Meet the ‘Deplorables’: 13 Despicable Characters in Trump’s Very Crowded Basket

Looking at who surrounds the GOP standard-bearer, it’s hard to argue with Hillary Clinton’s controversial comments.

Photo Credit: Donald J. Trump Jr. / Instagram
Photo Credit: Donald J. Trump Jr. / Instagram

Source: AlterNet

Author: Adele M. Stan

Emphasis Mine

As word spread of Hillary Clinton’s characterization of half of Donald Trump’s supporters in her in a September 9 speech, the right-wing outrage machine went into overdrive. Half of the Repubican standard-bearer’s followers, Clinton said, were “a basket of deplorables,” while the rest were simply people who felt let down by the government and were desperate for change. With the help of mainstream media, focus turned to the “deplorables” part of her comments. The Trump campaign texted supporters a link to a video ad that mischaracterized Clinton’s remarks. In response to the right’s fury, Clinton gamely stated that maybe she shouldn’t have said “half.”

Truth is, we don’t really know what percentage of Trump’s current crop of supporters belong in the “deplorables” basket, but what we do know is this: There are a goodly number of public figures and leaders of odious white-supremacist organizations who love them some Trump, and Trump has either embraced them or declined to disavow them. Here we list some of the biggest eggs in the deplorables basket.

1. Stephen K. Bannon: When Trump hired Bannon, then the chief executive of Breitbart News, as his campaign CEO in August, you couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the GOP standard-bearer was staking a potential victory on igniting the racist resentments of the right-leaning faction of the electorate. During an event in Cleveland the week of the Republican National Convention, Bannon boasted to journalist Sarah Posner that since he took the reins at Breitbart News, the site had become “the platform for the alt-right.”

The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loose affiliation of groups and publications that advance a white nationalist or white supremacist ideology, often characterizing the more established conservative movement as being weak or “cuckholded.” Bannon has written and directed a number of films designed to frighten viewers into thinking their culture is being extinguished, such as Torchbearer, his latest project with Citizens United. That film features horrific scenes of violence, and stars Phil Robertson, the patriarch of “Duck Dynasty,” a reality television show that was temporarily suspended after GQ published an interview in which Robertson made anti-gay comments, and said blacks were all happy and singing “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare.”

2. Richard Spencer: President of the innocuous-sounding National Policy Institute, Spencer, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), advocates for an Aryan homeland for the supposedly dispossessed white race and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture. He’s one of the leading figures of the white nationalist “alt-right” that Trump has courted. At a press conference Saturday, Spencer said of Trump, “Certainly we have been, you could say, riding his coattails, there’s been more interest in us because we’re generally pro-Trump, because we’re inspired by him and things like that.”

He went on:

Even in all his vulgarity and I would never deny him, this is what we want in a leader. This is someone who can make the future. So I think that is the way I would define our love of Trump, is that he seems to be willing to go there, he seems to be willing to confront people. And that is very different from the cuckold.

3. Pamela Geller: A New Yorker with an Ayn Rand fetish, Geller wandered around the right for a while before she found her calling: rallying the forces of hatred in opposition to an Islamic community center that was being developed in lower Manhattan in the early aughts. Together with Spencer, Geller took over the group, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), using it as a platform for opposing the Cordoba House development and spewing hatred against Muslims, even falsely suggesting they practiced bestiality, according to the SPLC. She and Spencer falsely described the planned community center as a “victory mosque” created to celebrate the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Eating pork and depicting the Prophet Muhammad are both forbidden to practitioners of the Muslim faith. Yet Geller combined the two proscriptions in a cartoon on her website depicting the prophet with the face of a pig, according to SPLC, which lists SIOA as a hate group.

In Cleveland, the week of the 2016 RNC, Geller was a featured speaker at an event sponsored by the group Gays for Trump, which was hosted by Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News.

4. Milo Yiannapoulos: Described by Peter Montgomery of People for the American Way as the alt-right’s gay enfant terrible,Yiannapoulos, the technology editor of Breitbart News, has become semi-famous simply for being an awful person. He was banned from Twitter for his racist dogging of the actor Leslie Jones, and he is known for his anti-Muslim invective.

Yiannapoulos likes to play his gay identity for laughs, often in the service of mocking Muslims. At an “America First” rally in Cleveland co-hosted by radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that took place the first day of the Republican National Convention, Montgomery reports, Yiannapoulos said: “Die on your feet or live on your knees. Well, I do live on my knees, but that’s all right. That’s all right. As long as I’m not facing Mecca, I guess I’m all right with you guys.”

5. Jared Taylor: Editor of the “racialist” American Renaissance magazine, Taylor is an unabashed Trump supporter. He even has a strategy suggestion for Donald Trump, as he told the Washington Post’s David Weigel:

[Taylor] said that Trump should “concentrate on his natural constituency, which is white people,” suggesting that winning 65 percent of the white vote would overwhelm any Democratic gains with minorities.

Watching Trump’s attacks on non-white immigrants and his courtship of the alt right—of which Taylor is a part—it would be safe to deduce that Trump and/or his advisers have been working that very strategy for a while now.

