Evidence of Intellectual Fraud in Ryan's Budget

Ryan's Debt Graph

CBO's Debt Graph

Sources: Ryan's Budget, p. 6 (http://paulryan.house.gov/uploadedfiles/pathtoprosperity2013.pdf) and CBO Report on Ryan's Budget, p. 15 (http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-20-Ryan_Specified_Paths_2.pdf).


In recent days there have been too many trees sacrificed to laud the supposedly visionary, serious, courageous Ryan Budget. (Washington Post: “Ryan is articulating clear convictions about fiscal austerity and offering an intellectual vision” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/romney-ryan-rally-supporters-in-nascar-country/2012/08/12/3692324c-e491-11e1-8741-940e3f6dbf48_story.html), etc. )

I read his initial evidence (http://paulryan.house.gov/uploadedfiles/pathtoprosperity2013.pdf). It is a pack of lies.

Of course, this is a political document. It’s primarily focus-group tested rhetoric about how “this budget offers a blueprint for safeguarding America from the perils of debt, doubt and decline” (p. 7) and complementary, unproven allegations about how severely cutting health care for the elderly and poor will somehow help society (this is a moral judgment). I’m not interested in trading political barbs or rehashing talking points. It’s much better to look at factual evidence.

The first thing we should know is that the Ryan Budget is designed to address supposedly high levels of federal debt, which in Austrian School economic theory, lead to higher interest rates and stifle borrowing and business growth. What have the bond markets said so far about the spike in debt the federal government has experienced over the past decade? Oh, that’s right, Treasury bond yields are at the lowest levels ever recorded (http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/data.htm). But let’s move on to the actual budget.

The first footnote we get to (p. 6) cites a CBO study comparing Obama’s budget to Ryan’s until 2022. Why do you stop at 2022, Mr. Ryan? The cited CBO Report (http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-20-Ryan_Specified_Paths_2.pdf) notes that “Those calculations do not represent a cost estimate for legislation or an analysis of the effects of any given policies. In particular, CBO has not considered whether the specified paths are consistent with the policy proposals or budget figures released today by Chairman Ryan as part of his proposed budget resolution. The amounts of revenues and spending to be used in these calculations for 2012 through 2022 were provided by Chairman Ryan and his staff. The amounts for 2023 through 2050 were calculated by CBO on the basis of growth rates, percentages of gross domestic product (GDP), or other formulas specified by Chairman Ryan and his staff.” So the first graph is a letter to Santa Claus. Let’s move to the second one, which extends beyond 2022 and thus doesn’t merely allow Ryan staffers to pull numbers out of thin air.

The second footnote we get to (“Source: OMB/CBO;” p. 6) is a startling graph showing federal debt rising from its post-World War II average of around 40% of GDP (70% now) all the way to 900% by 2080. Scary! The Ryan Budget decreases debt to 0% by 2050. Salvation!Luckily I am familiar with these things called footnotes and this curiosity called the federal budget. The reference is found here (http://cbo.gov/publication/43289) and the report is here (http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-20-Ryan_Specified_Paths_2.pdf). If you look at the CBO Budget Report that he relies on, you will find that the estimates do not go to 2080. Hmm, this is curious. Why do they stop in 2050, Mr. CBO? Well, on page 3, Mr. CBO tells us that: “The results discussed here stop in 2050 because uncertainty about the economy and the budgetary effects of given policies in the more distant future makes calculations beyond that point less meaningful.” So these 2080 estimates that Ryan cites are just a fabrication. Oh, and there are two scenarios that the CBO cites. The rosier one is not mentioned in the Ryan Budget. In 2050, the CBO estimates that the Ryan Budget will have a debt/GDP ratio of 10%, which is bizarrely, and without evidence, rounded down to 0% in 2051.

The CBO Report on the Ryan Budget is only 17 pages long and about half of that is pretty graphs and tables. Page 15 has the same damn graph as Ryan’s page 6 but the numbers are completely different. It’s pretty hard to fuck up reading this thing. I imagine that an intellectual leader and House Budget Committee Chairman would have read this thing backwards and forwards, named his dog Fiscal, slept with the federal budget under his pillow and so on.

In other words, we can tell the first “evidence” in Ryan’s Budget is a pack of lies just by reading his footnotes. Even if Cindy Lou Who did this, I’d send him or her to the principal for academic dishonesty. 
To say this man is somehow an intellectual leader is to believe in a profound fraud.

Public opinion polling indicates that majorities of every demographic group studied think that maintaining Medicare and Social Security benefits are more important than reducing the budget deficit – every group except for two: Republicans with $75,000+ annual income and self-identified Tea Party conservatives (http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2051/medicare-medicaid-social-security-republicans-entitlements-budget-deficit).

To say that politicians are liars is like talking about red fire trucks. Neither is it very interesting to note that partisan political hacks dominate the editorial pages and 24-hour squawk boxes. What is interesting is what the dissemination of these lies through our legislative and electoral process says about who controls the country and whether or not we live in a democracy.

The Incongruous Cheesecake Factory Metaphor in Atul Gawande's "Big Medicine" Piece

Surgeon, author and medical error expert Atul Gawande has a new piece in this month's New Yorker focusing on best practice in medical care. Another of Gawande's articles prompted an Oval Office strategy meeting that helped formulate major cost controls in Obamacare. In other words, while we may not agree with everything Gawande has to say, we should read him because he has the President's ear and we are interested in future policy actions.

