Fascism in America?

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    Apr 14, 2010 5:42 AM GMT
    Noam Chomsky, the leading leftwing intellectual, warned last week that fascism may be coming to the United States.

    “The level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime,” he said.

    He cited a statistic from a recent poll showing that half the unaffiliated voters say the average tea party member is closer to them than anyone else.

    “Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error,” Chomsky said.

    Their attitudes “are understandable,” he said. “For over 30 years, real incomes have stagnated or declined. This is in large part the consequence of the decision in the 1970s to financialize the economy.”

    There is class resentment, he noted. “The bankers, who are primarily responsible for the crisis, are now reveling in record bonuses while official unemployment is around 10 percent and unemployment in the manufacturing sector is at Depression-era levels,” he said.

    And Obama is linked to the bankers, Chomsky explained.

    “The financial industry preferred Obama to McCain,” he said. “They expected to be rewarded and they were. Then Obama began to criticize greedy bankers and proposed measures to regulate them. And the punishment for this was very swift: They were going to shift their money to the Republicans. So Obama said bankers are “fine guys” and assured the business world: ‘I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.’

    People see that and are not happy about it.”

    He said “the colossal toll of the institutional crimes of state capitalism” is what is fueling “the indignation and rage of those cast aside.”

    “People want some answers,” Chomsky said. “They are hearing answers from only one place: Fox, talk radio, and Sarah Palin.”

    Chomsky invoked Germany during the Weimar Republic, and drew a parallel between it and the United States. “The Weimar Republic was the peak of Western civilization and was regarded as a model of democracy,” he said.

    And he stressed how quickly things deteriorated there.

    “In 1928 the Nazis had less than 2 percent of the vote,” he said. “Two years later, millions supported them. The public got tired of the incessant wrangling, and the service to the powerful, and the failure of those in power to deal with their grievances.”

    He said the German people were susceptible to appeals about “the greatness of the nation, and defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence.”

    When farmers, the petit bourgeoisie, and Christian organizations joined forces with the Nazis, “the center very quickly collapsed,” Chomsky said.

    No analogy is perfect, he said, but the echoes of fascism are “reverberating” today, he said.

    “These are lessons to keep in mind.”

    http://www.progressive.org/wx041210.html
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    Apr 14, 2010 6:26 AM GMT
    "Fascist America, in 10 easy steps"

    By: Naomi Klein, The Guardian, April 24, 2007

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

    If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

    2. Create a gulag

    3. Develop a thug caste

    4. Set up an internal surveillance system

    5. Harass citizens' groups

    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

    7. Target key individuals

    8. Control the press

    9. Dissent equals treason

    10. Suspend the rule of law

    As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

    "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

    [Full article at source: see link above]
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    Apr 14, 2010 6:31 AM GMT
    Naomi Wolf Thinks the Tea Parties Help Fight Fascism -- Is She Onto Something or in Fantasy Land?

    Alternet, March 30, 2010

    http://www.alternet.org/story/146184/?page=entire

    Justine Sharrock: First off, is your book still relevant under Obama?

    Naomi Wolf: Unfortunately it is more relevant. Bush legalized torture, but Obama is legalizing impunity. He promised to roll stuff back, but he is institutionalizing these things forever. It is terrifying and the left doesn’t seem to recognize it.

    JS: What do you think is the biggest misconception about the Tea Parties?

    NW: The Tea Party is not monolithic. There is a battle between people who care about liberty and the Constitution and the Republican Establishment who is trying to take ownership of it and redirect it for its own purposes.

    JS: In your essay, “Tea Time in America" you said that some of the Tea Party’s proposals are “ahead of their time.” What are some examples?

    NW: I used to think “End the Fed people” were crackpots. The media paints them as deranged. But it turned out we had good reason to have more oversight. Or take their platform about states’ rights. Demographically, I’m a hippie from San Francisco and I’m not culturally inclined to be sympathetic to states' rights. My cultural heritage is FDR and Medicare and federal government solutions. But if you think through the analysis, strengthening state rights is a good corrective of the aggregation of an over-reaching federal power. Take California’s challenge of the Patriot Act or states like Vermont leading the way with addressing the corruption of the voting system. It’s a good example of the Tea Party thinking out of the box on how to address a problem.