In an August 29 appearance on “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR, Taylor discussed his opposition to Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights act, which bars private businesses that serve the public from racially discriminating against their customers. “[I]f I am a private club, a private business, I should have the right to discriminate for good reasons, bad reasons or no reasons at all,” Taylor said. “It’s part of the essential freedom of making choices as a human being.”

During the same segment, Taylor explained his rationale for ranking racial groups differently:

“Among the many positions held by the alt-right, we reject the notion that race is some sort of sociological optical illusion. Race is a biological fact, whether we wish to recognize that or not, and we completely reject the idea that all races are exactly equal and equivalent and in effect interchangeable.”

6. Alex Jones: The radio host and conspiracy theorist is an anti-government ranter, seeing every terrorist attack as a “false flag” event that was actually conducted by the government. In 2014, Dave Niewert reported that Jones was pushing the narrative that President Obama and the media were in cahoots trying to foment a race war.

When Republicans converged on Cleveland for their convention, Jones headlined an “America First” rally that featured a number of groups with the words “for Trump” in their name: Bikers for Trump, Gun Owners for Trump, Gays for Trump. He complained that his constitutional rights were abridged when he couldn’t get permits for several of his efforts, including the small planes that were flying over the city trailing “Hillary for Prison” banners. It was, of course, all a conspiracy.

Jones also contended that Jared Loughner, the gunman who, in January 2011, shot and critically wounded Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six in Tucson, was actually part of a government plot. Jones contends that the 9/11 attacks were part of “an inside job” by the government. And before Trump got around to it, Jones accused Raphael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) as being part of the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.

Trump appeared on Jones’ InfoWars radio program in December, praising Jones for his “amazing reputation,” and promising not to let him down.

7. Roger Stone: Even Roger Stone probably thinks he’s deplorable. A famous Republican operative and dirty trickster, Stone is perhaps most famous for having organized what became known as the “Brooks Brothers riot in 2000, at the Miami-Dade election board, where votes were being recounted in the Bush v. Gore presidential election whose outcome was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.

It was Stone who, during the 2008 presidential campaign, took to Fox News to advance the false narrative that a tape existed of Michelle Obama referring to white people as “whiteys.”

In 2015, he was an official member of the Trump campaign, but later resigned to run a pro-Trump PAC. However, he remains close to the campaign. At the “America First” rally in Cleveland, he apologized for his tardiness, offering the excuse that he had been delayed because he was meeting with the Trump campaign team.

8. Roger Ailes: If you’ve been reading Gabriel Sherman’s outstanding reporting for New York magazine on the scandal that forced Ailes out of Fox News, you know just how despicable he is. After former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of sexual harassment, other women came forward, including one who said Ailes had videotaped her when they had sex with the threat of using the tape against her should she cause him any trouble. (Fox has since settled with Carlson for a reported $20 million.) Sherman revealed that Ailes also illicitly acquired the phone records of journalists who had been critical of Fox News.

Ruport Murdoch, chair of Fox’s parent company, News Corporatin, is said to have been unhappy that Ailes was using Fox to support the Trump campaign. Now that Ailes is out of Fox, guess who the campaign’s latest high-profile deplorable adviser is? Roger Ailes.

9. Troy Newman: The president of Operation Rescue jumped aboard the Trump train this week. An anti-choice extremist, Newman even co-authored a book with a would-be domestic terrorist, Cheryl Sullenberger, who in 1988 was sentenced to three years in federal prison for conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic. In that 2003 book, Newman and Sullenberger argue, according to People for the American Way, “that the government has a responsibility to execute abortion providers.”

10. Ann Coulter: Where does one begin with the big, steaming pile of deplorable that is Ann Coulter? Her demonization of LGBT people at the 2006 Values Voter Summit? Her 2007 use of the word “faggot” from the stage of a major conservative conference? Her use of the word “raghead” to describe Muslims? Her creation of the false narrative that undocumented Mexican immigrants are purveyors of violent crimes and thieves of American jobs? How about her assertion that abortion clinic workers murdered by zealots “had a procedure performed on them with a rifle.” Gentle reader, I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Coulter has hitched her fading star to the Trump train, having released in August her latest spittoon of venom encased between the covers of In Trump We Trust: More fun, though, is watching her bomb of a performance at the Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe, as comics and celebrities on the dais take her down.

11. Mike Pence: The Indiana governor and Trump running-mate is a favorite of the Koch brothers’ ground-organizing group, Americans for Prosperity. In March, Pence signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, even prohibiting women from aborting a fetus because of a major defect or disability. He’s also something of a right-wing hero for his crusade against gun control. If all that isn’t deplorable enough for you, consider Pence’s response to the endorsement his ticket received from former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke. Twice asked if he would describe Duke as “deplorable,” Pence demurred, saying he isn’t “in the name-calling business.” Because Trump has disavowed Duke’s support (albeit petulantly) and Pence has oh-so-politely said he doesn’t accept Duke’s support, I have not included the odious, disgusting, despicable, DEPLORABLE David Duke on this list. Pence may have a hard time calling him such, though, because it’s hard to refute Duke when he says Trump has “embrace[d] most of the issues that I’ve championed for years.” Duke added: “My slogan remains ‘America first.’” Funny thing: Donald Trump uses that slogan as well.

