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Let me apologize in advance for the length of the posted article which follows, but for any who doubt the fury or intentions of the religious fanatics controlling the Republican Party these days, this ought to quell those doubts.


In Contempt of Courts

Mon Apr 11, 6:09 PM ET

Op/Ed - The Nation


by Max Blumenthal


Michael Schwartz must have thought I was just another attendee of the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference. I approached the chief of staff of Oklahoma's GOP Senator Tom Coburn outside the conference in downtown Washington last Thursday afternoon after he spoke there. Before I could introduce myself, he turned to me and another observer with a crooked smile and exclaimed, "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"








For two days, on April 7 and 8, conservative activists and top GOP staffers summoned the raw rage of the Christian right following the Terri Schiavo affair, and likened judges to communists, terrorists and murderers. The remedies they suggested for what they termed "judicial tyranny" ranged from the mass impeachment of judges to their physical elimination.




The speakers included embattled House majority leader Tom DeLay, conservative matriarch Phyllis Schlafly and failed Republican senatorial candidate Alan Keyes. Like a perform­ance artist, Keyes riled the crowd up, mixing animadversions on constitutional law with sudden, stentorian salvos against judges. "Ronald Reagan said the Soviet Union was the focus of evil during the cold war. I believe that the judiciary is the focus of evil in our society today," Keyes declared, slapping the lectern for emphasis.




At a banquet the previous evening, the Constitution Party's 2004 presidential candidate, Michael Peroutka, called the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube "an act of terror in broad daylight aided and abetted by the police under the authority of the governor." Red-faced and sweating profusely, Peroutka added, "This was the very definition of state-sponsored terror." Edwin Vieira, a lawyer and author of How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary, went even further, suggesting during a panel discussion that Joseph Stalin offered the best method for reining in the Supreme Court. "He had a slogan," Vieira said, "and it worked very well for him whenever he ran into difficulty: 'No man, no problem.'"




The complete Stalin quote is, "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."




The threatening tenor of the conference speakers was a calculated tactic. As Gary Cass, the director of Rev. D. James Kennedy's lobbying front, the Center for Reclaiming America, explained, they are arousing the anger of their base in order to harness it politically. The rising tide of threats against judges "is understandable," Cass told me, "but we have to take the opportunity to channel that into a constitutional solution."




Cass's "solution" is the "Constitution Restoration Act," a bill relentlessly promoted during the conference that authorizes Congress to impeach judges who fail to abide by "the standard of good behavior" required by the Constitution. If they refuse to acknowledge "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," or rely in any way on international law in their rulings, judges also invite impeachment. In essence, the bill would turn judges' gavels into mere instruments of "The Hammer," Tom DeLay, and Christian-right cadres.




Conference speakers framed the Constitution Restoration Act in pseudo-populist terms--the only means of controlling a branch of government hijacked by a haughty liberal aristocracy against the will of the American people. As Michael Schwartz remarked during a panel discussion, "The Supreme Court says we have the right to kill babies and the right to commit buggery. They say the people have no right to express themselves, that the people have no right to make laws. Until we have a court that reflects a majority," Schwartz continued, his voice rising steadily, "it is a sick and sad joke that we have a Constitution here."




The right wing claims that judges should reflect majority opinion. But what is the majority opinion? After DeLay and Senate majority leader Bill Frist passed special bills ordering federal courts to consider the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, according to a Gallup poll, Congress's public approval rating sank to 37 percent, lower than at any time since shortly after Republicans impeached President Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, 66 percent of respondents to a March 23 CBS News poll thought Schiavo's feeding tube should be removed. The notion that the Christian right's agenda is playing well in Peoria must be accepted on faith alone.




The recent right-wing fixation on impeaching judges was conceptualized by David Barton, Republican consultant and vice chairman of the Texas GOP. In 1996 Barton published a handbook called Impeachment: Restraining an Overactive Judiciary, which was timed to coincide with Tom DeLay's bid for legislation authorizing Congress to impeach judges. "The judges need to be intimidated," DeLay told reporters that year.