The current New Yorker piece essentially argues for standardization and quality control while focusing on improving patient outcomes. He spends a great deal of time discussing food at the Cheesecake Factory, where, in a fit of slurpishness he revels:

"The typical entrée is under fifteen dollars. The décor is fancy, in an accessible, Disney-cruise-ship sort of way: faux Egyptian columns, earth-tone murals, vaulted ceilings. The waiters are efficient and friendly. They wear all white (crisp white oxford shirt, pants, apron, sneakers) and try to make you feel as if it were a special night out. As for the food—can I say this without losing forever my chance of getting a reservation at Per Se?—it was delicious. The chain serves more than eighty million people per year."

Let's just say that quality control is not exactly unique to the restaurant industry or politically controversial. In other words, who gives a shit whether the Cheesecake Factory can cut down on cost?

To tie it back to the health care industry where (unsurprisingly) there are plenty of people engaged in patient-outcome and cost-control research, he summarizes work by his colleague John Wright, an orthopedic surgeon who relies on comparative outcome data to find out what knee implants work best. If implants cost more while not improving outcomes, his surgical team is basically forbidden from using them. And data used by Knight came from Australia's single-payer, national health care system? OK, Atul, this all makes sense. What's the point of spending half your time talking about the Cheesecake Factory?

Atul has a gift for language and metaphor. As a single-payer advocate (a system that in all other countries leads to much less cost and much better patient outcomes), Gawande is undoubtedly aware of the communications constraints (socialism!) faced by advocating single-payer health care.

Talking about the Cheesecake Factory is just a way to sell the idea. It's a way to talk about Australia and national data-collecting through the back door. Although there's certainly better or pithier ways to phrase it for public consumption, the public doesn't read the New Yorker. The Cheesecake Factory is a Trojan Horse: it's a way to talk about single-payer while attempting to ensure the reader doesn't think about Big Government and consequently dismiss the idea.

So, serious readers, forget about how chefs make that perfect veggie burger. There's already plenty of research about quality control in health care settings. Health policy folks know what works better than the American system. When we read Gawande, we just have to keep in mind what he's trying to sell.

Obamacare Ruling: John Roberts' Power Play

I've long thought that Supreme Court were a bunch of political hacks who dressed up their personal opinions in pseudo-legalese and pomposity (see my earlier post). Indeed, viewing the Court in this way helped predict 8 of the 9 votes and the pundit reaction to those votes. None of those votes or responses interest me. What interests me is John Roberts' decision, the only time he has ever brought victory for the liberal wing of the Court.

There's only one person who can truly know what was going on in his head. But I can make a guess.

First, some brief background. Let's not pretend John Roberts was a closet commie biding his time until he could reveal his true principles. John Roberts was the guy (one of the five, at least) who ruled just a few months ago (this April!) that police officers can stick their gloved hands up people's bottoms and vajajays for any reason (i.e., seat belt violations, jaywalking, etc.) and that this doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure. He presided over the ludicrous 2010 ruling in Citizens United that money is speech is freedom. He worked for Reagan and was nominated to the Supreme Court by the that great liberal GW Bush.

Let's assume that in the ruling on Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act, the other Justices were split 4-4. Roberts then had a choice: vote for, against or abstain. Why would he choose to vote for and go against EVERY OTHER 5-4 VOTE HE HAS TAKEN since he became a Justice in 2005? John Roberts' decision can come down to one word: power.

1. Personal legacy. The aspirations and historical legacy of one man can have profound effect on their conduct. Prior to the Obamacare ruling, Democratic commentators were basically deriding Roberts as a partisan hack (according to Jeffrey Toobin, who for some reason lots of people seem to respect as a legal journalist, "Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party."). Today, there are thousands of Democratic commentators and media outlets saluting the fortitude and moderation of John G. Roberts, Jr. Although it's impossible to predict what may happen in the remaining, potentially very long time he has as Chief Justice, it's likely this will be in the first sentence of his obituary ("Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversaw a Court that solidified the standing of conservatism in American life while simultaneously reaching principled decisions on programs dear to liberals, died today..."). Hell, this decision may well get him Time's Man of the Year. With one fell swoop, the image of a rigid partisan has been transformed into one of wisdom and statesmanship.

2. The new swing vote. In a 4-4 Court, the swing Justice has all the power. He (they are males, in this case) can write the entire opinion himself. And he can write it in a way that has far-reaching, expansive interpretations that set the stage for future victories (see #5: Poison Pill). Prior to this ruling, Justice Kennedy had all the power on controversial decisions. But now, John Roberts can extract what he wants from the liberal Justices. In one move, John Roberts is now one of a handful of the most powerful people in America.

3. Supreme Court validation. Even before the recent Obamacare opinion (whose effect on public opinion of the Court has yet to be determined), the Supreme Court was unpopular by historical standards. The polling organization Rasmussen provides the following Supreme Court job approval ratings:

Excellent 8%
Good 28%
Fair 42%
Poor 17%
Not Sure 5%

Also unprecedented was Obama's famous, very public scolding of the Court in his 2010 State of the Union address. Certainly that wasn't enough to sway Roberts' opinion, but it must not have been a feel-good moment for a guy and a Court who basically try to live cloistered lives.

