Thursday, March 10, 2011

One of The Greatest Fighting Songs — EVER! Dedicated to The People of Wisconsin

Who gathered defiantly in the Capitol after the cowardly and illegal legislative maneuver and vote by the Republicans. Unbowed, the people chanted: "THE PEOPLE, UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! This fight isn't over; the people have only just begun to fight!

This song by the great Chilean band Quiliapayún was first recorded in 1973, the year of the coup in Chile. Today it is still performed by these bands that survived the Pinochet terror and hung around to reclaim final victory over the fascist dictator. In his face!

Stand up to march, the people will win
There is a better life coming
To conquer our happiness
In a clamor a thousand fighting voices strong
Will rise and sing a freedom song
With determination the people will win.

The people, united, will never be defeated!
El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido!

American Fascism 101: Yes It Can Happen Here, EVEN Odds

Or, the alternative title: Peter King, American Fascist, Revives McCarthyism to Target Muslim Americans. Congressman Paul Broun, he of Birther conspiracies and the "Obama is a socialist" mindset warned that we must "know our enemy" and the "radicalization" of Islamic youth (no hard evidence was provided, except anecdotal testimony that proves little) is a "tremendous" threat to "national security." Rep. Broun laid out the real or perceived "crisis" in Naomi Klein's shock doctrine (fascist) capitalism. Next up, what remedies and opportunities redound to crony capitalists? And to Republican Rep. Thomas Marino of Pennsylvania: When were the Ku Klux Klan not terrorists?

Congressman Keith Ellison's tears as he told the story of a Muslim American first responder who died trying to save his fellow Americans on 9/11, and then was reviled in death as a traitor, were far more eloquent than anything that was said in this sham hearing. Ellison is one of two Muslim-Americans in the U.S. Congress.

One of the chief characteristics of the fascist state is to justify its strong-arm tactics and squashing of the people's rights by (1) invoking a crisis (real or imagined) as we have seen in previous posts re: Naomi Klein's dissertation on shock doctrine capitalism, and as we see now in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, whose Republican governors are using the cover of a ginned-up financial and debt "crisis" to crush public employee unions and destroy the autonomy of their towns and municipalities [Michigan],  effectively ghettoizing the states in advance of a corporate takeover [Koch brothers regional economic interests — see Gov. Walker spill the beans to fake "David Koch"] plundering its no-longer-public lands and economic resources [utilities in Wisconsin] — and (2) raising the specter of the "enemy within."

The "enemy within" tactic is a time-tested staple of the fascist authoritarian regime to maintain control of a quiescent, terrorized population. From fascism's inception in the early 20th century to the present time, it is illuminating to note how often both totalitarian and purportedly "democratic" states, as this one claims to be, have used this tactic as a means of advancing the undemocratic political aims of the ruling corporate elites. Or maintaining "order" outside the broad definitions of the law.

In Nazi Germany, with its poisonous racist credo, the "enemy within" was the Jew, followed by opposing political institutions and ideologies such as communists and socialists, which were also  common "enemies" of Mussolini's fascist Italy. Both of these infamous fascist states used the language of the working class while gutting the power and autonomy of unions. This is precisely what is being  done in Wisconsin and the other Republican states waging war on workers and the middle class.

During World War II, the "enemy within" in the United States became Japanese-Americans, who were interned in concentration camps for the duration, although there is no evidence they were ever disloyal to the U.S. They were American citizens whose constitutional rights were violated simply because they were viewed as threats to the state. At war's end, as the Cold War heated up, the "enemy within" became phantom communists in federal goverment. Republican Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy, an unshaven demagogue and drunk, made a short-lived career of flashing phony lists of communists in the State Department and high government office. Hollywood, with particular focus on its unions (not unlike the current assault on unions today), was the other target of that particular brand of American Fascism named McCarthyism. Then, as now, Hollywood and the unions were a source of liberal Democratic Party support and funding. Today Glenn Beck's demagogic attacks on President Obama's so-called "Czars" reap millions for his paranoid delusions on network TV.

Post-war fascism and Naomi Klein's shock doctrine thesis can be traced to the beginnings of the Cold War, a "crisis" bookended by two "hot" wars, Korea and Vietnam, which led President Truman to institutionalize the national security state and all presidents that followed to expand the scope and power of covert intelligence and the military-industrial complex. From it sprang the CIA and the many alphabet intelligence and black ops agencies that comprise the post-9/11 national security state under "Homeland" security. Even the name "Homeland" harkens back to the totalitarian state's fascist self-image as the nurturing "fatherland" or "motherland" of its population.

