Saturday, August 08, 2009

Is Fascism Coming To America?

It is just as sure as you are sitting somewhere and reading this. Fascism has been on the take in the United States for some time now, and we are just beginning to see its ugly head rear up. Hang on folks! Things could get ugly. Actually, they will be getting ugly. So, what can you do about it?[and-What-To-Do-About-it]

Is The US On The Brink of Fascism ? [and What To Do About it]
by Troutfishing
Sat Aug 08, 2009
Is The US On The Brink of Fascism ?, asks Sara Robinson, of Campaign For America's Future, in a new analytic treatment of our current drift into what Robinson sees as a pre-fascist America on the brink of the abyss.Is it alarmism ? Consider that across the nation, corporate-funded agitators have converged en-masse to shut down townhall meetings on health care. Or that such agitation has escalated to the point that some rightwing protestors have brought weapons to the townhall meeting, incited riots, and assaulted and threatened Democratic Party legislators. Are they brownshirts yet ?
Maybe not, suggests Robinson, but they're in training for the role - honing tactics that they soon may try to use on us. And, corporate media is egging on and even funding this militant, rancid antidemocratic populism, stoking it with debunked conspiracy theories and ridiculously inflammatory, hyperbolic, irresponsible, even eliminationalist, rhetoric.
If we're on the brink, if Sara Robinson is correct, what can we do ? Should we passively accept doom, go gently into that dark night ?Of course not. First, we should read Robinson's piece. Forewarned is forearmed.And above all we need to take things seriously - we need to move beyond mockery, because the would-be brownshirt legions afflicting and trying to shut down the current health care debate don't care much whether we mock them or not. They've got a job to do: shutting down the democratic process. We've seen it before. Remember the faux "riot" that shut down the ballot recount in Miami after the 2000 election ?As Robinson writes,It's so easy right now to look at the melee on the right and discount it as pure political theater of the most absurdly ridiculous kind. It's a freaking puppet show. These people can't be serious. Sure, they're angry -- but they're also a minority, out of power and reduced to throwing tantrums. Grown-ups need to worry about them about as much as you'd worry about a furious five-year-old threatening to hold her breath until she turned blue.
Unfortunately, all the noise and bluster actually obscures the danger. These people are as serious as a lynch mob, and have already taken the first steps toward becoming one. And they're going to walk taller and louder and prouder now that their bumbling efforts at civil disobedience are being committed with the full sanction and support of the country's most powerful people, who are cynically using them in a last-ditch effort to save their own places of profit and prestige.We've arrived. We are nowparked on the exact spot where our best experts tell us full-blown fascism is born. Every day that the conservatives in Congress, the right-wing talking heads, and their noisy minions are allowed to hold up our ability to govern the country is another day we're slowly creeping across the final line beyond which, history tells us,no country has ever been able to return. How do we pull back? That's my next post.
We're not just on the road to fascism, Sara Robinson warns; we've arrived at the destination, have taken the final turn into the parking lot, and are looking for a space. Robinson's analysis relies heavily on the work of scholar Robert Paxton, who has done leading work on the mechanics of emerging fascism:
In tracking the mileage on this trip to perdition, many of us relied on the work of historian Robert Paxton, who is probably the world's pre-eminent scholar on the subject of how countries turn fascist. In a 1998 paper published in The Journal of Modern History, Paxton argued that the best way to recognize emerging fascist movements isn't by their rhetoric, their politics, or their aesthetics. Rather, he said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together.
Sara Robinson suggested she'd offer some solutions to the problem, in her next installment. Here are some of my preliminary thoughts:
We all have a responsibility to reach out to friends and loved ones, especially if they don't have health care - to help them understand the gravity of what's going on this summer; antidemocratic goons are disrupting, with threats of violence in some cases, the debate over solutions to America's health care dilemma.
The thugs and provocateurs disrupting townhall meetings are disturbing the peace. Local police departments must be encouraged to do their jobs, shamed into it if need be.
The Glenn Beck / Fox boycott may be the most important weapon immediately at our disposal. Details of that boycott effort, with action items, are laid out quite well currently on this Daily Kos recommended list post. Readers can promote that boycott to friends and family, especially those with inadequate and absurdly expensive health care, and those with no health care at all.
Talking points ? - Simple: Fox News, and Glenn Beck, are working to prevent health care solutions that could improve your health care and even your health. Is the current status quo OK ? If not, why wouldn't the government do better than the health care companies ? The government runs Medicare, and it isn't perfect but administrative overhead is only about 2%, dramatically lower than for private companies. And the federal government runs the military. Is that 'socialism' ? - it isn't perfect but private military contractors are worse. Look at Blackwater ( cue Jeremy Scahill ).
Those are immediate approaches we each can take to push back incipient American fascism, which has loomed over American Democracy before. In the 1930's Sinclair Lewis saw the threat and wrote "It Can't Happen Here". The threat was averted - narrowly, perhaps more so than, many realize. But, it was averted. The price ofdemocracy is eternal vigilance.
The larger problem we face is one of corporate America run amok. There are no easy solutions. US Supreme Court rulings have backed the concept that corporations, which are deathless legal constructs, have rights similar to those of mortal, flesh and blood humans. That's absurd. Corporations exist by virtue of public charters, and those can be terminated should corporations fail to serve the public good or ven, as is now the case, work aginst the public good. It will be hard to push back accumulated, misguided legal precedent concerning corporations (hard, not impossible) but there's another, parapolitical, approach which could accomplish the desired end; beyond the Fox / Glenn Beck boycott there's dire need to promote, as widely as possible, the
following :
Corporations should NOT have the legal right to broadcast demonstrable falsehoods and debunked conspiracy theories over the public airwaves.
Corporations should NOT have the legal right to finance agitators who wilfully and and violently disrupt public democratic debates and discussions, such as over health care.
Corporations that seek to disrupt and thwart the democratic process must be stripped of their corporate charters.
We, The People, will work tirelessly until the aforementioned principles become the law of the land.Has the Fox / Beck Show begun to have an effect ? Well then, imagine the power of a populist hue and cry that corporations which abuse their corporate charters should cease to exist.
In the end, we don't want to kill off abusive corporations. That's a last resort.
We just want them to behave.
Related Stories: "C
Street" and The Military
(on interwining of "C Street House" Politicians,
right wing evangelicals, and the US military.)
100,000 Anti-Obama New World Order Conspiracy Videos Be Wrong ?
(over 90,000
anti-Obama, "New World Order" conspiracy theory videos on YouTube... and
Daily Kos: The
RW's thinly coded call for assassination. Call it what it is,

Tide is Turning: NBC Evening News Exposes Teabagger

Thank You Rachel Maddow & Frank Schaeffer!

Friday, August 07, 2009

GOP Teabaggers In Tampa...

...and they were so infantile.
Opponents shouted "Read the bill!" and held up signs as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor attempted to address the crowd Thursday. There were reports of shoving and one man had his shirt ripped as a volunteer attempted to close a meeting room door. No one was arrested.
The Tampa chapter of the activist 9-12 Project says it encouraged members to show up and ask questions. The group was developed by Fox News Channel commentator Glenn Beck. The St. Petersburg Times reported the teabaggers not only said they were Beck disciples, but that the GOP had urged them to protest:Instead, hundreds of vocal critics turned out, many of them saying they had been spurred on through the Tampa 912 activist group promoted by conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck. Others had received e-mails from the Hillsborough Republican Party that urged people to speak out against the plan and offered talking points.
So this is what the modern conservative movement has been reduced to: encouraging infantile behavior from teabaggers, practically begging them to drown out open discussion about health care reform.
What a bunch of pathetic cry-baby losers