Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What the hell is America becoming?

I read an interesting article on Static Brain's blog, entitled 14 Characteristics of Fascism.

14 Characteristics of Fascism

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt wrote an article about fascism "Fascism Anyone?" Free Inquiry Magazine, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common.

America has all 14 elements of fascism too. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. As you read the list below, think about our current leadership in Washington. The comparisons to the current administration are chilling. Out of these 14, I could identify all 14 with President Bush and America.

This is scary stuff. Stop burying your head in the sand and look at how things are developing. Read an excerpt of his article to see what I mean, and while your here check out some of the links I left for you that prove the point of the 14 characteristics of fascism.

Fascism Anyone? by: Laurence W. Britt Spring 2003 Free Inquiry magazine

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

The 14 characteristics are:

#1 Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
American Flag Factory: World's Largest Flag and Flag Clothing
US Government site on patriotic symbols and songs
Bush: To children of U.S. Military Personnel on Patriotism
Celebrating Patriotism
America's Uncertain Patriotism

#2 Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
Amnesty International: America Guilty of Human Rights Violations

#3 Identification of Enemies / Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
Terror war must target 60 nations, says Bush
Bush said. "It is a war that is different because it's hard to really see the enemy."
"Our enemies . . . never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

#4 Supremacy of the Military

Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
Defense vs. Domestic Spending: The United States today spends far more than the combined military budgets of all its potential adversaries...
Last of the Big Time Spenders: U.S. Military Budget Still the World's Largest, and Growing
Congress cut social programs because they don't want to cut defense
Cost of the War in Iraq
To see more details about the Cost of War in Iraq click here.
Pentagon & Disney/ABC Turn War Into Gung Ho TV Entertainment
"The Pentagon is giving two Hollywood producers access to troops in Afghanistan and around the world to promote its war effort through television's genre of the moment, the reality series. The result is expected to be a 13-part series shown in prime time by ABC entertainment division this year."
War Films: History or Propaganda
Propaganda: Nationalism
Propaganda Glamorizes War

#5 Rampant Sexism

The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

Bush Administration to Extend Health Coverage to Fetuses but Not to Pregnant Women
Florida to Allow Judges to Cut Off Alimony
HOMOPHOBIA Still Hinders AIDS Fight
AIDS In Rural Heterosexual America
Women are being infected through heterosexual sex
Heterosexual Aids

Not everyone wants you to know about heterosexual aids, especially the media. "New AIDS cases actually jumped 111 percent last year because of a sharp increase in infections among heterosexuals. . ."

Human Rights Watch Organization: U.S. Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Panders to Prejudice. Anti-Gay Harassment Flourishes ...

"America prides itself on being a nation of liberty and tolerance, yet it permits its military to remain a bastion of discrimination against gays and lesbians." ~~Jamie Fellner, Esq.~~ Director, U.S. Human Rights Watch Program

US offers Brazil millions to fight AIDS, so long as none of it is used to treat prostitutes
Bush Administration issues medical guidelines: Rape victims should just carry child to term
Justice Department Demands Abortion Records
US accused of trying to block abortion pills

"The US government is trying to block the World Health Organisation from endorsing two abortion pills which could save the lives of some of the 68,000 women who die from unsafe practices in poor countries every year."

#6 Controlled Mass Media

Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

U.S. media companies agree to censorship in exchange for battlefield access
Some Critical Media Voices Face Censorship
War and the Media: Press Freedom vs. Military Censorship
That's Militainment! The Pentagon's media-friendly "reality" war
Media Censorship and Control
Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship

CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship." As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies, Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who charge that the media largely toed the Bush administrationline in covering the war and, by doing so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind the invasion.
Freedom of the Press? What a joke!

#7 Obsession with National Security

Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
Homeland Security Threat Advisory System

#8 Religion and Government are Intertwined

Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

Bush believes he's been appointed by God (rather than the Supreme Court), and sees himself as on a divine mission. Let's face it - that's only a short drive from believing he's actually divine.

