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Posts Tagged ‘Fascism

Cartoon: The populist menace

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Turley: 10 Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free

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Ron Paul is the only Presidential candidate in recent memory to speak up for freedom and the Constitution. Below Turley lists the incredible and increasing powers of the Executive to ignore the Bill of Rights, due process and the rule of law. These Stasi-like and draconian powers will not go unused.

Meanwhile we have two political parties united in their support of Corporate domination and citizen submission. Clearly only those who bow to these powers are (usually) allowed to run.

Jonathan Turley   January 15, 2012

Below is today’s column in the Sunday Washington Post.  The column addresses how the continued rollbacks on civil liberties in the United States conflicts with the view of the country as the land of the free.  If we are going to adopt Chinese legal principles, we should at least have the integrity to adopt one Chinese proverb: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.”  We seem as a country to be in denial as to the implications of these laws and policies.  Whether we are viewed as a free country with authoritarian inclinations or an authoritarian nation with free aspirations (or some other hybrid definition), we are clearly not what we once were.

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company……..read entire article

Written by laudyms

January 16, 2012 at 7:57 am

The government doesn’t give a wan, eitolated damn about you- Fred Reed

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The government doesn’t give a wan, eitolated damn about you. 

Eye-balling the Fifth Century

July 21, 2011   By Fred Reed       FredOnEverything.net

When a country works reasonably well—when the schools teach algebra and not governmentally mandated Appropriate Values, when the police are scarce and courteous, when government is remote and minds its business and works more for the benefit of the country than for looters and special interests, then pledging to it a degree of allegiance isn’t foolish. Decades back America was such a country, imperfect as all countries are, but good enough to cherish.

As decline begins, and government becomes oppressive, self-righteous, and ruthless yet incompetent, as official spying flourishes, as corruption sets in hard, and institutions rot, it is time to disengage. Loyalty to a country is a choice, not an obligation. In other times people have loved family, friends, common decency, tribe, regiment, or church instead of country. In an age of national collapse, this is wise.

A fruitful field of disengagement might be called domestic expatriation—the recognition that living in a country makes you a resident, not a subscriber. It is one thing to be loyal to a government that is loyal to you, another thing entirely to continue that loyalty when the Brown Shirts march and the government rejects everything that you believe in. While the phrase has become unbearably pretentious, it is possible to regard oneself as a citizen of the world rather than of the Reich.

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Privatization is theft

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By Charles Davis  May 19, 2011  false dichotomy

Taxes entail coercion; this is why they’re not called donations. Accordingly, one might think self-styled advocates of free markets and smaller government, Ayn Rand aficionados especially, would be cognizant of the fact that, when it comes to a moral claim over the things that said taxes go to — from telecommunications to transit systems — the coerced taxpayer would have the strongest case for ownership.

You’d be wrong, of course. When it comes to downsizing the state, most conservatives and libertarians have a raging hard-on for privatization, by which they mean the government auctioning off taxpayer property to the highest private bidder. The problem with this approach, from a Freedom! and individual rights perspective, is that those who were forced to invest in the state entity to be auctioned off are left with next to nothing to show for it, usually some multinational corporation instead swooping in to pick it up at pennies on the dollar.

Take the example of Guatemalan state telecommunications firm GUATEL. In the late 1990s the Guatemalan government, instead of handing the firm over to the workers and taxpayers who had supported it over the previous two decades, sold 95 percent of its stake to a private company called Telgua, which — thanks in no small part to its being handed a monopoly share of the market — continues to be the country’s largest telecommunications provider.

At Reason magazine, the move is this week being commemorated as a clear victory against statism. “In Guatemala,” former head of GUATEL Alfredo Guzmán tells the magazine, “we have a clear example that freedom works.”

Yeah, I’m not so sure about that. While Reason argues the move is responsible for the widespread availability of phone services in Guatemala today, one can look elsewhere in Central America and see a similar story of proliferation. Even in behind-the-times Nicaragua — and I say that endearingly — I can get 3G Internet access pretty much anywhere I need (and unlike in the “free market” U.S., I can do so affordably using a prepaid modem).

But if we’re going to call what happened in Guatemala the result of “freedom,” more pertinent to me than the number of sexting Guatemalan teens there are today is how the transition from state to “private” telecom monopoly actually came about. And if you actually look at it, it begins to look less like a story of free minds and free markets and a bit more like the standard, time-old tale of one economic class, international capitalists, using the power of the state to exploit another economic class, in this case Guatemalan workers.

As former GUATEL head Guzmán himself boasts in the interview with Reason, the decision to privatize the firm was so politically unpopular (read: courageous! ) in his country that the Guatemalan government actually had to threaten its own citizens with jail time should they protest the proposed sale by striking. Rather than respect the right of its people to freely organize and voice their discontent as they saw fit, in this case by merely not going to work, the government of Guatemala threatened those forced to live under its rule with the prospect of time behind bars should they exercise those rights. Moves like that may make life easier for multinational corporations, but it ain’t exactly “freedom.”