The 9/11 attacks ushered in the final dissolution of the largely fictitious, but at least codified, firewall that set strict limits on "domestic" surveillance in violation of our cherished constitutional rights. The "enemy within" has been a perpetual source of fuel for the fascist national security state. And in shock doctrine capitalism the 9/11 crisis has strengthened the fascist tendencies of the national security state and propelled a further deterioration of our civil liberties.

For definitional purposes, fascism is the authoritarian impulse that previously constitutional democratic states exhibit in squashing the rights and freedoms of the population, acting in brazen violation of the state's constitution and laws. This is an important clarification of the term, because sometimes people will get sidetracked by the various cultural and über-nationalist strains of fascism, e.g., Nazism, to say, "well (whew) that's not us, we're exceptional!" (Which, by itself, the chauvinism attendant to notions of national "exceptionalism" is  a common characteristic of the fascist culture. If you think about it, logically, it may feel good to thump your chest and say "we are exceptional, we are the United States" but the claim to "exceptionalism" is wide-ranging and globalist.)

When did Greece become "exceptional"— when the 300 Spartans beat back legions of Persians at Thermopylae? And did it cease being "exceptional" when Socrates died? Did the Roman Empire's "exceptionalism" end after it presided over the death of Jesus Christ? Was the British Empire "exceptional"? How about fascist Italy under Mussolini or Hitler's Nazi Germany? I could go on, but you get the point. There's a word for this kind of sentiment: Jingoism. That's fascist, too.

By contrast, what makes fascism exceptional and distinct — in a perverse kind of way — is that it cannot exist absent a constitutional democratic republican state. Fascism is the ultimate perversion of constitutional democracy and republican government. Very simply, fascism draws its life-blood from the political, social, and economic institutions of constitutional democracy and republican government. Its economic foundation is monopoly capitalism. Think about it.

When CIA-backed military coups swept and toppled South American governments in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and others, the pretext was the alleged threat of communist insurgency; the "enemy within" were labor unions (outlawed), university students (murdered, tortured and "disappeared"), and any and all perceived enemies of the state, including the Catholic Church, which was so threatening to the fascist military dictatorship in Brazil that its news publications were among the few subject to censorship prior to publication. These countries had a foundation in constitutional democratic government, some more aspirational than others, that looked to the United States as a model and adopted our constituional precepts.

The ginned-up "crisis" (communist insurgency) justifying coups d'etat in Latin America was an economic windfall for plundering American transnational corporations. Most of the fascist leadership in these countries were on the CIA payroll, just as today Scott Walker and the GOP generally are bankrolled by the Koch brothers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a money laundering service for the corporate elites that choose to remain in the shadows, thanks to the radical fascist majority on the U.S. Supreme Court which, in handing down the Citizens United decision, authorized  the unlimited monetary theft of our democracy by corporations.

Ironically, globalization is a double-edged sword. For those countries once under the yoke of European and American imperialism eloquently described in Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of Pillage of a Continent, much delayed justice is finally done as the oppressed people of Latin America seized their political and economic destiny by the horns and ousted the corporate exploiters. It has also marked a turning point in the transnational corporate exploitation of emerging markets as once oppressed and subjugated peoples have arisen to assert their rights and freedoms.

Increasingly we see the bizarre phenomenon of the corporate predator turning on itself. Suddenly, these American-in-name-only corporate entities find themselves forging new transnational alliances to survive and remain viable as predatory capitalists. In America, where these companies were once based  (most still are but their plants and workers moved to China, Mexico, India, et al), jobs are shipped overseas, communities ravaged, entire political parties bought out, so-called "astro-turf" front groups formed to subvert legitimate expressions of the people's will —such tactics designed to undermine legitimate institutions of democracy, to Latin Americans, were well-known provocations by "La CIA" (pronounced see-ya).

Martin Luther King expressed it beautifully: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." The American people were largely unaware of the crimes committed in their name in far-off lands. Now this criminal and immoral conduct has begun to hit much closer to home, in our communities and our families. We should take heart from the experience of our Latin American brothers and sisters who rebelled against this amorphous monster from a much more precarious position and ultimately triumphed. Just as they did, we must fight back and reclaim our destiny.

