Thursday, October 19, 2006
Ok, there was a comment left regarding my post on the 14 tenets of fascism. In responding to that post, I got rather long winded. So, instead of replying in the comments section, I just decided to make a full blog post.
First, this is the comment that I am responding to:
Though I agree with you, I'm not sure you can actually prove some of it:
6 -- depends on who you ask
7 -- it is conceivable that they're just telling the truth
8 -- if this were provable I would think that the "Liberals" would be more vehement about it.
9 -- the word "put" is quite vague
13 -- it is conceivable that Hallibuton was just the company that would do the job for the least money, right?
14 -- i doubt you can prove election theft thus far. They tried.
And this is my response:
What? This, from you? Oh come on, I expect better from you man.
First, it's not about proving, it's just about showing some glaring similarities and pointing out the hypocrisy of our current regime labeling something else as Fascist.
But let's take your comments point-by-point:
6. It does not require that all the media is directly controlled. The regime has been caught, and has admitted to, paying reporters and columnistas (i typoed that at first, but i think it's a cool word) to write pieces sympathetic to the government in general or to specific legislation or policy.
As to the "sympathetic media spokespeople and executives", one needs look no further than FoxNews. It's the most watched news channel in the US, and it is demonstrably biased toward the current administration.
7. You can not honestly believe that the level of fear-mongering used by this regime is at all based on reality, can you? Seriously man, I know you. This regime has used fear as its principal tool in manipulating the populace. Habeas Corpus was just signed out of law a couple of days ago. The only argument that was used for this “Military Commissions Act Of 2006” and other such drek, simply uses fear. “Let us do xxx, or else the terrorists will kill you”. The vox populi is thus surpressed to silence under the suffocating warm soft blanket of comfort in the form of the Unitary Executive
This type of coersive “discourse” is called an argumentum ad baculum (Latin: argument to the cudgel or appeal to the stick), also known as appeal to force, is an argument where force, coercion, or the threat of force, is given as a justification for a conclusion. One participates in this type of argument when one points out the dire consequences of holding a contrary position. This is, as you know, a logical fallacy.
8. I don’t know what you’re listening to, but there are many, many people “making a big deal out of this.” Randi Rhodes, did her entire show on the subject yesterday. There are many people, including me, who fear the fanatical brand of “Christianity” that infects our current administration. Further, there have been a number of books written on the subject. Here are a few of those books and some links that rebut your assumption:
If you need more, please let me know.
9. Put could easily have multiple meanings in this context. Obviously, corporations don’t directly hand-pick the candidates and place them into office without votes. However, the lobbying power of corporate America is wholly unmatched. They basically do everything but put people directly into office.
13. Halliburton isn’t even half of it, though it is a very well-known example. I would agree that, with H. in particular, there are many jobs the USGOV has contracted out that H could do best and at the best price. However, in some of those jobs, we’ll never know if that was true because Halliburton, or other ‘friendly’ companies, were given no-bid contracts.
As for the rest of the cronyism, some links for your pleasure:
14. For this to apply to what was our country, outright election theft is not necessary. It is not even requisite that elections are proven to have been rigged. It is only necessary to show that some elections were engineered to be biased, had severe irregularities outside the bounds of statistically acceptable error. Again, some links:
Let me close with a disclaimer:
I can not vouch for the accuracy of everything in every link I posted. Nor do I necessarily agree with everything found at the links I posted. I used the links only inasmuch as they are useful to back up my opinion in this matter. However, having said that, I would not have used a link to a page that I knew or expected to contain complete fabrications.
And finally, in googling around today, I found that someone else had done a post similar to the one this post is defending. I haven’t read this person’s work yet, but I’m about to. Here’s the link:
Thank you for your time.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Due to the recent row over the President’s use of the phrase “Islamic Fascism”, I’ve decided to take a look at what fascism is, and what it isn’t. The piece below was taken from http://www.rense.com/general37/fascism.htm. The additions in red are mine. Furthermore, after each of the 14 characteristics I will put a ‘US’ if the characteristic, in my opinion, applies to the current America. And/or I will put an ‘FI’ if the characteristic applies to the terroristic form of Fundamentalist Islam and or FI.
The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
Free InquirySpring 20035-11-3
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. US. Since FI find borders irrelevant, I don’t think this applies. Though, in isolated cases, I suppose it could.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. US and FI
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. US and FI
4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. US, and FI inasmuch as it is capable
5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution. FI
6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. US and FI
7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. US
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions. US and FI
9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and
power elite. US, FI doesn’t really have a country or really have corporate interests
10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked. US
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. US
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders. US
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. US
To put it mildly, it seems to be a bit of 'the pot calling the kettle black'. To put it realistically, it seem that my country is steadily dying and becoming a fascist nation. Please, prove me wrong.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
This was written by Thom Hartman. It is a non-fiction piece he wrote and included in one of his recent books.
