Posts Tagged poverty

Money Madness and the Rise of “Obvious Truths” … Around Taxes, the Wealthy, Job Creation, Democrats, Republicans, Generations, Your Life, and You: When ALL You Hear Are Lies, You Think It HAS to Be Truth

Foolin’ the People … About Money, About “Us” (The 1%), About Taxes, About Job Creation, About Democrats, About Republicans, About Generations, About Your Life, About You: Choose the Red Pill

Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness

Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me … Foolin’ the People About Money

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Obvious “Truths”—Fiscally Responsible Republicans and Tax and Spend Democrats

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Tax the wealthy, you’re taxing me.
  • Democrats tax and spend, they bust the budget, balloon the National Debt.
  • Republicans are fiscally responsible, fiscally conservative; they balance budgets and are careful about the National Debt.
  • Rich people create the jobs.
  • The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
  • That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”

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Obvious “Truth” – Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me

norquistBut when you hear the same things again and again, even black-and-white facts can be put up for dispute. For example, during the 2008 presidential race and prior to Obama’s first budget the Democrats’ tax proposal was explained as a tax cut for the middle class and no increase on any Americans making less than two hundred thousand a year. This was a black-and-white fact, part of the public record, not in dispute. But how did the Republicans explain it?

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That’s a Small Business?

Tax Cut & Budget Deficitimages (12)I certainly heard it, over and over again; I bet you did too. Republicans were saying the tax proposal was going to affect small businesses. So we have small businesses that are making over two hundred thousand a year in pure profit? And that’s a small business? That’s a smallbusiness? I think if you’re making, after all your deductions and everything and you’re still making two hundred grand, I think that you’re not a small business, I think you can afford extra taxes, but that’s what we are told.

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We’re All Rich. Somehow I Missed That Memo.

So apparently we got a group of people who think that people are really rich. The assumption is that most Americans are rolling in dough so that any tax increase on the wealthy is an attack on all Americans.

wealthydietSo, you can’t tax that sliver of the very, very wealthy a little bit more so that the majority of Americans might benefit. Benefiting the majority of Americans used to be how you got to “home base.” But now, it’s like, “No, you can’t tax Americans; we are Taxed Enough Already!”

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Obvious “Truth”: The Democrats’ Want to Take Your Money.

689024238The way this “obvious truth” is phrased now…no way to get around it, it’s a flat out lie…goes, “You can’t tax the very rich, cause that’s…” and they’ll just say it right out, “that’s gonna affect all Americans, that’s taxing everybody.”

Well how did it get to that conclusion when actually it’s going to lower taxes. And they were saying it over and over again, “No, we don’t even need to know what the plan is; we just know he’s a Democrat and that he’s going to raise taxes,” they would say of Obama…or for that matter of any Democrat at any time in recent history.

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Now, how did that become true? Well because…he’s a Democrat and well haven’t you ever heard the term tax and spend Democrats? And there we go again.

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Obvious “Truth” – Fiscally Responsible Republicans

Pointing Some Fingers Already

Alright, let’s go back. Pre-Roosevelt turn of the century initiatives so common and familiar now, such as the Food and Drug Administration, are the kinds of things Democrats brought in that added to government. Yet, Republicans spout misinformation; they get people angry about “evils” of such “big government.”

Misplaced Credit

The Democrats are the ones who brought in the FDA, worker’s rights, workman’s compensation. They’re the ones who put in Medicare. They’re the ones who put in Social Security.

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Misplaced Blame

And we remember the Republicans are the ones who created the Great Depression, created poverty for everybody at that time. They’re the ones who did it again with Bush, who tripled and nearly quadrupled the National Debt under the twelve years of Reagan-Bush, then more than doubled it under George W. That’s a lot of goddamn money.

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That’s a Lot of Money.

4223And then the Republicans were giving away seven hundred billion dollars to rich people who afterward were giddy in their ingratitude. This giveaway, keep in mind, came at the end of Bush’s terms. Police_Occupy_Protest_CartoonAnd you would hear CEOs bragging how they’re not going to spend any of that on people; they’re not going to use any of that money to loaning any of it out, which was supposed to be the purpose.

And even afterward, all Congressmen were agreeing that’s a huge amount of money, which at the time was the biggest amount of money being spent at one time, in such a short period of time on anything. every_gop_2012_candidate-460x307And how could we forget that they just took the money and did whatever they wanted with it? They paid off debts to other rich friends; they went overseas and invested in other countries.

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Chase Didn’t Use the Money for What It Was Intended.

317486_10150357184771862_526281861_8706445_629664980_nGoldman Sachs used sixteen billion of what it received to pay off an outstanding debt to a German bank. The head of Chase bank is known to have said he wasn’t going to use the money to increase credit. In fact, he said he was going to keep that money and he was basically going to feather his nest with it and keep Chase solvent so that when other banks went under he could buy them up with it. That’s the money of the taxpayers he’s playing “Monopoly” with, mind you.

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Obvious “Truths” – Tax and Spend Democrats

yaltasBut stacked up against the facts we have this idea of tax and spend Democrats. It’s been repeated, going back many decades. It basically goes back to Roosevelt who ended the Depression and benefited virtually all Americans. And now that’s somehow a bad thing, brought up to get you mad about the tax and spend Democrat. And they’ve got all Americans convinced that if you vote for a Democrat, they’re going to take your money, they’re going to tax it, and they’re going to spend it on somebody else. Well, that has nothing to do with the truth.

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Social Security, Medicare, and Surpluses, Oh My!

It has nothing to do with the truth. Certainly Roosevelt benefited all Americans with Social Security and so on; certainly Medicare, brought in under Lyndon Johnson benefited the vast majority of Americans. All these things the Democrats did. tumblr_lugzb6cRh11qfjo8fo1_500And Clinton raised taxes on the very rich a few percentage points and balanced the budget. Clinton created jobs and prosperity, balanced the budget, reduced the National Debt, and created a surplus that could have gone into creating a better America for all Americans. But, no, that was considered bad, because they said it hurt all Americans when the extremely wealthy had to give a little more in taxes.

The Fun Times Anticipating the Surplus

Never mind the facts, never mind that fact that we had a surplus that we were talking gleefully about how we were going to spend it. If you can remember, we were discussing investing in better roads and infrastructure that would have benefited even the businesses.

Stealing Home

220px-Ronald_Reagan_televised_address_from_the_Oval_Office,_outlining_plan_for_Tax_Reduction_Legislation_July_1981But no, it wasn’t about the truth anymore, it was about how you made it to home base, how you got money for yourself. Mitt_Romney_Corporations_Are_PeopleAnd it didn’t matter anymore if you just skipped all the bases, and you started at home and went to home…if you just took the money. grover_norquists_stunning_tax_heresy-460x307I mean, after a while the Republicans could just do that; tax breaks for the wealthy just because they were wealthy. Because, after a while, after all those years of repeating it: They could get away with, If you tax the wealthy you’re taxing all Americans. Wow.

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The Wealthy Are the Creative Sector All Right … Creative in Stealing Our Money

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Obvious “Truth”—The Wealthy Are the Job Creators

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Rich people create the jobs.
  • The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
  • Poor folks don’t create jobs, don’t invest their money.
  • That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”

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Obvious “Truth” – Rich People Create the Jobs

Obvious “Truth”—The Wealthy Are Society’s Creative Sector.

3001217305_fc96d11d48_bYes, I have actually heard it said this way; a good chance you have too. Here’s how it works: Raising taxes on the wealthiest is gonna hurt all Americans because by taxing that sliver of the upper two percent of Americans, you are inhibiting the creative sector’s ability to create jobs. Rich folks are society’s wealth creators. The wealthy are the creative people in our country.

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They’re Creative All Right.

They’re the creative people, huh? Yea, they’re creative in stealing from us. They’re creative in fattening their wallets at our expense. They’re creative in getting people elected who are liars and things like that.

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That’s not the kind of creativity I’d like to have. As far as creating jobs. Who creates jobs?

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Excess Wealth Given to the Rich Created High Art Prices, Not High Employment.

MetroTimesTaxwealthy-people1Here’s the facts. You know all that money that was given to the rich people? All those tax incentives given to the rich people by Reagan? Well, It didn’t create jobs so much as it created a lot of excess wealth that went into, well, people were buying yachts, and they were investing in art objects that were being bid through the roof.

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mTigKNSThe wealthy were scrambling; they had so much money they were fighting over art objects. And the art objects — paintings and so on, famous paintings – were making headlines in being sold for so much. During the Eighties under Reagan it was common to hear of 39 million dollars for such and such…58 million, 82 million. Of the 25 most expensive paintings ever sold, only two did not come at a time when tax cuts of either Reagan or one of the Bushes were in effect. And because what? Because the rich had so much extra freakin money. Now you tell me how many jobs money tied up in art objects created?

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Real Truth—The Rich Will Squander or Sit on Extra Money.

lap-dancing-smallearn-money-game-testerI mean it isn’t rocket science. It’s very simple … simple psychology. This has to do with facts: You give money to rich people who don’t need it, they’re the ones who are going to squander it; they’re the ones who are going to spend it frivolously, or not going to spend it just let it sit. They’re not going to benefit society with it; they’re not going to multiply it; they’re not going to invest.

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In economics this is called diminishing marginal returns. Simply put, it means that food eaten by a hungry person will reap greater reward than the food consumed later when the person is satiated. The same amount of money funneled into projects, or people, will have a greater percentage return when sorely needed than when not; a dollar will go far toward feeding a hungry African child and will be as nothing for a rich American. You simply cannot throw money at folks or ventures and expect to get as much, let alone more, return or reward later when the person is less “hungry” or the project less “starved” for funds..

Obvious “Truth”: Non-Wealthy Folks Don’t Create Jobs, Don’t Invest Their Money

Real Truth: People With Less Money Will Sweat Over and Multiply Money, What They Can.

cash_mob_hawaii_the_sourceWhereas, you give a fraction of that money to a poor person, a tiny amount of that to a poor or moderate income person and what will they do? DSCN6340_edited-1You have any idea how somebody who is poor will make a little bit of money go a long long way?

I saw my father do it. He is the same person making the meager fifty dollars a week at one point. And he wasn’t making much more, but he eventually got a truck driving contract with the U.S. postal service. He was able to own several trucks and to hire several workers.

So, why did he do that? Because he didn’t have a lot of money. LIQUOR-03_1314983701And by taking those chances and becoming a businessperson, taking that little bit of money he had, he created jobs for a few other people. Because he was motivated, he was desperate. And for him it was all about a chance to raise himself out of being poor. He spent his life scanning for such opportunities till he finally came across one.

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Billionaires Are Not Highly Motivated to Become Millionaires.

img_20110619_14435620100226_momandpop_18So you have people who would take any money coming their way to better their situation in life, the real American way. They would really love to be millionaires; they would risk their very lives for that. They would work their asses off. But those folks aren’t the people who are already billionaires.

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But Nobody Will Point This Out!

82183663AW003_Meet_The_Pres495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreSo you’ve got these inanities thrown out there. They’re being said over and over again…” Rich people create the jobs; they’re society’s creative sector.” These obvious untruths are not being 5192217_f520propagandacountered by journalists and pundits. There is really no one pointing out that anything is a lie, there’s nobody saying out loud that these self-serving pronouncements are untrue, or that what is being said is vastly different from the facts.

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Makin’ People Foolish – Foolin’ the People About “Us” (The Rich)

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Makin’ Foolish People – Foolin’ the People About “Us” (The Rich)

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Things you hear a lot are true.
  • Simple “truths” are real truths.
  • Democrats think they’re better than everybody; they’re snobs, elitists….
  • Unlike Republicans who are regular people just like me, folks I could sit and have a beer with…who’d understand me.

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Confused People Take Comfort in Stupidity

When ALL You Hear Are Lies, You Begin to Think It Has to Be the Truth.

2009059026So, what happens? What is the result of these things being heard long enough, with nobody countering them or anything. It’s natural, if you hear something said enough, you don’t question it.

BUSHQ-UAEDA-q-IRAQI myself am that way. I was told that we should go into Iraq because there was weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t hear anybody saying anything differently. So I believed it. Well, that turned out to be a lie.

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dumbestgeneration381403781_348626541815889_100000056392831_1428618_1287915522_nIt’s just natural that if you don’t hear anything to counter something, you’re going to believe that the only thing being said is the truth. And that certainly has increased over time…through the years.

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Democrats Feel Like They’re Talking to a Wall; They’re Talking to the Weary.

imagesdIt is not that these lies weren’t countered; they were…by progressives and Democrats…and the few, the brave of commentators. In later years, MSNBC emerged and could be counted on for straight talk. Comedy Central became the “real news” for the young educated for being willing to throw light, albeit hiding behind the built-in denial mechanism of a comic façade, on the inanities of the Wingnuts and Well-Funded.

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17gore3-1906a00d834515edc69e200e55074c1e48833-800wiBut that has not been the reality touching the lives of ordinary Americans. What I observed is that the great majority of pundits weren’t any help in clarifying things for people. Journalists would say, “Ok, Mr. Democrat, Alan-Grayson-Die-Quickly-Signwhat do you have to say about that?” And The Democrat would respond with a reasoned argument, laying out all these things that made perfect sense if you’re familiar with the issue.

And pundits wouldn’t delve into their argument, tease out its elements so as to enlighten.

And keep in mind that now more than ever people need that. We have people listening to this who are working two jobs, tired, overworked, worried about their health care, stressed. PepperSprayMoran1They’re not going to be able to follow an argument very well. In fact they’re going to forget what all those words meant and how they all fit together.

So after a while a lot of these folks are going to say…I’m sure you’ve heard them, they’re Republicans and the ones who vote for Republicans…they would say, “Aw geez , that’s just a bunch of words, it don’t mean anything.”

Thousands turn out at the State Capitol to rally against Obama policies, huge deficits, bigger government and higher taxes.  Corneliu Constantinescu (CQ) wears tea bags on his hat at the rally on the steps of the Capitol.</p><p> Photo by Doug Beghtel/ The Oregonian

But what the hell does that mean?

Confused People Retreat Into the Stupid.

talking_pointsWell, it means that all these words can’t be remembered, they can’t take root in their mind after the lies they’re always hearing from the other side. They are images (9)surrounded by the organized disciplined ongoing assault against them by the Republicans. They are filled up with talking points benefiting the wealthy comprised of simplistic simple-minded irrational mantra…irrational, repetitive, simple slogans.

images (7)So, the result is that Democrats don’t end up having a lot of power; they don’t get elected. I saw it happen in presidential election after presidential election. I saw Reagan saying simplistic things, getting all the people pissed off about poor people and about the Soviets.

imagesFrom the other side, I heard his appealing to the worst in people countered by reason, by sensible explanations and realistic proposals of a Dukakis, a Carter, and a Mondale. And then at the end it was…. it didn’t mean a damn thing. Because people just felt more comfortable around somebody who kept things simple, who said simple words, and seemed angry like they were.

21883Not that Reagan said anything indicating any of his policies were going to benefit average folks. No, actually he screwed them, but they still liked him! Because Reagan, like other Republicans, are able to confuse people into thinking that any screwing up, of any time, must have been done by Democrats. They will tell you your poverty now is caused by Democratic policies of the past which actually got us out of depressions, recessions, and created surpluses. Medicare-keep-your-hands-off-my-medicareThey will tell you your lousy health care now is caused by money going to the Medicare that you like. They will tell you that the financial squeeze you feel is because of the “penny” going to a poor person not the bundles of loot they are taking.

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GOP Priorities Exposed

And Burdened People Become Confused People—That’s Their Plan

20111130_foxnation_missionaccomplishedht_pepper_spray_meme_05_nt_111121_ssvSo, the electorate is swimming in these simple irrational things that have been made to sound reasonable. And they are unable to see through them because they have been kept in this situation of increasing pressure to produce, produce, produce; of less leisure time and no time to think; of worries, medical care, all kinds of things you have to put out money for. They can hardly see through the swindle since they are distracted by the threat to their lives from insurance companies–those folks who may or may not pay you if you need it though you have faithfully paid them.

