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I was profoundly struck by something Mitt Romney said recently during a fundraiser at a millionaire's house.  No, not because Mitt Romney once again proved he's a delusional and narcissist who believes he's a Master of the Universe (although that was part of it).  But because of something else.  

Here's what Romney said, as per the diary on Daily Kos:

What a welcome, what a place this is. My goodness. Who would have imagined pizza could build this, you know that? This is really something. Don’t you love this country? What a home this is, what grounds these are, the pool, the golf course. You know if a Democrat were here he’d look around and say no one should live like this, you know? Republicans come here and say everyone should live like this, all right. This is a real tribute to America, to entrepreneurship.

The drubbing Romney took was appropriate for his usual arrogance, couched in the same "by his bootstraps" Horatio Alger nonsense the American right has sold like snake oil to the masses for generations.

But there was something else to the language that struck me.

It's an angle that no one's really talked about.  

It is the language of the American lottery.  

We are all familiar with the Lottery as it's sold to us from billboards, bus stops, and T.V. commercials.  The mottoes are second nature:

Hey, you never know!

A dollar and a dream!

It only takes an instant!

The American Lottery is increasingly presented as the American Dream.  Yet it is an American dream devoid of any of the original notions of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and determination.

The lottery is the American dream as a fraud.

Why is this so important to the right wing framework?  Because the right wing is a fraud.  Theirs is a party made up by criminals, shysters, hucksters and con men.  Theirs is a party in which wealth is stolen on high tech gaming boards on Wall Street that are gussied up casinos.  

A fraud like Mitt Romney stole his wealth by squeezing large corporations and dumping the losses on the American tax payer, while cashing out in the process.  

In other words, a fraud like Mitt Romney is a lottery winner.  

In his delusional mind, that is the American dream.  

Not the hard work and dedication that people such as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton produced.  They are mocked and derided by the casino-playing hucksters and thieves that make up the American right wing cult movement.

Because they naively play by the rules.  They see a larger cause outside of themselves.  They feel loyalty to the nation that enriched them.

What it comes down to is that the American right hates the American Dream as it was originally understood.

They believe in a fraudulent American "dream" produced by the "Hey, you never know!" scratch ticket ethos of lottery games and luck-of-the-draw chance taking.  

Mitt Romney never produced anything in his life.  He gambled in the illegal and savage "casino" created by republican corruption, fraud, and rigging of the system.  That was his lottery.  That was his "American dream."

Why does Romney keep saying he "won't apologize"?  Because he knows, deep down, he's a criminal, a fraud, a scam artist, a huckster, and a man who earned nothing of the massive wealth he stole from other corporations and continues to hide in off-shore bank accounts and accounting trickery.

This is the "American Dream" being sold by the American right wing.  It is LOTTERY TICKET dreaming.

*  No need for education

*  No need for hard work

*  No need for dedication and perseverance

*  No need to produce an actual product  

Vote for Republicans and you too could WIN the American Dream!:

Mitt Romney and the rest of the right wing frauds are selling "A Dollar and a Dream."  All their rabid right wing apologists are simply lottery-ticket players.  They more the play and don't win, ironically, the more they become invested in the entire systemic fraud.  

That's why the modern right has totally unethered from fact-based thinking.  You cannot be dedicated to facts and statistics when you play the lottery, or you'd never play (since you're statistically more likely to lose than to win).  

This is the framework frauds like Mitt Romney have adopted.

They speak in a language we all know because we see and read ads every day with the same sunny, hopeful, pain-free promises of instant millionairedom.  But the conservative movement has deeply tapped into that advertising language to sell the modern "republican dream."

It is a "dream" built by decades of corrupt charlatans like the Koch Brothers, Romney, Bush, and the rest of the multimillionaires who never produce anything but rigging the system to steal from the masses.

It is Scratch Ticket America.  

And it should be loudly condemned for the fraud that it is.

Originally posted to Political Language and Messaging on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well illustrated. (15+ / 0-)

    And I think you just condemned it for the fraud it is.

    "Scratch Ticket America"  There's a nice ring to that.

    thanks

    Nuance is lost upon those who choose not to look.

    by poliwrangler on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:48:56 AM PDT

  •  I have been thinking about lottery dreams too. (32+ / 0-)

    I was raised in the Ozarks. Religion was as ever present as the air we breathed. I grew up on talk of pearly gates and streets lined with gold.

