GOP Uses Dr. Seuss To Distract From Their Embrace of Gangster Capitalism

Thom plus logo Cranking up the culture wars won't stop the destruction of our democracy…but it might win elections

So, while the Senate was debating Joe Manchin's proposal to cut back unemployment benefits to Americans whacked by the coronavirus, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was reading Dr. Seuss out loud.

And he chose to read "Green Eggs and Ham," an uncontroversial Seuss classic, instead of the six Seuss books that the family's foundation pulled from circulation because they portray Black and Chinese people in racist ways.

Why would McCarthy do this? It turns out that Republicans and rightwing media are frantically engaging in culture wars with Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head to distract us from their embrace of anti-democratic Gangster Capitalism.

There are two main alternatives to American democracy and Regulated Capitalism being offered on the world's stage right now, and the GOP has made their choice.

The first possible choice is Communist Capitalism, practiced by China and Vietnam. This system leads to rapid economic growth, raises the middle class, but crushes democracy, free speech and dissent.

The second is Gangster Capitalism, practiced by Hungary, Russia and Turkey (among others, particularly in the Third World), which leads to an explosion of wealth among the nation's gangster oligarchs, strips wealth from the middle class, and also crushes democracy, free speech and dissent.

While most in the Democratic Party still hold to the classic American ideals of Regulated Capitalism, democracy, free speech and robust dissent and debate, the GOP has clearly decided that Gangster Capitalism and ending democracy are the path they're going to follow.

Which makes perfect sense when you consider that their leader, Donald Trump, is a classic Gangster Capitalist.

The transition of America from Regulated Capitalism to Gangster Capitalism began in the 1980s with the Reagan administration, using the rubric of "deregulation."

For capitalism to work in a way that doesn't produce oligarchs and gangsters, it must be regulated. Capitalism, after all, is just a game that people play using money and mutually agreed-upon rules.

A good analogy is football. The NFL heavily regulates football in the United States, at least the football played by its teams. Those regulations include how many players are on the field at any time, exactly what constitutes a down or a touchdown, and rules about how players may physically contact each other, and under what circumstances.

The NFL's regulations also decide which team gets first pick of new players: they decided that the worst-performing teams should have first choice of newly available players, giving every team an opportunity to rise up through the ranks in the following season. It's sort of like progressive taxation, giving the little guy a chance while slightly restraining those already at the top.

These regulations guarantee the safety and stability of the game itself, and also guarantee that fans of football have a consistent experience, because everybody understands and follows the rules.

But imagine if Milton Friedman and the other idiots like him who advised the Reagan administration were to have taken over the NFL.

The teams with the wealthiest owners would always get the best players, and thus would win every game. They might even decide that the team that gave the NFL the most money could have an extra player or two on the field at various times.

They would assure us that the teams that didn't perform as well just have to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." Perhaps their problem is just that their players are "lazy," these people would tell us, and the solution is to cut their salaries and reduce the amount of protective equipment they can wear so that they will have a "incentive" to play harder and increase their performance.

Then the richest teams would begin buying the poorer teams, until all the teams are owned by three or four billionaires. Sounds like a football paradise, right?

Before the Reagan Revolution, America had an agreement that the power of organized money in the form of a corporation should be balanced by the power of organized workers with unions.

As FDR famously said, "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob."

Nonetheless, Reagan and rightwing media begin promoting the meme of "union thugs" and "corrupt union bosses" (there were a few rare examples, as in any field) while celebrating the corporate form as some sort of aesthetic ideal. He installed an anti-union man at the head of the National Labor Relations Board and another as the Secretary of Labor.

In a little over a decade, America went from about a third of its workers being represented by a union to around 10%. As a result, wages collapsed and the middle class began to slide into debt. Unions today only represent 6% of private-sector workers.

As union membership declines, income inequality increases Just like the NFL prevents players from being injured during the game with rules like banning grabbing by the face-mask or punching, before Reagan Regulated Capitalism had rules to protect people like you and me from corporations that wanted to increase their profits by poisoning our air, food and water.