We’ll Insure You, Up to the Time You Need It

It’s gotten to the point where you have insurance but you dare not ever make a claim. You live with the risk of unexpected loss to your home at any time that you can not cover, because if you make a claim you may not get it next time. You risk losing home insurance and threatening your home. What the hell kind of insurance is that? You are insured but they can deny you? They can deny your claim, or as it happens all the time, you have one or two claims, and you no longer have an insurance company.

healthcaredeniedSo if your payments are not making them a profit, if you are one of those few who are costing them more to be a member or to be covered by that insurance company, if you’re costing them more, they’re not going to take it out of the profits of all those who are costing them less, so, you’re eliminated. So why do we even have insurance companies? Most people have insurance just in the hope that they’ll be covered.

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Rational Thought Replaced With Slogans … How Can Anyone Know the Truth?

How Can Folks Unite Against Injustices Hidden From Them

NKlkMI2SRL0IQlPdkbgbNQ Who has the time to think clearly or reason confronted by all this other uncertainty, this other insanity? So we have all these pressures and then there’s these slogans put out and people are not able to follow rational arguments.

3397681586_5618507954_oHow this expresses itself came out in a discussion yesterday on Facebook. One rational type was trying to reason with a supporter of Mitt Romney, who was convinced everyone knew all the “true facts,” EVERYONE knew about all the “failed” and horrible things Obama had done…as she’d learned from Glenn Beck among others. Michele_Bachmann_Census_Worker_CemetaryMy earnest and reasonable friend finally threw in the towel saying, “It’s like talking to a random thought generator. What do you think about foreign policy? fruitloopsCheese.”

That is the result of factoids, “obvious truths,” replacing reason in burdened and confused minds. So how could these people possibly, without being able to see clearly, how could folks like this ever be united against the REAL injustices against them…which they don’t even realize are happening…their minds filled with the fake stuff?

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How Can Folks Protect Themselves From “Wizards” Hiding “Behind the Curtain”?

Police_Occupy_Protest_CartoonKu-Klux-KlanPeople do not even know who the perpetrators are, for the pundits won’t tell them. Folks cannot figure it out for themselves; and the pundits absolutely refuse to point out who’s responsible for the things that add misery to their lives.

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1220-fox-news-misinformation_full_600FREESPEEMedia types say they cannot do that because they say it has to do with, something about equal time. But that was supposed to be for elections. megyn_kelly_essentiallyAnd, as I pointed out earlier, equal time turned into something where, no matter what lie is put PepperSprayCop_Magritteout there or would be put out, no matter what truth is put out there, the media will find somebody, they could find anybody, who would be willing to say a lie and sound reasonable for the purpose of confusing things.

With all this, how can anybody know what the truth is?

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A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts … The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Workers Are Getting Humiliated

Increasing Humiliation of Working People, the Rich Get Richer at Our Expense

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Obvious “Truth”:

  • A rising (economic) tide lifts all boats .

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Real Truth – The Rich Get Richer at Our Expense.

Life Has Gotten Harder – Real Truth

169007433_6c6845aa50crppdSo we have this increasing deterioration of our prosperity, of our standard of living, of our joy of life. Life becomes more and more of a struggle, and who benefits? Well we see who benefits. We now have a new super rich class which is above even the very rich. It’s called the filthy rich, as I’ve pointed out.

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Real Truth – Our Suffering Has Paid for Even Greater Obscenities by the Wealthy.

american_slaves36And to create this super-rich class where did that money come from? Well, it’s come at the cost of average people like us. slavesinegyptAnd I can tell you this because I lived through it all. I’m old enough to have seen the changes. I was born in 1950. I’ve been there to know, things are much harder than they used to be.

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tumblr_ll9s8ivSVj1qjab9ao1_r8_500studentsAnd our rights and our freedoms have changed. Because of their successes in the Culture War/Class War, because of Reagan and Bush, the Patriot Act, the neo-con takeover, and everything, our rights to speak out and to live without harassment have been diluted. Out of all the civilized countries in the world we have the greatest percentage of our people in jails. So what does that say?

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Humiliation…Increasing Humiliation of Working People

We have these huge corporations taking over and it’s humiliating to people. I mean in times past we had the small retailer, perhaps this person had a small coin shop, bakery, drugstore and pharmacy, shoe shop, maybe a corner grocery store. Now, there aren’t any small stores like that. And where does that person end up making a living?

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Well, he worked in retail so maybe he even ends up working for the same department store hat pushed him out of business. So what does that do to your self-esteem?

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oil-profit-sign-300x300Financial_Wealth_1There’s example after example of people like that in recent years; it’s something that went into high gear under Bush. There are ever more people who are losing their jobs, well paying jobs, because they’re being sent overseas; and they are sometimes actually forced to train the people who are taking their jobs.

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I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.

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Hippies, Yippies, Yuppies … How the 1% Diluted the Progressive Movement by Slandering Boomers to Foster Culture War Between Them and Gen Xers and to Distract from Their Own Looting

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The Yuppies Were Hardly Boomers … But This Idea Supports a Right-Wing Agenda by Pitting Progressives Against Each Other … Try the Red Pill Instead

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Yuppies are former hippies.
  • “Flower children” abandoned their idealism and became greedy careerists focused on money.
  • Former young radicals saw the error of their ways and became more conservative politically as they got older.
  • The “Me” Generation is the Sixties Generation
  • Sixties youth turned from free love and a sexual revolution to conservative sexual values and evangelical religion.
  • “My Generation” gave up their idealism as everyone does with greater age and maturity.
  • The Woodstock generation turned from pot and visionary thinking to booze, cocaine, and disco dancing a decade later
  • The “free love” generation settled down and focused on family and jobs, centered around monogamy.
  • “My Generation” is currently filling up the suburbs and feverishly maximizing their portfolios, at any and all cost.

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Real Truth – All the Above Are Lies … Propaganda to Further the Motives of the 1%, the Filthy Rich

I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.

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I watched in the early Eighties the lies about a “Me Generation” coming out. Republicans brought that out to beat people down with. The idea was planted that people who wanted anything for themselves were selfish, for after all only the wealthy should ever benefit.

And it’s funny too, how they were able to use their own spawn to make this case. You could look around and see a new cadre of young folks—Gen X Yuppies—who had bought into the WWII values, who had been deluded by the untruths the 1% of that WWII generation had been using against the masses. The rich elite had succeeded in convincing those younger of mind that the wealthy folks interests where actually their own.

The 1% of the WWII Generation’s response to Sixties activism on campus, as I showed earlier, led to their taking over the universities in the early Seventies and turning them away from the humanities and social sciences and into career mills; I was there and observed it first hand. The success of this is what created the Yuppies in the Eighties–young upwardly mobile professionals–who were the first batch of Generation X—who are those born 1961 to 1981, who therefore left high school beginning in 1978. [Footnote 1]

So these Gen X Yuppies were coming onto the scene in the early Eighties, when the first of them were leaving the universities. The turnaround in education, away from free thinking and towards conservative careerist values, was in full swing by the time they reached college in 1978 on. And its effect on them was patent when they began coming of age. They were what the WWII Generation wanted: money-oriented and compliant…greed had been made “good” again. Standouts of this generation today are Sarah Palin (born 1964), Eric Cantor (born 1963), Rand Paul (born 1963), and Paul Ryan (born 1970).

So then the WWII Generation, fully in charge of society, could point to these yuppie spawn as examples of the obscenity of greed, thus deflecting attention away from their own, WWII Generation, me-spiritedness. To further their ends, they also claimed the origins of this unseemly greed lie in the failed, unrealistic values of the Sixties generation and their idealism.

This was one of their most amazing feats. They were able to take their values of greed and conformity, sow them in another generation, point to those values and criticize them, blame them on the hippies, all the while hiding their own espousal of those values. They perpetrated, denied, criticized, scapegoated, distracted, and obfuscated all together! They thoroughly convinced Americans that the Me Generation and Yuppies were those who formerly were flower children.

Whereas this actual Me Generation, these Yuppies, were predominantly a bunch of reactionary young people who said to hell with this idealistic stuff, and of helping out, and kumbaya, and all that stuff. They said, we’re for money, to hell with any one else. And somehow the WWII-Generation-owned media, assisted by a Fifties Generation now in their prime, convinced folks that these careerists out only for themselves were the one-time visionaries. Of course they only pulled this off because they owned or controlled all the major organs of expression in America—the newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, education, book publishing. I’ve delineated how they did this in one of the earliest all-out assaults, after their initial setbacks in the Sixties, of the Culture War/Class War they have been waging on the 99% since that time.

The media flooded American minds with the idea that the Me Generation was My Generation (I’m “talkin’ bout my generation” here) in the Eighties. They had prepared the ground for that lie, as there had been constant slander of my generation in the press since the beginnings of our activism in the Sixties, exactly like they are now putting out against the Millennials and those in the Occupy movement today. Beginning in the Seventies, owning the publishing and media industries, they concocted the lie that there was a conservative backlash going on. (See Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused, the Sixties and The Big Lie About Yuppies Being Hippies.)

This supposed conservative backlash was merely a continuation of Nixon’s laughable claim that he was supported by a “Silent Majority,” which he had used since the beginnings of his term in 1969 and which was obviously false, as demonstrations grew in size and support swung away from him throughout this period; and eventually he was forced to resign. But Republicans always claim there are a majority of real folks out there—“real Americans” as Palin and her kind say today—who support them but are doing it secretly. (btw, lol!)

Anyway, by the Eighties the powers-that-be were able to place this idea of a selfish “Me Generation” of Sixties youth, which they had been saying for a while, as being the ones on the campus at the time or recently out, the Yuppies. It fit their narrative. But it was a lie, and virtually all my generation knew it and thought it laughable. We stopped laughing after a while as over the years, it became clearer they had done such a good job of preparing the ground and repeating the lie that it stuck in the minds of those other than my generation—the Fifties Generation ahead of us and Gen X behind us—and the right wing, who of course saw this as red meat to further their causes. The media controlled by the 1% said the Sixties generation had gone from idealism to just wanting money, thereby discrediting their opponents, us who were consistently representing the 99%. At the same time they gave credibility to their claim of the superior veracity of their own values of greed, materialism, ruthless pragmatism, ego above all, and even me-spiritedness. Also, it validated, even glorified their personal traits of conformity, hard-headedness, cynicism, compliance, and even mean-spiritedness .

The Lies About Jerry Rubin

They could only give one example, Jerry Rubin; and even about him they lied and slandered. First off, neither Jerry Rubin, or Abbie Hoffman for that matter, were Boomers or Sixties Generation members. They were Fifties Generation, born in 1938 and 1936 respectively. Boomers were born in the post-WWII baby boom from 1946 through 1960. So that is enough to discredit what they said about “my generation.” But taking it as an attack aimed at the counterculture, let’s examine it:

They said Jerry Rubin was engaged in trying to make money. And they never mentioned what he was trying to make money on… but God forbid anyone but them should try to make money anyway. You see, what the 1% do is drive people into lowered standards of living and poverty where they experience desperation for money at times. Then they can point to that grasping to survive as proof that their values of money above all else are legitimate and that it is not possible for humans to have any other values higher than that. They create the conditions that they can use to support and validate themselves…how convenient.

But telling the whole truth would never allow them to do that. They didn’t mention about Jerry Rubin that he was engaged in selling health supplements; he was trying to help people out with their health. He was involved in multilevel marketing. He was an early investor in Apple Corporation, helping to foster the cybernetic revolution that progressives depend on today and which has strengthened our movement incredibly with Facebook and Twitter aiding us in overthrowing dictators in the Mideast and joining us in support of the Occupy and Wisconsin union movements.

He traveled with Abbie Hoffman in doing “Yippie versus Yuppie” debates, that is true. Since it did not fit the narrative of their discrediting their opponents in the Sixties generation, they never understood or at least never mentioned that in using those terms for their “debates” they were continuing their tradition of fucking with their opponents’ minds by flaunting the terms that had been used against them. Critics don’t get and opponents conveniently overlook the heavily ironic and playful way my generation, and Yippies in particular, present themselves. “Yippie versus Yuppie” is supposed to make you think; it is a hook; and it is funny to those of us in the know. Believe me, I have the same problem with people sometimes misunderstanding my intent for the opposite of what I believe because of the amusingly ironic titles I sometimes give my writings.

But Rubin’s position in this “debate”—which was actually a discussion of different ways the Sixties values might succeed, not be overturned—was that the POOR COULD BE HELPED by promoting programs to create wealth in their communities. I quote:

Rubin’s argument in the debates was that activism was hard work and that the abuse of drugs, sex, and private property had made the counter-culture “a scary society in itself.” He maintained that “wealth creation is the real American revolution. What we need is an infusion of capital into the depressed areas of our country.”

Someone who knew him well, Stew Albert, said this of Jerry in eulogizing him.

Jerry was always a rebel, but then he was always a rebel within the rebellion. He was always sort of rebelling against the norms of the rebellion.

And,

Jerry changed costumes, and he changed rhetoric, but he never changed his heart.

Does that sound like someone promoting the interests of the 1%? Or like someone just out for himself, as Yuppies really are? Remember that at the time, militant, even violent revolution had been in the air for a while—with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the Symbionese Liberation Army and such. So “Yippie vs. Yuppie” was a leftist debate about tactics. Today it would be considered a discussion of liberal vs. progressive views…hardly conservative, Yuppie, or Republican views. And Jerry Rubin’s putting on a suit made him about as conservative as it made Bob Dylan a conservative when he picked up an electric guitar at the Newport Festival of 1965. Dylan got booed for what was only considered unusual alongside some very high, and strict, expectations about purism in music having nothing to do with political ideology or musical quality but simply technology. Rubin’s wearing a suit was the same kind of thing at the time he did it…and it had nothing to do with ideology but simply tactics—i.e., revolutionary technology.

Also, at the same time as Rubin was doing all this and supposedly a Yuppie, he was running a legal and civil rights office in an artsy/alternative part of L.A., Echo Park, where he also lived. When he died he was on his way to dinner in the company of Fred Branfman of the Making a Difference project, whose purpose was to bring money into poor communities by helping inner-city youth learn how to start their own businesses. Does that sound like a Wall Street careerist? Does that sound like he turned over his ideals and bowed to the god of money? So, lies, lies, lies. And these lies become instituted and they’re not challenged after a while, after you hear them for decade after decade after decade….

You have to be older to know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.

Setting the Record Straight on Boomers

Boomer-Generation X Culture War

A friend who supports the Occupy movement, and who happens to be a Gen Xer, recently shared this with me,

As a Gen Xer, I have to say we were outnumbered as a Generation with half the numbers of the boomers and the previous traditional generations.

…the boomers cut taxes on the wealthy and wages for the middle class to create the world’s largest debt, our dependence on dirty foreign oil grew as our manufacturing base got shipped over seas.

You Boomers call Gen X a slacker generation while doing all that?

It is the boomers who are the dead beat generation now.

If this person were correct, then why have the Boomers voted consistently Democratic? [Footnote 2]

The Gen X/Yuppie—Fifties Generation alliance was responsible for getting Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II elected. Boomers voted against Republicans, especially these; it’s all in the public record. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are the ones who did the tax cuts. Whereas Clinton—a Boomer and a Democrat—raised taxes on the 1% and balanced a budget for the first time.