This ruling gets the Democrats off the Court's back. It provides a veneer of independence. And, perhaps most importantly, it provides cover for future major opinions (e.g., Yes, he overturned Roe v. Wade, but he also gave us Obamacare!).

4. Political effects. At first glance, this seems a political victory for the Republican Party, although the effects cannot yet be ascertained. Rightly or wrongly, the backlash to Obamacare brought lots of Republicans to the polls for the 2010 midterm shellackings. In a close race, every vote counts. If Romney ends up winning the election, Obamacare will be overturned anyways. And this decision probably helps Romney get out the Republican vote and win the election.

5. A poison pill interpretation for conservatives. Another significant point of the decision was the ruling that Obamacare is not covered under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (this is obviously distinct from a ruling of unconstitutionality). According to Laurence Tribe:

"In a step I had considered unlikely and entirely lacking in precedential, textual and historical support, five members of the Court determined that Congress did not possess authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate “inactivity.” ... With future Supreme Court offices occupied by appointees of a President Romney, today’s limited holding could become the muse for another, perhaps more successful, wave of attacks on federal power."

[Tribe himself rejects this "Poison Pill" interpretation, and I am quoting only parts of what he wrote in order to illustrate the argument.]

6. A tax. The ruling upholding almost all of Obamacare was based on the power of Congress to tax. Of course, Obama promised many, many times that this did not increase taxes. It's unclear how this will play out, but it has the potential to be a victory for Republicans, a la #5.

Although the validity of any of these points is open to discussion, I think it's important to keep some of them in mind as we try to read the tea leaves about the future direction of the Court. Roberts' decision may very well have been principled, but stating as such ignores the very real power he accrued for himself and his usual political allies

Intersections of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War: The Imperative of Propaganda

“The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner….We value life and human dignity. They don't care about life and human dignity.”
            General William Westmoreland, Commander, US Army, Vietnam
            (Hearts and Minds, 1974)

“[Desegregation] was crucial to the nation’s ability to win the Cold War with the Soviet Union.”
            Secretary of State Dean Rusk
            (As I Saw It, 1990)

“I believe that as the barriers to equal rights and opportunities for all in our Nation are broken down, the fact that the United States is a multiracial society will prove one of our greatest assets in the contest of ideologies.”
            Edward Murrow, Director, United States Information Agency
            (Senate Commerce Committee Hearing, 1963)