Bush recently told an Amish group in Pennsylvania that "I trust God speaks through me."

Another story that ran in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz tells how Bush had told Middle East leaders that "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam [ Hussein], which I did” First of all, what is interesting about these voices Bush is hearing, voices which are effectively telling him to go kill people, is that Jesus consistently taught his disciples to overcome evil with good rather than with bombs and bullets and violence.

Read an excerpt of the article from the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) show Frontline on Bush and his reason for "Invoking God and Faith". They say that "Mike Gerson, President Bush's speechwriter, is a well-known evangelical who went to Wheaton College." And that Bush's speeches "contain biblical language and hymnology, but often misused or often put in a different context, and the meaning has been changed. The meaning of the hymns and the meaning of that biblical text has been changed to serve another purpose... supporting American foreign policy..." "Prophetic biblical faith would call the nation to account, call our policies into question, would cause us to [engage in] self-reflection and evaluation. But the use of language like this just becomes a way to sanction our behavior and our policies, and to appeal to a constituency that feels like they are being spoken to in a very unique and particular way."

In an excerpt of an article by Juan Stam, a Costa Rican professor (the National University of Costa Rica) pastor and theologian, that appeared in "The Nation" Juan had this to say about Bush the false prophet:

When Bush, then Governor of Texas, decided to seek the presidency, he described his decision in terms evangelicals would understand as a divine mandate: He had been "called," a phrase that evoked the prophetic commissions of the Hebrew scriptures. He summoned to the governor's mansion all the leading pastors of the region to carry out a ritual of "laying on of hands," a practice that corresponds above all to ministerial ordination. He told the pastors that he had been called (obviously, by God) to be the presidential candidate. This language of divine calling has been frequent in his declarations and at a much accelerated rhythm since September 11, 2001.

In his State of the Union address the following year, Bush reaffirmed that "history has called America and our allies to action." Soon after the 9/11 attacks, speaking to a joint session of Congress, he proudly declared that "the advance of human freedom--the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time--now depends on us." As he declared in his 2003 State of the Union address, the nation must go forth to "confound the designs of evil men," because "our calling, as a blessed country, is to make the world better." "Once again," Bush announced as war preparation was building up, "this nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility...and we go forward with confidence, because this call of history has come to the right country."

Bush does not seem to have much hesitation in identifying God with his own project. In a speech in September 2002, Bush cited a Christological text in reference to his war project: "And the light [America] has shone in the darkness [the enemies of America], and the darkness will not overcome it [America shall conquer its enemies]." When he appeared in a flight suit aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, he said to the troops: "And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope--a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, come out! to those who are in darkness, be free!'"

Manipulation of Prayer:
True prayer does not pretend to tell God what we want Him to do but rather asks that God tell us what He wishes us to do. We do not pray in order to enlist God in our ranks but to examine ourselves, to change and to do God's will. Therefore, the confession of sin and repentance are crucial moments in prayer and worship. Prayer has played a role without precedent in the Bush presidency and in the propaganda of the evangelicals who support him. Photos of Bush at prayer are common. Great publicity was given to the fact that during a prime-time news conference shortly before his speech giving the ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, Bush asked his advisers to leave him alone for ten minutes. In evangelical symbolism, that meant that a man of prayer was going to commune with God, somewhat like Moses on Mount Sinai.

It is remarkable how closely Bush's discourse coincides with that of the false prophets of the Old Testament. While the true prophets proclaimed the sovereignty of Yahweh, the God of justice and love who judges nations and persons, the false prophets served Baal, who could be manipulated by the powerful. Karl Marx concluded that religion is "the opium of the people." But Marx never knew committed Christians like Camilo Torres of Colombia, Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador, Frank Pais of Cuba, Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua, Dietrich Bonhoeffer of Germany or Martin Luther King Jr. of the United States. How paradoxical, and how sad, that the President of the United States, with his heretical manipulation of religious language, insists on proving Karl Marx right.
End of article by Jaun Stam

#9 Corporate Power is Protected

The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

Bush Family Values: Walker and Bush families, profited mightily from the rearmament efforts

after the end of the First World War and were prominent members of the "military-industrial complex," about which Dwight Eisenhower warned at the end of his eight-year presidency.

