(WHAT did she say about yesterday's story in a British newspaper claiming that waterboarding would soon be used against American citizens? Anybody catch that? --RD)
In her new book, “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot”, Naomi Wolf says the United States is on the road to becoming a fascist society, right under our very noses. Wolf outlines what she sees as the ten steps to shut down a democratic society and argues that the Bush administration has already implemented many of these steps. Wolf is the author of several books including the 1990s feminist classic, “The Beauty Myth.” The United States is on the road to becoming a fascist society, right under our very noses. That’s the premise of a new book by feminist social critic Naomi Wolf. It’s called "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot" and is already on the New York Times bestseller list.
Naomi Wolf outlines what she sees as the ten steps to shut down a democratic society and argues that the Bush administration has already implemented many of these steps. Wolf is the author of several books including the 1990s feminist classic, "The Beauty Myth.”
Critics describe her latest book, “The End of America,” as a wake-up call to Americans to heed the lessons of history and fight to save their democracy before its too late. Naomi Wolf joins me now in the firehouse studio.
I have argued that in the closing stages of a `fascist shift', events cascade. I am hearing about them, even across the globe. Here in Australia I hear from the nation's best-know feminist activist, and former adviser to Paul Keating, Anne Summers, who was also at the time this took place Chair of the Board of Greenpeace International. Summers was detained by armed agents for FIVE HOURS each way in LAX on her way to and from the annual meeting of the board of Greenpeace International in Mexico, and her green card was taken away from her. `I want to call a lawyer', she told TSA agents. `Ma'am, you do not have a right to call an attorney,' they replied. `You have not entered the United States.'
Apparently a section of LAX just beyond the security line is asserted to be `not in the United States' -- though it is squarely inside the airport -- so the laws of the US do not apply. (This assertion, by the way, should alarm any US citizen who is aware of how the White House argued that Guantanamo is not `in the United States' - is a legal no-man's land -- so the laws of the US do not apply.) Toward the end of her second five-hour detention she asked, `Why am I being detained?' `Lady, this is not detention,' the TSA agent told her. `Detention is when I take you to the cells out back and lock you up.'
Last week in Boston, while attending Bioneers by the Bay, I heard that one of the speakers for our event, an environmentalist named Gunter Pauli, was going to miss the time of his scheduled speech; he had been physically taken OFF THE PLANE by TSA agents and had to take a much later flight. More chillingly, the camerawoman doing my interview said that another well-known environmental writer found that his girlfriend was effectively `disappeared' for three days as she sought to enter the US from Canada. Lisa Fithian, an anti-globalization activist, was denied entry across the Canadian border in 2001 and was offered the choice of turning back or being arrested.
A friend emails me a story from USA Today about a 24-year-old college graduate who testified before Congress about her family of immigrants and the difficulties they face; shortly afterward, the entire family was arrested by immigration agents. Another online piece reports that Blackwater is setting up operations along the US/Mexico border and an insightful post on Daily Kos describes how the TSA list will revert from the airlines to the management of the Department of Homeland Security shortly and that by February we may well face the need to apply to the State for permission to travel. If this proposed regulation goes through, we will move from 1931 to about 1934--when the borders started to close-- with the stroke of a pen. Jews in America have hardwired into their DNA a sense of the distinction between those who got out before the borders closed and those who waited a moment too long.
(Video preceded by commercial for film "Lions for Lambs")
Think about it. In my experience with the PR business, except for the biggest blockbuster stories, just about everything you read, hear, or see in the media is PLACED by somebody. There's too much competition for newspaper space or broadcast time for stories without advocates, in the form of corporations, PR firms, or other organizations, to survive--and especially in an environment where lots of newsworthy stories are being censored by media executives.
Ever since Gore won the Nobel Prize we've seen a tremendous amount of coverage on him. Somebody has to be behind that coverage. They're backed by resources, and they are driven by some sort of objective.
And lately you see the topics of that coverage being narrowed to a very specific set.
