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The Ghost of Authoritarianism .... Presented By Members of the US Congress for Halloween

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: fascism, authoriitarianism, fascism, Nazi, americans, congress, corruption, freedoms, government, military, politics, propaganda, republicans )

- 1706 days ago -
In the aftermath of the reign of Nazi terror in the 1940s, the philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote: National Socialism lives on

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Fiona O (565)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 4:09 pm
A very well informed friend brought this news article of critical importance to my awareness.

Now that it is posted, I will invite her for the first comment and then distribute the article to others, asking them to note, comment, and forward.

This information needs to be spread and rapidly. Freedom is in danger.

Read and judge for yourselves just how imperiled is the freedom we "think" we have. This article will remove some of our comfortable illusions.

JL A (281)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 4:22 pm
Since many do not really understand the term authoritarianism or how it differs from totalitarianism, I'll provide definitions and explanations from Wiki to help those reading and commenting (forgive me for its length).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about authoritarianism as a norm within groups. For the personality trait, see Authoritarian personality.
Part of the Politics series Basic forms of government

Authoritarianism is a form of government.[1][2][3] It is characterized by absolute or blind[4] obedience to authority, as against individual freedom and related to the expectation of unquestioning obedience.[5]

Juan Linz, whose 1964 description of authoritarianism is influential,[6] characterized authoritarian regimes as political systems characterized by four qualities: (1) "limited, not responsible, political pluralism"; that is, constraints on political institutions and groups (such as legislatures, political parties, and interest groups), (2) a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat "easily recognizable societal problems" such as underdevelopment or insurgency; (3) neither "intensive nor extensive political mobilization" and constraints on the mass public (such as repressive tactics against opponents and a prohibition of antiregime activity) and (4) "formally ill-defined" executive power, often shifting or vague.[7]

Authoritarian government and states

Linz distinguished new forms of authoritarianism from personalistic dictatorships and totalitarian states, taking Francoist Spain as an example. Unlike personalistic dictatorships, new forms of authoritarianism have institutionalized representation of a variety of actors (in Spain's case, including the military, the Catholic Church, Falange, monarchists, technocrats, and others); unlike totalitarian states, the regime relies on passive mass acceptance rather than popular support.[8]

Several subtypes of authoritarian regimes have been identified by Linz and others.[9] Linz identified the two most basic subtypes as traditional authoritarian regimes and bureacratic-military authoritation regimes. Traditional authoritarian regimes are those "in which the ruling authority (generally a single person)" is maintained in power "through a combination of appeals to traditional legitimacy, patron-client ties, and repression, which is carried out by an apparatus bound to the ruling authority through personal loyalties"; an example is Ethiopia under Haile Selassie I.[9] Bureacratic-military authoritarian regimes are those "governed by a coalition of military officers and technocrats who act pragmatically (rather than ideologically) within the limits of their bureaucratic mentality.[9] Mark J. Gasiorowski suggests that it is best to distinguish "simple military authoritarian regimes" from "bureaucratic authoritarian regimes" in which "a powerful group of technocrats uses the state apparatus to try to rationalize and develop the economy" such as South Korea under Park Chung-hee.[9]

Linz also has identified several three other subtypes authoritarian regime: corporatist or organic-statistic, racial and ethnic "democracy", and post-totalitarian.[9]

Corporatist authoritarian regimes "are those in which corporatist institutions are used extensively by the state to coopt and demobilize powerful interest groups"; this type has been studied most extensively in Latin America.[9]
Racial and ethnic "democracies" are those in which "certain racial or ethnic groups enjoy full democractic rights while others are largely or entirely denied those rights," such as in South Africa under apartheid.[9] Some have pointed to Israel as another, albeit less severe, example of "democratic" authoritarianism. In a sense, this is the least repressive of the three types of authoritarianism in that a particular group (however large) enjoys a vibrant and full democracy; however, the far-reaching implications of denying a different group republican privileges can contribute to the typically highly negative international view of these types of governments.
Post-totalitarian authoritarian regimes are those in which totalitarian institutions (such as the party, secret police, and state-controlled mass media) remain, but where "ideological orthodoxy has declined in favor of routinization, repression has declined, the state's top leadership is less personalized and more secure, and the level of mass mobilization has declined substantially."[9] Examples include the Soviet Eastern bloc states in the mid-1980s.[9]

Authoritarian regimes are also sometimes subcategorized by whether they are personalistic or populist. Personalistic authoritarian regimes are characterized by arbitrary rule and authority exercised "mainly through patronage networks and coercion rather than through institutitions and formal rules."[9] Personalistic authoritarian regimes have been seen in post-colonial Africa. By contrast, populist authoritarian regimes "are mobilizational regimes in which a strong, charismatic, manuipulative leader rules through a coalition involving key lower-class groups." Examples include Argentina under Perón and Egypt under Nasser.[9]