12. Donald Trump, Jr.: The candidate’s oldest son, as Right Wing Watch termed it, “has got a white supremacist problem.” Most recently, as the campaign tried to make hay of Hillary Clinton’s remarks, Junior posted a meme on Instagram featuring the tagline, “The Deplorables,” featuring his father, his brother Eric, and a number of his father’s surrogates and associates, emulating the movie poster for The Expendables, about a band of merceneries. Also included in the lineup was the Trump version of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been appropriated by white nationalists as a sort of mascot. (The Trump version of Pepe sports a cartoon rendering of Trump Senior’s trademark hairdo.)

On Thursday, Junior compared the treatment Republicans receive from the media with that European Jews received at the hands of the Nazis. Speaking with host Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, the chip off the old block complained that media had “built [Hillary Clinton] up,” even overlooking what he said was the Democratic National Committee’s attempt to get Bernie Sanders out of the nomination contest. “If Republicans were doing that,” Donald Trump Jr. said, “they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.”

As Ari Rabin-Havt notes, Junior has consorted with racists in the past:

In March, [Donald Trump, Jr.] appeared on a radio show with James Edwards, host of the white supremacist radio show Political Cesspool.

[…]

Less than two weeks ago, he retweeted a prominent white supremacist. And that wasn’t even the first time he’s done so: Trump Jr. once retweeted a white supremacist’s false claim that a Trump

supporter pictured giving the Nazi salute was actually a Bernie Sanders fan in disguise.

13. The Man Himself, Donald J. Trump: You really don’t have time to read in one article all of the things that make Trump deplorable. Suffice it to say, all of the above and more. If you don’t believe me, check out this MTV compilation of racist statements, actually made by Donald Trump and interpreted by an actor.

 Adele M. Stan is AlterNet’s senior Washington editor, and a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

 

 

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/13-deplorable-public-figures-supporting-trump?akid=14646.123424.Dur5YL&rd=1&src=newsletter1063783&t=2

Bernie Sanders Is Ayn Rand’s Worst Nightmare: He’s Changing How We View Socialism — and Exposing Free Market Parasites

Conservatives have long wielded ‘socialism’ as a pejorative — but Sanders owns it and is transforming politics.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Conor Lynch

Emphasis Mine

Since Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., launched his campaign for president this spring, he has gone from being a fringe candidate of the left to a serious challenger of Hillary Clinton, who has long been considered a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. When Sanders started gaining traction at the beginning of the summer, most shrugged him off as the new Ralph Nader, or even the Ron Paul of the left, an insurgent who would attract a dedicated but slim following.

Today, these comparisons are looking less accurate, and Sanders is no longer a fringe candidate. Last week, the Sanders campaign released its fundraising results for the third quarter of 2015, and not only did it nearly match Clinton’s third quarter results in cash, but broke the fundraising record in small donations. Indeed, the Sanders campaign has reached one million individual donations faster than both of President Obama’s historic campaigns (in 2008, Obama didn’t reach one million until February).

As one would expect, as Sanders has surged, the American right (and center) have gone from ignoring him to attacking him, and the barbs have been predictable indeed. The most common sound something like this: “Socialism has already been tried and it failed,” “There is no free stuff,” “He wants to steal from the job-creators.” Of course, these are familiar attacks that have long wielded against the Democrats, but with a man who does not shun the “socialist” label, they have become even sharper.

First things first: The word “socialism” has become so freely used by the right that it has all but lost the meaning that it once possessed. Since even before the Cold War, the word socialism has been a pejorative in America. When people on the right say, “Socialism has already been tried,” they are by and large thinking of 20th-century communism in the East, i.e., a totalitarian state with a centrally planned economy. If this were the sole definition of socialism, then these anti-socialists would be entirely correct. When considering 20th century communism, it is clear that centrally planned economies without markets do not work in the long run (and black markets become an inevitable feature). At this point in history, markets are necessary for human innovation and wealth creation. But as the economist (and communist, according to Bill O’Reilly) Robert Reich points out his his new book “Saving Capitalism,” the free market vs. government debate is mostly pointless. In order to have a functioning market, there need to be rules, and for rules of the market there needs to be government; the real debate should be whether those rules are working for everyone or just the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

The point is, “socialism” does not necessarily mean centrally planned economies, as most on the right believe. The original definition of socialism was something like this: the collective ownership of the means of production and distribution. In this sense, worker-owned businesses (i.e. worker co-ops) are very “socialistic,” and Sanders has appropriately put forth a plan to increase worker ownership. The word socialism can also mean “Social Democracy” — this is what best describes Bernie Sanders’s philosophy — which involves a market economy with socialistic programs. The most common example of this sort of economic system can be found in the Scandinavian countries, which have hardly “failed.” Indeed, Scandinavian countries have all been previously ranked among the highest in the world when it comes to “ease of doing business,” “global innovation,” and “prosperity.”

