stupid wars this president has been working to end. And I’m still rooting for the best, smartest and most decent man who has been president in my lifetime. I pray for his health care reform to succeed. I pray for his immigration reform to succeed. I’m amazed he’s gotten anything done, but he has, even while the lynch mob gathers again and again to laugh, lie and spit and claim he’s “failed” while “liberal” commentators nod sagely and talk about his “mistakes” as if President Obama has been playing on a level playing field.

We have a lot to do to heal this country of the damage done by the right-wing Obama-haters and the Left wing know-it-all pundits who did not have his back because they don’t have the honesty to admit that we still live in a backward racist swamp of prejudice. Maybe in 50 years our country will be worthy of someone of President Obama’s forbearance again. For now we can just hope that the hatred of the Republican Party for our first black president doesn’t drive us to the brink of ruin again as they strip food from the mouths of the poor, and try to get people to not sign up for health care, just to get even with the black man they swore to destroy from the day that “uppity” black who is smarter than all of them put together took the oath of office.

God bless you Mr. President. I’m praying for you. I am so very sorry. But take heart, in the long reach of history the door you opened will stay open for the millions of Americans of all colors, genders and beliefs who will follow you. They will bless your name. So will history.

H/t: DB

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Michael Eric Dyson rips Mary Matalin for ‘amnesia’ after Cheney branded Mandela a terrorist

The Raw Story

Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson lashed out at conservative strategist Mary Matalin, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, after she defended her one-time boss for branding Nelson Mandela a terrorist in the 1980s.

Following Mandela’s death last week, several media outlets pointed out that Cheney had not only voted against sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid government, but had also maintained that he didn’t have “any problems” with the vote as late as 2000.

On ABC’s This Week, Dyson observed that “conservatives get a little bit of amnesia when they forget that Dick Cheney wanted to put him on the terrorist list and insisted that he stayed there, that Ronald Reagan resisted — he said on the one hand that Nelson Mandela should be released, but he depended upon a white supremacist government to reform itself within.”

“When will you ever get tired of beating up on Darth Vader, who said Nelson Mandela is a good man,” Matalin shot back, referring to Cheney. “It was a complicated situation, the ANC was a terrorist organization at one point. He has since said wonderful things about Nelson Mandela.”

“But when you say about excusing Darth Vader, so to speak, this is not just about rhetoric,” Dyson insisted to the former Cheney aide. “This is about public policy that prevented the flourishing of ANC, and look, when they had the feet on the neck of Nelson Mandela and millions of black people in South Africa.”

Watch the video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Dec. 8, 2013.

 

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December 9, 2013 · 6:22 AM

Maybe if Obama Had Sold Illegal Arms to Iran, Then Republicans Would Call Him a Hero

reagan-obama

Forward Progressives - 

Since the announcement of the temporary nuclear deal with Iran, Republicans have been outraged at the thought of using any sort of diplomacy when dealing with the situation.  And despite the fact that several of our biggest allies were involved in this agreement, Republicans are focusing all of their anger toward President Obama.

I know, you’re as shocked as I am.

But like with most things, this over the top outrage being displayed by many Republicans is filled with irony and complete hypocrisy.

After all, wasn’t their “conservative hero” Ronald Reagan the same guy who got caught selling illegal arms to Iran?  Oh, yeah—he did.  Iran-Contra was the willful act by the Reagan administration to sell arms to the Iranian government, despite Iran being the subject of an arms embargo.

Just imagine for a moment if instead of reaching a six-month agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama got caught illegally selling arms to the Iranian government.  The Republicans would be going out of their minds with anger and outrage.

Well, that’s exactly what Ronald Reagan did.  You know, the president many conservatives see as the greatest of all-time and a beacon of American values.

Mind you, Iran-Contra happened just five years from the Iran hostage crisis when fifty-two Americans were held hostage in Tehran for 444 days.

Again, just think about that for a second.  Imagine if fifty-two Americans were taken hostage inside Iran in 2009, then in 2014 the Obama administration gets caught selling arms illegally – to Iran. 

