Monday, January 23, 2012

Fascism With a Human Face

As I have touched on previously the ugly reality is that we are living in a neo-fascist state. Sure we still have the illusions free speech and free elections. But do we really?

Just look at the choices we have for President in the upcoming elections. With the exception of Dr. Paul if one were to do a blind comparison among them all you would be had pressed to say who was who and who belonged to what party.

There is a reason for this of course and that is that as in the classical definition of fascism the corporations and the state have merged into a single amorphous entity. The corporations hire the lobbyists to write the bills that they then send to their bought and paid for politicians who pass them into law and then the corporations just go about their business of pillaging the economy and the citizens and everything is nice and “legal.” Just like in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Don’t ask questions of morality the politicians and the courts and the media will only ask that you consider if it is “legal.”

Anyone who thinks that the MSM functions as anything other than Ministry of Propaganda for the neo-fascist state is either not paying attention, woefully ignorant, sadly deluded or to be quite frank, just plain stupid.

So the point in time is rapidly approaching wherein a lot of people are going to have to ask themselves; can this be changed? Can we stand and fight the machine? Or; Do we just hunker down and try and hide from the eye of Sauron or perhaps even flee the country?

How many of us can become capital “A” Anonymous and fight them and hope for continuing victories as was recently achieved in the take down of the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation? Knowing full well that the state is actively engaged in hunting them down and will have no mercy when and if they find them. How many of us can really become little ”a” anonymous and have the means to effectively hide from the government with enough land and or resources to sustain ourselves and hopefully stay outside their reach or concern? In either case, probably not to many of us. The only remaining alternatives will be to either become a cog in the machine of the corporate government or simply go along with the corruption and fraud and hope that it doesn’t target us specifically.

We are making the transition into what Fabian socialist H.G. Wells called “fascism with a human face.” How long until it devolves into what as George Orwell so succinctly put it “imagine a jack boot stomping on a human face.” No one can tell but have no doubt it will move in that direction.

The reason that this neo-fascist state gets away with this slow one-by-one usurpation of our rights and property is that they have made issues of economics and government so complex that for the vast majority of people when they come up their eyes just glass over and the subject changes to who will win the Super Bowl or the latest season of Survivor or whatever other mindless distraction, put forth deliberately by the same propaganda outlets, so that we don’t become involved with the outcome of our own fates at the hands of the corporatocracy.

The Department of Homeland Security and their increasingly thuggish TSA have grown into some sort Imperial Praetorian Guard, concerned not with protecting the citizens but only with protecting the power of the state. How soon until like those of ancient Rome they start to “remove” even elected officials who question their authority? Just today a sitting US Senator who has been outspoken in his criticism of the TSA was detained for refusing a “pat down” at an airport in his own state of Tennessee. This is not the politically correct theater of the absurd, this is barefaced tyranny.

How long will people continue to wallow in their normalcy bias, thinking that a choice between an Obama or a Romney or a Gingrich is actually a choice? Or simply closing our eyes to the ugly truth and concerning ourselves with nothing but the flickering images on our new HD TVs until one day we wake up and find that all our rights and liberties and property have been stolen from us in the name of “state security” and we wonder out loud “How did this happen?” or ask “Why didn’t the talking heads on TV tell us this was happening?” Or will we wait until the latest and greatest HDTV comes equipped with a web cam and microphone so the Ministry of Truth can watch us as we watch their propaganda. Why not just line up at the courts and all of us change our names to Winston Smith and be done with it?

Of course by the time that the realization of the truth begins to dawn for most it will be too late to “petition the government for redress of grievances” because that right will be gone as well. And all of us who tried to warn the public, who begged and pleaded and cajoled until we were blue in the face will have all either “gone Galt” (members of Congress talking about setting up a “Reasonable Profits Board” draws not even a stiffeled yawn from any of the candidates or the MSM) or disappeared into some FEMA camp, held under indefinite detention, just as the NDAA now says is “legal.”

It’s all to frightening and all too real. It might be 28 years late but 1984 is here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Now Would Not Be The Time To Celebrate or Relax.

As last week progressed to its conclusion the pressures on Congress from the public and from actual Internet operators to drop any and all so-called internet piracy legislation became too great for them to withstand. SOPA and PIPA as constructed were too little too late. Even the tempting bribes from Wall Street and Hollywood were not enough to overcome their fear of an enraged public and a new and powerful free press. Any court rulings that bloggers are not “real” journalist were exposed as acts of desperation, empty of any real authority and outside the realities of the Internet world.

