Is the "International Criminal Class" GOP Worth Saving?
Instead of cleaning up their act, Republicans are embracing international crooks
Liz Cheney is most likely wrong. The GOP is now so deeply embedded with the international criminal class that it’s probably not worth saving.
For 40 years the GOP has been a peripheral but important part of the international criminal class; Donald Trump pushed the Party fully into its embrace while trying to drag the entire country with him.
Now that Liz Cheney’s rebellion has spilled it all out in the open, and their lies, deceptions and criminality are irrefutable, some people, particularly in the media, seem shocked. They shouldn’t be.
Ever since the Reagan Revolution, the Republican Party has been the place where pollution poisoners, rip-off bankers, pharmaceutical hustlers, fossil-fuel thieves, climate deniers, asbestos and tobacco barons, real estate fraudsters, and tax cheats go to find the protections they need to continue operating.
Donald Trump, a real estate fraudster and serial criminal himself, even put Steve Mnuchin, the so-called “Foreclosure King” (who should’ve been prosecuted by California’s then-Attorney General Kamala Harris and sent to prison), in charge of the entire federal government’s pile of money.
He put the head of ExxonMobil, the company that’s been funding climate denialism and lying to the American people since the 1980s, in place as our Secretary of State.
He put a billionaire who Forbes, for G-d’s sake, called a “grifter” in charge of our Commerce Department.
Trump even tried to make America an open and public part of the dictator’s club by making nice with international criminals like the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil and Hungary, arguing that the US is the moral equivalent of autocratic, oligarch-run nations. It reflected his desire to move the US from “the moral equivalent” of such countries to actually joining the club by ending democracy and making himself an autocrat (see Jan 6th).
Few in the GOP even blinked. Crooks in our midst? Making common cause with international criminals? It’s just normal. It’s the “big tent” Republican Party.
Our current Secretary of the Treasury, former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, recently pointed out that the international criminal class operating in the United States has avoided paying an astonishing $7 trillion in taxes. That’s enough money to rebuild America, give us a national healthcare system, and put everybody in this country who wants to go through college for free.
But, as Mitch McConnell will tell you with a smile and a drawl, Americans can’t have nice things because the tax-cheat criminals among the billionaires and their companies in America don’t want to pay their taxes.
But it’s not just the American billionaires among the international criminal class who are causing such chaos in this country; it’s also the politicians they’ve bought, ever since the Supreme Court legalized political bribery with Citizens United. Politicians like McCarthy, McConnell and the vast majority of Republicans still in Congress.
When Richard Nixon was caught lying about Watergate and his illegal spying on the DNC, or the bribes he took from Jimmy Hoffa, the milk lobby and MacDonalds, Americans were shocked. Most importantly, Republicans were shocked. It was a group of Republicans, led by Barry Goldwater, who told Nixon he had to go.
This was before the Reagan Revolution, and most in the Republican Party still believed in the rule of law. No more.
As if to prove that to the entire world, Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday officially declared that telling lies is a necessary prerequisite for good standing in the Party. And telling lies when it comes to life and death issues like war and peace, or who won or lost an election, as we all know, is either an explicit legal or definite moral crime.
This is not a new phenomenon; America regularly does battle with these people, even at the founding of our country. The American Revolution was fought against the international criminal class.
By the 1770s the British East India Company had already spent nearly 100 years bribing governments, stealing natural resources, smuggling contraband and evading taxes.
When they bribed/convinced the British Parliament to pass the Tea Act of 1773, which radically cut the Company’s taxes so they could wipe out small American colonial tea sellers, Sam Adams and his friends said “enough!“ and dumped over a million dollars (in today’s money) worth of their tea in Boston Harbor, kicking off the American Revolution.
In the weeks leading up to the Boston Tea Party, a still-unknown patriot who went by the name of Rusticus posted billboards all over Boston that said:
Are we in like Manner to be given up to the Disposal of the East India Company, who have now the Assurance, to step forth in Aid of the Minister, to execute his Plan, of enslaving America? Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. … Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Rate that the poor could not purchase them.
