Sunday, June 18, 2006


Fascism hasn't been far from my consciousness since 2000, and I possibly use the term carelessly. I don't care. Several years ago, I mentioned to a German fellow, who still thinks highly of Hitler, that the main difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was smarter. I thought Helmut was going to blow coffee out of his nose.

I have a Cambridge University text (1999), Fascism. Some place along the line, I'm sure I've referenced it. The past couple of days, I've been idly thumbing through it, wondering what might catch my eye. This morning some lines stood out:

"In fact, fascism, both as an electoral and a paramilitary force, seems destined to remain highly marginalised as long as the existing socio-economic conditions of relative stability prevail. Nevertheless, the neo-fascist 'new right's' celebration of cultural difference has provided intellectual fascists with many effective euphemisms with which to attack liberalism, multi-culturalism and universal human rights."

Introduce 9/11 and never ending war and, voila, relative stability disappears, enhancing the ability to attack liberalism, etc. In retrospect, think back to the Clinton years and the sense of relative well being that existed. It never would've occurred to me to spend my time ranting about the failure of the times.

In another part, the author, Richard Thurlow, talks about the unlikelihood of a resurgence in Europe occurring. He hastens to add:

"Yet fascism, and in particular Nazism, had left a disturbing legacy in one important area. The resentment of mass immigration in parts of Europe, the widespread nostalgia for a pure 'cultural identity' and the readiness to resort to 'ethnic cleansing' in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s perpetuated some of the most dangerous fascist fantasies about a racially and culturally homogenous 'national community' and displayed both a direct imitation of.and linkage to, some of the more dangerous and intellectually spurious aspects of Nazism. Racism and extreme nationalism have not disappeared -- as long as the fabric of society is not torn apart by socio-economic tensions they just remain dormant"

The quick rejoinder would be that this isn't Europe. But we have a history of racism and paramilitary right-wing hate groups. And I believe the immigration brouhaha is a fascist wedge issue designed to inflame the right wing base in the US while marginalizing the namby pamby liberals who embrace human rights and multi-culturalism.

Reading two articles in the local Sunday paper may have caused me to think about the selections from Fascism. One is by a local writer commenting upon the state GOP approach to immigration:

"Still, Colorado Republicans can be forgiven for wanting to seize the moment. Veteran political analysts say that illegal immigration has grabbed voters' attention more quickly and powerfully than any issue in recent memory."

Given its divisive power, immirgation is certain to be effectively diversionary.The GOP may be betting that the interest in keeping 'Merica somewhat white offsets the risk of alienating the Latinos:

"Many of those [Latino] marchers are not citizens and can't vote. And Republicans appear to be betting that Latino voters, who typically turn out in low numbers anyway, won't be motivated by the immigration issue to vote in November."

In the same paper, George Will writes about the immigration issue and comes to the same conclusion:

"The cost of this, paid in the coin of lost support among Latinos, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority, may be reckoned later, for years. Remember this: Out West, feelings of all sorts about immigration policy are particularly intense, and if John Kerry had won a total of 127,014 more votes in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, states with burgeoning Latino populations, he would have carried those states and won the election. But for now, the minds of Republican candidates are concentrated on a shorter time horizon -- the next 4 1/2 months."

This type of expediency has little to do with what is morally defensible. It's more about expedience and winning to ensure the continuation of a new order for 'Merica.

Picks of the Week:

Harper's Weekly Review

Big Brother to citizens: Trust me

"In other words, the government’s case is: Trust us.
"But the Constitution doesn’t provide a chief executive with a 'just trust me' clause. The country was founded on the opposite principle: accountability, full disclosure, checks and balances, no man or woman above the law."

Government increasingly turning to data mining: Peek into private lives may help in hunt for terrorists

"Industry executives, analysts and watchdog groups say the federal government has significantly increased what it spends to buy personal data from the private sector, along with the software to make sense of it, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They expect the sums to keep rising far into the future.

