Skip to main content

In part one of Bush Authoritarianism: Blackwater + Amway=GOP, I laid out what I think is an essential task facing liberals and progressives who want to understand what’s happened to our country in the last 7 years, how and why the nature of Bush’s disastrous and deeply damaging tenure is very different from previous rightwing systems either here or in other countries.   A concern I’ve had is that I have seen very little systematic analysis of what has happened, what the real agenda of the Bush administration has been, what have been the intended and unintended consequences of their actions, how its actions have reshaped our economy, our government, society, our legal system, our foreign and defense policies, and its assumptions about politics.  

In the week since I wrote that introductory piece, I’ve come across one new book which I believe does a stunning job of describing the radical privatization of the public sector at the heart of what for a lack of a better term I’m calling Bush authoritarianism.  I’ve only begun reading Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (reviewed here by SusanG).  From my preliminary reading, I think Klein lays out some of the essential tenets of Bush authoritarianism and the roots that wend in to Chicago School economics, personified by Milton Friedman.  A radical drive toward privatization is at the heart of Bush authoritarianism, and is why I vehemently reject the claims that Bush et al are just engaging in a new fascism.  Crying "fascist" is often stupid political rhetoric, and usually serves intellectual honesty about as much as when wingers would cry out, during the Cold War, that advocates of such radical ideas as national health care or the right of workers to be represented by a labor union were communists.  

But the main reason why it’s wrong to refer to Bush authoritarianism as fascist is, simply, that it’s not fascist.  Fascism exalted the state as the most powerful force, more powerful than any other institutions, including business.  It was to be the embodiment of the mobilized masses, and while big business was largely left alone, all other institutions and individuals were to subservient to the state.  In contrast, Bush authoritarianism, and the broader movement of what Klein calls "disaster capitalism," doesn’t seek to build up the state or mobilize the masses in a nationalist cause.  Instead, it seeks to destroy most aspects of the federal government, and turn over tax dollars to private enterprises sucking at the teat of the taxpayer under the guise of greater efficiencies.  This is the antithesis of fascism.  And tellingly, the index to Klein’s book does not have a single reference to any variation of the word "fascism."  

In future pieces I will take a broader view of the radical privatization at the heart of Bush authoritarianism, as well as the cronyism that is tied so closely to its political operation.  I’ll examine the effects of privatizing warfare, of privatizing domestic services, of the atomization of individuals as a means of preventing collective action and suppressing any sense of social or political solidarity that could arise in secular society.  There are strong religious elements to the particular strain of authoritarianism as played out in the United States in recent years.  The practice of politics and the selection of a few areas where the Bush authoritarians actually do seek to expand state power are important to note and essential to the authoritarian practices and beliefs.  And very soon I will lay out some connections between the radical religious right, the proselytizers of radical privatization, the cronies of the Bush family and their wider circle, and major funders of the radical right, the web of foundations and think tanks that push radical right ideology, and the Republican party.

Tonight, though, I’m limiting things to a brief description of the workings of one of the archetypal corporations of the era of Bush authoritarianism: Blackwater.  

The best source for just about everything to do with Blackwater is journalist Jeremy Scahill, a writer for The Nation and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.  Scahill has been tracking Blackwater for several years, his book is an excellent profile of what the company does and how it became successful, and he describes it’s spread around the globe as mercenaries in the hire of the United States Government.  

Blackwater was founded the day after Christmas in 1996 by Erik Prince.  Prince is not a typical ex-Navy Seal, as his father was a billionaire auto parts mogul and major funder to a wide array of religious right organizations that have gone on to exert major influence over the Republican party, and thus over all of us.  Through his family’s political connections, Prince has long known such big players in the religious right as Gary Bauer and Chuck Colson.  His older sister Betsy married Dick DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune, thus joining the families of two of the biggest funders of Republicans and the religious right not just in Michigan, but in the entire country.  

Blackwater is based in rural North Carolina, not far from Norfolk VA.  Prince now claims that the idea to create a company that would provide better training and facilities for military and law enforcement came to him while serving in the Navy, but the more convincing story is that his original partner, an older ex-SEAL named Al Clark, had been talking about the concept for years before he met Prince.  The billionaire had the capital, but the idea appears to have originally been Clark’s.  [Clark eventually left Blackwater to start his own firm, and now says little about his time at the company.]  

In the early days, Blackwater mostly trained small military units and law enforcement agents.  It wasn’t until after 9-11 that the company took off.  Unlike many other "security" firms, Blackwater has never focused much on the private sector.  For all his pronouncements about loving the free market, the company created by Prince is almost wholly a product of government payouts.   Roughly 90% of Blackwater’s revenue comes from government contracts (many of them no-bid contracts).  Blackwater has already received over $800 million for work in Iraq, and that’s just what we know about.  Most intelligence appropriations are kept secret, so the total revenue Blackwater receives from the US Government is likely much more.  

Blackwater’s industry is almost entirely unregulated.  Before he left Iraq, Viceroy Paul Bremer—whom Blackwater was hired to protect—extended legal immunity to mercenary forces in Iraq [pdf].  As we’ve recently learned, Blackwater has been so reckless and unaccountable that the Iraqi government has stood up to the United States and is demanding Blackwater be expelled from Iraq.  There’s little oversight exercised over Blackwater or any other contractors in Iraq.  And instead of respond to calls to get tough with the mercenaries and other contractors, the Pentagon’s Inspector General, Joseph Schmitz, instead left the Pentagon and soon ended up serving as vice president and chief legal counsel at Blackwater.  As Blackwater has grown, they have added major figures from the Bush administration and the military, including former head of counter-terrorism for the National Security Advisor, Cofer Black.

What works brilliantly for Blackwater is that they owe obligations to almost no one.  Take their mercenaries.  Unlike most corporations, Blackwater doesn’t send out recruiters finding top applicants and then spending massive amounts of money to train them and ready them for service in their corporation.  No, they demand that potential employees pass their training.  And Blackwater doesn’t pay to train or screen these applicants.  In fact, the applicants pay $20,000 out of their own pockets to go through the Blackwater training.  Many take out promissory notes to cover the cost, so if they pass and are offered a contract, much of their initial job simply pays the cost of their training.

Once someone goes to work for Blackwater, the company really doesn’t assume many more obligations.  Blackwater pays mercenaries not as actual employees, but as individual private contractors.  Thus, no 1040 tax form, just an 1099.  The contractor is responsible for paying his or her own taxes, and Blackwater doesn’t have to pay any payroll taxes.  If the contractor wants to quit while in Iraq or Bosnia or Azerbijan, fine, but they have to find their own way back home.  I’m trying to find out other details, but I would be shocked if Blackwater contractors get medical insurance or other benefits when they are not working on a specific contract.  

Blackwater has some capital-intensive materials, such as its weaponry, its fleet of planes and choppers, and its training facility.  But it has almost completely avoided most personnel costs.  It has no legacy costs like health care or pensions, because it has few employees.  In fact, Blackwater is essentially a huge employment agency that is allowed by  the federal government to bypass federal hiring rules or the code of military conduct.  The government takes public money and gives it to for-profit entities, immunizes them against any litigation, but the private corporation provides none of the accountability we have over federal employees or the military.  And not only does Blackwater owe almost no obligations to the general public, it owes almost no obligations to the people it hires and sends in to dangerous places to do dangerous work.  

How did this happen?  How did such an irresponsible approach to delivering public services become so lucrative and valued so highly by so many major officials in the US government and throughout the Republican elite?  The first, major component was the radical privatization at the heart of Bush authoritarianism.  But Blackwater specifically benefited from Erik Prince and his connections at the heart of the religious right and the other authoritarian networks intertwined with the Bush administration.  Next week I’ll start to lay out those connections and how the ideology of radical privatization didn’t start with the military, but with such rightwing fetishes as "tort reform" and school vouchers.  

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:49 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Great piece. And I agree 100% with your (20+ / 0-)

    caution toward the use of the word fascism to describe Republican authoritarianism.

    "My candidate is going to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD with his fart-powered car!" --Plutonium Page

    by Joelarama on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:53:14 PM PDT

    •  I actually dunno (11+ / 0-)

      Certainly I wouldn't call them Nazis. But historians tend to think of fascism as the joining of big corporations with the state. That's not exactly what we have, but the differences are subtle.

      •  Crime family is right description (10+ / 0-)

        The Bush/Cheney crime family engineered the largest heist in the history of the world. No wonder he wants to raid the Social Security trust fund so bad - he has to pay all his buddies with someone's money.

      •  Not so sure they're subtle (6+ / 0-)

        If I read DH correctly, the difference is that BushCo sought to replace the state with big corporations, rather than join state with corporations. It's a fairly sizeable difference, no?

        It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks. ~ Helen Keller

        by twilight falling on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:14:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if that really is the goal, yes (10+ / 0-)

          that would be a rather large difference. But how do we then understand the imperial Presidency?

          •  A very interesting question, andgarden (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            andgarden, Naniboujou

            I will have to ponder that one.

            It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks. ~ Helen Keller

            by twilight falling on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:18:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The imperial presidency is in place ... (23+ / 0-)

            ... not to gather power and functionality to itself, but only to gather power, ie, the power to decide.

            That power is then used to bypass all checks and balances on it in order to dismantle the rest of the state.

            Bruce in Louisville
            And the blog is Eclectic Thinker

            by bmaples on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:32:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Damn Good Description (6+ / 0-)

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:48:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You should check out The State of Exception (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shaharazade, christiana

                From a diary I did a while ago:

                Italian academic Georgio Agamben has produced such an explanation.  His 2005 book State of Exception describes a rational, deliberate process for the executive to usurp all power to strip citizens of their status.

                The state of exception starts with a military or security threat, expands through economic dislocation, and ends with an executive able to act against citizens without the constraints of legislative check or judicial review.  The State of Exception explains how it is that a modern society can rapidly transform from one where government owes protection of life and rights to its citizens, to one where citizens can be threatened, abused or killed at the whim of an unaccountable executive.

                "It ain't what people don't know that hurts `em - it's what they do know that ain't true." - Will Rogers

                by LondonYank on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:47:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Very true - but what about DHS? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Residentcynic

              On the surface, the integration of a host of formerly separate government agencies into DHS creates whole news layers of bureaucracy. So it seems to be a manifestation of classic conservative statism (the one service paleocons want the government to extend - "law and order"). But perhaps from the perspective of the Bushists it is really the intention behind these new layers of bureaucracy that they render the combined work formerly done by all those individual agencies more inefficient? Which could be seen as a detour of sorts en route to dismantling them...

              Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

              by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:59:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Proves the rule (6+ / 0-)

                Recall that Bush initially opposed DHS but was forced into accepting it. They only accepted it after insisting on a ban on unionization.

                When Katrina came around, there was plenty of Federal money to dispense to contractors and cronies (including Blackwater), but no actual performance of DHS/FEMA responsibilities - beyond dispensing money, of course.

                Recall also that Bush fought (and lost) to have TSA duties handled by private contractors, The border fence is another boondoggle. And all the millions spent on hi-tech drug interdiction stuff - I'm so glad that heroin, crack and marijuana are no longer available on our streets at affordable prices.

                And of course DHS has been so-o-o effective with their color-coded alert system and advisements about plastic sheets and duct tape, but how's that port inspection stuff going?

                There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

                by badger on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:11:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The state will not be dismantled. (6+ / 0-)

              It will be repurposed.

              Dismantling the social safety nets is not dismantling the state.  The military, police, courts and prisons aren't going away.

            •  Excellent. But then this is the contradiction ... (0+ / 0-)

              Of Bush Authoritarian, because eventually the emperor and the warlords are going to fight it out.

              In fact, for all of Bush's abuses of executive power he has weakened the presidency rather than strengthened it, because he has brought it into such disrepute.

              The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

              by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:36:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, That's Why I Wrote This: (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                al Fubar, vivacia, G2geek, dehrha02, WSComn

                what have been the intended and unintended consequences of their actions

                Almost everything Cheney has done has turned out wrong.  Or, another way of looking at it, as I've pointed out before: everything Bush has ever touched he's screwed up.  Why shouldn't we think he'll eventually screw up the Republican party?

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:41:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  uh..."eventually?" more like "already" (0+ / 0-)

                  The GOP is at high risk of melting down as we speak.  Only Democratic inaction can forestall that inevitability.

                  "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

                  by nailbender on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:00:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  "Privatization" was AOK for historical fascism. (0+ / 0-)

              What is the boundary that separates a Halliburton or Blackwater or any other kickback-contractor from the government ???

              This is similar to the phenomenon of Interlocking Directorates, back when the railroad and coal Trusts ruled America.

              Also, it is similar to historical fascism.

              Fascism represents fusion of State and corporation.

              For example: Pinochet and Juan Peron were certainly fascists. They "public-ized" nothing. Same for Mussolini. Apart from broadcast media, you could say pretty much the same about Hitler.

              Their big money sponsors -- heavily banks -- were a all in favor of BushCo-style "Privatization."

              I do not understand the argument presented in the piece.

              Dixie Chicks and Amy Winehouse. Imus and Lenny Bruce. Overcome evil with good.

              by vets74 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:24:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Its a shift in decision making. (0+ / 0-)

            What makes it an imperial presidency is that the money and what it buys is increasingly decided at the executive level, not the legislative level.

            What is done is now at the sole discretion of the President.  Protected by Executive Privilege these actions and the costs of private contractors become opaque.

            The only power remaining with Congress is how much money the President can spend.  What it is spent on is no longer any of their business.

        •  Correct (16+ / 0-)

          It's the looting and pillaging of the state.  That is NOT fascism, which is state above everything, or a merging of the state.  It's the destruction of the state and the public sector.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:17:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then why, as I ask above (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, myrealname

            is there a need for such a powerful executive? Is it all just about rewarding the various Brownies with plum jobs? It seems to me that Cheney has a different motivation--one that I don't entirely understand.

            •  Hence the Amway connection with religion (7+ / 0-)

              . . . as some divine right or provenance. Used or abused, for some -- as Blackwater -- the connection has proven astronomically beneficial. I felt chilled reading Prince's history in the religious right and  his company's unprecedented rise to power on little provenance.

              It's the divine presidency. And that scares the hell out of me.

            •  the hidden agenda (6+ / 0-)

              I always call it money laundering, but it's terribly confusing to people.   In order to understand, you have to be aware of this hidden privatizing agenda. You might say it's corrupt, but it's all LEGAL.

              They increase the revenue and lower taxes on corporations, and the corporations in turn pay their legislators and their president via campaign contributions.  Of course more and more go to their pet corporations such as Halliburton etal.

              The long term plan is of course that the legislators and the govt. officials can all go to work with their pet corporations after they finish their low paid govt. service positions.

          •  From where do you get this definition? (9+ / 0-)

            Just curious... the fasces was a symbol of the power of unity.  I always think about that when I see one of those "United We Stand" things.

            I disagree that it's necessary to place the state as central in fascism -- it could be any unitary uniter.  In fact, I would argue that fascism tends to use the (cultural) nation rather than the (political) state as a rallying point.

            Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Pinochet, and most of the acknowledged fascists were not communists -- private companies made great fortunes under their rule.

            It's all semantics, anyway.  Whatever you call Bushism, it's bad.  

            Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes! - Bill and Ted

            by CharlieHipHop on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:38:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You write as if "fascism" is a stable term of art (24+ / 0-)

            which it is not, despite the claims of small pockets of academics that they own the rights to demarcate the bounds of term.  Yes, I can show you differences between what Bush evidently wants and (let's say Italian or Spanish to remove the "Nazi" baggage) Fascism.  I can also show you differences between what Chavez or Morales or AMLO or countless other people want and socialism.  This is not definitive and much wisdom resides in recognizing that these categories are not Aristotelian but family-resemblance based, and there is a family resemblence between what Bush wants and "fascism."  Surely enough of one to temper your criticism above.

            Fascism is sometimes theorized as hypertrophic right-wing populism (think of Pat Buchanan as a good exemplar) coupled with a melding of state and corporate interests.  You say that fascism means exaltation of the state above all, which strikes me as, at a minimum, idiosyncratic and also applicable to many non- and pre-fascist states; I say that that is one feature to consider among many, and when one considers it one should (as usual) take a functional view of critical terms like "state."

            Whether the state per se is all-powerful -- or whether corporate interests dominate the state and share in the monopoly on the legitimate use of force that is usually considered the sine qua non of statehood, rendering it a duopoly of aligned interests -- probably doesn't matter much.  Fascism in Spain, Italy, and Germany involved a power-sharing arrangement where state actors control the culture and foreign policy and the business interests work to the benefit of corporations, especially when they support, and unless they oppose, the state security apparatus.

            That sounds familiar to me.

            Your saying that Bush doesn't want to build up the state and it therefore can't be fascist misses the point.  It is no longer necessary to draft a massive army as it was in Germany.  Times have changed; proto-fascism has changed with them.  All that is necessary now is to keep the public scared, hating the right people, unwilling to accept leadership that doesn't take the right terrorizing tone, and willing to keep paying what they have to pay (one way or another) to keep the enterprise going.  We don't need a million troops; we have Blackwater and bombs.  And we have a huge state -- which you argue is not "built up" because it doesn't have the social welfare aspects of fascism, I suppose, and is therefore not fascist -- these days, if you haven't noticed; check out the budget deficits.

