Source: Continuous Improvement Associates

Hannity Insanity
By Bob Powell, 7/04/09

Links to sections below:
At the Political Compass see that the 2016 Republican candidates are at the upper right, fascist, extreme. And even Clinton, a Democrat, is well to the right. The only liberal is Sanders.

Why Hannity's Insane
Senators are on the authoritarian right
What's Left and Right?
Obama is Well to the Right on Economic & Other Issues
Clinton Well to the Right on Economic & Other Issues
So Despite U.S. politicians, even Democrats, being well to the right somehow Hannity claims liberals destroyed America ... that's INSANE
The Republican Race to the Far Right
Redistribution of Money from Liberal to 'Conservative' States
Surprise! Hannity is a liar.

(I found I'm not the first to use the obvious rhyme, Hannity Insanity.)


Why Hannity's Insane

#1 Hannity Insanity: He said, "Obama isn't a good fit for the U.S. because it's center-right and Obama is far left."

Hannity is insane, but this is true and extremely important:
He's insane because the U.S. is in economic decline precisely because it
has been, and remains, center right. U.S. economic policies have been very effectively designed to drive that great majority of Americans into poverty and keep them there ... and make the wealthy even richer.

And Obama is well to the right of true center, as I document below, continuing "free trade", with far right advisors, and bank bailouts with virtually no strings attached. What's called "liberal" is the true political center while much of what's called "socialism" is simply pragmatic to prevent system failure and make the nation stronger ... not "collectivism" for it's own sake.

Hannity, on his July 1, 2009 radio program, was talking about how Obama is so "leftist" in a nation that isn't. It went something like this ... greatly paraphrased.

Obama ran as a moderate, but he's governing from the far left. Doesn't he know this is a center-right nation? He's being a far-left socialist, but that doesn't fit the nation.

Hannity is correct on one point: the politics of this country is center-right. But it's idiotic to assert that Obama is a "far-left socialist" ... as I'll show below he's a right-winger and Republicans should absolutely love him.

Added 12/4/15

The Real Roots of the Rising Right BY DAVID DAYEN, 12/2/15
Financial crises always result in a far-right political bump, a new study finds. But Democrats made this one worse.

Why the rise of the "right"? Because, as explained by

... a new study by three German researchers on the political aftermath of global financial crises.

... found that elections following a financial crisis almost always benefit the far right, resulting in increasing political polarization. In other words, the rise of the Tea Party right could be merely a normal response to a banking meltdown.

The common assumption has been that major crises lift all fringe parties, whether on the left or the right, as people become disillusioned with failed institutions. But in the five-year period after a financial crisis, far-right votes increase by one-third, according to the study, while far-left votes rise only slightly. The most severe financial crises, like the Great Depression or the 2008 crash, produce even greater boosts for the far right. This data was consistent throughout the 140 years of study, even after controlling for different voting systems.

And why is that?

... the upheaval of the post-crisis years fed back into our political system. Because banks were protected from the worst losses, they were able to maintain their political power, and even expand it when Republicans took over Congress. The combination of that regained strength and the wholesale destruction of our campaign finance system after the Citizens United ruling helped turn the financial crisis into conservative electoral success. And that feedback loop has not stopped running.

And why did Democrats make this worse? They've also moved to the right and failed to restructure the financial system:

Democrats had a moment after 2008 to restructure the financial system, not just rebuild it. Failure to do so wasn’t just bad policy; it hurt at the voting booth.

Very clever. Deregulate to create a financial crisis and economic collapse ... and benefit from it.

Also see

Big Recessions Are Good For Right-Wing Politics By Kevin Drum, 12/02/15

Politically, the result of this is pretty obvious. Liberal parties think that bad times are precisely when the poor need the most help, so they propose more social spending. Right-wing parties, by contrast, oppose increased spending.

In public, this usually isn't framed as support or opposition to doling out money to the poor. Liberals talk about stimulus and countercyclical spending. Conservatives talk about massive budget deficits and skyrocketing government outlays. But it doesn't really matter. What people hear is that liberals want to spend more on the poor and conservatives don't. When people are feeling vulnerable and mean, the conservative message resonates with them.

From a practical policy standpoint, this makes little sense. Liberals are right that recessions are the best time to spend more on safety-net programs, both because the poor need the help and because it acts as useful stimulus. But human nature doesn't work that way, and conservatives have the better read on that.

Added 9/28/15

The Polarization of the Congressional Parties [Updated 21 March 2015]

Polarization declined in both chambers from roughly the beginning of the 20th Century until World War II. It was then fairly stable until the late 1970s and has been increasing steadily over the past 25 years. Our (Poole and Rosenthal, 1997) original D-NOMINATE estimation ended with the 99th Congress. Interestingly, Congresses 100- 113, if anything, mark an acceleration of the trend (especially in the House). Note, however, that the acceleration is smooth and does not show a particular jump in polarization induced by the large Republican freshman class elected in 1994. Polarization in the House and Senate is now at the highest level since the end of Reconstruction.

In addition, the percentage of moderate Representatives and Senators continues to plummet. In the House the percentage of moderates (-.25 to +.25 on the first DW-NOMINATE dimension) has declined to about 10 Percent in both Chambers.

This astonishing chart shows how moderate Republicans are an endangered species By Christopher Ingraham 6/2/14

Political scientists have known for years that political polarization is largely a one-sided phenomenon: in recent decades the Republican Party has moved to the right much faster than Democrats have moved to the left. As Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution has described it, "Republicans have become a radical insurgency—ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of their political opposition."

Admit It, Political Scientists: Politics Really Is More Broken Than Ever by THOMAS E. MANN, 5/26/14

Scholars restrain themselves out of fear of being seen as partisans, but what's happening now is different, and false equivalence is no virtue.