In 1989 Barton published a book titled The Myth of Separation, which proclaims, "This book proves that the separation of church and state is a myth." The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, in a critique of his 1995 documentary America's Godly Heritage, stated that it was "laced with exaggerations, half-truths, and misstatements of fact." Barton is on the board of advisers of the Providence Foundation, a Christian Reconstructionist group that promotes the idea that biblical law should be instituted in America. In 1991 Barton spoke at a Colorado retreat sponsored by Pastor Pete Peters, an adherent of racist Christian Identity theology with well-established neo-Nazi ties. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee hired him as a paid consultant for "evangelical outreach." The RNC sponsored more than 300 events for him.




DeLay's bill, based on Barton's writings, failed due to lack of GOP support. But the judicial impeachment campaign was reignited six years later when a federal court ordered the removal of then-Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument from courthouse grounds. In February 2004 a group of about twenty-five enraged ministers and movement leaders gathered in Dallas to plot a new response. The Constitution Restoration Act was the result. According to Moore, he was a principal author, along with Herb Titus, the former dean of Pat Robertson's Regent University law school, and Howard Phillips, a veteran third-party activist whose US Taxpayers' Party served as a vehicle for the antigovernment militia movement during the 1990s. All three men stalked the halls of the downtown Marriott last Thursday and Friday.




In the Senate the bill was sponsored by Richard Shelby, a senator from Roy Moore's home state; among the co-sponsors is Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is contemplating a run for the Republican nomination for President. The bill was introduced on March 3, before the Terri Schiavo affair erupted, before Florida Circuit Judge George Greer ordered the removal of her feeding tube and before he became the poster-child for the right's judicial impeachment campaign.




Now, according to Howard Phillips in a speech to the conference, his "good friend" Wisconsin GOP Representative James Sensenbrenner is planning to hold hearings on the Constitution Restoration Act in the House. DeLay, who appeared on a big screen during a Thursday morning session to call for the removal of "a judiciary run amok," has put his name on the act as the House sponsor.




The Schiavo case remains the flashpoint for the right. That was apparent at a Thursday evening banquet honoring the lead attorney for Terri Schiavo's parents, David Gibbs. After a breathless introduction from Peroutka, who called the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube "an act of terror," Gibbs confidently strode to the lectern while a crowd of about 100 regaled him with a thunderous standing ovation. Baby-faced, with his hair molded tightly against his scalp and clad in a well-tailored navy blue suit, Gibbs maintained a cool disposition during his speech, presenting a sharp visual contrast to the wildly gesticulating, bedraggled figures who held the microphone throughout most of the conference. But Gibbs's impeccable appearance and measured tone were not enough to mask the lurid nature of his speech.




First, Gibbs suggested that Schiavo fell into a persistent vegetative state not because of an eating disorder but as the result of "some form of strangulation or abuse at the hands of her husband, possibly." Then, Gibbs asserted that after Schiavo's parents were awarded millions of dollars by the state to provide for her care, Michael Schiavo "began moving against the family to kill his wife." These claims, however, did not hold up in court because, as Gibbs explained, "a judge that never went to see [schiavo] was the judge who made the decision that her life did not matter."




As members of the audience gasped, Gibbs painted a vivid portrait of Schiavo in her hospital bed. "Terri Schiavo was as alive as anyone you see sitting here," he said. "She liked my voice. It was loud and deep and she would roll over and try to talk back." But after Judge Greer "literally ordered her barbaric death," everything changed.












Gibbs described his visit to Schiavo's hospital room after her feeding tube had been removed. Schiavo lay in bed "with her eyes sunken deep in her head...she was skeletal," Gibbs recounted. "Then she turned to her mother suddenly, like she wanted to speak, and she just started sobbing." By now, members of the audience were crying.


