Years back, a famous photograph made the rounds on Facebook, in
which some Tea Party genius was holding up a sign that read, “Keep Government
Out of My Medicare.” If you need to have an explanation for why that’s one
damn stupid concept to put on a sign, then you’re hopelessly unintelligent,
and you should move on over to Sean Hannity’s website and not bother reading
the article below.
We’re All a Bunch of
Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is a communist. I learned this from a right-winger so
extreme he can’t tell communists from socialists. Conservatives have now moved
so far to the right that they label moderates as “socialists” and liberals
doesn’t hide the fact he’s a socialist and a liberal. He’s a relic of a
bygone era before the Right turned “socialist” and “liberal” into
pejoratives akin to “terrorist” or “pedophile.” I once told a sensible
conservative that I prefer socialists to fascists. His response — “How can
you tell the difference?” — sounded clever, but it’s essentially partisan nonsense
that showed a disturbing lack of political discernment.
mainly involves economics; fascism combines politics and economics with
authoritarianism, so it’s a bit of an “apples and oranges” comparison.
Nevertheless, the answer is simple: The leaders of Scandinavian countries, such
as Norway and Denmark, nations whose citizens constantly top the U.N.’s World
Happiness Index, are socialists. Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin and President
Trump are, to varying degrees, fascists.
a linear (i.e., one-dimensional) model of the political spectrum, fascists are
on the far right, and communists are on the extreme left, as far
from each other as they can be. However, that’s misleading. The continuum should more
accurately be portrayed as circular, with the extreme ends nearly touching each
other, like a snake chasing its tail.
Stalin and Hitler. In the linear model, Stalin would be closer to a centrist
Republican, such as President Eisenhower, than he’d be to Hitler. Similarly,
Hitler would be closer to Eisenhower than to Stalin. Realistically, both
conclusions are misleading and silly, because any disparities between the Soviet
tyrant and the Fuhrer were largely distinctions without a difference.
the ranks of deplorables and radical leftists, most of us are mildly
right-of-center or left-of-center moderates. However, although many of us
won’t admit it, average Americans have been socialists since FDR. At one of
his recent campaign rallies, Mr. Trump accused Democrats of planning to “raid
Medicare to pay for socialism.” Even among The Donald’s plethora of
meaningless and fatuous assertions, this one is more dishonest and brain-dead
than usual. Medicare is
within the Baby Boomer demographic, few Americans are eager to relinquish their
Medicare or the Social Security benefits they’ve paid into for most of their
lives. Anyone who’s ever been laid off is grateful for the socialist
unemployment compensation checks that helped them through the hard times. And,
of course, every time we drive on the interstate highway system, we avail
ourselves of infrastructure built during the 1950s by the socialist Eisenhower
Trump handed over the EPA to the big oil companies, we’ve been funding a
bureaucracy that gave us cleaner air and water via socialist environmental
regulations. And, for the moment, millions of poor Americans still have medical
insurance because of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), while FDA regulations
continue to ensure that the food and drugs we swallow won’t kill us.
a major campaign finance case, SCOTUS’s 2010 ruling in favor of the right-wing
Citizens United group cemented the socialist marriage of big business and
government. The Court’s determination that corporations are people helps big
business buy politicians and legitimizes a corporate social safety net similar
to that once enacted for the poor. This aligns with conservatives’ endless
desire to channel wealth upward, while pretending some of it might one day
trickle back down, which is also a form of socialism.
example, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 cost the taxpayers
$700 billion. It bailed out banks that would have simply failed in a purely capitalist
economy, but were “too big to fail” in our system. Later that year,
President Bush gave Chrysler and GM financing of $13.4 billion to save the auto
industry. In 2018, Donald Trump has appropriated $12 billion to bail out
Midwestern farmers hurt by his tariffs and by his trade war against China.
Suburban taxpayers in places like Connecticut will foot the bill.
our biggest socialist public works program remains the military-industrial
complex. Barely abated by our victory in the Cold War, the country remains on a
war footing, as the U.S. garrisons much of the world. Our economy — as well as
our exploding annual deficit (more than $1 trillion this year) — depends on a
jobs program created by a bloated network of domestic and overseas bases, our
huge standing army and the associated military hardware.
the late 1970s, my job included reading congressional testimony involving
defense procurement. Much of the time, it wasn’t the Pentagon demanding
wasteful spending, it was the politicians, such as Senator John Tower (R.-TX),
chairman of the Armed Services Committee. For example, each year, he bullied the
Navy and Air Force into taking delivery of the A-7 attack aircraft, which they
didn’t want, because it provided Dallas-based Vought Corp. with 2,250 jobs and
millions of pork-barrel dollars.
high-tech defense contractor I worked for during the Reagan years was involved
in the Strategic Defense Initiative (aka Star Wars). The scientists I talked to
loved their work, because their budgets were unlimited, but, when asked if it
would ever work, they’d laugh and say, “No … it’s like trying to shoot
down a bullet with a bullet.” With the $13 billion Mr. Trump has proposed for
another military bureaucracy, the U.S. Space Force (USSF), perhaps a Death Star
can be built in a swing state.
still contend that the Constitution establishes the U.S. as a capitalist nation. It
doesn’t, and we aren’t. Yet Republicans will use the specter of Democratic
socialism to frighten the sheep in the 2018 and 2020 elections. And it will
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