Tuesday, September 19, 2006

THE 14 CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM: Summary etc

THE FOURTEEN CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM
SUMMARY AND EPILOGUE

SUMMARY
PROPAGANDA AND FALSE PREMISES: THEN AND NOW
By
Brandon, Jeffrey, Kyle, and Daniel


Only a few days after we began the revision of this project, the Bush Administration launched another propaganda campaign, this time a concentrated effort that was, and is, designed to convince the American people that an over-glorified cult of right-wing, Islamic religious fanatics were the modern day equivalents of World War II Fascists.   Indeed, President Bush has coined a new term--Islamo-fascists, as if the term Islamicist weren't enough to distinguish moderate Muslims from the fanatical variety, but who said Christianists like George W. Bush are consistent much less accurate?  

According to William Shirer:  "By the end of 1942, Adolf Hitler seemed once more to be on top of the world...On the map, the sum of Hitler's conquests looked staggering.   The Mediterranean had become practically an Axis lake, with Germany and Italy holding most of the northern share from Spain to Turkey and the southern share from Tunisia to within sixty miles of the Nile.  In fact German troops now stood guard from the Norwegian North Cape on the Arctic Ocean to Egypt; from the Atlantic at Brest to the southern reaches of the Volga River on the border of Central Asia."

In a similar vein, Hitler's ally, Imperial Japan, controlled a significant share of Eastern Asia.  An equally significant share of the Pacific Theater, including, but not limited to, Sumatra,Borneo, the Solomon Islands, the Gilbert Islands, Attu, Kiska, and the southern half of Sakhalin (Karafuto) had been conquered and occupied by the Imperial Japanese military.

The upshot here is that terrorist organizations do not possess the military might of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.  They do not have standing armies, navies, and air forces.   They are not nations with definable boundaries; they do not have the boundaries of a modern nation state.   Under certain circumstances they may inflict significant, even devastating, damage, but they do not possess the ability to conquer and occupy a nation the size of the United States.  For all intents and purposes, international terrorism operates like a transnational corporation, more like a crime syndicate than a fascist empire with a standing military.   And yet this Administration not only wants to equate international terrorism with World War II totalitarianism. It now appears as if the Administration wants to equate itself with the allied leaders of World War II, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.

Now that is a rather bizarre claim when you consider the fact that George W. Bush and his fellow Social Darwinists have spent the past twenty-six years trying to dismantle everything Roosevelt and subsequent generations Democrats implemented throughout the 1930s and afterward to protect American workers and the weakest of our citizens from corporate exploitation.   Whether it was Newt Gingrich intoning that we should let medicare "die on the vine," or or George W. Bush trying to privatize Social Security, or the Republican-dominated Congress meddling with bankruptcy laws and over time regulations, the fact of the matter is that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are not fighting World War II (or World War III if you will) and they are not the intellectual equals of Churchill and Roosevelt. They have systematically done anything and  everything in their power to placate the military-industrial complex at the expense of the shrinking and increasingly nervous middle class.    

Of course, it might just be that they are trying to capture the mantel of Roosevelt's wartime record, but that doesn't seem likely when you remember the fact that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have opted to emulate  Hitler, Mussolini, and the Imperial Japanese military, essentially transforming the barbaric act of invasion into a blood soaked art form.    

Isn't it ironic?  While the Republican leadership has been trying to portray others as fascists, it has repeatedly revealed itself as fascist in nature-- the invasion of Iraq being a perfect case in point.

In Mein Kampf , Adolf Hitler specifically revealed his militaristic policy towards Eastern Europe and "Bolshevik" Russia:

"With this, we National Socialists consciously draw a line through the foreign policy trend of our pre-War period.   We take up at the halting place of six hundred years ago.   We terminate the endless German drive to the south and west of Europe and direct our gaze towards the lands in the east.  We finally terminate the colonial and trade policy of the pre-War period and we talk about new soil and territory in Europe.  Today we think primarily of Russia and its vassal border states." Only a few pages earlier Hitler said:  I must attack most sharply those folkish scribbler souls who claim to see a 'breach of sacred human rights' in such an acquisition of territory and who consequently direct their effusions against it."

Likewise, The Project for a New American Century (think "Thousand Year Reich") not only presented the guidelines for American hegemony, it also advocated for the invasion of Iraq in the delusional hope that such an invasion would promote democracy, stability, and greater American influence over the Mideastern oil supply.  Indeed, these renegades from the Nixon Administration were so eager to flex their military and political muscle that they approached Bill Clinton in 1998, asking if he would consider just such an invasion,

Lesson learned?  When power-hungry megalomaniacs with Anti-Social Personality Disorder have the audacity to put their socopathic ideas into print, the world should take them seriously.

Like their Neocon descendants, the Nazis of 1939 went through elaborate means to justify their aggression to their own people--even when the outside world recognized what they were doing.   During the run up to World War II, the invasion of Poland, the Nazi-dominated press portrayed Poland as the aggressor:

"Whereas all the rest of the world," wrote William Shirer, "considers that the Peace is about to be broken by Germany, that Germany is threatening to attack Poland...here in Germany, in the world world the  local newspapers create, the very reverse is maintained...What the Nazi papers are proclaiming is this:  that it is Poland which is disturbing the peace of Europe; Poland which is threatening Germany with armed invasion.  