"Privacy advocates say the practice exposes ordinary people to ever more scrutiny by authorities while skirting legal protections designed to limit the government's collection and use of personal data."

US defends warrantless domestic spying

"The ACLU said the state-secrets argument is irrelevant because the Bush administration already has publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule."

BushCo takes the morally reprehensible position on every issue.

ACLU sues Pentagon over anti-war group monitoring

"The group says the Pentagon has been monitoring anti-war groups and individuals and has compiled lists on people it sees as potential threats but who the ACLU says are exercising their free-speech rights."

NSA blocking whistleblower from telling committee about shocking, illegal activities

"Tice said his information is different from the terrorist surveillance program that President Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts last month that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans. Because he worked on special access programs, however, it has not been clear on Capitol Hill which committees have jurisdiction to debrief him. Shays and Kucinich gave the NSA until Friday to explain any legal reason why they cannot interview him. But that deadline passed without a response, and a subcommittee aide today called the missed deadline troubling."

NSA train wreck: An effort to get NSA surveillance under control is morphing into a license to spy.

"But the bill, which the committee could take up this week, does a whole lot more, just about all of it bad. In an effort to win votes, Mr. Specter has turned it from a flawed accountability measure into one that rewrites the rules of domestic surveillance and gives the administration an all but blank check to spy."

A leap of faith, off a clifff

"On Monday, the Bush administration told a judge in Detroit that the president's warrantless domestic spying is legal and constitutional, but refused to say why. The judge should just take his word for it, the lawyer said, because merely talking about it would endanger America. Today, Senator Arlen Specter wants his Judiciary Committee to take an even more outlandish leap of faith for an administration that has shown it does not deserve it."

Officials sued over phone records access

"The federal government sued the New Jersey attorney general and other state officials Wednesday to stop them from seeking information about telephone companies' cooperation with the National Security Agency."

Top court upholds no-knock police search

"The court's five-member conservative majority, anchored by new Chief Justice John Roberts and Alito, said that police blunders should not result in 'a get-out-of-jail-free card' for defendants."

Roberts and Alito are paying off for the neofascists.

The worst ruling of the week

"Calling the decision 'profoundly disturbing,' Rachel Meeropol, an attorney for the center, said it gives the green light to detentions of noncitizens 'at the whim of the President.'"

Some whim . . . some president.

Former antiterror officials find industry pays better

"Dozens of members of the Bush administration's domestic security team, assembled after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are now collecting bigger paychecks in different roles: working on behalf of companies that sell domestic security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run."

Pardon talks for Libby begin

"Now that top White House aide Karl Rove is off the hook in the CIA leak probe, President George W. Bush must weigh whether to pardon former vice presidential aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the only one indicted in the three-year investigation."

And a Medal of Freedom, no doubt.

FBI says, it "has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11"

"Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, 'How this was possible?” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.' I asked, 'How does that work?' Tomb continued, 'The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connected Bin Laden to 9/11.'"

This gives one pause. It would seem, however, there is hard evidence linking The Dick to 9/11.

The Toronto terror plot and the Canadian establishment's political agenda

"By conjuring up the image of a Canada under siege from al-Qaeda and 'homegrown' Islamicist terrorists, the Conservative government, the national security establishment, the corporate media, and a pliant official opposition are seeking to overcome popular resistance to Canada’s participation in wars, closer collaboration with the Bush administration, further economic and geo-political integration with the United States, and increased repressive powers for the state."

A note on the death of Abu Musen al-Zarqaawi

"Let us again suppose that he was a ruthless serial killer of Americans here in the U.S., and that law enforcement trapped him in a remote house in a California date palm orchard along with his minister and an unknown 'woman and child.' And that they were all surrounded by law enforcement (as was Al-Zarqaawi in Iraq surrounded by U.S. and Iraqi military).

"Would we not be horrified and outraged to learn that instead of waiting out a surrender or at least offering to wait until the hostages/innocents could be safely extricated, that the U.S. government decided to drop two 500 lb. bombs on this surrounded house? Killing everyone inside instantly, except for Mr. Big, who somehow survived a bit longer?"

