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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Just Another FU From The Right Wing

Want to know what your Republican senator really thinks about you?  By now, it should be obvious to even the most stone headed clod that the Republican party wants America to fail because their lords and masters on Wall Street can make more short term profit and earn more money for professional stock holders and manipulators like Willard from it’s failure than they can from success for the middle class.  The latest proof of that comes once again from the way they voted on the bill that would have eliminated tax incentives for companies that outsource jobs overseas,  (Courtesy of the Teamsters Union),

These are the U.S. Senators who voted today against a bill that would eliminate tax breaks for sending U.S. jobs overseas:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike

Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kyl (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Richard Lugar (R-IN), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS).

A lot of familiar names in that list.  If you haven’t figured out that these people only exist to deliver the money you bust your ass to earn to the rich then there’s probably no hope for you… or the country.  Wonder what Mittens thought of the bill in view of all that campaign bullshit he’s been spouting lately about bringing back all those jobs he himself outsourced?

Speaking of Mitt Romney and his pathological inability to connect with real people anywhere, I thought I’d pass this email along from Daily KOS.  I’m pretty sure the Brits are savvy enough to realize that Mitt Romney doesn’t speak for the American people but it never hurts to make sure.  I signed it myself, mainly because it’s the closest I can come to actually tossing a dancing horse turd at His Excellency,

Tom, please sign our letter to the people of the United Kingdom, letting them know Mitt Romney’s oafish comments do not represent the views of most Americans toward one of our oldest and strongest allies. Click here to add your name–we will send the letter and the signatures to the British press.

During his recent trip to the United Kingdom, Mitt Romney questioned London’s Olympic preparedness, forgot the name of the leader of the Labour Party, and said it would be terrible if the United States were to become like Europe. The people of the United Kingdom are so outraged over Romney’s behavior that even two leading members of the Conservative Party, Prime Minster David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson, went out of their way to issue harsh rebukes.

In just two days, Mitt Romney has put a real dent in an alliance that took two world wars and forty years of the Cold War to build. That’s why we’re putting together a letter to the people of the United Kingdom, letting them know Mitt Romney does not speak for most Americans. We’ll send the signatures to the British press, and hopefully mend some of the wounds which Romney has so ineptly managed to inflict.

Please sign our letter to the people of the United Kingdom letting them know that Mitt Romney does not speak for us.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

As Fred Kaplan writes in this Slate article from yesterday:

Mitt Romney’s not-so-excellent adventure abroad (“Romneyshambles,” the Brits are calling it) has been many things: shabby, hilarious, scandalous, an enlivening hoot to a dreary election season. One thing it shouldn’t be, though, is surprising.

Charles Krauthammer, the right-wing commentator who usually finds every excuse to attack Barack Obama—he took Obama’s blinking during a tête-à-tête with Vladimir Putin as a sign of appeasement—pronounced himself befuddled by the GOP candidate’s flare of incompetence.

These sorts of trips, Krauthammer said on Fox News Thursday night, are easy. You express solidarity with the allies, listen, nod your head, and say nice things or nothing at all. Instead, Romney questioned his hosts’ ability to run the Olympics, raised doubts about Londoners’ community spirit, and violated protocol by publicly mentioning a meeting with the head of MI-6. “It’s unbelievable, it’s beyond human understanding, it’s incomprehensible,” Krauthammer, normally a paragon of self-confidence, sputtered. “I’m out of adjectives … I don’t get it.”

The thing that Krauthammer doesn’t get is that Romney is not the sort of businessman—that his brand of capitalism is not the sort of enterprise—that requires even the most elementary understanding of diplomacy, courtesy, or sensitivity to other people’s values, lives, or perceptions.

Which sums up Lord Willard in just about as succinct and brief manner as you’re going to find anywhere.  The man simply feels that he… having been born to privilege with the silver spoon of entitlement in his mouth  is so far above everyone else that he doesn’t even have to pretend he gives a damn.

