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Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

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  • Bob Wynman
    Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@wynman.com) This was written five years ago and makes it
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 7, 2012
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      Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@...) This was written five years ago and makes it obvious that Obama is not the main problem. He's just a symptom of the problem, as are all the other politicians. the main problem is that the State controls the schools and media so that we're all indoctrinated from womb to tomb with false ideas.

      Here's the result:

      --bob & lou



      Fascist America, in 10 easy steps


      From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

      Tuesday April 24, 2007
      The Guardian


      Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

      They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
      As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

      Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

      It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.

      Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

      1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

      After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."

      Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.

      It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

      2. Create a gulag

      Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.

      At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.

      This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

      With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

      Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.

      But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

      By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

      3. Develop a thug caste

      When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

      The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

      Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

      Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

      4. Set up an internal surveillance system

      In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

      In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

      In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

      5. Harass citizens' groups

      The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

      Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.

      6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

      This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

      In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

      Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".

      "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.

      "I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."

      "That'll do it," the man said.

      Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

      James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

      Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

      It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can't get off.

      7. Target key individuals

      Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

      Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

      Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

      Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

      Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

      8. Control the press

      Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

      The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

      Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.

      Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

      Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

      You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

      9. Dissent equals treason

      Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

      Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

      In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".

      And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

      Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

      We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

      Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

      10. Suspend the rule of law

      The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

      Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."

      Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

      Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

      Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

      It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."

      As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

      That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".

      What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

      What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

      Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

      We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.

      "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

      · Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.





      Source: Guardian UK
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html





      --
      "The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life."
      --Albert Einstein, American Theoretical Physicist
      All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door...or nailing jelly to a tree. I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. -- Henry David Thoreau
    • Postherguy@aol.com
      Post her Guy WWP Email Member (Postherguy@aol.com) Bob, there s a Communist hiding under your bed. Why don t you take a look and check it out? Get down on
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 7, 2012
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        Post her Guy WWP Email Member (Postherguy@...) Bob, there's a Communist hiding under your bed.

        Why don't you take a look and check it out?

        Get down on your knees, bend over so you can get a good look,



        BOO

        Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@...)
        This was written five years ago and makes it obvious that Obama is not the
        main problem. He's just a symptom of the problem, as are all the other
        politicians. the main problem is that the State controls the schools and
        media so that we're all indoctrinated from womb to tomb with false ideas.

        Here's the result:

        --bob & lou



        Fascist America, in 10 easy steps


        From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps
        that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms.
        And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking
        them all

        Tuesday April 24, 2007
        _The Guardian_ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

        Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the
        coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping
        list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been
        closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into
        residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on
        the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into
        custody.
        They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at
        history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an
        open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and
        again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always
        effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a
        democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply
        have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
        As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to
        look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the
        United States by the Bush administration.
        Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even
        considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically -
        as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or
        our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has
        been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of
        professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and
        balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically
        dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the
        setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on
        the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.
        It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his
        administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is
        time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and
        political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And
        that we are further along than we realise.
        Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am
        arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other
        kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see
        unfolding in the US.
        1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
        After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national
        shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was
        passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that
        they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war
        footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe
        out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US
        accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when
        Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of
        Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of
        the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had
        an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war
        is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space
        - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will
        be no defined end."
        Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old
        trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's
        security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls
        for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged
        communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in
        Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional
        law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can
        be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of
        world Jewry", on myth.
        It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course
        it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of
        the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered
        violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know
        that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe
        is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we
        know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our
        freedoms.
        2. Create a gulag
        Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison
        system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American
        detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where
        torture takes place.
        At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders:
        troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially,
        citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer
        and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society
        leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists -
        are arrested and sent there as well.
        This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns
        ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American
        coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an
        open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.
        With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba,
        where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and
        without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag
        now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no
        information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world,
        which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.
        Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more
        secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts,
        photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty,
        have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we
        can't investigate adequately.
        But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only
        scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of
        the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin
        Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for
        the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the
        rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.
        By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due
        process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin
        set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's
        Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held
        indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with
        offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became
        a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the
        rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.
        3. Develop a thug caste
        When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an
        open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to
        terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up
        communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This
        paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens
        to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
        The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security
        contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that
        traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds
        of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at
        home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been
        accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing
        on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq
        by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors
        are immune from prosecution
        Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane
        Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed
        private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist
        Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on
        unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that
        episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for
        what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and
        emergency management at home in US cities.
        Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in
        identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida
        in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a
        need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or
        a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence
        of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