    JS: How is your comparison of Obama to Hitler any different from someone at a Tea Party holding up a placard of Obama with a Hitler mustache?

    NW: Those signs are offensive. If only the Holocaust was just about imposing health care on my people. Obama has done things like Hitler did. Let me be very careful here. The National Socialists rounded people up and held them without trial, signed legislation that gave torture impunity, and spied on their citizens, just as Obama has. It isn’t a question of what has been done that Hitler did. It’s what does every dictator do, on the left or the right, that is being done here and now. The real fight isn’t left or right but between forces of democracy across the spectrum and the forces of tyranny.

    JS: Well, more generally, you talk about the possibility of concentration camps and martial law.

    NW: I think we have gone very far down that road. I met Muslim immigrants in Brooklyn who were swept up in 9-11 raids, held in abusive conditions, beaten, denied rights. That’s how things started in Germany. Guantanamo was modeled after what Stalin developed for the Gulag. Why are we engaged in psychological denial that it’s not a concentration camp? In terms of martial law, my god. Since the book came out they deployed a brigade in the U.S. and suspended the Posse Comitatus Act. There is no question that it’s something to take seriously. People have a histrionic view of what martial law will look like.

    I’m not worried that tomorrow there will be a battalion outside your Greenwich Village apartment. I’m worried about things like the McCain Liberman bill that would define enemy belligerents so loosely it would include Americans, which is just like Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini. If Obama tries people with military tribunals, setting that precedent, that is what a military state does. That is what martial law looks like. From a constitutional point of view Bush passing through the Patriot Act is no worse than Obama renewing it.

    [Full article at source: see link above]
  • coolarmydude

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    Apr 14, 2010 1:37 PM GMT
    Yeah, I don't call the tea party, the tea party anymore. I call them Dixiecrats.
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    Apr 14, 2010 3:25 PM GMT
    coolarmydude saidYeah, I don't call the tea party, the tea party anymore. I call them Dixiecrats.


    I call them fucktards. Yeah, they are mad at the bankers, but scream bloody murder at any and all regulation.
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    Apr 14, 2010 3:29 PM GMT
    I don't think you boys are being very nice to the teabaggers. Their condition is not their fault.
    browning_and_freaks_6.jpg
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    Apr 14, 2010 3:50 PM GMT
    When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." -- Sinclair Lewis


    Lewis worried about the possibility when he wrote "It Can't Happen Here" a political novel about a fascist president, Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip.
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    Apr 14, 2010 4:02 PM GMT
    though I understand MeOhMy's concerns (truly!) I think our country is just too damn lazy for any kind of an organized militant revolution. But take away cable TV and internet access and LOOK OUT!
  • DanOmatic

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    Apr 14, 2010 4:20 PM GMT
    I think that Sinclair Lewis, Noam Chomsky and the OP are onto something. If one reflects on the late 1920s in Weimar Germany, one finds a lot of similarities to the situation now in the US. I think one of the essential problems is that Americans are either less capable or less willing to apply critical thinking to the events that affect them (not much room for that in the No Child Left Behind curriculum, after all), and are much more prone to knee-jerk reactions. One of the remarkable things about the debate over health care reform was the oft-heard cry of "Governmnent hands off my Medicare!" which, of course, is ridiculous and shows a deep ignorance of the issue--but ultimately not surprsing because so few people actually bother finding out about the issues, and are instead content to let their opinions be shaped by blatherings emitted from their televisions or over the ether.

    The collusion of feeling disenfranchised by the economy and government on the one hand, and religious fervor on the other, is a very dangerous combination. I often refer to the Christian Taliban that is very much alive in this country, and not so terribly different in some respects from the Taliban we're fighting against in Afghanistan and Pakistan: both Christian and Muslim versions want a fundamentalist version of the world that is absolute, and it plays into base fears spawned by economic disruption and political polarization.
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    Apr 14, 2010 4:23 PM GMT
    And this scares the hell out of me:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100412/ap_on_re_us/us_tea_party_militia

    http://www.ksn.com/news/local/story/Oklahoma-group-calls-for-state-run-militia-Would/3GZ7p8DZgEKeJAKcLph1iA.cspx
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    Apr 14, 2010 4:32 PM GMT
    If it's going that way, fascism is something less perceived than realized once it's on the people.