The second-most common claim on the right came from the sagging Rand Paul last month, when he said that “Bernie Sanders is offering you free stuff…but guess what, there is no free lunch.” This kind of assumption is not new, and can be traced back to Ronald Reagan and those infamous “welfare queens,”sad dog-whistle that haunts us to this day. Of course, it’s not about “free stuff,” but fairness. Indeed, when some facts are introduced, this assumption is revealed as a myth that has long been used by the right wing to divide the middle class (particularly along racial lines). Rand Paul seems to be entirely ignorant (willfully, I’m sure) that it is not lazy unemployed people that strain Americas welfare system, but working class people who are not being paid livable wages by corporations. Indeed, this was exactly what was found in a recent study at the University of Berkley California. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The study found that 56% of federal and state dollars spent between 2009 and 2011 on welfare programs — including Medicaid, food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Creditflowed to working families and individuals with jobs. In some industries, about half the workforce relies on welfare.”

One of the most notorious of these corporations that doesn’t have to pay its workers living wages and is more or less receiving corporate welfare is McDonald’s. Indeed, if we are keeping with these right wing terms, McDonald’s is one enormous welfare queen. It has previously been estimated that fast-food workers, who are on average 29 years old, receive around $7 billion in public assistance, and McDonald’s even has a resource line (McResource) that assists workers in signing up for assistance programs (so it doesn’t have to pay livable wages). This is also true for other massive corporations like Walmart, which is notoriously low-paying and last year made nearly $16 billion in profit. It is always easier to go after the working class poor than massive corporations who make billions in profit and spend millions on lobbying.

Socialism is not about “free stuff,” but cracking down on these corporations that exploit their workers and then rely on the government to make sure they don’t starve. It is not about being lazy and slacking off, but about demanding a fair share and getting paid decently for one’s labor — it is yet another right wing fallacy that people get paid what they’re worth, and that only lazy people are poor. Socialism is about working people, not slackers. It is about fighting capitalist realities like the fact that the top 25 hedge fund managers in America make more money than all of the 157,800 kindergarten teachers combined. Are investors who produce no value really worth that much more than teachers?

Needless to say, the myths and attacks on Sanders and “socialism” will only grow more intense in the months to come. Republican politicians tend to agree with Ayn Rand when it comes to working people, i.e. that they are parasites (although they’d never say such a thing out loud). The Sanders campaign is changing how American people view “socialism,” and hopefully, he is also exposing the GOP as the anti-working class party that it truly is.

Conor Lynch is a writer and journalist living in New York City. His work has appeared on Salon, The Hill, AlterNet, and openDemocracy. Follow him onTwitter.

See:http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bernie-sanders-ayn-rands-worst-nightmare-hes-changing-how-we-view-socialism-and?akid=13560.123424.muLE0V&rd=1&src=newsletter1043763&t=8

Paul Krugman on Why Ayn Rand’s Economic Disciples Are Dead Wrong About the Dollar

The dollar is showing strength. Unfortunately, that’s a bad thing.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Paul Krugman

Emphasis Mine

Reality keeps intruding on the fevered Ayn Randian dreams of the Republican Party and other conservative critics of the Federal Reserve. Far from debasing the dollar, as the hysterics keep warning, the Fed’s moves to help the economy by easing money now appear to have resulted in a stronger dollar.

That’s great news, right?

Well, not exactly, according to Paul Krugman in Friday’s column:

Actually, the strong dollar is bad for America. In an immediate sense, it will weaken our long-delayed economic recovery by widening the trade deficit. In a deeper sense, the message from the dollar’s surge is that we’re less insulated than many thought from problems overseas. In particular, you should think of the strong dollar/weak euro combination as the way Europe exports its troubles to the rest of the world, America very much included.

Undeniably, the U.S. economy is seeing some growth lately, although there are also still signs of weakness. Employment may be rising fast, but wages are not. According to Krugman, America is offering historially low returns to investors with even long-term bonds paying only a bit more than 2 percent interest.

When it comes to currency markets, however, we are looking very strong in comparison to everyone else, especially Europe where the threat of deflation looms and many bonds are offering negative interest rates. Krugman:

This remarkable situation makes even those low, low U.S. returns look attractive by comparison. So capital is heading our way, driving the euro down and the dollar up.

Who wins from this market move? Europe: a weaker euro makes European industry more competitive against rivals, boosting both exports and firms that compete with imports, and the effect is to mitigate the euroslump. Who loses? We do, as our industry loses competitiveness, not just in European markets, but in countries where our exports compete with theirs. America has been experiencing a modest manufacturing revival in recent years, but that revival will be cut short if the dollar stays this high for long.

In effect, then, Europe is managing to export some of its stagnation to the rest of us. We’re not talking about a nefarious plot, about so-called currency wars; it’s just the way things work in a global economy with highly mobile capital and market-determined exchange rates. And the effects may be quite large. If markets believe that Europe’s weakness will last a long time, we would expect the euro to fall and the dollar to rise enough to eliminate much if not most of the difference in interest rates, which would mean severely crimping U.S. growth.

Krugman hates to be a Cassandra, but finds all of this especially worrying when you consider that our policy makers are not fully understanding the implications of the rising dollar. Even the Fed might be clueless. “Oh, and one more thing,” he adds. “A lot of businesses around the world have borrowed heavily in dollars, which means that a rising dollar may create a whole new set of debt crises. Just what the global economy needed.”