Authoritarianism is characterized by highly concentrated and centralized power maintained by political repression and the exclusion of potential challengers. It uses political parties and mass organizations to mobilize people around the goals of the regime.[10]

Authoritarianism also tends to embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of political power, a leadership that is "self-appointed and even if elected cannot be displaced by citizens' free choice among competitors," the arbitrary deprivation of civil liberties, and little tolerance for meaningful opposition.[10]

A range of social controls also attempt to stifle civil society, while political stability is maintained by control over and support of the armed forces, a bureaucracy staffed by the regime, and creation of allegiance through various means of socialization and indoctrination.[10]

Authoritarian political systems may be weakened through "inadequate performance to demands of the people."[10] Vestal writes that the tendency to respond to challenges to authoritarianism through tighter control instead of adaptation is a significant weakness, and that this overly rigid approach fails to "adapt to changes or to accommodate growing demands on the part of the populace or even groups within the system."[10] Because the legitimacy of the state is dependent on performance, authoritarian states that fail to adapt may collapse.[10]

Authoritarianism is marked by "indefinite political tenure" of the ruler or ruling party (often in a single-party state) or other authority.[10] The transition from an authoritarian system to a more democratic form of government is referred to as democratization.[10]

John Duckitt suggests a link between authoritarianism and collectivism, asserting that both stand in opposition to individualism.[11] Duckitt writes that both authoritarianism and collectivism submerge individual rights and goals to group goals, expectations and conformities.[12]
Authoritarianism and totalitarianism
King Abdullah, ruler of Saudi Arabia.
Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe.

Totalitarianism is an extreme version of authoritarianism. Authoritarianism primarily differs from totalitarianism in that social and economic institutions exist that are not under governmental control. Building on the work of Yale political scientist Juan Linz, Paul C. Sondrol of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has examined the characteristics of authoritarian and totalitarian dictators and organized them in a chart
{continues at}

Nicole W (646)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 4:56 pm
ty Betsy

Autumn S (151)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 4:58 pm
thanks, Betsy

Kit B (276)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 5:25 pm

A excellent article that synthesizes the current body politic. We entered into the age of the imperial presidency with Nixon, and we have yet to see one that was willing or able to return those powers to the people. As I observe what has been happening, many seem to want or need the stronger more authoritarian governing body, none quite so much as group called tea party. I fear that by the time people do pay attention to details it will be too late to reverse course. It would be easy to comment on each paragraph of this article, but then I would writing a blog and not a comment.

I thoroughly enjoyed the thinking process required by reading this article. I doubt anyone that reads it will have any difficultly understanding both the urgency and the vocabulary. We stand at the brink, maybe never so dangerous before with the exception of the Civil War.

Bill Maher made a comment on his show that it was greed that brought us here and sadly it is greed that may save the day. As Congress is frozen without leadership, even the Koch's are bleeding money daily, the people that brought us this mess are now paying, but they will not allow that for long. The problem is, they have an insatiable thirst for both money and power. These people believe and take pride in ending democracy for corporatocracy.

Fiona O (565)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 5:32 pm
Thank you for your comment, Kit. Wow!!!! So much is expressed in the word "corporatocracy"......Thank you for introducing that word. It very likely will define the "genetically modified organism" of a system of government.

Yvonne White (229)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 5:34 pm
The Democrats need to start making hyper-Liberal Demands! Like no caps on Social Security, Universal-single-payer-Medicare for ALL, a JOBs Program, EVERYTHING we've ever wanted & we want it NOW - or Start ReCalling those Ba$tards!!!! Why Not????

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 5:36 pm
This is very good, Betsy, Thank you.
"The shutdown is not another example of an egregiously inept and morally corrupt group of politicians, it is a flashpoint registering the degree to which the United States has become an authoritarian state, one now governed by a system in which economics drives politics, irrationality trumps reason, the public good is canceled out by an unchecked narcissism and ethical considerations are subordinated to the drive for profits
at any cost."
"Theater of cruelty....."

