Political books 15

The True Patriot       Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer           Apr 2008
Conservatives Without Conscience    John W. Dean     May 2008
The End of America                           Naomi Wolf        June 2008
Urgent Message from Mother             Jean S. Bolen      June 2008

The True Patriot         Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer      Apr 2008
            The entire book is online at the web site http://www.truepat.org/  

Conservatives Without Conscience    John W. Dean    May 2008

Preface  Modern conservatism (1950-1994) has evolved into postmodern conservatism and has been reverting to its authoritarian roots.  Authoritarianism is not well studied academically but it is commonly associated with enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian, and amoral.

Dean had very little contact with political figures, except for a few personal friends, from the time of the Watergate affair during the Nixon presidency until 1991 when he got a call from Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes.  Wallace was thinking about a report on a book reportedly telling the "truth" about Watergate.  It turned out to be one of the opening salvo's in an effort to re-write the history of Nixon by conservative so called Republicans.  The book, Silent Coup (which you can now buy from Amazon for $0.01) was a complete fabrication but it got Dean back in people's minds and when he was hired by MSNBC during the Clinton hearings.  He spent a lot of time in Washington DC and learned a lot about the new conservatives.  

For a long time he had been good friends with Barry Goldwater and when they talked about the mood in Washington DC he found that he and Goldwater agreed.  While talking about G. Gordon Liddy Goldwater said, "I find it offensive that he calls himself a conservative." When Dean asked why, Goldwater continued, "Why? I'll tell you why.  Because he thinks like a thug, not like a conservative.  Conservatives seek the wisdom of the past, not the worst of it," he snapped.  Dean and Goldwater agreed to write a book, Conservatives Without Conscience, but then Goldwater fell ill and was unable to continue.  After Goldwater's death Dean shelved the project but he never forgot about it.  But he still had his notes from his conversations and he had access to Goldwater's papers.  

Then with the Bush-Cheney Presidency and the rise of the religious right his interest was again sparked.  He read numerous books which answered most of his questions, all except the most important one.  Why do those in the religious right act as they do?  This book is an attempt to answer that question.

C1  How Conservatives Think  The first question one should ask is, "What is Conservatism?"  Not an easy question, conservative thinkers such as Ramesh Ponnuru, Russell Kirk, George Nash, William F. Buckley, Jr, William Safire, and Michael Deaver have pretty much failed to define just what conservatives are or believe in.  There just doesn't seem to be any defining ideology that conservatives can all agree to.

Likewise there is no real defining figure for conservatives.  Two possibilities would be Edmund Burke in England and William F. Buckley in the US although current conservatives don't follow what they said.  Some examples of these are George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and Pat Robertson.  

Through the early part of the 20th century self described conservatives had very little in common other than opposing anything that departed from the status quo and giving corporations the freedom they sought.  Then in the 1930's with FDR they found something to rally around, they were opposed to FDR and anything he liked.  Conservatives rallied around Reagan but a reaction to the religiosity that began during this time caused the split between the old style conservatives and the new fundamentalist conservatives.

Liberals have a long established tradition.  It started with the liberal political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Lock.  It hit a high point with the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Most liberal or progressive thought since then has been more variations on a theme than new concepts.  In contrast many recent conservative thinkers have been involved more in rewriting the history of the founding of America.

It should surprise no one that Dean considers Goldwater the epitome of conservative thought.  Goldwater thought that "the conservatives first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?"  Draw on the proven wisdom of the past; do not debase the dignity of others; maximize freedom consistent with necessary safety and order.  Safire identified five Republican factions, economic, social, and cultural conservatives with libertarian impulses and the idealistic instinct of a neoconservative.  In 1996 the Washington Times identified 10 varieties of "-cons".  Currently most thought breaks conservatives into three groups, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and neoconservatives.  However many varieties of conservative there are, there is one overriding issue on which they all agree, they all hate liberals.  

Dean believes that conservatives are often illogical, inconsistent, and contradictory and he offers numerous examples.  John Jost and collaborators after studying hundreds of scientific papers concluded that people who become or remain political conservatives because they have a "heightened psychological need to manage uncertainty and threat."  Various psychological factors associated with political conservatives include fear, intolerance of ambiguity, need for certainty or structure in life, overreaction to threats, and a disposition to dominate others.  Another study shows that little girls who are indecisive, inhibited, shy, neat, compliant, distressed by life's ambiguity, and fearful will likely be come conservative women.  Little boys who are unadventurous, uncomfortable with uncertainty, conformist, moralistic, and regularly telling others how to run their lives will become conservatives as adults.  

He holds Austin and Sarah Bramwell up as pointing to the future of American conservatism.  Dean states. "True conservatism is cautious and prudent.  Authoritarianism is rash and radical.  American Democracy has benefited from true conservatism, but authoritarianism offers potentially serious trouble for any democracy."

Several political science professors wrote a book exploring freedom-order-equality dynamics.  They have a web site and self-test that estimates where you fall in their dynamic.  It is http://idealog.org .  A comparison web site can be found at http://www.self-gov.org/quiz.html .  Dean presents a table of theirs that attempts to place liberals, libertarians, communitarians, and conservatives as to where they fall in this freedom-order-equality dynamics scheme.

C2  Conservatives Without Conscience  Why are so many conservatives hostile and mean-spirited?  Why do they embrace false history and attempt to impeach President Clinton despite public opposition.  Why do they take America to war in Iraq on false pretenses, break the law with the president's approval, torture perceived enemies, or spy on Americans?  Dean found the answers in the research of Stanley Milgram and Bob Altermeyer.  Milgram worked on obedience to authority.  He studied the ability or willingness for experimental subject to administer potentially lethal electrical shocks to other experimental subjects.  Altermeyer is one of the major experts and experimenters on authoritarians.  A book entitled The Authoritarian Personality was published in 1950 and Altermeyer has been studying authoritarians since the 1970's.  

