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Bush reelected :-(
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MaTT4281
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2/2/2005  6:53 AM
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Marv
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2/2/2005  9:57 AM
btw - irony of ironies - this is from an actual article from the NYT in 1967:

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite
Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (1967)-- United States officials were surprised and
heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential
election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million
registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked
reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

....A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in
President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional
processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a
constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which
President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky
and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon
Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since
November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a
military junta.

“This board has become a repository for mentally unstable attention seekers. Or gimmick posters.” - sebstar
Silverfuel
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2/2/2005  11:25 AM
Wow, talk about history repeating itself. Thats pretty damn close to being exactly what is happening in Iraq.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
MaTT4281
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2/3/2005  6:44 AM
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MaTT4281
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2/4/2005  6:52 AM
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Kwazimodal
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2/4/2005  11:32 AM
The article has clickable links for more info...


http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=2158

Tomgram: Nick Turse on the Homeland Security State (Part II)

Okay, under the rubric of "the war on terror" (which turns out to be just so versatile , so useful for so many much-desired but once back-burner policies, programs, and products), the military is having a grand old time protecting us from the Enemy up close and personal, right in our own, previously unlawful-to-occupy backyards. But, as Dr. Seuss would have said, that is not all… oh no, that is not all. Read Part II of Nick Turse's report on our developing Homeland Security State if you want to find out just what busy little homeland-security bees exist on the civilian side of the equation. Tom


Bringing It All Back Home:
The Emergence of the Homeland Security State
By Nick Turse

Part II: The Civilian Half

When we last left this story, we were knee-deep in the emerging Homeland Security State, a special place where a host of disturbing and mutually reinforcing patterns have emerged -- among them: a virtually unopposed increase in military, intelligence and "security" agencies intruding into the civilian sector of American life; federal abridgment of basic rights; denials of civil liberties on flimsy or illegal premises; warrant-less, sneak-and-peek searches; and the undermining of privacy safeguards.

But our last cast of characters: NORTHCOM, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, the FBI and the Air Force only represent the usual (if expansive) suspects. To make America a total Homeland Security State will take more than the combined efforts of the military and intelligence establishments. The civilian side of government, the part of the private sector that is deeply enmeshed in the military-corporate complex, and America's own citizens will have to pitch in as well if a total-security state is to truly take shape and fire on all cylinders.

The good news is -- if, at least, you're a Homeland Security bureaucrat -- this process is already well underway, thanks, in large part, to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which brought a dazzling array of agencies together under one roof, including the United States Customs Service (previously part of the Department of Treasury), the enforcement division of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Department of Justice), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Department of Agriculture), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (Department of Treasury), the Transportation Security Administration (Department of Transportation), the Federal Protective Service (General Services Administration), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Strategic National Stockpile and the National Disaster Medical System (Health and Human Services), the Nuclear Incident Response Team (Energy), Domestic Emergency Support Teams (Justice), the National Domestic Preparedness Office (FBI), the CBRN Countermeasures Programs (Energy), the Environmental Measurements Laboratory (Energy), the National Biological Warfare Defense Analysis Center (Defense), the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (Agriculture), the Federal Computer Incident Response Center (General Services Administration), the National Communications System (Defense), the National Infrastructure Protection Center (FBI), the Energy Security and Assurance Program (Energy), the Secret Service (Treasury), and the Coast Guard (Defense and Transportation).

The DHS is, not surprisingly, the poster-child for the emerging Homeland Security State. But the DHS itself is just the tip of the iceberg -- an archetype for a brave new nation where the lines between what the intelligence community and the military do abroad and what they do in the U.S.A. are increasingly blurred beyond recognition. Today, a host of agencies on the civilian side of the government are also setting up new programs; expanding their powers; gearing up operations and/or creating "Big Brother" technologies to more effectively monitor civilians, chill dissent, and bring the war back home to America.

Freedom of the Road

Recently, it was disclosed that the Department of Homeland Security had deployed an x-ray van, previously used in cargo searches at America's borders, in a test run -- taking X-ray pictures of parked cars in Cape May, New Jersey. While, the DHS claimed all X-ray surveillance was conducted on empty cars with their owners' consent, one wonders how long this will last. After all, American Science & Engineering Inc., the manufacturer of the Z Backscatter Van (ZBV), notes that "it maintains the outward appearance of an ordinary van," so it can stand unnoticed and peep into cars as they drive past, or with its "unique ‘drive-by' capability [it] allows one or two operators to conduct X-ray imaging of suspect vehicles and objects while the ZBV drives past." Since we're all increasingly suspects (in our "suspect vehicles") in the Homeland Security State, it seems only a matter of time before at least some of us fall victim to a DHS X-ray drive-by.