Indeed, all Democratic candidates and Presidents going back to Roosevelt at least, with the one small exception of Kennedy favored and fought for raising taxes on the 1%, not cutting them, so as to relieve the burden on the 99%. The right likes to use Kennedy as an example of a Democrat seeing the wisdom of cutting taxes to improve the economy, but Kennedy’s proposed tax cut for the 1% was when the marginal rate was 91% range, not at 35% as today, and the country was prosperous. (See The Myth of JFK as a Supply Side Tax Cutter.) Also it was not instituted until Johnson began his term … which was incidentally when the huge deficits began. So Kennedy’s tax cut had nothing at all to do with the prosperity we enjoyed during his term, indeed its institution marked the beginning of increasing deficits.

Even today, it is Democrats—supported heavily by Boomers—who are opposed to tax cuts and favor reining in the greed of the 1%. This includes Obama, who incidentally is a Gen X-Boomer cusper, born 1961. Note that he has surrounded himself with Boomers—Biden, Clinton, et al. And they are engaged in that same Democratic struggle of decades past of trying to get the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes. Meanwhile Republicans supported by that Fifties Generation (the Koch Brothers, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, et al) – Gen X/Yuppie (Palin, Cantor, Ryan, Rand Paul) alliance oppose Boomer-Democratic tax and other progressive initiatives at every turn.

So to accuse Boomers, who voted predominantly for these Democrats and their policies, of cutting taxes is grossly misinformed or a lie. And for a Gen Xer to do this blaming is either ignorant, a denial, or delusional…but is in any case a product of that misinformation I’ve been talking about.

For to address that Gen Xer’s charges of Boomer’s causing the dependence on dirty foreign oil, the Sixties Generation started the environmental movement. I know a little about this; as I explained previously, I was one of those who helped bring nuclear plant construction to a halt in America, which we did in Springfield, Oregon, in the early Eighties. We, Boomers…I was born in 1950…supported Democrats who fought for environmental legislation, alternative energies, and reduced dependence on dirty energies against Republicans, supported by the Fifties-Gen X alliance, who watered down those policies and legislated a rape of our natural resources and our environment to benefit big business, Big Oil, Big Nuke, Big Coal, and the 1%.

As for the accusation that Boomers sent our manufacturing base overseas and caused a lowering of middle class wages, how can that possibly be true alongside the more than obvious knowledge that Democrats are the ones who consistently push for and favor raising the minimum wage and are the union supporters? Can this OWS person not be aware of the parallel Wisconsin union movement which has Democrats and union folks up against Republicans and Gen X/Fifties Gen Koch-supporters? Or is he somehow unaware of the fact that Boomers have consistently voted in greater numbers for Democrats than Republicans over all these decades? [Footnote 2]

Well, this shows the amount of success the WWII Generation and Fifties Generation enjoyed in shifting the blame for their policies and their theft of the national wealth. And, by the way, it was the WWII Generation that had the greatest retirement wealth per person and who instituted Social Security and other benefit programs for themselves … making themselves the wealthiest as well as the “Greatest Generation.” Probably with the tax cuts, the current Fifties Generation who in their retirement years are raping the wealth of the country to fatten themselves, are bettering them. Whereas the Sixties Generation, scapegoated again, is facing cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits at the exact time as they need it and are facing or entering retirement—being beaten down, harassed, and scapegoated by the Gen X-Fifties Generation alliance again.

You think this is ancient information and is irrelevant to what is happening today? Remember that the comment I quoted above from my Gen X friend and fellow Occupier was from only last week. He has his sights set on my generation as the perpetrators of the problems; these ideas have caused a split between Gen X and Boomer Progressives. I can tell you that his comment is not atypical from others I hear from Gen X in their attitudes toward Boomers.

Similarly, to some extent the Millennials believe Boomers are at fault also—this is what they have been taught. They are simply misinformed and so are not so committed to the lies as the Gen Xers. The Millennials are open to the fact they have been deceived. After all their Boomer parents are models of the fact that these “facts” are actually lies. The Millennials have been made to believe, simply, that their own parents and those of their friends are somehow just different from those “bad Boomers” out there who are really the selfish and tax-cutter ones.

Lies and toxic misinformation are not healthy, at all, for a movement that is predominantly an alliance of Millennials and Boomers, with some Gen Xers (notably, few Fifties Generation folks). After all, how do you think a progressive Boomer feels, after fighting his entire life with his generational cohort for the changes that we are still fighting for with the OWS and Wisconsin union movements, and after hearing his entire life the made up lies, the slander, the scapegoating about himself, his generation, and his beliefs? How do you think she feels seeing those same lies being pulled out again and thrown against OWS supporters, for example, continuing therefore to throw salt into old wounds? And finally how do you think she feels to hear from her friends and allies in the movement that she has been the problem all this time, not the solution? It is disheartening, to say the least.

In this antagonism against Boomers, the other side—the WWII-Fifties Gen alliance, supportive of the 1% and their Tea Party sycophants—have won again. [Footnote 3]

For these WWII-Fifties Gen lies have thrown discord into progressive ranks. And they have thrown off the aim of our movements as to who the perpetrators are, giving the 1% a convenient fog of confusion behind which they can continue unfettered their actions against us.

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Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

The “Truth Dividend” of Having Been Around

So, in understanding what might be the truth and what are obviously lies, it helps to be older, for you can know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is or has to be. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.

And with that seeing comes the knowledge that over the course of the last fifty years America descended into a deep slumber of untruth from which it could not awaken…regardless of all the righteous efforts of many true-seeing progressive activists who did their best to sound alarms.

Continue With Culture War, Class War, Chapter Sixteen: The Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?


The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355


Footnotes

1. A lot of confusion about Boomers, Yuppies, And Generation X has been generated by the Census Bureau and main stream media. A generation, see below, is defined as a cohort of people occurring roughly every twenty years who share some common viewpoint and experiences.

This is what a generation actually is:

Defining a generation

Lynch Armenia Five generations.pngStrauss and Howe define a social generation as the aggregate of all people born over a span of roughly twenty years, or about the length of one phase of life: childhood, young adulthood, midlife, and old age. Particular generations are identified (from first birthyear to last) by looking for cohort groups of this length that share three criteria. First, members of a generation share what the authors call an age location in history: they encounter key historical events and social trends while occupying the same phase of life. Because members of a generation are shaped in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young adults, they also tend to share certain common beliefs and behaviors. Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers, members of a generation also tend to share a sense of common perceived membership in that generation.[16] For example, in a 2007 Harvard Institute of Politics survey, Americans born 1982 to 1989 (whom Strauss and Howe define as the first-wave cohorts of the Millennial Generation) identified themselves as belonging to a “unique and distinct” generation, with an outlook different from people in their 30s or older.[17] Surveys show that Boomers also strongly identify with their own age cohort.[18]

Strauss and Howe base their definition of a generation on the work of diverse writers and social thinkers, from ancient writers such as Polybius and Ibn Khaldun to modern social theorists like José Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim, John Stuart Mill, Émile Littré, Auguste Comte, and François Mentré.[19]

From Strauss-Howe generational theory

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of Boomers is different. See Baby boomer.

Why would it be different? That is the crucial question. The Census Bureau’s definitions of Boomers and Generation X is as follows:

  • The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.[10] The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave”[11] and as “the pig in the python.”[12] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[11] One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[13]

From Generation in Wikipedia.

So why are those born 1961 through 1964 considered part of the Boomer Generation by the Census Bureau, which has informed much of the discussion on this? Why is the Census Bureau attributing only 17 years to Generation X but 19 years to Boomers, when in fact the Boomers were born in a World War II “baby boom” that had them being born in a distinctly shorter period. Whereas Generation X was born of the Fifties Generation during a more languorous, hence longer period? Why is the Census Bureaus including as Boomers those born at those end years of 1961 through 1964 when the number of births was decreasing, not “booming”?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know this decision by the Census Bureau has served pundits and right wing commentators in giving more weight to their positions by diluting the distinctly liberal voting record of actual Boomers. As I have been stating above, there was a concerted effort to scapegoat Boomers and to confuse them with Yuppie-Gen Xers. This confused definition by the Census Bureau is part of that. It has allowed pundits to slander the Sixties Generation, as I said, by attributing qualities to them that were actually a part of the WWII Generation’s Culture War Attack of creating a generation different from and more compliant than the Sixties Generation/ Boomers.

At any rate, that is why we have the discrepancy shown in this description of the Pew Report findings on “Boomer” voting patterns. Let’s look at a few relevant findings:

Of greatest interest to BTS are the Pew Research Center survey findings about Boomers.

  • In recent years Boomers increasingly call themselves conservatives. They voted for Republican candidates in 2010, but are still on the fence for the 2012 Presidential Election.
  • Older Boomers tilt Democratic while younger Boomers tilt Republican. When asked to name the best President during their lifetime, Boomers were evenly divided between Clinton and Reagan.
  • Younger Boomers and Generation Xers have been one of the most reliable Republican voting groups.

From The Baby Boomer Voting Bloc

This supports what I’m saying about generational voting patterns. The difference lies in that this author has to differentiate between late Boomers and early Boomers. They are opposite in their voting patterns. This person wouldn’t be so confused if he placed the generational divide where it belongs, at 1961, not 1965. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1960, as shown in the chart below, which also shows Generation X beginning in 1961.

The Boom Generation defined by Howe and Strauss, as shown in the chart above, born 1946 thru 1960 are the ones who vote consistently Democratic. They are the ones who shared common events and experiences growing up and were shaped by them, notably the Vietnam War; the JFK, RFK, and MLK assasinations in 1968; the sexual revolution; the explosion of the use of LSD and pot as drugs, and the counterculture. These events were not on the cultural map that faced the ones born 1961 through 1964, for they were too young. Yet how can one define a Boomer-Sixties Generation that does not include these as formative experiences?

So this discrepancy is an example of what I’m talking about in this article. For it continues the confusion about Boomers and contributes to the scapegoating and the denigration of Boomers as being a Me Generation and Yuppies being former hippies by simply getting confusing results by including some from Gen X—some actual Yuppies. To include those born between the four years, 1961 through 1964, you end up getting the confused results this author gets. You are including the likes of Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor, fer Chrissakes! I’ve never heard anyone mistake them for my generation. It would have Barack Obama, born 1961, categorized as a Boomer, as if there is not an obvious generational difference between him and some the notable Boomers in his administration, like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. But by seeing that Obama is a Yuppie-Gen Xer, it helps explain the differences between him and the actual Boomer president, Bill Clinton.

For more on this, see Generation Jones, which is the term given for those born 1954 through 1964. They are seen to be very different from the Boomers. They did not confront the same social realities as did Boomers. They even came of age after the Vietnam War. They missed the counterculture movement. It is ludicrous for generationalists to include these with Baby Boomers as especially the second half of these have an entirely opposite world view from Boomers. Their stalwarts include Rick Santorum (born 1958), Sarah Palin (born 1964) and Eric Cantor (born 1963)…hardly Boomers. Notice that it also includes Rand Paul (born 1963), who as expected is the son of a Fifties Generation parent with whom he is allied, Ron Paul (born 1935).

See also the write up on Generation X in Wikipedia, which addresses this confusion as to where the dividing line between Boomers and Gen X is as well.

Finally, see Baby boomer, which discusses this confusion and adds two important considerations: The person who coined the term “baby boomer” described them as those born between 1943 and 1960. So why did the Census Bureau change it? The second point discussed is that many theorists have two distinct generations during this supposed period of Census Bureau Boomers—Boomers and Generation Jones, which are said to be those born 1956 through 1964. So this latter group is not included with Boomers.

Is all this not confusing enough? Does it not play into the right wing agenda to dilute their opponents power by confusing their opponents profile, so they can lob any charge against them? Or attribute any self-congratulatory trait to them, as they wish?

Most of all, this strikes me as devious in that it allows right wingers to blame Boomers for the cadre of youth, the Yuppies, who were actually their creation—that of the 1% and those reactionary culture war forces—and were in no way influenced by, so should hardly be included in, “my generation” of Boomers, the Sixties Generation.

2. BLAM!! From the site, Gallup Politics, of May 8, 2009. Even though continuing the misinformation that Boomers were born up till 1964, going with the Census Bureau definition, Gallup Poll data still solidly support the premise that Boomers are predominantly Democrats, as well as the fact that Millennials are as well.

Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers

Republicans do better among Generation X

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — Although Democrats currently enjoy a party identification advantage over Republicans among Americans at every age between 18 to 85, the Democrats’ greatest advantages come among those in their 20s and baby boomers in their late 40s and 50s. Republicans, on the other hand, come closest to parity with Democrats among Generation Xers in their late 30s and early 40s and among seniors in their late 60s….

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Demographers and social observers have made attempts over the years to classify Americans into generational groups based on the social, political, economic, and cultural environment of the years in which they grew up and “came of age.” The most clearly delineated such group is the baby boomers, generally agreed to be those born between 1946 and 1964 — or roughly ages 45 to 63 today. Generation X follows the baby boom and is generally considered to be those born between 1965 and 1979 — or roughly between ages 30 and 44. Those younger than Generation X have been labeled Generation Y or the “Millennials,” who are 18 to 29 today. There are various ways of grouping those who preceded the baby boom generation, including the famous sobriquet “The Greatest Generation” used by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name, but it is convenient to label those who today are 64 and older as seniors (even though some in this group would no doubt resist that label).

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Notice here that not only are arbitrary birth figures used to stipulate Boomers and Generation Xers, but everyone older than a Boomer is classified as part of the World War Two Generation—”The Greatest Generation.” So they would have everyone born in the forty-five year period from 1901 through 1945 to be WWII Gen even though some were born during the war and had their coming of age after the war and in the decade of the Fifties—those born 1925 through 1945. Elsewhere this generation has been termed the Silent Generation or the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy Generation…I’m calling them the Fifties Generation for convenience sake. Still, the study does find Democratic tendencies among Boomers, however wrongly defined, and Millennials. And it finds Republican leanings among Generation Xers, however wrongly defined, and the Fifties Generation, however wrongly defined again, as shown by the graph below:

The current data suggest that political party identification in the United States today follows these generational patterns to a perhaps surprising degree.

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· Generation Y (18 to 29) clearly is skewed fairly strongly in the direction of being either independent or Democratic in political orientation. This group constitutes a significant weakness for the Republican Party.

· Generation X (30 to 44) includes some of the strongest support for Republicans. For whatever reasons, the Democratic over Republican gap among Generation Xers, particularly those ages 37 to 43 at the heart of this generation, is on a relative basis much closer to parity than for any other age group with the exception of those in their late 60s.

· Baby Boomers (45 to 63) skew Democratic in their political orientation, with the Democratic advantage reaching a peak at ages 58 and 59.

· Seniors have a more mixed pattern of party identification, with Republicans gaining on a relative basis among those in their late 60s, but with Democrats doing better as Americans age into their 70s and early 80s.

Bottom Line

Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans today in terms of overall party identification, and the data reviewed here show that this advantage holds at every age between 18 and 85.

At the same time, there are clear ebbs and flows in the degree of this Democratic advantage across the age spectrum. Democrats have the greatest advantage vis a vis Republicans among Americans at the very youngest voting age and also among members of the fabled baby boom, particularly those in their late 50s. Republicans do relatively better among those who are in Generation X, including in particular those in their late 30s and early 40s. Republicans also show greater support among older Americans in their late 60s….

There is…the hypothesis that the differences are explained by the unique circumstances that surrounded the coming of age of the generations. Baby boomers, as is well known, grew up in the tumultuous age of civil rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, and Watergate. It is certainly possible that these events have marked this generation in a more Democratic or liberal direction for life. Many Generation Xers came of age during the Reagan-Bush years (1980 to 1992) or the “Republican Revolution” marked by the 1994 midterm elections. Today’s Generation Y has reached maturity in a time period largely marked by the administration of George W. Bush, and certainly for many the nascent Obama administration is a major formative factor in their political orientation….