... With Barack Obama in the White House and Democrats and Republicans each controlling one chamber, Congress has ceased to operate as an effective legislative body. Deliberation and compromise are scarce commodities, not the coin of the realm. The contemporary Congress bears little resemblance to the “textbook Congress” of the 1950s and 1960s or “the reform Congress” that followed. Individual members are no longer the most useful unit of analysis for understanding congressional behavior and policymaking. Parties are the key actors, and they respond more to their activist bases than to the median voter. Public approval of Congress and trust in government have plunged to record depths. Growing concerns about economic and political inequality are rooted in real increases in the concentration of income, wealth, and opportunities for influence. ...

Perhaps a more reliable way of bringing the Republican Party back into the mainstream is a few more decisive presidential defeats. That might create the conditions for the emergence of new Republican ideas less detached from reality and new efforts among some coalition partners to challenge extremist forces in primary elections. Sadly, those extreme candidates are no longer limited to Tea Party members; there are found throughout the so-called Republican Party establishment. ...


Senatorial Positions from The .Political Compass, all states selected. Red for Republican, Blue for Democratic. Both Republicans and Democrats are well to the social authoritarian top and economic "free market" right with Republicans being much more so. Though both are right wing, there is a real difference between the two parties.

Added 1/1/15: Showing Senators are on the authoritarian right.

Senatorial positions from The Political Compass. At the upper right corner there are "authoritarian, "free market" privatize everything" policies ... that's fascism. Republicans are more extreme and practically there, but Democrats are also well to the right and hardly "socialist." Republicans get their way when they control Congress because they can pick off enough right-wing Democrats from the rest to collude with them.

So both Republicans and Democrats are well to the social authoritarian top and economic "free market" right, with Republicans being much more so. Though both are right wing, there is a real difference between the two parties with the worst being toward the upper right.

While being further to the authoritarian right is more evil, both parties are somewhat evil. Some say they'll not vote for the "lesser of two evils." But in our two-party system without something like Instant Runoff Voting, it makes no sense to vote for a third party that has no chance of winning because that's actually supporting one of the two major parties that you like least. That's supporting the greater of two evils, which makes no sense at all.


Added 12/28/14: Bruce Bartlett on how Democrats moved to the right.

Bruce Bartlett agrees and explains why in How Democrats Became Liberal Republicans, 12/21/12. The reasons: 
1. The successful war against organized labor and 
2. "... voters bought the idea that the economist F.A. Hayek made during World War II that socialism impoverishes people and necessarily becomes totalitarian eventually."

[My comment: that socialism necessarily "improverishes and becomes totalitarian" is false because socialism can be democratic, whereas "conservative" and libertarian ideology abhors democracy ... they hate it (see The Conservative Mind). Libertarian/conservative economics inevitably leads to corporate control of government (fascism).]


... It is only the blind hatred Republicans had for Clinton that prevented them from seeing that he governed as a moderate conservative – balancing the budget, cutting the capital gains tax, promoting free trade, and abolishing welfare, among other things. And it is only because the political spectrum has shifted to the right that Republicans cannot see to what extent Obama and his party are walking in Clinton’s footsteps.

... whatever the reason, the result is that the nation no longer has a party of the left, but one of the center-right that is akin to what were liberal Republicans in the past – there is no longer any such thing as a liberal Republican – and a party of the far right.

Other references on the nation moving to the right:
Why the Democratic Party Isn't Moving to the Left, David Catanese, 6/11/14
Democrats Have Moved to the Right, Not the Left, Kevin Drum, 5/1/12
Democrats Who Move Right Lose Elections -- There Is No "Center", Dave Johnson, 4/24/14 
Bill Maher: Democrats Have Moved To The Right And The Right Has Moved Into A Mental Hospital, Alex Leo, 7/22/2009. Video
Gallup Poll: Is America Moving to the Right?, Daniel Doherty, 2/1/14. "A new Gallup poll finds that the country has moved decidedly to the Right since 2008."



What's Left and Right?
The Political Spectrum with 2008 primary candidates' positions shown based on their statements. I've added the labels at the top showing there can be dictatorship at the top on the Authoritarian Left, Middle, and Right.

The chart to the right is from The Political Compass before the 2008 election (it's also at the section on Capitalism, Socialism, & Dictatorship). I added the Communist & Fascist Dictatorship labels.

A later Political Compass chart (to the right) shows, Romney and Obama to be close to the same and explains why: U.S Presidential Election 2012. [In a later revision of this chart, Gravel was moved (correctly) to just below the x-axis near Ron Paul.]

Note where the candidates are: Democrats well to the economic "right" and Republicans on the far "right" ... essentially under the thrall of anti-government, libertarian ideology. What's called "liberal" in America is the true "center".

There is no "left" left in America, much less a "far-left". The Republicans and other "conservatives" have moved so far to the "far-right" that the liberal center now looks like the "left".

What has "conservative" (mostly Republican) rule since Reagan does to wages? People complain about high taxes, but it's not that people are taxed too much, they're paid too little thanks to policies that have depressed wages.

Using the graph below on productivity & compensation, you can determine that in 2004 you'd have been making 68% more had compensation kept up with productivity. We wouldn't need those cheap products from China, if this were the case. And millions wouldn't have lost their jobs: see Jobs & 'Trade' Data Update Jun10.

Take the test at the Political Compass to see where you stand compared to those you support.