        4. Set up an internal surveillance system
        In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in
        communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people
        and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep
        only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that
        they themselves were being watched.
        In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York
        Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read
        their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear
        to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
        In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national
        security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their
        activism and dissent.
        5. Harass citizens' groups
        The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass
        citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister
        preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated
        by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to
        vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.
        Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union
        reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other
        groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes
        more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by
        American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally
        secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of
        Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged
        in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential
        terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A
        little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as
        "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the
        opposition.
        6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
        This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof
        and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the
        Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in
        China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a
        closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition
        leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is
        hard to get off the list.
        In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it
        had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse
        if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two
        middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward
        Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had
        criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.
        Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of
        the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the
        classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and
        he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he
        was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist
        Watch list".
        "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying
        because of that," asked the airline employee.
        "I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in
        September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly
        critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."
        "That'll do it," the man said.
        Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential
        terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend
        to expand ever deeper into civil life.
        James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was
        accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US
        military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and
        released several times. He is still of interest.
        Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly
        identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his
        computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is
        still on the list.
        It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the
        list, you can't get off.
        7. Target key individuals
        Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't
        toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who
        did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged
        academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the
        Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and
        professors.
        Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish
        academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate",
        in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of
        society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a
        group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the
        Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

        Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on
        regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been
        critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration
        has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials
        for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the
        law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their
        major corporate clients to boycott them.
        Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that
        "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order
        to do her job.
        Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks
        like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service
        in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way
        of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.
        8. Control the press
        Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s,
        Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the
        80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers
        and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that
        they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that
        have been closed already.
        The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at
        an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has
        been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war
        demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against
        reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he
        and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.
        Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.
        Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C
        Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war
        on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake
        uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form
        of retaliation that ended her career.
        Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is
        treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased
        way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of
        the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded
        (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations
        ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the
        accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters
        such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or
        killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press
        in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent
        prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their
        staffers.
        Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and
        false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back
        up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The
        yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.
        You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible.
        But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a
        steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a
        White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that
        it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist
        system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell
        real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by
        bit.
        9. Dissent equals treason
        Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing
        society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise
        certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When
        Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen
        stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information
        "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with
        treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason"
        drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that
        one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.
        Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It
        is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the
        editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact,
        executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage
        Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist
        activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail
        for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and
        threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that,
        dissent was muted in America for a decade.
        In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National
        Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November
        traitors".
        And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that
        since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the
        Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US
        citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy
        combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the
        executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she
        wants and then seize Americans accordingly.
        Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be
        completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us
        seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with
        a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in
        isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation,
        as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy
        prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like
        Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at
        Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)
        We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights
        activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush
        administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving
        even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is
        not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over
        into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad,
        you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a
        spokeswoman of the CCR.
        Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to
        believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point
        there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy
        and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are
        still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society.
        There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at
        history, just before those arrests is where we are now.
        10. Suspend the rule of law
        The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new
        powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency -
        which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send
        Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon,
        over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.
        Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the
        question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised
        about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws
        that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead
        of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military
        troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a
        disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
        Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which
        was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for
        domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill
        encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the
        very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having
        seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified
        of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American
        people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.
        Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total
        closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's
        roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and
        our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like
        that.
        Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be
        closed down by a process of erosion.
        It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile
        of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on
        the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922;
        people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on,
        as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being
        tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their
        doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the
        disaster."
        As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping
        and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded.
        Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our
        democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work
        today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without
        end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the
        president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens
        of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.
        That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all
        these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way
        under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think
        about the "what ifs".
        What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a
        dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows
        that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers
        after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and
        balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a
        President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her
        will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic
        negotiation and compromise.
        What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or
        espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year?
        What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like
        the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but
        they would suddenly be very polite.
        Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of
        tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights,
        who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all
        the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties
        Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws,
        under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This
        small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that
        of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on
        the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real
        democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.
        We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going
        down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different
        way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when
        we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this
        is the way it is now.
        "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in
        the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We
        still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground
        and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to
        carry.
        · Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
        will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

        Source: Guardian UK
        _http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html_
        (http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html)


        --

        "The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as
        meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life."

        --Albert Einstein, American Theoretical Physicist

        All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door...or
        nailing jelly to a tree.


        I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs
        least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and
        systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, -- "That
        government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for
        it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. -- Henry David
        Thoreau
      • Jreed62254@aol.com
        Jim Reed WWP Member (Jreed62254@aol.com) I fully agree with this. * In the interest of fairness any mention of liberals may not include all liberals or CB
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 7, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          Jim Reed WWP Member (Jreed62254@...) I fully agree with this.