    The erosion of the Constitution, the lessening of its understanding and irreverence for the conditions of its creation, the mindfulness of its creators, all adds up. Eventually, and in attempt to recoup the failures given rise because of the erosion of the institution of government, things will be made worse.

    There doesn't need to be ill will towards the republic to create a fascist government and society, but an alignment of interests, and a champion who will vanquish misunderstood evils.
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    Apr 14, 2010 4:48 PM GMT
    And all of this simply because we voted a black man into the highest office in the land. Make no mistake about it, this is all happening for that reason, and that reason only. This has nothing to do with higher taxes. Nothing.

    I sleep well at night knowing the hate that's eating away at 50% of this cunt-ry's citizens will likely result in their early demise. Cancer, hopefully, and preferably the kind that wouldn't be covered by their health insurance.
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    Apr 14, 2010 4:50 PM GMT
    I'm just watching the Mosaic of Bad Things form.
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    Apr 14, 2010 5:05 PM GMT
    I'm sorry, but this has to be said.

    You Americans are 'tards.

    Who cares? Does what Chomsky say make you feel bad? I read his books and eat a grain of salt at the same time. He is an activist, dontcha know?

    Come to Australia, dance with me and enjoy the lifestyle!

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    Apr 14, 2010 8:37 PM GMT
    makavelli saidIf it's going that way, fascism is something less perceived than realized once it's on the people.

    The erosion of the Constitution, the lessening of its understanding and irreverence for the conditions of its creation, the mindfulness of its creators, all adds up. Eventually, and in attempt to recoup the failures given rise because of the erosion of the institution of government, things will be made worse.

    There doesn't need to be ill will towards the republic to create a fascist government and society, but an alignment of interests, and a champion who will vanquish misunderstood evils.


    I totally agree, well said.
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    Apr 14, 2010 9:08 PM GMT
    To be quite frank, I think the threat of fascism is more prevalent from the administration in power (whether it was Bush, Obama, or anyone else) than from the Tea Party movement.

    The point of Chomsky and Wolf's statements above regarding the Tea Party was that they are justified in their anger, something I sympathize with. Tp say that it is simply because of a black president is media disinformation, and major polls suggest otherwise, with more people supporting the tea party movement than Obama himself, and not for racist reasons. Certainly, there are elements that are racist, or militant, or totally insane... and naturally they become the focus of the media attention, then everyone who has a problem with high taxes, the Federal Reserve, or the failure to bring GOOD change is suddenly framed as a racist.

    Obama has fucked up from day one. But it has nothing to do with him being black, and everything to do with him being a spineless puppet. The man hasn't had an original idea when it comes to foreign or economic policy, and his "healthcare" program just further enshrines the corporatist health system in the US.

    The government of the United States has been moving on the way to fascism for many years, that is, pre-Obama. But Obama has rapidly sped this process up. Now, what is concerning about the Tea Party movement is the co-option of it by the Republican Party, about the militant nature of some of the Tea Party groups.

    Fascism in America is coming from BOTH parties, not one; it is a bi-partisan consensus. The Department of Homeland Security, watch lists, kidnapping, rendition flights, torture, Guantamo concentration camp, the building of detention camps all over the United States, the Patriot Acts I and II (which Obama supported and asked Congress to reinstate as President, which they did), the mIlitary COmmissions Act 2006 (which legalizes the torture of US citizens and suspends habeas corpus), which Obama voted for as a Senator, the JOhn Warner Defense Act, which suspends Possee Comitatus, a law put in place following the Civil War to prevent the deployment of the US military on US soil, National Security Presidential Directive 51, which makes it much easier for the President to declare martial law, increased surveillance, the wiretapping program, NSA monitoring ALL internet traffic, "indefinite detention" without a trial, military tribunals, body scanners at airports... and on and on and on... all of everyone's freedoms are taken away and systematically dismantled in order to "protect" the people from some mythical beast known as "al-Qaeda" (which was the name given to the "database" of US and UK intelligence assets in the Afghan-Soviet war).

    If you make people afraid, you can make them do anything. That includes giving up their freedoms and rights.

