Germs Are Not Aware

November 11, 2008


Andrew Lobaczewski: The following question thus suggests itself: what happens if the network of understandings among psychopaths achieves power in leadership positions with international exposure? This can happen, especially during the later phases of the phenomenon. Goaded by their character, such people thirst for just that even though it would conflict with their own life interest… They do not understand that a catastrophe would ensue. Germs are not aware that they will be burned alive or buried deep in the ground along with the human body whose death they are causing.

Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps

November 10, 2008

Source

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:
George W Bush
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.

George W. Bush: “A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.”

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.

After we were hit on Sept. 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on Oct. 26, 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a “war footing”; we were in a “global war” against a “global caliphate” intending to “wipe out civilization.”

2. Create a gulag.

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal “outer space”) — where torture can take place.

3. Develop a thug caste.

When leaders who seek what I call a “fascist shift” want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: You need citizens to fear thug violence, and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about “national security”; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

5. Harass citizens’ groups.

A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as “terrorism.” So the definition of “terrorist” slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.

“Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that,” asked the airline employee. Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the Constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of “enemy of the people” tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

7. Target key individuals.

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don’t toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile’s Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors. Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that “waterboarding is torture” was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job. Most recently, the administration purged eight U.S. attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty.

8. Control the press.

You won’t have a shutdown of news in modern America — it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth.

9. Dissent equals treason.

Cast dissent as “treason” and criticism as “espionage.” Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalize certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of “spy” and “traitor.” When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times’ leaking of classified information “disgraceful,” while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and right-wing commentators and news outlets kept up the “treason” drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers, smugly, that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution. n Stalin’s Soviet Union, dissidents were “enemies of the people.” National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy “November traitors.”

10. Suspend the rule of law.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears’s meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby, the New York Times editorialized about this shift: “A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night … Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any ‘other condition.'”

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as W.H. Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere — while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing.

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands … is the definition of tyranny,” wrote James Madison.


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