So Europe’s troubles, and the euro itself, is also our problem, even if it becomes a little cheaper for Americans to visit Europe for the moment. That’s the way it is in our interconnected world. But, Krugman warns the Fed:  “Don’t raise rates until you see the whites of inflation’s eyes!”

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/economy/paul-krugman-why-ayn-rands-economic-disciples-are-dead-wrong-about-dollar

How Rev. Billy Graham Taught the Republican Party to Sacrifice the Poor on the Altar of Big-Business

Source: AlterNet

Author: C J Wehrleman

Since turning 95 last month, Reverend Billy Graham’s health has deteriorated, and judging by his family’s call for prayers, his life is nearing its end. Many things will be written about Graham’s life by both disciples and his detractors, but if you want to know where the base of today’s Republican Party—the Christian Right—gets its mojo, look no further than this Southern Baptist preacher.

The genetic makeup of the GOP is one chromosome away from Graham’s DNA. Today’s Republican Party is a neo-Confederate pro-corporation movement, thanks to the supposed life-long Democrat (when he wasn’t endorsing Mitt Romney)—the Reverend Billy Graham. A childhood friend of Richard Nixon’s it was Graham who helped the disgraced president articulate the “Southern Strategy,” which won Nixon the White House in 1968.

Steven P. Miller, author of Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South,writes that it was Graham’s public relationship with Southern Baptist ministers, and quips like, “Prejudice is not just a sectional problem” and “Criticism of the South is one of the most popular indoor sports of some Northerners these days,” that made him an much-loved figure among his fellow Southerners. Miller also says that Graham’s evangelical understanding of the sins of racism allowed many white Southerners to declare themselves absolved from past guilt.

Millennials can be forgiven for mistakenly thinking the Christian Right has been the main strain of the GOP since ad infinitum. It hasn’t. The Christian Right is still a relatively new dynamic on the American political landscape. Prior to the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, no serious presidential candidate ever claimed to have been “born again,” and the emphasis of faith for a politician seeking high office was as rare then as a candidate declaring his atheism is today.

But something weird happened on the way to the forum. Religious fundamentalists banded together to oppose Jimmy Carter’s 1980 reelection campaign (Carter was a Southern Baptist), and in turn, put their support behind Ronald Reagan, who was a divorced Hollywood actor. This strange coalition on the right became a movement better known as the Moral Majority, and Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell were the tip of the sword.

The Moral Majority surprised nearly everyone by helping sweep Reagan into the White House. The Sarasota Journal wrote as much on Feb 9, 1981: “The merging of the political right with the religious right has taken the country by surprise.”

Until then, not even your most casual political observer believed that conservative Christians could or would play a pivotal role in shaping the outcome of elections. Screenplay writer Norman Lear said at the time, “The Moral Majority is neither the moral point of view, nor the majority.”

With help from the likes of Pat Robertson and a coalition of anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, and anti-ACLU networks, the Moral Majority became the Christian Right. While Graham publicly distanced himself from the Moral Majority, this was done purely for political optics. The media’s gullibility in falling for the “genteel, bipartisan, apolitical preacher” narrative gave Graham’s voice even more political clout.

Graham was a skillful orator, and he adeptly infused the teachings of Ayn Rand with those of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, Jesus says, “The meek shall inherit the earth,” and urges his followers, “To sell what you have and give to the poor.” But Graham, with the biggest Christian following in America during the ’80s,

But something weird happened on the way to the forum. Religious fundamentalists banded together to oppose Jimmy Carter’s 1980 reelection campaign (Carter was a Southern Baptist), and in turn, put their support behind Ronald Reagan, who was a divorced Hollywood actor. This strange coalition on the right became a movement better known as the Moral Majority, and Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell were the tip of the sword.

The Moral Majority surprised nearly everyone by helping sweep Reagan into the White House. The Sarasota Journal wrote as much on Feb 9, 1981: “The merging of the political right with the religious right has taken the country by surprise.”

Until then, not even your most casual political observer believed that conservative Christians could or would play a pivotal role in shaping the outcome of elections. Screenplay writer Norman Lear said at the time, “The Moral Majority is neither the moral point of view, nor the majority.”

Where Bible Jesus feeds the masses with two loaves of bread, Ayn Randian Jesus says, “Bugger off, this bread is mine, you lazy moochers.” While Graham removed Southern Christians’ guilt over segregation, Ayn Rand removed the Christian Right’s guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except themselves. Bruce E. Levine, author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite [4], wrote on AlterNet, “Not only did Rand make it ‘moral’ for the wealthy not to pay their fair share of taxes, she ‘liberated’ millions of other Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering of their own children.”

With the explosion of cable television, Graham turned his church into a mega money-making empire for himself. The self-proclaimed political non-partisan also turned his massive flock into a loyal legion of storm troopers for the Republican Party. Today, Graham’s son, Franklin, is the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He has continued his father’s legacy of being a shill and supporter of far-right pro-corporate causes while pulling down a $600,000 salary.

On the eve of the 2012 election, the younger Graham bragged that it was his father’s appearance with George W. Bush at a rally in Florida which won the Texas governor the presidency in 2000.

