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Milton Friedman's Role and His Influence on the Two Worst Regimes in US History

11/29/08

06:07:26 pm

Len Hart

As recently as 2005, Milton Friedman was still singing the praises of an utterly failed economic policies that had been put to the test by Herrs R. Reagan and Bush Sr and found tragically lacking. Friedman is enamored with policies that bankrupted the nation, made terrorism worse, created the longest, deepest recession since the crash of 1929, exported jobs abroad and resulted in absolutely destruction of the American labor movement and, as a result, the loss of employee rights. Because Ronald Reagan put into effect the lame-brained ideas of Milton Friedman, we live poised on the precipice of economic collapse at the end of the very worst Presidency in American history.

When I met Milton Friedman in Houston, Ronald Reagan had not yet plunged the nation into a two year long depression. At the time, it was the worst depression since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression of the 1930s, the one that your parents, grand-parents or great great parents have told you about.

Not surprisingly, Milton Friedman was singing the praises of GOP economics for which he must share responsibility, possible blame. When I asked him about a pernicious trend that had started under Reagan, he was defensive. "Jobs are NOT exported", he said emphatically. He was wrong then and he is wrong now. In fact, it was during Ronald Reagan that jobs declined as US industry lost markets to Japan and China --Faustian bargains cut first on Nixon's behalf and later for Herr Reagan.

American industry is but a shadow of what it was under FDR and LBJ. GOP economics for whom Friedman was the guru, left American workers with increasingly limited prospects, declining standards of living, few opportunities and lower wages. I've cited the official numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Commerce- BEA, and the Census Bureau which prove conclusively that as a result of the GOPs anti-labor policies in terms of both jobs and tax cuts for the wealthy, the rich have gotten very, very rich and everyone else has gotten poorer. Today, about one percent of the US population owns more than the remainging 90 percent or more combined. Under Bush Jr an elite of only about one percent of the nation benefited form his tax cuts and his financially ruinous war of naked aggression against Iraq.

Bush has now resorted to Marxist economics and had proven Marx to have been absolutely correct. The Bush bailout of his robber baron buddies and former sponsors, is proof that Milton Friedman's naive, laissez-fair economics is pure and utter bunkum. There was a time when grown up folk who persisted in believing fairy tales were called nuts! Today --they are called elder statesmen and Friedman is considered a sage.

Here's Friedman from a Charlie Rose program of 2005. He's talking about how strong was the US Economy. It would appear that reality has caught up with him.

Milton Friedman Bragging About Bush's 'Strong' Economy

Some recent EC posts that Friedman would have done well to read:

  • 'Corporate Prisons': the GOP's Formula for More Crime, Declining Education, and Slave Labor

  • The GOP: Architects of Another 'Great Depression'

  • GOP History: 100 Years of Crooks, Liars and Failures

  • The 'Conspiracy of Rich Men' Who Pulled Off 911 and Other GOP Atrocities

  • How the GOP Enriched the Rich and Made Everyone Else Poor!

  • Workers, Unite! Demand that you be paid in Gold Bullion!

  • The Biggest Heist in History

  • GOP Economics: 'When a Parasite Kills Its Host'

  • Recession/Depressions: How the GOP 'Soaks' the Poor and Middle Classes

  • 'Great Depression' Lessons from 'It's a Wonderful Life'

  • 'Greed is Good': The Death of an Economic Religion

  • Bush sticks you with the bill

  • The Big Bush 'Bail Out' Blackmail

  • Steve Kangas: The Origins of the Overclass

  • Repeating Failed Strategies: the Triumph of Idiocy

  • Reagan was no hero but he played one in a movie

  • Bush Sr's Faustian Bargain with China or How US/China Trade Threatens to Wipe Out the US Middle Class
  • To sum up: Friedman has been wrong about the economy at least since 1980 when his 'God' --Ronald Reagan --assumed the role of "President". Ronald Reagan, the living embodiment of Friedman 'economics' hollowed out America's industrial base, plunged the nation into the worst depression since 1929, destroyed the labor movement, enriched ONLY the upper one percent of the nation, doubled the size of the federal bureaucracy and left to Bush Sr and, later Bill Clinton, the worst budget deficit in the nation's history, a situation that did not improve until Bill Clinton's second term. A lot of good it did. Bush II promptly out-performed Ronald Reagan's every instance of incompetence and deceit. Only Bush IIs defictis and debts outstrip those of Herr Reagan who succeeded only in enriching his corporate sponsors.

    predicted by a plunging stock market. Republicans sell out at the peak, taking their profits. Enough selling will trigger the plunge; less knowledgeable investors begin to follow suit from fear but too late. Last man out loses.

    2. Having taken their profits on the upside, a depressed market is but an opportunity for the rich Republican to get back in at lower prices. Guess who sells at the lower price: the poor schmuck who is 180 degrees out of phase and can only dream of being a rich Republican. In reality, those he aspires to join are exploiting him.

    3. Very knowledgeable investors make money "selling short", buying "put options". These investors get peak prices for stocks even as the price declines. Illegal insider information is executed with "calls" and "puts." The perpetrators of 911, for example, made millions, possibly billions, selling short the stocks of UA and AA. I defy anyone to come up with an 'innocent' explanation. The recipients of those profits had guilty foreknowledge of 911. The name 'Buzz' Krongard comes in connection with a known terrorist organization: the CIA.