We have been subjected to a SERIES of COUPS, over time, that have ERODED our Democracy bit by bit.
Perhaps the FIRST one, was the ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY - NOT by "lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald", but by elements in the govt. {"rogue elements" you might call them}, who disagreed with President Kennedy's policies.
Then there was a STRING OF ASSASSINATIONS - remember? people have such short memories! - Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Bobby Kennedy, other Civil Rights leaders, Senator Paul Wellstone, {in no particular order} - NO, they were NOT "random chance murders and accidents", tho made to APPEAR that way. Some of these are being revealed, decades later, as being right-wing or political assassinations - but, hey, it was all so long ago, nobody seems to care any more!
Then, there was "President" Bush, STEALING THE ELECTION, by FORCE {ballot-counters were threatened and intimidated}, and, astonishingly - or maybe not, maybe they too were "told to take a fall" - unopposed by the Dems, without even a whimper - so we had the Worst President in History by a transparently UN-democratic process - LAYING THE GROUNDWORK for what the Present President {and maybe all future Presidents} seems to have to follow...
That was ANOTHER STEP in the step-by-step process of ERODING AND EVISCERATING OUR DEMOCRACY.
Then we had {and there are overlaps, I'm not trying to follow any strict chronological order}, we had the REICHSTAG FIRE, the FALSE FLAG OPERATION, the INSIDE JOB of 9/11. It HAD to be an Inside Job - nobody could get into for example building #7 and LAY EXPLOSIVES FOR A CONTROLLED DEMOLITION within a couple of hours of the planes {on automatic pilot} striking the Twin Towers!
9/11 VERY SHORTLY followed by the Patriot Act; anti-Muslim hysteria, a NEW ENEMY since the Cold War fizzled and Russia wasn't serving the purpose very well any more; and, on the slenderest, most non-existent of excuses, WARS AND INVASIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, for more than just Oil and Minerals, altho that played a part - but, also for CONTROL of the region.
And also, again in no particular order and with overlaps in time - the ASSASSINATION, JAILING AND SILENCING of ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS AND WHISTLEBLOWERS, both ABROAD and AT HOME.
We seemed to not pay much attention when it was happening abroad - and now, as Malcolm X once famously said, "The chickens have come home to roost."
And also, simultaneously, the CRUSHING OF INDIGENOUS MOVEMENTS for Social and Economic Justice and Democracy - FIRST abroad, NOW at home - and, again, who paid attention when it was abroad! Oh, "those chickens...!" [The crushing of indigenous movements went by the name of "anti-communism"...]
So, to sum up the last several decades, there has been a SLOW EROSION marked by certain LANDMARKS that weren't seen at the time, as being connected and forming any PATTERN.....

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 5:58 pm
I'm not saying there's a "vast Conspiracy" of the Freemasons, the British Monarchy, the Venetians, the Venusians, the Elders of Zion, Aliens from Outer Space, or anything like that.
But there IS a sort of "understanding" shall we call it, among the super-rich, who socialize, who intermarry, who get educated in the same institutions, belong to the same clubs and social organizations, meet both formally and informally, interact on many levels, know who each other are {better than we do!}...
They are aiming for a state of being where CORPORATIONS HAVE AN ABSOLUTELY FREE HAND TO EXTRACT EVERY LAST DROP AND SLIVER OF RESOURCES FROM THIS PLANET. From untouched National Parks, from underneath where people are living now, from the sea floor, from under the rapidly-melting ice, from mountaintops and forests and wildlife habitats, from EVERYwhere. Radioactive Uranium, Oil, Natural Gas, gold, precious metals, rare Earths, EVERYthing.
I don't even think this is RATIONAL. Because, "rational" would think ahead, what to do when it's all gone?
I think this is like an ADDICTION.
Or sort of a Macho Competition.
Since they have machines, they don't NEED lots of people. Just a few, obedient, dependent slaves to run the machines.
They're quite happy to see everybody else, of whatever race or nationality or skin color, die off of starvation or lack of water or lack of clean air or by killing ourselves or killing each other.
They PLAY ON Nationalism, and Racism, to make us think WE will be the "chosen ones" to survive!
They are using as their FRONT MEN, the Religious Right and the pseudo-populist jargon of the Teabaggers.
These think they are going to be the "privileged" ones, "God's Chosen", because they are told they "deserve it".
Things look pretty bleak.
More and more, the CORPORATIONS are hiring their OWN PRIVATE ARMIES, MERCENARIES.
FIRST, they did it ABROAD, and we didn't pay much attention. I mean, those "stupid, backwards third-world people" don't deserve any better...
NOW, the CORPORATIONS' OWN PRIVATE ARMIES, are patrolling MINING AND LOGGING OPERATIONS RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. Things to COME! there will be LOTS MORE OF THIS - that's why they DON'T want "the Rule of Law"! [Aka "Democracy"] The Rule of Force, the Rule of the Gun, will prevail when it comes to extracting resources....

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 6:18 pm
This present shut-down of Congress, can be seen as ANOTHER STEP in the long, slow COUP TO TAKE OVER "DEMOCRACY" AND THE RULE OF LAW. To nullify it and replace it with the RULE OF FORCE, which the Rich will always command. They can BRIBE people to use it for them! And, the Rich ALSO HAVE THE USE OF PROPAGANDA AND THE MASS MEANS TO DISTRIBUTE IT.
{THAT is what distinguished Fascism from all authoritarianism that went before! The Left had propaganda too, it was effective up to a point, but not NEARLY AS effective as Fascist propaganda! Lefties appeal to Idealism - Fascist propaganda, both then and now, appeals to THE MOST BASIC INSTINCTS OF FEAR, and SELFISH CRUELTY as a RESPONSE to Fear!}
"Theater of Cruelty....."
George Orwell said it: Picture Fascism as a Boot Stamping on a Human Face..... FOREVER.....