Isabel Allende, whom I love and revere as a writer and as a beautiful person, wrote this in the Foreword to Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America:
On September 11, 1973, a military coup ended a century of democratic tradition in Chile and started the long reign of General Augusto Pinochet. Similar coups followed in other countries, and soon half the continent's population was living in terror. This was a strategy designed in Washington and imposed upon the Latin American people by the economic and political forces of the right. In every instance the military acted as mercenaries to the privileged groups in power. Repression was organized on a large scale; torture, concentration camps, censorship, imprisonment without trial, and summary executions became common practices. Thousands of people "disappeared," masses of exiles and refugees left their countries running for their lives. New wounds were added to the old and recent scars that the continent had endured. As Galeano once said: "it's worthwhile to die for things without which it's not worthwhile to live."
Democratic constitutional government requires eternal vigilance and proactive involvement and participation by citizens. Otherwise, as we have seen with the emergence of neo- and proto-fascist groups such as the Tea Party, the election of a Republican Congress dominated by its extremist fascist right wing, and of corrupt crony capitalist governors in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, and Florida, America will not be spared the tragic fate of fascism that other advanced and cultured Western democracies have suffered throughout our recent history.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rachel's Take ... And The TWO PERCENT SOLUTION

Despite the circular tease (insisting over and over again that "it's not about the budget") Rachel offers an incisive connect-the-dots mini seminar below on what's really going on out in those Republican states. It's a coordinated power grab designed to crush (what they think is) the last line of opposition — public employee unions — mopping up the field before setting their sights on the BIG PRIZE: Social Security. 


These Republican extremists — American Fascists — see an opportunity to privatize Social Security where George W. Bush failed, using the pretext (with Goebbels disciple Frank Luntz's buzzwords) that we're "broke" (how many times have you heard that scumbag Scott Walker repeat this after creating an artificial deficit with his tax cuts for the rich) and in "financial crisis."

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Chris Matthews is complicit in this scheme, having used his big megaphone Hardball platform to stab the middle class (forget liberals) in the back advancing the phony argument, along with his Politico pals, that Social Security is in crisis and needs cutting. Typically for the Dean of the Idiot Punditocracy, he had the gall to suggest We, The People are the problem because we refuse to accept his IP Beltway alternate reality paradigm and instead (in Chris's condescending view) push it on the politicians to make the "tough choices" for us.

Please. Chris the POLL VAULTER only likes to cite those polls that reinforce his prejudice. We, The People have already declared our solutions, clearly and unambiguously. Except that Chris chooses to ignore those polls because he doesn't like the solution: The American people, in overwhelming numbers have called for raising taxes on Chris and his rich IP Politico pals in order to cut the deficit and contribute their fair share to fixing minor decades-into-the-future issues with Social Security while bringing government expenditures into balance. It's not about liberal-conservative or Chris's idiotic 40-yard line analogies. When the rubber meets the road, Chris stands up for his class.

It's all about CLASS WARFARE: Rich vs. poor, haves vs. have-nots. TWO PERCENT. The top two percent of the American people, those earning a quarter million and more, are driving this phony financial crisis. And so we need a TWO PERCENT SOLUTION.

Yo, Cenk! Set your dumbass colleague Chris straight, willya? Cenk Uygur is the SAMURAI LIBERAL who immediately follows Hardball to debunk the idiocies and inanities spouted by the host in the previous hour of programming. Cenk, famous for his wingnut android-hunting exploits as head honcho of the online Young Turks, even looks a little like John Belushi. Think of Cenk as  John "Bluto" Blutarsky and Chris as Dean Vernon Wormer trying to get back at the (frat house) "netroots" libs for partying too hard and knocking down his supercilious Beltway constructs.

But what would that make MSNBC? Hmm ... Question for Rachel: If the ultimate aim of "Big Government Conservatism" is to privatize government out of existence, what's so "Big Government" about it?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Thank you, Naomi Klein. And Rachel, you're forgiven for offering the worst euphemism for American Fascism yet: "Big Government Conservatism." Oh Please. Ouch. A corporate monopoly state is the very definition of a fascist state. Or, as Naomi said: "government by fiat"— i.e. fascism.

Her seminal work "The Shock Doctrine — The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" is, in essence, the redefinition of fascism for our time. The premise that crisis (in most cases, but not always, a manufactured one) triggers a shock to the political system, as Ms Klein said, is an old idea. Hitler's final putsch, after years building a strong ideologically extreme and fanatically loyal Nazi movement, was the Reichstag fire. It was used as a pretext to eliminate the remaining roadblocks and opponents to the minority Nazi Party and Hitler's rise to power. The 9/11 terror attacks were a traumatic shock to the American system which led to the subordination of our individual freedoms to the national security state.