In endorsing Mitt Romney, Billy Graham said, “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”

Today, evangelism is synonymous with sacrificing the poor on the altar of big-business’ interests and is becoming the most reliable and agitated voting bloc of the Republican Party since the election of Reagan. We can rightfully accuse the Christian Right of ushering in three decades of failed trickle-down economics, which has made this nation one of the most wealth-disparate of the developed countries. It’s the political descendants of Graham who shut down the government with their radical Jesus said replace every government-funded service with a for-profit corporation ideology.

Graham’s coalition of hate also put social issues front and square in the GOP primary process, and no one was more hateful than Graham. White House tapes recorded him openly telling President Nixon he believed that the Jews had a “stranglehold on the American media” and that “this Jewish stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.”

The National Archive tapes reveal the nation’s best-known preacher in agreement with a stream of bigoted Nixon comments about Jews and their perceived influence on American life. “If you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something. There also the ones putting out the pornographic stuff,” said Graham. To which Nixon replied, “the Jews are an irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards.”

Repeatedly, Graham’s judgment was found wanting, yet politicians on both sides seek his and/or his family’s approval and photo-ops, which shows how far the Christian Right has pulled this country to the right since 1980.

Graham blames today’s economic doldrums on God punishing the nation for its growing secularization and what he perceives to be an increase in immorality. “I don’t see our country turning to God…Maybe he will have to bring this country down economically before we turn our hearts back to God. We need to repent.”

Come the 2016 campaign season, when the likes of Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum talk about how “Christianity is under attack” and how the “takers” are destroying America, it will be Billy Graham’s shadow you have to blame for that.

Emphasis Mine

see: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/how-rev-billy-graham-taught-republican-party-it-could-sacrifice-poor-altar-big?akid=11287.123424.rDZ6dc&rd=1&src=newsletter937898&t=5

 

Ayn Rand USA: In 20 Years Corporate Profits Are Up 4X and Their Taxes Have Fallen by 50% — Meanwhile the Workers’ Payroll Tax Has Doubled

Corporations have decided to let middle-class workers pay for national investments that have largely benefited businesses over the years.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Paul Buchheit

Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” fantasizes a world in which anti-government citizens reject taxes and regulations, and “stop the motor” by withdrawing themselves from the system of production. In a perverse twist on the writer’s theme the prediction is coming true. But instead of productive people rejecting taxes, rejected taxes are shutting down productive people.

Perhaps Ayn Rand never anticipated the impact of unregulated greed on a productive middle class. Perhaps she never understood the fairness of tax money for public research and infrastructure and security, all of which have contributed to the success of big business. She must have known about the inequality of the pre-Depression years. But she couldn’t have foreseen the concurrent rise in technology and globalization that allowed inequality to surge again, more quickly, in a manner that threatens to put the greediest offenders out of our reach.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy suggests that average working people are ‘takers.’ In reality, those in the best position to make money take all they can get, with no scruples about their working class victims, because taking, in the minds of the rich, serves as a model for success. The strategy involves tax avoidance, in numerous forms.

Corporations Stopped Paying

In the past twenty years, corporate profits have quadrupled while the corporate tax percent has dropped by half. The payroll tax, paid by workers, has doubled.

In effect, corporations have decided to let middle-class workers pay for national investments that have largely benefited businesses over the years. The greater part of basic research, especially for technology and health care, has been conducted with government money. Even today 60% of university research is government-supported. Corporations use highways and shipping lanes and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, and communications towers and satellites to conduct online business.

Yet as corporate profits surge and taxes plummet, our infrastructure is deteriorating. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $3.63 trillion is needed over the next seven years to make the necessary repairs.

Turning Taxes Into Thin Air

Corporations have used numerous and creative means to avoid their tax responsibilities. They have about a year’s worth of profits stashed untaxed overseas. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 60% of their cash is offshore. Yet these corporate ‘persons’ enjoy a foreign earned income exclusion that real U.S. persons don’t get.

Corporate tax haven ploys are legendary, with almost 19,000 companies claiming home office space in one building in the low-tax Cayman Islands. But they don’t want to give up their U.S. benefits. Tech companies in 19 tax haven jurisdictions received $18.7 billion in 2011 federal contracts. A lot of smaller companies are legally exempt from taxes. As of 2008, according to IRS data, fully 69% of U.S. corporations were organized as nontaxablebusinesses.

There’s much more. Companies call their CEO bonuses “performance pay” to get a lower rate. Private equity firms call fees “capital gains” to get a lower rate. Fast food companies call their lunch menus “intellectual property” to get a lower rate.

Prisons and casinos have stooped to the level of calling themselves “real estate investment trusts” (REITs) to gain tax exemptions. Stooping lower yet, Disney and others have added cows and sheep to their greenspace to get a farmland exemption.

The Richest Individuals Stopped Paying

The IRS estimated that 17 percent of taxes owed were not paid in 2006, leaving an underpayment of $450 billion. The revenue loss from tax havens approaches $450 billion. Subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes are estimated at over $1 trillion. Expenditures overwhelmingly benefit the richest taxpayers.

