Has the U.S. Republican party (and associated Blue Dog Democrats) truly lost their minds since Eisenhower's presidency?
The original passage, from a letter Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar on Nov. 8, 1954, went as follows:
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
Or did those Texas oil millionaires, politicians and businessmen take his words as a challenge?*
Scott Walker Knows the Best Way to Support Equal Pay Is to Repeal Equal Pay LawsThe centrist "problem solvers" have determined that Mark Udall is apparently a huge problem who must be destroyed
A bizarre ad from Walker touts his support for equal pay - after he weakened equal pay laws
No Labels’ Colorado Sham: Why They’re Working Very Hard to Help Tea Party Senator Win
Our morally superior post-ideological post-political friends at the No Labels organization seem really intent on getting Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner elected to the Senate.
The centrist advocacy group, founded in 2010 “to move America from the old politics of point-scoring toward a new politics of problem-solving,” has obviously had zero success in that — except in providing a modest amount of cover-by-association to politicians in unfriendly territory. Think Joe Manchin in West Virginia. He is a Democrat, but being a member of No Labels allows him to say that he is against political partisanship. And so on. Convenient.
. . . As Yahoo also reported at the time, No Labels had poisoned its relationship with Democrats earlier this year when it decided to “support” Gardner over Sen. Mark Udall. That doesn’t seem like much of a post-political problem-solving move so much as a means of helping Republicans gain control of the Senate.
No Labels found itself in an uncomfortable position over the summer when a confidential strategy memo prepared for its executive board leaked to the press. The document mentioned how Republican control of the Senate would present excellent business opportunities for No Labels.
. . . What’s especially strange about No Labels’ insistence on terminating Udall’s Senate career is that he does have bipartisan gravitas — just not on an issue that No Labels deems important. There are plenty of other cookie-cutter Democrats out there who’ve done nothing. But Udall has been a leading voice on one of the few issues over the past couple of years that does corral a bipartisan coalition: surveillance reform.
Udall, like Rand Paul, has been railing against NSA overreach both before and after the Edward Snowden disclosures. And he sits on the intelligence committee, where his rank would rise in the next Congress. He’d have significant sway on this issue that alarms segments of both the Democratic and Republican parties. That sounds like a significantly stronger qualification for the Problem Solvers Caucus than offering some rote babble about how you’ll work to create a million bajillion jobs over the next 20 years by cutting Social Security or whatever.
Down With Tyranny shows us the future if we don't elect real Democrats in droves this next election:
Republicans will likely target the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and capital requirements on insurance companies if they take the Senate.
. . . Banksters have already been getting away with murder - whenever conservatives can assert influence over the regulatory process. This week, a news report in Bloomberg asked the simple question: "have regulators been too soft on Wall Street?"
. . . And it’s all about ideology, an overwhelming hostility to government spending of any kind. This hostility began as an attack on social programs, especially those that aid the poor, but over time it has broadened into opposition to any kind of spending, no matter how necessary and no matter what the state of the economy.
Paul Clements cannot be bought, thereby signifying what the election of real Democrats will bring back to our country:
Conservative Victories Next Week Mean More Power To The Banksters - More Watering Down Of Dodd-Frank
This week, Paul Ryan has been pushing a new GOP talking point about how Dodd-Frank is to the banking system what Obamacare is for the healthcare system. In other words, he's way on board with Wall Street whore and House Financial Services Committee chair Jeb Hensarling in wanting to repeal or dismantle the consumer (and societal) protections, as weak as they were, in Dodd-Frank.
The two clowns claim they just want to liberate people from bureaucracy. Like wrecking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which, says Hensarling, is "the single most unaccountable agency in the history of America... We’ve all heard about Wall Street greed. I think people are now starting to be a little bit more sensitized to Washington greed - the greed for power and control over our lives and our economy."
Ryan's analogy linking the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank may be mostly fodder for grotesquely ignorant GOP base voters, but there is a valid point, albeit not one that could have possibly crossed Ryan's teeny-weeny mind.