Obama is Well to the Right on Economic & Other Issues

What's really amazing is that "conservatives" call Obama a socialist and/or a communist even though he's done these things that they absolutely would do. They should absolutely love him:

  • Adopted a Republican-style health insurance plan, like Romney's in MA: Obama has delivered private health insurance corporations 32 million or more customers instead of single payer --don't even talk about it -- or even a public option (see Single Payer Heath Insurance). 
  • Goes Along with Repubicans by not punishing Criminal bankers for "Libor rigging, FX rigging, mortgage fraud, money laundering". From Protesters Press Secluded G7 Leaders on Harmful Policies, from Crippling Austerity to Dirty Coal:
    At the Political Compass see that the 2016 Republican candidates are at the upper right, fascist, extreme. And even Clinton, a Democrat, is well to the right. The only liberal is Sanders.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We see continued crime after crime in the financial world, and there doesn’t seem to be any real structural change occurring.
    NOMI PRINS: No, absolutely. That was one of the things that I said in Washington. Basically, and also the big six banks in the United States, they’re hoarding cash. So the result of these zero-interest rate policies throughout the world emanating from the Fed and the United States and this quantitative easing are buying bonds back from all these banks, giving them more money, is they have 400 percent more cash after the crisis than they had before, not going into the real economy, and they’re committing crimes. The big six banks in the United States have paid fines or settled to pay fines for $120 to $130 billion—Libor rigging, FX rigging, mortgage fraud, money laundering. It goes on and on.
  • More on No prosecutions of bankersBankers admit they've committed and gotten massive fines for bribery, money laundering for drug dealers, rigging Libor, mass fraud in the subprime mortgage markets and the forex markets. It’s one mass crime over after another. There’s no consequence except fines; they're seen as just a cost of doing business. No one goes to jail.
  • More on Banks: No wonder Eric Holder didn't hold the banks accountable. For anyone who doubts that the banks run this nation, there's this: 
    Eric Holder Returns to Corporate Law Firm with Bank Clients that kept his corner office vacant for him

    In the latest sign of the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, Eric Holder is returning to the corporate law firm where he worked before becoming head of the Justice Department. Holder was a partner at the firm Covington & Burling for eight years before becoming attorney general, representing clients including UBS and the fruit giant Chiquita. The law firm’s client list has included many of the big banks Holder failed to criminally prosecute as attorney general for their role in the financial crisis, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. The law firm had reportedly kept a corner office vacant for Holder.
    More at Matt Taibbi: Eric Holder Back to Wall Street-Tied Law Firm After Years of Refusing to Jail Bankers
    * Will the Justice Department Prosecute Bank of America, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo for Mortgage Fraud? 5/18/11
  • Escalated wars: He’'s escalated in Afghanistan. Yes, he said he would escalate when campaigning, but many hoped he'd wise up when he evaluated the situation after being elected. On Obama, Clinton, Sanders, the U.S., and war: Silencing America as It Prepares for War by JOHN PILGER, Counterpunch, 5/27/16
  • Ignored the War Powers Act to Attack Libya: Dennis Kucinich on Obama sending CIA covert Western force to aid the U.S.-led bombing campaign and committing U.S. military forces to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya without congressional approval, 4/1/11: "the President has no constitutional authority to do what he’s done. He has changed the Constitution, in effect, by saying that he has an executive privilege to wage war. He’s ignored Article I, Section 8. He’s ignored the War Powers Act. He’s even exceeded the U.N. mandate. And so, this administration has taken this country on a path that is profoundly anti-democratic, and it needs to be challenged. ... he’s exceeded his authority as executive, and I raised a question as to whether or not when someone does that, if that in fact is an impeachable offense."
  • Drone strikes! Almost 2,500 Now Killed by Covert US Drone Strikes Since Obama Inauguration Six Years Ago byJack Serle, 2/02/15, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Kill list.
  • Right-wing advisors: He’'s failed by having right-wing economic advisors like Geithner & Summers who crafted the policies that led to the Great Recession. See The 9/22/08 Economic Crisis.
  • Right-wing chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who referred to some liberal activists as "f**king retarded" ... typical of things said by ignorant "conservatives." His administration stalled for 495 days the release of a shocking dashcam video of a black seventeen-year-old named Laquan McDonald being shot sixteen times by a policeman while he was walking away. Emanuel would surely have lost his re-election had the video been released.
    This chart shows candidate positions in the 2012 presidential election. Based on Obama's behavior since elected in 2008, it turns out he's not so different from where Romney's statements put him. Of course, had Romney been elected he might have also been further to the right ... even though there's not that much more room on the right :-)

  • Free Trade treason: Before his election Obama made a 2008 campaign pledge to renegotiate NAFTA, adding labor rights and environmental protections to its mix of provisions. But he's done nothing about this and other right-wing, "free trade" policies; from 2000 through July 2010 the cumulative trade deficit (trade debt) has been $5.9 trillion. That's how much GDP has been reduced by insane "free trade" policies. There's no possible amount of stimulus that can make up for this drain on GDP.
  • TPP treason, in particular: He's pushed extremely hard, against much Democratic opposition, for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), but did no such thing when it came to a "public option" for health insurance, much less for single payer.
  • Obama's war on whistleblowers leaves administration insiders unscathed
    "Since Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, his government has waged a war against whistleblowers and official leakers. On his watch, there have been eight prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act – more than double those under all previous presidents combined. And yet other apparent leaks have gone entirely unpunished or have been treated, as in the case of General David Petraeus, as misdemeanors. As Abbe Lowell, lawyer for one of the Espionage Act eight, Stephen Kim, has argued in a letter to the Department of Justice, low-level officials who lack the political connections to fight back have had the book thrown at them, while high-level figures have been allowed to leak with “virtual impunity”."
    *Exclusive: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out upon Sentencing to 3.5 Years in Prison
    Inside Obama’s "Orwellian World" Where Whistleblowing Has Become Espionage: The Case of Thomas Drake 5/18/11.
  • Approves Arctic Drilling"Irresponsible & Reckless": Environmentalists Decry Obama’s Approval for Shell Drilling in Arctic
  • Appoints Pharma shill to FDAPapantonio: What A Tragedy — Obama Is Owned By Pharmaceutical Industry, 10/23/15
    Another Obama appointee, another complete travesty. The President’s pick to be the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration is quite possibly the most destructive pick he has ever made.
    His pick, Dr. Robert Califf, is the former professor of cardiology at Duke University, where he led a research department that was funded by Big Pharma. On top of conducting medical research on Big Pharma’s dime, Dr. Califf was also a paid consultant for drug companies including Eli Lily, Merck, and Novartis. Reports indicate that he donated that money to non-profit organizations since the mid-2000’s, but that’s still a very cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, considering they have funded his entire career.
  • WikiLeaks' Guccifer 2.0: Obama Sold Off Public Offices to Donors By Michael Sainato, Observer, 09/14/16
    Corruption doesn't start or end with Hillary
    Included in the [Guccifer 2.0] leak was a list of high-profile donors from 2008 and the ambassadorship they received in exchange for their large donation to the DNC and Barack Obama's Organizing For Action (OFA). Essentially, Obama was auctioning off foreign ambassador positions and other office positions while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. 
    The largest donor listed at contributions totaling over $3.5 million, Matthew Barzun, served as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011, served as President Obama's National Finance Chair during his 2012 reelection campaign, and now serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
    The second largest donor, Julius Genachowski, donated just under $3.5 million to the DNC and OFA, and in exchange was appointed chairman of the FCC by Obama in 2009.
    The third largest donor on the list, Frank Sanchez, donated just over $3.4 million and exchange was appointed to Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade by Obama in 2010.