Conservatives are not all authoritarians but almost all authoritarians are conservative.  So much so that Altermeyer calls his studies, studies of right-wing authoritarianism.  He postulates that left-wing authoritarians exist but they are very rare.  They would possibly be found in the old Soviet Union where the government was by definition left-wing.  

Altemeyer has studied primarily right-wing authoritarian followers.  Most RWA's are followers, they score low on tests of social dominance.  They are quite often forceful or aggressive followers.  They are very capable of being the storm troopers that follow a charismatic leader.  There are RWA leaders.  Again they are fairly uncommon although not rare.  These are people who score high on an RWA test and also score high on a test of "Social Dominance Orientation" or SDO.  There are differences between RWA followers and leaders - see the book - the main thing that is that the followers need someone to lead and the leaders need someone to follow.  Part of the reason the RWA leaders score high on the test is that they interpret the test questions as referring to someone who would follow them.  

RWA's typically conform to social norms, church going, god fearing, believers, etc. the RWA leaders conform to social norms because they see that doing this allows them to "fit in" and reassure the followers that they are "good people".  The name of the book, Conservatives Without Conscience is taken from this tendency.  Typical RWA's are often believers in religion, try to follow the principles of their religion, and have moral standards and a conscience.  RWA leaders typically do not believe in their religion, do not have moral standards and a conscience.  They tend to attend church because it makes them look good.  

Just because RWA's have moral standards and a conscious does not mean that they always act on high moral grounds.  They tend to be very self-righteous and overlook what would otherwise be called "evil behavior" because the object of their actions is "not acting morally" and thus does not count.  Once they have been "born again" and "saved" they no longer have to question their actions, after all they are "Saved!"  Some Catholics use confession in this way and some Fundamentalist Protestants use "being saved in a very similar manner.  As Dean comments, "So by using their religious beliefs effectively, right-wing authoritarians have high moral standards in many regards, but pretty ineffective consciences."

The chapter ends with a list of traits that typify Social Dominators -- Leaders and Right-Wing Authoritarians -- Followers,  and a table of the distinctions between Conservatives Without Conscience and Conservatives With Conscience.  When you put these two together it is easy to see how you can get into trouble.

C3  Authoritarian Conservatism  America's founders knew well that most governments in the history of the world have been authoritarian.  "Many republics in history ... had been replaced by despots" and when Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government had been created at the Constitutional Convention famously replied, "a republic, if you can keep it."  There has always been an authoritarian element in modern conservatism (after WW II) but it has only recently overpowered libertarian and traditional thinking.  

Alexander Hamilton is usually considered the first prominent authoritarian conservative.  Two current factions of conservatism which embrace authoritarian conservatism are neoconservatives (or neocons)  and social conservatives.  Defining a neocon is a rather difficult task.  One definition (roughly) calls them foreign policy and military experts who have never touched a gun.  Another definition calls them liberal Jewish intellectuals who became disenchanted with the left in the 1960's and 1970's and who have a desire for militarily imposed nation building.  Dean feels that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is the personification of a neoconservative.  Dean seems to believe that neocon thinking is the primary cause of our wars (and failures) of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Once Bush and Cheney adopted the neocon line the social conservatives (religious right) unquestionably followed their lead.  

Dean's definition of Social Conservatism is not nearly as clear as his neocon effort.  He presents a list of representative players in the founding of this movement, J. Edgar Hoover, Spiro T. Agnew, Phyllis Schlafly, and Paul Weyrich.  

Christian fundamentalists had been very active in political activity up until the Scopes trial in 1925.  After this defeat they mostly withdrew from politics until a new generation became enamored of Jimmy Carter in 1976.  After he was elected they quickly realized that his progressive Democrat policies and started working to get someone else in.  They discovered Ronald Reagan and became a major factor in his election and in Republican politics since.  Carter, a noted evangelical, has had numerous disagreements with the fundamentalists.  Dean discusses Pat Robertson and his activities in depth and Chuck Colson to a lesser amount.  The Christian conservatives have lead a major effort to pack the court system with people they trust or feel that they can control.  Dean identifies Hoover, Weyrich, Robertson, and Colson as Double Highs.   Again - people who score high on both authoritarian and social dominance scales.  Other phrases that would fit here are a manipulative demagogue, someone with the worst traits of both right-wing authoritarians and social dominators, and someone who would make a perfect high-level Nazi.

Using primarily Chuck Colson as an example he gives examples of how these people lie about history and how they would be happy replacing the Constitution with documents creating a theocracy with them as the high priest.

C4  Troubling Politics and Policies of Our Authoritarian Government  Bush and Cheney pushed authoritarian conservatism to its highest and most dangerous level but they could not have accomplished this if there hadn't been a major movement growing in Washington for a long time, both in the legislative and the judicial branches of government.  When Dean entered politics there was reason to believe that the left was too strong, now the right is much too strong.  He feels that the country runs best when it stays close to the center.  

The authoritarian conservatives really came to power in 1995 with the rise of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.  No one, other than perhaps right-wink talk radio, has done more to poison national politics than these two men.  

Gingrich's Authoritarian House  Gingrich received a PhD in European history and taught at West Georgia College for a while.  He ran for Congress in 1974 and 1976 finally winning in 1978.  He divorced his first wife, who had put him through graduate school and raised two daughters, 18 months after his election as she was recovering in a hospital from cancer surgery.  He quickly picked up on Schlafly's "family values" and the Christian conservative movement.  One reporter described him ad dominating, opposed to equality, desirous of personal power, amoral, a bully, hedonistic, exploitive, manipulative, a cheater, prejudiced toward women, mean-spirited, uses religion for political purposes, wants others to submit to his authority, and is aggressive on behalf of authority.  