Both were half-assed, timid political solutions to urgent problems. Instead of universal single payer, Obamacare leaves people still at the mercy of predatory insurance and drug companies and instead of an end to "too big to fail," Wall Street (political donors) are still in the cat bird's seat (instead of prison).
This week MarketWatch predicted that if the Republicans get control of the Senate, they will work towards destroying even the incremental reform in Dodd-Frank. New Dems and Blue Dogs are eager to help them, particularly Wall Street's best paid Democratic whores like Jim Himes (New Dem-CT, $955,124 this cycle alone), Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY, $1,018,372 this cycle alone), Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL, $836,200 this cycle alone), and Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY, $809,600 this cycle alone).
My own congressman, Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff has taken $1,023,186 from the Finance Sector since first being elected to Congress in 2000. The corrupt, conservative Schiff, who was redistricted into one of the most progressive districts in the country, has no Republican opponent next week. Establishment Republicans love him; he represents their sick worldview.
But a progressive independent, Steve Stokes, is fighting a Quixotic battle against him - and one of the issues Stokes keeps bringing up is the inadequancy of Dodd-Frank. He points out that the act was "Congress' attempt to show voters they were getting tough on lenders. Dodd-Frank was a Trojan horse diversion to make it appear that big banks were being regulated.
When the Dodd-Frank Act was passed to regulate the financial industry it did so by placing crippling and unnecessary restrictions on independent financial professionals to the benefit of the large banks. Congress was able to say 'look we reformed the financial system' but all they did was make it even easier for big corporations to dominate the market and more expensive for the American consumer. The part of the law that pertained to regulating big banks was watered down due to the influence of the banking lobby."
With Barbara Boxer retiring in 2016, Schiff is hoping to represent the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in the unseemly scramble for her seat that has begun behind the scenes. A vote for Stokes by CA-28 progressive voters next Tuesday probably won't defeat Schiff in his reelection effort, but it could help slow down his disgusting Senate ambitions.
Adam Schiff: Blue Dog, New Dem, Military Industrial Complex handmaiden
The ruling on state Medicaid expansion by the Roberts' court shows how the Republican Supreme Court choices have fatally affected the health care of millions of those who cannot help themselves for years to come:
The future makeup of the Supreme Court is totally dependent on the results of this election. These results will impact my state, North Carolina, viscerally. (And I'm not kidding.)
The effects of John Roberts re-writing the ACA’s Medicaid expansion are felt in Mississippi.
. . . This reflects an infliction of pain and suffering and death than was eminently avoidable. If you’ll forgive me for reiterating, it’s nearly impossible to overstate how terrible this decision was. It would be one thing if this denial of access of medical care to millions of people was enforcing some explicit constitutional provision, but it wasn’t. If this judicially invented at least protected some meaningful individual liberty interest it might be a little more understandable, but it doesn’t. At best, the lives of millions of people have been made worse — with consequences up to and including death — in order to prioritize inferential states’ “rights” over human rights.
But here’s the kicker: Sebelius does not even provide any significant protection for state autonomy. Congress remains free to create a Medicaid program that requires everyone up to 138% of the federal poverty line to be covered and makes all Medicaid funding contingent on meeting these conditions. It simply would have to structure it by formally repealing the previous Medicaid and replacing it with “Medicaid II: The Quest For Ron Paul’s GOLD,” thus evading the Supreme Court’s newly minted requirement that existing funding can sometimes be made contingent on accepting new conditions and sometimes can’t and we’ll let you know ex post facto whether this completely arbitrary line has been crossed.
Congress can pursue identical means with identical ends; the ACA’s constitutional Medicaid expansion is not different in any substantive way whatsoever from the hypothetical constitutional Medicaid II. The state interest being protected here doesn’t even rise to the level of being trivial.
The fact that so much misery was created for so little should permanently shame the justices who voted for it. It’s judicial review at its least defensible.
