“it can happen here”
or “the more things change, the more they stay the same”
Although most Americans remember that Harry Truman was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Vice President when Roosevelt died in 1945 (making Truman President), Roosevelt had two previous Vice Presidents – John N. Garner (1933-1941) and Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945). In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"
Vice President Wallace’s answer to those questions was published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.
"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."
In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word "fascist" – the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)
As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled "The Doctrine of Fascism" he wrote, "If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government." But not a government of, by, and for We The People – instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.
In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the "Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni" – the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like Tom DeLay and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the government.
Vice President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about the same happening here in America:
" If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. … They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead."
Nonetheless, at that time there were few corporate heads who had run for political office, and, in Wallace’s view, most politicians still felt it was their obligation to represent We The People instead of corporate cartels. "American fascism will not be really dangerous," he added in the next paragraph, "until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information…"
Noting that, "Fascism is a worldwide disease," Wallace further suggest that fascism’s "greatest threat to the United States will come after the war" and will manifest "within the United States itself."
the 14 defining characteristics of fascism
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes.
Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
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.
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.
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.
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. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
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.
7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
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.
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 and letters is openly attacked.
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.
From Liberty Forum
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross,”
“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’,
it will not be marked with a swastika,
it will not even be called fascism,
it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism’”
An un-credited New York Times reporter covering Halford E. Luccock in an article published September 12, 1938.
Did Republicans deliberately sabotage the economy?
by David Pinar
Are the Republican Congressional leaders purposely trying to sabotage the US economy for their own political gain? I think it’s obvious – just look at their single most important item on their agenda:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
- Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Not jobs, not encouraging our economic recovery, not defeating Al Qaeda. Nope, making sure Americans don’t re-elect President Obama is the single thing uppermost on their minds. In a recent article at The Guardian Michael Cohen points out the obvious:
The GOP’s zealotry on tax cuts is only matched by its zealotry in pursuing austerity policies. In the spring of 2011, federal spending cuts forced by Republican legislators took much-needed money out of the economy: combined with the 2012 budget, it has largely counteracted the positive benefits provided by the 2009 stimulus.
Republicans couldn’t stop the stimulus passed in 2009 when Democrats controlled Congress, so they’ve undone it with forced austerity since they took control of the House. “Austerity” – sound familiar? It’s austerity fiscal policy in Europe that has crashed their economy back into recession. The Republicans won control of the House in 2010 with their fake war cry of “out of control spending!”, when in fact growth in federal spending under President Obama has been much less than under Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And what has happened since the Republicans took control of the House?
Subsequently, the GOP’s refusal to countenance legislation that would help states with their own fiscal crises (largely, the result of declining tax revenue) has led to massive public sector layoffs at the state and local level. In fact, since Obama took office, state and local governments have shed 611,000 jobs; and by some measures, if not for these jobs cuts the unemployment rate today would be closer to 7%, not its current 8.2%. In 2010 and 2011, 457,00 public sector jobs were excised; not coincidentally, at the same time, much of the federal stimulus aid from 2009 ran out. And Republicans took over control of Congress.
The Republicans haven’t done a whole hell of a lot since they took control of the House, but what they have done has only harmed our economy, not helped. And their “crowning achievement” – pushing the country to the brink of default over raising the debt limit – which they raised repeatedly under Reagan and the two Bushes, no questions asked – was the single most damaging event to the economy since the financial crises of 2008 -
This collection of more-harm-than-good policies must also include last summer’s debt limit debacle, which House speaker John Boehner has threatened to renew this year. This was yet another GOP initiative that undermined the economic recovery. According to economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, “over the entire episode, confidence declined more than it did following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in 2008.” Only after the crisis did the consumer confidence stabilize, but employers “held back on hiring, sapping momentum from a recovery that remains far too fragile.” In addition, the debt limit deal also forced more unhelpful spending cuts on the country.
Since that national embarrassment, Republicans have refused to even allow votes on President Obama’s jobs bill in the Senate; they dragged their feet on the aforementioned payroll tax and even now are holding up a transportation bill with poison-pill demands for the White House on environmental regulation.
The Republicans don’t like it when voters put a Democrat in the White House, but they don’t get mad, they get even. Remember the national embarrassment when the Republicans shut down the federal government under President Clinton in 1995? Even the Grand Canyon was closed for business. And just 10 years ago, with George Bush in the White House and the economy was in a mild recession, these same Republicans were clamouring for fiscal stimulus to spur the economy.
Over the next 5 months you’ll see a lot of ads telling you the economy sucks and it’s all Obama’s and “rubber stamp” Democrats’ fault! Elect Mitt Dudley Do Right Romney President and give us the Senate and we’ll come riding to the rescue!
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Such words lead some to the conclusion that Republicans will do anything, including short-circuiting the economy, in order to hurt Obama politically. Considering that presidents – and rarely opposition parties – are held electorally responsible for economic calamity, it’s not a bad political strategy.
No, not a bad political strategy – just bad for the economy, bad for you and me, bad for our fellow Americans. And we have a word for people who put their own self interest above the good of their country. Actually, a lot of choice words come to mind when I see what Republican Congressional leaders are doing.
Re-elect President Obama, elect Democrats to a majority in Congress, and get the country moving forward once again.