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Now contrast what above is said in the Gallup Poll about Boomers with what is said here about “late Boomers,” or who Howe and Strauss and other social scientists would call Generation X, and I would call Gen X-Yuppies:

the 1980-1988 run where young Late Boomers broke heavily for Republicans in the three Presidential landslides of that decade. When that generation grew to political maturity, it resulted in by far the most Republican-identifying generation in over half a century, the 1994 Republican landslide, and the general sense of creeping conservatism the country experienced through the 1990’s and first half of our current decade

From The Importance of Generation Y.

The article above also describes the Democratic voting patterns of the Millennials, or what they call Generation Y.

On the idea that the Millennials being the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation/Boomers, as I continually point out, I offer the following definition of Millennials from WhatIs.com

Millennials, an abbreviation for millennial generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Sometimes referred to in the media as “Generation Y,” millennials are the children of the post-WWII baby boomer generation.

A few things about millennials:

  • According the U.S. census bureau, around forty percent of the millennial generation is African American, Latino, Asian or of a racially-mixed background.
  • There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
  • Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
  • Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.
  • A number of studies, including one by the Center for American Progress, anticipate that millennials will be the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents.
  • Millennials are also sometimes called the Net generation because (at least according to some people) they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet.
  • As a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices, millennials are often said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.

Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

3. There is some scapegoating done by Millennials out of this misinformation. The following was published a few days ago, on June 17, 2012. It is further validation of the antagonism against Boomers regarding the issues of the movement—OWS and Wisconsin union:

The War on Boomers

9/11 and the “war on terror” became part of common jargon. Recently, the “war on women” and the “war on religion” are hot political topics. Now, I’m thinking there is a “war on boomers”….

I was sitting at a reception party table politely nibbling on a too-sweet slice of wedding cake chased with lukewarm burnt coffee when a recent graduate seated at the table started whining about how unfairly life was treating him. First, he believed that four years of (sheltered) college life entitled him to a first-class ticket to affluence with a side-trip on a guaranteed career path. And, now there were no job tickets to be had and (worse) he was expected to pay back all the money he borrowed to get in on this total sham. Life was so unfair! His debt should be forgiven – because it was only fair to be compensated for this bait-and-switch.

He continued his tirade. Boomers should be retiring to make room for all the recent grads that deserve jobs now. It’s only right. On top of this, these boomers with all of their massive wealth were actually going to bankrupt Social Security – a heartless action since they don’t actually need it. The injustices just keep piling for the new graduates with their superior skills and up-to-date knowledge. Down the road he had nothing to look forward to — once he finally got that plum job that he had a right to based on his attendance at an institution of higher learning – except huge national debt and no Social Security or Medicare, an unwanted and unwarranted gift from self-centered boomers.

And, now I’m starting to pay attention to what seemed idle conversation. I glance at the Count who gives me a look that says, “Don’t go there –– please!” I concentrate on my cake that is now too dry to choke down without more lukewarm burnt coffee; and wonder if Clueless thinks those seated at the table are in our 30s (or perhaps our 80s!) and am amazed at how he can find it acceptable to disparage all boomers while sitting among them. Generously, I wonder if maybe he just has a sarcastic sense of humor. However, Clueless continues. I smolder some and then catch the Count’s glance again. He slyly places his thumb and first finger on either side of his mouth pulling a smile into place – and I reluctantly accept his wisdom. But, the Count did get an earful on the way home.

  • I think about Julie, a single mother, who helped two kids through college while working 40 hours per work as an administrative assistant, selling Avon after work hours, and running a food concession stand at weekend events during the summer. Julie has little in her nest-egg, but her children do have a chance at the American dream – although it will always require some effort.
  • I suspect that John, another co-worker, was on track to fund his retirement. Unfortunately, at about the same time the 2008 financial crisis cratered his retirement savings his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. John knew he should avoid using his tax-deferred savings at the bottom of the financial market, but his father’s healthcare bills had to be paid. John’s plan to retire at 62 is a dream lost to reality.
  • I bumped into Mary Beth at the greenhouse when we were buying our bedding plants. She pointed us to the “spikes” that the Count insists on adding to the geranium-filled pots on the patio. As we caught up on gossip about former neighbors, she confided that plants have always been her hobby and that this “green” job was perfect. This temporary part-time job was crucial to replacing the family income lost when Jerry was laid off from his welding job – months ago. And, she laughed when she acknowledged that, in fact, “work” was a respite from a house now over-crowded since her daughter and family are living in the basement. I’m pretty certain that Jerry and Mary Beth — both boomers, planners, and savers – no longer have the luxury of maximizing their tax-deferred retirement savings accounts (or even the ability to set aside savings) as they approach the age they used to believe would be the end of their full-time working careers.

With investment portfolios and home values shrinking, medical expenses and LTC costs rising, financial worries for some boomers are dire.

  • A May 2010 Pew Research survey found that 60% of Americans age 50 to 61 believe they may need to delay retirement because of the recession. Plus, the highest percentage of any generation, 57% of boomers, said that their household finances have deteriorated in the past few years.
  • In 2010 the ERBI reported that only 13% of workers age 55 or older are “very confident” that have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
  • Some have labeled the boomer generation the “sandwich generation”, a group dealing with healthcare issues of their elderly parents at the same time they are backstopping the impact of the stagnant economy on their boomerang grown children.

Aiming fingers and lobbing blame doesn’t solve anything. We are all in this together since our generations are linked in complex ways. We are all fighting the same war of financial and economic uncertainty, just not at on the same battlefield – as determined by our stage of life. A war on anyone does nothing but divide us – when the ultimate victory is prosperity for everyone.

From The War on Boomers

Continue With Culture War, Class War, Chapter Sixteen: The Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?

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Hippies, Yippies, Yuppies … How the 1% Diluted the Progressive Movement by Slandering Boomers to Foster Culture War Between Them and Gen Xers and to Distract from Their Own Looting

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Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part Six: The Yuppies Were Hardly Boomers … But This Idea Supports a Right-Wing Agenda by Pitting Progressives Against Each Other … Try the Red Pill Instead

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Yuppies are former hippies.
  • “Flower children” abandoned their idealism and became greedy careerists focused on money.
  • Former young radicals saw the error of their ways and became more conservative politically as they got older.
  • The “Me” Generation is the Sixties Generation
  • Sixties youth turned from free love and a sexual revolution to conservative sexual values and evangelical religion.
  • “My Generation” gave up their idealism as everyone does with greater age and maturity.
  • The Woodstock generation turned from pot and visionary thinking to booze, cocaine, and disco dancing a decade later
  • The “free love” generation settled down and focused on family and jobs, centered around monogamy.
  • “My Generation” is currently filling up the suburbs and feverishly maximizing their portfolios, at any and all cost.

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Real Truth – All the Above Are Lies … Propaganda to Further the Motives of the 1%, the Filthy Rich

I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.

Opinion - Moratorium demonstration

I watched in the early Eighties the lies about a “Me Generation” coming out. Republicans brought that out to beat people down with. The idea was planted that people who wanted anything for themselves were selfish, for after all only the wealthy should ever benefit.

And it’s funny too, how they were able to use their own spawn to make this case. You could look around and see a new cadre of young folks—Gen X Yuppies—who had bought into the WWII values, who had been deluded by the untruths the 1% of that WWII generation had been using against the masses. The rich elite had succeeded in convincing those younger of mind that the wealthy folks interests where actually their own.

The 1% of the WWII Generation’s response to Sixties activism on campus, as I showed earlier, led to their taking over the universities in the early Seventies and turning them away from the humanities and social sciences and into career mills; I was there and observed it first hand. The success of this is what created the Yuppies in the Eighties–young upwardly mobile professionals–who were the first batch of Generation X—who are those born 1961 to 1981, who therefore left high school beginning in 1978.  [Footnote 1]

So these Gen X Yuppies were coming onto the scene in the early Eighties, when the first of them were leaving the universities. The turnaround in education, away from free thinking and towards conservative careerist values, was in full swing by the time they reached college in 1978 on. And its effect on them was patent when they began coming of age. They were what the WWII Generation wanted: money-oriented and compliant…greed had been made “good” again. Standouts of this generation today are Sarah Palin (born 1964), Eric Cantor (born 1963), Rand Paul (born 1963), and Paul Ryan (born 1970).

So then the WWII Generation, fully in charge of society, could point to these yuppie spawn as examples of the obscenity of greed, thus deflecting attention away from their own, WWII Generation, me-spiritedness. To further their ends, they also claimed the origins of this unseemly greed lie in the failed, unrealistic values of the Sixties generation and their idealism.

This was one of their most amazing feats. They were able to take their values of greed and conformity, sow them in another generation, point to those values and criticize them, blame them on the hippies, all the while hiding their own espousal of those values. They perpetrated, denied, criticized, scapegoated, distracted, and obfuscated all together! They thoroughly convinced Americans that the Me Generation and Yuppies were those who formerly were flower children.

Whereas this actual Me Generation, these Yuppies, were predominantly a bunch of reactionary young people who said to hell with this idealistic stuff, and of helping out, and kumbaya, and all that stuff. They said, we’re for money, to hell with any one else. And somehow the WWII-Generation-owned media, assisted by a Fifties Generation now in their prime, convinced folks that these careerists out only for themselves were the one-time visionaries. Of course they only pulled this off because they owned or controlled all the major organs of expression in America—the newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, education, book publishing. I’ve delineated how they did this in one of the earliest all-out assaults, after their initial setbacks in the Sixties, of the Culture War/Class War they have been waging on the 99% since that time.

The media flooded American minds with the idea that the Me Generation was My Generation (I’m “talkin’ bout my generation” here) in the Eighties. They had prepared the ground for that lie, as there had been constant slander of my generation in the press since the beginnings of our activism in the Sixties, exactly like they are now putting out against the Millennials and those in the Occupy movement today. Beginning in the Seventies, owning the publishing and media industries, they concocted the lie that there was a conservative backlash going on. (See Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused, the Sixties and The Big Lie About Yuppies Being Hippies.)

This supposed conservative backlash was merely a continuation of Nixon’s laughable claim that he was supported by a “Silent Majority,” which he had used since the beginnings of his term in 1969 and which was obviously false, as demonstrations grew in size and support swung away from him throughout this period; and eventually he was forced to resign. But Republicans always claim there are a majority of real folks out there—“real Americans” as Palin and her kind say today—who support them but are doing it secretly. (btw, lol!) 

Anyway, by the Eighties the powers-that-be were able to place this idea of a selfish “Me Generation” of Sixties youth, which they had been saying for a while, as being the ones on the campus at the time or recently out, the Yuppies. It fit their narrative. But it was a lie, and virtually all my generation knew it and thought it laughable. We stopped laughing after a while as over the years, it became clearer they had done such a good job of preparing the ground and repeating the lie that it stuck in the minds of those other than my generation—the Fifties Generation ahead of us and Gen X behind us—and the right wing, who of course saw this as red meat to further their causes. The media controlled by the 1% said the Sixties generation had gone from idealism to just wanting money, thereby discrediting their opponents, us who were consistently representing the 99%. At the same time they gave credibility to their claim of the superior veracity of their own values of greed, materialism, ruthless pragmatism, ego above all, and even me-spiritedness. Also, it validated, even glorified their personal traits of conformity, hard-headedness, cynicism, compliance, and even mean-spiritedness .

The Lies About Jerry Rubin

They could only give one example, Jerry Rubin; and even about him they lied and slandered. First off, neither Jerry Rubin, or Abbie Hoffman for that matter, were Boomers or Sixties Generation members. They were Fifties Generation, born in 1938 and 1936 respectively. Boomers were born in the post-WWII baby boom from 1946 through 1960. So that is enough to discredit what they said about “my generation.” But taking it as an attack aimed at the counterculture, let’s examine it:

They said Jerry Rubin was engaged in trying to make money. And they never mentioned what he was trying to make money on… but God forbid anyone but them should try to make money anyway. You see, what the 1% do is drive people into lowered standards of living and poverty where they experience desperation for money at times. Then they can point to that grasping to survive as proof that their values of money above all else are legitimate and that it is not possible for humans to have any other values higher than that. They create the conditions that they can use to support and validate themselves…how convenient.

But telling the whole truth would never allow them to do that. They didn’t mention about Jerry Rubin that he was engaged in selling health supplements; he was trying to help people out with their health. He was involved in multilevel marketing. He was an early investor in Apple Corporation, helping to foster the cybernetic revolution that progressives depend on today and which has strengthened our movement incredibly with Facebook and Twitter aiding us in overthrowing dictators in the Mideast and joining us in support of the Occupy and Wisconsin union movements.

He traveled with Abbie Hoffman in doing “Yippie versus Yuppie” debates, that is true. Since it did not fit the narrative of their discrediting their opponents in the Sixties generation, they never understood or at least never mentioned that in using those terms for their “debates” they were continuing their tradition of fucking with their opponents’ minds by flaunting the terms that had been used against them. Critics don’t get and opponents conveniently overlook the heavily ironic and playful way my generation, and Yippies in particular, present themselves. “Yippie versus Yuppie” is supposed to make you think; it is a hook; and it is funny to those of us in the know. Believe me, I have the same problem with people sometimes misunderstanding my intent for the opposite of what I believe because of the amusingly ironic titles I sometimes give my writings.

But Rubin’s position in this “debate”—which was actually a discussion of different ways the Sixties values might succeed, not be overturned—was that the POOR COULD BE HELPED by promoting programs to create wealth in their communities. I quote:

Rubin’s argument in the debates was that activism was hard work and that the abuse of drugs, sex, and private property had made the counter-culture “a scary society in itself.” He maintained that “wealth creation is the real American revolution. What we need is an infusion of capital into the depressed areas of our country.”

Someone who knew him well, Stew Albert, said this of Jerry in eulogizing him.

Jerry was always a rebel, but then he was always a rebel within the rebellion. He was always sort of rebelling against the norms of the rebellion.

And,

Jerry changed costumes, and he changed rhetoric, but he never changed his heart.

Does that sound like someone promoting the interests of the 1%? Or like someone just out for himself, as Yuppies really are? Remember that at the time, militant, even violent revolution had been in the air for a while—with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the Symbionese Liberation Army and such. So “Yippie vs. Yuppie” was a leftist debate about tactics. Today it would be considered a discussion of liberal vs. progressive views…hardly conservative, Yuppie, or Republican views. And Jerry Rubin’s putting on a suit made him about as conservative as it made Bob Dylan a conservative when he picked up an electric guitar at the Newport Festival of 1965. Dylan got booed for what was only considered unusual alongside some very high, and strict, expectations about purism in music having nothing to do with political ideology or musical quality but simply technology. Rubin’s wearing a suit was the same kind of thing at the time he did it…and it had nothing to do with ideology but simply tactics—i.e., revolutionary technology.

Also, at the same time as Rubin was doing all this and supposedly a Yuppie, he was running a legal and civil rights office in an artsy/alternative part of L.A., Echo Park, where he also lived. When he died he was on his way to dinner in the company of Fred Branfman of the Making a Difference project, whose purpose was to bring money into poor communities by helping inner-city youth learn how to start their own businesses. Does that sound like a Wall Street careerist? Does that sound like he turned over his ideals and bowed to the god of money? So, lies, lies, lies. And these lies become instituted and they’re not challenged after a while, after you hear them for decade after decade after decade….

You have to be older to know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.

Setting the Record Straight on Boomers

Boomer-Generation X Culture War

A friend who supports the Occupy movement, and who happens to be a Gen Xer, recently shared this with me,

As a Gen Xer, I have to say we were outnumbered as a Generation with half the numbers of the boomers and the previous traditional generations.

…the boomers cut taxes on the wealthy and wages for the middle class to create the world’s largest debt, our dependence on dirty foreign oil grew as our manufacturing base got shipped over seas.

You Boomers call Gen X a slacker generation while doing all that?

It is the boomers who are the dead beat generation now.

If this person were correct, then why have the Boomers voted consistently Democratic?  [Footnote 2]

The Gen X/Yuppie—Fifties Generation alliance was responsible for getting Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II elected. Boomers voted against Republicans, especially these; it’s all in the public record. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are the ones who did the tax cuts. Whereas Clinton—a Boomer and a Democrat—raised taxes on the 1% and balanced a budget for the first time.