Republicans have talked impeachment because of the Affordable Care Act — could you imagine if Obama was caught selling illegal arms to Iran just five years removed from fifty-two Americans being held hostage inside Iranian borders?  Hell, look at how outraged they are because Obama worked with several other nations on a short-term plan to tackle Iran’s nuclear program.

Even after President Obama said this:

“It is in our national interest to watch for changes within Iran that might offer hope for an improved relationship. Until last year there was little to justify that hope. Indeed, we have bitter and enduring disagreements that persist today. At the heart of our quarrel has been Iran’s past sponsorship of international terrorism. Iranian policy has been devoted to expelling all Western influence from the Middle East. We cannot abide that because our interests in the Middle East are vital. At the same time, we seek no territory or special position in Iran. The Iranian revolution is a fact of history, but between American and Iranian basic national interests there need be no permanent conflict.”

Wait, no, that wasn’t President Obama.  That was actually said by President Reagan on November 13, 1986, addressing the Iran-Contra scandal.

Ouch.  I guess that means Reagan was “soft on terror” and supported countries that harbored terrorists, right?

But hell, he didn’t just support them – he armed them. 

Then during the trials to determine what criminal activity might have taken place, the Reagan administration refused to declassify certain documents that would have helped to reveal what actually went on.  Oh, but please, let’s talk about Benghazi and the made up right-wing conspiracies.

Reagan flat-out denied the declassification of documents that might show true criminal activity within his administration in the facilitating of illegal arms to Iran, a country that just a handful of years earlier took fifty-two Americans hostages for 444 days.

So I just have to laugh at Republicans falling over themselves to attack President Obama for agreeing with several other nations on this short-term nuclear deal with Iran.

Maybe if Obama had sold illegal arms to the Iranian government, then they’d consider him an American hero.  After all, that’s what Ronald Reagan did — and they absolute love him.

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The South is holding America hostage

The South is holding America hostage

(Credit: Brandon Bourdages, Paul Wishart via Shutterstock/Salon)

Salon

When I have described the well-considered, coherent political and economic strategies of the conservative white South, as I have done herehere and here, I am sometimes been accused of being a “conspiracy theorist.” But one need not believe that white-hooded Dragons and Wizards are secretly coordinating the actions of Southern conservative politicians from a bunker underneath Stone Mountain in Georgia to believe that a number of contemporary policies — from race-to-the-bottom economic policies to voter disfranchisement and attempts to decentralize or privatize federal social insurance entitlements — serve the interests of those who promote them, who tend to be white Southern conservatives.

Just as a strategy is not a conspiracy, so it is not insanity. Ironically, American progressives, centrists and some Northern conservatives are only deluding themselves, when they insist that the kind of right-wing Southerners behind the government shutdown are “crazy.” Crazy, yes — crazy like a fox.

Another mistake is the failure to recognize that the Southern elite strategy, though bound up with white supremacy throughout history, is primarily about cheap and powerless labor, not about race. If the South and the U.S. as a whole through some magical transformation became racially homogeneous tomorrow, there is no reason to believe that the Southern business and political class would suddenly embrace a new model of political economy based on high wages, high taxes and centralized government, rather than pursue its historical model of a low-wage, low-tax, decentralized system, even though all workers, employers and investors now shared a common skin color.

So the struggle is not one to convert Southern Baptists to Darwinism or to get racists to celebrate diversity. The on-going power struggle between the local elites of the former Confederacy and their allies in other regions and the rest of the United States is not primarily about personal attitudes. It is about power and wealth.

For some time, the initiative has rested with the Southern power elite, which knows what it wants and has a plan to get it. The strategy of the conservative South, as a nation-within-a nation and in the global economy, combines an economic strategy and a political strategy.

Setting political difficulty aside, it is intellectually easy to set forth a grand national strategy that consists of coordinated federal policies to defeat the Southern Autonomy Project.

A federal living wage.  At one blow, a much higher federal minimum wage would cripple the ability of Southern states to lure companies from more generous states which supplement the too-low present federal minimum wage with higher local state or urban minimum wages.  (Strong national unions could do the same, but that is not a realistic option at present.)