            A primary indicator of fascism (though not only fascism, admittedly) is control over and perversion of the electoral process.  Again: check.

            Should we hesitate to call Bushism part of the family of fascist ideologies?  Sure we should.  And we did.  But having done so should not leave us paralyzed.  Increasingly, as the party has moved to the point where it cannot be extricated from power other than through violence (and probably external violence at that), I think that the shoe fits and your disdain doesn't sway me.

            The more interesting question these days are the extent to which Russia and China show evidence of fascism.  To a sad degree, both do.  We may yet miss communism, which at least had the advantage of being unlikely to work in practice.

            Anyway, this story would have been more effective and worthwhile without the shot across the bow above the fold.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:44:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't Say You CAN Show Me (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chumley

              Show me.

              And if you don't think building up or tearing down the state is essential to understanding what is and isn't fascism, then maybe you need to read more.  

              Sorry, come with examples, or look like you just want to hold on to a word because of it's emotional content instead of its historical, theoretical or analytical  utility.  

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:54:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Facism and the state? (11+ / 0-)

                It would have been kind of you DHinMI, to cite the source of the definition of fascism you chose to use in this piece since, after-all, you're making an argument that's fundamentally about definitions.

                Personally, I must say that the definition you use here does seem quite narrow, and perhaps a bit off.  After-all, as Major D. points out, there have been many political ideologies that emphasized state power, that aren't usually labeled "fascist."

                More importantly though, the claim that Bush's drive to privatization marks his administration as non-fascist is hugely mistaken.  Bush's privatization doesn't shrink the size of government; rather it removes control of government functions from democratic oversight, and gives control of security, education, infrastructure, and the rest to a small group of wealthy government loyalists.  What you describe as a "privatization" would more accurately be characterized as a transfer of government functions to a small cadre of unaccountable functionaries, who don't count as government employees only because they operate under no requirements to be transparent or accountable to the public.

                Bush is engaged in a nationalistic, militarist, authoritarian project, aimed at shifting control of  government away from the voting public.  

                •  Look... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...here for one.  Or read about Nazi interference in production and agriculture.  Private "enterprise" was allowed to remain private, but the state could do just about anything it wanted, and usually did.  That they didn't appropriate private property or put commissars in charge of production doesn't mean that business was unfettered, and it certainly doesn't mean that business elites were calling the shots.  After the mid-30's in Germany, the business elites were mostly along for the ride and the party elites were in charge.

                  The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                  by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:34:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And here, the business elites (10+ / 0-)

                    are the party elites.  Doesn't that change things?

                    Beyond that: so?  You seem to see early-mid-20th century fascism as sui generis rather than a particular example of a philosophy that fits into general political frameworks.  Should I ask you for "an example" of that?  It's an unnecessary limitation on political theory.

                    Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                    by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:38:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Name a Fascist State Since the 1940's... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...other than the ones whose roots are in that era (eg Spain, Portugal, maybe Argentina under Peron).  

                      While you're at it, tell me if there have been any Greek Polis states recently.  Or if we've had a recent version of the Hanseatic league.  Or a Holy Roman Empire principality.  

                      Maybe the issue isn't that the term is too narrowly being used to apply to only one era, but that it's essentially a historical term that doesn't apply outside that era.  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:44:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I can name you fascist *tendencies* (8+ / 0-)

                        which ought to be enough in a discussion of ideology.  I can't name you a communist state either -- or, perhaps, ever, at all, in history, depending on how one looks at it -- but that does not obviate the existence of communist ideology.

                        Most of what would come close to qualifying as fascist is rooted in tribal authoritarianism -- lots of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America would qualify.  It's the establishment of a strong anti-civil liberties domestic apparatus, aggressive foreign policy, whipping up hatred, and merger of state and domestic corporate interests that, to my mind, starts to verge on fascism.  Not many states are wealthy enough to do all of that, but there are tendencies towards valuing such an end in many states.

                        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                        by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:00:41 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We're Not Discussing Just an Ideology (0+ / 0-)

                          We're discussing the practice of exercising power when in control of the apparatus of the state.  Since nobody can name me a single fascist state that gave away power to the private sector, I stick by my contention.  

                          You can find communist tendencies in BushCo.  Nobody bothers to call them communist, because they don't get the same emotional satisfaction from tossing that epiteth that they get from tossing fascist.

                          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                          by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:27:28 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You apparently still don't understand the concept (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Inky, vets74

                            of merger of private and governmental interests.  If the private sector takes over the government and implements a program that otherwise looks like fascism, is it not fascism because the private sector is calling the shots, and does so with the power of the state apparatus which is has captured?  Ridiculous.

                            Beyond that, whether there has been a "fascist state" or not is irrelevant to the question of whether fascist ideology exists (and thrives.)  Prior to the October Revolution in Russia, there had never been a socialist/communist state.  By your reckoning, in 1916 you could squelch any discussion of communist ideology by asking "show me a communist state!"  We're not talking about instantiation of ideology here, we're talking about ideology itself.

                            Talking about instantiations of ideology invites quibbling.  If I bring up Paraguay under Stroessner, you can say "oh, but the security apparatus didn't reach all the way into the hinterlands" or some such twaddle.  That doesn't really matter.  What matters in a discussion of whether an ideological epithet or appellation is appropriation is the ideology itself: what are the goals, what is the philosophy, of the one accused?

                            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                            by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:03:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Mussolini made no such claim. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Major Danby

                            He and his brother-in-law defined fascism and he founded the first fascist party.

                            Saying that "the State" has to act in and of itself, without private impulse, makes little sense.

                            That would require a political movement similar to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Or Mao and his inner clique.

                            Fascism has never worked like this. Even with Hitler.

                            Fascism has combined power holders with private interest groups everywhere, every time out.

                            Dixie Chicks and Amy Winehouse. Imus and Lenny Bruce. Overcome evil with good.

                            by vets74 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:30:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think that you mean to address that to DH (0+ / 0-)

                            You may want to repost it as a reply to one of his comments so that he sees it.

                            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                            by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:32:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  As a guess, DH's mind is made up. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Inky, Major Danby

                            He caught hold of a distinction -- The State as core of everythng -- and ain'tgonna give it up.

                            Copying a favorite pit bull.

                            BTW: Wiki on fascism.

                            "Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State."

                            Mussolini.

                            Sounds like the play list guy at Clear Channel. They'll tell us what to think, you betcha....

                            Dixie Chicks and Amy Winehouse. Imus and Lenny Bruce. Overcome evil with good.

                            by vets74 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:37:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  The problem with your argument (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Inky

                        over definitions is that it doesn't take into account the fact that societies have all evolved since the 1940s.  Technology is different, the reach of corporations is greater, the relationships between states and corporations and free trade areas is different.

                        If I followed your rules of definition, a cell-phone could not be called a telephone.  After all, it has no hand-crank on the side nor any wires connecting it to other telephones.  It's wireless, therefore it cannot be a phone. It must be some sort of radio.

                        I could apply the same logic to your description of fascism and would arrive at the conclusion that no regime in the present era could arrive at a point of being described as "fascist".  

                        Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

                        by Mad Kossack on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:45:14 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The HEART of My Argument... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          vets74, Neon Vincent

                          ...includes the notion that fascism is primarily a historical term, and relates to dynamics that are no longer relevant to modern society, economics, politics and government.  As pointed out downthread, we're not transitioning from an agrarian to an industrial society.  We're not dealing with a massive influx of labor from the countryside in to the major cities.  We're also not reacting to the threat of communism.  All of those dynamics were crucial in the rise of fascism, especially the last one.  And again, there isn't a single fascist state that ever gave up state power, they all increased it, and this administration is doing the opposite in most areas.

                          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                          by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:53:58 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Transfer of power (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Inky, Neon Vincent

                            What Bush and his ilk are actually doing is transferring power from democratically-controlled institutions to those that are controlled by their cronies.  This is not "decreasing" state power, but moving that power to a place of safety where it cannot be challenged.   For example: BushCo relied upon corporations to do the  dirty work of providing phone taps and internet monitoring. Hence his insistence on blanket immunity for the corporations that did his bidding.  

                            This whole discussion (not your fault, btw) is suffering from a modern world view of what
                            constitutes "government". In pre-modern Europe, the view of what constituted government was fuzzier than it is now. The Church, local barons, monarchs, etc. all competed for power.  The modern nation-state eventually emerged and has been seen as the model in the West for hundreds of years. Much of what is happening now is a symptom of the decline of the nation-state as the most important actor.

                            I tend to view all actors with an ability to operate independently and to enforce their will upon others as a form of "government".  By my definition, a Walmart or a homeowners' association could be called a "government".  Many will probably quibble with this, but that is fine.

                            The problem I have with conservatism's alleged desire for "less government" is that I don't see there being any such thing as "less government".  To them, "less government" just means turning areas of life that require rules over to institutions that are unaccountable to the public.  Decisions affecting people's lives are going to be made by someone, they just don't want it to be a democratic institution.  This is not in conflict with your arguments at all.

                            I think this is an excellent diary and I agree with your analysis completely, except for your insistence that Bushism is not fascism. I would argue, if I were going to spend the rest of the day on the computer rather than getting any work done, that comparing Bushism to previous failed experiments in fascism is not useful. A maltese and a Rottweiler are both dogs , though they have little resemblence to one another.

                            I think you are making very good arguments, as are Major Danby and some other commenters. A lot of this discussion resembles arguments over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. So, I shall take my leave and get some work done.

                            Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

                            by Mad Kossack on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 06:47:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I Don't Judge Governmental Systems... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Neon Vincent

                            ...on whether they succeeded or failed.  I view them in how they acted.  Communism isn't just Marx and Lenin, it's 70 plus years of communist control of numerous countries.  I'm taking a descriptive approach, not one of platonic forms.  As I wrote in the first part, there wasn't really a coherent theory of fascism, so more so than almost any other system, you have to look at not what Alfred Rosenberg wrote and nobody read, or the contradictory pronouncements of Mussolini (although they're far more consistent with what I've argued than with almost everyone who's mentioned him).  No, you have to look at how they ruled, and what Bush is doing is not much like how the fascists ruled.  The below-the-surface appeal to rightwing voters shares some affinities, absolutely, but so do most far-right political movements.  

                            So, I'm judging them against everything that we've seen, not some ideal form, which for fascism never really existed anyway.  

                            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                            by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 06:58:17 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Excellent (11+ / 0-)

                  One good definition of "the state" is the entity that holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.  If that becomes a duopoly due to the actions of the state, and if the state can retract or reshape that duopoly (especially to promote the ruling party or officials), functionally it's all "the state" no matter who signs the paychecks.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:36:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  K Street is one example... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inky

                Corporations who hired the right kind of people and payed to play reaped the benefits.

                I hated george bush before it was cool.

                by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:22:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh great, I can post here again -- here we go: (12+ / 0-)

                What I think is that:

                (1) definitions of most phenomental are not Aristotelian (with checklists of necessary and sufficient and forbidden features), but prototypical and following a "family resemblence" model, making most arguments of the sort "(A) is a type of (B)" "Is not!  It lacks characteristic (Z)!" fruitless and pointless.  But also:

                (2) to the extent that "building up the state uber alles" is truly a defining feature of fascism, it must be considered functionally.  Note the continued predominance of the Church within Franco's Spain: "not fascist," therefore?  Or was there simply a merger of interests to the point where the church did not pose a competing font of power to the state, such that building up the church did not degrade from (and indeed facilitated) building up the state?  One can raise a similar functional argument about the relationship between corporations and the state in the modern U.S.  (And one should really consider the new realities of multinational commerce, which weren't around to the same degree in 1933-45, and as whether a national state is what is truly being "built" anymore.)

                (3) I believe that your response overlooks most of the content of my previous comment, which I incorporate here by reference.  It would be appropriate to a comment that said "Bush iz BAD there4 FASCIST" or some such.  But I raised some substantive arguments there which shame or protocol ought to impel you to address before dismissing this as agitprop silliness on my part.  We need a term for hypertrophic right-wing cultural and social policy combined with merger of corporate and state interests, and "fascism" seems like a pretty damn promising one, even if not every box on the checklist -- as if 1930s-40s fascism is eternally the only kind possible -- is ticked.

                (4) I believe that saying "Show me examples" -- really? what examples could one theoretically bring to bear that would settle this sort of definitional argument? -- is sophistry, and doing so in an insulting way, as a power holder on the site, comes awfully close to thuggery.  I gave you arguments, which is appropriate to an argument about definitions.  I suggest you chew on them.

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:33:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  then consider Bushism a new development (4+ / 0-)

                  So far we're debating whether Bushism fits within the existing definitions of fascism, which originated in far different times.  

                  Notably, in the 1930s,  economies were moving from agrarian to industrial, and mineral resource extraction was still growing in a meaningful way.  Today, economies have apparently moved from industrial to informational and even financial ("financialization" as per one of the critiques of the Bush era).  

                  Notably, the means of mass communication have changed: radio has been supplanted with TV (not replaced by, given the strength of rightie-radio); and on the other hand we now have a huge new grassroots media via the internet.  

                  Right-wing ideologies in general seem to have these things in common: state power is centralized in the executive; culture of "national identity" based on racial, ethnic, religious, or other demarcations that are largely inherited rather than individually chosen; close connections between elites in public and private sectors; strong puritanical element re. sexuality and bodily pleasure in general; very often a strong religious element or direct alliance with religious forces (which may become part of the state apparatus, as per the Middle Ages and also the Middle East); megalomaniacal or messianic beliefs about the role of the leadership in national and world affairs; politicization of science and disdain for objective science; authoritarian about personal liberties; elitist orientation (the masses cannot be trusted to govern themselves); and the willingness to use violence, both domestically and internationally, both as a means and as an end in itself.

                  Bushism includes all of the above, plus:  

                  Promoting mediocrity as virtue, to support a culture of mediocrity.   Claiming the legitimacy of the pre-existing institutions rather than claiming to be an agent of revolutionary change.  These appear to be the only truly new elements in the mix.  Bush's handlers promote the idea that he was chosen by God to lead, but most extreme right ideologies promote the idea of their leader as anointed by God.  

                  Perhaps the most unprecedented thing about Bushism in terms of recent US history, is its degree of success in the key area of harvesting public resources for the benefit of its cronies, and in the area of curtailment of Constitutional rights, and in the centralization of executive authority.  

                  So what else, if anything, is truly new about Bushism?  It feels as if it's a new form of rightist ideology, but that may only be in comparison to previous rightist ideologies in the US e.g. Reaganism and Nixonism.  

              •  Besides, "Authoritarian" works perfectly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neon Vincent

                for all the reasons you have detailed, and has the bonus of emotional bite too.

                It is time to offer the world a message of hope to counter the prophets of hate. Barack Obama.

                by vivacia on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:42:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I would rather confine fascism ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              To systems that actually drew inspiration from Fascist Italy - Germany, more superficially Spain, and in various lesser degree various midcentury regimes that went in for torchlight parades and fetish uniforms.

              When you draw the definition of fascism much wider than that, you end up using it for almost any thuggish regime, and good old Sulla was a fascist. (Maybe I shouldn't go there - Mussolini might have agreed, and I'd be in a jam. :)

              But more consequentially, defining fascism broadly opens the door to bullshit like "Islamofascism." Like jeez, we have to call Osama a fascist to know he's a bad guy?"

              The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

              by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:42:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, Almost Every Argument Here... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                al Fubar, Alfred E Newman, badger

                ...against saying that Bush isn't fascist appears to be predicted on a desire to not give up a loaded word that some people seem to find emotionally satisfying to use.  

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:47:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wouldn't it be easy for you (8+ / 0-)

                  if we were all just wild-eyed self-indulgent hooligans.  No, the reason many of us don't want to give up the word is that it is meaningful, but simply not as narrow as you would have it be.  You treat it as a fashion, something that came into style around the 1940s -- like women drawing lines down the back of their legs to make it look like they were wearing nylons.  I treat it -- and taught it, using a well-established textbook that took the trouble to situate it within an ideological 2x2 dimension -- as a radical version of political ideologies that exist in our normal environment.

                  For you and for al Fubar, with whom I generally agree on most matters, Fascism is something that existed for a brief period and then went away, leaving us without a term for an ideology that opposed civil liberties at home, whipped up and focused public rage on external enemies and those who would support them at home, bolstered the power and just role of the state in national security and imposition into personal morality, and largely joined ruling party and corporate interests.  Surely this is not so unusual a constellation of characteristics as to not need a label.

                  It has elements of both conservatism (economically, although it is compatible with a Bismarckian social service regime) and right-wing populism, with which it tends to be more closely identified.  It did not stop in 1945 or even 1975 with the death of Franco.  You would call it what, exactly?  "Authoritarinism"?  Thin gruel, that, if so -- and far overinclusive besides, as it might apply to communism, socialism, left-wing populism, tribal cultures, and anyone other than libertarians (according to them.)