    The greatest threat of fascism is from whoever is sitting as President. The Tea Party movement is justified in its anger, although many of their methods are questionable, and many individuals and people within the movement are misled, ignorant, or yes, even racist; but it would be a mistake to cast EVERYONE aside as such simply because some people are. If the Republican Party successfully hijacks the movement, or mobilizes a particular element of the movement, or the Tea Party becomes militant, the government will be spurred into quickening the pace into fascism, as it will crack down on the movement.

    The recent focus on cracking down on militias is preparing the ground for framing militias as terrorists, and now all the "anti-terrorism" laws that have been passed in the past decade can be used against the Tea Party movement.

    Is there potential for the Tea Party to mobilize and become militant and put in its own fascistic system? Of course. In revolutions, it is ALWAYS a danger that the more militant outfits seize power and set up a system worse than what was before it.

    Will this likely happen? No.

    The state is far too prepared for civil unrest, rebellion, riot and revolution, and is well aware of the growing discontent, and the coming discontent as the western world is thrown into a debt crisis. People will riot, rebel and revolt, and the state WILL oppress the people and prevent them from rising up to reorganize society and rebuild the social foundations which were swept out from underneath them.

    Fascism in America is a government project. Don't kid yourself, the government isn't preparing itself to HELP you, they are preparing to control and oppress you.
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    Apr 14, 2010 10:24 PM GMT
    I only agree with Noam Chomsky about a couple things... topping the list that Bob Dylan sold out. The other being the influence of media.

    MeOhMy, you need to listen to a guy named Dan Carlin, he's more grounded than your lefties but on the same path. He calls himself a neo-prudentist, one who considers every policy heavily by looking backwards and forwards and he's ultimately, to his immense credit and frustration, an Independent.

    He recognizes the duopoly of American politics, how both parties after Ross Perot made it next to impossible for a third party candidate to ever reach the same heights.

    http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/csarchive

    My libertarian friends roll their eyes when I talk about him, but I can't recommend him enough for anyone wanting something different and refreshing about American politics that is neither left or right but somewhere that looks both ways when crossing into uncharted (and usually very well charted in the past) territory.
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    Apr 14, 2010 10:39 PM GMT
    Sorry but these comparisons are utterly ignorant of history. Comparing the present situation in the United States of America to the Weimar Republic is patently absurd.

    What we have invented is a nuclear powered combination magnifying glass and bullhorn (the internet). The population has become so passive, so busy consuming media, that a few idiots marching around ends up looking like an organized political movement. Well, folks, it isn't. This is bread and circuses, not fascism.

    I realize that a large swath of the population hate the fact that we have a black President. But, please do keep in mind that, hallelujah, we actually have a black President. That is not supposed to be possible in the land of reactionaries, Dairy Queen, and Reaganomics. We did pass a health care bill, that was supposed to be impossible too.

    The tea party is interesting because we, unfortunately, aren't paying attention to what is actually going on in the world.

    It actually appalls me that we are fighting two wars, have been for nearly 10 years, and our focus is on the tea party and Tiger Woods.

    Kids your age are actually fighting, dying, or getting blown to bits. I am not so troubled that we are at war. I am troubled that we are acting like nothing is going on. Whether you support the wars or you don't, ignoring them is just appalling.

    What the fuck is up when Ben Bernanke tells the Congress we need to be watching the deficit? Hello, we are fighting a two-front war. Did he not get the fucking memo?

    People here are talking about a Christian Taliban. For the love of Pete, that is so god-damned absurd. Has anyone bothered to actually understand who the Taliban are and what they do?

    The tea party (whatever the fuck that is) is made up of people. Those people are pretty much just like you or I. Forget that there may be differences in education or economic opportunity. This is nothing more than suburban ennui. A bunch of people that are pissed off because they aren't getting enough pussy, they don't much care for their boss, their favorite TV show got cancelled, and we have a spook in the oval office. It scares them and gives a momentary focus to a generalized sense of non-specific rage and impending doom.

    If the Tea Party is standing in front of the capital yelling AT LEAST THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING. They are out in the fresh air misspelling signs instead of sitting in the Taco Bell drive through.