    Later I went to one of the Get Motivated conferences and I saw a direct line between the rich reward of heaven thinking and the get rich pyramid schemes of Amway and Get Motivated which both appeal to conservative religious types.

    I agree. There is a scam mentality that is pervasive in that culture. The old-time revival tent meetings were great shows that raised a lot of money for the preachers.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:50:21 AM PDT

  •  Goodness, gracious, me! (10+ / 0-)

    I am so out-of-touch! I believe in education, hard work, dedication, perseverance, and a well-made product. I did a disservice teaching that to my children.

    If I'd known all I had to do was scratch a lottery ticket to pay all my bills, I would have done so long ago.

    Now, where I can get me some of that lottery ticket joy?

    /snark

    All knowledge is worth having.

    by Noddy on Thu May 03, 2012 at 10:06:55 AM PDT

  •  I read this and I thought "Las Vegas" (8+ / 0-)

    but really, "scratch-ticket" is even better, since they're everywhere and they don't require a special trip.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu May 03, 2012 at 10:10:34 AM PDT

  •  jail Corzine; let's stand up to casino capitalism (4+ / 0-)

    If dKossians, Democrats, US financial regulators, DOJ, and the Obama Admin are serious about expunging the "lottery" element of the American dream (a.k.a. "casino capitalism"), and serious about economic recovery, they will prosecute Jon Corzine, former CEO of MF Global (MF Holdings) and formerly CEO of Goldman Sachs. If we don't push for this, it sends a clear signal to the entire world: nothing has changed, don't believe a thing Obama says, because there is no hope -- the rich who break the rules, like Romney and Corzine, will win. But if Corzine is prosecuted, and Obama speaks out against him (as he did against Rev. Wright when he needed to), it becomes a Democratic strength: even the richest, most powerful supporters who commit fraud will be prosecuted.

    There have been some diaries about this, though not as many as it deserves, not as prominent (rec'd, front-page), and not with enough widespread passion.

    Yes, Corzine was a Democrat, former Senator and former Governor of NJ, supported by many of us here (at least against Franks and Christie, though not necessarily in the primary against former Governor Florio -- in which Corzine spent $33 million of his own money). And Corzine was one of President Obama's biggest fund-raisers. The latter, even as late as first-quarter 2012, although that page has since been edited and his name removed -- but the URL tells the story, contrary to Jay Carney's line that it was from 2011 --  barackobama.com/2012-first-quarter-volunteer-fundraisers.  

    Now is the time for Democrats to throw Corzine under the bus. Sorry, but politics (and fraud of $1.2 billion) is a blood sport. Democrats need to get ahead of this or it will surely be used against us. The right-wing and Romeny's campaign are saving this for September-Nov, to throw at Obama. Let's not give them that chance.

    A quick (if critical) overview is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    •  Corzine over all the others? (4+ / 0-)

      Obama hasn't prosecuted anyone, why Corzine?  And what does that have to do with my diary?

      •  Corzine along with the others! :-) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac

        Starting with Corzine would send a clear message, and would boost Obama's election prospects. But certainly many other people, as well. (See Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" for starters.)

        Corzine's actions are transparently criminal, on a grand scale like Madoff's. He oversaw the use of customers' money to pay off the firm's debts, to the tune of $1.2 billion.

        I thought your diary is about how the American dream has been turned into a scratch-ticket lottery, in which those who follow the "original notions of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and determination" do not succeed, while for those "in which wealth is stolen on high tech gaming boards on Wall Street that are gussied up casinos" are allowed to get away with it.

        Corzine, like Romney, is a lottery winner (as you describe it) -- Romney "stole his wealth by squeezing large corporations and dumping the losses on the American tax payer, while cashing out in the process."

        I linked to Susan Strange's timeless 1997 book on Casino Capitalism, in case you haven't read it.

        If we (and other Democrats including the President) only attacked Republican WS frauds, then it would undermine our credibility and our position, because we can (rightly?) be seen as acting out of partisanship and not justice or principle, and it would not solve the problem. So including Corzine as well as the others makes it a source of Democratic strength, as I suggested: even the richest, most powerful supporters who commit fraud will be prosecuted.

        Sorry if I distracted from something else you wanted to emphasize, I thought I was supporting your points, just suggesting that we can't exclude Corzine from that net of justice.

