When the Light Comes On… A Lesson in Brainwashing


We all know the well known classical conditioning example from Pavlov; the light comes on, the dog’s tail begins to wag and he starts to drool. The experiment involved turning on the light every time the dog is fed. This associative technique is done so many times that eventually just the act of turning on the light will cause the dog to physically react as if he was being fed.


Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC went on the attack last night (Thursday) in an interview with presidential hopeful Herman Cain. It took O’Donnell less than 30 seconds to play his hand of "gotcha" journalism by insinuating that Cain believes that the Democrats have brainwashed people into thinking that the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes. He meant it as a brush-back pitch, but what he didn’t anticipate was that Cain would turn on it and knock it out of the park.


Cain responded, "The answer is yes. The Democrats have succeeded at brainwashing a lot of the American people." By failing to dance the political two-step, Cain completely overturned O’Donnell’s agenda, and the interview went down hill from there.


Herman Cain cannot have been more correct.


What is the old adage? If you repeat a lie enough, eventually people will begin to take it as the truth (Hitler, by the way was a master at this).  This is been the war-cry of the Democrats for the past half-century. Republicans stand by, incredulous, that so many people over the decades have partaken of this particular flavor of Kool-Aid. And while we marvel at the fact that liberals keep coming back to the same playbook over and over again, we also can’t figure out why continues to work. It’s simple – classical conditioning works. However, it is not permanent unless it is continually reinforced.


Remembering back to my college psychology class  -back in the 20th century – I do remember the term used when conditioning ceased to work – extinction. When associative behavior is not continually reinforced, eventually it becomes extinct. There are two basic paths to extinction for this behavior: one is to cease the association, i.e. stop Democrats from repeating the same lie. That’s not going to happen. The other is to introduce a counter behavior. This is where conservatives have dropped the ball.


Who in recent memory can you recall has been the flag bearer for the theory of supply-side economics? What politician since Reagan has proudly held up the Laffer curve and has done his or her level best to try to explain how and why it works? That’s a question that I honestly cannot answer without some deliberative thought. It’s a question that needs to be answered by one of the presidential hopefuls in this race and the one that can answer it in 20 words or less will likely end up being the nominee for the Republican Party.


It’s time we stood up for Reaganomics, trickle-down, supply-side…. whatever you want to call it. Lowering tax rates increases economic growth. It did so under George W. Bush, under Reagan and….. under Kennedy!


"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."        John F. Kennedy, 1962


Brainwashing may be an incendiary term (as it was intended by O’Connell) but it is fairly accurate. How many people – who by pure reflex, regurgitate the ‘tax the rich’ line whenever the light comes on – have ever heard this quote from President Kennedy? How many would be shocked to find out that the golden boy of the Democratic Party for the past 50 years was a supply-sider?!!


To liberals: wake up! The light keeps coming on and you keep drooling, but there is no food! Stop taking things at face value and start looking at what history really teaches you!

To conservatives: pick your jaw up off the ground and make a counter argument! When liberals try sleight-of-hand with the truth about taxes, don’t let them get away with it! Stick to the facts, they are on your side! Memorize the Kennedy quote and then shove it down their throats (figuratively speaking of course).

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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One Comment

  1. Don’t forget Kennedy was incredibly rich. Far beyond anything the Bush family could dream of.

    The Kennedy tax cuts, as a percentage of national income, far dwarfed any other tax cuts of any one year and just about equaled ALL the tax cuts of President Bush.

    At the time, the maximum tax rate was 91% ….before the millionaire Kennedy took office.

    Under Obama… this countries tax rates have not been lower since the 1950’s.

    1. It seems you forget the important aspect, Federal Spending. Spending has increased exponentially since the 50s and through printing of money has imposed hidden taxes. You cannot compare our gold standard money of then to our fiat system of now. There are so many factors that have devalued our dollar, this movement will only hurt the American people…and the ones who planned it are all too prepared.

      We are the Weimer Republic just before Hitler assumed control, except his Gestapo is now Homeland Security.

      1. Brian, your response made no sense: You wrote: “It seems you forget the important aspect, Federal Spending. Spending has increased exponentially since the 50s and through printing of money has imposed hidden taxes.” What ever are you talking about “hidden taxes”? lol! Is that for you like some sort of boogie man under the bed that nobody can put their finger on…. because these taxes are “hidden”? However, everybody should be afraid of this boogie man…. and we should be cutting tax rates below 1950’s levels because of this “hidden boogie man… ? You lost me completely.

        Oh, wait, are you talking about “hidden taxes” like the interest payments we add each year to our national deficit derived from debt obligations to, for example, China? Debt obligations stemming from our paying to provide armed security services (US Army) to oil companies for them to be able to recently set up long-term oil extraction contracts with the government we set up in Iraq? To continue to operate in a stabilized environment there long-term? Is that what you are referring to by “hidden taxes”?

        So, let me get this straight… you are suggesting that multi-millionaire Kennedy’s advice, at a time tax rates were as high as 91%, that we should be doing things like extending lower rates for the upper 2% for another 10 years at a time tax rates are less than anytime in the past 60 years because “hidden taxes” such as this government’s providing security services for oil companies is being shouldered by US taxpayers?

        Makes perfect sense for somebody…. to be sure. But who would that be? Occupy Wall Street is all about a greed and a corrupted system.

  2. A hidden tax is when the Fed prints money in which devalues yours and they redistribute it. But your movement is about revolution not reform. That’s the fallacy with your movement but we can see that you are well organized and probably well funded.

    Occupy Wall Street is about “Useful Idiots” following the collective as they have been trained in college.

    1. So what does the Fed printing money (your hidden tax) have to do with millionaire Kennedy advocating for lowering a 91% tax rate (which does not qualify him as a supply-sider as you assert incidentally.)

      Occupy Wall Street is not well-funded. Nor does it need to be. That’s the real reason for the panic condemnation on the right. We have no leader. What we do have is a message that resonates organically with massive popular support. We use independent media platforms which we are highly proficient at communicating across and organizing otherwise in our workplace and communities. We are able to instantly communicate our protest message with forceful impact and allow for the sharing information between people who don’t know each other but for affinity messaging… on numerous of fronts. The technology we use everyday (all day long) has eliminated necessity for protest “mobs” in the street and mainstream media cooperation to create impact and spread the word. The public police brutality, right wing speculation about our mystery backing, condemnation and ridicule are all working “for us.”

      1. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul echoed Cantor on the “mob” thingy, tossing invective toward Occupy Wall Street as a “Paris mob” inflamed by President Obama’s rhetoric:

        “I see the president’s rhetoric of envy inflaming the public and saying, ‘Go get yours because rich people don’t deserve it,'” Paul said on Fox Business.[…]

        “I see it as inflaming this Paris mob that I hope doesn’t result in a lawlessness where they say, ‘Well, gosh, those nice iPads through the window should be mine and why don’t I throw a brick through the window to get them because rich people don’t deserve to have them when I can’t have them,'” Paul said.

        You better believe that opponents of Occupy Wall Street hope that it becomes violent, as that would be an easy way to discredit it. But that’s not going to happen. Maybe if Republicans merely suggest the hypothetical often enough their ignorant loyalists will assume it is not hypothetical? A new Republican talking point is clearly emerging around the term “mob.” Taking a baby step just outside of hard-core conservative cocoons, the “violent mob” characterizations, combined together with our messaging… actually works to build intrigue and attract interest! Once interest is pricked, we got all the informational delivery systems in place. New York Representative Peter King piles on for us:

        “The fact is these people are anarchists. They have no idea what they’re doing out there,” King said. “They have no sense of purpose other than a basically anti-American tone and anti-capitalist. It’s a ragtag mob basically.”

        Herman Cain apparently missed the “mob” talking point memo. Instead, he continues coming up with a new person or group for Occupy Wall Street to blame every day (except, of course, for Wall Street itself).

  3. If it’s not billionaire funding what could be the force driving Occupy Wall Street?

    “If someone wanted to know why the “Occupy” movement is growing all I would have to do is point them to three news stories I came across while perusing the news during my lunch on Thursday:

    Reliance on government benefits even higher than during depth of recession

    Dan Snyder paid around $70 million for a 224-foot yacht

    Bold Mansion Owners Are Raising Prices”

  4. You wrote: “But your movement is about revolution not reform.” That matter is a question of opposition.. is it not?

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