Rather than hand the state’s telecom monopoly to the highest bidder, the Guatemalan government could have — and to my warped syndicalist mind, should have — turned it over to the Guatemalan people. Each citizen of the country could have been given a share in the company and a say in how it was run; perhaps they’d vote to delegate that authority to an elected board. Or the state could have divided its telecom monopoly amongst its workers, who could run as a cooperative. Either option, or a combination of both, would have better protected the rights and, indeed, property of those poor Guatemalans who put their time and money into GUATEL than merely auctioning it to the multinational corporation with the most money.

Putting aside the financial and political reasons as to why that didn’t happen — maybe, I dunno, it’s because rich capitalists have more a say over government decisions than poor workers? — there’s a cultural reason why actual liberty-and-freedom preserving options aren’t given much consideration by the folks at Reason and other privatization zealots: it reeks of socialism. Sure, cooperatives are entirely compatible with voluntarism and even modern capitalism, but unless there’s a CEO with an insane salary and a private jet involved, right-wing libertarians don’t want to hear it — after all, who would pay them to defend those insane salaries and corporate jets?

While they preach their love of freedom, it’s clear that for many on the right the love of markets — or specifically, corporations — trumps all other concerns about force and state power. All human needs must be met by a corporation in a quasi-competitive marketplace (the second part’s optional), in their view, lest we all become limp-wristed socialists prattling on about “sharing” and “community.” That there are alternatives to such strictly defined systems of economics that are not based on state coercion — and who do you think grants corporations personhood and limited liability? — is not so much as acknowledged. The light at the end of the freedom tunnel is a McDonald’s arch. Corporate ledgers are the gospel.

If minimizing the use of coercion in human affairs is your goal, however, as opposed to maximizing corporate profits, than faux-privatization schemes like the one Guatemalans were subjected to should be described for what they are: manifestations of corporatism, not liberty and free markets. Again, it bears repeating: Transferring a state monopoly funded by taxpayers to the control of international investors is not a win for freedom. The only thing that changes in that scenario is who profits from state coercion, politicians or capitalists — if it even does that, given the ties between the two.

Instead of fawning over big business and demanding state power be given to state-created corporations, libertarians and other self-styled proponents of freedom on the right ought to be demanding that power be given to the people. That they’re not suggests they should be described not as proponents of liberty, but of corporate capitalism. And no, Virginia (Postrel), they’re not the same thing.

Looting Public Assets: here come the Koch brothers!

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(updated)  x 3

First Wisconsin, then your back yard.          

This isn’t just about unions- the big scam is about power plants and a vertical monopoly for the Koch Brothers with total disregard for the public interest. In a word: looting.


This is the big issue hidden behind the bargaining conflict: selling off public assets for peanuts to corporate cronies of corrupt politicians.  We will soon be prisoners in our own country if this continues: pay a corporation to drive on your street, to cross every bridge, to use your water faucet, to flip a light switch….They’ll add exponential profits to use what used to be public utilities and infrastructure built with public funds.  The new feudalism is at the gate!

May 1933: Hitler Abolishes Unions

“On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police. Fast forward to America today, particularly Wisconsin. Governor Walker and the Republican/Tea Party members of the state legislature are attempting to pass a bill that would not only severely punish public unions (with exception for the police, fire, and state trooper unions that supported his campaign), but it would effectively end 50 years to the right of these workers to collectively bargain.”

The Koch Brothers’ End Game in Wisconsin

[Note: Now here’s a thought…] As always this has to do with money, and the union “compromise” coming down the pipe was set up to be the “booby” prize while the Koch Brothers get their “booty” prize. This is all being well-orchestrated with an end game that has absolutely nothing to do with unions. As I said in comments before, to much bewilderment, this is about power plants and a vertical monopoly the Kock Brothers have their eye on in Wisconsin. So in short: 1) Koch Brothers get their puppet Governor Walker in power 2) Governor Walker gins up a crisis 3) Democrats and Progressives take the bait and counter-protest on collective bargaining 4) Governor Walker will compromise on collective bargaining if the rest of the budget is passed as is 5) Bill passes, with trojan horse give-a-way to the Koch Brothers nested in 6) Koch Brothers will buy Wisconsin state-owned power plants for pennies on the dollar in closed unsolicitated bids for which there will be no oversight 7) Koch Brothers get the best vertical monopoly in a generation .

Scott Walker Threatens Rights and Jobs for Wall St. Billions

In a move so fitting for a hero of the modern Corporate Facist Republican Party Scott Walker today is having a hissy fit if he does not get his way. Yes, the Governor that started that state’s budget problems with huge giveaways to Corporate America now wants his plan to make workers pay for it passed at all costs. Today he is refusing to compromise and threatening to axe 1500 jobs in a recession if he does not get his way. But of course Scott Walker has already been bought and paid for and has received his marching orders. Indeed, Walker has become a foot soldier for billionaires in the War on the Working Class and is relishing his new role as “warrior” for the greediest and least patriotic among us.

