Sunday, January 23, 2005

Fascism Anyone?

What kind of a country do YOU want to live in? If you think
totalitarianism can't happen here, think again....

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Source Free

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler
(Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia)
and several Latin American regimes.
Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend
to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs,
and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag
symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear
of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes
are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases
because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even
approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long
incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need
to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or
religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount
of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected.
Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to
be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes,
traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and
homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the
ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media is directly controlled
by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly
controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media
spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is
very common.
7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational
tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in
fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation
as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and
terminology is common from government leaders, even when the
major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the
government's policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business
aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the
government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial
business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power
of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions
are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to
promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education and
academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics
to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and
letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes,
the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The
people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego
civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national
police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost
always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint
each other to government positions and use governmental power
and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not
uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even
treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations
are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by
smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition
candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political
district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations
also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Boxer's Rebellion

Did anyone catch Sen. Barbara Boxer's righteous
during the Rice confirmation hearing? Would
that others had her courage and forthrightness.
For the official record, Dr. Rice was confirmed 16-2.
But Sen. Boxer called out the good doctor and held her
accountable, and the poor thing was so flustered
she huffily stated something to the effect of, "Senator,
I wish we could do this without your impugning my integrity."

Ha! Integrity. That's a good one. Oh, I'm sorry, was
that a mushroom cloud I just saw?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Things I Like Vol. 9

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) Alero Mexican Restaurant, Washington DC
2) DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton
3) Martin Luther King, a hero for the ages
4) Code Pink - Women for Peace
5) Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
6) "Unforgiveable Blackness" - documentary
dir. by Ken Burns
7) Steve Earle
8) "David Ruffin" - unreleased song by Marah
9) Rock Creek Park, Washington DC
10) "Democracy Now" - program on Pacifica Radio Network

Hero of the Week: Howard Dean, for daring to propose
much-needed changes to the Democratic Party's agenda

Villain of the Week: White House spokesman Dan Bartlett, the public
apologist for the Bush Administration

Saturday, January 15, 2005

In Memory of Martin

It's a tough time to be an American, and an even tougher time
if you live in the Nation's Capital. At present, we here in the
District are battening the hatches in preparation for the Bush
Inaugural, a display of gross overspending, arrogant
disingenuousness and monster egos the likes of which this town
has never seen. (And we've see a lot of this type of thing.)
Spending vast sums on this extravagance when American troops
are being maimed and killed in Iraq is distasteful enough, but
to do this when thousands upon thousands have been killed,
injured, or displaced by the recent South Asian tsunamis--well
it is just unspeakable.

Martin Luther King, whose birthday is today, said it best:

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land."
---Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1964

To honor Martin's spirit, let us live our lives in the service of
peace and justice.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Things I Like Vol. 8

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) fireplaces with big crackling fires
2) text messaging
3) friends who are there when you need them
4) No Depression magazine
5) EZ-Pass
6) Marah live at the Marage, 11/26/04
7) Miracle on 34th St. - yeah, I know Christmas is over
8) Turner Classic Movies network
9) Mrs. Miniver - film dir. by William Wyler
10) "Oh My Sweet Carolina" - Ryan Adams - possibly the best
song about missing home and family ever

Hero of the Week:
-(tie) Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) - for standing up and speaking truth to power

Villain of the Week:
-Arturo Gonzales - possibly the scariest person ever to be
nominated for a presidential cabinet

Monday, January 03, 2005

Things I Like Vol. 7

Ten People/Places/Things, etc. That Rock My World

1) The sound of my nephews' voices at play
2) The sound of my cat purring
3) A smile from someone I love
4) black nail polish
5) Neil Young - "Heart of Gold" & "Like a Hurricane"
6) Waking up with the sun on my face
7) The Impossible Will Take a Little While - book edited by Paul R. Loeb
8) "Let America Be America Again" - poem by Langston Hughes
9) shots of Patron with friends
10) New Year's Eve, NYC

Hero of the Week:

my friend L., who has stopped drinking and made it through
the whole holiday season sober

Villain of the Week:

my mother-in-law, quite possibly a very mean person