More Indicators A Nasty, Say-Anything Republican Campaign Is Coming – And See Updates

There is a news report that yet another right-wing billionaire is going to spend even more millions to run even more poisonous, divisive, racist, degrading, insulting, lying, character-assassination ads designed to turn people against government and democracy. And an added bonus (for Republicans) will be turning people away from even voting. They’re going to do this because it works — for them and the billionaires who back them.
NY Times: G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama,

A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.
… The $10 million plan … includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright…
The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

Obama is black, black, black, black, black. And in case you miss it, here is Republican Strategist Lee Atwater explaining the Republican strategy:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

It Works

Just lying — making stuff up and blasting it out there — works. In 2010 Republicans spent millions and millions on ads saying “Democrats cut half a trillion from Medicare” and captured the senior vote for the first time, throwing the House over to them. It worked, they spent millions broadcasting lies, they took the House — and then voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
From the post, “Half A Trillion In Cuts To Medicare”

In the 2010 election campaign Republican groups ran millions and millions of dollars of ads promising not to cut Medicare, and to increase Social Security. They campaigned against Democrats for “cutting $500 billion from Medicare” and not increasing Social Security cost-of-living. As a result, for the first time the senior vote went to Republicans.
Here are just a few of the ads that saturated the airwaves, saying that Democrats should be thrown out for cutting Medicare:

And voters were sent flyers like this: (click for larger)
politifact-photos-ron_johnson_flier_combined_660

The Obstruct-And-Lie Strategy

Republicans have a huge “noise machine” and they know how to use it. And they really, really don’t care if they are telling the truth or not, they say what they need to say to win.
After years of blocking President Obama’s efforts to try to create more jobs, Repubicans are campaigning saying Obama didn’t create more jobs.
After running up huge deficits — Clinton left behind a surplus, Bush left behind a $1.4 trillion deficit — Republicans are campaigning that Obama has run up huge deficits.
This summer when student loan rates double because Republicans blocked efforts to keep them from doubling, Republicans will blast out that Obama doubled student loan rates.

Negative Ads Suppress Turnout

The point of running negative ads is not to get people to show up and vote for someone. Negative ads are about turning people off from voting. Negative ads tell people they should not have hope, that anyone they think could be a leader is actually a scoundrel, etc. The point of the millions and millions of dollars that will be spent by Republicans on negative ads this year is to try to keep the kind of surge election that brought so many people out to vote in the 2008 election from happening this time.

The Media Enablers

Republican media outlets like FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh will go ahead and repeat the party line (when they aren’t out front creating it). They reach a lot of people, and the rest of the Republican “noise machine”‘ is very skilled at echoing the lies until they become “truthy.” But the rest of the media does not serve as a counterweight, bringing people the facts. As a result almost everyone — consumers of the right’s propaganda and people who think they aren’t — is left misinformed in ways that serve Republicans and their billionaire backers and hurt everyone else.
Greg Sargent wrote the other day in, How Mitt Romney gets away with his lying,

If you scan through all the media attention Romney’s speech received, you are hard-pressed to find any news accounts that tell readers the following rather relevant points:
1) Nonpartisan experts believe Romney’s plans would increase the deficit far more than Obama’s would.
2) George W. Bush’s policies arguably are more responsible for increasing the deficit than Obama’s are.
[. . .] The two bullet points above could not be more central to the debate over the debt that Romney’s big speech set in motion yesterday. Yet the vast majority of news consumers who now know that Romney has accused Obama of lighting a “prairie fire of debt” that threatens to engulf our children and our future haven’t been told about either of them.

Sargent writes about how the “mainstream media” for one reason or another won’t call out the Republican machine for spreading lies. Again, the result is that almost everyone — consumers of the right’s propaganda and people who think they aren’t — is left misinformed in ways that serve Republicans and their billionaire backers and hurt everyone else.
Update: How Citizens United Is Leading To More Racism In TV Campaign Ads
Update 2: Huge headline at The Drudge Report reads: ‘BORN IN KENYA’
Update 3: Rep. Mike Coffman: Obama in his heart ‘not an American’
Update 4: Ben Stein speaking on FOX: Ben Stein: Obama’s not very smart
Update 5: Romney accuses Obama of character assassination: “Character assassination has become the nature of his campaign,” Romney said.
These updates are all from just today, and this is only May.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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I’m Co-Hosting Fairness Radio Today 10-12am PT