And just to keep your awareness that upper reaches of  the Republican party are mainly populated by loons and goons, we have Michele Bachmann who definitely qualifies as the former and is working hard to get jer ticket for the latter.  The more irrelevant she gets the more bizarre the woman becomes to the point that I have no trouble believing that she’s become totally unhinged.  She’s always been a bigot but one of the things more dangerous than bigotry is paranoid bigotry and this lady has that by the sack full.  She has no business even being in Washington but for Boner to keep her on the House Intelligence Committee is a failure that he alone will have to own.

And last but by no means least One of the possibly only three people in America who truly get it offers a perspective on Campaign 2012 that even curmudgeons like myself can understand and appreciate.  Not surprising since he is America’s Alpha Curmudgeon himself. (MY apologies for offering only a link.  WordPress won’t allow those of us only able to afford the cheap seats to embed video.)
Lewis Black Cuts Presidential Campaign Lies Up And Spits Them Back Out

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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fascist USA?

Not a whole lot of doubt left in my mind. The twenty-first century version of Fascism has come to America and sure enough it’s wrapped in the flag  and carrying the bible. It oozed into being in a hall of mirrors behind a cloud of smoke consisting of “Conservatism” intertwined with Capitalism fueled by Corporatism and it definitely means the end of what we have come to think of as the traditional American way of life.

The country was founded as a “representative republic” but stop right now and ask yourself how long it’s been since you felt that you had any real representation or that any branch of the government had any real concern for the wants and needs of the majority of the people. Been a while? That kind of thing went out the window when the corporations and the rich started paying your elected representatives more to represent them than you can pay them to represent you. We no longer have a representative Republic and the only question is what kind of Fascist state we’re going to wind up with and what kind of dictatorship we’re going to wind up with.

There’s no doubt that the United States exhibits most, if not all of the warning signs for.a democratic state in the midst of falling into Fascism.  A few of those have been defined as:

A,  Your president asserts the right to ignore part or all of laws passed by the national legislature.  No shortages of that in this country, that’s for sure.  Beginning with Bush and continuing through until the present day, more and more of what used to be congressional prerogatives and therefore subject to at least some limited amount of control by the people have been usurped by the Executive Branch and imposed as some kind of presidential decree.  It has often involved the violation of not only laws duly passed by congress but more lately, of the Constitution itself.  George W. Bush famously considered the United States Constitution as “just a piece of paper” while establishing precedent for our current form of government by presidential fiat.

B.  Massive warrantless searches.  The small to massive invasions of privacy being committed by the government, especially the NSA in the almost casual perusal by government officials of the phone records and  emails and GPS tracking of virtually every citizen in the country with a wireless phone.  Cameras everywhere, recording the every move of a citizenry that remains blissfully unaware that nothing is secret or even private anymore.

C.  A media supportive of, or obsequious towards, the government in covering its police state activities.  No doubt that this is a perfect description of the form of “journalism” which the corporate ownership and control of 90% of the sources of information in the country has brought about.  The media today does not exist to bring you the information you need to take an active role in your government by being able to make rational, intelligent decisions but to constantly bombard you with propaganda designed to make you oblivious to, or a willing accomplice in, the imposition of a Fascist state.

D.  A government subservient to the interests of the country’s largest corporations.  From the gutting of any meaningful regulation of corporate activities to the fact that there are five lobbyists for every person in congress… do we even need to discuss this one?  When we pay our congressional representatives in the $150-180k range, yet many of them are able to become millionaires by their second term in office, do we need to ask why?

E.  Creation of a mercenary military force used for foreign and domestic purposes.  Think Blackwater.  Think of the fact that there are more mercenaries working for paramilitary security companies that have usurped many of the traditional functions of our military under contract to the United States than there are combat personnel in our own armed forces.  Saved this one for last because to me it’s one of the most chilling indicators that if the indoctrination of our military into mere tools to enforce the Corporatist/Fascist agenda doesn’t work out as well as it has with civilian police agencies, there’s always a backup.

The entire list as compiled by current writers and thinkers on the subject may be found here:  Parallels abound.

