Re: |World-Wide_Politics| Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
- ----- Original Message -----From: Postherguy@...Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 10:17 AMSubject: |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
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.”
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.
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
· 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
"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
- 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.*
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
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
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
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
to the World Economic Forum's 2012 Global Competitiveness Report — are both
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
> to function as a society.
> It's complete BS.
> If we want lasting peace, prosperity and freedom, we must build the
> 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,
> 2--Fred Marks is making the work of Andrew Galambos available ... FREE
> 2--Stefan Molyneux: thousands of hours of information FREE
> 4--Dennis Riness: Civilization Engineering DVD & syllabus
> 5--Bonnie Lange: V-76, "The Declaration,Thomas Paine & Your Freedom" FREE
> --bob & lou
> ----- Original Message -----
> 'World-wide_Politics%40yahoogroups.com');>>; <
> 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
> 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
> 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