The Justice Department’s move at the end of the week to take down a major filesharing operation brought a swift reaction from Anonymous and legions of other hackers that shut down entertainment and government webs sites with denial of service attacks. The word no doubt came down from the corporations and the bureaucracy that they could not withstand the attacks, and the call to retreat was sounded. The Feds and their bureaucrats have clearly underestimated how much people love the Internet and the free flow of information it provides that is outside the ability of government and the major media corporations to control. Sure there are a lot of kooky conspiracy theories out there and there will always be those who fall for them. Just look at government and media propaganda, it flourishes and survives in the exact same way. All the suckers notwithstanding there are a lot more people out there with a lot more healthy skepticism and plain old common sense than they get credit for who can see past the bunkum whatever the source.

And that is the point. The numbers of people are growing who no longer are willing to be spoon fed crap, who have come to the realization that there is a truth, a reality, beyond that of government and media managed propaganda. Concurrent with this growth in numbers is a growing realization that government is not the beneficent father it would have us believe it is. SOPA and PIPA can then in fact be seen for what they were, desperate attempts to stem this rising tide.

The words of Thomas Jefferson have come back to haunt the powers that be; “When government fears the people you have liberty, when the people fear the government you have tyranny.”

This is not to say that the power or determination of the statists has been broken. The power of the Internet may have already grown to large for the cage the government wanted to put it in. Yet have no doubt, like in a bad Hollywood movie, the monster will rise from its grave and government will try to construct a newer and bigger cage and find a more surreptitious way of putting it in place. The corruption of the corporatist state has become absolute. It will not simply give up to the “will of the people,” like a wounded animal it will strike back in some new more vicious totalitarian way. A new or manufactured crisis will come along demonstrating the need to bring “certain elements” under control for reasons of “state security” and if the 1st Amendment and freedom of expression become collateral damage well that’s just too bad. It will all be for our own good and protection of course.

Perhaps than it is true that there are two types of people in the world, the ones who want to be left alone to pursue there own happiness free of interference from others and government and those sociopaths who see controlling others and restricting their freedoms as the path to power and wealth. Hopefully as long as the desire for freedom remains a part of our genetic makeup and as long as there are a lot more of the former (and at least a few of them willing to put up the good fight) than the latter, then there is still hope that the next generation will know the freedoms we and past generations have known and in many cases fought to pass on to them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Chance Encounter and the Self-inflicted Wound

A friend of mine (you know who you are) once told me that what he liked about my presentations was that I seemed to have a “good command of the English language.” For a writer there can be no higher complement. I may or may not have told them that one of the beauties of the English language was in its character of adopting words that can distill the more seemingly complex ideas into a couple three syllables. Take one of President Reagan’s favorite admonishments for example; “Government isn’t the solution, government is the problem.” Until just the other day I did not know that there was a single term to cover this situation: iatrogenic. A disease caused by the diagnosis or treatment of a physician.

A more absolutely appropriate term for our systemic economic decline I could not imagine. Kind of like leeches and bleeding are analogous to politicians and bankers. Even a small child can understand that tearing a bandage off quickly is less painful than a long slow peeling away. Our politicians and bankers may be simpletons but that doesn’t mean they understand simple truths, or if they do, they don’t want the voting public to recognize them. Heaven forbid that the public might then come to the realization that politicians and bankers are not simply useless but actually destructive to the welfare of the individual and the nation as a whole. (Well at least the current batch of them anyway.)

Keeping in mind that most politicians (at the national level anyway) are the puppets of the financial elites that fund their campaigns, if there is anything a politician can’t stand it is to be perceived as “doing nothing.” Being seen as “taking action” or “fixing a problem” is their reason for existence, the food upon which their ever-expanding egos feed, that and tax dollars of course.

So that in essence is how we got to where we are today. Liken some small displacement in the economy unto a scrape on the arm, left alone a scab will form, the injury heal itself and in time would be long forgotten. Like how a new invention or technology changes the way we do something and results in some businesses going belly up while other new ones come into existence. (Who uses 5” or 3” floppy discs anymore now that we have thumb drives and re-writeable CDs?)

But that is not how government, politicians and their evil spawn the bureaucrats operate. When confronted with a scab it cannot be left alone to heal by some natural course, it must be portrayed as a “potential crisis.” And of course government must intervene in any “crisis”. So then the scab gets picked at and torn off and some government salve get slathered on at twice or more the cost of leaving it alone in the first place and at the same time tending to make the initial germ of infection immune to the natural process of healing, the market correcting itself. Now with a big government bandage covering the problem it is pronounced as “fixed” or at least “under repair” while it continues to fester under the surface only to reemerge at a later date or spread to someplace else and re-emerge as a “new” crisis in need of even more government intervention.

So with each new out break the problems grow worse than the previous ones, requiring (in the politicians and bureaucrats minds) even greater government “solutions” which are always, always, always, more government bureaucracy, spending, taxation and debt.