Introduction: Necessary Hypocrisies
Despite the immense amounts of scholarship devoted to the civil rights movement and the Cold War, few scholars have explored the interrelations between the two. One finds that segregation tarnished America’s international reputation, a problem that was ameliorated through controlling popular opinion.
At the time, the Soviet Union presented an ideological counterbalance to American hegemony (Chomsky 2003:69-72). The American system represented capitalism, while the Soviet system represented communism. During the 1950s and 1960s many countries that were formerly colonized were gaining their independence. All of these newly independent countries, such as India, Ghana, Indonesia, and many others, were majority nonwhite, and their citizens abhorred America’s racist policies.
Because of the economic dominance exerted by the two superpowers, these newly independent colonies had three choices:
1. Become part of the American-dominated capitalist system;
2. Become part of the Soviet-dominated communist system; or,
3. Pursue their paths independently of the superpowers.
For economic reasons, American officials sought to incorporate the newly independent countries (Layne and Schwarz 1993:5-6) into the American-dominated capitalist world economy (Wallerstein 2003:13-14). It was feared that negative perceptions of American race relations would drive these newly independent countries into the Soviet economic system or to independent paths. To counter this fearful prospect, American officials falsely portrayed American race relations as egalitarian and democratic.
These chapters will review the means by which this propaganda campaign was orchestrated. Chapter One will examine the broad trends in American censorship and promulgation of prominent personalities. Chapter Two will illustrate how the word “communism” was a vacuous phrase that used to bolster the arguments of both integrationists and segregationists within the context of a 1963 Senate hearing. Chapter Three will depict the activities of the United States Information Agency, which was the propaganda arm of the American government. These three chapters are designed both to stand alone and to be complementary. Together, they present a picture of a government concerned primarily with self-image, and tangentially with justice. Indeed, major victories for the civil rights movement were useful only as propaganda tools for the American government.
Throughout, this paper will rely on a definition of propaganda provided by Cull, et al. (2003:318):
“Propaganda is best seen as the deliberate attempt to influence public opinion through the transmission of ideas and values for a specific purpose, not through violence or bribery.” Furthermore, “modern political propaganda is consciously designed to serve the interests, either directly or indirectly, of the propagandists and their political masters.”
Propaganda is not necessarily divorced from reality. Bogart (1976:131) notes that “truth in itself is not enough. [Some types of] propaganda require ‘a truth that registers as a truth.’” In other words, propaganda can have a basis in objective reality, although the message will reflect the same ideology regardless of the reality. Thus, in these chapters, “propaganda” will denote non-objective, governmental campaigns to influence mass opinion for the benefit of the government.[1]
Chapter One: Propaganda and Diplomacy
American officials considered containment of Soviet communism the most important facet of the Cold War (Metz 1984:521). As part of containment, America sought to dominate newly independent countries, most of which were majority nonwhite, by instituting a capitalist economic system (Wood 1994:207) under propagandistic guises of “freedom,” “democracy,” and other political slogans (Dossa 2007:889-890). On the home front, American repression of blacks belied such egalitarian rhetoric. The 1950s and 1960s was a brutal time for American blacks. For most, racism was a fact of life. Legalized segregation was a defining characteristic of many Southern states. But these facts undermined America’s broad foreign policy goals of expanding the territory under its economic dominion. American officials worried that segregation served as a crucial ideological tool for the Soviet Union (Fairclough 2002:84). Therefore, domestic racism was problematic insofar as it jeopardized American economic control of newly independent Third World countries. This chapter will explore how Cold War considerations broadly shaped American propaganda and diplomacy with respect to the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement.
American Propaganda
American officials were well aware of the international implications of segregation and sought to mitigate negative viewpoints. Skrentny (1998:251) argues that the chief goal of American opinion makers was not to abolish inequitable policies but to control public perception of the problem. Chomsky (2003:16) contends that democratic governments influence public opinion through orchestrating propaganda campaigns. American officials sought to depict a free America on the road towards liberating its black underclass from the vestiges of racial bondage, a lie by almost any standard.
Propaganda included promoting uncritical cultural and intellectual icons. Government reactions to civil rights scholarship amplified pro-government viewpoints while censoring criticism. The government sponsored trips for famous entertainers who echoed the State Department line (Eschen 1997:177-180). This cultural exchange had significant effects. For example, the South African Bantu World opined that the Harlem Globetrotters were “one of the United States’ most effective weapons in the Cold War”. The American government was also extending its interests in social science research (Solovey 2001:173-176). The interplay of the Cold War and civil rights is illustrated in the first international Congress of Colored Writers, in Paris in 1956. James Baldwin, the “prominent Black activist intellectual” (Marable 2004:11) orated that there was a significant difference between two groups of the black race, because black Africans could not understand black Americans’ freedoms (Eschen 1997:174-175); Africans could not understand what it was like to be free. Eschen laments “that one of the most searching critics of America in the twentieth century could in this context defend the United States as a society that was ‘open’ and ‘free’.” Baldwin’s trip and, tacitly, his speech, were paid for by the State Department. Here, Baldwin was ostensibly rebutting the critical philosophies of W.E.B. Du Bois, who advocated uniting black diasporas with African blacks (Conyers 2003:67).
Contrapuntally, government propagandists tried to downplay the popular appeal of famous activists like Du Bois and Malcolm X by disseminating scholarly refutations of their arguments (Dudziak 2002:224-225). This included CIA funding of pro-government black academics and scholarly societies (Eschen 1997:175-176). At the aforementioned 1956 Congress of Colored Writers, DuBois was prevented from defending his views, or even attending the conference, because the State Department had revoked his passport for the past six years (Dudziak 2002:62). Like DuBois, black entertainer-activists with critical viewpoints did not travel under the government’s good graces. Particularly prominent critics, such as Ella Baker and Paul Robeson, were often denied international travel, spied on by the FBI, harassed at its request and otherwise censored (Dudziak 2002:62-74).
American Diplomacy
American image was not solely founded on direct prevarication. Policy considerations were sometimes motivated by a desire to ameliorate oppressive conditions for public relations purposes. Kennedy’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk (1990:583-588), argued that mitigating the discrimination encountered by foreign black diplomats “depended on racial progress throughout Washington and indeed the entire country.” In light of this attitude, in 1963 Rusk made a unique appearance before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on desegregating public accommodations[2] (Romano 2000:546-548). According to Rusk, foreign black diplomats driving between United Nations headquarters in New York and embassies in Washington were being refused service at Maryland restaurants and gas stations. Rusk believed desegregation “was crucial to the nation’s ability to win the Cold War with the Soviet Union.” The State Department would go on to give “its full weight to the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965” (Rusk 1990:583-584), “for pragmatic reasons as well as the simple rightness of the cause.”
            This chapter has demonstrated that the American government was concerned over spreading lies and partial truths abroad through promotion of supportive scholars and viewpoints and censorship of dissent. The support for the civil rights movement from powerful sectors was not primarily motivated by concern for human dignity. Indeed, in the lies in support of the ‘greater good’ of civil rights, the greater good was ultimately exploitation of the masses of destitute, nonwhite Third World peoples. This rationale is not ironic, for it consistently seeks to help those in power.

