‘Those Who Ignore History Are Doomed To Repeat It’

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WIKIPEDIA: Since Mussolini, there have been many conflicting definitions of the term fascism. Former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton has written that:

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursuesanti_americanism_1944_nazi_propaganda_poster.jpg with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”[11]

Paxton further defines fascism’s essence as:

…a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign `contamination’.[12]

Fascism is typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic, by way of a strong, single-party government for enacting laws and a strong, sometimes brutal militia or police force for enforcing them.[18] Fascism exalts the nation, state, or group of people as superior to the individuals composing it. Fascism uses explicit populist rhetoric; calls for a heroic mass effort to restore past greatness; and demands loyalty to a single leader, leading to a cult of personality and unquestioned obedience to orders. MORE

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HOLY SHIT! THERE REALLY WAS A MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX PLOT TO OVERTHROW FDR AND ESTABLISH A FASCIST STATE! The Business Plot, the Plot Against FDR, or the White House Putsch, was a political conspiracy involving several wealthy businessmen to overthrow the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Details of the matter came to light when retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testified before a Congressional committee that a group of men had attempted to recruit him to serve as the leader of a plot and to assume and wield power once the coup was successful. Butler testified before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee in 1934.[1] In his testimony, Butler claimed that a group of several men had approached him as part of a plot to overthrow Roosevelt in a military coup. In their final report, the Congressional committee supported Butler’s allegations on the existence of the plot,[2] but no prosecutions or further investigations followed, and the matter was mostly forgotten. Major General Butler claimed that the American Liberty League was the primary means of funding the plot. The main backers were the Du Pont family, as well as leaders of U.S. Steel, General Motors, Standard Oil, Chase National Bank, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The BBC documentary “The Whitehouse Coup[3] alleges that Prescott Bush, father and grandfather to the 41st and 43rd US Presidents respectively, was also connected.[4] MORE

felinemeowkittycat_1.jpgASSOCIATED PRESS: The FBI acknowledged it improperly accessed Americans’ telephone records, credit reports and Internet traffic in 2006, the fourth straight year of privacy abuses resulting from investigations aimed at tracking terrorists and spies. An audit by the inspector general last year found the FBI demanded personal records without official authorization or otherwise collected more data than allowed in dozens of cases between 2003 and 2005. Additionally, last year’s audit found that the FBI had underreported to Congress how many national security letters were requested by more than 4,600.

National security letters, as outlined in the USA Patriot Act, are administrative subpoenas used in suspected terrorism and espionage cases. They allow the FBI to require telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit bureaus and other businesses to produce highly personal records about their customers or subscribers without a judge’s approval.The number of national security letters issued by the FBI skyrocketed in the years after the Patriot Act became law in 2001, according to last year’s report. Fine’s annual review is required by Congress, over the objections of the Bush administration. In 2005, for example,obeykitty_1.jpg Fine’s office found more than 1,000 violations within 19,000 FBI requests to obtain 47,000 records. Each letter issued may contain several requests. MORE

WASHINGTON POST: Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information to fight crime and root out terror plots. As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of criminal and investigative records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues. Those network efforts will begin expanding further this month, as some local and state agencies connect to a fledgling Justice Department system called the National Data Exchange, or N-DEx. Federal authorities hope N-DEx will become what one called a “one-stop shop” enabling federal law enforcement, counterterrorism and intelligence analysts to automatically examine the enormous caches of local and state records for the first time. MORE

police_brutality01_1.jpgCOINCIDENCE? More than one in every 100 American adults is in prison, making the United States the world’s biggest jailer, according to a report published today. It reveals that more than 2.3 million adults were incarcerated in the U.S. at the start of 2008 – or one of every 99.1 out of a total adult population of some 230 million. “The United States imprisons more people than any country in the world,” the report said. The numbers – based on January statistics released by the International Centre for Prison Studies at King’s College, London – put U.S. prison numbers far above those of China, which has 1.5 million people behind bars even though its total population is more than four times bigger than the United States’. South Africa has 341 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, Iran has 222 per 100,000, and China 119, according to the King’s College centre’s World Prison Brief. “While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine.” The racial disparity for women also is stark. One in 355 white women aged 35-39 is behind bars, compared with one in 100 black women in that age group. MORE

GOVERNMENT BY THE CORPORATIONS, FOR THE CORPORATIONS…

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…IS THE DEFINITION OF FASCISM. SERIOUSLY, LOOK IT UP.

CARLISLE SENTINEL: Ever since I read in Wired magazine about Mark Klein, the former AT&T technician who described how the federal government had the capability to intercept every scrap of data at one of the telecom’s busiest switch locations, I’ve been concerned about the likely abuse of this sort of unlimitedbigbrother.jpg surveillance. Klein, who is testifying for the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s lawsuit against AT&T, explained that the firm helped the NSA set up a parallel data processing center at the telecom’s central office in San Francisco. Hundreds of millions of phone calls, e-mails, Web page requests, instant messages and more pass through this point every day. Klein also said he was personally aware that similar facilities were being set up in Seattle, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles.

But if you’re sweeping through every single message and call you can get your hands on, you’re violating the Fourth Amendment’s probable cause provision. Not to mention that you’re examining far more communications of innocent Americans than you have any need to. Hence the EFF/AT&T lawsuit. And once again I find myself tilting against windmills. I have no doubt that Congress, in the end, will bend over for this administration and give it everything it wants, including telecom immunity.

Still, the House has so far stuck with its bill that doesn’t void telecom lawsuits, resulting in a lot of dishonest posturing by the president and his intelligence director. They have, however, been remarkably candid about bailing the telecoms out of these “expensive lawsuits” being brought by “trial lawyers.” The “trial lawyer” canard is a lie, of course, since EFF is a lightly endowed non-profit organization that pays its lawyers about a third of the going rate. Other plaintiffs are in similar situations…The only reason to keep the telecom lawsuits out of court is to keep citizens from knowing just how easily the government can get into their personal business — and whether they already have. MORE

[Artwork courtesy of OBEY THE KITTY]

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