Benito Mussolini, considered by many to be the founding father of 20th century Fascism minced no words in the denunciation of Democracy as “decadent thinking” and in extolling the virtues of Fascism.   That Mussolini was never more than a third-rate thug who had managed to reach a position of power by working on the ignorance of the population much in the same way as today’s crop of Tea Party congresspeople and state governors do, was left for hindsight to discover but he did, for better or worse, define Fascism for the modern era and it is on his legacy that the movement toward our own special brand of Fascism was built.

Mussolini actually laid out most of the tenets for Fascism for Italy in 1932 in an article for the Italian Encyclopedia, excerpts from which can be found here.  It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see the parallels between the Italy of the 1930s and the United States of today in terms of the ultimate goals many of which… like the state of perpetual war… are already an established fact of American life.  In that regard, Mussolini wrote:

“Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism — born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision — the alternative of life or death….”

Substitute Profit for all the claptrap about nobility and courage and you have a damned accurate description of Fascism for the twenty FIRST century.  There is no PROFIT in Pacifism or peace.  He also had this to say about the equality of all people:

“After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….”

Which could actually be the stump speech for Mitt Romney’s campaign if all the smoke and mirrors were suddenly whisked away and his personal agenda laid bare for all to see,  It’s the kind of attitude we see any time his wife is pushed in front of a TV camera to do her civic duty by getting her husband elected.

Find yourself an encyclopedia and do some reading on the history of Italy from about 1930 to 1943.  With a few twenty-first century twists thrown in, this is the country that ignorant and willful people in the United States are helping to create and will be leaving to their children… for which we should be humbly and on bended knee begging their forgiveness.

More to come

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Canadian Socialism vs U.S. Fascisim

Remember how our politicians used to brag that the average American was better off than any citizen of any other country in the world?  It was all part of that “Were Number One” thing we had going that has, in the past thirty wears, gone from being a statement of national pride to just another jingoistic (and untrue) statement.

Other than making weapons to kill people with and then actually going out and killing people in large numbers to create a market for them, I have a hard time finding anything of any real worth that we’re truly number one at anymore and now we find that our citizens decidedly not even richer than anywhere else.  One country has already surpassed us in terms of personal wealth per average citizen and others will, if present trends continue, do so within the next few years as we continue our metamorphosis into a third world slum country ruled over by a corporate oligarchy.  I’m sure Canadians are too polite to make an issue of it but it may not be long until they look at us the way  many of our citizens… cough:: Tea Party::cough… look at Mexico… you know, as a kind of rally low-class ghetto and a blight on the neighborhood, whose citizens ought to stay on their own side of the tracks.

From an article by Stephen Marche at Bloombergs:

On July 1, Canada Day, Canadians awoke to a startling, if pleasant, piece of news: For the first time in recent history, the average Canadian is richer than the average American.

According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

A few days later, Canada and the U.S. both released the latest job figures. Canada’s unemployment rate fell, again, to 7.2 percent, and America’s was a stagnant 8.2 percent. Canada continues to thrive while the U.S. struggles to find its way out of an intractable economic crisis and a political sine curve of hope and despair.

The difference grows starker by the month: The Canadian system is working; the American system is not. And it’s not just Canadians who are noticing. As Iceland considers switching to a currency other than the krona, its leaders’ primary focus of interest is the loonie — the Canadian dollar.

Now Canada cannot really be called a Socialist country in the dictionary sense of the word and I’m sure the American left didn’t consider them the epitome of socialist thought when they were imposing draconian reforms in regard to many of their social programs not too many years back.  But that won’t stop the uninformed and misinformed among the American right-wing from squealing the word every time you mention any country that seeks an even break for everyone instead of the little knot of families at the top of the food chain .  If you need proof of that, just mention healthcare in front of one of them.