Productivity Up, Compensation Lagging. Analysis by Jared Bernstein of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data. Compensation of the bottom 80 percent of the U.S. workforce has lagged productivity since the mid-1970s.

He's not even a liberal, much less a "socialist". What's really annoying is, when he's criticized as being a socialist, it pushes me to defend him.

Thomas Frank on Obama:

Cornel West: "He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency" by THOMAS FRANK, Salon, 8/24/14.
Exclusive: Cornel West talks Ferguson, Hillary, MSNBC -- and unloads on the failed promise of Barack Obama

Cornel West: ... the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free.

And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he's just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that's a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are-we're an empire in decline.

Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody-a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility. ...

Even with [Attorney General] Eric Holder. Eric Holder won't touch the Wall Street executives; they're his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There's no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all. The same is true with the Robert Rubin crowd. Obama comes in, he's got all this populist rhetoric which is wonderful, progressive populist rhetoric which we needed badly.

What does he do, goes straight to the Robert Rubin crowd and here comes Larry Summers, here comes Tim Geithner, we can go on and on and on, and he allows them to run things. You see it in the Suskind book, The Confidence Men. These guys are running things, and these are neoliberal, deregulating free marketeers-and poverty is not even an afterthought for them. ...

More on Obama's support for oil & gas drilling and pipelines:

Added 7/29/15 Global Warming denier is effusive in praise for Obama, plus Obama's approval of pipeline. Yet, "conservatives" liars & fools say Obama is a "socialist" ... ha!

Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on Need for New Economic Model to Address Ecological Crisis

Amy Goodman spoke with Marc Morano, publisher of the Climate Depot, a website run by the climate denier group Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. She asked him about President Obama’s record on climate change.

MARC MORANO: His nickname is "George W. Obama." Obama’s negotiator, Todd Stern, will be here today. They have kept the exact same principles and negotiating stance as President George Bush did for eight years. Obama has carried on Bush’s legacy. So, as skeptics, we tip our hat to President Obama in helping crush and continue to defeat the United Nations process. Obama has been a great friend of global warming skeptics at these conferences. Obama has problems, you know, for us, because he’s going through the EPA regulatory process, which is a grave threat. But in terms of this, President Obama could not have turned out better when it came to his lack of interest in the congressional climate bill and his lack of interest in the United Nations Kyoto Protocol. So, a job well done for President Obama.

On Obama's approval of drilling for oil & gas and praise of pipeline expansion.

Amy Goodman: Let’s go to President Obama. This is him in 2012 when he appeared in Cushing, Oklahoma, to announce his support for TransCanada to build the southern leg of its Keystone oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some. So, we are drilling all over the place, right now. That’s not the challenge. That’s not the problem. In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil and gas in places like North Dakota and Colorado, that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it to where it needs to go.


Clinton Well to the Right on Economic & Other Issues

Clinton, characterized by the "right" as a liberal, governed well to the right. Far-right economic conservative (read libertarian) Alan Greenspan, replied to the question, "About how much would you say you agreed with him [Clinton]? ALAN GREENSPAN: "On economic issues, I would say probably 80%."

Case closed, Clinton was a right winger on economics. Examples: NAFTA (passed only with massive Republican support, most Democrats opposed it ... see The NAFTA Nemesis on the results), the creation and expansion of the World Trade Organization, banking deregulation (1999 abolition of the Glass-Steagall Act) by way of the the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowing financial institutions to get “too big to fail” and take on risks that contributed to the current economic crisis, and telecommunications deregulation (1996 Telecom Act) that continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan that reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005. Way to go right-wingers!

Related note 11/28/09: Is Obama Following in the Footsteps of Bill Clinton? By Jeff Cohen, AlterNet. 11/26/09. Obama's shown a Clinton-like willingness to roll over progressives to enact corrupt legislation and compromise for the votes of Republicans.

Note 4/7/14: Republican vs Democratic support for NAFTA: it only passed with massive Republican support (166 for, 53 against), with whom Clinton colluded despite massive opposition from his own party (Dems: 129 for, 184 against).

Summary For Republicans Democrats
Senate 34 27
House 132 102
Total 166 129
Summary Against
Republicans Democrats
Senate 10 28
House 43 156
Total 53 184

Take the test at the Political Compass to see where you stand compared to those you support.