Edward Canard, former Bain Capital partner, multimillionaire 1%er and major donor to Romney campaign will be on at 2:15 pm ET to argue for more inequality in American. Dave Johnson is substitute co-hosting, so give him a call at 424-675-6806 and talk to Canard.
Do you have something to say to a man who gave Mitt Romney $1 million? Listen at www.cyberstationusa.com (click LISTEN LIVE) or WWW.blogtalkradio (search for Fairness Radio).
Linda Killian, writer for Politics Daily, The Atlantic, US News and World Report, Newsweek and the Daily beast is on at 1:15 pm ET talking about her new book The Swing Vote. call in questions, comments at the same number and help Dave fend off the conservative co-host, Chuck Morse

Why We Have A Deficit

Deficit theater is coming to DC tomorrow, with a well-funded “fiscal summit.” The plot summary is that we have Deficit Trouble – Right Here In River City! so to fix it we need to cut Social Security and Medicare and the things democracy does for We, the People — while cutting taxes on the rich and their corporations to make us more “business-friendly.” (This musical is sometimes billed as “Simpson-Bowles” but it’s the same old song.)
All of this deficit hysteria today – when just over ten years ago we had such a large a budget surplus that we were projected to pay off our entire debt in … ten years! That’s right, Ten Years Ago We Were Paying Off The Nation’s Debt. But Then We Elected Obama.,

Just ten years ago this country was running huge surpluses and paying off its debt. But then we elected Obama and all hell broke loose. Oh, wait…
Between the time ten years ago when we had big surpluses and were paying off the debt and now when we are told the “Obama spending and deficit” mean we have to cut back on the things We, the People do for each other, something happened. Something changed. The things that happened, the things that changed, are being ignored in the current DC discussion about what we need to do to fix things.

Something happened. We had a surplus, and it was replaced by massive deficits. The last Bush budget year had a deficit of $1.4 trillion!

Why We Have A Deficit

What happened under Bush? We cut taxes on the rich and doubled military spending. (And started wars.) And don’t forget collapsing the economy, forcing people onto unemployment and food stamps. That is why we have a deficit. We have a deficit because of tax cuts for the rich, huge military budget increases and the consequences of deregulating corporations.
Here are some questions for tomorrow’s deficit theater:

  • How large was the country’s yearly budget deficit and total debt in the “Eisenhower/Truman” decades when the top tax rate was 90%?
  • Today we have an “infrastructure deficit” – the amount needed to repair our country’s roads, bridges, sewers, etc. – of somewhere upwards of $1.6 trillion. Was our infrastructure kept in good repair before the top tax rates were cut?
  • Concentration of wealth is long recognized as a threat to democracy, and now we are seeing a low-wage, everything-to-the-top economy with the greatest ever concentration of wealth going to a few at the top. Was the problem of wealth concentration increasing or decreasing before the top tax rates were cut?
  • When top rates were high people couldn’t take home vast fortunes in a single year. When it took several years to make a fortune did corporations depend on long-term or short-term thinking? Did the executives of corporations care if the infrastructure and communities their companies depended on were in good shape? Did large corporations fleece customers and exploit employees for quarterly returns as they do now?

How We Fix The Deficit

How do we fix this? Doesn’t it make sense to look at what caused the deficits and fix that? There actually are budget plans that get rid of the deficit without cutting back on the things democracy does for We, the People. Here is a post about one of those budget plans: The People’s Budget Balances The Budget — Why Isn’t It Part Of These “Deficit” Talks? Here is a post about another budget plan that fixes the deficit without cutting the thing democracy does for us Every Progressive Should Know About The “Budget For All”
So we know why we have a deficit, and we have realistic budget plans that undo the damage, maintain the things that democracy does for We, the People and invest in growing our economy. So why aren’t these plans part of the big DC deficit discussion? Maybe progressive plans that cut the deficit are not part of the DC deficit discussion because cutting the deficit isn’t really the point. This Deficit Story Can’t Be Repeated Often Enough!,

So we went from big surplus to huge, huge deficits. Bush said it was “incredibly positive news” when we went back into deficit spending. He said it was good news because it continued the plan to use debt to force the government to cut back. He said that. It was the plan. (Don’t take my word for it, click the links.)
The Reagan people said it too, back when they started the massive deficit spending. It was the plan: force the country into massive debt, “starve the beast,” and use that to force the government out of business, or at least to be “small enough to drown in a bathtub.” They forced the tax cuts and Reagan said this was “cutting the government’s allowance.” The point was to use revenue cutbacks to force government to shrink, to get out of the way of the 1%.

A Golden Oldie

From Dear Deficit Commission, It’s Not Hard: (Click through to see bigger charts)

Dear Deficit Commission,
It’s not hard to figure out why we have a huge deficit. It’s so easy I don’t have to use words. Here are some pictures:
Clinton_Bush_Deficit
Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich. Bush cut them.
Now, about that huge national debt…
TopRates_vs_Debt_Chart
The second chart kind of explains itself. The third chart can help you find a place to get some money:
Defense-Budget
(Note: There is no more Soviet Union.)
In case that isn’t clear enough, try this:
Defense Spending and Debt chart
Let me know if you still have any questions.