Bush: War, Wealth and Oil Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. --Dwight D. Eisenhower--

#10 Labor Power is Suppressed

Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
Labor Pains: President Bush’s campaign to weaken unions may end up strengthening them.

President George W. Bush is fighting—and winning—a war against organized labor. In the private sector, Bush has blocked more strikes than any president in recent history.
Bush, unions tangle over national security exemption to labor laws

#11 Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

Flawed Academic Policies Compromise Student Liberties: The 'Academic Freedom' Movement
Academic Freedom Suffers

The Firing of Sami Al-Arian. Academic freedom in America suffered a serious blow after Sept. 11. ... perhaps no better example of how academic freedom was restricted than Sami Al-Arian, a computer ... the most grotesque violations of academic freedom in recent memory.

Artistic Freedom Under Assault: ACLU of Massachusett's
US arts face 'devastating' cuts
Government Funding for Charities: When it declines, the charities lose twice

#12 Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
Be careful what books you buy!

American Library Association: USA PATRIOT Act and Intellectual Freedom

#13 Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Cronyism: Iraq Contractors Donated Significantly to Bush's Campaign

Private contractors that received billions in reconstruction contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan contributed significantly to President Bush's election campaign and stocked their staffs and governing boards with well-connected former federal officials, according to a report released today by a watchdog group.
Cronyism: Halliburton admits $6m kickbacks
US Vice President Dick Cheney was formerly Halliburton chief executive.

Troops Vandalize Ancient City of UR
Iraqi Museum: An Archaeologist's Weblog
Something happened at the Iraqi museum, but not what you read
Museum's treasures left to the mercy of looters: US generals reject plea to protect priceless artefacts from vandals
About the looting of the National Museum of Iraq

New York Times: BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 12 — The National Museum of Iraq recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 50,000 artifacts carried away by looters.
US accused of plans to loot Iraqi antiques: By Liam McDougall, Arts Correspondent
FEARS that Iraq's heritage will face widespread looting at the end of the Gulf war have been heightened after a group of wealthy art dealers secured a high-level meeting with the US administration.
It has emerged that a coalition of antiquities collectors and arts lawyers, calling itself the American Council for Cultural Policy (ACCP), met with US Defense and State Department officials prior to the start of military action to offer its assistance in preserving the country's invaluable archaeological collections.
The group is known to consist of a number of influential dealers who favour a relaxation of Iraq's tight restrictions on the ownership and export of antiquities. Its treasurer, William Pearlstein, has described Iraq's laws as 'retentionist' and has said he would support a post-war government that would make it easier to have antiquities dispersed to the US.

#14 Fraudulent Elections

Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

MSNBC: E-voting flap sparks legal threats
Diebold Committs Massive Voter Fraud?
University of California Berkeley: Voting fraud?

Electronic voting machines in Florida may have awarded George W. Bush up to 260,000 more votes than he should have received, according to statistical analysis conducted by University of California, Berkeley graduate students and a professor, who released a study on Thursday.

Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy
University researchers challenge Bush win in Florida
'Something went awry with electronic voting in Florida,' says the lead researcher

UC Berkeley Study Questions Florida E-Vote Count: Research Team calls for immediate investigation

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not. Copyright © 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
--William Pitt-- (1759-1806)
"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop."
--Mario Savio-- October 1st, 1964 a philosophy student at a Berkeley rally honoring the Free Speech Movement (FSM)

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Anonymous Static Brain said...

Thank you for helping me spread the word. People need to know what is going on in the world around them. Would you consider linking to me? I linked to you. You will find it in the left hand column of my site. Static Brain

3:38 am  
Blogger JasonF said...

No problem, I'm linked to you under other great blogs on the right.

Great article!

6:46 pm  

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