Reagan began the radical process of deregulating these industries and gutting the power of regulatory agencies. The result over the past 40 years has been, among other things, a collapse in insects and other species at the bottom of the food chain, an explosion of chemicals in our bloodstreams and brain-damaging heavy metals in baby foods, and a roughly 50% reduction in American male sperm content and motility that has created a crisis of infertility and birth defects.

Reagan's Republican deregulation of American industry over the past 40 years focused heavily on blocking regulations that prevented monopolies, the capitalist equivalent of three billionaires ending up with all the NFL teams. In 1983, he stopped enforcing anti-trust and antimonopoly laws that have been on the books since the late 1800s, and no American president since has restored their power.

As a result, as I document in my book The Hidden History of Monopolies, the average American family today spends about $5000 a year more on products from cell service to the Internet to healthcare and travel then do citizens of countries that still regulate monopolies, like most of Europe.

It's now impossible to identify any major sector within American capitalism that isn't more than 70% dominated by fewer than five companies. Contrast that with a US Supreme Court case in 1959 that denied two shoe companies the ability to merge because the resulting combined company would control around 9% of the American shoe market.

The question that now faces America is whether our slide toward Gangster Capitalism that Reagan began has gathered so much momentum that it can't be stopped.

If that's the case, and I propose we are very close to that in my newest book The Hidden History Of American Oligarchy, then both American democracy and the American middle class are doomed. Four more years of Donald Trump would have guaranteed the completion of that transformation.

But, instead, in 2020 we elected Democrats to run Congress and the White House, so now America is facing a choice.

Do we want to re-embrace Regulated Capitalism and rebuild democracy, along with the American middle-class, in a fair and functional fashion?

Or shall we continue down the Reagan/Bush/Trump GOP path of deregulation to a Gangster Capitalism oligarchic dystopia of increasing poverty, crime and physical and social sickness?

If we choose to engage vigorously in the political process, the choice is in our hands.

-Thom

Originally posted on Medium.com

Comments

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 weeks 1 day ago
#1

We shall continue down the path of dystopia as long as Amerikkka's dumbest voters fail to recognize how destructive it is to keep giving the party of liars, racists, and traitors any power whatsoever at any level of government from city council to POTUS -- and the rest of us fail to stop them!

Hate is the wrong word, which the haters on the bigoted right constantly project as the primary motive of Democrats. Visceral disgust and righteous anger are what more likely drove most of the 81 million small-d democrats to defy a deadly pandemic and come out in force to fire Trump and his boot-licking toadies.

So let's just cut to the chase in plain street language that anyone can understand, even ditto heads: The goddamn fools who keep voting Republican against their own best interests -- and everyone else's -- are stubborn, gullible, horribly ignorant suckers who don't deserve spit. Most are beyond redemption and can only be out-voted, neither reasoned with nor persuaded.

They have allowed themselves to become hopelessly brainwashed over the decades by internalizing the web of deceit spun by ridiculously overpaid lying bastards, such as drug addict, suspected child molester, and raving sexist Rush Limpballs, and Fucker Charlatan, one of the most despicable purveyors of disinformation on cable TV, or for that matter, on any media platform anywhere, now that Limbaugh did the world a huge favor and mercifully croaked on his own bile. (May he rot in hell for all eternity, or at least be reborn as a poverty-stricken black woman in rural Alagoddamnbama surrounded by a leering lynch mob with dicks and tongues hanging out.)

Depressingly, these two master liars are just the tip of the brilliant-white, Republican Party iceberg, which has done more damage to the "United" States than our worst enemies could ever imagine possible in their most vivid wet dreams. Just ask Putin.

True evil is when public figures knowingly lie to their followers. True stupidity is when the followers believe the lies despite all evidence to the contrary.

Then, proving to the world just how far down the rabbit hole they've fallen, these arrogant pissants with their cheesy Cheshire Cat smiles come onto forums like Thom's Blog to share their esoteric knowledge, which, huh, imagine that, no one else seems privy to but the select few in on the great white-man joke. Yeah, thanks for sharing. But don't hope to waste the time and energy of the sane among us any further by expecting others to chase down and clean up every turd that drops out of some bastard's butt.