Production and the means of distribution are not solely functions of the government or any kind of collective and capitalism thrives there much as it does here within the limits of a just society.  The difference is in the regulation… the mere mention of which can get you flogged as a socialist or worse by certain factions of the American right… of those primary factors in that Canada has not sought to abandon it’s lower and middle classes the way the US has and that therefore, the wealth is not so concentrated in the upper tiers of their society that there is nothing left for the rest of the people.

Good politics do not account entirely for recent economic triumphs. Luck has played a major part. The Alberta tar sands — an environmental catastrophe in waiting — are the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and if America is too squeamish to buy our filthy energy, there’s always China. We also have softwood lumber, potash and other natural resources in abundance.

Policy has played a significant part as well, though. Both liberals and conservatives in the U.S. have tried to use the Canadian example to promote their arguments: The left says Canada shows the rewards of financial regulation and socialism, while the right likes to vaunt the brutal cuts made to Canadian social programs in the 1990s, which set the stage for economic recovery.

The truth is that both sides are right. Since the 1990s, Canada has pursued a hardheaded (even ruthless), fiscally conservative form of socialism. Its originator was Paul Martin, who was finance minister for most of the ’90s, and served a stint as prime minister from 2003 to 2006. Alone among finance ministers in the Group of Eight nations, he “resisted the siren call of deregulation,” in his words, and insisted that the banks tighten their loan-loss and reserve requirements. He also made a courageous decision not to allow Canadian banks to merge, even though their chief executives claimed they would never be globally competitive unless they did. The stability of Canadian banks and the concomitant stability in the housing market provide the clearest explanation for why Canadians are richer than Americans today.

In other words, Canadians are a whole lot better at resisting the Wall Street bullshit than a large segment of our own society seems to be.  Their banks aren’t allowed to get “too big to fail” and it’s doubtful that in the future you’ll ever see the average Canadian taxpayer called upon to assume the responsibility for financial losses incurred through greed and/or stupidity of their financial sector.

Of course I’m not any kind of an expert on financial affairs or Canada or anything else really.  I’m sure that lots of folks, Canadians AND Americans, would take exception to many of the things in this post.  Canada has its right wing too and I have no reason to doubt that some of its leaders have the same ultimate goal in mind for their people as most of ours seem to have.

I just look at the glaring headline… Hardheaded Socialism Makes Canada Richer Than U.S… and it sure does look to me like they’re doing something right for their average citizens… or at least righter than we are…  and that we’re doing something wrong and that their “brutal” form of Socialism is working better for their 99% than our even more brutal form of Fascism is for our own.  For now, that’s good enough for me.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fascist Is As Fascist Does #2

Returning to Ms. Lewis:

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A (MODERN ERA) FASCIST COUNTRY:

1. (Today’s version of) Fascism is commonly defined as an open terror-based dictatorship which is:

Reactionary: makes policy based upon current circumstances rather than creating policies to prevent problems; piles lies and misnomers on top of more lies until the truth becomes indistinguishable, revised or forgotten.
Chauvinistic: Two or more tiered legal systems, varying rights based upon superficial characteristics such as race, creed and origin.
Imperialist:  Whereby elements of finance and capital are used to extend a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political domination of one state over its allies.

Though a dictatorship is the most common association with fascism, a democracy or republic can also be fascist when it strays away from its Tenets of sovereignty. In the 20th Century, many Fascist countries started out as republics. Through the use of fear, societies gave up their rights under the guise of security. Ultimately these republics morphed into Fascist states.

2. According to some scholars, traditional Fascism was an extreme measure taken by the middle classes to forestall lower-working class revolution; it thrived on the weakness of the middle classes. It accomplished this by embracing the middle-class’ love of the status-quo, its complacency and its fears of:

Generating a united struggle within the working class

Revolution

Losing its own power and position within society

In a more simplistic term the people currently in control fear that if they allow equal rights and equal consideration to those being oppressed, they also will become oppressed and lose everything.

Generally those in power are of a smaller segment of society, but they hold the wealth and control of key systems like manufacturing, law, finance and government position, (e.g. the slave owners in the south prior to the civil war) and the oppressed vastly outnumber them, (the slaves during the same period)

In reality it is the oppressors’ fear of retribution by the oppressed that perpetuates fascism; for justification they dehumanize, demonize, strip them of rights, add new laws, restrict movement and attempt to control them by whatever means possible to prevent an uprising.