A Piece On Recent History
This was written by Thom Hartman. It is a non-fiction piece he wrote and included in one of his recent books.
It started when the government, in the midst of an economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed.
But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation’s leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted.
He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world.
His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southern state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.
Nonetheless, he knew the terrorists were going to strike (although he didn’t know where or when), and he had already considered his response. When an aide brought him word that one of the nation's most prestigious buildings was ablaze, he verified it was the terrorists who had struck and then rushed to the scene and called a press conference.
"You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," he proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion, "is the beginning." He used the occasion - "a sign from God," he called it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion.
Two weeks later, the first detention center for terrorists was built to hold the first suspected allies of the infamous terrorist. Ina national outburst of patriotism, the leader's flag was everywhere, even printed large in newspapers suitable for window display.
Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.
To get his patriotic "Decree on the Protection of People and State" passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then, the freedoms and rights would be returned to the people, and the police agencies would be re-restrained. Legislators would later say they hadn't had time to read the bill before voting on it.
Immediately after passage of the anti-terrorism act, his federal police agencies stepped up their program of arresting suspicious persons and holding them without access to lawyers or courts. In the first year only a few hundred were interred, and those who objected were largely ignored by the mainstream press, which was afraid to offend and thus lose access to a leader with such high popularity ratings. Citizens who protested the leader in public - and there were many - quickly found themselves confronting the newly empowered police's batons, gas, and jail cells, or fenced off in protest zones safely out of earshot of the leader's public speeches. (In the meantime, he was taking almost daily lessons in public speaking, learning to control his tonality, gestures, and facial expressions. He became a very competent orator.)
Within the first months after that terrorist attack, at the suggestion of apolitical advisor, he brought a formerly obscure word into common usage. He wanted to stir a national among his countrymen, so, instead of referring to the nation by its name; he began to refer to it as "The Homeland," a phrase publicly promoted in the introduction to a speech. As hoped, people's hearts swelled with pride, and the beginning of an us-versus-them mentality was sewn. Our land was "the" homeland, citizens thought: all others were simply foreign lands. The enemy were evil people, he suggested, our citizens were the only ones worthy of our nation's concern; if bombs fall on others, or human rights are violated in other nations and it makes our lives better, it's of little concern to us.
Playing on this new implicitly racial nationalism, and exploiting a disagreement with other countries over his increasing militarism, he argued that any international body that didn't act first and foremost in the best interest of his own nation was neither relevant nor useful.
His propaganda minister orchestrated a campaign to ensure the people that he was a deeply religious man and that his motivations were rooted in Christianity. He even proclaimed the need for a revival of the Christian faith across his nation, what he called a "New Christianity." His armed forces were all told that “God Is With Us”, and most of them fervently believed it was true.
Within a year of the terrorist attack, the nation's leader determined that the various local police and federal agencies around the nation were lacking the clear communication and overall coordinated administration necessary to deal with the terrorist threat facing the nation, particularly those citizens who were of Middle Eastern ancestry and thus probably terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, and various troublesome "intellectuals" and “liberals." He proposed a single new national agency to protect the security of the homeland, consolidating the actions of dozens of previously independent police, border, and investigative agencies under a single leader.
He appointed one of his most trusted associates to be leader of this new agency, the Central Security Office for The Homeland, and gave it a role in the government equal to the other major departments.
His assistant who dealt with the press noted that, since the terrorist attack, "Radio and press are at out disposal." Those voices questioning the legitimacy of their nation's leader, or raising questions about his checkered past, had by now faded from the public's recollection as his central security office began advertising a program encouraging people to phone in tips about suspicious neighbors. This program was so successful that the names of some of the people "denounced" were soon being broadcast on radio stations. Those denounced often included opposition politicians and news reporters who dared speak out - a favorite target of his regime and the media he now controlled through intimidation and ownership by corporate allies.
To consolidate his power, he concluded that government alone wasn't enough. He reached out to industry and forged an alliance, bringing former executives of the nation's largest corporations into high government positions. A flood of government money poured into corporate coffers to fight the war against the Middle Eastern ancestry terrorists lurking within the homeland, and to prepare for wars overseas. He encouraged large corporations friendly to him to acquire media outlets and other industrial concerns across the nation, particularly those previously owned by suspicious people of Middle Eastern ancestry. He built powerful alliances with industry; one corporate ally got the lucrative contract worth millions to build the first large-scale detention center for enemies of the state. Soon more would follow. Industry flourished.
He also reached out to the churches, declaring that the nation had clear Christian roots, that any nation that didn't openly support religion was morally bankrupt, and that his administration would openly and proudly provide both moral and financial support to initiatives based on faith to provide social services.
In this, he was reaching back to his own embrace of Christianity, which he noted in a speech:
"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers ... was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter."In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders..."As a Christian ... I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice..." When he later survived an assassination attempt, he said, "Now I am completely content. The fact that I left the Burgerbraukeller earlier than usual is a corroboration of Providence's intention to let me reach my goal."