As soon as he left the stage, one of the event's planners asked all the men in the room to get down on the floor and pray. With no other choice, I moved my plastic-upholstered chair aside, took to my hands and knees and listened as plaintive voices arose all around me with prayers for Schiavo's parents and maledictions against judicial tyranny. A saccharine version of Pachelbel's Canon emanating from the player piano in the hotel lobby seeped through the banquet hall's open doors, suffusing the ceremony with a dreamlike atmosphere. When I finally dared to look up from the ground, I realized that my head was only inches from an enormous posterior belonging to William Dannemeyer, the former congressman who once issued a letter to his colleagues listing twenty-four people with some connection to Bill Clinton who died "under other than natural circumstances."


As the conference attendees filed out of the banquet hall and into the rain-flecked night, mostly silent except for the few who were still sobbing, they seemed prepared to do anything--absolutely anything--against judges. "I want to impale them!" as Michael Schwartz told me.


"This isn't Colombia. This isn't drug lords terrorizing the judiciary. It's America," Florida Judge George Greer declared recently. Greer remains under police guard.


On Monday, April 11, at Senator Frist's invitation, David Barton will lead him and other senators on an evening tour of the Capitol, offering "a fresh perspective on our nation's religious heritage."

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This describes more than a threat to the Judiciary. It's a threat to the very constitutional underpinnings of the United States. The theocrats are loose, and while most of America was being anesthetized by endless re-runs of "Friends" or terrorized by Faux News the true believers got their hands on the levers of power, and they're pulling on them.


Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, but America has been asleep at the switch. The internal threat to liberty has arrived, and it is within a few votes in Congress of achieving its goal of turning America into a fundamentalist KKKristican theocracy. The majority of Americans, I suppose, will have no grounds for complaint if that comes to pass: they either voted for the seditious skkkum or didn't bother voting at all. You get what you vote for (or don't vote for)! The rest of us will have to figure out our alternatives. Maybe this IS the time for the rest of us to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights and arm ourselves to the teeth! You may want to take action when the religious police come to take your cable TV box and replace it with one that only gets the KKKristian Broadcasting Network.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Is the sky falling?


>This describes more than a threat to the Judiciary. It's a

>threat to the very constitutional underpinnings of the United



Me thinks the sky is not yet falling. You are getting from these guys exactly half of what you want.


What idealogues of either stripe fail to remember time and again is that this country is primarily made up of middle of the roaders whether the state of residence is red or blue. Emboldened by the last election the righteous right (RR)/NeoCons are overplaying their hand believing that it has been annointed as the 'chosen one'.


The pendulum always swings back from its displacement from the center. I have been around to see this happen a few times. Goldwater in '64 consigned the GOP to the dust bin of history only to have Nixon rise like a Phoenix four years later. Carter oversaw the dismantling of the Democrats to the Regan Rrevolution only to have a shrewd would be southern bubba that couldnt keep his pants zipped overturn that Regan Revolution. And Bubba Bush stole it back fair and square just as Richard Daley Sr. did for Kennedy or S.I. Hiakawya did for hmself.


The RR/NeoCons politicos clearly overplayed their hand in the Schaivo case on two levels. First, the public majority wants to keep these family decisions private with the guidance of local and state law. Second, the majority resented Congretional action that went beyond simple sentiment, interfering into those private family issues. Even the classic conservatives noticed a serious off odor at the action of Congress clearly overriding states rights issues. John Danforth was one of several to voice this overstepping. However, like true idealogues the RR fail to understand or even see this overstepping. (Even a majority of evangelicals didn't like congress intervening in Schaivo.)


Left unchecked the RR politicos are a threat. They will continue to push to the extreme and that is good. They are so full of themselves that they will try to meddle with the Courts. The middle of the road group isn't likely to buy into ceding to Congress more power over their private daily lives and permit them to run roughshod over the Courts and Constitution. Anything that highlights the more exteme RR views will cultivate the desire for a change by the middle and it only takes a small swing in that middle to change outcomes.


What the middle needs is an alternative to vote for. State color isn't enough unless you are an idealogue. The Dems must offer some real alternatives rather than just being against the other color. That's the missing half. Many Dems acknowledge that fact but as yet are unable to offer that proactive alternative. That is where your greater concern should be placed IMO.

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RE: Is the sky falling?


Tampa Yankee:


By and large, I'm in agreement with you. One area of disagreement is the fact that that because of the amount of power the religious right has at the moment, they can do a helluva lot of damage before the public has an opportunity to rein them in (the midterm elections in 2006).


I doubt anyone could be any more frustrated with the lack of unity and vision among the Democrats as I am. I do believe that one of the greatest gifts the Republicans may hand to the Democrats is keeping Delay right where he is. The stench is growing, and as long as Delay continues to stink up things, the odor stays in the nostrils of the voters. I've never been a fan of negative ads and campaigning, but it has become a part of the political landscape and it's here to stay.


With some good commercials about Delay's sleaze, personalized to run in each and every state where Republican congressmen and senators continue to support him, could have considerable impact on the political shape of the Congress after the 2006 elections. The Democrats need to keep the heat on Delay and his antics, but should hope he stays right where he is as the true symbol of what the Republican Party has now become.

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Guest ncm2169

Bucky, do you know this blog?




If not, he was featured on C-Span Interviews last Sunday night (there's a link to the hour long program on the site - VERY informative). He's the most successful political blogger, left, right or center. Take heart. The blogs may just save/resurrect the Dems. Mark my words. }(

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Yes, I'm quite familiar with it, as well as Atrios/Eschaton, and a slew of others. I do read Andrew Sullivan from time to time as well. And of course, there's Buzzflash, which pretty much links you to all of the good, the bad, the ugly.

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I'd love to be more optimistic about America's future, but I don't see a large surge of voters shaking off their apathy, at least not for protecting fundamental freedoms. Apparently you can get unusually large numbers of Americans out to vote against gay marriage, which they've done by sickeningly large margins in way too many states. Evidently they LIKE what the KKKristian KKKrazies are peddling, and the KKKrazies haven't made any secret about their orchestrating and supporting that campaign! If voters opposed to the KKKristian takover continue being this apathetic, next year's elections may yield little for the Democrats. Batten down the hatches, kids, because this ride is only starting to get bumpy. There's much rougher water ahead!


(P.S. One of the reasons I'm not optimistic is the fact that the KKKrazies have made it abundantly clear that they're prepared to use extra-constitutional means to hang on to and expand their power. I wouldn't put assasinations or coup attempts past them; they think God's on their side and is going to Rapture them somewhere real soon. Obviously, I hope they all get Raptured straight to that red-hot resort with the molten asphalt lakes and those flaming gasoline cocktails where they can spend eternity listening to the wit and wisdom of George W. Bush!)

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With all due respect, Bush may have been reelected but he had the lowest electoral vote and/or winning percentage of any president running for a second term. Yes, congress is controlled by the Republicans, but the margin is still narrow in the senate. All the poll show that the public believes that the Republican led congress overreached on the Terri Schiavo case. The public will eventually come around on gay marriage as it has on many gay and lesbian issue since the late 1960s.


I am just as liberal as you are (I have read many of your postings in this section), but the above is my glass is half full response. I am not sure that I fully believe it, but just as valid as your "the US is going to hell" postings. I have also lived outside the US for long periods is time and found that this country looks even worse from a distance. I am very upset about the rise of the religious right. There may soon be cause for full scale panic, but, based on the Terri Schiavo poll number, the American public is not buying the congressional over reach or the zany people who most strongly supported the Schindlers -- including Rich Santorum and Jesse