    •  How about letting the investigation proceed? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      There is an ongoing investigation and it certainly seems likely to lead at some point to charges being brought against Corzine, but it should not be rushed to make a political show. These are complex cases and it takes time to put together evidence. Tossing a case together and "throwing him under the bus" for political theater is no better than refraining from prosecution for political purposes.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:35:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They have Corzine's initials on the sell order (0+ / 0-)

        that he later testified under oath that he knew nothing about.  Corzine's wealth led to certain morally ambiguous situations here in Jersey like the $470,00 gift to former girlfriend Carla Katz, as well as the $6 million settlement to Ms. Katz upon their breakup.  The thing with Ms. Katz is significant because she happened at the time to be the leader of a CWA local that represented 10,000 state employees at the time of these gifts, which was a conflict of interests that Corzine bought his way out of through his largesse with NJ Democrats.  The NJ Democratic party got hooked on the crack pipe of Corzine's money and is now in a shambles as prominent Democrats collaborate with the Republicans to advance Governor Christie's agenda in order to enhance their own personal power, money, and prestige.  Sure, do the due process, but I am sure that Corzine's moral and ethical ambiguity will lead to charges and conviction that he will not be able to buy his way out of this time.

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:48:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  T & R'd (7+ / 0-)

    Hope the "Rescue Rangers" catch and "spotlight" this diary. You said a mouthful.

    The social safety net has essentially been replaced by the prison system, with the U.S. “getting rid of the superfluous population through incarceration -- Noam Chomsky

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:50:25 PM PDT

  •  I Love It (2+ / 0-)

    So obviously do the Republicans love their "scratch ticket America". Buy the ticket, take the ride.

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Isaac Asimov

    by Hammerhand on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:24:51 PM PDT

  •  I long ago flagged the lottery (16+ / 0-)

    as the notional carrot that gets the poor and middle class to vote against raising taxes on the wealthy. People who think that they can win against odds of 270,000,000:1 don't want to be taxed on those winnings. (Yes, I've had actual conversations with people where they have said this.)

    You're right, this is the new american dream.

    Great diary. T&R.

    "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

    by Wheever on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:28:08 PM PDT

    •  that fantasy gives me apoplexy (0+ / 0-)

      do none of these delusionals understand that once they win their jackpot, they can keep buying lottery tickets?
      By the truckload, even?

      not to mention the express purpose for the existence of lotteries (state-sponsored gambling of the type Jesus did not approve) is to add to state treasuries, both from ticket sales and taxation of the winnings?

      Argh. Here comes the apoplexy...

      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

      by kamarvt on Fri May 04, 2012 at 05:30:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I noticed it even before the lottery. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WinSmith

      My dad is a get rich quick scammer and we used to have political arguments. I finally realized that though he is an outlaw and though he passionately feels like an underdog, he votes republican so that when he makes the boatloads of money he won't be taxed on it.

      It's like being a character in someone else's dream being raised by people like this.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Fri May 04, 2012 at 08:25:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney was a winner in the biggest lottery (14+ / 0-)

    the birth lottery.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:57:01 PM PDT

  •  Many Dems also pushing the Lottery as... (3+ / 0-)

    ..the route to the American Dream.

    Last December, thanks to a ruling by President Obama's Justice Department, lottery tickets can now be purchased on the Web.  Think who's going to get hurt most by that ruling, affluent households or the working/middle-class?

    Is this the king of America we want, where people who can't help themselves, gambling addicts, purchase hundreds of dollars in lottery tickets from the "comfort" of their own homes?

    Yes, Romney is delusional.

    But President Obama and Attorney General Holder should know better than to have issued that ruling.

    Why did they do so?  Probably because Dem governors and mayors, too coward to ask the really wealthy to pay their fair share, want to continue targeting those least able to defend themselves through regressive taxes/fees.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:02:53 PM PDT

  •  And on to the next goalpost... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, Renee

    Which is of course the reality shows that legalize manslaughter as long as it's for entertainment...

    Imagine the shows!

    The Running Man, the Series  (This time, it's for REAL)

    You bet your life!  Literally!

    Monday Night AutoDuel!  (Licensing paid to Steve Jackson Games)

    You think folks like their reality TV NOW?  You ain't seen NUTHIN baybee...

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:14:35 PM PDT

  •  And a vote for Republicans... (7+ / 0-)

    ... actually decreases one's chance of achieving the American Dream.