                  There's no "right answer" to this question, DH, which is why it is supposed to be open to temperate and open discussion.  As is usual whenever we categorize anything, there are dangers to both overinclusiveness and underinclusiveness, some of the former of which al Fubar points out.  (N.b.: I wouldn't have much problem calling Sulla a fascist if the shoe seemed to fit -- the fasces were a Roman symbol, after all -- but I think that fascism implies something other than a tribally oriented authoritarianism alone.  Nor would I have had trouble calling Saddam a fascist if that shoe seemed to fit.  (I think he was a very bad authoritarian tribalist with some socialistic leanings, not nearly fascist by most definitions, but I'd be willing to argue it out on the merits.)

                  What does not make sense is the pejorative assertion that those of us who are trying to have a political discussion are just barking and honking for our own gratification.  It's insulting dismissiveness that is both wrong and, in your case, unearned.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:54:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Making Yourself a Victim... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...of being a "wild eyed holligan" has nothing to do with the accuracy of the term. So don't try to be a martyr.

                    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                    by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:30:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That doesn't even make sense (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Inky

                      You are not discussing this issue with academic detachment and are instead questioning the motives of those who disagree with you.  I'm challenging you on it.  I'm not trying to claim martyrdom -- frankly, I don't even feel wounded by your insults here -- but am simply responding to your criticisms of a position.  You've largely ignored the substance of those responses.

                      We disagree on the propriety of the deployment of the term "fascism" out of a limited context.  I could be wrong about that (though I don't think I am), if this is the kind of thing one can be "wrong" about, which I've argued it may not be.  But you've staked out a stronger claim than that, which is that I am people like me are simply using this term because it feels good, not because we think it is meaningful and justified.  I don't think you can defend that.  And, I note, you are not doing so here.

                      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                      by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 11:53:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I can accept that to be useful and meaningful (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inky, nancelot, Naniboujou, Neon Vincent

                the concept of fascism may have to be extended with some care in order to fit on the standard 2x2 ideological grid based on regulation of economic and social behavior.  But I do think that that grid is a pretty decent start to an analysis of ideology, and that it doesn't make sense to say that fascism somehow doesn't fit on the grid.  While there are dangers of overinclusiveness, there are also dangers of underinclusiveness.

                So far as I can tell the alternatives to deeming the constellation of ideological characteristics I've mentioned several times here now as "fascism" is to say that it's just "authoritarianism," which I find pallid and useless, or to assert that it's not ideological at all (so there's no problem to it being on the grid) and the people in charge are just self-serving non-ideological criminals.

                Taking those in order:

                What I've described as "fascism" is not just any authoritarianism; it's not "nanny state"ism, for example.  It imposes a particular view on a society that I believe (though a libertarian would not, and perhaps DH -- who is who knows what ideologically -- would not as well) is different from, say, Castro's Cuba.  I think that we need a term for ideological tendencies that would merge corporate power and a monopoly of force.

                Nor do I think it's non-ideological.  There is an ideology there: a conservative, authoritarian, paranoid, bellicose one.  These people may be as much looters and leeches as Tony Soprano, but they sell it to others (and probably justify it to themselves) using ideas that are quite well reflected in the political culture of Nazi Germany -- from anti-egalitarianism to corrupt art to ginning up threats from within and without and beyond.  This ideology may not have its Karl Marx or Adam Smith -- though I'd say Adolf Hitler enunciated one example of it pretty damn well -- but it's still an ideology.

                Anyway, I appreciate the constructive and polite argument on your part.

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:37:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  We agree on one thing (8+ / 0-)

              This whole debate of whether BushCo is or is not fascist really distracts from what seems to be the main point of this diary series - to understand the Bushists' philosophy of government. I think DH will be served best by just leaving the fascism issue alone and focusing on his analysis of how Bushist government works - whether it's fascist or not.

              Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

              by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:49:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah -- had the part of the story below the fold (6+ / 0-)

                been above the fold and vice versa, I doubt I'd have found my way into this discussion.  The proper definition of "fascism" is not written somewhere in stone; reasonable people can disagree about it.  (So can unreasonable people.)

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:40:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  you are wrong... (10+ / 0-)

            ...the result is exactly the same.

            whether the state prviatizes the public sector prior to encompassing it in the state first is inconsequential.  it is capture either way.  perhaps the bush crime family is doing it this way rather than the alternative in order to make it more appealing to those who benefit most from the project?  gee... that would make sense, no?

            the end result is a fascist state, where the corporations and the state are a single entity...  

            you have defined a distinction without a difference.

          •  They're destroying the public sectors..... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DHinMI, Neon Vincent

            that act as a check on their power....
            Ex.  The independence of the DoJ.

            I hated george bush before it was cool.

            by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:52:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  atomization (10+ / 0-)

          ..is a logical outcome of an economy that depends on constant growth.

          The oldstyle extended family under one roof had one house, one car, one of each of the usual appliances.

          The nuclear family of the post-WW2 era split off the grandparents' generation from the parents' generation: more houses, cars, appliances, etc.

          The trend toward single-parent households started in the early 1980s, and at that point I noticed a pattern: the breakdown of household units into smaller and smaller sizes was good for the economy because it sold more stuff.  

          Divorce is good for the economy because every divorce spawns a new set of transactions: a new home or apartment, a new set of appliances, another car (if there wasn't already one before), and the travel costs for kids who are ping-ponged back and forth between two parents' places,  neither of which is truly "home" because it's not stable.  

          The ideal case from an economic standpoint is one person per household plus dependent children, and then split off the kids as quickly as possible.  (As it turns out, this has hit its own limit: young adults burdened with college debt and trying to save for their own house, are living with their parents for longer and longer: in Italy the average young adult male lives with his parents up to about age 36.)

          But one you hit the single-person household, that becomes a limit: there is no more splitting off, unless a way can be found to take the kids away at an earlier age and monetize the transaction.  This is possible for those who can afford private boarding schools but otherwise not.  

          The inexorable logic of growth-based economies is that they must continue to gobble up and monetize more and more of what was previously not monetized.  

          (And of course it's also killing the planet...)

          What's next?

          •  Best comment of the week! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, G2geek

            Thank you -- a profound revelation.  Should be a complete diary if not book!

            •  thanks, and in fact... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neon Vincent

              I'm working on getting my own site up to publish my stuff.  

              My point would seem to be terribly obvious; I'm surprised you find it a "profound revelation" unless you're engaging in snark (my snarkmeter isn't working at the moment).  

              But here's another example of where this goes:  All social problems are good for the economy.  Even street crime, as it feeds the desire for home alarm systems and parents driving (consuming fuel) their kids to & from school, and of course the private prison complex.  Even commuter traffic jams, which produce higher advertising revenues for radio broadcasters during "rush hour" (as well as selling more gas and more cars that resemble living rooms on wheels).  

              Every place there is an entropy flow, a parasitic social ecosystem will arise consisting of those who will eagerly exploit it for their own gain.  In fact all of biology works this way: living organisms exploit entropy factors around them, ultimately leading right back to the entropy of the sun itself.  The apparent difference is that these social parasites can willfully act to maintain and increase entropy where it suits them, whereas life on Earth can't do squat to increase the entropy of the sun.  

              If you start looking at things this way, a whole bunch of other analyses suggest themselves.  

              •  No Snark Intended (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neon Vincent

                This is very incisive work that deserves a large audience.  The more you say the more fascinating it is.  Good luck with your new site -- I for one will be an avid reader!

                All signs point toward sustainability for me at the moment.  "Waste not want not" was a way of life for my grandparents in the Depression, and I still remember being taught by my grandmother how to make soap from frying oil and coal ash lye -- we always had a container on the stove to save grease, which we reused.

                One of the original solar theorists, Steve Baer, wrote a book called Sunspots many years ago.  One chapter was about how drying clothes on a clothesline has no economic standing, but using an appliance does.  We need a new calculus for conservation.

                Buckminster Fuller thought the purpose of humans was to oppose the force of entropy and coined the term syntropy.  As an idealistic 20 something i actually started a business called "Syntropics" having to do with energy conserving design.  Still working on it 40 years later!

                More power to you.  I hope there will be a way for the rest of us to help.  

          •  What's the alternative to growth-based economies? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Neon Vincent

            What would the economy be based on?  It seems it would be necessary to do as you suggest or we will kill the planet.  

            I am no economist.  What would this look like?  This probably would need to be a diary, I guess.

            It is time to offer the world a message of hope to counter the prophets of hate. Barack Obama.

            by vivacia on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:50:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  in fact it's going to become a website (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vivacia, Naniboujou, Neon Vincent

              ...and I'm going to publish at length about these topics.  

              First of all, a steady-state economy is not optional, it is essential in order to prevent us trashing the planet to the point where we extinct ourselves (for example in a +5 degrees Celsius climate scenario, we come damn close to extincting the human race).  

              Given that we're dealing with a necessity, the only question is "how?"

              A steady state of energy & resource extraction, combined with an increasing population, leads inexorably to a lower standard of living for all (except possibly an elite that can manage to hoard resources).  

              A steady state of energy & resource extraction, combined with a decreasing population, leads inexorably to a higher standard of living for all.  This is true whether the population decline comes peacefully as through better family planning & voluntary measures, or comes with much violence as through plagues and wars.  

              So in order to improve the standard of living, we have to combine a steady or decreasing level of resource & energy consumption, with a decreasing level of population.  That's the first essential.

              The second essential of a steady state economy is that a gain anywhere translates to a loss elsewhere.  One of the great miracles of capitalism is the fractional-reserve lending system whereby banks can create investment that in turn creates an increase in material wealth.  This depends on interest being paid on loans, which in turn depends on the profits of business and investment activity.  However in a steady state system, this can't be taken for granted, and as I said, gain in one place is loss in another.  

              In a growth-based economy we can say (even if in practice it never works out this way) that a rising tide lifts all boats, so growth is good for the middle class and working people generally.  In a steady-state economy this is very obviously no longer true, and all questions of the improvement of the lot of the proverbial masses, come down to questions of distributional equity: "who gets how much of the pie?"  For every winner there is also one or more partial or complete losers.  

              So in order for this to work without leading to some kind of social explosion, there has to be a) a rule-system in place to manage the scope of social competitive forces to prevent them going out of control and becoming violent (overtly or subtly: starving poor people is a violent policy even if the results are out of sight for the most part), and b) an effectively level playing field where each sector of society has equal representation and control over the means by which rules are made and conflicts adjudicated.  

              Anyway this is just scratching the surface; there's far more to be written on this subject.  

              •  Thanks for your response. (0+ / 0-)

                Please keep us posted when the site goes up.  I would like to contribute my (however unformed) thoughts.

                It is time to offer the world a message of hope to counter the prophets of hate. Barack Obama.

                by vivacia on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 07:46:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Bush Fascism : State Serving Corporations (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, bmaples, CharlieHipHop, james risser

        It is fascism.

        historians tend to think of fascism as the joining of big corporations with the state.

        The difference from the 1930's being the tremendous power of the transnational corporation in our era.

        The horizonatal and vertical reach of todays mega corporation dwarfs that of the 1930's Germany & Italy.

        'It's deja vu all over again'-Yogi Berra

        by frandor55 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:24:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but that doesn't really address (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frandor55

          the question of whether or not Bush and friends are fascists.

        •  and actually, that's not exactly right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky

          there have been serious multinationals since at least the 19th century.

          •  East India Company (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, vivacia, Neon Vincent

            Thom Hartmann in Unequal Protection makes a good case for the idea that the East India Company ( formed in 1600) was the first multinational corporation, and that the American Revolution had a great deal to do with preventing its domination of the colonies.  Buckminster Fuller felt that pirate fleets actually bankrolled many royal families and were de facto multinational military/trading/financial empires in the 1500's, with corporate entities like East India simply formalizing their approach.  Others make a strong case that the Knights Templar in the 13th century set the model.  Seaborn trade between China, India, and the Arabian peninsula was quite multinational as a system, as was the entire land-based Silk Route, dating to prehistory.

            We could as easily set aside the whole subject of fascism and talk about piracy instead, which might be just as productive and a lot more fun.  Bush would love to play Johnny Depp.  

            As Major Danby rightly says, belaboring definitions smacks of sophistry.  I would prefer to see some charts and graphs pretty soon, real data.  Where's the powerpoint?

      •  take Musolini's state for example: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, vivacia, xaxado, Neon Vincent

        there are many similarities, and many places where they break down, as well.

        But there are some striking similarities between Mussonlini's fascist rise and the Bushist era we are in the throes of right here, right now (from Wiki, emphases mine):

        The assassination of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, who had requested the annulment of the elections because of the irregularities committed, provoked a momentary crisis of the Mussolini government. The murderer, a squadrista named Amerigo Dumini, reported to Mussolini soon after the murder. Mussolini ordered a cover-up, but witnesses saw the car used to transport Matteotti's body parked outside Matteotti's residence, which linked Dumini to the murder. The Matteotti crisis provoked cries for justice against the murder of an outspoken critic of Fascist violence. The government was shocked into paralysis for a few days, and Mussolini later confessed that a few resolute men could have alerted public opinion and started a coup that would have swept fascism away. Dumini was imprisoned for 2 years. On release he told others that Mussolini was responsible, for which he served further prison time. For the next 15 years, Dumini received an income from Mussolini, the Fascist Party, and other sources. This was clearly hush money, for he left a dossier full of incriminating evidence to a Texas lawyer in case of his own death.

        The opposition parties responded weakly or were generally unresponsive. Many of the socialists, liberals and moderates boycotted Parliament in the Aventine Secession, hoping to force Victor Emmanuel to dismiss Mussolini. But despite the leadership of communists such as Antonio Gramsci, socialists such as Pietro Nenni and liberals such as Piero Gobetti and Giovanni Amendola, they were incapable of transforming their posturing into a mass antifascist action. The king, fearful of violence from the Fascist squadristi, kept Mussolini in office. Because of the boycott of Parliament, Mussolini could pass any legislation unopposed. The political violence of the squadristi had worked only too well, for there was no popular demonstration against the murder of Matteotti.

        So, the dictator's ascendancy can be directly attributed to the weak-kneed response of the opposition to electoral fraud and other criminality, even when they held the cards necessary to bring him down.  

        That is a similarity that really cuts to the bone, right here, right now.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

        by nailbender on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:26:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Much more insidious (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DHinMI, sofia, Neon Vincent

        Max Weber defined the State as the entity with a monopoly on force.  What Bush authoritarianism does is to privatize not only governmental functions like disaster cleanup and feeding/supplying the military, but force itself.  Thus, the State no longer has a monopoly on force.  

        This is true in Iraq, but also in private prisons in the US and perhaps one day we will see private police forces that also operate outside the law.  Thhese private armies and police forces are set up to protect private individuals and private property, something a strong State can do but a weak State can't.

        What Bush authoritarianism is about is giving power to private entities and then enabling them to hold onto what they've got and amass more through gov't contracts and giveaways and scams that are beyond prosecution.  It is really an undoing of the State as we have known it.  It is a kind of post-industrial feudalism, which is why it is so fitting that Blackwater hires through a form of indentured servitude.

        "Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure." ---The White Rose, 1942

        by Mimikatz on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 09:47:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh they are Facists but not Nazis...yet! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Vincent

        There is a textbook case to be made for Facism in the Bush43 government and on the hill as well. It has been an ongoing rot since the days of Reagan.

        These Fascists have not destroyed government but rather changed the locus of who it represents while increasing it's physical size, indebtedness, and even it's acts of omission are acts in service to the corporations who day by day take more power over from this official this government as the control said government. Privatization is not taking power away from government it is merely changing who government serves as the taxpayers still pay for the misnamed privatization that is going on.

        Is what is going on Fascist or not? How about Homeland security, do they have to use the word Fatherland before one recognizes what it represents? How about the generation of fear of an outside enemy of the Homeland? (classic Fascism.) Or what about the phony patriotic jargon...freedom fries, Patriot Acts, etc; or the usurping of personal freedoms (wrecking of the Bill of Rights) in the name of national security; attacking political enemies as enemies of the state or its branches like the military; flag waving, lapel fag pins, on and on, all the earmarks of a Fascist state are there.

        Just because Blackwater is supposedly a private corporation doesn’t stop it from being an arm of the government who pays its bills. The corporate servants who run this government really direct Blackwater’s activities.  Blackwater is as much a state organ as the Brown Shirt/ SS divisions were. The corporate Socialists (Fascists by definition) have bought our government with legalized bribery and they also use their monopolized corporate press to project their Fascist propaganda.

        The problem is Capitalism and free markets?  Hardly, Adam Smith good liberal that he was would blanch at what passes for free markets in our system. He would hardly call Freedman's pure Capitalism anything more than a glorified state Socialism and since the state is run by the corporations corporate socialism, AKA, Fascism.

        Do you really think the corporate friendly trade agreements rammed through our government by corporate America are free or fair trade? The reality of how they are realized in the real world is little better than the 18th century imperialism of the East Indian Trading Company sort with consensus generated frosting on them to simulate progress and liberalism.

        We are not dealing with anything new to Bush43 or 20th century history it is nothing but a growing Fascism that is and has been hiding in a plain Republican coat since Reagan. This Fascism is not unique to Bush43 or just the Republican Party. Corporate American plans to put a Democrat happy face on this mess and continue with buisness as usual and that busines, make no mistake about it Fascist in Nature.

