This is a post I wrote in 2012 and saved as a draft. I’m publishing it today (in 2019) for many reasons, mostly personal.
(Please visit the links listed below.)
America’s Creeping Fascism (by me, Heather Denkmire/serenebabe)
Our freedoms are crumbling. Fascism is taking hold. We are all letting this happen. It began with the radical right during Nixon’s time. It took hold during Reagan’s reign as money started pouring into think tanks for the radical right. And now, what should be considered dangerously extreme has become mainstream. The Tea Party movement is only one small outcropping of the larger issues. The underlying theme of it all is corporate greed and a small group of Americans (the Dominionists) believing their version of Christianity should rule us all. The frame of the radical right dominates all political debate. They have purchased our morality and our culture. And, now, we are all playing their game.
As Chris Hedges so aptly puts it, “The political theater funded by the corporate state is composed of hypocritical and impotent liberals, the traditional moneyed elite, and a disenfranchised and angry underclass that is being encouraged to lash out at the bankrupt liberal institutions and the government that once protected them.”
This is not paranoid conspiracy theory. It is born out in fact. It began when the radical right learned how to frame their message. Feeling meaning through metaphorical thought is how we all make sense of facts. Facts and evidence can be trumped by emotions if the message is framed correctly. The radical right in the style of Frank Luntz have been doing this effectively and—this is a key point—deceptively for decades. It does not have to be this way. The radical right’s frames do not have to dominate, and framing issues does not have to be deceptive.
Unfortunately, Obama has done almost nothing to undo the power grab the Cheney/Bush gang made with no respect for Constitutionality. At any moment, on a personal whim, Obama could point a finger at someone walking down the street and call them an enemy combatant and imprison them. So labeled, that American would then have no rights. This should be illegal. The fact that most Americans don’t know this is the state of affairs speaks to the power of the dangerous fascist creep of our system.
Being an American comes with it distinct responsibilities. Highest among them, I believe, is ensuring that we all live freely. When our President can call together an army on our own soil at any time at his discretion and without the approval of congrees, we have gone too far away from the entire reason our nation was founded. Guess what? We are there.
Simple graphic, print it and keep it in sight: Early Warning Signs of FascismFascist America, in 10 easy steps: From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all (SereneBabe’s note: things have not improved with Obama)
Audio recording: Naomi Wolf on the descent of the USA into fascism (with Alex Jones)
Political commentaries, blog posts, essays related to corporate power, greed, and corruption of the political process:
(On #ows by me:)
I realize it’s Rolling Stone magazine, but the author did a fantastic job summing up how I feel about the activists and also where I think they ought to go from here. I highly recommend reading it. Despite my agreement with Angus Johnston that “demands” isn’t how change happens, I think the Rolling Stones’ author’s “list of demands” is terrific and I’ll quote the first two of five:
“1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.
2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.” (read the rest here)There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says, from Wired: “Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. Wyden (D-Oregon) says that powers they grant the government on their face, the government applies a far broader legal interpretation — an interpretation that the government has conveniently classified, so it cannot be publicly assessed or challenged. But one prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy ”dragnets” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.” (read more here)
Fantastic half hour interview with Chris Hedges on “inverted totalitarianism.” In other words, America’s movement toward fascism.
Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion (speaking at The New School), video
Around 13:30: “Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate State which saturates our airwaves with lies seeks to obliterate. … ‘Be afraid’ they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can keep you safe.”
My parents, who consider themselves quite liberal (and I thought they were, too, when I was growing up) just adore Shields and whoever-it-is. I see them as just another pair of corporate spokespeople for the government:
Establishment thought and the War on Terror
PBS’ News Hour conducted a discussion of the Obama-supported, reform-free Patriot Act extension with conservative David Brooks and “liberal” Mark Shields, and it magnificently highlights conventional establishment thought on such matters… (read more here)
The always-expanding bipartisan Surveillance State, by Glenn Greenwald. An excerpt: This will be the second time that the Democratic Congress — with the support of President Obama (who once pretended to favor reforms) — has extended the Patriot Act without any changes. And note the rationale for why it was done in secret bipartisan meetings: to ensure “as little debate as possible” and “to avoid a protracted and familiar argument over the expanded power the law gives to the government.” Indeed, we wouldn’t want to have any messy, unpleasant democratic debates over “the expanded power the law gives to the government.” Here we find yet again the central myth of our political culture: that there is too little bipartisanship when the truth is there is little in Washington but that. And here we also find — yet again — that the killing of Osama bin Laden is being exploited to justify a continuation, rather than a reduction, in the powers of the National Security and Surveillance States. (read more here)
The self-absorption of America’s ruling class
The “pro-Constitution=pro-terrorist” canard
The DOJ’s creeping war on whistle-blowers, Glenn Greenwald
Covertly obtaining and then digging through the phone, banking, and travel records of journalists is about as extreme a step as can be taken in trying to detect and punish whistleblowers. By itself, the chilling effect on a free press is substantial and obvious — what whistleblowers would speak to reporters if they know their most private records can be so easily invaded by the Government? — and the invasion of privacy which a journalist has to endure for doing his job is immense. (read more)
Yes, it’s Glenn Greenwald, again. But this is such a powerful piece, I just had to share it. What gets me is that while I understand his title referring to the “un-American” nature of the response, if we were truly sticking to our patriotic roots the Norwegian response would be right in line with what “American” really means.
An un-American response to the Oslo attack
BY GLENN GREENWALD
“…About all of this, The New York Times today says that “Norway’s policy on public security  seemed defined by a belief that bad things happen elsewhere.” No: it is defined by a belief that there are other values besides security that matter a great deal and that pursuing security above all other values, in a quest for absolute safety, is both self-destructive and futile.” (read the full essay here)
Noam Chomsky (I’m pleased Chomsky notes we shouldn’t ridicule the Tea Party movement but listen to their underlying messages. I’m also happy his view seems to be moving toward that which accepts a more Goffman-esque approach to the social construction of reality.)
Decent (outdated re: Kerry, etc.) interview with George Lakoff about framing: “How to Talk Like a Conservative (if you must).” Most important quote, how has understanding framing helped him politically, his answer could be mine nearly word for word:
It’s allowed me to understand my own moral system and what I believe. It’s allowed me to see what types of liberals there are and what unites them and divides them. It’s allowed me to ask myself more deeply why I believe what I believe and come up with very good answers for it. It’s allowed me to respect conservatives. That’s an important point. I used to be a typical liberal and thought that conservatives are either irrational or mean or cruel or petty or whatever. Now I see that liberals can be those things, too. Most conservatives are conservatives because they think they are morally correct.
Frontline report, “Inside the Terrorism-Industrial Complex.” (dead link, to be updated)
‘America Is NOT Broke’: Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI — March 5, 2011