Indeed, all Democratic candidates and Presidents going back to Roosevelt at least, with the one small exception of Kennedy favored and fought for raising taxes on the 1%, not cutting them, so as to relieve the burden on the 99%. The right likes to use Kennedy as an example of a Democrat seeing the wisdom of cutting taxes to improve the economy, but Kennedy’s proposed tax cut for the 1% was when the marginal rate was 91% range, not at 35% as today, and the country was prosperous. (See The Myth of JFK as a Supply Side Tax Cutter.) Also it was not instituted until Johnson began his term … which was incidentally when the huge deficits began. So Kennedy’s tax cut had nothing at all to do with the prosperity we enjoyed during his term, indeed its institution marked the beginning of increasing deficits.

Even today, it is Democrats—supported heavily by Boomers—who are opposed to tax cuts and favor reining in the greed of the 1%. This includes Obama, who incidentally is a Gen X-Boomer cusper, born 1961. Note that he has surrounded himself with Boomers—Biden, Clinton, et al. And they are engaged in that same Democratic struggle of decades past of trying to get the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes. Meanwhile Republicans supported by that Fifties Generation (the Koch Brothers, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, et al) – Gen X/Yuppie (Palin, Cantor, Ryan, Rand Paul) alliance oppose Boomer-Democratic tax and other progressive initiatives at every turn.

So to accuse Boomers, who voted predominantly for these Democrats and their policies, of cutting taxes is grossly misinformed or a lie. And for a Gen Xer to do this blaming is either ignorant, a denial, or delusional…but is in any case a product of that misinformation I’ve been talking about.

For to address that Gen Xer’s charges of Boomer’s causing the dependence on dirty foreign oil, the Sixties Generation started the environmental movement. I know a little about this; as I explained previously, I was one of those who helped bring nuclear plant construction to a halt in America, which we did in Springfield, Oregon, in the early Eighties. We, Boomers…I was born in 1950…supported Democrats who fought for environmental legislation, alternative energies, and reduced dependence on dirty energies against Republicans, supported by the Fifties-Gen X alliance, who watered down those policies and legislated a rape of our natural resources and our environment to benefit big business, Big Oil, Big Nuke, Big Coal, and the 1%.

As for the accusation that Boomers sent our manufacturing base overseas and caused a lowering of middle class wages, how can that possibly be true alongside the more than obvious knowledge that Democrats are the ones who consistently push for and favor raising the minimum wage and are the union supporters? Can this OWS person not be aware of the parallel Wisconsin union movement which has Democrats and union folks up against Republicans and Gen X/Fifties Gen Koch-supporters? Or is he somehow unaware of the fact that Boomers have consistently voted in greater numbers for Democrats than Republicans over all these decades?  [Footnote 2]

Well, this shows the amount of success the WWII Generation and Fifties Generation enjoyed in shifting the blame for their policies and their theft of the national wealth. And, by the way, it was the WWII Generation that had the greatest retirement wealth per person and who instituted Social Security and other benefit programs for themselves … making themselves the wealthiest as well as the “Greatest Generation.” Probably with the tax cuts, the current Fifties Generation who in their retirement years are raping the wealth of the country to fatten themselves, are bettering them. Whereas the Sixties Generation, scapegoated again, is facing cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits at the exact time as they need it and are facing or entering retirement—being beaten down, harassed, and scapegoated by the Gen X-Fifties Generation alliance again.

You think this is ancient information and is irrelevant to what is happening today? Remember that the comment I quoted above from my Gen X friend and fellow Occupier was from only last week. He has his sights set on my generation as the perpetrators of the problems; these ideas have caused a split between Gen X and Boomer Progressives. I can tell you that his comment is not atypical from others I hear from Gen X in their attitudes toward Boomers.

Similarly, to some extent the Millennials believe Boomers are at fault also—this is what they have been taught. They are simply misinformed and so are not so committed to the lies as the Gen Xers. The Millennials are open to the fact they have been deceived. After all their Boomer parents are models of the fact that these “facts” are actually lies. The Millennials have been made to believe, simply, that their own parents and those of their friends are somehow just different from those “bad Boomers” out there who are really the selfish and tax-cutter ones.

Lies and toxic misinformation are not healthy, at all, for a movement that is predominantly an alliance of Millennials and Boomers, with some Gen Xers (notably, few Fifties Generation folks). After all, how do you think a progressive Boomer feels, after fighting his entire life with his generational cohort for the changes that we are still fighting for with the OWS and Wisconsin union movements, and after hearing his entire life the made up lies, the slander, the scapegoating about himself, his generation, and his beliefs? How do you think she feels seeing those same lies being pulled out again and thrown against OWS supporters, for example, continuing therefore to throw salt into old wounds. And finally how do you think she feels to hear from her friends and allies in the movement that she has been the problem all this time, not the solution? It is disheartening, to say the least.

In this antagonism against Boomers, the other side—the WWII-Fifties Gen alliance, supportive of the 1% and their Tea Party sycophants—have won again. [Footnote 3

For these WWII-Fifties Gen lies have thrown discord into progressive ranks. And they have thrown off the aim of our movements as to who the perpetrators are, giving the 1% a convenient fog of confusion behind which they can continue unfettered their actions against us.

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Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

Continue With Culture War, Class War, Chapter Sixteen: The Fall of “Obvious Truths”

Return to A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts…The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Workers Are Getting Humiliated: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 4



The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355



Footnotes

1. A lot of confusion about Boomers, Yuppies, And Generation X has been generated by the Census Bureau and main stream media. A generation, see below, is defined as a cohort of people occurring roughly every twenty years who share some common viewpoint and experiences.

This is what a generation actually is:

Defining a generation

Lynch Armenia Five generations.pngStrauss and Howe define a social generation as the aggregate of all people born over a span of roughly twenty years, or about the length of one phase of life: childhood, young adulthood, midlife, and old age. Particular generations are identified (from first birthyear to last) by looking for cohort groups of this length that share three criteria. First, members of a generation share what the authors call an age location in history: they encounter key historical events and social trends while occupying the same phase of life. Because members of a generation are shaped in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young adults, they also tend to share certain common beliefs and behaviors. Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers, members of a generation also tend to share a sense of common perceived membership in that generation.[16] For example, in a 2007 Harvard Institute of Politics survey, Americans born 1982 to 1989 (whom Strauss and Howe define as the first-wave cohorts of the Millennial Generation) identified themselves as belonging to a “unique and distinct” generation, with an outlook different from people in their 30s or older.[17] Surveys show that Boomers also strongly identify with their own age cohort.[18]

Strauss and Howe base their definition of a generation on the work of diverse writers and social thinkers, from ancient writers such as Polybius and Ibn Khaldun to modern social theorists like José Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim, John Stuart Mill, Émile Littré, Auguste Comte, and François Mentré.[19]

From Strauss-Howe generational theory

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of Boomers is different. See Baby boomer.

Why would it be different? That is the crucial question. The Census Bureau’s definitions of Boomers and Generation X is as follows:

  • The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.[10] The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave”[11] and as “the pig in the python.”[12] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[11] One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[13]

From Generation in Wikipedia.

So why are those born 1961 through 1964 considered part of the Boomer Generation by the Census Bureau, which has informed much of the discussion on this? Why is the Census Bureau attributing only 17 years to Generation X but 19 years to Boomers, when in fact the Boomers were born in a World War II “baby boom” that had them being born in a distinctly shorter period. Whereas Generation X was born of the Fifties Generation during a more languorous, hence longer period? Why is the Census Bureaus including as Boomers those born at those end years of 1961 through 1964 when the number of births was decreasing, not “booming”?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know this decision by the Census Bureau has served pundits and right wing commentators in giving more weight to their positions by diluting the distinctly liberal voting record of actual Boomers. As I have been stating above, there was a concerted effort to scapegoat Boomers and to confuse them with Yuppie-Gen Xers. This confused definition by the Census Bureau is part of that. It has allowed pundits to slander the Sixties Generation, as I said, by attributing qualities to them that were actually a part of the WWII Generation’s Culture War Attack of creating a generation different from and more compliant than the Sixties Generation/ Boomers.

At any rate, that is why we have the discrepancy shown in this description of the Pew Report findings on “Boomer” voting patterns. Let’s look at a few relevant findings:

Of greatest interest to BTS are the Pew Research Center survey findings about Boomers.

  • In recent years Boomers increasingly call themselves conservatives.  They voted for Republican candidates in 2010, but are still on the fence for the 2012 Presidential Election.
  • Older Boomers tilt Democratic while younger Boomers tilt Republican.  When asked to name the best President during their lifetime, Boomers were evenly divided between Clinton and Reagan.
  • Younger Boomers and Generation Xers have been one of the most reliable Republican voting groups.

From The Baby Boomer Voting Bloc

This supports what I’m saying about generational voting patterns. The difference lies in that this author has to differentiate between late Boomers and early Boomers. They are opposite in their voting patterns. This person wouldn’t be so confused if he placed the generational divide where it belongs, at 1961, not 1965. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1960, as shown in the chart below, which also shows Generation X beginning in 1961.

The Boom Generation defined by Howe and Strauss, as shown in the chart above, born 1946 thru 1960 are the ones who vote consistently Democratic. They are the ones who shared common events and experiences growing up and were shaped by them, notably the Vietnam War; the JFK, RFK, and MLK assasinations in 1968; the sexual revolution; the explosion of the use of LSD and pot as drugs, and the counterculture. These events were not on the cultural map that faced the ones born 1961 through 1964, for they were too young. Yet how can one define a Boomer-Sixties Generation that does not include these as formative experiences?

So this discrepancy is an example of what I’m talking about in this article. For it continues the confusion about Boomers and contributes to the scapegoating and the denigration of Boomers as being a Me Generation and Yuppies being former hippies by simply getting confusing results by including some from Gen X—some actual Yuppies. To include those born between the four years, 1961 through 1964, you end up getting the confused results this author gets. You are including the likes of Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor, fer Chrissakes! I’ve never heard anyone mistake them for my generation. It would have Barack Obama, born 1961, categorized as a Boomer, as if there is not an obvious generational difference between him and some the notable Boomers in his administration, like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. But by seeing that Obama is a Yuppie-Gen Xer, it helps explain the differences between him and the actual Boomer president, Bill Clinton.

For more on this, see Generation Jones, which is the term given for those born 1954 through 1964. They are seen to be very different from the Boomers. They did not confront the same social realities as did Boomers. They even came of age after the Vietnam War. They missed the counterculture movement. It is ludicrous for generationalists to include these with Baby Boomers as especially the second half of these have an entirely opposite world view from Boomers. Their stalwarts include Rick Santorum (born 1958), Sarah Palin (born 1964) and Eric Cantor (born 1963)…hardly Boomers. Notice that it also includes Rand Paul (born 1963), who as expected is the son of a Fifties Generation parent with whom he is allied, Ron Paul (born 1935).

See also the write up on Generation X in Wikipedia, which addresses this confusion as to where the dividing line between Boomers and Gen X is as well.

Finally, see Baby boomer, which discusses this confusion and adds two important considerations: The person who coined the term “baby boomer” described them as those born between 1943 and 1960. So why did the Census Bureau change it? The second point discussed is that many theorists have two distinct generations during this supposed period of Census Bureau BoomersBoomers and Generation Jones, which are said to be those born 1956 through 1964. So this latter group is not included with Boomers.

Is all this not confusing enough? Does it not play into the right wing agenda to dilute their opponents power by confusing their opponents profile, so they can lob any charge against them? Or attribute any self-congratulatory trait to them, as they wish?

Most of all, this strikes me as devious in that it allows right wingers to blame Boomers for the cadre of youth, the Yuppies, who were actually their creationthat of the 1% and those reactionary culture war forcesand were in no way influenced by, so should hardly be included in, “my generation” of Boomers, the Sixties Generation.

2. BLAM!! From the site, Gallup Politics, of May 8, 2009. Even though continuing the misinformation that Boomers were born up till 1964, going with the Census Bureau definition, Gallup Poll data still solidly support the premise that Boomers are predominantly Democrats, as well as the fact that Millennials are as well.

Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers

Republicans do better among Generation X

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — Although Democrats currently enjoy a party identification advantage over Republicans among Americans at every age between 18 to 85, the Democrats’ greatest advantages come among those in their 20s and baby boomers in their late 40s and 50s. Republicans, on the other hand, come closest to parity with Democrats among Generation Xers in their late 30s and early 40s and among seniors in their late 60s….

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Demographers and social observers have made attempts over the years to classify Americans into generational groups based on the social, political, economic, and cultural environment of the years in which they grew up and “came of age.” The most clearly delineated such group is the baby boomers, generally agreed to be those born between 1946 and 1964 — or roughly ages 45 to 63 today. Generation X follows the baby boom and is generally considered to be those born between 1965 and 1979 — or roughly between ages 30 and 44. Those younger than Generation X have been labeled Generation Y or the “Millennials,” who are 18 to 29 today. There are various ways of grouping those who preceded the baby boom generation, including the famous sobriquet “The Greatest Generation” used by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name, but it is convenient to label those who today are 64 and older as seniors (even though some in this group would no doubt resist that label).

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Notice here that not only are arbitrary birth figures used to stipulate Boomers and Generation Xers, but everyone older than a Boomer is classified as part of the World War Two Generation—”The Greatest Generation.” So they would have everyone born in the forty-five year period from 1901 through 1945 to be WWII Gen even though some were born during the war and had their coming of age after the war and in the decade of the Fifties—those born 1925 through 1945. Elsewhere this generation has been termed the Silent Generation or the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy Generation…I’m calling them the Fifties Generation for convenience sake. Still, the study does find Democratic tendencies among Boomers, however wrongly defined, and Millennials. And it finds Republican leanings among Generation Xers, however wrongly defined, and the Fifties Generation, however wrongly defined again, as shown by the graph below:

The current data suggest that political party identification in the United States today follows these generational patterns to a perhaps surprising degree.

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· Generation Y (18 to 29) clearly is skewed fairly strongly in the direction of being either independent or Democratic in political orientation. This group constitutes a significant weakness for the Republican Party.

· Generation X (30 to 44) includes some of the strongest support for Republicans. For whatever reasons, the Democratic over Republican gap among Generation Xers, particularly those ages 37 to 43 at the heart of this generation, is on a relative basis much closer to parity than for any other age group with the exception of those in their late 60s.

· Baby Boomers (45 to 63) skew Democratic in their political orientation, with the Democratic advantage reaching a peak at ages 58 and 59.

· Seniors have a more mixed pattern of party identification, with Republicans gaining on a relative basis among those in their late 60s, but with Democrats doing better as Americans age into their 70s and early 80s.

Bottom Line

Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans today in terms of overall party identification, and the data reviewed here show that this advantage holds at every age between 18 and 85.

At the same time, there are clear ebbs and flows in the degree of this Democratic advantage across the age spectrum. Democrats have the greatest advantage vis a vis Republicans among Americans at the very youngest voting age and also among members of the fabled baby boom, particularly those in their late 50s. Republicans do relatively better among those who are in Generation X, including in particular those in their late 30s and early 40s. Republicans also show greater support among older Americans in their late 60s….

There is…the hypothesis that the differences are explained by the unique circumstances that surrounded the coming of age of the generations. Baby boomers, as is well known, grew up in the tumultuous age of civil rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, and Watergate. It is certainly possible that these events have marked this generation in a more Democratic or liberal direction for life. Many Generation Xers came of age during the Reagan-Bush years (1980 to 1992) or the “Republican Revolution” marked by the 1994 midterm elections. Today’s Generation Y has reached maturity in a time period largely marked by the administration of George W. Bush, and certainly for many the nascent Obama administration is a major formative factor in their political orientation….