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I would certainly like to think you're right, and occasionally something happens to make me think that the picture isn't as bleak as it seems to be. But I think America is really teetering on the brink of disaster. Nothing is absolutely certain, of course, but in my gut I feel that America has made a series of historic mistakes in the past few years, of the kind that can be difficult if not impossible to undo. Americans, in general, are criminally ignorant of history, so they're condemned to repeat it, whether for good or ill. Americans also have been lulled or brainwashed into believing that G-d is on their side because the U.S. has had a phenomenal century-long run of good fortune from which it emerged as the "world's only remaining superpower." But history demonstrates that good fortune is never perpetual, and that nations and peoples can become overweening or overpowerful, or complacent or careless, or blinded to reality, or all of the above, and catastrophe has befallen them. The U.S. definitely runs that risk now. Whether Americans will wake up in time is beyond my ken. I didn't think they'd turn out in such droves to vote hatred into their state constitutions, but there it is, an unassailable fact. If you read what the KKKrazies who promoted these amendments are saying about their plans to follow up on these victories, you'll be utterly sickened. Maybe Americans will decide that the KKKrazies are overreaching when they launch their next campaign to make the U.S. a theocracy, but I'm no longer sure that they will. In rapidly changing and deeply unsettled times people naturally look for stability and order, and that's what the KKKrazies are promising them: tradition and a return to the "good old days" that never existed in reality, only in 1950s sitcoms. If they get what they wish for, and what the KKKrazies are offering them, it won't be long before most Americans will bitterly regret their mistake, but it will be too late once it becomes heresy (literally) to criticize or oppose the KKKristians.


As someone who lived through and personally participated in some of America's most inspiring periods it gives me no pleasure to find myself taking the role of the Grinch. But I'm very much afraid that the wilful ignorance, fearfulness and provincialism of most Americans will ensure the decline (if not fall) of the U.S. and ensure that the twenty-first century will end up being the century of China or India, as the past century indeed was the American century.

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We do not disagree that much, just see thing a little differently.


I am not sure how much time you spend outside the US, a lot I assume.

I was in Vietnam for a year, during Robert Kennedy's asassination and the riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago. The entire US was torn apart by the war; in Vietnam it seemed things could not have gotten worse after the Tet offensive.


Yet the war ended, LBJ is now rightly seen as the Great Society president as well as the war president. In my personal life, I was able to hire Bobby Seale (one of the Chicago Eight) for a short time.


I also spent a year in Europe, mostly Germany, during Nixon's bombing of Hanoi during Christmas, 1972 and later Watergate. We survived all that, if mostly through Nixon's mistakes.


Isn't it possible that gay marriage came too soon before people were really ready for it. Given the progress that gays and lesbians have made during my lifetime, it is difficult not to think that people of all sexual preferences will be able to marry at some point.


On the other hand, you are absolutely correct to be concerned about the power of the religious right and the administration's certain belief that the Iraq war was the correct decision. Bush seems to think that he was chosen by God to lead the world to his brand of democracy, which is very, very scary. But in some of your postings,

you seem to be comparing the US to pre-Nazi Germany (to stretch my point a long way). Things are very far in the US from Munich and Berlin in the 1920s.

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But in some of your postings,

>you seem to be comparing the US to pre-Nazi Germany (to

>stretch my point a long way). Things are very far in the US

>from Munich and Berlin in the 1920s.





I know you are responding to Trilingual, and I fully realize that the comparisons are not completely in parallel, but there are some very disturbing similarities between Germany at the time of Hitler's rise, and the current situation in America.


Germany's economy was in a mess, the German people were in funk, and all to ready to blame someone else for their problems. Hitler took the stage, blamed the problems on the Jews, and propagated his theory of Aryan superiority. He was once even quoted to say, "If the Jews didn't exist, we would have had to create them". Fascism arises when a country or group of people find another group or race or nation to demonize, so that they can feel superior. That said, such demonization doesn't always result in fascism, but sometimes it does. Remember how the Soviets demonized us, and we demonized them during the period of the Cold War.


Our current situation today involves the most extremist Christians desiring to make America a theocracy. Their identified enemies are liberals and secular humanists. Once upon a time, "liberal" was not a dirty word, but over the past twenty years or so, increasingly it has become a code word for demonization. In similar fashion, the word "conservative" was a positive word as well, but in recent times is often used to demonize as well. At the present moment, extremists on the right recast the term conservative in ways that make it hardly what it once meant. Many who consider themselves conservatives in the modern sense are actually reactionaries. Traditional conservatives didn't try to make everything simplistically black and white, any more than traditional liberals did. While conservatives and liberals had different ways of viewing the world, they were far less acerbic and venomous as is the case now.


