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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-23-13 12:28 AM
Original message
Fears of a US "Holocaust"
Edited on Sat Nov-23-13 12:35 AM by No Elephants

JFK's comments on the MTP during his campaign about the election of 1932's having saved the free enterprise system--which none of the reporters on MTP even questioned, btw--confirmed for me that the motivation for the New Deal was fear that Americans would revolt as Russians had and for similar reasons.

However, I was not able to explain the Great Society until I started hearing about the fear of the PTB, including JFK, of "insurrection" speeches being made at the Civil Rights March on Washington on the 50th anniversary of the march. Gradually, it started seeping in.

This article further confirms that suspicion, or at least tells me that someone else believes that the fear was great at the time.

Another guess: J. Edgar Hoover had a lot to do with both types of fears, making himself indispensable, justifying larger and larger budgets for his agency, building his power center.

As an aside, even though Godwin's law is both stupid and revoked, this article is an example in which the author should have used it. The "holocaust" reference is to the PTB suffering in a revolt by one of the most oppressed groups in the history of this continent? Was 1976 a holocaust against the British soldiers quartered in Massachusetts?

The 1% must be more scared than it seems. No wonder they are trying to surveill every communication in the world 24/7 and we probably have 20 as many people in federal government who are guarded and/or armed themselves as people in government who are neither guarded nor armed. And that's before we get to state and local government. No wonder they are beserk about secrecy and leaks.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-23-13 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. Interesting article.
Of course I was too young to appreciate any of the controversy at the time.

I do remember a widow lady that lived next door to us was like a John Bircher. I remember her telling me that MLK was a communist. Those dangerous Negros, next thing you know they will want equal rights. She would have believed anything the right wing voice told her, just like today's teabaggers.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-24-13 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Pappy Koch was a Bircher who had made his money helping Stalin build Russian
Edited on Sun Nov-24-13 07:51 AM by No Elephants

Given the history of Koch Industries, perhaps the strife was inevitable. The company was practically born into hostility and litigation. Old Fred, the son of a Texas newspaperman, developed an oil-refining process in the 1920s that greatly increased the yield of gasoline from crude oil. But a consortium of big oil companies, which owned similar patents, sued him for patent infringement and prevented him from selling his process in the U.S. To make a living, Fred spent the Depression years in Russia, helping Stalin expand his petroleum industry. He also spent a lot of time in U.S. courts fighting the oil companies; in 1952 he finally won a $1.5 million settlement after it came out that the companies had bribed the judge handling his case.

Fred returned from Russia shaken by what he saw. Many of the Soviet engineers he had befriended were killed in Stalin's purges. He bought some ranches and refineries, and started a company making refinery equipment. But he devoted much of his considerable energy to supporting the newly formed John Birch Society and thundering against "godless communism." /

When I was a freshman in college, a devoted socialist student pointed out to me that the US had deliberately conflated dictatorship, which is a form of government, with socialism, which is an economic system. True. However, I am not sure how you get socialism started without something of an iron fist. Most of wealthy don't simply step up and contribute their property for the common good. I am not even sure how you keep it going without an iron fist. Still, the analysis at least should keep the two separate.

On the other hand, the further to the right America goes, the more it becomes like a dictatorship. True, we don't yet have people being sent to prison for criticizing government, but our allegedly anti-terrorism laws did try to make librarians snitch on us. (Good for that normally quiet group for standing up and speaking out.) And Chelsea Manning's sentence was much harsher than comparable cases. And our media gets more like a propaganda arm all the time. (Or so it seems to me.)

Those things are very reminiscent of the abuses of Communist Russia in the 1950s, IMO. So was J. Edgar Hoover, IMO.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-25-13 05:23 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Where are these advocates for
what YOU call socialism? They are surely miniscule in number. Iron fist? Have Western European people been subjected to an iron fist? Who would want soviet style "socialism"? Funny, I always see righties confusing the two, but never liberals. To TV righties there is only one kind of socialismSoviet Union super authoritarian dictatorial socialism. No Elephants, you are a mystery.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-26-13 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. I am not so much a mystery maybe as I am literal.
Edited on Tue Nov-26-13 03:07 AM by No Elephants
The classic, short version definition of socialism is government's owning the means of production.

For example, I don't think we have socialized medicine simply because the 99% is given free or truly affordable access to medical care via government intervention, including health insurance that we purchase (if we can afford to purchase) from government, instead of purchasing from private insurane . I think that gives us a more human(e), just and enlightened society than the law of the jungle gives us. Also a more economically workable society for both employers and employees, but I don't think that would give us socialism. I think we have socialist medicine only when government owns and controls the hospitals, doctor's offices, etc.

I also don't think we have socialism simply because govenment scoops money out of paychecks for pensions and then scoops money out of pensions for Medicare.

I don't see Western Europe as a group of socialist nations because they make some things available to citizens free or at low cost or sliding scale rates.

My fellow student--the one mentioned in my prior post-- was very much talking about government's owning the means of production. And his statements were the ones that I was reacting to.

I think a government trying to gain control of the means of production (going socialist) has to nationalize (some might say confiscate) places of business because GE, for one, is not simply going to hand the government the keys to the shop(s) and neither are the owners of any other industry.

