Friday, July 3, 2009

My Patriotic Salute To American Fascism

In a study done by Laurence Britt seven of the most powerful fascist regimes the world has ever seen were compared to find commonalities. The regimes studied were Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. Obviously each country had their own distinct identities, cultures, developmental levels and histories; but they all followed the fascist model in their attainment, expansion and maintenance of supreme power. Also, each regime has been overthrown, giving us an excellent historical perspective to study their characteristics and abuses.

By examining these seven regimes we find fourteen common threads that link them in patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. Obviously the degree to which each regime had any particular characteristic varies, but every one of them contained all fourteen.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

White House and the RNC are going to make a habit of using uniformed military personnel as props at Republican political rallies, despite the fact that it is a plain violation of military regulations banning politicization of the armed forces.

Middle school geography teacher hangs flags of China and Mexico and is promptly removed from class and put on administrative leave.

House Majority Leader: Iraq War "May be the greatest gift that we give our grandchildren."

Headstones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with the Pentagon's war-marketing slogans.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

Republicans kill defense spending bill because McCain Amendment prohibits "cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment."

US used massive quantities of chemical weapons in the 2004 massacre of Fallujah, despite being party to the Chemical Weapons Convention as of 1992.

Bush vetoed CIA waterboarding ban bill.

Federal appeals court rules that Guantanamo detainees can't challenge the legality of their detention.

US has detained up to 80,000 people in secret prisons across the globe.

President Obama drafts executive order authorizing indefinite detention.

A human rights group claims that US forces held 60 children in the Guantanamo Bay camp for suspected terrorist activities.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

SB24: Ohio Bill to muzzle "liberal" professors in order to protect young minds from the 80% who "are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying communists."

Senator Rick Santorum blames liberalism a
s the reason for the Catholic church's sex scandals

America's freedoms are being challenged by anti-Muslim hysteria and abuses of the Patriot Act.

US Attorney General, a Christian Ev
angelist with anti-Islamic views, went on record that he is "waging a war on American Muslims".

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the riling elite.

Pentagon to spend 75 billion for three new brigades

A Trillion Dollar Defense Budget

Funding for job training, health care, low-income schools, children suffering from poverty and cancer research were all obliterated in order to help pay for the military's annual budget.

The Army is pondering the creation of a new theme park.

5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

It's legal again, to fire government workers for being gay

Bush called for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage

Bush refused to sign U.N proposal on woman's "sexual" rights

Pentagon admits gay surveillance

GOP candidate approves of the execution o
f homosexuals

Missouri votes to end birth control funding

6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

Report shows U.S government had been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens and the story was only mentioned in the media 41 times.

Fox News admits bias and claims to be a "conservative team" whose aligned with Rush Limbaugh in order to put radical conservatives into office.

Pentagon investigates itself after it hired private contractors to pay Iraqi news organizations to run pro-American stories.

CIA warning retired employees not to talk with reporters, or they will lose their pensions.

Under Homeland Security orders journalists from England, Sweden, Holland and other friendly countries are being detained at US airports, strip-searched, and deported.

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.Bush aides admit to 'stoking fear' for political gain.

Senate passes bill exempting Department of Homeland Security from judicial oversight.

US considers fencing off Canada.

Bush sets up domestic spy service.

"A scared populace is a compliant populace" says Homeland Security official.

Learn to spy on your neighbors, public offered class on terror spotting.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

Jerry Falwell cleared of charges that he broke federal election law by urging followers to vote for Bush.

Liberals are painted as godless and evil.

North Carolina congressman proposes law making it okay to preach politics from the pulpit.

George W. Bush claims divine inspiration for the US invasion of Iraq.

Barack Obama is suspected of being a Muslim, which is terrible because a non-Christian would be leading the country and would be likely to betray us.

9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

US scientists felt pressured to tailor their writings on global warming to fit the Bush administration's skepticism, in some cases at the behest of an ex-oil industry lobbyist.

Republicans have removed a piece of Darfur Peace and Accountability Act that would have prevented big companies from doing business with murderous African dictators.

Pentagon hid unspent funds from Treasury

President Bush appoints former CheveronTexaco lawyer as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, who in turn clears oil companies of price fixing.

Pentagon paying weapons contractors performance bonuses for projects that are years late, millions over budget and often entirely non-functional.

There has never been an investigation into Cheney's involvement in awarding Halliburton no-bid contracts, making the company the #1 war profiteer.

FDA protects drug companies from lawsuits

House moves to strip food warning labels

Closed-door deal makes $22 Billion payoff for health insurance industry. House and Senate Democrats were excluded from the meeting.