Chapter Two: Communism in a Microcosm
From July 1 to August 2, 1963, the Senate Commerce Committee convened a hearing on “A Bill to Eliminate Discrimination in Public Accommodations Affecting Interstate Commerce” (S. 1732 1963). In the end, this bill “became [sic] [part of] the Civil Rights Act of 1964” (Romano 2000:546). The hearing brought together a wide range of the most influential government actors in the civil rights movement. Attorney General Robert Kennedy opened the hearings with three days of testimony (Thomas 2002:22). Secretary of State Dean Rusk, making “a historic appearance” before a domestic committee (Romano 2000:546), opined that the bill’s “passage was crucial to the nation’s ability to win the Cold War.” Later, Alabama Governor George Wallace, “the most famous symbol of white resistance” (Levy 2003:3), came as a self-proclaimed “loyal American” (S. 1732 1963:434-435) to argue for the protection of his conception of freedom. Other witnesses included Burke Marshall, Roy Wilkins, Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., and twenty-eight governors. As the only Southerner on the Committee, South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond, famous for delivering the longest filibuster in history, against the 1957 Civil Rights Act, complemented Wallace’s vitriol. The New York Times published approximately one article on the hearing per day for one month. E.W. Kenworthy, who wrote eighteen of these articles, called the hearing “a three-ring show” (Kenworthy August 4[3]). This article will demonstrate that in this particular hearing, fears and accusations of Communism were malleable ideological weapons for officials on both sides of the civil rights movement. The use of these weapons are evidenced in: 1) Kenworthy’s near-yellow journalism; 2) Rusk’s testimony; Wallace’s testimony; and, 4) Thurmond’s interrogations of the two witnesses.
Kenworthy’s New York Times Coverage
            Kenworthy’s articles indicate the power that anti-communist ideology held over the committee members – as well as the media. The New York Times published more than thirty articles on the Senate hearing during the time period July 1 – August 4, 1963. Leading the activity was Kenworthy, of later Pentagon Papers fame, who published eighteen articles on the subject. If Kenworthy is taken at his word, then Senator Thurmond had the most significant effect on the witnesses when he attempted to link them with communism. “The only time Mr. Kennedy’s voice took on an emotional timbre was when Mr. Thurmond” accused him of playing into the Soviets’ hands by providing ammunition for Soviet criticism (Kenworthy July 2). Thurmond also upset Secretary of State Rusk and Acting Secretary of Commerce Franklin Roosevelt Jr. when he implied they were communists. This made Rusk “drop his normal diplomatic manner of speaking” (Kenworthy July 11) and Roosevelt Jr. respond “angrily” (Kenworthy July 24).
Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Witness
            Rusk (586-588) contends that President Kennedy asked him “to lead off the administration’s testimony” by focusing on the bill’s effects on foreign affairs. This statement is important for two reasons. First, it was not Rusk, but the President’s brother who began the testimony on behalf of the executive branch. Second, of all the sources, only here is Rusk’s motive asserted. President Kennedy’s directive has important implications for how one views Rusk’s testimony. Indeed, it brings the veracity of his testimony into question. Did Rusk believe in his most grandiose statements, that if facilities along the nation’s highways weren’t desegregated then “it would be regarded as a diminution of our commitment to this great idea of human dignity” (Kenworthy July 11)? Senator Thurmond seemingly catches Rusk’s inconsistency (S. 1732 1963:302):

Thurmond: When did you, as Secretary of State, tell the President that you felt that Congress should pass these laws because the lack of such laws was hurting our foreign relations?
Rusk: Senator, it isn’t customary for a Cabinet officer to discuss the dates or details of conversations with the President.