          * In the interest of fairness any mention of liberals
          may not include all liberals or CB Hensler

          Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@...) This was written five years ago and makes it obvious that Obama is not the main problem. He's just a symptom of the problem, as are all the other politicians. the main problem is that the State controls the schools and media so that we're all indoctrinated from womb to tomb with false ideas.

          Here's the result:

          --bob & lou



          Fascist America, in 10 easy steps


          From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

          Tuesday April 24, 2007
          The Guardian


          Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.
          They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
          As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.
          Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.
          It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.
          Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.
          1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
          After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."
          Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.
          It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.
          2. Create a gulag
          Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.
          At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.
          This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.
          With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.
          Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.
          But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.
          By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.
          3. Develop a thug caste
          When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
          The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution
          Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.
          Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".
          4. Set up an internal surveillance system
          In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.
          In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
          In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.
          5. Harass citizens' groups
          The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.
          Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.
          6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
          This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.
          In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.
          Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".
          "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.
          "I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."
          "That'll do it," the man said.
          Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.
          James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.
          Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.
          It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can't get off.
          7. Target key individuals
          Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.
          Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.
          Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.
          Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.
          Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.
          8. Control the press
          Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.
          The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.
          Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.
          Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.
          Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.
          You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.
          9. Dissent equals treason
          Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.
          Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.
          In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".
          And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.
          Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)
          We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.
          Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.
          10. Suspend the rule of law
          The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.
          Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
          Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.
          Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.
          Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.
          It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."
          As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.
          That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".
          What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.
          What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.
          Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.
          We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.
          "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.
          · Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.



          Source: Guardian UK
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html




          --
          "The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life."
          --Albert Einstein, American Theoretical Physicist

          All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door...or nailing jelly to a tree.


          I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. -- Henry David Thoreau
        • Bob Wynman
          ... From: Postherguy@aol.com To: World-wide_Politics@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 10:17 AM Subject: |World-Wide_Politics| Fascist America,
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 7, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 10:17 AM
            Subject: |World-Wide_Politics| Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

             

            Post her Guy WWP Email Member (Postherguy@...) Bob, there's a Communist hiding under your bed.

            Why don't you take a look and check it out?

            Get down on your knees, bend over so you can get a good look,



            Could be, PosterBoy.  Your Communist party seems to agree with you:

             

            " Communist Party USA: Go, Obama, Go--Organization staging events to encourage higher taxes, spending

            Published: 4 hours ago

            120427communistobama

            The Communist Party USA, which just days ago boasted of its celebration over the election victory by Barack Obama, now is organizing teleconferences and promoting rallies in support of Obama’s plans to raise taxes – and to demand full government funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid “and other basic human needs.”

            According to a statement from the communists, it is the “will of the voters” that Obama be allowed to “end … tax breaks for the wealthiest.” And the party said no spending cuts should be allowed because they would be borne by the “working class families, starting with children and youth and the most vulnerable.”

            Facing the nation right now is the fiscal cliff which was set up by earlier decisions from the White House and Congress not to address longterm budget problems then. The scenario now is that without new legislation immediately on spending cuts, sought by Republicans, or more taxes, demanded by Democrats and the Communist Party USA, automatic changes will create both spending cuts and new tax liabilities.

            Many Washington observers say, in fact, that’s a goal for Obama, in order to allow him to blame the GOP for the nation’s ills, and for him to work on tax increases amidst the backlash from Americans facing huge new liabilities.

            “The national legislative struggle is the first challenge to continue the deep organizing that resulted in the election victory, in order to win priorities that benefit the 99 percent,” the party said in a statement.

            It has organized a teleconference on the fight at 8 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 4, at 605-475-4850 (1053538#) with Art Perlo, chair of the Economics Commission CPUSA. And it is promoting that the AFL-CIO and “hundreds of organizations” will hold a Candlelight Campaign against Cuts on Dec. 10, all in support of the “Five Weeks to Protect Our Future.”

            According to preliminary reports from Washington, Obama already has picked up on one of the suggestions from the Communist Party USA National Committee, which wrote a week ago that there needs to be an “enhanced version of the American Jobs Act … as part of a green New Deal to create millions of jobs for infrastructure, renewable energy, education and support to state and local government services.”

            As part of his demands to Congress regarding a compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff” Obama has proposed $50 billion in new stimulus spending, reports said. He also wants $1.6 trillion in new taxes and the authority to borrow what he pleases.

            “The will of the voters is being put to immediate test as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations play out in Washington. Labor and the broad alliance that re-elected President Obama clearly supported an end to tax breaks for the wealthiest and keeping hands off Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other basic human needs,” the party statement said.