Recently, I read an article that calls the present state of affairs "pseudofascism". The article made a lot of sense to me. Bush is not Hitler, but in some instances their approach to doing things is uncannily similar. At this moment, I'm a bit pressed for time, but I know I downloaded that article, so I'll try to find it and post a link or some of the salient points.


Gotta run, but I'll get back to this a bit later.

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We the Sheeple


We the Sheeple

In order to prevent homosexual union,

Assassinate justices, insure domestic theocracy,

Provide for the Iraqi defense,

Dismantle the general welfare and

Discard the blessings of liberty

Heap massive debt on our posterity,

Do defile and relinquish this Constitution

for the Krischun States of Amerikkka.

“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered: Doctor.....WHO?????"

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14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism


As Bucky points out, while Bush is not Hitler, there are some striking similarities. The article below shows 14 common elements to fascist regimes. I think you can see a lot of these in George Bush's America.



Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.


The 14 characteristics are:


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. A lot of this came about as a result of 9/11, but the Republicans took it to an extreme, especially when John Ashcroft likened those who opposed the Bush Administration to terrorists.


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. Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay


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.The GOP turned this into an art form


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. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.


6. Controlled Mass Media


Sometimes to 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.Two words: Fox "News"


7. Obsession with National Security


Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.We saw this throughout the 2004 campaign


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. Terry Schiavo anyone?


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 is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.


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 leaders.


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.




Looks like a perfect 14 out of 14 for the Bush Administration

“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered: Doctor.....WHO?????"

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>>>upon a time, "liberal" was not a dirty word


>>Embrace it then; take it back.




>Erik: I already have.


Good. Hopefully others will follow your lead. Once enough people have, or at least just aren't ashamed of the L word, maybe we can hope for civilized political discourse & discussion again. I've complained about it several times here: people can't disagree with dignity.

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"In my personal life, I was able to hire Bobby Seale........"


Wow, I even proof read this time and missed it. I hired Bobby to be a benefits' rights counselor at an activist agency that worked with the unemployed. He did a good job, but quit because of all his out of town speaking engagements. This was in Philadelphia in the 1980s.


But enough of that. I remember sitting night after night in Vietnam in an abandoned fish net factory during monsoon season listening to reports of the out of control Democratic Party convention in 1968

wondering what was going to happen to me, my buddies and my family back home. It was not a good time. I was once a big fan of LBJ and his Great Society. In fact, I was born in Austin, Texas in Johnson's congression district when he was still in the United States House of Representatives. By 1968, I hated LBJ. So it was one of the biggest ironies of my life when Bobby Seale walked in and applied for a job.


P.S. I am now proud of being from Austin and any associate with the Johnson family especially Mrs. Johnson, although I still think LBJ was dead wrong on Vietnam.

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Bucky, I actually took two years of German history in college, a long time ago.


I do remember that Germany did not become an unified nation until the small states joined with Prussia after Bismarck won the Franco-Prussian war around 1870. Germany did not have the long history of democracy that many other western European countries enjoyed. Germany's experiement with democracy in the 1920s followed a war defeat that left many Germans unhappy and broke as a result of inflation. When Hitler did come to power legally in 1933, many of Germany's leading literary (Thomas Mann), scientific (Albert Einstein) and theatrical (Marlene Dietrich) figures either immediately left Germany or were already gone. So I am not sure that many (or even any) of the parallels that have been mentioned hold up.


What could change all that in the US is a series of new 9/11-like terrorist attacks with many people dying. It is a tribute to the intelligence community that nothing major has happened in three and a half years. I have mentioned before that I live in Pennsylvania, where even Rick Santorum (the worst of the worst) has backed off

on his opposition to the death penalty and criticized Tom DeLay. Rick is moving to the center because of a very tough reelection campaign, but it does show how quickly things can change -- to the left or to the right. Santorum's career long embrace of the religious right backfired and he wants to hold on to his senate seat in a state that voted for Clinton (twice), Gore and Kerry.