That this has gone on for decades now, under both Democrats and Republicans, the simple bumps and scraps of the economic course of life have now grown into a massive infection of government debt and addiction to cheap money. Sadder still this disease has spread to much of the body politic as well as far to many people have stopped being savers for their future and become consumers for today, so much so that they are consuming not just their own income but have so borrowed against future income that the downturn (to use the mildest of possible terms) has put them “underwater” as is the current vernacular.

Are there any solutions? Perhaps there were at some point, but I fear that the infection has spread too far for any quick fix. All this brings me to a chance encounter I had about a week ago. Very often on Friday evenings the wife and I go out for some simple repast and get away from the kitchen, at least for one meal. Sitting down in a local restaurant, nothing fancy mind you, I notice sitting next to us at the next table was Erskine Bowles, President Clinton’s former Chief of Staff and more recently of note as part of the Simpson-Boles Commission tasked by the President to find solutions to the very problem outlined above. Not wanting to be rude I waited until he stood up with his family and was preparing to leave that I introduced myself and remarked how I could not have been more disappointed than he and Senator Simpson over the Administration’s out of hand rejection of the commissions recommendations. He shook my hand and remarked that he was indeed disappointed but that work was still being done at the political level and that some 47 Senators had signed on to the commissions recommendations. Not wanting to further delay his Friday evening with his grandchildren, I thanked him for his work, wished him luck in trying to further the commissions work, expressed my hope that it was not too late to be of any positive effect, and hoped he enjoyed the rest of his evening with his family.

We had an opportunity to do something outside the entrenched political norms, but politicians who saw it as not in their personal or party’s best interest, never mind that it might have been in the nation’s best interest rejected it. So the option to keep kicking the can down the road in vain hope that some miracle might occur to rescue them and the economy was chosen instead.

Sadly I don’t think we are going to get any miracle. I think what we are going to get is another war. Be it limited in nature or a wider conflict I can’t predict. But what I do know from reading history is that when governments become desperate to distract the public from the disasters of their own malfeasance they rattle the war sabers.

Like at the onset of America’s being plunged into an already raging World War II. The predictable consequence of our embargo of scrap metal and oil against Japan, no matter how justified, was that they would lash out militarily, somewhere, somehow. It would appear that we have set a similar course with Iran, only with far more cynical economic and political motives. Our financial and gasoline embargo and Iran’s inability to process more than 50% or so of their own refined petroleum needs has already set Iran on a course of hyper-inflation, with prices, of particularly imported goods rising some 200% to 300% in just the last few weeks.  Such is a risky path of national policy.  Although the Iranian people may be well educated and questioning why their government is pursuing nuclear weapons rather than the greater welfare of its citizens may be the intended goal, the government itself is not rational and hoping they will respond in a rational manner may proove to be a fool’s errand.

But then is this not just another manifestation of the supreme arrogance of politicians and bureaucrats and their puppet masters on Wall Street and in the City of London that they know so much better than the rest of us and that they in their infinite wisdom have everything under control?  Maybe it’s just me but it doesn’t seem to be working out so well thus far.

May God save us all from their hubris.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Weakness of Modern Repuplicans

I wrote this piece back in 2007 but never published it. It is still as valid today as it was then.

The Weakness of Modern Republicans.

I must say that I have long been dismayed by the Republican Party having falling into a semantic trap laid by the Democrats and the mainstream media. That being the contention that the terms “republic” and “democracy” are somehow indistinguishable in meaning and freely interchangeable.

That such a fallacious claim is not confronted demonstrates that at best, they don’t understand, or at worst, they don’t want the voting public to understand that the American Constitution exists not only to protect us from the tyranny of dictators and kings but to protect us from the dangers presented by the manipulation of democracy by the kind of emotional demagoguery that has become the stock and trade of the Democrat Party. (and all to many Republicans)

By accepting this premise we become trapped into believing that “plurality” is somehow the be all and end all in the formulation and implementation of public policy. Such a notion would have the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.

The Constitution established our nation as a Republic, not a parliamentary democracy, and for that we should be thankful. This is demonstrated in our “Pledge of Allegiance” and by the fact that our military and elected officials swear loyalty to that Constitution, not to an individual, a political party, or a transitory elected government.

Thomas Jefferson is often held up as the spiritual father of the Democrat party, yet it is this same Jefferson to whom we owe perhaps the greatest debt for the fact that our nation is a Constitutional Republic, not a parliamentary democracy. Jefferson was not present at the Constitutional Convention; he was Minister to France at the time. Upon his return he quickly pointed out that the document as proposed, was deficient in its lack of enumerations as to what the new government would be prohibited from doing, i.e. the need to place strict limitations on the exercise of democracy. Thus we have our Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These amendments delineate specific rights that “shall not” be infringed by government regardless of what a democratic majority, elected officials or the public may demand or desire.

