Saturday, April 28, 2007

fascist America

I have been saying this for years, and this eloquent article lays out the facts beautifully.

Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps
By Naomi Wolf, Chelsea Green Publishing
Posted on April 28, 2007, Printed on April 28, 2007

Editor's note: This is adapted from Wolf's forthcoming book "The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot."

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down -- the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. 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.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree, domestically, as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government -- the task of being aware of the Constitution has been outsourced from citizens to professionals such as lawyers and professors -- we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security -- remember who else was keen on the word "homeland"? -- didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable -- as the author and political journalist Joe Conason has put it -- that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realize.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of Euro

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A horrible case of "CRS"

Gonzalez' has "Can't remember shit disease." That is CRS.

As noted in this article:
Will Durst: The Curious Case Of The Amnesiac Attorney General
I'm afraid it is my duty to impart some bad news, and I advise you all to sit down before you fall down. The Attorney General of the United States apparently is suffering from a horrible disease. Best case scenario is we're talking a tertiary case of situational amnesia. For a lawyer, that can't be good. In his recent appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alberto Gonzales was unable to recall anything...45 times, and that was before lunch. Maybe it's simply a case of hypoglycemia, since after lunch, he only couldn't recollect 29 times. I don't mean to minimize the critical nature of this crisis but the solution seems obvious to me: between meal snacks...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor Becomes Terror Suspect

On April 19, after a day of teaching classes at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, I went out to my car and grabbed a box of old poetry manuscripts from the front seat of my little white Beetle, carried it across the street and put it next to the trashcan outside Wright Hall. The poems were from poetry contests I had been judging and the box was heavy. I had previously left my recycling boxes there and they were always picked up and taken away by the trash department.
A young man from ROTC was watching me as I got into my car and drove away. I thought he was looking at my car, which has black flower decals and sometimes inspires strange looks. I later discovered that I, in my dark skin, am sometimes not even a person to the people who look at me. Instead, in spite of my peacefulness, my committed opposition to all aggression and war, I am a threat by my very existence, a threat just living in the world as a Muslim body.

Upon my departure, he called the local police department and told them a man of Middle Eastern descent driving a heavily decaled white Beetle with out of state plates and no campus parking sticker had just placed a box next to the trash can. My car has NY plates, but he got the rest of it wrong. I have two stickers on my car. One is my highly visible faculty parking sticker and the other, which I just don't have the heart to take off these days, says, "Kerry/Edwards: For a Stronger America."...

One of my colleagues was in the gathering crowd, trying to figure out what had happened. She heard my description -- a Middle Eastern man driving a white Beetle with out of state plates -- and knew immediately they were talking about me and realized that the box must have been manuscripts I was discarding. She approached them and told them I was a professor on the faculty there. Immediately the campus police officer said, "What country is he from?"

What country is he from?!" she yelled, indignant.

"Ma'am, you are associated with the suspect. You need to step away and lower your voice," he told her.

At some length, several of my faculty colleagues were able to get through to the police and get me on a cell phone where I explained to the university president and then to the state police that the box contained old poetry manuscripts that needed to be recycled. The police officer told me that in the current climate I needed to be more careful about how I behaved. "When I recycle?" I asked.

link to article

Yeah, our culture of fear is working just great. Everyone is afraid of "brown" people, or hates "brown people" and they all want guns. WTF! This is not my country anymore.

Monday, April 23, 2007

watch the leather back turtles, root for Stephanie Colburtle

Controversial Michael Moore Flick "Sicko" Will Compare U.S. Health Care with Cuba's

Sicko, which will be premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May, is a comic broadside against the state of American health care, including the mental health system. The film targets drug companies and the HMOS in the richest country in the world -- where the most money is spent on health care, but where the U.S. ranks 21st in life expectancy among the 30 most developed nations, obviously in part due to the fact that 47 million people are without health insurance.