Other observers have said that when he doesn't need someone anymore he throws you away, "ambitious bastard", he is a man with no conscience, he is amoral, there isn't any right or wrong, there is only what is best for Newt Gingrich.  Gingrich was involved in many occurances of personal attacks on Democratic congressmen.  

Tom DeLay's Tyranny of the Bare Majority  DeLay's personality is the textbook example of the Double High authoritarian dominator: 1) the tendency to dominant; 2) opposition to equality; 3) desire for personal power; and 4) amorality.  In Congress he was known as "the Hammer" and "the Exterminator" (he had been in the pest control business).  He thrived on confrontation.  Upon his first election in 1984 he became a born-again Christian and used religion in his quest for power.   DeLay did not directly oppose Gingrich but he worked to subvert his support.  He was successful and eventually the two men worked together to advance their own purposes.  Gingrich wanted power for himself but he was not dictatorial (imposing his will on others) but DeLay was dictatorial.  

After Gingrich resigned in 1998 DeLay took over.  Some of the rules that the Congress worked with under DeLay were as follows:
Even after the forced resignations of Gingrich and DeLay these practices continued.  By and large Democrats were afraid to challenge these rules.  

Creating a Permanent Republican Majority  DeLay was the master of this.  Congressional districts were "Gerrymandered" into safe Republican and Democratic districts.  Democrats would be given districts with huge majorities and Republicans would get districts with 55% to 60% Republican majorities.  Thus Republicans were sure of wins and many Democratic votes were wasted and the Democrats who were elected with huge majorities wasting many fewer Republican votes.  Dean details the efforts in Texas.  

The K Street Project: Jack Abramoff and His Friends  One of the first things the Republicans did in 1995 was to take control of the lobbying firms that had their offices on K Street.  They informed the lobbying firms that they would not deal with any firms that did not hire Republicans as lobbyists.  Dean details many aspects of DeLay, John Boehner, and Jack Abramoff relationships with lobbyists.  

Authoritarian Conservatism in the U.S. Senate  The Senate is a more difficult body to control as members serve for six years and only 1/3 are elected every two years.  A very lengthy description of the senate voting and cloture system.

The Authoritarianism of the Senate Leader Who Wants to Be President  A hatchet job on William Frist who became the Senate Majority Leader after just slightly more than one term in office.  Frist is also a classic example of an authoritarian dominator.  A particularly telling incident was when Frist was in medical school.  He was studying cardiac physiology in cats by giving them medications and then dissecting their hearts to study the results.  When he ran out of cats he went to various animal shelters, lied to the operators - taking the cats to his lab and then killing them.  He could have been prosecuted for cruelty to animals and he was certainly guilty of unprofessional behavior.  He was finally undone by is illegal stock transactions, his poor leadership in the Senate, and his foolish behavior in the Terri Schiavo case.  

The Authoritarian Vice Presidency:  Evil Is Not Excluded  "Dick Cheney is the most powerful vice president in American history."  He gets his power by knowing how government operates and convincing people that he knows what he is doing.  Unfortunately his "career reveals that it is marked by upward mobility and downward performance."  "Cheney is an authoritarian dominator.  He studies the landscape, and then figures how to get the ground he wants for himself."  He is successful in getting to the top but only in an atmosphere defined by vicious infighting, not by careful consideration of the needs of the country and planning to satisfy these needs.  As Josh Marshall (www.talkingpointsmemo.com) said, "Dick Cheney is a man of principles, Disastrous Principles."   Dean devotes several pages to detail Cheney's support for torture and why it is such a poor idea.

Legitimizing Authoritarian Conservatism:  The Ugly Politics of Fear  Dean, "Cheney is the mind of this presidency, with Bush its salesman.  Bush simply does not have the mental facility or inclination for serious critical analysis of the policies he is being pushed to adopt."  Bill Safire reported that FDR defined several terms as follows, "Say that civilization is a tree witch, as it grows, continually produces rot and dead wood.  FDR said. "The radical says: 'Cut it down.'  The conservative says, 'Don't touch it.'  The liberal compromises: 'Let's prune, so that we lose neither the old trunk nor the new branches."

Bush-Cheney have pushed radical solutions, they have sold fear, but they have not pushed solutions.  

What's Wrong with Authoritarianism?  An examination of the authoritarianism that existed in the Nixon White House.  The studies and writing of Bob Altemeyer on authoritarianism.  At present authoritarians are a minority in America.  Unfortunately they tend to be a very vocal minority and they are drawn to power and politics.  The liberals, moderates, and conservatives with consciences - people who cherish our liberties and who question our leaders and their policies need to step forward.  

The book ends with several appendices, 33 pages of notes, and a 12 page index.  Appendix A is a table taken from James Burnham's analysis and comparison of the Conservative Syndrome and the Liberal Syndrome that he wrote in the 1950's.  Appendix B is a brief description of and a listing of the items that are found in Bob Altemeyer's Right-Wing Authoritarian Scale.  It has 20 items.  Appendix C is a listing of the items in the Social Dominance Orientation Survey.  Neither scale includes the details of the scoring.  A web site for more information is file:///H¦/website/pubs/PrattoSidanius1994.pdf .  Note: the ¦ symbol was listed in the book as a vertical bar, I do not know exactly what it is.  Following the "file:" the book lists 3 slashes, this is also strange.

More on John Dean, he is a columnist on http://www.findlaw.com - go directly there and search for "john dean".

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The End of America        Naomi Wolf                          June 2008
        Subtitle: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Introduction:  Ten Steps  America was opened after the feudal mischief was spent.  We began well.  No inquisitions, here, no kings, no nobles ...  Ralph Waldo Emerson  

The book starts with of newspaper headlines during a two-week period in 2006, July 22-Aug 3.  They all describe violations of civil liberties by governmental agencies.

Most of us, including the author, grew up learning about American History and Civics.  Never really paying attention but learning the words.  We learned about how the government of King George III was oppressing the colonists and how we fought the Revolution so that this could be ended and how our new government contained "checks and balances" to keep any one portion of government from gaining too much power.  Sort of like a bureaucratic turf war.  Ho hum.  Most of us never really got the point that this was to prevent the government from imprisoning us or taking all of our property without the fill legal proceedings of the Justice System.  When Naomi Wolf, the author, became upset over some of the actions taken by our government following 9/11she began reading about our founders and also about the history of dictators over the last century.  She became very upset and determined to do something about it.  

After doing this reading she began noticing specific comparisons with the activities of recent dictators and members of the Bush administration.  Word of disclaimer.  She is not suggesting that members of the Bush administration were reading the history of Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy, or Stalin's Russia and following their activities point-by-point.  Indeed the people committing these acts ma not even know the histories of these countries - BUT - the acts are very similar.

She mentions a number of examples:   œœœœ
A woman in Long Island was forced to drink some of her own expressed breast mild before getting on an airplane Mussolini's Italy forced citizens to dring emetics and other liquids
German SS:  Wilhelm Sollmann, a Social Democrat leader - forced to drink castor oil and urine
2002 - Homeland Security.  The word "homeland" has never been used before by the US government 1930 - Nazi propagandists stopped referring to Germany as "the Nation" or "the Republic" and started referring to it as "Heimat" - "The Homeland"
2001 - The Patriot Act requires doctors to release patient records without demonstrating probable cause. 1930's - Nazi law requires doctors to release previously private medical records.
2005 - Newsweek reports that guards in Guantanamo flushed Koran's down toilets in prisoners view. 1938 - Gestapo forces Jews to scrub out toilets with sacred Phylacteries (the tfillin)
Amnesty International: US interrogators play heavy metal at top volume into cells day and night. 19138 - Gestapo plays radio at top volume day and night for Austrian premier Kurt von Schuschnigg.
2004 - US forces seize wives of suspected insurgents and hold them to force their husbands to turn themselves in. Stalin's Russia - secret police took hostage wives of dissidents accused of "treason" to force their husbands to turn themselves in.
Bush - Prisoners at Guantanamo were not covered by the Geneva Conventions. Nazi - Troops invading Russia were told that they could treat the enemy brutally because they were not covered by the Hague Convention.
After 9/11 - Condi Rice & Cheney: America is now on a "war footing" After the Reichtag fire - Germany was placed on a permanent "Kreigstasz", a "war footing".
Bush - "embeds" reporters with military units in Iraq Nazi officials "embed" reporters with their armed forces.
Bush - unload coffins of dead American soldiers at night and forbid pictures of coffins. Nazi's - unload coffins of German war dead at night.
2002 - The White House announces that there are "sleeper cells" in the nation. The term "sleeper cell" was coined in Stalin's Russia.
2006 FBI - after a terrorist plot against US planes is uncovered - "If this plot had actually occurred, the world would have stood still." Hitler 1940 speaking of his plans, "The world will hold its breath."  
Neither FBI agents nor dictators usually speak in poetry - these were well prepared comments.

The echoes are worth noticing - but not that important.  The important factor is how dictators take over democracies or pro-democracy uprisings.  Wolf breaks this type of effort into ten steps, successful dictators use as many of them as they need.  The use of one reinforces the use of another.  Before in the history of America there have been instances of their use but these have been quickly discarded when the emergency was over.  The Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 - Jefferson pardoned all those convicted when he took office.  In the Civil War, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus but after the war ended the Supreme Court ruled that this was unconstitutional.  In 1918 Eugene Debs and other activists were arrested but when WW I ended the hysteria subsided.  In WW II thousands of Japanese-Americans were put in camps, these were released when the war ended.  The McCarthy hearings were tolerated for a while but later he was condemned by his colleagues.  However President Bush has defined the current conflict with global terrorism as being open-ended.  He is attempting to make these permanent.

In 2006 military leaders in Thailand staged a coup.  They quickly put in place many of her ten steps.  All of these are being instituted or tried in the US today.  More slowly and in a more sophisticated manner perhaps, but they are still there.  Many people have realized that individual steps are a problem.  What Ms. Wolf has done is to put this all together and to compare this process to US and World history.

C1  The Founders and the Fragility of Democracy  But a constitution of government, once changed from freedom, can never be restored.  Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.  John Adams, July 7, 1775

This title of this book should be absurd.  Karl Rove has said that he is seeking a "permanent Republican majority."  Any "permanent majority" would be the end of American democracy but "Bush's Brain" has said that is what he wants.   But it is not the goal of most Americans: Republican, Democrat, Independent, or other.  This is the goal of a small minority (Dean and Altemeyer would call them double high authoritarians).  

Authoritarianism, Fascism, Totalitarianism: Some Definitions  Democracy and fascism may be at opposite poles but they rarely exist in isolation, most governments have elements of both.  Totalitarianism: a mass movement with a leadership that requires "total domination of the individual."  Fascism: a philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.  Fascism refers to a militaristic system that is opposed to democracy and seeks to crush it.  A fascist shift uses the threat of violence against the individual in order to subdue the institutions of civil society so that they can be subordinated to the power of the state.

Before WW II the best examples are Germany and Italy (and Japan).  After WW II examples would be Indonesia, Nicaragua, Chili, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Guatemala (and Burma). Fascism and totalitarianism are political terms, authoritarianism is a scientific term.  She does not really discuss the differences between them.  

American Fascism?  When America gets fascism it wall be called anti-fascism.  Huey Long

In the 1920's and 1930's many Americans were impressed with Hitler and Mussolini and wondered if a "strong man" would be a useful approach.  In the late 1930's a number of people including Sinclair Lewis warned against the evils that would befall America if this were to happen here.

What is Freedom?  Any child in America today will glibly say, "It's a free country!" and most of us cannot imagine living under any other sort of government.  Our founders lived under another sort of government.  They KNEW that tyranny was eternal, ever-renewable, and capable of withstanding all assaults whereas democracy was difficult, personally exacting, and vanishingly fragile.  They didn't see Americans as being special in any way, they saw America - the process of liberty - as being special.  They risked their lives when they criticized their government.  Tom Paine was tried and convicted of sedition for his book The Rights of Man and his publisher was dragged off to prison in chains.

Thomas Jefferson was originally opposed to the Constitution because it allowed for a single president.  The authors of the Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay proposed a system of checks and balances to insure that no person or group could gain enough power to deprive others of their rights.  "The price of liberty, the generation that debated and created the Constitution understood, is eternal vigilance."

The Strength and Ease of Dictatorship  Many Americans believe that Mussolini and Hitler came to power by violence.  Both came to power legally in a working democracy.  They made use of the Parliamentary system to subvert and reorder the rule of law.  They both legally aggregated state power.  It is easy to subvert liberty if the populace is not vigilant.

The Appearance of Normalcy in an Early Fascist Shift  The early stages of the conversion from democracy to fascism look exactly like democracy.  Most people don't notice a change.  Perhaps a few noisy radicals are no longer heard from.  A few newspapers don't show up on news stands.  Not until the final stages are significant changes noticeable.

C2  Invoking an External and Internal Threat  Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and most renders men, in whose breasts it predominates, so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.  John Adams

Following 9/11 we Americans realized that we were facing a new external threat.  We also discovered a new set of phrases to define it.  "Evildoers", "axis of evil"  bin Laden as "a threat to civilization" itself, Islamofascism, war on terror, "global caliphate".  We are not facing starvation or rioting in the streets.  That was what was happening in Germany and Italy before WW II, that was the environment that spanned Hitler and Mussolini.  How did Bush-Cheney accomplish this?  It certainly takes potent mythologizing.  All fascist leaders tell a story of an encircling global threat that is evil incarnate.  "Fascists need a demonized enemy against which to mobilize followers" Robert O. Paxton.  The enemy is necessary, he must not be eliminated however he can be switched to another group.  Some of the themes that fascist elites develop as they rise to power are:
She describes some of the techniques that Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, East Germany and Czechoslovakia, and General Pinochet used.  America is not driven by ideology like Italy and Germany were, but we have the profit motive and lobbyists.  Following 9/11 security and surveillance companies dramatically increased their business and their lobbying activity.  

Peace is bad for business.  Following the demise of the Soviet Union the US defense industry faced a crisis.  They, and their supporters in government needed to increase spending in other areas.  Our federal state has now identified, mythologized, and institutionalized an external and internal threat -- indefinitely.

C3  Establish Secret Prisons  No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ...   The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury ... and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.    The Sixth Amendment  

The Magna Carta was signed in 1215, it is the basis of the Fifth Amendment. The concept of habeas corpus was made a law in 1679.   These have become embedded in the culture of English and American society.  It protects the innocent.  When these laws are lost there is no protection for the innocent.  Secret prisons without habeas corpus is the cornerstone of every dictatorship.  These always start by imprisoning "obviously" guilty people.  They are always members of the demonized "enemy" group.  

Secret Prisons Metastasize  Once the existence of secret military prisons is accepted by the populace they grow in popularity with those in power and further acceptance, of course they are only used for our natural "enemies" so there is no threat.  However they have a huge "chilling" effect on anyone who might remotely be called a dissident.  Some of the history of prisons of Italy, Germany, and Russia is detailed.

Guantánamo  Excessive bail shall not be required ... nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.   The Eighth Amendment  

It is well documented that Bush fully prepared and was using torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo long before he asked Congress to legalize torture in 2006.   The Geneva Conventions were revised in 1949 because of Nazi abuses.  Guantánamo is an interrogation camp and these are illegal.  A long description of abuses and excuses for the torture in these two camps/prisons.  
Danger to Those Who Help  Once the precedent has been set by detaining "others" or "enemy aliens" it is only a small step to "not quite so others" - the third detainee to be tried was David Hicks, a white, English-speaking Australian.  Another step is to reduce the access to prisoners by aid workers and lawyers.  Often lawyers defending "illegal enemy combatants" are threatened, officially by giving them poor job ratings and unofficially by threats. Both Alexander Hamilton and John Adams defended British soldiers and  Crown supporters and they received threats and loss of income.

Military Tribunals  Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler set up military tribunals.  Military tribunals are often secret or much of the evidence is secret.  Judges, prosecutors, and interrogators are usually immune from prosecution for any crimes that they may have committed.  In an open society and in open courts citizens who claim they have been tortured by authorities can sue and in America they commonly do and win their cases.

Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist No. 83, "Arbitrary impeachments, arbitrary methods of prosecuting pretended offenses, and arbitrary punishments upon arbitrary convictions have ever appeared to me to be the great engines of judicial despotism."

C4  Develop a Paramilitary Force  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  Second Amendment.

When you speak out in America you usually feel physically safe, you don't expect to be intimidated physically or beaten up.  In a fascist society this is not the case.  Ever since the American revolutionaries fought the Hessian mercenaries that has been a bad word in the US.  Now the largest private military facility belongs to Blackwater.  They have 2,300 private soldiers deployed and over 21,000 on call.  They have an air force including helicopter gunships and a surveillance blimp.  

Paul Bremer's last order in Iraq, Order 17, made private contractors immune from prosecution for war crimes.  The Nazi's made laws shielding paramilitary forces from war crimes prosecutions.  The Department of Homeland Security has hired Blackwater to patrol the streets of New Orleans following Katrina.  