I've quoted Peter Dale Scott as an excellent source of anti-received-wisdom commentary more than a few times at this blog. His books are fascinating and compelling history treatises that reinterpret events in ways that are discomforting to foreign policy authority figures (and illuminating to citizens).
WhoWhatWhy thinks so too.
The following essay contains an insightful discussion of the origins of the anti-Soviet thrust of the West, while still maintaining important ties and being allied with the Soviet Union, arising in the power equation presupposed to exist after the conclusion of World War II. No thought of a peaceful, allied world was allowed in the minds of those running the OSS-CIA/State Department cabal then.
By Peter Dale Scott on Oct 26, 2014
How do Wall Street, oil companies and the shadow government agencies like the CIA and NSA really shape the global political order?
That’s the question author Peter Dale Scott examines in his forthcoming book “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack On U.S. Democracy,” due out on Nov. 12. Scott, a professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat, is considered the father of “Deep Politics” — the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected.
In the American Deep State, Scott takes a compelling look at the facts lurking behind the official histories of events to uncover the real dynamics in play. In this exclusive excerpt — the first of several we will feature on WhoWhatWhy — he looks at the revolving door between Wall Street and the CIA, and what that demonstrates about where power truly resides.
In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists have called … America’s “deep state.” (1)
This expansion of a two-level or dual state has been paralleled by two other dualities: the increasing resolution of American society into two classes — the “one percent” and the “ninety-nine percent” — and the bifurcation of the U.S. economy into two aspects: the domestic, still subject to some governmental regulation and taxation, and the international, relatively free from governmental controls. (2)
All three developments have affected and intensified each other — particularly since the Reagan Revolution of 1980, which saw American inequality of wealth cease to diminish and begin to increase. (3) Thus for example Wall Street — the incarnation of the “one percent” — played a significant role in creating the CIA after World War II, and three decades later the CIA and big oil played a significant role in realigning American politics for the Reagan Revolution.
There is an ambiguous symbiosis between two aspects of the American deep state:
Top-level Treasury officials, CIA officers, and Wall Street bankers and lawyers think much alike because of the “revolving door” by which they pass easily from private to public service and back.
- The Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, and
- The much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there.
But a much larger role for the private sector has come with the increased outsourcing of the government’s intelligence budget. Tim Shorrock revealed in 2007 that “about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends every year on . . . intelligence” is now outsourced to private intelligence contractors like Booz, Allen & Hamilton (now Booz Allen Hamilton) and SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation). (4)
I shall argue that in the 1950s, Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and law firms but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers. This larger complex is what I mean by the Wall Street overworld.
There seems to be little difference in Allen Dulles’s influence whether he was a Wall Street lawyer or a CIA director. Although he did not formally join the CIA until November 1950, he was in Berlin before the start of the 1948 Berlin Blockade, “supervising the unleashing of anti-Soviet propaganda across Europe.” (5) In the early summer of 1948, he set up the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), in support of what became, by the early 1950s, “the largest CIA operation in Western Europe.” (6)
The CIA never abandoned its dependency on funds from outside its official budget to conduct its clandestine operations. In Southeast Asia in particular, its proprietary firm Sea Supply Inc. supplied an infrastructure for a drug traffic supporting a CIA-led paramilitary force, PARU. [Two CIA proprietaries, Sea Supply Inc. and Civil Air Transport (CAT) Inc. (later Air America), initially supplied the KMT 93rd Division in Burma that organized opium mule trains down to Thailand, where opium sales were still legal.
Later, when the USG officially distanced itself from the KMT drug army, the CIA organized an offensive and defensive paramilitary unit, PARU, inside the Thai Border Police (BPP). Like the BPP, PARU financed itself by seizing KMT opium and turning it in to the Thai Government, receiving a bounty payment of 12.5 percent of the retail value.] (7)
The CIA appears also to have acted in coordination with slush funds from various U.S. government contracts, ranging from the Howard Hughes organization to the foreign arms sales of U.S. defense corporations like Lockheed and Northrop. (8)
The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world.