Nationalization of social insurance.  Social insurance programs with both federal and state components, like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), allow Southern states to be stingier than many other states, creating more desperate workers who are more dependent on the mercy of employers and elite-dominated charities. Completely federalizing Medicaid (as President Ronald Reagan suggested!) and other hybrid federal-state social insurance programs would cripple the Southern Autonomy Project further.

Real voting rights.  Using the authority of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Congress should completely federalize voting requirements for all federal, state and local elections, making it as easy as possible for U.S. citizens to vote — over the objections of kicking and screaming neo-Confederates.

Nonpartisan redistricting.  Partisan redistricting by majorities in state legislatures should be replaced by nonpartisan redistricting commissions, as in California, New Jersey and other states.  The redistricting commissions should be truly nonpartisan, not “bipartisan” arrangements in which incumbent Republicans and incumbent Democrats cut deals to protect their safe seats from competition. (Electoral reforms like instant run-off voting and proportional representation are struggles for a more distant future).

Abolish the Senate filibuster.  The filibuster is not part of the U.S. constitution. It has been used by Southern white conservatives from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first to preserve Southern white power and economic privilege. This relic of premodern  British parliamentary politics should be abolished. Democracy means majority rule. If the Southern Right loses a battle in Congress, it can try to round up allies and win next time. It should no longer be able to paralyze the Senate, the Congress or the federal government as a whole.

Abolish the federal debt ceiling completely.  The federal debt ceiling is another institution like the filibuster which has now been ruined by being abused by Southern conservatives. Now that the Southern right is trying to turn it into a recurrent tool of hostage-taking when it loses votes in Congress, the federal debt ceiling should be abolished. The federal government should be authorized to borrow any amount necessary to fund spending appropriated or authorized by Congress, if there is any shortfall in tax revenues.

Put all these policies and perhaps others together, and you have a National Majority Rule Project capable of thwarting the Southern Autonomy Project. The best defense is a good offense.

Does saying this make me, a white Southerner, a traitor to the South? Among the beneficiaries of a National Majority Rule Project, if it succeeded, would be middle- and low-income white Southerners, whose interests have never been identical with those of the local oligarchs. Particularly among the Scots-Irish of Appalachia and the Ozarks, there have always been many Southern white populists and radicals — from the West Virginian and Kentucky Unionists of the Civil War to New Deal liberals in Texas — who have understood the need to ally ourselves with non-Southerners in national politics to defeat the local Nabobs, Bourbons and Big Mules. The true Southern patriots are those of us who want to liberate the diverse population of the South from being exploited as wage earners and from being disfranchised or manipulated as voters. Another term for the National Majority Rule Project might be the Southern Liberation Movement.

Will the initiative remain with aggressive Southern reactionaries, as their fellow Americans try to appease them or react on a case-by-case basis against a feint here or a diversion there? Or will an aroused national majority, tired of being pushed around by a selfish Southern minority of the shrinking American white majority, finally fight back?

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8 Things To Know About A Government Shutdown

An empty Senate meeting room, just outside the chamber, is seen Monday in Washington. Only a week remains for Congress to pass a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.

This article was written about a week ago, but the information is worth the read…

NPR – It’s All Politics

In  [a few hours], the federal government runs out of money.

While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution Friday that keeps the government funded through Dec. 15, the measure also defunded President Obama’s signature health care law — which means it has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If a budget resolution doesn’t hit President Obama’s desk before Oct. 1, that’s a big problem: The government will be forced to close its doors.

With that prospect looming, here are eight things you should know about the possible shutdown:

It won’t be the first time

Since a new budgeting process was put into place in 1976, the U.S. government has shut down 17 times. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan each dealt with six shutdowns during their terms in office, lasting anywhere from one day to 2 1/2 weeks.

The last actual shutdown came in 1996 — though the government came close during budget negotiations in 2011.

The last shutdown lasted three weeks

The three-week shutdown that lasted from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996, ranks as the longest in U.S. history. As a result, about 284,000 federal workers were furloughed, and around 475,000 essential employees went without a paycheck, although they were eventually reimbursed.