        Socialism to some degree is inevitable and necessary in a modern state the important question is will it be Democratically controlled or controlled by a Communist or Fascist elite who will rip off the lion’s share of the cultures assets for themselves. The effects of a totalitarian state be it Communist, Facist, or Royalist are much the same for the majority of the people who labor under its weight. It is however important to name the disease when treating it and the disease afflicting our country to day is Fascism or corporate Socialism.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 10:04:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Blackwater is the smaller part of the problem. (7+ / 0-)

      Blackwater must be addressed, I agree.

      But, the US military is vastly bigger than Blackwater and it has much larger ordinance. To put it mildly.

      I have mixed feelings about the current vogue re Blackwater.

      It is good, yes, that some are noticing.

      However, the promotion of apocalyptic premillennial dispensationalism within the US military has reached a fever pitch.

      Blackwater is the little game, I'm sorry to say. For the wider problem, see:

      The Military Religious Freedom Foundation

    •  You Guys are Daft. bushism = fascism (10+ / 0-)
      1. How do you have Authoritarianism without the state? Authoritarism IS a mega state substituting for the rule of law and overwhelming lall of a nations resources into militarism.
      1. How do you merge the state and corporations without a state?

      The cult of republicanism, of which bush is a great purveyor IS fascism. Not only does it take public wealth and distribute it to private enterprise (the very definition of merging the state and corporations), but:

      1. the state also controls the media - a key point of fascism you conveniently ignore and which in the US has been the key enabler of the cult of republicanism destruction of US constitutional governance and;
      1. fascism invests in a leader as a personality cult IN LIEU OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. Bush as big daddy knows best Dear Leader has been the defining characteristic of bushism.
      •  And You Think the State Controls Our Media??????? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger

        Yeah, that's why the major corporate media did such of good job of reporting during the Clinton administration...

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:55:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dr. Laurence Britt's 14 points (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, nancelot, james risser, Neon Vincent

        Read them and I'm sure you and I would find every point realized in some way by this administration.

        1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

        2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

        3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

        4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

        5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

        6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

        7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

        8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless." A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

        9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens.

        10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

        11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

        12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

        13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

        14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

        As for DHinMI's point about media: think only about who now owns the media as compared to media ownership during Watergate and Vietnam.  Media has been consolidated very tightly in the last decade and a half so that a mere 10 companies own most of it, and those owners have a vested interest in the success of one political party.  Think again about the success of Fux News, its reliance on talking points issued by the ruling party in the White House, the chase by the remaining cable companies in emulating Fux for the last 7+ years.  This is a controlled media; it's just not state-owned, it's party-controlled.

        •  Forgot this: "pseudo-fascism" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, nancelot, Neon Vincent

          Dave Neiwert and I had an exchange about this term after his 6-part series on fascism in America.  He referred to the Bush Administration as pseudo-fascist at the time, when I felt it was clearly fascist.

          But that was several years ago, at a time when he felt that the nature of our government was just shy of fascism, not quite fascist in actuality.

          I haven't bothered to go back and ask him if he's changed his mind.  I know mine hasn't.

        •  Does "Lawrence Britt" Even Exist? (0+ / 0-)

          I looked that person up a twice (under multiple spellings), and found no such person listed anywhere.  I wonder if there even is such a person.  

          I'd like to see who he is, what he's a doctor of, where he got his doctorate, if he has any academic credentials or affiliations, etc.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:50:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  For Instance, What Authors Don't Have... (0+ / 0-)

            ...a wikipedia entry?  Don't show up on Amazon?  Don't show up on a university website?  Have no links to known publications?  Don't appear to have ever been interviewed?  

            I wonder if "Dr Lawrence Britt" once woke up in a bathtub of ice missing a kidney.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:55:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Where do you get this stuff? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Busted Flat in Baton Rouge

            Of course Laurence (with a U) Britt exists. If you want, you can read an interview that contains a short biography here. You can even check out his novel on amazon.com.

            He's not very hard to Google. I'm surprised at you--that's one talent I always thought you had down pat.

            I'm sure you'll try to figure out some way to discredit him. I can hardly wait to see what it is.

            •  Ok, I googled. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DHinMI, vivacia

              There are a lot of hits on that name, but none that confirm his authority as a source. Basically, they all use the same couple of descriptions of him, which is sort of a classic sign of something that's circulated the internet rapidly without having been followed up on very much if at all.

              A few sites state definitively that he is neither a "doctor" nor a political scientist, but without any more evidence than the ones that say he is a doctor and a political science. Lacking real evidence in either direction I'll restrict myself to noting that while the article you link identifies him as having studied business at Northwestern, it nowhere says he got a PhD or studied political science. Nor have I found him in searches of 3 major academic article databases - if he was a political science who'd published in academic journals, I would probably have found him in one of them.

              So at this point, I have no reason to believe he's anything other than some dude who wrote a thing that a lot of people like. It could well be really smart - I mean, that's the great thing about the blogosphere, right, that ideas are supposed to prevail over credentials? - but the fact that his supposed credentials are so frequently highlighted as validating the article means that those credentials are fair game.

              Anyway, this description seems about right to me:

              The Britt article started with what is happening in the U.S. and then crafted a description of fascism that only highlights those points that will support the thesis. This is a logical fallacy (the false notion that things that are similar in some aspects are identical in all aspects).

              •  Some Dude Who Wrote a Thing... (0+ / 0-)

                ...a lot of people like.

                That about sums it up.  He's self-published some novels that don't appear to be sold anywhere, and he wrote a list that got on to the internet.  That's it.  I'm not at all impressed.  Frankly, there are a lot of people whose comments on Daily Kos are far more insightful and historically informed than what I see in that list by some dude who wrote a thing a lot of people like.

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:36:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I'll hunt him down -- in the mean time (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, nancelot

            ...why don't you look at Dave Neiwert's 6-piece series on "pseudo-fascism" and see if you can agree with that?

            I expect you'll know how to find him, yes?  He might even have a Wikipedia entry, which as we all know is entirely accurate all the time.

            (The piece I quoted was published by Secular Humanism; I'll check with them to see if Britt left any contact info.)

          •  Did you time me? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, nancelot

            RadioFreeMaine offers a tape of a program with Laurence Britt dd. May 18,2003, part of a program called "Rethinking 9/11, Part 1 of 2" with Kyle Hence
            http://www.radiofreemaine.com/...

            June 2004 was published in 1998 by Laurence W. Britt as a political thriller, and is available through Amazon
            http://www.amazon.com/...

            Britt was interviewed and profiled by the Rochester city Newspaper in December of 2004; they have a number of other articles by him in their archives.
            http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.co...

            Why don't you call him yourself next time?  He lives in Fairport NY.

            You might also want to ask yourself why anybody would want to bury his work.

            •  Look... (0+ / 0-)

              ...here.  He's just "some dude who wrote a thing that a lot of people like."  I could come up with my own list, and it's no less authoritative based on my status than is his, because he appears to have no academic or scholarly standing.  He's just "some dude" who self-publishes novels.  He's not, in my mind, even as credible a source as bloggers.

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:56:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You could say the same thing about Marcy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inky

                Just some person who doesn't have academic or scholarly standing in political science, who's published by some tiny, squeaky new publisher.

                Just some chick.

                Since you don't think much of Britt, how about Charles M. Evans, who refers with appreciation to both Umberto Eco AND Laurence Britt?

                •  But Marcy's Written Probably Millions... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...of words on the subject, published a book on the subject, had her stuff published in newspapers, interviewed principals in the things she was covering, reported live from events, etc.  She also interacts with people via blogs.

                  This guy published a list of 1,080 words.  Period.  

                  No contest.

                  [BTW, Marcy's dissertation topic was actually quite relevant to some of what's she's written about, and absolutely relevant to the writing of politics, especially in venues such as blogs.]  

                  The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                  by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 09:43:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And if I was asked who Marcy is, (0+ / 0-)

                    I could find out a lot by googling her - I could find out where she went to grad school, in what discipline, what her dissertation topic was on, how she got involved in political blogging, what other political stuff she's done. I can't find any of that stuff on Britt. All I can find is, repeated ad infinitum, that he's a doctor and a political scientist, with no evidence offered that he is either.

                    With Marcy, I can find places where she's engaged with criticism, entered into long discussions with people with different views than her, explained points that were unclear, gone into the background of the issues she was covering. Not so with Britt.

                    So by both regular-world credentialing standards and blog-world standards of explaining yourself and being accountable to your readers, she's far, far more reliable as a source.

                    •  Did you notice his age? (0+ / 0-)

                      Probably not.

                      He's not a blogosphere member, so he's not going to be  out here in forums.  He's likely not to be, given his age.

                      And he has been involved in exchanges regarding his written content.  I take it you didn't bother to check any of the material to which I linked.

                      And what do either you or DHinMI know about me, for that matter?  ever bother to check into why I would set store by Britt?  I'm just somebody you can shoot down with your own set of biases as you like, right?  Never mind that Fortune 50 companies have paid me to do research for them; because I'm just a nobody from your frame of reference, you can claim any opinion or position I take is without any basis.

                      •  I googled him four ways to sunday. (0+ / 0-)

                        I found the same information again and again, without verification of any kind.

                        My point about Britt's credentials was that the blogosphere is supposed to be and should be a forum in which formal credentials don't matter, that our ideas should be assessed on their quality and not on whether the person who they belong to is a doctor or a political scientist. As I judge you by what you write, and as I expect to be judged by what I write and not by my academic degrees.

                        So I don't give a damn if Fortune 50 companies have paid you to do research for them, not because I'm writing you off as a nobody but because I'm judging you on your writing and ideas at Daily Kos. I would rather have a conversation here with someone who didn't graduate from high school but was looking to have an honest exchange of ideas and was willing to question their preconceptions than with someone who was a world-renowned political scientist but wasn't open to other people's ideas.

                        But the constant identification of Laurence Britt as a doctor and a political scientist, especially in the absence of evidence that he is either, is a claim that authority on the subject of fascism, a claim that functionally seeks to evade questions about his writing. That is, his 14 points are presented as fact, verified by his supposed credentials. That's a problem, and it's what I was addressing.

                        You don't need my permission or approval to agree with Britt. But if you're going to introduce his points as fact, you have to be prepared to defend them against, say, charges that they involve a lot of cherry-picking and ignore a lot of counter-examples. And if you're going to point to him as an authority, you have to be prepared to defend that claim.

                        My view is, if we're going to play the "is the Bush administration fascist" game, I demand we start with a definition of fascism that predates the Bush administration, not one that was written explicitly to prove them fascist.

                        •  No (0+ / 0-)

                          I was just at a diary that said 51 comments and yet there are only 17 comments visible.

                          So when you say

                          blogosphere is supposed to be and should be a forum in which formal credentials don't matter, that our ideas should be assessed on their quality and not on whether the person who they belong to is a doctor or a political scientist

                          you are disingenuous. People have censored my ability to assess what was written. So there is a slanted forum on the internet -- even here.

                          •  Those comments are available (0+ / 0-)

                            to any trusted user of this site, which is a status that comes from other members of the community.  In that case, they decided that some of the comments were offensive or off topic or otherwise inappropriate and they hid them.

                          •  So your statement about the blogosphere . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            is incorrect. Kind of weird that the trusted users create their own reality. It's like they are sending words to Gitmo.

                            Honestly, I lurk a lot and at one point I had time to be a trusted user. FWIW, I've observed that TR is used more for revenge and conformity than anything else. I have watched as many people have piled on a user over rather beneign statements only to have the real reason for the pile on to emerge later in thread. Then I have watched the whole thread disappear. I've also watched as very offensive statements and off topic threads get no TR at all. Often the TR seemed to relate to "gangs" and "power" more than a statement.

                            Hell, after watching this behavior, I have to wonder about the integrity of a site that is so censored and controlled. Really have to wonder what is going on at a site that has 2/3 of a diary hidden. After observing all of this, I can only chuckle when I see people talk about reality and facts.

                            I'm sure you can handle the criticism having grown the thick skin that I always see people talk about.

                          •  I don't see a contradiction. (0+ / 0-)

                            I said that formal credentials shouldn't matter, that ideas should be assessed in themselves.  That doesn't mean that a bad idea will be given equal credence to a good one, just that it will have an equal chance coming from a janitor or a teacher.

                          •  That is a single point you made (0+ / 0-)

                            but you have opted to ignore the point I have made.

                            Let's look at the reality and facts that your "trusted users" have allowed me to have access to. That diary I cited before now has 3/4 of the diary hidden. But, this is part of the hidden discussion.

                            Of course others have observed this same abuse here, here and here. It's not the first time I have seen this going on. So your telling me that I'm suppose to find comfort that these "trusted users" are making decisions about what I can see is very disturbing. I'm an intellegent person and I really don't need others, who have too much time on their hands, to decide what I can evaluate on my own. They may be right but I will never be able to assess the situation because they have control over my reality. The one thing I did check (it is now hidden) she was right and the posse was wrong.

                          •  I refuted your willful misrepresentation (0+ / 0-)

                            of what I initially said.  That was my primary concern.  

                            As it happens, I did implicitly address your completely off-topic other point: all ideas won't be given equal credence, but ideas from all people will be (at least until such time as they've proven themselves unreliable).

                            I get that you're upset about hidden comments, but they're part of how this site functions without being overrun by trolls.  But when you get to the point of complaining that trusted users "have control over my reality," you might think about whether you really want to be defining a website as your reality.

                  •  But you can ignore an academic now, right? (0+ / 0-)

                    Like Evans, who clearly appreciates both Eco and Britt.

                    •  What Evidence Do You Have That Evans... (0+ / 0-)

                      ..even knows who Britt is?

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 12:52:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  BTW, I Assume You Mean RICHARD Evans (0+ / 0-)

                      Evans is a legit historian, actually quite eminent.  I think he had an essay in a collection I read, but I haven't read The Third Reich In Power: 1933-1939.  But one of the great things about Amazon is that sometimes you can search sections of a book or look at the index.  And a search of the index shows that on page 905, the subjects go from British Petroleum to Brown Shirts Book of Terror; thus, RICHARD Evans has no entry for Britt.

                      Maybe you meant another Evans, but I can't think of any Evans working in the field of 20th century German or European history who would be put forth as much of an expert on the subject.  

                      I think Laura nailed it: this Britt character is just some dude who wrote something people liked.  Whether anyone who likes it is in a position to judge Britt's content or his qualifications for being proffered as an authority, that's another story.  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 08:51:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, The First Volume of Evans' Trilogy... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...The Coming of the Third Reich, on page 588, the index entries go from Britain to Brock, Werner; thus, again, no entry for Britt.

                      Now, one could argue that I'm not looking at the footnotes/endnotes, and that's a legitimate point.  But I will point out that on page 588, there are index entries for both Martin Broszat and Karl Dietrich Bracher, two very important historians of the Third Riech.  Bracher has also written much about fascism in general, such as his essay The Role of Hitler: Perspectives of Interpretation in Fascism: A Reader's Guide edited by Walter Laqueur, which I have read.  Obviously Evans must discuss Bracher and Broszat in his text, but apparently not Britt, at least not enough to warrant an index entry.  '

                      So, I think it's highly dubious that Evans ever mentions or discusses Britt, or views him as an important authority.

                      But all of this raises an interesting question:  have you read anything by Evans?  If not, why bring him in to the discussion, if, in fact, you're not able to discuss him?  Is he just a name that someone mentioned to you?  Or do you actually recall Evans discussing Britt, or advancing ideas that for you were mirrored in Britt's list?  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:08:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And FWIW (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm definitely in the functionalist-structuralist camp with Broszat, NOT in the intentionalist camp.  As this plays out with the specialists on the Holocaust, it's Raul Hilberg in the functionalist camp, and Lucy Dawidowicz in the intentionalist camp, such as it is.  By this point, the functionalists pretty much prevail, with few holdouts in the intentionalist camp, and those that have gotten a lot of attention--like Daniel Jonah Goldhagen--are pretty much disdained by serious historians as masters of schlock.  

                        Why is this relevant other than me appearing pedantic?  Well, there's a direct line from Max Weber through Franz Neumann--who's Behemoth I discussed in the opening essay--straight to Hilberg.  I generally take a much more functionalist approach to problems of this sort, and I suspect you'll see a more functionalist approach to how I discuss Bush and his cadre than a more intentionalist approach that you often see implied in comments at DKos...including many comments on this very thread.

                        So, Rayne, where do you fall on the functionalist v intentionalists debate?  

                        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                        by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:24:46 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, Wait, THIS Guy? (0+ / 0-)

                      Let me guess, you did a Google search of Eco, Evans and Britt, and you found this.

                      You do realize that's the website for the Muslim Brotherhood, right?  

                      I tend not to get my scholarly insights from works extolled by the followers of Sayyid Qutb.  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:37:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Who's Charles M. Evans? (0+ / 0-)

                  I just searched the catalogs of two Ivy League universities and one large state university, and the only Charles M. Evans I found wrote a book on ballooning during the Civil War. How does that specially qualify him to talk about fascism? Or are you citing a Charles M. Evans who hasn't published anything that's made it to those libraries?