But what happens after a DHS scan-van x-ray shows a dense white mass in your car (which could be any "organic material" from explosives or drugs to a puppy, a baby, or a head of lettuce)? Assuming that the DHS folks will be linked up with the Department of Transportation (DOT), soon they might be able to call on DOT's proposed Intelligent Transportation Systems' (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO)'s "Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration (VII)" system for help.

According to Bill Jones, the Technical Director of the ITS JPO, "The concept behind VII is that vehicle manufacturers will install a communications device on the vehicle starting at some future date, and equipment will be installed on the nation's transportation system to allow all vehicles to communicate with the infrastructure." In other words, the government and manufacturers will team up to track every new automobile (x-rayed or not) in America. "The whole idea," says Jones, "is that vehicles would transmit this data to the infrastructure. The infrastructure, in turn, would aggregate that data in some kind of a database."

Imagine it: The federal government tracking you in real time, while compiling a database with information on your speed, route, and destination; where you were when; how many times you went to a certain location; and just about anything else related to your travels in your own car. The DOT project, in fact, sounds remarkably like a civilian update of the "Combat Zones That See" program developed by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Noah Shachtman, writing for the Village Voice, reported in 2003 that DARPA was in the process of instituting a project at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, whose aim was "to track 90 percent of all of cars within [a] target area for any given 30-minute period. The paths of 1 million vehicles [w]ould be stored and retrievable within three seconds." It gives a whole new meaning to "King of the Road."

Pssst… Wanna Hear a Secret (Law)

In November 2004, "the Transportation Security Administration ordered America's 72 airlines to turn over their June 2004 domestic passenger flight records." With only a murmur of concern over the privacy of passengers' credit-card numbers, phone numbers and health information, the airlines handed the requested information over so the agency could test its new Secure Flight system -- an expanded version of the much-maligned terrorist watch list.

More recently, the Transportation Security Administration has made headlines with a change in its pat-down policies. Following public outcry, airport security screeners have been instructed to no longer grope the breasts of female passengers as an anti-terror measure. Pat downs, however, apparently remain part of TSA airport protocol in some cases, although we have no idea which ones. This is because the Transportation Security Administration has begun to dabble in "secret law" by subjecting passengers to special screenings including "pat-down searches for weapons or unauthorized materials," while denying the public the right to know under what law(s) such methods are authorized. As Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy recently observed, "In a qualitatively new development in U.S. governance, Americans can now be obligated to comply with legally-binding regulations that are unknown to them, and that indeed they are forbidden to know."

When Big Brother Goes to College

Since it was enacted in the rough wake of 9/11, the Patriot Act has enabled the government to undermine privacy safeguards like those once protected by the Family Education Records Privacy Act. The government is now allowed access, without a warrant, to a student's personal, library, bookstore, and medical records, and any disclosure that such records have either been sought or turned over is prohibited.

Now, the Department of Education has suggested upping the ante with a proposal to create a national registry that would track every one of the estimated 15.9 million college students in America through yet another "massive database" -- this one containing everything from college students' academic records, tuition payments and financial aid benefits to social security numbers and information on participation in varsity sports.

Right now, students have to give written consent for educational and personally identifiable data to be transferred out of the college. "With this new proposal, most of that power is given to the federal government," says Sarah Flanagan, the vice president for government relations at the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities. Moreover, if this new database comes to pass, says Jasmine L. Harris, legislative director at the United States Students Association, it would further erode various remaining privacy safeguards, allowing government agencies other than the Education Department to have greater access to student records.

Bright Lights, Big Cities

With the federal government casting off the Geneva Conventions as "quaint," employing secret law at home, and tasking average Americans to become Peeping Toms and undercover informants, it's little wonder that those in the private sector have now taken up the task of helping the Feds in fashioning a Homeland Security State. After all, with surveillance bureaucracies burgeoning and security budgets growing, there's suddenly a fortune to be made. Last year, alone, under the Urban Area Security Initiative, the DHS doled out $675 million to 50 large cities across America. This year, the total will jump to $854.6 million.