Global Eye

"It was this video -- which featured five surprisingly chubby terrorists, masked, one wearing a gold ring forbidden by extremist Islam, another reading in halting Arabic -- that made Zarqawi the Pentagon poster boy for the insurgency. Pentagon documents unearthed by The Washington Post this April revealed that the elevation of Zarqawi's profile was a deliberate, multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign aimed at the U.S. people to foment the lie that the insurgency was largely an al-Qaida terrorist operation, not a native rebellion against the occupation. As one Pentagon general put it: 'The Zarqawi Psy-Op program is the most successful information campaign to date.' One can only hope that the timely beheading of Nicholas Berg was not part of this 'information campaign.'"

Michael Berg: Father's Day reflections on a lost son

"I want to make sure no father suffers the loss of their son or daughter in Iraq or a future illegal war of aggression. I urge all those who oppose the military occupation of Iraq and do not want to see future wars of choice to sign the Voters' Pledge at Nearly fifty thousand people have already signed. It will let politicians know that we will not support pro-war candidates in the future."

Good news for America and the world, bad news for Hillary Clinton.

'Killing themselves was unnecessary, but it certainly is a good PR move'

"'It does sound like this is part of a strategy - in that they don't value their own lives, and they certainly don't value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic,' Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC's Newshour yesterday. 'Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.'"

That is, they're simply brutish scum; however, they're brutish scum with public relations moxie. I guess it could translate to TV. "If you don't buy from us, we'll hang ourselves."

Dead detainee 'was to be freed'

"Mark Denbeaux, who represents some of the foreign detainees said the man was among 141 prisoners due to be released.

"He said the prisoner was not told because US officials had not decided which country he would be sent to."

He was probably going to experience freedom via extraordinary rendition.

Pentagon details US abuse of detainees

"A human rights group called the reports a whitewash that ignored countless documented accounts of detainee abuse."

The bar is set so low for Bush that anything short of drooling and babbling is considered a monumental success

"Repuglicans across the land are rejoicing over President Bush's alleged resurgence. 'He's back,' they say. 'The Comeback Kid,' they're calling him. One right wing columnist, Clark S. Judge, went so far as to say that 'the president just had the best week of his second term, perhaps of his entire presidency....' and talks of Bush's 'stunning new momentum' that's 'proving a transformative success on the domestic as well as international front.' Excuse me, but I seem to have missed the memo outlining Bush's big accomplishments this past week. As usual, the bar is set so low for this president that all he needs to do is show a pulse and we're supposed to declare a national holiday in his honor."

Austria's Haider says Bush is a war criminal

"Austrian right-wing populist Joerg Haider called President Bush a war criminal on Saturday, days before Austria's government hosts Bush and European leaders in Vienna."

This is amazing to me . . . Haider is far to the right.

From the embassy, a grim report

"This cable, marked 'sensitive' and obtained by The Washington Post, outlines in spare prose the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."

10 workers kidnapped from Baghdad bakery

"The scattered attacks came after a day of unrelenting violence that killed more than two dozen people as insurgents foiled heightened security measures, dealing a blow to the Iraqi government's pledge to bring peace to the capital."

A long road ahead in Iraq

"While Mr. Bush holds out visions of Iraqi security forces standing up so that Americans can stand down, Iraq's deputy justice minister more candidly told The Washington Post last week that 'we cannot control the prisons; it's as simple as that.' He added that 'our jails are infiltrated by the militias from top to bottom, from Basra to Baghdad.'"

Keeping Iraq's oil in the ground

"World oil production today stands at more than twice the 15-billion a-year maximum projected by Shell Oil in 1956 -- and reserves are climbing at a faster clip yet. That leaves the question, Why this war?

"Did Dick Cheney send us in to seize the last dwindling supplies? Unlikely. Our world's petroleum reserves have doubled in just twenty-five years -- and it is in Shell's and the rest of the industry's interest that this doubling doesn't happen again. The neo-cons were hell-bent on raising Iraq's oil production. Big Oil's interest was in suppressing production, that is, keeping Iraq to its OPEC quota or less. This raises the question, did the petroleum industry, which had a direct, if hidden, hand, in promoting invasion, cheerlead for a takeover of Iraq to prevent overproduction?"

Palast provides a perspective unknown to me. It's worth reading through. Looks like BushCo has the US gas price point at $2.75, ensuring double profits for Big Oil.

US 'planning to keep 50,000 troops in Iraq for many years'

"Military analysts have noted that significant American spending is already being committed to permanent bases in Iraq. They say Iraq's military may soon be able to fight by itself, but it cannot feed or supply itself and it has no air force to speak of."

Plus, there's the oil to protect. That's why there are 17 permanent bases and a Taj Mahal US embassy.

Iraqis in Al Anbar province leaving army in droves

"Iraqi soldiers in Al Anbar province are leaving their army in droves, draining much-needed manpower from fledgling Iraqi security forces and preventing U.S. troops from reducing troop strength in the volatile region, U.S. and Iraqi military officials say."

Germany says no to Rumsfeld request for help

"US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is reportedly looking for Germany to provide more assistance in Iraq. The German government, however, has declined the invitation."

Troops refusing Iraq duty get a haven

"Prompted by a Fort Lewis Army officer's decision to refuse to fight in Iraq, the First United Methodist Church of Tacoma has declared itself a sanctuary for servicemen and servicewomen who also don't want to go to Iraq."

Stay the course? What course?

"Fresh from his triumphal visit to Baghdad -- a place so dangerous he had to sneak in without even telling the Iraqi prime minister -- George W. Bush is full of new resolve to stay the course in his open-ended "global war on terror." That leaves the rest of us to wonder, in sadness and frustration, just what that course might be and where on earth it can possibly lead."

On the Lehrer Report this week, Zbigniew Brzenski (sp?) offered a great perspective on this bogus visit. He said that Bush didn't visit Baghdad, he visited the fortified Green Zone and therefore has no sense of what is or isn't going on in Iraq.

Ready or not: Three nations to transfer security in Iraq

"British, Australian and Japanese troops will transfer security responsibilities in southern Iraq to Iraqi authorities next week, and withdraw from the area soon afterward, Kyodo News said Friday."

A US view: How many dead Iraqis will it take?

"One line that I hear constantly from people here in Iowa is that our boys and girls are good boys and girls but that having to exist in Iraq would turn anyone a little nuts.

"And for that, they can and should be, forgiven.

"But this always raises a sore point with me and one most Americans don't want to face and it is simply that Americans aren't the only species on the human globe."

The Marine who saw too much

"Fighting in the war flipped Daniel's political beliefs. 'I came back very anti-Bush. I used to be a Republican before I joined the military. Not any more.' His experiences on the ground, he says, convinced him he'd been lied to. The Iraqis 'are a defeated people,' he says, not a threat to America. 'It's a third-world country. These people walk around with no shoes, nothing. These guys are working for a dollar a day. The military would pay the village people to come on base and build sandbags so that they can be more comfortable in their tents and pay them a dollar a day, and these guys will work making seven dollars a week just to feed their family.'"

Iraq conflict fuels rise in global refugess to 12 million: Survey

The global refugee population has begun to rise for the first time in four years, largely due to instability in Iraq, a US group said in a survey, which saw refugee protection deteriorating by all measures.

Former Saddam aide dragged from court

"The trial was further thrown into confusion when a judge read out what were said to be confessions by four defence witnesses who were arrested after giving their testimony two weeks ago. In the confessions, they admitted to committing perjury."The defence said the witnesses were made to sign confessions they hadn’t read. Two of the witnesses said they were beaten and forced to give the confessions."

BushCo justissssss.