We had a budget surplus. We were paying off the debt. Then something changed. If you want to fix the deficits, change it back.
Don’t fall for it. Deficits were the plan. Run up the borrowing, then come back with a scare campaign that stampedes people into accepting cuts in the things democracy does for We, the People. It was the plan.
If You Happen To Be In DC Tomorrow: May 15: Stand Against Austerity:
May 15, 2012 at 1 p.m. (Program starts 1:30 p.m.)
In Front Of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit
1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Here’s one of those charts again, larger:

TopRates_vs_Debt_Chart

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Speaking Fees And Big-Time Career Journalism

Meet The Press moderator David Gregory is the “Keynote Address” speaker at the upcoming National Federation of Independent Business “Small Business Summit” conference. This is a conservative advocacy group that solidly aligns with Republicans.
Here is a speakers bureau page promoting Gregory for speaking engagements for “$40,001 & up” per appearance.
I have not verified if he is getting paid, but he is doing the “speaking” circuit. A very brief look around finds him at the 2007 American Resort Development Association. The 2006 United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) symposium, at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando. At the 2010 Milken Institute Shaping the Future conference. 2010 Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The Risk Management Association 2011 annual conference.
A few years ago I looked into Chris Matthews’ speaking engagements with Republican-aligned lobbying groups. Matthews was doing this regularly, and there was an NBC policy against accepting speaking fees.
NBC’s President said Matthews’ fees were going to a charity. So assuming this is true and he really was donating the money to a charity, that is still receiving a thing of value. He was speaking before Republican-aligned groups again and again, and spouting Republican positions on the air.
Back to Gregory. Is it still NBC’s policy to prohibit speaking engagements for pay?
There is a certain tedium involved with speaking at trade association meetings, so one does it for a reason. I assume the reason he does this is not that he really, really loves speaking to trade associations. Why would someone do it continually, if not for compensation – which I would say includes being given money to donate to favored charities? And if someone is getting compensation of “$40,001 & up” for an hour’s work, shouldn’t we assume this just might affect what they are willing to say or not say on the air?
Updates on Gregory speaking engagements:
2011 Palm Beach Civic Association
2007 American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the Sales Association of the Paper Industry
2011 Nantucket Atheneum Geschke Lecture Series
2011 Food Safety Summit

Have You Actually Watched Carter’s “Malaise” Speech?

Here it is, well worth watching! STILL profound, important, prescient. And startling in the context of what we know today about the corporate right’s assault on democracy.

The first part is about the mistrust of government and each other that had started taking hold, the rest is about energy, conservation, and the effect on our economy.

As you watch it, keep in mind that the right’s “noise machine” (partly funded by oil companies) had already been operating behind the scenes for several years, already spending tens of millions a year on the effort. Back then nothing like that had been encountered from inside the country (at least since the lead-up to the civil war) – the smear machine, the propaganda, the mass repetition of carefully crafted anti-government and in-it-for-yourself messaging, etc. – so people were just blindsided by it. But it was clear something was happening, and Carter called it a a “fundamental threat to American democracy”.

Why Mitt Romney Hates Unions

Is this guy a Presidential candidate from a major party, or a fringe nut? He sounds like Rush Limbaugh. HuffPo: Mitt Romney: Obama ‘Takes Marching Orders From Union Bosses’,

Speaking to a crowd at a campaign stop in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a swipe at both President Barack Obama and organized labor, saying the president “takes his marching orders” from unions that cost American jobs.
“Liberalism once taught that unions would ensure lasting prosperity for workers,” Romney said at Lansing Community College. “Instead, they too often contributed to disappearing companies, disappearing industries and disappearing jobs. But like many politicians of the past, President Obama takes his marching orders from union bosses, rails against right-to-work states, fights to win union elections by eliminating the vote by secret ballot, and even denies an American company the right to build a factory in the American state of its choice.”

When People Have A Say

People who follow Romney’s line of reasoning think that we need to be more “business friendly” with low wages, low benefits, low environmental protections and low taxes on the rich so we can compete with countries like China. Here’s the thing, in countries like China the people don’t have a say. When people have a say they say that they want higher wages, benefits, good schools, environmental protections and the rest of the prosperity that democracy brings to all the people, instead of huge amounts accumulating in the hands of just a few people.