With money flowing in and representatives of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, the New York Police Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department, among others, sitting beside operatives from the NSA, CIA, DIA, FBI and other defense and intelligence agencies at the DHS's Homeland Security Operations Center, its little wonder that major urban centers like Chicago (which is getting $45 million in Urban Area Security Initiative funds this year), Los Angeles ($61 million in UASI money) and New York City (which is raking in a cool $208 million) have moved toward implementing wide-ranging, increasingly sophisticated covert surveillance systems.

In Chicago, a program, code-named Operation Disruption, consists of at least 80 street surveillance cameras that send their feed to police officers' laptop computers in squad cars and "a central command center, where retired police officers… monitor activity." The ultimate plan, however, is to use a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and city monies to purchase 250 new cameras and link them to "some 2,000 unnetworked video cameras installed around Chicago (and at O'Hare International Airport) to create a network of as many as "2,250 surveillance cameras throughout the Windy City." "We're so far advanced than [sic] any other city," said Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley of the program, "sometimes the state and federal governments -- they come here to look at the technology."

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced a "major upgrade" for the city's high-tech crime-tracking system, Compstat, through the creation of a "Real Time Crime Fighting Center" to provide "same-day information" for tracking and analysis purposes.

Private Eyes

While the doings of "private contractors" still pop up in articles about prisoner abuse in Iraq, what such mercenary outfits are up to on the homefront is hardly ever mentioned. For example, CACI International Inc., whose employees were linked in news accounts to the Abu Ghraib torture scandals, boasts that its customers include not only a "majority of U.S. defense and civilian agencies and the U.S. intelligence community," but "44 U.S. state governments" and "[m]ore than 200 cities, counties and local agencies in North America." CACI proclaims that it plays "many roles in securing our homeland" and that it "support[s] law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Justice [and] design[s] and prototype[s] systems that collect intelligence information." One of CACI's fellow contractors, Titan Corp (which was also linked in news accounts to the Abu Ghraib torture cases) is at work in the "Defense of the Homeland" with programs such as Data Warehousing and Data Mining for the Intelligence Community and a Command and Control Concept for North American Homeland Defense .

Of course, these are only two of the many companies helping to secure the homeland (and fat contracts). In 2003 alone, the DHS spent "at least $256.6 million in 1,609 separate contracts or amendments to contracts to hire what the [General Services Administration] described as ‘security guards and patrol services'" and doled out $6.73 billion dollars in total. This year the DHS has raked in a cool $28.9 billion in net discretionary spending -- including $67.4 million "to expand the capabilities of the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD), which implements the public and private sector partnership protecting cyber security"; $104.7 million for "Aerial Surveillance and Sensor Technology" projects; and $340 million for the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program (US –VISIT) which "expedites the arrival and departure of legitimate travelers."

Your Role in the Homeland Security State

In the latter years of the Vietnam era, a series of exposures of official lies regarding the FBI's various COINTELPROs, a host of surveillance and dirty tricks programs aimed at American activists, and the analogous CIA program known as MHCHAOS; of domestic spying by military intelligence agents and of the Nixon administration's various Watergate surveillance and illegal break-in operations brought home to Americans at least some of the abuses committed by their military, intelligence, and security establishments. Congressional bodies like the Church Commission and the Senate Watergate Committee even helped to rein in some of the most egregious of these abuses and to reinforce the barriers between what the CIA and military could do overseas and what was permissible on the homefront.

In the 1980s and 1990s, however, oversight and constraints on illegal domestic activities by the military and intelligence community slowly began to drain away; and with the 9/11 attacks, of course, everything changed. Three years later, what was once done on the sly is increasingly public policy -- and done with pride -- though much of it still flies under the mainstream media radar as the Bush administration transforms us into an unabashed Homeland Security State.

Today, freedom -- to be spread abroad by force of arms -- is increasingly a privilege that can be rescinded at home when anyone acts a little too free. Today, America is just another area of operations for the Pentagon; while those who say the wrong things; congregate in the wrong places; wear the wrong t-shirts; display the wrong stickers; or just look the wrong way find themselves recast as "enemies" and put under the eye of, if not the care of, the state. Today, a growing Homeland Security complex of federal, local, and private partners is hard at work establishing turf rights, garnering budgetary increases, and ramping up a new security culture nationwide. And, unfortunately, the programs and abuses highlighted in this series are but the publicly known tip of the iceberg. For example:

It was recently revealed through the Freedom of Information Act that "the FBI obtained 257.5 million Passenger Name Records following 9/11, and that the Bureau has permanently incorporated the travel details of tens of millions of innocent people into its law enforcement databases."