    Now --a planned financial meltdown might have presented the same opportunities. Historically, 'elites' have always emerged richer, stronger from recessions. On the other side of Ronald Reagan's recession of some two years, the rich had gotten richer while the middle class was all but wiped out. The ill-effects of that recession are still seen in the decline of middle class neighborhoods, the permanent loss of manufacturing base and the jobs it created .The profits and volume were most certainly outside norms, proof that those executing the options had precise foreknowledge of the attacks. Those making those profits had "guilty knowledge" of the attacks; they were at the very heart of a murderous conspiracy.

    4. Unemployment always goes up in a recession. At the end of a longer recession, companies have the luxury of hiring from a larger labor pool at lower wages and/or salaries. Some companies --citing hard times --may reduce benefits, cut vacation or sick time. Big business must hate good times; it is only during times of full employment that workers have any leverage at all. Offhand I can think of only two times in history that have come close: the Clinton years, and, interestingly, Europe after the Black Death. The labor supply had been depleted by plague. Employers were often forced to accede to worker demands for better conditions, money, a place to live! Serfs had been freed and it marked the beginning of the end for Feudalism and set the stage for 'corporate feudalism', an age in which we still labor and suffer.

    5. Admittedly, many businesses go belly-up during recessions. While lip service is given to 'free markets' and Adam Smith's 'invisible hand', die hard robber barons hate the 'free market'. They prefer 'monopoly' when they can create one and 'oligopoly' when they can't. Free competition among many sellers is the last thing they want. Recessions are welcomed. It's the 'cold douche', a ruthless flush, so beloved by Schumpeter and the robber barons of American capitalism.

    6. Don't expect recessions to bring down prices. More often, higher prices are the light that is seen at the end of the long, dark tunnel. In other words, those businesses fortunate enough to survive a 'downturn' are in the enviable position of raising prices on the other side. Higher prices benefit businesses that manage, even with government help, to stay in business during a recession. So much for laissez-faire capitalism. Those fortunate businesses now make more money per unit produced and will do so with fewer employees. The world is not so kind to everyone else, primarily smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, freelancers, and worker bees. Prices, we learned in Economics 101, are determined by supply and demand. If the demand is such that the market is quite willing to pay any price for it (prescription drugs, gasoline, certain rents) then demand is said to be inelastic.

    7. At the expense of over-simplifying, consumer demand is the arbiter of price only in markets characterized by diffuse competition. Recessions militate against a market of this sort, weeding out all but 'privileged' businesses, primarily those with juicy government contracts or GOP cronies in office. Only in the textbook model, is it assumed that the oligopolist's market demand curve becomes less elastic at prices below a certain point. In markets characterized by the continuing decline in the number of 'sellers', it is obvious that there are fewer motivations for oligopolists to reduce prices. In such a market, the oligopolist (an aspiring monopolist) makes more money selling fewer units at higher prices than could be earned selling more units at lower prices. How many people are out of a job makes no difference to the American right wing for whom Scrooge is their abiding inspiration.

    Perhaps a quick review of Friedman's policies as they were, in fact, made policy under the dubious and failed regime of Ronald Reagan best remembered for his reprise of the Great Depression, castrating the American labor movement on behalf of his corporate robber baron sponsors, and a criminal/terrorist enterprise which, in fact, made terrorism worse under his administration as that of any other US administration since World War II. Ronald Reagan himself need not have worried about the opinion of Iran/Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh who believed Reagan guilty of conspiring to arm an avowed enemy of the US while funneling money to a right-wing terrorist organization.

    To the spellbinder, everything becomes subordinated to their conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology can emerge from such individuals that is certainly partly true, and the value of which is claimed to be superior to all other ideologies. They believe they will find many converts to their ideology and when they discover that this is not the case, they are shocked and fume with "paramoral indignation." The attitude of most normal people to such spellbinders is generally critical, pained and disturbed.

    The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who succumbs to his influence, and he will shower such people with attention and property and perks of all kinds. Critics are met with "moral" outrage and it will be claimed by the spellbinder that the compliant minority is actually a majority.

    Such activity is always characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view, because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and self-charming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically.

    In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively on common sense and social order - such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers manifesting pathological traits - spellbinders activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy.

    Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally become a ponerogenic union.

    -- The Role of the Psychopath in the Generation of Global Evil

    Reagan apologists often attack Jimmy Carter because, like the predators they are, they smell weakness. It is a mistake. Carter, is in fact among the best Presidents in job creation and he is the only US President to have brokered a Middle East peace --the Camp David Accords. In the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Carter acted quickly. He replaced Kissenger's incremental, shuttle diplomacy with a comprehensive, multilateral approachh that included reconvening the 1973 Geneva Conference to include a Palestinian delegation. The GOP feared to duplicate that approach. It might have succeeded. Democrats, meanwhile, should stop running away from what it means to be a Democrat. Get a spine! Stand up and be counted! You have nothing to fear from a gang of lying perverts, bigots and war mongers.

    Reagan's election in November 1980 also was welcomed in other quarters. His victory set off celebrations in the well-to-do communities of Central America. After four years of Jimmy Carter's human rights nagging, the region's anti-communist hard-liners were thrilled that they had someone in the White House who understood their problems.

    The oligarchs and the generals had good reason for optimism. For years, Reagan had been a staunch defender of right-wing regimes engaged in bloody counterinsurgency campaigns against leftist enemies.

    In the late 1970s, when Carter's human rights coordinator, Pat Derian, criticized the Argentine military for its "dirty war" -- tens of thousands of "disappearances," tortures and murders -- then-political commentator Reagan joshed that she should "walk a mile in the moccasins" of the Argentine generals before criticizing them. [Martin Edwin Andersen's Dossier Secreto.]

    Despite his aw shucks style, Reagan found virtually every anti-communist action justified, no matter how brutal.

    From his eight years in the White House, there is no historical indication that he was troubled by the bloodbath and even genocide that occurred in Central America during his presidency, while he was shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the implicated forces.

    The death toll was staggering -- an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political "disappearances" in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala.

    The one consistent element in these slaughters was the overarching Cold War rationalization, emanating from Ronald Reagan's White House.

    --Robert Parry, Obama's Dubious Praise for Reagan

    Hoping to deflect attention from the new Äugustus, Reagan worshipers claim that Carter was responsible for "horrible inflation" and 20% interest rates. So what? Interest rates would be expected to decline under Reagan's depression as interest rates, in fact, decline in every recession or depression. During Reagan's depression, the GDP declined at a rate of 2.2 percent, quite possibly the biggest such decline since the Great Depression, most certainly it was the biggest decline in the more than twenty years between 1973 to the assumption of the White House by Bush. Millions lost jobs and homes. In any case, it was the Federal Reserve Board that slashed interest rates and expanded the money supply, thus reducing prices. Ronald Reagan had nothing whatsoever to do with it! It was the Fed --not Reagan --who was responsible for the following but short-lived recovery.

    Under Carter, people were at work and productive. They were buying homes --not leaving them under the threat of imminent foreclosure as many, perhaps, millions are doing now.

    That was not the case under Reagan who destroyed the trade unions, exported jobs and technology, and plunged the nation into a depression of two years ---the very worst since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression!

    Before Reagan, America had a steel industry. After Reagan, it didn't. Before Reagan, America has a viable automotive industry. After Reagan, the US was buying its cars from Japan. Before Reagan, small retailers still existed. After Reagan, small stores had all but disappeared, giving way to huge corporate chains, and, in time, WalMart --an economic Kudzu vine that chokes out every flower in the garden.

    Typically, Reagan would take credit for reforms begun under Carter. It was Carter who gave the rich a capital gains tax cut, even as he deregulated key industries like trucking and airlines. Carter also increased defense spending. I happen to think Carter ought not have done that! But, to his credit, he didn't muck it up nearly as much as did Reagan who sold his soul for the elite GOP base of robber barons and other vote buyers! The moral of the story is this: don't sell your soul to the GOP robber barons. They don't appreciate it and will support a card-carrying "seed pod" like Reagan or Bush anyway.

    As bad as all that is, Reagan's lasting legacy is his worst and most dangerous. Reagan may have blown the world's last chance to achieve a non-nuclear peace.

    Reagan is a study in complexity. He believed in balanced budgets but never submitted one; feared a nuclear apocalypse but built a huge stockpile of weapons; preached family values while presiding over a dysfunctional family.

    --American Experience

    The story is about the talks Reagan held with the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik. It was Gorbachev who first put total nuclear disarmament on the table. It was Ronald Reagan, indebted to his radical base, who blinked.

    If, that is, the ensuing "Great Society," to borrow a term from JFK's successor, Lyndon Johnson, were laid low by a nuclear attack on an American city (or seven, if al Qaeda had its way).

    This is the territory into which Gorbachev launched his most daring raids. First, in 1985, he announced that the Soviet Union would no longer deploy intermediate-range nuclear forces (INFs) in Eastern Europe. Later that year, he proposed that both his country and the US slice their nuclear arsenals in half.

    The next year, at the memorable Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev got Ronald Reagan to agree in principle to his plan for removal of all INFs from Europe, as well as to draw them down worldwide. Caught up in Gorbachev's enthusiasm, Reagan expressed a willingness to join Russia in eliminating all nuclear weapons in 10 years.

    In the end, though, Reagan clung to his blankie, the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars). Gorbachev feared SDI would lead to nukes in space, not to mention leave the Soviet defense establishment with the impression he'd been played. Their dreams of saving the world came crashing back down to earth.

    --It's not a new JFK we need in Obama, but the next Gorbachev

    Reagan was a typical Republican, that is, he said many things and did the opposite. That's because every Republican has two stories to tell: one they tell to their base via "code words" like "family values"; the other, they tell to the world. This second category often consists of lies and pure BS. In this case, Reagan had talked the talked ---world peace, nuclear disarmament, etc. When Gorbachev raised the stakes --total nuclear disarmament --Reagan suddenly recalled his base, the clique, the Military/Industrial complex, the moneyed class that "brung 'em"! He blinked!

    Here is what Reagan himself said about the threat of nuclear war.

    The Russians sometimes kept submarines off our East Coast with nuclear missiles that could turn the White House into a pile of radioactive rubble within six or eight minutes. Six minutes to decide how to respond to a blip on a radarscope and decide whether to unleash Armageddon! How could anyone apply reason at a time like that? There were some people in the Pentagon who thought in terms of fighting and winning a nuclear war. To me it was simple common sense: A nuclear war couldn't be won by either side. It must never be fought. Advocates of the MAD policy believed it had served a purpose: The balance of terror it created had prevented nuclear war for decades. But as far as I was concerned, the MAD policy was madness.

    --Ronald Reagan, The Official Site

    So, if that's how Ronald Reagan really felt about nuclear madness, why did he blow what is perhaps our last chance at peace? The answer is simple. Reagan was not his own man.

    Three myths about the cold war"

  • 'We won the cold war'! But in fact, the end was negotiated.
  • 'The Soviet Union collapsed because the US brought pressure to bear or because Unca Ronnie 'outspent' them.' In fact, the opposite is true as you will learn.
  • 'Ronald Reagan defeated communism'. In fact, Ronald Reagan defeated America!!
  • Let's set the record straight. Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with the fall of communism. A great statesman-- Mikhail Gorbachev --deserves the credit for withdrawing nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe which he did upon his own initiative. Gorbachev was the architect of Perestroika and, later, Glasnost. Reagan merely followed the leader.

    As I have pointed out: Ronald Reagan Blew the World's Last Chance for Peace! It was Gorbachev --a real leader --who had put total nuclear disarmament on the table. It was an offer Reagan could not accept! Reagan had bosses who had already made him an offer he didn't refuse: the sale of his soul!

    The real power base back home would have had Reagan's head. Reagan was a typical Republican, that is, he said many things and did the opposite. Every Republican has two stories to tell: one that he/she tells the base via "code words" like "family values" the other, he/she tells to the world. This second category is most often just lies and bullshit. In this case, Reagan had talked the talked --world peace, nuclear disarmament, etc. When Gorbachev put total nuclear disarmament on the table, Reagan blinked because he was not free to negotiate in 'good faith'. He was but the figure-head for an entire class that had been enriched by 'cold war' military spending. The same folk have a vested interest in a destabilized middle east.

    Jack Matlock: Current US Policy and Cold War

    Rank and file goppers will find reasons not to believe anything unflattering about Reagan but that's not the same thing as refuting anything that I have ever written in my admittedly Quixotic quest to set the record straight.

    Reagan-heads have often tried to shout me down on these issues. But facts are facts and the fact is it was Ronald Reagan, indebted to GOP money interests back home, a tiny elite of just one percent of the total population, who blinked at Reykjavik and thus blew --perhaps forever --what might have been the world's last chance for a non-nuclear peace.

    If, that is, the ensuing "Great Society," to borrow a term from JFK's successor, Lyndon Johnson, were laid low by a nuclear attack on an American city (or seven, if al Qaeda had its way).

    This is the territory into which Gorbachev launched his most daring raids. First, in 1985, he announced that the Soviet Union would no longer deploy intermediate-range nuclear forces (INFs in Eastern Europe. Later that year, he proposed that both his country and the US slice their nuclear arsenals in half.)

    The next year, at the memorable Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev got Ronald Reagan to agree in principle to his plan for removal of all INFs from Europe, as well as to draw them down worldwide. Caught up in Gorbachev's enthusiasm, Reagan expressed a willingness to join Russia in eliminating all nuclear weapons in 10 years.

    In the end, though, Reagan clung to his blankie, the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars.

    Gorbachev feared SDI would lead to nukes in space, not to mention leave the Soviet defense establishment with the impression he'd been played. Their dreams of saving the world came crashing back down to earth.

    --It's not a new JFK we need in Obama, but the next Gorbachev

    Recently, Mitt Romney built his failed campaign around two words: 'Ronald' and 'Reagan' just as Giuliani built his around 'nine' and 'eleven', as McCain has now built his platform around three words: 'stay', 'Iraq', 'surge'!

    Morally bankrupt and out of ideas, stuck with McCain who has trouble walking while chewing gum, the GOP has tried to make of Ronald Reagan a "savior". Failing live leadership, the GOP would settle for myths and desperate hope for the "second-coming" of Ronald Reagan! It won't work. Reagan is still dead!

    At another level, rank and file GOP understand that should a deified Reagan fall out of the Pantheon, the party itself is finished. Reagan was all they had left. In the blogosphere, Reagan defenders themselves are resurrected, more vehement and less rational than ever. To wit:

    The lies of the left about Ronald Reagan stink up the blogosphere worse than a rest room at a Greyhound bus depot.

    I leave it to Larry Craig to assess the stalls at Greyhound --a topic about which he may have considerable expertise and foot-tapping experience. Craig is but a specimen of GOP hypocrisy, lack of imagination, it's endemic inability to come up with anything other than stupid slogans on the one hand and lies, smears, propaganda, assassination on the other. It's their one-two punch! Various sexual perversions to include sado-masochism and homosexuality are just contrapuntal to the sellouts made to the Military/Industrial complex.

    The presidency of Ronald Reagan confirms the assertion: the GOP is not a political party, its a criminal conspiracy, a kooky cult built up around Reagan types who encourage addled followers to 'feel good about being liars, psychopaths, and elite militarists.

    In my book, Without Conscience, I argued that we live in a "camouflage society," a society in which some psychopathic traits- egocentricity, lack of concern for others, superficiality, style over substance, being "cool," manipulativeness, and so forth- increasingly are tolerated and even valued. With respect to the topic of this article, it is easy to see how both psychopaths and those with ASPD could blend in readily with groups holding antisocial or criminal values. It is more difficult to envisage how those with ASPD could hide out among more pro social segments of society. Yet psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of business, politics, law enforcement, government, academia and other social structures. It is the egocentric, cold-blooded and remorseless psychopaths who blend into all aspects of society and have such devastating impacts on people around them who send chills down the spines of law enforcement officers.

    --[Hare, Robert D., PhD., Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Case of Diagnostic Confusion, Psychiatric Times, February 1996: Vol. XIII Issue 2] The Role of the Psychopath in the Generation of Global Evil

    Reagan was precisely what the GOP needed at the time. A former movie star, he was a practiced Spellbinder.