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RE: We the Sheeple


I do spend a lot of time (half the year or more) in Brazil now that I'm retired. But I go back to the heartland regularly to visit my aged parents and have been active in HRC activities when I'm back in Kansas. With the wonder of high-speed internet, I can (and do) read several U.S. papers each day on-line here in Rio, and with the wonders of satellite technology we get CNN and Faux News on cable here. (Fortunately we also get a number of non-U.S. news programs, too, like BBC, Globo News, TV 5, TVE, and Deutsche Welle.) It's difficult in these globablized times NOT to know what's happening in the U.S.


Without a doubt there are tremendous differences between pre-Nazi Germany and the U.S. At least so far the U.S. economy isn't remotely as bad as Germany's in the 20s, when postage stamps ended up costing billions of marks. The U.S. has escaped the European curse of institutionalized anti-Semitism and renounced other forms of officially sanctioned racism. On the other hand, blaming things on scapegoats is a popular and time-tested tactic among political skkkum, and in the U.S. the only group that it's still legal to discriminate against is homosexuals, so guess who's "IT" these days? You don't need 20/20 vision to pin the tail on that donkey!


America flirted with fascism in the 30s, but it never had very broad support. While it was a threat to be watched, there was too much about it that repelled ordinary Americans for it to succeed in the U.S. Theocracy is a different threat, and a much more dangerous one, because it plays right into the existing strongly religious nature of Americans. There's a dynamic at work in the U.S. very similar to the one wreaking havoc now in much of the Arab world: fear of rapid change, which triggers reactionary movements. The leadership of groups like al-Qaeda or God's Own Party manipulate the fear that exists among millions of common people to achieve their own ends, but it's a very effective weapon wherever it's used. In the U.S. the world has been utterly transformed since the end of World War II, and the pace of change is only accelerating. The campaign for gay marriage is just one element of those changes, but since it involves the only group it's still socially acceptable to denigrate and discriminate against, it's only natural that gay issues have become a convenient lightning rod and a place around which all the swirling fear and discontent can coalesce. The U.S. inadvertently shot itself in the foot when it created its mythology of 1950s nuke-u-lar sitcom family life (which was far from the actual reality of the 50s) upon which the theocratic right have so ably managed to capitalize. The result is that millions upon millions of Americans, buffeted by the incessant tide of change, wants to go back to an imaginary safer and more secure past, which is what the theocrats in essence are promising them. Is it any surprise that this tactic works just as well in the U.S. as it does in the Arab world, where the shock of change and clash of cultures has been even more sudden and more extreme? Al-Qaeda and other extremists capitalize on the same emotions, telling people that they'll bring back the simpler, more reassuring culture and social structures of the past. They also blame all the problems of the Arab world on the Zionists and their supporters, the Great Satan. If only they can wipe out those hated enemies all their problems will be solved! For untold millions of people, that's a powerful elixir! And we've seen in action how effective it can be in overturning established secular governments and replacing them with theocratic states. That's the danger the U.S. runs.


Europe and Latin America have had better luck dodging this trend, mainly (I suppose) because the horrors of two World Wars (in Europe) and of endless unjust, miserable, corrupt governance (in Latin America) means that most people in those places don't have warm and fuzzy memories of the recent past. Just like other people, many Europeans and Latin Americans fear or are bewildered by change, but they don't have a comforting mythological world to which to regress, so they seem more willing to accept change in the hope that it actually will bring better things. It also doesn't hurt that the power of institutionalized religion has essentially collapsed in Europe and is in serious trouble in Latin America. These days, booming appeals to faith are almost totally ineffective in both places. That's clearly not the case in the U.S., where there's an ever-growing reactionary religious fervor in virtually every nook and cranny of the land, just as there is in the Arab world.


With this in mind, it should be pretty easy to finish filling in the paint-by-numbers spaces until the portrait of Ayatollah Lou Sheldon (and apostles like Pat Robertson and Gary Bauer and Phyllis Schlafly) is complete. If the U.S. doesn't manage to pull back from the brink upon which it finds itself, you can plan to hang that painting in your living room, just like every other American will be forced to do, and right before you have to slam the door to your closet behind you. . .