It is very common in a fascist system to have the oppressed referred to as sub-human, animals, terrorists, savages, barbarians, vermin or any other term designed to create justification for the acts of terror and fascism perpetrated on the oppressed. Via dehumanization society can then accept that the oppressed are incapable of thinking or acting in a peaceful manner or taking care of themselves, and thus society is exonerated from culpability in their own minds. Propaganda, not persuasion, logic or law, is the tool of fascism, though at times very difficult to spot. It specifically rides the fact that negative behavior is innate, (born with) rather than a logical behavior in response to oppression. Propaganda also empowers the oppressors with elitism racially, socially, intellectually and/or spiritually.

I think this is what was going on during the early stages of the American class wars nobody would admit were occurring. The majority of the middle class had no problems joining in the war on single moms, the elderly, the sick or disabled… you know, the “freeloaders, welfare queens and non-producers”.  Hell, a lot of them still do today.  The so called “welfare reforms” of the Clinton era were actually welcomed by most in the middle classes because they themselves had not been targeted. Yet.

it wasn’t until they began to realize that the REAL Masters of the Universe weren’t going to be satisfied with the slim pickings at the bottom of the food chain and that their own backsides were suddenly on the line that resistance to the Fascists suddenly became hugely important and the war cries about saving the middle class began to reverberate. The lateness of the middle class in realizing they were next on the menu and therefore on the wrong side of this war will definitely be a major factor in whether we win or lose this thing and if we don’t win, I WILL remind them of that at every opportunity.  I remember my first angry impulse was to simply welcome the middle class to MY world and sit back and watch them be devoured the way people like me had been.  I found out I couldn’t do that and have been trying to raise hell any way someone with my limited means can ever since but every once in a while when some astro turfed Tea Party twit gets really obnoxious… Ah well, moving on.

We needn’t pretend that Fascism in America is something new either. It may have made it farther on the road to it’s ultimate goal in the current century bu it’s been around a long time and it’s been trying for a long time.  Henry A. Wallace, 33rd Vice President (1941-1945) and Progressive Party candidate for President in 1948 foresaw the emergence of Fascist rhetoric in the United States in the 1940s. His take on it:

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia.

They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

FDR himself, as early as 1936 had this to say:

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers-the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service. There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

Moving closer to our modern era, in “The Rise of Fascism in America”, an Essay for Common Dreams in 2006, Gary Alan Scott provided us with the following chillingly accurate prediction of what life in the United States was going to be like less than six years down the road:

The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as “normal,” as the chill of autumn feels normal when summer is gone. It will all seem normal.

Anybody see anything in there we’re not looking at today?  Six years ago may not seem all that long but consider that we were only halfway through the second term of our first openly fascist controlled president, we had yet to elect a black president and the economy had yet to take it’s ultimate plunge and the vast majority of us were glued to our couches in front of our big screen TVs watching a bunch of millionaires drive around in a damned circle..

If nothing else, hindsight should tell us that nothing that has happened since was the result of any “cosmic accident” or even unintended malfeasance on the part of our government or any of the new breed of “economic royalists” that now own virtually every person of significance in at least the legislative branch of that government and enough of the judicial branch to make their fiats stick.

The only accident that might have occurred in my estimation is that they may have pretty much lost control of their specially prepared base when a black man moved into the White House, got pushed too hard and let the collapse take place while their own guy was still in office instead of after the 2008 election when it might have made sense for the unwitting to blame the new president for it. Since then, they’ve done nothing but try to limit that president to a single term so that they can get the agenda back on schedule.

In the next installment we’ll bring you some of the warning signs that were there all along and that we failed to see because of apathy to the plight of the least among us. We’ll also talk about the manner in which organized propaganda plays a huge role through diversion of attention from the real issues and offer Dr. Lawrence Britt’s 14 Characteristics of (Modern Day) Fascism.