    To the spellbinder, everything becomes subordinated to their conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology can emerge from such individuals that is certainly partly true, and the value of which is claimed to be superior to all other ideologies. They believe they will find many converts to their ideology and when they discover that this is not the case, they are shocked and fume with "paramoral indignation." The attitude of most normal people to such spellbinders is generally critical, pained and disturbed.The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who succumbs to his influence, and he will shower such people with attention and property and perks of all kinds. Critics are met with "moral" outrage and it will be claimed by the spellbinder that the compliant minority is actually a majority.Such activity is always characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view, because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and self-charming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically.In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively on common sense and social order - such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers manifesting pathological traits - spellbinders activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy.Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally become a ponerogenic union.

    --The Role of the Psychopath in the Generation of Global Evil

    There is enough probable cause in the public record alone to indict the leadership of the GOP for violations of various US Criminal Codes having to do with "criminal conspiracy". Now we know why the GOP is eager to keep Reagan alive and disprove the existence of conspiracies. If conspiracies did not exist, Ronald Reagan himself need not have worried about the opinion of Iran/Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh who believed Reagan guilty of conspiring to arm an avowed enemy of the US while funneling money to a right-wing terrorist organization.

    The underlying facts of Iran/contra are that, regardless of criminality, President Reagan, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the director of central intelligence and their necessary assistants committed themselves, however reluctantly, to two programs contrary to congressional policy and contrary to national policy. They skirted the law, some of them broke the law, and almost all of them tried to cover up the President's willful activities.

    What protection do the people of the United States have against such a concerted action by such powerful officers? The Constitution provides for congressional oversight and congressional control of appropriations, but if false information is given to Congress, these checks and balances are of lessened value.

    --Lawrence Walsh, Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matter

    Reagan apologists often attack Jimmy Carter because, like the predators they are, they smell weakness. It is a mistake. Carter, is in fact among the best Presidents in job creation and he is the only US President to have brokered a Middle East peace --the Camp David Accords. In the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Carter acted quickly. He replaced Kissinger's incremental, shuttle diplomacy with a comprehensive, multilateral approachh that included reconvening the 1973 Geneva Conference to include a Palestinian delegation. The GOP feared to duplicate that approachh because it might have succeeded.

    Reagan's election in November 1980 also was welcomed in other quarters. His victory set off celebrations in the well-to-do communities of Central America. After four years of Jimmy Carter's human rights nagging, the region's anti-communist hard-liners were thrilled that they had someone in the White House who understood their problems.

    The oligarchs and the generals had good reason for optimism. For years, Reagan had been a staunch defender of right-wing regimes engaged in bloody counterinsurgency campaigns against leftist enemies.

    In the late 1970s, when Carter's human rights coordinator, Pat Derian, criticized the Argentine military for its "dirty war" -- tens of thousands of "disappearances," tortures and murders -- then-political commentator Reagan joshed that she should "walk a mile in the moccasins" of the Argentine generals before criticizing them. [Martin Edwin Andersen's Dossier Secreto.]

    Despite his aw shucks style, Reagan found virtually every anti-communist action justified, no matter how brutal.

    From his eight years in the White House, there is no historical indication that he was troubled by the bloodbath and even genocide that occurred in Central America during his presidency, while he was shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the implicated forces.

    The death toll was staggering -- an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political "disappearances" in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala.

    The one consistent element in these slaughters was the over-arching Cold War rationalization, emanating from Ronald Reagan's White House.

    --Robert Parry, Obama's Dubious Praise for Reagan

    Hoping to deflect attention from the new Äugustus, Reagan worshipers claim that Carter was responsible for "horrible inflation" and 20% interest rates. So what? Interest rates would be expected to decline under Reagan's depression as interest rates, in fact, decline in every recession or depression. During Reagan's depression, the GDP declined at a rate of 2.2 percent, quite possibly the biggest such decline since the Great Depression, most certainly it was the biggest decline in the more than twenty years between 1973 to the assumption of the White House by Bush. Millions lost jobs and homes. In any case, it was the Federal Reserve Board that slashed interest rates and expanded the money supply, thus reducing prices. Ronald Reagan had nothing whatsoever to do with it! It was the Fed --not Reagan --who was responsible for the following but short-lived recovery.

    Under Carter, people were at work and productive. They were buying homes --not leaving them under the threat of imminent foreclosure as many, perhaps, millions are doing now. That was not the case under Reagan who destroyed the trade unions, exported jobs and technology, and plunged the nation into a depression of two years ---the very worst since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression!

    Ronald Reagan justified disastrous economic policies with ideological nonsense called 'supply-side economics or, derisively, 'Trickle Down' theory might have worked in a completely "closed economy". But the US imports goods from abroad. 'Tax cuts' to non-productive, American elites who outsource [read: export] jobs abroad will only squirrel away a 'tax cuts' in a safe haven beyond the reach of the tax man. It is money that will never trickle down. It is monies lost forever to investment inside the United States. It is the mechanism by which the GOP has made of America a third world nation. It is the mechanism by which the axis of Reagan/Bush destroyed a once great nation!

    The US, a net debtor nation, imports most of its automobiles, appliances, and electronic goods from abroad. No wealth trickles down. Items that had been the staple of the US economic engine had, at one time, provided jobs at home. That has not been the case since Ronald Reagan and the GOP feasted upon the rotting carcass that had been the source of US industrial might. Compounding the tragedy, Ronald Reagan slashed taxes for millionaires and billionaires and everyone else got poor.

    "Globalization" amid Ronald Reagan's orgy of union-busting, offshore tax havens and outsourcing, must be blamed for the decline of US exports, the collapse of major US industries, the fact that the US is now a third world nation behind a mask of Hollywood and glitz. The US now pulls up the rear, behind China, Japan, Europe and much of the world. Everything from jeans to binoculars now come from China, IT is outsourced to India, and I see few Americans driving anything but Japanese cars.

    Given this hole dug over more than twenty years, I am as outraged as I am unimpressed with the crumbs now thrown the rest of us by this profligate administration, this profligate, arrogant party.

    Meanwhile, the nation's official poverty rate declined for the first time this decade, from 12.6 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent in 2006. There were 36.5 million people in poverty in 2006, not statistically different from 2005. The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 44.8 million (15.3 percent) in 2005 to 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006.

    --US Census Bureau Release, AUG. 28, 2007

    Capital "trickling up" to Bush's base is money lost to productive investment, lost to small business, lost to consumers who might have spent it in ways that would have created jobs here in the US.

    Before Reagan, America had a steel industry. After Reagan, it didn't. Before Reagan, America had a viable automotive industry. After Reagan, the US was buying its cars from Japan. Before Reagan, small retailers still existed. After Reagan, small stores had all but disappeared, giving way to huge corporate chains, and, in time, WalMart --the economic Kudzu that ate America.

    Typically, Reagan would take credit for reforms begun under Carter. It was Carter who gave the rich a capital gains tax cut, even as he deregulated key industries like trucking and airlines. Carter also increased defense spending. I happen to think Carter ought not have done that! But, to his credit, he didn't muck it up nearly as much as did Reagan who sold his soul for the elite GOP base of robber barons, war lords and buyers of crooked GOP politicians!

    The era was largely characterized by the undue influence of corporate PACs which forced Congress to pass pro-business/anti-individual, anti-family legislation. Supply-siders believed it would trickle down. Like Bush's war on Iraq, it didn't work out as planned. The nation was plunged into the worst and longest (two years) depression since WWII.

    The GOP would love to fight another cold war. The "commies" were shooting back like the misnamed "insurgents", "terrorists" or whatever they are called this week.

    Much is made of the demoralized military under Carter. What had they to be demoralized about? They were no longer slogging through the swamps in Viet Nam and they had to yet been sent to Lebanon by Ronald Reagan. The Pentagon brass should have just gotten over it! These guys are not 'war heroes'. They don't put their lives on the front lines. They don't get shot it! They are glorified pencil pushers and bureaucrats. If they were disgruntled, it is no fault of the electorate. Screw 'em. If they don't like their jobs, let them try to get into another line of work while a gopper is President. Lotsa luck, general!

    All in all, the enlisted person, under Carter, had it a helluva lot better than do soldiers under either Ronald Reagan who dispatched them to Lebanon to be blown up in a Marine Barracks or under Bush who has them mired and dehumanized in Iraq. Has anyone bothered to check out the suicide rates of returning servicemen?

    (CBS) Some of America's 25 million veterans face their biggest fight when they return home from the battlefield -- when they take on mental illness.

    And, a CBS News analysis reveals they lose that battle, and take their own lives, at a clip described by various experts as "stunning" and "alarming," according to Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian. One called it a "hidden epidemic."

    He says no one had ever counted just how many suicides there are nationwide among those who had served in the military -- until now.

    The five-month CBS News probe, based upon a detailed analysis of data obtained from death records from 2004 and 2005, found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 as non-vets.

    A recent Veteran Affairs Department estimate says some 5,000 ex-servicemen and women will commit suicide this year, largely as a result of mental health issues, and Keteyian says, "Our numbers are much higher than that, overall."

    --CBS News: Vets' Suicide Rate "Stunning"

    Goppers have been known to opine: ...cleaning up after Carter's utter incompetence was messy. In fact, there was nothing to clean up. There was, in fact, nothing for Reagan to do but screw up and screw up he did! The nation would have been better off if Reagan has done absolutely nothing! See my article: Reagan was no hero but he played one in a movie.

    That's because, under Reagan, the GOP became not merely a crime syndicate, it became a kooky cult.

    The methods that cults use can be used by anyone in any group setting and can be thought of as a "Management system" or a technique of motivation. Thus there is a benefit to applying this knowledge in other areas.

    ISOLATION

    An obvious way a cult does this is through isolation from other social networks. The extreme of a cult does not have to be applied. If this is applied to a work setting then the stated rule is "This is work. Leave the other parts of life at the door." Likewise the person can go home and leave work at work. The result is a "work personality" and a "home personality".

    ENLIST THEM IN A CAUSE

    Nothing is quite so motivating than to be involved in a glorious cause. To do this make the success of the group linked to the individuals success. Make the cause lofty and ideal and progressive always on the wave of the future.

    DESCRIBE FOR THEM THE QUALITIES OF A "GOOD SOLDIER"

    Once you've enlisted them in a cause you can now tell them how best to serve the cause. By describing the qualities of "good soldier" you create an ideal of behavior. On the one hand it's important to point out qualities that they already have to affirm their part in the cause. But it's also important to describe qualities that they will have to work to develop. These qualities can be actual behaviors or they can values that you wish to impose on them. Either way you are holding them to an ideal and letting them know that they play a vital role in the cause.

    DRILL THE "GOOD SOLDIER" INTO EXISTENCE (the Nazi/Gop way?)

    A cult may do this process with intense drills and exercises that emphasize the qualities and values of a good soldier. They will create scenarios and situations where these qualities can be tested and followed up with feedback and correction when needed. You can do this in a management setting much the same way. The goal is to make them WANT to bring on this new personality and do it without prompting. This is done mostly by creating a high standard and through a subtle application of rewards and punishment.

    CREATE A GROUP MYTH

    Nothing will solidify the new personality than getting a group of "good soldiers" together and having them work with some great purpose in mind. By getting your employee, staff, cult member involved in a group and putting them into action as a group you help create an "esprit de corp" that unifies them and helps solidify the newly created personality. Thus, find tasks that your group can do together. It could be a project, a field trip or anything where they have to work together as a group.

    Every one of these tactics can be used and applied in your business and social settings.

    If your response to this is to recoil at the idea of using cult strategies then stop it. These strategies are used all the time in many different setting and situations. A good manager is a person who would make a good cult leader if they choose to do it.

    The benefits of this strategy include highly motivated people who support the team and, when needed, can put work on hold to develop a personal life.

    --How cults create an artificial personality in their followers

    If the policies worked, Reagan could take credit for them. If they didn't work, Reagan and the GOP noise machine always had Carter to blame! The GOP still bad-mouths Carter though there is not a Republican who can carry Carter's ...uh...water.

    When I talk of tax cuts, I am reminded that every major tax cut in this century has strengthened the economy, generated renewed productivity and ended up yielding new revenues for the government by creating new investment, new jobs and more commerce among our people.

    --Ronald Reagan, Acceptance Speech at the 1980 Republican Convention

    That's a famous Reagan half-truth. Keynesian, Democratic tax cuts, indeed, stimulate economies but only under Democratic regimes --not under GOP regimes. The reason: Democratic tax cuts are egalitarian, benefiting all income groups and classes. GOP tax cuts, by contrast, are deliberately inequitable, benefiting only rich cronies, the corporate establishment, the Military/Industrial complex and other corporate supporters of the GOP establishment. GOP tax cuts are a payoff, just as were the no-bid contracts to Halliburton, Blackwater et al! I've got the stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, and the BEA to prove it.

    Despite his over-blown, high sounding rhetoric, Reagan's "trickle down" tax cut of 1982 was quickly followed by a depression lasting some two years --the longest and deepest depression since Herbert Hoover's "Great Depression".

    At the end of two years of hardship, Americans were no better off. The GDP growth rate of some three percent was no better at the end of two years of hardship than it had been before the Reagan crash. Nothing had been gained.

    The Reagan years can be summed up briefly. He doubled the size of the Federal Bureaucracy and tripled the national deficit. The most pernicious effect of GOP economic policy is the effect of declining opportunity, a corollary of decline in wealth among all but the very rich.

    It is merely rhetorical to ask: why does the GOP seem to repeat ad nauseam utterly failed strategies that have never been shown to work? Reagan's Budget Director, David Stockman called Reaganomics a 'Trojan Horse'. He understood that tax cuts were not intended to trickle down. Rather, the tax cuts always do precisely what the GOP insiders know they will do: they enrich the GOP base! They are 'laundered' pay offs. Here is how someone who lived through the Reagan nightmare remembers it:

    I was in the automotive field at the time, and dozens and dozens of established tool manufacturers, unionized shops, producing high quality tools, small companies with deep roots and real a commitment to the towns they were in all across the Midwest and the local communities, went out of business.

    Why? Because with deregulation any hustler could get virtually unlimited financing and set up manufacturing plants overseas producing exact copies of American made tools and flood the US market with them with no fear of the Reagan administration enforcing any laws against them. It also became easier, and far less risky, to get financing to set up a thousand junky identical chain outlets than it did for small local businesses to get credit or tax relief - restaurants, auto parts stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, florists - thousands and thousands of small businesses chewed up and destroyed.

    We have a younger generation of people who have no personal experience with so many things - local businesses and tight knit communities, affordable, convenient and efficient public transportation, wages that allowed one person in a household enough income to support the family, homes that were homes, not investments, easy access to public recreation, confidence in the safety of food and other consumer items, all regulated and inspected for the public welfare, freedom from the relentless intrusion of corporations into our lives, and on and on and on.

    or if we buy into the dishonest rationales and excuses and obfuscations that the Reagan administration used to disguise their agenda and to sell it to the public, we surrender any chance at real change, we bury the coffin forever into which the right wingers have put the left - and by extension, the majority of the American people, and we condemn ourselves to living in this ongoing nightmare of destruction and human suffering.Reagan destroyed the country, and if we try to gloss over that (which at the very least Obama's remarks have done.

    It is not time to make nice with the Reagan legacy propagandists, even by implication or omission. It is time to relentlessly and fearlessly point out that the crisis the country is in is best described and analyzed as the chickens coming home to roost from the Reagan era.

    It is time to fight. It is not time to heal or move on—no matter how attractive and appealing this may be—it is not time to paper over the profound divide in the country, it is not time to accommodate or apologize for

    --Found on the Democratic Underground

    Let's take a look at the history before it gets re-written:

  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year and best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
  • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush. Democrats always outperform a failed party: the GOP!
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher than Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
  • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" (in descending order) were Nixon, Reagan, Bush.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector--some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, tripled the national debt and left huge deficits to his successor. Bush Jr's record will be even worse.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
  • Put another way: any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II.
  • Everything posted above is based upon official, government stats from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CBO, and BEA among others. They are 'official' and irrefutable unless someone wants to make the outlandish case that the Federal Bureaucracy, the numerous agencies which keep these stats, is somehow biased. That argument is absurd in light of the fact that of those 20 years from the election of Ronald Reagan to the stolen election of 2000, Democrats had the Presidency in only eight of them.