I don't know if he's going to run for President or not. I'm just saying that one could arguably interpret his recent media coverage as taking on the appearance of a buildup to some sort of event, and that aspects of that coverage now seem to be shaped by those with a specific purpose in mind.
I'd like to know if other DUers have noticed this effect, and what others here think of his recent coverage.
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all
Tuesday April 24, 2007
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 today 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' ownership to being the domain of 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 realise.
No kidding. I've been a big Max and Stacy fan since I learned here at DU about their first special report, "Death of the Dollar," for AJE back in January. They are both brilliant, incredibly well-informed, and often their podcast commentary is very funny.
In all those months, I can't recall a single prediction of Max's that has not come true. Many times they have covered news stories months ahead of those stories becoming hot issues. Their analysis is consistently spot-on. These days, I check their websites even more often than I check DU, which I usually visit twice a day.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 12:25am BST 06/09/2007
A sharp drop in foreign holdings of US Treasury bonds over the last five weeks has raised concerns that China is quietly withdrawing its funds from the United States, leaving the dollar increasingly vulnerable.
(SIDEBAR: China threatens `nuclear option' of dollar sales)
Data released by the New York Federal Reserve shows that foreign central banks have cut their stash of US Treasuries by $48bn since late July, with falls of $32bn in the last two weeks alone.
"This comes as a big surprise and it is definitely worrying," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.
"We won't know if China is behind this until the Treasury releases its TIC data in November, but what it does show is that world central banks are in a hurry to get out of the US. They don't seem to be switching into other currencies, so it is possible they are moving into gold instead. Gold is now gaining momentum across all currencies and has broken through resistance at 500 euros," he said.
While the greenback has been resilient over recent weeks - even regaining something of a 'safe-haven' role as banks scrambled to buy the currency to cover dollar debts - most experts believe that America's $850bn current account deficit will eventually cause the dollar to resume its relentless slide.
David Powell, an economist at IDEAglobal in New York, pointed the finger at Beijing as the main suspect in the sudden bond flight this summer.
In a client note entitled "Has China started to dump US Treasuries?", he said the sales appear to coincide with early moves by Beijing to launch its new $300bn sovereign wealth fund.
although that's not exactly true, and I'm sure our economics experts like Professor GAC and Pachmama would back me up on this.
The Fed is essentially printing money here. That money isn't coming from "our" taxpayer dollars, as my Econ 101 professor used to remind us, it's a "debt that we owe ourselves.' Probably it won't be paid back in your lifetime or mine, and that's why folks commonly talk about how deficit spending like this is a debt our grandchildren will pay for, because the amount is so massive compared to prior history, both in terms of the aggregate amount and the interest. During Clinton's "Cinderella Economy," we actually ran a surplus instead.
But this kind of spending is certainly not coming out of tax revenues. If this were a state or local government, it would have to. But the federal government is different. Creating funds like this that run deficits is within the power of the Fed to do so and is appropriate in many circumstances under Keynesian principles that advocate active management of the economy and the business cycle. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_eco... ).
What I have trouble with is that flooding the economy with cash, like any commodity, lowers its value. Soon we all might need more of that cash to buy a particular product because the value of the cash is lowered as the Fed floods the system. The extreme example you've no doubt heard about is the German Weimar Republic, where people had to haul bushel baskets of paper currency down to stores just to buy small amounts of groceries. That's called hyperinflation, and it's a dangerous outcome. Would that happen here? Don't know, but some believe that we're going down that path.
by Meteor Blades
Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 09:19:43 PM PDT
Of the 41 House Democrats who voted today to roll over on the eavesdropping amendment that the White House demanded be added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 26 30 were Blue Dogs. The bill, Orwellianly named the Protect America Act, passed 227-183, with 181 Democrats and two Republicans opposed.
These are the Dems who ... failed us. Who failed our country.
Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
John Barrow (12th Georgia) Blue Dog
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois) Blue Dog
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma) Blue Dog
Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida) Blue Dog
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania) Blue Dog
Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky) Blue Dog
Rep. Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Jim Costa (20th California) Blue Dog
Bud Cramer (5th Alabama) Blue Dog
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana) Blue Dog
Chet Edwards (17th Texas)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana) Blue Dog
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota) Blue Dog
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana) Blue Dog
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia) Blue Dog
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah) Blue Dog
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana) Blue Dog
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota) Blue Dog
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota) Blue Dog
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas) Blue Dog
John Salazar (3rd Colorado) Blue Dog
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio) Blue Dog
John Tanner (8th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi) Blue Dog
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio) Blue Dog
In an as yet un-numbered Executive Order (at least the number isn't published), president bush has decreed that your property - all of it - can be taken away at the sole discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury at the mere suspicion that you may commit a crime in the future. You can view and read this latest executive atrocity at the White House website.
An executive order only becomes law if Congress doesn’t overturn it within thirty days after it is published in the Federal Register.
If you own a business, this concerns you. Whether you own it as a sole proprietorship, as a sole shareholder, or even as a partial shareholder of a corporation, you stand to lose all of it if the Secretary thinks you may commit an "act of violence" that may disrupt the war (or peace) effort in Iraq. Naturally, "act of violence" is not defined anywhere in this order.
Once this becomes law, he has all the tools Hitler and Stalin had to keep their respective populations in utter subjection to their will.
WAY WAY MORE
He is deeply concerned whether we will actually have an election in Nov. '08, as he believes this administration will likely strike Iran from the air, declare a national emergency, and cancel the '08 elections.
He sees ending the war as his primary goal, and he believes the brilliant Nancy Pelosi has a strategy more potent than impeachment. He thinks impeachment is a futile waste of legislative energy, will be harmful of democratic '08 victories, and further tighten the "gridlock" he has complained of for the past few decades.
(DU comment: What does Congressman John Olver know that we don't? --RD)
IRAQ'S NEW COALITION: THE INSURGENTS
Seumas Milne in Damascus
Wednesday July 18, 2007
Seven of the most important Sunni-led insurgent organisations fighting the US occupation in Iraq have agreed to form a public political alliance with the aim of preparing for negotiations in advance of an American withdrawal, their leaders have told the Guardian.
In their first interview with the western media since the US-British invasion of 2003, leaders of three of the insurgent groups - responsible for thousands of attacks against US and Iraqi armed forces and police - made clear that they would continue their armed resistance until all foreign troops were withdrawn from Iraq, and denounced al-Qaida for sectarian killings and suicide bombings against civilians.
Speaking in Damascus, the spokesmen for the three groups - the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Ansar al-Sunna and Iraqi Hamas - said they planned to hold a congress to launch a united front within the next few weeks and appealed to Arab governments, other governments and the UN to help them establish a permanent political presence outside Iraq.
Abu Ahmad, spokesman for Iraqi Hamas said: "Peaceful resistance will not end the occupation. The US made clear that it intended to stay for many decades. Now it is a common view in the resistance that they will start to withdraw within a year. "
The move represents a dramatic change of strategy for the mainstream Iraqi insurgency, whose leadership has remained shadowy and has largely restricted communication with the outside world to brief statements on the internet and to the Arabic media.
As the Japanese government continues holding short-term interest rates near zero while printing yen like it is going out of style, getting out of the yen has now replaced pachinko as the national pastime for rank and file Japanese. With housewives and cab drivers debating the best techniques to exchange their yen savings for higher yielding non-yen assets, the Japanese monetary authorities are facing the prospect of the complete destruction of their own currency, subjecting their citizens to the horrors of hyperinflation. . .
The question is why are they doing it? The only logical answer I can offer is that the Japanese realize that if they stop the flow of global liquidity they will destroy the dollar and the U.S. economy. To survive, the U.S. must be able to both limitlessly exchange the dollars it prints for the goods the rest of the world makes and then pay low rates of interest on its IOU’s that foreigners accumulate as a result. Were the Japanese to turn off the monetary spigot and raise interest rates to normal levels, Americans would not be able to do either.