    We've gotten to the point that we barely react to stimuli. It doesn't even matter what the stimuli are. When it gets right down to button pushing there isn't much difference between death in the D.R. of Congo and Lady Gaga - they are both useful to the extent that they sell fucking soap powder. We are more interested in what is happening on "Lost" than what is going on in Islamabad.

    At least these Tea Party dipshits are somehow engaged in the political process. Frankly, that is a something that is better than nothing. I have more sympathy for the Tea Party folks than I do for the average college student these days.

    Mind you, I don't set myself apart from this criticism. I am just as guilty as the next asshole obsessed with getting mine, being happy, and delivery tex-mex. I do try to remind myself that we are at war (just or not - that is another debate). I do try to remind myself that decent kids are out there fighting for something that is supposed to represent our way of life and the spirit of our democracy.

    That alone, those kids, many right here on RJ, really ought to be enough to keep it clear that we are not talking about fascism, we are talking about our home. For Christ's sake we can be a little bit proud that there is something going on.

    I went to dinner a few days ago with a bunch of 30 something Italians. They all have pretty much the same preoccupations as we do. What sat me back in my chair is when they started talking about the President. I said that I thought that things were mostly good. They said that they were immensely proud that America had once again taken the world into the future. They said that if we can't do it then there is really no hope for the rest of the world.

    Sometimes you just get a bolt of how important our fat-ass, mini-van, chucky-cheeses country is to the world.

    STOP THE FUCKING WHINING and be a little bit proud of what we have going on.



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    Apr 14, 2010 10:59 PM GMT
    UrsaMajor said





    I also recommend Dan Carlin.


    But yes, the Tea Party is doing something. The fear though is that they may be overrun and infiltrated by Republican agents who will steer true and real issues to that of partisanship... almost like Weimar actually.

    Speaking of which, for every one way one thing is similar to another, there are a thousand ways in which they are not similar to each other.

    Comparisons to Nazi Germany, or Rome's decline, are yes, similar in that one way, but not indicative of fate.

    Otherwise, completely agreed.
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    Apr 14, 2010 11:10 PM GMT
    OKay, so I assume that rant was largely directed at me. However, you tended to miss my point entirely.

    I was saying how I think the Tea Party movement is vindicated (for the most part) in their anger, and it is a good thing that people are organizing and protesting and demanding the Federal Reserve be dismantled.

    However, I also was positing that the American government is on the road to fascism, and this is not hyperbole or "utterly ignorant of history."

    You rightly make the point about wars, but fail to point out that the US, with many of its neo-imperial allies, Canada included, are fighting imperial wars in foreign nations for domination of strategic routes and resources. It is not about spreading democracy, it never has been. Democracy has never been spread by a foreign imperial power at the barrel of a gun and it never will be.

    I focus just as much time on what is going on in Islamabad as what is going on in Washington D.C. Both are related: this is about empire.

    As Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the top American geostrategists (i.e., imperial strategists) wrote in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard", about the need for America to dominate Eurasia (Europe and Asia), to control the world, control the resources and manage all key strategic routes. He also acknowledged that, "Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." In other words, we are running an empire and we must expand the empire, but empire and democracy cannot survive together.

    Elites are giving up on the facade of democracy. This is why the solutions to the economic crisis, (also related to the interests of empire) are corporatist solutions, where the government saves big business and big banks and hands the bill to the people. This is known as corporate socialism, corporatism, or economic fascism.

    Part of fascist systems, if you forgot, was an imperial foreign policy. War is very much a part of the process of the militarization of society and the end of democracy. Even General Tommy Franks told Cigar Aficionado magazine in 2003, that after the next attack: "the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy."

    "It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important."
    http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/11/20/185048.shtml

    You seem to derail and deride the culture in the west, and i sympathize, I do the same. However, you fail to see how you simply saying that making comparisons to Weimar Germany are "ignorant of history", and yet you seem to be ignorant of what is going on around you right now. Google NSPD-51, the Military Commissions Act, the John Warner Defense Act 2007, look at what is being done to prepare for a military government right in the United States. Then who's ignorant?
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    Apr 14, 2010 11:13 PM GMT
    Rule by fear or rule by law?