            Regardless of Rusk’s motives, this example indicates the tone for his entire testimony. Few Northern Senators elected even to question Rusk; those that did chose not to pose difficult questions. However, Rusk faced serious questioning from Thurmond (S. 1732 1963:288-319). Thurmond’s questioning reveals a logic that dismantles the objective arguments for civil rights. Thurmond discovers that Rusk’s reasoning is hypocritical. For example, in response to Thurmond’s second question, Rusk testified that he would not cut off aid to foreign governments that practice discrimination. Later, Thurmond intimated that Rusk’s concerns with the negative impacts of Soviet criticism of American race relations gave credence to it. An adjourning bell cut off Thurmond’s intense questioning. Afterward, Rhode Island Senator John Pastore’s conclusion that Rusk had “been one of the most effective witnesses that ha[d] ever appeared before this Commerce Committee” drew an ovation. In response, Thurmond lamented that “the audience here is packed with civil righters and left wingers.”
Alabama Governor George Wallace, Witness
            If Rusk was conciliatory and cogent, Governor Wallace (S. 1732 1963:434-477) was condemnatory and caustic and reveals a different type of red-baiting. As an example of the style of his testimony, the first page of his opening statement reads: “The leaders of the Federal Government have so misused the Negroes for selfish political reasons that our entire concept of liberty and freedom is now in peril.” The second page of his testimony is devoted almost entirely to criticizing “Martin Luther King and his pro-Communist friends.” The third page in part states: “I will tell you what this Senate bill 1732 does: It places upon all businessmen and professional people the yoke of involuntary servitude. It should be designated as the ‘Involuntary Servitude Act of 1963.’” In Wallace’s view, desegregation “constitute[d] the first step towards land reform…a long step in a socialistic scheme of government which will bring the total destruction of private property rights” (441). Indeed, if Governor Wallace “were caught sitting, consorting with a Communist, I dare say this administration would already have investigated me” (467).
If all the Senators except for Thurmond supported Rusk, the dynamics were reversed with Governor Wallace. The Chairman of the Committee, Washington state Senator Warren Magnuson, broke off Wallace’s bombastic opening statement with the stern rebuttal that “we are not going to be intimidated by anyone.” But Wallace would not be dissuaded. He soon opined: “I am not saying for one instant that every member of the Negro race is a mobster, I am saying the leaders and those who have participated in these demonstrations are. A President who sponsors legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1963 should be retired from public life.”
Unlike Thurmond, Wallace had virtually no logical consistency. Wallace stated that “I have never made a single statement in my whole political career…in which I reflected on a man because of his color.” Humorously, Chairman Magnuson interjected, “our guests are going to have to refrain from making loud comments.”
            Thurmond’s examination of Wallace used up the remainder of the time for testimony. Thurmond led Wallace down a simple path of racist logic. Thurmond’s questions are well represented by the following one: “If a man tried to stand up for the Constitution, isn’t it a fact that some of the liberal news media today try to claim he is a racist?” Most of Thurmond’s queries were such thinly veiled reformulations of the earlier arguments he put forth to Rusk.
This chapter has demonstrated the salience that communism held in a particular Senate hearing on integration. This hearing was chosen for three reasons, as intimated in the chapter title, “Communism in a Microcosm.” First, the hearing illustrates well the attitudes of prominent officials and a respected journalist towards communism during the civil rights movement. Secondly, it indicates the important interstices between the Cold War and civil rights for government ideologues on both sides of the civil rights issue. Thirdly, despite the importance of the hearing, little has been written about it. Pickerill’s (2004:86-89) book briefly delves into the testimony. In Loevy’s three hundred and eighty page edited history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only a footnote (Loevy 1997:164-165) indicates that this bill was one of two predecessors to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Dudziak (2002:184-186) mentions Rusk’s testimony, and only briefly. Romano’s lengthy article attempts to address why Rusk would testify on a nominally domestic bill, but addresses the hearing itself only on three pages (2000:546-548). The lack of scholarship on this hearing is surprising, and presents potent grounds for further, broader research beyond the question of the impact of communism as a propagandistic slogan.
Chapter Three: The Illusory Voice
            The United States Information Agency (USIA) was “one of the five major foreign affairs agencies of the United States government” (Elder 1968:x), the others being the CIA, Departments of State and Defense, and USAID. Of these agencies, Elder maintains that the USIA was the least recognized. Two factors contributed to this relative anonymity. First, the public mission of the USIA was “to inform and influence peoples abroad” (FRC 68 A 1415 1961). Stated more clearly internally, USIA Director Edward Murrow wrote that “we are not in the news business as such, but in the business of furthering U.S. objectives through information activities abroad” (FRC 68 A 4933 1962). Secondly, the USIA sought to efface the origin of its own activities. Murrow advised:
 “Receptivity to USIA media output is nearly always greater when the output is not attributed to the Agency or the U. S. Government. I have therefore instructed our field posts not to carry USIA attribution on pamphlets, motion pictures, television shows and other media products (but excluding [sic] periodicals) except when local custom or law dictates otherwise.”
In short, the USIA was the propaganda arm of the American government (Cull, et al. 2003:420).
As with the American government generally, USIA employees recognized the dualism of propaganda and truth with respect to the civil rights movement. On the one hand, “Racial and Ethnic Progress” (Elder 1968:89) was one of five themes for Agency propaganda. On the other, Murrow opined “that as the barriers to equal rights and opportunities for all in our Nation are broken down, the fact that the United States is a multiracial society will prove one of our greatest assets in the contest of ideologies” (S. 1732:16-17). This chapter will explore how the USIA dealt with the paradox of propaganda and truth in relation to the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement.
USIA: Propaganda
            As part of its research into public opinion, the USIA reported to American officials throughout the 1950s and 1960s that domestic racial discrimination was the foremost criticism of America among the international community (Dudziak 2002:56, 166, 208). As long as segregation existed, these opinions could only be countered through propaganda.
The USIA fulfilled its mission with great energy. The USIA cabled daily its pro-American media to its dozens of information bureaus, which were housed within American embassies (Elder 1968:7-10). It distributed propagandistic movies and radio shows through its Voice of American broadcasting network. The USIA also published books, including English textbooks.  Other mediums could be disguised as scholarship. For example, the USIA released “The Negro in American Life” (Dudziak 2002:49), an informational pamphlet presenting American race relations as utopian. In all these cases, the American government held the moral high ground in race relations.
Audiences were carefully selected as targets for propaganda. For example, Murrow noted that “African students studying in Russia…are a receptive target for information, and could be particularly useful in their travels to other European capitals and returning home” (FRC 68 A 4933 1962). Similarly, “feature stories dealing with Negro progress in the U.S. are good output for West Africa” (Bogart 1976:108). As in the Peace Corps (Dudziak 2002:157), in USIA media a black person was a “useful” tool for propaganda. In addition to such “directly influential persons” (Bogart 1976:56), the USIA also focused on “mass media operators” and “the cultural elite,” in order to legitimize the lies of the officials of the American government.
USIA: Partial Truths
USIA officials recognized that American race relations posed difficulties that could not necessarily be fixed by propaganda (S. 1732:16-17). When the civil rights movement gained important victories, a partial truth could be presented and its negative qualities effaced. Readers should keep in mind a crucial qualifier when analyzing ‘partial truths.’ According to Bogart (1976:131), “truth in itself is not enough. Propaganda requires ‘a truth that registers as a truth.’”
Major victories for black equality, such as the Brown decision, James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi, the March on Washington in 1963 and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 (Dudziak 2002:107-109, 165, 188-198, 210-213, respectively), were immediately used in USIA international press releases. One theme predominated: civil rights victories were examples of American democracy, which demonstrated the morality of the majority of the American people when confronted with the racist tendencies of a few marginalized bigots.
Demonstrating its usual treatment of partial truths, the USIA made a faux-documentary for the civil rights movement that focused on the 1963 March on Washington (Eschen 1997:216-217). In The March, a diverse group of harmonious marchers are portrayed as quintessential American citizens. Of the speeches, “only Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech was included;” however, King’s criticism of the American government was removed in order to focus on “the forward-looking ‘dream’ segment.” Additionally, Eschen points out that the protestors’ motivations are unexamined.
The chapter has illustrated the myriad efforts of the USIA to brainwash its audiences into believing that America was a paragon of racial concord. In the mid-1960s, USIA’s audience was estimated at over 1 billion people, or approximately one third of the world’s population (Elder 1968:1, 10). In addition, the USIA had a budget of $170 million and more than 10,000 employees. The power of the USIA should not be underestimated. Officials recognized (Bogart 1976:22) that accepting USIA propaganda in terms of the racial question could open the door for further opinion molding on broader American foreign policy objectives.
Dudziak (2002:235-242) maintains that the dual campaign of lies and partial truths worked. USIA activity reached its crescendo and ultimate success in the mid-1960s, when the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 offered a façade of legal equality. Hereafter, “foreign opinion was [now] developing along the lines the USIA and State Department had long hoped for” (Dudziak 2002:241) and international condemnation of American racism declined to virtually zero. Despite the reality of entrenched racism (Sitkoff 1993:210-235), American propaganda, bolstered by partial truths, had succeeded in its mission.
Interestingly, in 1964 Carl Rowan, an African-American, was appointed to head the USIA. Unfortunately, Elder (1968) and Bogart’s (1976) extensive histories of the USIA do not speculate as to a possible racial motivation, a possibility for future research.