Unions Drove Wages And Benefits Up

Romney’s argument that unions “contributed to disappearing companies, disappearing industries and disappearing jobs” is based on the idea that unions drove wages and benefits up. He believes that good wages and benefits — namely US — are a “cost” instead of the reason that We, the People decided to develop the body of laws that allow corporations to exist, to use our infrastructure and educated people and laws and courts and police and all the other “public structures” as a foundation for doing business. We, the People did that so that we — all of us — could benefit. All of us, not just a few of us.
In that respect Romney is correct, unions and democracy brought us higher pay, benefits, “the weekend,” vacations, 40-hour workweeks and things like that. Before unions came along to enforce the idea of democracy we didn’t, after unions we did. Before unions we had 12-hours a day workdays, seven days a week. Before unions we had low pay. Before unions we had no benefits. Before unions we didn’t get vacations. Before unions we could be fired for no reason. Unions are why we have had a middle class.
Unions enforce the concept of democracy. Yes, We, the People were supposed to be in charge. Yes, the economy was supposed to be for our benefit. Why else would We, the People allow corporations to exist in the first place? But it was unions that gave people the power to enforce that idea.

Laying People Off, Cutting Wages, Pocketing That Money For Himself

Romney made his fortune buying up companies (not, by the way, using his own money, but using the companies’ own assets as collateral for the loans to buy them with). Then Romney fired many of the workers, making the rest do the extra work. He cut wages and benefits for the rest and then pocketed that money for himself. This is the guy who says that good wages and benefits is what puts companies out of business. In other words, Romney is saying that the problem with our economy is that we have a middle class. Romney wants America to be more “business-friendly.”
Romney hates unions. They get in the way of doing business they way business was done “When Mitt Romney Came To Town:

According to the Christian Science Monitor, this is the story of what happened to the workers in one company when the Romney/Bain machine “came to town”:

The new owner, American Pad & Paper, owned in turn by [Mitt Romney’s] Bain Capital, told all 258 union workers they were fired, in a cost-cutting move. Security guards hustled them out of the building. They would be able to reapply for their jobs, at lesser wages and benefits, but not all would be rehired.

Outsourcing jobs to places where people don’t have a say so they can’t demand good wages, firing people and making them reapply for their jobs but at half the pay, gutting people’s benefits, stripping companies, treating employees like throwaway Kleenex, closing factories, stealing pensions, borrowing and pocketing… Locust capitalism. Chop shops. That’s Mitt Romney’s view of how to make money. Unions are in the way.

What Is Business-Friendly?

Some quick thoughts about what “business-friendly” really means: (add your own thoughts in the comments)
Business-friendly =
Low wages
Longer hours
No health benefits
No pensions
No vacations
No sick pay
Low taxes on the wealthy and their corporations
“Smaller government,” — which means less “We, the People” in charge of things:

    No safety rules
    No privacy rules
    No food inspections
    No environmental protections
    No consumer protections
    No citizen access to courts
    Arbitration
    Tort “reform” which means restricted access to courts

So what are your thoughts on this argument that we need to be more “business-friendly?” What does the phrase even mean? And what happens to the idea that We, the People have an economy for our own benefit?
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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This Deficit Story Can’t Be Repeated Often Enough!

Atrios says it: Eschaton: Planning For 10 Years From Now

The last time the an administration did the supposedly responsible thing, the fiscal “hawks” suddenly decided that the worst possible thing was no longer a deficit, but a surplus, and that therefore it was necessary to have massive tax cuts for rich people.
And they will, of course, do it again.

Any time any DC elite complains about “the deficit” remind them that when Clinton left office we had a huge surplus, so big that at the rate it was being paid down the entire US debt was going to be paid off in 10 years. Bush demanded that we give back the people’s money and Greenspan warned of the danger of paying off the debt. Etc. Etc. Etc. Then Bush doubled military spending — and started two wars on top of that!
So we went from big surplus to huge, huge deficits. Bush said it was “incredibly positive news” when we went back into deficit spending. He said it was good news because it continued the plan to use debt to force the government to cut back. He said that. It was the plan. (Don’t take my word for it, click the links.)
The Reagan people said it too, back when they started the massive deficit spending. It was the plan: force the country into massive debt, “starve the beast,” and use that to force the government out of business, or at least to be “small enough to drown in a bathtub.” They forced the tax cuts and Reagan said this was “cutting the government’s allowance.” The point was to use revenue cutbacks to force government to shrink, to get out of the way of the 1%.
Now that government is very much out of the way of the 1% we are seeing how things work out when the 1% dominate everything.
They called it “strategic deficits.” They said it was the plan to force the country into debt, and then they would demand that we cut the things that government does for the 99%, in order to further enrich the 1%. They would scare everyone by saying that the debt will destroy us so we have to cut back. That was the plan. They said that was the plan. And now that the plan is being executed, we should understand that it was the plan and not fall for it!
They said it was the plan. So as the plan unfolds, don’t be so surprised.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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