Judicial Watch obtains documents from Army related to Halliburton subsidiary's no-bid Iraq contract

"Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that the Department of the Army, per order of U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina, has released to Judicial Watch approximately 100 pages of documents which detail the multi-billion dollar, no-bid contract awarded in 2003 by the Army to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton Co. One document uncovered by Judicial Watch suggests the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) may have publicly lied regarding the involvement of the Vice President’s office in awarding the contract.

We'd be better off if the Cosa Nostra were running the country.

The day the US took a beating over Iran

Despite claims that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has regained the diplomatic initiative from Iran with a conditional offer to join multilateral talks with Tehran, the real story behind the policy shift is that the US administration has suffered a decisive defeat of its effort to get international sanctions for possible military action against Iran.

The tripolar chessboard (scroll down)

"For months, the American press and policy-making elite have portrayed the crisis with Iran as a two-sided struggle between Washington and Tehran, with the European powers as well as Russia and China playing supporting roles. It is certainly true that George Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are the leading protagonists in this drama, with each making inflammatory statements about the other in order to whip up public support at home. But an informed reading of recent international diplomacy surrounding the Iranian crisis suggests that another equally fierce -- and undoubtedly more important -- struggle is also taking place: a tripolar contest between the United States, Russia, and China for domination of the greater Persian Gulf/Caspian Sea region and its mammoth energy reserves."

Iran, Syria sign defense agreement

"In a joint press conference, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and visiting Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkmani said their talks had been aimed at consolidating their defense efforts and strengthening support for one another."

Global image of the US is worsening, survey finds

"Other countries where positive views dropped significantly include India (56 percent, down from 71 percent); Russia (43 percent, down from 52 percent); and Indonesia (30 percent, down from 38 percent). In Turkey, only 12 percent said they held a favorable opinion, down from 23 percent last year."

House accepts a $3,300 raise

"Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday embraced a $3,300 pay raise that will increase their salaries to $168,500."

This doesn't include corporate kickbacks.

Florida House candidate to face litany of criminal charges after alleging vote fraud

"In this exclusive interview with RAW STORY on June 11, 2006, Grapski reveals startling details of his situation and updates regarding an election outcome allegedly changed by absentee ballot manipulation. He also levels serious allegations of abuse of power by public officials, including officials linked to President George W. Bush's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush."

Call to decision

"Attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner is facing 66 years and 6 months in jail in a political payback case for uncovering serious corruption in Cuyahoga Country, OH, which leads directly to the White House. She faces 109 years for emailing a ranking Ohio judge and running a controversial website accusing high-ranking Ohio officials of serious crimes. She is now being held in jail as a political prisoner."

Something appears to be amiss in 'Merica.

African-American voters scrubbed from secret GOP hit list

"The Republican National Committee has a special offer for African-American soldiers: Go to Baghdad, lose your vote."

Security breaches for 'sleepover' voting machines used in Busby/Bilbray race invalidated, decertified their use in the election!

"Based on the review of several different very specific state and federal requirements, laws and provisions, the unsecured overnight storage of Diebold voting machines and their memory cards in poll workers houses, cars and garages in the days and weeks prior to the closely watched election between Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby violated several federal and state provisions which, if not followed, would revoke the certification of use for the voting systems in any California election."

More E-voting concerns surface with state primaries underway

"From serious security flaws that could allow hackers easy access to electronic voting systems, to routine computer malfunctions and undelivered software, state and local officials are one-by-one joining voter-access groups and computer scientists in questioning the reliability of the three major suppliers of electronic voting machines."

EPA quietly attempts to radically change pollution rules

"Until a few weeks ago, the inventory was to be slashed to comply with the Federal Paperwork Reduction Act. The EPA said they were gutting the 20-year-old database to save paper. What they didn't say was that the decision would dramatically reduce pressure on polluters."

Bill aims to make national water standards voluntary

"Half of the country's water systems are making a potentially hazardous switch, while a bill aims to make national safe drinking water standards voluntary, RAW STORY has learned."

