Saturday, December 01, 2007

The End of America?

Naomi Wolf riffs on the coming American fascist state. Interesting if nothing else:

So just to rehash what she said, here are the tell tale signs of the coming apocalypse:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

This is a non-starter. A scapegoat, preferably of a separate, distinct and minority ethnic group is required. Somebody's gotta pay if things aren't going well, right? Is the US doing this? Yes, the Islamonazi, Islamic radical, etc is the new narco-terrorist, the new communist. Meet the new enemy, same as the old enemy.
2. Create a gulag
A viscious prison system is required for the enemies of the state. The US has created a gulag archipelago, from Abu Ghraib, to East European blacksites, to the supermax prisons on US soil. Habeas Corpus and due process have been suspended in many cases, and rule of law is succumbing to the rule of man.
3. Develop a thug caste
Modern Russia has the "Youth of Russia", Putin's cult of personality group, Japan had (has) the black attired super fascists, brown and blackshirts were key to the axis powers...and the modern US? Naomi thinks that the menacing Republican men who showed up to bully voters were the modern equivalent....Them, or Blackwater idiots running around Iraq randomly killing Iraqis without rules of engagement. I don't think the violent domestic youth groups have truly sprung up, and this is a weak point in her argument. There is no mass mobilization of young republican "patriots" doing violence to the democratic state. Yet.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system
Done and done. The extreme contrast of the isolationist tendencies of the western libertarian bent in the US (2nd amendment freaks) vs. the incredibly intrusive FBI, Homeland security and other government apparatus is a total paradox, but there it is - A country hell bent on total freedom has the world's best developed surveillance systems and controls.

5. Harass citizens' groups
Yes, Al Gore was on a no-fly list, as are a multitude of ordinary citizens with a bone to pick with the Republican administration. This is an easy target. How many times have the police and security details videotaped demonstrations? That's right....every single one.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
Yup. The longer waiting periods for detaining people without charges is a fact. And if you are deemed an enemy combatant, good luck getting a court date.

7. Target key individuals
The US attourney scandal. The state attourneys didn't tow the Republican line and were stubbornly independent. They were taken out, just as key individuals who wanted to add realism to the Iraqi war planning.

8. Control the press
Everyone remembers how Al-Jazeera was targeted in the Iraqi war as target in Baghdad. CNN and others have essentially been bullied by the White House into towing an alarmingly pro-reactionary editorial line, while Fox News does the POTUS' dirty work in the media while being rewarded with non-stop leaks and interviews with top officials.

9. Dissent equals treason
You know the drill - John Kerry may have war medals, but he wasn't down with the War so he was Swift Boated into being a traitor.

10. Suspend the rule of law
This hasn't been done yet, but apparently....
"A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
Yes. The military deployed on US soil for policing. Not a good sign, unless you enjoy the type of policing they are doing in Iraq....Not a pretty picture.
So yes, Naomi set up her own criteria that the US could easily match, but even some of these points are redundant and others are weakly argued, but the trend is clear: The US needs to reassert its non-partisan democratic ideals. This isn't strictly a left or right wing thing ..the Democratic president would be far more powerful than Bill Clinton was during the 90's, and of course, those in power have the unfortunate temptation to expand their powers indefinitely using whatever means necessary.

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