            The communists noted that there already was a round of protests held two days after the election, “spearheaded by AFL-CIO and hundreds of organizations.”

            The group continued, “Coming out of the election, the big fight is the crisis over the federal budget. Forces representing corporate power and the richest of the 1 percent are trying to achieve their long-held goals of looting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and cutting all government programs that help people or serve a public good.”

            The national committee of the communist organization said, “The outcome of this battle will set the framework for the next four years and have impact on the lives of ordinary working people for decades to come. Only the mobilized working people can stop the corporate offensive and begin to meet our needs. The unity of the broad, inclusive and diverse alliance that won this year’s election victory should now be directed to reaching out in every community and workplace to bring the message to Congress in a strong and public way. We urge immediate participation in this critical struggle.”

            The national committee said, “It is cruel and divisive to whip up hysteria around the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis. The calls to make benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare go in the opposite direction of the mandate delivered by the majority of voters on November 6. The message of the election clearly was: tax the wealthy more and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

            It also said the expiration of the “Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy” should be only the starting point.

            “We support calls for a financial transaction tax, for closing the capital gains loophole and increasing tax rates on millionaires to the level of the prosperous 1960s, and cutting the level of Pentagon spending in order to meet pressing domestic priorities that create jobs.”

            WND reported only days ago that the CPUSA called Obama’s election results, “an enormous people’s victory.”

            The comment was in a report to the Communist Party USA National Committee from the party’s chairman, Sam Webb.

            “We meet on the heels of an enormous people’s victory. It was a long and bitterly contested battle in which the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top. The better angels of the American people spread their wings,” he wrote in the online report.

            He said blacks, Hispanics and women worked together to defeat “racist … white people” and that it now is time for the Communist Party USA to work on the foundations established by Obama on issues regarding the environment, homosexual marriage and minorities to its potential.

            “If anything the vote … is an insistent call for action on the most pressing problems facing the working class and people. That is the election’s mandate,” he wrote. “This was not a vote in favor of destroying social programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; or rolling back domestic spending; or resolving the budget crisis on the people’s backs.

            “It was instead a vote for jobs, housing relief, health care, withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, an end to U.S.-led wars in the Middle East, preservation of the social safety net, health care access, reproductive rights, and equal pay for women, infrastructure renewal (an issue that took on greater importance after megastorm Sandy), marriage equality, a larger commitment to public education, a tax system in which the wealthiest families and corporations pay a much larger share, reform of our punitive and anti-democratic immigration laws, a reduction in unconscionable inequality, a legislative and electoral system that isn’t awash with corporate money,” he wrote.

            http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/communist-party-usa-go-obama-go/

            "
            Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@...)
            This was written five years ago and makes it obvious that Obama is not the
            main problem. He's just a symptom of the problem, as are all the other
            politicians. the main problem is that the State controls the schools and
            media so that we're all indoctrinated from womb to tomb with false ideas.

            Here's the result:

            --bob & lou


            Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

            From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps
            that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms.
            And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking
            them all

            Tuesday April 24, 2007
            _The Guardian_ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

            Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the
            coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping
            list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been
            closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into
            residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on
            the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into
            custody.
            They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at
            history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an
            open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and
            again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always
            effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a
            democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply
            have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
            As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to
            look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the
            United States by the Bush administration.
            Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even
            considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically -
            as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or
            our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has
            been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of
            professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and
            balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically
            dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the
            setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on
            the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.
            It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his
            administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is
            time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and
            political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And
            that we are further along than we realise.
            Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am
            arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other
            kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see
            unfolding in the US.
            1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
            After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national
            shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was
            passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that
            they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war
            footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe
            out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US
            accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when
            Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of
            Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of
            the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had
            an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war
            is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space
            - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will
            be no defined end."
            Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old
            trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's
            security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls
            for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged
            communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in
            Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional
            law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can
            be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of
            world Jewry", on myth.
            It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course
            it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of
            the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered
            violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know
            that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe
            is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we
            know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our
            freedoms.
            2. Create a gulag
            Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison
            system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American
            detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where
            torture takes place.
            At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders:
            troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially,
            citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer
            and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society
            leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists -
            are arrested and sent there as well.
            This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns
            ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American
            coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an
            open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.
            With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba,
            where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and
            without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag
            now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no
            information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world,
            which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.
            Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more
            secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts,
            photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty,
            have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we
            can't investigate adequately.
            But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only
            scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of
            the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin
            Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for
            the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the
            rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.
            By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due
            process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin
            set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's
            Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held
            indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with
            offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became
            a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the
            rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.
            3. Develop a thug caste
            When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an
            open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to
            terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up
            communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This
            paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens
            to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
            The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security
            contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that
            traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds
            of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at
            home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been
            accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing
            on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq
            by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors
            are immune from prosecution
            Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane
            Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed
            private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist
            Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on
            unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that
            episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for
            what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and
            emergency management at home in US cities.
            Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in
            identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida
            in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a
            need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or
            a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence
            of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