Many government functions started with prayer. Every school day started with prayer and every child heard the wonders of Christianity and -especially - the Ten Commandments in school. The leader even ended many of his speeches with a prayer, as he did in a speech before the legislature:
"In this hour I would ask of the Lord God only this: that, as in the past, so in the years to come He would give His blessing to our work and our action, to our judgment and our resolution, that He will safeguard us from all false pride and from all cowardly servility, that He may grant us to find the straight path which His Providence has ordained for our country, and that He may ever give us the courage to do the right, never to falter, never to yield before any violence, before any danger."
But after an interval of peace following the terrorist attack, voices of dissent again arose within and without the government. Students had started an active program opposing him, and leaders of nearby nations were speaking out against his bellicose rhetoric. He needed a diversion, something to direct people away from the corporate cronyism being exposed in his own government, questions of his possibly illegitimate rise to power, his corruption of religious leaders, and the oft-voiced concerns of civil libertarians about the people being held in detention without due process or access to attorneys or family.
With his number two man - a master at manipulating the media - he began a campaign to convince the people of the nation that a small, limited war was necessary. Another nation was harboring many of the suspicious Middle Eastern people, and even though its connection with the terrorist who had set afire the nation's most important building was tenuous at best, it held resources their nation badly needed if they were to have room to live and maintain their prosperity.
He called a press conference and publicly delivered an ultimatum to the leader of the other nation, provoking an international uproar. He claimed the right to strike preemptively in self-defense, and nations across Europe- at first - denounced him for it, pointing out that it was a doctrine only claimed in the past by nations seeking worldwide empire, like Caesar's Rome or Alexander's Greece.
It took a few months, and intense international debate and lobbying with European nations, but, after he personally met with the leader of the United Kingdom, finally a deal was struck. After the military action began, the UK’s Prime Minister told the nervous British people that giving into this leader's new first-strike doctrine would bring peace.
In a speech responding to critics of the invasion, the great leader said, "Certain foreign newspapers have said that we fell on the country with brutal methods. I can only say; even in death they cannot stop lying. I have in the course of my political struggle won much love from my people, but when I crossed the former frontier there met me such a stream of love as I have never experienced. Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators."
To deal with those who dissented from his policies, at the advice of his politically savvy advisors, he and his handmaidens in the press began a campaign to equate him and his policies with patriotism and the nation itself. National unity was essential, they said, to ensure that the terrorists or their sponsors didn't think they'd succeeded in splitting the nation or weakening its will.
Rather than the government being run by multiple parties in a pluralistic, democratic fashion, one single party sought total control. Emulating a technique also used by Stalin, but as ancient as Rome, the Party used the power of its influence on the government to take over all government functions, hand out government favors, and reward Party contributors with government positions and contracts.
In times of war, they said, there could be only one people, one nation, and one commander-in-chief, and so his advocates in the media began a nationwide campaign charging that critics of his policies were attacking the nation itself. You were either with us, or you were with the terrorists.
It was a simplistic perspective, but that was what would work, he was told by his closest advisor: "The most brilliant technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over."
Those questioning him were labeled "unpatriotic" or were said to be “aiding the enemy" by failing in the patriotic necessity of supporting the nation's valiant men in uniform. It was one of his most effective ways to stifle dissent and pit wage-earning people (from whom most of the army came) against the "intellectuals and liberals" who were critical of his policies.
Another technique was to "manufacture news," through the use of paid shills posing as reporters, seducing real reporters with promises of access to the leader in exchange for favorable coverage, and thinly veiled threats to those who exposed his lies. As his closest advisor said, "It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion."
Nonetheless, once the "small war" was successfully and quickly completed, voices of opposition were again raised in the Homeland. The almost-daily release of news bulletins about the dangers of terrorist communist cells wasn't enough to rouse the populace and totally suppress dissent. A full-out war was necessary to divert public attention from the growing rumbles within the country about disappearing dissidents; violence against liberals, people of Middle Eastern descent, and union leaders; and the epidemic of crony capitalism that was producing empires of wealth in the corporate sector but threatening the middle class's way of life.
A year later, to the week, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia.
Those would be, of course, self-obsessed political partisanship and hypocrisy. Let me first say that I don’t really give a whit about any of our political parties. I don’t belong to any of them, I don’t support any of them, and I don’t necessarily dislike any of them.
Ok, now that that is done, on with the story…
I was listening to one of the prime-time cable news shows tonight on XM Radio as I was driving around. A Republican congressman, whose name escapes me at the moment, said the following (this is as close to word-for-word as I can remember it, but I doubt it is exact. What is not exact, though, is only replaced by a synonymn or is a similar such situation. However, the MEANING and INTENT of the two sentences ARE exactly what the Congressman meant and intended when he spoke),
We have to stop all this blatant partisanship and bickering…
…All the Democrats just want to cut-and-run and surrender.
You need only to look in the mirror, my dear Congressman.