Susan L (150)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 6:46 pm
ALL great comments. I love the quote from Orwell, BMutiny; " Picture Fascism as a Boot Stamping on a Human Face..... FOREVER..... "

John B (185)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 7:19 pm
Thanks so much Betsy for providing the link to the marvelous and very informative op-ed from Henry A Giroux. I will be sharing it widely. Read and noted.

cynthia l (207)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 7:51 pm
Fantastic article
this is the true horror

''The assassins now in power are cultivating a culture of fear, vengeance and hatred not only directed at disposable populations such as the poor, low-income minority youths, whistleblowers, immigrants and those who are disabled, uninsured and unemployed - but also at civil liberties, labor unions, women's reproductive rights and voting rights. Neoliberal common sense now colonizes everyday life and spreads the market-driven gospel of privatization, commodification, deregulation and free trade.''

Salvador M (141)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 9:35 pm
Great article thank you for sharing this with us Betsy

Steven G (25)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 9:46 pm
To Lincoln in his first inaugural address the solution seemed obvious: “Continue to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the Union will endure forever; it being impossible to destroy it, except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.”

The verb, "to execute," can mean to perform, to implement. It also refers to carrying out the death penalty.

Our Republic was murdered in 1787 and many of our Presidents from this country's inception have played a key role in exploiting our Constitution thus conversely creating empirical standards. More recently and consistently has every President from LBJ forward played their role with the incorporation of 'acts' per se; acts passed and written in deceptive language designed to whittle away the 'Rule of Law', constitutional rights, sovereignty and individualism, thus leading to the creation of a police state.

It was the Articles of Confederation written in 1776-1777 and ratified in 1781 that served a young nation well. But there was a secret society at work - a society whose interests' lay in another course, one where Alexander Hamilton, leader of the Federalist's Party and agent for the Rothschilds' would play a key role.

Now the reason for the May 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was NOT to improve, perfect or strengthen the Articles of Confederation, but to write a new Constitution instead. It was a cleverly planned act of deception conceived by the Federalists that would, over time, evolve into a plutocracy.

The result was that only 8 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence attended and only 6 of the signers of the Articles of Confederation were there. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were in Europe. Patrick Henry refused to attend. Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams and Christopher Gadsen were not chosen as delegates. 14 delegates would later resign from the Convention in disgust and go home. The remaining 41 delegates, mostly lawyers and acting against their charter to revise the Articles of Confederation, instead scrapped it and replaced it with the present "Constitution of the United States", the foundation of what has become today an empire serving the interests of an international elite. That is how our republic was murdered in its infancy 226 years ago.

As an addendum, what may be the only solution in curtailing this authoritarian police state may very well be found in the words of Governor Morris of Pennsylvania where he said, “This country must be united. If persuasion does not unite, the sword will.”

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 9:52 pm
Thank you, Betsy! I believe this takeover has been brewing for well over a decade, but it didn't come to fruition until the Tea Party was created. It is not hyperbole to say that these people are dangerous and will stop at nothing to take over the country. When I speak about this, I tremble and get cold every time. I love the comments. Especially the new word from Kit, corporatocracy! I can't make long comments. They don't post.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 10:03 pm
I am trembling so badly that I'm having a difficult time typing. This is not normal for me. Nevertheless, I have to say that when I read this with the memory of the article about the militarization of the police and even the college police at U.C. Davis I realized the with horror what is happening in this country. I believe the very existence of this nation as a democracy is at stake. Those who threaten the country are the American equivalent of the Taliban. We are all in grave danger if they gain control of the country, and they have been over the years state by state.

Suzanne L (99)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 10:15 pm
Does no one consider the extremist Tea Party Republicans as anti-American? And the rest of the Republicans so weak-kneed that they go along with this anti-Americanism? This is not responsible government because it is putting the country and the majority of it's population in peril.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 10:17 pm
When the George Bush won the election, I told my family that there was a small group of extremely wealthy men who were taking over the country. They though I was nuts and being melodramatic, but I have been a political consumed by politics since Clinton was the President. In addition, I observed the Republican takeover of the state of Texas through gerrymandering, and watched as they destroyed Democratic candidates along the way. Then when Bush became President through dishonest tricks and voting machines made by Diebold, it occurred to me that they meant to take over the country. They don't want a two party system. They want to own the country and the people. They are socioeconomic Darwinists.