    Especially if one defines the American Dream modestly as being able to own one's own home, be debt-free, and allow ones' children to receive a quality education.

    To contrast with Romney's visit, I'd like to see Obama visit the home of a middle class family who own their own home without a mortgage, and whose children have been able to go to college without taking on life-long debt, who have a decent medical plan, and for Obama to say:

    My goodness. Who would have imagined an average American middle-class family being able to have no financial worries like this.  And if a family gets sick, they don't have to worry about going into bankruptcy to pay their medical bills. This is really something.

    What a stable, wonderful family, living in a wonderful community where everyone is okay to pay fair share of taxes to support schools, the police force, and all the other services we take for granted.  

    You know if a Republican were here he’d look around and say no matter what, you're paying too many taxes and, oh by the way, we're laying off thousands of people, especially the more senior, higher-paying jobs, to save costs and increase corporate profits for shareholders.

    Democrats come here and say everyone should live like this, all right.  Everyone should have a decent job and decent health care and decent education. This is a real tribute to the original American Dream, to being good citizens and being able to earn a decent wage.


  •  Which reminds me of my favorite joke (6+ / 0-)
    Me: Dear God, please let me win the lottery!

    God: OK. Help me out. Buy a ticket.

    I won't buy a lottery ticket. It's just too stupid. I drives me crazy to see all the ads for the lottery sucking people in. And the "Good luck!" slogans they parrot when they announce the numbers (sometimes I can't get to the TV clicker right away) are so evil.

    You're exactly right, WinSmith, and this attitude is cancerous to our society, killing it from within.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:26:24 PM PDT

  •  Don't dare raise taxes on the rich! (5+ / 0-)

    I'm gonna be a millionaire next week.

    If I don't win the lottery, I'll perfect my killer app: Hula Hoops for iPhone! Billions!

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:28:55 PM PDT

  •  watched people lose all day (17+ / 0-)

    I hate the lottery with a burning passion.

    I worked at a grocery store for a year and a half. I joke that I worked vice, because people would come in for their liquor and then come over to me at the lottery counter for their tickets; their cigarettes were right around the corner.

    Anyway, I basically watched people lose all day. All day, every day. Rarely did I even have a scratch-off ticket winner.

    Many people would come in having - ahem - already been to happy hour, and they'd buy scratch-off after scratch-off. I'd wait until my manager was out of earshot, and then I'd say something like, "Wow, Mr. Smith. Looks like you're not having a lucky day today. Maybe you should try again tomorrow," because I knew the people were tipsy, not thinking clearly, and didn't have the money to waste on tickets.

    After watching people lose for a year and a half, I'd rather roll down the window in my car and toss my money out the window than purchase a single lottery ticket.

    What a giant waste of money. What a terrible scheme to dupe poor people out of the few pennies they have.

    May the lotto guys rot in hell.

  •  What an excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, Renee, WinSmith

    Belongs on the Rec List, IMHO.

    Thanks so much, WinSmith.

  •  My favorite definition of a lottery: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Jackson L Haveck

    'A tax on people who are bad at math'.

    He counts on people being 'bad at math'. The whole 'self-made' mythology depends on people being 'bad at math'. So many people are just like little kids who dream of being a first round draft pick when they grow up, with no understanding of what percentage of American men are actually star NFL quarterbacks.

    You can work as hard as you want in this country and it really doesn't signify anything except a good work ethic. If this fantasy of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps were ever true, then Jurgis Rudkus of "The Jungle" would have made Rmoney look poor. My husband would have Mitt as a valet. You see where it got the former and I can assure you my husband has no valets, multi-gajillionaire or otherwise.

    Yet every once in a while the 1%ers are able to pull a stunning rags-to-riches story out of their butts, like J.K. Rowling or the woman who came up with 'Baby Einstein'. "See!" they say, "see, anyone can make it rich. You just have to work harder."

    And the American people - who never got over their starry-eyed fantasies of being a movie star or a prima ballerina - nod their heads, lap up the snake oil and renew their determination to try harder from here on out. They never stop to wonder why it never pans out. They've bought into the mythology so deeply that they never stop to calculate the odds, or wonder whether the game has been rigged from the start.

