23 Comments

Greed, Lust, Envy. The republican base still thinks that somehow, some way they will get the jet that Trump flies around in, the mansion, etc., as long as they play the game. The carrot on the stick is forever dangling in their face. Remember, the republican party (I refuse to capitalize) is one big, corrupt, good 'ol boy network. Frankly, I think the democrats are as well but they just hide it better. As for racism, I lived in Marietta, GA for a few years; many white people raised in the South are afraid of black and brown people - goes back 100's of years. It's in their DNA. The 2nd Amendment business about forming militias and the right to bear arms was added so local folks could suppress slave uprisings! Sure, some overcome the fear, work through it and become lovely people but.... There's still that corrosive, evil thread. fear.

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I agree with all you say here, Thom....and I would go one step further to bring in America's predominant religion -- capitalism. Americans (especially white Americans!) are so ingrained with this notion that unbridled (freedom!) capitalism is the unquestioned, holy foundation of our society--and each person's sense of identity--that they are not repulsed by the excesses of wealth...but actually admire and desire such wealth for themselves...as a sort of salvation. Thus they are blind--just like the "Christian Nationalists"--to the reality of their own hypocrisy & folly of denying themselves in order to support the "morbidly rich." I like the way Ginger put it in her comment: "Greed, Lust, Envy"...with the reminder of Saint Ronnie's slogan "Greed is Good !"....eh? Combine this religious, political, capitalistic fervor with the Republican followers' desire for a rich, "Big Daddy" to take care of them, and you've got a bunch of hard-core true-believers who will swallow the spin, deceits, lies, and other garbage the Repug elite put out to coldly manipulate them in order to gain or stay in power. Case in point: Donald J. Trump. I'm waiting for the real truth be told about him: He is.....and always has been...a penniless loser--who created his "fabulous life style" by floating on a mountain of debt as he wasted his Daddy's inheritance. He apparently once spoke the truth to his children as they were leaving Trump Tower when he pointed to a homeless person sitting against the building and said, "That guy is richer than I am." Are they in Crazyville..........or what?? 🙃

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You’ve given us an insightful analysis of how the elite have strategized since the 1970s to create the increasing level of economic inequality present today. However, I suggest it is not the Republicans alone. Powell was an influential Democrat. And successors to Powell continue to influence the establishment Democrats, so that, in line with Republican objectives, no policy that interferes with the upward transfer of wealth will be effective.

There is a debate on how to describe the swing voters, but in 2008 they had lost faith in the Republicans, and put their hope in the Democrats led by an outlier, an intelligent, charismatic, Black man. In the first two years of his administration massive foreclosures began. Estimates vary, but some 10 to 12 million people lost their homes. Much of that could have been prevented. There was $350 billion left of the $700 billion allocated by Congress while Bush Junior was president. His Treasury Secretary gave 350 billion to the banks, but left 350 billion to be distributed to the homeowners. Instead, Obama‘s choice for a Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, said that giving help to the homeowners would teach them that they didn’t have to pay their debts. He returned most of that 350 billion; 29 billion was retained for HAMP, but he made the qualifications so difficult, only about 1 billion got the homeowners. A full 72% of applicants were rejected outright. Is there any wonder why these voters lost faith in the Democrats? I give a further analysis here: https://medium.com/@janweirlaw/where-have-all-the-rational-voters-gone-e3ab0f98ca54

The key to elite control has always been to keep the under classes financially precarious. People in fear of their ability to earn a living do not listen to reason; they look for a savior. And that explains why none of the very solid reasons you list against Republican rule have any effect.

Yet, these methods by which the super-rich have been able to divert income and wealth to themselves can be identified. You have identified one in your analysis of the Southwest Airlines debacle – the buyback. 10% of Americans own 84% of all shares. 50% on no shares at all. Most buybacks are a steady stream of an upward transfer of wealth. Additionally, as most executive compensation is in shares, and the corporation is allowed to buy back executive shares, there is a high incentive for executives to use corporate profits for buybacks rather than the future health of the corporation and better worker wages.

So, I believe the strategy for those who are concerned to again reach the voters who once voted for the Democrats and Obama is a program of education. First, identifying the various means of this upward transfer of wealth (of which buybacks is only one), then a program of education to explain them to voters.

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Well said - again. It is hard to get in all the factors in a single report but (there is always a but) I suspect the fascists BIG LIE balloon would have popped except for their use of a new propaganda tool - social media.

Newspapers are fine but few of the cult followers will read. TV (Fox) personalities are fine but still only reach into single digit million viewers. But, all have smart phones and Twitter/FB accounts where the propaganda bots are very, very active. Plus keep in mind that this technology is distinct in allowing Russian and other fascist trolls to directly interact with US voters in ways not possible a few years ago.

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Jan 3, 2023·edited Jan 3, 2023

Another well-written essay. I appreciate your work, Thom. I would add that there really IS a great replacement going on - workers are being replaced by automation. Automation doesn't whine about excessive overtime. It doesn't need medical care (maintenance is cheaper.) It won't ask for raises to counter artificially generated inflation. Automation will do as it's told and not contradict the rulers. The rulers will only need machines to produce the goods they want and a smaller, compliant, population to service their machines and buy the crap they will sell to keep their riches. These elites need fewer peasants, though. The two methods the elites will use to eliminate the excess peasants are climate change and war. As Peter Baelish, a character from Game of Thrones put it, "We have enough wheat for a five-year winter. If it lasts any longer... we'll have fewer peasants." The world, globally, is on the cusp of having "fewer peasants." One reason the rulers don't care about climate change is because they think they have the resources to avoid the direct consequences - they have built and resourced bunkers and huge ships ("arks). While mostly claiming climate change is a hoax, they are and have planned for its effects. They believe (and hope), but won't admit, that climate change will kill off - either by extreme weather or starvation - "unnecessary peasants." What climate change doesn't take out, the brewing wars, of which Ukraine is only the beginning, will remove.

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I still think a lot of answers to circumstances like this can be found in Bob Altemeyer's book, The Authoritarians. Pretty much based on fear of ...... go ahead and insert tour word of choice.

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Jan 3, 2023·edited Jan 3, 2023

Just tuned into the House third vote where McCarthy managed to lose ANOTHER member's support---time for number four, and I think I will move-on to watching the real "Let's Make A Deal". Better costumes and prizes.

People who go with their gut instead of an informed decision can easily end-up voting against their own interests. That's what we are looking at. It tracks with how their brains work. Sticking with the people they can or want to identify with keeps them feeling comfortable and safe. Amygdala-1 Prefrontal Cortex-0

All this discord is educating some of the voters. We can educate a voter or two. I'd gladly hold the popcorn, while you keep up the great work, Thom.

They just adjourned for today. Good! That's enough idiocracy for one day.

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I want to make bumper stickers that read:

"If you aren't "woke", then wake up! Your house is on fire! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!"

Not that bumper stickers will sway anyone, but... it's what I want to scream in their heads... over and over... wake up! wake up!

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This is all true and insightful. I would add that the Republican base at some visceral or gut level has a fundamental aversion to anything that could be construed as or lead to disorder or chaos. They are reflexively opposed to the slightest hint of rule-breaking, risk-taking, or living without the consent and approval of the gods or the authorities, predominant of whom is their own god personified by religious/political leaders or their own self-assignment based on an imagined superiority based on rule-following and obedience to tradition and moral rectitude. Whiteness is godliness. Thinking for oneself is licentious. Power demonstrates worth and righteousness per se.

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founding

“At Lula’s inauguration, did Bolsonaro ‘eat the last cannibal’?”

https://www.rashmee.com/2023/01/03/at-lulas-inauguration-did-bolsonaro-eat-the-last-cannibal/#

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I heard an excellent line today, in a movie, that I thought was brilliant in summing up some of what is going on, I think. Speaking of the Tories, “ They wanted to change the political landscape of this country away from collectivism towards deregulated market forces. Reasonable people can agree or disagree but the point is they needed a war to achieve it. They needed to provoke a strike in nationalized industries.” Is this not what republicans have done in creating a culture war, just to meet their greedy agenda?

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I wonder if the source of the problem is leaders like Obama and Bill Clinton who want to be rich and are dazzled by the establishment rich. Both achieved their objectives. They entered the presidency with average net wealth and were rewarded by the elite with speaking engagements and book deals so their net worth it now something like 40 million.

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A large number of eligible voters still do not vote. Young people and poor people of color don't vote.

Democrats could take control of the country if they would push policy that appeals to these groups but to do so they would lose money from rich donors. Democrats have sold governing for All Americans in exchange for more cash from donors.

GOP have been the same forever. The Dem party FAILURE is a far bigger worry than foolish boomer Republicans who show up and vote at every election...

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It will take a Christmas miracle on Capitol Hill. DM for a free copy of my Christmas political fairy tale of a cynical politician who wants to become Speaker of the House but lacks the necessary votes.

After having fantastical visions of the founding fathers and hearing advice from the People he transforms into a Constitutional Patriot. The Congressman ekes out a bipartisan victory to become Squeaker of the House and goes on to pass popular bills for the benefit of all the American People.

Influenced by ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘The Night Before Christmas’, ‘Alice and Wonderland’, and ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,’ the tale conjures up a possible future with political goodwill for all.

https://www.liberty-cookies.com/product-page/if-you-give-the-house-a-cookie-how-the-squeaker-of-the-house-learned-to-stop-wor

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Gosh, Thom, they're all right! How about a book on this subject with each of today's commenters writing a chapter?

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I tend to believe that they rather starve than share. Their white privilege spoiled them and denied them the vision to expand their horizons. I recall a professor, once ask us the class, "do I have white privilege? I said yes and proceeded to explain his benefits as a white person. He did not respond to anything I stated. No defend, and neither of the others in class.

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