In Florida in 2000, during the recount, large groups of young men, later identified as Republican political staffers, all dressed alike, congregated around recounting centers, around voting areas with majority African-American voters - in some cases preventing voting.  

Traditionally the Secret Service has had as its sole job the protection of the President and other officials.  Recently (2005 and 2006) the secret service has arrested and threatened people who voiced political opinions that differed from the President and Vice-President.  

Mussolini's Thugs  Mussolini was the most effective practitioner of thugs in the early 20th century.  They started during WW I and by 1922 the "black shirts" were a true paramilitary organization.

Nazi Thugs  In 1920 the Nazi party recruited a "Gymnastics and Sports Section" with a uniform of brown shirts, riding breeches, and boots.  In 1921 they expanded and changed their name to the "Storm Division" and in 1923 Hermann Goering became the leader.  They were never formally a part of the Nazi party so the Nazi's could not be held accountable for their actions but they always supported Nazi policies.  

C5  Surveil Ordinary Citizens  People need to watch what they say, watch what they do.  Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary, 2001

I warn every animal on this farm to keep his eyes very wide open.   Squealer   George Orwell - Animal Farm

There has been a lot of information recently about possible or probable governmental monitoring of email, phone calls, etc.  This is not new.  Groups like the Gestapo the NKVD, the KGB, the Stasi, and the Chinese Politburo have all engaged in this type of activity.  This breaks down citizens'sense of being able to act freely against those in power.  It also erodes citizens' loyalties to civil and professional groups.  It is important that this not be secret, you must know that you are being watched.

The Iron Triangle in American Life  What is the purpose of the surveillance system of the Dept. of Homeland Security?  Is it for the War on Terror or perhaps domestic political purposes?  July 2002, Bush: Operation TIPS - Terrorism Information and Prevention System.  It was to recruit "a million letter carriers, meter readers, cable technicians ... to report ... any activities they think suspicious."  China had three forms of government surveillance which they called the "iron triangle",  residence permits, personnel file, and work unit.  The US version of the "iron triangle", phone calls, emails, and bank records.  One point - these activities have to be public - sort of - so people know they are being watched.  The Patriot Act tried to obtain library records and medical records.

Fascist and Totalitarian Surveillance  Mussolini again was a pioneer in this area.  The Nazi's and Stalin quickly picked it up.  

C6  Infiltrate Citizen's Groups  Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  First Amendment

A standard procedure of fascist groups is to infiltrate groups.  This has happened in Italy, Russia, Germany, East Germany, Chile, and China among others.  The goal is not just information, when people know that some members may be spies they are less likely to "peaceably assemble and petition the Government."  These infiltrators are often joined by agents provocateurs at marches and rallies.  Their job is to provoke violent situations are actually commit a crime.  Reports of FBI, Defense Department, and Police harassment and infiltration have increased sharply since 2001.  

C7  Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens  The Press Department of the Foreign Ministry judged that ... I was urging the "spread of counterrevolutionary developments in the GDR."  Because of the role I was clearly playing "in the ideological war of imperialist media against the GDR" I should be placed on the list ...    Timothy Garton Ash

"The List"  In 2002 the author noticed that she was being detained and given a more thorough search than most people.  She found out that she was "on the list."  She details the experiences of a number of people who were "on the list."  Some time later 60 Minutes got a copy of "the list."  It was 540 pages long and contained 75,000 names.  The more stringent "no-fly list" had 45,000 names on it.  Before 9/11 there were only 16 names on the list.  She goes on to describe the similarities of this to the practices of the Gestapo before and during WW II.

"Arbitrary Search and Seizure"  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.   The Fourth Amendment.  

She describes the ordeal of Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and a lawyer from Portland, Oregon.  He was a convert to Islam.  She compares this to the British practices in the 1750's and why the Fourth Amendment was put into the Constitution.

Curtailing Citizens' Assembly  The right of assembly has always been an early target of fascists.  In 2004 groups were denied access to Central Park during the Republican National Convention.  In Aug 2005 the NY Police Dept sought new rules that would have made it illegal for groups of more than 35 people to gather for sidewalk marches without a permit.  

C8  Target Key Individuals  All fascists target key individuals.  In 2001 the National Science Foundation mad it clear that grants would no longer go to research that would undermine the Bush administration's agenda.  In Nazi Germany Goebbels purged scientists who did not support the Nazi party.  In California, SB5, the "Student Bill of Rights" was proposed to legally "balance classroom discussion."  Other efforts, primarily from Republican legislators, attempted to purge left leaning or Islamic faculty members.

Pressure on Artists and Entertainers  Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher's show was canceled following an anti-Bush comment, following an anti-Bush comment the Dixie Chicks faced an organized boycott, the Bush administration threatened to confiscate the film Sicko by Michael Moore.  In Germany Goebbels destroyed the careers of artists who would not "co-ordinate" with the regime, Czech artists faced a similar threat in 1948, Pinochet, Castro, and Somoza also jailed artists.  In the 1950's McCarthy temporarily destroyed the careers of film artists.  

Pressure on Civil Servants  Goebbels purged the civil service in 1933.  Bush has also purged numerous civil servants and military lawyers who refused to go along with Bush policy.

C9  Restrict the Press  Congress hall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ...    First Amendment

One of the first tasks of fascist regimes is the targeting of the free press.  At first the Bush administration tried to restrict access to journalists that they didn't like, then they started attacks on those who were the most outspoken.  Then people started loosing jobs.  First Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame.  Then Dan Rather.  

Public Radio and Television  The next target was PBS and NPR.  Bush appointed a crony, Kenneth Tomlinson to chair the Corp. for Public Broadcasting.  He compiled a list of the political leanings of political pundits (Goebbels did the same for German state radio employees in 1933).  He was forced out a year later but the threat had been made.  One PBS staffer was fired later for previous political activities.