Thanks to the avian flu scare, Donald Rumsefeld's investments in the company that produces Tamiflu put $5 million in his pockets in a six month period.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

Schwarzenegger steps up attacks on labor unions in California.

Labor Department warns unions against using their money politically.

FBI barges into homes of Puerto Rican community organizers who work with labor unions.

One of Washington's most well known, industry funded lobbyists takes on labor unions.

Congress and the Department of Labor tried to change the rules on overtime pay, eliminating the 40 hour work week, taking eligibility for overtime pay away from millions of workers and replacing time and a half pay with comp days.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.Right wing pundits are starting to sound like Maoists when describing universities and schools.

Republican legislators beginning the purging of the liberals in academia.

Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting political interference in the scientific process.

In a comparison of 34 countries willingness to understand and accept of the theory of evolution as basic scientific theory, the USA ranked 33rd.

Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds

New ruling will allow censorship of campus publications

The average student now graduates with three and a half times more debt than 10 years ago, but still Washington wants to cut even more student aid

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

The United States has now become the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-8 times the rate of other industrialized nations.

Dozens of private security companies given police powers by the state of North Carolina, part of a pattern across the United States.

Seven million Americans - one in every 32 adults - were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of 2005, according to the US Justice Department.

Speaking at annual 1st Amendment ceremony, Newt Gingrich suggests that freedom of speech be re-examined to meet the threat of terrorism.

Documents show Pentagon spying on peace activists.

Judge rules it's okay for cops to lie on search/arrest warrant applications.

House passes warrantless domestic spying measure.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

One third of open US attorney jobs given to Bush insiders.

House intelligence committee aided and abetted former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham to help steer more than $70 million in classified federal business to favored military contractors, who in turn paid him millions in bribes.

US government agencies charged with the reconstruction of Iraq allocated $362 million to non-existent "dummy vendors".

Judge who exonerated Cheney is on the payroll of Exxon.

Ambassadorship appointments in exchange for donations a common practice.

$1.1 trillion disappear from US treasury in 1 year

Following the Iraq war billions of dollars of Iraq's money was directed to American companies to rebuild the country - but much of it remains unaccounted for.

New charges have been filed alleging that the CIA's former #3 official used his influence in that role to support a proposed $100 million government contract for his best friend, a defense contractor.

For the second time in two months a federal court ruled that the president was in violation of the Constitution.

14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Ohio's secretary of state (and overseer of elections) Ken Blackwell was invested in Diebold voting machines.

Diebold memos disclose Florida 2000 e-voting fraud.

Bush campaign chairman quits over illegal phone jamming.

Republican judge upholds RNC efforts to suppress Democratic party voters.

RNC funds voter suppression in at least 5 states.

Consultant who destroyed Democratic voter registration forms says his GOP clients are "very proud" of his company's actions.

Democrats and Republicans who sit on the local boards say representatives of Diebold Incorporated have offered donations to the parties.

Bush manages to get 64% of the vote in Florida's Calhoun County despite less than 12% of the population being registered Republican.

Bush received 4258 votes in Ohio's Franklin County - odd since only 638 voters cast ballots.

It's easy to win Ohio when machines in heavy Democratic areas register negative 25,000,000 votes.

CEO of Diebold Inc. (who made the Ohio voting machines) stated that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

Foreign monitors 'barred' from US polls.

The ugly, secret shame of American democracy is that 2 million votes are 'spoiled' in presidential elections, tossed away untallied as 'unreadable'. And the worst part is that roughly half are cast by African-Americans.

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie wants to eliminate exit polls because he says they're not accurate. All 2004 exit polls matched results except in Ohio and Florida.

Looking at these 14 signs of fascism makes me proud to live in a truly free democracy. Happy 4th of July!


Dawson said...

Wow, this post is absolutely incredible! I can't even begin to think through all of the research that you must have done in order to put this together... my hat is off to you. Thank you for having the courage and chutzpa to post something so glaringly honest and powerful!

It is an interesting phenomenon that so many Americans will rabidly defend their nation without ever taking the time to become informed regarding the actual facts of the matter. This fanaticism is virtually religious in it's intensity and it's unwavering, absolute blind faith.

There is no better example of this than the way in which George Bush was able to paint the events in the middle east as the ultimate 'us and them' scenario. We have not been fighting against other human beings with thoughts and emotions just like our own, we've been waging a war of good vs. evil - the likes of which the world has not seen since the great war in heaven when Satan was cast down to hell.