Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wake up and smell the Fascism

Frequent MSNBC guest and radio talk show host Melanie Morgan said recently that if New York Times executive editor Bill Keller "were to be tried and convicted of treason" for the publication of an article about a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions for terrorist activity, she said she "would have no problem with him being sent to the gas chamber," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

When I first heard the furor from these conservative talking heads, the White House, and congress about the New York Times, I thought they had finally awakened to the seriousness of outing Valarie Plame. Once I realized they were ranting about the story that the government has been looking into wire transfers, which has been unclassified, and in public domain for years, I then became concerned that what we are seeing, particularly in W’s case, might be an early onset of Alzheimer’s. He’s completely forgotten how many times the White House has leaked sensitive information to the New York Times that has compromised US counter-terrorism operations. They were more than willing to do it as long as it served their political purpose. But now that they think that they can get some political gain out of this, they are trying to pretend like Heidi Fleiss on a crusade to prevent sexual promiscuity in Hollywood. I think they "dost protest too much”.

Why are they attacking the Times? This information was leaked to Wall Street Journal and the LA Times as well, who printed the same story. The Journal was not told not to print it, because it might make Bush look good, as if he was doing something about the war on terror. The Times, however, was leaked the story, and then told, "Hey, by the way, don't print this" then they went ahead and printed it anyway. It was a setup. Karl Rove set the Times up to be shot down. It's like handing fake documents to Dan Rather about Bush's millitary record, which he reports, and is then fired. It is meant to throw red meat to Bush's base, to give them a "liberal enemy" who can be labeled as "helping the terrorists".

The fact is, the Bush administration has been very ineffective in trying to track down financial information. They have failed in that front, and nobody is paying attention to that story. Less than a month after 9-11, on November 7th, 2001, Paul O’Neil of the Treasury Dept., said they were going to try to get financial information about people they thought were involved in terrorism. The thing they failed to do is go to congress and get authorization. That is what the New York Times reported, and that is why the administration are singling them out and "swift boated" in order to change the subject.

The story is that this could have been legal if congress had authorized it, but they didn’t. This is why the Supreme Court recently ruled that Bush has overreached his executive privileges. The founding fathers set this country up with three co-equal branches, but time and time again, Bush and his cronies have circumvented that system to achieve the goal of unlimited executive power, which is nothing less than imperial fascistic dictatorship. This administration could easily have stayed within the law, working inside the existing set of checks and balances, but they prefer to work outside the law, demonstrating again and again that they prefer to be outside that law and accountable to no one for anything.

Perhaps the reason the Bushies get so hysterical when it gets reported that they are listening to our phone conversations, and now looking into our bank records, without any oversight, may be that they are doing these things to spy on the Democrats, just as Nixon did in the 70’s. That is the reason these laws they are breaking were enacted in the first place.

This attack on the NYT is so quick, so focused, and so contrived. If they were really concerned about the leak, they would be asking who leaked the information. They are not asking that question.

When Republicans say the Times compromised our national security by printing this story, it's like the pot calling the kettle black. If you look at what they have compromised – back in August of 2004, on the eve of the Republican National Convention, the White House called a New York Times reporter and gave him information about an Al-Quaida operative that we had in our custody in Pakistan who we were using covertly to try to penetrate the Al-Quaida computer network. They exposed that, and compromised our ability to conduct national security, just to make Bush look good just before the convention. This cabal has no shame.

I heard radio talk show host Thom Hartman tell a story about when this news came out. He was at a hotel having his continental breakfast where the TV was on. ABC was saying goodbye to Charlie Gibson. Once that was over, at 9am, the local affiliate started running the 700 club, which looks just like network television. Roberston went off on this screed about how the NYT and the Democrats are traitors and treasonous, and they should all be put in prison. There was a couple in their late fifties, early sixties, average Americans, on vacation, having breakfast as well, and the wife said to the husband, “He’s right, that New York Times and those Democrats in congress, they should ALL be put in prison!” Her husband nodded, and Thom, who had lived in Germany for a year, thought to him self, “Holy cow! This is how ordinary Germans were talking about the Communists and the Jews in the late1930’s.”

Two weeks ago a top conservative Republican defense lobbyist, said to a friend who used to be in the CIA, “These are not Republicans, this is a tyranny of Fascists.” When conservatives start talking like that, it is saying something very dramatic about what these people are up to. There are a lot of Republicans who are very, very frightened of this administration. These guys are truly scary, and it’s time to start paying attention, because it doesn’t seem like anyone is. After this NYT story backlash, many of the leftists blogs like DailyKos, Fire Dog Lake, etc. were asleep at the switch, and were doing nothing. People need to wake up.

This "tyranny of Fascists" in America was prophesized 62 years ago by Vice President Henry Wallace. In early 1944, the New York Times asked him to, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"






Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.

"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."

In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the "Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni" - the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like Tom DeLay and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the government.

Vice President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about the same happening here in America:

"If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. ... They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead... Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after 'the present unpleasantness' ceases."

Fascists have an agenda that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/) notes, fascism/corporatism is "an attempt to create a 'modern' version of feudalism by merging the 'corporate' interests with those of the state."

In a comment prescient of George W. Bush's recent suggestion that civilization itself is at risk because of gays, Wallace continued:

"The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination..."

But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation's largest corporations - who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media - they could promote their lies with ease.

"The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact," Wallace wrote. "Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy."

In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism the Vice President of the United States saw rising in America, he added, "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."

Finally, Wallace said, "The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. ... Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."

As Wallace's President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party's renomination in 1936 in Philadelphia, "...out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties.... It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.... And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man...."

Speaking indirectly of the fascists that Wallace would directly name almost a decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core: "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power."

But, he thundered in that speech, "Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!"

President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace's warnings have come full circle. Which is why it's so critical that this November we join together at the ballot box to stop this most recent incarnation of feudal fascism from seizing complete control of our nation.

"Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live."
- Adolf Hitler

"I’m gonna tell all you fascists
You may be surprised
People all over this world
Are getting organized

You’re bound to lose
You fascists are bound to lose
Race hatred cannot stop us
This one thing I know
Your poll tax and Jim Crow
And greed have got to go

You’re bound to lose
You fascists are bound to lose.
All of you fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You’re bound to lose!
You fascists: Bound to lose!

People of every color
Marching side by side
Marching ‘cross the fields
Where a million fascists die
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!
All of you fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You’re bound to lose!
You fascists: Bound to lose!

I’m going into this battle
And take my union gun
Gonna end this world of slavery
Before this war is won

You’re bound to lose
You fascists are bound to lose!
All you fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You’re bound to lose!
You fascists are bound to lose!

I said, all you fascists are bound to lose!
All you fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You fascists are bound to lose:
You’re bound to lose!
You fascists are bound to lose!

- Woody Guthrie
Music by Billy Bragg © Copyright 2000 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc

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