Threaten the Press with Prison at Home and with Violence Abroad  In 2003 the Pentagon threatened to fire on independent reporters in Iraq.  On April 8, 2003 three journalists were killed.  Journalists reports and military reports differ widely as to exactly what happened.  Many non-embedded journalists have been held, interrogated, and roughed up by US Military Police.  In 2006 a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer was jailed by the US Military.  Reporters in the US have been jailed in the US.  

Control of the Press in the Past  Italy under Mussolini started controlling the press in 1923,  this was picked up by Goebbels in the 1930's and by the Chinese in 1989.  

False News and Faked Documents  "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims of a big lie than a small one."  Hitler - Mein Kampf.  She compares the imagery of the Hitler propaganda film, Triumph of the Will with the "Mission Accomplished" imagery of Bush.  They are remarkably similar.  She goes on to describe the official stories produced by Hitler, Pinochet, and the Chinese and compares them with the Bush stories about the reasons why the US "needed" to go to war with Iraq.  

C10  Cast Criticism as "Espionage" and Dissent as "Treason"  Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.   Article 3, US Constitution

The Founders intentionally made it difficult to throw around the word traitor, which had been widely used by the British.  However in attempting to establish fascism more and more activities and phrases tend to get linked together.  Protests against the state become "treason", "terrorism", "subversion", "espionage", "sabotage", "slander".  In Stalin's Russia criticism was first defined as "slander" and then became "treason".  Ann Coulter publishes her book Slander one year before her book Treason.  

The Bush administration has been active in redefining protests and "fact finding" as terrorism and treason.  A current technique is to define and then re-define exactly what is classified information,  someplace along the line someone will quote a document that was not defined as "secret" but is now defined as "secret".  "See, he disclosed secret information."  On Oct. 12, 2006 a persons was charged with treason for creating videotapes.  The 1917 Espionage act was used to arrest and jail thousands of of Americans.  For the last 100 years dictators and would-be dictators have been using this technique, they still haven't stopped.

C11  Subvert the Rule of Law  I do solemnly swear . . . that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States     Presidential Oath of Office

March 2007, nine US attorneys were fired because they were insufficiently loyal to White House policies.  On April 7, 1933 Goebbels purged the civil service - especially targeting state attorneys and judges.  Federal attorneys wield tremendous power and much of it is used to insure that elections are held properly - or not.  It is best to have your attorneys set up and in place before the election is held.  Hitler, 1936 "I am not a dictator, I have only simplified democracy."

In Sept 2006 the Congress passed the Defense Authorization Bill, which weakened the power of the states to control National Guard units.  This also guts much of the Posse Comitatus Act which gives the states power over their National Guard units.  Most people are happy to grant the President the power to act quickly in an emergency, however our system of checks and balances guarantees that the emergency power that he seizes will be quickly returned once the emergency is over.  Is this the reason for the Global War on Terror which will never end?  Who knows, but the thought is frightening.  

Global America  For many years the US has been the "shining city on the hill", it has been the primary witness for the rule of law in the world.  If we don't maintain this status, who will?  Egyptian security forces recently arrested several opposition leaders and a blogger.  When challenged they invoked the example of the USA PATRIOT Act.  Can we keep our nation alive in the world for more than 230 years?

Conclusion:  The Patriot's Task  We are truly in a war, but the war is not with some unidentified terrorist, it is a war to save our democracy.  New surveillance technologies mean that today's patriots cannot rely on their previous understanding.  Before the author of this book wrote it she asked an accountant to go over her records and identify anything that could be used against her or distorted.  You need to perform "opposition research" on yourself to protect yourself.  We must learn what the Constitution says and why it says it, and demand that all of those who are in a position of power likewise understand the Constitution.  We must agree with her, "No; the nation is not going down, not on my watch."

There are 14 pages of notes and 4 pages of bibliography.

The American Freedom Campaign
 is a nonpartisan alliance of citizens aimed at restating ten basic American principles.
  1. Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one's detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.
  2. Prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
  3. Prohibit the use of secret evidence.
  4. Prohibit the detention of anyone, including U.S. citizens, as an "enemy combatant" outside the battlefield, and on the President's say-so alone.
  5. Prohibit the government from secretly breaking and entering our homes, tapping our phones or email, or seizing our computers without a court order, on the President's say-so alone.
  6. Prohibit the President from "disappearing" anyone and holding them in secret detention.
  7. Prohibit the executive from claiming "state secrets" to deny justice to victims of government misdeeds, and from claiming "executive privilege" to obstruct Congressional oversight and an open government.
  8. Prohibit the abuse of signing statements, where the President seeks to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills.
  9. Use the federal courts, or courts-martial, to charge and prosecute terrorism suspects, and close Guantanamo down.
  10. Reaffirm that the Espionage Act does not prohibit journalists from reporting on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution.
They present a pledge which they urgently suggest that all Americans take:

We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people’s phones and emails without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power.

I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from assault by any President.

Several websites are referenced:
www.americanfreedomcampaign.org     American Freedom Campaign
www.chelseagreen.com                          Chelsea Green Publishing
www.aclu.org                                         American Civil Liberties Union
www.hrw.org                                         Human Rights Watch
www.ccr-ny.org                                     The Center for Constitutional Rights

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Urgent Message from Mother     Jean Shinoda Bolen             June 2008
Gather the Women, Save the World  (She printed her name with a following M.D.  I am happy for her, she went to college.  Do I also have to ask if she graduated from the 8th grade?  I read the book, I will make the decision if she is a good writer.  I have known MD's, PhD's, etc., some appeared to be smart, some don't.  It's what you do with your education, not your pride in having the money to afford it.