Free speech is a two-way street -- abusers of that sacred right should not get to frame the argument unless we allow them to for comic effect. Ignoring and/or ridiculing utter nonsense is often the wisest course rather than following shameless liars down their labyrinth of rabbit holes. Village idiots should not be able to lie with impunity and should always be marginalized and never taken seriously, as any such veneer of undeserved respectability only encourages them to lie with even more gusto.

To drive that salient point home, look no further than twice-impeached Donald John Trump. America's homegrown motley fool lied over 30,000 times directly to our faces and nearly destroyed our hard-won form of government (however flawed) while sacrificing the lives of half a million citizens for his own petty ego. Elections definitely have serious consequences.

Time is too short to spend it on abject foolishness: Democracy is collapsing all around us; "wars and rumors of wars" are devastating whole societies; greedy humans are squandering Earth's precious, extremely limited resources; entire ecosystems are disappearing at an alarming rate right before our eyes; irreversible climate destruction is accelerating to the point where the very existence of life for the majority of species on this godforsaken speck of stardust is called into serious question by some of our most informed scientists.

Oh, but please, please check out the latest pointless (unless one considers white privilege the point) ramblings of Tucker Carlson -- a small-minded, priggish little man with a shrunken soul who hides behind the "banality of evil" (a false thesis), a truly hideous human being whom dumb people think a smart person should sound like. Fuch him! Get thee behind me, Satan!

cuz's picture
cuz 5 weeks 6 days ago
#2

Thom, the silliness of canceling Dr. Seuss, Mr Potato Head, and Pepé Le Pew was a function of oversensitive progressives.

The comedy of their lunacy was provided by people on the sane side of the aisle.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 weeks 6 days ago
#3

Thom, "oversensitive" private citizens and private companies with normal human consciences -- offended by overt bigotry infused throughout society, and exercising their First Amendment rights by freely taking it upon themselves outside the arena of petty politics to address systemic racism and sexism haunting them from America's white-supremacist, male-dominated "good old days" -- is so silly, so, ugh, "progressive."

"The [cough, cough] sane side of the aisle" thinks that that is just really hilarious and feigns outrage to provide cheap, red-meat entertainment to their racist, sexist cult of wild-eyed, dumbed-down Trumpees, who actually believe the "cancel culture" is a real thing.

(Now THAT is comical ...and kinda sad.)

Winger-speak reinterpreted through the lens of actual sanity: Republicans have nothing of substance to offer the American people in regard to policy ideas other than the lunacy of huge tax breaks for the super rich and deadly deregulation for their poisonous monopoly cash cows.

So, to stay relevant with their truly ignorant and highly delusional voters, they -- OF COURSE -- have to invent phony wedge issues. "Why, those goddamn prissy Democrats even 'cancelled' those comical words 'nigger' and 'cunt' in polite society! And, dang it, lynchings and rape were so damn funny too!"

Enter Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Cuz into this, ah, "debate" (?) ...

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 weeks 6 days ago
#5

Always suspected yet proven once again, the rest of Thom's Blog members can now fully appreciate where sad little clowns get their so-called "news": the psychotic right-wing universe of "alternative facts" -- this time from repugnant satire that fake Christians think is true, a rape culture that fake Christians think is funny. And why are fake Christians so proud of their ignorance and immorality? Well, because they are fake Christians ...and just plain dumb.

cuz's picture
cuz 5 weeks 6 days ago
#6

Sue, I think the above poster has been warned multiple times. Attacking other posters is a violation.

Politics 101,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v2DmTAZ1vg

rostasi 5 weeks 6 days ago
#7

You guys DO know that the Babylon Bee is satire, right?

Uhhhh, maybe not...

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 weeks 6 days ago
#8

Oh, okay, we can play that game. (Games are fun.):

So, is the other poster above now trying to "cancel" the previous poster above? Isn't that statement blatantly hypocritical given the same above-poster's explicit expositions on the phony subject of "cancel culture"? Furthermore, isn't that statement also rather "oversensitive"?

If so, then why stalk the offending posts, obviously inviting replies? Oh yeah, free speech works both ways. Hey, and that's cool, right? Or, is free speech only reserved for those (white) privileged few?

It's a fine line, but the above-above poster has been trying very hard not to attack the above-poster personally after, admittedly, crossing the line a few times before, for which I apologized ...kinda.

If one reads said posts above carefully, they criticize and ridicule (IMO rightfully) the statements and ideas themselves made by the above-poster, not the above-poster his/her/itself, however close the proximity may be or appear to be. Referring to generic, third-person, lying Republicans, racist Trump clowns, and fake Christians, etc., etc., is not an ad hominem attack against any particular member's person.

The above-above poster is sorry that the above-poster appears to draw inferences and to associate him/her/itself with such a "basket of deplorables." But how is that anyone else's fault but the one who might be self-identifying with such fools, pray tell?

Feb. 26, 2021 blog:

Legend: "... I want to call them hypocritical but want to know if I was allowed to say that. or that it might be too offensive."

Sue: "You can say that a statement [emphasis mine] is hypocritical, or a public figure, but not a fellow member."

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 weeks 6 days ago
#9

rostasi: Yup, being a fan of The Onion, I know that but not sure the other "guy" does. And yup again, Babylon Bee isn't at all funny and couldn't hold a candle to The Onion. It's just a pathetic, wing-nut knockoff ...IMO.

BTW, the link provided by the other "above poster" is an excellent example of really good humor and worth a watch, which of course is always the case with Billy Connolly.

Although, I often wonder (not really) why wingers don't apply the same standard to their guy Trump and his signature ad hominem attacks, which is about his only real political skillset and which has been quite effective, at least until his whole schtick finally wore out with the majority of voters and he lost the House, the Senate, and the presidency in only four years all by himself -- an amazing political feat in its own right.

(Read Michael Cohen's books Disloyal and Mea Culpa: The Election Essays.)

cuz's picture
cuz 5 weeks 5 days ago
#10

No matter how bad your life is, it's still not as bad as a person who sits around worrying about the gender of a plastic potato.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 weeks 5 days ago
#11

Hah! Mister Potato Head Tucker Carlson must be having a really bad life then as he sits around Fux "News" pontificating on the subject.

rostasi 5 weeks 5 days ago
#12

"No matter how bad your life is, it's still not as bad as a person who sits around worrying about the lack of gender of a plastic potato."

ftfy

cuz's picture
cuz 5 weeks 5 days ago
#13

Our society has separated into two groups,

One group says leave me alone and I will leave you alone,

and the other group that says "obey me or else".

Time to learn a lesson from your dog:

No matter what life brings you, kick some grass over that shit and move on.

rostasi 5 weeks 5 days ago
#14

Apparently, nuance is not your strong point.

cuz's picture
cuz 5 weeks 4 days ago
#15

If you are offended by a cartoon. a lady on a syrup bottle, a man of a box of rice, or Mr. or Mrs. Potato head,

You may be the problem

Don't get me wrong, I am glad Mr. Potato Head was canceled and my children are safe.

Now my son can get back to playing Grand Theft Auto where he just set a hooker on fire so he didn't have to pay her.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 weeks 4 days ago
#16

derp

rostasi 5 weeks 4 days ago
#17

Don't know what this amorphous "problem" is,
but I'm not offended by any of those things you
mentioned. You do know that Biden and/or the
Democratic Party had nothing to do with those
alterations, right? Is the term "cancel", under your
definition, something that someone, who owns or
created, decides to alter in order to keep up with
the present so that they can choose to direct their
product more directly? ...or is it just your sadness
that you can no longer connect it to your early,
comfortable life?

As for "Grand Theft Auto," that was already lambasted
years ago (keep up!) and guess which political party
was the one who was so greatly offended.

cuz's picture
cuz 5 weeks 4 days ago
#18

Apparently EKHO the Oreiad-nymph of Mount Kithairon really does exist.

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