After winning the bloodless conquest of Czechoslavakia by threatening France and Britain with war, Adolf Hitler turned his attention to Poland.
When his generals balked, warning that an invasion would trigger a war with France and Britain, Hitler quickly brushed aside their fears: “Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich.”
Adolf Hitler and his generals
Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939–unintentionally triggering World War II.
In time, historians and statesmen would regard Munich as an object lesson in the futility—and danger—in appeasing evil and aggression.
But for the postwar Republican party, Hitler’s my-way-or-else “negotiating” methods would become standard operating procedure.
During the summer of 2011, Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agreed to massively cut social programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.
And while Republicans demanded that the disadvantaged tighten their belts, they rejected any raising of taxes on their foremost constituency–the wealthiest 1%.
To raise taxes on the wealthy, they insisted, would be a “jobs-killer.” It would “discourage” corporate CEOs from creating tens of thousands of jobs they “want” to create.
If Congress failed to raise the borrowing limit of the federal government by August 2, 2011, the date when the U.S. reached the limit of its borrowing abilities, America would begin defaulting on its loans.
As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, explained the looming economic catastrophe:
“If you don’t send out Social Security checks, I would hate to think about the credit meeting at S&P and Moody’s the next morning.
“If you’re not paying millions and millions and millions of people that range in age from 65 on up, money you promised them, you’re not a AAA,” said Buffett.
A triple-A credit rating is the highest possible rating that can be received.
Republicans knew this argument is a lie. And so did the editors of Time. The difference is, the editors of Time were willing to reveal the truth.
In its June 20, 2011 cover-story on “What U.S. Economic Recovery? Five Destructive Myths,” Rana Foroohar, the magazine’s assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business, delivered this warning:
Profit-seeking corporations can’t be relied on to ”make it all better.”
American companies “are doing quite well,” but most American workers “are earning a lower hourly wage now than they did during the recession.”
Corporations, in short, are doing extremely well. But they don’t spend their profits on American workers.
“There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home.”
In short: Giving even greater tax breaks to mega-corporations–the standard Republican mantra–has not persuaded them to stop “outsourcing” jobs. Nor has it convinced them to start hiring Americans.
Many American companies prefer opening factories in Brazil, China or India to doing so in the United States–and thus creating jobs for American workers.
While embarrassingly overpaid CEOs squander corporate wealth on themselves, millions of Americans can’t afford medical care or must depend on charity to feed their families.
Yet there is also a disconnect between the truth of this situation and the willingness of Americans to face up to that truth.
The reason, writes Foroohar:
Republicans have convinced most Americans they can revitalize the economy by slashing “taxes on the wealthy and on cash-hoarding corporations while cutting benefits for millions of Americans.”
And she concludes: To restore prosperity America needs both tax increases and cuts in entitlement programs.
According to Mein Kampf-–”My Struggle”–-Hitler’s autobiography and political treatise:
- Most people are ruled by sentiment, not reason.
- This sentiment is simple and consistent. It is rooted in notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.
- Propaganda isn’t based on objective truth but must present only that partof the truth that makes its own side look good.
- People are not intelligent, and quickly forget.
- Confine propaganda to a few bare essentials and express these in easily-remembered in stereotyped images.
- Persistently repeat these slogans until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.
Following these principles, Republicans have proved hugely successful at persuading millions that truth is whatever their party claims it to be at any given moment.
“Fascism,” said author Ernest Hemingway, “is a lie told by bullies.” Thus, when Republicans couldn’t attain their goals by lying, they sought to do so by force–or at least the threat of it.
Republicans have repeatedly threatened to shut down the government unless their constantly escalating demands were met.
In November, 1995, Newt Gingrich, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, carried out his threat. Gingrich unwisely admitted that he did so because President Bill Clinton had put him in the back of Air Force One during a recent trip to Israel.
The shutdown proved a disaster for Republicans. Clinton was handily re-elected in 1996 and Gingrich suddenly resigned from Congress in 1998.