They weren’t the only ones inconvenienced. Some benefits for military veterans were delayed, and cleanup at more than 600 toxic waste sites was stopped. The government also shut down for six days in mid-November 1995, initially resulting in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees. The Congressional Research Service reported the shutdowns cost taxpayers a combined $1.4 billion.

Only the “essentials”

Only federal employees deemed “essential” would continue to come to work during a shutdown. Employees who qualify as essential include those involved in national security, protecting life and property and providing benefit payments.

That means members of the military, border control agents, air traffic controllers, the FBI and the TSA are among those who would remain on duty. The president and members of Congress are also exempt from furlough and must decide which of their respective staff members to keep around during a shutdown.

The checks are in the mail

Even in the event of a shutdown, Social Security beneficiaries will still find their checks in their mailboxes and doctors and hospitals will receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. However, if the government does not resolve the budget situation by Nov. 1, those entitlement program payments could be delayed by up to two weeks.

Even in a shutdown, the Postal Service delivers

One reason Americans will get their entitlement checks: A government shutdown would not hit the operations of the U.S. Postal Service. Government agencies that the Treasury Department does not directly fund, like USPS, would be relatively unaffected in the short term by a shutdown . Some postal employees would very likely face furlough, but it wouldn’t be enough to completely close down the agency.

National parks and museums? Forget it

Have plans to visit a national park or go sightseeing in the nation’s capital? You might want to cancel them. During the Clinton-era shutdowns, 368 national parks closed, resulting in the loss of 7 million visitors. In Washington, D.C., the public would be unable to visit the monuments and museums that millions of tourists flock to every year. The Capitol building would remain open, though.

Visa and passport delays

Those hoping to enter or leave the country during a shutdown would most likely experience some difficulty. The government was unable to process around 200,000 pending passport applications and a daily average of 30,000 visa and passport applications by foreigners during the 1995-96 shutdowns. This would result not only in a headache for would-be travelers but a loss in millions for the airline and tourism industries.

Who would be blamed for a shutdown?

Generally speaking, no one comes out looking good if the government shuts down. A Pew Research poll conducted Sept. 19-22 shows 39 percent of Americans would blame Republicans if a shutdown were to occur, compared with 36 percent who would fault the Obama administration and 17 percent who would hold both sides responsible. According to a Pew poll from a comparable period during the 2011 budget battle, the public spread the blame around nearly identically.

 

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Rachel Maddow Explains How House Republicans Are About to Destroy The Economy

maddow-mitchell

PoliticusUSA

On MSNBC today, Rachel Maddow explained how House Republicans are about to destroy the economy with their insistence that Obamacare be defunded.

Video:

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Transcript:

MITCHELL:The reason people aren’t seized with this, they always work it out. There’s always a Christmas deadline, they will extend it by 30 days, 60 days, so people don’t seem to be focusing on this yet. The debt ceiling is where the rubber meets the road. Jack Lew says earlier in October they run out of cash. it’s a cash flow problem. If things are attached to that debt ceiling and we start looking at another downgrading of the US economy, that’s really serious stuff. That’s your 401(k).

MADDOW: That’s stuff that doesn’t get reversed even if retroactively fixed. when we had a credit downgrade as a nation, minor and controversial one, that’s something that has consequences in a way that takes years, maybe decades to grow out of. You look back at the way Ronald Reagan inveighed in the ’80s against messing with the debt ceiling. Really messing with it? Just taking Reagan’s arguments alone about the harm to the nation ought to be convincing to anybody on any part of the political spectrum as long as you love this country and as long as you don’t want to wantonly inflict harm that’s very hard to grow out of. The shutdown thing, I believe that’s going to happen. I realize that’s not a conventionally held view. I think the shutdown will happen and when we get close to the debt ceiling having shut down government we’ll be in a crisis mode. That will be an adult moment for the nation.

There is a lot of talk about the politics of this situation, but messing with the debt ceiling is dangerous because it is directly screwing with the entire economy. People could see their retirement accounts, which are just starting to rebuild after the last Republican caused economic collapse, get wiped out again. People aren’t taking this seriously yet, because a sort of crisis conditioning that has taken hold in this country.