From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

Now contrast what above is said in the Gallup Poll about Boomers with what is said here about “late Boomers,” or who Howe and Strauss and other social scientists would call Generation X, and I would call Gen X-Yuppies:

the 1980-1988 run where young Late Boomers broke heavily for Republicans in the three Presidential landslides of that decade. When that generation grew to political maturity, it resulted in by far the most Republican-identifying generation in over half a century, the 1994 Republican landslide, and the general sense of creeping conservatism the country experienced through the 1990’s and first half of our current decade

From The Importance of Generation Y.

The article above also describes the Democratic voting patterns of the Millennials, or what they call Generation Y.

On the idea that the Millennials being the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation/Boomers, as I continually point out, I offer the following definition of Millennials from WhatIs.com

Millennials, an abbreviation for millennial generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Sometimes referred to in the media as “Generation Y,” millennials are the children of the post-WWII baby boomer generation.

A few things about millennials:

  • According the U.S. census bureau, around forty percent of the millennial generation is African American, Latino, Asian or of a racially-mixed background.
  • There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
  • Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
  • Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.
  • A number of studies, including one by the Center for American Progress, anticipate that millennials will be the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents.
  • Millennials are also sometimes called the Net generation because (at least according to some people) they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet.
  • As a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices, millennials are often said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.

Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.

3. There is some scapegoating done by Millennials out of this misinformation. The following was published a few days ago, on June 17, 2012. It is further validation of the antagonism against Boomers regarding the issues of the movement—OWS and Wisconsin union:

The War on Boomers

9/11 and the “war on terror” became part of common jargon.  Recently, the “war on women” and the “war on religion” are hot political topics.  Now, I’m thinking there is a “war on boomers”….

I was sitting at a reception party table politely nibbling on a too-sweet slice of wedding cake chased with lukewarm burnt coffee when a recent graduate seated at the table started whining about how unfairly life was treating him.  First, he believed that four years of (sheltered) college life entitled him to a first-class ticket to affluence with a side-trip on a guaranteed career path.  And, now there were no job tickets to be had and (worse) he was expected to pay back all the money he borrowed to get in on this total sham.  Life was so unfair!  His debt should be forgiven – because it was only fair to be compensated for this bait-and-switch.

He continued his tirade.  Boomers should be retiring to make room for all the recent grads that deserve jobs now.  It’s only right.  On top of this, these boomers with all of their massive wealth were actually going to bankrupt Social Security – a heartless action since they don’t actually need it.  The injustices just keep piling for the new graduates with their superior skills and up-to-date knowledge.  Down the road he had nothing to look forward to — once he finally got that plum job that he had a right to based on his attendance at an institution of higher learning – except huge national debt and no Social Security or Medicare, an unwanted and unwarranted gift from self-centered boomers.

And, now I’m starting to pay attention to what seemed idle conversation.  I glance at the Count who gives me a look that says, “Don’t go there –– please!”  I concentrate on my cake that is now too dry to choke down without more lukewarm burnt coffee; and wonder if Clueless thinks those seated at the table are in our 30s (or perhaps our 80s!) and am amazed at how he can find it acceptable to disparage all boomers while sitting among them.  Generously, I wonder if maybe he just has a sarcastic sense of humor.  However, Clueless continues.  I smolder some and then catch the Count’s glance again.  He slyly places his thumb and first finger on either side of his mouth pulling a smile into place – and I reluctantly accept his wisdom.  But, the Count did get an earful on the way home.

  • I think about Julie, a single mother, who helped two kids through college while working 40 hours per work as an administrative assistant, selling Avon after work hours, and running a food concession stand at weekend events during the summer.  Julie has little in her nest-egg, but her children do have a chance at the American dream – although it will always require some effort.
  • I suspect that John, another co-worker, was on track to fund his retirement.  Unfortunately, at about the same time the 2008 financial crisis cratered his retirement savings his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  John knew he should avoid using his tax-deferred savings at the bottom of the financial market, but his father’s healthcare bills had to be paid.  John’s plan to retire at 62 is a dream lost to reality.
  • I bumped into Mary Beth at the greenhouse when we were buying our bedding plants.  She pointed us to the “spikes” that the Count insists on adding to the geranium-filled pots on the patio.  As we caught up on gossip about former neighbors, she confided that plants have always been her hobby and that this “green” job was perfect.  This temporary part-time job was crucial to replacing the family income lost when Jerry was laid off from his welding job – months ago.  And, she laughed when she acknowledged that, in fact, “work” was a respite from a house now over-crowded since her daughter and family are living in the basement.  I’m pretty certain that Jerry and Mary Beth — both boomers, planners, and savers – no longer have the luxury of maximizing their tax-deferred retirement savings accounts (or even the ability to set aside savings) as they approach the age they used to believe would be the end of their full-time working careers.

With investment portfolios and home values shrinking, medical expenses and LTC costs rising, financial worries for some boomers are dire.

  • A May 2010 Pew Research survey found that 60% of Americans age 50 to 61 believe they may need to delay retirement because of the recession.  Plus, the highest percentage of any generation, 57% of boomers, said that their household finances have deteriorated in the past few years.
  • In 2010 the ERBI reported that only 13% of workers age 55 or older are “very confident” that have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
  • Some have labeled the boomer generation the “sandwich generation”, a group dealing with healthcare issues of their elderly parents at the same time they are backstopping the impact of the stagnant economy on their boomerang grown children.

Aiming fingers and lobbing blame doesn’t solve anything.  We are all in this together since our generations are linked in complex ways.  We are all fighting the same war of financial and economic uncertainty, just not at on the same battlefield – as determined by our stage of life.  A war on anyone does nothing but divide us – when the ultimate victory is prosperity for everyone.

From The War on Boomers

Continue With Truth Will Out – Their Intentions Are No Less Than Those of the Nobles of Old: The Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part One

Return to A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts…The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Workers Are Getting Humiliated: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 4

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Hunger Games: Prenatal Oxygen Hunger and Its Political Imprints – Greed, Oppression, Sycophancy, Class War, Revolution: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 17

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Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Seventeen: Fetal Malnutrition and Politics: Prenatal Roots of Greed, Sycophancy, Class War, and Revolution

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Prenatal Roots of War

In a previous section I mentioned how our human tendency to warring has its roots in the uncomfortable crowdedness we experience in the late stages of gestation—a pain and trauma that stays with us for life and drives us to act it out in trying to push back lines and make more room (womb) for ourselves in many areas of our lives, including politically. I said our psychological state preceding wars, in line with deMause’s work in this area, is akin to feeling stifled and wanting to “breathe free.”

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Hunger Games – War and Aggression

Can’t Move

the_return_of_starve_the_beast_nonsense-460x307So of course our aggressions against others are connected to the long period of difficult immovability in the womb, but we can already see it is related to the destruction_by_love_by_alexgrosethreduction of oxygen at that time as well.

Looking into the feelings of latent oxygen panic rooted in fetal oxygen hunger, upper-class-warfarewe see it has many more political implications, even, than war and aggressions toward others over space…over lines and perimeters and rooted in the feelings of being hemmed in—that constellation of “crowded” feelings I’ve previously teased out.

Can’t Breathe

In the “gasping” or oxygen deprivation trauma of late stage gestation, we can’t get enough oxygen, we Tahrir Square, Day 16feel suffocated…suppressed, stifled, repressed, oppressed. It is out of these feelings carried over and restimulated again and again as adults that we create class wars, revolution, and culture wars. For we feel there to be an oppressive force inhibiting our self-expression, keeping us from “breathing freely.”

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Hunger Games—Greed and Oppression

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Mitt_Romney_Corporations_Are_PeopleBut more: On the other side of those panicky feelings of suffocation we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need—greed. We experienced oxygen poverty in the womb, so poverty and reductions in finances feel stifling and suffocating. It is less desirable to not have money, of course. My point is that this prospect drives us to overreact and build our lives around major act outs of it, as so:

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Suppression, Oppression, “Sucking” From

qwthdgwry5y6p'u(1) Being politically oppressed, we feel we can’t move freely (the crowded feeling), but, interestingly, we feel we can’t “breathe freely.” We act this out on both sides of class war and revolution: hunger-games-suckingfromthemassesOne side always feels this lack because it has roots in the unconscious and cannot be satisfied dark-evil-41694and so over overcompensates and in doing so “sucks” up all possible resources (oxygen) from those lower on the totem pole…it “suppresses” the “masses”…it “sucks from” the masses.

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Liberals hearts may “bleed” but not conservatives. For releasing blood is losing oxygen and conservatives have a prenatal “knowing” that you need every smidgen you can get to survive. You may even go so far as to try to “squeeze blood from a stone” (the aging placenta).

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Sycophancy, Conformity, “Sucking Up”

Corporate control Fuedelism(2) From another side of this discomfort we have a prenatal sycophancy showing itself. Conforming underlings, in a country’s economic array, act out their prenatal oxygen panic by investing all their energy in georgebushjohnmccainhugging“sucking up” to those above them … seeking to insure a steady supply of resources (money, oxygen) by sucking from the rich stream (blood stream) of money “circulating” among those on rungs above them on the economic ladder.

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Suffocation, Starvation, Being “Sucked” From

Wisconsin-labor-unions460(3) And the other component in this political triangle—those poor and working class directly opposed to the greedy forces “sucking up” from the masses—feels this suppression as Wall Street Protestsuffocation, starvation, and stifling unto death. So it wants to “overthrow” or “throw off” the forces weighing down upon and suppressing/suffocating them.

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Basically, if you’re not “sucking” resources (oxygen) from below, you are either “sucking up” to those above you or being “sucked from” and wanting to “overthrow” them to “breathe more freely.”

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Hunger Games—Freedom and Revolutionaries

Injustice, Inequity, Struggle – Throwing Off

article-0-0E43738500000578-234_634x421This does not mean that revolutionary forces are act outs of early trauma and not real. It does not mean that oppression does not actually exist; it does not mean that struggles for economic justice are overcompensations. No.filesphp It is no more true that these are unreal than that struggles to save the environment are act outs.bham12a For we must remember that the prenatal forces drive us to actually manifest conditions that re-create our womb states. And just as we are driven to despoil our air and waters as act outs of our fetal malnutrition, so also our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary greedy acts creating gross economic injustice. koch_crooksliarsAnd these greedy forces are aided in their suppression by their sycophantic underlings, driven by their underlying panic of resource loss. Between the two, they are able to create human societies of economic inequality, suppression, and oppression which mirror the conditions of resource lack in the womb for the majority of folks throughout history and virtually everyone on the planet in these strange days.

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Free Speech – Stifled, Inspire, Expire, Express…To Breathe Free

FREE SPEECH PIKEInteresting aspects of this oppression-revolution dynamic rooted in the fetal dynamic is the focus on free speech: The one side wants to suppress expression (expiration—release of air) of inspiration (to inspire—to take in air), free-speech-2thus directly slowing down the masses’ political equivalent of breathing, “stifling” its expression (its ability to “breathe out”). The revolutionary side of this wants the opposite: Folks want freedom of speech. They want to be able to speak freely (breathe freely), to be inspired (take in air or spirit), and to express this uninhibitedly (expire, let air out). These same martin_luther_king3dynamics apply to freedom of religion as well.

The oppressed masses feel they are deprived, can’t get enough of what they need (oxygen), want to “breathe freely,” and so need to assert self-expression, to expire (express) one’s inspiration freely as part of that “struggle.”

Hunger Games—Sycophancy and Conservatism

Reactionary and Conservative Thinking = Prenatal Conformity – Don’t Move Too Much, Don’t Stand Out, Maybe You’ll Get More (Oxygen)

corporate-greedBut the basic dynamic is about resources: One side out of oxygen panic wants to suck up resources from everywhere around and wants to keep those resources from others.dtydjtstrgtuytr And the other side wants to take theirs back. And that third part is the conforming fetus hoping to get more resources from “above”…to “suck up”…by not moving too much, x435by staying compliant with outside forces, by not being too obvious or “standing out,” and if moving to do so only in ways remembered as safe…strictly prescribed, ritualistic ways.mass (2)

For our prenatal memory tells us that doing so is the way of getting a little more in the way of resources (oxygen). We experienced that by not struggling, by not moving around too much…and further complicating and constricting the blood flow through the arteries to the placenta (the bank)…more oxygen (money) seemed to flow. Also, by not moving too much, by “conserving” our energy, “holding our breath” as it were, we might be able to survive…that being too “radical” and free risked death.

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Hunger Games—Culture War

Oppressors Orchestrate a Panicked Population for Their Profits

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One final aspect to this prenatal dynamic acted out politically is the culture war that comes of it:sitIn The greedy forces manipulate the latent panic of the masses in order to suck more resources by telling each segment of the masses that another sector of the population is actually the part that is sucking all their resources,agwertetyerito stealing all their benefits and money (oxygen). So we have the creation of minorities and scapegoats out of this interplay. deathpowder22But the reason it happens unerringly in societies is because it works so well. And it works so well because the forces of manipulation are orchestrating powerful drives and forces within the masses—tendencies of people born of desperation and panic, which have roots in the earliest months of one’s individual existence.

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Next: Hunger Games—Human Rights and Racism

More Mass Manipulation Around Bigotry and Anti-Semitism … Vampires and Blood Libel, Too

15941667168737390139tb-racist-fiftiesIn the next section we look more deeply into this manipulation of the masses, this scapegoating of minorities. We see how racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are themselves constructed out of prenatal pushes and pulls. Eichmann-jew_1875209iWe find out why we look at Ku-Klux-Klanothers the way we do, so that our errant ideas can be further used against us by the greedy ones. And we stumble upon the underpinnings of some of the most curious of human concoctions of thought—as in the ideas of vampires and blood libel.

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Continue with Hunger Games – Vampires and Culture Wars … Fetal Roots of Racism, Bigotry, Anti-Semitism … Blood Libel: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 18

Return to How We Look to the Gods and Prometheus Redux … Building More Nukes and Drilling More Holes – Icarus Keeps Flapping and the Gods Can’t Stop Laughing: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 16

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Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 1

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Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part One: Obvious “Truths”—Fiscally Responsible Republicans and Tax and Spend Democrats

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Obvious “Truths”:

  • Tax the wealthy, you’re taxing me.
  • Democrats tax and spend, they bust the budget, balloon the National Debt.
  • Republicans are fiscally responsible, fiscally conservative; they balance budgets and are careful about the National Debt.
  • Rich people create the jobs.
  • The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
  • That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”

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Obvious “Truth” – Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me

norquistBut when you hear the same things again and again, even black-and-white facts can be put up for dispute. For example, during the 2008 presidential race and prior to Obama’s first budget the Democrats’ tax proposal was explained as a tax cut for the middle class and no increase on any Americans making less than two hundred thousand a year. This was a black-and-white fact, part of the public record, not in dispute. But how did the Republicans explain it?

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That’s a Small Business?

Tax Cut & Budget Deficitimages (12)I certainly heard it, over and over again; I bet you did too. Republicans were saying the tax proposal was going to affect small businesses. So we have small businesses that are making over two hundred thousand a year in pure profit? And that’s a small business? That’s a small business? I think if you’re making, after all your deductions and everything and you’re still making two hundred grand, I think that you’re not a small business, I think you can afford extra taxes, but that’s what we are told.

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We’re All Rich. Somehow I Missed That Memo.

So apparently we got a group of people who think that people are really rich. The assumption is that most Americans are rolling in dough so that any tax increase on the wealthy is an attack on all Americans.

wealthydietSo, you can’t tax that sliver of the very, very wealthy a little bit more so that the majority of Americans might benefit. Benefiting the majority of Americans used to be how you got to “home base.” But now, it’s like, “No, you can’t tax Americans; we are Taxed Enough Already!”

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Obvious “Truth”: The Democrats’ Want to Take Your Money.