            4. Set up an internal surveillance system
            In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in
            communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people
            and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep
            only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that
            they themselves were being watched.
            In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York
            Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read
            their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear
            to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
            In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national
            security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their
            activism and dissent.
            5. Harass citizens' groups
            The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass
            citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister
            preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated
            by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to
            vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.
            Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union
            reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other
            groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes
            more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by
            American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally
            secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of
            Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged
            in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential
            terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A
            little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as
            "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the
            opposition.
            6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
            This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof
            and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the
            Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in
            China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a
            closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition
            leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is
            hard to get off the list.
            In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it
            had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse
            if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two
            middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward
            Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had
            criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.
            Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of
            the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the
            classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and
            he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he
            was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist
            Watch list".
            "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying
            because of that," asked the airline employee.
            "I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in
            September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly
            critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."
            "That'll do it," the man said.
            Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential
            terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend
            to expand ever deeper into civil life.
            James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was
            accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US
            military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and
            released several times. He is still of interest.
            Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly
            identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his
            computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is
            still on the list.
            It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the
            list, you can't get off.
            7. Target key individuals
            Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't
            toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who
            did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged
            academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the
            Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and
            professors.
            Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish
            academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate",
            in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of
            society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a
            group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the
            Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

            Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on
            regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been
            critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration
            has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials
            for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the
            law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their
            major corporate clients to boycott them.
            Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that
            "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order
            to do her job.
            Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks
            like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service
            in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way
            of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.
            8. Control the press
            Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s,
            Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the
            80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers
            and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that
            they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that
            have been closed already.
            The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at
            an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has
            been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war
            demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against
            reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he
            and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.
            Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.
            Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C
            Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war
            on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake
            uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form
            of retaliation that ended her career.
            Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is
            treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased
            way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of
            the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded
            (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations
            ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the
            accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters
            such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or
            killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press
            in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent
            prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their
            staffers.
            Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and
            false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back
            up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The
            yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.
            You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible.
            But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a
            steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a
            White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that
            it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist
            system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell
            real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by
            bit.
            9. Dissent equals treason
            Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing
            society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise
            certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When
            Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen
            stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information
            "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with
            treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason"
            drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that
            one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.
            Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It
            is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the
            editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact,
            executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage
            Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist
            activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail
            for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and
            threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that,
            dissent was muted in America for a decade.
            In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National
            Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November
            traitors".
            And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that
            since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the
            Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US
            citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy
            combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the
            executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she
            wants and then seize Americans accordingly.
            Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be
            completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us
            seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with
            a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in
            isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation,
            as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy
            prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like
            Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at
            Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)
            We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights
            activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush
            administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving
            even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is
            not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over
            into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad,
            you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a
            spokeswoman of the CCR.
            Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to
            believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point
            there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy
            and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are
            still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society.
            There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at
            history, just before those arrests is where we are now.
            10. Suspend the rule of law
            The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new
            powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency -
            which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send
            Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon,
            over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.
            Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the
            question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised
            about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws
            that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead
            of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military
            troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a
            disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
            Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which
            was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for
            domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill
            encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the
            very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having
            seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified
            of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American
            people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.
            Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total
            closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's
            roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and
            our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like
            that.
            Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be
            closed down by a process of erosion.
            It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile
            of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on
            the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922;
            people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on,
            as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being
            tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their
            doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the
            disaster."
            As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping
            and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded.
            Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our
            democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work
            today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without
            end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the
            president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens
            of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.
            That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all
            these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way
            under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think
            about the "what ifs".
            What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a
            dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows
            that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers
            after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and
            balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a
            President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her
            will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic
            negotiation and compromise.
            What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or
            espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year?
            What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like
            the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but
            they would suddenly be very polite.
            Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of
            tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights,
            who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all
            the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties
            Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws,
            under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This
            small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that
            of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on
            the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real
            democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.
            We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going
            down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different
            way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when
            we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this
            is the way it is now.
            "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in
            the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We
            still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground
            and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to
            carry.
            · Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
            will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

            Source: Guardian UK
            _http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html_
            (http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html)

            --

            "The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as
            meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life."

            --Albert Einstein, American Theoretical Physicist

            All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door...or
            nailing jelly to a tree.

            I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs
            least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and
            systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, -- "That
            government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for
            it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. -- Henry David
            Thoreau

          • Bob Wynman
            Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@wynman.com) bCorrect, Neil. Bush is no more the problem
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 7, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              Randist Bo7b aka Bob Wynman WWP Email Member who advocates the Marxist elements of Randism bobalou@...) bCorrect, Neil. Bush is no more the problem than is Obama. They & the rest
              of the politicians are just symptoms of the problem.

              The problem is the win-lose paradigm that's been indoctrinated into us all
              thru several generations of State-Controlled schools and media ... to the
              point that nearly all of us believe that we need the coercive State in order
              to function as a society.

              It's complete BS.

              If we want lasting peace, prosperity and freedom, we must build the stable,
              durable free civilization ... WITHOUT the damned State.

              An interesting start in this regard can be obtained, mostly FREE:

              1-- Dave Woodward & Nancy Rhyme Snelson: The Win-Win Paradigm,
              www.suscivinst.com/store.

              2--Fred Marks is making the work of Andrew Galambos available ... FREE
              www.CapitalismTheLiberalRevolution.com.

              2--Stefan Molyneux: thousands of hours of information FREE
              www.FreeDomainRadio.com.

              4--Dennis Riness: Civilization Engineering DVD & syllabus
              www.CivilizationEngineering.com.

              5--Bonnie Lange: V-76, "The Declaration,Thomas Paine & Your Freedom" FREE
              www.Galambos.com.


              --bob & lou
              www.wynman.com
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Neil C" <NeilC@...>

              > YEA SURE.
              >
              > IT IS ALL BUSH'S FAULT BIN LADEN DECLARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES, DORN
              > AND ARYERS WERE TERRORTISTS, THAT ERIC ROBERT RUDOLPH BLEW UP THE
              > OLYMPCS,
              > SADDAM HELPED IN THE FIRST WORLD TOWERS ATTACK, THAT TIM MCVIEGH BOMBED
              > THE FEDERAL BUILDING AND THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF WHITE RIGHT WING ARMED
              > GROUPS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO PASS
              > LAWS SO THEY DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM.
              >
              >
              > YEP, BUSH DID IT!
              >
              > NOT!
              >
              >
              > Neil C. Reinhardt
              >
              > A 77 year old Pro Iraq War Agnostic Atheist Activist, a former member of
              > management in some of America's Top 500 corporations and an 101st
              > Airborne Vet.
              >
              > A Truth Telling, Iconoclastic, Women Chasing (and Catching) Crime
              > Stopping, Philosophizing, Scuba / Deep Sea Diving, Fire Walking,
              > Paratrooping, Life Guarding & Life Saving, Spelunking, 1 and 3 Meter
              > Spring Board Diving, Bungee Jumping, Partying and Dancing, Expert
              > Shooting, Beach Volley Ball Playing, and Grumpy Old 'Son Of A Beach!'
              >
              > I am one of many Conservative Atheists
              > who are PROUD TEA PARTY Supporters
              >
              > And a member of All of the following:
              >
              > http://www.Atheists.org/
              > http://www.AtheistsUnited.org/
              > http://militaryatheists.org
              > http://www.NRA.org/
              > http://VetsForFreedom.org
              -------------------------------
              All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door...or nailing
              jelly to a tree.

              I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs
              least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and
              systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I
              believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men
              are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will
              have. -- Henry David Thoreau
              1883-1970, Author of "Think and Grow Rich"
              --bob & lou
              >
              >
              >
            • Bruce Majors
              Bruce Majors WWP Email Member and libertarian activist (majors.bruce@gmail.com) Thanks to Dodd-Frank, Community Banks Are Too Small to Survive by Louise C.
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 10, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Bruce Majors WWP Email Member and libertarian activist (majors.bruce@...) Thanks to Dodd-Frank, Community Banks Are Too Small to Survive

                by Louise C. Bennetts

                **

                *This article appeared in *American Banker <http://www.americanbanker.com/>* on
                November 9, 2012.*
                PRINT PAGE<http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive?print>
                CITE THIS
                <http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive#>
                <http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive#>
                <http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive#>
                Sans
                Serif
                <http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive#>
                <http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive#>
                <http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/thanks-doddfrank-community-banks-are-too-small-survive#>
                Serif

                Politicians may wax lyrical on the importance of community banks to local
                economies and regulators may claim the focus of their efforts is on
                institutions that are "too big to fail," but the facts tell a different
                story.

                The Dodd-Frank Act, sold to the public as the tamer of the *Wall Street
                Titans*, may well end up having a disproportionate impact on smaller
                institutions, thanks to the costs of capital implications of being "*not* too
                big to fail" and the advent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

                And things are really bad when even the regulators begin to notice.
                Comptroller Thomas Curry stated in his
                speech<http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/speeches/2012/pub-speech-2012-151.pdf>
                to
                the Florida Bankers Association last month that Dodd-Frank contained "a
                number of provisions that... many in the industry thought would not apply
                to community institutions." In particular, the move away from institutional
                reliance on credit ratings agencies will have a profound impact on
                community banks, which lack the institutional structures and analytical
                resources to undertake independent due diligence.

                Crippling community banks under a heavy regulatory weight is not the way to
                bring about structural change.

                Granted, a retreat from the largely fictitious ratings system that
                continues to dominate the capital markets and lending practices is not a
                bad thing, even if it puts smaller banks at a disadvantage in the market.
                Nor is encouraging banks to undertake some diligence on their clients.

                More problematic is the implicit government guarantee that underpinned the
                2008 bailouts — and which, despite claims to the contrary, lives on in the
                Dodd-Frank systemic risk regime. Prior to the crisis, community banks were
                mostly subject to lower funding costs, being largely deposit-taking
                institutions that avoided the costly debt-financing activities of larger
                institutions. As of the second quarter and using the cost of funding
                earning assets as a proxy for the cost of capital, banks with in excess of
                $1 billion in assets have almost half (0.39%) the cost of capital of
                institutions with less than $1 billion (0.74%), according to the FDIC's
                latest Quarterly Banking Profile <http://www2.fdic.gov/qbp/2012jun/qbp.pdf>.
                This puts smaller banks at a distinct disadvantage unrelated to their
                activities and financial health.

                Furthermore, the rules and regulations developed by the CFPB will affect
                all commercial banks, regardless of size, and will have a disproportionate
                impact on community banks (even though, in theory, the agency should
                supervise only financial institutions with assets in excess of $10 billion).

                *Louise C. Bennetts <http://www.cato.org/people/louise-bennetts> is the
                associate director of financial regulation studies.*
                More by Louise C. Bennetts <http://www.cato.org/people/louise-bennetts>

                The largest banks, in particular those that operate in the more complex
                capital markets arena, are unlikely to regard the CFPB as anything other
                than additional red tape, in part because they serve a different market.
                Large corporates are unlikely to run to the CFPB if they feel underserved
                by a Goldman or a Citigroup.

                In contrast, if public statements are anything to go by, the CFPB is
                clearly targeting its efforts at the consumers who use community banks. The
                CFPB's website highlights the bureau's focus on groups such as pensioners,
                students and consumers who lack financial literacy. And that means
                significant compliance costs that community banks will find harder to
                absorb.

                And community banks face challenges beyond the unseen small-bank
                implications of Dodd-Frank. The Fed's artificially low interest rate
                environment means the traditional business of lending is not especially
                lucrative and the disincentive to save makes deposits harder to come by. So
                the banks will need to focus on generating other types of fee-based
                revenue, which will hurt consumers who will need to pay more for loans and
                basic banking services, or quit the market.

                All of these factors are also coupled with distinct unwillingness on the
                part of federal regulators to approve new bank charters. In 2006, they
                approved over 170 new national bank charters, excluding conversions and the
                purchase of assets of failed banks. In 2011, the OCC approved a single *de
                novo* national bank charter.

                It wasn't always so. For decades, community and regional banks received
                special protection from state banking laws and the implicit guarantee
                provided by federal deposit insurance. Despite the many community bank
                failures during and in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S.
                still has more than 7,000 banks — more than any other country.

                It is questionable whether this structure would ever have developed without
                the protections afforded to smaller banks before the crisis, and whether
                the U.S. market needs quite so many banks. International experience
                suggests not. The Canadian and South African banking systems — the world's
                "soundest" <http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GCR_Report_2011-12.pdf>according
                to the World Economic Forum's 2012 Global Competitiveness Report — are both
                extremely concentrated.

                Though some consolidation — particularly outside of the largest few — is
                probably a good thing, it should be driven by the market, independent of
                regulatory and short-term interest rate considerations and regulators
                should give new, innovative firms sufficient space and flexibility to
                survive. Crippling community banks under a heavy regulatory weight is not
                the way to bring about structural change.

                On Friday, December 7, 2012, Bob Wynman wrote:

                > **
                >
                >
                > Correct, Neil. Bush is no more the problem than is Obama. They & the rest
                > of the politicians are just symptoms of the problem.
                >
                > The problem is the win-lose paradigm that's been indoctrinated into us all
                > thru several generations of State-Controlled schools and media ... to the
                > point that nearly all of us believe that we need the coercive State in
                > order
                > to function as a society.
                >
                > It's complete BS.
                >
                > If we want lasting peace, prosperity and freedom, we must build the
                > stable,
                > durable free civilization ... WITHOUT the damned State.
                >
                > An interesting start in this regard can be obtained, mostly FREE:
                >
                > 1-- Dave Woodward & Nancy Rhyme Snelson: The Win-Win Paradigm,
                > www.suscivinst.com/store.
                >
                > 2--Fred Marks is making the work of Andrew Galambos available ... FREE
                > www.CapitalismTheLiberalRevolution.com.
                >
                > 2--Stefan Molyneux: thousands of hours of information FREE
                > www.FreeDomainRadio.com.
                >
                > 4--Dennis Riness: Civilization Engineering DVD & syllabus
                > www.CivilizationEngineering.com.
                >
                > 5--Bonnie Lange: V-76, "The Declaration,Thomas Paine & Your Freedom" FREE
                > www.Galambos.com.
                >
                > --bob & lou
                > www.wynman.com
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "Neil C" <NeilC@... <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
                > 'NeilC%40webtv.net');>>
                > To: "Bob Wynman" <bobalou@... <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
                > 'bobalou%40wynman.com');>>
                > Cc: <World-wide_Politics@yahoogroups.com <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
                > 'World-wide_Politics%40yahoogroups.com');>>; <
                > whatnowdebate@yahoogroups.com <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
                > 'whatnowdebate%40yahoogroups.com');>>;
                > <spaceland@yahoogroups.com <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
                > 'spaceland%40yahoogroups.com');>>; <Lets_Discuss_Anything@yahoogroups.com<javascript:_e({}, 'cvml', 'Lets_Discuss_Anything%40yahoogroups.com');>>;
                >
                > <NeilC@... <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml', 'NeilC%40webtv.net');>>
                > Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 1:23 PM
                > Subject: Re: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
                >
                > > YEA SURE.
                > >
                > > IT IS ALL BUSH'S FAULT BIN LADEN DECLARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES, DORN
                > > AND ARYERS WERE TERRORTISTS, THAT ERIC ROBERT RUDOLPH BLEW UP THE
                > > OLYMPCS,
                > > SADDAM HELPED IN THE FIRST WORLD TOWERS ATTACK, THAT TIM MCVIEGH BOMBED
                > > THE FEDERAL BUILDING AND THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF WHITE RIGHT WING ARMED
                > > GROUPS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO PASS
                > > LAWS SO THEY DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM.
                > >
                > >
                > > YEP, BUSH DID IT!
                > >
                > > NOT!
                > >
                > >
                > > Neil C. Reinhardt
                > >
                > > A 77 year old Pro Iraq War Agnostic Atheist Activist, a former member of
                > > management in some of America's Top 500 corporations and an 101st
                > > Airborne Vet.
                > >
                > > A Truth Telling, Iconoclastic, Women Chasing (and Catching) Crime
                > > Stopping, Philosophizing, Scuba / Deep Sea Diving, Fire Walking,
                > > Paratrooping, Life Guarding & Life Saving, Spelunking, 1 and 3 Meter
                > > Spring Board Diving, Bungee Jumping, Partying and Dancing, Expert
                > > Shooting, Beach Volley Ball Playing, and Grumpy Old 'Son Of A Beach!'
                > >
                > > I am one of many Conservative Atheists
                > > who are PROUD TEA PARTY Supporters
                > >
                > > And a member of All of the following:
                > >
                > > http://www.Atheists.org/
                > > http://www.AtheistsUnited.org/
                > > http://militaryatheists.org
                > > http://www.NRA.org/
                > > http://VetsForFreedom.org
                > -------------------------------
                > All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door...or
                > nailing
                > jelly to a tree.
                >
                > I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs
                > least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and
                > systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I
                > believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when
                > men
                > are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will
                > have. -- Henry David Thoreau
                > 1883-1970, Author of "Think and Grow Rich"
                > --bob & lou
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >
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