If you’ve made it this far, many thanks. Back later.

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fascist Is As Fascist Does #1

When fascism comes to America so many people will be arguing about the symptoms, they won’t even recognize the disease. That was the working title for this piece even though I knew it would be too long for the finished product. But it does make a pretty good statement of fact in regard to the situation in which we find ourselves today. At least I think it does, so much so that I made a Twitter post out of it, at least.

The main problem with trying to point out that Fascism is nibbling ever bigger chunks off the backside of America is that you can’t find two or more groups… hell it’s hard to find two or more individual PEOPLE… who can tell you what Fascism is and those that can recognize it for what it is generally don’t want the rest of us to know for reasons that will become obvious.

One thing we need to clear up before we go a step farther here though… Fascism is not an outgrowth of what most… especially those at the right end of the political spectrum… like to call “Liberal” or “leftist” thinking. It is… as practiced in various eras and parts of the world… almost the complete antithesis of Socialism and/or what we have generally come to regard as Communism. Fascism is a purely right wing or conservative ideology, totally separate from any of the established “isms” that have been used to stir and control people over the past couple of hundred years. If Socialism is the ultimate in leftist philosophy, then Fascism serves the same purpose for the right, in spite of the persistent efforts of some on the right… either through ignorance or willful intent… to convince us that they are one and the same.

The accepted definitions… as is the case with most “isms”… are imprecise and don’t really provide a starting point for sorting out the primary differences either since they offer a number of semi-related but different interpretations for each but in general, Mirriam Webster defines SOCIALISM thus:

so·cial·ism

noun \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2: a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by

the state

3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

So basically, Socialism is a system of government based on collective ownership of assets either by cooperatives or collectives or by the government itself and each member of the collective is rewarded based on their level of contribution to the whole.

I’ve never lived under a Socialist system in the United States and neither has anyone else, no matter what you might hear to the contrary. The US has always… at least until now… functioned under a system of government based on Capitalism and to suggest we have otherwise at the present time is a lot of things ranging from disingenuous to an outright lie. This doesn’t mean that what we refer to as Capitalism hasn’t evolved into something markedly different than that which some of us who were around 40-50 years ago lived and worked under. Indeed that’s the subject of this series.

Before we start trying to define Fascism, we need to discuss one more thing it’s not. It is not Nazism. According to most essays or other writings, Nazism is a political party platform that was based on a military dictatorship coupled with Fascism and even certain aspects of Socialism. It is NOT a government structure as applies to Fascism.

The most notable characteristic of a fascist country is the separation and persecution or denial of equality to a specific segment of the population based upon superficial qualities or belief systems. As Laura Dawn Lewis puts it in her excellent essay, “What Is Fascism?” on the Couples Company Site, “ Simply stated, a fascist government always has one class of citizens that is considered superior (good) compared to another (bad) based upon race, creed or origin.

After that, it’s pretty much anything goes. You can have a political or military dictatorship as in 1930s Germany and Italy or you can have what amounts to an economic dictatorship. In fact, you don’t have to have a dictatorship in the accepted sense at all. It is possible to be both a republic and a fascist state at the same time. The preferred class gets to live in the republic while the oppressed class lives in a fascist state.

I’m sure that most educated people will agree that we have no shortage of people who have been shunted into the fascist state category given previous and current attacks on just about anyone not a rich, white, Christian male. Just as Adolph Hitler scapegoated the Jews, Gays, Communists and Slavic peoples, blaming every conceivable ill on them, so do the real powers that be in this country scapegoat Blacks, Hispanics, LGBT Community, Muslims, Women, the Elderly and Disabled… you name it. If you’re not part of the great white male Christian power structure then you are… if not directly responsible… then at least a symptom of everything they think is wrong in the world and that equates to anything or anyone who is not putting money directly into their off shore bank accounts.

NOTE: As Ms. Lewis points out, no one government is purely anything. Most have elements of several structures with one dominant structure. At his point in time attempts are ongoing to install Fascism as the dominant structure in the United States.