Outgoing DHS chief, Tom Ridge recently called for U.S. passports to include fingerprints in the future; while OTI, a Fort Lee, N.J.-based subsidiary of the Israeli company On Track Innovations was just selected to provide electronic passports which utilize a biometrically-coded "digitized photograph, which is accessed by a proximity reader in the inspection booth and compared automatically to the face of the traveler."

In November 2004, California passed the Orwellian-sounding "DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act" which "allows authorities to take DNA samples from anyone -- adult or juvenile -- convicted of a felony" and "in 2009… will expand to allow police to collect DNA samples from any suspect arrested for any felony… whether or not the person is charged or convicted. It's expected that genetic data for 1 million people -- including innocent suspects -- will be added to California's DNA databank by 2009."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced plans to "use the latest in database technologies" to store information on and count the homeless which, the Electronic Privacy Information Center notes, "lay[s] the groundwork for a national homeless tracking system, placing individuals at risk of government and other privacy invasions."

According to a recent report in ISR Journal, "the publication of record for the global network-centric warfare community," a "high-level advisory panel recently told U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld" that the Pentagon needs ultra-high-tech tracking tools that "can identify people by unique physical characteristics -- fingerprint, voice, odor, gait or even pattern of iris" and that such a system "must be merged with new means of ‘tagging' so that U.S. forces can find enemies who escape into a crowd or slip into a labyrinthine slum."

Imagine if this last program were integrated with any of the aforementioned ventures -- in our increasingly brave new (blurred) world. Yet, for all their secret doings, vaunted programs, futuristic technologies and their powerful urge to turn all American citizens into various kinds of tractable database material, our new Homeland Security managers require one critical element: us. They require our "Eagle Eyes," our assent, and -- if not our outright support -- then our ambivalence and acquiescence. They need us to be their dime-store spies; they need us to drive their tracking device-equipped cars; they need us to accede to their revisions of the first amendment.

That simple fact makes us powerful. If you don't dig the Homeland Security State, do your best to thwart it. Of course, such talk, let alone action, probably won't be popular -- but since when has anything worthwhile, from working for peace to fighting for civil rights, been easy? If everyone was for freedom, there would be no need to fight for it. The choice is yours.

Nick Turse is a doctoral candidate at the Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He writes for the Village Voice and regularly for Tomdispatch on the military-corporate complex.

Copyright C2005 Nick Turse



MaTT4281
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2/5/2005  10:43 AM
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MaTT4281
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2/6/2005  7:54 AM
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Marv
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2/6/2005  8:18 AM
MaTT - thanks for carrying the torch, man.

Kwaz - loved the article. Thought this was a great line:

"Today, freedom -- to be spread abroad by force of arms -- is increasingly a privilege that can be rescinded at home when anyone acts a little too free."

Now this one brings chills to anyone who remembers Nixon and his enemies list:

"Today, America is just another area of operations for the Pentagon; while those who say the wrong things; congregate in the wrong places; wear the wrong t-shirts; display the wrong stickers; or just look the wrong way find themselves recast as "enemies" and put under the eye of, if not the care of, the state."
“This board has become a repository for mentally unstable attention seekers. Or gimmick posters.” - sebstar
Kwazimodal
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2/6/2005  8:39 PM
Glad you like it Marv.Here is another one from a conservative magazine.Its a good read,but I believe we are further down the road than he realizes.Scary times.

http://www.amconmag.com/2005_02_14/article.html

February 14, 2005 Issue
Copyright © 2005 The American Conservative



Hunger for Dictatorship

War to export democracy may wreck our own.


by Scott McConnell


Students of history inevitably think in terms of periods: the New Deal, McCarthyism, “the Sixties” (1964-1973), the NEP, the purge trials—all have their dates. Weimar, whose cultural excesses made effective propaganda for the Nazis, now seems like the antechamber to Nazism, though surely no Weimar figures perceived their time that way as they were living it. We may pretend to know what lies ahead, feigning certainty to score polemical points, but we never do.

Nonetheless, there are foreshadowings well worth noting. The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the “brownshirting” of American conservatism—a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.

Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, “Today’s Conservatives are Fascists.” Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of “fascism with a democratic face.” His fellow libertarian, Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, wrote a year-end piece called “The Reality of Red State Fascism,” which claimed that “the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing.”