In a recent AlterNet article, attorney Guy Saperstein explained,

"The World Health Organization ranks health care systems based on objective measures of medical outcomes: The United States' health care system currently ranks 37th in the world, behind Colombia and Portugal; the United States ranks 44th in the world in infant mortality, behind many impoverished Latin American countries. While infant mortality in the United States is skewed toward poor people, who have rates double the wealthy, the top quintile of the U.S. population has infant mortality rates higher than Canadians in the lowest quintile of wealth.

"The United States has fewer physicians, nurses and hospital beds than most developed nations. In the United States, 28 percent say it is "difficult to get care"; in most European countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, 15 percent say that. In terms of continuity of care (i.e., five-plus years with the same doctor), the United States is the worst of all developed nations. By every objective measure, the United States has a second-rate health care system."

As a healthcare professional I can say for sure that our healthcare system stinks, and it's sinking quickly. My recent experience with my mother horrible care in the hospital brought it right home to me. We need to get our healthcare up to the standards of other industrialized nations. In the constitution it states...provide for the common welfare...doesn't that mean healthcare???

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gonzalez and the Mayberry Machiavellis

By Robert Parry
Consortium News

Friday 20 April 2007

"Watching the painfully inept testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brought to mind the memorable comment in 2002 by ex-White House insider John DiIulio, who described how politics dominated everything in George W. Bush's government.

"There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus," said DiIulio, who had run Bush's office of faith-based initiatives. "What you've got is everything - and I mean everything - being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

The American people are finally waking up to the consequences of what DiIulio observed during his one-year stint on the inside. Everything is about the building and maintenance of power, not via sound policies but through political tactics - ranging from the conduct of the Iraq War to the handling of federal prosecutors. [For more on DiIulio's comments, see Ron Suskind's Esquire, January 2003, article.]"

For more head over to Truthout. Also, try to watch part of the testimony on Cspan, it is so worth watching Gonzo's convoluted testimony. Obviously it is harder to lie than to tell the truth.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Bush Almost Blows Himself Up
from The Huffington Post | Full News Feed

Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.

Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford's hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.

Easter News, good grief!

From Think Progress » ThinkFast: February 8, 2007

Lieberman Says Pelosi Syria Visit Was ‘Bad For America,’ Suggests Syria Was Behind 9/11 Today on CNN, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said he “strongly disagrees” with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) bipartisan delegation ...

Gingrich: Gonzales needs to go. “The public would be much better served to have another attorney general,” said Newt Gingrich. “I cannot imagine how he’s ...

Kristol: Proper Response To Iran’s Kidnapping Of Soldiers Would Have Been Military Strikes Fox News pundit Bill Kristol has been an unceasing proponent of war with Iran. In the past year, Kristol has repeatedly beat ...

Robert F. Kennedy 1968

Read and contemplate this, and if you have time, go to the link and read the posted comments. I was so moved by them. I was a high school junior when RFK was murdered and I was involved in minor political actions, and very aware of his campaign. My Dad was counseling CO's (conscientious objectors) and I worked at the local hospital with Quakers and others who were performing alternative service. So I was quite aware of the war. This speech surely applies today.

Robert F. Kennedy (147 comments )
READ MORE: Robert F. Kennedy, United States, Vietnam, White House
In 1968, my father, running for President, addressed in a speech, the White House's proposal for a troop surge in Vietnam. Robert Kennedy had initially supported the U.S. intervention in Vietnam. Forty years later, as Congress and the White House debate the further escalation of yet another war that has already claimed the lives of an astounding 640,000 Iraqis, killed 3,256 U.S. soldiers and wounded another 50,000, his words should have special resonance to those of our political leaders who are still searching for the right course in Iraq:

"I do not want--as I believe most Americans do not want--to sell out American interests, to simply withdraw, to raise the white flag of surrender. That would be unacceptable to us as a country and as a people. But I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that the course we are following at the present time is deeply wrong. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that we are acting as if no other nations existed, against the judgment and desires of neutrals and our historic allies alike. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that our present course will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed; and will not advance the interests of the United States or the cause of peace in the world. I am concerned that, at the end of it all, there will only be more Americans killed; more of our treasure spilled out; and because of the bitterness and hatred on every side of this war, more hundreds of thousands of [civilians] slaughtered; so they may say, as Tacitus said of Rome: "They made a desert, and called it peace." . . .
"The reversals of the last several months have led our military to ask for more troops. This weekend, it was announced that some of them--a "moderate" increase, it was said--would soon be sent. But isn't this exactly what we have always done in the past? If we examine the history of this conflict, we find the dismal story repeated time after time. Every time--at every crisis--we have denied that anything was wrong; sent more troops; and issued more confident communiques. Every time, we have been assured that this one last step would bring victory. And every time, the predictions and promises have failed and been forgotten, and the demand has been made again for just one more step up the ladder. But all the escalations, all the last steps, have brought us no closer to success than we were before. . . . And once again the President tells us, as we have been told for twenty years, that "we are going to win"; "victory" is coming. . . . It becoming more evident with every passing day that the victories we achieve will only come at the cost of the destruction for the nation we once hoped to help. . . .

"Let us have no misunderstanding. [They] are a brutal enemy indeed. Time and time again, they have shown their willingness to sacrifice innocent civilians, to engage in torture and murder and despicable terror to achieve their ends. This is a war almost without rules or quarter. There can be no easy moral answer to this war, no one-sided condemnation of American actions. What we must ask ourselves is whether we have a right to bring so much destruction to another land, without clear and convincing evidence that this is what its people want. But that is precisely the evidence we do not have. . . .

"The war, far from being the last critical test for the United States, is in fact weakening our position in Asia and around the world, and eroding the structure of international cooperation which has directly supported our security for the past three decades. . . . All this bears directly and heavily on the question of whether more troops should now be sent--and, if more are sent, what their mission will be. We are entitled to ask--we are required to ask--how many more men, how many more lives, how much more destruction will be asked, to provide the military victory that is always just around the corner, to pour into this bottomless pit of our dreams? But this question the administration does not and cannot answer. It has no answer--none but the ever-expanding use of military force and the lives of our brave soldiers, in a conflict where military force has failed to solve anything yet. . . .

"But the costs of the war's present course far outweigh anything we can reasonably hope to gain by it, for ourselves or for the people of Vietnam. It must be ended, and it can be ended, in a peace of brave men who have fought each other with a terrible fury, each believing he and he alone was in the right. We have prayed to different gods, and the prayers of neither have been answered fully. Now, while there is still time for some of them to be partly answered, now is the time to stop. . . .

"You are the people, as President Kennedy said, who have "the least ties to the present and the greatest ties to the future." I urge you to learn the harsh facts that lurk behind the mask of official illusion with which we have concealed our true circumstances, even from ourselves. Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our misguided policies--and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once told us was the last, best hope of man. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America, but for the heart of America. . . . I ask you to go forth and work for new policies--work to change our direction--and thus restore our place at the point of moral leadership, in our country, in our hearts, and all around the world."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Vermont where will they go?

Will Vermont succeed? You go Vermont!

Trillions in Debt, Can the Middle Class Hang On?

How do we stop the credit industry's predatory business model and get Americans out of debt when incomes aren't rising as fast as the costs of healthcare and housing?

Interesting reading, go forth and read:

Think about it.....

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bush buys property in Paraguay

The United States alleges that they have no plans for establishing military bases in Paraguay. Of course, they said they had no plans to establish military bases in Iraq. Not only are the locals concerned about the military taking up residence, there are substantial rumors that the Bush family has purchased land in Paraguay. News of George W. Bush purchasing 98,840 acres of land in the Chaco area of Paraguay was reported in Prensa Latino, the Latin American News Agency on October 18, 2006.

more about Paraguay

more from Wonkette

And more from Argentine newspaper which you can translate using babelfish. Basically, what it says is that the land the Bush family bought contains the largest water resource on the planet, is next to the Bolivian border and strategically located militarily.

Nothing like retiring to South America like the Nazis. Wonder what the extradition treaties are like? Hmmmmm. Guess they don't want him in Dubai, which has no extradition treaties with the US.