While Fascism has exhibited different minor aspects attached to the basic structure according to the country and the era in which it has become dominant there are certain basic elements that would appear to be readily recognizable warning signs that a country is right for a takeover by outwardly Fascist elements. We’ll talk about some of those in tomorrow’s post.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Lies Are One Thing…

OK, Mitt Romney is a liar I understand that.  He’s a serial liar… so much so that he feels compelled to lie just about every time he opens his mouth. I can even understand that given that Romney is your total political animal and nothing… not integrity, not ethics nor even morality mean more to him than winning.  That’s what most politicians do and I’ve slowly gotten use to the idea.

What I do not understand is a man who will give you at least two answers… sometimes more than two… to every question asked and two… sometimes more than two… explanations for every situation that arises and then simply tell you to pick the one you like but don’t bother him anymore about it.  It’s as if he’s lying, you know he’s lying and he knows that you know he’s lying, but he just doesn’t give a damn because your opinion… and probably your vote… aren’t going to matter anyway.

He is so certain that he is entitled to the presidency… that it’s “his turn”… that he’s going to win in spite of pissing off every group,  community and voting bloc out there, including some Republican ones, by managing to deliberately insult all of them, most more than once.  That kind of confidence, in spite of being one of the worst presidential candidates in history has got to raise the hair on the back of your neck if you’re not as brain dead as he often appears to be.   There’s a damned good chance that this man knows something that we don’t and that he doesn’t have to pander after votes from unwashed commoners like you and me.

It’s gotten so bad that the jokes being offered up by comedians on a nightly basis are more credible than some of the stuff he’s actually saying He gives every indication of believing that he can simply buy his way into the presidency the same way he bought his wife a tap dancing horse or bought himself into all those exclusive country clubs.  He really believes that if you have enough money you can get anything you want including  50.1% of the vote count and damn if he might not be exactly right.

I’m thinking we’re going to see an election that once again puts us at the mercy of the electronic voting machines and the SCOTUS, especially given that all of the swing states with Tea Party governors are futzing around with voter suppression to varying degrees.  Hell it might even come down to Florida again, a state that itself had no problems electing a man who had defrauded it of untold amounts of money and in a just world would be sitting in a federal prison instead of the Florida Governor’s mansion.  Nobody ever accused them of being original and since it worked once, why not Florida?

So far I haven’t talk to any Republican who’s voting FOR Romney.  Indeed, the ones I have had contact with who are supporting him freely admit that he’s little more than a thief, a carpetbagger and a snake oil peddler par excellence but by God, ANYBODY… no matter how dishonest  they might be, no matter how disconnected they might be, no matter how much contempt and disdain the guy has for them… is better than Obama and if they have to swallow Romney to get rid of Obama, they’re more than willing to do start choking him down.  The indications are that they simply don’t care as long as long as Obama is out of there come next January.

Remember, Mitt’s not even old money.  He inherited money that his daddy actually went out and earned and then he used his father’s hard earned dollars to make himself one of the most predatory venture capitalists in history, managing to cover every base there is to cover, from buying up healthy companies and strangling them in their beds to owning an interest in the foreign companies that he outsourced the lost jobs and manufacturing capacity to.  Hell, he even started setting up his own Caribbean shell companies.   He used taxpayer dollars to bail out the Olympics in Utah after a massive bribery scandal and he managed to FUBAR everything in Massachusetts EXCEPT health care and now he wants to repeal the only thing he ever did right.

The man could serve as the poster boy for the hateful, greedy, self absorbed little rich boy breed who never took nickel that didn’t come from someone else’s pocket and was the product of someone else’s labor.  He’s a liar, a predator, an elitist prick and a bully.   And the Republicans want to make him your president.  Think about that.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Mean Mindedness

When you take time out to really just sit back and look at the sorry assed mess politics has become in this country, the one inescapable fact that’s going to jump right in your face is there are a hell of a lot of Americans out there who are simply mean minded, intolerant people with a different set of standards for everyone else to meet than they would ever think about setting for themselves.