Klein's thesis holds that politicians are taking advantage of real and created crises to ram through unpopular privatization schemes to transfer wealth from the people to the corporations. Call it what you will — corporatism, crony capitalism — still it traces its lineage directly to Mussolini and Hitler and the Nazis. They were 20th century. We're 21st. The difference for our times is that charismatic leaders have been replaced by richly rewarded and more manageable right wing bureaucrats, functionaries, and yes men ... like Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Michigan's  Rick Snyder. The similarity is that their coups and crisis-advantage power grabs are as old school democracy-squashing fascism as they have ever been.

Memo to Rachel re: Michael Steele — Standing on high principle by denying those bastards in Steele's party a quorum to ram their criminal bill through the Wisconsin Legislature is the highest form of public service. Abraham Lincoln  jumped out a window in his legislature rather than give the opposing party a quorum. I'll take Abe any day and forever over a partisan hack like Steele.

Rachel, Rachel ... Incidentally, the Koch Brothers are "libertarians" and so is America's Dark Lord of the Sith and most prominent fascist, Dick Cheney of ... WYOMING.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Anatomy of A Wingnut Smear: FASCISM On The March In The US of A

It began with the Teabagger proto-fascists, masking their racism and fear of the President's name and skin color behind idiotic 1774 costumes (tendentiously fascistic folks are BIG on uniforms). Then Newt Gingrich, angling to corner the fear and loathing constituency of right wing haters, fueled the flames of bigotry and odium, as he did before with the Islamic Center controversy in New York, by raising yet another fearsome boogie man — which he and tag teammate Mike Huckabee knew, going in, to be false — our MAU-MAU president. (Can't you just picture Newt and the Huckster leading the witch hunt and burning in the Salem Witch Trials?) Incidentally, it's no accident that "mau" means evil in Portuguese; it's malo in Spanish — close enough. Obviously, Newt and Mike are trying to nail down the Obama haters and fascist sympathizers in the Latin American community. Here's Newt (he got a great reception in the wingnut media), throwing his bomb:
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

“This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” Gingrich tells us.

“I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true,” Gingrich continues. “In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.”
Just to put this psycho-babble in language us regular people can understand ...When Newt claims such speculative garbage is the “most accurate, predictive model for his (Obama’s) behavior” he sounds like every racetrack tout trying to sell you on a can’t lose system to spot the next  Kentucky Derby winner.
“This horse here, Newt The Fearandloathing Grinch, is a cinch to finish first,” says the tout … “followed by Racist Huckster. Our system rates 'em higher than that crowd favorite … (lowering voice conspiratorially) They say he was born in KENYA! He just don’t fit in with our North American thoroughbred colony, know what I mean?”
Mike Huckabee, doing penance for having having had a surprise outbreak of decency when defending the First Lady from her racist critics, the Pigman and a despicable racist cartoon published on Breitbart's site, quickly fell back into the fascist fold, with a vengeance. He doubled down on Gingrich's smear, with plenty more of his own, to a wingnut radio host:
“What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya . . . One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.”
And to Mr. Taco/Falafel suckie-face, Bill-O The Clown, the Huckster recalled all those magical Boys Scout meetings most Americans never took part in. And Little League, too. Gee, I thought soccer  — that weird game foreigners play with their feet —was the popular kid's sport. Surprised they didn't invent a story about Obama playing soccer. I mean, legend has it that the Aztecs played it using the heads of their foes for balls. Imagine what Newt and the Huckster could do with such material! But Mr. Obama was partial to basketball — a true-blue American sport ... played by lots of black kids.
HUCKABEE: This is not a kid who grew up—
HUCKABEE: — you know, going to Boy Scout meetings and playing Little League baseball in a small town.
MR. TACO/FALAFEL SUCKIE FACE, BILL-O THE CLOWN: No, he is not a traditional—he is not a traditional guy.
The wingnuts may even have uncovered video of the Mau-Mau school they claim President Obama attended:

Finally, Glenn Beck closes the sale with night after night of wild conspiracies scaring the shit out of insecure xenophobic white people — ranging from Charlie Sheen (WINNING!), Planned Parenthood, to George Soros and a sinister Caliphate poised to engulf us all in a bacchanal of Sharia Law. Naturally, Beck works in the Birther conspiracy angle that the President wasn’t born in Hawaii but Kenya, etc. etc. in which strange inter-generational conspirators (possibly time travelers, possibly lizard people?) engineered it so that a phony newspaper birth notice is published and a look-alike stand-in named Barry with a killer three-point shot makes his way through high school in Hawaii.

In the meantime, the real Barack Obama was being SECRETLY schooled in the evil MAU-MAU anti-British, anti-imperialist … ANTI-AMERICAN doctrine to exact their revenge on the evil ugly white Americans 40 years later! WOW! This whimsical piece is titled: