Tag Archive for fascism

Making the Grade on Fascism

Hat tip to “Ohio Gringo” via Firedoglake for the following July 27th post.

Money + Religion + Military = Juggernaut

Ever since the United States was instrumental in defeating Fascism in 1945, if not before, various critics of the American government have accused it of behaving in a Fascist manner itself. The McCarthy hearings come to mind. Ever since Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President in 1981, the warnings have become more dire.

So I thought I, OhioGringo, would try to grade where America is today in its long march towards Fascism. For this, I used the 14 Points of Fascism, found all over the political blogosphere, and graded where I think we are on each one. Five asterisks(*****) means full Fascism, one means none. So, let’s have a bit of cynical fun:

Powerful and Continuing NationalismFascist 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.

**** The only reason I don’t give this a five is because it’s still OK not to fly the flag or even to burn it.
Disdain for the Recognition of Human RightsBecause 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.

**** There’s substantial opposition to this behavior, but Guantanamo’s still open, Bradley Manning’s still being tortured as far as we know, and President Obama has authorized assassination. Not five stars because people aren’t being disappeared domestically, yet.
Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying CauseThe 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.

**** Well, that’s obvious. Not a five because there is still public opposition.
Supremacy of the MilitaryEven 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.

***** No brainer.
Rampant SexismThe 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.

** We have Fascist bitches, too! This has been tried, but is failing due to public sentiment.
Controlled Mass MediaSometimes 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.

*** There is clearly domination by corporate media, but I am writing this, after all, and Democracy Now! is still broadcast. Overall, the Fascists have the edge.
Obsession with National SecurityFear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

***** The daily use of fear of whoever and whatever is unavoidable.
Religion and Government are IntertwinedGovernments 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.

*** Thank God for atheists, agnostics, Unitarians, Wiccans, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and sometimes Catholics and “mainstream” Protestant denominations. This could be much worse, but there is strong opposition. Still, when was the last time a President did not conclude a speech with “God Bless America?”
Corporate Power is ProtectedThe 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.

***** They have a lock. Citizens United v FEC have opened the floodgates. Look where our government officials come from and go to.
Labor Power is SuppressedBecause the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

**** Unions still exist, and sometimes fight, but they have been emasculated.
Disdain for Intellectuals and the ArtsFascist 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 holds the edge here, there are attacks on the arts, but they are often unsuccessful.
Obsession with Crime and PunishmentUnder 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.

***Leans that way, but there is still substantial opposition.
Rampant Cronyism and CorruptionFascist 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.

***** No brainer. The Greatest Theft Ever took place under TARP. Look where Obama’s Treasury Secretary and advisers came from. Look where politicians go when they “retire.”

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.**** Almost there!

And, by may calculations we are at 3.86. On a letter scale, America gets an overall C+ grade in Fascist achievement according to this little scale and myself. My political goal would be to get an “F”.

What they do is not spontaneous or random. It is planned.

Sadly, it takes a crisis for most Americans to understand when something is seriously wrong. More often than not they fail to see blatant partisan agendas until those agendas slap them in the face, or the wallet. Such is the case with the outrageous actions and beliefs of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and all of the like-minded elected representatives up and down the government ladder.

The Republicans have been on a roll with their lies, immoral belief system and inside out, upside down attempts at explanations of damned near everything. With the money and power of special interest businesses behind them, they have been able to milk discontent to their liking. Organizations like Americans for Prosperity (of trans-national corporations and other over-sized business entities) and the money of the likes of the Koch Brothers have hijacked the concerns of millions and focused them into a “Tea Party” of discontent to capture governorships, state legislatures, and the House of Representatives.

Make no mistake about it. There is a Conservative Agenda long ago outlined and executed. They are strategic geniuses with a tenacity that is satanic in nature.

When, where and how did all of this planning begin? It began at least in 1981, when the Patron Saint of Conservatism Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency of the United States. It began because they had captured the highest office in the land (indeed, in the world) for conservatism for the first time since Herbert Hoover. Eisenhower was impure. So was Nixon.

It began in earnest with the formation of an organization called the Council of National Policy, also in 1981.

The Council for National Policy is a highly secretive organization that claims over six hundred members consisting of the most powerful religious, political, business and media conservatives in the nation. Initially their membership was publicly available and that listing can be found on the Internet. Coloradans might be surprised, or maybe not, at who from our state appears on this list. It is reported that Joseph Coors provided the seed money.

As attention began to focus on them, the organization went substantially underground. Its membership is confidential and by invitation only. Members come from government, religion, business, media and conservative think tanks responsible for providing contrived “studies” that assist with the conservative talking points that are repeated endlessly on talk television and radio.

The group meets three times a year and revealing what is discussed is prohibited. Attempts are made to keep locations and the invited speakers a secret. But in recent years, capable investigative reporters and media pressure have forced the organization to be more open. George Bush and Dick Cheney have been keynote speakers at the conferences. Other speakers include Grover Norquist, Oliver North, Robert Bork and Rick Santorum, to name a few

Initially conceived and created by religious Dominionists, the marriage with Republican Conservatives across the spectrum of influence is now complete.

Dominionists have absorbed the financial positions of business conservatives and translated them into the Gospel of Prosperity, a gospel that says God wants you to be wealthy and that if you do as you are told, you will be. If you are in need or poor, it is because you have been disobedient to God’s will and you deserve your suffering. They will usually not say this when visible to the public at large, but they will say this in somewhat protected confines.

Financial and corporate conservatives recognize and need the numbers of Dominionists (frequently known as the religious right or fundamentalists) and have no issue with the creation of a theocracy. It maintains allegiance. It establishes authority. It provides a voting army.

And those who have integrated both Dominionism and a fascistic definition of capitalism have now risen to power in large numbers.

The well-developed agenda of the Council for National Policy explains why Republicans never vary from the positions they advocate – no matter how provably wrong and no matter what polls may reveal about the public’s positions as new information or changing circumstances change viewpoints. They are not interested in representing the public at large. They are only interested in convincing enough of the public to win elections. Any variance risks lost time if not collapse of the objectives. Achieving their goals demands no modification, no acquiescence, no compromise.

It also explains why and how they “over-reach” and claim a mandate whenever they are successful in gaining control of a legislative body, a state or a branch of the U.S. government. It makes no difference to them whether they win by one vote or by one million. A mandate is always claimed. The objective is to gain the power and codify the agenda – by any means available or necessary.

It is why you hear them claim “the American people” (fill in the blank) even when the American people do not agree with them. It is why Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Rick Scott of Florida, and Chris Christie of New Jersey, to name a few who have grabbed the headlines recently, are ramming an agenda down the throats of any and all. Truth, justice and the American democratic way be damned.

This time, however, they have picked on the American worker and there are lots of them. American workers do not like to be insulted, to be used, to be abused. The American worker is opening his or her eyes. The American worker is recognizing that even if they are not a member of a union, they are the next target, the ultimate target. The absence of jobs, the uncertainty of retaining jobs, the threatened loss of a middle class or even a working class lifestyle is eating away at their consciousness.

For those who have not yet clarified their feelings and perceptions, let me remind them of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller

Memo to Jon Stewart

At the finale of Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” Jon Stewart asserted, “But we live now in hard times — not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.” That depends, Mr. Stewart, that depends.

The purpose of the Rally to Restore Sanity was to shine a spotlight on the caustic discourse on 24-hour cable television. Mr. Stewart, it will be there after the election as it was before the election. There’s money to be made. And MONEY is what now drives America — not values, not value.

For two years we have been subjected to obstructionism from the Republicans in the U.S. Senate. We have been subjected to the Tea Party and the lunatics that attend their rallies, proudly displaying their racism and promising threats of violence if they don’t get their way on November 2nd.

False assertions of socialism will be replaced by genuine fascism if Republicans should have their way. They’ve made no secret of this. They don’t call it that, but their agenda shouts it. However, as long as Barack Obama holds the presidency, there will be no totalitarianism to seal the fate of the nation.

Amongst the crowd of attendees estimated as high as 250,000, a sign emblazoned with the Fox News logo, hoisted by an attendee at the rally, read “This is my comedy channel.” The other side of the sign, illustrated with a Comedy Central logo, read: “This is my news channel.”

Don’t give up, Jon Stewart and your alter Stephen Colbert.