689024238The way this “obvious truth” is phrased now…no way to get around it, it’s a flat out lie…goes, “You can’t tax the very rich, cause that’s…” and they’ll just say it right out, “that’s gonna affect all Americans, that’s taxing everybody.”

Well how did it get to that conclusion when actually it’s going to lower taxes. And they were saying it over and over again, “No, we don’t even need to know what the plan is; we just know he’s a Democrat and that he’s going to raise taxes,” they would say of Obama…or for that matter of any Democrat at any time in recent history.

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Now, how did that become true? Well because…he’s a Democrat and well haven’t you ever heard the term tax and spend Democrats? And there we go again.

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Obvious “Truth” – Fiscally Responsible Republicans

Pointing Some Fingers Already

Alright, let’s go back. Pre-Roosevelt turn of the century initiatives so common and familiar now, such as the Food and Drug Administration, are the kinds of things Democrats brought in that added to government. Yet, Republicans spout misinformation; they get people angry about “evils” of such “big government.”

Misplaced Credit

The Democrats are the ones who brought in the FDA, worker’s rights, workman’s compensation. They’re the ones who put in Medicare. They’re the ones who put in Social Security.

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Misplaced Blame

And we remember the Republicans are the ones who created the Great Depression, created poverty for everybody at that time. They’re the ones who did it again with Bush, who tripled and nearly quadrupled the National Debt under the twelve years of Reagan-Bush, then more than doubled it under George W. That’s a lot of goddamn money.

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That’s a Lot of Money.

4223And then the Republicans were giving away seven hundred billion dollars to rich people who afterward were giddy in their ingratitude. This giveaway, keep in mind, came at the end of Bush’s terms. Police_Occupy_Protest_CartoonAnd you would hear CEOs bragging how they’re not going to spend any of that on people; they’re not going to use any of that money to loaning any of it out, which was supposed to be the purpose.

And even afterward, all Congressmen were agreeing that’s a huge amount of money, which at the time was the biggest amount of money being spent at one time, in such a short period of time on anything. every_gop_2012_candidate-460x307And how could we forget that they just took the money and did whatever they wanted with it? They paid off debts to other rich friends; they went overseas and invested in other countries.

students

Chase Didn’t Use the Money for What It Was Intended.

317486_10150357184771862_526281861_8706445_629664980_nGoldman Sachs used sixteen billion of what it received to pay off an outstanding debt to a German bank. The head of Chase bank is known to have said he wasn’t going to use the money to increase credit. In fact, he said he was going to keep that money and he was basically going to feather his nest with it and keep Chase solvent so that when other banks went under he could buy them up with it. That’s the money of the taxpayers he’s playing “Monopoly” with, mind you.

Greedy-capitalists

Obvious “Truths” – Tax and Spend Democrats

yaltasBut stacked up against the facts we have this idea of tax and spend Democrats. It’s been repeated, going back many decades. It basically goes back to Roosevelt who ended the Depression and benefited virtually all Americans. And now that’s somehow a bad thing, brought up to get you mad about the tax and spend Democrat. And they’ve got all Americans convinced that if you vote for a Democrat, they’re going to take your money, they’re going to tax it, and they’re going to spend it on somebody else. Well, that has nothing to do with the truth.

starveTheBeast

Social Security, Medicare, and Surpluses, Oh My!

It has nothing to do with the truth. Certainly Roosevelt benefited all Americans with Social Security and so on; certainly Medicare, brought in under Lyndon Johnson benefited the vast majority of Americans. All these things the Democrats did. tumblr_lugzb6cRh11qfjo8fo1_500And Clinton raised taxes on the very rich a few percentage points and balanced the budget. Clinton created jobs and prosperity, balanced the budget, reduced the National Debt, and created a surplus that could have gone into creating a better America for all Americans. But, no, that was considered bad, because they said it hurt all Americans when the extremely wealthy had to give a little more in taxes.

The Fun Times Anticipating the Surplus

Never mind the facts, never mind that fact that we had a surplus that we were talking gleefully about how we were going to spend it. If you can remember, we were discussing investing in better roads and infrastructure that would have benefited even the businesses.

Stealing Home

220px-Ronald_Reagan_televised_address_from_the_Oval_Office,_outlining_plan_for_Tax_Reduction_Legislation_July_1981But no, it wasn’t about the truth anymore, it was about how you made it to home base, how you got money for yourself. Mitt_Romney_Corporations_Are_PeopleAnd it didn’t matter anymore if you just skipped all the bases, and you started at home and went to home…if you just took the money. grover_norquists_stunning_tax_heresy-460x307I mean, after a while the Republicans could just do that; tax breaks for the wealthy just because they were wealthy. Because, after a while, after all those years of repeating it: They could get away with, If you tax the wealthy you’re taxing all Americans. Wow.

pepper spray cop monet2

Continue with The Wealthy Are the Creative Sector All Right … Creative in Stealing Our Money: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 2

Return to Corporations Crowding Out the Mom and Pops … HMOs Driving Out the Private Physician, It’s the Same Old Monopoly Game



The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355



Continue with The Wealthy Are the Creative Sector All Right … Creative in Stealing Our Money: Money Madness … Foolin’ the People About Money, Part 2

Return to Corporations Crowding Out the Mom and Pops … HMOs Driving Out the Private Physician, It’s the Same Old Monopoly Game

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The American Middle Class has been aiding US fascism. Let’s clear our own consciences as we continue The Awakening … #Occupy

The Middle Class has been aiding the repression. It is time for The Awakening. Let’s clear our own consciences as we continue to #occupy

People think that it is better economically than it is and that there are jobs to be had because the folks that would be INCLINED to think that exist in worlds that reinforce their prejudices. What folks who are not getting the reality of THE GREAT RECESSION are seeing in their circles, neighborhoods, and their routines is rather narrow.

I have been “off the beaten path” for several years now in California and Oregon. I have seen things in Amerika that I would not have believed possible in America. Barbara Ehrenreich has been writing on it, for one, though.

For example, what is not said enough, is that it is not just about a war on the middle class. The fact is that ever since Reagan, the War on Poverty has become a War on the Poor — and the middle class has been helping.

THE MIDDLE CLASS HAS BEEN HELPING OPPRESS their less fortunate brothers and sisters. They’ve gotten the jobs they do have to work against all those under them as “brown shirts”. And I mean at all levels of “brown shirting”–from the tyrannical security guard up thru to the white-collar corporate ranks enforcing corporate-bankster financial squeezes and wide across through the state and federal workers and police (check out their actions against the heroic protesters on Wall Street for example) enforcing the egregious and fascist predilections of the moneyed and powerful.

The middle class has participated in all kinds of ways in the (no longer creeping) tsunami of fascism. And progressives and patriots of all kinds, at this time, need to look in the mirror to be sure they are not engaging in fascist tendencies to those below them, even as they decry the ones above spitting on THEM.

We’ve got to do it all folks. Nobody’s wrong here. It just happens to be time for The Awakening, is all.

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Panic on the streets of London. London is America’s future.

Panic on the streets of London – brilliant article on it

This is a brilliantly written article illuminating the events in London. .. really brilliantly….
My take:
London is our future,
the Middle East is our future,
Mars is our future.

Amplify’d from pennyred.blogspot.com
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Here comes the future, you can’t run from it – if you’ve got a blacklist, I wanna be on it…

Read more at pennyred.blogspot.com

Panic on the streets of London.

I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight. This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who is watching Croydon burn down on the BBC right now. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder ‘mindless, mindless’. Nick Clegg denounced it as ‘needless, opportunistic theft and violence’. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge – declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was “utterly unacceptable.” The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ‘pure criminality,’ as the work of a ‘violent minority’, as ‘opportunism.’ This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’
There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Tonight in London, social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets, and where I am in Holloway, the violence is coming closer. As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

I’m stuck in the house, now, with rioting going on just down the road in Chalk Farm. Ealing and Clapham and Dalston are being trashed. Journalists are being mugged and beaten in the streets, and the riot cops are in retreat where they have appeared at all. Police stations are being set alight all over the country. This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

Read more at pennyred.blogspot.com

Panic on the streets of London – brilliant article on it.

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Scapegoating the poor for America’s sins – How we are already a nation of brown shirts to some

Criminalizing the poor. You wonder why London happened? Why it’s going to happen here?

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It’s as bad as I feared…. and experienced. (the mo-fos)

Barbara Ehrenreich speaks out on the issue everyone is overlooking, except for those who have no voice. We are becoming a fascist nation. In the cities, people already live in fear of harassment for just being alive and not looking the right way, having enough money, having a place to go, or needing to sleep or go to the bathroom. It has become illegal to be human, unless you can pay some invisible toll.

Our brown shirts are blue shirts, but they are hardly different. This fascism will spread like poison to the strata above the poor.

In fact, all the outcry from the middle class is only an indication that it is rising, spreading. This is no exaggeration. I have been experiencing it myself and been among and talking to others who have for the last year and a half. 

The middle class participates in this scapegoating. They choose it in all the ways they want their communities to hide the truth of poverty in America and so in so many ways beat down and out of sight those who remind them their precious comfort is threatened and their vaunted middle class reality is a precarious house built on the ruined lives of the broken.

But the middle class ignore the totalitarianism that exists on the side roads to their peril. London shows Americans what they are reaping at this moment, even as the middle class seeks to maintain its privileges at the expense of the poor, in the same way that the filthy rich build their castles on the ruins of middle class dreams and portfolios.

Amplify’d from www.salon.com

How America turned poverty into a crime

Barbara Ehrenreich

The poor aren’t just struggling during the recession; they’re being actively hounded by urban officials

Post-Meltdown Poverty

Media attention has focused, understandably enough, on the “nouveau poor” — formerly middle and even upper-middle class people who lost their jobs, their homes, and/or their investments in the financial crisis of 2008 and the economic downturn that followed it, but the brunt of the recession has been borne by the blue-collar working class, which had already been sliding downwards since de-industrialization began in the 1980s.

In 2008 and 2009, for example, blue-collar unemployment was increasing three times as fast as white-collar unemployment, and African American and Latino workers were three times as likely to be unemployed as white workers. Low-wage blue-collar workers, like the people I worked with in this book, were especially hard hit for the simple reason that they had so few assets and savings to fall back on as jobs disappeared.

How have the already-poor attempted to cope with their worsening economic situation? One obvious way is to cut back on health care. The New York Times reported in 2009 that one-third of Americans could no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions and that there had been a sizable drop in the use of medical care. Others, including members of my extended family, have given up their health insurance.

Food is another expenditure that has proved vulnerable to hard times, with the rural poor turning increasingly to “food auctions,” which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates. And for those who like their meat fresh, there’s the option of urban hunting. In Racine, Wisconsin, a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he was supplementing his diet by “shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked, and grilled.” In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver was doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

The most common coping strategy, though, is simply to increase the number of paying people per square foot of dwelling space — by doubling up or renting to couch-surfers.

In Los Angeles, housing expert Peter Dreier says that “people who’ve lost their jobs, or at least their second jobs, cope by doubling or tripling up in overcrowded apartments, or by paying 50 or 60 or even 70 percent of their incomes in rent.” According to a community organizer in Alexandria, Virginia, the standard apartment in a complex occupied largely by day laborers has two bedrooms, each containing an entire family of up to five people, plus an additional person laying claim to the couch.

No one could call suicide a “coping strategy,” but it is one way some people have responded to job loss and debt. There are no national statistics linking suicide to economic hard times, but the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported more than a four-fold increase in call volume between 2007 and 2009, and regions with particularly high unemployment, like Elkhart, Indiana, have seen troubling spikes in their suicide rates. Foreclosure is often the trigger for suicide — or, worse, murder-suicides that destroy entire families.

“Torture and Abuse of Needy Families”

We do of course have a collective way of ameliorating the hardships of individuals and families — a government safety net that is meant to save the poor from spiraling down all the way to destitution. But its response to the economic emergency of the last few years has been spotty at best. The food stamp program has responded to the crisis fairly well, to the point where it now reaches about 37 million people, up about 30 percent from pre-recession levels. But welfare — the traditional last resort for the down-and-out until it was “reformed” in 1996 — only expanded by about 6 percent in the first two years of the recession.

The difference between the two programs? There is a right to food stamps. You go to the office and, if you meet the statutory definition of need, they help you. For welfare, the street-level bureaucrats can, pretty much at their own discretion, just say no.

When the Parentes finally got into “the system” and began receiving food stamps and some cash assistance, they discovered why some recipients have taken to calling TANF “Torture and Abuse of Needy Families.” From the start, the TANF experience was “humiliating,” Kristen says. The caseworkers “treat you like a bum. They act like every dollar you get is coming out of their own paychecks.”

The Parentes discovered that they were each expected to apply for 40 jobs a week, although their car was on its last legs and no money was offered for gas, tolls, or babysitting. In addition, Kristen had to drive 35 miles a day to attend “job readiness” classes offered by a private company called Arbor, which, she says, were “frankly a joke.”

Nationally, according to Kaaryn Gustafson of the University of Connecticut Law School, “applying for welfare is a lot like being booked by the police.” There may be a mug shot, fingerprinting, and lengthy interrogations as to one’s children’s true paternity. The ostensible goal is to prevent welfare fraud, but the psychological impact is to turn poverty itself into a kind of crime.

How the Safety Net Became a Dragnet

The most shocking thing I learned from my research on the fate of the working poor in the recession was the extent to which poverty has indeed been criminalized in America.

Perhaps the constant suspicions of drug use and theft that I encountered in low-wage workplaces should have alerted me to the fact that, when you leave the relative safety of the middle class, you might as well have given up your citizenship and taken residence in a hostile nation.

Most cities, for example, have ordinances designed to drive the destitute off the streets by outlawing such necessary activities of daily life as sitting, loitering, sleeping, or lying down. Urban officials boast that there is nothing discriminatory about such laws: “If you’re lying on a sidewalk, whether you’re homeless or a millionaire, you’re in violation of the ordinance,” a St. Petersburg, Florida, city attorney stated in June 2009, echoing Anatole France’s immortal observation that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges…”

In defiance of all reason and compassion, the criminalization of poverty has actually intensified as the weakened economy generates ever more poverty. So concludes a recent study from the National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness, which finds that the number of ordinances against the publicly poor has been rising since 2006, along with the harassment of the poor for more “neutral” infractions like jaywalking, littering, or carrying an open container.

The report lists America’s ten “meanest” cities — the largest of which include Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Orlando — but new contestants are springing up every day. In Colorado, Grand Junction’s city council is considering a ban on begging; Tempe, Arizona, carried out a four-day crackdown on the indigent at the end of June. And how do you know when someone is indigent? As a Las Vegas statute puts it, “an indigent person is a person whom a reasonable ordinary person would believe to be entitled to apply for or receive” public assistance.

He had been enjoying the luxury of an indoor bed until December 2008, when the police swept through the shelter in the middle of the night looking for men with outstanding warrants. It turned out that Szekeley, who is an ordained minister and does not drink, do drugs, or cuss in front of ladies, did indeed have one — for “criminal trespassing,” as sleeping on the streets is sometimes defined by the law. So he was dragged out of the shelter and put in jail.

“Can you imagine?” asked Eric Sheptock, the homeless advocate (himself a shelter resident) who introduced me to Szekeley. “They arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless?”

The viciousness of the official animus toward the indigent can be breathtaking. A few years ago, a group called Food Not Bombs started handing out free vegan food to hungry people in public parks around the nation. A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, leading to the arrests of several middle-aged white vegans.

One anti-sharing law was just overturned in Orlando, but the war on illicit generosity continues. Orlando is appealing the decision, and Middletown, Connecticut, is in the midst of a crackdown. More recently, Gainesville, Florida, began enforcing a rule limiting the number of meals that soup kitchens may serve to 130 people in one day, and Phoenix, Arizona, has been using zoning laws to stop a local church from serving breakfast to homeless people.