Fiona O (565)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 10:22 pm
Bryna, Suzanne, BMutiny, Steven, Salvador, Kit, thanks for the insightful comments on the peril faced by our nation.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 10:35 pm
Free speech is no longer free in this country. Protesters have been arrested around the country. A Care 2 member was arrested at the Capitol in Minnesota, if my memory serves me, where Walker is in charge, and she was arrested just for watching the protesters sing. Of course, the protesters were arrested as well. In addition, she has several sites related to protecting wolves and her sites were shut down and the wolves she fought to protect were shot as well. She is a friend of a friend, so I won't mention her name. However, she believes she is being watched, and I'm sure she is as are activists around the country.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 11:00 pm
I feel as if we are living in a Greek or Shakespearean Tragedy. It seems so surreal. The thirst for power and money at any cost is truly horrifying. I'm at a loss for words. It's so hard to believe that there are actually people who will do anything for more. They aren't human; they're predators. How much can one person own before they have enough? How can they ignore all of the children and the people who are going hungry or don't have a roof over their head? How many people have lost their jobs and their homes? Cities around the country are tearing down the encampments of the homeless. Meanwhile, the government is shutdown, they cut funding for SNAP, and they want to deny people basic healthcare. Whether they no it or not, they are planting the seeds for revolution. I don't know when the tipping point will come, but come it will when enough of the youth have become fed up with being unable to earn a living wage, and have food and shelter.

Fiona O (565)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 11:12 pm
Please everyone I have contacted Care 2 customer service about Linda Seung's advertisement for sexually oriented merchandise which does not belong in this commentary on this issue of American freedoms in peril.

Will everyone click on the "Flag as inappropriate" button so Care 2 customer service knows that we find this kind of advertisement fact any advertisement in a comment section inappropriate and sometimes offensive.

Inge B (202)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 11:52 pm
Nazism is growing in Sweden and the police set up registers of Romer and others.
Police acting like Hitler's private police acted in 1930, the police violates and humiliate people who think and look in a different way than the traditional Swedish and we have a government that encourages this behavior.


Fiona O (565)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 11:56 pm
Inge, That is terrible news about Sweden. So hard to believe....the world is going mad.

Jonathan Harper (0)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 1:27 am

Danuta Watola (1250)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 1:59 am

Reiner S (2)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 2:14 am
Yea, Thats something to think about. Are we free? Free in our day to day decisions, free to choose what we want to do, how to live, where to live, Independent to live? Who is deciding about our lives. Who is pushing us every day to run like and intocicated monkey to work, back home, to the child care taking our children home. Who is it that keeps his or her thump on us that we can heardly come to breath? Something is wrong in todays world!
We have to stand up. Love and Light.

mary f (202)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 2:22 am
now thats scarey

Past Member (0)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 2:47 am

PlsNoMessage se (588)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 2:49 am
Thank you :-)

Frances Darcy (133)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 3:06 am
I thought Irish politics was bad but this all seams mad.....

Athena F (131)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 3:55 am
Thank you, noted.

Cathy Aronson (67)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 5:32 am
TY Betsy for bringing this to me attention. Maybe after I calm down from reading this, I will comment, but for now, all I will say is has the world gone mad???

P A (117)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 9:54 am
Thank you Betsy for this article - and to JL A and everyone else for their excellent comments - it has taken me ages to read down the page! Stars all over the place - and yes, I do agree politics is in a dreadful state - it is very bad in America, not at all good in the UK with the rise of the Right Wing UKIP, and I am sorry to hear that Sweden is in a bad way too - as are so many other countries including Australia... We must speak out on every possible occasion to try and rectify the stream of lies and hate coming from the Right!

divergent revolution (309)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 11:26 am
the matrix never made sense to me,how did they know what they looked like?
the pawned the answer off by saying it is "a representation of your digital self"
I would like to call these end times but not religious overtones,just extinction of intelligence,hence killing the world.
I would like to say we all deserve this, some more than others,but then I am as bad as those I cannot comprehend
thanks Betsy and Bryna

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 12:35 pm
A lengthy and not exactly easy read, but excellent and hopefully an eye opener to all those who still have not recognised this bitter truth. This is it, presented right here! Thx Betsy!

pam w (139)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 12:49 pm
Free speech is NOT dead and we still have more freedoms than most of the world--let's not forget that!

What we need to recognize and fight is the move toward OLIGARCHY!

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 1:38 pm
Noted w/thanks for posting, Betsy. Thanks to JL & BMutiny for their comments, too. Yes, it seems that America is about to fall over the cliff. The Empire is imploding into itself. Let's not forget the media's role in this chaotic mess. They just love those "soundbytes." They like to simplify the conversation by leaving out important details to cast one party against the other in order to prop up their own ratings. It's obvious to me that the Dem. party has been "split" for quite awhile. I can only take this as far back as 9/11 and the Patriot Act, as well as the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), that Pres. Obama even stated publicly is something he wants eliminated.....but Congress still hasn't done that.
Corporatists is the best word for those from both parties who have "masters" who fill their election coffers. Gerrymandering did make this worse as Citizens United allowed a windfall of cash to be bestowed on those who would "pimp" for the Tea Party. But, remember that when the Dems held Congress, they didn't push through "single payer" or re-instate Glass-Stegall, among many other issues they could have passed to help the majority of their own constituents. Although I know I should've been suspicious long before this, my eyes were opened during this time to see Corporatists in both parties.