Conclusion: A Completed Campaign?
Self-interest and hypocrisy were key features of American foreign policy with respect to the civil rights movement. This paper has critical implications for scholars as well as the public. Scholars must be wary of revisionist histories that seek to depict a disinterested or benevolent American government with respect to the civil rights movement. Revisionist histories of this type mirror the propaganda reviewed in these chapters. A cursory examination of the facts shows this depiction to be false. In reality, government officials used civil rights as a propaganda weapon in order to secure economic domination over emerging Third World nations. For the government and its propagandists, mired in lies, civil rights were utilitarian.
For the those who may dismiss the fallacy of foreigners who believed government self-adulation about egalitarian race relations, it is instructive to remember that the civil rights movement has declined in America from its 1960s heights, despite, at best, marginal economic gains following civil rights legislation in this country.
The idea that propaganda has ceased to be a vital component of American foreign affairs is an illusion. In 1999, the Bureau of International Information Programs replaced the USIA as chief propaganda arm of the American government. The Voice of America (VOA) radio network continues to operate. Its “journalistic code” (Voice of America 2009) states in part:
“Adhering to the principles outlined in the Charter, VOA reporters and broadcasters must strive for accuracy and objectivity in all their work. They do not speak for the U.S. government. They accept no treatment or assistance from U.S. government officials or agencies that is more favorable or less favorable than that granted to staff of private-sector news agencies. Furthermore, VOA professionals, careful to preserve the integrity of their organization, strive for excellence and avoid imbalance or bias in their broadcasts.”
The “objectivity” of Voice of America should make the readers of this paragraph laugh out loud. The “fast facts” (Voice of America 2009) on its website claim an audience of over 130 million people per week, as well as “the largest integrated digital audio system in the world.” One may ask, are we and others now being propagandized? And if one looks at the overwhelming evidence, the answer is, yes. The public must eschew supposedly unbiased information from government sources.
Self-interest, hypocrisy, and the practical applications of human rights continue to predominate within respected circles supposedly far removed from propagandistic coercion. For example, on April 25, Nicholas Kristof (2009), the most liberal opinion columnist for the New York Times, called for an inquiry into the American government’s support of torture:
“because otherwise the next major terror attack — and there will be one — will be followed by Republican claims that the president’s wimpishness [sic] left America vulnerable. His agenda on health care, climate change and education will then risk a collapse into dream dust. The way to inoculate his agenda is to seek common ground through a nonpartisan commission. Second, a commission could help restore America’s standing by distancing ourselves from past abuses.”
            In a democracy the public presumably have a right to some control over the actions of its government. It is extremely unlikely that many people would choose to be indoctrinated. In a somewhat free and open country like our own, the possibilities for reform are much greater than in totalitarian societies. The more the facts are known, the less able the government is able to resist them. The changing mission statements of the propaganda arms of the U.S. government from 1961 to today is evidence of a probable shift in public attitudes – and the need for government propagandists to hide behind greater façades. Thus, as long as people continue to chip away at the mountain of injustice, there is hope that one day it will be dismantled.