Neither did Jefferson raise objections to the manner proscribed for the election of our President, namely the system of the Electoral College. The Founding Fathers clearly recognized that we are not a homogenous nation. Political perspectives, social attitudes and perceptions of what is required of government vary greatly from person to person, State to State and region to region. This is as true today as it was in the 1780’s. Herein lie the foundations of not just the Bill or Rights, the Electoral College system, the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate, but the Constitution’s philosophical guidance of our nation as a republic rather than a democracy. It is these very institutions that protect us from the tyranny of either the majority of citizens over the minority, of a group of large populous states over the smaller less populous ones or of one region over another.

So it would appear then that the founding “Democrat” better understood the dangers of social democracy than those who would claim to be his inheritors. The wisdom of his insight was quickly borne witness too by the chaos and unbridled bloodletting that came be known as the French Revolution.

It is not a mistake that our Constitution grants greater powers and responsibilities to the Senate than it does to the House of Representatives. No one could rationally argue that the Senate is a wholly democratic institution. Yes its members are elected by voting majorities from each of there respective States and its final decisions are reached by the votes of a majority of its members, but the vote of a Senator from Vermont or Wyoming carries the same weight as the vote of a Senator from California or Texas. So that if examined in terms of representing the populations of those States it is not so democratic after all. It was not intended to be. So it is also with the structure of the Electoral College. Nowhere does the Constitution bind the Electors to the majority of votes cast in their respective States. Nor should they be. They are only bound to vote in accordance to what their conscience tells them is best for the nation as a whole.

Would the Democrats argue that the Senate be done away with because it is “undemocratic?” I think not, for to do so would put their leading spokesman out of a job. It was the Founding Fathers vision the House of Representatives was to be bound to the will of the people, and that the Senate, The Supreme Court and the Electoral College was to be bound to logical discourse and reasoned debate guided only by the need for the preservation of the Constitution.

So then we must ask ourselves what insights and visions led our Founding Fathers to bequeath us such undemocratic institutions? How do they help us preserve our Republic?

For myself, I have no doubts that it was their hope that carefully defined and limited democratic methods would serve us well, and for the most part they have. But they also recognized that in times of crisis or when the nation was closely divided, when inflamed political passions and unreasoned or uninformed opinion and demagoguery might hold sway, there must exist safety valves, vehicles whereby once again a few individuals engaged in logical discourse, reasoned debate, careful examination of law the Constitution and of their own consciences might right the Ship of State and bring the nation back to an even keel. They were right then and they are still right today.

Yet all this said, in speech after speech we here Presidents (past and present) talk of spreading freedom and democracy throughout the world, without any mention of the necessity of defining freedom as structuring individual rights as the supreme tenant of any form of self-government. Fortunately we already have the structures in place, however tenuous they may have become over the years. I can only hope and pray that as the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and the rest of the Middle East build their new structures of government they to understand the meaning of freedom as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sitting on the Edge, Oblivious to What Lay Before Us

“Crisis takes a much longer time coming than you might think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought.”

Rudiger Dormbusch
Late MIT Economist

So now we have the latest brouhaha over President Ellsworth, I mean Obama, making non-recess recess appointments to the NLRB and some new so-called consumer protection oversight commission. Don’t hold your breath but someone will start bloviating about impeachment before the week is out. No doubt AG Holder, who couldn’t recognize the foul odor of corruption if he was having excrement for breakfast, will pronounce the actions “technically” legal.

This is a joke right? Congress passed the Frank Dodd bill and the CFTC continues to ignore it, i.e. position limits on precious metals and other commodities have still not been put in place even thought the law required that it be done by June of last year. It’s just more meaningless laws and more meaningless bureaucrats, trotted out as distraction, while power continues to be consolidated in the hands of the elite (of both parties) at the top. Meanwhile the blind partisan hacks will be kept busy fighting over a new bone as our liberties are dissolved into a new legislative morass, known as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Congress passes and the President signs this abomination (the NDAA) that more or less scraps half of the Bill of Rights and the media and the politicians yawn. The police state is here and no one seems to care. Hey the Orange Bowl is tonight and the Super Bowl is in a few weeks, what else could possibly matter right?

I’ve never been a Ron Paul fan, he might be right on target on economic and monetary policy but on foreign policy I think he is out of touch with reality, (evil does exist in this world and no matter how hard it gets slapped down, the bitch that bore it is always in heat). But in the longer term if we acquiesce to the slide into a fascist police state here at home, where the police are allowed to write their own warrants and the courts no longer exist as a neutral abettor between the citizen and the power of government, whether or not Iran has the bomb won’t much matter from inside a detention camp.

More than a few of us would be well served by looking up just how the British enforced the hated “Stamp Act” and how it led to not just the Revolution but the demands for the inclusion of a Bill of Right into the Constitution in the first place. We best open our eyes and speak up or even that right will be gone as well if Congress passes the SOPA (so-called internet piracy act).

We sit at the edge of the precipice and far to many refuse to see.