This mentality exhibited itself in 1952, when Truman’s Justice Department sought to break up the cartel agreements whereby Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and four other oil majors controlled global oil distribution. (The other four were Standard Oil Company of New York or Socony [later Mobil], Standard Oil of California [now Chevron], Gulf Oil, and Texaco. Together with Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo-Iranian, they comprised the so-called “Seven Sisters” of the cartel.)
Faced with a government order to hand over relevant documents, Exxon’s lawyer Arthur Dean at Sullivan and Cromwell, where Foster Dulles was senior partner, refused: “If it were not for the question of national security, we would be perfectly willing to face either a criminal or a civil suit. But this is the kind of information the Kremlin would love to get its hands on.” (9)
At this time the oil cartel was working closely with the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, later BP) to prevent AIOC’s nationalization by Iran’s Premier Mossadeq by instituting, in May 1951, a successful boycott of Iranian oil exports. “In May 1951 the AIOC secured the backing of the other oil majors, who had every interest in discouraging nationalisation. . . . . None of the large companies would touch Iranian oil; despite one or two picturesque episodes, the boycott held.” (10)
But Truman declined, despite a direct personal appeal from Churchill, to have the CIA participate in efforts to overthrow Mossadeq, and instead dispatched Averell Harriman to Tehran in a failed effort to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Mossadeq’s differences with London. (11)
All this changed with the election of Eisenhower in November 1952 (with considerable support from the oil industry), followed by the appointment of the Dulles brothers to be Secretary of State and head of CIA.
In November 1952 CIA officials began planning to involve the CIA in the efforts of MI6 and the oil companies in Iran (12) — although its notorious Operation TP/AJAX to overthrow Mossadeq was not finally approved by Eisenhower until July 22, 1953. (13)
Nearly all recent accounts of Mossadeq’s overthrow treat it as a covert intelligence operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology, and above all the belated approval from Eisenhower, suggest that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa.
In terms of the deep state, in 1951 the oil cartel or deep state initiated a process that the American public state only authorized two years later. Yet the inevitable bias in academic or archival historiography, working only with those primary sources that are publicly available, is to think of the Mossadeq tragedy as simply a “CIA coup.”
1. Mike Lofgren, “A Shadow Government Controls America,” Reader Supported News, February 22, 2014, http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22216 -a-shadow-government-controls.
2. To take a single telling example, six of Sam Walton’s heirs are now reportedly wealthier than the bottom 30 percent of Americans, or 94.5 million people (Tim Worstall, “Six Waltons Have More Wealth Than the Bottom 30% of Americans,” Forbes, December 14, 2011, www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2011/12/14/six-waltons-have-more-wealth-than-the-bottom-30-of-americans/).
3. See Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath (New York: HarperCollins, 1991).
4. Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.
5. Gordon Thomas, Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2009), 98.
6. Richard Aldrich, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America, and Cold War Secret Intelligence (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2001), 343. Dulles also chaired the executive committee of the companion National Committee for a Free Europe (behind the Iron Curtain), whose legal affairs were handled by Sullivan and Cromwell (Wilson D. Miscamble, George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947–1950 [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992], 204).
7. Scott, American War Machine, 65–67, 87–96.
8. Norman Mailer, “A Harlot High and Low: Reconnoitering Through the Secret Government,” New York, August 16, 1976 (Hughes); Michael Schaller, Altered States: The United States and Japan Since the Occupation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 294 (Lockheed).
9. Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business: The Corporate-Political Money-Power Game (New York: Avon, 1974), 213–14.
10. J. P. D. Dunbabin, International Relations Since 1945: A History in Two Volumes, Vol. 2, (London: Longman, 1994), 344. The Boycott Is Denied Without Argumentation in Exxon’s Corporate History (Bennett H. Wall et al., Growth in a Changing Environment: A History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), Exxon Corporation, 1950–1975, vol. 4 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988), 476.
11. Mostafa Elm, Oil, Power, and Principle: Iran’s Oil Nationalization and Its Aftermath (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1992), 198–99 (Churchill); Robert Moskin, American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2013), 627–28 (Harriman).