In keeping with Ayn Rand’s assurance that “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue,” the super-rich are relentless in their quest to make more money by eliminating taxes. Instead of calling their income ‘income,’ they call it “carried interest” or “performance-based earnings” or “deferred pay.” And when they cash in their stock options, they might look up last year’s lowest price, write that in as a purchase date, cash in the concocted profits, and take advantage of the lower capital gains tax rate.

So Who Has To Pay?

Middle-class families. The $2 trillion in tax losses from underpayments, expenditures, and tax havens costs every middle-class family about $20,000 in community benefits, including health care and education and food and housing.

Schoolkids, too. A study of 265 large companies by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) determined that about $14 billion per year in state income taxes was unpaid over three years. That’s approximately equal to the loss of 2012-13 education funding due to budget cuts.

And the lowest-income taxpayers make up the difference, based on new data that shows that the Earned Income Tax Credit is the single biggest compliance problem cited by the IRS. The average sentence for cheating with secret offshore financial accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal, is about half as long as in some other types of tax cases.

Atlas Can’t Be Found Among the Rich

Only 3 percent of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest .1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. Job creators come from the middle class.

So if the super-rich are not holding the world on their shoulders, what do they do with their money? According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate.

Ayn Rand’s hero John Galt said, “We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another.” In his world, Atlas has it easy, with only himself to think about.

Paul Buchheit teaches economic inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of the Web sites UsAgainstGreed.orgPayUpNow.org and RappingHistory.org, and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

Emphasis Mine

see: http://www.alternet.org/economy/ayn-rand-usa-20-years-corporate-profits-are-4x-and-their-taxes-have-fallen-50-meanwhile?akid=10427.123424.9d7q5C&rd=1&src=newsletter839254&t=5

Five Reasons Ayn Rand Would Have Despised Paul Ryan

From: The National Memo

By: Jason Sattler

Paul Ryan may be backing away from his devotion to Ayn Rand, the woman who inspired him to enter politics. But there are some things that the 20th century’s most prominent prophet of selfishness would have probably appreciated about the Republican’s soon-to-be nominee for vice president. (N.B.: not written yesterday).

In fourteen years in Washington D.C., Ryan only passed two bills—one naming a U.S. post office in his hometown, the other giving arrow makers a tax break. This abject uselessness on behalf of the American people is about as close as an elected official can get to “going Galt.” Being a star member of the most unproductive Congress in 65 years might also have impressed the author who saw the only purpose of government as protecting citizens from physical violence.

Rand might also admire Ryan’s desire to eventually zero out nearly every program that helps the poor and his desire to help rich people become richer with massive tax breaks. But there’s much about the Congressman from Wisconsin that she certainly would consider abhorrent. As Rand scholar Jennifer Burns said, “If Mr. Ryan becomes the next vice president, it wouldn’t be her dream come true, but her nightmare.”

Here are five reasons why Ayn Rand would have quickly shrugged off Paul Ryan.

Jack Kemp was a favorite of Ronald Reagan. The ex-football star, Congressman, and 1996 running mate of Bob Dole, Kemp gave Paul Ryan his first job in politics as a speechwriter. A prime requirement of such a job would be the ability to praise the Gipper slavishly and constantly, something Ryan has been doing ever since. Ryan says that Republicans need to offer the kind of “boldness and clarity that Reagan offered in the 1980s.” Rand would disagree. She hated Reagan with a boldness and clarity that few liberals can match. In 1976 she wrote, “I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word—i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor.”

A “conservative in the worst sense of that word” may be the single finest phrase she ever wrote.

Paul Ryan is as anti-abortion rights as any modern politician can be. He authored the Protect Life Act, which would deny an abortion even to save the mother’s own life. Rand’s stand on abortion rights was equally firm in the opposite direction. In her book Of Living Death, Rand wrote, “Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered.” The idea that a woman possesses ownership of her own body even after one of her eggs has been fertilized is certainly one concept of freedom that has not been transmitted to those on the right like Ryan, who publicize her philosophy.n his first speech as Mitt Romney’s running mate,

Paul Ryan, a practicing Catholic, said “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.” He clearly hoped to soothe any doubters on the religious right who might worry that he is too influenced by Rand’s writings. A militant atheist, Rand believed the source of all rights came from simply existing. “The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man,” she wrote. About faith, a fundamental aspect of Catholicism, Rand wrote: “Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.” It isn’t hard to believe that Rand would consider Ryan to be a walking manifestation of that enemy.

Paul Ryan’s great grandfather started a company called Ryan Incorporated Central that has been contracting with the government for over a century. Ryan himself famously used his Social Security survivor’s benefits to pay for his college, which was easy to do considering that his father also left him a substantial share of his estate. And you’re well aware that since he began serving in Congress back in 1999, Paul Ryan has been enjoying government health care. Ayn Rand preached self-reliance and her heroes were always self-made—unlike Ryan and Romney, both of whom enjoyed extraordinary financial stability and connections coming out of college. These luxuries made Ryan insensitive to the troubles faced by typical Americans and the need for a safety net, which Ryan likes to call a “safety hammock.”

Some people are born on third base and think they hit a triple. Ryan is standing on third base wondering why the batboy is being so lazy. Not exactly a heroic stand.