The Republican have created and caused so many crisis that the American people have become desensitized when a new one pops up. People assume that Republicans will eventually back down, and they probably will, but their lack of leadership and direction could tank the economy before this is resolved. The longer House Republicans take to get their act together, the greater the risk for the American people.

Not all Republicans want to go down this path, but the House is in chaos. There is no leadership. Nobody on the Republican side listens to Boehner or Cantor. There is no unity, and absolutely no urgency to do what is right.

When the government shutdown in 1995, the economy suffered a 1% temporary drop in GDP. Combine that temporary drop with the economic impact of not raising the debt ceiling, and it will be a devastating body blow to the working men and women of this country.

While we have been distracted by the Ted Cruz circus and Obamacare, Republicans are this close to destroying our economy.

It’s time to buckle up and pay attention, because things are about to get bumpy.

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September 27, 2013 · 9:19 PM

Gregory Shocked by Peter King’s ‘Community Organizer’ Criticism: ‘That’s Like a Campaign Line’

Mediaite

New York Congressman Peter King went after President Barack Obama on Meet the Press Sunday morning, arguing that Obama had bungled the run up to a military strike in Syria, and getting host David Gregory’s attention with a line redolent of the 2008 presidential campaign.

“I wish the president had laid this out better, I wish he’d quit backing away from his own red line, and I wish he was more a commander in chief than a community organizer,” King said.

Gregory was visibly taken aback by this. “Why do you say that?” he asked. “That’s like a campaign line.”

“For one year he says this red line is there,” King responded. “The red line was crossed, he sends Kerry and Hagel out, we’re all set to basically have this attack, we’re told Congress is not needed, at the eleventh hour he brings in Congress, and then he says it’s not his red line. Here’s a person who’s vacillating. I can’t imagine imagine Harry Truman or John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower ever putting the country in a position like this militarily.”

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Top House Republican Rewrites History, Claims Reagan Stood Up To Chemical Weapons Use

These people know the truth.  They prefer to lie because most of their constituents will believe whatever they say when the meme projects an anti-Obama stance.

Think Progress

A top Republican lawmaker on Thursday invoked Ronald Reagan to say that Obama was weak for not acting more directly in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, ignoring the fact that Reagan’s White House looked the other way when chemical weapons were used in the 1980s.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) appeared on Fox News arguing for a military response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians. While pushing the same limited strikes plan that the Obama administration wants, Ros-Leithein attacked the president for not moving more forcefully against Damascus. In doing so, she told Fox that Reagan never would have stood for the sort of attack that killed an estimated 1,400 civilians:

ROS-LEHTINEN: It is against the norms of international standards and to let something like this go unanswered, I think will weaken our resolve. I — I know that President Reagan would have never let this happen. He would stand up to this. And President Obama — the only reason he is consulting with Congress, he wants to blame somebody for his lack of resolve. We have to think like President Reagan would do and he would say chemical use is unacceptable.

What Ros-Lehtinen seems oddly unaware of, however, is that Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite. For the majority of the 1980s, Iraq under Sadaam Hussein was locked in combat with the Islamic Republic of Iran in a war that killed more than 1,000,000 people on both sides. The United States explicitly backed the secular Hussein over the Ayatollah Khomeini’s government in Tehran, still smarting from the embassy hostage crisis that had only ended when Reagan took office. That backing not only included the shipment of tons of weapons to support Baghdad, but also looking the other way when Iraq unleashed its chemical weapons stockpiles — including sarin and mustard gas — against Iranian civilians and soldiers alike.

Recently declassified documents from that time indicate that not only did the U.S. government know that Hussein possessed these weapons, but “conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin.” President Reagan alsoremained silent during the Al-Anfal campaign, in which Hussein used poison gas against the Kurdish population in Northern Iraq to put down a revolt against his rule. In what has later been called a genocide, more than 100,000 men, women, and children were killed, nearly 100 times more than the attack that took place outside of Damascus last month.

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Filed under Right-Wing Propaganda, Ronald Reagan