How many weeks ago was it....that members from BOTH parties stood together against Pres. Obama striking Syria? I was glad to see that. I could tell which Dems were hawking for war along with members of the GOP. Now, when you watch C-SPAN, you can see the number of Dems voting right alongside the fact my own Rep. has voted with them---and gotten raked over the coals in local online news. (I've sent him messages of my own disapproval).
So, yes, the Tea Party is steering America towards authoritarianism, but if the pushback from their colleagues was greater, their voices would dim. I keep asking why the Pres or Dem members of Congress just haven't come out with some demands of their own at the opposite end of the spectrum. Maybe to raise the payroll cap on Soc. Sec. to $1 million or more, rather than gamble with the chained CPI.
In my opinion, the blanket has been ripped off and the truth is now there for all to see: Which "masters" are pulling the strings behind the scenes? Who got special exemption funding either by order of the Pres. or by bills "secretly" passed through Congress? Who are the major donors of each Tea Party member?
The Pentagon sent home 350,000 staff employees in the initial wave of the Shutdown--though it later called them back WHEN FUNDS WERE MADE AVAILABLE. Meanwhile, SNAP, Soc. Sec, Head Start and other programs weren't singled out for saving. The War Machine continues to be funded while so many are unemployed/underemployed and struggling. Members of both parties are complicit in this and it just burns me up.

David C (129)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 1:45 pm

Carmen S (611)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 2:06 pm
Thanks for posting this, Betsy.

Ann L (15)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 3:29 pm
Noted and shared. Thanks

Sandra ;atterson (59)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 8:30 pm

Robert Hardy (68)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 10:51 pm
We give greed and hate a lot of different names, but in the end they are just greed and hate.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 1:40 am
Excellent article that powerfully makes a number of essential points & sums up perfectly the dangerous drift of major trends that now characterize our society with tragically little public awareness & a tragic absence of resistance and opposition from any portion of the American public that could be considered significant.

It brings to (my) mind several items in the news:

First, on the difference between authoritarianism & totalitarianism: JL seeks to help us distinguish between the two, but the author of this powerful piece never uses the terms 'totalitarianism' or 'fascism' to qualify what is happening & hides behind the term 'new authoritarianism,' despite quoting from such famous anti-fascist thinkers as Adorno & Hannah Arendt!

Yet, people in Europe have not shied away from the terminology of the extreme that now provides a perfect fit for the positions, policies & actions of the US:

Quote from Der Spiegel in the June 19, 2013 Daily Kos article, "German magazine Spiegel says "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America" " (written by an expat American living in Germany)

“Is Barack Obama a friend? Revelations about his government's vast spying program call that assumption into doubt. The European Union must protect the Continent from America's reach for omnipotence.”

We’ve all heard about Obama’s recent visit to Germany, but what is the German press actually saying about President Obama and America, both now and in the recent past in view of the PRISM scandal and the economic decline of the American superpower?

Spiegel quote: World from Berlin: Prism Spying 'Attacks Basic Civil Rights'
The world has been scandalized to learn about Prism, the broad data surveillance program used by the US at home and abroad. German commentators say that both Berlin and Brussels must defend Europe from this invasion of privacy.”

What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that SYSTEMATICALLY CONTRAVENES HUMAN RIGHTS, even in the alleged service of security, is ACTING CRIMINALLY.”

As someone who voted for Barack Obama twice, like many other Americans, I am worried. In fact, millions of us are worried and why is that… because America in the international media and increasingly in the European media is being portrayed as a “SOFT TOTALITARIAN STATE”.

The European press led by MAINSTREAM German magazine Der Spiegel asks, should the European Union build the tech backbone necessary to protect the civil rights of people living in the European Union?

Spiegel Quote: “We're currently in the midst of a European crisis. But this unexpected flare-up of American imperialism serves as a reminder of the necessity for Europe. Does anyone seriously believe that Obama will ensure the chancellor and her interior minister that the American authorities will respect the rights of German citizens in the future? Only Europe can break the American fantasy of omnipotence. One option would be for Europe to build its own system of networks to prevent American surveillance. Journalist Frank Schirrmacher of the respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper recommended that over the weekend. "It would require subsidies and a vision as big as the moon landing," he argues.”