These people can be found at both ends of the political spectrum although this is by no means another one of those “both sides do it” bullpuckey diatribes.  Of course there are “extreme” liberals, just as there are “extreme” conservatives if we accept the general definition of conservatism in use today.  The main difference is in the numbers.  There aren’t enough true liberals left to make a significant difference themselves and as the Democrats have moved farther to the right over the past couple of decades, those that do exist are pretty much forced to go with far less than liberal candidates and issues or simply cede the office or question in contention to the Republicans.

This is one of the main reasons people like myself… an independent tending toward not conservatism or liberalism but toward  what I call “Humanism”… tend to dismiss conservative claims of a “liberal” media or a “liberal” conspiracy or a liberal this or that or whatever.  We’ve reached the point at which Democrats occupy roughly the position that the GOP did back in the 60s and 70s while the GOP has shuffled off toward the end of the scale.

The Republicans on the other hand have been pretty much jammed into the far right end of the spectrum by the advent of the “Tea Party”, a group that tends to deal more in false bravado, personalities and outlandish gestures than in any substantive attempt to actually govern based on anything resembling actual issues as witnessed by today’s 32nd “symbolic” vote to repeal the ACA in which symbolism once again takes precedence over governance.

Unlike the situation with true liberals, there are more than enough extremists in the Republican party to affect the policies and the agenda of the GOP and to force the more moderate elements of the party to go along with them.  Even people like Pat Buchanan and George Will, a couple of the founding fathers of the modern Conservative movement back in the 60s have adopted some increasingly radical positions although Buchanan was always a bunch too damned racist, or at least bigoted, for my taste, even when I was a Republican.

In other words, we no longer have left/right but right/righter and the right really needs to find some new labels for people they want to demonize.  “Liberal” and “Lefty” are so 1980s that they’re totally obsolete, especially when you consider that virtually our entire economy is invested in the largest Socialist country in the world.  Not sure that Republicans are ever going to be able to go back to system of civil discourse and honest debate again. I cut and pasted a blurb on Facebook a couple of weeks back… all it said was, “Corporate profits were up 8% last year.  Did anyone in the working class get an 8% raise?”.  The question was did any of it trickle down to the rank and file level.  The answer I got from another old coot who worked all his life for wages, just like me? “Hey Tom, if you keep talking like that we may have to start calling you a Liberal.”.

All that tells me is that to him, “liberal” is simply something you call someone when they do or say something you don’t like.  From a strictly political standpoint, someone… I forget who… on Twitter put it best: “A Liberal is anyone who wants to spend government money on anything you don’t like“.  It’s pretty much used in the same context as “asshole” and more than a few even tend to try to link it to words like “traitor” and phrases like “They hate America”.  This is what happens when you abandon logic in favor of a purely visceral response to opposition.

I’ve played that game myself.  All you have to do is read back through some of the posts on this blog for my gut feeling over logic responses to various situations that have arisen.  It may be a way to vent but at the end of the day doesn’t really accomplish anything no matter who does it.  In the overall scheme of things “Mitt’s a $#%#@$%$#ker!” is not going to influence a single vote.  Likewise, “I hate Obama!” doesn’t mean a damned thing to anybody and is just empty hype.  On the other hand, explaining WHY you think Mitt’s a whatever or WHY you hate Obama, complete with some empirical data or links to information that support the reasons you think someone is worthy or unworthy of consideration for something might have some impact.  I know it’s hard for some to grasp but not everyone sees things in the same context you do.

I’m not going to promise I won’t do it again.  When I boot up this page it’s usually because I’m angry about something and when I’m angry enough I’m no more apt to be analytical or even logical than the next person and a whole lot less so than many.  But I do promise that I’m going to work on the issue and try to provide more actual information in these rants than I have before in many of them.  Hate for hate’s sake is simply mean minded and I can’t criticize mean mindedness if I’m being mean minded myself.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized