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View Diary: The Private Detention Camps WERE BUILT In Anticipation of OccupyAmerica- UNIONS It's Time To Step Up (45 comments)

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  •  You seem to be confused about the definition (0+ / 0-)

    of "police state."  There are people who will insist - and apparently believe, with all sincerity, borne out in their own estimation by personal experience - that America has never been other than authoritarian in living memory.  They will point to WW2 internment camps, HUAC, CoIntelPro, MK Ultra, the Vietnam War, the Chicago police riots, etc. etc. to say that we lost our freedom generations ago, that it's all a big sham, that we're just dumb farm animals too stupid to know how powerless we are, and so on.  And, of course, just to keep up appearances they will add some vague appeal to "wake up," but what precisely that means is never really explained, because they don't know themselves - and when called upon to provide an explanation, they'll usually appeal to some symbolic figure like Che Guevara or Malcolm X, because we're supposed to be so awed by the symbolism and imagery of the allusion that we won't notice they don't know what the hell they're talking about.  They're just throwing around words to represent emotions, and that's really all the paranoid style of politics is.

    That shit will never, ever, ever defeat authoritarianism as it actually exists.  NEVER.  Never has, never will.  Fear and deluded self-involvement are not solutions or preludes to solutions, they are additional problems that exacerbate existing ones and compromise the ability of a people to be free.  To be free, not to wallow in some messianic vision of an abstract freedom that is always being suppressed by some shadowy villain.  There are plenty of people in America today who have lived in real police states, and I've never met a one who is afraid of the degenerates you're portraying as superhuman villains.

    I'd like to know what era of history you're using as a model for comparison, because I don't know of any where your thought process wouldn't lead to the invariable conclusion that the world is a dark, sinister place pervaded by an all-powerful demonic force of hidden influences trying to destroy humanity.  The danger is the exact opposite of what you believe: The other side is becoming less conscious and less controlled, turning into malevolent barbarian zombies who believe any lie or fantasy that upholds their preexisting emotional proclivities.  If you think the way to outwit this phenomenon is to upstage it in the paranoia department, have at it, but it's not a game anyone plays with the intention of winning.  We know what left-wing paranoia looks like from history, and it's not a legitimate or effective counter to the right-wing version - it's chaos and it serves the enemy.  Be real.

    The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

    by Troubadour on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 09:50:31 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I never, ever, write anything without having (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      thought about it very carefully, and most importantly, without being ready to back it up.

      Your use of terms like "left-wing paranoia" and "emotional proclivities" that may be preexisting in my psyche are obviously condescending, but do not actually represent a coherent counterargument to my thesis.

      And your claim or allusion to really, really knowing what a police state is all about, or claiming that others that have actually lived under a police state would not agree with my conclusions, is obviously an attempt to claim some expertise, knowledge or superior intellectual heft.

      I utterly reject it, and I am ready to back up my argument...

      Fascism usually creeps into societies over time.  And it does so in different ways, depending on the historic era is happening in, and the country, the culture, and the power structure.

      I call it neo-fascism specifically alluding to the draconian anti-democratic laws passed by the Bush Administration during the early 2000's using 9/11 as a pretext:

      Opponents of the former George W. Bush administration [point out to] similarities between the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and Nazi Germany's Enabling Act of 1933.

      Yes, I agree that many of these forces are akin to a gravitational pull, whereas power tends to accumulate in an ever increasing and accelerated fashion.

      And that has lead to the concentration of power at the top (the plutocratic ruling class), and their ability to buy off much of the government through influence peddling, campaign contributions, lucrative employment positions for politicians, family members and close friends.

      This has led to the plutocratic ruling elite being able to influence the bought off politicians to dismantle the proper function of government and the regulatory framework in order to consolidate power.

      Draconian laws, like the PATRIOT Act set the stage for a the wholesale undermining of constitutional protections, including protections related to privacy, search and seizures, government surveillance and habeas corpus.

      This I call setting the stage for the rise of the neo-fascist police state.

      And because of a confluence of interests (and affinity), many high-tech companies that makeup the backbone of our information-led economy, end up being part of the government surveillance apparatus.

      And so with secret orders handed down by Homeland Security, companies like Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Twitter, AT&T, and many others, end up providing the government with terabytes of information about the population--information that ends up being use in a massive and constant "total information awareness" program.

      The pretext for these things of course is that it is being done in the name of national security.

      It is very possible that many of these actors (the top 1%, the government officials, the corporations, Wall Street), individually, don't see themselves as evil, or neo-fascist, or as the bad guys.

      But when you put the whole system together, and understand the "gravitational forces" at play, in the final analysis you end up with a neo-fascist police State.

      The citizens, being oppressed under this increasingly corrupt system don't have to wait for somebody else to define, or explain how to characterize the situation.

      The tyrannical tendencies of the powerful are always there:

      If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning.

      They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

      The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

      - Frederick Douglass

      And it is the duty of a free people to never let themselves be subjugated.

      In closing, I stand by my argument, and totally reject your characterizations.

      •  What you have described (0+ / 0-)

        is the existence of a potential, not an actual state.  Frankly, Britain has lived under far more severe authoritarian control throughout its entire history than Americans deal with today, so that is part of my complete rejection of your belief, however much passion you've invested in it, that our condition is authoritarian by any reality-based standard.  The other part is a simple, personal smell test: Am I afraid to say anything, ever, due to the feared threat of retaliation by the people you think have total control of our country?  The answer is no - never.  

        Maybe I'm just a stupid thug who would be among the first lined up against the wall and shot by these people, but frankly my record of situational awareness has a much better track record than either the general public or my more leftward brethren.  In 2000, I said publicly exactly these words: "George W. Bush is evil, and I think he intends to start a war."  I knew nothing about PNAC or the Iraq conspiracy, I just saw a bunch of people who were psychotic and reveled in the rhetoric and imagery of violence.  After the 2004 "election," when most of the people on the left I knew were wallowing in apocalyptic despair and certain that Dick Cheney was going to swoop down on them with einsatzgruppen any moment, I told them the Bushies were incompetent degenerates who can't manage against any halfway motivated enemy - the regime had already admitted as much by cannily refusing to seek a draft despite critical troop shortages in their war.  

        I told them their fear was the only real enemy, and - while I don't take any credit for something self-evidently true becoming known - eventually our actions embodied this realization and we totally reversed the situation in both the White House and the Congress.  But then we didn't follow up on it - we just sat around and let our gains disappear after that, and now fear returns to some.  Well, I will never fear the people you do - not even if/when they are what you say they are, because they are also what I say they are: Degenerate, stupid animals who simply inherited an outsized set of resources, and we can defeat them easily when we refuse to legitimize, dignify, or aggrandize them with comic book fantasies.  How impotent did the glorious, "brilliant" Karl Rove look when Democrats simply stopped caring what the guy said or the lies he told, when we stopped lending our imaginations to the momentum of his psychosis?

        That isn't to say the right can never get there independently - it has done so in history, and will do so again - but not with these people as its power base.  Not with a party entirely based on idiocy and nihilism.  Those people would not even enlist in the military in any significant numbers for the invasion of Iraq despite being bombarded by constant, absolute, and incessant propaganda convincing them it was the greatest thing of all time that would be attended by glory, riches, and chocolate unicorns parading down boulevards of gold.  They will risk nothing for their masters.  They will sacrifice nothing to support what they claim to believe, but inwardly know to be a lie.  That makes them qualitatively different from the Germans, Italians, Japanese, and other peoples who've become the property of fascist thugs - these people will not sacrifice, no matter what.  They believe in nothing.  They just want their payoff.  Corruption is a hard thing, but it's not that hard - not hard like the WW2 generation faced; not hard like the West faced across the Berlin Wall.  

        Reject that all you want, but it's simply true and the undeniable fact of history.  Any sane person would rather be right here, right now than awaiting vaporization in the Cuban Missile Crisis, facing the unending ruin and horror of either World War, living in the midst of racial segregation / apartheid, being forced to goosestep down streets in silly uniforms chanting odes to the Beloved Leader of some fascist or Communist state, or living in some grim frontier where strangers from over the next hill are as likely to kill you as speak to you.  

        I hope you're not one of those people who seriously believes being maced by a douchebag cop is equivalent - or even in the same universe - as having a government just open fire and massacre people who disobey: That's what past progressives faced, and democracy leaders in places like Syria are still facing.  Later, progressives faced batons and firehoses.  What we face - media bias and the threat of information being used against us to...manipulate public opinion?  I was there under the Bush regime, at the height of the power of arrogant, inhuman vermin with no respect for life or truth whatsoever, and what I saw from them was constant, pervasive FEAR of us causing them to make timid, incremental steps toward their totalitarian fantasies rather than seizing power in huge Wagnerian flourishes.  Fear of us when we were totally castrated politically - and because they're lowlifes interested only in themselves rather than any kind of ideal, fear makes them more cautious, not bolder.  If I believed in God, I would thank it for giving us such muppets as enemies instead of piling on another Hitler or Stalin.  That doesn't mean it'll never happen again, just not with these clowns.

        The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

        by Troubadour on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:31:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see your problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          you fail to understand the goals of the American police state. It's a new type so I'm not surprised that you'd use the meaningless comparisons to past police states such as the nazi etc. But that's where your long and wrong analysis fails.

          You see todays USA police state is born of economics and as thus is far more benevolent that the dictatorships you reference. It depends on fooling the masses as opposed to forcing its will upon them. It wants to rule over a semi-prosperous nation that continues to produce the wealth they desire to aquire.

          To achieve these goals it necessary for them to slowly take away democratic freedoms using two methods where possible. One is by buying sufficient influence in the state and national legislatures to pass laws which restrict or inhibit freedom. This also gives rise to an imperial presidency which further erodes freedom by assumimg powers not given it in the Constitution.

          Second they'll use the propaganda power of the media they own to divide the populance into warring factions both of which ascribe to populist ideals but hate each other to the degree that their populism is negated. Get it? By using racism and the other dividing tendencies like religion they thwart both sides professed beliefs in freedom and democracy. In this they count heavily on the white majorities fear of losing power to ensure a far right force to enforce their restrictions on freedoms.

          By using these methods they can achieve their goals without the violence and distruction used by the dictatorships you used as examples.

          So the main question becomes what are those goals? The answer is simple; Their goal is to restore the oligarchy to its historical place as unchallenged rulers. That rule was usurped during te rise of the union movement and the empowerment of the middle class beginning at the turn of the 20th century and culminating in the social changes of the FDR era and lasting until the rise of neoliberal economics during the Reagan administration.

          In other words they seek to reverse the gains of the modern era of workers equality in the powers of governance. They desire to return to the the traditional model of the haves ruling the have nots with an iron fist which is the most common economic model historically. They want to return American working classes to the same level of workers in the third world and force them to compete on a par with asian, african and south american workers. That's one of their goals they're quite public about although they dress it up in claims of a 'global economy' when they lower American workers wages and standard of living.

          However should the methods I outlined fail the oligarchs have prepared ways to impose their will by force and law. They learned from their defeats during the rise of the unions in the early 1900's, their electoral defeaats under FDR and the anti-war, environmental uprisings of the sixties. They call it 'deregulation' and other subterfuges in economics and they use lies about a "war on terror" to institute police state laws such as the 'patriot act' and many other restrictions on freedoms.

          I believe it's too damn late to stop what I've explained above while the diarist and others who are fighting to preserve the middle class and their freedoms think the changes are reversable. I believe Americas future has been determined and the police state is too entrenched to overcome by ballot or any other democratic methods. While my more optimistic liberal friends believe they can return the nation to middle class rule by awakening the middle class to it perils. I think there are way too many who believe as you do and won't open their eyes until it's too damn late for sure.

          Which brings us to the present protests or the larger ones which may ensue. Can the oligarchs stop them without exposing the totality of their police state and thus keep sufficient amounts of workers fooled long enough to acomplish their desires? Or will the uprising cause them to impose their final solutions and thus alert the sleeping to what's up? We'll see, I think they'll dispose of the uprising as a blip on their screens and continue their inexhorable drive towards their goals. I see Americas future as a big , rich, banana republic. I hope I'm wrong and a people rebellion ensues. See you on the other side... :)

          America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

          by cacamp on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:45:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely brilliant! I write about these things (0+ / 0-)

            often, and in all my writings it is this exact description of the current state of affairs that I'm trying to describe.

            I which I could say so, but in this case, I have to admit that I could not have said it better.

            This is reality; it's what's going on and we need to continue our labor of trying to wake people up to this reality.

            Thank you.

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