For the not-yet-homeless, there are two main paths to criminalization, and one is debt. Anyone can fall into debt, and although we pride ourselves on the abolition of debtors’ prison, in at least one state, Texas, people who can’t pay fines for things like expired inspection stickers may be made to “sit out their tickets” in jail.

More commonly, the path to prison begins when one of your creditors has a court summons issued for you, which you fail to honor for one reason or another, such as that your address has changed and you never received it. Okay, now you’re in “contempt of the court.”

The second — and by far the most reliable — way to be criminalized by poverty is to have the wrong color skin. Indignation runs high when a celebrity professor succumbs to racial profiling, but whole communities are effectively “profiled” for the suspicious combination of being both dark-skinned and poor. Flick a cigarette and you’re “littering”; wear the wrong color T-shirt and you’re displaying gang allegiance. Just strolling around in a dodgy neighborhood can mark you as a potential suspect. And don’t get grumpy about it or you could be “resisting arrest.”

In what has become a familiar pattern, the government defunds services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Generate no public-sector jobs, then penalize people for falling into debt. The experience of the poor, and especially poor people of color, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks. And if you should try to escape this nightmare reality into a brief, drug-induced high, it’s “gotcha” all over again, because that of course is illegal too.

One result is our staggering level of incarceration, the highest in the world. Today, exactly the same number of Americans — 2.3 million — reside in prison as in public housing. And what public housing remains has become ever more prison-like, with random police sweeps and, in a growing number of cities, proposed drug tests for residents. The safety net, or what remains of it, has been transformed into a dragnet.

It is not clear whether economic hard times will finally force us to break the mad cycle of poverty and punishment. With even the official level of poverty increasing — to over 14 percent in 2010 — some states are beginning to ease up on the criminalization of poverty, using alternative sentencing methods, shortening probation, and reducing the number of people locked up for technical violations like missing court appointments. But others, diabolically enough, are tightening the screws: not only increasing the number of “crimes,” but charging prisoners for their room and board, guaranteeing they’ll be released with potentially criminalizing levels of debt.

But at least we should decide, as a bare minimum principle, to stop kicking people when they’re down.

Read more at www.salon.com

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The Smoke and Lies of the “Good” Ronald Reagan Presidency

The Origins of Today’s Biggest Woes and Who Benefits from this Ignorance. The Truth Behind the Good Ronald Reagan; The Myth of the Good Reagan Presidency. The Origin’s of Today’s Biggest Woes in the Reagan Presidency (and why and how the moneyed interests would do all they could to present an opposite, untrue story of Reagan, fabricate a good Ronald Reagan presidency mythology, smoke and lies)

Peter Dreier’s illuminating article debunks the mythology swirling around Ronald Reagan. We see how Reagan is the the father of America’s slide into the financial ruin, cultural mediocrity, fascist government policy, and social distress that we are immersed in at the moment. Some highlights of his article include:

let us not forget that many of the serious problems facing America today began or worsened during Reagan’s presidency.

a growing chorus of journalists, politicians, and pundits are using this hundredth-birthday milestone to rewrite history and bestow on Reagan a Mount Rushmore–like status as one of our greatest presidents. That’s hogwash.

During his two terms in the White House (1981–89), Reagan presided over

  • a widening gap between the rich and everyone else
  • declining wages and living standards for working families
  • an assault on labor unions as a vehicle to lift Americans into the middle class
  • a dramatic increase in poverty and homelessness
  • and the consolidation and deregulation of the financial industry that led to the current mortgage meltdown, foreclosure epidemic and lingering recession

Reagan’s policy and political choices based on an underlying “you’re on your own” ideology.

Reagan is often lauded as “the great communicator,” but what he often communicated were lies and distortions

Reagan’s most famous statement—“Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem”—has become the unofficial slogan for the recent resurgence of right-wing extremism. The rants of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the lunacy of Tea Party, the policy ideas promulgated by propaganda outfits like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation masquerading as think tanks and the takeover of the Republican Party by its most conservative wing were all incubated during the Reagan years. Indeed, they all claim to be carrying out the Reagan Revolution

Many Americans credit Reagan with reducing the size of government. In reality, he increased government spending, cut taxes and turned the United States from a creditor to a debtor nation. During his presidency, Reagan escalated the military budget while slashing funds for domestic programs that assisted working-class Americans and protected consumers and the environment. Not surprisingly, both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush followed in Reagan’s footsteps.

But, unfortunately, so did Bill Clinton. During his first campaign for the presidency, Clinton correctly observed that “the Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.” But a few years later, as president, Clinton proclaimed, echoing Reagan, that “the era of big government is over,” which he carried out by slashing welfare benefits for poor children.

Reagan—with his avuncular style, optimism and just-plain-folks demeanor—turned government-bashing into an art form.

Accompanying the Reagan era was the rise of a well-oiled corporate-funded conservative propaganda machine—including think tanks and lobby groups, endowed professorships at universities, legal advocacy organizations, magazines, and college student internships to train the next generation—designed to demonize activist government and glorify unregulated markets.

Reagan’s fans give him credit for restoring the nation’s prosperity. But whatever economic growth occurred during the Reagan years mostly benefitted those already well off. The income gap between the rich and everyone else in America widened. Wages for the average worker declined
Meanwhile, the rich got much richer. By the end of the decade, the richest 1 percent of Americans had 39 percent of the nation’s wealth.

When the dust settled in the late 1980s, hundreds of S&Ls and banks had gone under, billions of dollars of commercial loans were useless and the federal government was left to bail out the depositors whose money the speculators had looted to the tune of over $130 billion.

Under Reagan, government’s role shifted from policing Wall Street and protecting consumers to a see-no-evil enabler, encouraging banks to engage in irresponsible practices. This was just the first chapter in the slide towards today’s financial crisis.

Another of Reagan’s enduring legacies is the steep increase in the number of homeless people, which by the late 1980s had swollen to 600,000 on any given night—and 1.2 million over the course of a year. Many were Vietnam veterans, children and laid-off workers.

In early 1984 on “Good Morning America,” Reagan defended himself against charges of callousness toward the poor in a classic blaming-the-victim statement. He said that “people who are sleeping on the grates…the homeless…are homeless, you might say, by choice.”

Since his death, we’ve named a major airport, many schools and lots of streets after Ronald Reagan. Perhaps now, as we celebrate the centennial of his birth, a more fitting tribute to his legacy would be for each American city to name a park bench—where at least one homeless person sleeps every night—in honor of our fortieth president.

7. posted by: ljsopjes at 02/06/2011 @ 1:33pm
We also need a piece which clearly dispels the myth that Reagan was responsible for ending the Cold War.

8. posted by: darthchris67 at 02/06/2011 @ 4:20pm
Without the Gipper, where would W have been able to come up with what Stephen Colbert called “truthiness”:
“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.” March 4, 1987


Amplify’d from www.thenation.com

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Reagan’s Real Legacy

As the nation embarks on a celebration this Sunday of the hundredth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth—with conferences, museum exhibits and lots of speeches—let us not forget that many of the serious problems facing America today began or worsened during Reagan’s presidency.

Why not let Reagan, who died in 2004, rest in peace? Because a growing chorus of journalists, politicians, and pundits are using this hundredth-birthday milestone to rewrite history and bestow on Reagan a Mount Rushmore–like status as one of our greatest presidents.

That’s hogwash.

During his two terms in the White House (1981–89), Reagan presided over a widening gap between the rich and everyone else, declining wages and living standards for working families, an assault on labor unions as a vehicle to lift Americans into the middle class, a dramatic increase in poverty and homelessness, and the consolidation and deregulation of the financial industry that led to the current mortgage meltdown, foreclosure epidemic and lingering recession.

These trends were not caused by inevitable social and economic forces. They resulted from Reagan’s policy and political choices based on an underlying “you’re on your own” ideology.

Reagan is often lauded as “the great communicator,” but what he often communicated were lies and distortions. For example, during his stump speeches, while dutifully promising to roll back welfare, Reagan often told the story of a so-called “welfare queen” in Chicago who drove a Cadillac and had ripped off $150,000 from the government using eighty aliases, thirty addresses, a dozen Social Security cards and four fictional dead husbands. Journalists searched for this “welfare cheat” in the hopes of interviewing her and discovered that she didn’t exist. But this phony imagery of “welfare cheats” persisted and helped lay the groundwork for cuts to programs that help the poor, including children.

Reagan’s most famous statement—“Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem”—has become the unofficial slogan for the recent resurgence of right-wing extremism. The rants of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the lunacy of Tea Party, the policy ideas promulgated by propaganda outfits like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation masquerading as think tanks and the takeover of the Republican Party by its most conservative wing were all incubated during the Reagan years. Indeed, they all claim to be carrying out the Reagan Revolution.

What did that revolution bring us?

Many Americans credit Reagan with reducing the size of government. In reality, he increased government spending, cut taxes and turned the United States from a creditor to a debtor nation. During his presidency, Reagan escalated the military budget while slashing funds for domestic programs that assisted working-class Americans and protected consumers and the environment. Not surprisingly, both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush followed in Reagan’s footsteps.

But, unfortunately, so did Bill Clinton. During his first campaign for the presidency, Clinton correctly observed that “the Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.” But a few years later, as president, Clinton proclaimed, echoing Reagan, that “the era of big government is over,” which he carried out by slashing welfare benefits for poor children.

Indeed, Reagan’s most important domestic legacy is our government’s weakened ability to do its job protecting families, consumers, workers and the environment.

How did Reagan revise America’s thinking about the role of government? Before Reagan took office, the American public was already growing more skeptical about government and politicians, exacerbated by the lies told by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon about the Vietnam war, Nixon’s Watergate scandal and President Jimmy Carter’s inability to deal with the twin problems of rising prices and unemployment, often called “stagflation.” But Reagan—with his avuncular style, optimism and just-plain-folks demeanor—turned government-bashing into an art form.

And he had a lot of help. Accompanying the Reagan era was the rise of a well-oiled corporate-funded conservative propaganda machine—including think tanks and lobby groups, endowed professorships at universities, legal advocacy organizations, magazines, and college student internships to train the next generation—designed to demonize activist government and glorify unregulated markets. Years before Rush Limbaugh began his radio ministry to his conservative congregation of ditto-heads, Reagan and this right-wing echo chamber were on the job.

Reagan’s fans give him credit for restoring the nation’s prosperity. But whatever economic growth occurred during the Reagan years mostly benefitted those already well off. The income gap between the rich and everyone else in America widened. Wages for the average worker declined and the nation’s homeownership rate fell. During Reagan’s two terms in the White House, the minimum wage was frozen at $3.35 an hour, while prices rose, thus eroding the standard of living of millions of low-wage workers. The number of people living beneath the federal poverty line rose from 26.1 million in 1979 to 32.7 million in 1988. Meanwhile, the rich got much richer. By the end of the decade, the richest 1 percent of Americans had 39 percent of the nation’s wealth.

After signing the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act in 1982, Reagan presided over the dramatic deregulation of the nation’s savings-and-loan industry. The law allowed S&Ls to end their reliance on home mortgages and permitted banks to provide adjustable-rate mortgage loans. The S&Ls began a decade-long orgy of real estate speculation, mismanagement and fraud. The industry indulged in a wild ride of merger mania, with banks and S&Ls gobbling each other up and making loans to finance shopping malls, golf courses, office buildings and condo projects that had no financial logic other than a quick-buck profit.

When the dust settled in the late 1980s, hundreds of S&Ls and banks had gone under, billions of dollars of commercial loans were useless and the federal government was left to bail out the depositors whose money the speculators had looted to the tune of over $130 billion.

Under Reagan, government’s role shifted from policing Wall Street and protecting consumers to a see-no-evil enabler, encouraging banks to engage in irresponsible practices. This was just the first chapter in the slide towards today’s financial crisis. Things got even worse—much worse—in the decades after Reagan left office. Both Bushes, as well as Clinton, took up where Reagan left off in granting banks and insurance companies permission to wreak havoc on consumers and the economy. This lead to the epidemic of subprime loans and foreclosures of the past three years and the costly federal bail-out of “too big to fail” Wall Street banks.

Reagan’s indifference to urban problems was legendary. Early in his presidency, at a White House reception, Reagan greeted the only black member of his Cabinet, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Samuel Pierce, saying: “How are you, Mr. Mayor? I’m glad to meet you. How are things in your city?”

Reagan not only failed to recognize his own HUD Secretary, he failed to deal with the growing corruption scandal at the agency that resulted in the indictment and conviction of top Reagan administration officials for illegally targeting housing subsidies to politically connected developers. Pierce and others rigged the allocation of subsidies for housing projects to favor Reagan’s campaign contributors and GOP lobbyists, such as former Interior Secretary James Watt. Fortunately for Reagan, the “HUD Scandal” wasn’t uncovered until he’d left office.

Reagan didn’t invent the pay-to-play game or the revolving door of top government officials becoming well-paid lobbyists and government contractors. But his hands-off attitude toward government oversight contributed to the deepening culture of corruption in our nation’s capital.

The 1980s saw pervasive racial discrimination by banks, real estate agents and landlords, unmonitored by the Reagan administration. Community groups uncovered blatant redlining by banks. But Reagan’s HUD and Department of Justice failed to prosecute or sanction banks that violated the Community Reinvestment Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in lending. During that time, of the 40,000 applications from banks requesting permission to expand their operations, Reagan’s bank regulators denied only eight of them on grounds of violating CRA regulations.

The declining fiscal fortunes of America’s cities began during the Reagan years. By the end of his second term, federal assistance to local governments had been slashed by 60 percent. Reagan eliminated general revenue sharing to cities, cut funding for public service jobs and job training, almost dismantled federally funded legal services for the poor, cut the antipoverty Community Development Block Grant program and reduced funds for public transit.

These cutbacks had a disastrous effect on cities with high levels of poverty and limited property tax bases, many of which depended on federal aid to provide basic services. In 1980 federal dollars accounted for 22 percent of big city budgets. By the end of Reagan’s second term, federal aid was only 6 percent. The consequences were devastating to urban schools and libraries, municipal hospitals and clinics, and sanitation, police and fire departments—many of which had to shut their doors. Many cities still haven’t recovered from the downward spiral started during the Gipper’s presidency.

The most dramatic cut in domestic spending during the Reagan years was for low-income housing subsidies. In his first year in office, Reagan cut the budget for public housing and Section 8 rent subsidies in half. Congress thwarted his plan to wide out federal housing assistance to the poor altogether, but he got much of what he sought. In the 1980s the proportion of the eligible poor who received federal housing subsidies declined substantially.

Another of Reagan’s enduring legacies is the steep increase in the number of homeless people, which by the late 1980s had swollen to 600,000 on any given night—and 1.2 million over the course of a year. Many were Vietnam veterans, children and laid-off workers.

In early 1984 on “Good Morning America,” Reagan defended himself against charges of callousness toward the poor in a classic blaming-the-victim statement. He said that “people who are sleeping on the grates…the homeless…are homeless, you might say, by choice.”

Since his death, we’ve named a major airport, many schools and lots of streets after Ronald Reagan. Perhaps now, as we celebrate the centennial of his birth, a more fitting tribute to his legacy would be for each American city to name a park bench—where at least one homeless person sleeps every night—in honor of our fortieth president.

2. posted by: aznative at 02/06/2011 @ 10:18am

Ugh, the beginning of the end, I remember it well, the 80’s, the time when everything went to sh*t. Reagan cared for nothing along with his cabinet. I will not forget.

7. posted by: ljsopjes at 02/06/2011 @ 1:33pm

We also need a piece which clearly dispels the myth that Reagan was responsible for ending the Cold War.

8. posted by: darthchris67 at 02/06/2011 @ 4:20pm

Without the Gipper, where would W have been able to come up with what Stephen Colbert called “truthiness”:

“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.” March 4, 1987

Read more at www.thenation.com

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