Somehow reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, wherein we are all under the prism of the American super state of 2013, wherein NO ONE’S CIVIL LIBERTIES ARE SAFE. These are the types of headlines that are now screaming from Hong Kong to Berlin. We’ve all heard of the tales of the CIA whistle blower Edward Snowden and it does frighten the life out of most of us.

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To read the full Spiegel article, click here

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Only last week, the unrepentant Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke died (age 100) in Italy, where he had been serving a life sentence under house arrest (ONLY since 1998) for his role in the executions/massacre of 335 Italian civilian men and boys at Rome's Ardeatine Caves in 1944 (in a reprisal attack ordered by Hitler for Italian resistance fighters' killing of 33 German soldiers in Rome). Priebke had lived for nearly 50 untroubled years in an Argentine Andean resort, before his identity was discovered in 1994 & he was extradited to Italy.

Interestingly, "the Vatican issued an unprecedented ban on holding the funeral in any Catholic church in Rome"- Kudos, Pope Francisco! - but the ultra-conservative Catholic sect, "the Society of St Pius X* -a Catholic splinter group" which "split from the Vatican over its opposition to the modernisation of Catholic doctrine and its outreach to Jews" (according to the Guardian), & "has in the past faced criticism over anti-Semitic leanings among its members" - offered to hold the ceremony" at its church in Albano Laziale, close to Rome. The funeral service was called off, however! "The exact reason for the halt in the ceremony is unclear, although Priebke's lawyer, Paolo Giachini, said it had been stopped because the authorities had prevented friends and family entering." (BBC coverage)

More likely, the authorities put an end to the service because of all the angry protests & clashes between those protesting & those attending the funeral. "More than 500 people in the city of Albano Laziale shouted "murderer" and "executioner", and clashed with Nazi sympathisers, as his coffin passed." (BBC)
Protesters jeered, kicked and punched the hearse carrying Priebke's coffin, accompanied by a police escort, as it made its way to the funeral. Riot police separated the crowd from a small group of rightwing extremists, some hooded, who gave the fascist salute."

"Local mayor Nicola Marini had tried to ban the coffin from entering Albano Laziale for the funeral, which fell on the 70th anniversary of the Nazi round up of Jews in Rome, but he was overruled by the local government prefect." Good grief, what a coincidence! (Guardian coverage)

In European countries, such as Hungary, where fascism has already risen to power, & Greece, where the risk is growing (Golden Dawn), to a far lesser extent & with a lot of vehement opposition, in Italy & Germany, fascism is alive & well, celebrating its heroes & enjoying renewed virulence in the favorable terrain of ongoing economic crisis and the anger, frustration and suffering it engenders. (The old demons stalking the EU)

In the US, on the other hand, all of this goes under the radar. Without swastikas, other cliché accouterments of fascism-by-the-book, & rabid anti-Semitism, a spade is not called a spade. But the rose by any other name smells just as rotten! Fascism isn't exactly the same thing as totalitarianism, but we definitely have the latter to worry about & more importantly to act out against! Spread the word! I'm book-marking this article. I have to read it again ...and again!

*The Society of St Pius X gained notoriety in 2009 when a British member, Richard Williamson, denied the Holocaust had taken place, claiming: "I believe there were no gas chambers."

Aletta Kraan (146)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 5:43 pm
Noted , thanks .

P A (117)
Friday October 18, 2013, 9:44 am
Lucy - green star - brilliant post! Many thanks for it - loved the Der Spiegel article - but I think the author should have written 'Germany/any European country' instead of 'Germany' - as there is no evidence whatsoever that the intelligence services will respect any of our civil liberties ....

Gene J (290)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 9:35 am
"which include a severe and seemingly unresolvable economic crisis, liberals and moderate parties too weak to address the intensifying political and economic crises, the rise of far-right populist groups such as the Tea Party and white militia, and the emergence of the Christian Right, with its racist, anti-intellectual and fundamentalist ideology.5 The underpinnings of fascism are also evident in the reign of foreign and domestic terrorism that bears down on the so called enemies of the state (whistleblowers and nonviolent youthful protesters) and on those abroad who challenge America's imperial mission; it is also visible in a growing pervasive surveillance system buttressed by the belief that everyone is a potential enemy of the state and should be rightfully subject to diverse and massive assaults on rights to privacy and assembly."

I realize that is quite a quote but it seems to me to get to the heart of the matter succinctly. If such a thing can be said about so many words. :^). All of this is true. But none of it is true forever. Societies cycle through many phases during their course of existence, this is just one of those. A particularly vexing and ugly one, but one I believe has already begun to recede. The contrived economic crisis we have lived through in recent years is not unsolvable. It is only while the religious reich maintains control, and that control is slipping away from them by the day, it will not last forever. Too many people and organizations are well aware of what is happening and are calling spades, spades.