    Along the way, Reagan made up a whopper --his story about a Cadillac driving welfare gra'ma. The story reveals the real Reagan --Reagan the bald-faced liar! This bald-faced lie became his rationalization for cutting back social programs. Unca Ronnie most certainly knew it to be a bald-faced lie.

    Then there was the attack and invasion of tiny Grenada. Does anyone remember how Grenada became an imminent threat to US security such that a war of aggression against it was necessitated or justified under international law?

    Reagan must be remembered for:

    1. having blown a chance for nuclear disarmament at Reykjavik
    2. beginning a trend still underway but for a brief respite in Clinton's second term, that is, the rich get filthy rich exponentially while everyone else loses ground
    3. making those who benefit from this rapacious policy 'feel good about themselves'
    4. institutionalizing government corruption with Iran/Contra, the Savings and Loan Scandal, and a child prostitution ring that was literally run out of the White House
    5. lying about a 'welfare grannie' whom Reagan claimed drove a Caddy! Bullshit
    6. anemic job growth which --contrary to popular myth --trails that of Jimmy Carter[Check BEA, Bureau of Labor Stats, and CB]
    7. making terrorism worse, in fact, terrorism incidents were THREE TIMES more numerous under Reagan than any Demo president since WWII. [Source: FBI Stats, published, compiled and charted by the Brookings Inst.; See:Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes]
    8. almost starting a nuclear war when he shot off his stupid mouth on an open microphone about radar detecting Russian ICBMs enroute to the US The whole world heard him and, as I recall, the Soviets actually went on alert 9
    9. conquering Grenada (to his credit Reagan did NOT wear an enhancing cod-piece and an ill-fitting jumpsuit)
    10. Ronald Reagan ordered a US invasion of Lebanon in 1982 premised upon a "deceitful pretext", in other words, a bald-faced lie! The "pretext" was that the PLO, called a terrorist organization, had shot the Israeli ambassador to London. In fact, the shooter may never have been a PLO member. See: [Fading Illusions: D-Day and Reagan]
    11. finishing off the last vestige of the labor movement depriving the voiceless of 'voice'
    12. elevating style over substance and stupidity over intellect, an area he pioneered for the Bushmen to come
    13. cutting funding for AIDS research in the hope that all 'immoral' AIDS sufferers would die off and thus 'cure' the disease
    14. waging a war on 'porn' and losing to the un-reported glee of the jerkoffs and child prostitution rackets headquartered inside his White House, his administration
    15. waging war on education by calling for an end to free tuition for state college and university students, demanding 20% across-the-board cuts in higher education funding,repeatedly slashing construction funds for state campuses, engineering the firing of Clark Kerr, the popular President of the University of California, declaring that the state "should not subsidize intellectual curiosity [the rationale: the GOP is safe when all of us are kept stupid, uneducated, or in the dark!]
    16. waging war on the environment and winning!
    17. waging the GOPs obligatory 'war on drugs'! Yawn!
    18. selling out to the big corporations
    19. presiding over the demise of the US Steel industry, car industry, electronics industry and almost every industry in which the US, at one time, led the world
    20. last --but not least --presiding over the end of American empire by making of the US a net debtor nation which it has been ever since.

    Only the GOP could have destroyed a nation so efficiently and have the nerve to tout it on TV ads! Bush Jr has finished the job begun by Reagan. See ya' in hell!

    The government's own numbers prove conclusively that Reagan's tax cuts enrich his base and began a pernicious trend which continues to this day. The nation plunged into a depression of some two years, the longest and worst depression since Hoover's big one of the 1930s. Though he had promised to reduce the size of government, Reagan doubled the federal bureaucracy, ran yearly deficits, and tripled the national debt. He blazed a trail for Bush, the lesser and idiot!

    Nations which tax the rich progressively are more egalitarian, more efficient, more productive and --it is proven in numerous studies --the people themselves are happier, more productive, and better educated. The opposite is true of America. More people are getting poorer; fewer are getting richer; an increasingly tiny percentage (one percent and shrinking) are getting exponentially richer. It is the end of the United States as a world power, indeed, as a viable nation!

    GOP thinking is circular and symptomatic of psychosis. They disdain 'poor people' while deliberately creating conditions guaranteed to create more of them.

    How an 'honest' general summed it all up:

    WAR is a racket. It always has been.

    It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives...

    In the World War a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows...

    Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill...

    And what is this bill?

    This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations...

    ...a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

    Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

    Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends...

    The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it...

    Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.

    --Gen. Smedly Butler, War is a Racket!

    An essential resource: This War was About So Much More

    An addendum: 20 things you have to believe to be a Republican today

    1. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

    2. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.

    3. Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

    4. "Standing Tall for America" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

    5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all humankind without regulation.

    6. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

    7. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

    8. Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a Republican.

    9. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

    10. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

    11. HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.

    12. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

    13. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

    14. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

    15. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war crime in which thousands were killed or murdered is a solid defense policy.

    16. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

    17. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's AWOL record, cocaine abuse, and queer exploits is none of our business.

    18. You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.

    19. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the 1980s is irrelevant.

    20. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist; but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.--

    20 things you have to believe to be a Republican today

    -###-

    By: Len Hart Milton Friedman's Role and His Influence on the Two Worst Regimes in US History, via The Existentialist Cowboy


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