12. William Roger Louis, “Britain and the Overthrow of Mossadeq,” in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2004), 168. Cf. William R. Clark, Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005), 125: “The Dulles brothers had already conceived a plot when Eisenhower became president in January 1953;” Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 83: “[In November 1952] “The CIA was setting out to depose [Mossadeq] without the imprimatur of the White House.”
13. Scot Macdonald, Rolling the Iron Dice: Historical Analogies and Decisions to Use Military Force in Regional Contingencies (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), 98. Cf. Richard H. Immerman, John Foster Dulles: Piety, Pragmatism, and Power in U.S. Foreign Policy (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999), 67. Allen Dulles played a personal role in TP/AJAX, by flying to Italy and persuading the frightened Shah to return to Tehran.
A final word on our electoral choices from Lawyers, Guns and Money:
This Vox piece on 5 products you buy that drive human rights abuses is good enough. I talk about the shrimp industry at some length in my forthcoming capital mobility book. If you are buying frozen shrimp, just assume you are either supporting slave labor or something way too close to it. The apparel industry is of course notorious for its exploitation, as is chocolate production.
But the larger point that the author doesn’t make is that most of the products you buy engage in outright exploitation because the system of capital mobility allows corporations to exploit workers and destroy ecosystems around the globe with impunity and the outsourcing and subcontracting system further makes protects corporations from accountability. So sure, these are horrible industries but if we want to do anything about them we have to think systemically about the system of modern global capitalism that creates these horrors. And the article doesn’t really do that.
Amanda Hess has a few words on the slavery that many women face in their daily lives (and if you don't believe it, you should walk in their shoes a few days to test out your thesis):
Whenever I bring up the topic of street harassment with men, they tell me they just don’t see it. Literally: When they’re walking down the street with a woman, other men don’t make a noise. Enter Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, which recently teamed up with the video marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative to show what it’s like to walk down the street alone as a woman: totally exhausting, reliably demeaning, and occasionally, terrifying.
. . . Some men, though, still aren’t seeing it. On Twitter, some are pushing back against the video, claiming that it’s not harassment, it’s just annoying, and that refusing to reply is, frankly, impolite.
Of course, it’s largely women who are singled out for constant annoyance just for stepping outside, and are dismissed as rude for not accepting it graciously. If you don't get it after watching this video, the problem isn't just the guys caught yelling at Roberts. The problem is you.
Click here for video if the embed doesn't appear below.
The conservative movement that has taken over the GOP was nursed on hatred of Eisenhower’s moderation. The eight years of peace and prosperity he gave Americans are remembered by conservatives as a dark age of “me-too” Republicanism, brightened only by the founding of the Ike-smiting National Review in 1955. The anti-heroic bent of the proposed Eisenhower memorial, with its refusal to acknowledge that there was anything great or admirable about its subject, may well be a source of considerable satisfaction to many on the right as well as the left. But it’s important to remember that the relationship between the 1950s conservative movement and its contemporaneous Republican President was one of mutual ill-will. Conservatives had expected that Eisenhower, as the first Republican president since 1932, would repeal the New Deal; instead he augmented and expanded programs like Social Security, thereby giving them bipartisan legitimacy as well as added effectiveness. Conservatives had expected that the president would support Senator Joseph McCarthy’s crusade to tar all liberals as pro-Communist; instead he denied McCarthy the authority to subpoena federal witnesses and receive classified documents, thereby precipitating the red-baiter’s overreach and fall. Eisenhower governed as a moderate Republican. While he failed to take bold action against Southern segregation as Democratic liberals and Republican progressives urged him to do, he helped to cool the overheated partisan rhetoric of the preceding two decades and built a middle-of-the-road consensus that marginalized extremists of left and right. He was well aware that his moderation earned him the implacable enmity of GOP conservatives. As he put it, “There is a certain reactionary fringe of the Republican Party that hates and despises everything for which I stand.” But this did not greatly bother him, since he also believed that “their number is negligible and they are stupid.”