Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 4th Reich, part 2

fas·cism/ˈfaSHizəm/Noun [courtesy Wikipedia]

  1. An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

  2. (in general use) Extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt, in studying the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet, discerned that they had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism in a spring 2003 article entitled Fascism Anyone? in Free Inquiry magazine, vol. 23 #2.

When I ran across this list, I was appalled at how many of these things I can see coming to pass in the U.S. today. Hell, I am appalled at how many of them I can see happening in my home state.

  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.

    If the crazies ever get complete control, will there be flags, eagles, red, white and blue everything, everywhere, all the time? It's too early to tell; they haven't destroyed enough of our democracy yet. We have seen the whole "why do liberals hate America" thing, so we're tending in that direction.

  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.

    See Gitmo. See also a whole raft of shit we'll never know about.

  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.

    All of the above, actually. They can't seem to decide which they are most afraid of.

  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.

    The military gets the funding, and domestic problems are ignored, but they haven't gotten around to the glamor part yet; maybe WikiLeaks gave us all a little too much information. Or is that what all those "Support Our Troops" stickers were about?

  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. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

    Yep. I don't know what more I can say. Conservatives in this country are more afraid of gay people than they are of terrorists, if you believe the BS. Mostly it's just white noise to distract you from the outright theft of democracy that's going on behind the scenes.

  6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes the 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.

    The media don't have to be censored. They are, for the most part, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Wall Street Axis of Greed and parrot their handlers' crap endlessly. Not just Fox News, but all of the major networks, including PBS. If you get your news from the television, you are probably being lied to.

  7. Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    Can I get a witness? Except the conservatives are using fear to bag votes, at this point. They don't yet have masses to control.

  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.

    The thing to remember is that Christianity is not the motivation for the actions of the conservative core; it is an excuse used by shadowy fear-mongers to scare the shit out of people.

  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.

    This is imminent. Check out "financial martial law," Governors Scott Walker and Rick Snyder, for starters, and think about the fact that local control of local governments is being destroyed in favor of what amounts to a hostile corporate takeover. It's reality in Michigan, and about to be in several other states with Republican governors and legislatures. Couple that with the Citizens United decision that bought most of these bastards into office and you have a pretty grim picture of our future.

  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.

    I am a union state employee in Wisconsin. Google it if you don't know why that's important. Also Google "Scott Walker" + "David Koch" to get a whiff of the shit that's gone down here.

  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 is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

    Anti-intellectualism has been a staple of the loony right for a long time, but it's being codified into law in several states today. Take a look at the fact that HUGE amounts of state aid to public school systems is being slashed, as is state and federal aid to higher education, and you can't miss the agenda: Conservatives don't like smart voters who know when they are getting screwed. Corporations don't like smart employees who know what they are worth.

  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.

    We don't have a national police force yet, but when you consider garbage like Arizona's sick immigration control law, many states' addiction to "getting tough on crime" that results in huge prison populations, and huge profits for the corporations that both build and run those prisons, you see the same cadre of greed-heads you find behind most of this process.

  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.

    Wow. Scott Walker's so-called budget repair bill contains language that takes a number of supervisory positions out of Wisconsin's civil service system and makes them into political appointments, or it will if the chicken-shit way they tried to railroad the bill through ever gets out of the court system intact. There are other instances here in Wisconsin, and I imagine it's happening wherever the voters believed the lies and elected these thieves.

  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.

    I consider any election that does not reflect the choices of the people based on good information, access to candidates, and trust in the electoral system to be fraudulent. The amount of money being dumped into local and state races by outside corporate entities to distort the facts and smear candidates is obscene. The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed itself to be used to circumvent the electoral process in Florida in the 2000 presidential election (Bush v. Gore) is truly sick.


Comfort is the enemy of growth

Monday, April 25, 2011

The 4th Reich takes shape

Under a proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell of Michigan, foster children would be forced to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores. Tidy way to save the Duchy of Michigan a little coin and keep the down-trodden down by marking them as wards of the state with second-hand clothes.

I have nothing against St. Vinnie's, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or any resale stores, particularly those doing charity work. In fact, I shop there myself quite often. I have a familial urge to paw through other folks' throw-aways, for one thing, and I have a cheap streak that needs feeding now and again.

But I CHOOSE to. The kids affected by this scumbag's proposal already had most of their choices taken away from them when they left their families and entered the social service system. They have already been victimized at home, most likely, and were put in foster care to protect them from the chaos.

For the state to then use the excuse of saving money to further demean and victimize them is un-American, as is Bruce Casswell for proposing it.

When I first read the article, I was struck speechless by Casswell's lame, whiney response:

“I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”

Nobody knows where you bought your clothes . . . except you, Bruce. You knew, and I bet it bothered the HELL out of you.

You're not alone, man. There are a lot of un-Americans who are just as cheap and mean-spirited as you are:

Trying to kill Medicare, MedicAid and Social Security while insisting on giving further tax cuts to people who don't need them and should in fact be paying more is un-American, along with those who promote it. Trumping up government deficits and using them as a flimsy excuse to bust public employee unions is un-American. Yes, Scott; that's you. Firing duly elected public officials and replacing them with a corporate manager under fascist "financial martial law" is un-American and makes Rick Snyder uber-un-American. Providing subsidies and tax breaks for corporations to off-shore jobs and profits is un-American, as are the corporations taking the money and holding their collective hand out for more. To interpret the law in such a way as to allow these same un-American corporations to contribute limitless dollars to politicians, literally buying elections and killing any opposition to this assault on democracy, is un-American.

And finally, for creating a deafening din of outright lies, half-truths, and innuendo so loud that any real dialog about this attack on U.S. democracy, or about what can be done to fix the economy and the political system, has become impossible: Fox News Network, all of their self-serving contributors, every paleoconservative talk show host and newspaper columnist from the top to the bottom of the food chain, and everyone who listens to or reads them without questioning, are undeniably un-American.


Comfort is the enemy of growth