Wisconsin Is a Battleground Against the Billionaire Kochs’ Plan to Break Labor’s Back

By Adele M. Stan | AlterNet

What’s at stake in Wisc: Public Assets No-Bid Give-Away to Koch brothers

The fight in Wisconsin is over Governor Walker’s 144-page Budget Repair Bill. But the MSM is missing a large part of what the bill would do. The bill would allow for the NO-BID selling of state-owned heating/cooling/power plants, without concern for the legally-defined public interest. The attempt to break labor is part of the same continuous motion as saying that the crony, corporatist selling of state utilities to the Koch brothers and other energy interests is the new “public interest.”

A CMD Special Report: Scott Walker Runs on Koch Money

Madison, Wisconsin — A new investigation by the Center for Media and Democracy documents the big money funneled by one of the richest men in America and one of the richest corporations in the world to put controversial Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in office.

Walker’s hidden energy agenda was evident even before he took office:

Walker kills project to convert power plant to burn biofuels

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Addendum: thanks to Mike Konczal at Rortybomb

Shawn Doherty in Cap Times has a great article on Governor Walker going after Medicaid.   I’ve been trying to get my head around this part of the debate, a part equally important as the public union breaking part.  The ability for a Governor to rework important state functions without oversight and without some sort of check for the “public interest” leads to crony deals and corruption. Jonathan Cohn has an important followup, where he points out the telling idea that Walker is even going after Tommy Thompson’s reforms.

Item from August, 2010:

COVERT OPERATIONS The billionaire brothers [owners of Koch Industries, Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, 74 and 70, respectively, at date of publication  8/30/2010],  are waging a war against Obama

Rupert Murdoch and David Koch Collude Against Wisconsin Workers

While Fox News feeds its rabble the anti-union line, Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal columnists front for Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and coddle elite investors

Confirmed: Union-Bashing Right-Wing Media Stars Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Reilly Are AFL-CIO Union Affiliated Members

In spite of their criticism of unions in Wisconsin, AlterNet has confirmed that leading right-wing pundits are American Federation Television and Radio Artists union members.

LEFT AND RIGHT TOGETHER- Populism not Party!

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By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.,

National Commander, “The Patriots”

June, 2010

Patriotism and Populism

The United States is in trouble.  We’re in danger of becoming a fascist dictatorship where big government and big business combine to rule, and where the people are considered just a source of labor.  The marriage of government and the investor class has succeeded in exporting our jobs, importing illegal laborers to provide a pool of cheap labor, and driving down wages for all American workers, destroying the middle class.  Their foreign and military policies have led us into unnecessary wars of aggression to gain raw materials and enhance profits of the global robber barons.  Their trade policies have resulted in capital flight, job loss, trade deficits, and the ownership of much of our infrastructure by foreign interests.

We’ve gotten into this fix because our presidents, of both parties, have been servants of the global investors, and because our representatives in Congress, again of both parties, have abdicated their Constitutional responsibilities and subjected themselves to an imperial presidency.

A “patriot” is defined as one who loves, supports, and defends his country.  The Latin and Greek roots refer to “father.”  If, for a moment, we ignore the sexist nature of the ancient civilizations giving birth to the word, it is clear that to be a “patriot” is to have a parental love for the people of one’s tribe or nation.  One cannot have a “patriotic love” for the corporations in one’s country or for its military-industrial complex, only for its people.  Clearly then, those in our government who have served their corporate masters to the detriment of the people are not patriots, and have no claim to the word.  The vast majority of Americans love our country in ways that equate to service to the people.  We are the patriots.  You can’t be a patriot without being a populist.  Populism is patriotic.

Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution make it clear that the whole purpose of government is to serve and protect the people..  Ours is a government designed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  We, the Patriots, have a right and a duty to demand and to secure such a government.  If those in power will not fulfill their Constitutional duty to serve the people, then we must remove them and replace them with those who will.

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Resist the happily drifting handbasket! (Gradual fascism in an era of decline)

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Gradual fascism is an easy trick in an era of decline.  Don’t go there!

The New Democrats: The Coalition Pharma and Wall Street Love

a private weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore…. . lobbyists for large banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurance companies, and big-ticket trade groups. However, 28 were members of Congress, and 29 were legislative staffers, all part of a coalition of House Democrats

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Chris Hedges on the Liberal Class:The World Liberal Opportunists Made

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Jurassic Ballot: When Corporations Ruled the Earth By  Rebecca Solnit
They’ve invaded; they’ve infiltrated; they’ve conquered; and a lot of the most powerful people on Earth do their bidding, including five out of our nine Supreme Court justices

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Fool Me Twice? American multinationals have about $1 trillion in profits stashed abroad


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Understanding America’s Class System By Joe Bageant

the truth is that when we are looking at the political elite, we are looking at the dancing monkey, not the organ grinder who calls the tune.

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American Everyman on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

dismissing the real left (what’s left of us) by the so-called left (the Vishy Dems).  Note: s/b Vichy- (those ever-practical French who caved to the Nazis)