Added 6/20/16

Thomas Frank: Bill Clinton's Five Major Achievements Were Longstanding GOP Objectives By Mark Karlin, Truthout, 5/15/16

Thomas Frank: "The Democrats are a class party in the fullest sense of the phrase, and the class whose perspective they reflect and whose interests they serve is the highly educated, white-collar professional class. Theirs is a liberalism of the rich."

Question: This is a little off message regarding the book, but can you speculate why the Republicans were so obsessed with removing Clinton from office when he was fulfilling so much of the GOP agenda, including negotiating with Newt Gingrich about cutting Medicare and Social Security?

Thomas Frank: "Fulfilling so much of the GOP agenda": That is a point worth reiterating. Clinton had five major achievements as president: NAFTA, the Crime Bill of 1994, welfare reform, the deregulation of banks and telecoms, and the balanced budget. All of them -- every single one -- were longstanding Republican objectives. His smaller achievements were more traditionally Democratic (he raised the earned-income tax credit and the minimum wage), but his big accomplishments all enacted conservative wishes, and then all of them ended in disaster.Frank: "The Democrats are a class party in the fullest sense of the phrase, and the class whose perspective they reflect and whose interests they serve is the highly educated, white-collar professional class. Theirs is a liberalism of the rich."

So why did the right try so hard to get rid of him? For one thing, because they always do that. They never suspend the war or stop pushing rightward. There is no point at which they say, "OK, we've won enough." For another, because Gingrich couldn't control the rank and file, a problem that persists to this day. ...

Added 5/22/16. Clinton deregulated telecom, undermined strong banking laws, and rammed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress ... all by colluding with Repubicans against majority Democratic opposition.

Bill Clinton’s odious presidency: Thomas Frank on the real history of the ’90s by THOMAS FRANK, 3/13/16  
Welfare reform. NAFTA. The crime bill. Prisons. Aides wondered if Bill knew who he was. His legacy is sadly clear

... Evaluating Clinton’s presidency as heroic is no longer a given, however. After the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000, the corporate scandals of the Enron period, and the collapse of the real estate racket, our view of the prosperous Nineties has changed quite a bit. Now we remember that it was Bill Clinton’s administration that deregulated derivatives, that deregulated telecom, and that put our country’s only strong banking laws in the grave. He’s the one who rammed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress and who taught the world that the way you respond to a recession is by paying off the federal deficit.

Mass incarceration and the repeal of welfare, two of Clinton’s other major achievements, are the pillars of the disciplinary state that has made life so miserable for Americans in the lower reaches of society. He would have put a huge dent in Social Security, too, had the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal not stopped him. If we take inequality as our measure, the Clinton administration looks not heroic but odious. ...

The first time I myself tuned in and noticed some version of this inevitability-speak was in 1993, during that fight over NAFTA. The deal had been negotiated by the departed president, George H. W. Bush, but the Democratic majority in Congress had balked at the original version of the treaty, forcing the parties back to the table. As with so many of the achievements of the Clinton era, it eventually took a Democratic president, working with Republican members of Congress, to pass this landmark of neoliberalism.

According to the president himself, what the agreement was about was simple: “NAFTA will tear down trade barriers,” he said when signing it. “It will create the world’s largest trade zone and create 200,000 jobs in this country by 1995 alone.” The stationery of an outfit that lobbied for the treaty was emblazoned with the argument: “North American Free Trade Agreement—Exports. Better Jobs. Better Wages.”

But it wasn’t reason that sold NAFTA; it was a simulacrum of reason, by which I mean the great god inevitability, invoked in the language of professional-class self-assurance. “We cannot stop global change,” Clinton said in his signing speech.

The predictions about NAFTA were lies. It was a disaster that tremendously increased imports compared to exports as I document in The NAFTA Nemesis. That led to the export of a million higher-paying U.S. jobs: NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Higher Income Inequality by Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch,  01/06/2014

As I explain at Federal Reserve Policy: Drive Down Wages by Limiting Demand for Labor, the number of jobs is not determined by "free trade" offshoing, but the pay of jobs is undermined by "free trade".

Added 5/22/16. NAFTA and TPP: "Free Trade" undermines wages and the U.S. economy

Fast Track to Lost Jobs and Lower Wages by Robert E. Scott, Economic Policy Institute, 4/13/15

... More than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost between 1997 and 2014, and most of those job losses were due to growing trade deficits with countries that have negotiated trade and investment deals with the United States.

Between 1993 (before NAFTA took effect) and 2013, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada increased from $17.0 billion to $177.2 billion, displacing more than 850,000 U.S. jobs. Growing trade deficits and job displacement, especially between the United States and Mexico, were the result of a surge in outsourcing of production by U.S. and other foreign investors. The rise in outsourcing was fueled, in turn, by a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) into Mexico, which increased by more than 150 percent in the post-NAFTA period.

KORUS took effect in March 2012. Between 2011 and 2014, U.S. exports to Korea increased by about $1 billion, but imports have increased by $13 billion, so the trade deficit has increased by nearly $12 billion. This growing trade deficit with Korea has cost more than 75,000 U.S. jobs.

Then there is China, until now a part of the biggest trade and investment deal of all. In 2000, President Bill Clinton claimed that the agreement then being negotiated to allow China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) would create “a win-win result for both countries.” Exports to China “now support hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” and these figures “can grow substantially with the new access to the Chinese market the WTO agreement creates,” he said.

Between 2001, when China came into the WTO, and 2013 the U.S. trade deficit with China increased $240 billion. These growing trade deficits eliminated 3.2 million U.S. jobs. China became the third largest recipient of FDI in the world, which fueled the growth of thousands of new manufacturing plants that generated exports to the United States and other markets.