              •  At least Britt's essay, (0+ / 0-)

                "Fascism, Anyone," was published in Free Inquiry Magazine. It was therefore reviewed and edited, making it suitable for discussion in a scholarly (or at least semi-scholarly) debate.

                Where, pray tell, aside from dKos's front page, have your essays on fascism, or the lack thereof, ever been published?

        •  This is a very popular checklist... (0+ / 0-)

          ...of Fascist traits, but it's not the one I prefer to use.  Instead, I cite the list of diagnostic features of Fascism formulated by Stanley Payne, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in his 1980 book "Fascism: Comparison and Definition":

          A. The Fascist Negations

           1. Antiliberalism (By "liberalism", this means free-market capitalism
              and representative democracy).

            2. Anticommunism.

            3. Anticonservatism (By "Conservatism" that means resistance to
               social change and allegience to traditional sources of
               authority, such as the church and, in Europe, the crown.
               Fascism considers itself a modernizing, revolutionary
               movement that will produce new sources of authority.
               See Ideology and Goals).

          B. Ideology and Goals

            1. Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state based
               not merely on traditional principles or models.

            2. Organization of some new kind of regulated, multiclass,
               integrated national economic structure (national
               corporatist, national socialist, or national syndicalist).

            3. The goal of empire or a radical change in the nation's
               relationship with other powers.

            4. Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed,
               normally involving the attempt to realize a new form
               of modern, self-determined, secular culture.

          C. Style and Organization

            1. Emphasis on esthetic structure of meetings, symbols,
               and political choreography, stressing romantic and mystical
               aspects.

            2. Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political
               relationships and style with the goal of a mass party militia.

            3. Positive evaluation of and willingness to use violence.

            4. Extreme stress on the masculine principle and male dominance,
               while espousing the organic view of society.

           5. Exaltation of youth above other phases of life, emphasizing the
              conflict of generations, at least in effecting the initial
              political transformation.

            6. Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal
               style of command.

          I've applied these criteria to W's administration before and found that, while a case can be made for it meeting A1, A2, B1, B3, C1, and C6 (and, with Blackwater, the possibility that it is now starting to fulfill criteria C2 and C3), it fails all the other criteria, in particular those (A1, B2, B4, and C5) that are "anti-conservative" in nature. Therefore, I still would not call the current government Fascist according to Payne's diagnostic criteria. (In response to a previous analysis, the most alarmist poster on the site agreed with me, and snarkily remarked that W was more of a monarchist than anything else.)

          That said, the trend is that W's administration has been meeting more of Payne's criteria over time.  I find that to be cause for alarm.

    •  Many tactics are from the Fascist playbook (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      james risser

      along with an increasing amount of terminology ("Homeland Security," "enhanced interrogation"), but the end result more closely resembles feudalism, right down to the entrenchment of an international ruling class presiding over miserable individual nations. The use of mercenaries is pretty old school, too.

      The principle difference, as I see it, is that the ruling class are not necessarily heads of state this time around.

      No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

      by oldjohnbrown on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:42:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not feudalism (0+ / 0-)

        Similar to the OP, I despise the casual use of the word feudalism. Until generations of families are forced to work for the same corporation their entire life, live under the rule of said corporation, and owe most of their earnings to the corporation, we don't have a medieval power structure.

        Granted, Walmart has the potential to go that direction, but it is so no where near there yet.

        The factory towns in Industrial America are a lot closer to feudalism/manorialism than anythin we have today.

    •  What about the focus on the state? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxado

      It seems to me that fascism is an accurate way to describe this administration/movement/whatever. While yes, Bush is trying to elevate the status and immunity of corporations, he is largely using them to put more emphasis on the state. Under Bush, we've lost the pre-eminence of individual rights, and instead are told we should sacrifice our civil liberties for the benefit of the state.

      If that's not the fundamental goal of fascism, I don't know what is.

  •  I'm reading Shock Doctrine (12+ / 0-)

    and Blackwater, by Scahill, at the same time.  I'm getting a double dose of lessons on the current government's privatization policies.

    They are both so far worth the investment. Now I need to find a way to share the information with as many people as I can.

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:54:24 PM PDT

  •  On impeccable authority you are wrong (14+ / 0-)

    not to call it fascism.

    Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:57:16 PM PDT

    •  Wow, Mussolini coined the term corporatism? (4+ / 0-)

      I'm going to have to note that next time someone uses it.

    •  Sigh (7+ / 0-)

      Yeah, and someone please bring out that list of 14 or 18 or whatever it is.

      Who had the power in Italy?  The government?  Yes, over the business interests.  The business interests were pushing for war, nor were they in Germany or Romania or Hungary.  It was the state and the new political elite, and the business interests were brought along for the ride (and typically saw their authority diminish greatly as time went on).

      I know how to look up a phrase on Google.  If you want to discuss the history and the theory behind this issue, fine, I'm all for it.  But a single phrase doesn't get at how the fascist states worked with fascists in power.  Nowhere--NOWHERE--did they turn over authority previously held by the state to unaccountable private interests.  Everywhere they increased the power of the state.  Other than in surveilance and information gathering and in limiting some civil rights, this administration is weakening the control of the state.  So it's going in the complete opposite direction of what the fascist states did, which is the essential reason it's historically and theoretically inaccurate to call Bush and his ilk fascists.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:02:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The government has the power now (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, dehrha02, xaxado

        Hate to break it to you, but the government still has the ultimate authority which is why corporations spend so much money manipulating it.

        At any rate, it's a moot point because, frankly, your definition of fascism as state-centric above all is flat-out wrong.

        Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes! - Bill and Ted

        by CharlieHipHop on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:48:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He is exactly right. (5+ / 0-)

          Modern History Sourcebook:
          Benito Mussolini:
          What is Fascism, 1932

          . . .
          The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality -- thus it may be called the "ethic" State....

          ...The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone....

          ...For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. . . .

      •  They're not unaccountable.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, nancelot, myrealname

        ...If the private interests fail to live up to their side of the bargan (hiring the right people and feeding the machine) they're hit with everything that corporation dislike. (regulations, tax increases, selective enforcement)

        I hated george bush before it was cool.

        by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:57:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of course its fascism. (9+ / 0-)

        Of course its fascism.

        Just because much of what's being done is being done outside the formal bounds of government doesn't mean it isn't done by and for the state.

        Blackwater, Haliburton and the others don't get paid from telethon pledge drives.  They receive money from the government raised through taxes, duties and debt for which we citizens are responsible according to law.

        These extralegal entities are working for and being paid by the state to do what the state wants done.  That there is no Department of Blackwater in the cabinet should confuse no one about the fact that it is an agent of the state.

        The political machinations that allow the state to funnel the power and money to its agents/supporters (and this is another aspect of the equation that should not be ignored; the corporations and the government are essentially the same subset of the population, wearing different hats at different times. the state is the formal mechanism that gathers and channels public money to the corporations that support and sustain the fascist state) are just the other diagnostic indications of fascism, i.e. the quasi religious adoration of the state.  

        It is no accident that the war that has provided such boom times to Blackwater and Haliburton came festooned with eagles, wrapped in bunting and accompanied by a marching brass band. There would be no Iraq war without the US Exceptionalism mythology or flag fetish. The idolatrous flag-worshiping, angry-white-man, and nationalistic religious cults are the demographics deployed to legitimatize war, cower opposition, and effect the apotheosis of the Military Industrial Complex.

        This administration and our current government are fascist through and through.  There are a few new twists in how the strings are pulled, but those are minor issues.

        •  Show Me a Single Fascist State... (0+ / 0-)

          ...that turned over significant control to the private sector.

          One example would be great.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:05:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bushco has not turned over all power to corps. (3+ / 0-)

            Fed judiciary is very powerful now and is just an arm of Bushco.

            Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

            by cumberland sibyl on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:08:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Show me (3+ / 0-)

            where the Bush administration has turned over significant control to an independent company. Halliburton is no more or less powerful than Krupp was in Germany or than Campana was in Italy. The DHS is keeping the same kind of lists that the two fascist states kept and the "private armies" of mercenaries are the exact equivalents of the brown and black shirts. You exagerate the privatization of everything. All of the "private" corporations are sucking up tax money, as the Italian and German corporations did and the government is exacting authoritarian control of the people in exactly the same manner. Your disdain for the term notwithstanding, right wing authoritarianism and the elevation of an elite business class to privilege constitute fascism.

            "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

            by johnmorris on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:19:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  USA (0+ / 0-)

            I just don't see where you get the idea that significant control is being handed over to the private sector.  Bush (ok, Cheney) is firmly in control of the outfits like Blackwater and Bush (ok, Cheney) is the state.

            Blackwater wouldn't be in Iraq if the state didn't want them there and the state wouldn't want them there if they didn't do what the state wanted done.

            It doesn't matter if orders go out through the chain of command in the Pentagon or through an informal chat with Prince, they come from the same source and serve the same purpose.

            If anything, the network of contractors is an even purer manifestation of the will of the state since the chain of command is more direct and untainted by legislative oversight.

      •  What's in a name? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynChi

        "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

        The corporations have the ready made efficient bureaucracies and take orders from the Executive branch. See telecoms immunity and Quest's Joe Nachio.
        What difference does it make if Fox is called a private company or a State department of propoganda. Absolutely no difference.  The workers taxes are returned to wealthy Republican owners and they do the Executive's bidding in turn. What difference is there in whether the State disguises itself in corporations or the corporations are under the mantle of the state. Semantics.

        It's called Neoconservativism.

      •  central thesis: (0+ / 0-)

        "this administration is weakening the control of the state."

        let's stop right here.  You prove that, substantively, with documentation and citations, or give up your front page rights.  Right now, right here.

    •  "Corporation" ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brainwave

      Meant a very different thing in Mussolini's scheme of things than it does for us. Mussolini's corporatism was basically a right-wing form of syndicalism, but under a state with Caesarian power.

      The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

      by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:16:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (8+ / 0-)

      ...as long as we are talking about Mussolini, you should know that the quote you cite has, to my knowledge, never actually been sourced to Benito Mussolini.  But these one has:

      The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organised in their respective associations, circulate within the State.

      Both are from The Doctrine of Fascism, the defining work of Italian fascism endorsed by Mussolini himself.  If not written by him, it certainly represents his views.  And it elaborates that fascism isn't just a merger of corporation and state, it's a merger of state and everything.  Which is one of the problems with calling Bush a fascist, since he and the Republicans have done their damndest to remove government from any effective role it can play in society.

      An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. -- T. Paine (-6.25, -7.18)

      by DH from MD on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Remove that "both" (0+ / 0-)

        I had a second quote, but it didn't fit with the point I was trying to make.

        An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. -- T. Paine (-6.25, -7.18)

        by DH from MD on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:19:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Post Modern Fascism = Bush Model (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky

          It is not realistic to compare Mussolini's fascist state with the world we live in today. The influence of modern media cannot be discounted, as nothing approaching it pervasiveness and reach was operating in the 1930's.

          'It's deja vu all over again'-Yogi Berra

          by frandor55 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:40:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynChi, DH from MD

        Other than some of the national security stuff, they're trying to destroy the state: no regulations, no labor laws, no EPA, no control over the economy, no public goods, nothing that's not for profit.

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:19:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's their song and dance... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky

          ...to please the freedom-lovin' libertarians who vote for them.  In reality, they love the state.  Judge them not by what they say but by what they do.  They spend public moneies.  They march armies off to war.  They rewrite laws to favor their buddies.  They listen to your phone calls and read your e-mail.  Don't kid yourself: They love pulling the levers of state power, and they do it like mad.

          Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes! - Bill and Ted

          by CharlieHipHop on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:54:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What They Do????? (0+ / 0-)

            Did you read the damn post?  You know, about turning over money and authority to private entities to wage war?  

            I can't make you read the post, but it would be nice if you would do so before commenting.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:57:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did read the post... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inky

              ...and the post to which I was responding read as follows:

              Other than some of the national security stuff, they're trying to destroy the state: no regulations, no labor laws, no EPA, no control over the economy, no public goods, nothing that's not for profit.

              They say they want to destroy the state ("drown it in a bathtub" or whatever) but in actuality, they love the state and the power it gives them.

              Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes! - Bill and Ted

              by CharlieHipHop on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:00:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe we should call it post-modern feudalism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          magnetics

          The Bush goal is/was no state. There's just lords (CEOs), foot soldiers (middle management), warloads (Blackwater) and priests (megachurch pastors.) Oh yeah, and all of us serfs.

          •  Excellent diagnosis. (0+ / 0-)

            Sonny Boy Williamson said, "You can name it 'your mama.'

            I'd say 'fascism' is as good a name as any for the phenomenon you describe.

            The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

            by magnetics on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 11:42:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Merger of the state...... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zaq

        ....with an individual.

        If you criticize the President, you criticize the state (unpatriotic).

        I hated george bush before it was cool.

        by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:27:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the provenance of this quotation, (5+ / 0-)

        as I pointed out in the first installment, is in such question that I wish we would stop citing it here. So far, no one has been able to trace it. Given the preferred use of corporatism around here -- to pillory Hillary -- and the apparent different understanding of the Italian word translated as corporatism, it would be nice to have a disscussion free of this hoary possible quotation.

        DH's point is the important one: Italian fascism exalted the state; it didn't sell it off piece by piece.

        "What politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I have found in short supply." -- Al Gore

        by Vico on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:29:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And We Should Trust Someone Who Goes By "Vico"... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vico

          ...on matters of history and Italy.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:35:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Umm... (4+ / 0-)

            Why should I trust anyone with a tag such as, umm, DHinMI on matters of history and Italy?

            Vico, you raised a few good points. You don't deserve abuse.

            •  Get a Clue (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Vico

              Look up "Vico" and maybe you'd realize I was joking with him, as he joked downthread with me.  

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:58:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, I'll go find clues (0+ / 0-)

                Because, I'm obviously clueless.

                From Wiki:

                Vico or de Vico may refer to:

                Francesco de Vico, Italian astronomer.
                Giambattista Vico, Italian philosopher, historian, and jurist.
                Vico, Corse-du-Sud, a French commune.
                Vico C, a puertorican rapper
                Lake Vico, a lake in northern Lazio, Italy
                De Vico, a lunar crater named after Francesco de Vico.
                Vi-Co, Saskatchewan, Canada slang term (formerly a brand name) for chocolate milk

                Oh, I see, you are assuming he's Italian? Or, French? Or, that he's a Puerto Rican rapper, or, best of all, that he is chocolate milk (my first thought, being from Western Canada).

                I love's chocolate milk.

                I guess my mistake is that I didn't assume he is Italian. Shame on me!

                Honestly, this thread led me only this far (I enjoy reading sophistry and the comments that arise from it). I wasn't that interested in it to go looking down thread for your "jokes' with Vico. Sorry.

                Your response appeared to be rather condescending and that is what I called you on.

                •  Are You Often the Only Person in the Room... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...who is either laughing or not laughing?

                  The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                  by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:56:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Never. I'm the person who helps others who (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Inky, cumberland sibyl

                    were offended or hurt in other ways. That is why I came to the defense of Vico.

                    •  Dude (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Vico

                      No defense needed. Vico was offering his support to DH, and DH was propping up Vico by pointing to his (Vico's) Italian name as evidence of Vico's authority in the matter.

                      You might want to go wash that egg off your face ;-)

                      Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

                      by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:43:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  To clarify, (0+ / 0-)

                      I named myself in honor of the Italian philosopher of history, and I received DHinMI's comment in the spirit in which it was intended. And yes, I had a little fun with him downthread.

                      "What politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I have found in short supply." -- Al Gore

                      by Vico on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:21:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Ha! (as my mother used to write in letters (0+ / 0-)

            when she made or recognized a joke.)

            "What politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I have found in short supply." -- Al Gore

            by Vico on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:18:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You're missing the judiciary. (0+ / 0-)

        Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

        by cumberland sibyl on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:10:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is from couple of minutes on google (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, Neon Vincent

           The Labour Charter (Promulgated by the Grand Council for Fascism on April 21, 1927)—(published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale, April 3, 1927) [sic] (p. 133)

           The Corporate State and its Organization (p. 133)

           The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and usefu [sic] instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

           State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management. (pp. 135-136)

        —Benito Mussolini, 1935, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions, Rome: 'Ardita' Publishers.

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:00:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporatism doesn't mean in this context (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      what you think it does.

      Historically, corporatism or corporativism (Italian: corporativismo) refers to a political or economic system in which power is given to civic assemblies that represent economic, industrial, agrarian, social, cultural, and professional groups. These civic assemblies, known as corporations (not necessarily the business model known as a 'corporation' though such businesses are not excluded from the definition either). Corporations are unelected bodies with an internal hierarchy; their purpose is to exert control over the social and economic life of their respective areas. Thus, for example, a steel corporation would be a cartel composed of all the business leaders in the steel industry, coming together to discuss a common policy on prices and wages. When the political and economic power of a country rests in the hands of such groups, then a corporatist system is in place.

      The word "corporatism" is derived from the Latin word for body, corpus. This meaning was not connected with the specific notion of a business corporation, but rather a general reference to anything collected as a body. Its usage reflects medieval European concepts of a whole society in which the various components - e.g., guilds or trade unions, universities, monasteries, the various estates, etc. - each play a part in the life of the society, just as the various parts of the body serve specific roles in the life of a body. According to various theorists, corporatism was an attempt to create a modern version of feudalism by merging the "corporate" interests with those of the state.

      <snip>

      In Italian Fascism, this non-elected form of state "officializing" of every interest into the state was professed to better circumvent the marginalization of singular interests (as would allegedly happen by the unilateral end condition inherent in the democratic voting process).

      link

      Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

      by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:17:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It sounds like you favor the term corporati$m, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, CTLiberal

    eh?

  •  Fascism, schmascism..... (11+ / 0-)

    ...let's send a wordsmith to the secret prisons with a pair of pliers, and maybe he can extract from the prisoners the correct word to describe the force that has destroyed American democracy. I doubt that the prisoners will find any qualitative difference between this and fascism.

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:01:30 PM PDT

  •  Thanks EXACTLY Spot On ALSO See Attached (2+ / 0-)

    Thanks !!!!!
    A MUST READ Article below-

    Klein's book Wraps up Nicely - their strategy - they're NOW doing in Iraq (see Baghdad year Zero  Article too) to Iraq - what they did before to so many Third World Countries -

    ALSO I see thir Goal - to make U.S. Like Putin's Russia - draining all resources & turning the Middle Class into low-wage serfs to bust staying alive to be any kind of Political Opposition. IF you read the commodities pages - esp Gold/Silver sites you see Amazing Analyses...

    Fascinating Article - Link Below...

    Comparison of the Collapse of the Soviet Union Vs. Eventual U.S. Econimic Collapse -
    Why the Soviet's had it much easier than WE Will!

    http://energybulletin.net/...

    Blind loyalty to self-defeating strategies is equally destructive as working for your enemy.

    by Hiroprotag on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:01:52 PM PDT

  •  Been writing about this for a while now.... (6+ / 0-)

    " And very soon I will lay out some connections between the radical religious right, the proselytizers of radical privatization, the cronies of the Bush family and their wider circle, and major funders of the radical right, the web of foundations and think tanks that push radical right ideology, and the Republican party"

    Good to see these themes on the radar screen.

    The website I co-founded with Frederick Clarkson has been addressing these sorts of issues for almost 2 years now and Talk To Action has close to 2,000 stories ( many full or close to full length ) articles and shorter posts on the subject.

  •  Italian Fascism..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james risser, Brahman Colorado

    ...had a very strong corporate element.

    IMHO, the K Street project dripped of I.F.

    I hated george bush before it was cool.

    by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:05:46 PM PDT

  •  I waited all week for this piece... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynChi, MrSandman

    and I can't wait for the next. This stuff is sooo good that I am going to buy Naomi Klein's and Jeremy Scahills books.

    Thanks DH...absolutely spell binding work.

    Tu es responsable de ta rose Le Petit Prince

    by Brahman Colorado on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:09:24 PM PDT

  •  Great job, you made me seem like a genius (3+ / 0-)

    Prince just came on Blackwater and I've been sitting here reading your synopsis like its stuff I already knew off the top of my head.  Gotta love it when it works like this.

    Blackwater is probably just the scary tip of the mercenary iceberg.

    "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

    by NearlyNormal on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:10:22 PM PDT

    •  Anyone Who's Worked With Public Sector Unions... (10+ / 0-)

      ...for a while has probably seen much of this.  Talk to your letter carrier.  Prince is quoted in Scahill's book as saying something like "I want to do to the military what FedEx has done to the Postal Service."  Well, you know what?  One of the essential functions of almost every single government is to deliver mail.  One of the tell-tale signs of a breakdown in civil control is the failure to secure delivery of the mail.  Luckily FedEx hasn't destroyed the USPS, because there are plenty of places where FedEx won't deliver, like certain very poor neighborhoods, extremely rural areas and the like.  And they aren't accountable to American citizens.  So when Prince lauds FedEx and suggests they're destroying the USPS, he's lauding an attack on an essential government service that is supposed to treat all Americans equally and which is accountable to all of us.  Thus, he and his ilk are really attacking the essence of government.  And Bush and Cheney are trying to destroy our government by giving it all away to the Erik Princes of the world.

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:16:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought economic facism... (3+ / 0-)
    Utilized the privatization of state services.  I remember reading that it was believed it would make businesses contribute to the political success of those in power.

    Blogging For Michigan-A blog so good, Republicans had us censored!

    by djtyg on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:10:47 PM PDT

  •  Better description than Fascism: Mercantilism (5+ / 0-)

    If you look at what Bush and hard core conservatives in general are doing, it fits very well the model of the old mercantilist states of early modern Europe (1500-1800). Authoritarian monarchs sent state funds to private monopolies to carry out public functions. The monopolies, of course, were politically connected to the monarch and the contract was a reward for loyalty as well as for performance of a needed service. The privatization fetish at the state and local level fits this model even better than Bush does. Look at Indiana selling it's highways to private contractors, for example. The system as a whole was corrupt, inefficient, and unjust, which is why Adam Smith wrote a book urging its elimination. Funny how the conservatives who bray about Smith never bothered to read the book or learn its conclusions.

  •  Tonight on 60 Minutes: A Fascist Star Is Born (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, james risser

    With lots of help from a softball interviewer.

    "We would cause tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve" - G.W.Bush So we're staying in Iraq so Duhbya doesn't get laughed at?!

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:14:00 PM PDT

    •  What a mismatch that interview was! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      A soft spoken Lara Logan asked some good questions but she did not challenge Eric Prince's lying answers.

      I do not believe those three bullet dents in the Blackwater car - they could have been put there after the fact since as Lara so meekly remarked, there was no independent examination of them.

      So many witnesses have come forward and said there was no attack. Further people have come forward to tell us about other incidents of Blackwater's deadly road rages.

      Also, the desecration of those 4 Blackwater guards is frequently shown out of the context of revenge for the US military's slaughter of Iraqi civilians one year before.

      Although Fallujah had seen sporadic air strikes by American forces, public opposition was not galvanized until 700 members of the 82nd Airborne Division first entered the city on April 23 2003, and approximately 150 members of Charlie Company occupied al-Qa'id primary school. On the evening of April 28, a crowd of approximately 200 people gathered outside the school, demanding that the Americans vacate the building and allow it to re-open as a school. After their smoke gas canisters failed to disperse the crowd[10], four US soldiers stationed on the roof fired into the gathering, killing 17 and wounding more than 70 of the protesters. US forces said that the shooting took place over 30-60 seconds, while Human Rights Watch has concluded that is is more likely to have lasted approximately ten minutes

      .[

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:59:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've been waiting for this ...! (9+ / 0-)

    My comment is slightly tangential, but it's a line of thinking your first piece inspired.

    There has been significant mention lately (sorry, no links) of business having second thoughts about the GOP. I believe that a substantial wing of American business is starting to realize that shock capitalism is a disaster for them, too. A world turned into Brazil writ big is not a great place to do business.

    From this I see the possibility of a "grand bargain," in which a wing of business accepts a progressive regulatory state, because as annoying as it can be for business people, it can provide order in the marketplace - something businesses always took for granted, but are now discovering that they urgently need.

    Essentially the lesser barons are realizing that they are also losers when the dukes duke it out. They're about ready for the Queen King to step in and put a ducal head or two on pikes, even at the cost of accepting the royal authority and with it the rights of the commons, always the fundamental basis of the crown.

    The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

    by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:14:09 PM PDT

    •  EXACTLY What Barney Frank Has Been Talking About (8+ / 0-)

      Because the Senate is so screwed up, it's been hard to do a lot.  But Barney has been talking a lot about a "grand bargain"--I think that's even the term he's used--that helps business but also locks in protections for individuals and families.  He's argued that there is substantial recognition of that within much of the corporate community.  And you have to think manufacturing and other sectors recognize that Bush has been a disaster.  Bush's support has come mostly from some low-wage services industries like fast food, from what I call "extractive" industries (like oil, timber, mining, etc), monopolies highly regulated by the federal government (rail, PhARMA, medical), but NOT significantly from the "creative" industries like Hollywood, high tech, etc., and less and less so from finance (look at what Schumer's been doing with finance).  

      So, you're correct that large swaths of business don't like what Bush and the GOP have done.  But the damage is so vast, it's going to take a lot to fix things up.

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:28:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of fixing, indeed ...! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Vincent

        Bush's support comes heavily from rent-seeking industries, in the economics sense, which notably includes the extractive industries you mention. Cronyism isn't exactly rent-seeking, but it is closely related - profiting from privileged access to a wealth source, rather than producing wealth.

        Veering back to topic, I am no goo-goo, but Bush Authoritarianism has taken public corruption to a new level, where it goes from irritant to cancer. It is a corruption rooted in the whole mindset, which Blackwater perfectly exemplifies. Blackwater may not even be guilty of chargeable corruption offenses; the corruption is that such a firm is even possible.

        The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

        by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:25:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've run into excessive rent-seeking... (0+ / 0-)

          ...by the constituents of a political party as being the catalyst for the undoing of that political party's reign before.  Kossack Mikebert wrote about the mechanism in Cycles in American Politics: how political, economic and cultural trends have shaped the nation.  When a political party is in power too long (~20 years), its economic constituents become emboldened and engage in rent-seeking too obvious to ignore and too damaging to the economy to excuse.  This behavior arouses indignation among the general public, which then mobilizes around the opposition.  Mikebert has noted that conservative rent-seeking appears particularly obnoxious and reaction to it ushers in liberal eras.  I wouldn't be surprised if that process is happening right now.

    •  Gabriel Kolko had that take in his 1970s book... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      "The Triumph of Conservatism".

      He argued that business allowed Teddy Roosevelt to launch progressive regulation because American goods were so shoddy that they were about to be excluded from European markets. The title of the book alludes to the idea that progressive regulation served big business.

      Kolko is still around today. He just wrote a book "The Decline of the American Empire".

      arendt

  •  "Independent contractors" what the hell? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger

    no way is that defensible for tax or other purposes.

    Get a brain, morans! Go USA!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:14:32 PM PDT

    •  Of course it is (8+ / 0-)

      Many, many of us have worked in exactly the same circumstances. I was a 1099er for a number of years. Why? One simple answer: the $$$.

      The employer likes it because he can let you go when business is slow, and because he had no overhead to speak of. The contractor likes it because he gets paid much more per hour than he would make as a W2er.

      The downside for the employer is the bigger cost per hour. The downside for the contractor is the lack of security, AND the payment of all your own taxes and benefits, the worst of which is paying the full SS tax. (Put together the 15% SS tax and a 26% income tax, if you're in that bracket, and it can be a shock come April 15.)

      If you're young, and know how to manage your money so April 15 isn't a surprise, contracting can sometimes be a great way to make money while you can still stand the risk. That's one reason I stopped -- I got old. :-)

      Now -- do I think using contractors for government services, especially for military work, is a good idea? Almost never. The correct use of contractors is for (a) a task that is not your core specialty (b) for a short length of time. By definition, most government services are ongoing. Paying contractor rates ad infinitum is just bad management. And, many of these services should be part of the government's core abilities, like (duh) fighting wars.

      Privitization is one of those ideas that sounds good in a sound bite, at least to some, but that sucks when you look at the details.

      Bruce in Louisville
      And the blog is Eclectic Thinker

      by bmaples on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:48:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Plagiarist. (8+ / 0-)

    Some people have thought of ideas something like this before.

    >>snark<<</p>

    Great work. Keep it up.

    "What politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I have found in short supply." -- Al Gore

    by Vico on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:15:53 PM PDT

  •  One of the great recent moments (4+ / 0-)

    on the Daily Show was when Jon Stewart revisited his interview with Scahill, in which he'd essentially asked "so, mercenaries, what's the big deal? why is that upsetting?" and acknowledged, in light of recent events, that maybe it was a big deal.

    I hope people don't know what's going on with Blackwater and would be upset if they did. I don't know how much faith I have that that's the case, but I hope.

    And it's striking how yet again I see a tie to the Jacob Hacker Great Risk Shift book, in the model in which risk is shifted from the government to the corporation to the individual employee, who may make good money sometimes but takes on financial, medical, and other risks - not having insurance, not being guaranteed stable income, having little or no recourse if fired. I can't wait to read the Klein book.

    •  That's one more thing I love about Jon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      He's willing to admit that he, to quote (or damn near to it,) "had no idea what the fuck I'm [he's] talking about." I'd like to see that from a few other prominent teevee personalities.

      Question Authority - Now, more than ever.

      by Zaq on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:23:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most Excellent! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Vincent

    Thanks for this - I look forward to the following diaries.

    "He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing." Muadib

    by Shane Hensinger on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:18:58 PM PDT

  •  As I did last week, I'll disagree on this main pr (9+ / 0-)

    But the main reason why it’s wrong to refer to Bush authoritarianism as fascist is, simply, that it’s not fascist.  Fascism exalted the state as the most powerful force, more powerful than any other institutions, including business.

    You separate the two, as if the State controls the corporations via laws set at the behest of some thrid party.

    Fascism is the MELDING of the State and the corporations; the two are thus twain. The State uses it's power of LAW to further the interest of the corporate powers, and then REWARDS those bureaucrats.

    How many examples need I provide? George Shultz and Cap Weinberger have been mentioned elsewhere tonight; what about Billy Tauzin? GHW Bush is doing alright at the Carlylse Group, as is James Baker and others.

    What about legislation? Why hasn't the CAFE standard been raised by any appreciable amount in 20 years? Why have packaged meat inspections been turned over to industry? Why have we not banned import of goods and products that do not meet our own health, safety and environmental standards?

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

    by Spud1 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:23:06 PM PDT

    •  K Street project...... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spud1, Akonitum

      ...is a perfect example of this.

      I hated george bush before it was cool.

      by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, although K Street is just the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oldjohnbrown, dehrha02, Akonitum, mon

        mechanism via which much of it happens - the arrangements that can be publicized.

        What of the secret arrangements? We all know what (there is a comment that SusanG cites: "We did not know what nobody could deny.") Cheney's Energy Task Force was all about, and yet still no one thinks it is of any import to dig out the facts?

        Couple this corporatism to all the reports of evangelizing in the military, and we're there: fascism.

        Those that will use force to promote a corporate idealogy couple with those that will impose said force because they have been suckered (and in some cases because they just like to do fuck with other people).

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

        by Spud1 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:39:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And when you have a lapdog A.G....... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spud1, Akonitum

          ....and SCOTUS.

          Well, shit....that's almost too easy.

          I hated george bush before it was cool.

          by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:44:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You allude to an important point: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dehrha02

            ALL military dictactorships have the backing of their "supreme courts." While everyone knows that it is bullshit, they still put up the window dressing for ???? I'm not sure whom.

            It is bizarre that Americans seem to think that we cannot be taken over by a dictator; that somehow we are immune from what has befallen so many other societies.

            The big question is: can I convince my wife that we need to get across the border immediately?

            "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

            by Spud1 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:53:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's not necessarily fascism (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, Spud1, Residentcynic

      It's the final state of any laissez-faire capitalism or of a failed market economy, and it also characterizes mercantilism and (often) imperialism. And of course, the Socialist states peculiar to Russia and China.

      A lot of it depends on how the melding occurs, but the end result is invariably ugly.

      No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

      by oldjohnbrown on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:55:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The tragedy of it is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky

        that without imperialism or other such thing, we would not be left to enjoy the splendor that grand wealth has wrought. Be it Newport, Rhode Island, the ancient estates of Britain, the Louvre or St. Peter's -

        Without such concentrated (and unfair) wealth, would any of these, and other monuments, have happened.

        A paradox?

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

        by Spud1 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:09:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have heard the argument (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, Spud1

          that great art only comes in such régimes. As a fan of another graduate of the Frankfurt School, Theodor Adorno, I reject that. It's true that there would be fewer of the great old works of architecture, but somehow Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge got built, for the most part, without all that baggage.

          The fact that the human spirit will find a way to create beauty amidst the most crushing despair or the most rotten decadence excuses neither as tolerable states of existence.

          No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

          by oldjohnbrown on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:29:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Grand Central TERMINAL, but great (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            oldjohnbrown, Neon Vincent

            examples of cooperative human endeavors.

            But note that all these represent an American ideal of INDUSTRY. I was just reading a short piece about public spaces in Europe as contrasted by the real lack of them in U.S. cities, at least for the past 100 years.

            Most towns around Maine have a "square" or common place(s), which are sorely lacking in many more modern U.S. towns and cities. Perhaps they are in Europe too.

            "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

            by Spud1 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:35:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The square was a commons, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neon Vincent

              which is what one would expect to find in a "commonwealth."

              They became "squares" and "greens" when the old communitarian ethic got replaced. New towns don't have them because they've never had the ethics or the politics (nor, to be fair, the widespread ownership of livestock) to even consider having them.

              No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

              by oldjohnbrown on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 10:34:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Probably form 1099 unless 1199 is a new form n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Only being pedantic because your perfect content merits the effort to pick a technical nit.

