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I see the '70s as the dividing line. It was then that conservative, libertarian billionaires, working through think tanks and owned media, escalated the economic propaganda to make NCE our economic frame. That was sufficiently successful that Democrat Jimmy Carter was the one who began deregulation. Then Reagan was elected and these same interests had a true believer in the White House who advocated a strong version of deregulation and under whom the looting by the financial sector really became airborne.
Better yet, Ronnie knew how to hit his marks and deliver his message as he had been doing since "Death Valley Days" while being only too happy to delegate the messy details to cabinet members such as Ed Meese, ("watch what we do, not what we say", and Casper Weinberger and the 'Star Wars' Boys, while laying on the "Evil Empire" rhetoric with regard to the Soviets. It was only when Reagan's more human sentiments intruded that he produced problems, as during the infamous Reykjavík summit with Gorbachev, when he was ready to completely eliminate nuclear weapons before others talked him down.
Bush 41 was certainly a 'national defense' insider and allied with corporate power while publicly speaking about the 'invisible hand' of economics and Clinton learned how to be a proper servant of wealth, as demonstrated by his choice of Robert Rubin as Sec. Treasury, Larry Summers as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and his re-appointment of Greenspan to the Fed, as well as by signing off on the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Futures Trading Modernization Act. The extreme libertarians and the fundamentalists might have hated Clinton but Wall Street certainly did not. (Aspects that thankfully have not become an integral part of the bi-partisan US corporatocracy are white racism and Christian Fundamentalism - yet.)
My own view is that the US REALLY became, effectively, a fascist state after 911. The national security legislation, the invasion of Iraq, the blatant lies served up by Cheney, et al. the trashing of the FBI's program to investigate mortgage lending fraud by reassigning all the agents to 'national security' duties and Rove's overreach in thinking he could make the Republican Party the permanent governing party are all factors.
And the fact that Obama has doubled down on so much of what Bush 43 put in place and refuses to countenance the enforcement of the law against Wall Street fraudsters are indicators that the USA is now a very different country than it was in 1960, when I graduated from high school. I don't like knowing I am living in a fascist state any more than you like being accused of living in a fascist client state, but I like the pretense that this is not the case even less.
I am over 70 and have no job from which I can be fired for saying unpopular things, so it is my duty to be honest about what I see.
"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
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