A real rate of interest on the yen would reverse the carry trade by creating demand for Japanese assets and diminishing demand for dollar denominated assets. Such a move would simultaneously send U.S. interest rates and consumer prices thought the roof and stock and real estate prices through the floor. The entire U.S. consumer economy would collapse and Americans would experience the greatest period of economic hardship since the Great Depression.
This scenario apparently terrifies the Japanese, as they fear that such a severe recession in American means similar problems for Japan. However, their fears are misplaced as their real problem is the enormous cost of trying to prevent this from happening. Their fixation on what might happen to Japan if the American economy were to run off the rails has blinded them to the far greater costs of trying to keep in on track.
Therefore, the Japanese need to carefully consider what they are doing. They need to ask themselves whether propping up the U.S. economy, merely delaying its inevitable collapse, is really worth the destruction of their own currency and the potential chaos that might create for their own economy? Do they really want to commit economic hara kiri just to keep their short-sighted vendor financing scheme going a while longer. Hyper-inflation would be the monetary equivalent of an atomic bomb. Will the Japanese really let us do it to them again? If they come to their senses soon, as they must do to avoid this fiasco, this time it will be the Japanese that drop the atomic bomb on us!
Tempers Flare on Iraq
Sunday July 15, 2007 10:16 PM
By CALVIN WOODWARD
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - When senators from opposing parties call each other ``friend'' and pat each other as they talk, there's a fighting chance they're angling to wring each other's neck.
So it appeared on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' on Sunday when Democrat Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina testily exchanged views on President Bush's Iraq policy and troop welfare. An impromptu troop surge debate turned into a temper surge.
``Just wash your hands of Iraq,'' an animated Graham said to the war critics, including the Democrat seated to his immediate right. ``History will judge us, my friend.''
``It's been a hard month, Lindsey,'' Webb commiserated, wearing a tight smile. ``You need to calm down, my friend.''
``Lindsey's had a hard month,'' Webb repeated.
``It ain't about Lindsey having a hard month,'' Graham snapped.
Hookergate II: The Senator and the Veep
By Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
Providing comic relief in a Democrappy Congress that doesn't have the filibustering balls to Just Say No to Perma-War or the wit or wisdom to impeach the Bush Crime Family for their multiple murderous atrocities Brothers & Sisters, Lovers & Sinners, please put your hands together for Republican Senator David Vitter of the Great State of Louisiana, caught with his hand in D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey's delicious yummy cookie jar.
Threatened with being exposed by investigative hypocrite-hunter Larry Flynt who found the conservative southern junior senator's phone number (he used his own phone?) on Palfrey's notorious DC John List, Vitter shrewdly decided to go ahead and expose himself, issuing a press release confessing to "a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way".
If Senator Vitter were not such a rabid social conservative, I would say leave the poor sorry schmuck alone with his God, his wife and his hookers. But this particular poor sorry schmuck is mightily trying to impose harsh, inhumane restrictions upon the sexual freedoms and rights to privacy of the rest of us, and he's been doing it for years.
in the back alleys of the French Quarter, Vitter might be a tomcat, but in Congress, he's a vociferous crusader for "family values." He was an aggressive Clinton critic during the Lewinsky scandal, calling for the President's resignation to "preserve the moral fabric of the country." The New Orleans Times-Picayune quotes Vitter saying that "infidelity, divorce, and deadbeat dads contribute to the breakdown of tradition." Vitter has also vowed to outlaw abortion in almost all cases, even when the pregnancy results from rape or incest (wonder how he'd feel if he learned he's knocked up one of his hookers?). Senator Dave is a stern master with the kids too; he's sponsored legislation to federally finance abstinence-only programs at the expense of real sex education. Of course, "abstinence education" has been proven to be spectacularly ineffective, in part because the kids simply lie about whether they're having sex, having learned this behavior handily from their elders like Vitter.
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
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FL GOP denies $51 billion federal Medicaid to poor, yet order cheap health care for themselves
Happy Mother's Day
I love DU2!
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R) ran company now accused of Medicaid fraud (Rick Scott redux)
Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart dis-ease
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
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