    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain

    by Late Again on Fri May 04, 2012 at 01:52:46 AM PDT

    •  a math word problem; (0+ / 0-)

      If, in Romneymerica, everyone can live like Papa John, who will tend the golf courses, swimming pools, gardens, etc?
      Other millionaires? Children? Very smart and industrious monkeys?
      If everyone is filthy rich, just how much would it cost to have the septic tank flushed? How much would Romney charge to flush one? Whose golf course takes the effluent?

      Please show your work ;>)

      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

      by kamarvt on Fri May 04, 2012 at 05:39:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tom Toles had a brilliant cartoon about this.... (0+ / 0-)

    at least 15 years ago. It had panels demonstrating the evolution of the economy:
    From hunter/gatherer to farmer to cottage industry to giant factories....to empty factories next to a casino.

    Gambling, lotteries & casinos fundamentally reflext hopelessness and the collapse of the middle class economy, where the only prayer of a good life is winning the lottery, hitting the big trifecta.
    Because hard work won't do it anymore when the game is rigged.

  •  Republican replacement for SSN and Retirement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike08

    Powerball and MegaMillions are the Republicon ideas to fund education and to provide retirement funds to people who "invest" with them!  But, in reality it is a tax on people who do not believe in the mathematics of statistics and probabilty.

    Democratic Party could get in front of this by offering a tax break to lottery winners by taxing the proceeds as "capital gains" just like the hedge fund brokers.  There's not that much more work involved in buying lottery tickets and  manipulating hedge funds!

    Impeach Grover Norquist! Defeat a Republican!

    by NM Ray on Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:47:23 AM PDT

  •  Lottery money goes to education! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike08

    That's how it was originaly sold when it was introduced in Florida.  Take a guess as to how that's working out today.  Heard of the lottery-education fund connection lately?

    Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

    by gatorcog on Fri May 04, 2012 at 07:18:21 AM PDT

  •  In NY it's sold as education support as well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike08

    But it's not meant to add money for education but to replace the same amount of money raised from other sources, i.e. income taxes, to fund education from the general state revenues.  In other words getting lower income people to pay even more proportionally than they already do for an essential, shared social expense.

    The proponents of casino gambling are currently running radio adds explicitly claiming that legalization would mean billions of dollars for thousands of new, or added, teachers.  Actually, it would be billions of dollars fewer that would be need to be raised by income taxes on Wall Street fatcats, so their taxes could be lowered even more.   The schools won't see more state funding, just a shift in the origins of state funding. And local property taxes won't go down, either.

    Araguato

  •  Wish I could rec this x100s (0+ / 0-)

    Tipped, recommended, hot-listed and shared.

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri May 04, 2012 at 08:58:31 AM PDT

  •  I still play... (0+ / 0-)

    but usually just a ticket or two a week, if that. I figure someone's got to win it - and someone usually does. But
    I'll never be one of those folks who walk in the store and drops a hundred on ream after ream of tickets at 5 bucks a pop, then buys the $20 scratch tix and leaves after spending what most folks make for several days work. Insane.
    And I have to say, the current push for casinos is even more insane. We're about to get some here in MA. All it's going to to is create more crime and screw a lot of people out of their money. Those in favor say we need the money. And yet, we're going to have to spend money for infrastructure and policing.
    Or course, for Mitt, this is the way to the American Dream.
    This said by a guy who screwed a lot of people to make his millions and earns $63,000 a day from his investment income.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

    by MA Liberal on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:02:12 AM PDT

  •  Except Mitt's world is anything but an honest (0+ / 0-)

    game of chance.

    Most lottery players are honest and hardworking who actually put a dollar or two into the pot.

    Mitt and his ilk, on the other hand, distort and corrupt the rules of business, to say nothing of the intent to compete fairly and ethically.

    They use inside knowledge of finance and companies to gain an unfair advantage which allows them to steal a little bit from a lot of people.

  •  Home, pool, golf course? Democrats say that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres, the fan man

    people shouldn't live like this?  Does Mitt actually know any Democrats.  Plenty of Democrats live in a home, with a pool, and on or near a golf course.  Plenty of Democrats actually play golf.  Democrats do not begrudge any of the rewards of wealth.  They just say that people who have the homes, the pools, and the golf courses, and the accounts in the Caymans. should share a little of that wealth with the society that allowed that wealth to be accumulated through fair taxes.  Mitt's bubble apparently fails to include any wealthy Democrats.  

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:26:09 AM PDT

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