I would argue that Rockwell—who makes the most systematic argument of the three—overstates the libertarian component of the 1994 Republican victory, which could just as readily be credited to heartland rejection of the ’60s cultural liberalism that came into office with the Clintons. And it is difficult to imagine any scenario, after 9/11, that would not lead to some expansion of federal power. The United States was suddenly at war, mobilizing to strike at a Taliban government on the other side of the world. The emergence of terrorism as the central security issue had to lead, at the very least, to increased domestic surveillance—of Muslim immigrants especially. War is the health of the state, as the libertarians helpfully remind us, but it doesn’t mean that war leads to fascism.

But Rockwell (and Roberts and Raimondo) is correct in drawing attention to a mood among some conservatives that is at least latently fascist. Rockwell describes a populist Right website that originally rallied for the impeachment of Bill Clinton as “hate-filled ... advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now.” One of the biggest right-wing talk-radio hosts regularly calls for the mass destruction of Arab cities. Letters that come to this magazine from the pro-war Right leave no doubt that their writers would welcome the jailing of dissidents. And of course it’s not just us. When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor. That mood, Rockwell notes, dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. “It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”

The warnings from these three writers would have been significant even if they had not been complemented by what for me was the most striking straw in the wind. Earlier this month the New York Times published a profile of Fritz Stern, the now retired but still very active professor of history at Columbia University and one of my first and most significant mentors. I met Stern as an undergraduate in the spring of 1974. His lecture course on 20th-century Europe combined intellectual lucidity and passion in a way I had never imagined possible. It led me to graduate school, and if I later became diverted from academia into journalism, it was no fault of his. In grad school, I took his seminars and he sat on my orals and dissertation committee. As was likely the case for many of Stern’s students, I read sections of his books The Politics of Cultural Despair and The Failure of Illiberalism again and again in my early twenties, their phraseology becoming imbedded in my own consciousness.

Stern had emigrated from Germany as a child in 1938 and spent a career exploring how what may have been Europe’s most civilized country could have turned to barbarism. Central to his work was the notion that the readiness to abandon democracy has deep cultural roots in German soil and that many Europeans, not only Germans, yearned for the safeties and certainties of something like fascism well before the emergence of fascist parties. One could not come away from his classes without a sense of the fragility of democratic systems, a deep gratitude for their success in the Anglo-American world, and a wary belief that even here human nature and political circumstance could bring something else to the fore.

He is not a man of the Left. He would have been on the Right side of the spectrum of the Ivy League professoriat—seriously anticommunist, and an open and courageous opponent of university concessions to the “revolutionary students” of 1968. He might have described himself as a conservative social democrat, of the sort that might plausibly gravitate toward neoconservatism. An essay of his in Commentary in the mid-1970s drew my attention to the magazine for the first time.

But he did not go further in that direction, perhaps understanding something about the neocons that I missed at the time. One afternoon in the early 1980s, during a period when I was reading Commentary regularly and was beginning to write for it, he told me, clearly enjoying the pun, that my views had apparently “Kristolized.”

It is impossible to overstate my pleasure at being on the same side of the barricades with him today. That side is, of course, that of the antiwar movement; the side of a conservatism (or liberalism) that finds Bush’s policies reckless and absurd and the neoconservatives who inspire and implement them deluded and dangerous. In the past year, I had seen Stern’s letters to the editor in the Times (“Now the word ‘freedom’ has become a newly invoked justification for the occupation of a country that did not attack us, whose people have not greeted our soldiers as liberators. … The world knows that all manner of traditional rights associated with freedom are threatened in our own country. ... The essential element of a democratic society—trust—has been weakened, as secrecy, mendacity and intimidation have become the hallmarks of this administration. ... Now ‘freedom’ is being emptied of meaning and reduced to a slogan. But one doesn’t demean the concept without injuring the substance.”) In the profile of him in the Times, he sounds an alarm of the very phenomenon Roberts, Raimondo, and Rockwell are speaking about openly.

To an audience at the Leo Baeck Institute, on the occasion of receiving a prize from Germany’s foreign minister, Stern noted that Hitler had seen himself as “the instrument of providence” and fused his “racial dogma with Germanic Christianity.” This “pseudo–religious transfiguration of politics … largely ensured his success.” The Times’ Chris Hedges asked Stern about the parallels between Germany then and America now. He spoke of national mood—drawing on a lifetime of scholarship that saw fascism coming from below as much as imposed by elites above. “There was a longing in Europe for fascism before the name was ever invented... for a new authoritarianism with some kind of religious orientation and above all a greater communal belongingness. There are some similarities in the mood then and the mood now, although significant differences.”