    By: Dan Hamburg and Lewis Seiler

    The San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2008

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-02-04/opinion/17140386_1_martial-law-kbr-national-defense-authorization-act

    "The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

    - Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943


    Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

    Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

    According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."

    Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is: What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?

    Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to "a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order."

    The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.

    Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure "continuity of government" in the event of what the document vaguely calls a "catastrophic emergency." Should the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure "continuity of government." This could include everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51.

    U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice (Los Angeles County) has come up with a new way to expand the domestic "war on terror." Her Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR1955), which passed the House by the lopsided vote of 404-6, would set up a commission to "examine and report upon the facts and causes" of so-called violent radicalism and extremist ideology, then make legislative recommendations on combatting it.

    According to commentary in the Baltimore Sun, Rep. Harman and her colleagues from both sides of the aisle believe the country faces a native brand of terrorism, and needs a commission with sweeping investigative power to combat it.

    A clue as to where Harman's commission might be aiming is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that labels those who "engage in sit-ins, civil disobedience, trespass, or any other crime in the name of animal rights" as terrorists. Other groups in the crosshairs could be anti-abortion protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, environmentalists, peace demonstrators, Second Amendment rights supporters ... the list goes on and on. According to author Naomi Wolf, the National Counterterrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 "terror suspects" with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.

    What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

    The Constitution does not allow the executive to have unchecked power under any circumstances. The people must not allow the president to use the war on terrorism to rule by fear instead of by law.

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-02-04/opinion/17140386_1_martial-law-kbr-national-defense-authorization-act
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    Apr 14, 2010 11:28 PM GMT
    Again, it's the erosion of the purpose of the state to serve the people... look how many articles in the news there are about the John Warner Defense Act. Almost none.

    These things slip in, and like the Patriot Act are politically impossible to get rid of.

    One of the things Dan Carlin brought up was out of the 700 or so times the Patriot Act was enacted on American citizens in 2009, only 3 (THREE!) were for suspected terrorists.

    He paralleled that with RICO... it was never explicitly stated to JUST go after mobsters so now anyone can be RICOed that's caught selling drugs or weapons.

    The same with these anti-terrorist laws. They are not just for Osama bin Laden.
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    Apr 15, 2010 1:06 AM GMT
    makavelli saidAgain, it's the erosion of the purpose of the state to serve the people... look how many articles in the news there are about the John Warner Defense Act. Almost none.

    These things slip in, and like the Patriot Act are politically impossible to get rid of.

    One of the things Dan Carlin brought up was out of the 700 or so times the Patriot Act was enacted on American citizens in 2009, only 3 (THREE!) were for suspected terrorists.

    He paralleled that with RICO... it was never explicitly stated to JUST go after mobsters so now anyone can be RICOed that's caught selling drugs or weapons.

    The same with these anti-terrorist laws. They are not just for Osama bin Laden.


    Exactly. Under the Patriot Act, drug dealing is DEFINED as terrorism. Dissent has become treason, thus, things like the Tea Party movement are framed by the media and government as subversive and dangerous (while certainly there may be elements that are so), but the most dangerous thing in the United States, above mobilized movements on the right, or the left, or even the threat of terrorism, is the state itself, and state terror.

    It's amazing, shocking and terrifying, that thanks to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which Obama voted FOR as a senator), any person anywhere in the world, including a US citizen, can be declared an "enemy combatant" by either the President or the Secretary of Defense, and then they are stripped of the right of habeas corpus (i.e., the right to have charges laid against you, to be proven guilty or innocent of a crime, to be tried, the right to NOT be held without charges or unjustly imprisoned), and then they would be subject to military tribunals (that is, NOT trial by jury, but "trial" by General), where they dont have the right to defend themselves, to see the evidence presented against them (which is always secret evidence) or to even know what they are charged with, let alone have access to legal counsel. They can then be tortured, legally, and all that is required as evidence of someone's guilt is for the President or Defense Secretary to say that they are an enemy combatant.

    But it's all to fight "dem Moslems", so... that makes it okay, right?
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    Apr 15, 2010 3:52 AM GMT
    Speaking of which, I don't think history has ever seen a massacre of liberals this big in coming...
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    Apr 15, 2010 6:43 AM GMT
    Excellent documentary by award-winning investigative journalist Bill Moyers on "The Secret Government"