C1  Mother's Day
 1870, Julia Ward Howe, bring peace to the world, not money to Hallmark.  It is still not completely successful but mothers are still trying.  The War on Iraq - the response difference between men and women (are we possibly talking about authoritarianism or possibly Strict Father - Nurturant Parent differences?).  George Bush and the media seemed to see the war as an athletic contest.  How the news reports on those killed, how there was very little reporting on the ten times as many wounded, and how there was almost no reporting on the civilian casualties.  

Feminism:  First wave: women bonding together, MADD, Million Mom March, Womens Suffrage.  Second wave:  the women's movement, The Feminine Mystique, the 1963 Report on the Status of Women, consciousness-raising groups or circles.  Third wave:  the women's peace movement.  

When women are traumatized their children face additional stress in the womb, such children grow up with socialization problems.  The problems of domestic violence, mothers without power cannot protect their children who then grow up feeling betrayed by adults and the cycle continues.  Women who have power protect their children and support them, girls who are educated space their children and have fewer children who are healthier.  This is pretty much the opposite of patriarchy.

C2  Mother Earth / Mother Goddess  The original God of the Greeks and the Old European peoples was an Earth or Mother Goddess.  It wasn't until invading warrior tribes with their Patriarchal Gods conquered these people that male Gods replaced the Mother Goddess.  It wasn't until the later half of the twentieth century that archaeologists and anthropologists began to realize this fact.  Bolen believes that the ancient Jews (who had no word for goddess) warned against worshiping "false gods" were in fact warning against worshiping goddesses.  When the proto-Jews were approaching Canaan, the land of milk and honey, their leaders were warning them that the worship of the local Goddesses would be against their Patriarchal Gods.  This is a common strategy of those who want followers to obey their commands as they are lead into war.

The uses the symbology of the Gaia Hypothesis (Lovelock and Margulis, mid-1960's) and of motherhood to describe the changes that have taken place in seeing the earth as a unified whole.  Again she discusses the differences in socialization between boys and girls and discusses the concepts involved in authoritarianism and Lakoff's views of Strict Father - Nurturant Parent without seeming to know about the scientific basis of these concepts.  

C3  Monotheism / Doing without Mother  The three monotheistic (patriarchal) religions - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are similar.  They have the same forefather, Abraham.  They have holy scriptures, a written Word of God.  All are hierarchical and they sanction war - against each other.  They support and justify war, their God is better, stronger, more moral than your God.  Women are to stay in the kitchen, mind the children, and leave the decisions up to men.  Only after Constantine converted to Christianity did religion become a justification for war.  

Authoritarianism: follow the rules of your leader!  Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac until the angel of the Lord appeared to say that his obedience to authority pleased God.  To this day young men are willingly sacrificed by patriarchs when they are sent off to war.  What happened to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam?  All three have many stories of their originators and prophets showing love, kindness, and compassion.  Fundamentalists in all three religious traditions don't seem to be able to read their sacred works.  

The rest of the chapter reiterates patriarchal, feminist, spiritualist, etc. ideas.

C4  Mother Needs You!  Women of the world arise, you have nothing to loose but your shackles!  Not precisely a quote, but it gets the point across.  Stress:  women - tend and befriend (straighten up the house, water the plants, talk to friends); men - fight or flight (rage, diffuse anger or withdraw).  She refers extensively to Deborah Tannen's work.  Women tend to gather and bond in groups of equals.  Men talk as individuals in a hierarchical social order, they need to establish or reinforce the social order.

The author describes how male-female differences play out (using Tannen's work) in several different areas.  They are peacemaking, asking for directions, playground relationships, abuse (prisons and initiations), finances, microcredit loans, water rationing, ethical differences, whistleblowers, and expectations.

C5  Antidote 1: The Visible Power of Women Together
 The world is in bad shape.  The author believes that a major causative agent is Patriarchy.  She believes that an antidote to this is needed: an antidote: a remedy to counteracts the effects of poison, something that relieves, prevents or counteracts.  She discusses a number of problems and the steps that women have taken to provide an antidote.  

C6  Antidote 2: The Invisible Power of Women's Circles  An abused woman (or man!) is doubly wounded, first by the abusive person and then by the shame that they feel because they could not prevent the abuse.  Support groups can help in diffusing the shame and they can also be used to prevent the abuse from happening to others.  Her point is that when women (people) come together to support one another it helps them all and each one is likely to talk to others beyond her own group.  Those others are also likely to come together to form their own groups.  She uses Malcolm Gladwell's concept of a tipping point to describe what happens when these mutual support groups (circles) grow so much that the whole society is involved in some way.

It is a great idea but it is explained much to glibly.  As soon as these Circles (support groups) start growing most civilized(?) societies will start generating backlashes.  The dream is great, but we all must be aware that in the real world as soon as the rubber hits the road there will be potholes.  The foot soldiers are going to need some armor and some tactics before they face the dogs and the fire hoses.

C7  Anything We Love Can Be Saved
 She points out that women and womens groups are making many efforts to improve life on earth.  I particularly liked the description of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  It was adopted in 1979 and was signed by 165 nations.  The four nations that have not signed it are the United States, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran, quite a distinguished company.

She refers to the book Collapse by Jared Diamond.  She emphasizes the cautionary tale of Easter Island.  She mentions the phrase, "Anything We Love Can Be Saved" from the poem by Alice Walker.  To me this is self evident but how do we get the love stuff?  How do you get to the people who are filled with hate or a self-love that refuses to admit the existence of others?  They may truly love another person and perhaps even a few others - a family - but how can we get them to admit that there are other humans who may need things like food, water, and clothes.  Loving generous people are all around us but how do we get them to love those who are not close to them, how do we get them to love the earth so that they quit destroying its capacity to support life?  These are some of the problems that the book fails to account for.

The book contains a four page discussion guide, a six page list of chapter resources, many of them web sites, and a 7 page index.

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