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RE: We the Sheeple


And, just in time to help make my point, this article from today's New York Times:


April 15, 2005


Frist Set to Join Religious Effort on Judicial Issue



WASHINGTON, April 14 - As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.


Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."


Organizers say they hope to reach more than a million people by distributing the telecast to churches around the country, over the Internet and over Christian television and radio networks and stations.


Dr. Frist's spokesman said the senator's speech in the telecast would reflect his previous remarks on judicial appointments. In the past he has consistently balanced a determination "not to yield" on the president's nominees with appeals to the Democrats for compromise. He has distanced himself from the statements of others like the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, who have attacked the courts, saying they are too liberal, "run amok" or are hostile to Christianity.


The telecast, however, will put Dr. Frist in a very different context. Asked about Dr. Frist's participation in an event describing the filibuster "as against people of faith," his spokesman, Bob Stevenson, did not answer the question directly.


"Senator Frist is doing everything he can to ensure judicial nominees are treated fairly and that every senator has the opportunity to give the president their advice and consent through an up or down vote," Mr. Stevenson said, adding, "He has spoken to groups all across the nation to press that point, and as long as a minority of Democrats continue to block a vote, he will continue to do so."


Some of the nation's most influential evangelical Protestants are participating in the teleconference in Louisville, including Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


The event is taking place as Democrats and Republicans alike are escalating their public relations campaigns in anticipation of an imminent confrontation. The Democratic minority has blocked confirmation of 10 of President Bush's judicial nominees by preventing Republicans from gaining the 60 votes needed to close debate, using the filibuster tactic often used by political minorities and most notoriously employed by opponents of civil rights.


Dr. Frist has threatened that the Republican majority might change the rules to require only a majority vote on nominees, and Democrats have vowed to bring Senate business to a standstill if he does.


On Thursday, one wavering Republican, Senator John McCain of Arizona, told the television interviewer Chris Matthews that he would vote against the change.


"By the way, when Bill Clinton was president, we, effectively, in the Judiciary Committee blocked a number of his nominees," Mr. McCain said.


On Thursday the Judiciary Committee sent the nomination of Thomas B. Griffith for an appellate court post to the Senate floor. Democrats say they do not intend to block Mr. Griffith's nomination.


That cleared the way for the committee to approve several previously blocked judicial appointees in the next two weeks.


The telecast also signals an escalation of the campaign for the rule change by Christian conservatives who see the current court battle as the climax of a 30-year culture war, a chance to reverse decades of legal decisions about abortion, religion in public life, gay rights and marriage.


"As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group's Web site. "For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms."


Democrats accused Dr. Frist of exploiting religious faith for political ends by joining the telecast. "No party has a monopoly on faith, and for Senator Frist to participate in this kind of telecast just throws more oil on the partisan flames," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.


But Mr. Perkins stood by the characterization of Democrats as hostile to faith. "What they have done is, they have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position," he said, referring to Democratic criticisms of nominees over their views of cases about abortion rights or public religious expressions.


"The issue of the judiciary is really something that has been veiled by this 'judicial mystique' so our folks don't really understand it, but they are beginning to connect the dots," Mr. Perkins said in an interview, reciting a string of court decisions about prayer or displays of religion.


"They were all brought about by the courts," he said.


Democrats, for their part, are already stepping up their efforts to link Dr. Frist and the rule change with conservatives statements about unaccountable judges hostile to faith.


On Thursday, Mr. Schumer released an open letter calling on Dr. Frist to denounce such attacks. "The last thing we need is inflammatory rhetoric which on its face encourages violence against judges," he wrote.

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>>I didn't know Boobby Seale escorted.


>It only took 5,384 one-line burps of meaningnless, but Lucky

>finally said something that was a tiny bit funny.


>What's next? Taylor expressing a cogent thought?



or maybe doug finding out who his father is!

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>>What's next? Taylor expressing a cogent thought?



>or maybe doug finding out who his father is!


Doug's father is........................
















Mrs. Cartman!

“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered: Doctor.....WHO?????"

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