What you say about the right is coincidental In my perception, it's the right that calls everything "socialism," rather than using the word narrowly, as the dictionary defines it. That makes it easier for them to smear programs that use tax dollars for the benefit of the 99% and to laughably call Obama a "socialist."

If you think about all the zanyzillions and years our government and media devoted to discrediting socialism, the RW now has it way to easy to smear every program that benefits the 1% as Socialist, whether it involves government ownership of the means of production, or not.

What definition of the term "socialism" are you using?
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-26-13 04:38 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. It's not the definition that I use that concerns me.
It's the definition that the righties use that concerns me. In the world of the right wing TV talking head there is only one sort of socialism, that is the "failed" Soviet/Cuban model. We have heard it hundreds if not thousands of times. They do this in their attempt to smear social security and medicare. I felt I was hearing a similar tone from you. I was concerned.

The Western European models are socialism. There are degrees of socialism. Your fire department and your public schools are socialistic.

The righties always imply that when we advocate single payer heath care we are endorsing the entire Soviet Union with all its flaws. This is simply useful misinformation.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-26-13 05:04 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. but, what is your definition? I asked because I would find it useful to know.
Edited on Tue Nov-26-13 05:35 AM by No Elephants
Based on what I said about the way righties win with an overbroad definition of socialism and on what you said in your latest post, it seems righties win either way.

You could say that the fire department is socialistic, but that is not a definition of socialism.

FYI, the very first fire department was government-provided, albeit manned by slaves.

There is also, IMO, a big difference between a capitalist society with a few programs for the common good and a socialist nation.

It can't be that everything paid for or supplemented with tax dollars-socialism or every nation's central government would be socialist, even a traditional monarchy. So would a nation's military, traffic lights, etc. Some things have to be simply because people are living together in a society.

Maybe letting the homes and businesses of the uninsured in a town burn to the ground is okay with a fire insurance company, but not with the neighbors of the burned down buildings, or with the town as a whole. So, even people who are insured decide government has to provide fire fighting services. Or the government decides, because it misses the revenue of the burned down businesses and neighborhood that are not blighted and decaying. (And that is apart from human considerations, like why should an infant get burned because Mom and Dad did not pay the fire insurance for the home.)

A capitalistic society that has a few programs that use tax dollars for the common good does not, IMO, make that society socialist.

As a general rule, though, Enthusiast, if anything make you think I am a rightie or a libertarian, then something I said gave you the wrong impression!
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-24-13 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. In fairness to your neighbor of long ago, she was not spouting only Birch stuff.
Edited on Sun Nov-24-13 08:25 AM by No Elephants
Her government had been telling her since WWII ended that her worst enemy was Communism, that Communists were were everywhere and every attempt to change the status quo to give the oppressed more was "creeping socialism."

But, as to this article, I found it amazing that Perlstein never mentioned the run up to the Iraq War, as an example of the dangers of sychophantic media.

Also, the run up to the Wall Steet bailout, although that was not as dramatic, given that Paulsen was claiming it had to be done ASAP and both parties were pretty much on board (of course), with a quibble or two on the Democratic side that putative Secretary of Treasury Geithner tamped down PDQ.* So, there was only a week or two of saturating the media for that.

*Putting Party above what you see as your duty to Americans in general is now so prevalent on both sides that only your personal self interest trumps it. Hence, we have Dodd telling us that he was going to stick a provision about executive compensation into the bailout, but Geithner told him not to, so he (Dodd) deleted it, to his later regret.

What is interesting to me is that Dodd apparently thought he was exonerating himself with that tidbit, instead of making it clear that he put Geithner above what he (Dodd) saw as his duty to American taxpayers. And also threw that same party under the bus later, trying to have it both ways.

Dodd could afford to throw the party under the bus somewhat, because he was not going to run again. Then again, I don't imagine that he became head of the motion picture industry after leaving the Senate because of his great knowledge and experience in the motion picture industry. Honestly, we need to make lobbying illegal. Fat chance our legislators will do that, though.

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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-25-13 05:41 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Okay, I am with you on all this.
Geithner is a complete POS. I just wanted to point this out. Rahm Emanuel also. In case you had forgotten.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-25-13 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Sadly, IMO, that applies to many Obama appointed.
Gates, Summer, Geithner, Rahm, Bernanke, etc. And others seem to have been nominated because of campaign contributions.

Carolyn Kennedy is bright and certainly well-educated, but I don't know what qualifies her to to be ambassador to Japan. The arts, yes. Law, probably, although others would be better qualified. Ambassador to Japan...? Dunno.

I remember the reaction on DU when the Obama's first appointment (Rahm) was announced. Sigh. And the next, and the next and the next. And here I'd thought I had dodged a bullet by signing up after the 2008 primaries had ended and all the controversy would be over once we got past the Rick Warren invocation. Silly me.

(When I lurk at DU3, I still sometimes see vestiges of the Hillary v. Obama wars.)

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-26-13 02:42 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I would not rate Dodd very highly in that story, either.
By his own admission, he obeyed Geithner, rather than his (Dodd's) own instinct for what would protect taxpayers. And then he tried to have it both ways, by telling that story when the flap arose. And he was totally obvlivious to the fact that telling the story might make him look worse, rather than better. He (Dodd) was never elected to obey Geither, or to do anything other than represent his constituents.
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