  •  DHin....you're wrong on most of this story. (4+ / 0-)

    First, in the contracting world, it's all private contractors, not employees.  Even the strippers at your favorite spots are getting 1199's.  The Blackwater contractors, like everyone else in the industry, get their own medical insurance.  Lots are retired military and have VA, but regardless....guys get their own insurance.  

    The jobs pay alot because they're dangerous and the employees are skilled.  It might not be a skill you necessarily appreciate....but there's a reason none of the Blackwater protectees have been killed.  To train a guy at the proper level is expensive, and to certify he can perform is expensive too.   To earn the kind of money Blackwater pays, and the government pays...people are willing to pay to be trained.  

    And finally, they're not mercenaries.  As I said in a different thread, they are providing a service asked for by the American government, paid for by Congress, currently run by the Democrats.  I absolutely believe that the Blackwater, Triple Canopy, DynCorps types should not be doing security work in Iraq.  It's a military function and should be done by the military.   Blackwater is there because Congress and the President is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, paying contractors from a different budget than the military and making it seem like  the numbers, both dead and deployed, are much smaller than they actually are.  

    To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

    by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:28:43 PM PDT

    •  Where Did I Say the Contracting World... (5+ / 0-)

      ...doesn't rely on individual contractors?  That's one of the essential problems, not just with mercenaries.

      And sorry, they're mercenaries.  Calling them something else is simply euphemism.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:30:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're not mercenaries. Not working for a.... (0+ / 0-)

        foreign power.  It's a convenient way to attack, but it's just not accurate.  They are performing a function requested by the US government.  The garbage guys, the building repair guys, the cooks...are all contractors.  They're not mercenaries, they're simply companies and individuals who responded to a government Request for Proposals (RFP).  

        You acted like using 1099's and contractors was some kind of evil Blackwater plot.  It's absolutely normal, in every field under the sun.   Again, if they are mercenaries...what do you call the people who hire and pay them--the Congress?  Should we outlaw Congress?  Arrest the current Democratic leaders?  

        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

        by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:38:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, in Iraq they're working for a foreign power. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dehrha02

          And I think you misunderstood him rather badly on the contracting issue - that doesn't make them worse on the mercenary tip, but it's a signal feature of the emerging authoritarianism and the economy that it produces.

          •  No, in Iraq they are working for the US Governmnt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            james risser

            They are absolutely not working for the Gov of Iraq.  

            He spent a lot of words and outrage on normal contracting procedures.  

            To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

            by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:49:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, They Are Working for BLACKWATER (4+ / 0-)

              They don't work for the government, which is exactly the problem.  A private company is paying people to fight in a foreign land.  That Blackwater is paid by the US government to fight in Iraq or Shell to fight in the Niger delta doesn't matter, because in either case they work for Blackwater, and Blackwater if sending them to fight as civilians for hire in a foreign land.

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:02:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, and in Iraq, the US is a foreign power. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Akonitum, Haplogroup V, mon

              That was the point. Got it now or do I need to draw a picture?

              And "normal contracting procedures" may in themselves be outrageous. Applied to government functions, and especially functions in which they carry guns and kill innocent people, yeah, I'd say outrage is merited.

              But if you want to be an apologist for Blackwater and for the Bush administration's use of mercenaries, you just go right on ahead. Just don't expect me to have any respect for you or your opinions.

              •  Read your constitution. Congress passes the budg (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                james risser

                et.  Congress pays.  I'm second to no one in my disdain for Bush, but it is the Democrats who control Congress.  Sen. Reid, Speaker Pelosi....those are the main benefactors of Blackwater.  

                The independent contractors work for Blackwater.  Blackwater is under contract, based on a Statement of Work (SOW) to the US government.  Primarily to DOS in Iraq.  

                You're rude, which I don't mind.  You're rude and wrong, which you should mind.  Maybe you should stick to drawing pictures, and leave the words for people who know what they are talking about.  

                To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:24:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Count me proud to be rude to (0+ / 0-)

                  anyone denying that Blackwater operates mercenary forces and that their business practices are not something to be outraged about.

                  And generally speaking, I do fine with my words. Sorry if you're in denial about your problems in that area.

                  •  Are you outraged about all independent... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Inky, james risser

                    contractors, or just Blackwater's?  If independent contractors are not upset about the arrangement, why are you?  

                    I'm trying to gauge the level of your ignorance.  Do you not believe that the DOS, who hired Blackwater, is an American entity?  How about DOD?  Is it outrageous that truck drivers in Iraq, independent contractors almost all, are being paid over 120k per year?  Is an American truck driver, under contract to, say, the Defense Logistics Agency, a mercenary if he drives on an Iraqi road?  

                    Do you believe we should prosecute the democratic congress for hiring mercenaries?  For the killing of the 17 civilians?  If you commission a crime, certainly the law says the payer should be punished as well as the payee.  Are you in denial?  Did you vote for any of the people who are currently voting to pay Blackwater?  Should you be arrested as well?

                    To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                    by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:11:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  did condi sell the state department... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joesig

            ....to france or chile?  did she trade it for a pair of shoes in a shopping rage?

            there are dod contracts and dos contracts...  i always assumed the latter ones, with the state department were just that.  

            what's up with that?

            •  I have lots of friends at Blackwater. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inky, james risser, Neon Vincent

              Good Americans making good money.  I am completely opposed to their current mission in Iraq...but they are responding to a US government request.  

              I don't know Prince.  I know Al Clark.  The company started as a huge training facility, driving tracks and shooting ranges/houses.  They never thought it would become what it is now.  They responded to the administration and the Congress's successful attempts to fool the American people about what is going on in Iraq.  The Regional Security Officers in a traditional embassy provide protection for DOS personnel.  They are permanent government employees.  There are nowhere near enough RSO personnel to get embassy personnel out of the green zone in Iraq.  Nor do they have the requisite training or equipment to do convoy operations in Baghdad.  There's not enough military to go around, despite the "surge" which has left us with about half the number of troops Shinseki originally requested.  The whole thing is a comedy of tragic errors.  

              To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

              by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:39:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, you are in a minority of.... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inky, nonnie9999, Neon Vincent

                ...about one.  

                but, hey, i commend your bravery for actually coming to their defense in a place where all, including yours truly, find them to be murderers and war-criminals...

                i agree, however, that i don't think anyone in or out of the bush crime family thought they could so sufficiently break the us military this quickly in order to replace it with corporate troops!  that includes prince, who probably thought the crime family would be about 25% effective in breaking it all to shit...at least in the first five year window.

                prince is the perfect corporatist!  if he weren't, there would be derivative suits against him on behalf of the shareholders!  

                it is all perfect madness...

                •  What's the alternative? Look, I believe we... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  james risser, Neon Vincent

                  shouldn't be in Iraq...and felt that way, with articulable reasons, way before most of the rest of the herd.  I've served there, often.  But we're there, for the long term, unless either Kucinich or Paul gets elected.  Do you think another 30,000 troops should be sent to Iraq to perform PSD functions?  It would be a huge boon to Blackwater.  They'd have their people there for the next year anyway during the trainup, and since they have by far the largest training facility and the most qualified PSD instructors....they'd probably get the contract to train the new US units scheduled to replace them.  

                  People here are getting the vapors over standard contracting procedures, they attack Blackwater while lauding the Dems who pay them, support Dems who voted to go to Iraq and refuse to end this war, and don't seem to understand that removing Blackwater means sending lots more troops and would probably earn even more money for Prince.

                  I've been consistent in advocating 300,000+ troops, or almost none at all.  Every other stance is ignorant of what the fuck is going on in Iraq.  This feeding frenzy over B-water is a means of salving consciences over their role in this debacle.

                  To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                  by joesig on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 07:46:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  my alternative.... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...remains as it has been since 2003:

                  • immediately leave iraq * apologize profusely to the world community

                    * promise to never illegally invade and occupy in the future

                    * pay retributions to iraq in an amount determined by the world community

                    * apologize more

                    * investigate violations of domestic laws, e.g. the war crimes act of 1996

                    * author a security council resolution to investigate bush war crimes at a New Nuremberg Trial
                  • but, hey, besides you, no one has asked me...

                    •  I agree. For a few reasons. First, I'm a full.. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      james risser, Neon Vincent

                      time worker in the fight against terrorism.  Wars against countries are wars of attrition. Wars against ideas are wars of recruitment.  If recruitment is up, we're losing.  Down, we're winning.  It's not much more complicated than that.

                      So your ideas are powerful weapons against al qa'ida recruitment efforts.  As a test case, we should close Gitmo and apologize.  It doesn't really matter if we send 'em all home, or send 'em all to Supermax.  It will be a strike against recruitment.  

                      The tsunami in the Pacific has been our most successful anti-terrorist campaign yet.  We surged to help an Islamic country, it was noticed, and it was appreciated.  It was a victory against recruitment...the only kind that matters.

                      I'm probably going to have to leave this site soon.  Ron Paul is the only one talking any sense on Iraq.  It's more than just leaving.  It's understanding that they are recruiting based on identifiable issues as opposed to a blind hatred of the west.  No one on the Dem side has the courage to say that.

                      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                      by joesig on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:09:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  that is an interesting intuition... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Neon Vincent

                    This feeding frenzy over B-water is a means of salving consciences over their role in this debacle.

                    i like it...  it has merit, and, i think you are on to something there...

        •  Geneva says (7+ / 0-)

          "Article 47.-Mercenaries

          1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
          1. A mercenary is any person who:

          (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

          (b) Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;

          (c) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;

          (d) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

          (e) Is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

          (f) Has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces."

          They fit 5 of the 6 criteria for mercenaries. The only qualification they have for being "combatants" is that they are mostly Americans and we are the occupying power. Other than that, they are mercenaries.

          "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

          by johnmorris on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:43:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for Posting That (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mon

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:49:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the american nationals.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joesig

            (d) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

            would not, under this rule, apply.  so the american employee's aren't mercenaries and only the non-american, non-iraqi members would be.

          •  So you agree they are not mercenaries? Good. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Vincent

            All six must apply.  I would argue that it's closer to 3 of 6, but either way we agree it's not six.  A protective detail is not there to fight.  They are there to defend.  If they were not defending when the 17 were killed, and so far it doesn't look like they were, then they committed a crime.

            Apology accepted.

            To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

            by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:48:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  1099, sorry. (0+ / 0-)

      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

      by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:32:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blackwater has its own Chaplain (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldjohnbrown, nonnie9999, Got a Grip

    Don Staton is the acting Blackwater spiritual leader.

    He says things like this;

    The media, much of Congress and critics are using every opportunity to express and publish anti-war and anti-Blackwater sentiments...
    They bash the State Department for using Security Contractors for the protection details...
    And ignite negative sentiments against everything that they can imagine that does not suit the people doing the inciting.

    and this;

    Erik Prince did a great job of focusing upon the truth and details of the incident as he and the Company Executives knew it then.  He did a tremendous job of keeping the attention where it needed to be kept.  He handled the interests of Blackwater very, very well and was a credit to the great community of Peace Keepers who have given and do give their service for the good of this great nation and it's interests.

    plus thsi;

    I am willing to pray for those involved and wait for the results of the investigation. I have been involved in enough incidents of my own, as a Peace Keeper, to know that this is the only path that any of us should take until all of the knowable information is in...
    True Justice must follow the evidence.  Public and media attention should have no significance.

    You see they are not mercenaries, they are Peace Keepers.  The Iraqi children just love to hang out with them.

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23 IMPEACH!!!!

    by Shockwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:29:31 PM PDT

  •  The State (8+ / 0-)

    Much like religion is in the eye of the beholder. By passing much government functions off to the corporation, republicans do two things.

    1. They pay back their corporate donors for helping them get into office.
    1. This one is perhaps more crucial. They pass more and more government functions to entities that have fewer Constitutional requirements and much less oversight for favored industries, with much more oversight over disfavored industries.

    Eventually, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we will have to call it a duck. I think their real, longterm goal is to have a corporate controlled state. Instead of being citizens, we will be shareholders at best, and have to contract with corporations for anything. That's still a LONG way off, if it were ever to happen, but we should try to stay as far away from it as possible.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:57:52 PM PDT

  •  Mandated Workers Comp coverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Vincent

    Iraq contractors and workers compensation

       Workers compensation for contractors is mandatory under the U.S. Defense Based Act (DBA) of 1941. Coverage applies to both U. S. workers and any foreign subcontractors who are not covered under their own country’s workers comp laws. Since Iraqi contractors are not covered by workers comp, any contractors must be covered under the DBA.

       Insurers are not mandated to provide this coverage. As an inducement, the government reimburses insurers for war related claims:

       "Labor Department officials said they had no cost estimate for reimbursements of Iraq-related claims, but given the maximum payment of $1,030.78 per week and the number of injuries and deaths, it could well climb into the multimillions. In past years, annual reimbursement costs under the War Hazards Act have ranged from $1 million to $2 million.

    http://www.export.gov/...
    http://www.dbacomp.com/

  •  Brownback's utopia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Got a Grip

    Is this where it's all headed?

    In his dream America, the one he believes both the Bible and the Constitution promise, the state will simply wither away. In its place will be a country so suffused with God and the free market that the social fabric of the last hundred years -- schools, Social Security, welfare -- will be privatized or simply done away with. There will be no abortions; sex will be confined to heterosexual marriage. Men will lead families, mothers will tend children, and big business and the church will take care of all.

    <shudder>

    Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

    by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:09:42 PM PDT

  •  Blackwater? Makes me yearn for the days of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Akonitum, Neon Vincent

    Pinkerton.

    Hillary Rodham is a Clinton like Peter Lawford was a Kennedy - enough dynasty talk.

    by redlief on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:17:51 PM PDT

  •  No matter what you call it... (3+ / 0-)

    ...we've been had.

    And they're going to laugh all the way to Paraguay.

    Why do I think tinfoil hat makers are about to make a fortune?

    by moosely2006 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:20:38 PM PDT

  •  well, after 100+ comments... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joesig

    ....the only clarity this diary gives is:

    *no one agrees what the definition of fascism is; accordingly, no one agrees that bush is or is not a fascist.

    *there is apparent disagreement whether blackwater usa is working for the united states government or whether we should treat blackwater as simply a set of disjointed subcontractors who work for blackwater usa and not the us government.  it seems if the latter, it fits more easily into the diarist's contention that bush isn't a fascist, but, it is unclear...

    *there is some doubt whether the democrats in congress have inherited a bit of the liability by continuing to authorize payments to blackwater.

    *no mention of amway yet, but, i am on the edge of my seat!

    *and the state department may have been sold to a foreign government [ right miss laura :)  ]

  •  Another Facet of It (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    siamesewonka, Neon Vincent

    Dunno that I'd frame it quite in the way you have, but I understand some of these changes in some ways as I understand the culture of the place where I grew up, The Great State (i.e., Texas).

    No, I do not want to claim GWB belongs to us.  Heavens, No!  But, he absorbed quite a number of ideas there.

    When I was growing up, mentioning that someone had a civil service job would possibly be said, "just a civil service job", as if it were just an authorized form of loafing.  Someone who kept a job like that would be portrayed as living off of other people's taxes, or being slow and plodding, and of being untouchable (read: cannot be fired) because of the government rules or union rules.

    The reason this irks many righties is that they see the employer's right to hire and fire at a whim and to fully exploit any opportunity to pay an employee at a lower than standard rate.

    Of course, you can't just pass out "jobs" in the military to someone who promised you favors and you can't threaten to fire this or that soldier, just because you're such a mean 'ole boss.

    In sum, I think what you're calling "Authoritarianism" I might call a sort of "Corporate Patriarchy".  They don't like any rules other than those that Daddio is passing out today.

    •  you are right about Texas (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Got a Grip, Neon Vincent

      The town I grew up in was EXTREMELY HOMOPHOBIC, but it was a small town.  Other than that we were taught conservatism.  Our teachers or should I say football coaches would regularly throw out their opinions on matters:  Bill Clinton SHOULD be impeached, liberal media, Al Gore said he invented the internet and etc.  Most Texas schools are Madrassas for the upcoming Republicans.

      George Bush PULL OUT- LIKE YOUR FATHER SHOULD HAVE!!!

      by siamesewonka on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:29:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  THe Bu$H Family (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, james risser

    Some of the comments above mentioned that a corporatist spirit is not idicative of fascism.  True, but when people had mentioned that there were no transnational corporations they left out a few very important facts about why this administration IS fascist.  

    -First of all Prescott Bush hid all of his money gained from loaning the Nazis money, but he still wasn't afraid to name his son George HERBERT WALKER Bush after the man, HERBERT WALKER, that got him the job as president of the bank that loaned the Nazis money.  Before that Prescott Bush tried to overthrow FDR in a violent military coup.  

    -Then we have George W. Bush winning the election on extremely questionable circumstances..(stolen).

    FDR did some of the same things that GW is doing like detaining innocent prisoners and phone tapping etc. However he apparently WAS FACING a Nazi threat at home AND abroad. Also he didn't fictionalize Pearl Harbor or steal any elections.

    call it corporatism might describe it in a way that the right can't turn around and use back on us...thereby dulling our senses to the word "fascism"..but this IS fascism.  