I think the rise of globalism, the free exchange of ideas between citizens in one part of the world and another, the ubiquitous nature of communication today all conspire to prevent forces as described from coalescing into decades of repression, or centuries as was possible before the Technology Age we are now living in. It is much harder to hide, in plain sight, or behind firewalls, now than ever before in our history. The outrage and uproar over the intrusion of government, however "noble" it thinks its need is demonstrates that the people of our country, of the world, are NOT willing to go backwards, we are not going to allow fear to ensconce totalitarianism in our political lives ever again. The NSA may have broad powers now but living in fear is not good for the human soul and eventually the shackles fear creates will be eroded by love. Because we can SEE each other, all over the globe, talk to each other, share our understandings and our dreams; and discover that no matter where we live, we are not that different, we have more in common than we thought, or our governments, our one percent, would like us to know.

Fascism may rear its ugly head from time to time but it will be ever more quickly quashed as people the world over share their experiences with each other. We will one day be a global society, we will have our local customs, but our world is no longer a place where we live in ignorance of what happens elsewhere, nor will we tolerate restrictions on freedoms we know are our own by right of birth, not as a gift of government. Government exists that we might live peacefully together with a minimum of rules to ensure a level playing field. One day we will all understand that and band together to create that global society I believe is inevitable.

Even those societies which are now controlled by Sharia, with government and religion seemingly inextricably intertwined, will change. Their young people will not be denied and it is youth which drove the Arab Spring movements. They did not do so to "freely" elect leaders to take them into the even more repressive Sharia, and so have rebelled, as in Egypt, against that "democracy" prefering a benevolent military dictatorship that protects them FROM Sharia. Their original desire for reform was for greater personal freedom, education and jobs. What they got was an election hijacked and an attempt to return to the 12th century, women were set back hundreds of years. No one wanted that, that was not the underpinnings of Egypt's Arab Spring and that is why they have rejected the Brotherhood in favor of Personhood for both genders, even if for now, enforced by their military.

This same pattern will play out over time, presuming we have it and climate change does not cut short the homo sapiens experiment on this planet, and the world will move ever closer to a one world government. Local customs and laws can remain the same, but control over such things as military action and the protection from fascism, totalitarianism and the ensurance of basic freedoms for all will be overseen by what I think of as a world government based essentially on the American form of government with a federal/state separation of powers. It is not the best form of government possible, it is simply the best we have come up with so far in terms of personal freedoms and opportunities.

It is necessary to protect the many from the few and a world government, a world court with teeth, and a standing world peace keeping force could do that, while allowing individual countries to maintain their own local customs as long as they do not violate the global charter. Some day, the sooner the better, I hope. We can learn to be a civilization.

Fiona O (565)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 10:29 am
Thank you, Gene, for your comment. The last sentence is so encouraging. "We can learn to be a civilization."

I have reread and sent new green stars to so many people who made thought provoking comments.

I thank everyone who noted, commented and forwarded this news article..

Gene's comment mentioned "hiding". Kit's comment mentioned Nixon's "imperial presidency".

I remember a friend of mine in the Weather Underground, who had her photograph in every post office in the country.

She thought it would be a great joke to apply for employment as a tour guide in the Nixon White House.... since as she said" "No one will look for me in the Emperor's Palace." She was hired and took the job.

She was very successful, met the Nixon family who did consider themselves "imperial".

She no doubt could have hid at her job at the Emperor's Palace for the whole term of the Emperor...... but, alas, the Emperor had to resign.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 2:23 pm
U. S. Catholic Bishops actively PROMOTED Congressional Shutdown to in order to deny women Birth Control.
[And are aiming to do it AGAIN - ANOTHER Shutdown!

What is the official Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy - but an intrinsic part of FASCISM?!
Forget the "image" that Pope Francis wants to project...
The Roman Catholic Church is REALLY on a Power Trip, and ruthless in the way it goes about it...

Jose Ovidio Perez Morel (50)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 2:41 pm
Thanks, noted.!

Nancy Black (308)
Sunday November 3, 2013, 4:46 pm
Noted, tweeted, shared, tweeted, read. I have been scared since the Supreme Court chose our President in 2000. Since then, it has gone downhill. Couldn't believe GOP was able to convince many that gays, Hispanics, women, children, the elderly, minorities, and the poor were second class citizens that deserved fewer or no rights since they were the reason for all the difficulties of our country. They even made fun of John Kerry, who was a hero, and respected "W" who couldn't be found the last two years of his enlistment.After Obama won, the GOP decided to become the party of "No." It is a total shame when less than 60 U.S. representatives and the junior Senator from Texas can decide to close our government. The religious right is not very Christian when they allow children to go hungry. The GOP is not a party of smaller government control; it's a party that wants to take the rights of others and control them. They know the way, and God help anyone who disagrees. It's time for we liberals to stop being so damn nice. Mean works for them; let's try it or at least let us stand up for ourselves and those who are weak in our society. More of us than them.
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