Manufacturers were willing to invest in Mexico and China because of special protections offered in these deals for investors, including greatly expanded intellectual property rights and special, extra-judicial dispute settlement mechanisms to protect corporate investments (so-called investor-state dispute settlement or ISDS). The TPP threatens to roll back U.S. regulations in areas such as food safety, banking, and finance regulations. These changes will be enforced through private actions under the ISDS, as well as changes in government rules. ...

Added 1/1/16:

15 Ways Bill Clinton’s White House Failed America and the World By AlterNet Staff / AlterNet, 6/22/15
Many Americans do not associate Clinton with his dark legacy.

1. Prison-loving president.
2. Punitive welfare reform.
3. Wall Street’s Deregulator-in-Chief.
4. Gutted manufacturing via trade agreements.
5. No LGBT equality: Defense of Marriage Act.
6. Expanded the war on drugs.
7. Expanded the death penalty.
8. Returned to Cold War priorities.
9. Joycelyn Elders and the culture war.
10. Turning Lincoln Bedroom into fundraising condo.

Added 1/19/16

This article by a right-wing extremist explains about Clinton in a National Review piece on Trump.

Trump Doesn’t Represent the Conservative Base by JONAH GOLDBERG, 12/11/15

... Consider Bill Clinton. His staggering dishonesty, tackiness, and scorn for the rule of law aroused a lot of anger from the Right. But he wasn’t really that left-wing.

Oh, he was certainly more liberal in his heart than he let on, but he also worked from the assumption that this was a center-right country, and that limited what he could get away with.

Clinton ran for president the first time by “triangulating” against the base of his own party. He took time off from the campaign to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a man so mentally disabled, when he left for the electric chair, he told the guards that he was saving the pecan pie from his last meal “for later.” Clinton signed welfare reform (reluctantly), the Defense of Marriage Act (less reluctantly), helped to balance the budget, and proclaimed that “the era of big government is over.”

And yet, many conservatives insisted he was a no-good hippy left-winger. ...

Added 6/1/16 On the effects of Clinton's policies on minorities and the disadvantaged

Clinton has spent his entire career inflicting harm on black people while cynically claiming to speak for their interests

Confronted by Black Lives Matter activists at a Pennsylvania campaign event on Thursday, Bill Clinton snapped. Responding to protesters’ condemnations of Clinton’s record on criminal justice as president, as well as Hillary Clinton’s notorious warning about dangerous juvenile “superpredators,” Bill issued a furious rebuke: [see article]

Clinton's acidic hectoring quickly made the news. ...

But what happened on Thursday was neither unpredictable or inscrutable, nor was it the product of some senile bewilderment. Rather, it was simply the most blatant expression of a trait that has been present in Bill Clinton’s character since his early political career: his cruel and cynical treatment of black people, and his use of progressive racial rhetoric to mask a willingness to devastatingly harm black communities in the service of self-interested political ends.


So Despite U.S. politicians, even Democrats, being well to the right, somehow Hannity claims liberals destroyed America ... that's INSANE.

With a total lack of cognitive dissonance, Hannity complains that liberals have destroyed America, even as he recognizes that the nation's politicians are and have been "center-right."

The fact is that the nation is in the midst of economic collapse exactly because it's been governed from the "right." That's the root of every major economic problem: see Invisible Hand Drops Ball & Economics 101. The result of ignoring natural law is economic failure.

Unfortunately, because Obama's governing too far to the right, his stimulus will fail, so right-wing Obama-haters and America-haters can join hands and rejoice together.

What's called "centrist" in the U.S. is about halfway between the true center and the right ... and authoritarian, as well. Here's The Political Compass on what's the center:

The timeless universal centre should not be confused with merely the present national average. The former is far more meaningful and informative.

The Political Compass explains the dimensions of their charts:

Firstly, a few words about popular political terms.

Once you accept that left and right are merely measures of economic position, the "extreme right" refers to extremely liberal economics that may be practised by social authoritarians or social libertarians.

Similarly, the "extreme left" identifies a strong degree of state economic control, which may also be accompanied by liberal or authoritarian social policies.  ...

Voter turnout is highest when ideological differences are most significant. This helps explain why the voter turnout is lower in the US than in all other western democracies , most of which have a multiplicity of parties and proportional representation.

Added 1/18/16: One-half of Trump supporters are strongly authoritarian

The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter By Matthew MacWilliams, 1/17/16
And it’s not gender, age, income, race or religion.

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated?

You’d be wrong.

In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism. ...

My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations. ...

Indeed, 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters I surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale—more than twice as many as Democratic voters.

Political pollsters have missed this key component of Trump’s support because they simply don’t include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. ...

These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.

Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant. ...


The Republican Race to the Far Right

Here is the Republican Party Platform of 1956, August 20, 1956. This meme abbreviates and simplifies. Here's what Politifact says about it: "generally correct" and "Mostly True".

Viral meme says 1956 Republican platform was pretty liberal By Nai Issa, Louis Jacobson on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The meme says the 1956 Republican Party platform supported equal pay, the minimum wage, asylum for refugees, protections for unions and more.

That’s generally correct. However, it’s worth noting that other elements of the 1956 platform were considered conservative for that era. Also, some of the issues have changed considerably between 1956 and 2012, such as the shift from focusing on post-war refugees to focusing on illegal immigration.

The claim is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, so we rate it Mostly True.

Barry Goldwater, who in 1964 ran for the presidency, observed that the Republican Party had become radically more socially conservative.

In 1996, Barry Goldwater sat in his Paradise Valley home with Bob Dole and joked about his strange new standing as a GOP outsider.

"We're the new liberals of the Republican Party," Goldwater told Dole, who was then facing criticisms from hard-line conservatives in the presidential campaign. "Can you imagine that?"

In 1981, Goldwater assailed the founder of the Moral Majority, the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Responding to Falwell's statement that all good Christians should be concerned about the Supreme Court nomination of Arizonan Sandra Day O'Connor, he said, "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."

In 1989, Goldwater said the Republican Party had been taken over by a "bunch of kooks," a reference to forces supporting TV evangelist Pat Robertson and Mecham.

This trend toward increased social conservatism also drove the Republican Party to the far right economically. From "Assessing the Vote and the Roots of American Political Divide" by R.G. Price - 11/6/04

The socially conservative movement was always driven by elements of the working-class. Once women and minorities joined the ranks of enfranchised working-class voters, working-class politics in America adopted a progressive social position.

As that happened, the Republican Party began embracing social conservatism to pick up votes. When that happened broad conservative white male working-class support then went to the Republican Party.

The working-class vote has driven American politics since the Great Depression. The reality is that Southern working-class America is socially conservative and votes on social issues over economic issues and always has with the exception of the 1930s during the Great Depression.

... Carter's support represented an anomaly in an otherwise steady trend away from Democratic support in the South because of social conservatism.

Added 7/29/10: It really is totally obvious that the nation has moved to the far right.

Why Washington Is More Right-Wing Than the Rest of the Country by Cenk Uygur, Host of The Young Turks, June 28, 2010. Excerpt:

... what's maddening is that no one acknowledges two things: 
1. How far to the right of the country Washington is. 
2. How far the political spectrum has moved to the right.

Why is Washington more right-wing than the rest of the nation? Because that's where power and the establishment reside. Power is by nature conservative -- it wants to protect its current privileged position. That's not nefarious, it's natural. But not acknowledging that is silly. The establishment loves the status quo, because that's what got them their current position. Why would they want to change that?

And how can anyone consider themselves a political analyst and not see how far to the right we have moved as a country? Eisenhower warned us of the military industrial complex. If he had said that now, people would say he's weak on national security and doesn't support the troops. And he was a Republican. Truman ran on single payer healthcare -- Obama wouldn't even consider that. Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency. Reagan sold arms to terrorists, negotiated with the evil empire, raised taxes eleven times, ran from Lebanon. Are you absolutely sure that Obama is to the left of Reagan?

Watch this debate with John Avlon, the author of Wingnuts, How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, and see if you really think there is such a thing as the hard left in this country and whether they are anywhere near as extreme as the hard right: Video

One other thing that we touched on in this conversation was the idea of corporatism. Being against corporatists doesn't mean you're anti-business. There is this absurd myth that liberals are anti-business. What does that mean? Liberals don't want there to be any more businesses? Does anyone really believe that? Liberals, centrists and conservatives have no problem with business as long as they are not taking our taxpayer money! ...

Being against corporate control of our democracy shouldn't be a liberal position. It should be a universal position. It's not that multi-national corporations are evil, it's just that they're amoral. They are unconcerned with American taxpayers or citizens; they are concerned only with profits. That is what they have to be by law. It's absurd to argue otherwise.

Yet, the conventional wisdom in DC is that people who are worried about corporatist influence on American politics are far left crazies. They're not crazy, they're awake. And they're not even liberals, they're every American who is sick of their politicians being bought by the highest bidder. That's all of us, except the "centrists" in DC.

Added 9/12/10:

The America John Boehner grew up in? Check out the GOP platforms at the time Policies on economics have moved way to the "right" since then.

Added 10/2/15

Boehner Ally Calls Ted Cruz Republicans “Right Wing Marxists” By: Rmusemore from Rmuse 9/24/15

Noam Chomsky on Trump: "We Should Recognize the Other Candidates are Not That Different", Democracy Now!, 9/22/15

... I think what’s actually happened is that during the whole so-called neoliberal period, last generation, both political parties have drifted to the right. Today’s Democrats are what used to be called moderate Republicans. The Republicans have just drifted off the spectrum. They’re so committed to extreme wealth and power that they cannot get votes, can’t get votes by presenting those positions. So what has happened is that they’ve mobilized sectors of the population that have been around for a long time.

It is a pretty exceptional country in many ways. One is it’s extremely religious. It’s one of the most extreme fundamentalist countries in the world. And by now, I suspect the majority of the base of the Republican Party is evangelical Christians, extremists, not—they’re a mixture, but these are the extremist ones, nativists who are afraid that, you know, "they are taking our white Anglo-Saxon country away from us," people who have to have guns when they go into Starbucks because, who knows, they might get killed by an Islamic terrorist and so on.

How Fox News Brainwashes Its Viewers
I mean, all of that is part of the country, and it goes back to colonial days. There are real roots to it. But these have not been an organized political force in the past. They are now. That’s the base of the Republican Party. And you see it in the primaries. So, yeah, Trump is maybe comic relief, but it’s just a—it’s not that different from the mainstream, which I think is more important. ...

Noam Chomsky: Dems are now Moderate Repugs: Republicans are now Off the Spectrum of Reality , Ring of Fire, 9/23/15 [added 5/13/16]

Today’s Democrats are what used to be called moderate Republicans. The Republicans have just drifted off the spectrum. They’re so committed to extreme wealth and power that they cannot get votes … So what has happened is that they’ve mobilized sectors of the population that have been around for a long time. … Trump may be comic relief, but it’s not that different from the mainstream, which I think is more important.

Added 10/11/15

This explains how it's accomplished with the help of "Fox News":

This Is How Fox News Brainwashes Its Viewers: Our In-Depth Investigation of the Propaganda Cycle by Heather Hogan 9/2/15.

... Fox News is not only uninterested in being fair and balanced; it is also uninterested in being a reliable source of news. That’s because Fox News is playing a zero-sum political game in which every major news story is an opportunity to use their viewers as pawns to advance the power and agenda of the most extremist ideology of the Republican Party. ...

Added 10/18/15

As before the Civil War, a "conservative" political faction is determined to have their way ... democracy be damned.

Ted Cruz wants to be king: Make no mistake, the GOP extremists’ real goal is absolute control 10/18/15
Right-wingers pretend to pledge fealty to the Constitution. Their real goal is to cut out the part about democracy

The Movement Conservatives now calling the shots in the Republican Party are forcing the nation toward a Constitutional crisis. A very small number of extremists are trying to bend the federal government to their will. They want to force the president to abandon his own policies and adopt theirs. If he refuses to cave in to their demands to kill Planned Parenthood, they will refuse to fund the government. They will force it to shut down. The thirty or forty people in the secretive “House Freedom Caucus,” elected by voters only from their own deeply Republican districts, want to erase the constitutional role of the president. They want to impose their will on the American people.

They have deliberately set out to destroy the American constitutional system.

This is not the first time the America government has seen such an assault. The nation faced a similar crisis after the Civil War. ...

The crisis of 1879 holds lessons for today, as an extremist cabal of Movement Conservatives searches for a House Speaker who will promise to make raising the debt ceiling contingent on defunding Planned Parenthood. Now, as in 1879, these extremists ran roughshod over a weak House Speaker, claiming a mandate to overturn the policies endorsed by the majority of Americans. Now, as in 1879, those extremists seek to bend a president of the opposite party to their will by holding government finances hostage until they get their way. Now, as in 1879, they threaten the structure of American democracy.


Redistribution of Money from Liberal to 'Conservative' States

What is interesting, is how this has impacted America economically. ...

Now, within the past 20 years, because the Republican Party has adopted the social agenda of the old Democratic Party, farmers and laborers shifted alliances to the Republican Party, especially in the South. Interestingly, this puts the Republican Party at odds with the traditional economic positions of its new base. Rural America has been the recipient of redistributed wealth in America throughout history, especially since the Civil War. The American Midwest and the South have traditionally been the largest opponents to free market practices throughout American history. A significant element of the Democratic platform throughout history has been getting federal aid to farmers and using federal funding to subsidize development in rural America.

This means that the working-class is now divided in America, with a major segment of the working-class actually voting against their own economic interests and supporting the investor class, i.e. wealthy capitalists. Interestingly, while Republican voters are now toeing the "free market" party line, and have now adopted a mentality that is opposed to so-called "redistribution of wealth" through taxation, Middle America remains the largest recipient of redistributed wealth, as has traditionally been the case in America. This continues to lead to even more political and economic confusion as "conservative" Republican voters are led to believe that their wealth is being taxed away to pay for "liberal programs", when in fact it is the other way around.

The fact is that the "liberal" states are the economic engines of our country, who subsidize the development of the rest of the country through federal reallocation of funding from "blue states" to "red states". Georgia, Indiana and Texas are the only strongly Republican states (by 2004 election standards) that send more money to the federal government than they get back in funding. Most of the other red states receive more money from the government than they contribute. If "redistribution of wealth" through the federal government were to actually stop  in America, the economies of "red states" would be severely hurt. This puts Republicans in an awkward position, with rhetoric that completely goes against the economic needs of their constituency.

That the "redistribution of wealth", about which "conservatives" complain, is from liberal to "conservative" states is extremely ironic.


10 Republican Red States That Mooch off Coastal Liberal States By Alex Henderson / AlterNet, 9/17/14
Data shows that these hypocritical GOP-leaning states are likely to be the biggest recipients of federal tax money.

... the more prosperous and Democrat-leaning areas of the United States are likely to be subsidizing dysfunctional “red states,” many of which are suffering from insufficient tax revenue and an abundance of low-wage workers who don’t have much to tax. ...


#2. Surprise! Hannity is a liar

An example of how Hannity lies on "Fox News".

Propaganda at its finest. Jon Stewart points out How intentionally misleading "news' from Fox News doesn't really get more obvious than this ...

More Hannity lies:

Egomaniacal Hannity Responds To Jon Stewart's Bundy Ranch Takedown Of Hannity: "He's Kind Of Obsessed With This Program" (video)

Hannity Continues Move Toward The Fringe As Guest Accuses Liberals Of Contributing To A "Modern Day Holocaust" (video)

Hannity: "I Don't Apologize" For Touting Cliven Bundy's Standoff With Federal Agents(video)

Sean Hannity Floats Possibility That Federal Government Will Kill Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy (video)

Hannity Gives Platform For Lawless Rancher To Demand Forcible Disarmament Of Federal Officers

Hannity's Dangerous Game Touting A Rogue Rancher And His Violent Threats

The truth:

Unfortunately for Hannity, Bundy's 'Ancestral Rights' Story A Load Of Crap. Bundy is a liar and a thief.

Nevada Journalist Jon Ralston: Sean Hannity's Championing Of Nevada Rancher Is "Totally Irresponsible"

Cliven Bundy And The Myth Of Rural 'Powerlessness'

An Abbreviated Look At Rancher Cliven Bundy's Family History

Apocalyse Cow: Jon Stewart Takes On The Bundy Brawl


#3. More Hannity Insanity Coming as soon as I have the stomach to listen to more.

Here is the Republican Party Platform of 1956, August 20, 1956. The meme abbreviates and simplifies; this is what Politifact says about it: "generally correct".

Viral meme says 1956 Republican platform was pretty liberal By Nai Issa, Louis Jacobson on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The meme says the 1956 Republican Party platform supported equal pay, the minimum wage, asylum for refugees, protections for unions and more.

That’s generally correct. However, it’s worth noting that other elements of the 1956 platform were considered conservative for that era. Also, some of the issues have changed considerably between 1956 and 2012, such as the shift from focusing on post-war refugees to focusing on illegal immigration.

The claim is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, so we rate it Mostly True.

© 2003 Continuous Improvement Associates

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