To justify the invasion the Nazis engaged in a bit theatrical propaganda:

"For six days," writes Shirer, "Alfred Naujochs, the intellectual S.S. ruffian had been waiting at Gleiwitz on the Polish border to carry out a simulated attack on the German radio station there.  The plan had been revised,   S.S. men, outfitted in Polish Army uniforms, were to do the shooting and drugged concentration camp inmates were to be left dying as 'casualties'--the last delectable part of the operation had...the expressive code name 'Canned Goods.'  There were to be several such faked Polish attacks, but the principal one was to be the radio station at Gleiwitz."

Seventy-four years later it appears as if the Neocons have learned their lessons well.   During the run up to the American invasion of Iraq, the phony issue of mushroom clouds rising over American cities was drummed home on a regular basis.  Our media were filled with frightening stories about how our troops were learning to wear and use special gear that would protect them from chemical or biological agents.   In addition, we were led to believe that Saddam Hussein had direct ties to Al Qaeda and 911.   We were told that we had a moral duty (odd words coming from an Administration that is essentially amoral to the core) to remove a blood-thirsty tyrant whose hand Donald Rumsfeld had once shaken while Saddam was our ally against Iran.  And, of course, we were informed that our troops would be welcomed with candy and flowers and that their efforts would result in peace, freedom, and democracy throughout the entire Middle East.  At it's cynical worst, the Administration sent then Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations to deliver a propaganda show piece which had been built upon the flimsiest of evidence, if not out right distortions and prevarications.  Granted, it lacked the originality and excitement of a phony attack on a German radio station, but it did the job; and through the entire process our corporate-owned media behaved like a well trained lap dog, seldom if ever bothering to check the administration's "facts."

If the prewar propaganda was a sham, the conduct of both, the occupation and the war on terrorism were little more than a continuing study in sexual perversion.  

Does anyone remember how the Administration and its minions of double-speaking pundits fanned the flames of hate against Iraq by reminding us that Udai and Qusai Hussein had used everything from threats, rape, and executions to extract their sociopathic ideas of revenge?   We sure do, and as we look at the Administration's attitude towards Article III of the Geneva Conventions we find ourselves wondering if the Administration was complaining or admiring when it talked about the infamous Hussein brothers.

"This debate," said President Bush at his 15 September 2006 press conference, "is occurring because the Supreme Court ruling said that we must conduct ourselves under the common article three of the Geneva Convention.  And that common article three says that--you know--there will be no outrages upon human dignity.  That's like very vague.  What does that mean?  Outrages upon human dignity?  That's a statement that's wide ope to interpretation."

We're sorry, but human rights are not vague statements--at least not to a normal human being with a fully developed conscience.  A truly moral human being--not a pseudo Christian who spews quasi-Biblical platitudes when ever it serves his or her own interests--should know the difference between good and evil, between normal behavior and sadism.

Stripping people of their clothing and forcing them to masturbate; threatening people with vicious dogs; inserting objects into a victim's bodily orifices; connecting electrodes to genitals; smearing your intended victim with fake menstrual blood;  strapping your victim onto a chair, forcing a feeding tube down the victim's throat and then letting that victim sit in his own fecal matter; placing underwear on your victims' heads; stripping your victims naked and forcing them to form a human pyramid:  Those are all acts that might be construed as violating human dignity. Those are acts which some might correctly define as sexual assault.  And the fact that this president doesn't understand this tells us that he doesn't need an enabling piece of legislation to approve his perverted sense of (in)justice.  Instead, it tells us that he needs to be a resident in a ward for the criminally insane.

We're sorry, but this president has been practicing what John Dean and more conscientious Christians refers to as "cheap grace."  For some time now we have wondered how this man can claim to be a Christian, claim to love America, and yet, at the same time, violate every standard of decency about which Christ ever spoke.  By the same token we have also wondered how anyone can claim to love America on one hand and then drag her moral reputation through the mud:  quite an accomplishment after September 12, 2001, when virtually the entire world was offering us sympathy and assistance.    

In many ways the kind of religion that George Bush and others like him practice actually lowers the inhibition against harming or dehumanizing others.  Instead of feeling a legitimate sense of guilt, Bush and many of his supporters--indeed many of  the president's advisers--merely confess their sins to Jesus, dispense with the idea of penance, and sin again.  They sin, wash away their guilt and graduate to commit even greater, more heinous violations.  Without guilt they seem to develop a sense of arrogant self-righteousness which only encourages them to become more aggressive and more sadistic.   In the end you see religious figures like Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of world leaders; world leaders like George W. Bush experiencing what left wing comic/commentator Stephanie Miller refers to was "wargasms" whenever he talks about torture or the invasion of a sovereign state. 

Of course, we can hear the Neocon lemmings, those who would follow this president over the edge of a cliff if he asked them to, chiming in with comments such as:  "You don't grant human rights to people who saw off heads."   To which we would respond, that the Bush War against terrorism and the Constitution has only been raging for five years and already the far right has begun to resemble and imitate the enemy which it so viscerally claims to hate, ignoring the distinct possibility that they have adopted the same attitude towards human rights and human dignity as the terrorists themselves.   Five years: That's how long it took the President's followers to lose their souls and their moral compasses
.  
Whether its rampant nationalism, a disdain for human rights, sexism, or the corporate press distorting the truth to placate Republican politicians it seems to us that there is a common thread that runs through all of the Fourteen Characterises:  a craving for an and acquisition of power that has dehumanized our leadership to the point of sadism and cruelty.  The attacks on New York City and Washington DC were traumatic--that much was a given--but on September 12, 2001, we had an opportunity to do so much more..  Instead of building a genuine alliance of nations, instead of reaching out to moderate Muslims and creating true coalitions against savagery and barbarism, our leaders exploited the tragedy of 9-11 to satisfy their own petty wants and desires.  Another Republican, Abraham Lincoln, asked us to "embrace the better angels of ourselves."  This President has asked and demanded that we embrace the malevolent demons of our inner selves.  
And when we listen to the vitriol that emanates from the radical right we are forced to conclude that some people heeded the President's call.  

SOURCES
BOOKS

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
By William Shirer
Pages 563, 594-595,  913-914
Simon and Schuster 1959, 1960
Mein Kampf

by Adolf Hitler
Pages 948, 950-951
Unabridged version as published by
Houghton-Mifflin 1939, Boston


SOURCES
WEBSITES
The Project for a New American Century
by William Rivers Pit
February 25, 2003
From Information Clearing House
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm


EPILOGUE
QUESTION EVERYTHING
by Katie

tt's always an interesting (aka hitting one's head repeatedly against a brick wall) discussion when the far right claims that Nazis and fascism are leftist ideals. Socialism, at least, has smatterings of left leanings (well, perhaps not Hitler's kind), of course, but to assert that fascism has anything to do with the left at all is ludicrous. Hitler made it well-known that he had no use for communism or socialism. Let's all remember that communism and fascism are mutually exclusive. A totalitarian dictatorship doesn't work so well if it's a collective.

 Bush called Saddam Hussein an "imminent threat" to our country...and yet, Hussein did not have political interests outside Iraq. He did not control the Middle East like Hitler controlled Europe. He didn't even seem to have any weapons with which to fight. How, then, is this a threat? Oh, it must be that famous Bush logic: of COURSE you can fight a war without allies, other political interests or weapons. Sometimes, I have to wonder if our commander-in-chief honestly believes that "God makes all the bad men go away." It does seem to be the base of all the foreign policy we've seen in the last five years. Hell, it seems to be the base of any policy we've seen in the past five years. There are some stunning historical parallels between Hitler and our own little Georgie and yet, nothing is being done. Have the free-thinking people of this nation really given up to the Insanity Party (aka any sort of radical right-wing anything)? My history teachers always taught me that the reason Hitler was so effective--and therefore so dangerous--was that for the most part, he came to power through the proper political means. He staged no coups and overthrew no governments. He was elected. George Bush was elected at least once. He seems to move further and further to the right with every passing day. In fact, he's moving so far right, he just might end up in Germany soon. Truly, has no one noticed the echoes of a supremely treacherous government? All the promised (and yet-to-be-delivered) economic reforms? The emphasis on military strength? Less and less tolerance for individuality and beliefs other than the leader's? The founding of policies based on one man's opinion of religion (Hitler's being a backlash against, Bush's being ultimate faith in)? The xenophobic tendencies of a nationalist obsession? Need I go on?

I'm fairly certain I don't need to point out eerie and ominous similarities to the members here. What about the common public? Thomas Paine incited a revolution with one pamphlet...why aren't we trying harder when one tactic fails? Why are we letting anyone bulldoze our lives with ideas of, "My vote doesn't count" (well, that's a bad example...sometimes, as Florida has shown us, it doesn't) and "I only have one vote." There are close to 300 million people in this country. I'm willing to bet at fair number of them are of  voting-age. 150 million people. If we can gauge a vote by public opinion, it seems like an overwhelming majority are not in support of right-wing ideals. Let's say that 3/5 of that would vote for a more liberal candidate, ideology, whatever they're voting for. 3/5 is 90 million people. That's 90 million votes, or 60% of the estimated total voting population. Last time I checked, 60% wins an election. A whopping 9% ( 8.1 million) of those votes could be declared useless and the liberal candidate would still win. That's roughly the population of New York City. One city has the power to change an entire election. And yet...

Nothing happens. We've still got Adolf Jr. in office. Why? Because of mindless propaganda.  Remember all those propaganda posters from WWII? Sometimes, I feel like I'm going to wake up some morning and see a big sign that says "Don't get involved, it's bad for your health!" There are obvious and blatant commonalities between Hitler's regime and Bush's regime. Doesn't that tell us something about which side of the political spectrum they reside? Though it's rather like preaching to the choir at this point, I leave you all with two words:

Question everything.


 


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