    George Bush PULL OUT- LIKE YOUR FATHER SHOULD HAVE!!!

    by siamesewonka on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:24:12 PM PDT

  •  Corporatism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky

    Is this post really arguing that the Bushists are not fascists? Or is it warning us of the degree to which the Bushists are changing our system into one ruled by corporate interests?

    Instead of fascism, perhaps the term should be corporatism:

    Kennedy also quotes Benito Mussolini's insight that "fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."

    There you go. Dispute settled.

    •  That term won't be allowed to fly (0+ / 0-)

      around here, since it is a term that could conceivably be thrown at certain Democrats. That's why DH has to come up with the rather clunky term "Bush authoritarianism." It's sort of like the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore decision--deliberately worded so as to be applicable only to one case.

  •  For someone so sure of everything (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, xaxado, james risser

    I'd sure expect you to do a little more research than Jeremy Scahill's book....

  •  oh dhinmi... (0+ / 0-)

    ....someone posted a reply to you in my diary and asked that someone pass it along to you.  i do so as a courtesy to the site and one of its members who is having trouble 'logging in' or something...ask him.

  •  I've got a Blackwater question. (0+ / 0-)

    This is something I've been curious about for a while, and some of the points raised in this diary only raise more questions.  How is Blackwater structured, as a fighting force?  If everyone in Blackwater is a private contractor, how do they decide who the privates and who the sergeants and captains are?  Who is responsible for their equipment and use thereof?  What is the chain of command?  Who is ultimately responsible for the actions taken by Blackwater employees?  Where does their overall gameplan come from?

    Thanks for any help you can provide on this subject.

    "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." H. L. Mencken

    by David R on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:53:42 PM PDT

    •  I can give you some of the answers. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, David R

      There are supervisors who send out the teams, man the radios, determine schedules.  Within each detail, someone is designated as the team leader/shift leader, whatever.  That guy makes the calls and is in charge and paid at a higher rate.  Everyone knows their place on the team and their individual responsibilities.  But, they are civilians.  They can quit, they can get fired.  Some guys don't/can't cut it, or get along, or drink too much and end up going home early.  

      Blackwater is responsible for the big equipment like the vehicles, radios, helos.  Individual contractors are responsible for their individual equipment, although some is standardized.

      I don't know if there is a requirement for individuals to maintain medical insurance, or life insurance, if available.  Usually, independent contractor status means just that....they are on their own.  

      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

      by joesig on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:00:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No medical insurance (0+ / 0-)

    No death benefits, no disability...

    It would be interesting to find out if any wounded ex-Blackwater guys have wound up on the public dole because their company won't pay for their care.

    What happens to these guys if they're wounded or disabled? Certainly many must be by now.

  •  Short Film for Naomi Klein's Book (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, Clytemnestra, james risser

    I was surprised you didn't include the video for the short film/"trailer" for Naomi Klein's book, directed by Alfonso Cuarón:

    Naomi Klein has actually been writing smart, comprehensive books about the growth of capitalist empire and the global resistance to it (see "No Logo," almost any of her Nation columns), so it's thrilling to see how much exposure this new book is garnering.

  •  What should we call it then? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alfred E Newman, Inky, Lefty Mama

    Really, a word needs to be coined to discribe what's going on because "Bush authoritarianism" doesn't do justice to what is going on and acutally minimizes everything - agreed  "fascism" isn't correct but we need something new to enter the lexicon like "swiftboating," "borking," etc.

    great part 2

  •  Fascism and Bush. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, james risser, Neon Vincent

    Fascism differs from communism in that it was not an ideology that was clearly defined.  Mussolini, the first to call his system fascism, defined it in this way, "Fascism was not the nursling of a doctrine worked out beforehand with detailed elaboration;  it was born of the need for action."  Thus, fascism differed dramatically in the countries that we tend to describe as fascist.  I guess the things they all had in common were extreme nationalism, hatred of anything remotely connected with socialism or government control of business, and leadership by a strong leader who in Italy was called Duce or Leader and in Germany was called Fuhrer.  Granted that in the United States what we have now is not exactly what existed in Italy or Germany, it still has many of the major characteristics of the fascist state.  For example, our version includes adoration of a strong and militaristic leader, worship of private property and hatred of anything remotely connected with socialism, partnership with big business, and a view of life as a constant battle between good and evil with war the perpetual solution. There are many contradictions in Bush's thinking, as there were in the thinking of the other fascist states.  For example, Bush has done all he can to build the power of the chief executive into a kind of Duce, while at the same time he has continued the deregulation of big business and generally given them a free hand.  While this may not be exactly what happened in most European fascist states, we still know that fascism was not a strict or clearly defined ideology.  In its view of life, its nationalism and militarism, its hatred of any government control of something that can be privatized, its desire to paint itself in the strict father image, what we have is our own version of fascism. Even if we give business more of a free hand than Mussolini did, the partnership is clearly strong in both.  Fascism is not a strict doctrine, but more of a way of life or even personality trait than communism or democratic socialism.  It is a fair way to label what's happening to our country.  Anyone who doesn't believe that we're extremely nationalistic should count the flags rolled out when our politicians make a speech or the flags that some of us actually wear. The extreme nationalism, love of war, desire to turn the presidency into some kind of dictatorship, and need to prove one's toughness or "manhood" can fairly be called fascist.  Mussolini tried to prove his manhood by jumping through flaming hoops, and Bush tries to prove his by wearing military attire, starting wars, and hiding behind men in uniform.  Also, modern economic and political systems combine free market principles with things like public education and economic regulation to do what works best.  The notion that any system can by "pure" and successful at the same time is false.  Unfortunately, Bush is much like a fascist who yearns for ideological purity by privatizing everything, and in Iraq, using war to achieve his ends.  

    •  Um, No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      its hatred of any government control of something that can be privatized,

      Actually, no.  I don't have a problem with most of what you wrote, but fascism in control of the state did not parcel out power or functions of the public sector to for-profit entities, and it sought to bring all institutions under the control of the state.  Germany was the extreme version of this, and there was great latitude in the other countries on how much freedom was granted to the Church or big business.  But fascist in control of the state apparatus did not give away power or direct control, they only increased it.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:44:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, yes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, james risser

        If you follow my sentence to its conclusion, you'll see that I am speaking about the U.S. version of fascism:  ". . . its hatred of any control of something that can be privatized, its desire to paint itself in the strict father image, what we have is OUR OWN VERSION of fascism."  Also, it's difficult to understand how what we have in the U.S. can be called authoritarianism and at the same time claim that it is giving power away to anyone.  Bush wants to increase the power of the president, and his fanatical desire to privatize and deregulate are examples of the inherent contradictions in his muddled thinking that at the same time wants to ignore our system of checks and balances and increase the powers of the president.  And yes, our version of fascism is not a mirror image of Germany's anymore than Germany's was a mirror image of Italian fascism, but in both Germany and the U.S., we have governments who used propaganda to sell a message of fear and demonizing of the enemy, in Germany it was Jews and in the U.S. it's Islamo-Fascists or Muslims.  Unfortunately, the key ingredients of nationalism, militarism, and a view of life depicted by Hitler as a world of hammers and nails in which its much better to be the hammer, I'm afraid that we cannot escape from seeing fascist values gaining the upper hand.  I don't think this is a permanent condition, but I do believe that the fascist way of thinking is always out there.  It's why we have to pay attention and work for a better country and world.    

        •  Let me clarify further. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          james risser, Neon Vincent

          Bush wants to give power to corporations while at the same time increasing his stranglehold on all decision making.  In short, he wants an imperial presidency in a kind of partnership with "free" enterprise.  The problem is that it's not free enterprise when it depends on the government for handouts.  The defense industry is certainly not free enterprise or anything close, and why would corporations spend billions on lobbyists if they knew they were not going to be rewarded many times over?

  •  Blackwater Being the (0+ / 0-)

    armed wing of the Party.  Republicans not so different from Hamas, Party of God, etc.

  •  THE NATURE OF GEORGE BUSH (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trinite, Neon Vincent

    WE GET THE GOVERNMENT WE DESERVE... and, boy, we’ve really been getting it for the last 6-1/2 years! Truth, values, competence and results no longer matter in America.

    THE PROBLEM: this President is not a rational thinker – his mind accepts information from only two sources: faith and experience. Because Bush is not rational (strictly empirical and subjective), objective facts and evidence such as the recent National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) that found the Iraq war has created more jihadists and terrorists and made America less safe are meaningless to this anachronistic man of several millennia ago. The reality of Iraq is what he thinks it is from the beautiful White House, and so our country and our precious soldiers are in for much more of this endless strategic disaster.

    GOOD NEWS though... God is speaking directly to George Bush (again) and telling him to go to war with Iran. This new war should go as well as the Iraq war (our President’s last guidance from "a higher authority, another Father" than Bush41) and further help over one billion Muslims in their decision to fight America in a mutual holy war. The Crusades of long ago are living history in the Middle East, and Muslims are already primed for another war with Christian invaders. Our "bring it on" cowboy President is only rekindling and fueling this centuries-old fire.

    Of course, TALKING WITH ADVERSARIES (instead of war) requires rational thought... thus with Bush, American diplomacy is an oxymoron. It will never happen! If past is prelude, Bush’s diplomacy with Iran will be perfunctory and rigged – our mentally unbalanced, messianic President needs to provoke a war, AND HE WILL FIND A WAY!

    WITHOUT RATIONAL THINKING, bumping into reality is always a shock! FUTURE SHOCK... roiled Pakistan is just one assassin’s bullet away from going under. When the President finally increases the level of hatred against the United States to where it engulfs Pakistan, then we face nuclear terror, and Biblical Armageddon becomes real and a self-fulfilling prophecy. Oh, the joy, the Rapture!

  •  Excellent analysis. adds something new (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Vincent

    I think your point on the distinction between the old plain-vanilla fascism and the Bush administration is useful and important.  It is a kind of fascism, in that it is government not based on the principle of rule of law, but of course it is not totalitarianism. And it doesn't rest on knee-jerk nationalism except as as a way of rallying votes.

    What the system best corresponds to is the political system of the Old South before the enactment of the Voting Rights Act and the more localized systems of company towns before the Roosevelt's administration's support of the union movement.  So what we are seeing is a throwback to an earlier time, when wealth ruled the roost.  

    Excellent diagnosis. Your account has legs.

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      I think the pre-unionization aspect is really important.  Also, pre-civil service reforms too, because it's the massive federal civil service that's been a brake on much of what Bush has tried but failed to do on destroying the government.  Even some appointees have resisted, as we've seen with the US Attorneys scandal.  But it definitely goes back to wealth.  One of the things fascism did was bring in an entirely new cadre of elites and put that at the apex of state power.  This system brings in some new elites, like the graduates of Regent university and the like, but most of the top power slots aren't turned over to that rabble, they're maintained by the wealthy or the people who will do their direct bidding.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:49:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why quibble over the word? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, trinite

    Don’t deny the tendency toward authoritarianism by quibbling over the definition of fascism. This may be a new kind of global fascism that doesn’t depend solely on national identity to seize control. Rather than relying on the complete internal re-ordering of society, it simply destroys existing governmental structures, creating anarchy, and then sets up some form of privatized government. Or, it may simply be a nascent form of fascism that has not yet turned its agenda toward absolute control--the first small blobs of pond scum.

    I don’t blame Naomi Kline for avoiding the word because, as your piece demonstrates, its use might enable people to be dismissive of her argument. I’m sure she sees the parallels, however.

    •  Um... (0+ / 0-)

      Don’t deny the tendency toward authoritarianism

      Did you look at the title?

      And authoritarianism isn't a synonym for fascism.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 07:02:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did look at the title. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Vincent

        Most people understand that fascism is bad. That is why the Republicans use the term Islamo-fascism all the time. I remember mentioning “jackbooted” Republicans three years ago on a KOS post and I was accused of hyperbole.  

        While tap-dancing around the term fascism may avoid ridicule in the short term, in the end, this GOP movement is bent in the same direction. The Center and the Left in this country have been only too happy to let this extremism develop without calling it out for what it is—a new kind of fascism.

        By the way, I do appreciate the your blog post and I love Naomi Kline.

    •  I agree about using the word fascism. (0+ / 0-)

      When we do, we tend to turn off anyone listening because they may immediately see us as hotheads and extremists.  That doesn't mean that there's not some serious truth in what we say.    

  •  Religion and Politics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter, Neon Vincent

    There are strong religious elements to the particular strain of authoritarianism as played out in the United States in recent years.

    Been saying this for years.

    Anyone who thinks the US is not a christian nation can just sit down.  It is now!

    The rest of us are just tolerated by the Bushie/Coulters of our (read 'their') country. The unwitting Mainstream GOP is just the vehicle they're using as the means to some 'end' that I'm sure doesn't include me.

    These folks are very scary.

    Can't wait to read what else you've got.  

    Keep it up!

    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the Flag carrying a cross"...Sinclair Lewis

    by WSComn on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 06:32:33 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary and Comment thread. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Vincent

    Thanks to DHinMI and the many substantive commenters for the most thought-provoking morning I've had in a while.
    Now here's what I'd like to see:  This Diary and thread as the basis of a high school or college government course.  Yeah, I know.  LOL.

  •  An essential component of fascism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trinite, Neon Vincent

    is a tight partnership between the corporate community and government. The author of this piece mischaracterizes fascism as a form of governing in which the state views the corporate community in passive terms, that the state somehow leaves big business alone while imposing a totalitarian control over all other aspects of society.

    The author would be well-advised to review a 1980 book by Bertram Gross: Friendly Fascism. Gross was a member of LBJ's economics team. His book is still spellbinding because he prophetically maps out how fascism was being integrated into US society, even then, at the onset of the Reagan era, and how, in the present, the trend has continued in precisely the same way that he described over 27 years ago.

    In Mussolini's and Hitler's time, and in ours, big business clearly plays an active and symbiotic role in controlling society. Thus far, our society doesn't need Brownshirts to control our aggregate behavior. We have television,the corporate media, and the Global War on Terror (i.e., the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance, etc.) to do the work, and it's largely successful.

  •  Facism? (0+ / 0-)

    Wrong opening premise.  Definition:  dictatorial movement: any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism.

    That you think Bush wants a small government with corporations running business unfettered doesn't make it true.  Take a look.  Bush wants a strong government that holds corporations in power.  Fascism. To deny it is to close your eyes...

    •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

      centralized control of private enterprise

      That's communism.  Are you saying Bush is communist, or that fascism had centralized control of private enterprise, which by conflating communism and fascism would therefore would make all definitions useless?

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 09:48:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Problem with Typologies... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, Neon Vincent

    ...is that they are inherently flawed and limited.  The reason I say this is that the (intellectual) spectrum of possibility far outweighs the (lexographic) spectrum of description, as can easily be demonstrated by looking up the word "run" in a dictionary.  What I mean by that is it is simply not possible to list out all the possible attributes or variants of "fascism," or any political ideology, simply because each individual brings their own preconceptions and ideas to the discussion.  

    For example, Bush, Cheney and Rove all have slightly different conceptions of what it means to be a "Bushist authoritarian," by virtue of being discrete individuals, which influence the way they perceive the world and the way they react to it.  Similarly, Hitler's, Goebbels' and Speer's Nazism would not have been identical to each other-- each one was a "Nazi" for their own reasons, and each had their own hopes and aspirations for the ideology.  

    While one can certainly sketch out general trends and concepts, getting too hung up on the specifics of what constitutes "fascism" or "authoritarianism" or "republicanism" and so forth detracts and distracts from the discussion.  All Republicans are not the same, even among the 30% dead-enders.  Some of them are Super Patriots, who are scared shitless at the thought of different people existing in the world.  Others are people who, for whatever reason, don't like the Democrats and their policies, and so support the Republicans because they feel the GOP is a better ideological home for them (although maybe not the best).  And I have no doubt that some of those dead-enders are people who have supported the Republicans since the middle of the last century, and now simply support them out of habit.

    What I'm trying to get at here, I guess, is that debates over sociopolitical typologies are very interesting and entertaining, but cannot be concluded to be exhaustive or wholly accurate.  So DH, you are absolutely right that, by the traditional definition, the Bush administration is not fascist.  And Major D, you are also right in saying that on 2x2 grids and from a practical standpoint, the Bush administration is acting fascist-ic (if that's even a word).  

    What can--and probably should be--looked at and argued is whether or not Modern Authoritarian Hyper-Capitalistic Republicanism (my description of the modern GOP) is close enough to the traditional definition of one ideology or another to be considered a variant, or if it deserves its own, uniuqe name.

  •  Bush Brand Fascism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky

    The "Fascism" promoted by the entire Bush family
    is the classic fascism that Eisenhower warned us about in his last Presidential address.
    He called them the Military Industrial Complex.
    He knew just where his Vice President was headed.
    "Corporate Fascism" is the proper title.
    It can be defined by the men who are the CEOs of the
    corporations.  
    When those CEOs are making more than one million dollars a year, you "know" they are corporate fascist
    that are controlling their boards of director with
    FEAR.  
    Corporations are not democracies.  Therefore, they are not provided with the securities of a democracy.
    If they act in opposition to the democracy that they are priviliged to occupy, they should be dissolved,
    their wealth returned to the stockholders and all of
    their rights of trade be surrendered.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site