Why a global economic deluge looms

"People who know the most about the world financial system are increasingly worried, and for very good reasons. Dire warnings are coming from the most 'respectable' sources. Reality has gotten out of hand. The demons of greed are loose."

Delta to request end to pilots' pensions

"Delta Air Lines Inc. will file a request Monday to terminate its pilots' pension plan, the company's chief executive said Friday. But the nation's third-largest carrier still holds out hope pension reform will save other employees' retirement plans."

A socialist's guide to the World Cup

"In many countries, soccer is a terrain of political and ideological struggle like the media or the education system. Teams in Europe often have decidedly partisan political followings. Lazio of Rome was the club of Mussolini and retains a large fascist following today. Italian club A.S. Livorno has long been associated with communism and banners of Che Guevara can be seen waving in the stands at the team's home games. Clashes between Livorno's supporters and the fans of right-wing teams can dominate match day in this picturesque Tuscany town."

Quotes from and others:

Heard this on the Colbert Report Thursday re: the House debate on the Iraq war. Colbert said, "Shoot first, ask questions four year later."

Came across a good quote from Warren Buffett on Social Security in the local paper Monday. "Anything that reduces Social Security payments below the current levels is a mistake. We could raise the payroll tax cap from $90,000. I (Buffett) don't understand why the administration worries about the size of the deficit in 25 years when it doesn't seem to care much about the size of the deficit now." The perfect response to Evil Moron's plans.

"I’m a Democrat. I want to run as a Democrat. I will be the Democratic nominee and I will win the primary." --Joe Lieberman, 04/11/06, Link

"I am not going to close out any options." --Joe Lieberman, 06/14/06, saying he might leave the party, Link

"Are you going to ask that question with shades on? I’m interested in the shade look, seriously." -- Der Monkey, to a legally-blind reporter from the LA Whore Times, Link We saw that on Jon Stewart last night, and I told Mrs. Bart,

"You're married to a man who's smarter than the president of the United States."

She replied, "The cat in your lap is smarter than the president..."

"They have a live sex show in New Zealand. They have actual bulls mounting a simulated cow. Good to see Ann Coulter getting some work." -- David Letterman

"They may be with you for the first few bullets but they won't be there for the last tough battles." -- Karl Rove, attacking John Kerry and John Murtha, Link (Rove has no medals, Kerry and Murtha have five)

"Selective Service records show Karl Rove escaped the draft for nearly three years at the height of the Vietnam War using student deferments." --Rebecca Walsh, Link

"Tom DeLay left Congress this week. He said he's leaving with no regrets, no shame and no ethics." -- Jay Leno

"Bush said that any attempt to deport 11 million illegal aliens 'ain't gonna work.' Then, when reporters asked Bush what he was going to do for the rest of the afternoon, he said, 'Ain't gonna work.'" -- Conan O'Brien

"New info about Zarqawi's death. Zarqawi survived the initial air strike for 52 minutes. Even hours later, Bill Frist was saying, 'The man seems to respond to visual stimuli.'" -- Jon Stewart

"She made news, ...she's good television." -- Today Show producer Jim Bell, on why Ann Coulter was given time on NBC to slander the 9-11 widows Link

"By rounding up men from all over the world and confining them without charge or trial, the United States has violated several U.S. and international laws and treaties." -- Jumana Musa, of Amnesty International, Link

Everybody knows that's true, but we're now living in 1939's Germany. We know what our government is doing, but we choose to lie to ourselves. We know what Bush is doing is illegal, but we're hoping other countries don't notice. We're stuck in this real-life nightmare and we can't wake up.

"Bush went into this war with a gung-ho, Wild West mentality and it has blown up in his face. The neo-Cons are emotionally-retarded people in what is becoming an increasingly soulless country. Every minute that Bush is in power, the USA becomes less credible." -- Jane, speaking for the world, in London, Link

"What the difference between Gitmo and Auschwitz? At Auschwitz, they had hope."


Post a Comment

<< Home