Rusk, Dean. 1990. As I Saw It. W. W. Norton.
FRC 68 A 1415. 1961. Washington National Records Center, RG 306, USIA Files: FOIA/Classified Folder. Accessed at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/kennedyjf/xxv/6010.htm on April 28, 2009.
FRC 68 A 4933. 1962. Washington National Records Center, RG 306, USIA Files: Policy and Plans-General (IOP)/62. Accessed at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/kennedyjf/xxv/6010.htm on April 28, 2009.
S. 1732. 1963. “Hearings before the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate, Eighty-eighth Congress, First Session, n S. 1732, a Bill to Eliminate Discrimination in Public Accommodations Affecting Interstate Commerce.” Government Printing Office.
Selected 1963 New York Times articles on S. 1732:
Atlanta's Mayor Speaks.” July 28.
“South Seeds to Water Down Civil Rights Bill.” July 21.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Civil Rights Session Enlivened by Flurry of Partisan Sniping.” July 24.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Senators Press Robert Kennedy on Rights Plan.” July 2.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Rights Bill: Large Questions.” July 7.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Rusk and Thurmond Clash Coldly over Civil Rights.” July 11.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Barnett Charges Kennedys Assist Red Racial Plot.” July 13.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Rights Bill: The Arguments in Congress.” August 4.
Kenworthy, E. W. “Wallace Asserts Air Force Offers Aid to Race Riots.” July 16.
Lewis, Anthony. “Issue in Rights Debate.” July 14.
Raymond, Jack. “Tower Attacks Rights Proposal.” July 7.
Voice of America. 2009. “Fast Facts.” Accessed at http://www.voanews.com/english/
About/FastFacts.cfm on April 30, 2009.
Voice of America. 2009. “Journalistic Code.” Accessed at http://www.voanews.com/english/
About/JournalisticCode.cfm on April 30, 2009.

Bogart, Leo. 1976. Premises for Propaganda: The United States Information Agency’s Operating Assumptions in the Cold War. Free Press.
Chomsky, Noam. 2003. Hegemony or Survival. Metropolitan Books.
Chomsky, Noam. 2003. Media Control. Open Media.
Conyers, James. L (ed.). 2003. Afrocentricity and the Academy: Essays on Theory and Practice. McFarland.
Dalton, Russell J., Paul A. Beck and Robert Huckfelt. 1998. “Partisan Cues and the Media: Information Flows in the 1992 Presidential Election.” American Political Science Review 92(1), 111-126.
Dossa, Shiraz. 2007. “Slicing Up ‘Development’: Colonialism, Political Theory, Ethics.” Third World Quarterly 28(5):887-99.
Dudziak, Mary. 2002. Cold War Civil Rights. Princeton University Press.
Elder, Robert E. 1968. The Information Machine: The United States Information Agency and American Foreign Policy. Syracuse University Press.
Eschen, Penny Marie von. 1997. Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957. Cornell University Press.
Fairclough, Adam. 2002. “The Cold War and the Color Line/Nixon’s Civil Rights.” History Today 52(11):84.
Holloway, Jonathan Scott. 1997. “Review: The Soul of W.E.B. Du Bois.” American Quarterly 49(3):603-614.
Layne, Christopher and Benjamin Schwarz. 1993. “American Hegemony: Without an Enemy.” Foreign Policy 92 (Autumn):5-23.
Levy, Peter B. 2002. Civil War on Race Street: The Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge Maryland. University Press of Florida.
Loevy, Robert D. 1997. The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Passage of the Law That Ended Racial Segregation. SUNY Press.
Kristof, Nicholas. 2009. “Time to Come Clean.” New York Times. April 25.
Marable, Manning. 2004. “Living Black History.” Souls 6(3):5-16.
Metz, Steven. 1984. “American Attitudes towards Decolonization in Africa.” Political Science Quarterly 99(3):513-533.
Pickerill, J. Mitchell. 2004. Constitutional Deliberation in Congress: The Impact of Judicial Review in a Separated System. Duke University Press.
Romano, Renee. 2000. “No Diplomatic Immunity: African Diplomats, the State Department, and Civil Rights, 1961-1964.” The Journal of American History 87(2):546-579.
Sitkoff, Harvard. 1993. The Struggle for Black Equality. Hill and Wang.
Skrentny, John David. 1998. “The Effect of the Cold War on African-American Civil Rights: America and the World Audience, 1945-1968.” Theory and Society 27(2):237-285.
Solovey, Mark. 2001. “Project Camelot and the 1960s Epistemological Revolution: Rethinking the Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus.” Social Science Studies 31(2):171-206.
Thomas, Evan. 2002. Robert Kennedy: His Life. Simon and Schuster.
Vercellotti, Timothy and Paul R. Brewer. 2006. “ ‘To Plead Our Own Cause’: Public Opinion toward Black and Mainstream News Media among African Americans.” Journal of Black Studies 37(2), 231-250.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2003. Historical Capitalism. Verso.
Wood, Robert. E. 1994. “From the Marshall Plan to the Third World.” Pp. 201-214 in Origins of the Cold War: An International History, edited by Melvin P. Leffler and David S. Painter. Routledge Press.

Cull, Nicholas J., David Culbert, David Welch. 2003. Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encyclopedia, 1500 to the Present. ABC-Clio.

[1] For a further discussion of the definition of propaganda, see Cull, et al. 2003:317-322.
[2] Related aspects of this hearing are examined in Chapter Two.
[3] Due to the large number of Kenworthy (1963) references, his articles are cited by day.