This is characteristic Stern—measured and precise—but signals to me that the warning from the libertarians ought not be simply dismissed as rhetorical excess. I don’t think there are yet real fascists in the administration, but there is certainly now a constituency for them —hungry to bomb foreigners and smash those Americans who might object. And when there are constituencies, leaders may not be far behind. They could be propelled into power by a populace ever more frustrated that the imperialist war it has supported—generally for the most banal of patriotic reasons—cannot possibly end in victory. And so scapegoats are sought, and if we can’t bomb Arabs into submission, or the French, domestic critics of Bush will serve.

Stern points to the religious (and more explicitly Protestant) component in the rise of Nazism—but I don’t think the proto-fascist mood is strongest among the so-called Christian Right. The critical letters this magazine receives from self-identified evangelical Christians are almost always civil in tone; those from Christian Zionists may quote Scripture about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in ways that are maddeningly nonrational and indisputably pre-Enlightenment—but these are not the letters foaming with a hatred for those with the presumption to oppose George W. Bush’s wars for freedom and democracy. The genuinely devout are perhaps less inclined to see the United States as “God marching on earth.”

Secondly, it is necessary to distinguish between a sudden proliferation of fascist tendencies and an imminent danger. There may be, among some neocons and some more populist right-wingers, unmistakable antidemocratic tendencies. But America hasn’t yet experienced organized street violence against dissenters or a state that is willing—in an unambiguous fashion—to jail its critics. The administration certainly has its far Right ideologues—the Washington Post’s recent profile of Alberto Gonzales, whose memos are literally written for him by Cheney aide David Addington, provides striking evidence. But the Bush administration still seems more embarrassed than proud of its most authoritarian aspects. Gonzales takes some pains to present himself as an opponent of torture; hypocrisy in this realm is perhaps preferable to open contempt for international law and the Bill of Rights.

And yet the very fact that the f-word can be seriously raised in an American context is evidence enough that we have moved into a new period. The invasion of Iraq has put the possibility of the end to American democracy on the table and has empowered groups on the Right that would acquiesce to and in some cases welcome the suppression of core American freedoms. That would be the titanic irony of course, the mother of them all—that a war initiated under the pretense of spreading democracy would lead to its destruction in one of its very birthplaces. But as historians know, history is full of ironies.


MaTT4281
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2/7/2005  6:40 AM
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MaTT4281
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MaTT4281
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2/9/2005  6:45 AM
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2/9/2005  10:47 AM
MaTT - ongoing props to you.

Kwaz - wow. Have you read any of Stern's source materials? SOunds fascinating, might have to add it to my ever-expanding list.
“This board has become a repository for mentally unstable attention seekers. Or gimmick posters.” - sebstar
MaTT4281
Posts: 30857
Alba Posts: 4
Joined: 1/16/2004
Member: #538
USA
2/10/2005  6:52 AM
Thanks Marv, and this brings us down to 1,363.
"I must break you." - Kristaps Porzingis to Rocky Balboa
MaTT4281
Posts: 30857
Alba Posts: 4
Joined: 1/16/2004
Member: #538
USA
2/11/2005  6:52 AM
1,362
"I must break you." - Kristaps Porzingis to Rocky Balboa
MaTT4281
Posts: 30857
Alba Posts: 4
Joined: 1/16/2004
Member: #538
USA
2/11/2005  11:22 PM
Gonna update this quick before bed.
1,361.
"I must break you." - Kristaps Porzingis to Rocky Balboa
MaTT4281
Posts: 30857
Alba Posts: 4
Joined: 1/16/2004
Member: #538
USA
2/13/2005  8:20 AM
1,360
"I must break you." - Kristaps Porzingis to Rocky Balboa
MaTT4281
Posts: 30857
Alba Posts: 4
Joined: 1/16/2004
Member: #538
USA
2/14/2005  6:53 AM
1,359
"I must break you." - Kristaps Porzingis to Rocky Balboa
MaTT4281
Posts: 30857
Alba Posts: 4
Joined: 1/16/2004
Member: #538
USA
2/15/2005  6:41 AM
1,358
"I must break you." - Kristaps Porzingis to Rocky Balboa
Bush reelected :-(

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