For all her ranting about the limits of government and the need to be independent, Ayn Rand benefited from Medicare. After decades of smoking, she needed surgery for lung cancer. And where did she turn? The evil of collectivism. Her supporters argue that “she paid into [the Medicare system] her entire life. Why shouldn’t she accept the benefits?” I agree. But all the people under 55 who would get a vastly different version of Medicare under Ryan’s plan have paid their dues, too. Lao Tzu said, “Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Whatever Ayn Rand’s beliefs or intentions, her character provided a real testament to the virtues of  government that promotes its citizens’ general welfare.

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Emphasis Mine & my comments

see: http://www.nationalmemo.com/five-reasons-ayn-rand-would-have-despised-paul-ryan/

 

12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan

From: Think Progress

By:Igor Volsky

Mitt Romney has picked as his running mate 42 year-old Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP budget, which the New York Times has described as “the most extreme budget plan passed by a house of Congress in modern times.” Below are 12 things you should know about Ryan and his policies:

1. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. Ryan heaped praise on Ayn Rand, a 20th-century libertarian novelist best known for her philosophy that centered on the idea that selfishness is “virtue.” Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages. Though he publicly rejected “her philosophy” in 2012, Ryan had professed himself a strong devotee. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he said at a D.C. gathering honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.”

2. Ryan wants to raises taxes on the middle class, cuts them for millionaires. Paul Ryan’s infamous budget — which Romney embraced — replaces “the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.” Federal tax collections would fall “by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade” as a result and to avoid increasing the national debt, the budget proposes massive cuts in social programs and “special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.” But 62 percent of the savings would come from programs that benefit the lower- and middle-classes, who would also experience a tax increase. That’s because while Ryan “would extend the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year, he would not extend President Obama’s tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes, which will expire at the same time.” Households “earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.”

Audiences have booed Ryan for the unfair distribution!

3. Ryan wants to end Medicare, replace it with a voucher system. Ryan’s latest budget transforms the existing version of Medicare, in which government provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit, into a “premium support” system. All future retirees would receive a government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans or traditional fee-for-service Medicare. But since the premium support voucher does not keep up with increasing health care costs, the Congressional Budget Offices estimates that new beneficiaries could pay up to $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050. A recent study also found that had the plan been implemented in 2009, 24 million beneficiares enrolled in the program would have paid higher premiums to maintain their choice of plan and doctors. Ryan would also raise Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67.

4. Ryan thinks Social Security is a “ponzi scheme.” In September of 2011, Ryan agreed with Rick Perry’s characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” andsince 2005 has advocated for privatizing the retirement benefit and investing it in stocks and bonds. Conservatives claim that this would “outperform the current formula based on wages earned and overall wage appreciation,” but the economic crisis of 2008 should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers who seek to hinge Americans’ retirement on the stock market. In fact, “a person with a private Social Security account similar to what President George W. Bush proposed in 2005″ would have lost much of their retirement savings.

5. Ryan’s budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years. Ryan’s budget calls for massive reductions in government spending. He has proposed cutting discretionary programs by about $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, which, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, would suck demand out of the economy and “reduce employment by 1.3 million jobs in fiscal 2013 and 2.8 million jobs in fiscal 2014, relative to current budget policies.”

6. Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more more than 1 million students.Ryan’s budget claims both that rising financial aid is driving college tuition costs upward, and that Pell Grants, which help cover tuition costs for low-income Americans, don’t go to the “truly needy.” So he cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could “ultimately knock more than one million students off” the program over the next 10 years.

7. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsides for big oil. In 2011, Ryan joined all House Republicans and 13 Democrats in his vote to keep Big Oil tax loopholes as part of the FY 2011 spending bill. His budget would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.” For instance, it “calls for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone” and would spend only $150 million over five years — or 20 percent of what was invested in 2012 — on energy programs.

8. Ryan has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies . Ryan “and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan,” the Daily Beast reported in June of 2011. “Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.”

9. Ryan claimed Romneycare has led to “rationing and benefit cuts.” “I’m not a fan of [Romney’s health care reform] system,” Ryan told C-SPAN in 2010. He argued that government is rationing care in the state and claimed that people are “seeing the system bursting by the seams, they’re seeing premium increases, rationing and benefit cuts.” He called the system “a fatal conceit” and “unsustainable.”

10. Ryan believes that Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.” Though Romney has gone to great lengths to distinguish his Massachusetts health care law from Obamacare, Ryan doesn’t see the difference. “It’s not that dissimilar to Obamacare, and you probably know I’m not a big fan of Obamacare,” Ryan said at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the American Spectator in March of 2011. “I just don’t think the mandates work … all the regulation they’ve put on it…I think it’s beginning to death spiral. They’re beginning to have to look at rationing decisions.”

11. Ryan accused generals of lying about their support for Obama’s military budget. In March, Ryan couldn’t believe that Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey supports Obama’s Pentagon budget, which incorporates $487 billion in cuts over 10 years. “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said at a policy summit hosted by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.” He later apologized for the implication.

12. Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment, an extreme anti-abortion measure. Ryan joined 62 other Republicans in co-sponsoring the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which declares that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” This would outlaw abortion, some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization.

Emphasis Mine.

see: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/08/11/677171/12-things-you-should-know-about-vice-presidential-candidate-paul-ryan/