The Revolution put an end to that here, but the international criminal class soon got their hooks back into America.
In the early to mid-1800s, the oligarchic barons of the South found common cause with the international criminal class in both the slave and the cotton trades. By 1860 democracy was dead in the Confederate states, and a few thousand wealthy families ruled that part of America as, essentially, an organized crime syndicate supported by and interacting with similar wealthy criminals around the planet.
As I lay out in detail in the first third of my new book The Hidden History of American Oligarchy, it took the Civil War to stop them.
Eighty years later, the international criminal class threw in big-time with Tojo and Hitler, while their US members financed an attempted coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Their biggest mistake was trying to hire General Smedley Butler to do the deed of kidnapping or killing Roosevelt and replacing him with a “good Republican president.“
Butler, an incorruptible patriot and the nation’s most decorated Marine general at the time, turned them in and blew up the conspiracy that had been organized and funded by some of the wealthiest and most powerful families in America, in collaboration with wealthy criminals in other countries.
Things all changed, however, when Reagan came to power in 1981. He revived Americans making common cause with the international criminal class, changing the Republican Party for the next 40 years.
He traded American weaponry for hostages to win election; illegally armed murderous thugs and overthrew governments while smuggling cocaine into the US; opened up the banking laws to criminal behavior so widely that the entire Savings & Loan structure collapsed and the bailout of Republican-connected bankers cost America $7 trillion; explicitly and overtly supported the brutal and racist apartheid and internationally-recognized-criminal government of South Africa; stole money from the EPA’s Superfund and funneled it into Republican election campaigns and then refused to turn records of that crime over to Congress; surveilled, harassed and intimidated journalists; rigged HUD grants and redirected the money to Republican donors; helped Osama bin Laden start what became Al-Qaeda; and eliminated 40,000 beds for mental patients in America, kicking off an explosion of homelessness that echoes to this day.
Bush and Dick Cheney lied us into two unnecessary wars that killed millions of human beings and killed and maimed thousands of Americans, while protecting the fossil fuel industry in its ongoing lies about climate change. They also radically cut taxes on American billionaires, while stripping money and resources from the working class.
Liz Cheney is now arguing that Republicans should at least respect elections, ignoring Nixon’s treason with South Vietnam to kill LBJ’s 1968 peace plan, or Reagan’s treason with the Iranians, or her own father’s lies to America and the world about Iraq.
She’s behaving like the GOP is something worth saving, but the Party has been too deeply embedded with the international criminal class for too long to take such imprecations seriously. They can’t even back away from Trump’s lies and his embrace of foreign oligarchs and autocrats.
McConnell, McCarthy and congressional Republicans need a billion dollars to win the next cycle of elections, so now instead of extracting their Party from the international criminal class they’re hot on the hunt among those very folks for the funds.
Which raises the question: is the GOP even worth saving?
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History does not repeat, but there are parallels. Classical Greece committed suicide when Athens turned its democratic government into a brutal empire, tore itself apart in a long war with Sparta, wasted its army on a pointless invasion of Sicily and collapsed into class warfare. While the US is a far different country we seem to be self-destructing too with imperial overreach, lost wars based on lies, and whipping up groups against each other. There really is no reason why we have to go down the same path to marginalization. But it takes popular knowledge and the will to act to get something better than what we have. Most people seem content to cheer for a hollow empire and to sing an anthem about being "brave" and "free." And that is exactly the way the Republicans want it.
Everyone of these colluders of badness that Thom has written about were perfectly described in James Madison's definition of factions. As he noted in Federalist 10, factions (especially the big ones) have conspired to do things adverse to human rights and/or our communities' interests for as long as there have been sociopathic greedy bastards. Alexander Hamilton explained that our government's purpose is "...to abolish factions and unite for the general welfare." Unfortunately, as long as our government is controlled by the big factions, their statuses will stay quo'd.